Frequently Asked Questions
We are civil trial attorneys with more than 60 years combined experience addressing child sexual abuse issues. We both serve in ministry leadership, having volunteered for more than 28 years in Student Ministry at our home church.
An independent filmmaker – intrigued by our work – created a two-episode biopic about the two of us and the work of MinistrySafe, released in November of 2021. The biopic was created completely independent of us: we had no financial participation or control over content or scripting. See In Plain Sight.
Love & Norris: the Law Firm
One element of our work is our law practice. We lead a nationwide litigation practice representing victims of child sexual abuse throughout the United States.
In addition, we provide resources and consultation to ministry and secular organizations such as churches, non-profits (adoption and foster care), private schools, camps, churches and para-church ministries, in the design and implementation of child safety systems. Representative consultation clients include the United States Olympic Committee, Awana International, Church of the Nazarene Global Ministries and Philadelphia Insurance Companies.
MinistrySafe/Abuse Prevention Systems
In addition to an active law practice, we are co-founders and directors of MinistrySafe and Abuse Prevention Systems, entities dedicated to sexual abuse awareness and prevention. MinistrySafe and Abuse Prevention Systems (APS) provide comprehensive training, screening, background checks and policy forms supporting safety systems that reduce the risk of child sexual abuse. MinistrySafe and APS provide these resources in a ‘self-help’ context: no legal counsel occurs through MinistrySafe or APS.
MinistrySafe provides curriculum and training resources to seminaries across the country, including Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS), New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (NOBTS), Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS), Midwestern Theological Seminary (MBTS), Gateway Seminary, Rockbridge Seminary, Reformed Theological Seminary (RTS), Denver Seminary, Liberty School of Divinity, Phoenix Seminary and Bob Jones Seminary. We are Visiting Faculty at Dallas Theological Seminary, where we teach the only 3-hour graduate level course currently in existence limited to child sexual abuse risk: Preventing Sexual Abuse in Ministry Contexts.
CBN Interview of Dr. Mark Bailey, DTS Chancellor
DTS Magazine - DTS Students Equipped to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse through MinistrySafe - 2016
Religion News Service - Dallas Seminary requires sex abuse awareness training - 2016
Dallas News - Dallas Seminary first in U.S. to make child sex abuse course a must for would-be clergy - 2016
Christian Post - Texas Seminary First in Nation to Require Students to Complete Sexual Abuse Awareness Training - 2016
Charisma News - Why These Seminary Students are Learning About Sexual Abuse - 2016
KERA News - Training Pastors to Deal with Child Sexual Abuse - 2016
MinistrySafe is endorsed by Philadelphia Insurance Companies, GuideOne Insurance, Church Mutual Insurance, the Christian Camp and Conference Association and others. MinistrySafe’s Sexual Abuse Awareness Training is approved by the Texas Department of State Health Services and the Departments of Insurance for Texas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Washington. MinistrySafe’s Sexual Abuse Awareness Training is an approved CEU for the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI).
Both of us speak frequently at national and regional conferences for organizations such as the The Church Network, National Council for Adoption (NCFA), Christian Camp and Conference Association (CCCA), American Camp Association (ACA), Presbyterian General Assembly (PCA), Youth Ministry Institute (YMI), Society for Classical Learning (SCL), USA Track & Field, US Youth Soccer, Young Life and Hawaiian Islands Ministries.
In the course of our law practice, we’ve represented over 200 victims of child sexual abuse in civil litigation. Through MinistrySafe, we’ve trained over 2.9 million ministry staff members and volunteers, and currently teach the only seminary class in existence specifically addressing child sexual abuse risk in ministry contexts.
The primary statement advanced by critics is that MinistrySafe (and its principals) are Organization-Centric (motivated by protecting the ministry) or Abuser-Centric (motivated by protecting the perpetrator). Either statement is patently false.
Our work is, and has always been, Victim-Centric in its orientation and application.
This orientation is expressed in published materials dating as early as 2008, published by Christianity Today, and subsequently expressed in Church Executive Magazine, Baptist Press, LifeWay’s Deacon Magazine, SBC Voices, XPastor, Arkansas Baptist News, The Christian Index, and others.
Published writings specifically advocating for a victim-centered perspective include:
Reporting v. Reputation – The Danger of Prioritizing Reputation (2022)
Reporting Abuse – The Church’s Blindspot (Church Executive 2020)
Responding to an Allegation – How to Navigate a Sexual Abuse Crisis (Church Executive 2020)
Shifting the Injustice – An Unfortunate ‘NO’ Vote to S.534 (2018)
How Your Ministry Can Help Prevent Child Abuse Through a Safety System (ERLC 2018)
Sexual Abuse in the Church – Is it Ever Too Late to Call the Police? (LifeWay 2018)
What Your Church Should Know About Child Sexual Abuse (Faith Talk 970 - Atlanta 2017)
Lessons from the Ditch – What to DO and NOT DO in Response to an Abuse Allegation (2015)
Christianity Today – Sexual Abuse Issues in the Church; Raising the Bar (2008)
This victim-centric approach informs the curriculum of MinistrySafe Institute (MSI), currently utilized by Dallas Theological Seminary, Liberty School of Divinity, Dallas Baptist University, and others. Specific subject matters within MSI curriculum include responding appropriately to an allegation of sexual abuse and creating a model of care for abuse survivors. The original iteration of this content was filmed in 2016.
