Elders at Menlo Church in Menlo Park, California, have launched a “supplemental independent investigation” into concerns raised about the circumstances under which a volunteer, revealed as the pastor’s son, was allowed to work with children despite confessing to having an attraction to minors.
“While many of you know that the Board took immediate action upon learning of these concerns, we understand our initial investigation could have gone further and included specific expertise in child safety and sex abuse issues, and it could have been informed by conversations with a wider group of people,” the elders said in a statement to the 4,000-member congregation on Saturday. “Based on the feedback we’ve received, we are initiating a supplemental independent investigation into concerns raised about the volunteer.”
Pastor John Ortberg was asked to go on personal leave from the church on Nov. 22, 2019, while an investigation of concerns raised by a third party about a then unidentified church volunteer was conducted.
Earlier this month, Daniel Lavery, a trans-identified woman who is Ortberg’s estranged daughter, revealed in an extensive thread on Twitter that the volunteer is her brother — John Ortberg III.
“The volunteer was my brother, John Ortberg III. When we last spoke, he admitted to seeking out unsupervised contact with children (including overnight travel) for well over a decade,” Lavery wrote. “I believe his unique relationship to my father, John Ortberg Jr., is the sole reason why John Jr. went out of his way to protect his secret and facilitate his continued contact with children.”
In January, without revealing Pastor Ortberg’s relationship to the volunteer, the elders said their leader exhibited “poor judgment” but no harm had come to any minor in the Menlo Church community based on the findings of an investigation.
Beth Seabolt, chair of the congregation’s elder board said Pastor Ortberg “failed to take the required steps to prevent the person from volunteering with minors at the Menlo Park campus and did not consult anyone else at Menlo Church about the situation.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leonardo Blair