“The idea of overcoming is always fascinating to me, because few of us realize how much energy we have expended just to be here today.” Maya Angelou
This is the reward you get if you stick with blogging long enough. This story illustrates when blogging is at its best for victims and their families. We are there when they are let down by the church. By we, I mean all of us like those of you who wrote comments, showing you believed Billy and Shauna. You see, when they landed on the TWW doorstep, they felt alone and rejected by the church and well known pastors. Shauna had just about given up.
In March 2016, I was approached by Billy’s mom, Shauna, to help her deal with the recrimination they received from her church when she came forward about her son’s molestation which you can read about here: Ken Ramey and Lakeside Bible Church Elders Cause Pain for a Young Rape Victim and His Mother and Shauna and Lakeside Bible’s Biblical™ Counseling: Fuhgeddaboudit, Shut Up and Be Happy
I will post the above mentioned posts at the end of this happy post.
The teen who molested Billy was a member of the same church, Lakeside Bible Church in Montgomery, Texas. The response of the church, and in particular, Ken Ramey, was appalling. Although they tried to deny the molestation happened, I posted the doctors’ reports and bills from the hospital. I won’t do that for this post but readers can find it if they look on TWW.
After approaching the church, she appealed to Masters University, sadly thinking that John MacArthur might help. Of course, he didn’t. Long time readers will not be surprised to learn that they added to their pain.
Shauna was single mom who lost her income cleaning houses for some members of the church because she insisted that the church help her and comfort Billy. She cleaned houses because she was able to be home whenever Billy came home from school. So we set up a Go Fund Me to help them through this tough time. TWW readers are there best.
Then, she found us and you all were so very kind. Today, life is looking up for both Billy and Shauna. Shauna has a good job which keeps food on the table. Billy has been accepted into the Biomedical Engineering program at Texas A&M which is an incredible feat. It is a really, really good school.
Would you help me in congratulating Billy? Then read his story. I bet you will find it hard not to cry at this wonderful outcome.
Congratulations, Billy!!!! You Make Your Mom So Proud!!!!
Shauna and Billy, you have overcome the tough stuff and the best is yet to come!!! Keep us in the loop!
Warning: These posts are disturbing. They involve unjust church discipline, refusing to leave Shauna alone because she signed a membership covenant (I keep warning you folks). Some in the church even denied the rape even though Joe testified to it in court. Watch for the response of Master”s Seminary. There was a demand for biblical counseling which Shauna rejected and instead had Billy seen by a good group in town. She is one smart mom.
9Marks style church discipline is a bust
It should come as no surprise to our regular readers that Ken Ramey and his Elders (capital E) are sold out to the authority-driven, discipline-pursuing 9Marks’ view on church. It is becoming patently obvious that authority-driven leadership leads to abusive church discipline.
For all of 9Marks palavering over the “biblical” way to do church, they have yet been unable to deal with the fact the abuse crawls right on in along with every membership contact that is signed. What makes it even worse is that even the 9Marks boys can’t do discipline as we have documented in Todd Wilhelm’s situation and The Village Church/Karen Hinckley fiasco. Just in case you are willing to blow this off as “you don’t know the whole story”, let me reiterate. Todd Wilhelm is willing to sign a form allowing UCCD and 9 Marks to openly discuss what happened. They, of course, refuse to do so.
The utter inability for 9Marks to define who, what and when to apply discipline in churches is what is leading to this developing mess that some call 9Marxism. If John Folmar at UCCD – (9Marks and BFF of Mark Dever) cannot properly apply church discipline, why in the world do they think anyone can do this sort of thing without causing an outright disaster? Mark Dever continues to support CJ Mahaney who is the best example of failed church discipline that exists.
That is the problem. You see, church discipline is only for the little people. Not for the BFFs of Calvinista leaders who agree doctrinally, love to be *in charge* and who can donate money.
Lakeside Bible Church membership covenant/contract
It will come as no great surprise to you that this church has an obvious love of church discipline. Read through the bylaws of this church and you will see that the discipline section is the longest part of that document. Jesus Christ gets 3 lines. Church discipline gets around 40. When one joins this church, they must sign they agree with the bylaws.
Section 6. Discipline of Members
LBC is committed to practicing church discipline as outlined by Christ in Mt. 18:15-17. The threefold purpose of church discipline is (1) to glorify God by maintaining purity in the local church (1 Corinthians 5:6), (2) to edify believers by deterring sin (1 Timothy 5:20), and (3) to restore a sinning believer by calling him or her to return to a biblical standard of doctrine and conduct (Galatians 6:1).
