Eric Nelson – South Dakota, removed from meetings

WINGS Note: Eric Nelson is an elder in South Dakota who was recently removed from meetings due to allegations.

The notification from workers is posted below, followed by a letter from one of the victims.

Dear friends in SD,

It is our understanding Eric Nelson of Edgemont, SD has allegations of CSA (child sexual abuse) against him. We are also aware of an allegation of texting and requesting lewd material with an adult female.

We have asked Eric to not attend any meetings through the remainder of 2023. We will revisit the situation then.

We encourage any victims to reach out to the following resources or to speak to someone you can trust. RAiNN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) is an anti-sexual violence organization.

They can be visited at . RAINN also operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE for adult victims of sexual abuse.

The number to report CSA in SD is 1-877-244-0064.

We are sorry to share this sad news. This is a public matter.

Perry Pearson
Paul Haakenson

Victim’s story

I am a victim. Not just a victim of sexual abuse, but a victim of a system that protects, defends, and provides the perfect breeding ground for CSA. This system repeatedly failed me as a preteen and caused lasting damage. I wanted to share my story.

When l was 12 years old a young couple moved to my hometown and started going to meeting with my family. The man was charming, funny and endearing. Little did I know that he was purposefully and methodically laying the groundwork to abuse and beginning the grooming process. He quickly became good friends with my dad and brothers. Joining them on hunting, fishing trips etc. Him and his wife also would have us over often for “young kids get together” and even staying overnight with us kids so my parents could have a night out. Which is when the abuse began.

A few years went by, and during that time they continued to be close with my family as well as other young families and couples in the area. They also took the steps to become foster parents, and eventually he became the president of the Foster Parent Association in our town. He was well liked and respected.

All the while he had me in his sights, he had gained the trust of church members, my family and friends, and now he had access to me whenever and however he wanted. He got to be so brazen in what he was doing that eventually everyone knew what was going on. At one get together someone was wondering where he was and his own wife told them to go find me and that’s where he would be as well. He also admitted his crimes to another adult professing man, who in turn treated it like a fun piece of gossip and not the gross sexual abuse it was. Every single adult turned a blind eye and refused to protect me.

One of the hardest things for sexually abuse survivors to grapple with is blaming themselves. I was an insecure preteen and what I can clearly see now was abuse, at the time felt like love and attention. One of the greatest weapons abusers use is the ability to make it feel like it is your fault and therefore you keep silent.

It was a couple years of this abuse, when finally his wife eventually discovered evidence on his computer of his abuse towards me and as well as other girls. I called her up and tearfully apologized. All she said was he was an adult and should’ve known better and it was never spoken about again.

I was forever changed. It affected every aspect of my life. I lived with constant guilt that I was a homewrecker. I was 14 when it ended. 14 years old with the entire blame on my shoulders. And I carried that burden with me for years.

But that’s only half of the story. The second half begins when in adulthood I began to heal, I went to therapy where I finally grasped the gravity of the situation. The heaviness. How absolutely not ok it was. How it was NOT my fault. How not a single adult at the time who knew with the utmost certainty that this was happening was not willing to protect a child. How the church had created a culture where you turned the other way and “let God deal with it”. I learned of more friends and workers who knew what was happening but chose not to believe it. My therapist was required by law to report the abuse to the authorities but of course the statutes of limitations had run out and there was nothing that could be done legally. That lit a fire under me to not ever let this man hurt another girl. But I had an uphill battle.

In the town where this man and his family now lived there were lots of young girls. He had also been made the elder of a Sunday morning meeting. I made it my mission to make sure they were aware of what this man was capable of. But it was met with lots of backlash and no one wanting to be the one to rock the boat. I eventually met with the overseer of my state and told him and another brother worker my story. The overseer then consulted with the overseer in my home state and together they decided because he was a foster parent he would’ve taken classes on Child Sexual Abuse and surely learned from that. I was absolutely flabbergasted. He had abused me AFTER he had taken these classes and If you need a class to teach you sexually abusing children Is wrong you are a danger and every parent in the church deserved to know what he was capable of. But there was still great hesitation, I was even told that the girls living in the area were “good girls” and they wouldn’t “let” him do anything to them. Finally they agreed to talk to him and take the meeting out of his home, as well as make other families in the area aware.

