“There is a much greater skepticism toward the memories of those who claim abuse than toward the memories of those who deny it.” ―
I’m currently traveling with my husband in the Blue Ridge Mountains enjoying the fall foliage. After all the rain in the last month, it’s wonderful to enjoy beautiful weather with the sky a Tarheel blue.
When I posted John Longaker, a Convicted Predator, Is Now a Pastor and His Brave Victim, Kelly Haines, Wants to Know Why, I asked Pastor Longaker if he would share the statement he was going to make to his congregation.
Before you begin reading his statement to me, here is an article to help you understand why Longacre went to prison. Ex-teacher Charged In Sex Case * Officials Say The Former Sellersville Schoolteacher Had An Affair With Girl, 14. The title made me cringe because an adult cannot have an affair with an underage student since the student cannot give consent. But this was in 1997 and we have advanced in our understanding-at least some of us have….So read the article while holding your breath.
The following is the email he sent me after agreeing to send me the statement he made before the church. This is not that statement but it will suffice.
My charge to TWW readers: Critique his email to me and critique the above newspaper article. This is a unique opportunity since we have Pastor Lonacre’s thoughts.
I will add my thoughts on the matter in the comment section like all of you will.
I have been doing a lot of thinking and praying about our conversation yesterday. I don’t know your blog at all so I am having a hard time understanding the purpose of your article on me. If you are writing it because you feel that you need to warn people about me then I guess you need to know this: I am pastor of an autonomous non-denominational church of between 80 and 90 attendees.
Since this is not the first time that Kelly has tried to destroy me by contacting different people in my church, there are many people who are aware of my past and have accepted me. They are aware of the charges and they are aware that I pled guilty. I have offered to resign on three separate occasions and my offer was rejected. So, if you want to expose me then after Sunday they all will know in my church anyway.
One of the members who knows was a woman who was sexually abused as a child. Another who knows was raped twice as a young woman. They both love me and trust me. I believe that I have helped both of them very much. One I was able to aid in counselling her out of her bulimia and suicide attempts. She continues to make significant progress.
I understand and respect your view on whether I should be a pastor or not. I talked to my wife about our conversation (incidentally we have been married for 31 years.) She knew Kelly very well.And has stood by me through all of this because she believes that her accusations weren’t true either. She wanted me to tell you again that Kelly was troubled before I ever began counseling her. (Maybe troubled by other sexual encounters?) She said that it’s ultimately up to the church to decide whether I should be their pastor or not and just because you don’t agree with that, does it give you the license to mention me by name? Needless, to say she was very upset that we have to continually live through this nightmare.
One final thought, if after Sunday the church wants to keep me, don’t you think the fact that my name will be on the internet again will damage the church going forward? If they choose not to keep me then your objective will have been met without writing the article. Our church is a loving, growing compassionate church. This blog can only hurt, not help. If your motive is to help, this is not the way to do it.
Even if I did the horrible things that Kelly said I did, I have been forgiven. I served a sentence that was outside the sentencing guidelines. It is not like this has been hidden. I served a public sentence, paid the price, and tried to put the past behind me. I believe that this has made me a better pastor. I have spent 20 years rebuilding my life and my reputation.
I truly appreciate you reaching out to me. Forgive me for using you as a sounding board but I have 20 years of humiliation and frustration pent up. For my own emotional health, I finally had to say something to someone outside of the church. My fear is that my denial of the accusations is just going to stir up the #metoo people all the more. I am already getting emails and phone calls from strangers.
Incidentally, I feel that her tweet was very unfair in addition to being untrue.
Editor inset: I believe this is the tweet to which he is referring.
End of editorial inset and back to the email
I pray for Kelly often. All I can do is trust God to continue to bring me through some more of this. I daily rest in His mercy and grace.
Thanks for listening.