“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.” Elie Wiesel quotes
Last week we posted the lawsuit filed by John, Jane and Janet Doe against Bellevue Baptist Church: Pastor Eric Brand, Former Pastor at Bellevue Baptist Church, Allegedly Showed Photos of His Wife in Sexual Situations During Biblical Counseling of the Does and Others.
Today, I want to look at another section of the lawsuit #45.
Some Bellevue Baptist members wanted a molester of one of their church teens to be given leniency.
Bellevue Baptist Church members allegedly attended the trial of Ashley James Hook and asked for leniency for Hook who allegedly molested Janey Doe. This is found in allegation #45 of the lawsuit. You can find the entire lawsuit on last week’s post.
Members of Bellevue Baptist Church came to Hook’s sentencing hearing to show support and ask the judge for leniency
Years ago, an SEBTS seminary student, who had molested a group of young teen boys (13+) at my former SBC church, stood for sentencing. I was informed by a friend who was present that there were church members who sat on the side of the molester. Think about that. These people didn’t come to support the boys who were molested. They were there to support the molester who went to prison for 13 years. Here are some things that were allegedly said by those who supported the molester.
- The young teen boys hit on the molesteer. It was their fault.
- A few women claimed that they wanted the molester to come back to the church and they would counsel him.
- The boys should have known it was wrong and told their parents.
- The boys who were molested *will get over it.*
Sadly, it was evident to me that these folks had been carefully groomed by the molester and didn’t realize that they had been duped.
Pedophilia, addiction to child porn, voyeurism, etc. are serious psychiatric disabilities for which there is not a cure.
I apologize for constantly beating my drums on this issue. I know regular readers of this blog understand this issue. Sadly, for many people in the churches which show up on this blog, still don’t get it. So, for all of those folks, I include this paper produced by the NIH: Paraphilias: definition, diagnosis, and treatment. Folks, I want to say this as strongly as I can. Jesus forgives our sins when we truly repent. Molestation and pedophilia are sins. They are also psychiatric disorders, incredibly difficult disorders with which the person might well struggle for the rest of his life. Jesus does not heal everyone who has a profound psychiatric disorder, just like He does not heal everyone who has cancer. Let’s take this one step further. People with paraphilias who act on their compulsions are also engaging in criminal behavior. So, we have sin, crime, and a psychiatric disorder.
I don’t know why it is so hard for church people to understand this. When church members go to court to beg for leniency, they have absolutely no idea what the molester is thinking. The molester could be using these people to receive a *get out of jail* free card. As Christians, we must put the well being of those who have been abused first and foremost.
Also, it is not up to some poorly educated busy-body in the church to forgive the molester. That is up to the person who was harmed which raises another question. Has the abuser ever sought forgiveness from those he wounded? The answer is often “No.”
Does *becoming a Christian* mean the abuser is healed, no longer a criminal, and forgiven?
Let’s take a look at a post I wrote shortly after starting this blog. Please forgive the formatting. I was on another platform at that time. The title of the post is HOW TO CURE A CHILD MOLESTER — BIBLE STUDY!
Warning: Explicit material in the next paragraph only. Also, the original news stories were removed from online and I didn’t have time to track them down on Wayback. I left the .links up to show that I had reason to say what I did. Christa Brown wrote about this in Find the Baptist pastor. Ricky MIll was a pastor at my former SBC church. Here is what Christa had to say.
Ricky Mill, a Southern Baptist pastor in Raleigh, North Carolina, went to court last Monday to urge leniency for David Chatham, who pled guilty on child porn charges.What was the reason for urging leniency? According to pastor Ricky Mill, it was Chatham’s “dedication to Christ.”
Chatham, who was a high-level public relations specialist, had started going to Bible study groups after his arrest.But before his arrest, he had spent 12 years looking at images of children being molested and sexually abused.
Imagine… A little girl, let’s call her Sarah, is held down by a man and forcibly raped. The horrendous scene is recorded on the camera. You can hear her little voice sobbing and calling out for her mommy. Yet, there is no mommy, and this heinous act is completed. The repulsive video is available on the Internet. A man in Raleigh, North Carolina gets his kicks out of watching child pornography like that which has just been described. In fact, he has been getting sexually aroused this way just about every night for TWELVE years. He is finally brought to justice and will soon be sentenced for this felony. This crime carries a minimum of FIVE years in federal prison.
This criminal is upset and does not want to go to jail while he awaits his sentencing because he has important things to do. What is the response of one Southern Baptist pastor? The pastor takes the stand in order to ask a judge to give him extra time to be on the streets reportedly because this man has become a Christian. Huh?
Let’s back up and tell this incredible story.
