An Unholy and Despicable Coverup of Pedophilia By the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism

What pedophiles and people who have sexual desires on children lose sight of to a terrible, terrible degree – a devastating degree – is that their victims are real people who will suffer forever whatever abuses are perpetrated on them.  Jock Sturges

Speulcre Arc-en-Barrois -Wikicommons

I have been pacing around my kitchen, trying to write this story. I am filled with a mixture of anger, horror, frustration and deep sadness. When our forefathers began this grand experiment which would become the United States of America, they had dreams of freedom, spotlighted by a people dedicated to forming a more perfect union. We were to be a city on a hill, a shining light for the rest of the world. The Christians in this country have been dedicated to bringing the Gospel of Our Lord to countries that have few Christians and little understanding of the forgiveness we have in His blessed sacrifice.

So many missionaries have given their lives in the far corners of this globe. I remember a 4 year old girl that I taught in Sunday school who grew up on the mission field, working, alongside her parents , running an orphanage. Talitha died at the age of 16, the victim of a terrible form of malaria. Many of our friends have gone onto the mission field, bringing their children along with them. However, in recent years, stories of the sexual abuse of missionary children have horrified the Christian community.

Recently, Christianity Today link discussed several cases of abuse on the mission field.

"About 30 missionary kids abused between 1950 and 1990, many at boarding schools in Africa or Asia, received a formal apology from Presbyterian Church (USA) leaders in October. About a month earlier, New Tribes Mission (NTM) released a report detailing the abuse of at least 50 missionary kids who had boarded in Senegal in the late 1980s."

One of the most well-documented cases of  pedophilia on the mission field comes from a group of brave and dedicated adult missionary kids who were abused by a doctor in Bangladesh. This story is  the cause of my 4th of July pacing. I am outraged by the incredibly stupid, unloving, and un-Christian responses by the leaders of  ABWE (Association of Baptists for World Evangelism). This group is part of GARBC (General Association of Regular Baptists). From Wikipedia link:

"The impact of modernism on the Northern Baptist Convention (now called the American Baptist Churches in the USA) led to the eventual withdrawal of a number of conservative and fundamentalist churches. The GARBC follows a "fellowship" model rather than a denominational model. Each member church is free to act independently in all matters. "

I attempted to get comments from ABWE but my calls were not returned.  All of the information, unless otherwise noted, comes for the website called Bangladesh MK Speak link.  MK is an abbreviation for Missionary Kids. TWW applauds their courage, tenacity, and dedication in exposing the pedophile, Dr. Donn Ketcham, and in highlighting the reprehensible response of ABWE.

The following is a timeline of the events taken from the website.

1930s -Donn Ketcham’s father, the Rev. Robert T. Ketcham begins his long-held and influential leadership role in the GARBC.  

1950s -Donn Ketcham, in medical training, has numerous extramarital affairs .

1963 – Donn Ketcham begins missionary service as a physician with ABWE in East Pakistan, a country later to be known as Bangladesh

Late ’60s -Donn Ketcham has a relationship with a student nurse at a Catholic hospital in the Midwest while on furlough that results in the dismissal of the nurse from nursing school 

1971 – Wendell Kempton begins his 30-year presidency of ABWE, He will preside over the apparent cover up.

1974 or 1975 – Donn Ketcham is sent home temporarily for counseling due to an extramarital relationship on the mission field.

Mid-’80s – A female missionary to Bangladesh is sent home because of an extramarital affair with Ketcham. Ketcham is moved  temporarily away from the hospital at Malumghat to Chittagong.

1988 – Donn Ketcham is sexually abusing of 14-year-old MK (missionary kid)

July 1989 – A young MK visiting the States without her parents tells her sending church pastor that missionary Dr. Donn Ketcham has been sexually molesting her on the field since she was 12 years old. This pastor contacts ABWE, and ABWE immediately hands the girl over to counselor Russ Lloyd and Ketcham’s boss Russ Ebersole to journey alone with the two men back to Bangladesh. Before she is able to see her parents she is forced to sign a confession of her wrongdoing!

The entire sordid affair is documented in the diary of the counselor who made his notes available to this group with the permission of the victim.  Ketcham admits to the abuse. Go to this Link and see the middle of the page which allows the reader to access his actual counseling notes.

September 1989 – Ketcham is forced to resign from the mission field. He is forced to confess his sin to his pastor but it is presented in such a way that most people believe that it was due to adultery.  No report is made to any organization in America. Donn Ketcham goes on to start a family practice group in Allendale, Michigan. Here is a comment written by his pastor in 2011 at the MK blog.

"Rev Michael Eleveld says:
March 27, 2011 at 6:13 pm
"I was Donn Ketcham’s pastor at Newhall Baptist Church from 1987 thru 1990. During this time frame I was never told of any “sexual misconduct” so I consequently could not “clear” Donn to return to service. And as stated before, in 1989 we were not told that his sin involved pedophilia. We were led to believe his sin was that of adultery. I have called the man who served as our Deacon Chair at the time and he clearly recalls that we were told Donn’s sin was that of adultery. We dealt with him as though he was guilty and repentant of the sin of adultery. I sent my own young daughters to him for medical care after he returned from the field…something I would never, never! have done if I had known he had committed acts of pedophilia. I resent the implications of ABWE that we are somehow complicit in this apparent cover up. The good people of Newhall Baptist had no knowledge of the full extent of Donn’s sins. I am deeply upset that I was not given the information necessary to shepherd and protect my flock as I had promised Jesus I would do."

Early 2002 – At a gathering of missionary kids, now grown women, tell Michael Loftis(now president of ABWE) and ABWE employee Jess Eaton about the abuse they suffered from Donn Ketcham while children on the mission field. Loftis promised an investigation (which did not happen until GRACE was hired in 2011) and payment for counseling (which did not happen until 2010). This gathering did not include many of the now grown MKs. Fear is expressed that there are many more undiscovered victims.

