Independent review finds no evidence of sexual abuse coverup by Summit staff member

"There is no evidence that Bryan Loritts discouraged anyone from reporting sexual abuse when he was pastor at a Memphis church, according to an independent review launched by his current employer, The Summit Church." - BPNews

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Bert Perry's picture

Here's the Guideposts report.  More or less, a bunch of people who knew of the interaction at the Memphis church did not talk to Guidepost, and it appears the Memphis church actually discouraged cooperation.  Julie Roys has a rather scathing interpretation.  I've only read the Guidepost report, but it does seem that it's clear that Loritts did not report the crimes to the police--it was voyeurism with a well placed cell phone, apparently--and neither did others at the Memphis church.

Does it mean he's not qualified for ministry, as Roys says?  Well, I know that if I had a pastoral applicant who hadn't reported serious crimes to the police, I'd be asking some very serious questions.  

Side note; it's not a totally academic issue, as I have interviewed an applicant a few months back who had a situation where one attendee had accused another of rape.  As far as I could tell, he'd done well--worked with the police, withheld judgment as other evidence came in, etc..  In the case at hand, it was one of the 2-10% of accusations where investigators say "it was false."  The accused is now doing well in the Air Force, I believe.

Had he hedged on whether he'd be reporting this kind of thing, though, my take would have been "I can't take the risk of you refusing to report when it's the credibility of our ministries at stake."

Same basic thing with Loritts.  I don't think that failure to report in one case is a total deal killer forever (along the lines of pastoral adultery or something), but I do think that it's a case where I'd need to hear "this is why I was wrong not to report, and this is what I've put in place so it's not repeated." 

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.