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September 7th, 2009
09:11 AM ET

Registered sex offender to be ordained as a minister

A Louisville, Kentucky church is planning to ordain a registered sex offender as a minister. Mark Hourigan was charged back in 1998 with sodomizing, sexually abusing and intimidating an 11-year-old boy. He pleaded guilty to a lesser charge, served time in prison and agreed not to serve as a leader in any church where he would have contact with children. The head pastor of City of Refuge Worship Center admits it's the first time he's heard of a church in the United States ordaining someone who is registered for life as a sex offender, but he says the man in question has changed and deserves forgiveness. Some worry Hourigan could be a threat to the children who gather at the church for weekly Sunday school. But the church says Hourigan will not have any contact with children.

We want to know your thoughts.
Do you think this church is right to forgive and accept Hourigan or do you think they are taking too big a risk?

soundoff (248 Responses)
  1. Matt Washinton

    Why do we even have a prison system if not for rehabilitation? We should have some more faith in people.

    September 7, 2009 at 9:25 am |
  2. Mike Armstrong TX.

    This is just more evedence of our churches loosing there religous morals to forgive is one thing but to ordane is another this church has a crack head for a minister.

    September 7, 2009 at 9:25 am |
  3. bett gray-brocksmith

    I believe that the cure rate is about 2 %!!! so in my opinion he does not need to be in this position within the church and within the reach of children. why doesn't this preacher just hand him a child to play with and ruin thier life...he may as well, this WILL be the end result.

    September 7, 2009 at 9:26 am |
  4. College Senior

    I think what that church is doing is courageous and shows the true light of Christianity through forgiveness. Look at the first ministers of the church. Saul (Paul) is a perfect example of an awful human being converted by Christ's love into one of the church's greatest leaders.

    September 7, 2009 at 9:27 am |
  5. William

    God Forgives.

    September 7, 2009 at 9:27 am |
  6. Pat the Lifeteller

    I was an offender, not a sex offender but an offender never the less. I think he should be given a chance. to prove to himself that God is greater than his demons. I wish him well. if it wasnt for rehab. or people wanting to give me another chance I wouldnt be who I am today. I was a drug addict for 31 yrs. Im sober today because some one reached to me, if he messes up throw the book at him. But we as a society shouldnt just give up on him, for fear he will give up on himself

    September 7, 2009 at 9:28 am |
  7. Steve

    I think that everyone deserves a second chance so if his future parishioners know, understand, and accept his past, then it should be their decision as a community. Furthermore, you suggested in the report that he will sign an agreement that he will preach to adults rather than children so it seems this should be a local issue.

    I do, however, take exception to your reporting in one respect. Heidi said that he would preach to gay and lesbian parishioners – what does this have to do with anything? Does it add anything to the story?

    September 7, 2009 at 9:28 am |
  8. Ben

    I'm all for being forgiving, but NOT when it comes to jeopardizing the welfare of children. Children are the most vulnerable, most impressionable, most easily abused human beings. Anyone who takes advantage of a child's innocence and inability to protect him/herself does not merit the respect due to a minister. A minister's role is to guide others- fundamentally, any person with the demon of child molestation in their closet, has already set a precedent for failure to respect the autonomy and dignity of other human beings. It would be a great act of hypocrisy to ordain such a minister in the name of "forgiveness".

    September 7, 2009 at 9:28 am |
  9. JC


    I have one question – what else are these registered sex offenders (RSO) supposed to do?

    Neighborhoods are alerted when a RSO moves into town.

    RSOs are labeled are pedophiles & are looked upon as having no use for society.

    Modern medicine can't cure their illness, and yes, I believe this type of sexual deviance is an illness.

    Christianity typically embraces those willing to admit their sins. If this guy wants to be a part of the church & possibly repent for the rest of his life (privately with God/publicly at the altar) for his misdeeds, LET HIM.



    September 7, 2009 at 9:29 am |
  10. Cindy Sizemore

    They are taking a HUGE risk! In my opinion sex offenders cannot be rehabilitated. Parents in that church should vote with their feet and leave a church that puts their children at risk.

    September 7, 2009 at 9:29 am |
  11. Peggy G

    Don't let that man tell you he is cured! There is no such thing as cured with a sex offender, it is a mental state that is never over come. I know, my only son is a sex offender and it as put a burnden on me and my whole family. This man can find other work but not in a church! Peggy

    September 7, 2009 at 9:30 am |
  12. Dr. Dudley Black

    Heiddi, I am a psychologist who treats adult sex offenders. The accepted reality at the present time is that they cannot be cured, ie... there is in fact an accepted 'no cure" treatment model at the present time. Studies in Toronto conducted bt Dr. Carl Hanson show that recidivism rates are extremely high regardless of treatment, probation etc.. in fact up to 94% reoffend after 15 years. While sex offenders can be managed, because they cannot be cured they should NEVER be allowed to hold a job with authority/position of trust over others, period!
    Dr. Black, Ph.D

    September 7, 2009 at 9:30 am |
  13. jgroove

    It would be very hard to trust him around kids.

    September 7, 2009 at 9:31 am |
  14. Mark S. Fieger

    While forgiveness is offered to all, legal issues abound. If a sex offender would ever be ordained in our denomination (United Methodist), the church would need to be notified that their new pastor was once arrested. (Background and criminal checks are required of all those who work with children).

    September 7, 2009 at 9:31 am |
  15. Paul

    Heidi ... being a gay man, and living a rather conventional life, I've had the opportunity over the years to meet others that live on the fringes of society or don't feel as if they belong anywhere. I think a church who's focus is on the well being of gay and transgendered folks is a perfect place for this gentleman to take the pulpit. I suspect he has lived a shared existance with many of his congregation and it can be nothing but a benefit to both himself and the faithful.

    September 7, 2009 at 9:31 am |
  16. Kristi

    The Bible clearly defines the qualities leaders of our churches are required to live up to. While this man may hold other positions in the church, he is not to hold the position of a minister. There are numerous people that try to hide behind the position of a minister and all churches should do a back ground check.

    September 7, 2009 at 9:32 am |
  17. Jeremiah the Prophet

    For Americans to claim this is a country founded on Christian values by people who were seeking religious freedoms, it seems kind of a contradiction for people today to be so unforgiving, which isn't Christian (to be Christ like) at all. Hmm, I wonder what Jesus would do? Oh yeah, we already know what he did. He forgave, traveled, and lived among the sinners because the so called saved weren't the ones that needed forgiveness.

    September 7, 2009 at 9:32 am |
  18. Jesse

    Dear Heidi,
    Everything in life is a risk. As a pastor myself, I am worried that we are no longer a forgiving nation. We are so quick to judge. God is well known for changing lives. Those who don't understand faith will never understand. God gives us a another chance everyday we wake up. I applaud the church that is moving forward to make this man a minister. What may bother many is that he WAS a sex offender...a delicatre issue in our country today.

    September 7, 2009 at 9:32 am |
  19. Thomas

    Once you have done your debt to society, you should be allowed to live your life. A murderer, a rapist or a violent thief all have more rights after they have done their debt to society than a sex offender. I understand the fear people have – I have kids also – but to cast a group of offenders aside and say you are not ever allow to put your life back together is inhumane. Read the 2007 report from the Human Rights Watch – it will show conclusive evidence that many of the policies leveled as sex offenders do not work. Let this man become a minister, let his healing continue and let the church be his resource.

    September 7, 2009 at 9:33 am |
  20. Rick Parker

    First we have a gay Episcopal bishop to head the church,
    now this? Man has taken over God's domain, forgetting Satan rules this world....sanctioned by the Catholic Church gangsters.
    I am an indigenous pewrson to the america's, we don't believe in your religious sanctimony, so keep hate mail off numb skulls.

    September 7, 2009 at 9:33 am |
  21. B. Michael

    It's wonderful this church is able to forgive Mr. Hourigan - but inviting him to become ordained clergy is plainly irresponsible. Mr. Hourigan can serve his church without being elevated to such an important position of trust. Sometimes, the consequences of one's bad actions must preclude him from certain future pursuits. This is obviously one of those instances.

    September 7, 2009 at 9:34 am |
  22. Rafael

    WOW!!!! Cannot believe this is even happening.... What kind of a example is this to society? A 11 year old boy was sexually abused and now his attacker wants to be a minister. Mr. Hourigan is more missed up in the head for even thinking about preaching. Also who would want to listen to him. Am I the only one that thinks this is so wrong is so many ways?? What he needs to do is keep going to therapy and be happy he was't sent to prison for life!!! Also American Politicians should make a Law that prohibits sex offenders even becoming a preacher/minister.


    September 7, 2009 at 9:34 am |
  23. John Carr

    First, I do not wish to minimize the effect that sexual assult can cause to its victems, but I support Mr Houngan efforts to turn his life around, and if this includes becoming a minister, so be it. Sex offenders are people who deserve a second chance to prove they have changed. A true christian would be wiling to give these people a chance.

    September 7, 2009 at 9:35 am |
  24. Kay

    I have been a minister for years and have had to look beyond the present circumstances to find forgiveness in my own heart for situations and circumstances. BUT I place sex offenders in the same category as rapists, and serial killers. The question is not if they should be forgiven, the question is can they ever been trusted because they have a mental illness and in some cases they will never be well or what we consider normal. If he feels the call to minister there is plenty of room in the prision ministry for a recovering sex offender where children will not be involved. A minister once said I can forgive a pick pocket but I don't have to place him within arms length again. Forgiveness and trust are different issues. Forgiveness is freely given, trust is earned.

    September 7, 2009 at 9:35 am |
  25. Craig

    This guy just took a different approach. Normally you hear about ministers becoming sex-offenders. I would say he's at the right place.

    September 7, 2009 at 9:35 am |
  26. Dean Krause

    This doesn't sound much different than the Roman Catholic Church,
    they move their priests around to different parishes, when it becomes know to the Bishops that they are sex offenders, no it isn't right, the acts can be forgiven by God, the church should care more about the safety of their members especially the children and let God handle the forgiveness of the sex offender.

    September 7, 2009 at 9:36 am |

    As a Christian, and as I understand some of the magnitude of God's Word, I believe and agree with God that we all are sinners. We are simply saved by Grace because we accept the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior. Everyone deserves "forgiveness", because God has said so in His Word in probably the most famous Scripture, John 3:16; however, God has also said in Romans 5:8 – "God has commended His love to us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us". Therefore, yes, this man does indeed deserve forgiveness, if he has truly accepted Christ and has a personal relationship with the Redeemer. Also, he should be watched for sincerity and commitment. He will need to prove himself to those who surround him.
    Thank you for this opportunity, Jane

    September 7, 2009 at 9:36 am |
  28. Tom in Iowa

    It is sad that in our society of fear and mistrust we assume that EVERY sex offender if incapable of rehabilitation therefor they are shunned and vilified and in some instances they are driven from the community without thought as to what they have done or what they have done to atone for their crimes. I personally believe that EVERYONE can change given the proper instruction and the opportunity. So good for them for giving this man a chance.

    Tom in Iowa

    September 7, 2009 at 9:36 am |
  29. noreen salter

    I think they are wrong for the fact it will be God that forgives on judgment day if it is his will to forgive not another man in a church.

    September 7, 2009 at 9:37 am |
  30. Linn Murphy


    I would like to say that forgiveness is what we all have to ask for in our lives. It doesn't matter what we did in life or who what we did to others which may be wrong. So we all are sinner's in this life so people make
    mistakes which they have to correct and serve time and make ammendments. So this young man made a mistake which impacted his life forever. So if God can forgive him then who am I to continue to make his life a constant day by day living hell just for his 1 wrong doing? Look at Marion Berry who was charged and convicted at least 2 time with drugs and other issues. God forgave him, and he was re-elected and was granted forgiveness. Look at Micheal Jackson who was also doing things with children which was not good, but yet he was not charged...but the media made his life rough. The difference was he had money to fight the charges, but this man admitted his guilt, and did the right thing. So why should not this man be granted his life back...or should we continue to remind him day after day till he dies.


    September 7, 2009 at 9:38 am |
  31. Knowledge

    What is the world coming to? There is a difference between acceptance and tolerance!!! I can see the church allowing sex offenders, homosexuals, and other questionable characters as members of the church because these individuals need salvation. That is tolerance. The church can't turn them away. However, allowing them positions in the church, that is acceptance!!!

    September 7, 2009 at 9:38 am |
  32. Henry

    Churches are all about love and forgiveness. FIne. If this church makes this choice, then those in charge also have the responsibility for anything that goes wrong with regard to this man. No excuses. I pray that he has gotten his problem under control, but he battling huge odds.

    September 7, 2009 at 9:39 am |
  33. Claudia Jones

    Only 10% of sex offenders are PREDATORS who are involved with victims they do not know. The remaining 90% offended with someone they know and are referred to as “opportunity” offenders. Remove the opportunity - or retrain thinking and behavioral skills - and they “go forth and sin no more”. Of the 90% of opportunity offenders, approximately 80% were themselves victims! Forgiveness and second chances need to be MORE a part of our world. It is a horrific crime; I was abused, but healing is possible and should be embraced. The anger, hatred, and victimization only adds to the damage done.

    CJ in Texas

    September 7, 2009 at 9:39 am |
  34. Pete

    Religions are making a joke out of these sex offenders. The RCC for one has been able to convince parishioners that it is the victims fault and the victim must forgive. I guess other religious organizations seem to follow their lead by making it a bigger joke.

    I guess delusions are just that, they can make anyone one of their sheeple believe anything is OK. Imagine, many of those violently sodomized by these pedos are today mentally ill, institutionalized and some committed suicide. Statutes of limitations protects the pedophile and deprives the victims who have lost lives. Meanwhile the religions, the RCC, pays top notch lobbyist (NY) to stop justice to victims.

    It's time for religions to practice just that, religious. The religionist help the adult rapist get their life in order while denying the child who lost their life the right to justice – this is religion?.

    a Victim of multiple rapes by clergy from ages 8 to 10, one including a bishop today.

    September 7, 2009 at 9:40 am |
  35. Shari

    Jesus said, I came to save the unsaved. And we must forgive 7 times 70. Jugdement is for the lord not for us to jugde. So forgiveness is the right thing to do. God bless that pastor.

