Robert D Smith, Christian Author/Publicist, Sues a Disabled Marine Veteran Who Accused Him of Molesting Him When He Was a Child

“You can recognize survivors of abuse by their courage. When silence is so very inviting, they step forward and share their truth so others know they aren’t alone.” ― Jeanne McElvaney

On April4, 2018, Amy Smith at Watch keep posted Christian Author Robert D. Smith Seeks to Silence Alleged Child Sexual Abuse Survivor with Defamation Lawsuit.

Let’s go back to the beginning of this disturbing story. I talked with Jim Cochrun for 2 hours on the phone and became convinced that he was telling the truth.

When Jim was 12, he lived with his family in a house owned by a ministry where his father was a music minister for the organization. Robert D Smith (hereafter knows as Smith) was a youth pastor who lived in a nearby home. Jim Cochrun (Jim has asked that his real name be used) really enjoyed this seemingly cool youth leader and was pleased that Smith befriended his brother and him. They would often visit him in his home. One night, Smith invited Cochran into his bedroom and molested him. You can read the details of the assault in the Tulsa police report graciously provided by Amy Smith.

Trigger Warning: Graphic details of the sexual assault.

Tulsa Police Report

What happened to Jim Cochrun while Robert D Smith happily pursued fame and fortune?

Sadly, Jim would be molested several times until Smith moved back to Birmingham where he reconnected with his friend, Andy Andrews. However, as careers got started and fame occurred, did Smith ever wonder what happened to Jim? That is the story that I wanted to hear and Jim bravely recounted the aftermath of his ordeal

Smith had warned Jim not to tell anyone what happened and Jim obeyed his youth pastor. However, that promise of silence would prove to be harmful to Jim’s wellbeing. You see, 12 year old Jim could not process what happened to him. He secretly worried that he was gay because he had an erection during the assault. He did not understand that this response is normal and was unable to ask anyone.

Jim, determined to prove his masculinity, became a linebacker on his high school football team even thought he hated football! By the end of high school, he was still determined to prove his manhood. He visited a Marine recruiter and, with his parents’ permission, joined up for four years. At 17 years old, and just two days after high school graduation, Jim was in boot camp at Parris Island, SC.

And so he served, immersing himself in the macho cultured the booze-soaked revelry that is in the Marine Corps. Jim had periodic run-ins with the law for drinking related infractions. However, he successfully completed five years in the Marines and was honorably discharged.

The drinking continued. In 1993, Jim’s three year old daughter died in her sleep due to natural causes. Jim’s alcohol accelerated as he tried to first combat, then escape, the grief and post-traumatic stress produced by the death of his daughter.

Jim drank for fifteen more years, sacrificing his family, career and reputation to protect the only coping mechanism that seemed to work. He was bankrupt-spiritually, morally, physically and financially.

Then he began to heal.

Two years later, clean and sober, Jim found a new passion: assisting and supporting other veterans dealing with post traumatic stress and substance abuse through founding of a non-profit organization called Code VI Veteran Integration which describes its mission as:

Our mission and purpose is to ignite the spark of hope and resilience in Veterans & Families. We are Veterans and know change is not just possible, but realistically achievable. We don’t “help” Veterans – we’ve learned some Veterans have a hard time accepting help – instead, we assist support, encourage, teach and equip Veterans & Families to achieve integration and balance and lead flourishing lives.

Jim provides his biography on this website.

As a Marine Corps Veteran and Certified Veteran Peer Specialist, Jim Cochrun has a true passion and immeasurable experience in Veteran outreach. In 2014 he had a glimpse of the greater vision that would eventually become Code VI Veteran Integration Center.

Ideas began to take seed and by late-summer of 2015, Jim had a much broader view of what he wanted to create for fellow Veterans, but at this point, the timing felt “off”. Through much prayer and brainstorming, he and his wife, Kate, agreed to wait and trust that the right time would present itself. Three weeks later, Kate was diagnosed with breast cancer. They both knew then why they were nudged to wait and for the next 9 months, they battled the disease together…and WON!

When Kate was officially declared cancer free, they took off with their daughters for a much needed celebratory trip to Costa Rica, where they fell in love with the best coffee they’d ever tasted! They brought home as much as they could pack and savored it over the next weeks and months. Not only was it smooth and delicious, but it held a very special connection to the hope, perseverance and resilience they’d found through their journey. They didn’t know it yet, but that very same coffee bean from Costa Rica that would later become the base for their own private label: Code VI Coffee.

In early 2017, the time was right. Jim applied for and received his 501c3 and founded his dream: Code VI Veteran Integration Center!

As someone who has supported Wounded Warriors, his website sucked me in. Not only is he a hero in my book but he is serving other heroes who have honorably served our country. I happened to notice a link to some special coffee and I could not resist. I get to drink excellent coffee and support his wonderful organization while doing so.

Where was Smith while Jim was struggling with his abuse while honorably serving with the Marines?

Smith achieved notoriety with his book 20,000 Days and Counting: The Crash Course for Mastering Your Life Right Now with Thomas Nelson Publishers. In 2014, this book was a finalist at the Executive Leadership Summit.

He also has managed the successful career of Andy Andrews. You can read more about him here. I found this following quote by Andrews interesting.I would like to add something.” I will forgive myself after I seek to repair the damage my actions have caused another.”

I will greet this day with a forgiving spirit; I will forgive myself.

Smith also managed Jerry Jenkins, the co-author of the Left Behind series and was a friend of Rick White, at one time hiring as a youth pastor. However, that friendly relationship ended sometime in the mid 200s according to Jim.

So, as you can see, Smith is connected with some famous names in the Christian evangelical circuit.

Jim Cochrun decided to confront Robert D Smith about his abuse and got nowhere.

