“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.” – C. S. Lewis
It’s time for the church and Christian community to realize that sexual abuse is a real problem even within our own congregations and friends. I still remember a former church which blew off the behavior of a volunteer as *locker room humor.* Not only were they wrong, but that pedophile is now in prison for molesting a group of young teen boys in that church. It wasn’t “locker room behavior.”
The same thing happened with those who observed the behavior of Jerry Sandusky, the famous Penn State assistant coach. How could a famous coach who started a charity for underprivileged kids ever do such a thing? He served kids. He couldn’t have molested them, could he? There are still people today who refuse to believe that he was a pedophile.
Many people do not understand (or do not want to understand) the red flags surrounding the behavior of people they love and respect. This is due to cognitive dissonance of which we have all been guilty at one time or another. We all like to see ourselves as smarter than the average bear. We believe that we can smell a rat or that we are excellent judges of character. So, when someone we care about is accused of bad behavior, we have a knee jerk reaction. “He couldn’t have done that. I would have known.” Deep down inside it’s hard for each of us to admit that we *fell for it.* It’s easier to deny it.
All of us have seen the arrest of serial killers on TV. The reporter asks the neighbors about their now infamous neighbor. I know you’ve seen their reactions of utter disbelief.
- “I can’t believe it. He always shoveled my walkway during storms.”
- “He held the neighborhood pot lucks.”
- “We watched the Super Bowl together.”
- “I knew him,. There must be a mistake.”
Yet, those of us who have read the Scriptures and understand the Gospel should not be startled when we find out that there is darkness in all of our souls. In my church, we remember our sinful nature and our need for repentance during this season of Lent. So why are we surprised by sin?
Things you should know about those who abuse children.
- The reason they succeed is they are charismatic and clever. Everyone wants to be their friend.
- Background checks are insufficient because they only expose those who have been convicted. Most pedophile/molesters, etc. are never convicted.
- It is not the fault of any organization which deals with children when a molester shows up.Where there are kids, there will be molesters. It is only the fault of churches and para church organizations when they do not carefully report their suspicions to law enforcement and refuse to allow for a third party, independent investigation.
- Everyone who is reading this most likely has a pedophile in their midst. We just don’t know it. I include myself in this statement. This is important to understand. I have been doing this for 10 years and I can still be fooled. The only difference is I know that I can be fooled so I am more likely to quickly suspend my disbelief when something happens.
What is grooming?
Grooming is how a potential abuser discovers who would be a perfect victim. This means a victim who will keep secrets. Abusers have tactics to con a victim into keeping their secrets. Sadly, the priest abusers in the Catholic Church would use their role as *God’s representative* to convince kids that what they were doing was something God wanted them to do.
I have been recommending the recently released two part documentary, Leaving Neverland, which deals with Michael Jackson and the accusations of child sex abuse. Warning: the descriptions are quite graphic. However, it clearly describes Jackson’s grooming behavior. He would pick out children as young as 5 and befriend them and their families, showering them with houses, trips, appearances on stage with him, etc. The actual molestation did not begin until the children reached the age of around 8. Jackson groomed these kids and their families for 3 years before he did anything. After three years of incredible adventures, the abuse would commence. It would last for a few years until the child aged out and that child would be abruptly dropped. Jackson would go onto the next victim who was in his assembly line of groomed victims.
What do I mean by red flags?
A red flag does not necessarily mean that the person who is being discussed is an abuser or a molester. It means that their behavior is worrisome. A red flag is a warning of potential danger.
Who is Tom Randall?
Tom Randall was a basketball player. He didn’t make it in the professional leagues in the United States but was able to play pro ball in the Philippines. He eventually started Sankey Samaritan Children’s Home. He returned to the States, leaving Sankey in the hands of Toto and would visit off and on. He eventually became the Chaplain for the PGA. In 2013, as concerns regarding Sankey became heated, he left that position and became a pastor at CCC. He appears to be highly revered and well connected in many Christian circles.
