Tanking Catholic Finances • Statute of Limitations • Church vs. Strippers: News Roundup
This week’s headlines that affect churches and church leaders.
Tanking Catholic Finances • Statute of Limitations • Church vs. Strippers: News Roundup
  1. Catholic Church’s Faltering Finances Due to Abuse, Falling Numbers. “When Pope Francis makes his first visit to the United States this month he will face a national Catholic Church whose finances are staggering under a shrinking membership and huge payouts to sex-abuse victims, threatening to undermine its social influence. … The US Catholic Church has lost millions of its members over the past 14 years following the child abuse scandal that tarnished its reputation and forced it to sell assets to pay billions of dollars in settlements” (“Pope Francis will find the U.S. Catholic Church bleeding money,” Religion News Service).

    Download the Church Board Guide to a Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Policy to ensure you’re keeping children in your ministry safe.
  2. Efforts to Extend Statute of Limitations Opposed by Catholic Church. “The [Catholic] Church is using its legal and political clout to oppose bills that would extend the statute of limitations for victims of child sex abuse. A statute of limitations forbids prosecutors or plaintiffs from taking legal action after a certain number of years. … US statutes of limitations for criminal and civil cases vary widely from state to state, making for a patchwork system determining victims’ rights to seek redress in the courts. Six US states, including Connecticut and Delaware, have extended their statutes of limitation for child sex abuse” (“Sex abuse victims to Pope Francis: The church has been an obstacle to justice,” Religion News Service).

    Learn the mandatory reporting laws for your staff in your state with 2015 Child Abuse Reporting Law for Churches.
  3. Church Employees Team Up to Embezzle Funds. “Three former employees of Grace Chapel Church have been charged with embezzling more than $335,000 combined from the Sanford, North Carolina, church over the past nine years, authorities said Friday. Sherri Kelly Reynolds, 51, of Sanford, Bradley William Simon, 54, of Clover, South Carolina, and Elizabeth Yandle Perrell, 49, of Sanford, were each charged with embezzlement by local or charitable officer or employee. … Reynolds previously worked as the finance manager for Grace Chapel Church, while Simon was an assistant to the chief financial officer and Perrell was a secretary at the church” (“Three charged with embezzling from Sanford church,” WRAL.com).

    Prepare your ministry with sound internal controls, explained clearly in Church Finance.
  4. Protest Wars: Church Versus Strippers. “New Beginnings Ministries in Coshocton County has filed suit against a strip club owner and the strippers—male and female—who have been protesting topless outside the Warsaw church since 2010. The lawsuit, filed last Friday, says the protesters have been threatening church members, blocking church entrances and exits, and violating the First Amendment right to religious freedom and the federal Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, which also applies to churches. … It’s the latest salvo in a nine-year battle that began when church members protested at [the strip club] on weekends, posting customers’ license-plate numbers online and urging them to repent. ‘I haven’t threatened anyone,’ [the strip club owner] said on Thursday when he learned about the lawsuit from a Dispatch reporter. [The pastor] ‘just don’t like a dose of his own medicine’” (“Church seeks legal injunction against protesting strippers,” The Columbus Dispatch).

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Due to the nature of the U.S. legal system, laws and regulations constantly change. The editors encourage readers to carefully search the site for all content related to the topic of interest and consult qualified local counsel to verify the status of specific statutes, laws, regulations, and precedential court holdings.

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