Something I try to live by is the rule “be quick to say you’re sorry when you’re wrong.”
Legally, it’s grey whether or not the International Mission Board did not need to report my case as a crime since I was an adult at the time I came forward. There’s a part of the law that says unless there are children at immediate risk, it does not have to be reported.
Personally, I understood this piece of law to mean since Mr. Aderholt was still working in ministry and indirectly with children, they should have reported it.
But it’s not as clear-cut as I first believed or communicated. I am sorry.
The Star-Telegram has a great paragraph about this.
Scott Fredricks, a Fort Worth lawyer who’s worked child abuse cases, said the laws have changed over the years. He said they would have been looser in 2007 regarding reporting requirements, especially in the case of an adult. The statute in place now, he said, has language about disclosure if the information is necessary to protect another child, which could apply if the alleged perpetrator were still working with children.
“For practical purposes,” he said, “I would always counsel someone to make the report.”
I do want to make something abundantly clear: While there is no legal consequence for the IMB not reporting it, I 100% believe there is and was a moral obligation for them to report it.
The IMB claims legal protection in not disclosing these accusations to future employers. Many state school systems have implemented laws that have harsh penalties for school employees and administrators that do not report suspected abuse.
I wish our churches and religious organizations could lead the way in creating and supporting laws that protect the most vulnerable among us.