“Your body is a temple, not a daily dumping ground for another person’s pain, anger, betrayal, judgment, hypocrisy, denial, games, jealousy or blame. When you are being psychologically, spiritually or emotionally abused by a person, and they don’t care how it hurts you, then it is time to leave what is polluting your relationship with God.” ― Shannon L. Alder link
This has been a hard series since it has involved sifting through a lot of information. Today, I hope to finish the narrative but will be writing lots more on the subject in the next week or so. I wasn't sure where to start and then it hit me. Let's talk about the annulment and then finish the narrative. Since Jordan has confessed to using internet child sex abuse depictions, I will drop the word alleged when referring to it.
Fraud is cause for an annulment.
A number of folks have commented on Karen's decision to get an annulment of her marriage. In fact, TVC said they put her under *discipline* because she sought the annulment without going through steps of reconciliation. As I have pondered this for the last 4 hours, unable to write a word, it hit me between the eyes. TVC was demanding that Karen continue a marriage which was invalid in the eyes of the law.
Here is a link to the basics of annulment law in Texas. In The Basics of Annulment in Texas we learn that annulment is allowed when a marriages is entered into without full disclosure. Here is one of those items which is what happened with Karen.
Fraud – one spouse lied about or hid something essential to the marriage.
An annulment means that you were never married.
Read this next statement carefully. Unlike a divorce, which recognizes the marriage, an annulment means your marriage was not valid. In that same document:
When your marriage is declared void, it is like you never had a marriage to begin with. Legally, you can say you were never married to your former spouse.
Jordan Root is most likely in violation of federal laws.
Jordan Root hid his usage of internet based child sex abuse depictions. His use of this is breaking Federal laws as seen at this link. Here is a relevant section.
Notably, the legal definition of sexually explicit conduct does not require that an image depict a child engaging in sexual activity. A picture of a naked child may constitute illegal child pornography if it is sufficiently sexually suggestive. Additionally, the age of consent for sexual activity in a given state is irrelevant; any depiction of a minor under 18 years of age engaging in sexually explicit conduct is illegal.
Federal law prohibits the production, distribution, reception, and possession of an image of child pornography using or affecting any means or facility of interstate or foreign commerce (See 18 U.S.C. § 2251; 18 U.S.C. § 2252; 18 U.S.C. § 2252A). Specifically, Section 2251 makes it illegal to persuade, induce, entice, or coerce a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct for purposes of producing visual depictions of that conduct. Any individual who attempts or conspires to commit a child pornography offense is also subject to prosecution under federal law.
Federal jurisdiction is implicated if the child pornography offense occurred in interstate or foreign commerce. This includes, for example, using the U.S. Mails or common carriers to transport child pornography across state or international borders. Additionally, federal jurisdiction almost always applies when the Internet is used to commit a child pornography violation.
Jordan deliberately lied about his illegal activity and entered the marriage without telling Karen about his behavior.
Since Jordan did not disclose his graphic habit, he was in violation of federal laws. Therefore, his marriage to Karen was declared invalid. Is TVC actually suggesting that Karen ignore the law stating that Jordan should not have married her without advising her that he was involved in potentially felonious activity?
Annulment nullifies husband /wife confidentiality which divorce does not.
There is also another interesting fact to consider and that has to do with husband-wife confidential marriage privileges. Intimate confidential communication is usually not admissible in court in many civil or criminal cases.
Whether a case is civil or criminal, either spouse holds a privilege to refuse disclosure of a confidential communication made between the spouses while they remained husband and wife. Both spouses hold the privilege, and it does not matter which one is party to a case. Either spouse may refuse to allow the other to testify as to a confidential communication, or refuse to personally disclose the contents of the confidential communication between the spouses during the marriage. The law aims to promote communication and trust between husbands and wives.
Both spouses hold the privilege. Either spouse has the right to refuse disclosure of the confidential marital communications, or to prevent another person from disclosing the communications. However, this privilege only protects against the disclosure of marital confidences in testimony, not against cooperation with law enforcement officials by one spouse against the other or against one spouse turning over evidence against the other spouse. See United States v. Giavasis, 805 F.2d 1037 (6th Cir. 1986).
Now read the next section carefully. If Karen had remained married and then divorced, those communications would not be admissible in many situations. However, they ARE admissible if an annulment is sought. if Jordan were to be eventually arrested and tried for federal crimes, Karen would not be allowed to disclose their intimate communications. Think about it. Is this one of the reasons that his attorney pushed for reconciliation? The attorney that is a member of TVC?
For the privilege to attach, the communication must have been made during a valid marriage. Unlike the spousal immunity rule, divorce does not terminate the privilege retroactively – even if a husband and wife divorce, their confidential communications made during the course of the marriage will still enjoy protection from disclosure. Divorce, however, will terminate the privilege when it comes to future communications between the former husband and wife.
Attempts at reconciliation could nullify the ability to annul the marriage.
Attempts at reconciliation after discovery of the fraud may negate the individual's request for an annulment. Again from the Texas document,
A Texas court won’t grant annulment for fraud, duress or force if the spouses continued to live together after the fraud was discovered .