    September 7, 2009 at 9:40 am |
  36. Louisville

    If forgiveness can't be found in a church then the premise of Christianity is false. By society’s standards, he paid the price for his crime by doing time in prison and completing all of the required probation. If the majority of society want to change the laws related to child molestation, that's fine but we can't apply these retroactively to this man. He has met our current standards so therefore we can't continue to punish him for a crime that has been resolved.

    It's not as if he is asking to be the Youth Director of this church. Let the church decide what is best for them. The church membership is responsible for determining the direction of their church and its employees. It is obvious that the majority of them support this situation. Anyone who is not happy with this situation can leave the church.

    September 7, 2009 at 9:40 am |
  37. Judy Brilla

    What a disgrace to a Ministry! Even though this appears to be a "liberal" church, the safety of the children that attend that church should be considered. In my opinion, sex offenders are unable to be rehabilitated.

    September 7, 2009 at 9:41 am |
  38. T. L. Hollywood

    Forgiveness, yes. Member of the church, yes. Putting the offender and the children in the church at risk, no. Only the parishioners of that church can take that risk.
    Why is it necessary to mention the fact the church reaches out to the gay and transgender population in a story about a sex offender?

    September 7, 2009 at 9:41 am |
  39. Shelly Litchfield

    Forgiveness? Yes. Employment in a child-saturated environment? No. This church could give him employment counseling in finding an appropriate job, they could offer him adult friends who would hold him accountable, but this church is naive and foolish to think that giving him a position of authority in an open setting like a church. Do they truly want to help him?

    September 7, 2009 at 9:42 am |
  40. John O.

    Heidi, I don't see how a convicted ses offender could be effective if ordained a minister. The stigma alone would greatly hinder him and the church. No dice! I think it is irresponsible of the church to compromise the trust of the parish and the public. If God is calling this man to minister,perhaps he should work in a ministry for recovering sex offenders.

    September 7, 2009 at 9:43 am |
  41. Bozoness

    The Lord Forgives everyone. So they all deserve a second chance, as long as he is not teaching the children he should have a chance. The Lord also forgives the Pastor who wants to kill Obama, but he would want that to stop. I don't think God answers prayers that send Obama "to hell"

    September 7, 2009 at 9:43 am |
  42. RG

    what are people thinking these days. no one even thinks anymore no wonder a lot more countries are starting to hate us.

    September 7, 2009 at 9:43 am |
  43. John

    Absolutely the church is correct in accepting this former sex-offender. I follow these issues closely...although not a sex-offender I pay close attention to civil rights and constitutional matters. I take issue with your analysts spewing disinformation on the recidivism rate among criminals with sex crime convictions. Please visit the Reform Sex Offender Laws website and get some serious information that is not only factual but current ( The hysteria around sex-offenders is unfounded, not factual and perpetuated by you in the media without proper research and vetting of your statistics. Please, let us hear the other side, the truth Vs. the myth. The American public will be astounded at how much money is being spent on law enforcement to babysit people who have no chance of re-offending. Please check your facts before spewing disinformation and perpetuating the "witch-hunt" mentality so prevalent in today's society. Redemption...for those so labeled is nearly impossible. High profile cases are awful, as is the recent California case, but there are 640,000 people on the registry in this country and MANY do not belong there. This makes a mockery of the registry and compounds the amount resources needed to enforce these draconian laws…it is absurd and quite frankly...the sex-offender registry is hysterical in and of itself.

    September 7, 2009 at 9:44 am |
  44. Pat M

    This is outrageous! The City of Refuge Worship Center and their Head Pastor should be ashamed of themselves! It has been proven many times the majority of registered sex offenders REOFFEND!
    Hourigan agreed not to serve as a leader in any church where he would have contact with children he should keep his agreement! Why was that agreement made? Someone must have deemed it necessary for his release!

    This Worship Centre should put Children's Safety ahead of any claim made by a sex offender! First the Justice System puts our children at risk again by letting these sex offenders out and now the Heads of Religious Organizations are offering them an Ideal atmosphere that enhances the opportunity for them to recommit!!!! Protect Our Children instead of providing opportunities for those who are abusing them to abuse them again! This Pastor needs to be removed! This Worship Centre needs to WAKE UP!

    September 7, 2009 at 9:44 am |
  45. Pete

    Religions are making a joke out of these sex offenders. The RCC for one has been able to convince parishioners that it is the victims fault and the victim must forgive. I guess other religious organizations seem to follow their lead by making it a bigger joke.

    I guess delusions are just that, they can make anyone of their sheeple believe anything is OK. Imagine, many of those violently sodomized by these pedos are today mentally ill, institutionalized and some committed suicide. Most violently raped are traumatized well into late life making justice imposssible – The Perfect Crime. Statutes of limitations protects the pedophile and deprives the victims who have lost lives. Meanwhile the religions, the RCC, pays top notch lobbyist (NY) to stop justice to victims. We can identify 100's of the most violent pedos in NY state, but they are free thanks to the success of lobbyist paid for by the RCC.

    It’s time for religions to practice just that, religious. The religionist help the adult rapist get their life in order while denying the child who lost their life the right to justice – this is religion?.

    a Victim of multiple rapes by clergy from ages 8 to 10, one including a bishop today.

    September 7, 2009 at 9:45 am |
  46. GREG

    Religion has always been a haven for sex offenders. Why would one be surprised that a sex offender wants to be a minister and be among those who shower him with forgiveness. Beware the wolf in sheeps clothing!

    September 7, 2009 at 9:46 am |
  47. cheryl

    If Jesus turned water into wine, he can also changed this man's mind and heart, to show him how to be a benefit and not a hinder.

    September 7, 2009 at 9:47 am |
  48. Joshua Adams

    They are absolutely playing with fire. As a Christian committed to forgiveness, I hope that this works out for them. But I also know that men are very much as risk for reverting since they are "hard wired." At my parish, there is absolutely no chance this would be considered.

    September 7, 2009 at 9:47 am |
  49. Gene

    I realize that there are a lot of bad sex offenders, I also believe that it is an illness. There is no quarantees that they won't do it again..The other hand there are those that got caught in certain situation that demanded they be called sex offenders.. there are no separations between what the charges are.. was it against a little girl or was the guy 18 and the girl 16 consentual sex

    September 7, 2009 at 9:48 am |
  50. Rob

    This is a tough call, I am a firm believer of forgive and forget, however after studying psychology for way to long, and after attending many symposiums on the underlying thought processes of alcholics, sexual offenders, gamblers etc, I understood one thing that was paramount to all the thought processes that affect the daily lives of the addictive personality, ....The thought is always present and the pleasure associated with the thought is present....If the thought is always there and the association of pleasure is present or recallable, what are the odds that the thought will manifest itself via an action?

    This ranks right up there with folks saying that under medical and psychological supervision you can "de-homosexualize", I dont think so. I feel at this point, this young man should be treated with a carefull hand and watched and monitored for quite some time by psychologists that know the warning signs of a potential mental break that would lead to a action of the addictive class, something less than a sexual act, but considered a gateway to the sexual act.

    September 7, 2009 at 9:48 am |
  51. Danny

    I have two things to say about this. First of all, I'm certainly not going to minimize a crime committed by a sex offender, but it's about time somebody in the Church started living up to the teachings of Jesus again. I grew up in the Baptist Church and can tell you that it has turned 180 degrees from what it used to be. it used to teach love and forgiveness and now teaches anything but. Hatred, judgement, selfishness, greed – these are what I see coming from the Baptists and all other so-called evangelicals today. If they are an example of who I'd be spending eternity with, I don't want anything to do with it. They look more like the perfect definition of hell to me.
    Secondly, sex offenders' crimes, as horrible as they can be, are sensationalized by the media and the idea that so many of them reoffend is one of those "trueisms" that is based on this society's fixation on sex and the extreme media coverage of these horrible events when they occur. Don't take my word for it – do the research. Go to the US Department of Justice web site and look at the recidivism reports. Go to and then search for resourses, then annual reports, then DOJ statistics and periodic reports. You'll find that sex offenders, in reality, are one of the lowest categories to reoffend – at a rate of about 5%. Americans have been played by politicians who have hyped the subject for political gain. Don't argue with me – just go check out the statistics for yourself.

    September 7, 2009 at 9:51 am |
  52. judith baron-miller

    I think that the people of this church or any other should put their kids in
    JAIL to protect them from these monsters

    September 7, 2009 at 9:52 am |
  53. albert pasik

    Does this church really believe it can keep this animal from any contact with children ? Every expert in the field has said that there can never be a cure for what this man is. Once a child molester, always a child molester. This is not only a disgrace, it's downright dangerous to the youth of that community.

    September 7, 2009 at 9:52 am |
  54. Joan M

    These people never are cured and given the opportunity they will
    offend again. My dad molested his two daughters. My mom told us
    it would never happen again because she talked to him. I never was
    comfortable around him. When my daughter was grown she had memories of him molesting her after she went to bed. He had unknown to us sneaked back into her bedroom and the rest of us were in the living room of the house. She just blocked it out for many years and we did not find out until she was grown up. We feel these people can never be trusted. As a minister of a church this man would be trusted with relationships with the congregations and would be close to their families. He would certainly have a chance to offend someone again.
    He can never be trusted because it is just who he is. In my opinion
    they should be locked up and never let out . They are NEVER CURED.

    September 7, 2009 at 9:56 am |
  55. S Jarvis

    What is the risk if he is to have no contact with children? If he is to pay for the remainder of his life with no hope of redemption, then his sentence should have been death. Indeed if a man is to be forever defined only by the lowest part of himself, death is preferable. But as long as a man still breathes there remains the possibility of redemption. Sadly, sexual predation is rampant. If this man has grown beyond his defect, perhaps he could usefully minister to other lost souls and in doing so prevent more such crimes. Otherwise, the suffering of his victim(s) was for nought.

    September 7, 2009 at 9:56 am |
  56. Chris

    I think it's a very bad idea, along with the concept of religion in general. More crimes and animal sacrifices and others have been committed in the name of you peoples' God than they have for those who see Satan as a real being. Does no one remember the Inquisition? Perhaps more modern the concept of this so-called "holy war" we're still in? Are murderers "good murderers" when in uniform and "bad murderers" out of uniform? I can't say I blame the guy for feeling as if he has to resort to children for this kind of action, being that religion demands that you deny natural instincts such as masturbation and sex for the purpose of more than just procreation. The carnal nature of humanity will out, regardless of how often you attempt to suppress it with mental and social disease. I am in no way condoning his previous actions, I am stating one of the many ways I agree with John Adams: This would be the best of all possible worlds if there were no religion in it!

    September 7, 2009 at 9:56 am |
  57. Dr. Dudley Black

    Prentky, Lee, and Knight (1997) report a relapse or recidivism rate of 52% amoung adult sex offenders (child molesters). While failure rates reported vary widely, it is generally accepted that adult offenders who molest same sex children are at significant risk for reoffending, (regardless of which study you cite).

    September 7, 2009 at 9:58 am |
  58. Janet Woodard

    When it has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt that sex offenders are guilty of molesting innocent children, they should be given life in prison without parole. I am sick and tired of lawyers and judges striking deals for lesser sentences, only for the offenders to repeat these offenses again and again! Where is the outrage? Why are there no "Town Hall Meetings" and "Tea Parties" for this depraved behavior? We need to rid society of these monsters and put them in prison where they belong with abolutely no chance of ever being able to commit these crimes!!

    September 7, 2009 at 10:04 am |
  59. Dean Krause

    For all who say this man should be forgiven and employed as a minister
    think about this would you have this man babysit your children? I know I wouldn't.

    September 7, 2009 at 10:05 am |
  60. John O.

    The catholic priests were defrocked and imprisoned for sex crimes against children,yet, this church is ordaining such a minister ???

    Jesus sternly warns in the Bible, what would happen if one so much as harms one hair on the head of a child. He was pretty clear on what the riveting punishment would be. No, they would not be forgiven for this.It is an unpardonable sin.

    September 7, 2009 at 10:08 am |
  61. Dr. Dudley Black

    Mr. Hourigan's comments clearly indicate he is not "cured." Relying on basic relapse prevention skills ie..."changing his thoughts" or any other relapse prevention skill, (ie.. whether covert scripts, identification of thinking errors etc...) are neither fool proof nor a guarantee of no further reoffense, these individuals should simply NOT be allowed in ANY type of a supervisory/position of power or authority over others. The clergy appears to attract huge numbers of both pedophiles and sexual deviants.

    September 7, 2009 at 10:09 am |
  62. Judith Weiss Collins

    As a sexual abuse survior of abuse by priests of the Roman Catholic Church, this is just insane. Sex offenders do not 'change'. This person should NEVER be allowed near children again! If he wants to attend church, that is one thing, but lead it?? He would have access to children, and trust me, he will repeat his abuse! And when it happens, the church should be sued! and held criminally responsible.

    September 7, 2009 at 10:15 am |
  63. griff williams

    It's a beautiful thing that God will give us a second chance when it's clear that man seems to question us on every hand.

    September 7, 2009 at 10:16 am |
  64. Isabelle


    It is common knowledge that sex offenders cannot be "cured." These people are asking for trouble if they hire this man as a minister. What can they be thinking?

    New York

    September 7, 2009 at 10:16 am |
  65. Bill H.

    Lets hope the church at least dramatically increases their liability insurance limit.

    September 7, 2009 at 10:16 am |
  66. Michael Perry

    As a Christian, I believe God may have forgiven him. However, I would not let my children near that church or him.

    September 7, 2009 at 10:17 am |
  67. Chris from Savannah GA

    The church is all about forgiveness, so I don't see this as supprising. Hopefully, the keep him away from children. If I was a parent at that church, I would probably leave or keep an extra close eye on my child. The people attending the church have a decision to make. If there is a negative outcome, they'll have to live with that decision.

    September 7, 2009 at 10:17 am |
  68. Allison

    Sex offenders are never cured. They just repress their urges. He will never be completely reformed. It is a huge mistake to allow him to speak to others on reform. Even though he will never be preaching to children there will always be a chance that he will come into contact with one and won't be able to control himself. Also, this shows that something as big and horrible as sex offense is something that can be forgiven and the offenders can go on with life unpunished.

