VA-Fairfax Community Church Employs Convicted Child Sex Predator
Victims to leaflet church
Sexually violent predator works there
Only some of the church-goers know about him
“Why put kids in harm’s way?” group asks
As congregants leave a service, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will hand out leaflets about a registered child sex offender now working at the church.
TODAY, Saturday, August 1 at 5:45 pm
In front of Fairfax Community Church, 11451 Braddock Road, Fairfax, Virginia 22030
Several members of a support group for clergy sex abuse victims called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
A convicted child molester who is listed as “violent” on the Virginia sex offender registry now works on the staff of a northern Virginia church. A support group is criticizing church officials for “recklessness, callousness and secrecy.”
According to a statement by church officials, Eric Nickle was hired in 2006 and is currently the “care director” at Fairfax Community Church. The church has removed Nickle's profile page from the church website, but it can be found here:
SNAP believes that church officials are being reckless by employing Nickle and telling only some congregants about his past.
Fairfax staff say they’re restricting Nickle’s activities at the church, but SNAP is skeptical.
“It’s dreadfully risky for church staff to claim or try to monitor shrewd sex offenders,” said Amy Smith of SNAP. “The outcome is often more child sex crimes surfacing years later.”
The group also challenges the church’s notion of “forgiveness.”
“We can forgive a drunk driver but shouldn’t give him school bus keys. We can forgive someone who commits violence but shouldn’t give him a gun,” said Becky Ianni of Burke VA. “We can forgive someone who abuses kids but shouldn’t give him any role in a position of trust and authority.”
“Putting a child sex offender in a position of trust and authority endangers innocent kids and hurts abuse victims,” said Smith. “Why take this avoidable risk with the most vulnerable among us?”
Amy Smith 281-748-4050, firstname.lastname@example.org, Becky Ianni703-801-6044, SNAPVirginia@cox.net, David Clohessy of St. Louis 314-566-9790, email@example.com, Barbara Dorris314-503-0003, firstname.lastname@example.org