California Megachurch Pastor Let His Professed Pedophile Son Work With Kids
A California megachurch is left reeling after a discovery that its pastor allowed his confessed pedophile son to work with children, according to HuffPost.
- Two years ago, John “Johnny” Ortberg III confessed to his father, Menlo Church’s Senior Pastor John Ortberg, that he was experiencing attraction to children, but denies ever having acted on his feelings to date and so far no allegations to the contrary have surfaced.
- The younger Ortberg volunteered with children at the church for a year following his confession and the church’s congregation was not informed about the situation until January, with Ortberg’s identity not even revealed until late June.
- Menlo Church congregant Tiger Bachler shared her disdain with the secrecy from the pastor and his wife:
“It was more important to them to protect their reputation rather than think about the risk to the kids of the church.”
- While Ortberg has retained his position as pastor, Bachler said she doesn’t understand how he’s been kept on:
“Given his responsibility as a pastor, the children of the church are the most vulnerable part of his flock and he did not stand up for them. He did not protect them.”
- The situation was revealed to the Menlo Church board by Daniel Lavery, a trans writer and Pastor Ortberg’s estranged son who has broken from the faith.
- Ortberg III confessed his pedophilic thoughts to his brother, and Lavery, concerned with his father’s silence and his brother’s unsupervised access to children, informed church leaders about the situation last November.
- Ortberg III was immediately removed from volunteer opportunities and an investigation was conducted. The board didn’t inform the congregation until after the investigation ended in January, sending an email revealing that “a person serving in the Menlo Church community came to John [Ortberg] and shared in confidence an unwanted thought pattern of attraction to minors.”
- After facing criticism from the congregation, the Menlo Church board admitted the previous investigation “could have gone further” and announced that they will be conducting a “supplemental independent investigation” into Johnny Ortberg.
- HuffPost noted that “Clergy are mandated reporters in California, but they have an exemption from this rule if they hear about potential child abuse during a ‘penitential communication.’” Menlo church leaders have said Ortberg III went to his father “in confidence.”
- John Ortberg said through a spokesperson that he “believes he followed the correct course of action in protecting the confidentiality of his son from the authorities, given he never considered his son to be a risk to himself or others.”