Tates Creek Presbyterian Church Demonstrates How to Handle Accusations of Sexual Abuse. Yes, a Foot Fetish Can Be a Form of Sexual Abuse.

I continually ask myself if a decision I’m about to make falls short in the eyes of God or my family or my colleagues. It’s actually a pretty simple litmus test: am I doing the right thing or not? The answer is generally an easy one. Mike Gallagher

I’m sure that title caught your eye! TWW is delighted that we can present a church which appropriately handled a serious sex abuse situation.

What is the PCA?

Think of this denomination as conservative Presbyterianism. Here is a link to their denomination’s website. Many churches in the PCA have ties to The Gospel Coalition. Ligon Duncan was ordained by this group and he has been a staunch supporter of CJ Mahaney throughout the accusations of sex abuse cover up.

Thankfully, it appears that there are more sensible heads in this denomination as demonstrated by Tates Creek Presbyterian Church which is a member of the PCA.

Organized at a constitutional assembly in December 1973, this church was first known as the National Presbyterian Church but changed its name in 1974 to Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). It separated from the Presbyterian Church in the United States (Southern) in opposition to the long-developing theological liberalism which denied the deity of Jesus Christ and the inerrancy and authority of Scripture. Additionally, the PCA held to the traditional position on the role of women in church offices.

What is the background of the current situation?

WSAV in Savannah reports on the story which first became known in February, 2018. It appears that Brad Waller, the pastor of Grace Church of the Islands, admitted to having a sexual fetish involving the feet of men and boys. He has been rubbing feet in counseling sessions and meetings for years.

Brad Waller, then senior pastor of Grace Church of the Islands, admitted to abusing his authority with his apparent foot fetish.

…News 3 learned this all started back in February, when a former SCAD student who had moved out of the area, reached out to his former minister, Michael Gordon.

The man, who was once counseled by Waller at Independent Presbyterian Church, detailed his “uncomfortable” experience with Waller.

As Waller himself admitted later in his statement to the Presbytery, the larger church body of church elders and ministers, “I have been rubbing the feet of men and youth in my care.”

Even more surprising Waller said, “There was a sexual element to this, however, physically it never went past foot rubbing.”

Three other churches where Waller had served denied any knowledge of this issue until it was brought to their attention. These churches are:

  • Independent Presbyterian Church, Savannah
  • Twin Oaks Presbyterian Church, St. Louis,
  • Tate’s Creek Presbyterian Church, Lexington, KY

Apparently, at the urging of the pastor of Independent Presbyterian Church,(Kudos to Pastor Terry Johnson), Grace Church reported this to the police. The following statement from Grace Church was found at WSAV. I was unable to find this statement at the church website. I suggest that Grace Church follow the example of Tate’s Creek and place this in an easily accessed position on their website.

Statement from the Session at Grace Church of the Islands:

Grace Church of the Islands placed Brad Waller, then the church’s Senior Pastor, on leave when the governing Session learned of his inappropriate conduct. As Waller ultimately admitted, he abused his role as a Pastor, rubbing the feet of men and male youth in his care. The Session asked for Waller’s resignation. Waller is no longer the Pastor of Grace Church of the Islands, and he is no longer a minister in our denomination. Our congregation has been grieving. We have experienced shock, denial, pain, guilt and anger.

In Christian hope, our goal now is to heal our church. We want to better understand what happened, who was harmed, and how we can help.

Further statements to Lex18 News from an associate pastor at Grace Church sheds light on the extensive nature of Waller’s abuse.

Shortly thereafter, Waller’s own associate Grace Church of the Islands pastor Charlie Turner brought allegations against his superior.

Turner recounts multiple experiences wherein Waller would initiate what he called “couch time,” which involved Waller rubbing Turner’s feet as they talked.

“At first it was a little weird and awkward,” Turner told Hey Kentucky’s Chris Tomlin, “but he was a bit touchy-feely, so I put up with these things which bothered me because it was important for my wife, family and I to have a church where we could be comfortable.”

I particularly want to call attention to his statement that he only understands, in retrospect, how this abuse affected him. Sadly, it also involved his own son, a minor.

“Once I learned of the fetish it sent me back spinning into my past experiences,” said Turner. “It wasn’t him trying to serve me but him using me for his own purposes, which made me sick to my stomach. It took me a while for it to sink in; for me to think ‘this is not OK.’”

Turner also alleges the Waller had similarly inappropriate experiences with Turner’s own 12-year-old son during the child’s counseling sessions.

What is a paraphilia?

I would not be surprised if a few of you grinned when hearing that Waller was in trouble for *rubbing feet.*  Yet even Waller admitted that it was sexual in nature. Paraphilais can involve objects not normally associated with sex (like feet.) However, pedophilia, voyeurism, etc. also fit under this broad classification.

There is an excellent paper found at the NIH: Paraphilias: definition, diagnosis and treatment for those who want something in-depth. However, a short overview on paraphilia cane be found at Medicine Net.

The word paraphilia is derived from Greek; para means around or beside, and philia means love. Paraphilias are emotional disorders that are defined as sexually arousing fantasies, urges, or behaviors that are recurrent, intense, occur over a period of at least six months, and cause significant distress or interfere with the sufferer’s work, social function, or other important areas of functioning. This is as opposed to sexual variants, which are sexual behaviors that are not typical but are not a part of any illness.

The number of people who suffer from a paraphilia is thought to be difficult to gauge for a number of reasons. Many people with one of these disorders suffer in secret or silence out of shame, and some are engaging in sexual offending behaviors and so are invested in not reporting their paraphilia.

…Except for masochism, paraphilias are almost exclusively diagnosed in men.

Sadly, the prognosis for overcoming paraphilia is not great. According to Medicine Net

Paraphilias have been found to be quite chronic such that a minimum of two years of treatment is recommended for even the mildest paraphilia. While most people with a paraphilia do not sexually offend, and sexual offending is not considered a mental illness, people who commit sexual offenses sometimes also have a paraphilia.

