Dedicated to my heroes: Shauna and *Billy*
“Violators cannot live with the truth: survivors cannot live without it. There are those who still, once again, are poised to invalidate and deny us. If we don't assert our truth, it may again be relegated to fantasy. But the truth won't go away. It will keep surfacing until it is recognized. Truth will outlast any campaigns mounted against it, no matter how mighty, clever, or long. It is invincible. It's only a matter of which generation is willing to face it and, in so doing, protect future generations from ritual abuse.” ― Chrystine Oksana, Safe Passage to Healing: A Guide for Survivors of Ritual Abuse link
I have known about this story since last fall. Shauna's plight has been communicated to SNAP. Also, I personally called Lakeside Bible Church yesterday and asked to speak Ken Ramey. I explained to the woman who answered the phone that I would be posting this story today. I have not heard back from anyone at the church. The names of the two teen boys are the only ones that have been changed. Billy is the victim. Joe is the rapist.
Lakeside Bible Church and psychology
Lakeside Bible Church is located in Montgomery Texas. The senior pastor is Dr Ken Ramey who is a graduate of The Masters Seminary. This church believes that the Bible trumps any sort of psychological theory.
Throughout our lives, everyone of us faces various physical, emotional, relational, financial, and spiritual problems. We believe the principles in the Bible are far superior to psychological theories and therapies for dealing with these problems. Our trained counselors provide help and hope by showing people how to apply the principles of God's Word to the problems in their lives.
What ministries does this church admire?
The church links to the following ministries (partial list):
- Desiring God
- Sovereign Grace Music
- CCEF (restoring Christ to counseling)
- Challies.com (Tim Challies)
- ACBC (pursuing excellence in biblical counseling)
The church recommends the following books and authors (amongst others):
- CJ Mahaney
- Dave Harvey
- John MacArthur
- Nine Marks of a Healthy Church by Mark Dever
- John Piper
- Joshua Harris
- Competent to Counsel by Jay Adams
A church split over church discipline?
Here is a comment that alludes to a church split from the John MacArthur Forum.
First allow me to elaborate on why you are seeing this post. Ken Ramey is the pastor of Lakeside Bible Church in Montgomery ,Texas. Our family left this church, well we ran for the hills.
Below you will find a sermon in which Ken has attempted to remove off the Internet and wipe away that he ever was a key speaker or even attended this conference, Grace Fellowship in Pretoria Africa May 23, 2015. Ken Ramey has his sermons posted on every sight where he can post his sermons including places he has been a speaker. So, why would he remove them? I know why!
Ken spoke on two different issues which he makes sure they go hand in hand. Defusing Disunity (How Ken caused a church split ) and Search and Rescue exercising church discipline! Ken goes into great detail in how he caused a church split at the very first church he pastored away from GCC (JOHN MACARTHUR ) which was Walden Community Church in Montgomery Texas.
Ken makes it a point to point out that John MacArthur is his mentor. He even says in this sermon that he consulted john macarthur right before he split Walden Community Church. He was invited in to be senior pastor by a congregational rule church in which after 2 weeks of arriving he immediately tried to make it elder/pastor rule.
The members there caught on quick and threatened him and the elders with a lawsuit. Ken called these members including the former pastor divisive, gossips, unbelievers, angry bitter people who can keep their church pews.(sic) He clearly throws them under the bus and then says he didn't.
Ken is all about church discipline and exercising it! I guess of course as long as it doesn't include him or his leadership. Ken was invited into a church where they were congregational rule and in the first two weeks ken tried to Shanghai the church and the building. People, he gets into the story of how he did it you really must listen to this,sermon!!!
Dead, bloody animal games
There is another issue that involves the use of dead animals and lots of real blood in youth ministry games but we'll save that for another time. Bet that one will get you googling! This is not a joke-promise.
What could the above information imply?
It appears that Ken Ramey and Lakeside Bible Church are Neo Calvinistic in their leanings. They stress male only leadership, biblical™ counseling techniques, and church discipline. Their interest in the books of CJ Mahaney raise concerns regarding how one might handle reports of child sex abuse.
Knowing this background, let's move on.