2009+ MK reports to ABWE begin to escalate here .

November 2010 – ABWE adopts a new plan of “best practices” for child safety, but DOES NOT contact the victims of Donn Ketcham or follow up on promises of an investigation made in 2002.

March 2011-Susie Baker posts her story of abuse at the hands of Ketcham. She believes he may have drugged her. Link

May 2011 Under duress, ABWE hires GRACE link to investigate the extent of Donn Ketcham abuses and the lack of response on the part of ABWE. This group is involved in investigating abuse and recommending response. They were involved in the New Tribes mission scandal.

May 2011: The following report is issued by ABWE regarding the ongoing investigation by GRACE. Link  It is important to note two things. Years went by and children were hurt.

1. It is only after this pressure was applied that they reported Ketcham to the medical board. Ketcham was forced to hand over his license. Unfortunately, he was 80 years old.he had practiced for over 20 years in the United States with access to children during this time.

2. The investigation turned up more kids who were abused. The report is worded in such a way to raised the specter of other abusers in the mission field.

In the letter ABWE states:

"The first step in repentance is to acknowledge one’s failure. We have acknowledged that people in leadership positions made decisions that were unwise and unacceptable. These include:

  • the signing of a confession by the first known victim;
  • the insistence the victim ask forgiveness of the perpetrator;
  • the failure to investigate fully the first reported incident to determine if there were other victims;
  • the failure to fully inform the sending and supporting churches of the specific nature of Donn Ketcham’s sin;
  • the failure to fully investigate when MKs informed ABWE of additional victims;
  • lack of notification of all appropriate authorities;
  • by using the phrase moral failure, we failed to clearly identify the sin as child abuse; and
  • the inadequate response to those MKs who sought help from ABWE.

The second step in repentance is to change. Over the past year, we have made a series of personnel moves that ensure no one involved in these decisions will be involved in such matters at ABWE again.

We have reported Donn Ketcham’s abuse to the Michigan Board of Medicine, which resulted in the surrendering of his medical licenses.

ABWE also hired a highly experienced independent investigator to conduct a much more extensive examination of ABWE beyond the actions of Donn Ketcham. This investigative team looked into our history to determine if other child abuse issues had been mishandled.

A search of our records found other incidents. Each is being reinvestigated and handled in accordance with currently acceptable legal practices, including the notification of authorities and supporting churches.

A Wood TV news story link reports, "After an investigation, the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs reached a settlement with Ketcham in which he pleaded "no contest" to the allegations and agreed to permanently surrender his medical license.  He also agreed that he will not hold or seek a medical license in any other state. " 

June 2011 – President Loftis resigns under a cloud. But, not to worry. He is now a trustee at Cedarville University.

November 2011 – It is discovered that Ed Stetzer, (self described author, speaker, researcher, pastor, church planter, and Christian missiologist. Stetzer is a contributor to the North American discussion on missional church and church planting.) endorses  ABWE.  He has reportedly refused to respond to emails by those who were wounded by the lack of response from ABWE. At the same time, he spoke out about the Penn State situation, saying that we must protect children.  As one MK claims he wrote in an email to Stetzer

"I can only hope that you are pushing quietly for the right thing at ABWE with whatever pull you have there. But I cannot help but point out how strange it is that a man who considers care for children of the utmost importance and reporting to proper authorities of the utmost importance would still allow ABWE to use his name and picture on their website."

One must question if Stetzer is giving mission groups in the SBC proper advice in protecting children of missionaries. 

This "business as usual " must stop. Those involved in this lack response at ABWE must not only repent but they must take a serious look at their hearts and figure out what is missing.  Believe me, there is something missing. Those who allowed Ketcham to leave and practice in the United States are morally and spiritually culpable for putting other children in harm's way.


WHY AREN'T MISSION BOARDS REPORTING ABUSE TO LOCAL AUTHORITIES?  The possibility of being jailed in a 3rd world country might cause some pedophiles to "think again."

May God heal the wounded spirits of those abused. TWW thanks  all of those who took the risk of speaking out. Your courage is resulting in exposure of unrepentant sin and, at the same time,  giving others the love and support that they need. Because of your strength, others may find the courage to do the same.  TWW gives you all a standing ovation!!!!

We leave you with this wonderful song about the United States of America. May our scars teach us and makes us stronger and more loving.

Lydia's Corner: Jonah 1:1-4-11 Revelation 5:1-14 Psalm 133:1-3 Proverbs 29:26-27




An Unholy and Despicable Coverup of Pedophilia By the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism — 58 Comments

  1. This story is appalling. As a child, I rubbed shoulders with many of the names involved in this story through my parents, who were/are ABWE missionaries. My mother and I grappled with how  these men could mishandle this whole thing so badly? She thought it could be because they were ignorant or naive about molestation. Last year, I wrote my thoughts about this situation here:

    But really, who cares the reason? I've been eyeballing ABWE's web site for close to 2 years, hoping for updates. Where are they? Why don't we see or hear more from them about caring for these women who were abused as girls under their organization?

  2. Ah, the ABWE and GARB. I live in the land of these two organizations. Most of the Baptist churches around here are GARB. To be fair, the GARB churches vary a fair amount in their practice/worship, but they are still all GARB.

    Helps explains a bit why I'm not in a Baptist church around here, doesn't it?

  3. Wow!  This is unbelievable.

    ABWE may be toast as an organization if some aggressive plaintiff lawyers get a hold of this. 

    ABWE's moral duties are clear in this case and they failed every time.

