I recently discovered a video of a convicted female sex offender that was posted by her church.  At first glance, some may think this is a wonderful video about God’s love and redemption. However, a closer look exposes something much different.

Video Shoot - photo courtesy of Serge De Gracia via Flickr

Video Shoot – photo courtesy of Serge De Gracia via Flickr (Image source)

Though I don’t know the intended purpose of this video, its unintended result is that it provides at least five self-serving responses by sex offenders in the church. So perhaps one redeeming consequence of this highly troubling video is to teach us more about the distorted beliefs and understandings perpetrators have about the crimes they have committed.   Let’s take a quick look at these five responses:

  1. The “I’m just not that person anymore” response: This is when offenders claim that they have recently “accepted Jesus” and are not the same person that committed the sexual offense. This type of self-serving statement subtly distances the offender from involvement and responsibility in the very crime he/she committed.  The offender in the video may be a new person in Jesus, and her position before God may have changed (that is between her and God).  However, she remains the person who sexually abused a child and that must never be forgotten by her or those around her.
  2. The “I understand” response:   Sexual offenders often attempt to convince others that they understand the harm they have caused to the victim.  In the video, the offender remarks, “I understand the pain and bitterness I have caused”.  Is this any different than a murderer telling the parents of the person he murdered that he understands their pain? Really?? This appearance of empathy for the victim is usually motivated by the desire to develop sympathy for the offender.  Such self-centered statements often achieve the desired result from church members, all the while re-traumatizing the victim.
  3. The “I was inappropriate” response:   Sexual offenders often label their abuse in non-abusive language in order to minimize the gravity of their offense. During the video, this offender repeatedly described her acts of raping a 14-year-old boy as merely, “inappropriate” and “selfish”.  At no time does she ever even use the term “abuse” or even refer to her behavior as “criminal”.   This is a teacher who was convicted of “engaging in a sexual act or deviant sexual intercourse” with a minor student.  We must never allow offenders to get away with trying to water down the criminal reality of their actions. This offender’s behavior was light years beyond inappropriate and selfish. It was a serious felony.
  4. The “I am a victim” response:   Sex offenders often attempt to gain sympathy by portraying themselves as a victim of their own weaknesses and struggles.  This is demonstrated clearly in the video when she says, “I had insecurities, I had pain in my own heart and a void I thought I needed to fill through attention and all kinds of other things.” Such statements victimize the perpetrator while also shifting attention away from the immeasurable damage they have caused. Perpetrators understand that a crime that has two victims, instead of one victim and one perpetrator, makes their life much easier.
  5. The “make the victim feel guilty” response:  Within the church, it is not uncommon for perpetrators (and others) to infer that the trauma victims experience as a result of the abuse is due to their own spiritual weaknesses.  At one point in the video, this offender remarks, “I pray that each of you be free of the pain, bitterness, anger, anxiety…these are not things from God.”  Going back to my murder analogy, how would parents react if the person who killed their son tells them that their anger and pain is not of God?  Such statements are self-serving attempts by the offender to cause immeasurable guilt in an already traumatized victim. Perpetrators do this in order to silence victims.

Do you notice how each response keeps the focus and attention on the offender?  These responses clearly demonstrate that most child sexual offenders are extremely self-serving and dangerously manipulative.  It is critical for faith communities to recognize these characteristics and how they influence the way offenders think, act, and respond to abuse.

A better understanding of these vital truths may have propelled this church to focus on loving and serving a 14-year-old rape victim, not posting a re-traumatizing video it tragically celebrates as being the work of God.

117 Comments

  1. Thank you so much for shining a light on the distorted dynamics at work in the voice of this child sex offender AND in the decision of the church to post the video as though it were demonstrative of “grace.”

  2. By the time this pastor or church may ‘see’ the injustice, it will most likely have been festering under the surface as unchallenged, unchecked, and tolerated for years.

    Thank you, Boz, for being the person who the sake of preventing future survivors and for past survivors of these crimes who not only ‘see’s’ but takes these crimes seriously by challenging the crimes before, during, and after these crimes have manifested.

  3. Oh, yes. We who have been wounded by abusers in a Christian setting have heard all five of these before. Thank you Boz, for shining the light of truth on these five self-serving responses. They bring no healing to the victims or their families. Ugh.

    • For many of us, the face of Islam is ever etched upon our minds as being those who flew the plane on September the 11th and yet if we think about it logically these were only a very fanatical element who do not represent the average Moslem.

      What the Christian Church needs to make sure of is that the face of Christianity is not the monsters who abuse children and the only way to do this is to strongly denounce them, run them through the courts and let justice prevail. For if the Christian Church does not, then it risks being tarnished in the eyes of the rest of the world.

      Like the average Moslem, the average Christian does not rape, beat or abuse children. But unless the average Christian gets off their backsides and stands firmly against the scourge of child abuse in the name of Jesus, then that is how the Christian Church will be viewed. Just ask the Catholic Church, they know only to well what damage their errant priests have done to their church.

      So why is a person of little faith mentioning this? Simple, although I may not have enough faith to get myself into any church, why should I let the reputation of the innocent good majority be dragged down by the evil few and their fanatical supporters. I may have had the faith knocked out of me, but not my conscience.

  4. Boz you are correct that video is a trigger for all who have been abused. This is not grace from God. There is no evidence that she has changed just her words. If she had really changed her talk would have been centered on the victim and what she was doing to make things right. Praying for someone is a non action, just saying words to someone invisible and asking the invisible person to make everything right. Christians wake up your God is invisible to the non believer and talking to him does not make you righteous. If you pray for someone you don’t brag about it. If you are guilty of a crime shut up and take your punishment. Don’t go make a speech to make people feel sorry for you. In this video she is doing nothing more than she admitted at the beginning drawing attention to herself that has not changed. Only difference is she has now found a acceptable way to do it. In the process she has hurt many more. Will she now make another video and apologize to all those abused who she purposefully hurt.

    • Seeking divine redemption and forgiveness is much easier than actual contrite actions and making restitution to those one harmed.

      Squaring things up with God is cheap. Doing right by other people takes effort.

      God may forgive that person, but nobody else should.

    • Having been molested by my elementary school principle when I was in the third grade, this video just pushed all the wrong buttons. I saw a narcissist young woman who truly did not care about the victim, the young life she has ruined. I also saw the same thing in the minister who supported her. It’s all about her. She’ll do it again, given the chance. You are exactly right.

      • SJ:

        Thanks for staying in the discussion! Can you point me to the site, if one exists, you mentioned on 1/28? That is your molesters son’s site. Let’s get in contact victim to victim… the system usually brings good results (consider AA and the like). I would like to get a copy of “Molested In God’s House” off to you. I’m at: Rnewmiller@comcast.net

        Hope to hear from you soon.

        • I’ve never mentioned anything other than the incident. I’ve never mentioned his name, or even his site. I have no plans to do so. I’ve chosen to speak out on the fact that pedophiles ruin lives, and will go after them when I can, but I have closed the book on my past. I have no desire to go anywhere near this person, contact him, nor expose him to the public. I have never linked to his site, nor will I ever do so, assuming he has one. My satisfaction is in the fact that he now speaks out against pedophiles and that he appears to have stopped the multi-generational abuse in his family. I will never mention anything else about this person.

    • I read the article and in just listening to the Pastor’s words before I got to the abuser’s portion of the video I was re-traumatized. I can’t imagine a church more profoundly missing the point. It really makes me physically ill. And so sad.

  5. Thanks Boz for you excellent insight into this damaging response by a naive church. I believe the humility of true repentance would look exactly the opposite. I would be much more likely to believe she is truly contrite if she said, “I clearly have not understood how damaging my actions have been and I believe it is going to be a long road for me to get to a point where I do understand.”
    I wish the pastor understood the damage that his public “rallying around” the offender does to victims. The phrase cheap grace comes to mind. I understand wanting to make the point that salvation is unmerited by us, which is true, but certainly this is not all the Bible says. The Bible never says God loves us no matter what we do, quite the opposite. It says without faith it is impossible to please God, and faith without works is dead. It says without holiness no one will see the Lord. It says many will claim a relationship with Jesus but Jesus will say to them depart you who practice lawlessness.

    • Dono’t blame God for any such distortions as this pastor and sex offender caused. They are still to be blamed for using religion as a cover-up. Their cheap sermonizing, all their Jesus talk, doesn’t excuse, forgive, or cover any of the very wrong past. It was all about me and God and Jesus and forgiveness of me. What about the victim?

      • “Don’t blame God for any such distortions as this sex offender caused ”

        Where was he in all this? Too busy in another area? or asleep somewhere?

        “Don’t blame God for any such distortions as this pastor caused”

        Can’t god keep his communicators from going off the rail ?

