Re Franklin E. Zimring's perspective regarding volunteer organizations requiring fingerprint checks for all adult workers with children, Commentary, Nov. 11:
Zimring's inference of 11-year-olds being more likely to get molested at the mall exemplifies his callous and dangerous ignorance. Nearly all abuse takes place by a trusted adult guardian with whom a relationship has been developed. Though Zimring readily admits that the exploitation of children is now more visible in our society, does he somehow think that because we have made it more visible we should not react assertively toward its presence?
His assumption that requiring volunteers to have fingerprint checks somehow translates into shortages of volunteers and a lack of physical expression toward children is flatly wrong. As a pastor to children, I have found the need to closely screen all our adult volunteers. Paranoid? Sorry, I have done too many conversations with real victims of abuse.
When I first instituted our screening program there were a few cries of "pastoral paranoia." However, in the years since instituting this program we have increased dramatically in size, enjoy a flourishing volunteer base, offer parents a greater sense of security for their child's safety and witness children who are now viewed as precious resources, greatly deserving of our utmost care. Due to our screening, accepted volunteers feel the freedom to offer appropriate displays of affection toward the children to whom they minister.
Pastor of Children's Ministries
Emmanuel Evangelical Free