(a) The four-step process of church discipline is to be carried out with a gentle, loving, God-like attitude (Heb. 12:5-13).
(b) Members of the church and all other professing Christians who regularly attend or fellowship with the church, who engage in promoting false doctrine or conduct that violates Scripture and bring reproach on LBC, shall be subject to the following steps of church discipline: (1) It shall be the duty of any member of the church who has knowledge of the erring individual’s heresy or misconduct to warn and correct them in private, seeking his or her repentance and restoration. If the erring individual does not heed this warning, then (2) The warning member shall again go to the erring individual, seeking his or her repentance, but accompanied by one or two individuals who shall confirm that the sin has occurred or is continuing to occur, and/or that the erring individual has been appropriately confronted and has refused to repent. If the erring individual still refuses to heed this warning, then
appropriately confronted and has refused to repent. If the erring individual still refuses to heed this warning, then
(c) It shall be brought to the attention of the Elders. If the Elders find after thorough investigation that the erring individual is continuing to sin, that he or she has been appropriately confronted, and that he or she has refused to repent, then the Elders shall inform the church (i.e. the congregation) thereof at a regularly scheduled worship service in order that the entire church may call the erring individual to repentance. If the erring individual demonstrates repentance, then notice to that effect may be given at a regularly scheduled worship service. If, however, the erring individual does not repent in response to the church in its collective call to repentance, then (4) The individual shall be publicly dismissed from membership and/or fellowship in the church at a regularly scheduled worship service. If the erring individual, after such dismissal, heeds the warning, demonstrates repentance, and requests reinstatement before the Elders, then he or she shall be publicly restored to all the rights, duties, privileges, and responsibilities of membership and/or fellowship (2 Cor. 2:6-8).
(d) The elders, at their discretion, may proceed directly to the third stage of church discipline (i.e. the informing of the church and the congregation at a regularly scheduled worship service in order that the church may call the erring individual to repentance) and then to the fourth stage of church discipline, (i.e. the dismissal from membership and/or fellowship in the church) when one or more of the following have occurred;
(i) Where the transgression and the refusal to repent have become a public offense to the whole church (1 Cor. 5:1-5).
(ii) Where the first and second stages of church discipline have effectively occurred simultaneously.
(iii) Where the disciplined party has taught or otherwise disseminated doctrine deemed false or erroneous by the Elders, then chosen to disregard the direction and reproof of the Elders (Romans 16:17).
(iv) Where the disciplined party has been warned twice by the Elders to cease from factious and divisive conduct and has chosen to disregard that warning (Titus 3:10-11).
(e) The members of the church, and all other professing Christians who regularly attend or fellowship with the church, agree that there shall be no appeal to any court because of the dismissal or because of public statements to the congregation at the third or fourth stages of church discipline. Members under discipline who chose to resign their membership may still be lovingly pursued to restore them to fellowship.
Shauna and Billy were long time members of Lakeside Bible Church prior to the rape.
One point that Shauna made to me is that Ken Ramey and the Elders knew Billy for many years prior to the rape. They wrote a letter to a Christian camp that Billy wished to attend in which they spelled out that Billy was developmentally delayed and had trouble with socialization. So, in the aftermath of the rape, they knew about Billy’s situation yet they treated Shauna and Billy poorly. (Even they admit that as you will see in the letter at the end.)
The weekend of the rape
Billy was raped on 5/18/13. On Sunday. Ken Ramey gave a sermon on church discipline.
Shauna is allegedly given stern warnings and even *discipline* from Ramey
Billy and Shauna returned to church the weekend after the rape. Shauna assured Billy that Joe could not be on the premises at the same time Billy was present. However, he saw Joe coming out of the Youth Ministry area. During church, Joe gave Billy a threatening look which caused Billy to want to leave the church. Even though Joe was not supposed to at church when Billy was there, it appears that the church and his parents overlooked this issue.
Shauna was asked to speak with Ramey privately. He told her that she was to stay quiet about what had happened to Billy. He said that if she said anything, it would be considered slander. Shauna questioned this since she was an eyewitness to what had happened to Billy. She said that slander implies a lie. Ken told her that slander didn’t mean a lie. I do not know what they teach at The Masters Seminary, but I wrote a post called Slander or an Inconvenient Truth looking at the Biblical definition of the word, and it most definitely means a lie told in order to cause harm to another.
