Defeating Human Trafficking is a great moral calling of our time –Condoleezza Rice
As one of the women who has doggedly pursued justice in this situation said to me: “This is like peeling back the layers of an onion.” I agree and would add that many tears have been shed in doing so. The heroes of this story are the victims, the women who will not let it go, Joe Mauk, Michael Newnham, aka The Phoenix Preacher, and Medium all of whom are doing a bang up job in exposing the many stories surrounding this saga. See Ben Sledge’s recent expose on CJ Mahaney and Sovereign Grace Ministries.
I plan to write a number of stories on this situation over the next few weeks- interspersed with articles on the quickly changing evangelical/SBC abuse landscape. Today I’m going to stand on the shoulders of those who’ve already written about the subject so I can get us caught up to what is going on today.
In 2014, Sankey orphanage/school in the Phillipines is raided and its leaders are accused of participating in sex trafficking.
Michael Newnham wrote Whistleblower Under Fire in Philippines Child Abuse Case in January 2014,
In Lucena City an orphanage, the Sankey Samaritan Mission for poor children and youth, was raided by the NBI (ed: Philippine government agency )and an American, Tom Randall and orphanage manager Toto Luchavez and his son Jake Luchavez were arrested and are charged with trafficking and child abuse based on strong testimony of some of the
This raid occurred because of the bravery of Joe Mauk, an American missionary, and his daughter, Miriam Bogolan, who reported their concerns to law enforcement.
As this story progresses, Mauk will be vilified. I, along with many others, believe he is a hero. However, he is living proof of the saying “No good deed goes unpunished.” Newnham quotes from Joe Mauk’s Facebook page.
A year or so ago one of my church members was asked to be principal of the Christian school that operates on the same compound as the children’s institution. This past year she recruited one of our young people, a newly certified teacher, to join the faculty. She was assigned living space in the dorm of the girls. Some of the girls confided in her of the abuse they were experiencing by the administrator. She told my daughter Miriam Bongolan who is trained in detecting child abuse by the head start program in the US and has worked in missions involving anti-abuse and child trafficking. She brought the news to me. I asked if there was anything I could send to the foreign funder to verify this. Two girls from the institution, at great personal risk, smuggled out letters to the teacher who gave them to Miriam who gave them to me. I immediately scanned them and emailed them to the foreign funder. His response was that he knew about one of the girls, that she was emotionally disturbed and told stories and that he had probably received a dozen such letters from her. He said he didn’t know about the other girl but would handle it himself as he was due to visit in 6 weeks.
As a service to the institution, I had been providing security guards from the agency that provides security for our conference center. In anticipation of the foreign funder’s visit to handle things, upon legal advice, I moved to increase security there. This attempt was met with furious opposition by the administrator and the funder. Within a week my increased security was replaced with a new agency who hired the old guards. Realizing there was nothing more I could do to help and realizing the responsibility to report to authorities reports received of abuse, I turned all information I had over to my legal counsel and to a pastoral crisis intervention team to report the matter to authorities.
Charges against Randall were eventually dropped. Was this due to a campaign started by Joe Coffey, his close friend and pastor of Christ Community Chapel where Randall is now a pastor?
He went to the Philippines a month ago to spend time with the children of his orphanage and take some men from the States on a basketball trip they will be talking about for the rest of their lives.
Before Tom left he started to receive calls from the Philippines from a missionary he has known for 30 years. It started small and began to morph into something unrecognizable. All the accusations were coming from the same source so it is very suspicious that the accusations would change. The accusations resulted in a full blow investigation from the Philippine version of Child Services and the FBI. After 2 weeks of exhausting interviews Tom and the staff of the orphanage were completely exonerated. Tom called me to rejoice and then left on the basketball trip.
Truth Seeker documents that Joe Coffey claimed the charges were unwarranted since all that happened is Toto Luchavez kissed a 15 year old girl. Medium summarized the essential points.
The essential points:
- There were only one or possibly two girls accusing one orphanage worker of an unwanted kiss.