For another example of a pastor and paraphilia, TWW wrote How Fellowship Memphis and Downtown Church Mishandled Rick Trotter’s Alleged Voyeurism In this situation, Rick Trotter hid cameras in the women’s restroom. His paraphilia involved urine.

Bottom line:

Waller’s obsession with the feet of men and boys was sexual in nature, coercive and abusive. The outcome of the police investigation will be of interest.

Tate’s Creek Presbyterian Church demonstrates how to respond in this situation.

Pastor Cunningham and the leaders leapt into action when they were informed of Waller’s behavior. They quickly understood the magnitude of the accusations. Instead of making jokes about a *foot fetish,* they realized that they were dealing with sexual abuse. Although Waller had left the church 12 years ago, they knew that there could be people in the church and the community that were abused by him and could be hurting.

Unfortunately, the lead pastor during Waller’s tenure had passed away so they couldn’t ask him if he had ever heard of any such reports. They asked their congregation if anyone present had been hurt by Waller. They also reached out to the community at large. Sadly, they discovered at least 10 people who had been Waller’s victims and have hinted that there could be more.

In order to be sure they were handling this properly, they decided to engage the independent services of Boz Tchividjian’s group GRACE.

We have enclosed the entire statement of the church below. We are often asked what the response of the church should be when it comes to abuse. This is now our go to example. This is one time that a standing ovation is deserved.


Addressing our Past

During the rise of the #MeToo movement, I publicly wrote the following:

“…I say let the stories come. Let them all come out. This wickedness so transcends our normal divides that the whataboutism game we play has become laughable. No matter your tribe, your tribe is guilty. So let every attempt to deflect or defend come to an end, and let us instead listen and learn from the courage of the abused. They are our prophets now, with voices that will no longer allow us to hide or ignore the epidemic. Indeed, the long overdue purge has begun, and may it not relent until every hidden darkness faces the light of justice.”

I still believe that. Let it all come out. Let the purge continue undaunted. Even when it is my own church’s past that needs purging.*Divider Red.png

Brad Waller was a minister at Tates Creek Presbyterian Church (TCPC) from 1995 to 2006, where his primary responsibilities included directing the youth and college ministries. Since his departure, TCPC has grown and changed in many ways, and the vast majority of our congregation has never known or heard of Brad. But there are still some in our congregation, along with others in the Lexington community and beyond, who knew him as a beloved pastor and mentor.

After leaving TCPC 12 years ago, he served for a very brief time at Twin Oaks Presbyterian in St. Louis, and then moved to Savannah, GA, where he was an Assistant Pastor at Independent Presbyterian Church and then Senior Pastor at Grace Church of the Islands.

Earlier this year, a student at Savannah College of Arts and Design (SCAD) informed his campus minister of an experience he’d had with Brad that left him feeling very uncomfortable. This campus minister followed up with other SCAD students and discovered that they too had similar experiences. It was reported to the Savannah River Presbytery (in the Presbyterian Church, a “presbytery” is the governing body over local churches), and this began a process of investigation and discipline that culminated in a meeting of the Presbytery on April 17.

At the presbytery meeting, Brad made the following confession that has since been made public record: “I, Brad Waller, confess to the sin of abuse of authority in my role as a pastor. I have been rubbing the feet of men and youth in my care. There was a sexual element to this, however, physically it never went past foot-rubbing.”

The Presbytery voted at the same meeting to immediately depose him from his office (remove his ordination) as a minister. The Presbytery’s statement reads:

“At the April Stated Meeting of Presbytery at Westminster Presbyterian Church, Martinez, on Tuesday April 17, the Savannah River Presbytery voted to depose Brad Waller from Gospel ministry, for the abuse of power against minors and young men under his care, for the purpose of auto-erotic stimulation derived from foot rubbing, to which he confessed before the court [presbytery].”

Upon receiving this news from Savannah, we obviously became very concerned over the possibility that similar abuse took place while Brad was on staff at TCPC. We wrote an email to our congregation informing them of the situation and inviting them to an information meeting. After sending this email, we began receiving phone calls, emails, and social media messages from people sharing stories of abuse that took place while Brad was a pastor at TCPC. We also received several names of people to reach out to because abuse was suspected. We followed up with every name given to us, and through that process other acts of abuse were uncovered as well. There have been multiple unconfirmed stories and allegations that have come to us secondhand, as well as stories from victims that we have not been granted permission to share; that being said, if we only count the number of confirmed stories at this point that have come directly from a victim and that we’ve been given permission to share, that count is now at 10.

The most consistent and common stories were of Brad rubbing the feet of high school and college students (all male) during private counseling and mentoring sessions. This happened too frequently to count, with one victim telling us he can’t remember meeting with him without Brad rubbing his feet. However, evidence is also beginning to emerge that conflicts with Brad’s statement that “it never went past foot rubbing.”

Therefore, to summarize as clearly as possible: it has come to our attention that Brad Waller sexually abused boys and men under his care as a pastor of TCPC. While all of this misconduct took place over a decade ago, our church leadership is nevertheless committed to handling this horrific news with utmost sincerity, urgency, and transparency, which is why we have chosen to release this forthright statement.

Toward that end, allow us to answer some common questions that have come our way:


IS THIS REALLY SEXUAL ABUSE?

Yes. That is the short, simple, and sufficient answer that the victims deserve. No matter the nature of the abuse, they need to hear us say unequivocally that it is abuse.

That said, we also understand that this particular form of misbehavior is both unconventional and bizarre, leaving many people (particularly those who knew and loved Brad) wondering how to process it. Does rubbing feet, instead of the more private parts of the body, really constitute sexual abuse? What if the victims didn’t know or feel that there was anything sexual taking place while it was happening? Are we overacting in this heightened #MeToo abuse culture and making a bigger deal of this than it deserves? Simply put, nobody is denying that this is inappropriate, but is this “really” sexual abuse?