Two brother workers went to meet with him and his wife There were sister workers in the field at the time, they did not tell the sisters why they were meeting with him. Apparently that wasn’t important information for two women who were going to be staying in this man’s home to know. Not to mention, this piece of information was never passed on to incoming workers to the field and a meeting was eventually placed in his home again, as the new workers had no knowledge of these events.

One of the brothers met with me after their visit and spoke so highly of this man. He had admitted to all the allegations and admitted to having a problem with young girls. These brothers then spent a wonderful weekend in his home and were so encouraged by his progress. I felt their feedback spoke volumes to the level of deceit and manipulation predators are capable of, which is what makes them so dangerous. He knew exactly what these brothers wanted to hear.

These days this pedophile has children that are teenagers. I know of parents of teenage girls who are unknowingly sending their daughters on road trips to this mans home for “young kid get togethers” with his kids and my heart just sinks. I don’t want ANYONE to go through what I went through and I feel like it is impossible to protect children in the current church climate. I wanted to add my story to the chorus of many others. Unfortunately, my story is not unique and my heart breaks for every single person who has been violated at hands of someone who portrayed themselves as a Godly professing person and then felt hopeless, helpless and defeated by everyone who stood by and did nothing. You are believed and you deserved better.

38 thoughts on “Eric Nelson – South Dakota, removed from meetings

  1. On behalf of all the good people that are desperately standing up and being counted. I am so, so sorry for all your trauma. Thank you for sharing your story – I feel disgusted and ashamed in the fellowship I belong too. What a terrible evil state of affairs. It’s so true that “Evil prospers when good people say nothing” Gutless people who don’t have the courage to stand together against evil.
    “Judgement is mine says the Lord”
    Their time will come.

  2. I’m beyond sickened they are only taking him out of fellowship til the end of the year!!?!! What is wrong with these men?! If you have this bad of judgement go home! He never needs to be around kids again, he’s sick and will never change! They are not able to be rehabbed

  3. Thank you for having the courage to share your story. I believe you. I believe everything you shared. Your voice is really important to helping us who haven’t experienced this first-hand to understand how hurtful and damaging this can be for so many years. Many of us are thinking every day, hours of every day about you the 1000+ survivors of this despicable man made disaster. I will stand with you firmly against this evil. Have you considered suing him even though the statute of limitations has past? If the law will not hold him accountable, perhaps that is another way to try?

    I agree with NM Momma and Sad Friend. I am equally disgusted with the lack of commitment to hold perpetrators accountable forever. I will not accept this evil status quo. How could this be confusing to people? Did the people surrounding this scumbag not take the training? Harboring a fugitive is a crime. This man belongs in jail for a very long time, and is a criminal. He will not change. Enablers and cover-up people are also guilty of crimes. How can you claim to have a spirit that is anything like Christ’s without having compassion for the needy, and the children that are reaching out for help? Who can they turn to if not us? What sort of devious, evil mentality does it take to turn away from a child in need, to instead protect the criminal? This man did not sin, he committed crimes as a pedophile and has multiple victims!! God HATES what this man has done. The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord. May this man be remembered forever as the scumbag he is.

    • Response received 5/25PM via e-mail:

      “Thank you for reaching out. I have shared the following email with the SD friends this afternoon.

      Perry Pearson

      Dear friends,

      This letter is to provide clarification and an apology for any misunderstanding I created in my prior letter. We are prepared to take a firm stand against CSA. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact any of the Dakota workers. As workers, we are seeking to be available, compassionate and attentive to your needs and concerns.

      On Monday May 22, 2023, I shared a letter with the SD friends stating that I was aware of allegations being made against Eric Nelson and the plan moving forward. Questions have arisen regarding the statement that Mr. Nelson not attend any meetings for the remainder of 2023.

      In trying to establish a standard practice for CSA, I sought legal counsel. It was legally advised that we restrict alleged perpetrators from ALL fellowship for a “specified length of time”. It was suggested that 6 months to a year would be appropriate to see what information is gathered. If there is a court case, there will be clear legal guidelines and restrictions for fellowship. If there isn’t a court case, then we will have to decide what is appropriate moving forward. What will be appropriate is what is the safest for all in attendance. I did not state that Mr. Nelson will be freed from all restrictions and able to attend meetings in 2024.