        What a mighty go we serve……..NOT

        • Learning to be a survivor

          Hi PJ, Just wanted to say that I understand at least a bit of your frustration. I don’t know your background, but based on my own experiences, abuses always came through those who claimed to be followers of God, the leaders who preached and were well respected within Christian circles.
          Over the past few years, I have had many questions. Where was God when these things happened? Why did he allow them? Why do we, the victims, seem to pay the majority of the cost, while the offenders seem to live in freedom? Why is it that the shame seems to be ours to carry, while the offenders are so quickly forgiven and welcomed with open arms by churches? If the “church” is supposed to be a bit of a reflection of God, then why do so few in the church care? Why did the “church” actively protect offenders while silencing children and young victims? Why did they sacrifice us? Why is their seemingly no room for those of us broken by abuse, yet plenty of room for those “strong” offenders?
          I don’t have the answers. I wish I did – for you, for me and for so many others. For the most part, in my own struggles, I have been frustrated when people bring up passages from the Bible. The verses they mention often seem filled with more accusations and condemnation. They often leave me feeling like those listening can’t hear or see any part of my heart and how broken I am. One passage, however, has stuck out to me. I hope you are okay with me sharing it. It is perhaps the only one that has truly penetrated my fear and allowed me to see that perhaps God really does care.
          Isaiah 52 talks about the shepherds who were supposed to be caring for the sheep. God blasts the shepherds in this passage for their abuse and neglect of those who needed help. He accuses them harshly because they did not fulfill the role they were entrusted to fulfill. Instead, they abused and neglected those they were supposed to care for. They did not protect. They didn’t seek out the lost. They left them unprotected to be abused and destroyed.
          Then God says that he is going to come himself to fix this (I think predicting Jesus coming). He says that he, himself will come and rescue all of those who were scattered. He describes how he will strengthen and heal those who were broken and provide healing and protection.
          I can’t pretend to completely understand what this all means, but it surprised me when I read it. It still surprises me. It still makes me wonder at God’s heart in all of this. Perhaps the day will come when all will see how things really are. Perhaps the day will come when we will experience healing and hold onto hope – that hope that might seem too elusive right now.
          I struggle to hope sometimes, but yet, there is no other option. There has to be hope. For me, this passage is the beginning of that hope.

  6. calvin triemstra

    I believe in healing and restoration … but putting people and ministry on a pedestal is wrong and self serving… it is sad how many people get sucked in to this kind of deception and become a tool of someones “ministry”… this is victimizing the perp as well as the victims and the rest of the membership and anyone they have an impact on….

  7. Do I understand correctly that she was a member or attender of this church before she committed the rape(s)? I suggest that this church needs to gently and humbly encourage any other victims of this woman to contact the police. The church also needs to thoroughly investigate to see whether she has abused or attempted to abuse anyone else, especially within that church. Was she in any ministry position where she could have abused someone? What is the church doing to ensure that neither she nor anyone else has opportunity to abuse children within its congregation or its outreach ministries?

    • It isn’t the church’s position to be an investigator of any aspects of this sex offense. And it isn’t the church’s pastor’s position to be a leader in exonerating the offender in time to escape punishment while he totally ignores the victim. That pastor ignorantly preaches as if his Jesus talk is real psychological therapy.

  8. Even the pastor referred to the crime as a “relationship” which makes me question if he truly understands the concept of statutory rape and that because of Alicia Gray’s position of power and influence there was no way the 14 year old victim could consent. The magnitude of need for education in churches about this issue is staggering to me and at times overwhelming. I’m grateful for your work and advocacy, Boz!

  9. This video makes me nauseous. Christa mentioned the first thing that struck out to me: the twisted appropriation of “grace” to, in the words of the pastor, “rally around” not the victim, but the perpetrator! Tragic, despicable manipulation of the gospel.

  10. The noises (the wailing of an animal or whatever in the background near the end) really add to the eerie vibe I get while watching this. Maybe she’s been redeemed, but any privilege of working with children should no longer be available to her under any circumstances. Children are too precious.

    • Kristin McGuire

      Good point. Forgiven, but not trusted. Children are too precious. It would be better for a millstone to be hung around her neck, than to ever put her in a position of authority over children.

  11. Who can blame the perpetrator for wanting to save face if she is presented with the opporunity to do so? The real crimes here are a) that she was allowed to speak at all and b) that most Christian people think this is wonderful. Thanks for shedding light on this and calling it what it is.

  12. This is so important. I have seen this before with a child sex offender/former minister at Prestonwood Baptist who molested kids there and in Mississippi. He was given the pulpit on a Sunday morning to confess. Then the pastor rallied around him and his wife and said that the church had “witnessed a biblical response” and asked for people to come down, surround the offender and his wife to pray for them. People were hugging them and crying. It was grotesque. Thankfully someone sent me the video of this “confession” and I sent it to the police and prosecutors in MS. The news aired it also which led to 5 victims coming forward in MS which led to Langworthy’s conviction. The entire sermon that day that Greg Belser preached was focused on Langworthy and grace, forgiveness and restoration. He said that with Langworthy’s confession of “inappropriate behavior with younger males while serving at a church in MS and TX” the congregation had witnessed the gospel message. Here is a portion of that video: http://www.veoh.com/watch/v21250111XtRktP7R

    • Kristin McGuire

      Interesting. Thank you for posting the “confession”. I would say that if he had had true Godly sorrow for his sin, he would have gotten as far from working with children as he could get!. The statement he made, “It was never my intention to dishonor God or His church” – really??

  13. Robert Uttaro

    New Book “To the Survivors” about sexual violence, truth, hope and healing. This book contains real stories of rape and sexual assault survivors, including women, men, and one transgendered person. The stories are honest, sad, empowering and hopeful. Check out “To the Survivors” written by Robert Uttaro on amazon.com if you have any interest in reading about sexual violence and how people grow from their abuse.

  14. This is my first comment on a blog post ever – I just couldn’t keep my mouth closed on this one.

    I understand what you’re trying to say, I do. Our words have weight and we need to be mindful of what we are saying and to whom we are saying them to. I agree. When we sin against someone, as this woman did, we often must choose our words even more carefully, which is the whole point of your article. She did not speak about her past sin with the weight you would have liked. I understand. I do not condone what she did, it was a horrible act of abuse and should not be justified. She should, and likely will suffer the consequences of her sin (whether that be imprisonment, loss of privilege, loss of relationships etc) and rightly so. She should not work with kids anymore, she should not have the same responsibilities she did before, she should be monitored. Yes – all consequences of her actions. If her church is not monitoring her, not holding her accountable, then they are in the wrong.

    However, the same principle applies to you and I as well. OUR words hold weight as well, and yours were very telling. Your words were harsh and lacking in grace. Instead of condemning her for using the wrong vernacular, why don’t we PRAISE GOD for the regenerative work he has done in her? Instead of demanding her identity be eternally found in her sin, why not remind her that she has been washed as white as snow? Goodness, I am so very thankful that my identity is not found in my sin. I praise God that my friends, family, acquaintances, co workers etc. hold short accounts with me, forgive me and do NOT define me by my confessed, repented sin, continually reminding me of how horrible I am/was.

    Our great God is a God of redemption, regeneration and reconciliation, and praise Him for that. I understand what you’re trying to communicate. I just think you could speak with a little more grace instead of condemning this regenerated woman for the rest of her life. She is not defined by her sin, just as you and I are not. Again, please don’t hear me say that she should not suffer consequences. She should. But her identity is not found in her abusive behavior. Forgiveness is a very powerful thing.

    • Lauren,
      This article was not “demanding her identity be eternally found in her sin”. The author said, “The offender in the video may be a new person in Jesus, and her position before God may have changed (that is between her and God).” The major point is that this church, likely in ignorance, promoted her immature and incomplete repentance and blame-shifting as if it were a laudable statement. In fact, she minimized her sins as shown in the five points above. The pastor of this church has failed to comfort and to help the child victim and his family, the community, the school, the church, and has even even failed this woman.

      • Raswhiting – thanks for your reply.

        I was referring to this statement: “However, she remains the person who sexually abused a child and that must never be forgotten by her or those around her.”

        I am not a part of that particular church so I do not know how they have handled the situation other than what is shown on the video. I do think they could have used different language. I agree with the author on that note. I imagine they were not thinking about how this video would be received by a victim. Is the victim a part of that particular church? I do not know if they have “rallied around” the victim or not. I hope they have! If he is not a part of that body, I pray that his personal church has embraced him with open arms and walked with him through this. But I also praise this church for coming alongside the perpetrator. Many do not do that. Both need care.

        How do we know that she is not repentant? Yes, she could have used stronger language, but does saying she was inappropriate and selfish communicate that she isn’t repentant? The reality is, if all we have to go by is this video, we really aren’t sure if she is repentant or not. I watched it and did see repentance. Perhaps the video editors edited out portions where she describes her deep repentance for her actions? Really, we just don’t know.

        I did not read the other comments before posting. I see that many of the commentators resonated with the article because of deep wounds from past abuse. I’m so sorry for each and every one of you. I pray that you belong to a church body that comes alongside of you, loves you where you are and walks with you through the healing process. I pray the the LORD ministers to your heart and continually reminds you that He loves you and you are HIS.

        I work for a recovery ministry at a church. We have hundreds of men and women that come each week, for an array of hurts, struggles and sin patterns, including victims of past abuse AND past abusers. I have seen God literally change the lives of both victims and perpetrators, and in some cases, even seen reconciliation happen between the two. When I read this I read the author to say “there is no hope for a perpetrator.” I just wanted to communicate that there is! God is BIG and mighty to save – even those that seem hopeless.

        • How do we know she is not repentant?

          Her language, her statements and the blatant manipulation tactics employed. There is not one ounce of sincerity which can be seen in what she said.

