There is a female, registered sex offender who wants to attend our Sunday services. We want her to attend, but what guidelines should we have in place to safeguard our children?
When the senior pastor, or any member of the church board, is informed that a registered sex offender is attending the church, there are steps that can be taken to manage risk. These include the following:
- Obtain a record of the sex offender's prior criminal convictions by conducting a national criminal records check. The church must be fully informed regarding the sex offender's criminal background.
- If the sex offender is on probation, identify his or her probation officer and ascertain the conditions that have been imposed. In some cases, sex offenders are not even allowed to attend church. If the probation officer says that the offender is free to attend church, ask the officer if he or she would recommend that the offender be allowed to attend church, and if so, under what conditions. Obtain this information in writing, or, if that is not possible, make a detailed written account of the officer's response.