Menlo Church’s Pastor’s Son, John Ortberg III, was allowed by his father John Ortberg to work with minors despite Ortberg’s knowledge of his son’s attraction to children as stated by www.heavy.com. Ortberg III’s “compulsive sexual feelings towards children” were exposed by Daniel Lavery, Ortberg’s estranged son.
Menlo Church conducted an initial investigation keeping the volunteer in question private. Following, the Board released a statement saying they did not find any indication of misconduct by the volunteer, later named as Ortberg III.
The Pastor was aware of these accusations as early as 2018 when a volunteer came forward. However, Ortberg failed to ensure the safety of minors at Menlo Church as he did not take the required steps to prevent this person from volunteering with minors in the future. Ortberg later issued an apology for mishandling the situation by not considering the concerns of the congregation, and not ensuring the safety and security of all church members.
Attorney contributor Bobby Thompson, an experienced sexual abuse lawyer in California, represents victims of sexual abuse and their families in civil lawsuits. In a recent interview, Mr. Thompson shared his insights on sexual abuse in a church.
Bobby stated: “often sexual predators exploit their victims by placing themselves in positions of trust to commit crimes. This is demonstrated in religious organizations as we’ve seen a variety of leaders across religions charged with the sexual abuse of congregation members, often highlighting children.”
When asked if religious organizations hold a responsibility to their congregation members to uphold their safety, Bobby said the following: “Religious organizations must do their best to uphold their congregation's safety and prevent sexual abuse. In some sexual abuse cases within a church, abuse happens as a result of negligence by the religious organization. For example, when previous complaints of sexual misconduct involving clergy members or workers are ignored. In such cases of negligence, the victim of sexual abuse in the church may have grounds for a lawsuit.”