          A person who is truly repentant would be humble enough to not to shout about their wonderful job in seeking God’s forgiveness. A repentant person would keep such things to themselves for fear of reopening wounds they inflicted. Just the act of making the video was enough to show a lack of penitent intent for me.

        • galacticexplorer

          But she IS the same person who abused a child. Perhaps god has forgiven her and perhaps she is truly sorry. I cannot know and would not presume to. However, for the sake of the safety of others and respect to the victim, this abuse should not be minimized and treated dismissively like it is in this video. Certainly, abusers need help too. But the victim should be the first priority. Rallying around abusers rather than victims is a common theme in church scandals and it is shameful. Jesus’ redemption is often twisted to silence victims. “She’s changed. She’s different now. She has been forgiven by god, so just shut up about your “hurt” and stop being bitter and move on. We don’t want to talk about it anymore.” That’s the message of this video. That is the message of many, many church leaders in many, many abuse situations. That is the language of perpetuating abuse. It is disgusting and needs to stop.

          I’m sorry if my language is not “grace filled” but I’m discussing a child rapist here, who is saying blatantly hurtful things to her rape victim and then being congratulated by the church for it and treated like some sort of saint for being able to say a very stilted “I’m sorry” after she was caught raping a child. Yeah, that makes me angry, and I’m not ashamed.

        • Honestly? The church did what they felt God called them to do for this young lady that is now a convicted child molester. They were going to love her though it – as they said. Sadly, they wanted to show grace – yet wisdom wasn’t used for time or content. It was premature. It lacked healing words for her victim, and those impacted by this crime.

          What we are to do is show contrite repentance in speaking of our sins, and she spent much of the time proselytizing instead. Her generic apology to those she hurt – was just that generic. The way she presented things was woe is me, and Thank the Lord I found Jesus. Her Jesus portions were the only parts that had any real emotion.

          To me that is a diversion.

          She should be more than willing to wait for others to see the fruit she claims is there, and that will take years to see the ‘turning’ as it is called in the bible. As Christians we are to look for more than the words, but the actions. Why is it so popular to place the cart before the horse when it wounds the victims?

          So far I would assume the last thing her victim wanted to hear is they are most likely bitter, angry, and haven’t forgiven her yet. I doubt very much they needed to hear she did it because of the void that she had, because Jesus wasn’t in her life properly yet either. I guess pastor’s love to hear that stuff, but victims of crimes are NOT pastors all the time.

          Sadly, this church wanted to show how they ‘loved her though this’. They naively allowed themselves to air this video to show their Christian concern, but didn’t use the wisdom of discernment with issues that surround crimes like this. Disagreement with the approach doesn’t mean others feel there is no hope, and they have doomed the perp forever. Why is it always taken that way over how others ‘receive’ the message that have been victim from those that don’t have the same experience? Can you learn nothing from us – just teach?

          Instead of judging others for hinting they feel there is no hope for the perpetrator..why not listen to what they have to say. Why they feel this is ineffective, and doesn’t address the issues properly. What victims maybe looking for so they also can feel what you felt?

          Just because this young lady threw in the right faith based keywords and phases doesn’t mean it will have the same effect on victims as it does with those that have never experienced this.

          You seem to be saying – I thought it was good, but you just don’t want to see it that way. Why is it you don’t wish to know why? Do you realize you just shut the door on something that may help your ministry? Are you seriously okay with thinking others just don’t get it?

      • I want to reply to Lauren, who I think was very right. I listened to this video and saw a repentant woman who was trying to move forward in life, rejoicing in a great Savior. As Jesus said, “He loves much who is forgiven much.”. As part of this woman’s future life, she will have 6 months in jail. I walked along side a sexual offender for 7 years. He was repentant Christian, was in counseling, was following all the steps he was advised to do. But nothing was ever enough for many people. He never seemed quite “repentant enough” to them. They didn’t want him to be happy or laugh or enjoy life. That somehow was offensive. He too prayed for healing for his victims and their freedom from bitterness. He tried to understand their hurt. This woman doesn’t claim to understand how those she hurts feels. She acknowledges the normal feelings of anger, hurt, bitterness, sadness that she knows they have. Most people have great sympathy for the victims. The problem is that they are largely unknown and don’t want a lot of attention. Thus they often don’t feel an outpouring of support for their hurt. It is a lonely kind of hurt. On the other hand, the perpetrators are regarded as the scum of the earth, the lepers of our society and their names are often widely publicized. They have committed great sins, but we have a great Savior and the blood of Jesus can cover those sins as well. We also have the power of God to change people and to help them overcome their sinful tendencies. If we don’t believe that Jesus forgives and changes sexual offenders, we have a pretty useless religion. Perpetrators need the help and support of the church, and I for one am very thankful that this church was willing to step up and help despite all the negative criticism that they likely have incurred. It is my experience that helping and ministering to sexual offenders brings mostly criticism and very little encouragement to those helping them. It is true we must help the victims, but let’s not criticize those who are helping the perpetrators. I have no doubt that this church would have ministered kindly to the victim if he had been under their care or had put himself under their care. I pray that he has another body of believers supporting him as strongly. Let’s not nit-pick through this woman’s testimony, but instead rejoice in her repentance, her joy in Jesus, and her desire to submit to his plan for her life, which right now includes jail time.

        Sexual abuse sin is such an offensive sin and stimulates in us such an emotional response that we can forget that it is forgivable. We can take the high ground here,because most of us are quite sure that we would never ever commit such a heinous crime. Most people feel quite superior to sexual offenders. Even in jail they are regarded as the lowest of the low. We forget that at the cross the ground is level and we in our natural state are as repugnant to God as a sexual offender. Maybe today we wouldn’t commit a sexual abuse offense, but given the right set of circumstances and experiences we all are capable of just such an act. I am not better than a sexual offender. It is the same blood of Jesus that covers my many sins that covers those of a repentant sexual offender.

        • “We can take the high ground here,because most of us are quite sure that we would never ever commit such a heinous crime.”

          Ruth, I think this might be at the core of our responses of absolute horror to child abuse. And truly, this sin is HIDEOUS. It is entirely abhorrent and reflects a mind and heart twisted so far beyond what we feel is right that we would not hesitate to call the perpetrator of this crime totally depraved. Thinking about child abuse sometimes makes me feel physically ill.
          I just wonder, if I had a mind like the mind of God and a heart like the heart of God, would I perceive the sin of adultery (which I am guilty of) with the same kind of utter revulsion? Right now, part of me partially understands how lovely and precious the innocence of a child is; this understanding is the cause of many of my feelings of utter revulsion at the thought of child abuse. So what if I rightly understood the tender sanctity of a marriage relationship? Wouldn’t the thought of someone cheating on their husband or wife make me convinced of the total depravity of the perpetrator in that instance? If I understood the essential beauty of something and then saw it violated, wouldn’t that also cause me to utterly abhor that violation?
          I am not suggesting that child abuse should be treated with any less gravity than is prescribed by this article. I am trying to suggest that our sins are of a depravity that we likely do not yet have the capacity to comprehend. I just think we’re all a LOT closer to the sickening criminal than we are often comfortable admitting. I find Alicia’s repentance video disturbing because of her own seemingly incomplete understanding of her own guilt and the near-levity with which she approaches the subject–I would guess in order to be able to accept herself as a person, i.e., “Jesus understands that I was confused and I admit that my sin was selfish.” I wonder how much I do that in my own life, especially after I have hurt others?

        • Ruth:

          Good morning. Its time to wake up. As noted above, I am the author of the book, “Molested In God’s House”. I was a victim of this crime over 30 years ago. My victimization was at the hands of a very charismatic pastor who also directed the Teen Challenge Program in Philadelphia. It happened when I was in my young teens and I still wrestle with both guilt and shame to this day. The crime has impacted my entire family as I have been unable to bring myself into close and appropriate contact with my own children while my wife and I were raising them. My wife has been my helper and friend over the years, but, even she was unaware of the full reality of my experience until I felt lead to complete my endeavor and write. Needless to say, this work has had a deep and profound impact on our marriage and family. My perp?…You may ask. Well he went on to pastor a number of other churches and I am confident he went on to continue molesting. At present, he pastors a church in Az. His web-site boasts of his commitment to CHILDREN’S WORK and even states that many who have come under his tutelage go on to become full time ministers. Wow! After 32 years of heart wrangling and the completion of the book I can tell you some things that you most likely do not know. Most molesters molest between 100 and 125 children within the course of 1 lifetime (their own). The recidivism rate for this crime is over 75%. Most, if not all, of the social sciences agree that perpetrators of this crime are simply incorrigible. Almost universally, perpetrators are convinced they have been seduced by their victim somewhere along the way. Keeping these facts in mind, the reality is that “going easy” on these villains is really an aid to the loss of their souls eternally. Redemption requires contemplation and contemplation with regard to personal action is quite impossible for those who spent every waking moment plotting and stalking a ‘next’ victim. It is agreed that redemption is God’s free gift to all, however, that gift requires repentance (a change of heart and direction). Just as drunks can’t hang out at bars and addicts can’t keep a fix in their pocket…Molesters can not be in a free society and particularly a free society peopled with children. Incidentally, with respect to your thoughts regarding, ‘given the right circumstances’ I am in complete agreement, but, the ‘right’ circumstances are a deliberate choice once we attain adulthood.

