Family of Pedophile Pastor Now Spreads the Word on How To Prevent Abuse by Heather Sells
The following article also addresses CSA (Clergy Sex Abuse) and how Celebrity Pastorhood contributes to sex abuse cover ups in and by churches. I also comment towards the bottom, briefly, on how Christian Gender Complementarianism, plays a role in those things as well.
SOMERSET, Pa. – Jimmy and Clara Hinton don’t want others to miss what they didn’t see for years: their father and husband, a respected pastor for years in his rural community, was keeping his flock in the dark while he molested young children.
Today, the elders at Somerset Church of Christ have moved intentionally to protect children. Empty classrooms are locked.
Adults working with children operate in teams of two or more. On Sundays, monitors conduct random building sweeps and each Sunday School room has a walkie-talkie in case of an emergency.
Church policy also protects children from potentially unwanted physical touch like a hug. “None of us can walk up to a kid, pull a kid in and initiate that physical contact,” says Pastor Jimmy, who has served as the pastor at Church of Christ since his father left in 2009.
He thinks that’s important because abusers often groom children to become used to them initiating.
If a registered sex offender wants to come to church, the elders will alert the congregation and provide a separate service to avoid contact with children.
Elder Bob Martin acknowledges that while controversial, the policy puts the safety of children first.
Helping Survivors Navigate the Aftermath of Abuse
Jimmy and Clara are also speaking out nationally via blogs and their “The Speaking Out on Sex Abuse Podcast.” In more than 40 episodes they help survivors and their families learn how to navigate the aftermath of abuse, especially within church culture.
Warning: Don’t Put Pastors on a Pedestal
Today Beach says many churches pave the way for abuse with the way they treat their leaders. “We have a tendency to sort of put our pastors and sometimes worship leaders and others who are upfront on kind of a pedestal, treating them like celebrities and there’s a danger in that that I think we’re all learning,” she explained.
Women in churches are easily caught off-guard, says Beach, because they’re not expecting a pastor to engage in flirtatious behavior or worse. And if it happens, she says, women tend to feel ashamed and reason that covering it up is the best course. “There’s a sense of ‘this is so embarrassing and I wouldn’t want anyone to know,'” she explained, “plus, you’re protecting the church and you’re protecting that pastor and his or her family.”
…Don’t Call it an Affair. It’s an Abuse of Power
“I [Boz Tchividjian, a former child abuse prosecutor] often hear people saying ‘well, the pastor had an affair with a woman in the congregation.’ Well, it’s not an affair. It’s an abuse of power because the pastor has a greater sense of both spiritual authority in the church but also a greater degree of power over that individual,” he explains.
Many churches, says Tchividjian, are quick to apply grace to abusers and the law to victims, asking them to forgive and move on. It’s a pattern made easy by leaders that already enjoy widespread support.
“What you’ll often see is an abuser responding to an allegation in a way that spins the narrative in a way that they’re the actual victim,” says Tchividjian. “The people that would naturally gravitate towards wanting to support them anyway buy into that narrative and so now the abuser is the victim and the victim is seen as a sort of perpetrator, the one causing the problems.”
….Sometimes Abusers Hide “In Plain Sight”
Jimmy Hinton would like more people to consider that abuse can happen “in plain sight.” He says his dad has revealed that in his prison correspondence with him. He remembers one particular letter.
“I’d written him a question and I said ‘was there anything that surprised you over all these decades of abusing all these victims?’ He wrote me back and he said ‘there’s one thing that surprised me’ and he said how naïve adults are. He said ‘you can literally do anything even right in front of adults and they’re completely clueless.'”
Both Jimmy and Clara now see John Hinton’s oddball behavior as a strategy, paving the way for his abuse.
“Pedophiles will test the waters to see how far they can go with a person or in this case a group of people,” said Clara. “What can they do that’s totally off the wall and still have the command of the group?”
John, she said, tested people all the time. For her, it’s still stunning to think that the man she married, the man so respected in his community, had so many people fooled.
The entire article is here
Regarding this portion of the article:
Women in churches are easily caught off-guard, says Beach, because they’re not expecting a pastor to engage in flirtatious behavior or worse. And if it happens, she says, women tend to feel ashamed and reason that covering it up is the best course.
Many Christian churches endorse a belief called Gender Complementarianism, which encourages girls and women to engage in codependent behaviors. In turn, this leaves them even more vulnerable to being targeted by abusers in the first place, and then totally unprepared in how to deal with it, if they are on the receiving end.
The complementarian teachings (as well as secular gender stereotypes) also convince or socialize girls and women that it would be “wrong,” “selfish,” un-“feminine,” or “bitchy” to be assertive, to confront someone who may be treating them poorly.
Indoctrinating girls and women to think it is feminine, “biblical,” “proper,” or “God honoring” to always behave in such a passive manner leaves them wide open to being abused and unable to fend off abuse when and if it happens.
‘Submit to Your Husbands’: Women Told To Endure Domestic Violence In The Name of God (via ABC Aussie news)