In regards to the incident that happened 10 years ago to a 15 year-old girl:
It breaks my heart that she went through this, and I am sorry she has had to live with this pain. I pray God will heal her heart. I hope she can forgive us for not doing more to help her. But, I will say unequivocally, this incident was not concealed nor covered up. The adult youth leader accused of the abuse was immediately removed from serving with the young lady by the Youth Pastor. The Youth Pastor also reported it to a Pastor on staff. The abuse was reported to the Three Rivers Police and there was a PPO filed at the St. Joseph County Court. We took the steps that we thought necessary and appropriate at the time that would help both persons involved by getting them professional counseling. As the Senior Pastor of Riverside Church, I take full responsibilities of any processes that did not get done properly. The current Youth and Children’s ministries leaders and volunteers have gone through abuse training. The rest of the staff is also going through the training as well. We will continue to work hard to make sure nothing ever happens to any of our young people. We believe young people are the future of Riverside Church and that God has given us the responsibility to keep them safe.
Psalms 127:3 Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him.
Pastor Paul Booko