These are questions we have heard from others and processed ourselves, so let us offer a thorough reasoning of why this is sexual abuse and why we are taking it as seriously as any other form of abuse.

First and foremost, Brad’s own confession says as much: “I have been rubbing the feet of men and youth in my care. There was a sexual element to this…” This should be the end of the discussion. Pastors abusing their power to touch any part of the body of those under their care for any type of sexual purpose is both abusive and evil, and we refuse to entertain any argument to the contrary.

The Centers Against Sexual Assault (CASA) intentionally defines sexual assault with an extensively broad definition, because it can come in so many forms. Included in their definition is “Unwanted touching e.g. pinching, patting, embracing, rubbing, groping, flicking, kissing, fondling…”, and certainly Brad’s misbehavior falls into this category.

Another crucial factor is the issue of consent. Obviously, age is the first consideration, and tragically we have been told by some victims that Brad did this to them while they were minors. But even beyond the age of consent, CASA includes “unable to understand the sexual nature of the act” as a factor in consent. In other words, if someone is being touched, but they do not recognize the sexual nature of the act, then they cannot and are not giving consent. Some victims felt uncomfortable and exploited by Brad’s behavior in the moment, and some didn’t feel anything about it until after they read Brad’s confession stating that there was a sexual element to it, but in both cases it was abuse. A simple litmus test would be to ask them, “If you had known that there was a sexual element to Brad touching your feet, would you ever have consented?” Their answer, in every case, was firmly “no.”

Finally, we must consider Brad’s position of authority. He was deposed of his office on account of “abuse of power” because it was his position of spiritual authority that allowed him to abuse victims. In listening to the stories of the victims, a common theme was a love, respect, and trust in Brad as their pastor and mentor. In some cases, they remember being very uncomfortable with his actions, but didn’t want to disappoint him because he was a father figure to them. One person wanted to tell somebody, but loved Brad so much and was worried about ruining his reputation. These are textbook thoughts of victims abused by a person in authority over them.

So yes, this is sexual abuse by every standard, and therefore we are treating it as such.


WAS ANYONE IN LEADERSHIP AWARE THIS WAS TAKING PLACE?

We currently have no knowledge that any staff members or church officers of our congregation knew of Brad’s abuse. The Senior Pastor of TCPC at the time is now deceased, but we have no reason to believe he was aware. However, if it is discovered that leadership was aware and did not act, we are committed to confess and repent publicly.


WHAT STEPS ARE WE TAKING IN RESPONSE?

I became aware of the situation on April 22. Within 10 days, I had informed all our pastors and elders, we held a meeting of our session (board of elders), hired an attorney to walk us through the process, and hosted a congregational meeting to inform our people of the news and answer questions they may have had.

We reported to and met with the police, and based on the latest information, they are currently not choosing to investigate. If more information surfaces, and the police choose to re-open the investigation, we will fully cooperate.

In addition, our session has made a very significant institutional decision that we need to make you aware of: we unanimously voted to seek a third-party independent investigation.

It is important for everyone to understand the difference between an internal and an independent investigation. An internal investigation is when we (or our attorney) investigate ourselves. In this scenario, we maintain control over the investigation. An independent investigation, however, is inviting a third party to investigate us. In this scenario, we are relinquishing control over the investigation and inviting any and all findings and corrections. It was important to us that we choose the latter.

We have contracted with GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment) to perform an investigation of our church. The investigation will be led by Boz Tchividjian, who has emerged as a leader in a long overdue clean-up of the sexual abuse crises in the Church (the work of Boz and GRACE were recently featured in a Washington Post article that is an important read for all Evangelical Christians).

The scope of GRACE’s work with TCPC will be threefold:

  1. GRACE shall investigate allegations of misconduct by former youth minister, Brad Waller, including but not limited to, how TCPC responded to such allegations.
  2. GRACE shall provide the parties [TCPC leadership and the victims] an Executive Summary that outlines the investigative findings. GRACE shall also propose recommendations with regard to how TCPC can demonstrate repentance to anyone negatively affected as a result of the alleged misconduct and how such was handled by the church. GRACE shall also propose recommendations as to how similar types of situations can be better addressed in the future.
  3. GRACE shall meet with the TCPC leadership to more fully review the investigative findings (as outlined in the Executive Summary) and proposed Recommendations.

As you can tell, this will be an institutionally vulnerable process. Essentially, we are inviting an independent sexual abuse audit of our church, but we want everyone to know that TCPC wants to hide nothing. That is not to say that mistakes were not made, only that if they were made, we don’t want to hide them. Instead, we want the opportunity to apologize and repent in any way we need to. Also, we want to be better equipped—both in policies and training—to make every effort to prevent this from happening again at TCPC. Therefore, we welcome this investigation, along with its findings and applications.


Finally, I would like to offer a closing word to four groups of people:

TO THE VICTIMS:

My deepest apology is reserved for you. I have literally wept on multiple occasions at the thought of high school and college students being abused at the church I love and pastor. I am so sorry. I want you to know that all of this transparency, urgency, and energy is for you. Perhaps this news has reopened old wounds, or even opened wounds you didn’t know were there. For example, one victim told me that he never thought anything of it, but now that he knows there was a sexual element to it, he feels so violated. We also understand that this process might be painful for victims of sexual abuse unrelated to Brad. So I want to say, to any and all victims of any and all sexual abuse, we grieve with you and this investigation is for you. GRACE will be setting up a survey for you to share your story, and we want to encourage you to participate. Be assured, it is a safe and confidential place for you to share, and your response will only go to them, not us. If you know of anyone who was potentially impacted by Brad’s abuse, please point them to the survey when it is made available to the public. Again, we are so sorry.

