Ex-pastor at megachurch sued over sex-abuse counseling

Aug 30, 2011 Full story: The Columbus Dispatch 40

Rich Nathan, senior pastor of Vineyard Church, shown above in 2007, said he fired former associate pastor Steven C. Robbins as soon as Nathan heard about the allegations of misconduct.

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JPA

Since: Jan 10

Columbus, OH

#1 Aug 31, 2011
Just like Elmer Gantry..This dude was just putting the "fear of the Lord" into some parishioners. I sure hope he was not using the baptismal as a hot tub.
Im shocked

Columbus, OH

#2 Aug 31, 2011
So what else is new?
RULE NO 1

Lancaster, OH

#3 Aug 31, 2011
NEVER, NEVER, NEVER allow yourself or your child to be taught, tutored, mentored, treated, or counseled by ANYONE in an office, school, home, or car ALONE with that person.
thats right baby

Columbus, OH

#4 Aug 31, 2011
No sh!t.
the real truth

Columbus, OH

#5 Aug 31, 2011
RULE NO 1 wrote:
NEVER, NEVER, NEVER allow yourself or your child to be taught, tutored, mentored, treated, or counseled by ANYONE in an office, school, home, or car ALONE with that person.
And reputable organizations put in place safeguards with regard to counselors, pastoral or otherwise, for the protection of both counselors and clients.
DeW

Columbus, OH

#6 Aug 31, 2011
RULE NO 1 wrote:
NEVER, NEVER, NEVER allow yourself or your child to be taught, tutored, mentored, treated, or counseled by ANYONE in an office, school, home, or car ALONE with that person.
NEVER, NEVER, NEVER allow yourself or your child to be taught, tutored, mentored, treated, or counseled by ANYONE in an office, school, home, or car ALONE with a Christian.
Thats Not Right Baby

Columbus, OH

#8 Aug 31, 2011
Big Johnson wrote:
Hey, at least it wasn't little boys.
What the heck is 'sex addiction' anyway? Sounds like an excuse for a slnt to wh6re around.
Men have sex addictions too.
All have sinned

Delaware, OH

#9 Sep 1, 2011
Rich Nathan handled the situation well with Robbins and with the congregation. Men fail, as did this person.

This "unnamed" woman should not go by "Jane Doe" if she's suing; she made a conscious decision to participate. Sounds like she and her family were contacted by a money-hungry lawyer. She's moving from sexual sin to greed.
Christian

Columbus, OH

#10 Sep 1, 2011
All have sinned wrote:
Rich Nathan handled the situation well with Robbins and with the congregation. Men fail, as did this person.
This "unnamed" woman should not go by "Jane Doe" if she's suing; she made a conscious decision to participate. Sounds like she and her family were contacted by a money-hungry lawyer. She's moving from sexual sin to greed.
Not so simple. In such situations the greater weight of responsibility always falls on the professional, as they are dealing with someone who is vulnerable and as a spiritual leader are regarded as having an unequal power distribution in the relationship. And the allegation is that the "counselor" was aware of an manipulated her obsessive tendancies. It might be something like convincing an alcoholic to test their ability to control their disease by taking them out for a few drinks (and then taking them home for a quicky).

But--I believe it said that the suit included the husband and children as victims. And the children deserve to have their identities protected.
All have sinned

Delaware, OH

#11 Sep 1, 2011
Christian wrote:
<quoted text>
Not so simple. In such situations the greater weight of responsibility always falls on the professional, as they are dealing with someone who is vulnerable and as a spiritual leader are regarded as having an unequal power distribution in the relationship. And the allegation is that the "counselor" was aware of an manipulated her obsessive tendancies. It might be something like convincing an alcoholic to test their ability to control their disease by taking them out for a few drinks (and then taking them home for a quicky).
But--I believe it said that the suit included the husband and children as victims. And the children deserve to have their identities protected.
I agree with your comments on the level of responsibility 100%. It's just like President-intern, teacher-student, boss-secretary....

However, I do not agree that the suit should take place. This could have been handled out of court. At the very least, the church should have been left out of the suit since the church responded immediately and correctly.

