Reply To: Shelter discrimination blurs separation of church, state

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Susan Walker

1-8-18

It took almost a year for a Catholic man that I am supporting, and who is on the registry in Colorado, to find a Catholic Church that would accept him. In order to try to find a church, he had to work with a woman in Denver who was part of the Archdiocese and worked particularly with abuse issues in the church. A church that would accept him finally did open its doors and he was extremely pleased, although the wait was long.
My church does accept those with a sexual offense. Any restrictions on them come from their sexual offense treatment programs in terms of when they can arrive and where they can sit. The only place they are not allowed to go is the lower level of the church where the childrens’ classes are held. If a registrant needs to take his or her child to a class downstairs, they are quietly accompanied by a member of the church safety committee.
After doing a six week class on sexual offenses and related issues at my church which was attended only those on the registry and a couple of their family members, it became apparent to me that just like the public in general, church attenders/members are usually not informed regarding the truths about sexual recidivism (or the lack thereof). I decided that it would take a series of classes over months and perhaps years to really educate people to the realities of the registry and sexual offending behavior. This church does have a ministry to those affected by human trafficking.
The Denver Rescue Mission does welcome registrants on both probation and parole, as does the CrossRoads Salvation Army Shelter.