    I am not sure of ABWE's legal duties for analyzing all of this and what the statute of limitations might be.  They definitely had a legal duty to their own employees and missionaries, and to send them back into harm's way with this corrupt doctor is inexcusable.  I don't know what they should have told the church. If there had been a criminal prosecution, it would be public record and that could be told.  But a private employment matter is more complex.  BUT they told the church something, and what they told them was wrong.  It was not adultery.  So while ABWE may not have been legally able to divulge what they did, by divulging misleading information, they set themselves up for being sued by people who were exposed to this corrupt doctor.  Who knows how many people this harmed.

    This story shows the tragic history of churches of all stripes being ignorant and not knowing how to handle these situations.  Confusing priorities – repentance of the perpetrator vs. helping the victims.  And being naive about allowing the perpetrator to continue with life in the belief that he will not harm others.

    In the independent baptist world you also have the nepotism issue.  Groups like ABWE all formed in the 1930s or thereabouts when the seminaries and institutions of the mainline denominations went modernist.  Many of the new independent baptist institutions were built on the personalities and charisma of the founders.  Many of these men handed the ministries to their sons.  We still see that today.  The children are often not their fathers, and when problems arise, there is an instinctive desire to protect the institution and go lightly on failed leadership.  The Ketchum family is apparently really prominent in ABWE.

    These independent leaders hate denominationalism because they believe (probably correctly) that many who rise to the top are not leaders, but good corporate men. This was true of the SBC in many regards for much of the 20th century, and it still exists.

    But nepotism has pitfalls that are every bit as bad as denominationalism.

    This even happens in the most of structured expressions of the Christian religion – the Catholic Church.

    I read an article in National Review about 5 years ago or so on the pedophile scandal in the Catholic Church.  I am not Catholic and have very little insight into the mind of that world.  National Review is very connected to the Catholic world.  The article chronicled 2 things that happened that laid the ground work for the scandal.  First, the church took a more lenient attitude toward homosexuality and the ability of homosexuals (not practicing) to serve as priests.  Second, the Catholic church, has had a long standing tradition of kindness toward the least fortunate, those who fail, criminals etc.  Catholic charities is very active in prisons and works hard on prisoner rights and rehabilitation.  When the stories of abuse began to surface, the church worked hard to try and restore the wayward priests, seeing that they had an obligation toward them.  This was a wrong priority in my opinion.

    I heard Wendell Kempton preach in college.  Mike Loftis and his wife, JoBeth, were mentors of mine at the college where I finished my undergraduate degree.  I have not kept in contact with him, but within the last year learned that he left ABWE. Did not know why, however, but what I read made me think it was scandal related.  Now I know.  

    From what I know of Mike you could not find a more sincere Christian.  He was exemplary in his walk.  His family life was great.  He was raised on the mission field in Australia.  He was more progressive than many in the independent baptist world.  Mike would have been MORE apt to do something about this than many in that world, at least based on my recollection.  I have not communicated with him more than once in the last 29 years (since I finished college), except that I saw him briefly at Dr. Lee Roberson's funeral about 5 years ago, and I recently learned of his transition from ABWE to some new ministry (which I cannot think of now).  It breaks my heart to read this.  The only thing that I can think is that Mike was totally unprepared and inexperienced for this.  I would think, based on what I remember about him, that his natural instincts even would have driven him to make better decisions.  But having no experience and being faced with this he may have turned to others who gave bad advice.  I suspect he was dismissed from ABWE.  I don't know when he became president.  It appears Ketchum was already gone when he became President.  At least I am hoping for his sake that is the case.

    This is just a terrible thing to read – all around.

    Ed Stetzer is an acquaintance/friend, too.  I think well of him.  I have not seen what he has said of ABWE.  From what I know about ABWE, it is a good missionary organization.  But some discussion of this matter is in order when discussing that organization, I believe.

    This is about the worst example I have seen of responding or not responding to a scandal.


  4. November 2011 – It is discovered that Ed Stetzer, (self described author, speaker, researcher, pastor, church planter, and Christian missiologist. Stetzer is a contributor to the North American discussion on missional church and church planting.) endorses ABWE. He has reportedly refused to respond to emails by those who were wounded by the lack of response from ABWE. At the same time, he spoke out about the Penn State situation, saying that we must protect children. As one MK claims he wrote in an email to Stetzer…

    Is this the same Ed Stetzer who is Mark Driscoll’s most committed apologist in the Southern Baptist Conference? The same Ed Stetzer who is president of Lifeway Research, a former Acts 29 board member and a “Visiting Professor” at Southeastern Seminary?


  5. Is this the same Ed Stetzer who is Mark Driscoll’s most committed apologist in the Southern Baptist Conference? The same Ed Stetzer who is president of Lifeway Research, a former Acts 29 board member and a “Visiting Professor” at Southeastern Seminary?

    One Hand Washes the Other?

  6. Anonymous 7:50 PM said:

    "This is about the worst example I have seen of responding or not responding to a scandal."

    Hmm… This is not said to single out anyone. But this ending phrase to your comment, I think, illistartes a large part of the problem in the greater church culture. You seem to be focussed on the response to a 'scandal' rather than the response to those who were victimized. This feels like the focus is still on the institution and not on the people whose lives were destroyed.

  7. Jeannette:

    I did not mean to communicate that at all.

    I completely agree with you, and am sorry that the words I chose conveyed something else to you.

    This is the worst response I have seen.  I will let you fill in the words you like, and will hit the "Like" button when you do so.


  8. Eagle:

    I have a couple of theories about the Catholic thing.

    First, there are so many Catholics in the U.S.  It is by far the largest Christian faith group in the U.S.  A large % of Christians in the world are Catholics.

    Second, Catholics are more predominant in the major media markets in the U.S. and are more prominent in major U.S. institutions.  New York, Boston, D.C., Philly, Chicago all have a lot of Catholics.  A Southern Baptist issue in Dallas would probably receive more attention than a Catholic matter in Dallas.