1. The red flags surrounding the behavior of Tom Randall towards Priscilla (Mauk) Leighton.
I spoke with Priscilla for 1 1/2 hours. She is now married and living the Phillipines with her husband and children. Priscilla is the daughter of Joe Mauk. Priscilla helped me to understand the missionary culture. For example, most missionaries did not participate in cock fights or the gambling that surrounded these bloody fights but Tom did. She explained that Tom created his own culture and people would often say “That’s just Tom.”
Please focus on the following as you read Priscilla’s statement.
- Tom insisted on giving everyone massages and claimed to be able to do *medical* massages. Priscilla’s massages involved the rubbing her breasts. She told me that he insisted that she take off her bra when he massaged her after an accident and that she endured several of these massages.
- He once pulled open her shirt to see what kind of bra she was wearing.
- He told Priscilla that he only carried her picture in his wallet until he *had to put one in of his wife, Karen.*
- He rented a hotel room for Priscilla and friend for prom night and spent the night with them in the hotel room without his wife.
- Tom frequently bought gifts and gave money to Priscilla and others. When she was in the 4th grade, Tom bought her a horse. Priscilla mentioned that missionaries have extremely low incomes and the parents couldn’t afford to buy them some of these extravagant gifts so these were special.
A few things Priscilla mentioned to me when we spoke.
He would take her shopping for clothes (without his wife) and insisted that she try them on for him.
- His name for a number of girls- Princess- and Priscilla was his “Favorite Princess.”
- Karen, Tom’s wife would count to three out loud if Tom was looking at a woman. When she hit 3, he had to stop. She would do this loudly in front of other people. Tom said the first look was appreciating God’s creation while the second look was lust. She would cut out the pictures of the women in swimsuits in his Sports Illustrated and this was talked about in front of others.
- Communication and money dropped off when she went to college.
- Tom was much less interested in her and her four sisters once they were in college.(I guess they aged out.)
I first remember Tom Randall from when I was about 10 years old (1991). He was a missionary who became a close friend of my father, Joe Mauk. As my parents’ close friend, Tom and Karen showed great interest in me and my sisters. But not all of us and not consistently. He showed us the greatest interest when we were teenagers. So, over all, we are talking about 20+ years of friendship between the Mauks and Randalls.
Being overseas missionaries in the Philippines, we did not have relatives nearby. However, unlike other many other missionary families, we never called people “Aunt” and “Uncle” who were not a sibling of my parents. I clearly remember the day that my parents met with us and we unanimously decided to call Mr and Mrs Randall, Uncle Tom and Aunt Karen. My family has no one else that close who bears that honour. Though everyone calls Uncle Tom, “Uncle Tom”, for our family, it was an honour only given to him.
My family’s ministries was two hours away from the missionary school that my sisters and I attended. It was a long ride over mountain roads. To help with the commute, we spent every Tuesday night with Uncle Tom and Aunt Karen. Aunt Karen was loving and practical, and so much like my mom. She was my mom’s best friend.
Tom and Karen were ministries partners with my Dad. They donated money to finish building “The Villa” as Caliriya. Half of the top floor was my families house, and the other half was Tom and Karen’s. The plan was that they would eventually spend more and more time out there. Uncle Tom wasn’t doing well with pollution and needed clean air.
Around this time, Uncle Tom started Sankey Samaritan Children’s Home. I remember by name and face the first kids to join. My mom and I would make regular trips to the home.. And Uncle Tom was always having groups of westerners over to help with the orphanage. Interestingly, I clearly recall that Tom’s reason for starting the orphanage was so that he would have a place to bring short term missionaries. Tom always did short term projects and there was some concern about him diving in to something long term. I also remember how odd it was when we were no longer welcomed at the orphanage and eventually, stopped going entirely. But this isn’t about the orphanage. It’s about Tom and me.
