Thou Shalt Not Disclose: How Churches and Ministries Use Legal Agreements to Silence Victims and Conceal Sin

Source: Wikimedia


By Steve Rabey - Posted at Ministry Watch:

If you’re famous, powerful, and wealthy, NDAs can cover up your dirty deeds.

Harvey Weinstein, Bill O’Reilly, Bill Cosby, The Catholic Church, and Donald Trump have used nondisclosure agreements to hide sexual abuse, helping them abuse again.

The goal is to shut people up. Because former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson signed a nondisclosure agreement as part of her $20 million settlement of sexual abuse claims against Roger Ailes, she was prohibited from consulting on Bombshell, the recent movie about her ordeal, or talking to journalists about her experience.

So why are Christian churches and nonprofit organizations increasingly relying on this legal maneuver? That’s the question World magazine’s Mindy Belz asked in her 1,900-word article, “Silence of the sheep.”

The October 2019 article’s subhead spells out an answer: “Christian nonprofits and churches have adopted practices from the for-profit world of avoiding liability, sometimes leading to devastating outcomes.”

“Done right,” Belz wrote, “confidentiality agreements help institutions protect members’ privacy and can fend off ruinous litigation. But NDAs can also mask institutional disease and leader misconduct. And even when an institution doesn’t enforce its NDA, the widespread institutional fear of liability can lead to unintended, devastating outcomes.”

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