He then went on to tell her that Billy was also to remain quiet about what had happened to him. Please keep in mind that Billy had been treated at the Emergency Room and would continue to need medical treatment and counseling. It seems like Ken was not interested in Billy’s feelings. He forcefully stated that this sort of incident could divide the church. Note that he is placing this burden for a hypothetical church division on the backs of the rape victim and his mother.
Ramey then told her that the police investigators would not look at this situation *biblically* like the church would. Ramey believed that BOTH families should be seeking forgiveness and restoration with one another. Shauna did not understand why she and Billy had to seek forgiveness because they had done nothing wrong. Also, one week after a violent rape is not the time to bring up reconciliation. What do they teach at the seminary??
Ramey told Shauna that she needed to ask Billy if he was lying about what happened and to find out if Billy felt guilty for causing any part of the incident. Shauna felt like Ramey was trying to make this into a consensual act in spite of the fact that Shauna had walked in when it was occurring. Also, Joe had threatened Billy with harm if he said anything about what happened prior to his mom arriving. Shauna became agitated by Ramey’s suggestions, denying that her son had done anything wrong.
Then, Ramey issued the following orders. Since he wanted both boys and families to attend the church, he decided to have Shauna attend the first service and the other family would come to the second service. He did not give her a choice. He then said that Billy had to stay at Shauna’s side at all times while at church, which meant he would not be able to attend the Youth Ministry program that he had always enjoyed. Shauna asked why her son had to stay by her side and in her sight, and Ramey said that is what he had decided and would not bend on this.
Shauna called the DA to report that Joe had come to church when her son was there and appeared to look at him threateningly. Joe’s family was brought into see the judge who said that they were in violation of the Bond agreement. The church was also notified that Joe was not to be present when Billy was there. The following Sunday, Shauna was once again called into Ken’s office and told to stay out of the investigation and to stop talking about this incident to others.
Shortly thereafter, Shauna was assigned a church counselor who was to support her during this time. Ramey claimed that this was Shauna’s “shepherd”. I plan to do a separate post on the Nouthetic counseling that Shauna received. Shauna kept a number of the notes from these sessions, and I found them quite disturbing.
A reconciliation meeting goes wrong
Billy went to California for much of the summer to attend camp with Shauna’s extended family. During this time, Shauna asked Ken to set up a meeting with Joe’s family to see if they could try to get along since they attended the same church. During the meeting Joe’s parents berated Shauna, calling her son a liar, and saying that Billy had ruined Joe’s life. Apparently, Joe wanted to be an FBI agent and now would not be able to join with this in his record.
Shauna was shocked. She responded that Billy’s life had been ruined as well since he had to take medications that made him sick after the rape and that he now had frequent nightmares and needed counseling. Ken interrupted and told her to be quiet. He claimed that listening to her was not what they were here for. The meeting rapidly broke up after Ken left the room.
Shauna is ordered by the church to put Billy back into public school
What happened at this next meeting was confirmed to me by an eyewitness who for good reason must be kept anonymous. He said he was appalled at the way Shauna was treated by those present. She was in the room by herself, surrounded by the Elders. leaders and Ramey. They told her they disagreed with her decision to homeschool Billy, and they felt he should go back to public school. Shauna tried to explain that Billy was still having difficulty with excessive fear after his rape. One of the
Elders leaders (ed) told her that if he were her, he would tremble if he disobeyed the leaders. She was told that they had special insight from God.
He then threatened her by claiming that “We won’t support you unless you do what we say.” Shauna, fearing the loss of support from the church (many attendees had her clean their houses), decided to put Billy back in public school.
Another problem for Billy and Shauna in school
Billy was in middle school and Joe was in high school. Shauna discovered that Billy’s class was brought on a field trip to the local high school that Joe attended. Billy had been fearful that he might encounter Joe since he knew this was his school. Shauna then alerted both the middle school and high school that Joe could not be on the same premises as Billy, and that was never to happen again. Shauna also notified the DA about the incident.
During this time, unbeknownst to Shauna, the school district was in the middle of an investigation as to whether it was safe to have Joe attend the high school since he could be a danger to other kids. Joe’s family emailed the district that their son had been falsely accused. This was after Joe had pled guilty in court. This email was in violation of the plea deal in which Joe had to agree that he was guilty of raping Billy. The school district decided that Joe should not attend the school and, instead, a home tutor would be provided for him.