    Third, the requirement of celibacy for priests is a big deal to the media, and they see that as connected to the molestation issue.

    Fourth, the Catholic church is a top down organization.  Baptists are all independent churches.  The decisions to move priests from one place to the next were institutional, policy driven.  A Baptist church can fire the pastor and that's it.  They can't actually hire him somewhere else, as Catholics can.  They can remain silent or recommend him to some other place, but they same organization doesn't hire and fire the same guy.

    I would be open to hear arguments that the media is somehow more favorable to Southern Baptists, or independent Baptists than Catholics, but I can't see that at all under any circumstance.

  9. We left our patriarchal family integrated church in 2010. After a year of searching, we settled on a house church where women are treated as equals. Tonight, I finally looked up one of the members (several ex-cons attend) and he is a convicted sex offender. The victim was only 13, while he is in his 40s. The crime was in 2009 and he was released from jail after only 6 months.

    We are sure the church's host knows about this man's past, since the criminal married his sister last year. Also, the host is a cop, so ot would be easy to find out. The wife had mentioned one time how angry her family was when she married him. (She has an autistic 13 year old son.) Another time she mentioned how something about a relative refusing to be around her husband. Also, he had mentioned that he was in solitary confinement because the other prisoners were going to kill him. We had heard that child molesters are often attacked by other prisoners, and I guess it was true, at least in this case.

    After your series of posts these last few days, I finally decided to look this man up. It took me about zero time to decide to leave the church. I had considered inviting the family over for dinner, but just never got around to it, thank God! Now I feel grossed out, and worried about the autistic son.

    I'm sure the church host feels the man has repented, but I think two years out of jail isn't enough time to know. Thanks for sharing your experienced with everyone here, even if some are starting to find it boring. You don't know how many potential victims have been spared. If you had only run one article every few months, I probably wouldn't have thought about it enough to look this man up.

    Now i'll go back to lurking.

  10. @HoppyTheToad,

    I totally get that you want to run far and fast after learning that there's a convicted pedophile in your house church. But would you consider staying? You have a new knowledge and awareness of this problem that many, many people don't have. Perhaps you can be a change agent in this situation. Maybe you can befriend the wife (and mother of the 13-year-old autistic son) and help her to understand that her husband can't be trusted to be alone with any child or children for any length of time. Especially her son!!!  You can keep an eye on the man during the church activities too. If he shows any interest in the children there, that's a red flag and needs to be confronted.

    In some ways, it would be easier to leave and then it's not your problem anymore. But if you stay and try to help everyone (including the man himself) understand this very real danger, you might just save some lives.

    Of course, they might turn against you!! Is it worth the risk? That's for you to decide. I hope you'll be a catalyst in this most difficult situation. In any case, no guilt. As you talk with God about it, do what you think is best.

  11. Eagle,

    You have touched on a very deep subject here, about which millions of words have probably been written over the centuries.

    However my own random thoughts are as follows:

    1.  One could just as well ask why God made Adam and Eve (or, if you like, the human race) if he foresaw the horrors of the twentieth century, and all the other things that according to Christian belief brought Christ to the cross to atone for them.

    2.  Without getting into issues of sovereignty/predestination (which isn't my forte anyway), one could ask, as C S Lewis did in The Problem of Pain: what is the alternative?  If God intervenes to prevent this certainly horrific crime, why didn't he intervene to prevent Auschwitz?  Or famine?  But if God intervened for every sin, then there would be no sin but no goodness or holiness either, because then both would be merely the impossibility of committing a wrong act.  In essence a race of intelligent creatures would be reduced to lab rats that learn not to do certain things for fear of an electric shock, or to pre-programmed robots.

    I hope that doesn't sound trite.  If you want another angle on it, Dostoyevsky's The Brother's Karamazov also deals with the issue of the suffering of children.

    I welcome anyone's comments on the above, especially Eagle's.


  12. Anonymous

    Here i what I wanted to discuss with you about this situation. ABWE’s main priority is to protect any children from further harm, even if it means opening up the agency to a lawsuit. As you know, the Bible does allow disobedience to the state when the state perpetrates an unspeakble crime. For example, if the state were to mandate doctors to perform abortions against their conscience, it would be Biblical for the doctors to refuse. Now, the doctor might go to jail, have to pay fines, etc, but within the eyes of God said doctor did the right thing, even if it meant diobedience to the law of the land. That doctor’s reward would not be in this life but the life to come. The question here is Who and What are we living for?

    In this situation, it was the moral obligation of ABWE to contact the Michigan Board of License and report Ketcham. They should have also notified the practice where he eventually landed and had access to children. And yes, they could have been sued for doing so. My response is “So what?” Do we live as Christians and take our hits or do we act like secularists and hide behind “potential suit” excuses?

    As for Mike being sincere yet totally inexperienced, that dog don’t hunt. I believe that any man (or woman) who is sincere will respond to their gut when it comes to the safety of children. For example, when the Titanic went down, none of the people onboard had experience with ships going down. Yet their first instinct was to save the children. Any person, and that includes Stetzer, who do not have this instinct are probably very weak men and should not be in any position of authority. If they can’t get “protect the children” right, imagine what else they don’t get right?  It is frankly chilling to me.

  13. Eagle

    There is one further possibility. Several years ago 20/20 did an expose  exposing the rising numebr of sex abuse cases in the Baptist world. For many years, Baptist churches in towns influenced the press. In one situation with which I am intimately aware, a local newspaper was going to write a story about kids being abused at a Baptist church. Said pastor called his buddy at major company which called the newspaper and shut down the story. Too bad they didn’t recognize that alternative media, such as blogging, would eventually get the story out there. They are still reaping the consequences of that .

    As secualrism is on the rise, the “free pass” given many churches for their sins is declining. In fact, I am grateful for the Catholic expose in the media because the disgust for that situation translates into disgust for the evangelcials when the do the same thing.