In 2008 Cochrun reached out to Smith, speaking with him on the phone. The content from that discussion has been turned over to the police. He then sent the following email to Smith in 2014 and did not receive a reply.

Jim decided to go public with his story and is now being sued by the man he testifies is his abuser.

Jim reached out to people associated with Smith and Smith responded by suing him, stating there is no proof of his allegations.

Stop the music….let’s get something straight. Sexual abuse takes place behind closed doors and is usually accompanied by threats to remain silent. Those threats cal devastate the life of a 12 year old boy. There are only two people who know what happened in that room. And no. Mr. Smith, Jim should not have to remain silent because you played head games with him as a boy. He has suffered, suffered greatly.

Now, let’s discuss the law. Jim is telling the truth as he knows it to be. I have listened to his story and it is compelling. He remembers little details of Smith’s bedroom like how he folded the sheets, where he put the towels and the position of the bed in the room. I believe Jim’s story.

The law also states that Smith must prove that Jim lied in order to bring harm to him. He lied? This honorably discharged Marine Corps Veteran who serves his fellow veterans? Really? He suffered the after effects of abuse and sought to drown his pain in the bottle. Do you know that response is seen in many cases of childhood sexual abuse? If not, do some reading…

WSMV posted Franklin author accused of sexual abuse denies allegations. Please note that Cochrun is NOT suing Smith.

…Smith is suing Cochrun for $750,000 claiming these allegations have ruined his reputation, character and his business relationships.

…The following statement was released from Smith’s attorney, Jonathan Pledger:

“The lawsuit that is now pending in the Federal Court for the Middle District of Tennessee is the result of Mr. Smith filing an action for defamation and tortuous interference with business relations against Jim Cochrun as a result of Mr. Cochrun publishing outrageous and defamatory comments involving Mr. Smith; allegations which Mr. Cochrun state occurred 40 years ago. It is important to note that Jim Cochrun did not and has not sued Mr. Smith. Mr. Smith filed his lawsuit in Williamson County Tennessee where he obtained a restraining order against Mr. Cochrun to restrain him from his continued dissemination of his false slanderous and outrageous allegations. Mr. Smith filed his lawsuit for the sole purpose of clearing his name of any wrong doing involving Mr. Cochrun’s allegations. Mr. Smith’s lawsuit was filed in February 2018 and up to this point, Mr. Cochrun has not provided a shred of evidence that any of the allegations are in fact true.”

I am so deeply disturbed by Smith’s willingness to bring pain to an honorable man that I am providing the entire response from Cochrun’s attorney.

PRESS CONTACT: Attorney George Edwards, III 832-717-2562 832-231-3788 george@eslawpartners.com
Christian Author Robert D. Smith Seeks to Silence Alleged Child Sexual Abuse Survivor with Defamation Lawsuit

HOUSTON (DATE) – Christian author and personal branding expert Robert D. Smith sexually assaulted Jim Cochrun when he was only 12 years old. At the time of the assault, Robert Smith told Jim to never tell anyone. Jim was bullied into keeping the child sexual assault secret. Forty years later, Robert D. Smith is attempting to use the legal system to continue to silence this victim of child sexual assault by filing a defamation suit against Jim Cochrun.

For over 30 years, Robert D. Smith has managed the career of New York Times best-selling author and speaker Andy Andrews and has provided personal branding consultation to numerous other well- known figures in the Christian community.

After unsuccessfully attempting to “make this go away” in direct conversations with his alleged victim, Smith filed a lawsuit against Cochrun in the Chancery Court of Williamson County, TN at Franklin as Case No. 46996. In the suit, Smith seeks over $750,000 from his victim. The suit was removed to the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee on February 21, 2018. That case is styled as Case No. 3:18-cv-00225. Recently, Jim Cochrun filed his answer in court challenging the complaint.

Cochrun made the difficult decision to share his story with the general public in the hope that any other victims will be emboldened to step forward and seek justice. An excerpt of Cochrun’s story is below.

In 1978 I was 12 years old and I lived in a simple frame house in Tulsa, Oklahoma. My father was the music minister at a local church, and Robert D. Smith, then aged 22, was my youth pastor.

One Saturday night at Robert’s house, he poked his head around the wall of his bedroom, and called out “Hey, Fred. Come in here for a minute.” It was commonplace for Robert to call me by the name Fred in reference to the character Bassett Hound in Smokey and the Bandit. Entering his room, I saw him lying in bed. “Close the door. I want to show you something.” I tentatively obeyed. He was my youth pastor. I climbed into bed and he pushed the sheet to his waist to reveal that he was naked and had an erection. He admonished me and said, “Don’t go, stay here.” I obeyed. Robert placed my hand on his erect penis, instructing me to grasp it and begin stroking him. I pulled my hand back and said, “No! I don’t want to do this.” “It’s OK. You’ll like it. I promise,” said Robert. I did as instructed. Robert told me to continue, that I was doing fine. This continued for several minutes until Robert’s body went tense as he ejaculated. It went everywhere—on his chest, stomach, and coated my hand. Robert produced a towel from next to the bed and began cleaning up the mess.

He turned to me and said “now it’s my turn” and pushed me back on the bed. Robert pulled my pajamas down and began stroke my penis. My body responded and I got an erection. Robert smiled and said, “I knew you would like it.” I was dizzy and confused. What was happening?
Robert continued, then stopped and slid down on the bed. He lowered his head and took my penis into his mouth. I was confused and angry.

After he finished, I got up from the bed, retrieved my clothing and got dressed and told Robert I was going to watch Saturday Night Live. He asked, “Are you OK, Fred? This is going to be our little secret. You can never tell ANYONE about this.” This scene was repeated several more times over the summer of 1978.

