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Jennifer Roach earned a Masters of Divinity from the Seattle School of Theology and Psychology and a Masters of Counseling from Argosy University. She is a licensed Substance Use Disorder counselor, a Clinical Mental Health counselor, and was an ordained Anglican Pastor prior to her baptism in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
01:15 Kurt introduces the guest and topic of abuse.
03:45 Background of the article from the Associated Press dated August 4th, 2022. The article claims that the Church is hiding abuse.
06:00 Jennifer explains the Church’s helpline.
07:00 What is mandated reporting? There are three versions.
- You must report, no exceptions.
- You must report but the exceptions are clergy or medical reasons.
- You may not report. You need to know the laws in your particular state.
9:00 The helpline is there to protect the bishop and the victim. Reporting in each state is very different.
10:30 Kurt breaks down the different kinds of reporting and how complicated it can be in different states.
12:15 Jennifer and Kurt discuss the Arizona case on abuse and the bishop’s involvement. There is still so much we don’t know.
19:30 The biggest question most of us have is why the Church’s attorney on the helpline didn’t have the bishop call the police.
22:10 What can we learn from this case of abuse?
23:20 Is the helpline a good idea?
27:00 Kurt and Jennifer discuss whether the Church’s hotline should be led by attorneys or social workers and what the role each of these professionals play.
30:15 Background checks catch very few abusers. It only catches people that have been convicted. The background check system can’t be fully trusted.
34:00 What can we do to better protect our youth? We can’t rely on just one tool. A background check is one tool but not completely reliable. There are many pieces to the pie.
37:10 Another tool that can be used is listening to the kids. You have to be careful with this though.
39:10 When kids reveal abuse it’s normally unintentional. Most children won’t say outright that they are being abused but leaders and adults should pay attention to the small comments that seem off.
41:15 Statistically most child abuse doesn’t happen on a church campus but grooming does. Jennifer shares tactics that abusers use.
42:45 Parents should be very careful with whom they trust. Sleepovers should not be happening.
43:55 It’s difficult to identify abusers very accurately. However, it’s a little bit easier to accurately identify kids that are being abused. Jennifer shares some things to look out for.
47:00 During the pandemic more kids were abused because they were at home more. Home is the most likely place that kids are getting abused. There is no for sure way to make sure that a kid doesn’t get abused.
48:15 We are saving and protecting way more potential victims than those that are getting victimized. While we don’t have a perfect system, it’s also not fair to say that our system is completely broken.
49:30 What does the Church gain by protecting abusers?
50:45 One of the protective factors for kids in our church is that people change callings all the time. It’s different from other churches where the pastor is abusing kids for 40 years.
51:50 While we can respect the writer of the AP article, there are some things that he did get wrong. For example, there is no evidence that indicates that the Church covered up any evidence.
53:40 The article implies that hiding abuse is the norm. The main message that people are getting is that the Church hides abuse on the regular.
UPDATE to this Podcast
AP News article: Seven years of sex abuse: How Mormon officials let it happen
Public Square Magazine article: Are Publicized Abuse Cases Exceptional or Representative of Our Faith?
General Handbook 32.4.4: Confidentiality
4 Reasons Why Bishops Should Be Meeting with Youth | An Interview with Jennifer Roach
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