To the Workers & Friends who should know the truth,
I am writing this letter to a number of workers & friends who have not been told the truth regarding many child sexual assault violators in our fellowship, the latest one being in VIC. The fact that this worker (now ex worker) is being regarded as a hero by some of his colleagues & some of the friends, saying “it’s a miracle he has the spirit he has after all he has been through” is hardly what should be believed about someone who has been charged, convicted & found guilty on Child Sexual Assault (CSA) offences.
It is said amongst the friends that he was hired a high profile lawyer to get him off. I don’t believe this is the Christian way. If he was to show repentance & the spirit of a person who is so sorry for his action, he would accept the punishment. Particularly when he admitted to the overseers of both VIC and WA that there are other victims, but only 1 brave soul was willing to come forward & have him charged. We hear of others who wanted to come forward, but apparently changed their minds after visits from those in authority.
In the world there is a saying ‘do the crime, do the time ’. Apparently some in the fellowship & some senior workers in particular don’t think like that, they think we, as Gods children, are above the law of this land. We are not.
Until the overseers are willing to advise all workers, also those friends in the fellowship, the dangers and complete unacceptability of CSA in God’s way, these crimes will continue. Believe me, there are many violators, a lot more than you would like to believe among our fellowship, both workers and amongst the friends.
I am sure Jesus didn’t want anyone to take advantage of children who couldn’t defend themselves & then pass it off as ‘sins of the flesh’. If this is what the overseers & those in authority want us to believe, I am sure you must want to question if we are following the path that Jesus trod.
If you were to put yourself in the shoes of a victim for just one day, who was violated by someone they were taught to trust without question, I am sure your attitude would change. The damage & pain CSA causes to the victim & their families is beyond comprehension if you haven’t experienced it.
Obviously I cannot reveal my identity at this stage as there would be serious repercussions to me if my name is revealed. But believe me, there are many men who I know in our fellowship who think as I do. Some of these men are husbands and brothers of victims of CSA at the hands of trusted workers. There are many women too, victims and friends of victims, who all talk amongst themselves and know the truth.
In God’s time I am sure that there will be many people who will stand up for what is right, & will not fear how they will be treated if they make a stand. This will take time, but you need to know there are a lot of friends who are very unhappy with the way CSA is being (mis)handled by those in authority.
Perhaps a verse from JEREMIAH 5:31 is appropriate. The prophets prophesy falsely, & the priests bear rule by their means; & my people love to have it so, & what will you do in the end thereof?
We, as ‘Gods people’ seem to have become so taken up by every word the workers say we take it as the Gospel truth, if it is right or wrong. Sadly, in recent days it is often their words, not God’s.
Not all Gods servants have this attitude. BUT – until they are willing to take a stand against CSA, HOW DO WE KNOW who is for or against this extremely serious disease that has crept into God’s way. We are no different from any other church if these things are hidden.
If you are a worker, please share this email with your companion. He/She may not have received it.
Husbands, Wives, please don’t just discard this. Think what would happen if one of your children was molested by someone you trust? What would you do? It IS happening & it must stop.
There is another reason why it is important that you as workers – leaders in our fellowship – are impeccable in how you treat this issue of CSA, not just by God’s law but also according to the laws of our land.
In Victoria in April 2012, the Victorian Coalition Government announced the establishment of a Parliamentary inquiry into matters relating to the handling of alleged criminal abuse of children by religious and other organisations. It is hard to see that this inquiry will not investigate CSA within our fellowship.
The inquiry will have broad terms of reference to consider the practices, policies and protocols of religious and other non-government organisations for the handling of allegations of criminal abuse of children by personnel within their organisations.
The terms of reference for the inquiry are as follows:
The Family and Community Development Committee is requested to inquire into, consider and report to the Parliament on the processes by which religious and other non-government organisations respond to the criminal abuse of children by personnel within their organisations, including:
1. the practices, policies and protocols in such organisations for the handling of allegations of criminal abuse of children, including measures put in place by various organisations in response to concerns about such abuse within the organisation or the potential for such abuse to occur;
2. whether there are systemic practices in such organisations that operate to preclude or discourage the reporting of suspected criminal abuse of children to State authorities; and
3. whether changes to law or to practices, policies and protocols in such organisations are required to help prevent criminal abuse of children by personnel in such organisations and to deal with allegations of such abuse.
In undertaking the inquiry, the Committee should be mindful of not encroaching upon the responsibilities of investigatory agencies or the courts in relation to particular cases or prejudicing the conduct or outcome of investigations or court proceedings.
The Committee is requested to report to the Parliament no later than 30 April 2013.
I trust you will search your hearts and God’s word for how you should react to the issues that I have raised in this open letter. (please feel free to pass it on) Because these are issues that are of deep concern to so many amongst the friends. They are also issues that undoubtedly grieve the heart of holy God.
Yours in a spirit of hope for the future of our fellowship,
One of many concerned friends.