- The girl(s) made up the allegations because they were angry about being disciplined. They recanted by January 14, 2014.
- There was never actually any abuse at Sankey.
- Somebody — a missionary — escalated gossip and slander resulting in the unjust arrests.
It’s all just gossip and slander.
Please note the charges by
Coffey Tom Randall (3/3/19)of slander and gossip. Randall Joe Coffey should know that these two words, gossip and slander, always lead me to believe that something really bad happened and they are covering it up with Christian lingo. Sometimes a video clip more accurately expresses what I’m feeling now about this situation.
I bet it will not surprise folks to learn that Tom Randall’s recounting of events seem at odds with the evidence obtained by Michael Newnham and Medium.
1. It appears that one girl did not recant
Listen to her testimony obtained by Michael Newnham starting at the 15:30 mark.
2. More than one orphanage worker was accused of some serious charges.
Medium documented the following:
And more than one orphanage worker was accused of sexual misconduct, and some of it was much more serious than a kiss. In the August 29, 2014 hearing transcript, you can see the charges against two orphanage workers. Against Mark Jayrold A. Luchavez, alias “Jake” (Tom’s godson):
- Violation of Article III, Section 5(b) of Republic Act 7610
- Violation of Article 266-A par. 2 in relation to Article 266-B of the Revised Penal Code as amended by Republic Act 8353
That’s lascivious acts against a minor and rape. And against Perfecto Luchavez, Jr, alias “Toto” (Tom’s good friend and administrator of the orphanage):
- Violation of Article III, Sec. 5(b) of Republic Act 7610 (lascivious acts against a minor)
3. According to Medium, 4 Sankey children were presented as witnesses.
Gossip and slander according to
Coffey Randall (3/3/19)? Ummm, my Wartburg tingle tells me otherwise.
A full court press in the US resulted in Tom Randall being freed by Filipino authorities.
Another post by Truth Seeker at Medium The Tom Randall Orphanage Case: What happened in court? fills us in on the *what happened with the arrests. ” It’s not pretty. The Facebook page has since been removed but there is a Vimeo showing that such an effort occurred.
Senator Rob Portman participated in this effort. I hope to speak with his office in the near future.
During the next three weeks, members of Tom Randall’s Ohio church started a Facebook page supporting him and the Luchavez men. They received tens of thousands of “likes” from supporters. These supporters were asked to send messages to the Philippine NBI (like the American FBI) and the US Embassy petitioning for Tom’s release. Ohio Senator Rob Portman reached out to the Philippine ambassador about the case. Tom Randall’s ministry paid all attorney fees for him, Toto, and Jake.
Tom Randall was released with all charges dropped. However, he made a curious statement which was documented by Michael Newnham. Is this another *nothing to see here*statement? Is this some other folks being thrown under the bus?
Randall explained in the affidavit that even though he founded Sankey to “help orphans and give them a better chance at life,” he does not own, lease or sublease any of Sankey’s property or facilities nor is he an incorporator, director or officer of the orphanage.
The local pastor, who is former chaplain for the PGA Champions Tour, stated that he is based in the United States and spends about one month annually, during December and January, in the Philippines.
“However, I remained in constant touch with Sankey as an adviser, and always helped out in securing funds for the operations of Sankey. I would always make myself available should Sankey need my guidance. In fact, since the formation of Sankey, I would ensure that I come to the Philippines during the months of December or January to spend Christmas and New Year with the children and to assist in managing its affairs,” Randall stated.
So what happened to the other two men?
I don’t know.
Have you ever read explanations over and over again and still not be able to comprehend what’s going on? That is me at this moment. From what I can tell, the trial of the other two men continues to be delayed. Tom Randall and friends keep claiming that it is over. I can’t find one bit of evidence that the possible trial has been officially shut down except by statements of Randall and Coffey and we know how that should be interpreted…
Where are the documents, one way or another?
Medium gives one explanation coming from Joe Mauck.
