Very Good Article from TWW (Why Predators Choose Churches)

Everyone needs to read this.

If you are in a church where people have a “this would never happen here” attitude, then that means one of two things:

(1) It is GOING TO happen to you;

(2) It ALREADY HAS happened to you, and, when the facts get out in the open, the defecation is going to slam into the circulation at a very high velocity.

Predators will target churches for the same reason that armed robbers target banks.

The bank robber will hit the bank because “that’s where the money is.”

The child molester will target the church because “that’s where the children are.”

If you are a regular reader here, you will shake your head because, if I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: the predator often DOES NOT “LOOK” EVIL!

The predator is usually NOT the creepy, Peewee Herman knockoff and is in fact very likely (a) very respected, (b) very friendly and seemingly trustworthy, and (c) SOMEONE THE KIDS WILL OTHERWISE LOVE! He is often married and has children of his own, and his wife is often well-liked. He may be a seminary graduate, he may be a professional, he may be very gifted. He will likely be very popular.

Churches are generally drawn to people who (a) have charisma and (b) are good performers at what they do. If they are preachers, they can preach the lights out. If they are music ministers, they can sing and play instruments like no one’s business. If they are children’s ministers, they are EXCELLENT at object lessons. If they are youth ministers, they are VERY POPULAR with the teens.

You say your church does background checks? Excellent! EVERY CHURCH NEEDS TO DO THEM ON EVERYONE WHO SERVES WITH CHILDREN OR TEENS.

But remember this: the predator will pass the background check. This is because the background check will only tell you if he has any prior scrapes with the law. And Murphy’s Law says he has a “clean record”.

You say your church has a “two person rule”; i.e., no adult is allowed to be with children or teens alone. EXCELLENT! Every church needs to have that policy!

But are you sure that these workers are not having any kids or teens at their houses without other adult chaperones? Do you have adequate chaperones at camping and other outside-the-walls events? (And make no mistake: that is your responsibility!)

And given the recent debacle at Seven Rivers Presbyterian Church in Florida, you might need to ensure that the Internet connectivity in your church has reasonable porn-blocking technology.

Even then, you can do everything right and the predator can still make it past your defenses.

What can you do about that?

(1) Foster a culture of transparency in your church. President Reagan once told his staff, “Never be afraid to see what you see.” That is great advice here: if it looks suspicious, then don’t be afraid to sound off.

(2) As for “sounding off”…that means ensuring that people understand that they should call authorities immediately and report suspicious activity or accusations thereof. Can those accusations be bogus? Of course. But let the authorities sort that out. Are they perfect? No, but their batting average on these matters will be better than yours.

When an accusation surfaces, you aren’t going to want to believe it, because it will involve someone that you will swear is sterling.

Be that as it may, DO NOT “DO YOUR OWN INVESTIGATION”. I am going to give you some reasons why this is a very bad idea:

(1) Unless you are trained in this sort of thing, you aren’t qualified to do any such investigation.

(2) Even if you ARE trained in this sort of thing, you have conflicts of interest that could cloud your judgment as you investigate.

(3) By interrogating witnesses, you may unwittingly intimidate them into recanting, and this could squelch any chance of rooting out other abuses and exposing other victims. And trust me: if you get an accusation and it proves to have merit, Murphy’s Law says you’re seeing the tip of the iceberg.

I personally know two people who are doing 20-year sentences for child rape. One (RW) assaulted his own granddaughters–this was not church-related–and the other (CE) was a children’s worker for many years at various churches.

RW’s case, even though it was not church-related–is important for this reason: I was at RW’s house many times, and worked with his granddaughters in Awana (they were assistants to folks like myself), and saw them at the house many times. There were no obvious indications of abuse.

One of them wrote about the abuses in her diary, and one of her parents read it, and went to authorities. RW was convicted in a jury trial.

Had that parent dismissed this by saying, “I know RW, I can swear that he’s a good guy…he would NEVER do anything like that. There’s no way this is true!”, this would have never gone to trial. Thankfully, he (or she) saw what they saw and acted on it.

CE’s case was a classic disaster. He had been to multiple churches, and had been accused of improprieties with children everywhere he went.