“Being sued by your abuser is understandably shocking,” George Edwards said. “Jim has never sought money from his abuser. His motivation is that justice is done and that any other victims who may exist are empowered to come forward. The good news for Jim and other victims like him is that they will defend these allegations with the truth. Proving defamation is difficult. The statements must be false, which means Smith would have to prove that the sexual assault did not happen. Our client has no reason to lie.”

Brent Webster further states that “Jim’s willingness to come forward with the truth is the only way to keep perpetrators like this out of positions of influence.”

George Edwards, III, Murtaza Sutarwalla, and Brent Webster of Edwards Sutarwalla PLLC and John D. Kitch, of Counsel for Cornelius & Collins LLP, represent Jim Cochrun.

###

About Edwards Sutarwalla PLLC

Edwards Sutarwalla PLLC (www.eslawpartners.com) is a full-service business law firm based in Houston and Austin, Texas practicing in the areas of civil litigation, commercial transactions and corporate law. Edwards Sutarwalla PLLC also represents survivors of child sexual assault and abuse throughout the country.

It should be noted that Andy Andrews has severed all ties with Robert Smith. Read the highlighted part of this statement in the WSMV article. “Multiple allegation of sex abuse with preadolescent males….”

Smith who lives in Franklin serves as a private consultant to a number of bestselling authors, speakers and entertainers including best-selling author Andy Andrews who has cut ties with his former manager saying in a Facebook post from January, “I completely ended the relationship with my longtime manager, Robert D. Smith.  This severing of all ties, business and personal, is due to multiple allegations of child abuse with preadolescence males.”

I believe that more will be revealed as this story and lawsuit progresses. It frankly makes me sick to my stomach that a man, who served his country and dealt with the pain of his childhood abuse, would once again be abused by his abuser-this time through the court system. It gives meaning to the theory that sex abuse is not about sex but about power and control.

#metoo. #churchtoo #IStandWithJim


Comments

Robert D Smith, Christian Author/Publicist, Sues a Disabled Marine Veteran Who Accused Him of Molesting Him When He Was a Child — 83 Comments

  1. Courageous to come forward with the story of what happened. God bless Cochrun and may he prevail.

    The quote that opens this post is powerful.

    Regarding the coffee story: we had a house full of aid workers with us last summer. They work in all of the coffee-producing areas of the world. We asked, “Where is the best coffee?” Costa Rica. All agreed.

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  2. I have not heard of him but his profession leads me to believe he has good attorneys and knows the image game well. Filing suit is an offensive measure and cut throat. My prayers are with the victim. And with those who are contemplating coming forward.

    I am glad Andrews cut all ties. It’s good to hear—for a change.

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  3. It’s not that hard to imagine if you’ve been a victim of abuse, sexual or otherwise…Abusers always say that it’s your fault that you were abused….if you’d been (fill in the blank–nicer, more obedient, more spiritual, more Something) then they wouldn’t have to do this to you..

    Way too often, it’s the messenger who is attacked for bringing the message, even if it is proven to be a totally accurate report of abuse..

    Totally in keeping with abusive behavior. Often abusers exhibit at least some traits of the Narcissist–whose priority in life is to prove that they are never wrong.

    They’ll go to extreme lengths to “prove” this….which can make those who try to enforce accountability go absolutely crazy with frustration!

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  4. Lydia wrote:

    I have not heard of him but his profession leads me to believe he has good attorneys and knows the image game well. Filing suit is an offensive measure and cut throat. My prayers are with the victim. And with those who are contemplating coming forward.

    I am glad Andrews cut all ties. It’s good to hear—for a change.

    Yes, I am glad that Andrews recognised and affirmed Cochrun’s truth and severed all ties with Smith.

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  5. Mercy wrote:

    Lydia wrote:

    I have not heard of him but his profession leads me to believe he has good attorneys and knows the image game well. Filing suit is an offensive measure and cut throat. My prayers are with the victim. And with those who are contemplating coming forward.

    I am glad Andrews cut all ties. It’s good to hear—for a change.

    Yes, I am glad that Andrews recognised and affirmed Cochrun’s truth and severed all ties with Smith.

    Yes, and with good reason:
    “I completely ended the relationship with my longtime manager, Robert D. Smith. This severing of all ties, business and personal, is due to multiple allegations of child abuse with preadolescence males.”
    There are more victims out there.

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  6. This is what Scientology would do. You know you’re doing it all wrong when you’re following after Scientology, the gold standard for cults.

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  7. As I read this, I kept thinking that surely there were church leaders who knew, covered, and perhaps enabled this sinful behavior for years. Was he protected because he was such a talented consultant and benefited their ministries? The perversion in “Christian” ministry is more widespread than we want to believe.

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  8. molly245 wrote:

    Way too often, it’s the messenger who is attacked for bringing the message, even if it is proven to be a totally accurate report of abuse..

    Yes. We see this everywhere.

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  9. Should Christian publicist be an oxymoron?

    I don’t mean that Christians shouldn’t be publicists, but rather should members of the Christian Industrial Complex be using publicists. After all the problems we have seen in professional Christianity, I say no.

    Anyway, thank you for your courage, Jim. You are in our thoughts and prayers

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  10. From what I hear usually cases like this aren’t isolated and there are multiple victims. If there were others that were molested hopefully they will come forward and give more credibility to this victim.

    I am sure that Robert D. Smith has significant reserve dollars and thus can afford the large legal costs of this lawsuit. I imagine that the victim doesn’t have nearly the resources to defend himself. Thus a lawsuit like this is one way to bully someone.

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  11. This was very difficult to read. I’m glad for strong men like him who come forward and take back what their perpetrators steal from them! I’m saddened to know that he went through that time trying to cope on his own, 12 years old and no one to tell him that what was done wasn’t his fault.

