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47of74

Baptists & Decades of Sexual Abuse

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Mischievous
47of74

Just saw this. 

The ecclesiastical shit is about to hit the fan, it seems.

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anjulibai

Not surprising at all. 

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NachosFlandersStyle

I assume that the only reason that these denominations have fewer high-profile abuse scandals is that they don't have the central organization of the Catholic church or SBC or whatnot, making it harder for investigators to follow the threads from one congregation to another. 

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apple1

https://www.star-telegram.com/.../article222576310.html

A months-long investigation into abuse (focuses on sexual abuse, but has some reporting about general abusive behavior) in IFB churches. They investigated over 400 incidents spread over 40 states, and focused a lot on the shuffling of the guilty from one location to another along with cover-up. It's an extensive and valuable piece.

It does focus primarily on the network surrounding HAC (Hyles-Anderson College and FBCHammond in Northern Indiana) - with less attention on others. There is little attention to other groups of IFB, or SBC, and no mention of Gothard. (They worked for months on this investigation, as it is, so I am sure they had to put some kind of limits on it).

There are women who went public for the first time documented in the piece.

There are multiple tabs, with much more information, to this piece -- If you stop at the first page you miss a lot of it.

It will be interesting to see what fallout happens in this loose IFB network from this publication.

(You may need to clear cookies and/or read part of this on one device and part on another. After a certain number of pages, there is a paywall that tries to force you to subscribe).

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molecule

I was able to open the qrticle in incognito mode and read everything.

Such good in-depth reporting, with lots of opportunity for survivors to give voice to their experiences.

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louisa05

There was an incident at an independent charismatic church in the city where I taught in a Christian school back when I was there. A youth pastor in his 30s had been having sexual conversations with a teenage girl in the youth group and was accused of touching her inappropriately which was witnessed by other kids. 

I kid you not, the church's response was to get them married to each other the moment the girl turned 18 a few months later. 

About five years later, the same pastor was arrested at a church in another state for sexually abusing a 14 year old in his youth group. I have said to my Protestant friends for years, as they informed me that the Catholic abuse scandals are proof that their theology is correct, that their chickens just hadn't come home to roost yet and that it would be harder to uncover as so many Protestant churches have no central organizational bodies. People who want to victimize kids put themselves in positions to have access to kids in roles where they will be trusted: teaching, coaching, clergy. 

A man was recently arrested in Omaha for molesting a six year old girl. He was a first grade teacher. He had been a volunteer and a paraprofessional in schools. He had attempted seminary and was thrown out by the Archdiocese when school officials where he had volunteered informed them that he had been made to leave because staff had observed grooming behaviors. So then he became a teacher. He was looking for access and practically admitted it to the police. 

We need to find ways as a society to better screen people in these sorts of professions and volunteer roles. Volunteers need to never be in situations that leaves them alone with children. Teachers and clergy need professional screening before licensing or ordination. Most Catholic seminaries are doing that now before admission or early in coursework. But in my state, to get a teaching license, the only mental health screening is a "yes" or "no" question to be answered by a PCP who fills out a physical form. Many prospective teachers get that done by doctors who do not even know them. We need to do better. 

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apple1

The link in my original post no longer works. Please use the link provided by @47of74

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artdecades

https://www.star-telegram.com/living/religion/article222576310.html

 

Quote

From Connecticut to California, the stories are tragically similar:

A music minister molested a 15-year-old girl in North Carolina and moved to another church in Florida. Another girl’s parents stood in front of their Connecticut congregation to acknowledge their daughter’s “sin” after she was abused by her youth pastor, beginning at 16. This year, four women accused a pastor in California of covering up sexual misconduct and shielding the abusers over almost 25 years.

 

The article talks about Dave Hyles, son of Jack Hyles, who has been accused of rape by four women. Other creeps named include Greg Neal, Cameron Giovanelli, Mark Chappell, Carlton Hammonds, and  Joshua Gardner.

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Depressed
polecat
13 hours ago, artdecades said:

https://www.star-telegram.com/living/religion/article222576310.html

 

 

The article talks about Dave Hyles, son of Jack Hyles, who has been accused of rape by four women. Other creeps named include Greg Neal, Cameron Giovanelli, Mark Chappell, Carlton Hammonds, and  Joshua Gardner.

I wish they'd gone into the murder allegations against Dave, too, but I know they had to limit what they could discuss (for space, legal reasons, etc.). 