Shauna is a single, divorced mother of Billy. She supports the two of them by cleaning houses and helping out with the care of horses, house sitting, etc.. Their financial situation is difficult, but Shauna is able to control her schedule to be home for Billy. In 2013, the year that this story begins, Billy was 13 years old but was developmentally 9 years old. He also suffers from dyslexia and participates in a special needs program at school. He is a delightful young man to speak to on the phone, which I did. Shauna was a member of Lakeside Bible Church, and a number of her clients came from that church.
She was house sitting when her life changed. Another boy, Joe, who was 15 and whose family are members of Lakeside stopped by to hang out with Billy. They went into a room to play video games. Shauna decided to check on them and walked in on Billy being sodomized by Joe. She called an Elder (with a capital E) for help. He advised her to call the police which she did. Ken Ramey arrived around the same time the police did. He tried to talk with Billy at several points but was not allowed to because the police were concerned that he had talked with Joe and did not want his thoughts to influence Billy's report.
During the investigation, it was discovered that pornography had been viewed on the TV and that some sort of instrument had been used by Joe to threaten Billy with bodily harm if he said anything.
Billy was brought to the hospital. There it was ascertained that he had been sexually molested due to the obvious tearing, bruising etc. This was a difficult night for Billy. He was distraught and needed help in lying still for the rape examination. He was also put on medications to prevent the possibility of disease being transmitted by the rape. These meds made Billy sick for the weeks they had to be administered. Also, Billy understandably developed a great deal of fear and experienced nightmares for a long time. His mother made sure that he received good counseling from professionals as opposed to the "competent to counsel" fans at Lakeside.
When Billy and Shauna returned to Lakeside for the first time since the rape, they both saw Joe coming out of the Youth Area. This is significant as you will see momentarily. Then, Joe came into the church with his parents, walking right past Billy. At one point, he turned and gazed threateningly in Billy's direction. This caused Billy no small amount of fear, and he insisted in being taken out of church.
Shauna requested that Joe be prevented from attending the same church service as Billy, but this request was allegedly denied. Apparently, Joe was being counseled by the church, and they allegedly had no concerns about any further rapes. It is alleged that the church membership was not notified of the potential danger of Joe's behavior.
Joe eventually pled guilty to aggravated sexual assault. He received probation and was told to get counseling. Allegedly Shauna was encouraged by the church not to attend the sentencing by Ken Ramey. She did not know that during the hearing she could have requested restitution from the rapist's family for medications, counseling etc.
Allegedly, Shauna began to hear from church members that this incident was merely consensual behavior between two boys and that it was a sin. She was also told that members had heard that her son was a homosexual.
Shauna felt she could no longer attend the church. Shortly thereafter, she started losing customers who were members of her former church. She lost so much business that she is still having trouble making ends meet.
Shauna had had enough. She decided to write the former church members a letter explaining what had happened.
The Letter to the Church from Shauna
Dear Lakeside Bible Church Community,
I am writing to you concerning a matter of a very serious nature and one that I feel is absolutely necessary to address for the sake of my son.
Over the course of the last few months, several members of LBC have crossed my path and have brought to my attention false rumors that are widely circulating as to why my son and I left the church. It is now necessary for me to respond to these rumors because they are slanderous to my son and continue to perpetuate the abuse that he has already endured. I made the decision for my family to leave LBC in October 2013, 2013 because I believe that Lakeside Bible Church was no longer a safe environment for my son, due to the sexual abuse he endured, the church's harboring of a sexual offender at the time, and the church staff's egregious handling of our family in the process.
The facts are that my son was forcibly raped through intimidation and threats upon his life. Facts that are documented and confirmed from multiple sources. First, from the medical records documenting the night of my son's assault and his distress, his medical examination, and confirmed physical evidence of forced rape and trauma. Second, from the District Attorney in Conroe, who dealt personally and extensively with the charges against my son's perpetrator, including the perpetrator's confession to the crime. It is also well documented that the perpetrator entered a sex offender program and received counseling through the criminal justice system for his crime. Third, from my son's professional counselor, who is trained and highly experienced in recognizing and dealing with sexual abuse, rape, and trauma in children and has worked with my son and his recovery over the past two years.