  14. Anonymous

    I used to really enjoyed National Review. Bill Buckley sang Happy Birthday to my daughter at an event we were at in Dallas. In this instance, I disagree with National Review ad the homosexual issue. It is my understanding, and I could be wrong, that homosexuals have no higher propensity for pedophilia than nonhomosexuals. As you see in this situation, this was a heterosexual molestation. Obviously, the media is wrong about celibacy.  It is not the ’cause” of pedophilia either. Just look at all the married Baptists who have cooled their heels in jail.

  15. Hoppy the Toad (How did you choose that nom de plume?)

    Thank you for your account of your small group. I think more peopel should check the registerred sex offender data base. I think many mouts would drop open when they see friends, etc. on the list.

    You are associated with a dangerous church. The recidivism rate for pedophiles is high. Rember, by the time they are caught they have molested, on average, 80-140 times. This s a response pattern that is not “cured” by time in jail. This is also a response that is rarely cured by “a miracle” from God after so-called repentance. Christians seem to be delusional about the numebrs of “healings” after conversion. In fact, most of the time, God allows the pain of the problem to linger and the person, like Paul, must learn  to cope with the thorn in their side.

    Why is the situation you mention dangerous? Many pedophiles target lonely women with children who are looking for a “dad” for their kids. Pedophiles are very charming and seem to know just what to do to make people trust them. They love to get married so they have unfettered accss to the kids. In this situation, the pedophile has it made in the shade. The kid is autistic and his/her communication skills may not be up to the task of handling a horrific situation. 

    This woman who married that man is stupid, putting her desire for a family above the safety of her kid. She should have remained single until the child left the home and then she could take up with Mr Pedophile. But, then again, he would have dropped her since she wasn’t what he was seeking.

    That child is in danger and I am surprised that a cop has drunk the koolaid. 


  16. a family member

    Perhpas he could quietly approach the pedophile and let him know he is being eatched, very, very carefully. “If you touch one hair on his head….” Marlon Brando style.

  17. Eagle/Kolya

    Eagle, I concur with Kolya’s response. In fact, The Brothers Karamazov is an excellent suggestion. 


  18. Update on Ketcham

    I was alertted today about the following disturbing information about Ketcham

    Ketcham recently taught Sunday school at his church and was not thrown out of the congregation when all the info hit the news.  He apparently dow no beave like he is ashamed. He actually came to a Wednesday night prayer meeting the day the news exposed him!

  19. I think the sex registry thing is a farce.  I know a pedophile (former missionary) with a history of abusing spanning  60 years now.  We personally know about 10 of the victims and have heard of plenty more.  No one turned him in and statute of limitations is up.  He was a missionary and was a few years ago planned to go abroad to do more work, but we notified Wycliffe Bible Translators (the sending organization) days before the tirp and they immediately went into action.  (BTW,  Wycliffe handled the situation amazingly well – I was so impressed.)    The guy was reported to DHS and police.  They investigated, found it to be true, but since no charges were filed and he was not convicted in court, he is NOT on the registry even though he admitted to heinous crimes against boys from toddlers on up.  Sick.  

    I also have heard of numerous cases of adults who have a relationship with an underage minor.  It could be a 22 yr old with a 16 or 17 yr old.  I guess all states are different, but even with consensual sex and they get put on the list.  Give me a break.  

    We have to assume that sex offenders are around and even in close proximity.  The registry provides a false security.  The reality is there are many sex offenders who might be among your distant friends, neighbors, family, acquaintances.  Be vigilant and aware,  and always give kids tools to trust their gut, have a plan of escape (ie, ok to call home to say you're "sick"), and use common sense (buddy up when going to restroom, etc).  Kids need to also know that most sex offenders are not strangers, but people they know.  That also is another myth. 

  20. How truly despicable and saddening. My heart hurts for the children and families who have suffered the horrors of abuse, and experienced the further injustice of 'the church' protecting abusers instead of the victims.

    This brought to mind a secondary point, which is: so many church leaders/pastors think they're qualified to handle situations which they just AREN'T. 

    (As I say, this is tangential to the main issues of the abuse, coverup and victimisation, so I'm in no way saying that the problem here was merely that the leaders were out of their depth. No. They were deceitful and sinned grievously.)

    That being said, the fact that the leaders thought they could deal with this situation and did not immediately report the abuser to the police/authorities points to a worrying trend in churches – that the pastor/leadership is seen as the final authority on ALL aspects of life.

    Legal troubles? Ask your pastor.

    Need a financial advisor? Ask your pastor.

    A sex therapist? Ask your pastor.

    Want to report a crime? Ask your pastor.

    Suffering from depression? Ask your pastor.

    In all cases, bypass the qualified experts. Only your pastor is sufficiently trained to guide you, because only he can guide you spiritually. And as they say, all problems really are spiritual. If you disagree, that's because you are sinful. And need a pastor's spiritual guidance. (Ugh!)

  21. Dee:

    I don't disagree with a thing you said.

    I was simply analyzing it from a legal perspective.  That is not the primary lens through which this situation should be viewed, hence my reference to the moral duties.  I look at things through the legal lens, too, and actually thought you might have invited me to look at it that way based on earlier messages.

    I have said all that I know about Mike and my general impressions from my close association with him years ago.  I said those things because those are my recollections and the totality of my knowledge about this.  They were not said to try and excuse or absolve him.  I wasn't trying to find a dog that would hunt. I was only trying to provide my perspective from a personal standpoint.

    If I understand the timeline here, this may be a similar situation to what Gaines experienced at Bellevue.  A problem existed, and it is resolved by the time Gaines gets there (I think I have that right), but the young man confesses what had happened to him.  I can't remember that situation clearly.  Was the perp still on staff when Gaines came or had he already gone?