We spent Christmases together and Uncle Tom was always good for an adventure and great story. My parents had even told us that if they were do die, we would go to Tom and Karen. They were our Guardians. He would joke about my older sister, who’s a nurse, taking care of him in retirement. He just loved to buy me things. I think it’s safe to say he bought me whatever I wanted. When I was 12 and still getting to know him, he bought me a horse. I still remember the day that Dutches came to me in the back of a truck. But, Tom most especially loved to take me shopping. In 7th grade, the sister closest to me left the Philippines for college. Tom would make a fuss about her being beautiful and loved to buy her clothes too. As I grew older, his attention towards me intensified. He had a picture of me that he carried around in his wallet. I remember thinking that was kind of odd. Then he added a picture of Aunt Karen to the other side of his wallet. Friends from school would tell me they met uncle Tom and he showed them my picture in his wallet and really liked me. He called me “his princess” and was always complimenting my appearance. Since Uncle Tom didn’t have kids of his own, it seemed wonderful that he would treat me like a “daughter”. Though really, our relationship was not father-daughter at all.
In high school Uncle Tom and Aunt Karen moved back to America, but still frequently visited the Philippines. He took me shopping for school clothes and I always had to try on the clothes for him to see.
When they were still living in the Philippines, I remember a girl my age (teenager) came to stay with him and Karen. She was from Australia and had a beautiful singing voice. She was also his princess and she and I hit it off.I think I felt connected to her because he called her “Princess,” too.
Once Christmas, my sister gave me a push-up bra. Tom thought that was interesting and made a few jokes about it. Later that week we were walking along and he pulled open my shirt and looked down. I pulled away and said “Hey…. what are you doing?” He said that he was just checking what kind of bra I was wearing. I thought that was weird, but since he was such an amazing man, I thought it was okay.
My parents were very strict with me and boys. I was never aloud to be alone with a boy and boys were never allowed in my room.
When I was a freshman in High School, just my little sister and I were making the two hour commute to school with our driver. One morning, our driver tried passing on a hairpin turn and hit a jeepney full on. My knee crashed into my sternum and I felt like I was going to die. Our driver flagged down a jeepney and laid me on the floor. He took us to a “hospital” and called my parents. Uncle Tom happened to be visiting and immediately came to the rescue. Because we were Americans, some of the hospital people tried to keep us in and started claiming additional charges. Uncle Tom paid everyone off and got us out fast.
He was so worried about us. I was in alot of pain from the crash. My sternum hurt. Uncle Tom was very into massages. Because he was sporty, it seemed logical they he knew about injuries and massages. He insisted on giving a series “medical massages,” as he called them. I did not like this idea at all. It made me very uncomfortable, but, it seemed like what was necessary for healing. He was allowed in my room and would close the door all but an inch. My bed was behind the door. Before coming in he would tell me to take off my bra and prepare myself. I laid face-up while he massaged my stomach and chest under my t-shirt. I felt terribly uncomfortable but thought it was normal. I had never had a massage before so this must be what they are like, and people just love massages. He massaged around and around my breasts, touching everything but my nipple- therefore I thought nothing was wrong.
I never really thought about that again until 5 years ago when things came out about the orphanage. I was talking with my sisters wondering how Uncle Tom could allow something like that to happen. Then I reflected that as in adult now 32 years old, I have had dozens of massages, and not once did a massage person touch me like Tom did. So, I told my sisters for the first time. Then I told my Dad. He later told me that what made it even worse was Tom had asked his permission to give me a ‘medical massage’ and he had said yes. He had no idea that Tom told me to take off my bra etc etc.
Anyway, Uncle Tom continued to be a very special person. He gave me money for my prom dress and jewelry. Another time my best friend and I were going to a school party and getting all dressed up. He rented a hotel room for us to spend the night in with him after the party. And we did. My friend and I drank way too much iced tea at the party. We were up giggling in bed and needing to pee a million times. We wondered if he was awake in bed too and were very aware of his presence. It was uncomfortable but we got to stay in a really nice hotel room and only got to do that because of him.
