The time has come in the evangelical community for a proactive, comprehensive solution for protecting children and the vulnerable from abuse. While there are efforts to respond to abuse in our communities by various companies and ministries, the Evangelical Council for Abuse Prevention (ECAP) believes a coordinated effort to prevent abuse in our churches, schools, and non-profit ministries is still missing.
After reading the Houston Chronicle articles on abuse in the church, I began praying and talking with like-minded leaders about what national efforts were being done to prevent abuse. As I researched and explored current efforts in the evangelical community, I found a small buffet of companies and organizations offering varied services. However, abuse prevention, particularly in ministries, lacked any clear coordination or validation, and certainly lacked accountability.
With the evangelical community appropriately decentralized, an accreditation program became evident as the most effective means to communicate clear standards and to establish a process for compliance. In June 2019, ECAP was formed. ECAP is a non-profit accrediting council that will create standards intended to serve our community by clarifying a complex topic, that busy ministry leaders often can’t fully address.
The council consists of several groups and committees that govern and monitor the accreditation program. It also includes board members, abuse survivors, experts, and members.
Who Are We
Jeff Dalrymple is an organizational leader whose leadership experience includes roles in public safety, higher education, Christian NGOs, and parachurch organizations.
In addition to implementing child protection programs at several ministries, his experience includes organizational leadership, team building, communications, development/fundraising, hospitality, conference & event planning, international relations, strategic planning, revitalization, and board governance.
Jeff holds a Bachelor of Science in organizational management as well as a Masters in international relations and conflict resolution. He has also received certificates from Disney Institute in leadership excellence, and fundraising from Indiana University Lilly School of Philanthropy.
Jeff has served as board president of Louisville Rescue Mission and currently serves on the boards of The Apollos Project and Hadassah’s Hope. Jeff enjoys reading, exploring, and spending time with family. Married to Kristil they are the parents of: JJ, Kassie, Katherine, and Kylie. They reside in Jacksonville, Florida.
SALLY WAGENMAKER, ESQ
Sally Wagenmaker provides legal counsel in corporate, tax, employment, and real estate matters for nonprofits operating on local, national, and international levels. Her clients include churches and other religious organizations, social service providers, and schools.
Sally’s corporate and tax work includes development of new tax-exempt entities, providing guidance for effective nonprofit governance and other operational legal issues. In addition, she represents clients in property tax exemption matters for charitable, religious, and educational purposes, shared occupancy arrangements, and property transfers. Sally also regularly advises and counsels the firm’s nonprofit clients on employment matters including contracts, termination, employment policies, unemployment insurance, and compliance with other employment laws, particularly as they relate to nonprofit issues such as volunteers and clergy.
Prior to practicing law with Wagenmaker & Oberly, Sally was a partner with Mosher & Wagenmaker and also worked with the Chicago law firm of Hoogendoorn & Talbot. In addition, she worked as a solo practitioner, providing legal assistance to indigent and low-income clients primarily in Chicago’s west side neighborhood of North Lawndale. Sally lives in Chicago with her husband Dan, and they have two children in college.
THERESA SIDEBOTHAM, ESQ
EXPERT PANEL CHAIR
Theresa Sidebotham has represented a variety of businesses, ministries, and churches in her capacity as founding attorney at Telios Law PLLC. This has included legal and policy issues such as child protection and safety, as well as facilitating investigations; both historic and current.
After attending Columbia International University, Theresa received a Bachelor of Arts in Literature from Wheaton College. She graduated from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law with her Juris Doctor in 2005 and was licensed by the Supreme Court of the United States in March of 2019.
Theresa speaks regularly on protecting children from sexual assault, specifically in ministry settings. She has published numerous articles on the issue including “Getting it Right, Healing the Wrong: Legal Issues in Protecting Children and Organizations from Sexual Abuse”.
Currently serving as the pro bono General Counsel for the Child Safety Protection Network, Theresa has previously served as a board member for Special Kids, Special Families. She also became a member of the Digital Images Task Force in 2016.
Dan Dumas is the CEO of Red Buffalo in Louisville, Kentucky. Dan provides a variety of coaching, consulting and clarity for businesses, organizations, non-profits, government agencies, and churches. He served as former Special Advisor for Foster Care and Adoption to the Governor of Kentucky. He is a Professor of Leadership at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary where he served as Senior Vice President from 2007-2017. Dan is the lead pastor for Christ Church in Bardstown, Kentucky and is passionate about all things leadership, adoption, expository preaching, and organizational leadership. He is the author of Live Smart, co-author of A Guide to Biblical Manhood, and editor of A Guide to Expository Ministry. Prior to his time in ministry, Dan served in the US Navy as a search and rescue swimmer. Dan is married to Jane and has two children: Aidan (17) and Elijah (11). He loves reading, water sports, and is an avid outdoorsman.
Jenna Quinn is a triumphant survivor of sexual abuse, author, TED speaker, and the survivor behind Jenna’s Law. She has become a valiant warrior against sexual abuse of children and adolescents through education and legislation.
With a master’s degree in communication studies, Jenna has spoken for over 100 Children’s Advocacy Centers across the country and has reached international audiences sharing her unique and inspiring story with legislatures, law-enforcement, abuse prevention groups, schools, communities of faith, nonprofit organizations, and the general public for over 14 years.
She moved into political action in 2007, reaching out to Texas legislators about the need for schools to adopt age-appropriate curriculum on child sexual abuse, now known as Jenna’s Law which was passed in May 2009. In 2017, Jenna’s Law was amended to include sex trafficking prevention education in schools. Over half the country has adopted a form of Jenna’s Law since its origin in 2009.
Adam Mersereau is a corporate transactional attorney and a partner in the law firm BUTLER MERSEREAU LLP. Previously, he was a Senior Vice President and Assistant General Counsel at the PGA TOUR and Head of Legal Affairs at the for-profit marketing and media subsidiary of the International Olympic Committee.
Adam was initially exposed to abuse prevention in the context of Olympic sports. Over the years, he and his law partner have interacted in different capacities with the Safe Sport initiative within the Olympic movement—its structure, applications, and interpretation, as well as the evaluation of its successes and its failures.
Adam is a graduate of the College of Charleston (1991) and the Georgia State University School of Law (1998). Between college and law school, Adam enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and later become an officer, leaving the Marine Corps at the rank of Captain. Adam lives with his wife and two children outside of Jacksonville, Florida and attends Sunrise Community Church (EFCA) in Atlantic Beach, where he serves on the board of elders.
Joel Cowart has spent the last 15 years ministering to the next generation- from volunteering in various schools, to teaching in the National Children’s Defense Fund Kansas City Freedom School, and giving leadership to a handful of non-profit organizations as both participant and as a board member.
Born and raised in Southern California, Joel moved to Kansas on a football scholarship to the University of St. Mary. After completing his football career, he transferred to the University of Kansas where he studied physics and received his call to ministry. He began serving in college ministry in 2012 as a campus minister, a campus director, and a college pastor in the Greater Kansas City Area. In 2016, Joel transitioned to Jacksonville, Florida to join the pastoral staff of Shiloh Church and currently serves as Pastor of Christian Education on Shiloh Church’s Orange Park campus.
Happily married, he and his wife, Destiny, make their home in Jacksonville, Florida.