TO THE OUTSIDE COMMUNITY:

To our city, I’m sorry this happened at our church. While this took place over a decade ago, this is still our past and our institutional sin to own. And so we own it. Our vision statement is “We exist for the glory of Christ and the good of the Bluegrass,” and sexual abuse is the very antitheses of that vision. It dishonors Christ and is horrible for the Bluegrass, and so we ask your forgiveness. We also pledge to make every effort to prevent this from happening again at TCPC.

TO THE TCPC COMMUNITY:

Perhaps you are concerned about what this may mean for the reputation of our church. Our church is healthy, growing, and accomplishing so many wonderful things, and you may be worried about what this means for us. I want to ask you to resist that temptation. I am as excited as ever for the future of TCPC, and we are not going to allow this to derail the forward-thinking vision of our church, but right now, we need to pause and take this seriously. I am determined that we prioritize righteousness over reputation, and I’m asking you to do the same. Emotions of embarrassment and shame are only natural, but be encouraged as well that your church is fighting for justice and healing. Pray for the victims and for the investigation, and be patient with us as we spend some time prioritizing both. And above all, remember that our God is faithful to bring beauty from ashes, redeeming what sin has laid waste.

TO THE MEDIA:

Some have already reached out, and we understand that there will probably be more now that our story is open to the public. Our leadership has decided to name me as the exclusive point person for all things media, so I am the only one free to comment. That being said, I want you to know that we are trying to be as honest and forthright as possible from the beginning, and I can’t think of anything more that I’m free to talk about than what is already in this statement. One thing I can say for certain is that I will absolutely not be sharing the names of any victims. It is also my intention to back away from public comments until after the investigation is complete, at which point we promise to be as forthright as we are being here at the beginning of this process. Having said all that, we are indeed committed to public transparency so feel free to reach out, and I’ll do my best to accommodate. You can do so by sending an email to pastor@tcpca.org.

That is all we know to share at this time. Once the investigation is complete, we will follow up with further public communications.

Once again, I am very sorry. This is but another reminder that no church can commend its own faithfulness, but only the faithfulness of our Savior. He alone is our boast. He alone is our hope.

Sincerely,

Robert H. Cunningham
Senior Pastor, TCPC


Comments

Tates Creek Presbyterian Church Demonstrates How to Handle Accusations of Sexual Abuse. Yes, a Foot Fetish Can Be a Form of Sexual Abuse. — 84 Comments

  1. I agree that it’s abuse. I also think, from direct past experience, that people who do things like this can escalate into more threatening situations, especially, I think, if others in their life protect them even if they know about it. And I think there are a lot more people in the lives of sexual abusers who do know about it and do let them get away with it than often gets admitted in these situations. I’ve seen them turn away while the abuser acts and heard their denials myself.

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  2. And I just want to say how glad I am this church handled this the way they did. I heard about it earlier and it sounded like they are doing everything they can to truly deal with the situation.

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  3. Just three days ago I was wondering if there was ANYTHING positive out there that could be shared on TWW to encourage us in the sinful world of Christian leaders hiding one another’s sins. This news gives more hope than I have had in a long time.

    Prediction: Tates Creek Presbyterian is about to experience the glory of God beyond it’s wildest imagination. They will become a magnet for the hurting, abused and downtrodden because they have chosen to take a stand for right-ness rather than reputation. Robert Cunningham and elders on the session of TCPC – you have made my day!

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  4. Thank you, TWW, Deb & Dee & GBTC, for this extensive post. I’ll read again, however, right from the get-go, Glory to God, appreciation to you all, and God bless.

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  5. From their statement: “Yes. That is the short, simple, and sufficient answer that the victims deserve. No matter the nature of the abuse, they need to hear us say unequivocally that it is abuse.”

    Glad these people get it and are communicating it so clearly.

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  6. I thought I heard it all until now.
    I guess not.
    The alternate universes in the many different variants of the Christian religion are even more bizarrely skewed than I previously thought.

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  7. ___

    The Bottom Line: “The Social Media Axe Is At The Foot Of The 501c3 Church, Perhaps?”

    hmmm…

    Calvinesta pastor playin’ footzies with da church boyz potentially affecting the 501c3 church’s bottom line?

    huh?

    The #MeToo; #ChurchToo, movements have effected 501c3 brands sending ripples in the bottom line. Churches are catching on quick. Just think…C.J. Mahaney might soon be considered dead wood, and be out of a job as well. One can only hope for continued victim justice.

    ;~)

    – –

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  8. I spotted this story and almost mailed it to TWW! I agree that the church’s response is perfect.

    This line is particularly interesting: However, evidence is also beginning to emerge that conflicts with Brad’s statement that “it never went past foot rubbing.” I wonder what the investigation will find.

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  9. Glad to hear of a PCA church getting this right. It sounds to me like Mr. Waller was a closeted SSA guy who for whatever reason, developed a foot fetish. I’ll have to read up at that link near the top.

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  10. “Three other churches where Waller had served denied any knowledge of this issue until it was brought to their attention. These churches are:

    Independent Presbyterian Church, Savannah
    Twin Oaks Presbyterian Church, St. Louis,
    Tate’s Creek Presbyterian Church, Lexington, KY”

    TWW FLASHBACK – The current pastor of Twin Oaks Presbyterian, moonlighting as a World Magazine ‘journalist’, wrote an ill-conceived article that was discussed here in January:

    http://thewartburgwatch.com/2018/01/29/an-update-on-anne-campbell-and-world-magazine-tells-us-we-are-all-abusers-just-like-andy-savage/

    “‘Once We’ve Confessed: How Should Churches Handle Sexual Sins from 20 Years Ago?’ by Russell St. John caused a firestorm on Twitter…Here are some particularly vacuous comments. It is evident that the author does not understand the long. term, devastating effects of sex abuse…”

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  11. That’s very encouraging, particularly in their recognition that even if it wasn’t the ‘average’ sexual touching, because this had a sexual component for him, then it constituted sexual abuse.
    I also LOVE the fact that there is no mention of this abuser being paraded around to ‘glorify’ Christ. Excellent.