What I was told after the fact: in the early cases, which occured in the early 1990s before myself or the pastor (RC) were at the church: CE’s prior churches didn’t report him but rather made him leave. When I was one of those churches from early 1994 through early 1997, CE had a “clean record”. From early 1994 to 1995, he was at a large church in Louisville. It was a liberal Baptist church. Apparently, he was pushed out of that church due to accusations from others. I wouldn’t find that out, however, until 1997, after I was gone.

None of his accusers at any of his prior churches reported him to authorities, and–rather than report him–the leaders at those churches had quietly told him to move on. (NEVER, EVER DO THAT! This enables predators to continue their dirty work.)

My first dealings with him were in 1996: CE taught in the children’s area. I taught one of the adult Sunday School classes and an occasional evening class. CE would teach the children’s object lesson on Sunday mornings. During this time, I was unaware of any accusations against him. I didn’t like him, but couldn’t put my finger on why. I did not, however, know of his past.

After I left in 1997, two accusers went to authorities, accusing CE of trying to touch them in certain places. CE was arrested and charged.

But other parties–people who knew those kids–interrogated them, and they subsequently recanted. With evidence lacking for convictions, CE was pled down to a misdemeanor which was subsequently expunged from his record.

In 2000, I returned to that church as the Minister of Education. When I got there, CE was a children’s worker and was even on the Personnel Committee. (In other words, he was actually on a committee that had the power to fire me!)

Oh, and CE had a “clean record”. That is because (a) his prior charges were dropped, and (b) the misdemeanor was expunged from his record. That means CE would pass any background check.

Neither the pastor (RC) nor myself liked him, but the powerful folks on the key committees swore by him.

RC and I did the best we could: we kept a close eye on him, and we were dogmatic about the “two person rule”, which pissed off some of the children’s workers.

During my year there, no one accused him of anything. And I did not witness any suspicious activity. (And I was looking for it.)

Not long after I left in 2001, CE also went to another church.

But there was a family–the mom was a childhood friend of CE’s–that continued to have CE babysit their kids.

One of those kids started having some medical issues. Upon examination, a doc became suspicious. Subsequent professionals determined that CE had raped the child.

CE was arrested and charged.

This time around, other accusers came out of the woodwork, most of those pre-dating my time at that church, and some of them involving other churches at which he had served.

According to RC, none of the documented abuses occurred during our terms there. To this day, I have no idea why that was the case. I wish I could say that RC and I scared the Hell out of CE, but I doubt that was the case. Maybe he knew he was being watched. Who knows?

Ultimately, he pled guilty and is serving a 20-year sentence.

Notice that, had those 2 kids–in 1997–not been interrogated by people who knew them, CE would likely have been stopped in his tracks.

That underscores the danger of “doing your own investigation”.

The folks who did that in 1997? They thought they were rooting out liars. They thought they were saving the church from being tainted by false accusation.

In reality, they enabled a predator.

Time For a Mass Burning At the Stake

Hat tip to Dee at TWW. This is nothing short of reprehensible.

Make no mistake:

(1) Heads need to roll, and at every level.

(2) Seminaries need to be completely upended.

(3) Every ordained minister and parachurch leader needs to be put under investigation.

Those found guilty need to be imprisoned for life.

Oh, and don’t think for one second that this isn’t almost as rampant in the Baptist/congregational world.

Bicycling Magazine Omits Facts

In their recent piece about the deaths of two Zombie Zone cyclists, Bicycling magazine left out important facts regarding one of the cases.

In May 2015, Hinkel was at mile 99 of the region’s premier event, the Horsey Hundred Century, when a pickup truck crossed the centerline and hit him head-on. Witnesses called 911 immediately. The driver, 29-year-old Odilon Paz-Salvador, who had a history of substance abuse and was allegedly drunk at the time, continued three miles down the road until police pulled him over at a mobile home park—as Hinkel lay bleeding on the truck’s bed cover. Emergency responders found Hinkel there and rushed him to the University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Here are the rest of the facts:

(a) Paz-Salvador is an illegal immigrant.

(b) Paz-Salvador had at least three prior aggravated DUIs, one of which had his blood alcohol level at 0.3.

(c) Paz-Salvador’s deportation orders had been sitting in bureaucratic Hell for more than a year.

(d) Paz-Salvador was not “allegedly” drunk: he was bombed off his arse. He confessed to smoking marijuana and had beer in his truck.

