Horror Show Sunday: Punishing the Victims

Kessler Lichtenegger

It’s bad enough that sexual abuse is so rampant in religious organizations, but when they try to blame the victims of said abuse as a means of getting back at them for daring to complain, that’s when we need to really question these religious houses of ill repute.

Kessler Lichtenegger, a former volunteer at Westside Family Church in Lenexa, Kansas, plead guilty to attempted rape and electronic solicitation of sex from minors.  But when the girls, who were 14 at the time of the assault, and their families tried to file a lawsuit against the church in question, the church tried to publicly shame the girls and their families by requiring that they be publicly identified before the lawsuit could continue.

The church filed a petition that read: “While the Defendant admits the sensitivity of the allegations, Plaintiffs tactically decided to ‘draw first blood’ on the issue publicly, in time, that may ultimately be seen in hindsight to be a bad decision. However, they should not be able to hide behind pseudonyms after systematically and intentionally initiating a campaign specifically designed to damage Defendant’s reputation.”

Well I hate to break it to you, but minors are never identified in the courts in sexual abuse cases.  Their anonymity is important to maintain.  In fact, David Clohessy, director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, finds it absurd.  “This has happened in a relatively small number of cases involving adults, but I’ve never seen a defendant try to ‘out’ kids who are still kids in a child sex case.”  To demand this will just stop other kids from coming forward after being molested.  “It is a shameful move by officials who profess to be ‘Christians.’”

No, it’s shameful for anyone, Christian or not.  It’s a complete dick move, but one I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised by.  But we’re talking about a church not only should have known better,  but admits they didn’t do their due diligence with Lichtenegger, who is now serving 17 years for his crime.  He volunteered to work at the church, who apparently missed the fact that he plead guilty in 2012 to sexual assault on a developmentally disabled girl and another sexual felony.  How do you miss that and then put someone like that in charge of kids?

Oh yeah, it’s a church.  Of course they missed it.  How else would they stay up front and center on Horror Show Sunday?

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