The Riverside Church condemns sexual abuse

Dec. 17, 2019
Contact: Loretta Kane (917-410-7242 or

The Riverside Church condemns sexual abuse.

Statement in response to child sexual abuse lawsuits recently filed

NEW YORK — In response to recent lawsuits relating to allegations that Ernie Lorch, a former director of The Riverside Church youth basketball program, sexually abused children in the program, The Riverside Church issued the following statement:

“Child sexual abuse is heinous. All children deserve the right to grow up in safe environments where they can flourish free from abuse. We have great sympathy for victims and survivors of childhood sexual abuse. We hold them in our prayers and ask God to help them heal from the abuse they were forced to endure.

“While we are unable to speak to the specifics of allegations in pending lawsuits, we can and do speak out against child sexual abuse and in support of all victims and survivors. The Riverside Church has examined our policies and programs to ensure that our church is a safe and secure environment for children. We are and will remain vigilant in our duty to keep the children in our care safe; their safety is our top priority.

“We pray for survivors and victims of child sexual abuse and support them in their healing. We ask for God’s grace through this process of accountability and redemption.”


Located in Morningside Heights on the Upper West Side, The Riverside Church in the City of New York is one of the leading voices of Progressive Christianity, influential on America’s religious and political landscapes for more than 85 years. Built by John D. Rockefeller Jr. and currently led by The Rev. Michael Livingston, the interracial, interdenominational and international church has long been a forum for important civic and spiritual leaders, including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, President Clinton, the Dalai Lama and countless others. Visit or find us on social media to learn more about our rich history and the latest news and events.