Day Four of the Thomas Chantry Trial

By | July 29, 2018

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I will begin my recap of day four of the Chantry trial by explaining what the issue was with the removal of a photo of Tom Chantry from my article on the third day of the trial. Let me preface this by saying that I did not publish the article of the third day of the trial (Thursday’s activities) until Friday morning at approximately 6:30 A.M.

I entered the courtroom at approximately 8:50 A.M. for the scheduled starting time of 9:00 A.M. In the gallery were the same individuals that have been present throughout the trial – Chantry’s four supporters, a journalist from the local Verde Independent News, myself and one other man whom I don’t know. Judge Astrowsky and Counsel for both the Defense and Prosecution were in Judge Astrowsky’s chamber. They emerged at approximately 9:30 A.M. and went on the record. Judge Astrowsky then addressed the media. He defined media as not only the traditional media sources but also those who write blogs or other forms of social media. His definition applied to two of the seven of us in the gallery – Kelcie Grega of the Verde Independent News and myself. At issue was this photo, which I had included in my blog. Judge Astrowsky said the photo had put the safety of the defendant at risk and therefore ordered the media to not publish anything that could compromise the safety of the defendant. He then summarized a legal decision which he believed gave him the right to order this. (I am summarizing what Judge Astrowsky said, but will attempt to obtain a transcript next week.) He then asked both Susan Eazer and John Sears for comments. Eazer had none. Sears made it clear that he was the one who brought this matter to the attention of Judge Astrowsky and he had apparently suggested a course of action which was more restrictive than what Judge Astrowsky ordered. Sears wanted his suggestion implemented, but Judge Astrowsky believed his order was sufficient. He then advised the media to comply with his order or face further restrictions.

During the first recess, I spoke with my assistant and asked her to remove the photograph from my article published that morning. But I was surprised to find the court was not finished with the matter. After the jury members were excused for lunch Judge Astrowsky and the attorneys for both sides again addressed the issue for about five minutes. Nothing significant came from their discussion and I went to lunch. I returned from lunch at approximately 1:25 P.M. and was again surprised to find Judge Astrowsky and the attorneys in the middle of yet another discussion on the subject. As I listened I learned that Judge Astrowsky had vacated his order given in the morning. John Sears appeared to be unhappy with the decision and argued for retaining Judge Astrowsky’s order by presenting a hypothetical scenario in which bloggers may compromise the safety of those in the court. Judge Astrowsky was not persuaded.

It was now apparent that my blog was the item which caused all this angst. I am left to wonder if the safety of Sears’ client was the sole motivating factor of his bringing the photograph on my blog to the attention of Judge Astrowsky. I am also amazed that the Defense team is monitoring my blog so closely. In the window of approximately two hours, since I published my article, they had alerted the judge to their safety concerns, come up with a proposed action and were engaged in a closed meeting in the Judge’s chambers!

While I am now free to republish the photo I had removed from my blog, I have chosen not to do so. Its inclusion in my article is not necessary to the narrative of what occurred on day three of Chantry’s trial. I will add that I am a peaceful man who believes in law and order and our criminal justice system. In no way do I condone any type of illegal or criminal behavior.  That said, I fail to see how the photograph in question jeopardizes the safety of Tom Chantry. I will leave the reader to speculate on the reason Judge Astrowsky vacated his order, adding only that I am glad he did. As I have said throughout the trial, he seems like a kind, sincere, humble man dedicated to fairness and justice. The way he handled this matter has increased my respect for him.

On to the business of the trial.

The jury pool took their first hit. A juror revealed some information to the court which caused her to be excused. 14 jurors remain.

At 9:50 A.M. the State called Victim 5 to the witness stand. Now 35 years old, Victim 5 was 12 years old when Tom Chantry assaulted him by punching him with a closed fist to the left side of his face. The blow knocked him to the ground. Victim 5 stated he had never been punched that hard before. He remembers being shocked by Tom Chantry’s punch and said a bunch of adults came over to him.

