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article imageRecent Pedophile Priest Case Just Tip of the Criminal Iceberg

By Nikki Weingartner     May 17, 2008 in World
One of America's largest churches has been given a black eye with a Baptist Pastor being caught soliciting sex online to a 13-year-old girl. It seems this is a fairly normal trend, as a simple look under the religious covers has found a lot more.
It happened again, the leader of a church busted for being involved in activities leading to the potential sexual abuse of a child. But this time, it isn’t the Papal Delegation that has dominated the news media over the past several years.
In Plano, Texas, the Prestonwood Baptist Church serves as home to dozens of thousands of members, not to mention visitors. As one of the nation’s largest mega churches, it is the example setting model for others churches to follow in terms of the Christian faith and servitude.
However, Pastor Joe Barron decided to branch out 200 miles away. Just days ago, he was busted for internet solicitation of sex with a minor after making the drive from Plano to Bryan, Tx. Barron had been involved with what he believed to be a 13-year-old girl for a couple of weeks in explicit sexual exchanges over the internet and was arrested with condoms and a webcam in his car.
A very sad day for followers who gave Barron their faith and trust and expected him to, at minimum, live within legal guidelines while serving at Prestonwood Baptist Church.
But is this an isolated case or something more common within the pastoral lineage?
Theologians of the Christian faith share a common thread of belief and that is that all are sinners, including those who serve in positions of pastoral leadership. With the element of forgiveness, sins are washed away and a new life begins. Some believers differ in whether or not those sins are ongoing or whether they are of a past life, as the new life associated with being a born again Christian might be interpreted by some as being free from sin.
In a simple scratch of the surface, not touching upon the scandals in the Catholic arena, some amazing results were uncovered.
Over the past six months, nearly just as many stories of ecclesiastic individuals involved in molesting, raping and sexually abusing children across the country have made the news, all involving men of the Christian faith.
Just last fall, Reverend Roberto Edgar Lopez, of the United Methodist Church in Missouri was arrested and sentenced to 14 years in prison on charges of sodomy and statutory rape against a 15-year-old teenage girl. The young girl was a member of the church and her parents found emails that linked the two and their sexual relationship.
Another horrific story of a 65-year-old youth minister of the First Baptist Church from Sinton, Texas who admitted to molesting a 6-year-old girl shocked a congregation of followers. The story saw this pedophilic Baptist minister through to his 37-year jail sentence.
"I then hooked my thumbs in her waist," Blanchard read, "and put my hands over her groin area, on the outside of her clothing." "The first couple of times, she did not say anything," Blanchard continued reading. "She was more interested in driving. But the second time, when I told her we needed to go home, and she slid over to the passenger seat, the look on her face killed my soul. I felt great remorse for having taken advantage of this child."
As if that weren’t enough to shock the masses, the list goes on to include Pastor Robert Lambert of Grand Valley Independent Baptist Church in Missouri who was charged in December of 2007 with eight counts of 2nd degree sodomy, sexual abuse and 3rd degree molestation. Lambert’s stepfather on 100-acres of farmland originally set up the Missouri Christian commune.
In March of this year, a Georgia pastor, Derek Gillett, was arrested and charged with sodomy and aggravated child molestation against two children whose ages were not provided. The children were not members of his congregation, Cornerstone Community Chapel. Also in March, Joseph Conger, the 44-year-old pastor of New Life Baptist Church and Faith Baptist Church in Missouri was charged with engaging in statutory sodomy with two teen boys back in 2003.
The list goes on and on, with a Tennessee Baptist Youth Pastor getting busted last October for making online arrangements to have sex with a 13-year-old down to a self-proclaimed minister named Randall Russell from Pennsylvania who was charged with molestation, statutory rape and child sexual abuse just this month.
The problem is real and isn’t exclusive to cults or the highly publicized fidelity vows associated with Bishops and other leaders of the Catholic faith. It is a widespread epidemic that knows no religious bias and continues to show its ugly face in churches across the nation, as it did this past week with Joe Barron.
Pedophilia is a chronic condition that has no cure and although there are helpful treatments, most pedophiles do not admittedly seek treatment for their problem and end up hurting countless numbers of children and they continue to live lifestyles that are conducive to their illness.
According to statistics from the Mayo Clinic, 95 percent of all incidences of child sex abuse cases are committed by 88 percent of child molesters who meet the diagnostic criterion for pedophilia. Pedophilic child molesters also commit ten times more sex acts against children than non-pedophilic child molesters.
This means that there are two types of child sex offenders and nearly all sex crimes against children are caused by pedophiles, one type of offender.
DSMV Criterion for Pedophilia:
· A. Over a period of at least 6 months, recurrent, intense sexually arousing
fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors involving sexual activity with a
prepubescent child or children (generally age 13 years or younger);
· B. The person has acted on these sexual urges, or the sexual urges or fantasies
cause marked distress or interpersonal difficulty;
· C. The person is at least age 16 years and at least 5 years older than the child
or children in Criterion A.
The International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems defines pedophilia as "a sexual preference for children, boys or girls or both, usually of prepubertal or early pubertal age." With that, pedophilic offenders often start offending at an early age; often have a large number of victims who are frequently extrafamilial; are more inwardly driven to offend; and have values or beliefs that strongly support an offense lifestyle. Research suggests that incest offenders recidivate at approximately half the rate of extrafamilial child molesters, and one study estimated that by the time of entry to treatment, nonincestuous pedophiles who molest boys had committed an average of 282 offenses against 150 victims.
Conversely, child sex offenders, the second type, are situational offenders who tend to “offend” during times of stress. They begin their crime during a later time in life and their victims are often familial in nature. They also tend to have a preference for adult sexual partners.
The value of the definition between pedophiles and child sex offenders serve as little comfort for the families of those whose children are victims in these cases. However, it helps to understand how a pastoral position or youth minister might be the perfect scenario for a true pedophile.
They are able to hide behind a powerful position, where children are taught to respect and trust them unconditionally. That combined with the natural innocence of children and their own vulnerabilities, the position is in and of itself the perfect place from which to operate.
The mere suggestion that all churches are a place of pedophilia is ludicrous, but the fact remains that pastors across the country continue to use their positions of power as a means of gaining access to vulnerable children.
The ongoing trust of the clergy makes it difficult for members to severe their belief in a person charged with a crime, thinking
“How could he? He is a man of GOD. Those children are lying”.
And with this, it continues to fester in that pedophilic pastors can move from state to state, filling in spaces where a pastor is needed, once again, providing the perfect den for a predatory situation.
So why do others deny that the allegations against their spiritual leaders must be false, even after convictions are handed down? Why do they deny to acknowledge their own issues, such as blog sites pointing fingers at teachers instead of pointing fingers at their own leaders?
The sad reality is that pedophiles choose professions where it is easy for them to fulfill their fantasy world and this means taking advantage of the adults around them and children around them. It isn’t about GOD or the human heart or kindness. It is about satisfying an urge that is known to be illegal.
Since these individuals cannot be cured, seek to live lifestyles that support their pedophilic urges and with the statistics that show that nearly all of the reported child sex crimes are committed by pedophiles, how do we digest this group of information?
Since their victims are enumerable and are not from their own family…whose children are next?
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