Inside the Investigation into Child Sexual Abuse at Sovereign Grace Ministries

February 18, 2016 Comments Off on Inside the Investigation into Child Sexual Abuse at Sovereign Grace Ministries

Inside the Investigation into Child Sexual Abuse at Sovereign Grace Ministries 
Elizabeth Dias  Feb. 16, 2016

How one reporter investigated child sex abuse at a major evangelical church

The February issue of Washingtonian Magazine featured an exposé of long-buried sexual abuse of children in a prominent evangelical church network, Sovereign Grace Ministries. Freelance journalist Tiffany Stanley, a 2015 National Magazine Award finalist, spent 10 months uncovering reports of child rape and molestation in Sovereign Grace churches over the last three decades, particularly at the then-flagship Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

Her investigation, “The Sex Scandal that Devastated a Suburban Megachurch,” chronicles the inside story of crimes against children in D.C.-area Sovereign Grace churches, explores how church leaders including founder C.J. Mahaney did and did not respond, and recounts how victims’ mothers joined forces to seek justice.

Unlike the hierarchical Catholic Church, evangelical churches often function independently. But their influence is widespread—as Stanley points out, Wayne Grudem, an evangelical theologian at Phoenix Seminary, once described Sovereign Grace Ministries “as an example of the way churches ought to work….

In response to the Washingtonian investigation, executive director of Sovereign Grace Churches Mark Prater pointed TIME to a lengthy statement he made in 2014 denying that Sovereign Grace leaders “conspired to cover up” sexual abuse. “Yes, we have been the target of misinformed critique in both the secular and Christian media, and more will likely come,” he stated. “I pray that God gives us all grace to respond wisely and biblically. But regardless of the public discourse, we are strongly committed to ensuring a safe environment for the children in our churches….

(Tiffany Stanley) The Catholic Church has been taken to task over abuse for decades now. Evangelical ministries are now facing their own abuse crises. In the media, we’re hearing more about these stories. Some of these allegations confront abuse that is decades old. From just the past year, I’m thinking of reports about Josh Duggar of 19 Kids and Counting and Bill Gothard, a Christian homeschooling advocate. I’m also thinking about Buzzfeed’s recent story on Jesus People USA and Kiera Feldman’s 2012 investigation of abuse in a Tulsa megachurch. (Of course, other religions are not immune from sexual abuse scandals either.)

The sad reality is that sexual abuse is widespread everywhere, not just in religious communities. The statistics I saw were one-in-four girls and one-in-six boys will be sexually abused before the age of 18. The experts I spoke to didn’t say these statistics are worse in evangelical churches, but they did say that abusers could prey on trusting religious communities, which give them access to children. That’s why churches need policies in place to protect children and handle abuse when it happens. That means reporting suspected abuse to authorities immediately, instead of handling it internally. Abuse is a sin, but it’s also a serious crime….
http://time.com/4226444/child-sex-abuse-evangelical-church/

Convicted child abuser Peter Dundas Walbran arrested teaching at Thai school, Attempted murder recounted by giggling teens

December 10, 2015 Comments Off on Convicted child abuser Peter Dundas Walbran arrested teaching at Thai school, Attempted murder recounted by giggling teens

Convicted child abuser Peter Dundas Walbran arrested teaching at Thai school
December 9, 2015 Lindsay Murdoch South-East Asia correspondent for Fairfax Media

Ubon Ratchathani, Thailand: Police have detained a Sydney man jailed in 2012 over the rape and molestation of Indonesian boys as young as eight who was found teaching at a school in north-eastern Thailand.

Fairfax Media witnessed police confronting Peter Dundas Walbran, a former head of the Australian International School in Jakarta, with a warrant to search his apartment on suspicion of possessing child pornography as he was leaving to go to school on Wednesday….

That Walbran came to be teaching children in Asia again, after being deported from Indonesia to Australia last year, raises questions about the effectiveness of Australia’s National Child Offender Register.

Melbourne investigator Glen Hulley tracked 59-year-old Walbran to an international school in Ubon Ratchathani, 630 kilometres from Bangkok, where he has been teaching children aged 12 to 17 for eight months….

Walbran was sentenced to three years’ jail on the Indonesian island of Lombok in 2012 for offences that shocked investigators, including the repeated rape and abuse of children over a period of nine years….

Indonesian authorities alleged that Walbran befriended children on beaches and paid them as little as the equivalent of $3 after committing acts on them that distressed investigators….
http://www.smh.com.au/world/convicted-child-abuser-peter-dundas-walbran-arrested-teaching-at-thai-school-20151206-glgply.html 

Crime Read: Attempted murder recounted by giggling teens
December 3, 2015
Kate Kyriacou The Courier-Mail

THE two girls sat just off the sandy path of the Tanglewood track, waiting for their prey.