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  12. It continues to amaze me ‘why’ some men go into the ministry. Enduring years of seminary training, Greek & Hebrew studies, sermon preparations, etc. … all the time, with somebody’s feet on their mind! Yep, the level and nature of perversion in church leadership is truly amazing.

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  13. I think the headline of the blog post is inaccurate in saying “a foot fetish is a form of sexual abuse”. I don’t think there’s anything abusive with having a foot fetish or even indulging the foot fetish by rubbing feet – as long as the person is rubbing the feet of someone who gives consent, knowing specifically what’s going on (i.e. a sexual partner who knows that they get off on rubbing feet).

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  14. Side note on the foot fetish: Feet are a definite fetish for some people, so much that sone may act out on strangers. A local news story from several decades ago concerned a man approaching random women in an area park and trying to touch their feet. Never apprehended, as far as I know. Plenty of jokes about the unknown man, though, and amusing nicknames. Just a few years back, another man in the area approached women around town, trying to rub their feet and suck on their toes, even offering them cash in exchange. Thanks to the ready availability of cell phones, he was eventually taken into custody. I suppose a fetish might be fine, as long as consent is freely given between peers. Your pastor is not your peer.

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  15. drstevej:
    He was just explaining the five points of Calvinism using toes.

    Just finishing my coffee. Choked when I read it. I was waiting for the humor! You do know that I love rescue pug dogs and name them after flowers. One of my pugs has an unusual personality for a pug. She is not the huge, slurpy type. She hates to be held. I named her Tulip-on purpose.

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  16. Tree: I suppose a fetish might be fine, as long as consent is freely given between peers. Your pastor is not your peer.

    Your stories made me smile. According the an article in Psychology Today, you are correct. It is not a problem between consenting adults. I think that Waller may be in trouble because he did this with minors. he also admitted to it being a sexual thing. I will be curious to see what the charges are.

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  17. drstevej: He was just explaining the five points of Calvinism using toes.

    Occasionally, I suppose he would run across 4-Pointers and on rare occasions 6-Pointers.

    (As a sidebar: John Piper is a 7-Point Calvinist)

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  18. Jerome,

    The Deebs were discussing you yesterday. You are so on top of things and come up with excellent links to relevant stories. We wish we could hire you!! Thank you for all of your observations.

    Once again, you score. I totally forgot about this guy when I was writing this. I did look at the websites of these churches and kept thinking there was something I was forgetting. Thank you.

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  19. Max:
    It all starts with “This Little Piggy Went To Market” and then becomes a sickness.

    I laughed! I knew that some of the wags out there would have fun with this one. If you had told me 9 years ago that I would be discussing foot rubbing and paraphilias, I would have thought you were crazy and a bit weird. Now, here I stand!!!

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  20. Muff Potter: I thought I heard it all until now.

    Do you know that I say this to Deb about once a week? The one thing that is good about this blog for me, personally, is that it keeps my mind active-learning about things I might never have encountered.

    When it is my time to go home, I will be able to say “This has been quite a ride.” I have a Motto that I keep in my kitchen that makes me smile each day.

    “Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, latte in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and screaming “WHOO HOO, what a ride.”

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  21. The homosexual orientation is being overlooked here.

    Yes, paraphilla is mentioned throughout the discussion, and this is sexual in nature. But, not the homo-erotic element.

    I think this may be an Apples to Oranges equivalency when compared to more common church sex scandles.

    If the story involved rubbing or touching of women’s feet, would the response have been the same? We would have no way of knowing, but the motivation to act, feels as though it equally important to an act itself.

    All the same, it’s one for the win collumn. Well done to those leaders responsible.

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  22. dee: If you had told me 9 years ago that I would be discussing foot rubbing and paraphilias, I would have thought you were crazy and a bit weird. Now, here I stand!!!

    Reminds me of Ezekiel 8:6: “He said to me, “Son of man, do you see what they are doing, the great repulsive acts which the house of Israel is committing here, to drive Me far away from My sanctuary? But you will again see greater repulsive acts.”

    I have a feeling we ain’t seen nothin’ yet!

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  23. This church seems to get it right dealing with this situation. I’m glad they recognize the power differential.

    I’m wondering if they would have the same response if the victims had been female instead of male. I hope so.

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  24. Bridget: the power differential

    Yes, many red flags:
    – power differential of the pastor with minors and church members
    – homo-erotic though the pastor presents himself professionally as married to a woman with a son and two daughters (will this go on his resume?)
    – introduction of this behavior into his professional/work environment, sexual harassment at work
    – introduction of this behavior during prayer, spiritual abuse
    – introduction of this behavior during counseling, counseling abuse
    – the outward Christian family, married with children, while covertly seeking men: abuse of his family and marriage, as they now have to deal with he is not who he says he is

    The fact that one of his past churches definitively dealt with this past behavior in its community will signal to others that covert abuse is not welcome and will not be tolerated. The same with the larger denomination that rescinded his credentials.

    Note: the Billy Graham Rule would be of no use here. Women were not the problem. Moreover it’s doubtful the men/boys the pastor maltreated in his homo-erotic fantasy would say that they were the “turn-on” or they asked for it, or it was the way they were dressed, etc.

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  25. This is very interesting. Back when Recovering Grace website began I read every story posted. There was a recurring theme in the young women’s reports of Bill Gothard rubbing his feet on their feet or legs.

    It is very heartening to hear a church handle abuse well. Thanks for sharing this with us Dee.

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  26. Fisher:
    Just three days ago I was wondering if there was ANYTHING positive out there that could be shared on TWW to encourage us in the sinful world of Christian leaders hiding one another’s sins. This news gives more hope than I have had in a long time.

    Prediction:Tates Creek Presbyterian is about to experience the glory of God beyond it’s wildest imagination. They will become a magnet for the hurting, abused and downtrodden because they have chosen to take a stand for right-ness rather than reputation. Robert Cunningham and elders on the session of TCPC – you have made my day!

