“In order to escape accountability for his crimes, the perpetrator does everything in his power to promote forgetting. If secrecy fails, the perpetrator attacks the credibility of his victim. If he cannot silence her absolutely, he tries to make sure no one listens.” ― Judith Lewis Herman
The story I am about to tell is quite difficult. It deals with the grooming of a 14 year old student, Kelly Haines, by a Christian school teacher, John Longaker. He went to prison, was released and is now serving as the sole pastor of a church in Vermont.
Kelly is remarkably transparent as she shares her struggles with mental illness, a struggle that was made much worse due to her abuse. I believe that Longaker could have targeted Kelly because he could use the argument that she was not to be believed, if necessary. He even tried that with me when I had the opportunity to speak with him.
Kelly told me that she has come forward because she is concerned (reasonably so given his history) that Longaker is now the pastor of a church in Vermont and may have access to teenage women. Both she and I believe that a pastor, who has been convicted of *corrupting the morals of a minor,* should NEVER serve as a pastor.
How some predators pick victims
Most predators are smart. They know how to target vulnerable people while being pleasant and thoughtful to others looking on. Today, one of our readers, NJ, linked to an article by Sandra Newman who explored “What kind of person makes false rape accusations?” The following quote is relevant to today’s discussion. Please read it carefully.
It’s necessary to add an important caveat: The same kinds of people who are most likely to become false accusers are also frequently targeted by predators. Teenagers, people with severe mental illness, people with criminal records—all are vulnerable to rapists, who often have a very keen sense of which victims are most likely to be mistrusted by authorities. Although the accounts of these complainants need careful scrutiny, police should take them more seriously, not less seriously, than they currently do. The lesson to be drawn here is not that any individual’s story of sexual assault should be discounted; it’s that the vast majority of rape reports can be believed.
Kelly’s story of being groomed by Longaker.
(Minor graphic descriptions necessary to understanding the progression of the grooming process.)
In 1992, Kelly was a freshman at Faith Christian Academy. During this time, she was dealing with both an eating disorder as well as cutting issues. Longaker became aware of her problems and began counseling her in his classroom, alone, in the second half of that year. During the following summer, she would see him at Faith Baptist Church which was affiliated with the school. These conversations continued throughout her 10th grade year.
In 1994 things began to change.
My first recollection of anything different was in the fall of 94 during softball season. I was on the bus going to softball practice. He coached the baseball team but they would drop the softball team at their field and then went on to their field. John Longaker always tried to sit in the seat behind me on the bus.
One day while we were driving I felt John Longaker’s foot rub up against the back of my leg. I wasn’t sure if it was an accident. The next day I felt it again and I turned around and saw John smiling. As a girl with mental health issues who is looking to this teacher for help and acceptance, I remembered this feeling of excitement yet I felt very confused.
I knew it was weird that a teacher would touch my leg but in a strange way I felt like he was trying to show me he loved me and cared for me. So I took it as a way to continue feeling comfortable with him and it was enabling me to share some problems I still had not shared. I never felt like it was meant in a sexual nature more of a nurturing nature. Throughout the softball season it went to feet touching my leg to his fingers on my shoulders over the seat he would rub my shoulders and my hair.
In the years that I have been writing the stories of victims in school settings, I have been surprised by the number of victims who point to being on the school bus when teacher/predators first began to touch them. It was on a bus that the process progressed. Please note that Kelly perceived these initial conversations and physical touching as counseling.
In my Junior year, our conversations/counseling sessions became daily. I would come after class and school to talk with him things would begin to advance from there those foot and back touches to brushing up against me and feeling my breast. When he was “hard” he would rub against my leg or he take my hand and touch it. He frequently touched under my clothes.
By the end of her Junior year, Longaker’s activity became overtly sexual in nature and Kelly became emotionally confused. These sexual contacts occurred in both the school and the church.
I felt as if I loved him and he loved me. I knew I could never talk to anyone about it. I don’t remember if he ever said don’t tell, but I knew that if he wanted it to be our “little secret.”
During that year, the Longakers adopted a little boy. Kelly became the baby-sitter which provided further private venues for sexual encounters. These encounters continued throughout her senior year.
Kelly then attended Clearwater Christian College. Longaker moved to a Christian school in Massachusetts. This would eventually lead to Longaker’s undoing. (Editor: To avoid confusion: Massachusetts and New Hampshire are adjoining states and many people work in Massachusetts and live in New Hampshire where there is no state income tax.)
Kelly was becoming suicidal. Thankfully, she told someone what was going on.
