Dear elders and friends in WA, N ID, AK,
Since Monday we have been gathering information with regard to the allegations against Mark Huddle. During this discovery process, sexual abuse incidents from seven different women have been brought to our attention, three of which involved children under the age of 12. We also visited with Mark in person, with Steve Peirson present. At this time we are not aware of any victims that are currently minors, but we regret to say that five of the seven incidents involved minors when they occurred. All things considered, the allegations against Mark are credible and serious.
The emotional and spiritual harm upon these victims has had a lasting negative effect. Although some people may think these actions (i.e. sexual touching through clothing) were not serious, the reality is that they have a very harmful effect upon young children and are considered by law to be a grave crime.
After gathering information about the allegations and communicating with all accessible, affected individuals, we consulted with CSA (Child Sexual Abuse) professionals for their advice. We brothers agree with their conclusion that Mark should not continue in the work. Mark has readily agreed to receive therapeutic help.
Let’s support all victims by respectfully listening without blaming. We fully intend to support the needs of the victims in every way we can and encourage others to feel free to come forward and report concerns. As all of the victims mentioned above are now adults, we respect their wishes regarding whether or not to report these incidents to authorities. Protecting the privacy and confidentiality of victims is of utmost importance.
We will be communicating more about these and other situations which pose safety risks to the community. We are learning from these experiences and are committed to increased safety. In the near future we will send communication regarding specific CSA issues, mandated reporter training and other necessary changes going forward.
We all grieve with the reality of this troubling situation, yet we know that God is still on the throne and we find solace in Psalm 61:2, “When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” We very much feel the hand of God working in recent events, leading us to be forthright about these issues, in the same way the apostle Paul did in 1Corinthians 5. God will help all who look to Him and His Son to go forward spiritually stronger and healthier.
Dale Shultz, Merlin Affleck, Rob Newman, Scott Rauscher, Doyle Smith, Darryl Doland
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