I soon went off to college. That’s when our relationship ended. After all the attention, affirmation, and money, Uncle Tom was not interested in me anymore. I just didn’t understand it. I clearly remember my 3rd year of college. He was playing golf in Ventura. My boyfriend at the time, went to watch him play golf. We actually got engaged the following weekend. I was so excited to see Tom and could wait for him to hang out with my boyfriend and thought he would be so happy for us. However, he didn’t seem that happy to see us. In fact, it oddly felt like a break up. He told me that he had lots of princesses. Being the chaplain, he was giving a talk that night on the validity of scripture. He said he would introduce me to the group and I needed to introduce myself as Uncle Tom’s favorite princess. He said everyone would think that was funny because he had so many. I felt sick and couldn’t explain why.
After getting engaged, our parents and us agreed to have Uncle Tom officiate our wedding. He was our closest family friend. Then I never really saw him again. My husband and I bought a house in Chino California and soon had two kids. Tom was often preaching at a church 20 minutes from my house. I couldn’t fathom why he wouldn’t tell me he was there and never wanted to see me or my kids. Certainly a close family friend, my Dad’s best friend, would let me know when he was 20 minutes away. One time my Dad told me what services he was speaking at and said I could try to catch him. I didn’t want to. He had clearly cut me off. I decided that he was my Dad’s best friend and under no obligation to be nice to me.
In June of 2013, my little sister got married. Of course, Uncle Tom was asked to officiate her wedding. It was just months later that the whole thing with Sankey broke out. Understanding how close he was to our family should paint a picture of how serious it was.
What I know now is that that was not okay. I also know that research shows that men who blur lines and take certain liberties with underage girls generally repeat the behavior. There is rarely just one girl. And, Tom made it very clear to me that I was not his only princess. For this reason, and this reason only, I share my story. I hope that if there is anyone else out there with a similar experience, we can share our stories together and know that we are not alone in the confusion and hurt. I hesitate to share my story because Tom is “such a great guy” and no one would ever believe me. But, maybe one of us just has to go first. And maybe I’m that one of us.
2. Miriam (Mauk) Bongolan’s Story
Miriam’s story is not as explicit as Priscilla’s story. I believe that this is due to the fact that Miriam describes herself as not being too touchy feely. She had been like that since she was a child. Remember what I said about grooming behavior earlier in this post. The grooming process is used by molesters to scope out who would be a good victim. What is a good victim? One who is willing to keep secrets and who hasn’t developed sufficient boundaries. Once again, most children do not have a well developed sense of boundaries nor fully understand what constitutes abnormal behavior, particularly on the part of those who they trust.
Miriam and I spoke at length. She is the sister of Priscilla and the daughter of Joe Mauk.
Miriam said that Priscilla was always the particular favorite of Tom Randall. However, Tom also gave her money to go shopping. One day, he took her shopping when she was in 4th or 5th grade. He told her to buy something special. Miriam picked out a $100 Barbie horse. This was an enormous amount of money in her mind. Tom said he would get it for her but she would have to give him lots of hugs and kisses. She thought he was joking but he wasn’t. During that day, he would demand another hug or kiss at random. Miriam was quite uncomfortable with these requests and would try to pull back from the hug or give a quick peck on the cheek,
She was in the same accident as her sister and her leg was injured. Tom sat with her on the couch and started massaging her leg, all the way up to her thigh, claiming it was a *medical* massage. She was quite uncomfortable and felt awkward until he stopped. One other time she was sitting on the floor and he moved up behind her and bent over to massage her head. Again she was uncomfortable. Apparently his wife Karen would also massage her neck which also made her feel uncomfortable.
Over time, the massages ceased. However, Miriam said that Tom was constantly giving massages to other people as well as handing out money. She said that she thought Tom also brought people to massage parlors which was a common thing in the area.
One thing that she didn’t understand was that, when Karen and Tom returned to the States, they brought a young woman back with them who became Tom’s personal assistant. She believes that this was Toto’s daughter. Apparently, Karen Randall did not like to travel with her husband because she would be alone at hotels. So, this young woman would travel with him instead. (The Randalls did not have any children.)
