They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. 'Peace, peace,' they say, when there is no peace. Jeremiah 6:14 NIV
There continues to be great progress in Memphis in on investigating the alleged molestations of Chris Carwile and the alleged cover up by the pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church, thanks to the bravery of three of the alleged victims. You can read the previous stories here, here and here.
Memphis news media covering the story.
Other news media are picking up on the story. Here is the WMC Action News 5 report from last evening.
Maria Hallas had Part 2 from the I Team investigation. I was thrilled to discover that she contacted Boz Tchividjian and SNAP which I recommended that she do during our conversation last week. Here is the link to the following I Team story. We are having trouble getting the embed code to work so you must click on the link. I will embed the video later if we can get it to work.
SNAP released a statement condemning the lack of action on the part of the church.
From: David Clohessy <email@example.com>
Date: November 15, 2016 at 9:46:23 AM CST
Subject: Victims urge outreach by church & library in alleged abuse case
For immediate release: Tuesday, Nov. 15
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis,
Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
The Memphis Public library has suspended a former youth minister who is accused of molesting at least three kids. That’s not enough.
Police reports have been filed. An alleged child molester walks free. His reported victims are suffering. And other kids are at risk. So officials at the main public library downtown and the Church at Schilling Farms in Collierville (formerly Immanuel Baptist Church) must take aggressive steps to reach out to anyone else who may have seen, suspected or suffered crimes by Chris Carwile or cover ups by church officials.
Rev. Scott Payne admits he didn’t call police and now asks forgiveness. But forgiveness is premature. Payne must help police, prosecutors and Carwile’s victims first, by doing everything he can to help ensure that Carwile is successfully prosecuted. The same is true of current and former supervisors and colleagues of Carwile’s.
Church officials should make pulpit announcements, use church websites, post notices in church buildings and mail congregants (current and former) begging anyone with information or suspicions to come forward, get help, safeguard kids and call law enforcement.
Rev. Payne’s excuses for acting selfishly, recklessly and deceitfully ring hollow. And ignorance of the law is no excuse.
We hope law enforcement will investigate Rev. Payne, see if he’s done this in other cases and prosecute him if possible. We hope other church figures in Memphis will publicly denounce Rev. Payne and send a clear signal to their employees and congregants that ignoring or hiding suspicions of child sex crimes is immoral and won’t be tolerated.
Finally, we applaud Kenny Stubblefield, Brook Hansen and Michael Hansen who say Carwile assaulted them as boys in the 1990s. Without their courage and compassion, Carwile would still be “under the radar” with access to kids. A credibly accused sex offender has been exposed only because they found the strength to step forward and honor their civic and moral duty to protect others by reporting crimes.
No matter what library or church officials do or don’t do, we urge every single person who saw, suspected or suffered child sex crimes and cover ups in Catholic churches or institutions to protect kids by calling police, get help by calling therapists, expose wrongdoers by calling attorneys, and be comforted by calling support groups like ours. This is how kids will be safer, adults will recover, criminals will be prosecuted, cover ups will be deterred and the truth will surface.
SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 20,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org
There appear to be more alleged victims.
If and when these victims are willing to tell their stories, we will hopefully be posting them here. In the meantime, TWW sends our prayers their way.
Pastor Scott Payne holds a leadership position in the Southern Baptist Convention.
The SBC leadership, unfortunately, continues to demonstrate that proper gender roles are far more valuable than protecting our children. Christa Brown of Stop Baptist Predators tweeted Amy Smith and had this to say.
There is much more happening and we will keep our readers updated as new information is received.
According to some pastors, gay kids, under the age of consent, like be molested.
This hurts my heart to actually say that there are church leaders who actually believe that sickening statement. Let's revisit Michael Hansen's brave testimony from last week. I have not been able to get his words out of my mind. I have been replaying them over and over again, especially at night when I am trying to sleep. How could this happen in the church? How could a kid feel so alone in his struggles in the church? And then to be molested by a man in that church…
At the time of his molestation, Michael had been struggling with his sexuality since the age of 11. He was desperately trying to hide this battle since he believed that he would be punished by the church. Frankly, he is probably correct as you will see. (Remember that Thomas, in this narrative, has now been identified as Scott Payne, the lead pastor.)
The toxic theology of the Southern Baptist Church led me to believe that I brought the assault onto myself — that God was punishing me for being gay. I was completely and utterly ashamed. Before the incident, I had already prayed several times that God would “fix” me. That He would cure me of my homosexual desires. After my assault, those prayers rose to a crescendo of unrelenting, tear-soaked pleas for relief.
Now, you may be wondering if I told anyone I was molested by a church employee. No, I didn’t. Not at first. I was afraid that if anyone found out, I would be outed as a queer to my family, my friends, and my church. You see, anxiety was creeping in and consuming me. Crippling depression took over my psyche, like a virus commandeering an operating system.
Another thing I vividly remember: Sleep was easy. Waking up was the real nightmare. Each moment a tailspin of unyielding angst and paranoia. To be awake was to be paralyzed and desperately afraid.
…On October 17, 2015, I was catching up with an old friend (and fellow victim) while I was back home for the Memphis vs. Ole Miss football game. (Go Tigers!) We started talking about everything that happened then: our regrets, our anger, and how our lives have been inextricably linked to those events.
My friend told me something that made all of those feelings of nausea, fear, and anger come flooding back. Apparently, Thomas told him some time later that it was all different for me — that because I’m gay, I wanted it to happen and liked it. In other words: I had it coming. (Sound familiar?)
