First, we’re here to express our sympathy for the family of Rev. Creflo Dollar. No matter what happened last week or happens in the weeks ahead, it’s clearly been – and will likely still be – tense and perhaps even traumatic. We hope that each of them is getting help from independent and experienced professionals.
Second, we want to praise Rev. Dollar’s teenage daughter. It takes courage and strength to call 911, especially if you’re a frightened 15 year old and the man who you’re reporting is a popular and powerful pastor who happens to be your dad. If more people – both adults and teenagers – were brave enough to call police when they see, suspect or suffer wrongdoing, our society would be safer for everyone.
Third, we stress that, in the eyes of the criminal justice system, Rev. Creflo Dollar is innocent until proven guilty. We don’t deprive a person of his or her liberty without due process.
At the same time, however, we believe it’s irresponsible to act carelessly or callously while the criminal process is going on when serious, credible charges have been leveled by an alleged victim who’s been deemed believable by the police and prosecutor.
When a bus driver has been credibly accused of being drunk behind the wheel, we don’t give him back the bus keys.
When a police officer has been credibly accused of misusing her weapon, we don’t give her the gun back.
While criminal matters are pending, we stake common sense safety precautions, particularly when kids are involved.
And that’s what we advocate here: prudence by those who belong to Rev. Dollar’s church and those who believe he’s innocent. It’s indeed better to be safe than sorry.
Parents should err on the side of caution and keep their kids away from Rev. Dollar for now. Erring on the side of child safety is always the best course of action.
It is especially important that those who believe that Rev. Dollar is innocent do not take out their frustrations or disbelief out on the alleged victim or inadvertently make reporting and recovery tougher for other potential victims.. Those who have been victimized, whether physically or sexually, often have a very difficult time coming forward, so any sort of public denouncement of Rev. Dollar’s daughter will only serve to intimidate other victims or witnesses.
Anyone wanting to learn more about how to best support their pastor while at the same time being sensitive to victims should visit this page: http://www.snapnetwork.org/what_to_do_when_your_priest_is_accused_of_abuse.