I also just want to say that I'm so, so, SO glad this is all coming out. I have so many stories, from the young woman who was shuffled off in disgrace because she was impregnated by her rapist and forced to adopt the baby out to the young woman who was forced to publicly apologize for her own rape. Never to mention all the "milder" cases of sexual assault, sexual abuse and just plain old abuse that went on.

Needless to say, there's no love lost between the IFB and me.

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EowynW

I'm glad she did it. She contacted me back in April. I have been waiting for months for this. 

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quiversR4hunting
21 hours ago, louisa05 said:

I have said to my Protestant friends for years, as they informed me that the Catholic abuse scandals are proof that their theology is correct, that their chickens just hadn't come home to roost yet and that it would be harder to uncover as so many Protestant churches have no central organizational bodies.

I agree 100%. I know the Catholic church has not done many things right but in my area and state there have been major changes in who is allowed to volunteer and the back ground checks. I work for the court so I have had 3 back ground checks, I had to have 2 back ground checks to become a religious education teacher this year plus VIRTUS training renewal (I had been certified years prior). https://www.virtusonline.org/virtus/

The biggest thing is, as you put it, no central organization of the different denominations. And good grief the independent evangelical mega churches are another story. They may not be fundie but many in my area have 6-week course preachers, prosperity gospel and love bombing. They don't have the structure set up to deal with issues. They deal with them (or not) when the issues come up.  I find many in this group are "Not my precious, perfect Johnny or Susie!"

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Unimpressed
Palimpsest

I'm glad the IFB churches are under fire.  They have been getting away with all this for far too long.  It is widespread.

22 minutes ago, quiversR4hunting said:

They deal with them (or not) when the issues come up.

Or not.  Or inefficiently.  The latest example being the Denhollander case.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/posteverything/wp/2018/05/31/feature/the-epidemic-of-denial-about-sexual-abuse-in-the-evangelical-church/?utm_term=.86b046820817

But Kathryn Grace was making a lot of noise about widespread abuse in Protestant (Fundie and Evangelical) churches as long ago as 2014:  http://prospect.org/article/next-christian-sex-abuse-scandal

It isn't just a Catholic problem at all.  Even the British Methodists have scandals.  https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/may/29/protestants-abuse-catholics-methodist-church

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louisa05
37 minutes ago, quiversR4hunting said:

I agree 100%. I know the Catholic church has not done many things right but in my area and state there have been major changes in who is allowed to volunteer and the back ground checks. I work for the court so I have had 3 back ground checks, I had to have 2 back ground checks to become a religious education teacher this year plus VIRTUS training renewal (I had been certified years prior). https://www.virtusonline.org/virtus/

The biggest thing is, as you put it, no central organization of the different denominations. And good grief the independent evangelical mega churches are another story. They may not be fundie but many in my area have 6-week course preachers, prosperity gospel and love bombing. They don't have the structure set up to deal with issues. They deal with them (or not) when the issues come up.  I find many in this group are "Not my precious, perfect Johnny or Susie!"

I taught in a Catholic school when the 2002 guidelines were implemented. I left that job in 2010, but started teaching religious ed in 2013. I have had 18 hours of training over the years--it's called "Safe Environment" here--in the last 17 years. I have had background checks every five years since 2002 when the program was implemented in our Archdiocese. Schools have a more intense program than is run for volunteers. Then I inadvertently let it expire just two months before I volunteered for religious ed and had to do another two hour session. 

For those unaware, the training program teaches people to recognize signs of abuse, grooming behaviors and how to appropriately report them to both the church and whatever the local legal organization in charge of child protection is. It also emphasizes safe practices to protect kids including not being in one on one situations, keeping appropriate boundaries between children and adults at all times, and teaching kids about appropriate boundaries and how and when to report questionable adult behaviors including what those behaviors are. In order to get certification to work or volunteer in a church or school in any capacity in which you may have contact with minors, you have to complete the training and pass a criminal background check. You have to be renew every five years in my archdiocese. I know of two cases in my parish where someone had an incident with social services in their personal lives and lost their certification and were removed from working in religious education.  At schools, every single employee has to do it including the janitors. At church volunteers that may be even slightly involved with minors have to and all staff has to. Priests in our archdiocese do a two day session once a year with the same focus and including how to be sure that appropriate boundaries are in place throughout their parishes. When I have run this by my Protestant friends, the response has unanimously been along the lines of "we TRUST our staff and volunteers". 

