"DEAR ABBY: I have a big problem. I am 16 years old, have a good job and do well in school. I go to a Christian non-denominational church every Sunday and enjoy that, too.
The problem is my pastor. "Reverend Ron" is 48, married, and has children and grandchildren. We have become attracted to each other and have secretly become a couple since last fall.
Every Monday night, after I get off work, I go over to my church and meet Reverend Ron in his office where we have sex. We agreed to tell no one, so as not to shame ourselves or our families.
Six weeks ago, I found out I was pregnant. I haven't told him yet, and we continue with our Monday night meetings. Abortion is not an option, but neither is shaming my family, much less the whole church. Abby, what do I do? -- IN TRUE LOVE IN WASHINGTON"
"DEAR IN TRUE LOVE: The first thing you must do is tell your mother what you have told me. If there is any "shaming," it should not be directed at you, your family or your church. You are 16, idealistic and inexperienced. "Reverend Ron," however, is an adult who has literally abused his "sacred" trust to you, his congregation and his God. He had so little concern for your welfare that he didn't even use birth control. This is not how grown men show "true love."
You cannot hide this secret forever. At some point the truth will be revealed. Tell your mother now, so responsible adults who love you can give you the support you so desperately need. If you're afraid to speak to your mother alone, then have a friend with you when you do it. The only thing you CANNOT do is remain silent."
The hardest thing in my job is to sit and cry with and for students who have had people harm them emotionally and physically. It is even harder still when the person harming them is supposed to be someone they trust. "True Love" is not my student but how my heart hurts for this student, their family, youth worker, youth group and church. I know how devastating sexual misconduct can be to a church but this is so much more than that.
Praying, right now, for "True Love in Washington". Praying that God will bring people into her life that will speak words of truth, love and compassion. Just praying.