    The man responsible for abusing him I pray that justice is served, that every victim and I have no doubt there are many will follow his lead and expose this pedophile. The civil suit is absolutely ridiculous but unfortunately, this man is wicked and most likely continuing to abuse boys.

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  12. @ Shauna:
    @ Forrest:
    Thank you, Lydia. You hit the nail on the head: The primary motivation for sharing my story is to offer hope and courage to any others who may have been similarly preyed upon; want to shine the light into the darkness they may be trapped in, and let them know they CAN overcome and thrive, that their abuse doesn’t have to define (or confine) them anymore.

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  13. If Smith is innocent why did he bring up that the allegations are from 40 years ago? The time passed is not relevant anyway, but has no significance at all if you are indeed innocent. What a sick man. I would be very surprised if there are no other victims, given he acted like a very skilled predator as he molested this poor little boy. And the fact that he is suing the victim shows a complete lack of empathy. There have got to be other victims and I hope they have the courage to come forward. Mr. Cochrun, you are a very strong and brave man. You have shown considerable courage in your life and should be admired not sued!

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  14. molly245 wrote:

    Abusers always say that it’s your fault that you were abused….if you’d been (fill in the blank–nicer, more obedient, more spiritual, more Something) then they wouldn’t have to do this to you..

    “If YOU weren’t being so UNREASONABLE, I wouldn’t have to play hardball like this.”
    — My NPD/Sociopath brother, when he (and his attorney) cheated me out of an inheritance (He was SO Polite, never raised his voice once…)

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  15. This is why we have a court system. Not that I am saying it didn’t happen, but Smith has the right to defend himself against allegations made against him by someone. Let Cochrun and Smith have their day in court. That said, if I were Cochrun, I’d countersue Smith and then subpoena Smith’s business partner (Andrews) and get others, including his brother, to bring charges against Smith as well. If not, Cochrun could run in to a statute of limitations law within their state and then be held libel for his accusations against Smith.

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  16. Julie wrote:

    And the fact that he is suing the victim shows a complete lack of empathy.

    But a good grasp of Strategy.
    Counterattack as Hard as you can.
    Make an Example of one accuser, and the others will remain silent.

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  17. Somewhereintime wrote:

    This is why we have a court system. Not that I am saying it didn’t happen, but Smith has the right to defend himself against allegations made against him by someone.

    Criminal is different from civil court, though.

    Proving things happened or didn’t happen 40 years ago can be difficult in a criminal court, proving they definitely didn’t happen, ergo this guy is lying, is next to impossible. So this is pretty much a ‘scare him away’ tactic. That’s not really why we have a court system, as it primarily benefits people with the money to sue and says nothing about real justice.

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  18. Thank you all for your support! To be clear, this has never been about money or revenge; this is about the completion of my own healing, transfer of shame and responsibility to the rightful owner (Smith), encouraging and empowering others who may have been abused, and highlighting for the church and parents to be more discerning and deliberate when vetting the people to whom we hand-off our kids for Sunday school/church camps.

    To reiterate: I have NOT sued my abuser! He sued me in an effort to shut me up – it didn’t work, in fact, the efforts to keep my story quiet has resulted in just the opposite. The burden of proof rests with my abuser/accuser – I did not – could not – make this stuff up. I will not be silenced. Truth is self-evident and will always be revealed. As my parents used to say “remember, your sins will always find you out.” It may take 40 days or 40 years – truth will prevail.

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  19. Lea wrote:

    Somewhereintime wrote:
    This is why we have a court system. Not that I am saying it didn’t happen, but Smith has the right to defend himself against allegations made against him by someone.
    Criminal is different from civil court, though.
    Proving things happened or didn’t happen 40 years ago can be difficult in a criminal court, proving they definitely didn’t happen, ergo this guy is lying, is next to impossible. So this is pretty much a ‘scare him away’ tactic. That’s not really why we have a court system, as it primarily benefits people with the money to sue and says nothing about real justice.

    It doesn’t look to me like Mr. Cochran is going to run scared. Victims who come forward finally and sue have more courage and strength behind them and don’t come out with their allegations just to pick on someone. If Mr. Smith continues with his ridiculous suit he is only going to draw more attention to himself and possibly more victims will come forward. What a stupid man!!! Mr. Cochran is doing exactly what he needs to be doing by standing his ground!!! I believe him 100% and whether or not Mr. Smith deserves his day in court well that’s going to be a long day for him. I hope in the end it was all worth it to him because from what I see , he’s an idiot to sue for defamation.

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  20. From the article up top:

    Robert D. Smith
    Affectionately known to those around him as
    “THE [ROBERT] D.”

    Feature or bug?
    It has an uncanny similarity to “The [D…]”

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  21. Hi, Jim Cochrun. I believe you, and support you. I hope for resolution, healing, and these burdens completely gone from your shoulders.

    I’m going to check out that coffee, too! mmmmm!

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  22. Mr. Cochrun,
    I believe you because this story sounds eerily similar to a story I heard from a teenage boy whom I mentor.

    The predator pulled just the same kind of tactics, and the young man had a similar response that you did. Also, he now wrestles constantly with the fear that he is gay — even though he’s clearly interested in girls.

    What a horrendous thing to steal a young person’s innocence, security, and self-concept.

    I am exceptionally grateful that you have stepped out of the shadows to call out this unrepentant predator, and I know without a doubt that since vengeance belongs to God, He WILL repay.

    God bless you.

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  23. I 2nd the words of support. elastigirl wrote:

    Hi, Jim Cochrun. I believe you, and support you. I hope for resolution, healing, and these burdens completely gone from your shoulders.
    I’m going to check out that coffee, too! mmmmm!

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  24. I am so sorry that Jim was abused by this evil man and that he has to fight this lawsuit. My prayers are with Jim. I am thankful he is experiencing hope, joy, and productivity in his life.