Imagine opening up your Sunday newspaper and reading this glaring front-page headline: “Child pornography consumes a life”. That’s exactly what happened yesterday to those who subscribe to The News and Observer, a regional newspaper based in Raleigh, North Carolina. Mandy Locke did an excellent job investigating and writing about this story. All of the quotes and the general story-line come from this article, which can be found at the following link:http://www.newsobserver.com/news/story/1697432.html
Here is the story.
– History – David Chatham, a 43-year-old public relations executive, began viewing adult pornography at the age of 9 when he found his dad’s Penthouse magazine, tucked away in a briefcase in a closet. Approximately 12 years ago Chatham began viewing child pornography. He is married and has no children. In December 2008 he was arrested and was found to have over 3,400 images of naked, molested boys and girls, toddlers and teens on his computer. Chatham was tried in federal court, pled guilty, and will soon be sentenced to serve a prison term of at least five years.
– Knowledge of Wrongdoing – There will be no insanity plea here. Prior to his arrest, Chatham claimed that he knew he would eventually be apprehended. There are investigators who spend their working hours on the web tracking down these perverts. Incredibly, Chatham admitted to the newspaper reporter that he rehearsed what he would say and do when the inevitable arrest occurred.
– Wife and Biological Children – He has no children of his own. His wife claimed she did not want children. She also admitted that she did not know about her husband’s activity in spite of him spending hours in the middle of the night on the computer. I, Dee, have a friend who became suspicious of her husband’s midnight computer viewing after a couple of years, despite his claims of “doing work.” She investigated and immediately sought help. The wife’s claim of “not knowing”, during a relationship that had spanned 9 years until his arrest, seems a bit odd. Perhaps she just didn’t want to know.
– Conversion Experience – Chatham claims he began attending a Bible study immediately after he was arrested and is now a Christian.
– Other Post Arrest Activities – Chatham began attending sex addicts meetings, received intensive psychological intervention, and worked with authorities to give lectures to men who share his pornography addiction. By all accounts, he became a model, contrite individual who was trying to turn his life around.
– Going before a judge, a number of people (including my former pastor) spoke on Chatham’s behalf, asking for leniency, another three months of freedom to get his affairs in order, before he went to prison. The request was flatly denied, and he went straight to jail… Did any of Chatham’s supporters testify about the children whose lives had been destroyed?
Conversion after apprehension
There is no question that David Chatham knew his activities were illegal and immoral. What is troublesome is that his “new life” didn’t begin until after his arrest. He claims he rehearsed what he would say when he was arrested. Why did he wait until his arrest? Child molesters are highly manipulative individuals. “Wait”, you might say, “He was not a molester”. We contend that he contributed time, and most likely money, to this illegal business. In effect, his financial support contributed to this heinous industry. By his actions, he was condoning and implicitly agreeing to the rape of toddlers – that’s right – toddlers!!!!
This man was a public relations expert who rubbed elbows with the rich and powerful. He obviously thought out how he would tip the scales in his favor when arrested.
His porn acquisitions went on for 12 years! Such a habitual activity is not cured overnight. We are sure that there are Christians out there who probably claim that a miracle occurred. To that we say, “Can you prove it?” Is it worth the risk to our children? Don’t commited Christians also commit heinous acts?
Let’s take a look at another well-known case, which is currently ongoing. Most everyone has heard of the remarkable story of Jaycee Dugggard who was abducted by Phillip Garrido when she was 11 years old. She was held in captivity for close to two decades during which time she was forcibly raped by this monster and bore two children.
Prior to Jaycee’s abduction, Garrido had been a convicted sex offender. He was sentenced in 1976 to 50 years in jail after kidnapping and raping a woman. However, 10 years into his sentence Garrido claimed to have “found God” and was released on parole. Four years later, he kidnapped Jaycee and her life became a horror movie. (In Touch magazine, September 14, 2009) Perhaps Garrido lost God when God became inconvenient.
Even Ted Bundy, who admitted to the murder of perhaps hundreds of girls, realized that “jailhouse” conversions are perceived as suspect. Ted Bundy became a Christian while on death row. However, he refused to be interviewed about his faith until he knew that his sentence had no hope of being commuted. Approximately two days prior to his execution, he allowed James Dobson to interview him. This remarkable interview was used by Bundy to talk about the dangers of pornography when viewed by boys entering adolescence. He stated that the reason he refused to be interviewed earlier was that he didn’t want anyone to think this was a ruse for a “get out of jail free “ card. He was sincere in wanting to warn people of the dangers of pornography and children.
We believe that “conversion” is sometimes used as an excuse and DO NOT believe that 9 months is sufficient time to make a judgment about this man’s sincerity.
Conversion implies a fully changed life
We do not wish to judge whether or not Chatham is a Christian. That’s between him and God. In fact, let’s assume that he is. Why does a newly found faith (9 months) imply that he is not a danger to his community? There are countless examples of Christians who fall prey to sexual sins. Darrell Gilyard, a convicted rapist pastor who was vigorously promoted by Paige Patterson, lived a secret life of rape and is now in prison. How many Christians who are alcoholics or drug addicts “fall off the wagon?” Since when does a “dedication to Christ” mean that someone won’t sin?