    September 7, 2009 at 10:17 am |
  69. Pete

    Most children victims of violent rape DO NOT HEAL. this is a fallacy. Many are permanently mentally ill today especially when early intervention was missed. I don't see religionist petitioning to enable victims justice for victims in states where statutes of limitations protects the pedo over the victim. Instead the religions help the pedos and ignore the victims. The RCC pays top notch lobbyists to make sure victims don't get deserved justice, and NY Assemblyman Vito Lopez makes sure the church wins. You might wonder who has what to hide.

    Pedos are the best manipulators and this minister does it well. I have caught pedos pretending they are healed victims, all to make others believe that it is the victims fault for not healing. Every time I hear someone say they forgive and they are healed, red flag. Either they are a pedo trying to fool you or it is someone who is not healed. Not healed because they are identifying with their perpetrator, an illness caused by abuse.

    September 7, 2009 at 10:17 am |
  70. Chris

    While I understand that churches are in the "forgiveness business," I can't help but feel they are being irresponsible. Statistics have shown time and again that sex offenders have a high rate of recidivism. Until such time as we, as a society, can sort out how to solve that problem, I don't think it is advisable or appropriate that a past sex offender be put into a position where they have authority over potentially emotionally vulnerable people and/or children. Is it fair? Probably not. But it is sensible given the alternative.

    September 7, 2009 at 10:17 am |
  71. JIm

    I hope things go well for this church. forgiving is OK,

    However, if they're smart, they will ALWAYS keep an eye on their minister. you made the choices, now live with the effect if something goes wrong, and the only people or congregation that you can blame is yourself.

    September 7, 2009 at 10:17 am |
  72. rob perry

    the majority of sex offenders like most offenders go right back to the same behavior but there are some that change. picking and finding the ones that really change is the trick. he could turn out to be a great pastor then again i wouldnt let him run the boys choir.

    September 7, 2009 at 10:18 am |
  73. Chelsea

    What would Jesus do? He would forgive this guy. If this church is comfortable with him, and willing to give him this chance, then they are truly following Christ's message.

    September 7, 2009 at 10:18 am |
  74. Rafael

    Just one more comment on this matter. Just imagaine it was your child that this happend too. Now would you give a sick man a second chance for touching your lil boy or girl of only 11 years old!!!!! NO... This 11year old boy will never forget what happened to him now why should we forgive Mr. Hourigan. Yes we should forgive and forget, but not for sick people like him... This is moraly wrong and should not happen


    September 7, 2009 at 10:18 am |
  75. John King

    To those among you who have not sinned, cast the first pebble.

    September 7, 2009 at 10:18 am |
  76. Peggy

    I believe inforgiveness, and pray he has been forgiven. I do not think he should be ordained at this time. I f I had children I would probably change church and take my children out of danger.

    September 7, 2009 at 10:19 am |
  77. Merlin

    Well Heidi I believe you said that the church he is going to minister to has alot of gay/lesbian followers and tranny's, so obviously be a christ follower myself it says in scripture that their way of life is wrong ...and now they want to ordain a child molestor, ok we are suppose to forgive anyone but it doesn't say forget, and I think that is just plum crazy to put this individual around children, no matter what paper he swears to sign, in a environment that the children are suppose to seek this individual for guidance and understanding of life??? I mean come on people this is too easy to see the right answer here...oh my....

    September 7, 2009 at 10:19 am |
  78. Rod

    Maybe, just maybe, this guy will be monitored more so now that he is in this role, thus protecting society.

    September 7, 2009 at 10:19 am |
  79. Chuc

    Why not receive this man into church, the community and society? He has completed his sentence, two sex offender programs, apparently has a support system and don't think for a second he will be able to live a "normal" life without the authority's constant watch.
    The sex offender laws and regulations are out of control in this country. When it is considered "ok" for dozens of sex offenders to live under a bridge in Florida, it is ok to enact new state and federal laws and ignore the constitutional Expo Facto rights and apply them retroactively only on this one group of “new lepers”, then we as Americans are out of control.
    All this said each case should be looked at individually. There are levels of sex offenders as there are levels of murder as a good example. Some sex offenders should be on the least possible level of concern and then some on the highest level. Currently, we have grouped “Romeo and Juliet” cases in with multiple and repeat rapist.
    Every citizen of America, and that includes sex offenders, deserve the same constitutional rights and protection to live their life. We need to reform our current sex offender laws.

    September 7, 2009 at 10:19 am |
  80. Mike Armstrong TX.

    Isnt it against the law for a child molester to be in a public place where children gather like i said before the minister is a crack head.

    September 7, 2009 at 10:19 am |
  81. Vilda S Brannen, M.S., LPC

    If the church cannot demonstrate the concept of forgiveness, where do we begin? Most of these offenders were abused as children and those people who abused them are out there walking free without any punishment. If someone can be rehabilitated which the statistics show can happen, why wouldn't the church extend forgiveness. It is the person who has not been "caught" and rehabilitated that we must worry about.

    September 7, 2009 at 10:19 am |
  82. justin

    This makes me sick to my stomach. As someone who was sexually abused as a 26 and still struggling with depression, anger, and anxiety, this makes me hurt all over. I cant even think of words to explain how i feel. Im sorry for the little boy who has to see these headlines, and know that the man who stole a piece of him is moving on to become a pastor. Im gonna go throw up now.

    September 7, 2009 at 10:19 am |
  83. Russ

    After years of sex scadals in the church, they must be running low and need to get some new offenders amy way they can!

    September 7, 2009 at 10:19 am |
  84. Rebecca Levit

    I agree that this man shouldn't be given a second chance...but there are more pressing problems on my mind...such as the LACK of PRESS On the governments desire to not give a cost of living increase for the next two years for social security while prices for healthcare continue to rise

    September 7, 2009 at 10:19 am |
  85. Scott Stodden

    Duh Heidi what do you think? I think they are taking a big, huge, and enormous risk. To the people of this church and the people running this church its all on your hands if something happens. I can't imagine being part of a church where there's a sexual offender who has a history of sexual abuse being ordained as my minister. Isn't the church supposed to be a place where we can escape all evil? May god help this church cuz they sure need it.

    Scott Stodden (Freeport,Illinois)

    September 7, 2009 at 10:21 am |
  86. opinionated watcher

    If a group of people want to have a sex offender as their spiritual leader, then that's their right. I would not go to the church, nor consult with the man as a pastor. But if there is a large enough number of people who do want to listen to them, so be it and may God help them.

    September 7, 2009 at 10:21 am |
  87. kelli

    I do believe that everyone who has done wrong in the past is forgiven if they ask to be forgiven...BUT i do not believe a registered sex offender should be able to prech gods words to anyone just like i dont think a murder should be able to...What this man has done to this little boy should never be forgot but to be forgiven THE ANSWER IS NO WAY I WOULD AGREE WITH THIS MAN PRECHING ANYTHING TO ANYONE!!!!!!!

    September 7, 2009 at 10:21 am |
  88. Lauren

    While I may not necessarily agree that this man should be ordained in the church because of the fact that he will undoubtedly be around children, I do believe that the Christian message is one of forgiveness and sanctification. We are all sinners (the Bible says no one sin is greater than another in God's eyes – yet people in our culture would believe otherwise) – so by saying that this man doesn't deserve forgiveness or acceptance in this church after his life has been changed by God, that is also saying that adulterers, liars, and other sinful people don't deserve the forgiveness of God or a church. If that's the case, then heck, we are all doomed and don't deserve an ounce of grace or forgiveness in this screwed up life. I know everyone does not agree with the Christian perspective and/or doesn't believe in God/Christian beliefs, but I am just sharing this from the perspective of someone who is a Christian.

    September 7, 2009 at 10:21 am |
  89. Nick

    I think its funny just how hypocritical the right wing christians are. Is there a crime so terrible that if you asked for forgiveness Jesus would say no. Christians preach one way and then live another. They don't support health care for all, I don't remember Jesus asking for an insurance card before he put that guys ear back on his head in the movie the Passion. This man has a disease and is seeking help through your religion and you people want to turn you back on him. I think most christians don't really care about the teachings of Jesus they just want to make sure they make it into heaven. You all threw religion in our faces for 8 years under Bush, now with this & health care it has come back to bite you. Start church next Sunday with this prayer. Dear God, thank you for stopping those evil liberals in congress from providing HEALTH CARE for everyone. I am not willing to sacrifice anything to help anyone. Also please stop people from FORGIVING this man who has done wrong and wants to make it right. Start living what you preach Christians or stop preaching your hypocritical ways to the rest of us.

    September 7, 2009 at 10:21 am |
  90. twomake youthink

    I was once asked can man rob GOD, well its looks like we robbed him a long time ago. We are doing the judging, punishing, most of the time will not forgive each other. Let me ask you, What else is there for GOD to do.

    September 7, 2009 at 10:22 am |
  91. Richard

    "trust but verify" to quote Reagan. Forgive but do not forget, and limit contact with children the same as keeping alcohol from an alcoholic. The church is about forgiving, despite what others may think when following unenlightened church leaders. "go and sin no more" was what Jesus told the woman accused of adultry after saving her from being stoned to death. Who among us is sin free and can cast the first stone?

    September 7, 2009 at 10:22 am |
  92. justin

    Did anyone mention or even think about the little boy he used? Jesse mentioned that this guy "WAS" a sex offender. Does that mean that the little boy "WAS" abused and not anymore? Does that mean he doesnt have to live with it and the effects that have come about? What a shame.

    September 7, 2009 at 10:23 am |
  93. Dr. Dudley Black

    It is important to note the recent high profile case of Phillip Girardo and Ms. Dugard, who was held for 18 years by a sex offender from Nevada (where they have lifetime supervision for S.O.'s), and after serving 11 years of a 50 year sentence promptly moved to Caif. where he continued his offending. (By the way, in Calif. they do not have lifetime registration od adult S.O.'s yet, which should be in the case in ALL 50 states in my opinion!).

    September 7, 2009 at 10:23 am |
  94. Les Walton

    No church should ordain a registered sex offender, because it simply brings blame to the faith... For a variety of reasons, this church has decided to do things its own way and is in conflict with the teachings of the Holy Bible... This is sad.

    September 7, 2009 at 10:23 am |
  95. Cody D

    Its nice to see a church practice what it preaches. It makes me want lose my preconceptions about how hypocritical churches and their followers are. But then I read the comments on here from church followers, and my preconceptions are proven true once again

    September 7, 2009 at 10:23 am |
  96. C.

    Child molestation is a despicable act, and I myself am doubtful that a registered sex offender can be rehabilitated. That being said, I do not see how it is at all relevant to say that the church has homosexual and transgendered congregation members. The fact that there seemed a need to mention it reinforces the belief that there is some link between the two. Research has shown that homosexual individuals are no more likely to molest children then heterosexuals. Consensual intimacy between two adults, regardless of their sex or gender is very different then taking advantage of a child sexually. The link presented between the two in the article and news story expressed a negative stereotype that science has long ago dismissed, but remains an irrational fear in the community at large.

    September 7, 2009 at 10:23 am |
  97. Doris Smith

    I think this church has lost its mind and the pastor should be removed from this church.
    Do they honestly think that he will not be around the kids.Anyone who belives this needs their head examined.
    He will be a bad influence on the kids and I feel they will be in danger of being sexually abused.
    What on earth can this church be thinking?

    September 7, 2009 at 10:25 am |
  98. Vince

    Is anyone redeemable nowadays? I am repulsed by the idea, but the Apostle Paul said he was the chief of sinners because he had Christians killed. It is hard to judge a person from afar, especially if his crime occured before a real redemption by God.

    September 7, 2009 at 10:30 am |
  99. Dr. Dudley Black

    There has been some discussion amoung treatment professionals regarding the importance of improved screening of prospective clergy, coaches, teachers etc... being checked more thoroughly prior to being accepted into any job field with access to populations of highly vulnerable individuals,. for obvious reasons. We now have the science to better ascertain this, one tool is the ABEL screen of sexual interest, and polygraph exams. It is interesting that a church would knowingly retain a pastor with such an obviously high level of risk, perhaps we should have the fox guard the henhouse???

    September 7, 2009 at 10:34 am |
  100. Amber Rewis

    How 'bout letting the Bible answer, "If a man reaches out for an office of overseer... he must be irreprehensible... sound in mind,,, blameless... have a fine testimony from others'", among other qualifications. A sex offender does not meet these, obviously. If he was sincere he would know that and humbly serve within the limitations in which he placed himself.

    September 7, 2009 at 10:35 am |
  101. Sheri

    The man has done his time in prison. Stop judging the man. "He that is without sin let him cast the first stone. You can be forgiven for ANYTHING! That's what is so great about Jesus Christ! And who are you to JUDGE. Please clean up your own backyard. Then maybe you can talk.

    September 7, 2009 at 10:35 am |
  102. Wendy

    Phillip Garrido; enough said.....

    September 7, 2009 at 10:41 am |
  103. Jeremy Lawrence

    Given that most ministers are unregistered sex offenders, does this really matter?

    September 7, 2009 at 10:41 am |
  104. Lisa

    I totally disagree with allowing this man to serve as a minister. I was a member of a church who appointed a former sex offender as an interim pastor and it had a sad ending.

    September 7, 2009 at 10:41 am |
  105. Dr. Dudley Black

    For Pastor Meadows to state that "God has TOUCHED Hourigan's heart" ingores the liklihood he continues to have urges to "TOUCH" young children! This is absolutely unconscionable! Offenders should be allowed a second chance at a new life, just not one that includes contact with children!

    September 7, 2009 at 10:42 am |
  106. chris

    sex offender and church that's not a shock every day i hear about some preist or minister touching kids.. the shocking part is he's not a catholic preist...

    September 7, 2009 at 10:42 am |
  107. christina smith

    I am appalled at this church allowing a rapist to be in contact or even close to children and adults for that matter. He is a child rapist who will never change. The gay community does not support this church in its descion on a child rapist.

    September 7, 2009 at 10:42 am |
  108. Patricia Lite Hickman

    I preach and pride myself on forgiveness. In this case however, due to the circumstances of the sex crime involved, this man should NOT be ordained and placed in a position of leadership; my goodness, did this Pastor not believe the Roman Catholic sex scandals? I am the grandmother of nine, I would NOT attend that church with my grandchildren as I do at my own church. I think it is putting the congregants at risk.