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  25. Forrest wrote:

    “I completely ended the relationship with my longtime manager, Robert D. Smith. This severing of all ties, business and personal, is due to multiple allegations of child abuse with preadolescence males.”

    When you force yourself sexually on 12-year-old boys, NOBODY wants anything to do with you.
    At least Normal people don’t.
    The Inner Ring of GAWD’s Anointed Pets, however…

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  26. Shauna wrote:

    It doesn’t look to me like Mr. Cochran is going to run scared.

    Ex-USMC (and a hellraiser and scrapper to boot)…
    Came back from SERIOUS alcoholism…
    I don’t think he’s gonna run.
    He’s already seen the elephant.
    (And I doubt The D has.)

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  27. Good for you for coming forward Jim Cochrun. I’m so sorry for what happened to you, & I am sure that now you have come forward, that others will too. You will also have saved future victims because, generally, these guys don’t stop.

    It’s often 100’s of victims before a paedophile is caught. I hope each & every victim here wil speak up.

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  28. Our friend Ali’s best friend husband within the last week raped his 19 year old daughter from a previous marriage. He is in jail awaiting trial. Ali’s best friend cannot afford the house on her own salary (she is a teacher, and she has four other children) and will have to move. Fortunately she has no debts. Please pray.

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  29. @ Jim Cochrun:
    Hi Jim!
    My husband is retired military (army .., Special Forces…. De Opresso Liber.). He did 3 stints in Iraq. I have a cousin who was in the Airforce, and another cousin who was a Marine and is now a deputy sheriff. That being said, I think the most courageous thing you could possibly do is come forward and expose Smith! You are helping to liberate the oppressed!

    Now, to the coffee experts…….. Hmmmm. My husband went to Malawi on a mission trip in February. He brought back coffee, grown in Malawi. We haven’t tried it yet, so does anyone know anything about African coffee??? ….. Malawi, in particular.

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  30. Here’s hoping the Striesand effect kicks in and many more of Mr. Smith’s victims hear about Mr. Cochrun’s story and come forward with their story.

    Also, is it just me or does anyone else have visions of the Mr. Smith from “The Matrix” running through their mind?

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  31. Jim Cochrun wrote:

    the completion of my own healing, transfer of shame and responsibility to the rightful owner (Smith), encouraging and empowering others who may have been abused, and highlighting for the church and parents to be more discerning and deliberate when vetting the people to whom we hand-off our kids for Sunday school/church camps.

    Noble causes. one and all.

    “The Lord God has given Me the tongue of disciples, that I may know how to sustain the weary one with a word. He awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens My ear to listen as a disciple. The Lord God has opened My ear; and I was not disobedient nor did I turn back.

    “I gave My back to those who strike Me, and My cheeks to those who pluck out the beard; I did not cover My face from humiliation and spitting. For the Lord God helps Me, therefore, I am not disgraced; therefore, I have set My face like flint, and I know that I will not be ashamed.

    “He who vindicates Me is near; who will contend with Me? Let us stand up to each other; who has a case against Me? Let him draw near to Me. Behold, the Lord God helps Me; who is he who condemns Me? Behold, they will all wear out like a garment; the moth will eat them.

    “Who is among you that fears the Lord, that obeys the voice of His servant, that walks in darkness and has no light? Let him trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God. Behold, all you who kindle a fire, who encircle yourselves with firebrands, walk in the light of your fire and among the brands you have set ablaze. This you will have from My hand: you will lie down in torment.”

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  32. @ Jim Cochrun:

    Hi Jim Cochrun,

    We believe you.

    We want to honor your courage in coming forward to share this very painful experience. Male on male abuse is such a forbidden topic that it seems very few people are willing to talk about it—let alone describe very painful details. We hope that your courage will inspire other men to also find the strength to seek help in processing this kind of trauma.

    What you described sounded a lot like what the other gentleman described on the documentary Holy Hell. Maybe you saw that when it aired on CNN recently. For those that didn’t have a chance to see it–the documentary showed how one person can manipulate a whole group of people into doing whatever he wanted. It was really eye opening on how manipulation works.

    On the documentary, several of the men described how they were slowly groomed into a place of vulnerability that opened the door to sexual abuse. Some of details of what they described were eerily similar to your story. For years the leader was abusing several of the men in the group while trying to keep each of them from finding out that they weren’t the only victim. They described how the abuse started when they were too young and inexperienced to know that this wasn’t normal.

    One final thought—I wonder if one reason men are so relunctant to share this type of private pain is that they fear us ladies will think less of them if they do. The reality is that (generally speaking) us ladies want to be sympathic and understanding when our men share their feelings with us. We want to understand what you’re thinking and where you are coming from. That’s better than having to guess what the real problem is that’s getting drowned in whatever coping mechanism is happening.

    Anyway, I’m looking foward to trying some of your coffee. Thank you for your service. 🙂

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  33. Jim:

    Good for you. I have a son on active duty right now in Iraq, though not a marine. You sound like the cream of the cream of the military in your approach to exposing this abuser. God be with you; we are all pulling for you.

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  34. The growing number of reports of perverted youth pastors is concerning. The organized church is apparently a “safe” place for them to work their evil – church folks are so trusting and unsuspecting, you know. IMO, I don’t think a church needs immature young folks leading our youth. Most youth pastors are fresh out of seminary (if they even go to seminary), have no ministerial experience, and a limited understanding of the Word. Most of them just entertain the kids with games, pizza parties, trips to the skating rink, outings to see “Christian” rock bands, shallow Bible studies, etc. We need our youth trained under mature Christians. The really scary thing is that perverted youth pastors go on to become perverted senior pastors as they are passed up the ranks, if not exposed before then!