(e) After hitting Hinkel head-on, Paz-Salvador was fleeing the police.

That he was even in the United States, let alone allowed to walk the streets or–worse–drive on them, is a travesty.

Like Hinkel, I rode Horsey Hundred 2015. My group was finishing when he got hit; we were three miles ahead of him. (We started long before he did; elite riders like Hinkel often start later whereas groups like mine–who are intentionally slow–start earlier.)

Hinkel was very likely enjoying the last couple miles of what was a long but pleasant ride. He no doubt had enjoyed a root beer float and other goodies at the Bethel Church rest stop, which was the final rest stop before the finish. The hardest parts of the ride were over, and, at mile 99, it was relatively flat the rest of the way. He had one more turn to make, then he’d be riding into Georgetown college where he would finish, check in and get credit for the Kentucky Century Challenge, and then knock down some nice food.

That all went to crap when Paz-Salvador showed up, struck Hinkel head-on at a high rate of speed, and then tried to flee the police with Hinkel–badly wounded–in the bed of his truck.

America’s Dumbest Criminals, Part 197,814

Time for the newest entry in our series of utterly stupid wrongdoers!

Setting: A cell phone store near Pueblo, Colorado.

A 60-something man with a felony record sees a younger man talking to the clerk. He apparently decides he’s got an easy score, so he identifies himself as a cop, and asks the man in front of the desk if he’s a drug dealer because he has so many phones. He then demands that the younger man give him the drugs. The younger man asks for his credentials, and the older man demands the drugs again.

That’s when the younger man ID’s himself as a real cop and arrests the older man for impersonating a cop.

 

Former Pastor Jack Schaap Gets 12 Years in Sex Case

Didn’t hear about this until a commenter at Boundless mentioned it.

According to letters released by federal prosecutors last week as part of the government’s sentencing memorandum, Schaap wrote to the teen that his sexual relationship with her was “exactly what Christ desires for us. He wants to marry us + become eternal lovers!”

My $0.02 on The Steubenville Rape Case

While it is true that “boys will be boys”, there are some things–whether you are Christian or not–that you just don’t freaking do. Ever.

There are some lines–particularly when it comes to sex, whether you are Christian or not–that you don’t freaking cross. Ever.

The two Steubenville football players crossed those lines. The community–seeking to mitigate the incident in deference to the two football players–nearly denied justice to the 16-year-old girl–I shall call her JD (for Jane Doe)–who was raped.

While JD was wrong for getting drunk, she did not deserve to be raped. That she compromised herself by being stupid did not give others the right to her body.

I fully support the prosecution in this case, and those two guys deserved what they got. While I would be hesitant to beat them down the way I would an adult offender, they need to feel some pain here. They need some valuable training in boundaries. They need to apologize to the victim–and offer some restitution–not just for violating her but also for employing digital media in the process.

With that out of the way, we have this screed by Marthe Weyandte.

Photos and videos were circulated among acquaintances, making light of the incident. There were witnesses, although nobody stepped in to stop the attack from happening.

This is nothing new. It is not uncommon, for example, for public assaults–not just those against women–to go uncontested. There is a predisposition among Americans not to mess with other people’s businesses. That is both a good and a bad thing. Complicating matters, the larger question is what kinds of people are going to be present at those kinds of parties? When I was in high school, I almost never went to parties. The few I did attend had no alcohol and were chaperoned by coaches who were of good repute. We had none of this type of mayhem.

OTOH, I knew of other parties–hosted by others of less repute–where the drugs (including cocaine and pot) and alcohol were plenteous. And yes, there were hookups, although that was mostly on the fringes. The types of folks who went to those parties were not the kinds of folks who would have intervened if there was an assault going on.

Now let’s look at Weyandte’s take on why this happened:

1.) We live in a misogynist society. It is improving, albeit slowly.

Bullhockey. We live in a FEMINIST society. We have a system that PEDESTALS women. Our education system is DESIGNED around girls and PUNISHES masculinity.

None of that, however, explains why these boys did what they did.

My take: they were party animals, veterans of the hookup culture, and were having fun. In doing so, they totally crossed boundaries that no one should ever cross. Sadly, JD will pay a terrible price. The boys will also have to face the reality that they did a very bad thing that cannot be undone.