When Karen learned of the fraud in December of 2014, plans were made for Jordan to return to Texas ASAP. From that point forward, Karen was obligated to continue with the annulment since any sort of reconciliation could have put a damper on the annulment.
TVC does not respect Texas law when it comes to annulment.
So, it appears that TVC does not recognize or respect the law which allows annulment for fraud. Yet, the law says that Karen did not have a valid marriage. In other words, there was nothing to divorce or reconcile. It did not exist except in the eyes of some controlling church leaders.
Jesus allowed for divorce in the case of adultery.
What the heck is pedophilia/internet child sex abuse if not a heinous form of adultery? This comment came from Mirele- a reader at TWW. If she is thinking this, I can be sure that many others are thinking the same thing.
I’m sorry but when a party has confessed to viewing child pornography, the marriage is over. It is a kind of adultery. Karen Hinkley did the right thing by leaving Jordan Root and asking for an annulment.
I said it above, and I’ll say it again: In the state of Texas, once you find out about the fraud, you must no longer cohabitate with the other spouse to get your annulment. This is what Hinkley apparently did. (I want to give an ATTABOY to whoever gave Karen this advice.)
In my opinion, in my very personal and private opinion, I have the sneaking suspicion that the leadership of TVC wanted to put Karen and Jordan back together so that Karen would be in an impossible position: either forced to stay in the marriage or tainted with the stain of divorce. Because if she had gone back to Jordan and cohabitated with him, she would have lost her right to an annulment. And the reason why I think this? I honestly believe the leaders of TVC are so deluded that they believe Jordan Root has repented and is cured. WRONG.
Now, back to the rest of the story…
Karen arrived back in the US and looked to her church and church friends for support.
Take a walk in her shoes. Her marriage was a fraud and her mission assignment, which she thought to be lifelong, had ended. She needed to assess her options and future calling in a fairly short period of time. She began to research the possibility of an annulment because Jordan clearly married her under false pretenses.
In fact, I wonder if Jordan married her to give himself greater cover to continue with his evil habits. I asked Karen about this and she said that she truly does not know. (I hasten to add that this is my personal thought.)
A chronology of events surrounding her dealing with TVC upon her return
The following chronology and statements are taken from the documentation on Amy Smith's blog unless otherwise noted.
December 20, 2014: TVC appeared to be protecting Jordan Root, presuming him innocent.
Before returning to the States, Karen received an email from TVC Dallas. There are some disturbing comments in the email which raise some red flags about how the church was perceiving the seriousness of the situation. In this note, they want to protect Jordan's reputation and ask that Karen not send any notes to her supporters until TVC can figure out a unified way of communicating the information. TVC did not want to mention any possibility of molestation.
December 20: TVC alerted TVC members to a sin issue with Jordan and said the Roots were returning home.
TVC communicates with members that there is a problem with the Roots but do not mention what it involves. They mention sin but also spiritual warfare. They promise that the Roots would receive counseling and asked the members to "love on them."
December 28: Email to the Roots long time home group attempting to control conversation.
TVC sends a message to the Roots home group, advising them how to talk with Jordan. Apparently TVC members cannot be trusted to be appropriate in these situations.
January 18: Karen meets with an elder and pastor at TVC
At the meeting were Pastor and Mrs. Richard Brindley and Elder Matt Younger. She was told she could separate her finances from Jordan's finances and that they would help them do this. Younger said that Karen's unique role would be to walk beside Jordan through this. He made the comment that all sin.
He also said that he had observed in these situations that in 100 out of 100 times, when a couple both agreed that one of them was 100% to blame for a problem, there is more to the story. Karen felt he was insinuating that perhaps she had something to do with Jordan's perversions. She pushed back and he appeared to walk back what he had just said.
It was becoming evident to Karen that the church was not going to allow her to leave the fraudulent marriage.
January 20: Karen initiates a phone conversation with Pastor Brindley.
Richard Brindley said that they had decided that she not separate her finances since it was a step towards divorce. She is told that when there is a marriage under the *care* of the church, every aspect of the marriage is now subject to the elders input, including finances.
January 21: Another phone conversation in which Karen is told that TVC is her final authority.
Karen told Elder Matt Younger that she had counseled with trusted Christian friends and counselors and was thinking through her decisions with careful thought and prayer. He told her that she could not trust herself or any other counsel except that of TVC which was her spiritual authority. He said that they were the only voice at the table. He claimed that they were there to hold her hand and tell her what to do.
February 9: SIM Child Safety Team concluded that Jordan was a risk to children.
SIM Child Safety Team releases a report which corroborated that Jordan had viewed nude child images on the Internet and that they believed this was not only a moral and spiritual breach but that the conduct posed a serious risk to children. He was removed from his position at SIM.
February 11: Karen resigned from TVC. She was not under any discipline at this time.
Read this excellent letter that she wrote. Note that she asks for no further communication from the church.
February 11: Karen inadvertently received a concerning email.