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  35. Beakerj wrote:

    It’s often 100’s of victims before a paedophile is caught. I hope each & every victim here wil speak up.

    That is why The D has to Make an Example of Cochrun.

    Make an Example of one and you silence all the others.

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  36. Max wrote:

    The really scary thing is that perverted youth pastors go on to become perverted senior pastors as they are passed up the ranks, if not exposed before then!

    Savage.

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  37. Jim, I think it’s terrific what you’re doing. And you have the right motives and approach. Another aspect, often overlooked, is that you’re doing the right thing and the loving thing for the perp. He must be confronted with and face his sin if there is to be repentance and regeneration. Speak about this a little if you feel like it.

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  38. I honor the courage of the survivor to step forward. His bravery will help others to emerge from the darkness of fear caused by childhood sexual abuse.
    If you have been sexually abused, to to the police, or a school counselor, or a family member or a close friend. You are not alone.
    I work as a volunteer with Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. While we have priests in our name we welcome all faiths and beliefs, Mormons, JW, Baptist, Jewish, Mennonite, etc.

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  39. SallyVee wrote:

    Another Alabama “youth pastor” in the news today…

    Alabama evangelist and accused child sexual abuser Acton Bowen is “’a danger to every child in this community,” Etowah DA says

    http://www.al.com/news/anniston-gadsden/index.ssf/2018/04/acton_bowen_a_danger_to_every.html

    I had just posted a comment about my concern regarding the growing number of reports about perverted youth pastors … and then your comment pops up with yet another disturbing report.

    Could this be another example of a bad actor passed from church to church? Whorton Bend Baptist Church is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, a denomination which desperately needs a pastor sex offender’s list.

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  40. @ Max:
    Unfortunately, churches, schools, sports teams, day care centers, scout groups…anywhere where adult miscreants have easy availability to the children they “love.” It’s why any institution or activity that works with children has to have thorough background checks and a culture where anything that seems out of order is reported. You also need to follow best practices; open doors/windows, proper boundaries between adults/children, always working in groups or one on one in an open area (that’s how my schools tutoring room works). Teen volunteers also need to be working alongside adults, not alone with children. Children need to also be educated, at home, school, and church, that it’s okay to say no when something doesn’t seem right. Nothing is foolproof, but a culture that installs best practices has a better chance of protecting both children and the adults who serve them.

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  41. Max–as usual you are spot on. Back in the dark ages we expected youth to learn from the real elders (yep, gray hair and all)rather than those dubbed “sir elder” upon completing some degree track. Let men and women who have navigated life honorably and learned a thing or two in the process train the younger folks to GROW UP in Christ!

    Instead now we have churches so in love with youth culture the very mature are running around in skinny jeans and beards (overweight past middle age “young” restless and reformed) and very mature women streaking their hair in koolaid colors, badly filling out leggings and tank tops, and having “worship experiences” that border on the “organic” if you get the drift.

    We recently moved long distance. Tried to return to the SBC. Found some churches in exceedingly moldy buildings (a no go due to health issues), some so far across creeks with no bridges, etc, as to be inaccessible to us, one that is open that it is deeply divided and in turmoil as it goes through a contemporary/calvinista take over, and one so deeply Calvinistic we were pretty much shut out for being evangelistic. So once again we are in a more Arminian somewhat bapistic group. Lots of “former SBC” around here.

    We need to be more aggressive in dealing with these heresies and with practices that run counter to the Bible.

    What should not surprise us is that when we do things our way, rather than obey Him, we get into hot water. As our former pastor loved to say, “Why are you surprised when dead men stink?”

    As to this post and the lawsuit? Well, if the perp were innocent this would be a fair move. False accusation deserve a hardball game. And if guilty, adopting the pose of the innocent falsely accused makes sense. Someone so lacking a conscience as to molest isn’t going to be likely to step up and say, “Yep, I did it.” Might be heavy consequences to that.

    Why are we surprised at all this in the clergy? We (SBC) stopped trusting the Holy Spirit to convict and grant repentance leading to new birth. Instead we decided to use business management principles combined with mind/emotion/thought/crowd control measures to manipulate the responses we wanted. A good worship leader can make’em laugh, cry, come forward, join, sign the decision card, pony up more money, whatever. It has become the most lucrative writing/composing/music/speaking gig around with dupes all around to fall for it. And then we are supposed to be shocked when those unsaved dupes jump in the game as pastors and sin grossly?

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  42. @ Linn:

    One of Acton Bowen’s board members was an atty for Roy Moore’s campaign in his recent [failed] run for U.S. Senate in Alabama. In this article, the board member explains why he resigned Bowen’s board after Bowen’s initial arrest, and explains what he considers to be best practices or “his personal minimums” of behavior for a Christian leader…He relied on personal promises, lie detector tests and reports from software installed on Bowen’s computer, showing no visits to porn sites. Hmmmm. Was the software installed bc of Bowen’s previous dismissal due to pornography?

    Evangelist’s wife seeks divorce after husband jailed on child sex charges;
    2 board members resign
    http://www.al.com/news/birmingham/index.ssf/2018/04/wife_of_evangelists_fears_safe.html

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  43. Linn wrote:

    You also need to follow best practices; open doors/windows, proper boundaries between adults/children, always working in groups or one on one in an open area (that’s how my schools tutoring room works).

    Agree these things are necessary, as a start. But if you read Jimmy Hinton’s blog, he really emphasizes how many abusers do some of their activities in plain sight, knowing that adults won’t see what they’re not expecting to see…

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  44. @ readingalong:
    True…but that’s why people need to be vigilant. It’s easy to say “that person is such a hugger” when the hugging may be much more insidious. My school encourages fist bumps and high fives.