    Amen! 🙂

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  27. Max:
    It all starts with “This Little Piggy Went To Market” and then becomes a sickness.

    I was thinking something similar …….
    PCA is Calvinist ……… 5 toes, 5 letters in TULIP.

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  28. Thirty years ago when I worked at the law school library, we had a guy who came in and stole shoes from women who came in to study at our study carrels and would slip off their shoes and get comfortable. I remember the first time it happened, I was on duty late one Sunday evening and a woman tried to explain to me in broken English that her shoes had been taken, but I didn’t get it because I was clueless. Who would steal shoes? Not long later, there was another incident at the downtown campus library and it was in the newspaper. The guy ultimately got caught (not in our library) but yeah, it was explained as a bizarre fetish after the guy got caught.

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  29. This post is …… weird. I had to stop and think for a while. I wondered: Does this really rise to the level of sexual misconduct?
    Final answer: Yes, it most certainly does!

    For a person with a psychological problem like Waller, what he did is equivalent to a man touching/rubbing parts of a woman’s body, without her permission, that make the woman uncomfortable, at the very least.
    I don’t know how off-kilter Waller is …… it could be even worse.

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  30. Hello from Austria!

    Arrived in Mayrhofen this evening, after rather a long day’s travelling. Apparently Deutsche Bahn can run late rather like Scotrail – didn’t see that one coming! Alles gut nonetheless.

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  31. First post

    I have no idea where to start but with thanks to Dee for calling me back this morning, God Bless you

    I am 56 yr old survivor of a rape by a priest in 68 that the police, the cc and my parents all buried in my soul to fester and torment me for the last 50 years

    When I finally broke completely and asked my mother how they could all put it on me to deal with alone she said “that’s how things were done back then”.

    She then hung up on me. That was about five years ago now

    The system aided and abetted the escape of the priest to go on to rape again many more times
    The police aided and abetted
    My own parents sacrificed me to Moloch

    It destroyed my love. Made love obsolete and far far away never to be.
    I have never loved or been loved

    Until God himself stepped in and took away the physical burden

    I still hurt within and always will but at least now I have someone that loves me
    gal 2:20

    Ken

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  32. Ken,

    God bless you, Ken, and thanks for sharing. Very courageous. Yes, God loves us. So do God’s Real People in our lives, when we can connect. Loving and praying for you via technology. Again, appreciate your opening up. Painful, and I pray you find God’s peace that passes all understanding even as you are forthright. God doesn’t hide from the truth. Neither do God’s people when they walk by God’s Spirit.

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  33. Ken,

    I am just sick at heart for what happened to you as a child. Sadly it was ‘just how things were done back then’ & many children were left carrying an intolerable burden. I am so glad yours has been lifted a bit.

    On the day of judgement things will not go well for paedophile priests & their enablers.

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  34. In one of the books about China that I read, and I think this was fiction written by an American of recent Chinese ancestry the story included an older woman explaining to a young girl why she had to submit to foot binding. The explanation given was sexual, not just to show wealth or status. It was difficult to read.
    But in its sexual craziness it made a sort of crazy sense as to why somebody would co-operate with something like that. Arrrgh.

    There are so many paraphilias, though. I probably don’t want to know the reasons or the sexual malfunctions associated with them.

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  35. Ken: When I finally broke completely and asked my mother how they could all put it on me to deal with alone she said “that’s how things were done back then”.

    Church has been and still is an important aspect of a person’s social network.

    In both Ken’s story and the post above we see the abuser use this. The priest and pastor holds the key to the gate. People will play along. A mom will sacrifice a child, a man will humiliate himself so his wife will be able to be part of the church.

    These power games also feed the abusers sick thrill because the kick is as much about power as it is about sex.

    This is evil. Long may they rot.

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  36. Ken,

    Hello, Ken. Thank you for sharing. What a difficult road you’ve traveled. i hope for peace, as the sunrise grows in warmth and light each morning.

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  37. ___

    Bottom line: “Finally Holding 501c3 Pastoral Miscreant Proverbial Pulpit Pounders Accountable For Inappropriate Conduct, Perhaps?”

    hmmm…

    What a refreshing & novel idea!

    KRunch!

    Them pastoral folks at ‘Tates Creek Presbyterian Church’(tm) , and ‘Grace Church of the Islands’ ™, sure have demonstrated how NOT to loose reputation, tithes, donations, offerings, and most importantly filled parking spaces.

    Whew! (they must be learning that 501c3 pastoral crime doesn’t pay as well as it use to…)

    Facing the Music?
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=-umqM9R8cnI

    This form of pastoral accountability is the godly rainbow we’ve been waitin’ 4 ?

    Wonders never cease, huh?

    ATB

    Sòpy

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=KSuB4t3q_dA

    ;~)

    – –

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  38. Nancy2(aka Kevlar):
    This post is ……weird. I had to stop and think for a while.I wondered:Does this really rise to the level of sexual misconduct?
    Final answer:Yes, it most certainly does!

    For a person with a psychological problem like Waller, what he did is equivalent to a man touching/rubbing parts of a woman’s body, without her permission, that make the woman uncomfortable, at the very least.
    I don’t know how off-kilter Waller is ……it could be even worse.

    Yes. Consider Gothard, who was reported to have played footsie on a regular basis with teen girls under his “authority”. It has been a while since I read the accounts on the Recovering Grace website, but I remember more than one account mentioning this.

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  39. jyjames,

    Your comment about the Billy Graham rule was eye-opening. And yes! It had nothing to do with the way the young men dressed or comported themselves. Kind of shines a new light on purity teachings that women are responsible for men’s thoughts…

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  40. Max: I’m beginning to think we are all totally depraved at this point!

