The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


What must we learn?

We trusted the system. That may be the most telling statement I heard during interviews about the troubling case of Gerald Thomas (page 48). Thomas sexually abused 14 boys in Marshall, Texas, where he was pastor of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church. He will spend the rest of his life in jail.

The boys and their families successfully brought suit against several ELCA entities and officials, a suit resulting in what might be the largest monetary award ever in a clergy sexual abuse case outside the Roman Catholic Church. The families said the church should have known Thomas was a sexual predator because various officials knew he'd given alcohol to boys and allowed them access to homosexual pornographic videos during his internship. The jury agreed.

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February issue


Embracing diversity