Horror Show Sunday: The Continuing Saga of Sex Abuse

Hall RapistThis is, as always, a sad commentary on religion in America, where priests and ministers are found to be diddling children time and time again and even though there is a vague outrage from some in the religious community, it’s never enough to actually change the system, nor does it last long enough to cause lasting effects.  It’s like everything else in American life, something bad happens, people are upset, then American Idol comes on and they forget all about it.

This time around, 62-year-old Joseph Robert Hall of Gastonia, North Carolina, has been convicted of multiple counts of statutory rape of a child, all while serving in the ministry at Restoring Hope Foursquare Church in Dallas, NC.  He was charged with first degree rape of a child, first degree sexual offense of a child, second degree rape, second degree sexual offense, four counts of indecent liberties with a child, three counts of statutory rape, and three counts of statutory sexual offense.  Although he committed the offenses in the mid 1990s, it was not reported to authorities until 2014.

Hall pled guilty and was sentenced to 12-15 years in prison and must register as a sex offender for at least 30 years.  Assistant District Attorney Chris Thomas said, “I’ll tell you that it’s been a difficult thing for her. It’s something that she’s had to bear for quite some time. I’d just like to note that Mr. Hall’s position in the church was a position of trust and he abused that. It’s going to leave scars beyond Hall’s prison sentence.”  The victim just wants to get on with her life and wishes to never have anything to do with Hall or anyone representing him again.  I wish her well, she’s earned her freedom from this predator.

Yet that’s always how it is, a minister takes their position of trust and then violates that trust.  How can parents, any parents, anywhere in the world, actually trust ministers, given the number of times they have had their confidence abused?  For some reason that I simply do not understand, theists are only too willing to forgive and forget those that claim to represent their gods, yet we see example after example that they simply do not deserve that trust and they absolutely do not deserve that forgiveness.  Maybe it’s part and parcel with the Christian tradition, that you only have to ask for forgiveness and you ought to get it.  It’s always easier to beg forgiveness than ask permission, right?

So adios, Pastor Hall, have fun in prison.  You’ve earned your place on Horror Show Sunday.


2 thoughts on “Horror Show Sunday: The Continuing Saga of Sex Abuse”

  1. Based on the numbers, clergy abuse is still relatively rare. I'm sure many Christians focus on this and assume that it could never happen to their families. But like you point out, the pattern of brief outrage followed by forgetting and refusal to deal with the problem is something else entirely. From the sound of it, the real tragedy in this case (besides the obvious one) was that it took someone decades to report it. I can't help wondering how many more were victimized in that time frame.

    My recent post Stop Christian Radio Station From Using Public School Children to Proselytize

    1. We really don't know how rare it is, we only know about the cases where they've been caught, we know the Catholic Church actively hides these priests so there may be hundreds and thousands of cases we don't even know about yet. Also, as you point out, many of these abusers have more and more and more charges brought, even after they've been convicted and are serving their sentences, that doesn't mean that everyone they've abused comes forward, the church actively discourages such things. I'd say that the number of convicted pedophile priests out there represents the mere tip of the iceberg.

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