They’d talked about robbing someone but Sarah had been hacking into a tree trunk with the knife she’d brought. And she’d been talking for years about killing someone. Hopefully several someones.

When the woman with the bum bag appeared on the shady Noosa walking trail – a cooler alternative on hot days to the blinding white sand of the beach – they decided she was a good fit.

She was alone, for a start. Older, too. And maybe the bum bag clipped around her waist had a hidden stash of money….

They followed her for 20 minutes. Twenty minutes of Sarah steeling herself, getting ready for this thing she’d dreamed about, fantasised over, for so long.

This had nothing to do with the devil, with her obsession for the occult. This was her. This was what she wanted.

Sarah pulled the knife from under her shirt and ran forward, lunging at the unsuspecting bushwalker.

She crushed her hand over the woman’s mouth to stifle her screams and started hacking at her throat.

Aleaha chased with a pair of wooden nunchakus in hand. As Sarah stabbed and slashed, pushing the knife into the terrified woman’s side, Aleaha drew back her arm and brought the nunckakus down on their victim’s head….

They were still in Year 10 when they began to dabble in Satanism. They used the computers in the school library to download material from the internet. Sarah didn’t have the internet at home.

They used the internet to order a copy of the Satanic bible and began reading it obsessively. They kept journals and diaries on their new religion.

For Sarah’s parents, it was as though she had changed overnight. Their gentle, animal-loving daughter had been very immature for her age but she’d also been creative and bright. She wrote imaginative stories and poems. She was obsessively neat and clean. She took great care with her appearance.

She’d gone to a party with friends one night. The next day, everything was different.

“It was like throwing a switch,” her mother would explain in an interview in 1999.

“Sarah had always been very aware of her appearance. She liked her hair to be perfect. And then suddenly I had to force her to wash her hair … to make herself look decent.

“Her whole personality seemed to change overnight.”

Their only child was soon spending days on end locked away in her bedroom listening to death metal….

The girls had not given up on their infatuation with Satanism.

Sarah was “Cargulin” the Antichrist and number two on the satanic totem pole. Aleaha was “Satiryn”, the Angel of Sorrows – ranked number three.

Sarah had made her a certificate. Aleaha was her “satanic, sadistic ritual sex partner”.

“Am I really Satan’s, am I that worthy?” Aleaha had written.

They’d sacrificed animals as part of their obsession. They’d shared blood.

But Sarah wanted more. She fantasised about killing people.

“Spill the blood of all!” she wrote on a blood splattered journal page.

“Slaughter their innocent souls!! Cast their worthless prayers!! Leach the light away!! Bring evil to this land!! PURE MASSACRE!!”….

“About three years ago it (the dream) started. It’s not much to do with the occult thing. My parents call me a Satanist … really Satanism doesn’t have anything to do with killing people … (it’s) just a side interest. My interest is killing people.”….
http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/crime-and-justice/crime-read-attempted-murder-recounted-by-giggling-teens/news-story/43f8756495bc1158f1a5e9a477b348f7

‘7th Heaven’ actor under investigation for child abuse, Files on Winona Diocese clergy who abused children are made public

October 8, 2014 Comments Off on ‘7th Heaven’ actor under investigation for child abuse, Files on Winona Diocese clergy who abused children are made public

‘7th Heaven’ actor reportedly under investigation for child abuse
– Stephen Collins Network Yanks ‘7th Heaven’ From Schedule
– ‘7th Heaven’ Dad Stephen Collins Confesses on tape to Child Molestation
– Files on Winona Diocese clergy who abused children are made public
– ‘Terror mixed with homesickness meant I cried myself to sleep, night after night’

‘7th Heaven’ actor reportedly under investigation for child abuse
By Mark Shanahan and Meredith Goldstein
Globe Staff   October 07, 2014
Actor Stephen Collins, who played the Rev. Eric Camden on the long-running WB family show “7th Heaven,” is reportedly under investigation for child molestation after an alleged recording surfaced of him confessing in couples therapy to exposing himself to young girls and molesting an 11-year-old, according to TMZ and the New York Daily News. (TMZ has posted the alleged audio on its website. The Daily News reports an NYPD investigation has been confirmed with an unnamed department source.)
http://www.bostonglobe.com/arts/2014/10/07/says-stephen-collins-dropped-out-weeks-ago/1qK9xbya309zOuloQOEllJ/story.html

Stephen Collins Network Yanks ‘7th Heaven’ From Schedule 10/7/2014 BY TMZ STAFF
Stephen Collins’ confession he molested young girls is already causing collateral damage … episodes of his most famous TV show, “7th Heaven” are being yanked off the air.

A rep for TV Guide Network — which airs re-runs of the show — tells TMZ the two episodes remaining on the schedule will not air — nor will any future episodes of “7th Heaven.”