    True. We are all totally depraved, however, do we feed our depraved self or surrender it on the cross: two choices that produce two opposing lifestyles:

    Choice One: Preoccupation with Depraved Self

    “There are six things which the Lord hates, yes, seven which are an atrocity to Him:
    Haughty eyes [pride or preoccupation with self], a lying tongue [deceitful about what they do], hands that shed innocent blood [prey on the innocent], a heart that devises wicked plans [evil sexual fantasies], feet that run rapidly to evil [entrapping their victims as sexual objects], a false witness who utters lies [gaslighting witnesses], and one who spreads strife among brothers [tearing up the church – look at Willow Creek].” Proverbs 6:16-19.

    Choice Two: Deny Depraved Self and Follow Jesus – impossible to honor both self and Jesus:

    “And Jesus was saying to them all, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.'” Luke 9:23 – which produces a character and lifestyle like Jesus.

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  41. Jack: The priest and pastor holds the key to the gate.

    Power, access, supply (of victims, enablers, alibis, recoveries, reinventions – endless supply and cycle/recycle).

    Initiatives like TWW put a glitch in that cycle, fortunately, with postings that pose the question, “Say, what?”

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  42. refugee: And yes! It had nothing to do with the way the young men dressed or comported themselves.

    Men KNOW that this pastor’s prey had NOTHING to do with the predator and his fantasies. Now, men need to apply that “knowledge” to women. Women prey also have NOTHING to do with a predator and his fantasies.

    “I ask no favor for my sex; all I ask of our brethren is that they take their feet off our necks.” – RBG

    All women ask men to do is to keep them out of their sexual fantasies, which, by the way, have nothing to do with the women they happen to interact with on a daily basis.

    The Brazilian women reporters who are being assaulted during the World Cup in Russia have put out a video with this message: “Let her work.”

    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-43548194

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  43. jyjames: True. We are all totally depraved, however, do we feed our depraved self or surrender it on the cross: two choices that produce two opposing lifestyles:

    Choice One: Preoccupation with Depraved Self
    Choice Two: Deny Depraved Self and Follow Jesus – impossible to honor both self and Jesus:

    Totally Depravity to a New Calvinist really means Total Inability when it comes to salvation … total inability to choose, no free will in the matter. Which, of course, is error.

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  44. Max: Which, of course, is error.

    In any case, flies in the face of what Jesus said:

    “And Jesus was saying to them all, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.’” Luke 9:23 – which produces a character and lifestyle like Jesus.

    Choose your path, Jesus said.

    Apparently, some project one path (service) but are really on a different path altogether (self promotion and preoccupation with self).

    “… elegant, outsized personalities, artists of persuasion and exploiters of trust. How do they do it? Why are they successful?”

    https://www.amazon.com/Confidence-Game-Fall-Every-Time/dp/0143109871/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1530479099&sr=8-1&keywords=the+confidence+game

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  45. Estelle: Hey, are you there to Climb Every Mountain?

    May not climb every mountain (possibly looking at the Olperer via the Riepengrat), but I do want to do every Klettersteig.

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  46. jyjames:he is still promoted at Ligonier:

    https://www.ligonier.org/learn/teachers/brad-waller/

    Apparently Waller is featured in Ligonier’s June 2018 Tabletalk magazine?

    https://www.ligonier.org/store/2018-june-tabletalk-magazine/

    The June 2018 issue of Tabletalk will explore the biblical teaching on discipleship…This issue will look at what discipleship entails and at the behavior of Christian disciples…Contributors include Grant R. Castleberry, Anthony J. Carter, Mantle A. Nance, Greg D. Gilbert,…and Brad Waller.”

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  47. Thanks for the prayers

    As everyday is new challenge I am constantly evaluating the systems that support the evil that I and millions of kids have suffered, many more kids have not endured as I have.
    Yet enduring by itself is no accomplishment of my own doing and that is something I find amazing to be able to admit, pride in my survival goes to the one that had his hands lifting me out of the pit.
    My own suffering means nothing if the “anointed” blind continue to lead the blind into that pit.
    There will be no justice on earth for the abused to witness, certainly my abusers have lived and loved and prospered .
    My own tears have no compensation nor do I ever expect such, my lot is with the poor and the suffering of which there will never be a shortage.
    This thread about a church doing the “right thing” is quite premature imho. It is yet to be settled whether justice will be just a flash of silver or isolation for the people that have yet to process what has happened yet they are lucky beyond belief they were not violated as I was with the blessing of the church, justice and my own parents.

    Those wolves in the churches are not just past and present but future and it’s not just kids as evident in the above church,adults are also being abused as I write this and as Jesus wept while looking over the wretchness in his time I weep also.
    I pray there in genuine attention for the victims of the situation above and not just hollow spewing from the lawyers involved.

    Dee has my phone number if anyone wants to contact me about suffering, perseverance and unlikely redemption by the God that saw me “story” in depth.

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  48. Jerome: The June 2018 issue of Tabletalk will explore the biblical teaching on discipleship…This issue will look at what discipleship entails and at the behavior of Christian disciples…Contributors include … Brad Waller.”

    … at which point the discipleship pastor sexually exploits men and boys (who have been captivated by the dear pastor’s Tabletalk teaching) in his office for his paraphilia* fantasy. Yuck. Sick.

    *had to look up the word. Very odd and esoteric. This is not run-of-the-mill. Or, is it?

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  49. Max: Occasionally, I suppose he would run across 4-Pointers and on rare occasions 6-Pointers.

    (As a sidebar: John Piper is a 7-Point Calvinist)

    Wait until the first 8-point Calvinist comes along.
    “Can You Top This?”

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  50. refugee: Yes. Consider Gothard, who was reported to have played footsie on a regular basis with teen girls under his “authority”.

    Don’t forget Got Hard’s OTHER paraphiliae.
    Young… UNSPOILED… VIRGINSSSS… With LOONG… WAAAVY… HAAAAIR…

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  51. This pastor sure had a unique fetish in that it was a man attracted to other men’s feet.