    September 7, 2009 at 10:43 am |
  109. pc

    to all you so called christians you know nothing of crawal back under the rock from which you came.none of you can cast any stones.most of you just want to spread your hate. you are no differnt than any other hate hide behind god to spread your hate.

    September 7, 2009 at 10:43 am |
  110. Vince

    Is anyone redeemable? I am of course repulsed by the crime, but the Apostle Paul said he was the chief of all sinners (before his redemption) because he had Christians killed. It is hard to publicly judge a person from afar, especially if his crime was committed before a real redemption by God. This matter is best left with the local church community to judge.

    September 7, 2009 at 10:43 am |
  111. LadyRev

    Not a wise move by the church. The bible is strident about taking advantage of what it calls "orphans" and protecting them. We can forgive but we also have a biblical responsibility to protect the children.

    September 7, 2009 at 10:44 am |
  112. Felicia Melton

    I applaud those in the church who have forgiven this man. We need to be more like Jesus if we say we are his followers. Jesus says to forgive and we should forgive. It sounds like there is a lot of fear surrounding the children. Look, if you educate your children about the purpose of sex and how they are to use their sex organs then no parent would be fearful of any one having sex with their children inappropriately. The problem is not this sex offender, the problem is parents not educating their children on the purpose of sex and who to engage in sex with and when that event is suppose to happen.

    September 7, 2009 at 10:44 am |
  113. Kathy Armstrong

    Interesting-people do not want their children to listen to the president talk about education but offer a convicted sex offender a public pulpit? What is this country coming to?

    September 7, 2009 at 10:45 am |
  114. lana

    i dont thing a sex offender should be a minister. when you commit a crime against a child you should never be allowed around a child for the rest of your life. The way I understand the bible if you commit a crime against a child you are commiting a crime against Christ because he said "In as much as you do unto the least of my children you do unto me"
    Why is this man even out of prison this soon he should have gotten life

    September 7, 2009 at 10:45 am |
  115. stella duru

    The sex offender should not be ordained. he has craftly manuvered himself where he will meet more children. People do not change so easily.His problem is of the mind and there is no way of knowing when his mind starts straying again,We will only know when he molests another child.

    September 7, 2009 at 10:45 am |
  116. Kelly

    I do believe that people change and that some find a better Christian Life. I do not agree that this man should be given such a role that carries with it respect, compassion, careing,and trust. I think it is to much of a risk to take to put this man in a position that children look up to. Sex offenders who pray on children are sick individuals who pray on those who can not protect themselves, this church is taking too big of a risk for the ones we need to protect the most – Our little children. This is so wrong...

    September 7, 2009 at 10:46 am |
  117. Saz

    What this could do is to teach to others is that even a crime as preserve as this can be forgiven and accpeted, so what is to stop borderline sex offenders if there is no shame and society allows them back in the fold so easy?
    How are children going to report offenders if supposed responsible adults accept them? You can here it now "this is not wrong the minister does it and your mom and dad like him"!!!

    Gosh, this is crazy!!! The man did not steel a loaf of bread, he ABUSED an 11 year old boy. Forgivenes yes in the after life but not here, and NOT around children. He is a sick man, would everyone be so OK with putting an alcoholic in charge of a bar?

    September 7, 2009 at 10:46 am |
  118. Al

    the awnser is easy " What would Christ do? " You are looking in the wrong place for your awnsers.

    September 7, 2009 at 10:46 am |
  119. Kathy solomon

    I am so confused with the religious right.. They don't want everyone to have equal health care, don't want our President to speak to our children, think that what Rush Limbaugh says is true, and are anti choice, anti gay, yet will allow a known violent sex offender of children become a minister. What could he offer that appeals to this kind of thinking. I would say that they are being fed and swallowing lots of ignorant/ignoring rhetoric.

    September 7, 2009 at 10:46 am |
  120. Bill Michael

    My partner and I were utterly shocked to see Kevin Pickerill as the former deacon who complained most about Mark Hourigan. We happen to KNOW Kevin Pickerill personally and he truly is "The Pot calling the Kettle Black".

    September 7, 2009 at 10:46 am |
  121. Betty Phillips

    This is a terrible mistake, can not believe a chuch will get involved. I am glad this "molester" will not be around children. I will never believe you can cure a molester, what is this church thinking? May God bless this church and KEEP ALL CHILDREN AWAY!!!!!!!!!!! Betty

    September 7, 2009 at 10:46 am |
  122. John Ceccon

    Why am I not surprised that yet another sex offender is looking for shelter in the clergy. Statistically, 40 percent of all sex offenders are rearrested for another sex crime within 3 years. This statistic is even higher in Kentucky. Remember the Catholic Church sex scandals? The psychiatric community has admitted that that they are at a loss as to what they can do for these people.

    September 7, 2009 at 10:47 am |
  123. Hamilton Jordan

    If one is a recovering alcoholic he does not get a job working in a bar. Forgiveness does not mean putting common sense on hold. GOD gave us the ability to think for a reason and this Pastor has forgotten that and is putting others at risk. Anyone watching the news lately has seen that as hard as you try you can't always protect the ones you love from sex offenders.

    September 7, 2009 at 10:47 am |
  124. Barbara Baskerville

    God is a forgiving God and if he asked God to forgive him, God surely will forgive him. But the Bible also says 'to watch and pray'; so if this church wants to ordain this person so be it, but he doesn't have to minister to children or be around children. He can give his testimony how God changed him and be effective in that, but we would have to watch our children, God doesn't want us to be nieve or oblivious to what is going on around us. we can forgive him also, but it doesn't mean that we walk around acting like this person hasn't commited a crime and that one day he may be tempted, just as a drug addict or alcoholic is tempted, it's a daily strugggle. God is not mystical or magical, He is loving and forgiving and so should we be, but we still have to be careful that this person doesn't fall back into the same patterns of evil. Watch and Pray.

    September 7, 2009 at 10:48 am |
  125. Michelle

    Un-bloody believeable. As a victim/survivor of abuse this is outrageous. If I were a member of that church I would not only register my outrage but I would not darken the doorway of that church ever again. If this "man" wants to do something to right his wrongs he should be counselling convicted felons in prison and working with abusers. He should be able to step one foot near any child and if any church believes that they are doing what Jesus would do by allowing this man into their church to be a minister they are totally screwed up. Yes, people deserve second chances, but I don't believe that any sex offender is ever rehabilitated.......believe me, it won't be long and there will be a story from this church about at least one child that this man has abused. Parents – give your head a shake and keep your children away from this church.

    September 7, 2009 at 10:50 am |
  126. Mom in Louisville

    Next time you go to church, look around, you and your children may be sitting right next to a sex offender. But you don't know it because they haven't told anyone. The children of this church are more safe because they have the entire congregation watching over them. Which also helps Mr. Hourigan's rehabilitation continue to be successful. They know what demons they are up against and they are standing together for the battle. THROUGH CHRIST ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE, even forgiveness.

    September 7, 2009 at 10:51 am |
  127. Rev. Tim Overton

    God is a God of forgiveness, but also a God of standards. The Bible is very clear in 1 Timothy Chapter 3 that pastors are to be blameless in their conduct. Significant sin disqualifies a person from being a pastor. This church mocks the holiness of God by not upholding biblical standards. I pray the church repents.

    September 7, 2009 at 10:51 am |
  128. Tammy

    Hi Heidi,
    I was shocked to hear this news. I believe that this man has the right to rebuild his life, and have a job BUT not if this means putting kids at risk. And yes, they ARE at risk no matter how much he's changed. It's like leaving alcohol around an alcoholic, no matter if he's recovered... there is ALWAYS a possibility to relapse. It IS an illness. One doesn't recover from molesting kids just out of free will. Moreover, a Minister should be a leader of a community... I wonder what kind of a leader a person with this background could be, especially for youth? What message is this community giving to their followers?

    September 7, 2009 at 10:51 am |
  129. sean foran

    I livr in Antioch, Ca – where we had a huge controvery surrounding what happened with the Garrido case.

    Sex offenders exist. They do their time and are released fro prison. Would I like a sex offender living next to my home? No. Would I like a paroled killer living htere as well? No. The god of the christians is a merciful god – an "ex" sex offemder being a pastor? That's fine with me. Perhaps though prayer and god's design he has much to contribute. he hurt an individual, ruined part of thier life... I still think I'd rather have him as a pastor instead of a hedge fund manager who ruined hundreds of lives. You get the point, no?

    September 7, 2009 at 10:51 am |
  130. Jack Stall

    There should be zero tollerance for child rapists! Hands down, the rape and or murder of a child is the most vial and unforgiving act that
    could EVER be committed! I'm a true beleiver in GOD and I refuse to
    beleive that our GOD would forgive someone for this. Some people beleive that GOD forgives ALL sins. If that is the case then there is no HELL and no matter what a person does everyone is going to HEAVEN. What about the TEN COMMANDMENTS? What about MORTAL SINS that are referenced to in the BIBLE? If GOD was going to forgive EVERY sin then why have any spiritual rules to live by?

    September 7, 2009 at 10:52 am |
  131. temple willett

    if he or anyone else can't get forgiveness from god we all have a huge problem in going to heaven and that includes the persons that say this man does not desirve to become a minister .he could relate to others the wrong in what he did.just maybe he could convert some one from making the same mistake that he did. GOD would be pleased i am sure

    September 7, 2009 at 10:52 am |
  132. JCismyBFF

    Many of you speak as if the City of Refuge intends to let Mr. Hourigan play "7 minutes in Heaven" with each of the children of the congregation. As a member of the City of Refuge, not one of us is ignorant to his past. Not one of us is naive enough to put Mark into a dangerous situation. He has been nothing but forthright about the circumstances of his probation, his understanding that we WILL be monitoring him closely and NOT allowing our children to be placed in jeopardizing situations with him.
    Those of you who are casting stones clearly have no faith in the Lord and no knowledge of the miracles that the Lord performed, healing people of ALL mental and physical ailments.
    I applaud and appreciate those of you who are offering your support. Concern is appreciated, but hatred is simply archaic and the very reason the world is in the sad shape we stand in today.
    Please think long and hard about what Jesus would do in this situation. If you are so bothered by this story, spend the day in prayer and studying the scriptures and pray to your Savior for CONTINUED healing for this man. Stop wishing him a life of misery and failure.
    He pays for his sin every day. Perhaps you should look up a list of the many statutes registered sex offenders have to live by.
    Open your minds and your arms. Jesus would!

    September 7, 2009 at 10:53 am |
  133. Annette

    I was sexually abused as a child. I'm now 45. I cannot forget it even after years of treatment. I can not let my children or grandchildren around any one like that. Maybe he has serverd him time and maybe he has changed, but how can anyone really be sure? I can forget it days at a time, then it comes back to me for no reason. Has this child or children forgot and forgeven him? NO. If I cannot forget it why can GOD? Don,t you think GOD would work on me first?

    September 7, 2009 at 10:53 am |
  134. Debbie

    Having lived through the traumatic experience of my precious child being the victim of sexual abuse by 2 men affliated with a church. (2 horrific trials, 2 convictions). I am appalled. To this day there has never been 1 ounce of remorse for the life altering damage. And I believe when these 2 get out of prison they will do it again. I will never forgive them. Never. I will ensure until the day I die that my son receives all the therapeutic help available and then some. I will do everything in my power to move forward in every possible positive direction for my son- but I will never speak their names nor will I ever forgive them. They don't deserve any such forgiveness. Nor do they ever belong being anywhere near any kind of church.

    September 7, 2009 at 10:53 am |
  135. Sharon

    In regards to any reformed or repented sex offender, I feel that if our nation has created a "lifetime" Sex offender information database, then why not have a "lifetime" monitoring...for the prevention of pontential regression? Someone at the church should be responsible for monitoring any of the sex offender's interaction with the church's juvenile membership...because if children are in attendence at that ministry, the sex offender will surely interact with some child, eventually.

    September 7, 2009 at 10:55 am |
  136. S. Nivek

    While I believe that anyone can change, this is ridiculous!

    Like most people who commit some wrong then turn to Christianity, he's not owning up to his "sinful" act(s). He's just praying for/preying on the hopes of the religious. Now that he's "saved" and his sins "washed away", he'll be accepted back into the fold, to be presented as a changed person, and he'll only have to "ask for forgiveness" when he commits his next sin.

    The original brainwashing of religion opened a Pandora's box, allowing believers to be manipulated for millennia. If he wants to be productive member of society, he should do something that has some value, rather than perpetuating the myth of religion for his own personal gain.

    September 7, 2009 at 10:55 am |
  137. Jean Revello

    Why would any parent, educator or clergy even consider allowing a CONVICTED sex offender to be near children? Especially one who is convicted of sodomizing a child! Shouldn't there be harsh restrictions to this offenders' release conditions that limit his interactions with children? His second chance is the fact he is not locked up for the rest of his life. What about his victim.....I can not imagine the hurt or injustice he must feel. I am a Christian and believe in forgiveness, but realize this is different from forgetting.

    September 7, 2009 at 10:56 am |
  138. Robert

    If we are to believe the writing's of the scripture then 1Timothy3:1-7,Titus1:5-9 and 1Peter5:1-4 say he is to be above reproach,the husband of one wife, and will be a shepherd of the flock, an overseer,without compulsion. He is clearly not qualified!

    September 7, 2009 at 10:56 am |
  139. JesseBowen

    Having worked with this type of person professionally I am wary of the risks of giving them permission to even attend church, however, if this person can be made a minister, then the help that can be found in churches for many others may become more readily available. Surely a model could be developed to work with his current efforts to remain free of this moral failing which could be useful to others as well. There are pastoral standards of behavior listed in the epistles of Timothy and Titus especially useful for this process...But without Question the Christian Mission which Jesus pointed to when a woman touched His feet who had "apparently" been sexually immoral, comes into focus through this case...His statement that the one who is forgiven much, Loves much, was said by Him to be the message of the Gospel which would be seen where ever that message would be preached.