The circumstances surrounding the assault were a 4th of July celebration on the grounds of the Miller Valley Baptist Church and parsonage. Tom Chantry had been the pastor of the church for approximately one month. Chantry had walked down from the front porch of the parsonage and told the children not to squirt him. Victim 5 responded by promptly squirting Chantry in the chest. Chantry then rapidly walked over to Victim 5 and “clocked” him.

Victim 5 is the brother of Victim 2. Victim 5 was never tutored by Chantry, but his brother was tutored twice weekly, on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Chantry would pick the two boys up from school and drive them to the church where the tutoring would take place. Victim 5 said they were always the only three in the church. He would do his homework in the church while Victim 2 was in his tutoring session in the office of Tom Chantry. Victim 5 testified that he would hear Victim 2 being spanked and then crying and whimpering every session. At this point in the questioning Victim 5 broke down and wept.

Victim 5 said he told his parents about the spankings his brother was receiving on two or three occasions. He did not know about the molestation.

Victim 5 said he was not interviewed by the ARBCA investigative committee in 2000. He was interviewed by the police in 2015 but still was not aware of the sexual molestation of his brother by Tom Chantry.

John Sears began his cross-examination of Victim 5 at 10:30 A.M. My impression was that Sears was tedious and badgered Victim 5. He would ask the same question in a slightly different manner several times. Susan Eazer objected several times stating “asked, answered.” As I recall, most of her objections were sustained. At one point Sears had repetitively asked Victim 5 about the ARBCA investigation, Victim 5 replied, obviously annoyed, that “I already told you I was not interviewed by them.”

One interesting exchange occurred when Sears was questioning Victim 5 about what he heard during the tutoring session. Sears established the fact that these sessions took place in Chantry’s office behind closed doors. Victim 5 told Sears he heard the spankings and the crying. Sears responded, but you never saw the spankings take place, correct? Victim 5 told Sears that was not correct. Sears did a double take and asked how he had seen his brother being spanked by Chantry if the spankings took place in Chantry’s office and the door was closed? Victim 5 said the door had a window and on one occasion he had looked through it and seen his brother over Tom’s lap with his pants pulled down getting spanked by Chantry’s bare hand! Sears was flabbergasted. He said this was new information and asked Victim 5 if he had ever reported this to anyone before. “No sir,” replied Victim 5. Sears challenged this new revelation but Victim 5 stuck to his guns and insisted he witnessed it.

Sears also attempted to discredit Victim 5’s statement that Chantry had punched him in the face. He said the police report stated he had been punched in the face or chest, so was it possible that had actually been punched in the chest instead of the face? Victim 5 said no, he had been punched in the face. Questioned as to why the police report said face or chest, Victim 5 said he did not know, but he had always said he had been punched in the face. Later, in the redirect, Eazer asked about this. Victim 5 offered a possible solution, saying the police interview occurred over the phone while he was in the car. He had pulled over to the side of a freeway and it was rather noisy so perhaps the police detective did not clearly hear him.

My impressions of Victim 5’s testimony is very favorable. He did a great job and I would think the jurors would agree that he was speaking truthfully about Chantry punching him in the face.

At 11:43 the State called Victim 2 to the witness stand. This was a crucial witness for the State as four of the eight criminal complaints Chantry is charged with deal with the sexual molestation of Victim 2.

In my opinion, Victim 2 came through with flying colors. His testimony was gripping, compelling and emotionally draining. I was choking back tears a few times.

In the year 2000 Victim 2 wrote to the ARBCA investigative committee that Chantry was a “Sick, Twisted Monster.” After sitting through his testimony I would agree.

It appears that shortly after Chantry arrived at the Miller Valley Baptist Church he had Victim 2 in his sights. He wrote a letter to Victim 2’s parents stating that he was a very bright child and school wouldn’t be challenging enough for him. He proposed they let him tutor their son, stating that he had been tutored when he was young and it had been very beneficial for him. The parents of Victim 2 agreed and shortly thereafter, in August or September of 1995 the tutoring lessons began. These lessons took place on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Miller Valley Baptist Church.