    At any rate, it appears in this case that Ketchum left in 1989.  The other date I see is 2002 when Mike is President and is hearing from the MKs.

    If I am at all correct in making this comparison (and I could be wrong on details, so let me know if I am), it appears that if there is leadership change in organizations, that can often enhance the risk of problems.

    Gaines following Rogers, Loftis following Kempton.  I believe that it needs to be impressed on successor leaderhip of churches etc., pastors, boards etc., that just because you may think a matter was "handled" or "dealt with" already, you have a duty when it is this serious to look into it to see how it was "handled" or "dealt with."  Both of these guys dropped the ball.  Becoming a leader of an organization means you get all the good of its past, but also all of its baggage.  And if they knew they had a sexual predator in their midst at one time and others in the organization are still complaining about what they experienced, you had better open it back up and make sure the organization did everything it could do.

    All of this is really making me run scenarios through my head as it relates to my own church.

    What if we found out that someone who joined or started attending our church is a sex offender?

    That person would obviously be permanently disqualified from working with children or teens.

    But what do we say to the rest of the congregation?

    What if the guy is single?  What if he starts dating in the congregation.  We would have to say something.  But how much to say and to whom?

    Do any of you have any thoughts about that?

    We recently had a couple who wanted to host one of our home groups.  They have an adult son who was convicted of voluntary manslaughter when, as a licensed security guard, she shot and killed a man who was driving a car and the guard thought it was going to ram him with the car.  The guard/son was charged with murder, but plead guilty to a lesser offense.

    The son is getting out of prison after a 2 year stay (or something like that), and is planning on living with his parents. The parents wanted to host a community group, but told us that their adult son was going to be living with them.

    We concluded that they could host, but that anyone attending that group should have the right to know about the son's presence and past.  This couple has only joined our church in the last year, and the son has never been to our church.

    Some people might be critical of us for broadcasting his sin like that, but we just felt like people had a right to know and to make their own decisions.

    What do any of you recommend for people who are members of your church or start attending who are not involved in leadership or serving in a ministry, but who have been convicted of crimes, especially sexually related ones?

    Do you guys have any resources that you could refer me to.

    We don't have any situations like this that I know of.  But a decent size church in an urban or suburban context is going to have situations like this come up.  To our knowledge, we have not.  But it's when we find out that has me concerned.


  22. JJ:


    Funny how that doesn't apply to –



    Heart Disease




    If people would only think a bit, they would be much better off.


  23. Anonymous

    The perp was on staff when Gaines arrived. He knew about for awhile and did not inform the congregation. This situation was discussed indepth over t=t New BBC Open Forum.

    Loftis was not President in 1989. He promised to deal with the revelations when he was confronted with them after asuming the Presidency. Years passed with nothing down.

    Actually, I was interested in how you view the law and morality. Should we open ourselves up to the potential for lawsuits if, in so doing, we protect a child. I find this issue raised time and time again in these pedophile situations. I hear “our attorney said we couldn’t say anything.”  From my perspective,  it is not that you can’t say anything. It does mean if you do, you can get your pants sued off.

    I am looking at the bigger picture here. Should we accept liability in order to do the “right” thing. if we trust God, do we trust Him enough to handle the legal ramifications? So what if we lose all of our assets. Those assets belong to God and isn’t He more interested in our hearts? I think this would be a great discussion for a groups of pastors and Christian attorneys.

  24. What if the guy is single? What if he starts dating in the congregation. We would have to say something. But how much to say and to whom?

    If the guy is single and over 30, he's automatically going to be a pedo/perv/sex offender in the eyes of Church Gossip.

  25. Years ago when I was Baptist we had a doctor speak at our church about the war in Pakistan and how he was there thru the formation of Bangladesh,

    I didn't remember the name of that doctor but knew he had written a book about those experiences.

    Also the name Donn Ketchum seemed familiar so I searched for him in Amazon.

    What came up was Daktar which is the story of Dr Viggo Olsen.

    What I can't figure out is why Dr Olsen's book is tagged under Donn Ketchum.

    Any explanation that you know of?

    thank you

  26. There certainly are a lot of people out there claiming that gay = pedophile, but it's just not true.

    There are plenty of heterosexually-identified people who are pedophiles; the prejudice directed toward all gay people in this instance is (to my mind) pretty horrifying.

    However, it *does* allow people to say "It couldn't be One of Us" – and to start witch hunts.





  27. Dee:

    Thanks for the correction.

    I don't know either about the level of molestation between homosexuals and heterosexuals.  In the Catholic context, I believe percentage wise the incidence of homosexual molestation was much greater, hence National Review's addressing that.  Overall, I would know know.  I am not sure in these politically charged times that one could get stats on that, but one would think that would be available. Anecdotally, from the Catholic context it seems that most of the abusers that I have seen are male.  Like the Sandusky case at Penn State.

    Protecting the innocent should be a very high priority, and that might involve opening oneself up to lawsuits.  So, being subject to a lawsuit is not the test about what to do.

    I am sure there are factual scenarios that could be contrived, and may actually have happened, that would make giving the same answer in all situations difficult, however.

    If an organization has found that someone under their control or care has been abused, that must be reported to the police.  Lawsuits aside.

    As far as the medical board is concerned, I don't know how (depending on the state) the board's investigatory authority works, whether they work with the police or alongside.  You want the most competent and well staffed agency working the case.  You don't want a board with little resources to handle it, do a bad job, and then the perp can somehow use that favorable finding in defending other charges.

    If the abuse occurred years earlier, in one way the response is less urgent (for that particular case) but more urgent if the perp is out there and the incident is unknown.  You want to stop further incidents.