          Rejoice…for His return is sure!

          • I don’t think people who haven’t been there grasp the recovery process. My life was almost insane until I learned how to deal with it, and finally accepted what happened. My healing came via helping others deal with the same horrors. What also helped me is the fact that the son of the man who molested me is quite active working to prevent sexual abuse of children, extremely public and outspoken. From what I’ve been able to quietly ascertain, he has ended the multi-generational cycle of sexual abuse in his family. I don’t think I can ask for anything more. At least I know that the perp is dead, and his son received help. That’s a comfort. You have my prayers.

      • joeythebushkangaroo

        Dear Learning to be a survivor.
        I totally understand where you are coming from. Your analogy was very good. I am a survivor too & My 3yo son(now 32yo) was molested as well. There does not seem to be any MORAL consequences for her heinous crime–that is what it is. It is as if this “poor” woman just had a “moment” of weakness. NO!!, it was selfish,deceitful,evil –just as Murder & Rape are, and certainly NOT Godly. These are Serious Sins.

        It’s as if a Production has been put on to advertise for the Church. “Look what we can do, we will welcome you Pedophiles, Rapists & Murderers.You will not be shunned here!!Look how Loving we are?” What about the victim? Where is his support & help for him to cope with something that will be with him for the rest of his life?

        It is insulting to our Creator,I feel, as if they are accusing Him of having no standards at all. He does have standards & the advice given through his Word the Bible in
        1 Corinthians 5:13, is to “Remove the wicked man from among you”.
        Why?- This is to protect the innocent people,including Children, in the Congregation from evil persons & the bad influences of such Gross sinners.

        This woman is a criminal & should be treated as such. For the sake of one Pedophile, the Church will probably lose a multitude of decent & frightened people(sheep).

        Its similar to having one of your many children, getting involved with Heroin, in your own home. For the sake of the other children & out of LOVE for them-you would REMOVE the offending child from your other children to PROTECT them. If the Drug-Abusing child later has a turn-around & is rehabilitated,then, yes you would welcome him back. But, not until you are POSITIVE that he is REFORMED, as your responsibility is to CARE for ALL your children,not just the one.

        Allowing the Heroin Addict to STAY there and endanger your other Children, is not loving at all but absolute FOOLISHNESS & NEGLECTFUL. Some Churches obviously need to rethink what caring,(Shepherding) of their Congregational Flock really means.They should be keeping the WOLF away,not welcoming the Wolf into the flock with open arms-thus, don’t be surprised if your decent sheep run away!!

  15. Brandon Smith

    “She remains someone who abused a child and this must never be forgotten by her or those around her.”

    So, there is no hope for redemption or forgiveness this side of Heaven for any sex offender at all? They are to be marked with a “scarlett letter” for the rest of their lives no matter how remorseful they may be? I feel like this flies in the face of the gospel.

    • Boz Tchividjian

      Brandon & Laruen – Thank you both for your comments. I actually acknowledged in my post that this individual may in fact be redeemed – that is not our job to determine. The beauty of the Gospel is that there is nothing and nobody beyond the reach of Jesus. However, our spiritual position before God does not eliminate the earthly consequences of our human condition. Our spiritual position before God does not eliminate our sinful nature. Our spiritual position before God does not mean that our prior criminal behaviors should be forgotten. How would we respond if we learned that someone attending our church (who professed t being recently converted) had murdered a child? Though that individual may redeemed by the King, he is still a sinner capable of grave offenses (as he has already demonstrated). Thus, we demonstrate love to our little ones and grace to this redeemed offender by taking steps to make sure he never has the opportunity to reoffend. This requires that we don’t forget his past. Anything short of that would be so irresponsible to the most vulnerable among us.

      I think we would all benefit if we stop confusing one’s spiritual condition before God with earthly consequences for sexually victimizing a child, which is a violation of the God ordained law. I think the words of Jesus in Luke 17:2 support me on this. I also think that we would all benefit by focusing a bit more concern on the lives (and souls) of those eviscerated by these heinous acts.

      Again, thanks for contributing to this much necessary dialogue.

      • Boz – thanks for dialoguing with us on this one. I am just really struggling with the way the gospel is being handled here.

        I am by no means advocating that one should not face the consequence of their sin. By no means. There is sin that has deeper consequences than others, and abuse is certainly one of them. All child perpetrators should face the consequences of their abuse, they should not be allowed to be with children. I wholeheartedly agree. “Thus, we demonstrate love to our little ones and grace to this redeemed offender by taking steps to make sure he never has the opportunity to reoffend.” Absolutely agree with you! I don’t agree, however, that this means we perpetually remind them of their actions and forgo any opportunity for redemption. The natural consequences of their actions usually result in being put on a sex offender list that would render them unable to work with children in the future. I think that’s appropriate. But for their brothers and sisters in Christ to “not forget the past,” suggesting we forever view them through the lens of abuser goes against the gospel message and is unbiblical.

        You say, “Though that individual may be redeemed by the King, he is still a sinner capable of grave offenses (as he has already demonstrated).”

        The reality is, Boz, that you are a sinner capable of the same grave offenses. I am a sinner capable of the same grave offenses. We ALL have the same core problem and though our solutions to fixing that problem may look different (some are angry and prideful, some abuse alcohol, some abuse others) and each solution holds varying degrees of earthly consequences, our core problem all looks the same: SIN. This ME v THEM type of thinking is not beneficial to the body as a whole and perpetuates the “old-school church” way of thinking and dealing with “respectable sins” and judgement and condemnation on anything else. We are ALL sinners, capable of horrific sin.

        Again, I recognize earthly consequences for sin look different. I am not advocating for weaker consequences for perpetrators. I don’t think I’m confusing ones spiritual condition with the consequences of their sin. I understand the difference between the two. I am advocating that we, like this church in Mobile, come along side abusers (AND VICTIMS) and lead them to the foot of the cross where they will find hope, healing, forgiveness, restoration, regeneration, freedom etc. THERE IS HOPE for them. Not just spiritual hope, but hope for their earthly actions.

        I was abused as a child. I know what it feels like. I’ve been there. I have grave concern for those who have been abused because I’ve been there and know the pain associated with it. I work with children that have been abused and have much compassion and empathy for them – I get it. I’ve been there. The gospel completely transformed my life and healed me of my pain and hurt and my sin that I ran to in order to deal with that pain and hurt. The gospel took my anger and bitterness and allowed me to forgive my abuser. I am passionate about leading others to the God that can heal them. But the same God that healed me, the same God that can heal the abused children I work with, is the same God that can heal the abuser. To separate the two or perpetuate the thinking that one is more deserving of grace than the other “flies in the face of the gospel” as Brandon says.

        I appreciate the work you are doing to make the church a safer place – I really do. It is, unfortunately, a very necessary thing this day and age. But please don’t perpetuate the anti-gospel message that there is no hope for abusers. Healing can take place in their lives as well.

        • Boz Tchividjian

          Lauren – thanks for your response. We can certainly agree that all of us are “capable” of committing the most heinous of offenses – I get that. However, we will have to agree to disagree on the fact that the Gospel precludes us from distinguishing between those who are “capable” and those who have actually committed the offense. I believe it is God’s kindness that in some cases He allows us to know who has actually committed such offenses. Not so we can demonstrate “hate” towards that person, but so that we can demonstrate grace to our little ones by taking steps to protect them, and grace to the offender by creating strong boundaries and holding them accountable – anything short of that has no resemblance to grace. For example, let’s assume that my children are “capable” of playing in the street. However, if one of them has a preference to play in the street and the others don’t, I demonstrate grace to that particular child by creating consequences for such behavior and developing strong boundaries to prevent her from doing so. One of those boundaries may be for me to tell my neighbors about his propensity to play in the street so that they will keep a look out and inform me if they see him doing so. I take these steps and let others know about his propensity to play in the street not because I don’t care for my child, but because I want to preserve his life.

          Also, it is unfortunate that you have somehow read into my post that “there is no hope for abusers”. That was simply never communicated. In fact, I explicitly stated the opposite.

          Lastly, I do believe that authentic hope and healing can only take place when the Church stops being naive about this dark offense and those who perpetrate – it is only then that we will be equipped to demonstrate the authentic grace that I have described above. I encourage you to read Anna Salter’s book entitled, “Predators” – this is a psychologist who has spent over 30 years studying and interviewing a wide spectrum of sexual offenders. Her data is not based upon anecdotal evidence, but upon well researched studies. She can teach the Church much about this complicated subject.

          Again, thanks for your contribution to this conversation. All the best.

    • Brandon,

      Like Brenda, I too am the ex-wife of a child molester, a Christian pedophile with more than 50 victims, who honed his skill in church youth groups and playgrounds.

      I understand the question you are asking. Believe me, I asked it for many years because I lived with it.

      I hoped and prayed. I fasted and tried everything. We went to endless counselors and in-patient treatment programs.

      Finally after he went through the legal process he was sent to the County’s top court-appointed sex offender program. Eventually, he washed out and was considered a treatment failure.

      The head of that program said something that has stayed with me since that day: “There is nothing in the literature that supports the notion that pedophilia ever goes away.”

      Imagine, Brandon, that in thousands of years that we have written records of attempts to treat pedophiles, no one has come up with a surefire treatment of any kind.