Victim 2 stated that the first tutoring session was normal, but after that, he received spankings every session. The molestation began in October of 1995. After spanking him Chantry would have him sit in his lap and rub his butt and then work his way to his genitals. This took place every session, initially through his clothes, but later with his pants pulled down. Chantry typically fondled him for 10 minutes.

Sometimes Victim 2 was spanked as he lay across Chantry’s knees, other times bent over a desk, other times he was standing and was told to bend over and grab his ankles. Different instruments were used in the spankings, sometimes it was Chantry’s hand, sometimes a long, green willow switch, sometimes a paddle that Chantry had hand-crafted.

Victim 2 recalled being told many times by Chantry that “disobeying me is disobeying God.” He believed Chantry. He was also told that Chantry was doing this for his benefit and he was not to tell anyone what took place in the tutoring sessions.

During Christmas vacation Victim 2’s parents were taking a trip to Phoenix. Chantry volunteered to babysit Victim 2 at his house so the parents would not have to rush home that night. There was a tutoring class scheduled for the next morning, so it worked well to have Victim 2 spend the night at the parsonage, alone with Tom.

Chantry had obviously been planning this sleep over for some time. It seems Tom did a little woodworking on the side because shortly after Victim 2 arrived at the parsonage he unveiled a new, custom-made paddle he had crafted. It had a custom fitted handle and was nicely varnished. Victim 2 said Tom was quite proud of it.

Tom then instructed Victim 2 in a little church history. He told him that the church used to have monks. The senior monks had younger monks under them and they would punish them for sins that they had not found out about. Tom was now going to do the same to Victim 2. He instructed him to pull his pants down because he “wanted to see his butt turn red.” After the spanking he was, as usual, forced to sit on Tom’s lap while, for the first time, Tom rubbed his butt and then fondled his genitals skin to skin.

I could relate more of the horrors victim 2 was forced to endure, but I think this is sufficient to convince you that Victim 2’s description of Chantry of being a sick, twisted monster” is accurate.

Victim 2 told repeatedly told his parents of the spankings. Their response was that he must have done something to deserve it, and he needed to study harder. They also told him he was fortunate to be able to be tutored by the pastor. He never told his parents of the sexual molestation because he felt he would not be believed,  was ashamed and felt that somehow it was his fault.

Victim 2 was ten years old when all this physical and sexual abuse occurred in 1995. In 2006 he wanted to confront Chantry. He tracked him down and wrote him a letter through his church stating that he wanted to speak with him. Chantry had a friend of his, Don Lindblad (an ARBCA pastor in the Seattle area) respond to Victim 2. Lindblad told him that Chantry was not interested in speaking with him. Victim 2 persisted and told Lindblad he wasn’t going away. Chantry finally agreed to a three-way phone call between him, Lindblad and Victim 2. Unfortunately, Victim 2 did not receive much satisfaction from the phone call.

Susan Eazer questioned Victim 2 why he had never told anyone about the sexual molestation? He responded, “Because I never have liked talking about it. I don’t like talking about it here today.”

Powerful stuff. May God grant him justice.

 

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shauna

You know as I went to Chantry’s blog and found this open letter to the abortive mother I found his post offensive in the sense of who is he to lecture anyone on any subject regarding children? I am against abortion however is this the guy that should have been posting his opinion about such topics to unbelievers? This post was written in 2015 by Chantry and pay close attention to the phrase of his I am going to single out.

Now I understand that “abortive mother” is a diverse group. For starters, there are about 58,000,000 of you. You could hardly fit into one simple category. A few of you believe you did a good thing. Others have doubts, even if you put on a brave face to the world. Others have deep regrets. Some are depressed, some convicted. Some have come to have peace with what you now believe was a very poor decision. Some of you are my sisters in Christ – saved for exactly the same reason as myself: because Jesus saves sinners like me whose souls are home to unspeakable evil and who sometimes act on it.

because Jesus saves sinners like me whose souls are home to unspeakable evil and who sometimes act on it.