      All of the friends in SD, particularly those presented with this situation, have been notified regarding allegations against Mr. Nelson. This was with the purpose that potential victims would be notified of the allegations to prevent future harm and any additional victims would be encouraged to come forward.

      We workers deeply care about these issues, and we make a passionate plea for all victims of CSA/SA to seek resources to begin a healthy journey toward recovery. The Dakota workers support you and will respect your confidentiality in this process. The following resources have been recommended by a professional in the field.


      Perry Pearson

      RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) is an anti-sexual violence organization. They can be visited at RAINN also operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE for adult victims of sexual abuse. The number to report CSA in SD is 1-877-244-0864.

      An alternative resource is the National Suicide and Crisis hotline: 988 They can also assist you in finding appropriate resources.”

      • Perry,
        Thanks for the clarification in this matter.  I appreciate there are some overseers working hard on this issue.  Given the unprecedented scale of this man-made disaster(250+ perpetrators/ 1000+ victims as of a few weeks ago), the issue MUST not go away before real systematic changes are accomplished in North America if not worldwide.  The more people in different roles we can have who FIRMLY share our resolve in this, the faster, and more thoroughly we can put this to rest so it doesn’t rear its ugliness again in such a terrible way.  Our current overseers on the west coast are doing an excellent job collaborating with 6 or more professionals and each other to clarify what our policies will be (training, awareness notification, child safe, code of conduct & zero tolerance implementation for CSA/SA) and to work with the team of professional investigators at  I know there are others scattered throughout North America who share our vision for a better future and are working to help shape that.  It can’t be easy to be an overseer at a time like this, and I’m glad you have someone to help you.  
        As involved parents, many of us have a VERY protective stance on this issue, for good reasons.  While recognizing a shared responsibility for keeping our children safe, we rightfully have expectations on what properly handling these CSA/SA issues entails from our real world experiences in schools, sports, the work place, etc.  We want only the best for all of our children, and we trust that there are many workers who feel the same. Our relationship with our heavenly father is an allegory of the way good parents feel towards their children.  That’s why the involvement of good parents who are firm in their resolve is so important on this issue.  A few of us parents have recognized a spotty response in states to CSA/SA and will be collaborating to develop a couple thoughts within scripture on how to help overseers regionally during this new era of change and accountability for handling CSA/SA. The accountability part for grossly mishandling cases in the past has been mostly missing (with a few exceptions) in past outbreaks, and cannot remain the way it was in the past if we are going to accomplish the change that is needed. What I mean by that, is those with a mindset of covering up in the past, need to not be handling CSA/SA matters going forward. We have to change the mindset at the highest levels, if we are going to properly shape the future.
        It appears CSA/SA perpetrators tend to move around a lot across both state and national borders as a tactic for covering their tracks.  People in new areas are then clueless as to who they really are.  Additionally, it makes the work investigators do so very important as they can gather CSA/SA incidents from people scattered throughout the country or even the world. Additionally, that team is the only one I’m aware of at the moment that is collecting donations to help the 1000+ victims with therapy, etc. Obviously we should be practicing compassion towards victim-survivors.  For these reasons it is very important to share the link with people in your area.  It feels like there has been reluctance to do this in most(?) states.  Please help us change that.
        Thanks again (One of many)

  4. Perry Pearson and Paul Haakenson, please pay attention. You are going to want to listen to what this victim and the rest of us are saying. A time out for Eric Nelson is not appropriate. This is not pre-school. Eric has not made a boo-boo. Eric Nelson has done evil for years, and has continued his evil ways. He will be remembered as evil forever. I am at least as mad at you as I am at Eric’s disgusting behavior. In fact, I am almost more angry at you who should know better. How dare you! God does not wink at the evil you are suggesting…. maybe bringing Eric back after 2023! Expel this criminal forever. Read your Bibles in a modern translation ICor5-9 please, right away. Read it again and again. Pay close attention to chapter 5. Paul expelled the evil from among them FOREVER without even being there in person. Multiple professing professionals are recommending the same thing. You would be wise to do the same. Are you ignorant? Have you continued your education? Have you taken the training? If so, take it again, and pay closer attention this time. Read the victims story again. Try to practice compassion and empathy. Where is the love of God in what you are suggesting? I expect an update on or before May 25th clarifying your long-term intentions for the disgusting excuse of a pedophile that is Eric Nelson. If you cannot change your position, I will need to dig further into why that might be. And please, apologize to this victim for your lack of care in this.