    It also depends on the nature of the organization and its legal duties to others.  For example, as you know, I do not support the idea of the Southern Baptist Convention starting a data base of acutual or alleged sexual abusers.  I believe that there are other methods in the SBC that will actually do a better job of disclosing and tracking abusers, and I am concerned about the efficiacy of such as thing.  As you know, the most recent deal involved an abuser in Texas years ago at Jack Graham's church.  The parents of the child did not want to go to the police.  They did not want it reported.  So the absence of an SBC data base had no effect and would not have helped. But the SBC data base's existence (in that case or a similar case), had it existed at the time, would have provided false hope.  Also, in the SBC context, since the entire reason for the SBC's existence is to have churches pool their money for missions, I believe the SBC should organize itself so that when they say to churches that this money is for missions and is protected, that it actually is.  The SBC should be smart enough to set itself up so that the missions contributions do not end up lining the pockets of trial lawyers.  So, in that instance, the prospect of lawsuits is not the driver, but is a factor in why the SBC should not set itself up in a way that is hurtful to its mission and contrary to what it tells people when it raises money.

    But, to use an hypothetical, if an abuse occurred at the SBC offices in Nashville (there are no children there, but just arguing for the sake of discussion), in that instance, the abuse should be reported regardless of the impact of potential lawsuits.

    Lawsuits, or the fear of same, should not affect the reporting of absue to the proper police authoriites. That applies to churches, businesses, denonmiantions etc.

    The issues could really get sticky for churches, I suppose, where nothing was ever proven, but you wanted to warn someone else.  What could you say?  You could end up giving the prep a big damages verdict.

    Hope I am making myself clear.

  28. Wait a minute… tons of girls are sexually abused by adult men.

    That *is* relevant here, especially because people will stick up for them and deny the fact (or, at very least, the possibility) that an adult man is abusing girls because "he's married" or "he's a good family man" or…

    Just because the focus has been on priests who abused boys does NOT mean that priests – and other adults in positions of authority – have never abused girls.

    They have, and people turn a blind eye to it, because it's easier that way.




  29. And, like acquaintance rape (date rape, too), very few abusers are ever reported.

    Because the person who is abused trusted them, because the person who was abused feels deep shame, because the person who was abused is AFRAID OF their abuser and what they can do to hurt them.

    Because the abusers make sure – as much as possible – that children will never, ever feel free to speak about what has happened.



  30. Regarding being sued for what one says or reports:

    It is a solid defense to any suit over what one says that what was said was factually true.  Further, it is a solid defense if one has taken reasonable steps to determine if what one has learned is in fact true prior to saying it.  In most cases, if sued after having made a statement in one of the two above situations, one can countersue for legal fees and expenses, just as Julie Anne's attorney is doing.

    The worst legal liability situation is to know something that indicates a substantial risk exists, and be in position to act to remove or significantly reduce the risk, and to have not done so, particularly if the risk is to one not in a position to protect or defend themself, such as a child, a disabled person, or the elderly.  At that point, NOT saying can impose the greater likelihood so a successful suit against the person or organization.

    It is not redemptive of anyone to fail to protect their potential victim.  In fact, acting to protect potential victim(s) may help in the redemptive process of the potential perpetrator.

    Again, there are a large number of people on the sex offender list who have been involved in situations like the teenage boy/girl friend situation who pose no greater likelihood of offending again than a randomly selected person of the same age not on the list.  There are also a large number of those who have offended only once, been caught or turned themselves in, and will never offend again.  The statistics for predators are, however, appalling.  In addition, there are a large number of people who have been convicted b/c they took a plea deal, even though innocent, to avoid an effective life sentence  .

    It is also the case that proved to be false accusations will create an arrest record for the innocent person, so that a background check will show the arrest, but rarely the exoneration.

  31. I think it would be very helpful to have a list of resources for those dealing with abuse in the church. I know of  sites and books which deal with spirituall abuse – some of the blogs listed on the sidebar have excellent selections. But specifically resources for sexual abuse are harder to find, or I do not know where to look.

    I also believe that it is particularly helpful to the people who have had these experiences to read accounts of what has happened to others.  To know that you are not alone is sometimes a huge step in realizing that you are not crazy, you are not to blame and you will heal.

    I have tried to comment about this post specifically but I find it sickening to think what all these children went through. And that the men who were presented with the girl's account FIRST thought to be sure she was not lying or imagining what had happened. What kind of mindset does not FIRST think that wrong has been done and that the right authorities (not them) need to be involved, that the child needs to have her parents present and that the child's wellbeing needs to be seen to. But not this pair of Russ's! They travel with her alone! She is presented with a confession to sign! That is beyond belief.



  32. Anonymous 2:50 PM said:

    The parents of the child did not want to go to the police.  They did not want it reported.

    This is one of the problems that hasn't been brought up before. When a report of a child being nolested is heard, it really is not relevant whether the parents want it reported or not. Pastors and Elders are considered mandated court reporters, just as teachers and counselors/therapists, and as such, they report the information to the authorities. Period. Why? Because the parents are not equiped to handle the psychological fall-out and….the parents may actually be part of the problem.

    I know this may be a touchy mine-field of a situation, but whetheer or not the parents want it reported should not even factor intro it. The pedophile needs to be stopped before he/she finds another victim.

  33. Jeanette/anonymous

    Jeanette is correct. i couldn’t care less if the parents do not want an incident reported. Parents can be as ill informed as many pastors. With the help of counselors, they can be helped to understand why it is important for the child that the parents stand up against the grave injustice perpetrated on the child. 

  34. @Eagle

    It gets worse.  In some states, a male one year older than the female, if she is under 18, can be charged with statutory rape if they are alone together and she is in a "state of undress" which has been interpreted as having her blouse unbuttoned and bra unhooked.  No intercourse of any sort involved.  That puts him on the sex offender list.