3. Pete from Lucena comments on Tom Randall’s alleged inappropriate behavior.
I believe that our readers will find this section rather interesting. In January 2014, a blog called Deep Thoughts posted a story about the arrest of Tom Randall. However, it was the comment section that is important. They were able to track down Pete and ask him to clarify his comments. Pete, who served in the US Navy, is currently in touch with folks who are concerned about this situation.
Understand that Pete’s comment was precipitated by a blog post dealing with Tom Randall’s arrest. Pete allegedly noticed what he deemed to be Tom’s inappropriate behavior with some girls from the home when they were in a resort pool. Carefully note the time stamp on Pete’s comments. They were written @ 4 1/2 years ago.
Then, a commenter named Megan, responded to Pete’s comments a few weeks later, complaining about Randall’s inappropriate behavior. Approximately 2 years later, a commenter by the name of Dan, added a comment about Tom Randall’s *laughable* behavior on the PGA Tour. We have been unable to contact either of these individuals to clarify their comments.
Pete was contacted by a person who has been concerned with the Sankey/Randall situation. The following is his email to her dated 3/25/2019.
To clarify, I met Tom Randall at a resort (Kamayan Sa Palaisdaan Hotel) in Quezon province about five years ago. The meeting stuck with me because I had heard about his sexual abuse case from a friend. Apparently Tom had come back to the Philippines and I happened to meet him that day at the resort.
I saw him and he stood out because he was a foreigner like me so I approached him and introduced myself. He introduced himself as Pastor Tom Randall of Sankey Orphanage and I immediately knew who he was. He also made a point of telling me about his basketball background and said he had played professional ball in the Philippines. He was quite gregarious in the introduction.
Later I saw him in the swimming pool with the young girls, maybe around 15 to 18 years old. He was embracing one of them, she was straddling him in an extremely provocative position and I immediately felt uncomfortable. It’s not normal for a mature man to embrace and hold a young girl in such a manner, it looked and felt bad and as a Pastor he should have had the sense that what he was doing was inappropriate.It was too close, to intimate and definitely inappropriate by any standard.It’s been five years or so now, but I still remember that incident.Let me know if you need anything else okay?Pete
I’ve been writing this blog for 10 years and have had many opportunities to interview victims of sexual abuse or molestation. I totally believe the testimonies of Priscilla and Miriam and commend their bravery in coming forward. I am honored that they would be willing to share these difficult stories with me as well as with the readers of TWW.
There are many red flags when it comes to the alleged behavior of Tom Randall and these should be carefully weighed by the members and leaders in his church.
- Massaging the breasts of a teen girl after telling her to take off her bra
- Claiming that such massages are *medical massages.* (Why does this remind me of the Larry Nasser story?)
- Frequent gifts of money
- Taking girls shopping and asking them to try on their clothes for him (without his wife being present)
- Insisting that a girl give him hugs and kisses after he purchased an expensive gift for her.
- Sharing a nice hotel room with two teen girls without his wife being present.
- Having pet names for the girls
- Concerning behavior with girls in a resort swimming pool which caught the eye of an outside observer
At this point, I believe that there must be an independent, third party, investigation. I am also planning on submitting this post to Suzanne Lewis-Johnson and will request a statement from Tom Randall which will be posted if a response is received.
I also want to commend the team of people who have doggedly pursued the truth in this matter for years. The FBI couldn’t have a more savvy group of investigators. (Finding Pete was impressive.)
Also, TWW has a Prime Directive. I will not allow, in the moment section, any insults or disparagement of the victims in this post. All such comments will not be approved or, if they slip by, they will be deleted and the commenter chastised. It’s time for the church to learn how to support and care for victims who courageously come forward to tell their stories.
Thank you Priscilla and Miriam. Special thanks to Pete for communicating his concerns so effectively.
#metoo #churchtoo #ibelievethesankeyvictims