    September 7, 2009 at 10:57 am |
  140. Catherine Berryhill

    There are true Christians and there are Christians in name only. Allowing a sex offender to be a leader in church is loony. Once again God's name and reputation is being smeared. Jesus is not this all loving all forgiving God that the false preachers are preaching today. Not when it comes to the sinners, lost people. I am a true. Only a few of us in the world. Good day.

    September 7, 2009 at 10:58 am |
  141. Pete

    John O – you said "The catholic priests were defrocked and imprisoned for sex crimes against children"

    Incorrect, less than .01% of child molesting priests were imprisoned and/or defrocked – most are free and among our communities.

    I work on this issue every day and know it well. (Maybe you also knew this, just wanted others to understand clearly. In one Catholic diocese, as an example, there are 50 priests and one bishop who have never served a day. In fact they are still in churches. This is a representation across the world.)

    In NY Assemblyman Vito Lopez, who by the way is for abortion and gay rights, is fighting for the RCC to stop just laws from passing. The RCC loves this man because he helps them stop exposure. You might wonder about religious values and convenience.

    September 7, 2009 at 11:00 am |
  142. Kimberly Canody

    I am happy Heidi, I caught of glimpse of your segment on CNN to comment about this issue, "Registered sex offender to be ordained as a minister." When it comes to sex, males are weak. Sexual desire is a physical craving when one is stimulated by mental fantasy, visually, and physically. Any males found in a sexual crime should not be allowed near children because of this this. Males are physical creatures, thus will hunt or give in to satisfying his sexual needs if his sexual drive is greater than his will power. Healthy males know the difference between mature sex with adult females. Unhealthy males do not. The priesthood is just a career, not God ordained. Sexual abuse should NEVER be forgiven. Interesting, Madoff, who stole from millions from his clients, is locked up for life. And yet a male who steals a child's childhood permanently to grow up normally, only get a few years, and let go. Why not make the offender pay for life the child's psychiatric therapy after the trauma or make the offender pay child support for the protective life he stole? Children cannot drink alcohol until the age of 21, cannot join the military till 18, then sex with children is off limits to adults till 18.

    September 7, 2009 at 11:00 am |
  143. Frank

    First of all, not all sex offenses involve children. And not all people convicted of a sex offense have victims. Open your minds and investigate the issue. You will find that it is more complex than you ever expected. Ignorance is ruling this debate. THINK!!!!

    September 7, 2009 at 11:03 am |
  144. Al

    Come on what is the covenant God Made with all of us including the thief and murder at his side at the crucifixion? Are we really Chirstians or not !

    September 7, 2009 at 11:04 am |
  145. Loretta

    With all the abuse children have received over the years by priests, what difference does it make. At least with this guy, people know up front and can make an informed choice.

    September 7, 2009 at 11:05 am |
  146. Rev. Tim Overton

    God is a God of forgiveness, but also a God of standards. The Bible is very clear in 1 Timothy Chapter 3 that pastors are to be blameless in their conduct. Significant sin disqualifies a person from being a pastor. This church mocks the holiness of God by not upholding biblical standards. I pray the church repents.

    September 7, 2009 at 11:05 am |
  147. Lori

    In a society where the majority of people claim to be Christians, what hypocrites we are. We attend our churches, parishes, synagogues or mosques and learn absolutely nothing that we practice in our lives.

    We choose to be unforgiving and judgmental. Yet we want to be forgiven and not judged. We claim to want to be treated with love and compassion but do not treat others the same way.

    Yes, this man committed a crime, completed his sentence and because of its nature will forever be reminded of it. The victim will also live with the reminder of what happened. Both will need to practice forgiveness and seek comfort from God.

    However, one alarming fact remains, if only those that were sinless attended church, there would not be a church in existence. More to the point, if God were like us, heaven would be pretty empty.

    September 7, 2009 at 11:06 am |
  148. Violet Weeks

    The Bible spells out what a pastor, or a main leader of the church requirements are. It also spells out the requirements for an elder or deacon. Is this church following the Bible requirement for its church leaders? God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. The plan of salvation has never changed.

    September 7, 2009 at 11:08 am |

    THE NEW TESTAMENT OF THE BIBLE IS VERY CLEAR. IN PAULS LETTERS TO THE CHURCH. HE very clearly states that the leaders of people not be people with sex hangups. YES we should forgive all who sin and welcome them in to the church but their is a higher standard for the leaders of the church. ANY SIN CAN BE FORGIVEN, BUT LEADERS ARE HELD TO A HIGHER CALLING. ALL ARE WELCOME. WOULD you want anyone in your family alone with a person who has a weakness where human nature weakness can take over? THE BIBLE if you study the greek text is very clear and if people want to join that kind of fellowship and cry"wolf" when it blows up in their face DO NOT BLAME GOD! IN this day and age everything that is going on in the world is predicted be it sex,wars,children,parents,poor ministers(moneymen) just before JESUS HIMSELF COMES BACK TO THE JUDGEMENT OF THE SHEEP AND THE WOLVES`!

    September 7, 2009 at 11:14 am |
  150. Bev

    As a mother of two daughters that were sexually offended by their great grandfather,I have difficulties with this. This man was in his 80's when we learned of his life long problem. I also as a Christian know about forgiveness. We are called to forgive all those who sin.Has this man really forgive himself by asking the forgiveness of his victim or victims? He has a story to share with others. One way fo sharing his struggles and how God has helped is by witnessing to others who have some of the same difficulties. Being temped by serving where children are is like giving a drug addiction, alochol addiction, sexual addiction a temptation by placing the cause of the additiction in front of them. Being ordained does not make one a better Christian. In our demonination it gives them the oppurtunity to preach, preform certain celebration in other places around the world. As a Christian we are called to share with all people who Christ is in our lives. Yet we are humans and have weakness. How can he say he will never molest a person again?

    September 7, 2009 at 11:15 am |
  151. The listener

    Here, the issue is a sex offender being ordained. Should he? Well there is obvious controversy on the subject. This man has repented and has continued to heal through Christ Jesus. He is not waiting to prey on another victim. Yes, this is like alcoholism in that it is a lifetime work of staying sober. I use sober as in thinking correctly. This goes for just about everyone in the world, whether it be smoking, using drugs, drinking, sex offenders people with personality disorders, etc. It is life’s work. Should this man be forever forsaken? I believe in the power of God. It appears as if Satan is working through a lot of people to judge this man as if they themselves were God. Has he been healed? No. It is a life’s work to stay sober. If we put ourselves in the position to fail, we will. This man has taken every precaution possible. He NEVER wants to be left alone with a child, and has made that clear to everyone in the church. If this man were waiting for that moment, don’t you think he would be hiding under the radar instead of going public with his story. He isn’t to be trusted alone with kids. That’s not what he is asking for. He knows that would be dancing with the devil. He is clearly showing that he wants to dance with God. Let this man live. Let this man find salvation. Let no man judge lest he himself be judged. God Bless
    a victim, forgiver, and friend who walks with Christ

    September 7, 2009 at 11:22 am |
  152. aaron

    my dad always said dont trust a preacher or your family.... i dont think a sex offender has a right to be loose enless he is on a island with thease attorneys and judges who seem to love them so much... let him start a church for his friends the attorneys and the judges ....i likie the chip idea myself,, for the sex offenders... a 45 slug being the chip of choice.... notice how meny of the jail birds get religion .... i could go on..... i think you get the point...... dont use my name or state if you should print this... no danget in yiu using this anyway...

    September 7, 2009 at 11:24 am |
  153. Carolyn Danley

    People should be given second chances,but the sex offender becoming a pastor. I am pretty sure children will attend this church. NO.NO,NO HE SHOULD NEVER BE ALLOWED AROUND CHILDREN! Some people feel Michael Vick should not have been given a second chance (after conviction,with dog abruse),and he won't be working with dogs. WE SEEM TO HAVE OUR PRIORITIES MIXED UP!

    September 7, 2009 at 11:29 am |
  154. ron judd

    if the man would read the very book he wants to teach he would see that he is not qualified. 11 Timothy 3:2 says he must be above reproach, v.7 says he must bhave a good reputation.
    it's true he can have forgiveness from GOD, but he will have the consequenses of his sin all his life.

    September 7, 2009 at 11:33 am |
  155. Eleanor Mitchell

    Because of a personal experience, I find it hard to believe that a sex offender of children has changed, or that he/she can change. I feel this person in question is simply trying to hide behind religion and the church to do his ungodly acts.

    September 7, 2009 at 11:37 am |
  156. Dave

    The church is taking a risk to be sure, but ONLY TIME will tell if the risk was wise. Mark Hourigan served his sentence, went through rehabilitation and apparently has an excellent reputation within his church community...but again, ONLY TIME will tell if his ordination was the right thing to do. A question: Is a year and a half long enough to know someone well enough to know if they are trustworthy to be ordained (regardless of their history)?

    September 7, 2009 at 11:51 am |
  157. RevEncouraging

    I am sexually addicted. I have pedophile tendencies which I have never acted upon. I am a follower of Christ. Whether man forgives this individual or not is irrelevant. Let one of you throw the first stone. WE have ALL lusted. Anything outside the desires og God is a sin. WE have ALL sinned. Who of us that have lusted but have not been caught? Because we are not caught – does that mean we are still worthy to serve? God calls us – not man. Wouls man had called Saul of Tarsus? No – he was a murderer.God does not make the distintion between the sin of murder or the sin of a sexual crime. They are of the same degree of sin. Sex offenders cannot be man That may be true. But God can do anything!

    September 7, 2009 at 12:02 pm |
  158. Tabatha

    I'd rather not be the one to jugde but on the other hand....the innocence of children is also at risk. I am a victim of a sexual offender and i would be fearful for my children as well as myself. Its nice that the community and the church have forgaven him. It will only take one time for him to vitimize a child and the child will be tramatized forever will long lasting effects. But on the other hand who are we to judge? Im not god!! Im not in charge!! We all make mistakes and we all deserve chances. You ask if i'd go to that church or send my children? OF COURSE NOT!!

    September 7, 2009 at 12:43 pm |
  159. David

    Good Morning Heidi,

    That's a terrible crime. I think he could be forgiven, but maybe he could be on some sort of probation. Seems like as part of forgiveness he has to be honest about his past.

    I'm sorry I missed much of the newscast this morning, so it's difficult to come up with a more thorough opinion. I think many of the comments on this thread are great, thoughtful, to the point.

    I loved your discussion with two parents and a school district rep. about the President's upcoming address to school children. You fairly got to the concerns of parents and how schools are handling this. Is this the first ever presidential address to school children by television?

    On traffic waitng times, yes it can drive people crazy to be sitting in traffic waiting on construction, but then it's not easy, in fact it's dangerous, to be working construction right next to all the cars speeding down the road, or just the flow of traffic on the roadway.

    September 7, 2009 at 12:45 pm |
  160. Marie Yaughn

    People, do your homework. I know of a pedophile with whom I was very close. He seemed normal and you couldn't have told me he would do such a thing. Now that I've researched extensively, it is like putting an alcohol drink in front of an alcoholic and walking away. Wake up people. Forgiveness yes, consequences yes.

    September 7, 2009 at 12:46 pm |
  161. julia

    I find it offensiveg that your lead into this poll states that this church "welcomes gay and transgender" and now will be ordaining this convicted sex offender. By writing in this manner, you have put a convicted felon in the same class as gays and the transgender. I am thankful that you are not reporting this news the same on television. Please re think this.

    September 7, 2009 at 12:52 pm |
  162. Catherine Berryhill

    To be a leader in the church one is suppose to be born-again. I have only one question, is he born-again? If so, I want his testamony. And don't tell me it's a private thing, because when Jesus saves you you want to tell the world. Give us your Blood-bought testamony, Mr. And I want the loony of a preacher testamony of salvation, too. Jesus can heal sex-offenders. Only Jesus can. Testamony please!.

    September 7, 2009 at 12:56 pm |
  163. Pete

    A more important issue.

    The most violent pedophiles will traumatize children for a near life time. The most violent and repeated acts of sodomized pedophilia are generally NOT caught. By the time the child wakes from the trauma, the child is now many times 40, 50 + years old. Meanwhile the pedophile had been traumatizing new victims. Traumatized children have a lower life expectancy.

    Age of the most violent pedophile is meaningless. Sexual gratification is many times not their goal, it is the hate for children that is. Today there are 1000's of pedophiles in the most predominant religion. This religion hires top notch lobbyist to stop laws from passing that would not only give justice to victims, but exposure to the worst pedophiles.

    Americans need to take a stand and support any legislation that opens a window legislation that enables identification to the most violent pedophiles. We have no statutes of limitations on murder and we have caught those years far into the future of their crimes. A murderer usually has only one victim who is dead. A pedophile averages 80 victims who many are still alive, the crimes are the easiest to prove with multiple witnesses.

    Right now our politicians will not pass laws as they should because they are afraid of losing religious votes. I ask the religious and all non-religious to call those in the assembly and senate and tell them you want a window legislation passed.

    Until then, I see only the victims being punished by denial and the pedophiles, as in this news story, getting the rewards.

    Understand that victims of the most violent pedophiles are permanently mentally ill, in institutions and many committed suicide. And the religious are NOT upset at that? What a higher belief it would be to be so strong as to demand justice and help victims, or otherwise you are no different than the rapist – you have established that hating God's children is OK. They are fighting the victims and calling them liars, yet where is everyone now to come to the victims rescue?

    Please understand that most religions are not as guilty, yet they tolerate the worst one instead of helping victims. Simply take a look at California and Maryland where caring legislators have passed a window legislation – over 400 child molesters identified. Even though insurance paid the lions share of case, therefor no organization would have been targeted because of money, over 85% of the cases were against ONE religion. Less than 15% were the combination of all other religions and non related organizations put together.

    We can tell our children to tell us everything, but if they never come home – they can tell us nothing.

    September 7, 2009 at 12:59 pm |
  164. The listener

    At what point was it ever said that Mark would not be around kids? He won't be leading the kids, or with them alone. Is it even comprehensible that someone could live a life away from all kids? While I was overseas I had no direct contact with children. That is the only place you will get away from them, if you don't leave the FOB or have a job in the healthcare system. Let's get real people. You can't eliminate every risky situation. Grow up a little and think before you speak. The ignorance is becoming unbearable. Find solace in Christ.