      So, it is my personal opinion that my ex-husband is a danger to children as long as he lives. It is also my belief that Jesus will release him from his obsession one day, but I have no hope it will happen in this lifetime.

      In the meantime he attends a large conservative Christian church and is active in the singles group. Buyer beware.

      • Anonymous2:

        Shame on the judge / legal system for their anemic and empty answer to this crime against humanity. I too have a family member (brother) who was convicted of this crime. Although it broke my heart to sit in the court room and listen during his trial I found it appropriate, though shocking, when the judge handed down his sentence… 4 times life + 125 years. And, he was convicted on only 2 victim’s testimony. There may have been more, however, NO MORE in the future. My hope is that God will find him behind bars and in chains and that my brother will yield to Him there.

    • Brandon:

      This is not to say that there is no forgiveness for child molesters here on earth. The concern is that there are depth and dimensions within the realm of sin. Although I have forgiven my molester and believe he can be forgiven through the finished work of Christ, I am also keenly aware of the statistics with regard to relapse into this behavior. Please see my comments to Ruth above for some insight. I am confident that ‘restraint’ may offer the best opportunity for redemption for those who have crossed this line in offending the little ones.

  16. William Dalton

    1) The “I’m not that person anymore defense”. A 60 year old is the same person he was when he was six years old. He’s also a very different person. His thoughts, desires, fears, affections, perhaps even his self-regard, are different. All people change over time. The question is whether a sexual offender changes suddenly in his or her sexual desires and how they express them. Only those who have experienced an abrupt “conversion” by the power of God can speak to that, whether they are moved to give up drink, drugs, larceny or abusive behaviors. Christians used to believe the power of God was sufficient to transform the hearts of homosexuals and pedophiles as much as other sinners. Now they are taught to believe that neither is possible. I suspect it is more difficult to “sustain” a conversion in a cultural environment that teaches us that our “sexuality” lies at the core of human identity.

    2) “I understand” and 4) “I am a victim” responses. Most people who abuse children sexually were similarly used when they were children. So, in most cases, these responses are not a cop-out. They really do know what it means to be a victim of such behavior. The problem is that many coped with their own abuse but adopting the attitude that they were in control and willingly consented to what was done to them. When they come to adulthood they may understand, conceptually, that these behaviors were and are wrong, but it is hard to change internally the mechanisms upon which they relied as their own defense mechanism. And, as the Scriptures say, “A dog returns to its own vomit.”

    3) “I was inappropriate” response – well, this is the language we are taught from elementary school. Pulling on Susie’s pigtails is “inappropriate”, using foul language is “inappropriate”, stealing Johnny’s lunch money, cheating on a test, etc. is “inappropriate”. If you learn the lesson, if you internalize it, you don’t do it again. It doesn’t always work, but this method of correction is deemed more “appropriate” than pulling out the paddle. Don’t expect people to admit what they have done is a “crime” until the plea bargain is complete and their sentence determined. It’s the first thing we learn on every cop show. You did what you did. Whether it is a crime or not (self-defense, temporary insanity, etc.) is up for a court to determine. You don’t prejudge your own case. Plus, we know that “criminal” is a legal term, not a moral one. A lot of immoral behaviors which used to be “criminal” are not any longer.. Better seek an acknowledgment that the offender’s behavior violates God’s law. It doesn’t change.

    6) “Make the victim feel guilty” response – see 2) and 4) above. When the adult offender was himself the child victim in an incestuous relationship, he himself felt guilty, was made to feel guilty. Unless that frame of mind is changed, he will believe that the children he pursues are equally guilty if they succumb to his blandishments and will also feel that way.

    • Jesus and the gospel came along very conveniently for Alicia, didn’t they. For a church leader to gloss this over this behavior as a simple and passing “sin” distorts religion as a cover for the wrongs that its members can commit against other people. That pastor totally ignored the victim who, of course,was not a member of his church.

  17. This really hits where I live. Not for myself, but because the woman I love is a survivor.
    A survivor who herself, was subject to horrors of sexual assault and abuse as a child that rise to a level of evil few know or understand. What has hurt her the most? It wasn’t the abuse. It is the fact the church and Christian school she grew up in not only did nothing about her suffering…. Her church where she considered herself “one of them” blamed her. Told her she was partially responsible for her “relationships” with grown men and she was in elementary school when most of her abuse took place. Every single one of her abusers were professing Christians. Some were pastors. Then when the true evilness was discovered the church and school turned it all around on her. Told her she shouldn’t talk about it. Told her she’s bitter. She was the one left alone to deal with the physical and emotional scars while every perpetrator went on his merry way. Many to reoffend after they were “forgiven.”

    I’ve heard one of her abusers tell her, “I understand why your bitter, but….” to then go on and excuse himself while blaming her. I had a hard time not punching the weasel.

    The defenses this abuser used were clearly pointed out clearly by Boz.

    Sexual abuse eats away of a child’s developmental steps of which as teacher she was well aware.

    What this abuser did was use her authority as a teacher to step on this boys development, she rewrote who this boy was and the man he will be in the future .

    Without proper help this boy, the victim, is the one who will carry that scarlet “A” for years because the blame of it being a “relationship” and bitterness by the pastor and his victim puts the blame on him. If the victim doesn’t soon receive the proper help it will color all. of not most of his life from the time of his abuse well on into his adulthood.

    The video the pastor pedals the idea of Grace and simple forgiveness as a cure for sexual deviancies and that allows the perpetrator to get off with further responsibility once her sentence is completed and polish it all “clean” with a few Christian words.

    This pastor gave this woman a “EASY BUTTON” which allows her to take little to no responsibility. More importantly doing so, enables more sexual offenders to know that this church will give me an “EASY BUTTON” so I think I will to be around children at this church so I can fulfill my sexual fantasies and get another victim, be forgiven and go on to get another victim. There isn’t any easy fix through forgiveness. The fix isn’t giving the offender an opportunity to spin “I am sorry, don’t be bitter and lets heal together for the ones the person has hurt.”

    Sexual abusers tend to fantasize for a long time before they victimize their first victim. Most do not get up one morning and say “I think I will have sex with this child.” It is a this naivety of churches that allow a offender to remain to be part of your church as we speak fantasizing over having an inappropriate relationship with a child waiting to act out that fantasy.

    • Exactly correct, Brenda. My abusing pastor-father, well respected in the community, told me he was sorry for “being immodest”. And the church community did nothing because he was “doing the ministry of the Lord”. Pfffft

  18. The passing of time and change of actions will be the proof of this woman’s repentance. I hope her repentance was expressed to the victim and his family — that is where it should be expressed with witnesses. Of course, she and God are the only ones that know her heart.

    The film itself is the problem. I don’t need to know about this woman’s repentance. What is the purpose of filming her (which she could be getting benefit from and I’m not referring to money)? Does this benefit the victim in some way? If it doesn’t then why produce it? I don’t really believe that God needs this film shown to help his purposes along either.

    I’m not sure that the use of the film here helps the victim either. It ‘may’ continue to give the perpetrator further desired attention. This being said, I can see why it can be an example. Maybe there was some other way to use the perpetrators words without putting her on the screen.

  19. Thanks, Boz. The self-centeredness of this young woman’s statement is appalling. And what gall to be preaching to the victims about how they should be feeling! It’s humbug, start to finish, including the foolish naivete of the pastor.

    I wish this post was mandatory for all members in all congregations.

  20. As a chaplain in a sex offender’s prison, and speaking as someone with a lot of compassion for sex offenders, I completely and wholeheartedly agree with the author.

  21. I’m not sure that I agree with all the assumptions made by the author of this post…they sound relevant and accurate, until I listened to her own testimony. I heard her say more than what was originally reported. She mentioned numerous times the pain and hurt she caused the victims (young and old) and recognized that there was more than one victim as this boy’s family members also became her victims also. She talked about the peace that God gave her to accept responsibility and the punishment as a result of her “unwarranted actions”. The things she said about their bitterness and anger were true. God doesn’t want us to be bitter or angry even though we think we are justified in feeling that way. Satan uses those tools to bring us down and make us ineffective for Christ.

    However, I think the real offense in this video is that a pedophile is offering support and encouragement and advice and prayer for the people she victimized. And nobody wants to hear that! As human beings, we don’t want to hear how she “understands” anything. We don’t want her comforting victims when the entire situation was her doing. It goes against our moral fibers, if you will. We don’t want to hear about everything that God has taught her. After all, growth takes time and hearing how her lesson has been learned right after sentencing doesn’t hold water. If she came back into society years and years later with the story of what she’s learned, then it would be more acceptable. Right?

    I think the other thing that bothers me about this video is that she smiles way too much for a convicted sex offender. Chances are, she does not realize the volume of repulsiveness that her illegal sexual actions exhibit and she’s probably justified some (if not most) of it in her own mind. She did try to hold back tears several times but true conviction brings us to our knees and the emotions of that conviction, when remembered and discussed, will resurface – that should show in her affect and it does not.

    I hope that she truly has come to a saving knowledge of Christ through all this but I agree that she needs to just shut up and take her medicine. Give the victims time to heal from this before you offer advice, prayers and understanding.

