Who can hope to be safe? Who sufficiently cautious? Guard himself as he may, every moment's an ambush.-Horace
The secluded driveway that leads to Don Cameron's secluded house
To Don Cameron's neighbors:
I bid welcome to the wonderful people of Don Cameron's neighborhood who will be joining us for this post. This blog is willing to help you in any way possible. We would even be willing to set up a special page for you all to communicate with one another during this time. Deb and I find the actions of Cameron to be despicable and we are so sorry that you have to relive this nightmare. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you, especially your children. You know how to contact us.
To our readers
Although I do not name the churches involved with Don Cameron in this post, I have given their names to the people in his neighborhood. I believe that those "ministering" to Don should equally minister to the victims. Funny how the victims often seem to be left out of the support system. Perhaps this will be their chance to help out the victims of their church member, Don Cameron.
There is a segment on Fox and Friends that I enjoy each week. It is called “Normal or Nuts.” People send in question and Dr Keith Ablow answers them. You can find one such episode here. Two days ago, I received some news that upset me. So, I decided that I am going to let my blogging community pronounce me “normal or nuts.” Unfortunately it deals with a pedophile situation. I am not going to get into the particulars of the crime, merely how some churches handled the mess and why it is affecting me today. Dee is mad and frustrated. This post is personal and perhaps it will help me to blow off some steam. That is one advantage to having a blog.
Before I begin this post, I want to say something loud and clear. Don Cameron served his time and he has a legal right to live where he desires. This is the letter of the law. But Jesus taught us that the law extends into our hearts. I believe that a truly remorseful Christian would not knowingly cause distress to his child victims and their families. I contend that he is being deliberately cruel but you all may disagree with me.
Secondly, years ago I made a promise that I would not reveal the names of these churches. Although I wish I hadn't, a promise is a promise. Through the years, some readers have made savvy guesses but I refuse to confirm or deny them. Trust me, the people who are involved in both of these churches will recognize themselves. And now, Cameron's neighbors know as well.
A few years back, I was a member of a local Baptist church. I believed the leadership responded inappropriately to reports of potential pedophile behavior. He was eventually discovered, one year after the initial reports were made to the pastors. Said pedophile is in jail for a long time. Suffice to say, the molestations were extensive and severe. Too bad they did not appropriately act on their knowledge and save these kids one year of hell.
Due to our frustration with the response to our concerns, we decided to leave that church and headed to an Anglican church in the area. We confided our situation to the pastor and began attending. Within a couple of weeks, I was shocked to see another pedophile running around this new church. I was also bit irritated with God for putting me in this situation, once again.
This pedophile, Don Cameron, used to attend our former Baptist church and had been jailed for 8 months for molesting small girls in his neighborhood. This man was well-known to both Deb and me because his wife used to teach math at our Christian school. He had volunteered there as well. We had been made aware of allegations that he was estranged from his two daughters because of accusations of similar behavior in the home. (To our good friend Arce-It appears this guy molests both inside and outside of his family).
We had also been told he,along with his wife, had left his home state to move across country due to these accusations. His wife, unfortunately, had not notified the school of these incidents and recommended him to be a volunteer. She was fired and moved away, leaving Don to fend for himself.
In spite of my frustration of having to deal with another pedophile situation, my concern for the children of the church caused me to email the Anglican pastor and alert him to Don’s history. This was 3 ½ years ago. His response was quite cold. He said he had been told that Don was not a problem. I then responded by reviewing this man’s 20+ year history and urging him to watch him carefully. He said he would do so but seemed irritated by my insistence.
Shortly after this, things went south. My former Baptist pastor contacted our new pastor, claiming that my husband and I had caused trouble over their pedophile situation. (Guilty as charged.) However, he must have embellished his conversation. The Anglican pastor said we would not be allowed to join until there was a “reconciliation” meeting with the previous pastor, supervised by him and one of his church leaders! My husband and I would not agree to that. Needless to say, we decided to look for a fellowship that was a bit more welcoming.
A female "emissary" from the Anglican church met with me for lunch one day. She was not aware of our plans to attend another church. After a short conversation, I mentioned Don Cameron and begged her to alert everyone in the church to the danger and to protect the kids. She did not know of his presence and seemed surprised and concerned.
My husband and I theorize that a friendship had formed between the SBC pastor and the Anglican pastor and they had decided to have Cameron go to the Anglican church to deflect the attention off the Baptist church which was still reeling over the other pedophile incident. Cameron’s long term presence and involvement in that Baptist church was not well known. Hopefully this post will alert members there as well.
Fast forward to February of this year. Here is a link to a post titled When Pastors Breach Trust: My Testimony of Betrayal and God’s Grace, in which I recounted my disappointing experience at the Anglican church and how the experience helped me in writing this blog. I also said that I had forgiven the pastor since the experience was necessary for me to understand the pain that others have in churches. Here is the PS at the end of the post.
P.S. – Keep an eye on that pedophile.
(Remember, this is 3 ½ years later. I was still concerned about this guy.
Too bad the church wasn’t.)
Last week I received a call from a good friend whose son had been hurt by the Baptist church pedophile. Apparently, Don Cameron had moved back into his house in the same neighborhood with the children that he had molested. Although it is now against the law to do so in NC, he had slipped in under the wire. Here is the local news report.