Joe’s family then accused Shauna of getting their son expelled, and this false accusation made its way around the church.
More warnings and retaliation
During this time, the church hired a new youth minister. Billy was distraught that he was not allowed to attend the Youth Ministry. Shauna asked the minister if he could figure out a way to reach out to Billy since Billy was so lonely at church. Apparently, someone overheard her speaking to this minister and reported it to Ramey. Ramey confronted her and told her, point blank, to stop talking about it.
At this point, Shauna had few people to talk to at church. Her counselor, as you will see next time, was useless, spewing platitudes like “trust God”.
Shauna was then removed, without notice, from her volunteer work with the Children’s ministry. Her name suddenly disappeared from the assignment list. At a final meeting called by Ramey, she was accused of continuing to talk about the incident and was told that she was disobeying the leadership. In the midst of her grief, only a few months after the incident that changed their lives, Shauna resigned from the church. She was shunned by many of her former friends and slowly began to lose her clients.
An email from Ken Ramey
Do you want to understand what kind of a man Ramey is? Here is an email that Ramey sent Shauna. Thankfully, she saved much of their correspondence. I believe this email says all that I need to know about Ken Ramey. Based on this email, I would warn other to be very, very careful of associating with a church and a pastor that thinks, acts and speaks like this. If your pastor ever writes you an email to like this one, get the heck out of there. Better yet, Do. Not. Ever. Sign. A. Membership. Contract.
Ken Ramey <email@example.com> wrote:
I’m sorry I wasn’t able to answer your calls or texts yesterday. I had counseling sessions all afternoon/evening. I trust you realize that you are not the only person in our church dealing with a major life crisis right now.
Based on your multiple calls and texts and this lengthy email, it appears that your thoughts and emotions are completely consumed with this crisis rather than with Christ (cf. Phil. 4:6-8; Col. 3:1-4).
You need to stop striving to fix this thing in your own strength and give it to God and let Him work it out in His way and in His time. You need to ask God for grace to rest in Him and move on (cf. Mt. 11:28-30).
I highly recommend you get a copy of the book our ladies are going through in Bible Study called Trusting God by Jerry Bridges. If you don’t have a copy, I would love to provide you with one.
As for being under our authority, until you join another church, we will continue to pursue you and seek to shepherd your soul whether you want us to or not.
We love you and …[her son’s name] and while we have not handled your situation perfectly, we are doing our best to try to walk with you through this horrific trial.
Unfortunately, at this point, it seems that whatever we say and do is not enough for you.
After I spend multiple hours in person and over the phone trying to offer you help and hope, you immediately feel the need to reengage in conversation with a flurry of texts or phone calls and rehash, question, defend, correct and/or rebut everything we’ve just discussed. You also continue to make demands and put conditions on whether or not you will meet with me.
It’s not me or our church or even the Coopers that you have an issue with. It’s God and I’m praying that He will help you see that!
I would still like the opportunity to stop by and see … [her son] next week if possible.
Could you please resend me the phone number of … [her son’s] counselor? I can’t find it in any of our prior texts or emails. I’d like to talk with her before I meet with … [her son].
Grace & Truth,
Lakeside Bible Church
In the March issue of Christianity Today. Mary De Muth, a child sex abuse survivor, interviewed Dan Allender about his new book Healing the Wounded Heart: The Heartache of Sexual Abuse and the Hope of Transformation. I thought of Shauna and Billy and Lakeside Bible Church.
(Mary DeMuth’s question) As a survivor, I’ve endured insensitive advice like “Quit rehashing the past” or “God makes all things new.” How can your book help someone walk alongside a victim with kindness?
We all need companions. Why? Because abuse is often done in private, under the cover of silence. Abuse has to be addressed in the light, in community. As I mentioned earlier, the memories are often fragmented. They will become more coherent only as you begin filling in the gaps by telling your story.
For the victim, telling the story begins to heal a portion of your heart. Telling it again opens a door to healing another portion. Some people tell their story once, and it doesn’t seem to help, so they stop. But you are meant to continue bearing the scars of this story just as Jesus bears the scars of his crucifixion through all eternity. His glorification didn’t take away the marks of the Cross.
Here are the main points of this section.
- Victims need to tell their stories, often over and over again.
- Abuse takes place in silence.
