Should a victim pay for the sex offender's attorney?

David Clohessy is the executive director of SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) and has been an influential force in confronting the horrors of child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church and other faith communities.  He recently contacted me about a very disturbing situation coming out of a civil lawsuit in West Virginia involving a convicted sex offender.

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Graduation: A time to celebrate the next generation

And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

Spending much of one’s life navigating the dark underbelly of Christendom can at times create a deep sense of discouragement and hopelessness. Perhaps, that is why I always look forward to graduation.

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Supreme Court sides with kids

That last word was published last week in a Supreme Court decision getting a bit less attention than others, but no less important. A decision that has the potential to bring much needed justice to abused children around the country.

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Catching American sex offenders overseas

Last weekend, I had the distinct privilege of meeting with some of the most amazing people on the face of the earth. They gathered together because each had been sexually abused while growing up overseas as children of missionaries.

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Are abuse survivors best served when institutions investigate themselves?

In the past years, we have heard many faith-based institutions announce the launching of independent investigations to address issues of past sexual abuse that have publicly surfaced. Whether it’s academic institutions, mission organizations, churches, or denominations, the term “independent investigation” has become almost fashionable...

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Glimpses of Jesus in the darkness of abuse

In a season when we continue to hear about churches making bad decisions related to child sexual abuse, the darkness can easily overwhelm us. In those painful moments, I often find myself in tears asking and wondering, where is Jesus in all of this mess?

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God made all of me: Empowering children against abuse

One of the many challenges parents and guardians have in protecting those in their care is how to educate younger children about sexual abuse.  Not only can the topic be incredibly uncomfortable to bring up with 5 year old, but most of us simply don't know how to do it in an effective and non-traumatizing way...

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A careful grace: Accountability for sex offenders in the church

Many churches are faced with a terribly difficult dilemma of what to do when a sex offender wants to become part of the church community.  In my experience, most churches have little to no understanding of the many complex issues related to such a decision.  As a result, churches often make decisions that result in great harm to the children and abuse survivors in the congregation.

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