    Can someone please make sure Perry Pearson and Paul Haakenson see this message pronto? The deadline is May 25th.

    • Professing father…. AMEN!!!!!! I hope your message makes it to perry and Paul. I am mortified beyond words at this. I cannot imagine if this were my daughter… Aarrhghhh every time I read this I get more disgusted with all of this behavior, and mostly with the workers not dealing with it appropriately. More people need to rise up like us! Complacency and cheek turning is OUT OF HAND. He admitted he has a problem & is a perpetrator, let’s get him out of fellowship where he has access to a smorgasbord of kids.

      To the victim…. Our hearts Bleed for you. Please know by coming forward we will fight for you, sending you much love

    • Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim.
      Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”
      To those who abuse: the sin is yours, the crime is yours, and the shame is yours.
      To those who protect the perpetrators: blaming the victims only masks the evil within, making you as guilty as those who abuse.
      Stand up for the innocent or go down with the rest.
      In order to escape accountability for their crimes, the perpetrator does everything in their power to promote forgetting.
      If secrecy fails, the perpetrator attacks the credibility of the victim.
      If they cannot silence the victim absolutely, they try to make sure no one listens.

      I will again and again post these words written by professionals. Then those who read the above can’t claim ignorance.

      These perpetrators are only remorseful because they have been caught – very very few are repentant.

    • “The haters are coming out” this is a the response I get from friends who bury their heads in the sand. It makes me so angry. Some ar, however their are a lot that have great reason to be.
      May we all show them the support, compassion and kindness they deserve.
      I’m glad so many friends a coming out and voicing their concern. I pray more rise up.

      We have a perpetrator who has been known about for years. Even spoken to by workers, who then on his response, without asking others around the area take his word. 😳 Totally appalling.
      They now confront him and with no idea of the damage he has done, decide we will give him time out and review things at the end of the year.
      What about them realizing the horrific damage this ABUSER has done. Has Perry asked the Workers in the area to speak to all the parents and make a effort to seek out victims? Or is he sitting back waiting to see what the fall out is.

      NY Times 450 offenders and 1900 known victims. have 250 perpetrators plus so far. That’s at least 1250 victims that will possibly come forward. Possibly more because we are so small as a church.
      It is know by Law Enforcement that MOST don’t.
      The Overseers have a storm coming, a day of reckoning which will show up their incompetence and sadly bring total shame on the Church which we have to live with.
      This will be on their heads and the perpetrators.

  5. Perry recently was the “older worker” in the Appleton, WI “field” that had two known CSA offenders (Ferguson and Turner) attending meetings and two others in the state attending meetings (Thompson and Bontrager). He then shipped out to SD and is apparently the new “overseer” in that state. Gasser recently was the “overseer” in SD and had to know about the CSA offending “elder” in Edgemont, SD (Nelson) and his long sordid history. Gasser, now the “overseer” in WI, insinuated in his March 2023 letter that all 2×2 activity in SD and WI was as pure as the wind driven snow. To have Perry and Gasser in charge of SD and WI, respectively, is like having the fox guard the hen house.

    • Both Perry and Gasser, in fact all the overseers and elders, who have sheltered or are complicit in CSA should step aside immediately. For cleansing and change to even begin to happen you have to remove all the infected cells else it will just continue to fester and grow!

    • While this is all true and i agree with you, it needs to be known that Troy Thompson was also a victim as a very young child, abused by an elder. It is all so horrific!!

  6. Thank you Spartan. That helps a lot. That fits a pattern of behavior that is similar to other cover-up people who are themselves criminals. We had 3 former overseers consecutively in CA who mishandled CSA cases. Two of them are now known criminals.
    Folks, if Perry and/ or Paul have a history of this type of cover-up behavior, please help expose it in this forum. We could have another Dale Schultz among us, and it needs to be taken care of now. Don’t let it fester any longer.