  22. It’s ironic that Boz’s ministry is called GRACE, because his judgmental and skeptical responses bear no resemblance whatsoever to the word. Who are we to judge this woman’s motives?!!

    • Perhaps, it’s wisdom from years of being a former sex-crimes prosecutor and advocate who knows how these offenders think and work in his efforts to protect children from these offenders.

      “But he who has the Spirit, though judging all things,…”

    • We also evaluate the pastor for his foolishness. Why didn’t he videotape the victim outside that sentencing? Who stood next to that child, if he didn’t? What does his choice tell everyone about the priorities of the church?

      It is showier and easier to stand with someone who prettily says she repents than with the person who is damaged and has a long slow road to recovery ahead of him. Yet we are told to be with the downtrodden and broken-hearted.

      • This pastor is the pastor for the offender. That is whom he has responsibility for and access to in order to help. The victim is not his church member. Hopefully he is a member of a church where he is being cared for, but this pastor has no access to him. Let’s not judge the pastor for what is not his responsibility.

        • But surely Christianity doesn’t draw a line at the bottom of the membership roll? And if a member does a great sin to another, focusing on the victim is a central part of the redemption process for each one involved. We can see how that didn’t work in this video.

          Plus, if the victim’s church wasn’t caring for him, or he had no church, it seems to me that a pastor would model the Good Samaritan tout de suite. Imagine if, in that story, the church leader who went around the hurt person, then set the highway robber up as a testimony to God’s love, because he said he was sorry.

          The parable also speaks to another fact: it is often those outside (not inside) the church who care for the damaged/broken. It is as true now as then, and that is very very sad!

  23. Thank you Boz for continuing to point out the painful truths about abuse and ignorance about it in the church. You uncover the ways the weapon of “audience attention” harms the survivors over again and feeds the fleshly needs of perpetrators. True repentance and restitution for this sin and sickness involves lifelong, unsung, selfless service to others while eschewing being used to make a church ministry look “successful.” Boz, your words reliably empower survivors. I truly thank God for you and your work.

  24. .

    She plead to lesser charges than the ones she with wish she was originally charged. She was sentenced to only 6 months in the county jail for abusing a 14 year old boy. If this was a Man with a Girl. He would have received a much heavier Sentence.She was the boys Teacher. She had a ‘Duty of Trust’. She Breached that trust. The smile on her face throughout this video is most disturbing. She got off easily, and she knows it.

  25. She is a child molester, she should apologize to her victim and stop her religious bleating it’s pathetic. She does not apologize she makes excuses for her actions, she is not sorry for her actions she is sorry for getting caught.

  26. Boz: Your insights are right on. I would add one more point that should be considered. This most likely a case where a church sabotages the work of real repentance. From my experience of being deposed of my ordination and being excommunicated from the church because of adultery, repentance is a process over time. The first time I said I was sorry, what I was really sorry for is that I got caught. But after a year or so of excusing my “bad decisions” the Lord put me on a path of repentance. But I could not see the depth of my sin all at once. It had to be exposed a layer at a time. What my repentance looked and sounded like during those first couple of months was very different than what it was 2 years later. The church made sure that I took the time to go through that long process. My sense about this abuser is that either she is at the very beginning stage of real repentance or she is a master manipulator (as are abusers.) Again, only time will tell. But the fact that the church has jumped so quickly to make her a hero could very well cause her to stop short of experiencing real repentance. How sad that the church doesn’t understand what is really needed for both the victim and the abuser.

    • Steve,

      I would like to point out one thing…..this isn’t adultery between two consenting adults. This is an adult (Teacher no less) who preyed on one of her 14 year old male students.

      14 year-olds are not capable of consenting to sex with an adult. Big differences in life experiences, etc.

      Big difference between the two. Too many times (I’m not accusing you of this) Church leaders *often* accuse victims of being partakers in their own abuse.

      That smile throughout the whole video says anything I need to know. She plead to lesser charges. She got off easily with the justice system. Her church isn’t going to hold her responsible. She knows it too.

      • Cathy: You seemed to have missed the point I was making. I was not trying to compare adultery to child sexual abuse. I was speaking to the issue of what does true repentance look like. Was what she says on the tape an indication of a true apology and understanding of what she has done? Some would hear what she said just as the church did, as a woman who was really in touch with the depth of her sin. My point is that it is too early to determine if the teacher is truly repentant or just manipulating the church. I also was making the point that the church, by its holding her up as a hero, most likely will sabotage the work of repentance in her heart and thus she might never know the depth of the pain she has caused nor how she has grieved the heart of God. She certainly doesn’t show any real remorse now (at least not from how I view her.) Nor will the church understand how their actions in supporting her and setting her up as an example see how devastating their actions are to the victim and his family. Our churches almost always take better care of the abuser than the victim. I hope this helps you see what I was saying in my post

  27. Dear Boz,

    We have something in common. Your good self being the grandson of a well respected icon of the Christian faith and myself being the son of a relatively well known missionary.
    Alas whereas I am sure you are proud of your grandfather, I am deeply ashamed by my father. So much so that I am too ashamed to call myself a “Christian”, preferring to examine my own heart and admit that the faith has been so severely dented I can but call myself a Sympathetic Agnostic and look myself in the eye.

    So how did this happen? Simple. The organisation my parents served with had many child abusers operating in it’s worldwide boarding schools. And when the evidence finally came to light, (including your own excellent GRACE report), my own father denied it all, He even denied that our neighbor who was jailed for his sexual offending ever offended. He said it was no concern of his what happened to his fellow missionaries children and he expressed no concern for his own children. And he was not alone, for many of his former co workers have done similar, going as far as explaining that the sudden absence of the convicted offender was due to a “mental breakdown”, not because he had been incarcerated.
    So Boz, that is my lot in life and the cross I must carry on my Agnostic shoulders, but when I muster enough faith to utter the occasional prayer, it is to give thanks that I survived and that I still have a voice to expose this awful saga and as I mention to whatever God it is that I am praying to with my thanks, I try and add a word for the many other victims of this shameful scandal.

    Many thanks for listening, to just the tip of the iceberg of my story.

    • Oscar:

      Well said, however, we live in a world where “religion” is a concept and one very much influenced by the power of sin and darkness. As a recovering victim who has wrestled with the impact of this crime, having been perpetrated against me by a very charismatic pastor over a period of 11 months, I know what it is to be convinced you have “Lost your religion”. Take hart man! There is help available. This, not form the wells of human encouragement nor from the snares of broken council, but, direct from above! ‘Seek ye first the Kingdom of Heaven’ that is “first” as in desire to attain. You may want to pick up a copy of the book, “Molested In God’s House” as it has been described as a ‘road-map back to faith’ even though it was written by a victim of this crime. If not, concentrate on The Scriptures. If you expose yourself to the hearing of God’s Word again, now, within the framework of adult reasoning, I am confident that nothing more than a commitment to discipline yourself to looking at Christ with purpose, intent, and resolve will renovate your thinking and return you to a stable faith and confident hope in the coming King and Kingdom! Look up and move forward.

      Best regards!

      • Many thanks for the concern. To clarify, I am 50 and it was two years ago that I had confirmed for what I had suspected for many decades, in that my parents had been part of a “cult” type group that had ruined the lives of many children in their care. This group still operates, still recruits and still attempts to cover up it’s now very public shameful past. In three days time their latest sexual predator will be sentenced for rape and child pornography.
        For me to be a Sympathetic Agnostic is a way of being able to accept what my past was, for that I cannot change, but to remove myself from those who used the label of “Christian” to rape, beat, sodomise e.t.c. and a father who rants that as I speak out I “ruin the reputation of godly men”, while many of his former colleagues hide from justice.
        As a child I knew what I saw and experienced was wrong, yet when I spoke out the answer was always the same, “close your eyes to what you see, focus them on God and read The Word”. It didn’t make a lot of sense then to a child with a conscience and it makes even less sense now, because the conscience is still intact.
        What I believe remains deeply personal and private, but in what I practise I aim never to give reason to be labelled the “fake” or “hypocrite” that so many of those I endured as a child were.

        • Oscar, thank you for telling us some of your story and your pain. WOuld you be comfortable to share the name of this cult group that is still operating, recruiting, and covering up? Some readers may need this warning.

          • Dear John,
            When it comes time for my lifes journey to end, I shall shuffle off to whatever lies upon the other side. And if it should be that it is the Pearly Gates, I shall wait at the end of the line to be admitted. For people of much greater faith should go before me, for my nagging Agnostic doubts preclude me from being a person of great faith.

            Then when my audience with the Almighty is granted I shall, on bended knee, confess my doubts and apologise most sincerely. I will confess that I had not the strength to believe with blind faith. Then I hope that God will look at my life and see that what I did for His Children was done with the some of the courage that His own Son had in his sojourn upon earth. And I hope that in my favor will go the many many hours of writing to Pastors, Politicians, Priests and many others, begging them to join me in attempting to stop the abuse of innocent children in many lands, with the irrefutable evidence that so many “holy” eyes are to blind to see. And I will hope that God will forgive the doubts that stirred within me when far to many of those Pastors did not reply, or called into question the hard evidence (an interesting note at this point, politicians do reply and act upon evidence and at the very highest level of government, but that is not what this post is about).
            Then I hope to hear the words, “as much as one did it for one of my children, they have done it for me” followed by “o.k. Oscar go and join my good doubting friends Thomas and Peter”.