Throughout my first year of college he would email me every day, then once a week and then the emails would be less and less by the end of my first year I hardly heard from him. It would make me really upset. Soon after I arrived home from my first year of college, I arranged a trip to go visit him in New Hampshire. I spent a week with him and, during that week, I realized that he was showing the same affection to the girls in his new school like he did with me. I confronted him one evening and he denied that anything was happening but in my heart I knew. I was crushed. I remember saying to him, “if you’re not gonna be in my life then I just wanna die.” He said, “well you do what you have to do.” I asked him if he would come to my funeral and he said,”yes.
I ended up going home with his wife and meeting a friend, Jason . in New Jersey who picked me up and took me the rest the way home. On the way home from that trip he realized that I was emotionally not stable and asked me what was going on. I began to tell him that I was having a relationship with John and that he was doing the same thing to girls at his new school and that I was not feeling very special. I told him that I wanted to die. Jason decided the best way to help me was to go to Pastor Paul Auckland at Faith Baptist Church and tell him what I told him. I was not aware that he was going to tell. I was then called in by the pastor and confronted.
Pastor Auckland reported this to the police. Kudos to this pastor who got it 20 years ago! So many pastors today claim they didn’t know they should report 20 years ago.
I confessed, July 1997. Do to the investigation and criminal charges I ended up sitting out of college for my second year. I remember that he decided to plead guilty to corrupting the morals of a minor and endangering the welfare of a child in order to receive a lesser sentence.
By this point, Kelly was admittedly emotionally fragile. The District Attorney was concerned that she would not have the stamina to testify at a trial.
John was sentenced to 12 1/2 – 24 months in prison. He spent the first year in prison and the remainder on probation. Soon after that he moved to Vermont. I did not have any interaction with him after that.
Longaker avoided being placed on the sex offender registry by pleading to lesser charges. According to Kelly (Longaker also alluded to this in my conversation with him), he almost didn’t get a prison term. However, the judge felt that a teacher who abused a student should go to prison.
News article regarding the arrest of Longaker
In this article, note how his defense attorney claims she was of age to have these encounters. He didn’t believe that it was illegal for a teacher to do this with a student. Times have changed for the better since 1997. Thankfully, Longaker got prison time anyway.
He was charged with involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, aggravated indecent assault, endangering the welfare of children, indecent assault and corruption of minors, according to court records.
…Hileman said his client is not guilty of the charges.
“They did have a relationship,” Hileman said, but he would not describe it. “She was 17 at the time…. If she’s not under 16, then he’s not guilty. There’s no allegation of force. There’s no allegation of lack of consent. She was not underage.”
The probable cause affidavit for Longaker’s arrest indicates he admitted to officials at the Massachusetts church school where he taught after he left Faith Baptist that he began the relationship with the girl when she was around 14.
“That’s not exactly what happened — what’s quoted there,” Hileman said. He declined to elaborate.
According to the affidavit, detectives interviewed the alleged victim, a Coopersburg resident who is now 19 and a student at a Pennsylvania college, in July. Rubenstein said the woman went to police at the urging of a friend in whom she had confided about the relationship. Her name was not released.
Kelly unknowingly began to suffer from PTSD and Dissociative Identity Disorder which led to her being arrested.
I need to interject something here. Kelly is one of the most transparent victims that I have ever interviewed. She insisted that I tell our readers this story since she didn’t want to hide it, even though her record has been expunged. (Kelly, you are incredible!) It was her insistence on telling me uncomfortable details that should help others to recognize her righteous nature.
Kelly got married in 2002 and had three children from 2003- 2006. Unfortunately, her emotional issues had never been fully dealt with. This led to a difficult incident.
In 2005 I started having issues with forgetfulness and insecurity. I started to believe that Longaker was following my kids and me. I thought I saw in locations around my area. I was fearful that he was going to try and hurt my girls.
I didn’t know what to do so I figured the best option would be to file a police report and make sure that he was nowhere around me or my girls. I believed I was making an honest report in order to keep my children safe.
The police investigated my claims and determined that they were not true. They had proof that he could not have been in my area. The young police officer decided to press charges against me for filing a false police report. (editor: She tried to explain what she had been through but the officer would not take her emotional state into consideration.)
In February 2006 I was charged and plead guilty and was sentenced to one year probation and then my record would be expunged.
Kelly realized that she needed counseling and was diagnosed with DID.
Soon after that I began having mental health issues and started forgetting things that I was saying and doing. My husband and I started attending a new church and the pastor of that church met with me for pastoral counseling. The pastor realized that there was something wrong and reached out to some of his counseling friends to find me some help. (editor: This pastor deserves a standing ovation for realizing that she needed a professional counselor. He didn’t try to do it himself!)