    • Could you say who the 2 overseers who are known criminals? I am new to the California field and it seems that things are kept very very quiet here.

      • I should probably have been more careful in my first response to you, and used the word “alleged” rather than “known” here to be more correct. ET and DS are the two “alleged”. DM also mishandled the RM case, but I am not aware of anything more on him. Talk to someone you know who has lived in CA 20 years and they will be able to sus out who these individuals are.

    • Professing father, I have an email address for the worker responsible for taking Eric out only til the end of the year, if wings can facilitate you contacting me, I will get it to you!

      • NM momma, you are awesome! Thank you so much. Wings has my permission to give you my e-mail address. Better yet, the investigators at have my permission to share my cell phone number with you. When you contact the investigators, please share this information and any other subtle behaviors surrounding this person with them as well. It may become important to a subsequent investigation.

    • You are very welcome. Perry needs to take the allegations regarding Mr. Nelson’s CSA issues to the SD State Police. It is not Perry’s choice to “suspend” Nelson for seven months from the 2x2s- this is a very serious law enforcement issue. Gasser, the former SD overseer, now of Wisconsin, also needs to step up and report what he knows about Nelson to the police. If not, all three may spend time together behind bars. The current overseer of Kentucky was locked up for a very similar CSA coverup. The trial transcripts and his mug shots are on the web.

  7. 5/23/23
    Please read The NY Times article today about clergy abuse of minors in Illinois. Responsible overseers and elders: Unless you wish to be front page news, you need to step up, clean up – and quickly.

  8. I feel utterly ill reading your story and I’m so so sorry for what you endured, none of which was “your fault”. It’s absolutely disgraceful. The time has come for the abuse to end in this church.

  9. SS, thank you for asking. Eldon Tenniswood lays in his grave now accused of molesting 2 boys. Eldon covered for Steve Rohs. Richard (aka thingy as some have referred to him) Middleton mishandled the CSA case regarding Reuben Mata for several years. After writing a document that wiggles out of following the law or doing the morally right things for CSA/SA, Dale Shultz has basically committed what amounts to child sex trafficking across borders over 30 years, including Johnny VDB’s case where instead of moving the children around, he has moved the perpetrators around knowingly. He has failed to relay perp identities to new overseers. There are very serious incidents where Dale himself did other things that no innocent person with a conscience would do, and which are in themselves crimes, but I won’t reveal those here to avoid tainting the investigation. When we get a chance to have Dale confess to his crimes, we have a long list to check his confession against. The investigators are aware of those things.

    If Dale showed up to my meeting or my front door, I would place him under citizen’s arrest. I would follow him down to the local police station. I would call the investigators at and together we would make a police report. Dale’s case would then likely be handed off to an FBI task force, and Dale would be escorted to his new home where he belongs.

    I am more convinced than ever with the news out of WI and SD the past couple days that we have more Dale Schultz’ among us. They like to cover and defend each other, keeping each other’s secrets and casting doubt on survivor stories. They repeatedly make decisions that defy logic and common sense. They lack empathy and compassion towards survivors. They are subtly psychopathic, manipulative and good at convincing people otherwise. They tend to be liked by many, powerful or active in their communities, but have a very dark partially hidden side. Training helps a lot to recognize these subtle behaviors. Some of what we are witnessing is the corruption of unchecked power. It’s long past time to hold these people accountable.

    • It’s sad but I am not surprised at all by the constant covering up which is why this issue is so rife and we are standing at a crossroads.

      I strongly believe the church must unite and take a stand here and now and demand that those overseers that have allowed this evil to fester be removed. We have to be willing for strong action as those who cling to power will not give it up easily.

  10. Seriously, they ASKED this man not to “attend meetings “, that is so weak and pathetic!! I’m utterly disgusted by their response. Kick him and any other abuser out. The workers have plenty of time to go visit them in their own homes or prison!!
    I’m 5th generation and thankful my dear grandmother passed on before knowing this filth.

  11. The same happened here in Alaska, this April in our meetings. The worker said, “I am prepared to ask you to call in” to which the convicted child molester said “no” and went on to lament about how he had been outcast for years and had served his time. The abuser believes that he should be allowed access to the children and is being extremely manipulative. I am trying to get a restraining order but have been not supported by the workers up here. The response from the workers has been so passive that it feels fake.