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  45. Linn wrote:

    any institution or activity that works with children has to have thorough background checks and a culture where anything that seems out of order is reported

    Agreed. Churches seem to be the worse at vetting pastor candidates. I suppose it is because of the trust factor “He’s in the ministry; he must be OK.” It’s obvious, the organized church just can’t do that any longer. Don’t blindly accept job references provided by the candidate – do some digging.

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  46. Max wrote:

    I suppose it is because of the trust factor “He’s in the ministry; he must be OK.” It’s obvious, the organized church just can’t do that any longer. Don’t blindly accept job references provided by the candidate – do some digging.

    I can’t help but wonder if a lot of them don’t even care, because they see women and children as existing to serve them or because they see a charismatic pastor as able to benefit them financially. And we’ve even seen a few of the New Cals argue that everyone is really that depraved and can’t help themselves, as if everybody should just accept abuse, which is truly shocking to me.

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  47. SallyVee wrote:

    Jim, I think it’s terrific what you’re doing. And you have the right motives and approach. Another aspect, often overlooked, is that you’re doing the right thing and the loving thing for the perp. He must be confronted with and face his sin if there is to be repentance and regeneration. Speak about this a little if you feel like it.

    Sally- great point, and one I wrestle with. While I certainly have thought about the redemption/rehabilitation of my abuser, it’s not paramount in my mind. Here’s the truth: I don’t own or have any influence/control over how he responds, reacts or rehabilitates. I can only exercise the power to stop ‘owning’ this abuse as my own, and transfer the responsibility to the rightful shoulders. My job is to forgive – and this is not a ‘one and done’ proposition: Jesus said each day to forgive 70×7 – Jesus spoke in parables, 70×7 is not an exact number (490). Release from unforgiveness doesn’t happen on #491. There are days when the abuse looms large and generates anger and stirs up unforgiveness; other days I feel completely free. I suspect I’ve forgiven tens of thousands of times. Ultimately my abuser will need to walk through his own path to forgiving himself (and petitioning God to forgive him); whether or when he does this is none of my business and has no impact/effect on my own recovery and healing.

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  48. ishy wrote:

    we’ve even seen a few of the New Cals argue that everyone is really that depraved and can’t help themselves

    Total depravity – the “T” in the TULIP acronym for doctrines of grace – really means total inability to some of these folks. When you don’t teach/preach a message about being an overcomer, you can end up being overcome. And, of course, some of the hyper reformers put everything back on sovereign God – it was meant to be nonsense. It’s a strange belief in which they feel they have no choice in the matter, so they make bad choices.

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  49. @ Jim Cochrun:

    Jim,
    As a Christian and a pastor myself, I have a different take on the issue of forgiveness.

    Put simply: God is faithful to forgive those who genuinely seek His forgiveness.

    Unrepentant, hard-hearted sinners who fail to acknowledge any wrongdoing or make any attempt at restitution face voluntary eternal separation from Him and His grace.

    We are to follow His example of perfect righteousness.

    Don’t waste another minute trying to forgive this loser. Your time and talents are too valuable. He’s in God’s hands now, and “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” -Hebrews 10:31

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  50. ishy wrote:

    I can’t help but wonder if a lot of them don’t even care, because they see women and children as existing to serve them or because they see a charismatic pastor as able to benefit them financially.

    I think this is a powerful incentive to *not see* red flags certainly.

    I think total depravity is kind of a dodge. The deeper issue to me is as you said, they don’t see women and children as important and valuable in the same way they see men. They also don’t see them as *trustworthy* which may be an even deeper problem, and society wide not limited to the church (although comp nonsense makes it worse).

    Because the truth is, in the face of a woman ‘sinning’ against a man or church leadership or something, these places would not treat it ‘oh well, it’s just depravity’.

    But the idea of anyone just ‘accepting’ abuse is shocking to me too. I can’t fathom it.

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  51. Beth74 wrote:

    Unrepentant, hard-hearted sinners who fail to acknowledge any wrongdoing or make any attempt at restitution face voluntary eternal separation from Him and His grace.

    “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not so short that it cannot save, nor His ear so impaired that it cannot hear. But your wickedness has separated you from your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.” (Isaiah 59:1-2)

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  52. @ Jim Cochrun:

    Well and truly said. I really like “transferring the responsibility to the rightful shoulders…” Main reason I brought it up is for those (usually naive/uninformed enablers or guilty parties) who say or who imply sex abuse should remain an internal matter, or is best handled between Pastor & perp, then everyone forgive and move on. But this is not only demeaning & wrong for victims, it is also harmful to perps who may one day come to understand & repent of their grievous sin – and who need constant, lifelong monitoring & accountability. I do not think predators ever recover or ever can be trusted in this temporal world. Kinda like alcoholics who’ve been thru AA – they always refer to themselves as recovered alcoholics – recovered, yes, but alcoholics still.

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  53. Jim Cochrun wrote:

    Here’s the truth: I don’t own or have any influence/control over how he responds, reacts or rehabilitates. I can only exercise the power to stop ‘owning’ this abuse as my own, and transfer the responsibility to the rightful shoulders.

    And to do what you can to stop The D from abusing any others.

    My job is to forgive – and this is not a ‘one and done’ proposition: Jesus said each day to forgive 70×7 – Jesus spoke in parables, 70×7 is not an exact number (490). Release from unforgiveness doesn’t happen on #491.

    It does if you’re a bean counter looking for a loophole. (“..489… 490… 491! IT’S CLOBBERIN’ TIME!”)
    Something this blog has seen in corrupt ManaGAWD after corrupt ManaGAWD and their cheering sections.

    Also remember the quick-and-cheap coverup version of Forgiveness(TM) that’s been documented in so many of the corrupt churches who get on this blog. Corrupting not nly the word but the concept.