Was he revealing something about himself here? I think so!

http://confessingbaptist.com/an-open-letter-to-the-abortive-mother-tom-chantry/#comment-49770

Just clarifying that I am the assistant Todd speaks of in this article. I immediately complied with the judges’ order to take down the picture in question. Like Todd, I would comply with any order from a judge whether I agreed with it or not. This is especially true regarding perceived security issues.

I don’t wish to speculate further about a matter that appears to have been resolved. I will say that any concerns about security issues can be discussed with Todd directly. Just send him an e-mail at the address listed on this site’s contact page.

People can also write to me, although Todd’s a better sounding board for security issues, as this is his blog.

Thanks. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

Hi Everyone,

Thanks for your prayers and support. Just an FYI that Todd will be in court today, and I have several professional commitments. Therefore, comment moderation may be slower. We may need up to a 24-hour window to approve everything, although the time-frame will likely be shorter.

I apologize for this. Please also note that you can sign up to receive comments even if you don’t want to comment yourself. Just select that option from the drop-down menu.

Also, I deeply regret getting grouchy with people, one day, who were trying to make this blog’s coverage as accurate as possible.

Please let us know about any problems including spelling errors. If you’re a grammar teacher, perhaps consider cutting us some slack unless the error is so bad that a sentence’s meaning is unclear. 😉

Also, you can e-mail either Todd or myself from the contact page. We can’t guarantee that e-mail correspondence will remain confidential, yet try to keep it private.

Thanks. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

Kathleen

I too, was wondering why the fact, that the parents allowed this to happen, was not seen as very questionable parenting. I think that maybe if this was happening now, the parents and the church might be held culpable? Shauna as well as others make some very good points on this.

I hope the victims get as much therapy as they need to get over this. I can’t imagine a little defenseless boy having to live thru this knowing that his parents are not protecting him. I don’t know if they will ever get over it.

Parental responsibility has been a tough thing to address, in my seven years of informally doing advocacy work, Kathleen. In many cases I’ve seen, parents feel they made terrible mistakes and have done their best to make amends by doing advocacy work and reconciling with their children. In others cases, parents miserably failed to protect children, by believing the perpetrator instead, for example, and take no responsibility for their behavior. Most often the latter set of parents claim that they were brain-washed to the point that they couldn’t be good parents.

I’ll let others debate what I’ve said above.

One thing I will mention is that, to my knowledge, parents are always considered mandatory reporters of the possible abuse of their children. Many pastors seem to be suggesting that they didn’t report abuse, because parents didn’t want them to.

To my knowledge, that argument is bogus. People who are required to report suspected child abuse do not need the permission of parents to do so. That should be common sense, in my view. Parents who do not report suspected abuse can have their children taken away from them and put in foster care. Pastors who are mandated reporters and do not report suspected abuse can face criminal penalties.

I’m not a lawyer, yet believe the info I’ve provided above is very basic.

If anyone is unsure about the moral and legal implications of reporting child abuse, please seek counsel from the police or lawyers about your situation. Please don’t just take the path of least resistance by not reporting suspected abuse.

Thanks. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

Hi everyone, I’m not a lawyer, but as an activist in the field of intimate partner abuse / domestic abuse, I know there are pros and cons about making laws or social policies that put the onus on an abused wife to report that her children are being abused by her male partner.

I don’t know what laws are in place in different parts of the world about this. But I do know that advocates for DV victims say that it’s NOT a good idea to make parents mandatory reporters.

Excellent point, Barbara. It’s all about context. I agree that there can be extenuating circumstances in which parents or a parent face difficult choices. My comment was primarily directed at people who are not in that situation. Rather, they’re just being told not to report by corrupt pastors. In that case, parents probably can face consequences for not reporting.

Thanks. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

Kathleen

I don’t know the laws either but it seems in the last few years there are countless (mostly women) who are being charged and jailed because they failed to protect their children from their abusive partners both husband and boyfriends. Even if they are being abused themselves – in most cases a parent should be able to get help for their children. They are essentially neglecting their children which is against the law in most places.