Dedication to Christ “cures” sexual deviance
Dr. Jon made an interesting point. If all it takes is dedication to Jesus to “cure” deviance, why not have the courts turn over all of the prisoners who are Christian converts to churches and save the government a whole lot of money by closing a bunch of jails? Even Pastor Mills would admit that Christianity does not have a 100% cure rate in this area. Heck, they can’t even reduce the 50% divorce rate within the Southern Baptist faith!
Dedication to expressed faith in Christ trumps concern for the safety of children.
Chatham has spent 12 years viewing hard-core child pornography. Anyone who would view something so awful day in and day out for 12 years (sometimes for 14 hours a day!) has a darkness in his soul that is not easy to penetrate. In fact, there is a sidebar article entitled “Internet enables a dark crime” by Mandy Locke, which reviews a study done at a federal prison in Butner, North Carolina. That study found that roughly 85% of men imprisoned for receiving or distributing child pornography and did not have a known history of committing sexual abuse when arrested, actually had committed a hands-on offense. Note: the figure is 85%! Please check out the article with this startling statistic at the following (http://www.newsobserver.com/news/story/1697414.html)
Chatham himself stated: “Though he never had a desire to touch a child sexually, he worried that, over time, that inhibition would slip, too.” This man may be crying out for help. He claims he never had this desire, but his assertion is a bit suspect given the nature of his perversion. Although he passed a lie detector test, these tests can be inaccurate.
Thank heavens his wife never wanted children! Even that wish raises a red flag. Although she claims she didn’t know about this problem, there is sufficient reason to be circumspect about her assertion.
Providence Baptist Church in Raleigh had a pedophile serve as a volunteer for several years. The pastors claim they had no evidence that this seminarian was a molester. It took an outside police encounter to blow the lid on this man. He was sentenced to 13 years in prison based on the testimony of a number of teenage boys from the church.
Churches appear to be naïve, or worse, lax, in providing for the safety of the children entrusted to their care. The blinders must come off! Many of these same churches claim that all men are depraved, but they don’t appear to practice safety measures that coincide with their theology.
According to the article, Pastor Ricky Mill from Providence Baptist Church (PBC) took the stand on Chatham’s behalf, along with a number of other supporters, to ask the magistrate for leniency prior to his sentencing. Chatham wanted three more months of freedom before going to prison. Pastor Mill talked of Chatham’s dedication to Christ (9 months). His therapist claimed she didn’t “think” that Chatham would abuse any kids. (That’s quite reassuring!) Chatham’s attorney, Joe Cheshire, argued that Chatham could change lives and should be allowed to keep doing that! Incredibly, this same attorney defended the pedophile seminarian that had been found at Providence Baptist Church.
Here he is on the sex offender registry list.
Chatham is now out of prison and appears to be working for Angel Oak Creative and has some ties to SEBTS according to LinkedIn. He had a blog called From Shame2Grace which discussed his history but that appears to be shut down. I wonder why. I sure hope he is still in counseling, professional counseling that is and not the so-called *Biblical* counseling.
What happens to the victim when pastors and church members flock to support the molester? What would you say if I told you that some bikers act more Christianly than these aforementioned folks?
How many of you have heard about Bikers Against Child Abuse: Keepers of the Children?
Adapted from “The Fellowship of the Unashamed”
I am a Member of Bikers Against Child Abuse. The die has been cast. The decision has been made. I have stepped over the line. I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still.
My past has prepared me, my present makes sense, and my future is secure. I’m finished and done with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, mundane talking, cheap giving, and dwarfed goals.
I no longer need pre-eminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I don’t have to be right, first, tops, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded. I now live by the faith in my works, and lean on the strength of my brothers and sisters. I love with patience, live by prayer, and labor with power.
My fate is set, my gait is fast, my goal is the ultimate safety of children. My road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions are tried and true, my Guide is reliable, my mission is clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded, or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.
I won’t give up, shut up, let up, until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, and showed up for all wounded children. I must go until I drop, ride until I give out, and work till He stops me. And when He comes for His own, He will have no problem recognizing me, for He will see my B.A.C.A. backpatch and know that I am one of His. I am a Member of Bikers Against Child Abuse, and this is my creed.
It appears that these wonderful bikers have a lesson to teach the church. As you will see, far too many church members show up to support pedophile pastors and totally ignore the molested children. Many times, the children are afraid to come to court, especially when they see people from the church supporting the abuser. Please, please watch these two short videos. Have some tissues on hand. Look at the pictures of the good Christian people from the Baptist church, supporting the predator. Baptist Church members…be ashamed.
(I am going to try to interview some folks from this organization.)