Due to the extremely uninformed and grievous "counseling" practices and the agendas we both experienced at LBC while under duress, I cannot emphasize enough to the community and staff of Lakeside Bible Church to consider very carefully and seriously the value of getting properly, professionally informed about the truth of sexual abuse and trauma against children; get educated on how to best offer support and protection to victims and their families who have endured it; and to consider referring victims and families to counselors who are profoundly experienced and knowledgeable regarding such.
I firmly believe an immeasurable apology is due to my son by his perpetrator, the perpetrator's family, the Lakeside Bible Church pastor and elders, and from any individual within the Lakeside Bible Church community who has perpetuated slander and further grief against my son.
Please feel free to contact me if you have experienced any type of sexual abuse, physical abuse, or mental abuse by anyone. I have a vast knowledge of wonderful resources available as a result of my son's assault which has brought some healing for both of us. It is still a very deep struggle to work through even now however I don't know how we would be coping without the expertise of those who understand abuse, who have provided so much compassion and care to my child. It would be an injustice to keep this to ourselves and not share with those in the church who may be suffering in silence. I can no longer be silenced nor will my son be made out to be the perpetrator in his own abuse and a homosexual when he clearly was raped! In our own personal experience his assault has been swept under the rug and lies have told about my child by this leadership!
If you have any questions regarding the validity of my son's abuse I will be more than happy to answer those questions and will provide what is necessary to vindicate my child if anyone has lead you to believe this was anything but a Rape! Please do not ask me for the name of his perpetrator as I am not able to divulge that information.
Shauna R. Marquis
You may ask why I believe Shauna's version of the events. Besides the conviction of Joe (and he pled guilty) Ken Ramey wrote the following letter to his congregation. This letter nailed it for me. Does it for you?
Ken Ramey's letter to Lakeside Bible Church
Here is the letter that Ken Ramey sent to LBC about Shauna's letter. There is so much wrong with it that I am having difficulty keeping this post from becoming a book. The actual letter (screenshot) appears at the end of this post.
I am writing in response to a disturbing email you recently received from a former member of Lakeside publicizing that her son was raped by another member of our church and accusing our Pastoral Staff and Elders of mishandling of her and her son and endangering them and the other members of our church by harboring a sexual offender in our church. Sadly, what should have remained a private matter between the individuals involved in a very serious, sinful act that occurred back in 2013 has now become that must be addressed, albeit discreetly.
First of all, I cannot even begin to imagine the unspeakable grief and pain of a mother's heart whose son was sinned against sexually by another teenage boy who was attending at the time of the incident. The incident did not take place on our church campus or during a church activity. However, immediately after the incident occurred, the mother contacted one of our Elders and he counseled her to call the police and I arrived minutes later and attempted to work alongside the authorities in ministering to both families involved in the incident. In the days and weeks that followed, we sought to lovingly and patiently counsel both boys and their families and pursue biblical reconciliation within the limitations and restrictions place on us by the country court system. We were in regular contact with the District Attorney's office as the case progressed to ensure compliance with the orders from the court and to avoid hindering the investigation and eventual prosecution. The "perpetrator" confessed his faith and even made a confession of faith in Christ as a result of the conviction he was under regarding what he had done. Furthermore, from the time the incident occurred based, on a court order, this young man was never allowed out of his parents' sight whenever he was at church and he never returned to our Student Ministry and subsequently has moved out of state as a result of an unrelated situation in his family.
That being said, we have never knowingly "harbored a sexual offender in our church," but like every church we minister to an unknown number of people who have committed sexual sin including fornicators, adulterers, homosexuals, pedophiles, etc., along with a whole bunch of other sinful folks who by the grace of God have repented of their sin and have been washed clean through the shed blood of Christ on their behalf and are in the process of being sanctified or set apart from their former life of sin (cf. 1 Cor 6:9-11).