Here is one horrific example http://friendlyatheist.patheos.com/2018/07/20/dad-sexually-abused-kids-mom-only-prayed-about-it-now-both-have-been-arrested/

Thanks for your feedback, Kathleen. The laws about mandatory reporting can be very complicated in the U.S.

In some areas, there are many services and shelters for battered women. In others, there are not. That’s unfortunate, yet parents everywhere need to protect their children.

Many do so under very difficult circumstances like the one Barbara mentioned.

To me, the bottom line is the safety of children. My heart goes out to abused women. However, if they cannot protect their children from physical or sexual abuse,then those children need to be placed with people who can.

So yes, I think that parents should be considered mandated reporters on a fundamental level.

That’s just the way it is, in my view, Barbara. I respect your right to a different opinion.

Thanks. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

To clarify, are advocates against domestic violence arguing that parents should never be required to report the suspected physical or sexual abuse of their children?

If so, I find that an extreme viewpoint which I disagree with 100%. It is definitely not in the best interests of abused children.

Thanks. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

JHenry

I cannot answer for others, but I see the wisdom of exercising some caution in criminalizing the inaction of abuse victims, due to the trauma, fear and ‘nowhere to go’ mentality that such persons may have experienced. I am not advocating for ‘no protection required’, but perhaps viewing with caution and compassion abusive situations in which a parent seems to have failed to ‘protect’ their children as well as we might expect. I admit I do not understand parents who simply disbelieve their children’s claims of abuse, without carefully checking out their stories. But that is a far cry from a mother who is herself abused, and who is, in her own mind, doing all she can to protect herself and her children from a live-in abuser who is also the family provider.

As a child who grew up with an emotionally abusive father, there were times in my youth when I was angry with my mother for not doing more to protect us. In reality, she felt pretty limited as far as escaping a difficult situation – she didn’t drive, missed getting her high school diploma due to illness and no feeling of deep need for a certificate, and there were 8 kids to take care of. I am not sure that anyone, 40+ years ago, even recognized what emotional abuse was. And a ‘good, christian woman’ never badmouthed or left her husband, almost irregardless of her circumstances. That is what we are fighting to change!

Just saying, the last thing a parent who is abused herself, feels helpless and is worried about her kids needs is to be told that she failed to do what was best for her kids and that she is going to jail. Sometimes, in very unhealthy situations, a person’s ‘best’ is less than ideal, and tainted by expectations and circumstances beyond her control.

I am deeply appreciative of the changes many seek to bring to people’s understanding of abusive situations, which I also desire to do. But I think we need to remember the very different expectations that were put upon people in the not too distant past. Even while seeking more and better protection for all potential victims of abuse, we must be cognizant of how manipulated abuse victims often are, and treat them appropriately.

Let me be clear; I have no sympathy for abusers, or for those who cover up for abuse. My sister’s child was abused by her father-in-law, also a pastor. She struggles deeply with trauma and painful emotions, among them, anger at her mother-in-law who, due to her husband’s supposed ‘remorse’, covered up his repeated abuse for decades. She thought that was what a ‘forgiving’ wife was supposed to do. While this was wrong, and allowed further damage to occur, I do believe compassion can be had for her, and other similarly conflicted individuals.

Should she go to jail for not turning in her husband? She did not seek to keep him from being prosecuted and incarcerated once the new abuse was exposed, in spite of his age and poor health. Did she ever, secretly, hope that someone else would turn him in all those years ago? I have not discussed such things with her, so I could only hazard a guess. Maybe, as we become more educated about abuse situations, such notification laws would be proper incentives to not tolerating abuse, but I would add that exceptions still must be made for those who may feel helpless. I’m not sure that we can apply such laws, without exception, in all situations.

I would not give such ‘grace’ to a non-spouse, who does not deal with the same level of conflict as a wife and mother. Adult outsiders – particularly elders and deacons – should, in my opinion, be able to deal objectively with abuse, as that is part of the responsibility of being an adult tasked with watching out for the safety of others.

Just some thoughts that might be helpful.