            So if I shuffle off the mortal coil before thee, when you arrive at the Pearly Gates, have a look in the “Writers Corner”, for that is where I’m likely to be and at long last free of those doubts.

            Cheers

            Oscar

            P.s. in case anyone is confused:
            An Athiest does not believe in God.
            An Agnostic does not know have enough faith to make a judgement call.
            A Sympathetic Agnostic is someone who doesn’t want to profess to believe in something because they are to scared not to, but wants to find the good in fellow humans that is the evidence of a truly loving God, but just hasn’t got there yet, due to the life they have been allotted (that’s where I am at).

    • Oscar — I’m so sorry that happened to you. Well done for speaking out and being honest. I am also sorry because my words are so inadequate as my response to you. Sometimes words just don’t cut it, do they?

  28. There is an excellent support network called Fanda Eagles for missionary kids of this organisation (just type it into a search engine). On there you will find a link to the GRACE report, written by Boz’s organisation. There you will also find all the info you need and a warm welcome should you wish to participate on any of the threads.

    A point to note. It is my personal opinion that this is a “cult” type organisation, this is based on my own experience both as a child growing up in one of the boarding schools and my interactions with my father and other members in the past decades. Of course my personal opinion is not shared by everyone.

    • Oscar, thank you for this post. That website is amazing, it should be read in every church, by every pastor and by every victim of child abuse. Some of the posts on the thread are heart breaking and yet there is healing too.
      I struggle to understand how such a large missionary organisation is so uncaring for their own members children. Is it any wonder that some have lost their faith in a caring and loving God, when all they have experienced is this. This is a disgrace and needs to be fully exposed in full.
      And thank you Boz for the report that you did into this, it is chilling reading but a wakeup call for those of us who are so comfortable and far removed from the missionary life.
      Oscar and all the dear victims of this sickening mess, I am praying that justice will be served on the perpetrators of these crimes, so that your faith might be restored. May God truly bless you and reward you for your bravery of speaking out.

  29. What she did is completely unacceptable. She has no right to find a way to excuse what she did. I never could understand why a woman young and attractive like her is so willing to destroy her career over getting a dick between her legs. Her husband ain’t good enough? Come on, there are men out there that are “clean” (no STD’s) that she could bang. But instead she goes for a kid.

    Call it what you want, excuse it anyway you wish. I say it’s just downright pathetic, inexcusable and unacceptable. She got 6 months? Whatever. Guess she must have “met up” with the judge in his chambers. If the teacher was a man he’d get nailed hard.

    And how does the community view a female sex offender? They aren’t ostracized like a male SO is. I know a couple male SOs, and they have a hard life. Oh well, too bad. The women SO’s? They don’t have it as bad.

    I am very emotional about this- I was molested as a kid. Except in my case (and my sister’s case) the cops didn’t care.

  30. She gives the reason for her lack of tears and sadness as joy in the Lord and His grace. My observation would be that those who know the deepness of grace also know the deepness of His holiness. This is what brings repentant, desperate sadness and remorse: the acknowledgement of the depth of sin and its consequences. We recognize our wretchedness in this body of death as Paul says. We also seek to put others needs ahead of our own…for the rest of our lives. That may mean always being supervised around children, and telling others of our past etc. etc. in order to show Christs love the victim. Anything to instill confidence that they…and others…are safe and their deep suffering is acknowledged. The unmeasurable grace in the abusers life, then, is forgiveness from God, the joy in knowing the eternal price is no longer theirs to pay, and an earthly life submitted to the beautiful, undeserved, purposes of God…whatever that may look like. Thank you for your post.

  31. Tomorrow another sex offender with connections to my Missionary Kid childhood will be sentenced in Florida.
    There will probably be tears, but I doubt they will be tears of repentance or for the victims. No, they will be tears for being caught and the consequences of incarceration. And the mission will probably wash their hands of him, if they haven’t already. As for his victims, little will be done. They will be left to heal by themselves, just like the many decades of victims have been.

    And the only way this will stop from happening again and again is if the Church stops making excuses for their errant “Saints” who are masters of deception. It is to easy to put on the sheeps clothing if you are a wolf. And when the sheeps clothing is on, the fields are full of lambs to be . . . .

  32. Charles R. Williams

    I do not see the woman here who bathes Jesus’ feet with her tears, wipes his feet with her hair and anoints him with precious ointment. I do not see deeds worthy of repentance. I see no effort to repair the damage. This woman may be sincere in her gratitude to God for what he has accomplished for her but it is very clear that she has only begun to face the magnitude of her sin. I am afraid the treacly sentimentality of this video will do nothing for the victim and do nothing for the cause of Christ. Christianity is not about feeling loved despite what we have done, it is about loving the God who loved us first. And this love is evidenced by actions not by words and certainly not be emoting in public. One wonders what this pastor is trying to accomplish. The message he sends is that in his church, they will try to make you feel good no matter what you have done.

  33. Thanks Boz. You exposed the shallowness of the apology really well. I am disgusted by the pastor and the perpetrator. The pastor’s tone is bragging; he would probably say he is boasting only in Jesus Christ, but I don’t think Jesus would like that boast since is so Pharisaic. The perpetrator is way too slick and smooth. The video was hard to watch — all that cognitive dissonance!

    I detest it when perps and their allies say they are praying for the victims. It’s so patronizing. The perp actually said the victim ‘needs’ to do such and such (let go of anger, be healed, etc). If I were the victim I would reply to her “I did not ask you for advice about what you think I need to do! Go jump!”

  34. If you think logically about abuse, you can come to realize that there is a method to empower children who are otherwise dependent and vulnerable, to be less and less vulnerable to abuse. Children can have a protected voice, can have manifest liberty to adjust their days till their routines and alliances are what further their best development. This can be done if the adults decide to do it.

    We would be providing safety without having to be so preoccupied with the guilt or innocence of adults. The safety of children is something that can be measured by how well they demonstrate the activities that are described as basic human rights. This creates immunity, which is a real non-susceptibility to victimization etc, and in this strength is also created spiritual health. Yes there is a such a thing as a psychopathic predator. And such a person would be repelled by a group who raises their children as strong. The predator would recognize that their crimes wouldn’t take hold in such an atmosphere, they would move on.

    If we concentrate on creating safety for children, we don’t have to concentrate on nitpicking the guilt of anybody. We all have weakness, and can fail and breakdown under stress. That is the objective reality.

    I can’t get on board with all this preoccupation with judging and judging and judging forever, when the real failing in society is that safety isn’t recognized for what it is. People pretend safety is accomplished when all of the guilty are branded or locked up. No. That isn’t the answer.

    Objective reality can be judged on whether conditions exist to maximize the active demonstration of human rights by children. I rarely see conditions where they are. Normal families and schools, especially with the emphasis on obedience as the object of childcare, degrades the immunity of children. Only through community dedicated to real practicing human rights for every member can social immunity be maximized.

    The obstacle to creating real safety for children is that few are interested in thinking about the subject in a rational and logical way. All this yadayada about guilt is really beside the point. If that 14 year old have been raised with intact human rights, he wouldn’t have been victimized by this woman. And if she were acquainted only with empowered children, she would likely not have victimized any at all.

    What do you want to do? Obsess about who to punish and how much? Or provide for the safety of children? They really are two different projects.

    • Hi Kathy. Thank you for your comments about protecting children from abuse before it happens, and I agree with you to some degree. You say that “Normal families and schools, especially with the emphasis on obedience as the object of childcare, degrades the immunity of children.” I disagree that this is the emphasis in most families, though, and I also believe that most parents require obedience from their children so that they are able to protect them from other kinds of harm, rather than because they’re on a power kick.

      I think you misread the intent of Baz’s post and the comments that follow. Baz’s article is not a “preoccupation with judging and judging and judging forever.” Rather, it is intended to “teach us more about the distorted beliefs and understandings perpetrators have about the crimes they have committed.” There ARE pedophiles out there, looking for opportunities to abuse children. Even children who are raised with an understanding of their human rights (as much as their stage of development allows – they are not just mini-adults), are vulnerable to predators; possibly less so, but children are easily lured, especially if they are emotionally in need.

      As for the comments that follow, as you can see, many of them are from victims of pedophiles, or people linked closely to them. The tone is therefore understandable. In fact, considering the gravity of the crime, they express great restraint.

      So yes, we must empower our children as much as possible, and educate ourselves about how best to empower them, but while there are still pedophiles, no amount of empowerment will never provide full immunity.

      Baz: any chance of an article on how we can best protect our children from sexual abuse?

      • Thank you Lois for your reply. I did not reply exactly to his central point, which in fact I do value. He is observant about how people wiggle out of accountability, and about how others satisfy themselves with illusions of change that are not really true.

        Like most messages people give to another, this little rant of mine was a cloaked message to myself. I am an abuse survivor and am grappling for a way to contribute something on the subject that isn’t warlike.

        Also many years ago I tried to advocate for my little daughter who had reported sexual abuse, and I hoped for a conviction of her offender; didn’t get one. Her child-psychologist told me that the best I could expect was to make my then 4 year old child “abuse-proof,” which she felt she could do. This was her conclusion based on years of being up against the court and involved with actual cases.