Good luck with that. 

 

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quiversR4hunting
5 minutes ago, louisa05 said:

I taught in a Catholic school when the 2002 guidelines were implemented. I left that job in 2010, but started teaching religious ed in 2013. I have had 18 hours of training over the years--it's called "Safe Environment" here--in the last 17 years. I have had background checks every five years since 2002 when the program was implemented in our Archdiocese. Schools have a more intense program than is run for volunteers. Then I inadvertently let it expire just two months before I volunteered for religious ed and had to do another two hour session. 

For those unaware, the training program teaches people to recognize signs of abuse, grooming behaviors and how to appropriately report them to both the church and whatever the local legal organization in charge of child protection is. It also emphasizes safe practices to protect kids including not being in one on one situations, keeping appropriate boundaries between children and adults at all times, and teaching kids about appropriate boundaries and how and when to report questionable adult behaviors including what those behaviors are. In order to get certification to work or volunteer in a church or school in any capacity in which you may have contact with minors, you have to complete the training and pass a criminal background check. You have to be renew every five years in my archdiocese. I know of two cases in my parish where someone had an incident with social services in their personal lives and lost their certification and were removed from working in religious education.  At schools, every single employee has to do it including the janitors. At church volunteers that may be even slightly involved with minors have to and all staff has to. Priests in our archdiocese do a two day session once a year with the same focus and including how to be sure that appropriate boundaries are in place throughout their parishes. When I have run this by my Protestant friends, the response has unanimously been along the lines of "we TRUST our staff and volunteers". 

Good luck with that. 

 

that is exactly what we do. The first session (which I had to do in a classroom) was eye opening. Now when I hear a news article or read a complaint filed for court bells go off much faster than they did before the training. The grooming is huge! That is why majority of assaults happen to people that know their assailants, not the scary boogie wo/man in a scary, windowless van.

It's just like physical abuse. Typically the abuser doesn't come out swinging. They earn the trust of their victim and then start the "punishments" and change the rules for infractions and then say I'm so sorry, don't tell, I'll be better. Same pattern as sexual abuse.

Quote

When I have run this by my Protestant friends, the response has unanimously been along the lines of "we TRUST our staff and volunteers". 

Sadly, I have gotten the same response. They are shortsighted idiots!  Then again these are like the people that I said "My Johnny/Susie would never do something like that! and they would never put themselves in that situation..etc." -- victim blaming before it happens.

If anyone on here is active in a church I really suggest you look at https://www.virtusonline.org/virtus/ and try to get your leadership/elders to implement the program or one similar. I know this was made for Catholics but I don't know if other denominations or independent churches can purchase a subscription package to track their employees and volunteers. If your (general) church isn't willing to entertain a program to vet staff and volunteers and conduct continuing education, I would be worried that the church you are attending is part of the "this would never happen in my church or with my kids" camp.

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apple1

Credit where credit is due - I was a member of an SBC church for around 5 years. They had many faults, but on this topic, they had required background checks, required training, no one on one situations, glass windows in all doors, and so forth. (Unfortunately the church had other unrelated problems).

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louisa05
16 minutes ago, apple1 said:

Credit where credit is due - I was a member of an SBC church for around 5 years. They had many faults, but on this topic, they had required background checks, required training, no one on one situations, glass windows in all doors, and so forth. (Unfortunately the church had other unrelated problems).

I know some more mainline denominations like the SBC have taken steps, too. Most of the Protestants I know are leftover from my days working at the Christian school which was full of people attending mostly unaffiliated or loosely affiliated evangelical or charismatic mega churches. Those groups have done little or nothing to protect children in their care. They rely on the "our people are godly" method which is far from foolproof. Nothing is foolproof, of course, but the "just trust everyone" method is the least foolproof. 

Of course, some of them have some deranged policies. One mega church in Omaha had a policy of no single adults helping with children's activities; because single adults are automatically suspicious, of course. 

 

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Unimpressed
Palimpsest
5 hours ago, quiversR4hunting said:

If anyone on here is active in a church I really suggest you look at https://www.virtusonline.org/virtus/ and try to get your leadership/elders to implement the program or one similar.

One of the things I have always thought about that VIRTUS program, good though it looks on paper and developed and instituted in the 1980s, IIRC, was that it was aimed at lay people. 

