Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Philip Gunn and child sex abuse: Do as I say, not as I do

In 2009 and 2010, Rep. Philip Gunn (R-Clinton) authored legislation he called the "Mississippi Child Protection Act."  In it, he would require members of the clergy to report suspected child sex abuse.  Here's what the legislation would require:

A mandatory reporter shall report every instance of alleged or suspected sexual abuse. The mandatory reporter may not use his or her discretion in deciding what cases should or should not be reported to the appropriate law enforcement or relevant state agency.

In his bills, a "duly ordained deacon" is a member of the clergy, and members of the clergy are mandatory reporters. Also, failure to report alleged or suspected sexual abuse within 48 hours of learning of it would be a crime.

As we are all well aware, Rep. Gunn is an "elder" at Morrison Heights Baptist Church in Clinton. In early 2011, Rep. Gunn heard John Langworthy confess to multiple acts of sex abuse against young boys in Mississippi and Texas. Not only did Rep. Gunn fail to report the admitted sexual abuse, he instructed the other elders not to cooperate with prosecutors investigating the crimes. And not only did Rep. Gunn refuse to ask the admitted pedophile to resign as a minister of the church, he approached the people who did the right thing in this mess, and, in their mind at least, attempted to quiet them.

By the way, just so we're all clear, it's not as if current law prevents Gunn from reporting what he learned about John Langworthy.  It just doesn't make it a crime not to.

Interestingly enough, Gunn did not author a "Mississippi Child Protection Act" in 2011.

1 comment:

Kingfish said...

What happened to those bills?