We’re told … programming honchos dropped the hammer on the show … after seeing our story that Collins was recorded during a therapy session … confessing to acts of molestation years ago….
http://www.tmz.com/#Article/2014/10/07/stephen-collins-child-molestation-7th-heaven-audio-tape-nypd-investigation

‘7th Heaven’ Dad Stephen Collins
Confesses on tape to Child Molestation

NYPD Investigating [AUDIO]
BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

Stephen Collins — who played the pastor/dad on “7th Heaven” — confessed to his estranged wife he was a child molester, and it’s all on tape … a tape obtained by TMZ. And the New York Police Dept. is now conducting an active criminal investigation involving sexual contact with multiple children.

Collins — who is in the middle of a nasty, prolonged divorce with actress Faye Grant — revealed to her in 2012 he had molested and/or exposed himself to several underage girls years before. Collins and Grant went to a therapist where she peppered him with questions about the incidents … and he not only answered, he was specific.

Here’s what Collins didn’t know at the time. Grant taped the therapy session. We’re told her lawyer advised her it was legal to secretly record the conversation because in California you’re allowed to secretly record conversations to gather evidence the other person committed a violent felony … and molesting a child under the age of 14 qualifies….

TMZ has learned … the NYPD is in possession of the tape, and last Wednesday 2 NYPD detectives from the Special Victims Unit flew to L.A. to interview Grant. We’re told they asked her about the tape and about other potential witnesses….
http://www.tmz.com/2014/10/07/stephen-collins-child-molestation-7th-heaven-audio-tape-nypd-investigation/

Files on Winona Diocese clergy who abused children are made public
JEAN HOPFENSPERGER , Star Tribune  October 7, 2014
Newly unsealed papers expose child sexual abuse by 14 priests in the Winona Diocese.

Winona Bishop John Quinn said the diocese “has worked diligently” to enforce abuse prevention protocols.

The 14 priests worked in all four high schools in the Diocese of Winona and at 45 parishes across southern Minnesota. But the paper trail exposing their sexual abuse of boys and girls had long been sealed — until Tuesday, when a court order pried open the records.

For the first time, the priests’ mental health reports, sexual abuse complaints and hundreds more documents were made public as part of a groundbreaking lawsuit making its way through Ramsey District Court.

The documents also show that the Winona Diocese “anticipates eventual bankruptcy” as a result of that lawsuit and others being filed under the new Minnesota Child Victims Act.

The files indicate that the diocese did not report claims of child sex abuse to law enforcement, did not remove offenders from ministry, and continued to financially support them even as abuse was known.

The document release comes in response to a lawsuit filed last year by a man who said he was abused by former priest Thomas Adamson in the 1970s. Adamson was accused of molesting boys in the Winona Diocese before being transferred to the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, where he allegedly abused the man in St. Paul Park….

While many files about Adamson were released in recent months through the archdiocese lawsuit, the Winona documents shed light on a different set of offenders.

The sexual abuse ranged from oral sex to fondling to rape, the documents showed. Emotional abuse often accompanied the physical abuse.

For example, the Rev. Richard Hatch would force one of his boy victims to have oral sex and then make him go to confession and confess it as if he were the cause of it, documents showed.

Like other dioceses, Winona kept the priests on the move, even after serious allegation of abuse….
http://www.startribune.com/local/278388541.html

‘Terror mixed with homesickness meant I cried myself to sleep, night after night’
Ivan Yates Published 05/10/2014

In 1968 – as a very young boy, Ivan Yates was sent to a boarding school in Bray. In the early part of his book he describes his misery there -and the borderline abuse he suffered:

The worst aspect of it was the constant fear. Charles Mansfield, headmaster and owner of the school, flattered himself that he was a disciplinarian. In fact, he was a sadist, liberally administering corporal punishment for any infringement of a forest of rules. Beatings were meted out with a slipper or a hairbrush on bare buttocks.

In my second year, I was in a dormitory adjacent to the headmaster’s office. If we were caught talking at night or early in the morning, he would come in and beat us. It became a familiar ritual. When he came round to each bed, we would turn over, pull down our pyjamas and receive our beating, faces in our pillows, counting the blows. Some boys got punished much worse than I did. One boy was black and blue from constant thrashings. At eight and nine years old, I was out of my depth. It was unremitting torture.

As I grew up, I remembered the beatings, but not the overwhelming sadness. It took therapy for me to recall the day, when I was about 11, when Mr Mansfield asked me to come and see him in the French room.

When I arrived, he was in the room, alone, standing by a table in the corner. He asked me to pull up a chair and sit down in front of him, explaining that as part of his sex education duties, he had individual consultations with the boys. He needed to see that we were developing properly. He asked me to take down my trousers and pants, so that he could examine me. I vividly recall that we were standing so close together that I could see the tiny blood vessels on his cheeks and could smell him. I did as I was told.
http://www.independent.ie/entertainment/books/terror-mixed-with-homesickness-meant-i-cried-myself-to-sleep-night-after-night-30633240.html

 

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