    To commit such barbarous acts is the most vile thing one person can do to another. Those who do so are less than human. Their “god” is their sensual appetites, and their damnation is just. There is an accounting coming. Until it does, we have a moral (and legal) responsibility to protect others from these predators.

    My friend, Joe Dallas, has predicted that since homosexuality has been recognized as “normal, acceptable behavior between consenting adults,” the next push for acceptance will be pedophilia. I pray that he isn’t right, but I fear the worst.

    Having children (now grown) and witnessing their struggles (continuing) with being molested, my heart breaks for the victims. Reading stories like these only reinforce my belief that they only thing that will prevent Christianity from becoming totally irrelevant in America is revival. Of course, we are willing to talk about revival. But the question are you (and I) willing to pay the price?

  36. Hey guys

    None of the abuses that we have mentioned here had to do with a teen boy making noodle with his teen sweetheart. We are talking serious abuse.

  37. I agree with Numo, who said


    There certainly are a lot of people out there claiming that gay = pedophile, but it's just not true.


    Randall, I don't think it's fair for your friend to equate acceptance of homosexuality with acceptance of pedophilia. Two adults in a consensual relationship is NOT the same as an adult who abuses a child.

  38. @dee on 

    Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 09:20 PM



    The point is that, if we exclude everyone who shows up on an offender's list, we may be acting unjustly, since some have done nothing to hurt a child or use force to harm an adult.  We need to consider all of the circumstances.  And we should watch for the groomers.  We need to be protective of children, but we need to do so with awareness of the errors in the injustice system in this country.  I know of at least once case of a young man in exactly that situation who committed suicide because of the hatred he experienced for being on the offender list, when he had not sexually abused anyone.

  39. JJ, you have missed my point. Homosexuality has been declared "legal" behavior in the US. The next step will be pedophilia. I am NOT saying that homesexuals are pedophilies. I am talking about the legalization of immorality in the US.

    Hope that clears it up. Thanks.

  40. There is a huge legal difference between consensual sex and sexual abuse of a child who does not have the ability to consent.  To consent requires an understanding of consequences and choices, which a child does not have.  That is why we have statutory rape laws, because the person under the age set in the statute is not capable of informed consent.

    It is more likely that we will see polygamy and polyandry legalized than pedophilia.  Polygamy is in the bible   (not without negative consequences) and is legal in some countries, and gender equality would include polyandry. But I have doubt we will see that anytime within the lifetime of anyone today.

    The alarmist claim that pedophilia will be legalized is a specious political argument against the legalization of homosexual commitments that does not deserve ink.

  41. JJ

    I agree with you. Although I take a conservative stand on practicing homosexuals and church membership, i also believe that Christians have demonized and not understood the incredible struggles of those who have same sex attraction. Once again, I am planning of wading into the tempest in couple of weeks to try to bring some understanding to this struggle. (Why do I do this to myself?)

  42. Pingback: physical, sexual, emotional, spiritual abuse of kids….when do you intervene?

  43. Eagle

    Just so you know, both Deb and I have our concealed weapon permits! I am actually a good shot.

    I have no problem with the concerns that you both raised. Just so you know, the pedophiles that we feature here are well documented cases, most with serious convictions. I would never discuss some teen kid who made it due to his teen girlfriend’s irate father. These isutaions are very serious and that is why we put links to news sptories, etc. to documnet the severity of the situation. When TWW says “pedophile” we mean “pedophile.”


  44. "The alarmist claim that pedophilia will be legalized is a specious political argument against the legalization of homosexual commitments that does not deserve ink."

    That is what was said about the legalization of homosexuality in the 70"s.

  45. anonymous

    I find this “honor” to be ill timed and dishonoring to those who suffered greatly. But, isn’t just like Pharisees, honoring each other and not seeing that Jesus honored the widow and the fisherman?


    “Naming of new student recreational center suspended. . . .The Board of Trustees unanimously voted to affirm this decision on Tuesday afternoon, September 4. . . .concerns about the responses of Association of Baptists for World Evangelism leaders during the presidency of the late Wendell Kempton to disturbing matters of sexual abuse of missionary children by missionaries overseas in the 1980s. . . .Specifically, we will not hold a planned October 13 ribbon-cutting, dedication, and memorial wall ceremony at the building. Additionally, the building information website — — is no longer active. . . .BBC&S intends to sort through facts with integrity as additional information becomes available. The late Wendell Kempton was a man with a deep legacy of service for Jesus Christ. Any decision to honor an individual through naming a building in their honor, though, will come after a serious process of examination of questions of paramount importance.”

  47. Jerome

    Excellent update. Thank you. I am going to repost this under the current discussion so people can see it.

  48. I have a question, since Ketchum practiced for so many years I am sure he has a nice nest egg. Will he ever be legally demanded to pay those victims? I know personally that it does nothing to heal them or correct the situation but it will take back ill-gotten gain from the perp. Why should he enjoy these fruits of his profession when he was steeling the hearts of those innocents? I know we are told to forgive as Christ forgave us but I still believe that at least some consequences should be paid in this case. I also believe that any and all lawsuits should be taken against anyone involved that covered it up and that had the victims feeling like it was their fault. What about mandatory reporting? Do churches and their staffs come under that rule? So ABWE told the Michigan Board of License on Ketchum and let them take action legally. COWARDS! They should have pressed charged themselves as soon as they knew. As to the Catholic church being crucified by the Baptists for their ‘ in-house’ sex abuse, I want to say this: What goes around comes around. Judge not lest ye be judged. I know the GARB as I was raised in it.
    I knew a very young child who was sexually abused by her father. When she hugged a GARBC pastor with an impulsive innocent child’s hug he said, “Take her away she makes me uncomfortable.” The child heard those words. Talk about rejection, pain, confusion, and guilt being throw in the child’s face!!!! I’m sorry I do not see the love of Christ in that whatsoever.