You may think this is a odd issue to have to address. The truth is, this is one of the most critical decisions a church will make. If you have an incident of sexual abuse in the church, the decision whether to allow the abuser to resign or to terminate the employment or volunteer status most often reveals who or what you value the most.
In the vast majority of the cases, when a church allows a person to resign because of a violation of their child protection policy or because of abuse outside of the church setting, the action is designed to protect the reputation of the abuser. But buried in that action is often an attempt to hide the abuse in order to protect the reputation of the church.
"Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. . . . silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented."
-Elie Weisel, Holocaust Survivor
By contrast, the decision to not allow an abuser to resign, but instead to terminate their employment or volunteer status sends a clear message that the sexual abuse of children will not be tolerated. By taking this action, you show your congregation and the community that you have a zero tolerance stance as it relates to harming a child.
"Silence in the face of evil is itself evil. God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act."
But even beyond all this, and perhaps the most important reason termination is always the best option is because of the message it sends to the victim. When an abuser is allowed to resign, the victim hears the message loud and clear: The abuser is more important than the victim. The result is the actual re-victimization of the child. The difference, though, is that the victimization this time comes from the church.
READ THIS LETTER from a missionary to pastors who experienced this re-victimization when her home church showed more concern and compassion toward the abuser than her own daughter who was abused by a church member.