- Sometimes, it takes telling the story over and over again to fill in the gaps of what happened.
- Abuse must be addressed in the light of the community.
- Victims need companions who are willing to bear the scars of their story just as Jesus will always bear the scars of His crucifixion for us.
However, It does not appear that Shauna and Billy were afforded these opportunities from Lakeside Bible Church, Ken Ramey, the Elders (capital E) and counselors™. I have spoken with Shauna many times. I can sense the relief in her voice as I do not rush her, I do not say she is repeating herself, and I cry along with her. Her story never changes. In fact, in our discussions, I have seen her able to add fragments to the story that give me an even clearer picture of what happened.
I believe that Shauna is telling the truth. The reason for this post is the reason for all of the other TWW posts. If we do not tell the specific stories of how churches deal with pain and suffering, we cannot help the church to change its tactics in caring for those wounded by sexual abuse, domestic violence, etc.
When I went to business school, we studied the stories of victory and demise of companies via the case study method. These case studies were specific. They revealed stories of inept and mean managers, stupid financial decisions, abuse of workers, etc. They named names. They shared corporate communications, etc. Churches will not do this, hiding their failures under the guise of confidentiality. Then the church presents a picture of apparent health and happiness. But pain lingers just under the surface. TWW is not in the business of destroying churches. We’re hoping to prevent abuse by highlighting what works and does not work.
We believe that Nouthetic counseling and church discipline as practiced in the last decade have been fraught with failures leading to the abuse of church members. These folks joined churches hoping to experience love and, instead, got kicked in the teeth. These stories are their perspectives and churches would do well to listen to them.
Billy and Shauna were in rough shape when this all began.
Shauna blamed herself for not checking on Billy and Joe sooner. This is a common concern of many parents whose children are assaulted. She also grieved his loss of innocence and was shaken to the core by the extent of bodily injury and the treatment necessary to keep him physically free from potential disease.
Billy suffered beyond the physical trauma of the rape. He wanted to change his name so he could pretend that this hadn’t happened to him. He was having frequent nightmares and exhibited the symptoms of post traumatic stress syndrome.
Shauna was in pain and experienced post traumatic stress as well. She wanted to talk about it and needed the support and encouragement of her church. What she got caused her much pain.
Keeping this in mind…
Ken Ramey wanted her to pursue reconciliation immediately
Right after the rape, Ramey told Shauna that only the church could adequately counsel Billy and the perpetrator. He reportedly went to court to ask the judge to allow the church to do the counseling for the two families.The judge said he could not counsel both families.
Shauna made a wise decision after the rape of Billy. The church wanted to counsel both Billy and her. However, she had Billy participate in Safe Harbor where he received great guidance. Not only did they do the forensic interview for the police investigation, they continue to offer Billy support.
Welcome to Children’s Safe Harbor
Combined, Montgomery, San Jacinto, and Walker counties receive more than 3000 reports per year of children who have been harmed by sexual and/or physical abuse. In the past, victims seeking help faced multiple contacts with different community professionals, which created a maze of confusion and distress for the child and the family.
Children’s Safe Harbor has changed all of that.
Children’s Safe Harbors’ mission is to protect and enhance the life of every child who has the courage to battle sexual and physical abuse.
With a team of community and professional agencies united, we are committed to counsel the mind and heal the body of brave children and prosecute the offenders of the youngest and most vulnerable victims of our society.
The goal of Children’s Safe Harbor is to reduce the trauma of child victims and their non-offending caregivers by facilitating a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary team approach to intervention, investigation, prosecution and treatment of child sexual and severe physical abuse.
Shauna is one smart woman by involving outsiders in her son’s care immediately. It is my belief that they have done a great job in helping Billy deal with the issues of his rape. However, someone was not happy about this.
Ken Ramey tried to talk Shauna out of allowing Billy to counsel with Safe Harbor.
He reportedly said Billy would not be safe with those types of counselors. He claimed that Billy should never be left alone with those counselors and that the counselors could “ruin” Billy. This is in keeping with the MacArthurite belief that only Biblical™ counseling is appropriate.
As an aside, I am always leery when someone says they have the biblical™ view on counseling , gender roles, creationism, etc. When I look around at all of the self declared celebrity leaders and see how they differ on many aspects of Scripture, I wonder if some leaders are misusing the Bible in order to promote their preferred view of secondary issues.