Karen is inadvertently copied on an internal memo. These guys use concerning language. Note the phrase "pushing her under our care."Also, they stated the they were trying to find out where she lived. This could be construed to be threatening language.
February 11: Karen was not allowed to attend her long time home group to say good-bye and answer questions.
Karen was told that she couldn't come to her long time home group to say good-bye. Instead, Pastor Brindley attended the group and talked to them for a long time.From that point on, Karen did not hear from many of her former friends and supporters.
February 20: Karen is put under retroactive discipline for the annulment and she was told she couldn't resign from the church.
This date is important. Here is an except from the letter sent to her by Pastor Matt Younger. He stated that it was her decision to get an annulment which caused them to put her under discipline. She was not allowed to resign from the church either. Note: she was NOT under discipline when she wrote her resignation.
We have been perplexed by your decision to file for an annulment of your marriage without first abiding by your covenant obligations to submit to the care and direction of your elders. As I mentioned in my first letter, this decision violates your covenant with us – and places you under discipline. Per section 10.5 of The Village Church bylaws, you are prohibited from voluntarily resigning membership while subject to the formal disciplinary process. We cannot, therefore, accept your resignation.
…We know this is a step of faith and that many questions have yet to be answered. We will seek to answer each question in time. Until then, your elders are pleading with you to patiently submit to our leadership. Should you choose not to return to The Village Church, we will move forward to the next step in the process of disciplining you as a member. Please hear our appeal. The last thing we want is to lose the privilege of caring for you in this difficult season.
February 22: Karen told Matt Younger to stop harassing her.
Karen responds to Matt Younger that she was not under discipline when she resigned. She asks them to stop harassing her.
February 25: SIM notified the supporters of the Roots.
SIM sent a letter to the supporters of Jordan and Karen Root. They stated that they had applied disciplinary policy and terminate Jordan from SIM. Karen was continued on active status.Here is an excerpt which is important.
March 11: Pastor Steve Hardin called a church meeting to answer questions about Karen Root.
Pastor Steve Hardin sends a note to members of TVC and Karen's supporters that he would hold a meeting on March 14 in the church cafeteria to address concerns. This is 2 weeks after Karen told them to stop harassing her.
March 13: Pastor Steve Hardin declared Jordan Root to be walking in repentance.
Pastor Steve Hardin sends out his "our hearts are heavy" communique to all of the members. He communicates the results of the SIM Child Safety Report of 2/9. He reports that Jordan has been removed from ministry and had not been placed under discipline. They claim that Jordan's actions were reported to unnamed authorities in January. But they do not say who made the report.
He claims that they *grieve* for Karen. They restrict Jordan's access to the children's ministry and say he must be accompanied to all services by a *covenant* member. They make a typical church CYA stating that Jordan never served in any formal capacity with children at TVC.
Jordan is declared to be walking in repentance so he doesn't need church discipline even though he signed the annulment.
April/May: Karen continues to receive texts from Pastor Hardin despite asking them to leave her alone.
May 24: TVC's claimed to tell their side of the story
An 8 page missive was sent to 6000 TVC members this weekend. Karen has evidence to prove that many of their statements were wrong. She is planning a full response tomorrow on Amy Smith's blog, Watchkeep. She will be supplying documentation to back up her concerns.
Questions for astute people to ponder:
- Where is Jordan's computer from the mission field?
- Since Jordan is a pathological liar, how does the church *know* he is walking in repentance after a few short months?
- Better yet, how does the church know that they have his full story since it seem to get worse as time goes on?
- How does the church know that Jordan has not purchased a new computer?
- Do they think they have full access to his spending reports?
- How do they know he is not accessing the internet outside of his assigned living quarters?
- Why does the church claim that they haven't helped Jordan when he is living with a well known lawyer who is a member of TVC?
- Why did Matt Chandler tweet that he loved Karen when he didn't respond to her email and never spoke with her?
- Does he consider Karen just another one of those zeroes?
- Did TVC actually contact the police and FBI or did SIM?
- Why did Jordan not receive any church discipline?
- Better yet, why did Karen, who is trying to get the word out about Jordan's interest in children, get disciplined?
- Is TVC abusive for disciplining Karen who is been through an enormous stress?
- Were the folks in Karen's home group told she was dangerous and that they should shun her?
- Why doesn't TVC understand that a man who has surrounded himself with children is highly likely not telling the full story?
- Does TVC believe that their little counseling group is equipped to handle a manipulative and charming liar?
- Why did TVC attempt to control the narrative by telling Karen to coordinate with them before sending out emails?
- Was TVC concerned that Karen may have said more about what happened than they would?
- Does TVC realize how unloving they appear to outsiders?
- Why didn't Matt Chandler reach out to Karen? Was he too busy traveling?
- Was Jordan disciplined for signing off on the annulment?
- Why did the church keep contacting her when she asked that they stop?
- What do they mean about "pushing her under their care?"
- How can you retroactively discipline someone?
- For those Covenant members reading this…Don't you feel, deep down inside, that something is wrong with this entire situation?
Once again, join me in praying for Karen Hinkley who is one brave woman. Carry on, my friend!