Today, I met five of Cameron's neighbors.Cameron had lived there for 20+ years prior to his arrest. The neighbors are deeply upset. As one of them said to me, "He is making us relive the pain every time we see him. He shows no remorse." One neighbor told us that she believes that the incidents that led to his arrest had been going on with Cameron for a very long time.
The house in which he lives is a perfect lair for a pedophile. One must walk up a winding driveway which shields views of the house from all angles. I tried to visit with Cameron but he did not appear to be at home. Frankly, it felt a bit creepy, standing alone in his driveway, knowing that no one else could see me. I imagined those little children enduring the abuse. I cannot imagine the pain that these families must experience, seeing their children's molester day after day. Frankly, Cameron's choice is despicable.
(PS I was accompanied on my journey by the mom of the boy who gave me the angel of courage in the above linked post. That woman has courage! She, too, walked up the driveway to see where he lived and was disturbed by the seclusion of this residence.)
A few days ago, an acquaintance forwarded the following two messages to me. These had been sent by the Anglican pastor to his congregation.
An Important Message from the Senior Pastor (8/2/12)
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I am writing to you today to inform you of a situation and the steps our church has taken to ensure the safety of our children. On Tuesday, July 31st an article appeared on WRAL's home page concerning one of our members, Don Cameron. He was convicted in 2007 on charges of "indecent liberty (towards a) minor" for inappropriately touching young girls.
Don began attending our church in 2008 after serving eight months in prison. Within weeks of attending he came to me to share his history. After consulting with our staff, Leadership Council, his previous church, and an attorney we decided to allow Don to attend and eventually join our church. We set very clear parameters to ensure the safety of our children. Don is not allowed to serve in any capacity within the children's ministry or youth ministry, sit next to children in the service, or enter areas of the building alone where children or youth ministries are active. In addition he met regularly with a staff member for accountability and gave me access to his counselor and parole officer. During these past years our pastoral staff, several support staff, several Leadership Council members, a few members of our congregation, as well as a few key members of the children's ministry team were made aware of this situation to ensure that Don was honoring the parameters set for him. All agree that Don has kept to these parameters.
In addition, we have worked hard to strengthen church-wide safety policies that guard against the possibility of any abuses, especially among our children and students. This includes a two-worker policy for all classrooms and nurseries, a system to ensure that no child is vulnerable in the bathrooms, a pager system, child and student check-in (which is being further upgraded with electronic check-in coming this Fall), background checks for all who work with children and students, and child/student safety training.
We hope that we have been faithful to the clear commands of Scripture to both welcome sinners with grace into our fellowship and to ensure the care and safety of the children within our congregation. I will be available this Sunday at 5:00 in the sanctuary to answer any questions or concerns any of you may have.
With you in the Grace and Truth of Jesus,
Message Two-two days later
Important Update from the Senior Pastor (8/4/12)
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Since our letter two days ago, we have learned that some of the parameters put in place with Don Cameron were not completely followed. As of today, Don will not be able come to our physical property at (the church name), however we will continue to minister to Don off-site. I will still be available Sunday at 5pm in the sanctuary to answer any questions.
In the grace and truth of Jesus,
After 3 ½ years of warnings from me as well as others, along with a known jail term and probation, Cameron was still not being properly supervised! How could this be?
- My husband and I were not allowed to join the Anglican church because we had stood up to a terrible pedophile situation in our previous church.
- Don Cameron, a pedophile, was allowed to become a member of this Anglican church.
- Cameron was not being fully supervised by the church.
- Cameron himself did not follow the guidelines that were put in place.
- The church is ministering to Cameron. No mention is made of the poor children that he molested.
- My husband and I, who raised the warning, and put up with untold grief, (including bawling my eyes out in the pastor's office) have not received any sort of apology, “ministry” or grace.
Why don't some pastors and churches understand that pedophiles are dangerous? If this church truly cared for the safety of their children, Cameron would have been watched like a hawk. He wasn’t! What message is being sent?
So, here is my message (once again) to that Anglican pastor and his leadership team
- If Cameron was truly remorseful and repentant, he would not have moved back into the neighborhood, surrounded by the children he hurt. He would not be living in a house which cannot be seen from the street. He is a problem. Take a clue!
- If he was repentant, he would have followed the parameters set by the church and he should have reported that he did not have appropriate supervision. Take another clue!
- If the leaders truly took pedophilia seriously, they would have supervised him very carefully. Get a heart check!
- The letter said “We hope that we have been faithful to the clear commands of Scripture to both welcome sinners with grace into our fellowship and to ensure the care and safety of the children within our congregation.” The leaders sure welcomed the pedophile but hurt a woman and her husband who tried to protect the children.
- I have notified the neighbors that your church appears willing to minister to people who are hurting. Perhaps the church could intervene in Cameron's choices of where to live and teach him about caring more for others than himself. Also, maybe the church leaders could reach out to the neighbors so deeply hurt by their church member. It might be the Christian thing to do.
So, I am mad and disgusted, all over again. My question for the TWW community is, "Am I normal or am I nuts?"
Lydia's Corner: Genesis 18:16-19:38 Matthew 6:25-7:14 Psalm 8:1-9 Proverbs 2:6-15