[Vision2020] Sex abuse and evangelical churches' reactions
moscowcares at moscow.com
Thu Jun 22 01:40:53 PDT 2017
Courtesy of today's (June 22, 2017) Moscow-Pullman Daily News with special thanks to Nick Gier.
His View: Sex abuse and evangelical churches' reactions
By Nick Gier
Some parents have long thought that the safest place for their children would be churches and their affiliated schools. Sadly, this has not been the case.
In 2007 insurance companies that provide liability for Protestant churches reported they had received on average 260 reports of child sex abuse per year. The Catholic Church's own figures are 228 "credible accusations" per year.
Given that one in four girls are molested nationwide and less than half the states require pastors to report these crimes, the actual numbers in both camps are much higher.
Most Protestant abuse is found among the evangelicals/fundamentalists, whose 280,000 decentralized churches and schools are much more difficult to monitor for these infractions.
After years of denial and blaming the victims, administrators at ultra-fundamentalist Bob Jones University finally admitted they had serious problems. They had been forced to do so by student activists and alumni.
In her in-depth article "By Grace Alone," Kathryn Joyce tells the story of Bob Jones student Katie Landry, who had been raped by a co-worker just before she came to campus. She found herself confused, conflicted and acting out.
Landry's campus counselor told her that "under every sin is another sin; there is a sin in your life that caused your rape." This is a typical evangelical diagnosis, which blames the victim for giving into her seducer and/or being flirtatious and wearing provocative clothing.
Another evangelical group, the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism, has also been forced to confess its sins. The focus of the investigation was Dr. Donn Ketcham, a charismatic medical missionary in Bangladesh. His 40-year-long history of sexual misdeeds finally came to light in the case of Kim James.
James and her family arrived at the Bangladesh mission in 1982. When James was 13, Ketcham cultivated an intimate relationship with her that led, he later admitted, to "a minimum of 10 to 15 sexual encounters." James recalled saying to herself: "This is the most godly man here. He would not do anything that's not right."
Back home in Indiana, James confessed to her local pastor that she had sex with Ketcham. Without her parent's knowledge or permission, two church elders interrogated her. One of them concluded that James suffered from "lust in its most base form, uncontrolled in the body of a spiritually immature woman."
Ketcham was forced to leave the mission because of "immorality," which was taken to mean adultery, not child sex abuse. Back in Michigan and still practicing medicine, Ketcham was accused of abusing a 6-year-old patient, and he is now serving a life sentence for first-degree sexual assault.
Natalie Greenfield tells a frighteningly similar story about her abuse by Jamin Wight. Wright was a student at Greyfriars, the seminary for Moscow's Christ Church led by my former student, Douglas Wilson.
Wight was a boarder in Greenfield's home, and when she was 13, he groomed her, as she described it, for a two-year sexual relationship. In 2005 the Greenfields finally went to the police and filed charges.
Many people in Christ Church wrote character witness letters for Wight, and he served only four months of a two-year sentence. (He also did not have to register as a sex offender.) Wilson and Christ Church elders turned against Greenfield's father saying he had failed to protect his daughter.
Wilson sent Greenfield three successive emails warning her that she had to meet with church elders for repentance. After she refused to meet with them, she was disfellowshipped.
Greenfield is now happily married and has four children. She speaks out regularly about child sexual abuse. She also sings her heart out as a blues soloist in various venues, including some of my Unitarian choir performances.
Seeya 'round town, Moscow, because . . .
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
More information about the Vision2020