He found a counselor who specialized in dissociative identity disorder. After my initial visit she diagnosed me with DID. It took 4 to 5 years of intense therapy to try to regain back my ability to not let my alters control me.
My diagnosis was determined in 2009. It took till about 2015 until I was regaining back my normal life.
Then Kelly discovered that Longaker is now serving as a pastor in Vermont.
In 2015, I happened to find out that he was pastoring at Fellowship Bible Church in Castleton Vermont. I did some research and found out who the pastor was before him and reached out to him about who I could contact in the church to make them aware of these charges. I reached out to 10 members of the church by email and just let them know that I was sending them articles that were on the Internet and giving them a heads up. I never received any emails back from the people that I emailed. I did however receive a letter from a Mike Adams who continue to angrily accuse me of lying and disrupting his church and threatened to call the police if I continue to bother his church. I did not respond back to that email and I stopped interacting with the people in his church.
Here is the letter Kelly received from *Mike Adams* who sounds suspiciously like John Longaker. Maybe its just a coincidence?
This is a disturbing response by someone who claims to be from a Christian church. Read the letter carefully. Kelly told me about her brother who is in prison and I decided that it was not relevant to her story of being abused by Longacre. Notice the vicious language. How anyone could write a letter like this to an abuse victim is beyond me. Shame on *Mike.*
I’m writing with regard to an email correspondence that you recently sent to 10 of our church families here at Fellowship Bible Church in Castleton, Vermont. Initially I had decided to just bite my tongue and not respond to you, but my conscience won’t allow it. With one click of your mouse at approximately 11:00 pm on March 9th you succeeded not only in executing the cruel, heartless and selfish desires within you (cloaked in your ridiculous suggestion that you are looking out for the welfare of others)….but you also succeeded in hurting many innocent people. You have wreaked pain and havoc on one of the most innocent and loving people one could ever hope to meet in Mrs. Longaker, you have devastated the 20 years of minute by minute…day by day committment by John Longaker to fully live an uncompromised life of service for Christ’s cause, you have wreaked pain on their innocent son Michael, you have wreaked pain in the minds and hearts of many individuals and families in this fellowship. You might have convinced yourself that all the harm you have cruelly inflicted is for some noble reason, but God knows the true motives of your heart…..and I’m confident I do as well.
You must have done quite a bit digging to pull off this latest ill-willed stunt of yours off. I decided to follow your example and do some digging myself. I find it very interesting that you are quick to portray yourself as a poor innocent victim who has taken the noble and honorable task of protecting others upon yourself. If that generous portrayal of yourself is accurate, why is it that you, in the not too distant past, provided police and law enforcement officers with false information (lies) about Mr. Longaker stalking you in an effort wreak havoc in his life? My guess is you sweated that one out as law enforcement officers caught on to the lies you fed them. It’s interesting that you didn’t include that information in your correspondence to our congregation. If you are as concerned with honor and transparency as you claim to be I’m surprised that you would forget to include that little detail. Quite a convenient omission wouldn’t you agree Mrs. Haines?
One other thing….if you are so committed to being the great and honorable protector of society at large, do you plan to notify any future employers of your brother when he is released from prison about his past transgressions? (Thank you for being such a fine example of what diligent digging can uncover). 20 years after your brother has been out of prison…has rebuilt his life…..and is and has gone to great lengths to live an honorable life….are you going to rip his life to shreds again by telling anyone who will listen how he had fallen 20 years previous? Or is that good will of yours solely reserved for Mr. Longaker?
In short, I’m on to you Mrs. Haines. It sickens me that you would pursue the cruel and hateful desires of your heart and guise them in Christianity…but that is between you and God. You clearly have no apparent understanding of God’s love.. of His grace or His mercy. As I close let me be clear about one thing: stop your harassment of Mr. Longaker. Leave him, his family and this congregation alone. If your pattern of behavior continues I promise that I will strongly encourage Mr. Longaker to formally pursue criminal charges of harassment and any other applicable charges against you…..and I will contribute any resources at my disposal to hold you civilly responsible as well if need be. Move on to your next prey Mrs. Haines.
My conversation with Longaker
I was so disturbed by the letter sent to Kelly that I decided to call the church and try to speak with Longacre. He picked up the phone, much to my surprise. I will try to summarize my discussion.
- He claimed that he was innocent of the charges. His lawyer told him to pled guilty so that he would get *only probation.* He appeared to say that his lawyer is to blame for his prison term.
- At first, he was friendly as he attempted to convince me he was innocent. He became progressively upset when I questioned his version of events.