Nouthetic/Biblical counseling via John MacArthur
This church is devoted to Nouthetic counseling as advocated by John MacArthur’s ministry. Wikipedia defines the issue succinctly. Note the part I highlighted.
Nouthetic counseling (Greek: noutheteo, to admonish) is a form of Evangelical Protestant pastoral counseling based solely upon the Bible and focused on Christ. It repudiates mainstream psychology and psychiatry as humanistic, radically secular and fundamentally opposed to Christianity. Its viewpoint was originally articulated by Jay E. Adams, in Competent to Counsel (1970) and further books, and has led to the formation of a number of organizations and seminary courses promoting it. The viewpoint is opposed to those seeking to synthesize Christianity with secular psychological thought, but has failed to win them over to a purely Biblical approach. Since 1993, the movement has renamed itself Biblical counseling to emphasize its central emphasis on the Bible. The Baker Encyclopedia of Psychology and Counseling states that “The aim of Nouthetic Counseling is to effect change in the counselee by encouraging greater conformity to the principles of Scripture.”
…Nouthetic counseling has been criticized as narrowly conceived, with a confrontational focus upon sin and behavior, which fails to deal adequately with emotion, grief, and suffering, and which lacks understanding of complex human motivations.
Here is an excerpt from Wikipedia describing MacArthur’s view of psychology. Note the sections I highlighted and the confidant assertions with little proof.
He is also an advocate of Nouthetic Counseling, which stresses the Bible as a sufficient tool for counseling people with mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety. MacArthur does not reject all forms of psychological theories and techniques, though he considers some psychology and psychiatry as contrary to the Bible.
MacArthur has argued that “True psychology (i.e. “the study of the soul”) can be done only by Christians, since only Christians have the resources for understanding and transforming the soul. The secular discipline of psychology is based on godless assumptions and evolutionary foundations and is capable of dealing with people only superficially and only on the temporal level… Psychology is no more a science than the atheistic evolutionary theory upon which it is based. Like theistic evolution, Christian psychology is an attempt to harmonize two inherently contradictory systems of thought. Modern psychology and the Bible cannot be blended without serious compromise to or utter abandonment of the principle of Scripture’s sufficiency.... “
According to Shauna, the people involved in the LBC counseling ministry are not professionally trained counselors. She says that they have received training form seminars and audios put out by MacArthur’s ministry. Apparently the head of counseling for LBC is a businessman by day and a *counselor* in his off time-kind of like a weekend golfer pretending to be a Master.
Let me make something clear. Counseling those affected by child/teen sex abuse is a highly complex situation. The act of a rape can last a few minutes but the effects of the rape can last a lifetime. I believe it is both arrogant as well as dangerous to sic an untrained volunteer upon any family that has just experienced such a traumatic event. As you will see, it didn’t work out too well for Shauna.
It is important to understand that the following events lasted only a few months after the rape. By October, Shauna was so upset, she decided to leave the church.
Shauna called Masters Seminary and John MacArthur’s Grace Community Church asking for help.
She was asking advice about how to deal with this situation. After weeks of no response, she received an email telling her to reconcile with Joe’s family. That’s it. Case closed.
Ken Ramey refused to use *rape* to describe what happened to Billy.
Shauna believes that Ramey was implying the Billy was responsible for allowing the assault to happen even though Joe threatened Billy with harm. Soon after, Shauna began to hear from church people who claim they were told that this was consensual behavior between the two boys and that Billy was a homosexual.
Shauna was repeatedly told by Ken Ramey and other leaders to shut up and not to talk about the rape.
Shauna was told to speak only to the leaders or her counselor about Billy’s assault. Please refer to the book that was discussed at the beginning of this post. Telling her to go silent would have been the absolute worst piece of advice . Victims and their families need to speak about their pain and they need to have the freedom in whom to confide. Shauna was told by the DA that she could talk about what happened since she was witness to the event. Yet Ken reportedly told her that it would be slander to do so.
Here is a very important question to ask in this circumstance. Why was she told to be silent about the rape? Why were rumors beginning that this was a consensual relationship and why did members believe that Billy was a *homosexual?* Why, when Ken learned of these rumors, did he not address them strongly? Why did Shauna need to be quiet while the chatty church members were allowed to continue with such rumors? Why didn’t Ken and the leaders tell these other members they were slandering Shauna and Billy?