The advocates against domestic abuse her in Australia have argued against a proposed law that would mandate all parents to report the suspected abuse of their children.

The reason they argue against such a law being enacted is that it would likely make it even harder for women who are being abused by their husbands to seek help for themselves and for their kids.

These advocates know that men who abuse their female partners often if not always cause harm to the kids in the household as well. But they also know how the abused woman’s range of choices is limited because of the coercive control of the abuser. And they know how hard it is for abused women to reach out and find GOOD help when they want help from professionals.

I don’t know what the best way to write legislation on this is. But I do know that mandating all parents across to board to report abuse of their kids is not a wise thing to do when it comes to domestic abuse.

Diane Langberg recently published an article on the ins & outs of mandated reporting.

http://www.dianelangberg.com/2018/07/twitter-question-mandated-reporting/

Sonja

Thanks for this hard work Todd and Jana (and those yet unnamed). Hoping this was a good day of rest before going back into the lion’s den tomorrow.

Question — what have you observed from Chantry’s body language if he has any? I doubt you can see his face so won’t ask about that.

Shauna2

where are my comments going? I have tried twice to reply and thank you, barbara, and tiffany and also apologize to tiffany if I had offended her. I don’t want my comment to remain without making sure she knows that I didn’t mean to say anything not supportive of her comments. I think we just disagree on one thing and that is ok.

Hi Shauna2:

A couple comments ended up in the spam folder, but they weren’t yours. Do you see your comments now? This blog is getting a lot of traffic, so sometimes me and Todd have to flush its cache repeatedly for new comments to show up right away.

Also, I can’t speak for others, yet want to assure you that sometimes we all say things we regret or wish we could have phrased differently when discussing a topic as awful and emotionally charged as child sexual abuse.

I put my foot in my mouth all the time on this blog. In your case, anyone can see that your comments were well-meaning and that the issues you raised are complex. Please don’t beat yourself up about any of that, dear. If you still don’t see your comments, please e-mail me or Todd on the contact page and we’ll fix the problem.

Thanks. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

I want to thank everyone for their prayers for me and Todd in particular. Covering this trial and helping to cover this trial was very difficult for both of us for understandable reasons.

For me, it was also a milestone event. I was molested pretty badly on a crowded train in Japan at age 19. I’m presently 39. I’ve seldom discussed this, because as others who have been abused know, any kind of sexual abuse tends to be humiliating to talk with others about. People have hurt me by asking why I didn’t fight back or report the guy. In part, they don’t understand that I wasn’t in my home country and had no way of proving what happened. At the time, the Japanese police would not have been sympathetic. I am told that that this changed, and that there are now cameras on many trains.

When I was being repeatedly groped in a crowded train, it was also hard to believe it was happening. Nor was my experience unusual, sadly. All the western women at Berlitz, where I was teaching English, had also been molested on trains, if not as badly as I was. No one ever said so, but the mentality was that we were women living in a country that may have laws about rape and molestation , on the books, but didn’t really believe in enforcing them. If we wanted to live in Japan, we should accept that if we were molested or even raped there would not legal recourse for us, as there would be in our home countries. Japanese women were also in the same boat, yet had grown up accepting their country’s social mores about sexual harassment.

I bought all of the above at age 19. Now it makes me sick. My parents were diplomats, and I’ve lived in many rough places in the world. Japan was the only country in which I was molested and subtly told that that shouldn’t be a big deal to me. Perhaps I was more sheltered in other places, yet Japan has been widely criticized for allowing women to be abused, as a matter of course. Nor should anyone use a cultural argument as an excuse for groping genitals. Yes, different countries have different standards about appropriate touching, yet grabbing genitals should universally be considered crossing the line, in my view, in 2018.

Another reason I haven’t talked about this is that being molested on a train is less traumatic than being raped as a child or suffering other atrocities that this blog covers. However, that doesn’t mean that I should be trivializing it. I realized that this week.

