The Georgia Baptist Mission Board is honored to support State Representative Jason Spencer and his work on HB 605, the 2018 Hidden Predator Act. Georgia Baptists were the only major denomination to support the 2015 version of this legislation and we are blessed to help Representative Spencer again. Georgia Baptists have always supported this kind of legislation and we always will. We are for individuals and entities being held accountable for their actions on child protection. As a denomination we have spent tens of thousands of dollars educating and training our churches about this problem. We are for “no tolerance” on this issue!
We believe that the 2018 Hidden Predator Act represents an important step in ensuring that those engaged in or allowing the abuse of children are held accountable for their misconduct, as well as discouraging and deterring those offenses against humanity in the first instance. Therefore, we appreciate Rep. Spencer and his hard work to perfect the bill this year. We want what is best for the victims as they seek a just legal remedy for all the terrible pain and suffering they have endured.
The Georgia Baptist Mission Board supports the 2018 Hidden Predator Act because it:
- Shines a light on the truth about childhood sexual abuse – that victims, due to the devastating effects of childhood sexual abuse and the physical, emotional, and life-long pain it brings, are unable to come forward with their stories and expose the predators and their enablers until much later in life.
- Shines a light on the truth of the evil that is allowed to fester in our communities when an entity with a responsibility for the well-being of our children is aware of reports of misconduct and conceals that evidence.
- Provides hope to the victims of childhood sexual abuse by allowing civil actions against sexual predators and entities that shield them from public exposure and investigation.
- Balances the interests of all involved through a rigorous burden of proof on the victim that is second to no other statute in Georgia and requires more evidence than similar statutes across the country.
Scripture steadfastly reminds us of what Jesus said about the importance of protecting our children and warning those who would do anything to harm them:
“But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” (Mathew 18:6; cf. Mark 9:42; Luke 17:2)
Those who protect and hide predators cause the children, who God has given to us, to stumble just as much as the predators themselves. We owe it to God and the children of Georgia to hold predators and the entities that hide them accountable while at the same time providing stronger laws to protect our most precious resource. The Georgia Baptist Mission Board strongly supports protecting our children and encourages the Georgia Legislature to enact into law legislation like the 2018 Hidden Predator Act.
Please contact your State Senator today and ask them to support and work with Representative Spencer in passing this important legislation.