Preview MinistrySafe Institute.
Request full access to MinistrySafe Institute: Questions@MinistrySafe.com.
A recent LiveStream Training was delivered to an audience of child-serving staff members highlighting the perils of prioritizing an organization’s image or brand over an abuse survivor or allegation: Responding Well: Reputation vs. Reporting
Child sexual abuse is a multi-faceted issue that requires a variety of professional backgrounds, educational degrees, licensure and experience, including forensic investigators, criminal prosecutors, trained counseling professionals, professional risk managers, standard of care experts and others.
We are standard of care experts working to equip child-serving ministries to PREVENT and REPORT child sexual abuse. Our legal work with victims is characterized by compassion and sensitivity, but neither of us is a licensed professional counselor equipped to provide ongoing counseling care or therapeutic milieu.
Together, we have 60+ years of civil trial experience litigating child sexual abuse cases. From the beginning, we’ve litigated child sexual abuse cases on behalf of victims. We have never represented a defendant in litigation alleging sexual abuse. We use this same skill set and standard of care expertise to create preventative resources offered through MinistrySafe.
Notwithstanding Twitter soundbites to the contrary, we have never represented a defendant – directly or indirectly – in litigation brought by a sexual abuse victim. Similarly, we have never represented a sexual abuser in any context.
We have never served as insurance defense or insurance-appointed counsel in a sexual abuse lawsuit. Notwithstanding periodic requests, neither of us has ever served as a testifying or consulting expert on behalf of an organization sued for child sexual abuse.
We have never represented a defendant in a lawsuit brought by a sexual abuse victim.
The legal advice and guidance provided by our firm is victim-centered and painstakingly consistent with relevant local, state and federal law. We decline to provide counsel to any organization seeking to avoid reporting requirements or engage in ‘cover up’ in any form.
Some critics allege that MinistrySafe isn't victim-centered because we won’t sue churches or Christian ministries on behalf of victims. We freely acknowledge that litigation is a great motivator, it’s simply not OUR work in this realm, although we regularly refer individuals to competent legal counsel. Instead, our role is to equip ministries with effective preventative measures.
In our litigation practice, we have represented over 200 victims of child sexual abuse in litigation against religious cults. See Statements from sexual abuse survivors describing their experience with MinistrySafe or Love & Norris.
Interested in facts or clarification? Contact us at Questions@MinistrySafe.com or 817-732-7100.
Negative opinions about child sexual abuse are frequently expressed without precision, in part because many abuse survivors are angry at how a church or ministry has responded. In many contexts, the anger and frustration are warranted: the Church tends to be left behind current standards of care related to sexual abuse prevention, reporting, and response.
Failure to Prevent Abuse
When a child is sexually abused in a ministry setting by a staff member or volunteer, the ministry has failed to provide a safe environment for the victimized child. If the ministry failed to adequately train, screen or supervise the abuser, the ministry is at fault, both legally and morally.
Failure to Respond Well
When a child (or adult) communicates an allegation of sexual abuse to ministry leaders and isn’t believed and supported – whether the allegation relates to behavior inside or outside the ministry – from the child’s ‘core world’ – the ministry has failed.
This commonly includes failure to report to relevant law enforcement or child protection agencies. In some cases, ministries have failed to take steps to remove the abuser, or notify the abuser’s subsequent ministry employer. In these types of failures, ministry leaders have acted to prioritize the abuser or the organization, rather than the interests and well-being of the victim, OR the interests of other children who may be victimized by the same abuser in the future.
Every ministry must proactively prevent sexual abuse and properly respond to allegations or suspicions of abuse. In many cases, both failures may be avoided if the underlying abuse is prevented at the outset.
Services Provided by MinistrySafe
The primary mission of MinistrySafe is child sexual abuse prevention. MinistrySafe provides comprehensive training, screening forms, policies, and an online system of prevention.
Learn more about MinistrySafe.
MinistrySafe provides training and resources related to abuse reporting and allegation response, but does NOT provide legal counsel. When a legal consult is requested, the individual or entity is directed to the law firm. All training and resources related to abuse reporting and allegation response are specifically and intentionally victim-centered, an approach dating back to the inception of MinistrySafe.
Access MinistrySafe’s video tutorial: Sexual Abuse Reporting.
Given that MinistrySafe has worked with faith-based and secular organizations for decades, it’s valuable to ask: what do ministry leaders think?
Access Ministry Leader Feedback.
In the past, we’ve sought direct communication with many of those posting negative content about us, our life’s work and our training content. Others have attempted the same. Without exception, those who have posted negative content have refused direct communication in any form.
We are not personally active on social media, but are open to constructive communication, including criticism, from anyone who wishes to share his or her perspective concerning what best advances prevention of child sexual abuse and proper response to abuse allegations. To that end, we offer again: please reach out to us directly – LET’S TALK. We suspect there may be common ground.
For those not willing to speak directly; why?
We can be reached here (at the law firm):
The founders of MinistrySafe answer common questions
about the founding and mission of MinistrySafe.