WINGS is aware of numerous highly credible allegations of child sexual abuse (CSA), and adult relationships including sexual abuse, by workers and members, together with worker actions to hide cases and avoid publicity. Due to legal issues, WINGS only posts reports of allegations and convictions that are available on public records.
For over a decade WINGS has been advocating for change to address Child Sexual Abuse within the fellowship. WINGS website records numerous convicted workers and friends, but is missing others due to lack of confirmed details.
The timeline below shows some of the major actions over the last ten years. It shows that there has been public awareness of the problem of child sexual abuse within the fellowship for many years, but, despite this knowledge
- There has been no unified standard position or approach to preventing and addressing CSA or supporting those impacted whilst within the fellowship;
- Overall response has been limited, with some areas implementing awareness and prevention training 10-15 years ago and others yet to do so;
- Areas that have introduced written policies, worker codes of conduct, and training are not transparent about compliance or breaches that are occurring;
- Despite some training and awareness, there have been ongoing efforts to hide and obscure details;
- There is no transparency about the management strategy to keep children safe where there are open allegations or convicted perpetrators;
- Support of survivors, and believing those speaking up, remains adhoc with victims not always being believed with some even being shut down and treated as mentally unstable;
- There is no indication that the issues surfacing in USA and Canada and also reported in UK, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Latin America are being communicated to and managed properly in all other countries;
- Workers continue to be moved between areas and countries without transparency about any allegations or behaviour concerns.
The 2023 notification that Dean Bruer, a previously revered worker and overseer, was a sexual predator and had spent a considerable amount of time and money in motels, unleashed a storm of reports on social media of other cases of abuse:
- So far 6 workers / overseers have been removed or stepped aside
- More than 250 cases of abuse have been lodged with a small team who are supporting victims and seeking to prevent further abuse – see https://www.advocatesforthetruth.com/
It is apparent that the global fellowship does not have adequate or consistent standards for dealing with child sexual abuse, or for inappropriate worker adult relationships. Despite being considered a unified worldwide fellowship, it is in fact managed as a series of local groups run by overseers who meet to achieve some alignment but are not fully consistent, neither as regards CSA, doctrine or acceptable practices.
|2013||A Code of Conduct was developed by WINGS, with the support of several workers and friends, and issued to provide a model for overseers to use in their various territories. https://wingsfortruth.info/2023/04/01/csa-code-of-conduct-2013/|
|2013||A concerned couple from Texas wrote to 43 overseers and several elders regarding child sexual abuse and sexual immorality among friends and workers https://wingsfortruth.info/breaking-the-silence-2/letters-from-friends-and-workers/usa-friends-to-workers-and-elders/|
|2014||A letter was sent to North Houston elders recording concerns about tolerance for Child Sexual Abuse and adult relationships by workers. https://wingsfortruth.info/further-letter-to-north-houston-elders/|
|2019 – 2021||Child Safety Codes and Policies were issued in Australian States Victoria, Tasmania, NSW, ACT, South Australia, Norther Territory, West Australia and Queensland. https://wingsfortruth.info/resources/|
|2021 March||British Colombia elders were issued a confidential letter regarding workers Walter Burkinshaw (under Police investigation) and Aaron Farough (charged and subsequently convicted). https://wingsfortruth.info/2023/04/09/merlin-affleck-letter-re-walter-burkinshaw-and-aaron-farough-march-2021/|
|2021||A Child Safety Policy and a Code of Conduct were issued to British Columbia workers https://wingsfortruth.info/resources/workers-code-of-conduct-british-columbia-2021/|
|2023 March||Overseer Doyle Smith issued a letter to friends confirming that overseer Dean Bruer, who had been found dead in a hotel room in June 2022, was a sexual predator including rape and abuse of underage victims, and that he had spent a considerable amount of time and money in motels. https://wingsfortruth.info/2023/03/24/letter-from-overseer-regarding-dean-bruer/|
|This announcement was followed by various letters from overseers about Dean Bruer, some with minimal detail and many having similar content. Some said that all brothers will now be taking the ‘Ministry Safe’ course (but no mention of sisters doing so). Some noted that the training was required every two years or so; had been done for a number of years; had been done for ten years… Some requested that the letter be not shared. https://wingsfortruth.info/breaking-the-silence-2/letters-to-friends-and-workers/|
|2023 March||Overseers announced that Mark Huddle would step down from being overseer due to allegations of inappropriate behaviour. This was later clarified to include abuse of children https://wingsfortruth.info/2023/04/07/dale-shultz-merlin-affleck-rob-newman-scott-rauscher-doyle-smith-darryl-doland-letter-to-wa-n-id-and-ak-elders-and-friends-april-2023-re-mark-huddle/|
|2023 April||British Columbia overseer Merlin Affleck held a meeting with elders in Kelowna BC to discuss child sexual abuse and sexual abuse|
|2023 April||Overseer Darryl Doland reported “I want to personally apologize for the times I have ‘tuned out’ the muted cry of a wounded, frightened person and left their plea for help unheeded. I am saddened and deeply sorry to know that my responses (or lack thereof) have hindered justice and/or healing in some way.” https://wingsfortruth.info/2023/04/14/darryl-doland-letter-to-wa-n-id-ak-workers-elders-and-friends/|
|2023 April||A couple who own convention grounds in New Brunswick issued a letter reporting emotional /psychological /narcissistic abuse and sexual misconduct by workers, and actions by overseers to cover up and dismiss the abuse. https://wingsfortruth.info/2023/04/16/adult-adult-abuse/|
|2023 April||A Canadian sister worker reported multiple cases of abuse by co-workers and actions to suppress knowledge of these activities, https://wingsfortruth.info/2023/04/22/letter-from-canadian-worker-alanna-mcdonald-to-friends-april-2023/|
|2023 April||Worker John VanDenBerg was removed from the work due to allegations of child sexual abuse. https://wingsfortruth.info/2023/04/25/letter-by-rob-newman-overseer-of-california-re-removal-of-john-vandenberg-from-the-work-april-2023/|
|2023 April||Quebec/Atlantic Province issued a ‘CSA Information and Resources’ document to friends. https://wingsfortruth.info/2023/04/25/letter-with-csa-information-and-resources-issued-by-ray-hoffman-to-quebec-atlantic-friends-april-2023/|
|2023 April||British Columbia friends wrote to workers with their concern about the multiple cases of sister workers leaving the work after being traumatised and disciplined for speaking out about CSA and SA cases in the past https://wingsfortruth.info/2023/04/26/letter-from-friends-to-overseer-merlin-affleck-and-vancouver-workers/|
|2023 April||Braydon Dutton was removed from the work due to inappropriate and unbecoming behaviour. https://wingsfortruth.info/2023/04/26/braydon-dutton-removed-from-work/|
|2023 April||John Mastin was removed from the work after confessing to sexually abusive behavior involving a minor during his time on Pohnpei. https://wingsfortruth.info/2023/05/01/wa-n-id-ak-workers-elders-and-friends-notified-that-john-mastin-is-leaving-the-work-due-to-child-abuse-in-pohnpei/|
|2023 April||South African worker Kingsley Stone was removed from Mt Ranch convention after concerns were raised by multiple sister workers. https://wingsfortruth.info/2023/05/03/message-from-rob-newman-california-overseer-re-removal-of-kingsley-stone-may-2023/|
Note: The table above is only some of the key events over the last ten years. There are also other important letters, convictions, charges, etc not listed.