Last week Lovefraud posted an article about the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia and its evasive response, or nonresponse, to claims of clergy sex abuse. It was actually written by a member of the church review board, who was as dismayed as many of the faithful.
The Vienna Presbyterian Church in Vienna, Virginia, faced a similar situation when a youth director maintained inappropriate relationships with multiple teenage girls.
Eric De Vries infiltrated their lives and manipulated the girls into what they thought were mutual romantic relationships. They said he drew them in as a trusted mentor, friend and Christian role model before professing his love, saying that he wanted to marry them, imploring them to keep the relationship secret and then progressively increasing sexual contact as they approached adulthood.
The Vienna church eventually realized the magnitude of the ordeal and worked to make amends. The church publicly took responsibility and apologized in a sermon on March 27, 2011. And, it approached the Washington Post and cooperated in an investigative report about the abuse.
Read Vienna Presbyterian Church seeks forgiveness, redemption in wake of abuse scandal on WashingtonPost.com.
The church did this in spite of being admonished by its insurance company. On March 23, 2011, before the planned sermon, a lawyer hired by the insurance company sent a warning to church officials:
“Do not make any statements, orally, in writing or in any manner, to acknowledge, admit to or apologize for anything that may be evidence of or interpreted as (a suggestion that) the actions of Vienna Presbyterian Church … caused or contributed to any damages arising from the intentional acts/abuse/misconduct” by the youth director.
Read Church abuse cases and lawyers an uneasy mix on USAToday.com.
Lovefraud applauds the courage and integrity of the Vienna Presbyterian Church.
Story suggested by a Lovefraud reader.