But from what the whistleblowers’ write, Tom Randall’s money was successful in staving off justice. Joe Mauk wrote in July 2016 that the victims went through two-and-a-half years of court appearances, delays, and obfuscation, and were looking at least another two years to reach a verdict — followed by an appeal, which could easily take another five years. He says the victims chose to move on with their lives and gave up on receiving justice in the court system.
An independent third party investigation must happen.
The time is right for an independent third party investigation by experienced groups like GRACE (Boz Tchividjian.) I have received word that Joe Coffey doesn’t believe that GRACE is capable of conducting such an investigation. Is this true? That’s one explanation that I would love to hear.
We are left with the testimonies of kids who were allegedly abused. Is everyone at Coffey’s Christ Community Chapel comfortable with this?
If these allegation are proven to be true, and I believe that there appears to be reason to consider their accusations since few victims of sexual abuse, especially children, lie about it, then the truth must be told. The victims would deserve justice.
What’s the deal about threats being received by those who are concerned about what happened at Sankey? Seriously?
First, let me say this loud and clear. If I receive any threats on this matter, they will be turned over to law enforcement. It’s amazing what I can track down and I’m getting really good at it.
According to Michael Newnham in Death Threats Alleged for Philippine Whistle Blowers.
Joe Mauk reported this on Feb 7th; (ed: 2014)
“Yesterday the principal of the school on the Sankey compound received death threats. She is moving to a safe area today. This morning the teacher, who first informed my daughter of the reports she heard from two of the girls, received a death threat also. We will do our best to aid in her protection. In the meantime high end attorneys arranged by Tom Randall and World Harvest Ministries are trying their best to get the perpetrators released on bail. People have been blaming the problems on a third world country’s propensity towards corruption. Yes but they have it backwards. It is not the ones reporting abuse who have money or influence. There was a network of deceit built up over years around the orphanage operation. I myself was clueless until four months ago, it was so well disguised. Employment is a treasured possession here and many will go along with all kinds of anomalies to keep their employment secure. Even so, there was an exodus of long-term staff from the orphanage in the last three years, some of whom admitted privately they just could not do it any more. Local officials, military, police and social services live on very limited budgets and a few favors, financial and otherwise, sprinkled around have a great effect and can turn aside the view of the ones supposed to be monitoring your activity. By God’s enablement my daughter and her teacher friend who is now being threatened were able to reach the highest levels of law enforcement on these types of cases. This is being handled by them quite professionally but high dollar lawyers do make things more complicated.”
Newnham also stated that he had been informed privately of other death threats. Do these creeps rally think that God will take kindly to this?
I want to end this post in Newnham’s words.
(Statements made against those seeking the truth)
The people claiming abuse are emotionally and spiritually unstable and have been manipulated by evil doers.
The accused are great servants of God and He will avenge them against the accusers.
Bloggers and the media…well, the devout already know about those devils.
Now facts are hard to come by in this case, but here is one undeniable fact I will testify to.
Not one of the people I’ve corresponded with has expressed anything other than a deep admiration and love for Tom Randall.
Let me speak clearly…the fact that this story is following the pattern of every other ecclesiastical cover up of abuse we’ve covered, does not necessarily mean that the same thing is happening in this situation.
It means that because of the lack of transparency and open dialog that questions and doubts remain unanswered and the name and reputation of Chris and his church are again sullied.
No one wants to see innocent people accused or God forbid, convicted.
We should want to show the world that when these issues arise that the church is the first to investigate them openly and honestly in the fear and reverence of God.
Do you have questions?
I am going to be writing more on this subject. For now, I have given an extremely rough overview of the issues surrounding this case.
As many of you know, I have a medical/dental ministry that brings quality health care to victims of human trafficking. It breaks my heart to imagine children in the Philippines being harmed in such a manner. Pray for a third party independent investigation. The innocent have nothing to fear, Those who alleged gossip and slander may be attempting to conceal something using old, worn out, silly and ineffective tactics. If all was *wonderful* why do questions keep being raised?
Please ask questions about this story and I will do my best to get answers for you.