Breaking News: A Potential Victory in the Don Cameron Pedophile Situation?

“Molesters do not wear an ugly mask. They wear a shield of trust.” Patty Rase Hopson Link

path to don cameron's house
Don Cameron's former driveway?

I believe that this will be one of the more hopeful posts that we have written in 3 ½ years. It looks like our TWW readership has made a difference for one neighborhood of hurting children. If you have not read the Don Cameron story, I refer you back to the post that we did on Wednesday. Link

My email
Last evening, a friend sent me Don Cameron’s email address. This morning I wrote him the following note.

“Mr. Cameron
I am a Christian who writes a blog. I have been following your situation, including the recent events, which indicate you are now in residence in your old neighborhood where some of your victims live.

I am most curious about the trajectory of your life and your current choices. I would be very interested in doing a post on your thoughts and actions. I would be happy to pre-submit all questions and would present your responses verbatim with no editing on my part.

I would imagine that, being a Christian; you have great remorse for your actions. I am hoping that your thoughts might prevent others from going down such a road.

Finally, in the interest of full disclosure, both of my daughters had Eileen as their math teacher at NRCA and loved her very much.
Thank you for your consideration.
Dee Parsons”

His response
Exactly two minutes later I received Cameron’s reply

“I respectively decline.  And out of consideration for my neighbors, I have moved out of my house.”

A small victory?

Wow! I immediately notified one of his neighbors and also learned that WRAL news will be covering this development today.

I am firmly convinced that Amanda Lamb of WRAL needs to be given recognition for her persistence in this matter.(Applause). I also believe that the thoughtful comments by our readers which demonstrated a consistent sentiment that this was an untenable, unchristian  situation added to the pressure. I think you are all to be applauded for responding in the way that you did. I would not be surprised if Don Cameron learned something  from all of you. At the minimum, we could have embarrassed him into doing the right thing.  His answer to me reflected his understanding that he needed to be more “considerate.”

Of course, there is no guarantee that this is true and we will have to verify this over the weekend. 

Lessons learned

First and foremost, always remember the TWW prime directive: keep the victims the number 1 priority. Some day, I would love to see a media story that shows a church reaching out to the victims instead of having their sole focus on giving “grace” to the predator. Do churches not understand how this might feel to those who were abused? Could the abused perceive the pedophile as being more worthy of attention? I think I might if I were in their situation.

Let me make a point at this juncture. I am anticipating people saying that victims might want to be left alone. Not always. In fact, that is sometimes (and I have done this myself) used as an excuse not to reach out because this is such an uncomfortable situation.  I know one woman who told me that she was not interested in speaking out in a pedophile situation because "God did not call me to do so." It is so wrong to use God to excuse your discomfort. It is better to try, and fail, than to ignore.

My dear friend, who accompanied me to Cameron’s neighborhood, had a son who was affected by a pedophile. She wanted support but did not get it from the official church. But she got it from my small group of friends.

Take our experience in the Cameron matter. All we had to do is get out of the car in his neighborhood and those who were upset came out of their houses and surrounded us.  They wanted to talk. Go to the victims and sensitively feel out the situation. Yes, it’s uncomfortable but since when is living our faith supposed to be comfortable?

I am tired of this simplistic statement. “I serve a God who saves pedophiles. “  Of course, pedophiles can become Christians. But just because someone is a Christian does not mean that they will be able to overcome their sin addiction. It also does not mean that they are really a believer. For the sake of the children, act as if the pedophile will re-offend and put in place inviolable measures with harsh consequences.

Pedophiles are master manipulators. They can be charming and convincing. One only need to look at how many people still cannot believe that Sandusky did it. You are not stupid if you are taken in by such a person but you are stupid if you don't act when you discover the deception.

Pedophiles love churches. It is important to understand that they believe that church people are all too trusting and so they target churches. It is not a sin to find a pedophile in your midst. It is a sin to ignore the signs. Churches must notify their membership if there is a pedophile being allowed to come into the church. 

Anyone is capable of serious sin and I mean anyone. We must preach the grace side of the Gospel but it is important to preach the sin side of the equation, as well. We continue to get emails from people who are absolutely convinced that Tom White of Voice of the Martyrs did not, and could not, molest a young girl. Some even say his suicide was a “martyr’s” death. If I hear one more “he couldn’t do it, he was such a godly man” I swear I will tie the person up and make them listen to a recording of the entire Bible with two repetitions of the David, Bathsheba and Uriah incident. Folks, this attitude is not Biblical. We do not know what is going on inside a person, only God does.

Be willing to take a hit to your reputation if it means standing up for victims and their families. We live to serve God, not men. There are more and more people standing up to abusive church situations. You are not alone and fellowship can be found via the blogosphere. We are in this together. In fact, TWW is here for you if you are in pain.

