Today, a New York Times article addressed a child sexual abuse allegation at The Village Church in Flower Mound, Texas and referenced an interview with Kimberlee Norris, co-founder of MinistrySafe.
The article made several statements we believe are not factual, and did not accurately represent the work of MinistrySafe.
In this specific circumstance, we were retained by The Village Church in 2015 to provide an Assessment/Implementation, wherein we assessed existing preventative protocols, made recommendations concerning areas where improvement might occur, trained ministry staff members and volunteers and helped the ministry implement our recommendations.
The allegation which is the subject of the article arose during the Assessment/Implementation process, and was immediately reported to appropriate child protection and law enforcement agencies. We have an ongoing relationship with The Village Church concerning preventative measures, but do not represent the church in this legal proceeding. We believe The Village Church has appropriate preventative protocols in place to protect children and students from child sexual abuse.
Due to the statements in this article, we feel it is necessary to clarify our mission, passion and work.
Who we are: We are attorneys– litigators– who have practiced in the realm of child sexual abuse issues for more than 26 years. Kimberlee Norris filed our first child sexual abuse case on behalf of a series of victims in 1991. We’ve been representing victims in civil litigation since that time. To be clear, a MinistrySafe attorney has never represented a defendant in a child sexual abuse case. Ever.
What we do: In our law firm, we litigate in a very specific context. That context is this: A child has been sexually abused while his or her parents were involved in a cult, and the abuser was in a position of spiritual authority over that child and family.
In our practice, we’ve provided legal advice and representation to hundreds of abuse survivors. In each case and circumstance, we have interacted with abuse survivors with care, compassion and support. Many abuse survivors we have represented have stayed in communication with us for years and even decades.
MinistrySafe has equipped Christian ministries to prevent child sexual abuse for more than two decades.
Why we do what we do: We are Christ-followers, and saw a great need: The church was being left behind, poorly addressing this known risk, and commonly responding poorly to abuse allegations when these crises arose. Currently, our trainings are viewed by more than 30,000 ministry staff members and volunteers each month. We trained our ONE MILLIONth ministry staff member in April, 2019.
Our approach is, and has always been, “victim-centric.” We’ve written repeatedly about the importance of taking a victim-centric approach when an allegation comes to light. An article and blog entry written in 2015 specifically addressed our position concerning the need for a victim-centric approach to prevention and allegation response.
Through MinistrySafe’s online trainings and tools, live trainings and seminars, we are equipping more ministries with better information and resources than any other existing source.
Any individual who has actually participated in our trainings, or has actually received legal counsel, will agree that our work, training and counsel promote greater transparency in a ministry’s response to abuse.
For additional information about MinistrySafe, or access to our trainings and writings indicative of the philosophy stated above, contact us online.