Defrocked minister to lead retreat in Georgia
In 1999 he admitted abusing boy at a retreat in Texas
Church fails to warn retreat-goers of his crimes
Starting next Friday, February 10 and continuing until Sunday, Feb 12, a convicted child predator and registered sex offender is scheduled to lead an Episcopal retreat in Georgia and clergy sex abuse victims are urging that it be cancelled.
Lynn C. Bauman is a defrocked Episcopalian priest from Texas. In 1999, he admitted to molesting an eight-year-old boy while on a retreat. Bauman was sentenced to ten years probation, and was made to register as a sex offender.
According to the Dallas Morning News, Bauman is accused of molesting two other boys as well, and prosecutors have said that he is unrepentant. ("Former Episcopalian charged with molestation," by Brooks Egerton, 1/7/99).
Despite these crimes and accusations, the Order of Saint Helena in Augusta is letting Bauman lead their upcoming spiritual retreat. They are doing so without apparently making any mention of the fact that Bauman has been convicted of abusing children, and has committed these crimes while leading retreats such as this one. The event flyer they have put out online has no information about Bauman’s criminal history (available here: http://www.osh.org/_flyers/bauman-flyer-feb-2012.pdf)
Leaders of a Chicago-based support group called SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) are criticizing church officials not only for refusing to warn event-goers of Bauman’s criminal history, but for inviting him to speak in the first place. SNAP is writing to retreat officials about the matter (See below).
“The organizers of this event are being incredibly reckless,” said David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP Executive Director. “It is dangerous to put Bauman in the exact same position and setting that he used to abuse children in the past.”
The Convent of St. Helena is located on 3042 Eagle Dr, Augusta GA 30906. It is in a heavily wooded area near the Bobby Jones Expressway. Their phone number is 706-798-5201. Their fax number is 706-796-0079. They can be reached by email at email@example.com.
The letter, sent today by fax and email, is below.
Dear Sisters of the Order of Saint Helena
We are leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. Our mission is to protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded.
We are writing to you today because of our concerns about your upcoming retreat in which Dr. Lynn Bauman is listed as a leader.
In 1999, Bauman admitted molesting an eight-year-old Texas boy on a retreat, a crime for which he was sentenced to ten years of probation, and was required to register as a sex offender. The Dallas Morning News reported that he’s been accused of sexually abusing at least two other boy, and prosecutors have said they don’t think he feels any remorse.
If asked about these crimes today, Bauman will say that they are “not germane” to the work he is doing today. We disagree.
Bauman found his previous victims while leading retreats such as this one. To allow him into this same position of authority is to invite the chance of another child being abused. As we all know too well abuse can cause lifelong pain not only for the child but also for those that know and love that child. Is having him as a speak at your retreat really worth that risk?
Childhood sex abuse is a terrible thing. Victims are often forced to deal with depression, nightmares, failed relationships, substance abuse and when the pain becomes unbearable some take their own lives. No child should be placed at risk needlessly.
Bauman has been defrocked. Bauman has been convicted. Is this the man you want to represent your faith? Your retreat center?
We beg you to immediately remove Bauman from your retreat. There are many religious officials in the world who are as knowledgeable as Bauman who have never harmed a child or vulnerable adult and are able to lead this retreat. For the safety of children we hope that you will replace him and never again allow him a position of trust.
Some may say that “we believe in forgiveness.” We also believe in forgiveness, but also in prudence. It is simply not prudent to give a predator access to children and vulnerable adults. We hope you will do the prudent thing, remove Bauman from the retreat.
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