2.) We trust our politicians and our scions of industry and our entertainment execs and our friends to teach our kids right from wrong. This is ludicrous.

Who teaches American kids values like empathy, respect, patience and compassion? Television execs? Violent video game distributors? Jersey Shore? Maybe politicians like Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin with his Dark ages stance on gender relations?

Parents and concerned citizens, do you think most of these people really care what happens to your kids beyond a healthy bottom line?

Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

CNN can go to hell, in my opinion. The victim had a ‘promising’ future too. Nobody seemed to mention that. But we can only blame CNN so much. Major news networks almost always follow the status quo anyway.

If those boys lived the straight life as former Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) has, they would not have committed rape.

Having said that, it would be nice to know what kind of parental instruction these kids had regarding how to treat a woman. If a child grows up seeing his parents respect each other, he will learn to do this. If a child grows up in a home where parents are actively teaching them to respect other people’s bodies, they’ll learn to do that. Some will still do horrible things, but those occurrences will be less likely.

3.) Social networks are detaching us from reality.

We live in a culture that promotes disconnection from others through entertainment, media and social networking. People are pixels and bytes and status updates, not hardly human. We are more self-involved and more narcissistic.

One of the most striking features of the Steubenville rape was an almost-sociopathic sense of detachment from the victim coupled with over-developed sense of entitlement displayed toward the victim. This young woman became a toy, an object to her attackers who carried her, like prey, from location to location. This sort of depersonalization is characteristic of wartime atrocities. It has made its way onto violent video games.

I’m not biting on that. It’s easy to blame these acts on the vices of the day–today it’s social media and video games whereas 30 years ago it was various brands of rock music, combined with movies.

In fact, I could make the case that, but for social media, those boys would not have been prosecuted.

4.) Hook-up culture is rampant in our society, but that old double standard still holds true in many places.

There is a sort of cognitive dissonance. Guys who have sex are studs. Girls who have sex are sluts. The double standard isn’t right and it isn’t fair, but it is very, very prevalent in the American subconscious. Nobody wants to touch that one. Not with a thousand-foot pole. Parents remain mum on the topic. High school sex ed programs, who either hand out condoms like candies or promote abstinence.

Television networks feature hook-up heavy reality shows like Jersey Shore. Self-respect and emotional maturity are in short supply. Men demonstrate their prowess with endless sexual conquests. Women who do not fit conventional standards of beauty are referred to as ‘grenades.’

The double-standard exists in no small part because women are the gatekeepers for sex. It is quite easy for a woman–even one who is not attractive–to get sex. The same is not true for a man: even an Alpha is only successful about 30% of the time.

This is why women who have many partners are viewed negatively by men whereas men who have many partners are viewed positively by women.

Calling me names will not change that reality, because I didn’t create it.

Oh, and you can thank feminism and their ardent supporters–including Bill Clinton–for the hookup culture. As President, he insisted that oral sex doesn’t count. After that, the percentage of teens engaging in that skyrocketed…

5.)Where is the love?

We live in a throwaway society at times. We pitch everything from Starbucks cups to sexual partners without a second glance. We need to talk with our kids about the emotional complexity of relationships. Respect and concern for another’s needs is an integral part of any consensual relationship. Respect can not be a two-way street when one of the parties is pressured or forced or obliterated out of his or her mind. This isn’t rocket science, but then maybe rocket science is easier to learn!

Yes, where is the love? We live in a throwaway society, where women are allowed the throw away their babies if they don’t want them. We live in a throwaway society, where people can throw away their marriages with near-impunity, two-thirds of such dissolutions pursued by the women.

Please don’t lecture us about how horrible this society is, because you have the society you asked for.

You wanted the prerogative to be as promiscuous as the men, and you got it.

You wanted to be able to end a marriage at will, and you got it.

You wanted to be able to kill your babies in utero, and you got it.

You wanted a government that pedestals women and attacks masculinity, and you got it.

You wanted unwed motherhood destigmatized–even pedestaled–and you got that.

So don’t sit here and complain about the unintended consequences.

Having said that, it would be a stretch to blame the Steubenville rape on these factors.

We must hold individuals responsible for their actions, and–while society has issues–what those boys did was nothing new, and we are doing ourselves a disservice by pretending otherwise.