    September 7, 2009 at 1:08 pm |
  165. Maureen Waits

    Dear CNN Under no circumstances should this man be a minister or even be near any youth or children. you are taking an awful chance with your young ones.Sex offenders do not change they only get sneakier and craftier.This is America's future citizenes you are thinking of letting him loose around.For goodness sake see the light use the brains that God gave you.Take it from one who knows!He might say oh yes I have changed they will say anything to try and bring you round. NO, no, no, Toss him out on his ear.Next time you choose a minister do a lot more background checks on him.God Bless.

    September 7, 2009 at 1:11 pm |
  166. Rick

    forgiveness is one thing. But i wouldn't trust him. But if we trust them here, where else will they be, in our schools!!!

    September 7, 2009 at 1:15 pm |
  167. Violet

    Mark, could attend church, but according to the Bible, he should not be a leader (minister pastor or what ever you want to call it) or elder or deacon in the church. God forgives. And I pray he has reformed, for his sake and the children he may come in contact with.

    Texas has a lot different sex offender laws and for that I am thankful. Perhaps it would be better if they were nationwide.

    September 7, 2009 at 1:34 pm |
  168. Jessica

    This is the worse thuing I have heard in a long time. A registered sex offender becoming a minister...I know GOD does forgive but for a church to accept him as a leader in the church, is that a good role model for the children or evn young adults...(we know it's not for children). Tjis is just a crazy and sick world we live in.I don't believe I would let my child go to the restroom at the church or any other place the sick man was gonna be.As far as the church welcoming gays and transgender, that is also wrong...GOD created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.And for the transgenders, GOD made you the way you were bone for a reason...You please need to hit the alter hard and pray GOD does forgive those who voted this sick man in to be a leader of GOD'S HOUSE...

    September 7, 2009 at 1:44 pm |
  169. pc

    to violet the bible also states women shall have no voice in the church .or be leaders.......

    September 7, 2009 at 1:52 pm |
  170. Robert Johnson

    Oh my people, are you kidding me! This is a no brainer. Jaycee Dugard could have been spared a life of torment and abuse if that animal Phillip Garrido had served the life sentence he was supposed to. Now, I am a flaming homosexual with many transgendered and cross dressing friends. I am a bit of a gender bender myself with my French Pedicure, flamboyant outfits and Jackie O sunglasses, of course! That said, I am also a survivor of abuse. The chance that this 11-year-old boy was his only victim is slim to none. He just happened to get caught. I have a non-violent felony for drug possession from 1994 which caused no one any harm but myself. I am not allowed to work in the medical profession, even as a records clerk, because of JCAOH regulations. I accept that. Also, most reputable landlords will not lease to me because of my 15-year-old felony. I accept that as well. Mark Hourigan lost all his rights to be anywhere near children when he anally penetrated and violated that 11-year-old boy. I apologize for being so graphic, but ’sodomized’ is just too polite for what happened to that young boy. I suffered rectal trauma as a result of being anally violated and have suffered from intimacy issues my entire life and I am now 38. Whether or not Hourigan has paid his debt is a moot point. That kind of perverted sexual impulse never leaves a person and of course Hourigan is going to say he is cured. Ordaining him and allowing him to be part of any institution that involves children is akin to playing Russian Roulette. And as for God healing and forgiving, if praying were enough all good things would have come to pass. But God gave humans free will and the power of rational thought unlike any other species on the planet. Without getting into a theological debate, it would be completely irrational and I firmly believe against God’s will for society to put Hourigan in such a position. Instead of all this talk about forgiving Hourigan and his right to a second chance, how about devoting some thought to the victim. He will never have a second chance for this never to have happened. His life will never be the same and hopefully he is not drug addled as I was for many years trying to numb the pain. Some crimes against humanity are just beyond redemption here on earth. I can’t speak to what will happen to Hourigan after his life on earth. I would only hope that it is one filled with plenty of fire and brimstone. An eye for an eye does not leave the whole world blind. It keeps our children safe from monsters like Hourigan. And I assure you anyone capable of doing what Hourigan did to that 11-year-old boy is most definitely a monster. Thank you.

    September 7, 2009 at 1:54 pm |
  171. John Meadows

    I do not practice the religion that this topic is involved with but I do know that Christianity preaches forgiveness and acceptance and this is a prime example of not following what you preach. I would say no way, but for members of this church to "bend" there own teachings is a good example of how serious they take there own religion.

    September 7, 2009 at 1:59 pm |
  172. Sue in Newtown, PA

    I do believe in second chances, but not to do anything they well please. Depending on the offender's crimes they should be limited to the fields of work they can get into after serving their sentence. I am not a religious person, but why does it seem to me that anybody who wants to be a minister can be one? It seems to me to be just a position of status in the church, which this man should have none.

    September 7, 2009 at 2:25 pm |
  173. bubunja

    He had ruined 11-year old boy's life or at least had scarred his soul for life. Maybe he deserves some forgiveness, but to become a minister? ...

    September 7, 2009 at 2:36 pm |
  174. Randy

    There is no cure for this kind of criminal behavior, people time and time re offend and no amount of rehabilitation is going to change the sociopaths behavior deeply held by this man. He should not be ordained, he should be ministered to not ministering to others, he needs to realize its a calling that is not suited to his failings.

    September 7, 2009 at 2:40 pm |
  175. Darrick Coleman-Reed

    Well for some of the people on here commenting I say this, KNOW A MAN BEFORE YOU COMMENT ON HIS SITUATION!!! I know this man, I goto church with this man, and I will stand by this man the same way our church is standing by him. If you don't believe a man can goto prison serve his time and be rehabilitated, then shut down the prisons and let them all out. Don't arrest someone for a crime, slap em on the hand and let them go...That is what we do for rich people in this country, so why not. This is the perfect example, we do not listen to what we say when we say it, we don't think in this country anymore, we let everyone who claims they are an export think for us. So as I said earlier, get to know the man, before ya have him condemned to death, even after he has done what he can to make thinks right. We need to remember one thing in this country , it ain't about us, it is about GOD!!!!! We don't judge a man or woman, God does, so if you are gonna judge, STOP, and at least make an attempt to think about it, if not , stay dumb and believe everything the world tells ya.

    September 7, 2009 at 2:46 pm |
  176. Jessica C.

    It is bad enough that it has been well known that priests, bishops and such that been offenders themselves seem to just slip by without recourse in most cases. They are tranferred to other parishes to do the same thing again. By all means, it makes perfect sense to let a sex offender become a minister so he will be engaged in a more intimate and personal setting with people and their families. He stated during an interview that he has been taught to think differently. Well...that makes me feel much better!

    September 7, 2009 at 2:57 pm |
  177. Sonia Ingles

    I recently quit the job I held for eight years as the Director of Children & Youth Ministry at a northwest Episcopal Church. While I have a great deal of faith in the value of spiritual communities...well, buyer beware. I learned first-hand about the power of denial among the faithful, especially regarding clergy misconduct, after our vicar chaperoned a pilgrimage trip with our youth. To say that he did not conduct himself appropriately with our teens would be an understatement, and after those youth and their other chaperone stepped forward to report the behavior they observed, it came out that he had conducted himself inappropriately in other situations as well. We're talking about inappropriate language, humor, comments, and touching ~ who knows how much farther it may have gone in our church, how many people he may have hurt, if these teens had not come forward. He never took genuine responsibility for his actions, and instead attempted to turn the congregation against the teens and their families. Though a small group of parishioners tried for more than a year to push for accountability, the diocese has never held this man responsible for his actions in any tangible way. He did finally resign as vicar at our church, but with the full support of our bishop is now leading another parish and is president of the Clergy Association in that same diocese. And how were the teens and their supporters rewarded for coming forward? They were branded as unforgiving, unChristian, difficult, even "venomous," to list just a few adjectives. The take-away lesson? For anyone participating in a spiritual community or seeking to do so, know that church organizations are a law unto themselves and are very often unwilling to hold people, particularly clergy, accountable for misconduct. Buyer beware.

    September 7, 2009 at 3:10 pm |
  178. Sharqueen

    And of course, this guy just HAD to have a job where he could be a 'trusted' elder to children. Rehabilitated or not, he needs to find work where there are only adults. Besides, my understanding is that rehab doesn't have much of a chance against sexual predators. Predatory behavior seems to continue for life regardless of treatment or lack thereof...but then, it isn't even a little bit surprising that this guy will be trolling in church. Lots of 'em do.
    One thing about religion. You can go ahead and rape, murder, assault, steal, lie, etc., etc., and then say you've been 'born again' and start the madness anew.

    September 7, 2009 at 3:20 pm |
  179. bob


    September 7, 2009 at 3:24 pm |
  180. Julie

    I was abused at 12,and understand completely that people look at this man and would be upset by the idea of being a minister.But if the man who abused me approached me today and said I am sorry,I have been in rehabilatation,feel cured,come to know God,and am truely sorry I hurt you,that would mean the world to me,but by no means would I leave my daughter with him.
    We could talk and fellowship together,but never would he be allowed to be in a room alone with him.
    That is what the church needs to do,just to be on the same side and others should not judge him.

    September 7, 2009 at 3:34 pm |
  181. watcher on the wall

    I was pleased to see a fair balance of support and criticism in the responses to the story. As a member of the congregation that will ordain Mark, my comment is that I do not know him as a criminal. If the only knowledge I had was the nature of his offense, then I would likely be against his ordination, however, my knowledge of Mark as a person gives me confidence to acknowledge his calling to serve the church as an ordained minister.

    If anyone recognises the Body of Christ as being a single unit, then it must also be understood that we have a responsibility to watch over and help each other to stay on course. I applaud Mark for sharing his weakness so that others can understand and help him. More Christians need to learn the value of confessing their weakness, so they can benefit from the strength of the many. We only do harm to ourselves when we bite and devour each other in order to "prove" our superiority.

    September 7, 2009 at 3:35 pm |
  182. Sarah A

    As long as sex offenders WHO HAVE SERVED THEIR TIME continue to be viewed as pariahs, their chances for long term rehabilitation are low. If for only the selfish reason of feeling safer, communities should be reaching out to these folks and giving them a chance to demonstrate that they can be productive, functioning members of society. That said, I don't feel that it's unreasonable or impractical to exercise common sense, and insist upon adequate supervision and positions that don't place the offender in vulnerable situations-around children, for example. Offenders who are serious about continuing their rehabilitation will not have an issue with this......

    September 7, 2009 at 3:39 pm |
  183. Pat

    Wow!! hes still attracted to young males and he wants to become ordained pastor..Come on!! Thats discusting

    September 7, 2009 at 3:55 pm |
  184. frank evers

    it's very simple; the sex offender should become a catholic priest; kill 2 birds with 1 stone

    September 7, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  185. Preach

    I have done ministry in prisons with pedophiles and homosexuals. Putting that "misfit" to society in the pulpit or close to any children is more than I can even understand. The other minister need to pray REALLY HARD about what he is anticipating.

    September 7, 2009 at 3:58 pm |
  186. Meg

    I am not sure why you felt the need to include the fact that this church accepts people who are gay or transgendered. You come across as ignorant or uneducated in doing so.

    September 7, 2009 at 3:58 pm |
  187. Sam Caldwell

    My crimes occurred 15 years ago when I was 17 and 18, respectively. I am now 34, married, and struggling to be productive in society. It is nice to see some organization which is willing to practice what it preaches.

    According to a Texas state agency website, recidivism for sex offenders who have completed a treatment program is lower than that of other non-sexual offenders (see, citing Hansen 2004.

    There are more than a half-million sex offenders in the United States. If recidivism were as high as many have been lead to believe, then with over a half-million offenders currently out there, the crime rate would be significantly higher.

    September 7, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  188. James Edward Taylor

    No, no no! This person, an already convicted child molestor, should never be allowed to become an Ordained Minister (of any denonimation), but sould be in prison... God is foregiving and compassionate, but for sure, wouldn't want him anywhere near Children, let alone a pulpit.

    September 7, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  189. darla12

    This is the terrible, a register sex offender who admits he still have a desire to offend, what kind message will he send, its okay to rape young boys and then hide behind the church? how sad for the church that is excepting dare you try to use God.close down the church and throw away the key. too many people are led astray by false dare they use the word minister, or pastor, God forbid, whoever votes this man in will be judged by God

    September 7, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  190. Tom

    If this sex offender wants to become a minister, he should just join the Catholic church.

    September 7, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  191. Brandy

    It is written "let him who is without sin cast the first stone". No person walking this earth is without sin, nor is anyone perfect. Who are we to judge? People who truly want to be transformed can be changed by God's grace. I stand in agreement with what College Senior wrote and I quote "I think what that church is doing is courageous and shows the true light of Christianity through forgiveness. Look at the first ministers of the church. Saul (Paul) is a perfect example of an awful human being converted by Christ’s love into one of the church’s greatest leaders."

    1 Corinthians 1:27-29 reads "But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him."

    This man deserves a chance, just as all other offenders (prostitutes, murderers, drug dealers, etc.) who have come to know the Lord. God can do miraculous things. How well do we as people know anyone? We only know what people reveal to us, any one of us could live next to a born again Christian who did time for murder and unknowingly we call him our friend. Judge not lest ye be judged.

    Until you yourself know and have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ you cannot understand the awesomeness of God's power, mercy and forgivness.

    September 7, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  192. Nina Carman

    On the topic of sex offenders being ordained, I don't particularly agree that it is a good idea but that should a case by case decision. I can't recall that same question being made when a convicted murderer, wife beater, rapist, or terrorist is ordained in any church.

    I believe in a second chance for anyone, not third or forth chance.

    September 7, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  193. becky

    God forgives our sins no matter what the sin is. Therefore who are we to judge, people do change God bless this man and the church.

    September 7, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  194. allen V

    NO! The right to forgive this is GODS. They might think they are equal to God. But they are not. Also if they do this. Than they should be also responsible if future problems a rise.

    September 7, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  195. Rebecca Thornton

    Science as proven that their is no cure for pedophiles. The Bible is something that can be interpreted in many way. As a mother and a Christian I know one thing Satan was God's favorite angel until he sinned and was kicked out of Heaven for his sins. I say let a pedophile become a Minister when Satan is allowed back into Heaven.

