At Ahead of the Trend, the blog of the Association of Religion Data Archives, religion writer David Briggs reports that sexual abuse of children in religious organizations extends beyond the Catholic Church:

The Rev. Dick Darr and his wife, Anne, were model missionaries. They sent their children to boarding school so they could focus on saving the souls of others in remote African villages.

In 1957, while in the country today known as Mali, Darr said he found out his 9-year-old daughter and 8-year-old son were sexually molested by another missionary. When Darr reported it, the missionary was sent back into the mission field. Darr said he was told by the president of United World Mission, “You know the first thing some people want to do is ruin a man’s ministry.”

He left United World Mission in protest, and joined the Gospel Missionary Union, eventually becoming its president. In the early 1990s, he learned his children and others had been the victims of sexual and physical abuse at Mamou Alliance Academy in Guinea, West Africa.

For years, despite his efforts, the Gospel Missionary Union turned its back on the victims, neither admitting responsibility nor offering counseling.

It is a pattern repeated by faith groups everywhere.

Recent news reports about Catholic malfeasance at the highest levels are again shedding important light on the problem of sexual abuse of children in the Catholic Church. Yet it would be a mistake to give in to the convenient temptation that this is “a Catholic problem.”

A growing body of research affirms what I have discovered in more than a decade of investigative reporting:

Young people have been and are being sexually abused in evangelical and mainline Protestant churches, in mosques and synagogues and temples.

The initial response is largely the same. Religious leaders protect the institution, often angrily condemning or ignoring the victim lying wounded on the side of the road.

A 1993 study of more than 600 children of missionaries by a consortium of mission groups found nearly 7 percent said they were sexually abused during their elementary school years.

Read the full post here, and access the Association of Religion Data Archives here.