There is a strange belief running around Christian circles that it is important not to air our dirty laundry in public because it hurts “our witness.” I have news for everyone. The world already sees our dirty laundry and our pathetic attempts to cover it up. Instead, let’s tell the world that we are sinners and we can royally screw up, just like everyone else.  I don’t know about all of you, but, as C.S. Lewis said

“This year, or this month, or, more likely, this very day, we have failed to practise ourselves the kind of behaviour we expect from other people.”

How can we talk of grace when we try to present ourselves as perfect little smiley faces whose greatest sin is getting “irritated” at the guy who cut us off on the highway.

As an addendum to that last point, leave any fellowship in which the pastor presents himself as just a little bit better than everybody else. He is living a lie and that lie will come back to bite everyone.

Once again, thank you all for helping blogs to make a difference. I am blessed to know all of you. If WRAL reports on this development, I will embed the video at the end of the post either later tonight or tomorrow. I will change the title to reflect an update.

Now, let’s all pray for the kids and their families who were hurt by Cameron. I found this prayer at a site called "Surviving the Memories." Link. May it help those who have been hurt.


Dear God

I can no longer bear this pain alone. You know every feeling and secret locked in my heart. It is time, Lord, to open my heart and share my sufferings with those who can help me. Give me the courage to learn more about the sexual trauma that has so affected my life. Though I may not understand why this has happened to me, may I take comfort in the fact that I am not to blame, and realize that I am not the only person who has been abused in this way.

Guide me to find the faith and help I need to gain confidence in mind and body, develop trust in others, and experience hope for a happy, healthy life. Lord, I know that with Your love, my physical and emotional wounds will be healed.

In the name of Jesus

Lydia’s Corner: Genesis 23:1-24:51 Matthew 8:1-17 Psalm 9:13-20 Proverbs 3:1-6


Breaking News: A Potential Victory in the Don Cameron Pedophile Situation? — 26 Comments

  1. That is really hopeful Dee. Fantastic that those kids don’t have to deal with their abuser living near them, first & foremost. Sleep sweetly poor little guys.
    I am utterly convinced that the more Christians share their weaknesses, failures & restorations in an honest & not christian-frilly form, the more robust a witness it is. If we preach truth we need to be truthful…isn’t it obvious?

  2. “She wanted support but did not get it from the official church. But she got it from my small group of friends.”

    I hear that. In my times of great trial, Christians were great, but “the church” not so much. I’ve concluded that often the best ministers are those without authority.

  3. J Terry
    Never fear. TWW will keep an eye on things. This thing just hit the local news as one of the top stories .

  4. Pedophiles are master manipulators. They can be charming and convincing. One only need to look at how many people still cannot believe that Sandusky did it.

    I tend to phrase it “SUCCESSFUL Pedophiles are masters at camouflaging what they are. If they weren’t, they would have been caught long ago.”

  5. You are SO right, Dee. I’ve led a bible study and met one-on-one with inmates for a number of years. Given the chance, pedophiles will eventually re-offend. Period!

    The church has GOT to get a grip on this! Boundaries need established such as any place where children are in attendance should be monitored by more than one adult. Every person working with kids should have a background check. If a person is convicted, it would be prudent to never ever let them around any form of children’s activities.

    Yes, once caught and convicted, they’ve paid their price to society. Yes, I think they can be a Christian. But, (imo)they can not be healed from their compulsion. There’s plenty of psychology and personal testimonies to back this up. And, I could relate some real horror stories about Christian counselors claiming a predator healed and in short order, they’ve re-offended.

    It’s profoundly sad that most pedophiles have been victims themselves at a time in their development that the compulsion clicked on. No one intervened for them. With that said, we MUST offer help and support to the victims AND do whatever it takes to protect the vulnerable. It’s not about whether they attend a church or not, they should have as much access to Jesus as any other sinner, but absolutely none with children. They’ve forfeited that right.

    Thank you for speaking out!

  6. I read the story about your run in with the Anglican Church.

    In addition to mistreating you, what surprised me is that while the church appeared to put some safeguards in place, the church did not notify the other parents about the presence of this man in the congregation.

    It seems to me that if a church knowingly allows a pedophile to attend the church on the grounds that it sees the danger but has put safeguards in place to “insure” (the church used that word) that there are no problems, that the church has a duty to inform others attending of the potential danger and what the church was doing to avoid the danger. That way other attendees can evaluate the danger. Without notifying the other congregants, the church really has taken on huge duty to protect. The church better not make a misstep.

  7. It’s profoundly sad that most pedophiles have been victims themselves at a time in their development that the compulsion clicked on. – Homesteader

    Studies show that many pedophiles who claim to have been abused as a child, when threatened with a polygraph test have recanted those claims. Seems that pedophiles like to use that excuse to gain sympathy and leniency in court. The actual number of pedophiles who were abused is actually quite low.