    September 7, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  196. Brenda

    I live in Colorado I do not go to church. And this is why I believe that there are people in the church just to cover up what they are doing. I think it is a crying out load shame. There are enough of predators in the system as it is. It looks like he wants to get close to children.

    September 7, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  197. Shelli

    Why not just invite a shark to the pool when you do your baptizing?

    September 7, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  198. Cynthia

    I was molested as a child, myself and I have know idea what ever happened to the man (though I know his name). Everyone knew, but because I was so young, authorities urged my parents not to bring it up unless I did. I knew that they knew & it was too painful to talk about, so I never mentioned it again until I was in college. Although, years of medication, sick days, stays in mental hospital could not help me work through my grief and loss and pain, it took God to turn it around through an angel on earth, Mark Hourigan.

    The Bible tells us that our souls will bear witness with each other. Those of us who truly have Christ and have given this man an opportunity to prove himself can truly see CHRIST working in him! He was never shady or dishonest; the congregation is fully aware of his past, but if we are all eternally defined by our past, then God condemn us all!

    Mark never wants to be put in a risky situation, nor to be accused; therefore, he & our church body helps to keep him out of these situations.

    Many have commented that he should minister to others in prison or counsel other sex offenders, and he does just that. Within our church, God has used this man to bring others to Christ. There are children in our church and parents are aware of it all.

    Those Christians placing judgment need to get back to their roots and be reminded of who Christ is and the many amazing prophets, ministers, apostles and such that WERE murderers, liars, theives, abusers, and so much more. Stop splitting hairs with legalism and focusing on what WAS and start using TRUE prayer and the living Word of God to "allow" God to work and do as He has planned - or do you think you know better than He??

    September 7, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  199. Linda from Pahrump

    What is the world coming too? While a pedophile tries to become a minister, another is advocating the death of another human being. I think that GOD must be sorely tested these days.

    September 7, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  200. Ryan

    In other related news Charles Mason is opening a after school program for troubled teens. Register now and get a free t-shirt for Mom & Dad.

    September 7, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  201. Brenda

    I believed that we should all get a second chance. I know that it can be really hard to believe that a sex offender has changed but keep in mind that the bible says that nothing is impossible for god to do. God came to this earth and died for all of our sins therefore we need to give this guy an opportunity to change his life and support him. you are not a judge, GOD is! Only god knows if he has good feelings and has change.

    September 7, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  202. karen

    I agree with Kat. You showed your own bias by saying this church accepts homosexuals and transgenders. This person is a sex offender- not a homosexual. There's a major difference. Being a pedofile is a completely different type of sexuality than being a heterosexual or homosexual.

    All that aside- its completely astonishing that this church would allow a past offender to be a minister. This is a no brainer to me. The answer is no. There is no debate.

    September 7, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  203. Mike

    After reading all of these comments I am both delighted and furious. It's amazing that America has so many "perfect" people who have the right to pass judgment on others. It's also comforting to see so many of God's children are exactly who they claim to be. I am a firm believer in God's power and love. It is His will for this man to be forgiven and to go forth and sin no more. The apostle Paul would never have been known if God agreed to the ways of man and this world (he called himself the chief of all sinners because he killed people who followed Christ). The pharisees also claimed to be God's children. But as we know they were certainly not. Those of you claiming to be Christians and then yelling "crucify him!" against this man are nothing less than pharisees. If you don't believe that God has changed this person's life then admit who you really are and go into the world and join your family. Myself and the TRUE believers are convinced of God's power and will for this man. Many of you are using the children's safety as an excuse to persecute him. My faith in God and His word to us is enough to put my mind and heart at ease concerning the safety of children (or anyone). It is well known and documented that the world (I.E. social services and politicians) use the Angel Of Light tactic to gain your support in their relentless persecution of mankind. I am not in favor of anyone harming children. But I do know a "wolf in sheep's clothing" when it slithers by. Satan is called an Angel Of Light. That is exactly what the politicians and social services are. And it is exactly what is happening in the world today. Just listen to yourselves!! You pretend to be children of God and then support the relentless persecution of someone who is publicly branded by your Angel Of Light. This is expected of the world. But it is shameful to those of you who don't realize you are indeed a pharisee. Maybe some day you'll find yourself in the same arena as this man. Then you'll know what it's like to have people like you (the pharisees) tormenting you all your days. To those of you who are TRUE children of God, I say to you, "God bless you, prosper you and keep you close to Him always".

    September 7, 2009 at 8:18 pm |
  204. Daniel

    NO! They cannot – this man even said that it was in his "mind" and has not even thought of castration. THIS VERY SAME THING HAPPENED IN TENNESSEE, John David Marrie was released from Texas, serving 12 years in prison for raping a young boy, he came straight to TN, went to his family's church, and did the VERY SAME THING to 13 boys. These people ALWAYS re-offend.

    September 7, 2009 at 8:53 pm |
  205. audrey

    A registered sex offender as a Minister? GIVE ME A BREAK! What on earth is wrong with these people? Don't they remember all the lives that have already been ruined by the Priest's sexual misconduct? For God's sake, NO.....

    September 7, 2009 at 9:34 pm |
  206. mom

    Wow. I am just stunned at the amount of judgement and negativity coming from people. People claiming to be Jesus Loving Christians. Do you know that following the teachings of Jesus Christ is what the criteria is for being a Christian? That is what we are trying to do at The City of Refuge Worship Center.

    September 7, 2009 at 10:39 pm |
  207. Lisa

    The bible should be the authority here.
    While it is true that God forgives, there are still consequences of our behavior that we need to accept. King David sinned with Bathsheba, he under the Mosaic Law would have been put to death for his adultery with her and having her husband killed. God was merciful toward him because David had been merciful in the past to others. But he was told that he would still have trouble in his house from then on and he did. That was from the consequences of his behavior. the same goes with this man. He may have been forgiven (that is for God to know) and he may not practice this again but the consequence is that he should not have access to children or be in a position of teaching. It only makes sense.
    But then again this church already throws the bible out the window by accepting and promoting, homosexuality, fornication and other moral sins that the bible condemns so why are any of us surprised. I do not care if this steps on toes. Read it for yourself at 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 and Romans 1:26,27.

    September 7, 2009 at 10:56 pm |
  208. disgusted in canada


    September 7, 2009 at 11:27 pm |
  209. Matt

    As a minister myself, I have to remind people there is accountability and consequences for actions. Certainly, we need to forgive this man, but the accountability factor has been forgotten. He has a place in the church but, I'm sorry, not in leadership. The leadership of the church is irresponsible. The guy in charge of the church has only observed the RSO for 18 months. Give me a break. I pray for the safety of the people and hope this doesn't become another negative cover story against the church in the future.

    September 8, 2009 at 12:01 am |
  210. JLB1717

    This is completely insane..Why is it that because it has to do with a church, that some people think that is ok and play the FORGIVENESS card..Are there any ex sex offenders that are teachers, or daycare workers, etc..I know that I would feel very uncomfortable with my children going to the church with this guy around..It's a disgusting thing that happens to too many children and the end result is a life time of emotional issues..Why would any organization put even ONE child at risk.. ..You can forgive him without giving him this status as being ordained..Completely RIDICULOUS..

    September 8, 2009 at 1:07 am |
  211. Sylvia

    I am all for anyone being given an opportunity to demonstrate they have become fully rehabilitated, I work with many such ex offenders everyday in my career as a vocational counselor, however, I believe there should be a path that clearly demonstrates a person has made that commitment to becoming fully rehabilitated and this path shows progress over a longer amount of time that what was discussed in this case. I think it is great that this young man has been seen to be aligned in his walk with the Lord for the last year and a half; however, a year and a half in the community seems a bit short of an appropriate amount of time for a person to be considered fully rehabilitated as a sex offender given the nature of the committed offense. In California there is a program called Conditional Release, where a registered offender who is released from the state hospital system is transitioned to a day program where they are monitored and required to participate in daily therapeutic program activities structured to not just have the person under close surveillance, but to provide a way for the person to build themselves back as a contributing member of society while learning the tools to maintain corrected behaviors and in some cases, earn a legal designation as a rehabilitated person (that 2% noted in the report). By the time I work with a person from this program they have been in a daily program and closely monitored for nearly three years minimum under the guidance of mental health professionals, department of corrections and law enforcement. This is after they are released from the state hospital or prison system. The ones who have been in longer than three years tend to be more successful at finding a job and being allowed to keep a small apartment and continue to be monitored throughout the process; those I have worked with who have only been in this program less than two years tend to get picked up for a violation and sent back to their program and are even more closely restricted to participating in the community. The question we all have to ask is, when do you want to take a chance this person is a member of that "2%" club and will never harm a child again?

    September 8, 2009 at 1:58 am |
  212. Laura

    Of course the Church should forgive him, that's what they tend to preach. That doesn't mean they should put children at risk and make him, what is essentially, an example. People do change (and I'm not saying this guy has, I don't know), but even reformed people can fall back on old habits; it's not worth it to put even one more child at risk.

    September 8, 2009 at 3:22 am |
  213. What about the pastor?

    Is the pastor of this church married? What is his background? What demonination is this church? Are they accepting of the GLTB lifestyle or do they counsel people to leave that life?

    While the main story is about the oridination of a sex offender, there has to be more to the story of this church. If they are accepting of all of the above, they cannot be a mainstream evangelical church affiliated with a major demonination. So...who are these people?

    September 8, 2009 at 4:30 am |
  214. Joel Weinberg

    I am not sure what is the worst of two evils. Allowing this "man" to be ordained or the conservatives ridiculous comments about the president's school speech today.

    September 8, 2009 at 5:22 am |
  215. Pastor Dennis

    I have been an ordained pastor for many years. This is simply not acceptable! I also reach out to children who have been physically and mentally-abused by these sex offenders in counseling sessions. This is a sickness that is quite different than any other addiction. I believe that this organization (who will ordain this minister) does not know what the full impact of what they are about to do. They are in for a "nightmarish" situation~ Cordially, Pastor D

    P.S. Love your show Heidi!! Bless YOU!!!

    September 8, 2009 at 7:40 am |
  216. Sam Caldwell

    Has anyone stopped to consider that PUBLISHED statistics show a different picture? Most sex offenders who get professional help NEVER re-offend. See

    September 8, 2009 at 8:27 am |
  217. Michelle

    Whilel I appreciate the many comments made by "Christians" who believe this man should be allowed to be ordained.......I also know many "Christians" who feel that attending church on Sunday makes you a perfect person and holier than it would follow that if I stand in my garage that would make me a car. This really isn't about him being ordained as a pastor of this church – it is more about the touting of the Christian way of life. In my mind, the best Christians I know are silent about their beliefs but speak very loudly in their actions. They quietly go about living good lives, some never darken the doorway of a church but have purity in their heart. This man is not, and never will be a Christian.......he committed a horrible crime against a vulnerable person and I don't care how much forgiveness he asks for and is "given" by this church – the church should be far more interested in ministering to the victim(s) and their families. This man should not be the one given a privelge.

    September 8, 2009 at 10:28 am |
  218. Chris

    A child molester is always a child molester.

    If he were once a terrorist..... would the CIA or FBI hire him?

    If he were once a drug addict.... would the MTA or Transit businesses hire you to transport people and operate heavy machinery?

    If he were once a murderer with guns..... would the NRA give him another gun?

    Come on people, who would allow their child near a former child molester?

    September 8, 2009 at 11:21 am |
  219. Rochelle Sharps

    I feel that this sex offender only has to look to the Lord for his forgiveness but for the church to ordain him as a minister and except that he will not come into contact with children at the church is nothing short of ridiculous. Unless no children attend or are aloud to step foot in this church..


    September 8, 2009 at 12:17 pm |
  220. Lucy, Texas

    Forgiving is great. Some people make mistakes and learn by them to be a better person and some people don't. Child molestation is all about gaining confidence and getting the child not to tell adults what is going on. That is the reason why parents can look online and see if a registered sex offender lives in their neighborhood. How can the church enforce that he won't have contact with children? ...By giving him a position of respect and power within the church....I'd rethink that one. Sounds like it is any accident waiting to happen.

    September 8, 2009 at 12:26 pm |
  221. cece

    The church has to accept his word that he has changed and forgive him, but to ordain him as a minister is stupid beyond compare. As a minister, he will be able to function legally under confidentiality laws and he cannot, as a violent criminal charged with a CAP (crime against person) , not even counting a sex crime against a child be ordained a a minister in any reputable church. I am a missionary and I have come across one young bishop who has committed crimes over and over on young men who do not want to follow up in a court appearance after being brutalized. The criminal has escalated in his crimes, the last victim requiring hospitalization. He still walks the street and wants to preach. Only until a parent takes the law into his own hands will this madness stop.

    September 8, 2009 at 12:45 pm |
  222. Mark Ivan Wallace

    You know, when it comes to sex offenders we just never seem to learn. Like a leopard they never change their spots and when hungry, pounce on their unsuspecting prey every chance they get get.

    Mark Wallace
    St. Louis, Mo.

    September 8, 2009 at 1:07 pm |
  223. rachel s.

    if the people of the church accept him thats there choice... i wouldn't even walk past this church myself. parents have the option to leave if they want.

    September 8, 2009 at 1:22 pm |
  224. Gloria Nwosi

    Women are not allowed to become ordained ministers because they were born without male sex organs but this man is allowed. This is an outrage! This church deserves what it gets and parents attending this church are irresponsible for putting the children at risk. This sex offender is more than likely salivating the thought of just watching the children. This man clearly has a problem. This is not a matter of forgiveness and this illness is not about forgiving and forgetting. This is about a man getting continuous treatment because there is no cure. Why endanger the children to prove a point?

