Sex Offenders in Church

Keeping your congregation safe while ministering to potential predators 

by Debra Reynolds

iStock_000002129595SmallChurches are faced with the task of protecting their congregations from sex offenders while ministering to the same people from whom their congregations need protecting. In addition to carefully vetting all church volunteers who have access to children and other vulnerable populations, churches should establish policies and procedures for known sex offenders attending church. Policies should prohibit known sex offenders from volunteering for activities involving children or vulnerable adults (including victims of abuse), restrict access to certain church areas and activities, and designate a responsible adult to accompany the sex offender while participating in church activities. Sex offender policies should be included in a larger set of policies and practices designed to keep children and others safe from harm. Approximately 90 percent of sex offenders have never been convicted of a crime and are therefore unknown. If measures are put in place and properly followed, however, churches can ensure protection from both known and unknown offenders. For further information or questions on policies related to sex offenders in the church, contact our office to speak with one of our attorneys.

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