        I found that absurd, and instead I wanted his head on a platter. In retrospect, I had to admit that my motives regarding the safety of my child were being overshadowed by impulses towards vengeance. Its a complicated subject, and hard to have the “right” emotions at the time.

        Probably everybody has at least one personal story that informs their thinking. This isn’t the right place for me to unravel mine. Thank you for your considered response.

  35. Romans 14:4
    4 Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.

    John 8:15
    15 “You judge according to the flesh; I am not judging anyone. 16″But even if I do judge, My judgment is true; for I am not alone in it, but I and the Father who sent Me.…

    Acts 17:25
    25 nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things

    Acts 10:15
    15 But the voice spoke again: “Do not call something unclean if God has made it clean.”

    Luke 6:37
    37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned.

    1 Corinthians 1:28
    27 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, 28and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, 29so that no man may boast before God

    Mark 9:42
    42″Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe to stumble, it would be better for him if, with a heavy millstone hung around his neck, he had been cast into the sea.

    Matthew 25:40
    “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

    Romans 11:19-21
    19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” 20 Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear; 21 for if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you, either.…

    • Hi A Believer. The Bible verses you have listed are wonderful and I doubt that there’s a reader here who isn’t glad these teachings are in the Bible. However, you offer no context, and Jesus did not teach us to be a people who do not make any judgements whatsoever.

      The intentions of most of the responses here (I’ve read them all) have the primary concern of protecting children. To do this, we MUST make sound, godly judgements. If we do not, we risk endangering our children.

    • I assume your point is to say that this teacher is being judged and that this is wrong. The prohibition to “not judge” is not universal. The bible is clear that we are to be “discerning” (pass judgement on what is right and wrong.) It’s not just what the bible says, but also what it teaches that provides a proper principle for interpreting scripture. So here are some verses I would recommend you read:
      I Cor. 2:15
      Matthew 7:15-20, 12:33-34
      Prov 22.24
      I Cor 5: 11-12
      Heb 5:14.
      Finally a quote from A.W. Tozer: “Among the gifts of the Spirit scarcely one is of greater practical usefulness than the gift of discernment. This gift should be highly valued and frankly sought as being almost indispensable in these critical times. This gift will enable us to distinguish the chaff from the wheat and to divide the manifestations of the flesh from the operations of the Spirit.”

  36. The problem I experience with normal prevention programs is that there is so little “tooth” to them. There is the talk about Good Touches and Bad Touches and ‘make sure to tell an adult;’ and it just doesn’t satisfy me. Once they tell, then what? Conviction rates are so abysmal that the whole story of following up with a legal response is that the offender either goes on entirely unscathed, or gets some tiny slap on the hand. The process re-victimizes the child. All the other children learn that it truly is better to not tell at all.There is the other extreme of an offender being murdered in prison and that isn’t right either.

    Baz is certainly one of the good guys in this struggle. I really should study his whole website before I shoot my mouth off any more.

  37. Even the pastor cannot acknowledge the real charges. He says she was charges with having a sexual relationship. Like it’s not a real crime. He is enabling. Sickening.

  38. Praying that she eventually really repents – that maybe the Lord will reveal more fully to her the horror of what she actually did. The only bright spot I can see here is that at least her sins are public and people can at least be wary. She clearly doesn’t sound repentant. Her statement sounds very clinical and chipper and rehearsed. She has not been touched by the gravity of her sin.

  39. I feel like this article is an attack on grace and judgmental toward sinners. I think our desire to see justice in this world greatly stained the author’s view of grace.

    I am not saying that she is innocent. If she was, she wouldn’t need grace. I’m not saying that she should just slough off her responsibility in the matter. She is a sinner! So is the author of the article. So am I! But who are we to say that God hasn’t changed her? Who are we to discount the cross of Christ and regard her as only carnal, if indeed, she really is now a follower of Christ? To view her in this way is to disregard Paul’s statements in 2 Cor. 5. And who are we to say whether or not she is?

    I would be careful in automatically assuming she’s still a caniving, manipulative jerk. Yes, she attacked underaged boys sexually. Yes she was manipulative. Yes, she’s guilty. Yes, she talked about her own insecurities and struggles. It’s necessary to note that if she talked about the victims’ she’d be overstepping her bounds and be even more criticized than she already is for not understanding the effects she’s had on them. What she did was wrong. And disgusting. But to say that she only furthers the problem in that all of her statements are only about her and her own defense is to say that she doesn’t have the right to process her own faults and failures. The ironic thing is that if she didn’t, she’d probably still be an abuser.

    Maybe she didn’t use such graphic words of attack and abuse because if people who were affected by her actions did see the video, it’d take them too graphically into their past with her. Maybe if you were a sex offender seeking help, you’d see her testimony differently. Maybe you’d see hope where no one else and nothing else in this world offers it (especially when you enter a nation-wide sex offender list, forever marked by even one action). Maybe this video isn’t for those who were affected by her sins. Maybe Jesus came to save people just like her – and just like you and me. Maybe she actually understands the depths and thorough reaches of God’s unconditional grace and love a lot more than we do.

    I’m just saying, maybe there’s another explanation than this one.

    “48 And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49 Then those who were at table with him began to say among[h] themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” 50 And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” – Lk. 7:48-50

  40. What a disturbing video. I could not help sensing that the Pastor wanted this ugly sin to go away as much as the abuser. So let’s wave the Jesus flag and make it all go away. This woman is so obviously deflecting the seriousness and perversion of what’s she’s done, and the severe damage she has caused the boy, and the worse part is that the Pastor and his group are enabling her. No wonder the boy was abused. Abusers thrive in environments where people can’t handle hard truths and where the make it go away mentality thrives. They ignore the elephant in the room. I do hope this women knows Jesus, but I hope she gets some serious help. She needs it desperately. If she can manipulate gullible people like this church and Pastor, and feels she can get away with it with the right words and somehow “change” in 11 months, imagine what will happen if she’s around kids again. God help her.

  41. joeythebushkangaroo

    Thank God, In my own Religion, we do not tolerate Gross sin like this–,just as the Bible provides this Counsel to the Congregation, to- ” Remove the wicked man (or woman) from among you” at 1 Corinthians 5:13. ,That is what is done!!
    These types of Criminals,(which is what they really are), are removed from among us if it should ever happen within our Church members.

    Pedophiles are wicked people, not just someone who is having a weak moment. They are cunning,conniving,deceitful,selfish,thieves of a “Childhood of Innocence”. They are removed,Shunned & their name is announced Publicly in front of the whole Congregation.
    IF(& that’s a big IF)they ever,after claiming repentance & sorrow & a turning around for what they did, are re-instated, which would be years later-I can assure you; they will NEVER allowed to be in ANY position of authority EVER again. Personally, I have never known a Pedophile(I only know of one person removed for this Gross Sin in over 28 years) to ever come back after being Publicly shamed by the Congregation.

    Evil will go where evil is ALLOWED to go.The Bible advice is there for a reason-why ignore it???. The Congregation is supposed to be kept Clean,both Spiritually & Morally. A mother can honestly feel safe allowing her young child to go to the toilet alone in our Religion. If these Filth are just smacked on the wrist & sanitized in other Churches, I feel for the poor Mothers who would be frantic knowing that a Pedophile has been so-called,”Forgiven by Jesus”, & is allowed to associate freely around their children. I am sorry, But I would have to leave any Church that CONDONES these evil persons & their actions, by allowing them to remain.

    Surely the Churches are not so desperate for parishioners that they have to keep Pedophiles in the Congregation & ignore the Bibles(God’s Word) advice to remove the wicked persons. Who is a gross sinner,if not a disgusting Pedophile?

      • joeythebushkangaroo

        Hi there Elbie,
        The Religion I belong to is one that does not tolerate or condone this type of wish-washy slapping on the wrists of SERIOUS wrong-doing. Ask around, at the Churches & among your friends & acquaintances, which of the Religions actually FOLLOWS the advice given in the Bible at 1 Corinthians 5:13? If I had small children again, I would not be in any church that does not follow that Scriptural advice.
        Highest regards Joey:)

        • Joey, now I’m trying to understand why you don’t want to tell me to which religion/denomination you belong! I’m sure you know that following your suggestion about how to receive the answer to my original question won’t be any help at all. Receiving such an evasive reply from you makes me suspect that your unwillingness to answer my enquiry is because on some level you feel insecure about your religion? If you would like to answer my question, I’d love to hear back from you. It was an innocent question, after all, because I was impressed by your certainty in the integrity of your congregation.

  42. Don’t be too sure of that opinion. I have been trying to get a program off the ground wherein pastors aggressively seek out victims of this crime, get them much needed professional help, engage them within the Christian community, and encourage them to name their molesters. I can tell you this… Pastors do NOT have an interest in getting involved. I receive far more support from ardent Non-believers then from church leadership. This unanticipated resistance has actually given me good opportunities to witness to the lost within my circle of acquaintances. However, the protestant church has very little time with regard to this matter… Go figure.

  1. […] Maybe. Maybe not. Sociopaths and psychopaths don’t process regret or shame like others. They tend to blame society, their upbringing, and even the victim for their violations. A sexual predator is redeemable, but their pathway to health is long and excruciating. One article that truly helped me understand how many predators process “getting caught” was a recent one by Boz Tchividjian. […]

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