That's where the greed came in.
What

Aldrich, MO

#12 Sep 1, 2011
DeW wrote:
<quoted text>
NEVER, NEVER, NEVER allow yourself or your child to be taught, tutored, mentored, treated, or counseled by ANYONE in an office, school, home, or car ALONE with a Christian.
Well if that ignorance is truth that the ungoldy non Christians should not even be allowed around children anywhere,anytime no matter how many are with them. Just like Satan accussing the breathren of smoethng he knows a Christian would not do only his bunch practice.
Christian

Columbus, OH

#13 Sep 1, 2011
All have sinned wrote:
<quoted text>
I agree with your comments on the level of responsibility 100%. It's just like President-intern, teacher-student, boss-secretary....
However, I do not agree that the suit should take place. This could have been handled out of court. At the very least, the church should have been left out of the suit since the church responded immediately and correctly.
That's where the greed came in.
I dunno. Don't really have all the facts. But, in general, an after the fact firing doesn't make up for a lack of due diligence beforehand. For example, does the church have a means of screening people that they hire in such positions? Some denominations provide a lengthy evaluation as a part of the ordination process. The Vineyard Church operates as something more of a franchise so far as I can tell with a good bit of local decision-making and not so much in the way over accountability or oversight. There is also the question alluded to of whether this guy was at all credentialled or empowered by position to be doing this sort of counselling at all. What kinds of oversight, including spiritual mentoring might have led to someone knowing that he was getting into dangerous waters? Further, an organization the size of the Vineyard should have in place some basic mechanical safeguards. While it is not always practical to avoid all one-on-one contact, some policies such as open doors or scheduling appointments through a secretary and at regular hours when there are other people in the building are generally desirable and serve to protect both congregants and clergy.

Since: Mar 11

Location hidden

#14 Sep 1, 2011
What wrote:
<quoted text>
Well if that ignorance is truth that the ungoldy non Christians should not even be allowed around children anywhere,anytime no matter how many are with them. Just like Satan accussing the breathren of smoethng he knows a Christian would not do only his bunch practice.
What are you trying to say? I'm guessing there is missing punctuation and some misspellings (and maybe some missing thoughts).
Former Vineyard Member

Pickerington, OH

#15 Sep 1, 2011
Kudos to Nathan for swift and decisive action!

Too bad to hear about Robbins making such a grave error in judgment at such an advanced age: 61. In trying to "save this woman" from herself he went overboard, lost his boundaries and disaster was the consequence. Regrettably it happens to psychologists all too often; boundaries first, foremost and forever.

Best to think of this as:“There but for the grace of God go I.“
not quite Moses

Columbus, OH

#16 Sep 1, 2011
like the parting of the Red Seas, but this old dog did get the lady to part her knees.
Blinded-By-The-R ight

United States

#17 Sep 1, 2011
What about the young Asst. Pastor at Worthington Christian School who was having SEX with a 17 year old Girl and she became Pregnant! 2002/03

This Lady was way n her 50 early 60s! She should have noticed that he was getting excited!
hahaha

United States

#18 Sep 1, 2011
Thats Not Right Baby wrote:
<quoted text>Men have sex addictions too.
if you have testicles you have sex addiction. it's called will power and morals, not excuses.
dont forget

Columbus, OH

#19 Sep 1, 2011
Blinded-By-The-Right wrote:
What about the young Asst. Pastor at Worthington Christian School who was having SEX with a 17 year old Girl and she became Pregnant! 2002/03
This Lady was way n her 50 early 60s! She should have noticed that he was getting excited!
The girls coach from there who ended up in prison in Wisconsin for his sex capades. He's trash, but his wife won't leave him.
Thats Right baby

Columbus, OH

#20 Sep 1, 2011
hahaha wrote:
<quoted text> if you have testicles you have sex addiction. it's called will power and morals, not excuses.
People really do have sex addictions,just like alcohol addictions and drug addictions.Google it!
Concerned

Hamburg, NY

#22 Sep 9, 2011
Just a reminder of the general good that Vineyard Columbus does in the community with its Community Center, Free Medical Care, assistance for the unemployed, Food Pantry, Single Parent Fair, back-to-school help, and Christmas giving to name a few of the services this group provides.

Literally thousands of people have benefitted from the variety of services that Vineyard Columbus offers. They are a great benefactor to the local community and really care about the people of Columbus.

I, myself, have benefitted during a stressful time of my life from their professional counseling service which operates with great integrity and professionalism. In addition, all my contacts with Vineyard pastors has been helpful and healthy.

Clearly Pastor Robbins has admitted to an affair and was dismissed immediately. The law will adjudicate the legal issues in the suit. I would just like to encourage people to not generalize about Vineyard based on one person's behavior. Overall, it is an amazingly caring and responsible church that has earned respect in the community.

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