    • They are being neither wise nor harmless in their passive handling of this, but not everyone is made the same, and they sound like they cannot yet be counted on to take the firm action needed. I really like your initiative in trying to get a restraining order. Can you provide some context on this? For example, why do the workers need to be involved in getting one? Does it strengthen the case? Is this man coming to your home for meeting or in a home that you meet in? If not yourself, is there someone you know that would feel comfortable telling him he is no longer welcome – never come back! Preferably a group of 2-3 of you? We don’t want to ask permission for what we believe in our conscience to be right. If there is fallout from having done that, so be it. At least the right thing has been done in your conscience before God.

  12. Good grief, y’all are sounding like a witch hunt – burn em all at the stake, make sure to include all of the workers good and bad so that you don’t miss any of them. As angry as we are at all the coverups – and I know that so many have been abused and hurt. But it’s not like anyone is going to take these kinds of over-the-top comments seriously. The ministry and any youth connected professions will always be a magnet for those who are driven by their sick problems. Part of the huge problem is that victims often develop “victim behavior” as a result of the trauma, which can make them seem a lot less credible. And successful groomers are often quite gifted at coming across as trustworthy. It’s not been until recent times that professionals have been able to more accurately understand how victim behavior changes after trauma. This is no excuse of course. None of the apostles took Mary Magdalene seriously when she told them that Jesus had risen again. But Jesus took her part and upbraided them for not believing her. Everything that everyone wants done costs time and resources. Everyone wants change but no one is willing to shell out the time or the money/etc to make it happen. Providing enough security/oversight at conventions so that the parents don’t have to have any responsibility for their children is going to require some administration and money. You say that there is loads of money in the work but the greedy ones won’t help the overworked ones – this is just punishing the good ones. Another problem is that workers used to be a lot more strict at conventions, going around at night looking under all the bushes for lovers and drinkers – night nazis, we called them. It was so unpopular that the workers were discouraged from that. So now we need more night nazis. I hope that the workers can at least also give us something decent in the meetings after being up all night. And – asking a perp to go on the prowl for other perps – that’s just what he’s looking for. More regulations is good for perps – lets them give the appearance of piety while punishing those that are truly trying to do a good job. Thank you to those who have had good constructive suggestions. Stop these things before they happen – education and empowerment creates accountability. Young workers need to feel they have a right to rat on their companion. Young children need to feel they have a right to question the behavior of would-be peers and groomers. I remember when my older cousin would take me out back and teach me many things about life. Fortunately I didn’t feel comfortable. He showed me his thingy and wanted me to show him my private. I knew to run. He tried to get a hold of me but I ran fast. It wasn’t him that abused me. It was a very domineering girl my age that did (we were both under 8 years old), in the bathroom at a potluck after union meeting. My mom would come down and yell at me to behave – telling me that if I was a good girl I should know better. So this girl used that against me. Saying you can’t yell or your mom will punish you. So whose fault was this? I felt guilty for years, until I got old enough and took time to really process it and realize that it was definitely not my fault. That’s why we have to educate the children and their parents and the workers and the elders and everyone in between, so that they can learn how to get out of situations. I worked in a male dominated profession for years and if a man thinks you’re smarter than he is, the first thing he wants to do is dominate you sexually. I learned ways to diffuse the situation, usually with humor, that didn’t debase him in any way, because I feared in his anger he would hurt me. Is it fair that I as the weaker one had to learn how to protect myself? Absolutely. That’s the law of nature. It doesn’t excuse the terribleness of the would be perp. But (s)he’s not going to get his/her way on me if I can by any means avoid it. I learned my lesson young (I’m in my 50s now). I truly believe that proper empowering education could have helped me as a little child. You lazy parents that put your children in harm’s way and expect others to take care of them for you, shame on you. Then when he/she is victimized YOU act like the victim and steal the limelight (appalled at what another’s done) How fair is that to your children? The girl next door might be your daughter’s worst nightmare. But you can’t keep your daughter locked up – that’s replacing one evil with another. Teach her so that she can be free to play and love life, and yet be mindful of the signs of impending harm. Let her know that you’ll believe her. Obviously children learn how to play that game really fast. So they also need to learn the evils of false accusation so that they can be taken seriously when something truly happens.

