News Archives

United Methodist panel to review reports of child abuse situations

 


United Methodist panel to review reports of child abuse situations

Nov. 2, 2004

By Linda Bloom*

NEW YORK (UMNS) – An independent panel will be named by December to review reports of child abuse situations decades ago in United Methodist mission settings.

In action taken recently by the denomination’s Board of Global Ministries, the three-member panel is intended as a "fact-finding, consultative and primarily pastoral" body. It will be independent of the mission agency, serving in advisory capacity, but will not reach conclusions about civil legal liability.

The panel’s main task will be to follow up on a report authorized by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) that was publicly released in October 2002. The Presbyterian investigating committee concluded that sexual abuse of missionary children occurred between 1945 and 1978 in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo, at both a Presbyterian school in Lubondai and a Methodist-Presbyterian Hostel in Kinshasa.

Some of those abused over the years were children of Methodist missionaries, the board learned.

The Rev. R. Randy Day, who assumed leadership of the Board of Global Ministries after the report was released, appointed a task force to assess the situation last March. The task force studied the final report of the Presbyterian investigating committee, met with the abuse survivors and recommended a process "toward healing the deep wounds that have been carried so long."

The independent panel is expected to receive allegations of child abuse – including physical and/or sexual abuse – in cases where the accused was related to the board or its predecessors in a mission setting or the abused individual was in the mission setting under the care of the accused.

Inquiries would then be made into the allegations and the findings conveyed to the appropriate church officials. Panel members also would "engage the survivors in exploring possibilities by which healing and wholeness can be pursued."

The panel will report back, at least annually, to board directors.

"The General Board of Global Ministries is committed to care for the survivors who have identified themselves and for those who may yet feel the anguish of abuse suffered as children entrusted to our care and supervision," said the board’s report recommending the "Independent Panel for the Review of Child Abuse in Mission Settings."

The mission agency thanked the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) "for creating a model that has proven to be very effective and for sharing their process and experience with us."

*Bloom is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in New York.

News media contact: Linda Bloom, New York, (646) 369-3759 or newsdesk@umcom.org.

Ask Now

This will not reach a local church, district or conference office. InfoServ* staff will answer your question, or direct it to someone who can provide information and/or resources.

First Name:*
Last Name:*
Email:*
ZIP/Postal Code:*
Question:*

*InfoServ ( about ) is a service of United Methodist Communications located in Nashville, Tennessee, USA. 1-800-251-8140

Not receiving a reply?
Your Spam Blocker might not recognize our email address. Add this address to your list of approved senders.

Would you like to ask any questions about this story?ASK US NOW


Contact Us

This will not reach a local church, district or conference office. InfoServ* staff will answer your question, or direct it to someone who can provide information and/or resources.

Phone
(optional)

*InfoServ ( about ) is a ministry of United Methodist Communications located in Nashville, Tennessee, USA. 1-800-251-8140

Not receiving a reply?
Your Spam Blocker might not recognize our email address. Add InfoServ@umcom.org to your list of approved senders.