Instead, Shauna said that Ken met with her on several occasions to counsel her on say she was being disobedient by talking about what happened. he reportedly told he to repent and ask God for forgiveness for not submitting to authority. Another leader confronted her for talking about this to a newly hired youth leader. He said
“We don’t know what to do with you. You continue to disobey the elders. You need to ask God for forgiveness and ask the Elders for forgiveness. We just don’t know what to do with you.
Shauna interpreted this as a veiled threat that she would be kicked out of the church. So, Billy was forced to be silent during the rape and now he and his mom were being forced to continue their silence except with *approved* individuals. Remember, Billy’s injuries were documented at an Emergency Room and Joe would plead guilty. Safe Harbor also confirmed that Billy was raped.
During this time, people began to ignore her and she found her cleaning jobs beginning to dry up. Why was that?
The counselor wanted her to *fuhgeddaboudit* and be happy
Fuhgeddaboudit is defined in the Urban Dictionary thusly
Forget about it – the issue is not worth the time, energy, mental effort, or emotional resources.
Shauna was assigned a biblical™ counselor, whom I shall call Pam, by the church. Shauna knew her and thought she might be helpful. Things began well enough. Pam told her that she believed that this was not Joe’s first assault. Uh oh. Is this why silence was enforced by the pastors?Over time, however, things changed.
Pam told Shauna to *fuhgeedaboudit* by recounting what happened with her own child.
This encounter is quite concerning. Pam reportedly said that when her own child was about 3-4 years old and in day care, the child came home with noticeable redness and inflammation in her vaginal area. The child showed it to her mother. Pam said she didn’t say anything about it. She just changed day care and moved on with life. She said everything was fine and she never dealt with it beyond those actions. Uh oh…
She used this to encourage Shauna to quickly move on from the incident just like she supposedly did.
Pam told Shauna that she needed to find joy in the situation or she would be in sin.
Pam told her that Shauna was not exhibiting enough joy. Pam stated that she should be praising God in the situation and that God had allowed this to happen to her child for a good reason. She said she was in sin for *not finding joy in the situation.* As Shauna started to cry, Pam told her to stop it and start praising God. She told her to *get into the Word* more. She assigned to her read transcripts from John MacArthur’s sermon. Pam never told Shauna that it was alright to grieve.
One church leader, during this time, reportedly told her that God may have allowed this to happen to Billy to bring him *to Christ.* This is just plain nonsense that is often spouted by those who believe that God causes everything to occur, even evil.
Pam said Shauna would need to be disciplined for her anger unless she repented.
Shauna shared a personal story about a private incident that involved Billy being treated unfairly. It had just happened and it would take her a few days to settle down. Pam asked her if she still felt angry. When Shauna said “Yes,” Pam told her that she was blatantly sinning against God. Therefore, Pam would need to report her sin of anger for discipline. This would begin the process of Matthew 18. According to Shauna, Ken believes that discipline needs to be going on at all times for all sorts of things.
Shauna, fearful of getting in trouble again, decided to call Pam and tell her that she *repented.* Pam said she was glad and she would cancel the scheduled discipline meeting!
Shauna leaves LBC about 5 months after Billy’s rape
Soon after this, Shauna left the church. She was broken down, discouraged, and feeling quite alone. Before she left, she tried to get Ken Ramey to read Lindsey and Justin Holcomb’s book Rid of My Disgrace: Hope and Healing for Victims of Sexual Assault. But Ken didn’t have enough time. Perhaps that says it all.
I think this statement from Shauna to me says it all.
They didn’t show they cared about us. They cared more about Joe and his family.
Today, Shauna met with a female leader from the church. Once again, Shauna was asked if she thinks Billy is a homosexual came up. I find this line of questioning very disconcerting since it appears that people involved with the church are repeating a narrative that this was a consensual act between two boys and that Billy may be a homosexual.
Take a look at this note from Shauna’s *counselor.* (I had to copy the screenshot because it mentioned Billy’s true name.)
When we talk about these homosexuality thoughts that come to your mind, you related that to the fact that people questioned whether *Billy* was a willing participant in the assault when everything first happened. And you said that made you angry. How did you relate your thoughts to that? What was the cause of your anger?
Is anyone seeing a trend here?
Calling all lawyers
I have a question or two regarding this situation and I was wondering if I could ask you off line. Please let me know.
For Billy and Shauna
Please remember the GoFundMe.
Here is a song by Matt Redmond for *Billy.” Matt was abused as a boy and has found healing in Jesus and in his music. Please know we love you both and we believe you.