    • To “Not impressed with lazy parents” …
      I’m so sorry that you had bad experiences in childhood that are still influencing your current responses to those struggling with atrocities in the fellowship of friends and workers. It is wonderful that you were able to survive but your contempt for concerns expressed on this forum says more about you than about so called “lazy parents”.
      You state “y’all are sounding like a witch hunt – burn em all at the stake, make sure to include all of the workers good and bad so that you don’t miss any of them.” Where did you get this? Perhaps it’s been triggered by your own sense of betrayal by the people in your life who should have protected you. You may think that if you got past it, then everyone else should be able to as well, regardless of situation or depth of depravity.
      Direct your righteous anger and distain toward the predators and the people in positions of power who protect them, and are complicit in allowing harm to continue for decades. There is no evidence, so far, that these concerns are unfounded or that children or adults have made false accusations.

      • Dear Also Concerned,
        It was kind of you to respond to my frustrations at what I am reading in the posts. I was certainly not trying to downplay the effects of the abuse and cover ups. And I suppose it’s fair to be angry at “the work” because even in a business all of the employees get to bear the anger of a client regarding the bad work of one employee. But it hardly seems correctly directed righteous anger to condemn the guiltless. The problem is that when it is simply not true, it doesn’t help the cause in any way. Likely there are plenty of workers that are victims as well. Being under authority automatically makes one vulnerable. But I did recognize that there were those here that are in fact keeping a clear head, and pushing realistic solutions. However, I unfortunately made my own point, because you couldn’t get past that first sentence that I wrote, in which I expressed my frustration towards everyone at how often the whole work was being condemned for the errors of some. And why didn’t the parents call the cops? Because they were also victimized by the horrible keep-quiet mindset of the day. Just like many well meaning workers were. Both parents and workers were complicit in covering things up. It’s not right on either account. Just because we feel horrible at how we or our children were treated doesn’t mean we don’t bear our share of the blame.
        I do take exception to the way that you are judging things when you say that “There is no evidence, so far, that these concerns are unfounded or that children or adults have made false accusations.” This is simply a different way of stating “guilty until proven innocent.”
        That doesn’t mean I don’t judge based on tendencies. A reputation of a person or a group towards certain tendencies does mean extra care in those regards.
        There are also ways to make people feel validated and heard even before their allegations have been proven true. Because, always acting on every allegation and accusation as if they are true is not fair either. It’s unfortunate that there are those that abuse the system. I tend to believe it’s likely because they were truly abused in one way or another beforehand and have lost faith in humanity. Sometimes the only way to relieve the pain is to hurt someone else. :’-( Perhaps people unloading here and feeling heard by those who understand is a validation of sorts.
        Those that are pushy and loud can bring about some changes but it’s those that can keep their head that can bring people to their knees. Our ministry will always be a magnet for groomers due to the nature of the way they live in homes and also go from home to home. I’m not convinced that scripture requires this. Maybe the workers working in foreign countries have more issues but less legal issues and therefore get away with more? But still, I would say that having a bach for all sets of workers is not a bad idea in our day and age. It would take away a very special part of our connection with our dear workers but there isn’t any reason they can’t stay all evening with us and then head back to their bach for the night. It’s just that it will eat up a lot of their time.
        To me the one thing that will never create controversy and always make an huge difference and not cost much if any money – education leading to empowerment.

  13. I am so sorry for all you went through. The workers should have called authorities immediately. They should have supported you, comforted you, got you counseling and should have listened to you.
    Shame on anyone that allows this to happen.

