A Statement from the [Episcopal] Diocese of Minnesota
Diocese of Minnesota
February 18, 2008
The Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota recently received a letter from the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests ("SNAP") with concerns about two persons who have been associated with the Diocese and the House of Prayer, a related organization. The focus of SNAP's concerns is that the two individuals, who appear to have leadership roles in the Episcopal Diocese, have been previously convicted of child sexual abuse and are registered sexual offenders.
Both offenders were priests at the time they were convicted of abuse: Mr. Lynn Bauman in the Episcopal Church and Mr. Mark Makowski in the Roman Catholic Church. Both were forced out of the priesthood many years ago because of their abuse. Neither is presently a priest, nor do they have any other role in the church giving them priestly or any other ministerial power over others.
One of those individuals, Lynn Bauman, has served periodically as a facilitator of adult retreat workshops at the House of Prayer. His participation was done strictly in a group setting with other adults. Mr. Bauman's service as a facilitator was provided openly and in a forthright manner and within the guidelines established under the diocesan Safe Church Policy identified below. No children are present nor are children's programs conducted at the House of Prayer. The House of Prayer has already issued a statement regarding their use of Lynn Bauman as a workshop facilitator. Click here to read that statement.
The other individual, Mark Makowski, a former Roman Catholic Priest, has served as an alternate regional representative of Episcopal Diocesan Council. He would only have been asked to attend Council Meetings in the absence of the elected representative. As an alternate representative to Diocesan Council, Mark Makowski did not work with children, youth, or vulnerable adults in any capacity. Diocesan Council's role is to oversee the budget and programs for the Diocese. His participation was done strictly in a group setting with other adults. Mark's service as an alternate representative was provided openly and in a forthright manner and within the guidelines established under the diocesan Safe Church Policy described below. Mr. Makowski also attends an Episcopal church in Minneapolis where protocols are in place to monitor Mr. Makowski's activities while present at the church facility.
The Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota takes the issues SNAP raises very seriously and appreciates their bringing awareness of and attention to the issue of sexual abuse in our churches. The Diocese does regret that SNAP did not acknowledge the safeguards, processes, and protocols that are in place to prevent the abuse of children in their making a public statement to the news media.
The Diocese, through its Safe Church Policy, has been a pioneer in requiring background checks for all clergy and lay employees and volunteers who work with children and youth. The policy also requires participation in prevention training on the issues of child sexual abuse.
The Diocesan Safe church Policy is available online at (http://www.episcopalmn.org/article102656.htm). Training in Safe Church practices for children is achieved with the use of two videos for Parents and Congregations and for Ministries, both entitled Safeguarding God's Children. Additional training videos have been prepared in the Episcopal Church's Safeguarding God's People Series to address Sexual Exploitation of Adults and Harassment in the Church Workplace. These programs were developed under the leadership of Ms. Sally Johnson, a renowned victims' rights advocate and national and international resource on the abuse of children and adults by priests. She is a Minnesota Episcopalian. The church under Sally's leadership worked with Praesidium Inc. (http://www.praesidiuminc.com) to develop materials based on Praesidium Religious Service's Protecting from Harm in conjunction with the Nathan Network (http://www.nathannetwork.org
to develop the policies and training videos. Other Minnesota Episcopalians served on the Steering committee with Sally. The policy was based in part on interviews of over 700 sex predators. The policy is intended to prevent such abuse from occurring in Episcopal churches.
Pursuant to Safe Church policies, the parishes in the Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota do everything possible to ensure the safety of everyone, especially children and young adults. Clergy are required to undergo the most extensive screening and background checks available. Candidates for ordained ministry are checked, screened and given psychiatric and psychological exams. Safeguards are in place to ensure that problem clergy cannot transfer to another parish or diocese. Lay staff are required to have background checks and to attend Safe Church training. Volunteers and anyone with a key to the building must complete Safe Church training and consent to a criminal background check. The Episcopal Church and our diocese have formal procedures for anyone who has a complaint against a clergy or lay person. Additional details of the policies and guidelines can be gained from a review of the materials at http://www.episcopalmn.org/article102656.htm.
Special attention is focused on predators who repent and seek forgiveness and reconciliation. If they choose to worship and attend functions of an Episcopal church, they are restricted from areas of the church where children may be present, other than the worship space, and their movements and activities while anywhere in the facility are monitored. The church believes in forgiveness, repentance, redemption and reconciliation. We prioritize the safety of our children and do everything possible to protect them; but we also acknowledge that those who have been convicted and punished and who comply with the terms of their release are members of society who can be involved in the church in ways which will not endanger others.
The Diocesan policies have consistently served as a model to other denominations in drafting their policies. We invite members of SNAP and representatives of the media who are interested in learning the procedures used to safeguard our children to call Renee Carlson, the Diocesan Safe Church Coordinator, at (612) 871-5311 to arrange a training session.
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