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  54. Max wrote:

    And, of course, some of the hyper reformers put everything back on sovereign God – it was meant to be nonsense. It’s a strange belief in which they feel they have no choice in the matter, so they make bad choices.

    Or since they have no choice in the matter, they are Predestined to DO WHAT I WANNA!

    That other Heavy-Predestination Theology — Islam — has had similar problems throughout its history.

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  55. SallyVee wrote:

    FYI – ‪Etowah County/Gadsden is also the home and stomping grounds of Judge Roy Moore & his horse.‬

    Fourth or Fifth Person of the Trinity among Alabama Christians in that election.

    I’m almost afraid to ask — where did his horse fit into all this?
    Like Caligula’s horse… or worse?

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  56. @ Gus:
    Yeah, that’s a pretty broad brush. Not jiving with you there.

    Many of us here have believed in and supported these people in ministry before we knew anything about the evil they’d done in secret. Would we all be complicit as well?

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  57. @ Beth74:

    I don’t think Gus was accusing anyone here, but rather, observing that this looks like the same old story of the “but-he’s-a-pillar-of-the-community” argument.

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  58. Jim Cochrun wrote:

    Thank you all for your support! To be clear, this has never been about money or revenge; this is about the completion of my own healing, transfer of shame and responsibility to the rightful owner (Smith), encouraging and empowering others who may have been abused, and highlighting for the church and parents to be more discerning and deliberate when vetting the people to whom we hand-off our kids for Sunday school/church camps.

    Wow, I honor your honesty and courage in speaking up. It’s hard enough for anyone to talk about/admit to being a victim, but I feel the culture of toxic masculinity (hope that isn’t too political) makes it so much more difficult for male victims.

    I love what you said about transferring the shame and responsibility to the perpetrator.

    What a depraved person – after all that, to sue you. Stay strong.

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  59. Max wrote:

    Total depravity – the “T” in the TULIP acronym for doctrines of grace – really means total inability to some of these folks.

    Max,

    That’s so true. Think about the Oxymoron of how they believe both in Total Depravity and Comp Theology.

    Step 1: First they say that women are more easily deceived and thus can’t be trusted to make the right decisions.

    Step 2: Then they say that according to Total Depravity they themselves are incapable of doing the right thing. That means they believe that even though they’re guaranteed to fail—somehow they’re supposed to be in charge of others. That doesn’t make any sense.

    Step 3: Then they stamp their foot and demand that God put them in charge of “leading” women even though their total depravity will lead them in the wrong direction!

    Maybe that’s why NOT ONE verse in the Bible tells women to be led by men. But there’s a whole lot of verses telling women (and men) to be led by the Holy Spirit.

    “Those who are led by God’s Spirit are God’s children. For the Spirit that God has given you does not make you slaves and cause you to be afraid; instead, the Spirit makes you God’s children..” Romans 8:14-15 (GNT)

    We can’t accept Total Depravity Theology because it’s a rebellion against God’s law of sowing and reaping.

    When will they understand that God gave us power not helplessness?

    “For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.” 2Timothy 1:7 (HSCB)

    Think about that for a moment. That means God actually gave women sound judgment too! We actually aren’t easily deceived. In fact the Bible keeps reminding us “be not deceived” so apparently we have the ability to resist deception even though people like John Piper and Wayne Grudem can’t understand that God actually gave women “sound judgment.”

    Maybe they should read the story of how one lady’s wisdom saved the entire city. “Then the woman in her wisdom went to all the people.” 2Samuel 22:20 (NKJV)

    There’s a reason that God emphasizes the wisdom of a woman twice in that passage.

    According to the literal Hebrew—Prov 14:1 says “The wisdom of a woman builds her house.”

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  60. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    I don’t think Gus was accusing anyone here, but rather, observing that this looks like the same old story of the “but-he’s-a-pillar-of-the-community” argument.

    I thought “But So Many Souls Were Saved” was the Christianese for “But He’s a Pillar of the Community”.

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  61. SallyVee wrote:

    Another Alabama “youth pastor” in the news today…
    Alabama evangelist and accused child sexual abuser Acton Bowen is “’a danger to every child in this community,” Etowah DA says
    http://www.al.com/news/anniston-gadsden/index.ssf/2018/04/acton_bowen_a_danger_to_every.html

    Here’s the headlines that came up in the sidebars on that site (AL.com):
    “Alabama Man raped, impregnated mentally-incapacitated sister”
    “Man charged with second-degree rape of 14-year-old girl”
    “Mobile police officer charged with child abuse”

    Among these headlines, Acton don’t sound that Ab-normal…
    Is this the image Alabama wants to present?
    The next Jeff Foxworthy monologue (“If your family tree does not fork…”) or Jerry Springer Show?

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  62. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    I don’t think Gus was accusing anyone here, but rather, observing that this looks like the same old story of the “but-he’s-a-pillar-of-the-community” argument.

    Thanks, Nick, for stating my point and intention so succinctly.

    While politicians will always be more than willing to accept the endorsement of anybody they think will influence other people to vote for them, and for obvious reasons can never vet all of their “endorsers”, this man has been very busy to use the meaningless* “thank you”-note from a politician to prop up his “pillar of the community” facade.
    ———-
    * meaningless, because the politician can never know enough about this person to decide whether they deserve a thank you note or not, or even go to jail or not.

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  63. Gus wrote:

    While politicians will always be more than willing to accept the endorsement of anybody they think will influence other people to vote for them, and for obvious reasons can never vet all of their “endorsers”, this man has been very busy to use the meaningless* “thank you”-note from a politician to prop up his “pillar of the community” facade.

    Similar to the in-trouble restaurateurs on Kitchen Nightmares who try to impress Gordon Effin Ramsey with glowing customer feedback cards — and are surprised when they get Gordoned.

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