“I believe in Christianity, and my impression is that a system must be divine which has survived such insane mismanagement.” GK Chesterton tweet
I find it quite interesting how bloggers and journalists work together. Here is an interesting tweet from Barry Bowen of the Trinity Foundation.
Barry works at the venerable Trinity Foundation and is the man behind @pastorplanes. He is an all-around nice guy. His point is well taken and relates to this next story that involves me and my former church, Providence Baptist Church.
David Chatham, then
In 2009, I wrote a story in which one of the pastors at my church went to court to ask the judge for leniency in the sentencing of David Chatham. Chatham, a PR executive, was a rabid follower of child pornography. He finally got caught by the feds. I wrote HOW TO CURE A CHILD MOLESTER — BIBLE STUDY!
My illustrious former “Pastor of Counseling” said that Chatham was a great guy because he was now doing Bible study, which I assume my super duper former church thought was a great idea. The judge sent him to prison to do his Bible study.
I will quote from the article, but for my detractors who assume I lie about everything, here is the newspaper (We still had them back then) that I was quoting in my post.
From my post, there is a reason for all of this:
Imagine… A little girl, let’s call her Sarah, is held down by a man and forcibly raped. The horrendous scene is recorded on 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?
He knew he’d be caught and practiced what he would say.
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.
And he kept up the deal, becoming a good Christian after he was caught!
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.
This man viewed porno involving TODDLERS!
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 committed Christians also commit heinous acts?
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!
85% of imprisoned child porno offenders have also been found to have committed sexual abuse with children when arrested.
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, a side bar article entitled “Internet enables a dark crime” by Mandy Locke, 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%!
…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.
He’s “sick” and is really a good man…right?
Chatham’s wife was quoted as saying: “I see now that he’s sick. It’s like him having cancer. I couldn’t leave him in that state, and I can’t leave him like this.“ I am the mother of a child who suffered with a malignant brain tumor. I’ll bet I speak for many others out there. I wish that simply turning off the computer could have cured my child’s tumor. Gee, flick a switch and the cancer goes away. No, ma’am, this is not like cancer. Yes, it is a compulsion, but do not put it in the same category as cancer! That’s terribly unfair to those afflicted with this dreadful disease.
“She holds him tight and tells him that he is a good person, worthy of her love.” No, he is not a good person. He watched images night in and out, of toddlers, children and teens being tortured (yes, rape is a form of torture). This went on for 12 years!!!! He was not helpless. He admitted that he knew what he was doing was wrong. He could have sought help but chose to wait until he was arrested.
The Bible tells us that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. However, some sins have a greater effect on society than others. Children’s lives have been destroyed due to the activities of this man and others like him. Some of those children will go on to be the next generation of offenders (see our series on pedophilia). Good is not a word that should be used in this situation. Do you think the raped children would call Chatham, “a good man?”
US Attorney Exum shows he knows the deal with these cases.
Attorney Exum sad that all of the above testimony “wasn’t enough to make him different from the droves of men he sends to prison each year for defiling children by watching them be abused.” APPLAUSE!!!!!!!!!!!
These legal professionals seem to understand the effects and consequences of sexual sin that hurts children so much better than do many pastors and churches. They have seen it all, including false conversions, irreparably harmed children, and men who cannot overcome their sin.
OK-so, he’s off to prison. Case closed. Well, not exactly…You see, when the SBC is involved, it gets messed up.
Julie Roys contacted me and asked if I knew anything more about David Chatham. She was talking about “my” David Chatham from 2009. Here is his North Carolina Sex Offender registry.
Julie Roys discovered that this man had attended Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, where Danny Akin presides. My former pastors have close ties to SEBTS since it is located about 10 miles from SEBTS. Kim Roberts, writing for The Roys Report, posted Convicted Sex Offender Pursuing Ministry Training at Southern Baptist Schools.
Was he planning to become a pastor to senior people in assisted living facilities like my mom? Oh no. he had some big plans.
Now Chatham is pursuing ministry training at Southern Baptist schools. He was a student for several years at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in a ministry leadership program. Chatham currently says he’s been admitted as a ministry student at Liberty University, a school with informal ties to the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC).
Chatham claimed on his LinkedIn profile earlier this summer, which we’ve archived, that he was enrolled at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, in an online Master’s in Applied Ministry program.
After The Roys Report (TRR) asked Chatham about his enrollment, the reference to Liberty disappeared from his LinkedIn profile. Chatham told TRR that he had been accepted to Liberty but was not enrolled.
…Before applying to Liberty, Chatham was enrolled for several years at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) in Wake Forest, North Carolina, in its online Master’s in Ministry Leadership program. SEBTS claims its program will help students “develop strategies to maximize leadership impact.”
However, a source contacted SEBTS in April of this year, asking how a convicted sex offender was allowed into its master’s program. TRR has obtained correspondence showing that Chatham ceased to be a student at SEBTS as of July 6.
TRR reached out to SEBTS for comment about Chatham’s prior enrollment, but the school did not respond.
Maybe the good old boy network is still alive in the SBC. But it’s a little awkward, given the DOJ stuff and all\
Funny how Chatham was out from the SEBTS when this anonymous individual pursued the truth. If they read this, you have my profound respect.
This all started when someone at SEBTS raised questions about Chatham being allowed to enroll. This individual pursued answers from the seminary, which appears to have resulted in Chatham no longer being enrolled. SEBTS appears to have a policy about criminal background checks, but the results of such a background check don’t matter, especially when friends vouch for criminals.
The SEBTS website admissions page states, “Each applicant must authorize Southeastern to obtain a background check in order to satisfy the admission requirement. The only exclusion to the background check are special exemptions made for distance learning students who are admitted through a short application for one course off-campus.”
It continues, “If the background check indicates criminal behavior the applicant may not be awarded admission. Students may appeal the decision, and will have the opportunity to present information disputing the background check.”
Diane Langburg had something to say about this, as did I.
Chatham’s interest in a ministry degree raises questions about whether child sex offenders should ever be allowed in ministry positions. In a podcast with TRR in 2020, world-renowned trauma expert, Dr. Diane Langberg, argued that they should not be allowed in church settings, nor should they want to.
“(W)hen somebody really begins to understand who they have been, how they have deceived themselves and others, and the impact that they have had on vulnerable human beings, the person most afraid of them being around (a vulnerable) population is them,” Langberg said.
Dee Parsons, a victim advocate who runs The Wartburg Watch, wrote a post about Chatham in 2009. She told TRR, “If Chatham is truly a man of God, he would not want to put himself in a situation where he could be in touch with kids.”
I am furious about all of this.
- Chatham has found another way to be around kids in the SBC.
- SEBTS and Liberty are assisting him in his goal and being dangerously clueless.
- I would not be surprised if my former church and former pastors were involved, so I am asking around and will get to the bottom of this.
- SBC is a dangerous place for kids. I would have thought Danny Akin and the others would have learned their lesson given the Guidepost investigation.
My questions for Danny Akin and Liberty:
- Do you think a guy who watched toddlers being raped and violated for over 12 years should become a ministry leader?
- Do you think this guy is “cured?”
- Has it ever crossed your mind to consider that this man could have a new and trusting “hunting ground?”
- Why hasn’t this man vowed never to be around children again, or if he has, why haven’t you mentioned it?
One thing of which I am confident, God placed me into a church that would teach me all sorts of things about sex abuse, domestic violence, child pornography, and spiritual abuse. It was hard, but, by God, I learned.
I am grateful to Julie Roys for pursuing this. Barry was right. There is an online cooperation between truthseekers.