  8. J Terry –

    Thank you for making that point. I have experienced both pastors and abusers use that ploy to minimize the abuse I suffered, deflect sympathy away from the abuse and try to twist me into feeling guilty for being upset at being molested.

  9. “There is a strange belief running around Christian circles that it is important not to air our dirty laundry in public because it hurts “our witness.” I have news for everyone. The world already sees our dirty laundry and our pathetic attempts to cover it up.” – dee

    “If we preach truth we need to be truthful…isn’t it obvious?” – Beakerj

    The deceit practiced in cover-up attempts by so many christians hurts “our witness” more than anything else! It SHOULD be SO obvious that those who claim to follow the One who is Truth must be truthful – no matter what the cost – but sadly it isn’t.

  10. To me any excuse made for pedophiles (and other abusers) torments their victims and is another form of abuse.

  11. J Terry

    I was not making excuses-it’s a statistic gathered by a federal agency. And, if you read the entire content of my post, you’d see where I stand on the issue. I guess I should have added that I absolutely abhor the crime (thought that was clear) and don’t believe or trust predators-ever.

    I am a victim of sexual assault by a priest. After I finally told my husband years into our marriage, I made a report to the Diocese and it was a painful, humiliating, scary process that still makes me ill to think about, so I am well aware of minimizing tactics. Maybe someday I’ll have an opportunity to share all that happened with that-just take my word for it-it was terrible and shook my faith to its core.

    These people have NO excuse. If you or anyone think that’s what I was implying-I’m sorry.

  12. Homesteader,

    I am so sad that you were hurt by a pedophile priest (I’m assuming you were young when it happened). Silence is NOT the answer, and I pray that attitudes of pastors and parishioners will change.

    These kinds of sick crimes certainly appear to be on the rise. The Penn State debacle has finally brought much needed attention to pedophilia.

    I believe a line in the sand has been drawn and I am referring to these two eras as B.S. – Before Sandusky and P.S. Post Sandusky. Folks, in a P.S. world, we MUST speak up to protect the victims and prevent future sex crimes.

  13. Sometimes reporting does not protect anyone. In the PSU case, Sandusky was reported in 1998, the prosecutor decided not to prosecute, and Paterno and others have been charged with a cover up of the 1998 case, since the penalties include every game after 1998! If one reports and the prosecutor does nothing, then one must also go public! That is the lesson of 1998, Sandusky and PSU.

  14. Homesteader

    I am one my way out the door to take my elderly mother shopping. I wanted to tell you that I am so sorry for your pain and am gratififed by your courage in finally reporting your abuse. i will be praying for you today.

  15. Wow!!!

    Great post.

    You Gals Got Guts. 😉

    It’s my pleasure to have met you both.

    You sure set a high standard for all – When confronting these abuses.

  16. When confronting these abuses – And – Abusers.

    It’s amazing what a little light can do.

  17. I was not making excuses-it’s a statistic gathered by a federal agency. -Homesteader

    Homesteader I didnt think you were making excuses. I wanted to point out another possibility.I don’t for one minute believe in some of these statistics that say that most pedophiles were abused as children. It’s just one more deception used by the perverts to excuse their actions. I am astounded by how many people buy into that. I have seen statistics that show otherwise. I am so sorry for all that you have suffered. I have walked down the same road that you are on. It’s a heavy burden that’s for sure.

  18. It’s great that Don will no longer terrorise his victims and their families, but we must remember that he’ll move somewhere where the people don’t know of his wicked past. We must pray that he doesn’t re-offend, or that God will step in to make sure he cannot re-offend.

  19. Well stated. I’m always surprised at the incongruity of what we claim the gospel is about, followed by regular ‘practice’ that indicates we do not really believe in sin and total depravity nor the need for ongoing sanctification (also known as repentance and confession’ along with many other disciplines of Christian living). Ironically, in my 40 years of experience in the conservative, evangelical church one of the things I have no memory of is a church leader of any level ever saying anything like the following: “I’m sorry, I was wrong, would you forgive me?” or “I sinned when I did . . . Please forgive me.” or in time of prayer there was rarely any transparency or vulnerability exemplified. The culture was dominated by the Mastery model, while those (like me) trying to cope with multiple experiences of pain and failure inflicted by others, essentially you are left to figure it out for yourself. Anyhow, I still long for times when Christ’s church will be the living and loving example of what it means to live with honesty and integrity, with one another and with our watching world. God help us!

  20. Going Bonkers

    i am waiting for the day when church leaders will respond compassionately to the victims in these situations. Reading so many stories on this blog as well as the SGM Surivivors blog makes me realize how natural empathy seems to be missing. They go all nuts on the doctrine but seem to miss love somewhere along the way.