While in the RCC the real predators were firmly embedded in the priesthood and were knowingly shifted from parish to parish.  And protected by the PTB.  It is interesting that they now have a program for religious.  I hope they follow through on that.  And reporting all cases to LE.  In my dreams.

5 hours ago, quiversR4hunting said:

If your (general) church isn't willing to entertain a program to vet staff and volunteers and conduct continuing education, I would be worried that the church you are attending is part of the "this would never happen in my church or with my kids" camp.

This is the crunch, isn't it?   But background checks cost money.  So does continuing education.

There is a mental block in some (many?) religious institutions that someone who "believes" isn't capable of abuse.  Even though predators self select into the institutions that believe in giving the benefit of every doubt,

And believe that someone who has been caught red-handed can just repent and never sin again.  Because  (the pastors or elders) can judge true repentance. 

Not so.

When it comes to sexual abuse it is not so easy to "cure." And I have just as much contempt for secular psychologists who want to claim "cures" as I do religious optimists.

The recidivism rates for sexual abuse are huge.  I will never trust anyone who has once offended with a child ever again.  The risks of repeats are too high.

1 hour ago, apple1 said:

Credit where credit is due - I was a member of an SBC church for around 5 years. They had many faults, but on this topic, they had required background checks, required training, no one on one situations, glass windows in all doors, and so forth. (Unfortunately the church had other unrelated problems).

Good for them.  I wonder whether they had been burned.  It is something at least.  

The thing is that background checks don't solve everything.  All they do is turn up complaints that have actually made it to LE and charges filed (however the deposition.)

Charges filed in your state, that is.  Unfortunately states don't cooperate so charges filed in another state may not turn up on an average background check.

Edited by Palimpsest

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louisa05

@Palimpsest The only abuse incident in the Catholic school and parish I worked in for ten years was perpetrated by a lay teacher who was not Catholic.  The notion that this is only a clergy problem is absurd. 

And the element where the priests are also trained about boundaries, grooming and reporting abuse has been in place in my diocese as long as the safeguards for vetting volunteers have--late 2002-2003 time period. They are by no means excused from any of this nor have they ever been. Here, they went through the first round of save environment training before school/church staffs and volunteers did. 

But, all of that said, in most parishes, volunteers and other staff have more direct contact with children and teens than priests do. I'm guessing that is true of other denominations and their clergy as well. Our religious ed kids only interact with our priest in large groups during that time--he is there to do masses and meets with each grade level and their teachers once a year for a Q & A and he is a that Christmas party. So for eighth graders, he sees them at masses, from the front of the church, with all the teachers and kids  grades 1-12, and many parents as they are invited then as well. He sees them at a Q & A night with about 30 kids present and four teachers. And he sees them at a Christmas party with grades 6-12 present--100+ kids and around 20 teachers plus 6-8  parent volunteers that do the food. He does do a sit down "interview"  with them just prior to confirmation in eighth grade, but they go two kids at a time and the director of religious education is also with them. It is my husband and I that are in the room directly interacting with those kids every week so there is every reason to vet us just as much. 

Other times when our priest interacts with minors have careful boundaries set as well. Kids training to be altar servers for the first time are required to have a parent accompany them to the training--which is all the kids at once, not an individual training. When altar servers arrive prior to masses, they are not allowed in the sacristy without a parent unless another adult is already present with the priest--often the lector for the morning or a deacon is there as well. Otherwise, a mom or dad has to wait with the kids until one is or until mass begins. One on one situations with kids are simply not allowed. In the training we had as teachers in Catholic school, we were even told that if we needed to meet with a student after school or sometime when no other students were around, it was good to ask another staff member to come in or take them to another staff member's room--if we didn't do that, never close the door and let someone know about it. If we were waiting for kids to be picked up from an extracurricular event and were the only adult, we were to wait outside with them once there was only one student left. Ideally, two adults were always assigned to every event and were not to leave the other alone with students. The idea is to not create opportunities for boundaries to be violated or grooming to occur--or at least have a trained adult there to recognize when the latter may be happening. 

 

Edited by louisa05

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Terrie

not shocked. Too many relgiious organizations are answerable only to themselves, in their opinion. They don't think the law has anythnig to do with them. In those cases, you will always have abuse of some sort. Always.

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RosyDaisy

SBC leaders and members, stop talking àbout about how "grieved" you are. Hold these predators and abusers accountable. Help and support victims. Words don't mean a damn thing! Fuck every single one of you!

 

 

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