- He claimed that he and his wife are the real victims, saying that they have suffered every day since the trial. “Not a day doesn’t go by that I don’t think about this.”
- He attempted to convince me that Kelly was out for revenge and that he was glad when she was arrested for a *false report.* I asked him if he understood the trauma Kelly suffered at his hands and how that might have caused her to think she was seeing him around her town. He did not answer my question.
- He claimed that he was going to make a statement to his church on 10/7/18. I asked him if he would share a copy of that statement and he said he would send it to me. I offered to post it in its entirety. It was no surprise to me that I never received the statement.
- I told him that I would be writing about Kelly’s story and would use his name. He wanted me to be sure to mention that he was innocent.
- When I asked why he was convicted if he was innocent, he claimed that the DA had it out for teachers in Christian schools.
- He claimed that his church members asked him 3 times to be the pastor so he believed that this is what God wanted. I’m a bit unclear as to whether he actually told the church of his incarceration a priori. They know now due to Kelly’s diligence. If he did say something, I’m sure he declared his innocence and that he merely pled guilty so he wouldn’t go to prison like his lawyer promised… Apparently one woman told Kelly that he went to prison to prevent going through the trauma of the trial.
Here is the most interesting (at least to me) part of our conversation. He asked me if I believed in redemption. At this point, I smiled. I knew the direction that he was going in and I also knew that he didn’t understand how this part of the conversation would lead me to conclusively believe in his guilt.
I told him that, of course, I believe in redemption since I’m a Christian. However, redemption, after appropriate repentance, doesn’t mean that a person should be restored to the pastorate. It simply means he is now restored to being a member in good standing of the church. I reiterated that I do not believe that any pastor or teacher, etc. who abuses a student or has an affair with a member of the church should ever be allowed to be a pastor. He disagreed with me.
I explained that teachers who are now convicted of sexual activity with students go to prison and lose their licenses permanently. Did he feel that churches should have lower standards than public schools? Again, he offered no response to my question.
At this point, he brought up how the apostle Paul was forgiven and went on to be a church leader. This is one of the silliest and most common *gotcha* proof texts that I hear frequently. Do people actually read their Bibles? I told him that Paul persecuted Christians BEFORE he became a Christian and that had he continued that activity after his conversion he would have been booted out!
He claimed that there was nothing in the Bible that proved he could not be a pastor. I, of course, referred him to 1 Timothy 3 which proves my point. He disagreed.
Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task. 2 Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full[a] respect. 5 (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) 6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. 7 He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap. (NIV)
However, I believe that he made a serious mistake in this discussion. If Longaker didn’t need redemption, why did he ask me if I believed in redemption? Why did he bring up the sins of Paul if he was totally innocent. If I was accused of a crime that I didn’t commit, I would absolutely refuse to discuss a need for redemption. I am now of the opinion that his discussion with me revealed that, deep down, he feels the need for forgiveness for his actions with Kelly. I fully believe that this man is guilty and should not step one foot in the pulpit.
The *Mike Adams” letter and Longaker
It is my opinion that Longaker either wrote or helped write this letter posted above.
- How did a fictitious Adams know about Kelly’s arrest or her brothers arrest?
- The person refers to the pain of Mrs. Longacre and Longaker’s now adult son as if this was of highest importance.
- The letter does not mention Kelly’s suffering. We have a prime directive at TWW. Always express empathy for the victim.
- Longaker is referred to in glowing terms ” to fully live an uncompromised life of service for Christ’s cause,”
- He threatens Kelly with the police as if he knows her full story.
- But, the most important thing of all, is that he does not mention Longaker’s innocence.
This injudicious letter reveals the heart of Longaker (or someone who knows him well.) It is mean and vindictive. However, it does not hurt Kelly any longer. Kelly now see beyond his carefully constructed facade. She is the one who emerges as the victorious survivor who is taking charge of her life by willingly confronting the man who believe harmed her greatly. If Longaker continues in the the pastorate, it tells me all I need to know about the members of the church as well as him.
Did you know that two pastors referred Kelly to me?
This is a first for TWW. Kelly has two pastors who care deeply about her. They understand and believe her story. They are sensitive to her emotional state as well as her needs. They asked if we could help her in any way. They are supportive of this blog post as are Kelly and her husband.
This is a post about Kelly and her fight for wholeness. However, I need to thank these pastors who want to remain unnamed. Not only are they being incredibly supportive of Kelly but they understand the terrible consequences of abuse.
“Thank you for being a part of the *good guys* in pastoral leadership. You are wonderful, caring pastors. May your tribe increase.”
“Kelly, you are amazing. Even as you fight for wholeness and survival, you care about protecting others. I not only believe you but I admire you.”