  14. To not impressed… I have not been a lazy parent, I know there are some but this grooming was taking place after our Sunday morning fellowship meeting and when I recognized if for what it was, I asked to have my family put in a different meeting. Four weeks later the worker was still trying to “decide” what to do. We met with the sex offender and the workers and he was angry and accusatory. It is easy to sit back and tell someone they should have toughened up but the problem is that the workers are using our faith against us and we are being told to forgive and be kind. I didn’t wait until he molested my children, I saw grooming behaviors and called them what they were, only to be minimized and to have to make the choice to continue in that meeting, stop going to meeting or go over the workers head and find my own meeting. Which is what I did, but then there are “punishments” for doing that as well. This is following the pattern of what I have heard from so many about being ostracized if you speak up. This is being swept under the rug with nobody sharing with the friends up here the real reason that I changed meetings. Most of the friends up here believe the gossip train that he was asked to leave meeting because I found out about his past, the real reason is that he was after my kids. I could scream that from the rooftops but if the workers won’t back me then I will just be seen as a problem maker. If the worker had testified for me in court, I would have easily gotten a restraining order. The judge said that my being in meeting with him was consent. The worker was in the meeting when we confronted the sex offender and could have testified for me that we had very specific conditions and he was not to have any contact with the children. The problem to me is the “authority” over us is not being responsible with it. So many stories of kids being molested when they were not “doing the wrong thing” or in the wrong place but were taken advantage of by someone they should have been able to trust. We parents have put our trust in someone that we SHOULD HAVE BEEN ABLE to trust. The problem is the sexual behavior, not the innocent children that somehow should have known that an adult was going to molest them. Molestation by a peer is a different issue, the one we are up in arms right now about is the intentional cover up of adult sexual offenders and workers in the top positions of authority in our fellowship and the exploitation of the children. I agree there are multiple layers of issues, but if we deal with them all at once it will be too much. Educating parents is necessary to deal with the problems, recognizing grooming patterns and knowing how to turn them in, but we need to weed out the untrustworthy leadership as well.

    • Good for you for protecting your children, for having the bravery to face this head on and for speaking up.

      The workers that minimize this behavior are wrong. It makes me angry and im not afraid to fight them on this. Working with abused and neglected children for 11 years I feel like I have a responsibility to do whatever I can to protect our children and all the victims out there.

      I will not knowingly be in a meeting of any kind if there is a perpetrator allowed to attend. I do not care if they’ve “repented” that is between them and God.

      The success rate of a perpetrator being reformed is an extremely small percentage, possibly around 1%.

      We have to fight this battle and not allow it to be silenced.

    • Jennifer, Thank you for sharing all that you have. I didn’t respond other places you wrote, but I don’t think you are a lazy parent at all. You’ve done everything in your power to protect your children in spite of the pushback. I wish we had more like you. You didn’t just blindly follow the workers’ advice – you also realized that you were between a rock and a hard spot with not having enough evidence to convince the judge. And yet you saw the red flags and you weren’t willing to sit back and wait till after the damage was done. Also, you were willing to stay a part of the fellowship in spite of these problems so that you could ultimately be a part of the solution. And God is hearing your cry and your prayers and persistence are helping all of us. I hope that you’re being heard by others up there. To be honest, I know that when a worker or any person in decision making authority is confronted with an issue like this, they can feel like they don’t know what to do, what the answer is. But you didn’t have to worry about their indecision. You worried about your child. And now the workers are learning how true love accepts that there must be consequences when someone has damaged their reputation with these hurtful actions toward others. Love doesn’t avoid consequences. Love recognizes that consequences help people to feel their need of repentance and also help them maintain their righteousness while having a temptation that will be with them the rest of their life. In protecting your children, you also actually protect the would-be offender from having opportunity to offend. Placing temptation in front of him and tell him you trust him, that’s not mercy, nor is it love.

      A lot of people talk about what David did with Uriah and Bathsheba as an example of God’s mercy. I do believe that David received full forgiveness so that he could have a full and complete salvation. But he also had to pay the consequences of his actions for the rest of his life, which God told him would happen. And he accepted that. When Absalom took over, David recognized this was a part of the consequences of his horrible decision to commit adultery and then have her husband killed. To me what was honorable was that David accepted the consequences and responded in a humble manner. He quietly removed himself from the palace and let things play out as they will. We all do things that affect the rest of our lives. Like, get married. And we bear the consequences, good or bad, for the rest of our lives. So when someone does something that will potentially traumatize someone for the rest of their lives, it’s not unreasonable that they bear the consequences of their evil behavior for the rest of their lives. When they humble themselves and accept the consequences and willing to place themselves in a position where everyone feels safe (like zoom) even if it is beyond what the law requires, they can gain a lot of respect for their humble spirit.

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