Last week, Leadership Journal magazine posted an article penned by a youth pastor who groomed, then sexually abused a girl in his youth group. He is now in prison for his crimes. The anonymous article was saturated with a self-pitying tone, some horrifying reframing of his sin (statutory rape is not an “affair”), and a stunning lack of concern for the young woman upon whom he preyed. It took a couple of very intense days of social media activity by those infuriated by the platform given to a semi-repentant sexual predator before the editors acknowledged that a few edits could not redeem this terrible piece. They removed it from the site late Friday afternoon. Mary DeMuth wrote a helpful summary of the situation here if you’d like to read more about it.
The story led me to do a little reflection about the collateral damage caused by a youth leader’s sexual sin. I’m thinking here about those who were not directly affected by the actions of a predatory leader: the rank-and-file youth group kids. [Read more]