    September 8, 2009 at 2:04 pm |
  225. Mr. M. W. Delaney

    Well, the age old saying quoted time and time again from within the Church has always been " Judge not that ye be not Judge" (Matthew 7:1), or “Forgive, anyone who has wrong you in any way; up to seventy-seven times” (Matthew 18:22). So, if the church and not just this particular church here in Louisville, Kentucky but throughout the world have began to spread and are spreading the message of “Forgiveness” and leading by example (showing the meaning of forgiveness) then what we see is the global vision of the Universal Church finally taking some shape. I mean the Universal Church (laymen) is finally walking the walk and not just caring the book on the message of “True Forgiveness”! The church as a whole has been guilty of concealing or just being plain old’ hypocritical about some of the basic ethical biblical truths within their faith for years by judging and by not showing true forgiveness. I think that the church (Universal) should cease this moment to even continually spread the message onward on “Forgiveness” and also, use this break in time to even take it a step further and give out some of the “B” attitudes notions as well; while there at it. Which might I add, are by the way indeed very ethical in order in my opinion to have the right perspective in regards to humanity but are lacking in the lifestyles across the church as a whole. In a sense, all of this has found a rightful place within the divine plan for the message of Christianity –which is drawing others through the Power of forgiveness. Now, however be it I may feel about the grossness of this man’s identifiable sin; for me forgiveness is yet STILL all good and should be the call of the modern day church believer. I’ll leave it here, I haven’t read anywhere were it states that in order to become tolerable you have to tolerate or do we? My conclusion, this Man has to deal with his GOD and each of us will one day also have to do the same but as we all eagerly await the call of the “Higher One” (who calls) let’s each of us focus on making life a little more easier for someone else by exercising the right to forgive!

    September 8, 2009 at 2:15 pm |
  226. Christianman

    Well just as was thought there is more victims out there!! NOT A ONE TIME THING!!!

    The x-wife of this man has now spoken!!!

    Another child was a victim!! HOW MANY MORE ARE OUT THERE?


    The Gay community needs to take a stand against this church as well, for this will soon affect the whole gay community and all the hard work you have achieved over the many years!!!!


    Thank You to the X-Wife!!
    For bring more of the truth out!! I just hope that if there are more of his victims out there that they may find the strength and the guidance from God to come forth and put a stop to this.
    If you watch the CNN interview close you will also see that this sick man was involved with a church while he was molesting these very young kids hiding behind the same, working towards becoming a minister!!!

    If he can do this to his own relatives just think what he may have done to others!!
    This is so easy to read the truth now!! What this man is!

    Take it from the X-Wife and now you know!

    September 8, 2009 at 2:34 pm |
  227. Jonnye Stewart, TX

    Forgiveness is a practicing quality of Christianity. I see no problem with leaders of the church forgiving this man. I do feel that the leaders of the church have a responsibility informing it's members of this sexual offenders past. If they choose to take their membership elswhere for the safety of their children that's something the church will have to accept. Personally, I feel a sex offender should never be left alone with any child at any time, even if he becomes an ordained minister.

    September 8, 2009 at 2:34 pm |
  228. terik ororke

    Well. why not? In a supposedly christian country there are certainly consequences to be paid for a crime, but is there not also supposed to be forgiveness? Some may say that forgivness, yes, but ordination–no. Anyone ever hear of Kind David and some of the things that he did? If you want to punish anyone, then go after drug pusers–even CNN reported that every american paper bill in circulation is tainted with cocaine. Is that not more of a danger to children–drug pushers who go free and never have to register as offenders.

    September 8, 2009 at 2:54 pm |
  229. KFB

    If he'd been in jail for theft or vandalism, I'd understand giving him another chance. He was in jail for raping a child. There's no "rehabilitating" that – the justice system needs to wake up and realize the only way to keep kids safe from these people is to keep convicted pedophiles locked away forever. That little boy will have to deal with what happened for the rest of his life. So should his attacker.

    September 8, 2009 at 2:57 pm |
  230. David A Whitaker

    Rick as a christian we have to believe in the forgiveness of other. Of course we cannot forget, but we're suppose to forgive. All of these so called christian they are the main one throwing stone at this young man. Anyone that turn their life over to God is a good thing. I am not naive to think if it was my child the in devil in me say kill, but I do believe in god and forgiveness.

    Martinsburg, WV

    September 8, 2009 at 3:34 pm |
  231. anonymous

    I have read posts about forgiveness and god's will and other things.
    I have read posts about drug addictions.

    We are talking about a person that will be in a position of a minister, a leader in a church. Not someone who is just in attendance at a service.

    We are talking about someone who already had sex with an 11 yr. old boy.

    Does this really need anymore debate?

    September 8, 2009 at 6:38 pm |
  232. Brian Z.

    I'm a "Registered Sex Offender" and have been for about 8 years now. I haven't reoffended and won't. I got sucked into a deal because I was scared of going to prison. The Public Defender Pat Fogerty really failed me. When it was time for the Grand Jury Indictment, I never had a chance to Testify in my own defense. My natural given right under the Bill of Rights. In my opinion, they were violated. Nothing happened to her for Violating someones given Civil Rights. Why do all of us who do have a chance at becoming good citizens have to suffer for the rest of our life? The system can take a flying leap because they are just as bad as the people they are supposed to defend or put away.

    September 9, 2009 at 4:27 am |
  233. Brian Z.

    What am I supposed to do with my life now? I can't find a job. I've wanted to be in Law Enforcement my whole life. Can't happen now because "Sex Offenders aren't rehabilitatable? B. S. I don't believe that it's a disease either. Not in all cases. People need to quit bringing up skelitons in everyone elses lives and start digging up their own truths. I have many talents and I will be a figment in society again. I won't give up my cause and the ones responcable for my own misfortune will pay the price someday, somehow, and however I really don't care...

    September 9, 2009 at 4:34 am |
  234. Pete

    Raping someone has lifelong effects Brian. It is stealing their soul, robbing them of dignity and destroying their self. Is it OK that the perpetrator can get off so easy? Eight years is nothing compared to the damage done.

    September 9, 2009 at 8:46 am |
  235. C F from CT

    This is beyond the pale – just doesn't get worse than this...

    September 9, 2009 at 2:05 pm |
  236. NG

    I agree with Pete- there should be tougher imprisonment laws for child sex offenders. This guy did not serve enough time for the damage he has done and should not be allowed to be a minister.

    September 10, 2009 at 2:00 pm |
  237. steve025

    God does heal. He also forgives. Far more than those you hurt. I too am an offender, and without the people in my life to stand by me and give me a second chance, I would probably not be here. My live has changed so much since my offence that I'm like a new person. Until something comes along that I'm told I can't do because of what I have done so many years ago. I believe he deserves a second chance. If he has sought any counciling, he should know when to walk away from a situation that might be harmful, be will know that God will give him the strengh to perservere. My he walk with God forever and find peace.

    September 10, 2009 at 10:59 pm |
  238. Eric from Ft. Lauderdale

    Are you kidding me!!!!....

    September 14, 2009 at 9:11 am |
  239. Andy

    I cannot believe what i am seeing on here, what you all need to be asking yourselves is what if it was your child he abused? could you forgive the man who abused your child? I for one say NO WAY!!!
    How can you say he served his time so he should be allowed to continue on with his life? what about the victim... he will never be the same again nor will his family.
    He should not be allowed to be part of anything that potentially involves children whether it be a pastor or a school teacher.

    September 14, 2009 at 9:56 am |
  240. pappus

    Most of the sex offenders all that are talking about are from 18 two 26. They where not tought that if they was with a a Girl 17 years of age that there life would be ruined for ever. How we forget that the Governor changed some laws to keep a young 18 year old from spending 10 years in prison. How time has changed rememder when familys was started at 15 years old and they are still a family. These prediators should never be released. Research has showed that non violent offenders are not repeat offenders. They are a lot of young peoples lifes being destroyed by the sex offenders laws today. And if you have children that is that age they need to be told the penality they face if they cannot control there hormonies, I think they teach them brith control but not the jail time and never having a future or good job if they are ever accused buy a male or female for sex offense. This man Mark he has paid his dews and who knows but him and the man above if he is guily or not. If the prosecutor had a good case why did he or she not give him the maxium sentence. They are alot of criminals out there that are harming our children with substance abuse Chemicals and are not on a list. Young men and women find out the laws in your state before you end up like Mark and cannot have a life. If these prosecutors can get a convicition they do not care how old you are. Remember the Duke Lacrose case and Mike NiFong he was trying to futher his care and he would have sent these young men to prison if there parents did not have the money to hire good attroneys to defend them. He is now looking for a job. Be careful you see how this can ruin your life guilty or not guilty. Glade not to have answer to people on the next Journey.

    September 14, 2009 at 9:54 pm |
  241. k strand

    The whole sex offender registry is botched. Only 4% of guys /gals on the registry are true molestors/rapists. The registry is filled with consensual/ statutory cases and juvenille cases(19 year olds with 16 year olds).Lisa Madigan just tries to pump up her ratings by pumping up public hysteria, yet the registry is outdated,profiles to many cases that are harmless and is just a whipping post for polititcans. Was Elvis Presley,Jerry lee Lewis, Jimmy Page,Humphrey Bogart, Charlie Chaplin and Jake Lomatta all “sex offenders” for dating/marrying teenage girls as men? Come on really,how about all our grandfathers from the old country marrying our grandmothers as teens,are they all”sex Offenders”?.Time to grow up,put the age of consent at 15 like europe and Canada and lets get onto the real criminals.

    This whole sex offender issue is like the marijuanna issue,its the big elephant in the room no one really wants to discuss. Any moron in this day and age should know that there are millions of casual mariuanna smokers in this country who are not gangsters,meth lab runners or even criminal. Yet we allow our justice system to terrorize, incarcerate and arrest people for smoking a herb that has been proven time and time again not to be addicting or even dangerous. Yet alchohol is legal. Sex offenders are the same way; any idiot who thinks that adolescents who date each other is a “sex offense” has lost their mind in some kind of puritan madness. Even a 30 year old man who dates a 16 year old consensually—who cares!!!! If a 15 year old girl goes to an older mans house repeatedly for consensual sex,sorry she is not being raped.(unless she is mentally retarded).Europe and Canada are way ahead of us on this,theve set the consent age at 14,if parents dont like it,to bad. Try controlling a teenager,good luck. Im tired of this christianized hysteria over drugs and sex. the real pedophiles can get away with what theyre doing because the police are to busy monitoring statutory -consensual cases in the thousands on the sex registry. Sorry, the police cannot be everywhere. Where do you want them the most?;in front of a child molestors house or sitting in front of a guys house like Elvis Presley ,who married a teenager. Think about it!!!!!!!!!

    September 15, 2009 at 1:39 am |
  242. j m

    i think it is okay to forgive this individual, i think it is ok for him to go on and preach the word of God, no person is without sin, BUT really think about it, is he going to be able to touch this subject when he's preaching? Great if he can, me personally, i doubt it. Another thing being ordainded as a minister this will now be his profession right? Think about all the crimes that are taken into consideration that prevent people from having certain professions, doctor, nurse, teacher. if you say go ahead and let this ex-child molester become a minister and be around children, might as well throw out the regulations that prevent people from getting into these professions (let the nurse who abuses the elderly continue to work with them). These regulations should be put in place for people becoming ministers as well. i could go on about this, but i will not, this is crazy, ask yourself this question though, would you leave him alone with your child, not even just him, any ex offender who has claimed they changed?!

    September 15, 2009 at 10:30 pm |
  243. mandiroze

    This is to JC,

    I don't think the issue is whether or not to let this man be part of the church. The issue is whether or not to put a predator in a position of power. Where are the details regarding this man's CONTINUED treatment? We all know that pedophiles are extremely difficult to rehabilitate, so what steps is this man taking to continue treating his illness? We do not know. If he wants to devote his life to God- great. In my opinion, when he sodomized an 11 year-old boy, he FOREVER gave up his right to certain things...and in order to protect children, he should absolutely not be a minister. Anyway, the real issue is not this man's rights, but not to take any chances with destroying any more children.

    September 16, 2009 at 3:06 pm |
  244. Sandy

    What?! This is unbelievable...when this church holds Sunday sermons and other events I think they will see its Congregation deplete to a handful of his prison buddies and maybe his mother...ridiculous! What is wrong with these people!?

    September 17, 2009 at 10:27 am |
  245. John Carr

    I have been following the comments on this subject for several days.
    It is highly emotional and in my opinion blown completely out of porportion. I have seen reoffending rates quoted as high as 98% and I have read studies where with thearpy, rates are under 3%. This subject has created a hysteria, most of it fueled by media and politicians who want to get reelected. I say everyone makes poor choices from time to time. Everyone deserves a second chance to forgo making that bad choice again. Just look in the mirror, and you will see a person who at some time in thier life made a bad choice.
    Now be willing to give another the same oppurtunity you had.

    September 17, 2009 at 11:11 am |
  246. Pete

    What you do not see is that most will not get caught with the same crime. Re offending requires getting caught. Known: Pedos are pedos for life and that is fact. Some will wait 10 to 15 years before their next victim. Some will hide behind, I'm cured.

    The lions share of pedo crimes go uncaught. These are the most cunning criminals.

    The more violent a pedo with is with their victim, the longer it will take their victim to wake from trauma. Sometimes they are in a trauma for a lifetime. Traumas create walls around the reality of the crime for the victim, the victim is now mentally ill while pretending all is OK.

    Understanding trauma, helps people discuss with knowledge rather than pretend it would be different in their case.

    September 17, 2009 at 1:12 pm |
  247. Pete

    Sorry Carr. The victim almost never gets a second chance. Raping children, remember?

    Maybe we should let all the murderers out who claim they found their delusional god and want to become ministers. How about if they all moved next door to you? I'm sure you wouldn't like that if you were a parent with children.

    Best to act with caution when children are involved. Pedos murder the souls of their victims.

    September 17, 2009 at 3:26 pm |
  248. Michael Long

    It seems that the church is confusing forgiveness with forgetting. Should this man be forgiven – absolutely. Should what he did be forgotten – never. How does forgiveness require placing him into a position of authority? How would you feel about an airline that hired former alcoholics as pilots. If one of them slipped up once in a while and killed a few hundred people would that just be an acceptable number? Should we allow sex offenders to become police officers, teachers and doctors? I think that this policy fails to address the responsibility of the church to the community.

    The community needs to love, respect and accept this person. He should be allowed to work in any field he chooses exept the few that would put him into a position of authority. It is not as through he has plenty of other choices. But his crime should never be forgotten. He already handed down a life sentence to the person that he abused. The inconvenience of having a few careers closed to this individual seems like a minor problem compared to the horrific consequences of allowing this type of policy into the church.

    September 19, 2009 at 3:11 am |