Finally, I think it is important for us to remember that the Bible that if we are aware that someone has committed a sin, we are to personally and privately confront that person for the purpose of leading them to repentance and restoring them to a right relationship with God and anyone else their sin has affected. (cf. Gal 6:1, Matt 18:12-16). The only time a person's sins should be made public is when they refuse to repent of it or are unwilling to be reconciled to others who have sinned against them (cf. Matt 18:17, 1 Tim 5:19-22). Unrepentant sin should never be swept under the rug but always confronted and exposed (cf 1 Cor 5:1-13). However, if sin is confessed and repented of then we are to cover it of love for Christ and our fellow sinner (cf. 1 Peter 1:8, James 5:19-20, Gen 9:20-23). God Himself said, "He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who professes and forsakes them will find compassion" (Proverbs 28:13). We should deal with one another sins accordingly.
If you have any questions or concerns about this situation, please feel free to contact me or any of the other LBC Elders. As those who God has entrusted with the sacred responsibility to protect and care for His sheep (cf. Acts 20:28) and who will have to give an account to Him someday for how we have watched over your souls (cf. Hebrews 13:17), we covet your continued prayers as we strive to wisely and graciously apply the truth of His Word as we deal with sin in our own lives and in the lives of those who attend LBC.
Grace and truth,
Some of the problems with this letter by Ken Ramey.
Please feel free to keep the list going. I shall start numbering them and you all can continue.
- The word "perpetrator" is put in parenthesis. Shauna told me that Ramey said he believed that this was an act between two consenting teens. It seems that he does not believe that the convicted rapist was a perpetrator.
- He says that the church was unfairly accused of mishandling the situation and putting the church in danger. Shauna said that he didn't tell the church about what happened and allowed the rapist to continue coming to church. Note how often he says that this was a "private matter" and should not have been made a public matter.
- He does not mention the pain of the victim, Shauna's son.
- He does not call it a crime. Instead, he refers to it as a sin.
- He allowed Joe to attend the church even though Billy was fearful of him. This shows a priority of caring for the rapist over the victim of the rapist.
- He does not discuss Billy's developmental delays which makes him even more of a victim.
- He does not discuss the threats that were made by the rapist to Billy about not telling anyone else what he did to Billy or he would hurt him.
- He allowed the rapist's parents to watch over him. This is naive since it is possible that his parents could have been concealing Joe's behavior in the past. There should have been an Elder (always capitalized, btw) that accompanied Joe whenever he stepped a foot on the campus of the church.
Do you note how they *lovingly and patiently* sought to counsel both boys and seek reconciliation. Does this remind you of the time at SGM when they made a 3 year old child *forgive* her abuser? Perhaps Ramey is taking cues from SGM? Warning: it is highly inadvisable to pursue reconciliation in the short run when it involves child sex abuse. As Boz Tchvidjian of GRACE has said:
"The long-term harm suffered by victims who are manipulated into “reconciliation” is often more damaging than the underlying abuse."
- It is stated that LBC has an unknown number of pedophiles who are repenting. This statement made absolutely no sense. If pedophiles are present, they are of danger to the children in that church.
- So, the young rapist has made a *confession of faith in Christ* as a result of this. Hmmm, who remembers The Village Church and the pedophile incident? Anyone who believes that someone simply has to confess faith in Christ to be cured from some sort of predatory, rape activity is totally naive. This is what got The Village Church into trouble, forcing Matt Chandler to apologize. It sure sounds like Ramey is headed for the need to apologize as well.
- If a pedophile confesses and repents of sex abuse, Ramey says we should conceal it out of love. NOOOOOOOO. A young man who rapes and threatens another teen has deep seated problems and his problems should become common knowledge so that the members of the church can protect their own children. It seem like Ramey is not too concerned about repeated rape if the person has *confessed Christ.*
Finally, I am absolutely in shock that people at LBC have punished Shauna and her son by dropping her means of supporting herself and her son through housecleaning. If anyone needs to repent, it is Ramey, the Elders (big E) and the church members who didn't show an ounce of compassion to a woman and her son who was raped by the son of a better positioned family in the church. I had a chance to talk with Billy. He is an amazing young man who wants this story told. His mother and he are the heroes of this story. It is way too easy to name the bad guys.
LBC needs to consult GRACE and Boz Tchividjian to see how Christians should actually care for the abused. For now, I would say that your church is not a safe place when people are struggling with the aftermath of child sex abuse.
Shauna: we love you and your wonderful son! What happened to him was a crime. May God give you strength.