First Place, Editorial/Commentary, Oklahoma Society of Professional Journalists

This staff editorial was written by Bobby Ross Jr., managing editor for The Christian Chronicle.

In Georgia, a former youth minister faces statutory rape charges. He’s accused of a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old church member.

In Indiana, a minister pleaded guilty last summer to sexually assaulting a teenage girl.

These cases — both involving Churches of Christ — remind us of the vulnerability of church leaders to Satan’s attacks.

Even more strikingly, however, these cases point out the need to take steps to protect children.

Yes, we all sin and fall short of the glory of God. Yes, God can forgive any of us. Yes, we should pray for the men ­— and in other cases, women — who violate our trust.

But we must make children, God’s precious gift, our top priority. We must pray for the victims and minister to them. We must never blame the victim.

No one should suggest — as a few did after one of the recent cases — that the teen shared in the culpability. It is this simple: A child cannot consent to sexual contact with an adult.

Read the full editorial.

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