    As others have said I am sure this pastor could have found a “partner” to do this fetish with. My guess is that having a regular partner wouldn’t have been good enough for this pastor. Part of this fetish included getting or forcing this on unwilling, unsuspecting or regular men perhaps as part of his use of power. I sure a significant part of sexual harassment is the power and control portion.

    Just my thoughts on this.

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  52. jyjames: … at which point the discipleship pastor sexually exploits men and boys (who have been captivated by the dear pastor’s Tabletalk teaching) in his office for his paraphilia* fantasy.

    It’s called GROOMING.

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  53. These days I wonder if growing up in such an erotically-saturated society, whether it’s even possible any more to reach adulthood without acquiring some form of paraphilia. Like the best you can hope for is that your paraphiliae are only embarrassing and not actually destructive.

    And a lot of the Christianese reaction to the surrounding erotic saturation makes the matter worse. i.e. Christianese Courtship, with all other contact strictly forbidden. Including bribing boys to Save Themselves for Marriage with promises of barn-burning swinging from chandeliers dynamite S*E*X starting immediately on the wedding night. I figure a LOT of Christianese sexual culture encourages the development of paraphiliae.

    Even Christianese kids get input from outside the bubble. “Don’t Think About The Forbidden Fruit” just guarantees they WILL think about it, especially when they hit puberty and Captain Bonerhelmet starts giving orders. Yet they are Forbidden on pain of being a Defrauder to actually get to know or even hang around the Forbidden Fruit. (Even saying “Hi!” is considered Commitment to Marry.)

    All that emotional craziness built up and nothing to channel it except Thou Shalt Nots and total separation… The pressure’s going to vent SOMEWHERE, whether it’s Tates Creek/ATI footsie or Josh Duggar’s courtship handholding or “Christian Domestic Discipline(TM)” or Left Behind’s synchronized cookie snarfing.

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  54. Steve240: My guess is that having a regular partner wouldn’t have been good enough for this pastor. Part of this fetish included getting or forcing this on unwilling, unsuspecting or regular men perhaps as part of his use of power.

    Isn’t that a RAPIST’s mentality?

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  55. Ken,

    It hurts my heart to know the destruction that so-called Christians have rent in your life.
    Let’s hope and pray that people like you continue to have the courage to speak truth, and that things are changing.
    You (not a generic you, but you, Ken) are one of those who holds some of the power to curtail abuse in our religious systems.
    Bless you for having the courage and strength to come forward.

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  56. Headless Unicorn Guy:
    These days I wonder if growing up in such an erotically-saturated society, whether it’s even possible any more to reach adulthood without acquiring some form of paraphilia. Like the best you can hope for is that your paraphiliae are only embarrassing and not actually destructive.

    And a lot of the Christianese reaction to the surrounding erotic saturation makes the matter worse. i.e. Christianese Courtship, with all other contact strictly forbidden. Including bribing boys to Save Themselves for Marriage with promises of barn-burning swinging from chandeliers dynamite S*E*X starting immediately on the wedding night. I figure a LOT of Christianese sexual culture encourages the development of paraphiliae.

    Even Christianese kids get input from outside the bubble. “Don’t Think About The Forbidden Fruit” just guarantees they WILL think about it, especially when they hit puberty and Captain Bonerhelmet starts giving orders. Yet they are Forbidden on pain of being a Defrauder to actually get to know or even hang around the Forbidden Fruit. (Even saying “Hi!” is considered Commitment to Marry.)

    All that emotional craziness built up and nothing to channel it except Thou Shalt Nots and total separation… The pressure’s going to vent SOMEWHERE, whether it’s Tates Creek/ATI footsie or Josh Duggar’s courtship handholding or “Christian Domestic Discipline(TM)” or Left Behind’s synchronized cookie snarfing.

    Why would people develop paraphilias just from living in a contemporary society? From Wikipedia:

    The causes of paraphilic sexual preferences in people are unclear, although a growing body of research points to a possible prenatal neurodevelopmental correlation. A 2008 study analyzing the sexual fantasies of 200 heterosexual men by using the Wilson Sex Fantasy Questionnaire exam, determined that males with a pronounced degree of fetish interest had a greater number of older brothers, a high 2D:4D digit ratio (which would indicate excessive prenatal estrogen exposure), and an elevated probability of being left-handed, suggesting that disturbed hemispheric brain lateralization may play a role in deviant attractions.

    Behavioral explanations propose that paraphilias are conditioned early in life, during an experience that pairs the paraphilic stimulus with intense sexual arousal.[25] Susan Nolen-Hoeksema suggests that, once established, masturbatory fantasies about the stimulus reinforce and broaden the paraphilic arousal.

    We currently don’t know for certain why paraphilias develop, however the two possible explanations from the scientific community indicate that paraphilias have nothing to do with living in the present day. The biological explanation could have environmental factors, such as the use of phthalates in plastic (phthalates break down into an estrogen like chemical).

    The second explanation could match some things I’ve read in psychology. Say a young male child was spanked was spanked, and during the spanking developed an erection. It is possible that the male child would be imprinted with sexual arrousal being linked with corporal discipline.

    We just don’t know. Some paraphilias are harmless to others, by that I mean don’t take advantage of another person. Some like what happened here are physically harmless, but mentally damaging. Then here’s the nasty ones that drive some serial killers…

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  57. I have heard the same thing as Okrapod about Chinese footbinding. It was a common fetish there, at the time, apparently.
    I have also read that Gladys Aylward met many women when she was in China, after being appointed by the authorites to stamp out the practice.

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  58. One wonders what effect it had on Mr. Waller that the head pastor at the time he was at TCPC (the one mentioned as now being deceased) actually committed suicide and Mr. Waller was left with the leadership of that church after the tragedy. One wonders when the abusing started and if there would be any connection as to how it may have deepened his dysfunction. Tragic for those violated by his betrayal of their trust.

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