This may be a matter that is of narrow concern, but I would like to seek the wisdom of our readers on this nonetheless. I’ve had professional reasons in recent years to make a bit of informal study of how various churches, dioceses and parishes have handled the difficult task of informing members about instances of clerical sexual abuse. There don’t seem to be any agreed upon best practices, and it seems that there should be.
I am aware of instances in which church leaders have made a full disclosure of the nature and scope of the abuse (withholding certain details so as not to become too clinical, but conveying just how serious was the nature of the abuse), apologized to the community for this breech of trust, asked other victims to come forward, and promised to keep the community apprised of future developments.
I am also aware of church leaders who have not informed their church communities of the abuse and simply let them learn about it through the mainstream media.
And, finally, I am aware of church leaders who do their damnedest to suppress as much information as possible.
Assuming that a parish, a diocese, or the folks at church center are in possession of corroborated reports of sexual abuse by a member of the clergy or a bishop, how fully and through what channels should they release this information?
I would especially like to hear from members of Episcopal Communicators on this issue, and we can be more liberal than we usually are in granting our commentors’ anonymity if that makes it easier for them to tell their stories.