COGIC PB downplays sexual abuse cases

Bishop Charles Blake on yesterday responded to questions from a Memphis reporter about sexual abuse in COGIC and ReportCOGICAbuse.com.  As usual, church officials continue to obstinately deny the obvious.

The Presiding Bishop told the Commercial Appeal the “attention” given the site was out of proportion. He called the 30 odd cases cited on the website “allegations” which didn’t reflect on the “hundreds of thousands” of COGIC clergy.

Bishop Blake erroneously called the information on ReportCOGICAbuse.com “allegations”. The overwhelming majority of the clergy sexual abuse cases cited on website are not allegations, but in fact legally resolved cases with convictions. An allegation is defined as “an assertion unsupported and by implication regarded as unsupportable.”

Blake also said COGIC’s zero tolerance sexual abuse policy has been in place since 1992 and is “enforced” by a sexual misconduct review board.

Equivocation becomes him. One need look no further than Jackson MS and Larry Weems to know that COGIC has no zero tolerance and no enforcement from a “sexual misconduct review board”. If Bishop Blake believed his own words, he would call for the immediate dismissal of Larry Weems, who despite sexually assaulting five women in 2007 is still holds national, jurisdictional and local offices.

“While we are mildly heartened that the bishop is at least commenting publicly, his remarks unfortunately still reflect COGIC’s corporate image posturing which signals an unfriendly climate for victims”, said site founder Pastor DL Foster.

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