…On October 23, 2015, we collectively sent Thomas a detailed, more-than-gracious letter (signed by me) seeking answers. Did he really say that because I’m gay I had it coming? It was an excruciating ordeal to pen that gory five-page note, but it was something we had to finally do.
9 years ago, Michael attempted suicide.
Nine years ago this week my father found me in a tub full of bloody bath water, my wrists slashed by a razor blade. The ER doctor said I that while I had cut deep enough and in the right direction, my blood clotted so quickly that it thwarted my suicide attempt. During the subsequent mandatory 24-hour psychiatric evaluation, I blamed my actions on fear of failure and career stagnation. In reality, I was severely depressed. I had been living for years in a perpetual hell of anxiety, self-loathing, and debilitating anxiety. Left to fester for the better part of the a decade, those sinister beasts will get the best of any man. This is the story of what led to that event, and how I became who I am today.
Shauna and Billy and Lakeside Bible Church: Billy was allegedly accused of being a homosexual and the pastor in church allegedly said his rape was consensual.
Ken Ramey's church appeared to respond in a similar fashion to Billy who was brutally raped by a church teen. We wrote about this in Ken Ramey of Lakeside Bible Church, a John MacArthur and 9Marks Supporter, Has a Disturbing Response to a Young Teen’s Rape. Here is an excerpt.
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.
Rape and molestation are not a sex acts! They are violent assaults and who wants to be assaulted?
I cannot believe that I even have to raise these questions.
– Is he saying that If a young teen girl is molested by a 20 something male youth pastor, it's rape; but if a boy is molested by a male youth pastor, it is consensual?
– What would he say if Michael had been molested by a female?
– Was Scott Payne saying that all gay kids like being sexually exploited so long as it is with a same sex offender?
– Why would a gay teen want to be molested against his will?
– Was Ramey implying that, if Billy was gay young teen, then sexual molestation is not a problem so long as its performed by a male?
No wonder the church has such a bad reputation within the LGBTQIA population. The assumptions of these pastors/churches is utterly revolting and I suspect it is more common that anyone wants to imagine. Don't they get it?
Rape and molestation are not a sex acts!
Sexual assault is NEVER the victim’s fault. Sexual assault is a violent attack on an individual, not a spontaneous crime of sexual passion. For a victim, it is a humiliating and degrading act. No one “asks” for or deserves this type of attack. link
While we are on this subject, rape is not an act of lust or passion.
Fact: Rape is about power, control and violent crime. The violent act is not motivated by sexual gratification.
No one fantasizes about being raped.
No woman (man) fantasizes about being raped. Fantasies about aggressive sex may be controlled and turned off if they become threatening. In rape, the victim is unable to control the violence and stop it.
Why do pastors and others engage in victim blaming?
– Could it be that pastors actually believe that if they pray enough or tell people how to be godly enough that somehow it will make their church members invulnerable to violent crimes?
– Could it be that pastors believe that they themselves are invulnerable to violent crimes?
– Could it be a way for pastors to place the blame on another in order to avoid facing the fact that they have screwed up by allowing a pedophile in their midst?
Or, even worse,
– Could it be that pastors blame the victims because they knew about the pedophile and believed that God would heal them so they kept them around? – Do some pastors harbor secret beliefs that God is justly punishing the victim?
According to Why Do We Blame Victims in Psychology Today.
Victim blaming is not just about avoiding culpability—it's also about avoiding vulnerability. The more innocent a victim, the more threatening they are. Victims threaten our sense that the world is a safe and moral place, where good things happen to good people and bad things happen to bad people. When bad things happen to good people, it implies that no one is safe, that no matter how good we are, we too could be vulnerable. The idea that misfortune can be random, striking anyone at any time, is a terrifying thought, and yet we are faced every day with evidence that it may be true.
…Lerner theorized that these victim blaming tendencies are rooted in the belief in a just world, a world where actions have predictable consequences and people can control what happens to them. It is captured in common phrases like "what goes around comes around" and "you reap what you sow." We want to believe that justice will come to wrongdoers, whereas good, honest people who follow the rules will be rewarded. Research has found, not surprisingly, that people who believe that the world is a just place are happier and less depressed. But this happiness may come at a cost—it may reduce our empathy for those who are suffering, and we may even contribute to their suffering by increasing stigmatization.
Sick thinking in the church
No one wants to be physically assaulted. If a man attacked a child on the street and beat them up, everyone would be up in arms, screaming for the guy to be locked up. But, if they are physically assaulted by being raped, some may believe they wanted it or provoked it. If they are gay, they wanted it even more. This despicable and deeply harmful thinking must be eradicated from the church.
Michael, I only wish I knew you when you were struggling. I would have wrapped my arms around you and given you the help and support that you needed and deserved. I am sick that your church failed you in so many ways. Thank you for caring enough to step forward to help others. I am profoundly grateful and am in awe of your strength and selflessness.
To the SBC pastor who believe gay kids "want to be molested:"
In the Physician's Oath there is a phrase I often think about. "First, do no harm." I think this should be in an oath that all pastors take. If Scott Payne actually said that Michael wanted to be raped because he was gay, then Payne, along with others like him, have no business being in the pulpit. Until this stuff stops, the church is truly not safe for children and all those who struggle.
Jeremiah got it right.
"They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. 'Peace, peace,' they say, when there is no peace." Jeremiah 6:14 NIV