(At right is a preview of the two-video recording: Challenges and Opportunities: Safe Church Policy & Sex Offenders, from a workshop held May 31, 2014. Find the video series here.)
The problem of sexual abuse of children is not someone else's problem. It doesn't just happen in the home, or in some other town. It happens at churches of all denominations and at church-operated camps, schools and day care centers. The Massachusetts Conference is committed to educating and supporting our churches to create policies and procedures so that the risk of being targeted is limited in scope. Providing a safe place for all of our children, youth and the church leaders who supervise them is one of the core values of our mission and ministry.
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) "Guide for Developing High-Quality Emergency Operations Plans for Houses of Worship" (The section beginning on page 23 addresses active shooters.) For more general information about Disaster Resources visit the MACUCC page by clicking here.
Massachusetts state law requires all volunteer organizations that primarily provide activities or programs to children to conduct CORI background checks of the volunteers. The law also requires CORI checks any time there is a potential for someone to have unmonitored contact with a child. The Massachusetts Conference strongly recommends that all churches conduct CORI checks of employees and volunteers who have contact with children, i.e. Sunday school teachers, youth group leaders, choir directors, etc.
Your church can register to do CORI checks online. Read the iCORI Quick Reference Guide for Organizations and then register your church with the Department of Criminal Justice Information Services to properly access iCORI. Each church is allowed two "representatives" who may submit, review and access CORI results. Due to confidentially issues, the "representatives" should have a position of lay leadership and the pastor should NOT be considered for this role.
In Massachusetts, "Mandated Reporters" must immediately make an oral or written report to the state when, in their professional capacity, they have reasonable cause to believe that a child under 18 is suffering from abuse or neglect. Under state law, the following are included in the list of mandated reporters: Clergy members, including ordained or licensed leaders of any church or religious body, persons performing official duties on behalf of a church or religious body, or persons employed by a religious body to supervise, educate, coach, train or counsel a child on a regular basis
To learn more:
“Massachusetts Law About Sex” - http://www.mass.gov/courts/case-legal-res/law-lib/laws-by-subj/about/sex.html
“Massachusetts Law About Sex Offenders” - http://www.lawlib.state.ma.us/subject/about/sexoffenders.html
Sex Offender Registry Law: Mass. Gen. Laws c.6 s.178C-178P:
Mass. Gen. Laws Chapter 119 - Protection And Care Of Children, And Proceedings Against Them
Section 51A - Reporting of suspected abuse or neglect; mandated reporters; collection of physical evidence; penalties; content of reports; liability; privileged communication.
Department Of Criminal Justice Information Services
Sex Offender Registry Board: Registration, Classification And Dissemination
Glossary 110 CMR 2.00 - http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/docs/dcf/regs/110cmr2.pdf
Web Resources: Children and Family - http://michaelrichlaw.com/children_and_family.html