What triggered me was the defense team’s attempt to discredit witnesses by badgering them about details pertaining to abuse, which also seem irrelevant to me, although I’m not privy to everything the jury sees, etc. etc.. I remember being molested very well. However, if someone were to ask me what color my pants were that day or whether the perpetrator grabbed my left leg before groping my genitals, I probably wouldn’t be able to answer those questions.

I understand that Tom Chantry has the right to a fair trial and an excellent attorney. However, certain strategies for discrediting people seem morally abhorrent to me too.

So again, thanks for your prayers for me and Todd. I don’t know how this trial will end. However, I am glad that victims have at least had a chance to face their abuser in court and speak their truth about what he did to them. In many countries, that would never happen.

Thanks. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

Oh Janna, I am so sorry about what happened to you. And I’m not surprised that you’ve been triggered by hearing Sears try to discredit one of these victims.

Thanks for sharing you story and your responses. It is totally understandable that you did not ‘speak up’ in Japan about that molestation.

In my mid 20s I was molested by a man on a London underground train at peak hour. I didn’t say anything at the time, I was so shocked and scared. But a years later, I decided what I would do if that ever happened to me again. I would yell “Stop It!” to the man and announce in a very loud voice to everyone who could hear me in the train carriage, “This man has just tried to molest me.” I reckon the man would get off at the next stop, in shame and humiliation. And he’d think twice about ever trying to do that again.

I believe public humiliation of the perpetrator has a place, and a railway carriage is a pretty good place to do that.

Thanks for the kind words, Barbara. I’m also sorry about what you experienced. Things are changing, yet in Japan public humiliation was not a deterrent 20 years ago. A Canadian co-worker told me a story about harassment on a train. She witnessed a Japanese woman yelling at and pulling on the shirt of a man who had groped her. Instead of being supportive, the Japanese passengers all looked away in embarrassment.

When I lived in Japan, creating a loud public scene was probably the biggest social faux paux you could commit. It was practically treated like a crime, in some cases. The passengers probably thought that it was wrong to molest a woman. However, in their eyes, making a scene about his behavior was a greater sin. And this incident involved a Japanese woman, not a foreigner whose cultural expectations may have been different from theirs.

Now, if someone groped me, I would yell and probably hit the guy whether it was wise to do so or not. There are also many awesome videos on You Tube of people (mostly women) grabbing and verbally berating people (mostly men) who have unquestionably touched them inappropriately.

However, when I really think about it, 20 years later, I don’t want to physically hit the guy who molested me even though he deserved it, and I would have been acting in self defense. Instead, I would want to face him in court even if that meant the stress and humiliation of being put on the stand and likely being slandered in subtle or not-so-subtle ways.

Speaking one’s truth is very powerful whether we receive justice as a result or not, in my experience. In many places, people don’t have a functioning civil or criminal justice system. They can either accept being abused or engage in vigilante acts to protect themselves. Certainly, the U.S. legal system has many flaws. However, part of the reason I’m offended by the suggestion that this blog would encourage violence against anyone accused of a heinous crimes, is my deep-seeded belief that the U.S. has a strong rule of law that precludes needing to exact “frontier justice” or private revenge.

I believe that Todd feels the same way. Of course, these are just my opinions. I understand why many victims/people in general may not feel the same way.

Thanks. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

Lydia

Janna, I am astonished at what happened to you in that environment of acceptance where it would be worse to make a scene. So sorry!

Thanks, Lydia. The hero is the woman who bravely stood up to such a damaging value system in her own society. Things are getting better in Japan thanks to people like her. I think that things are also getting better in the U.S. Reporting a humiliating crime has not traditionally been easy anywhere.

Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

Thanks Janna, you’ve given me insight about things about Japan.

Absolutely. What I’ve said about the treatment of women in Japan can be substantiated by many sources. I did love my time in Japan overall, and am told that its views about sexual abuse are changing. I hope so. I also believe we’ve reached a point in human history in which cultural relativist arguments about some types of moral behavior need to have their limits. However, I won’t open that can of worms in detail right now. 😉

Thanks. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

Thanks for sharing that. I did not know that about Japan. God has a strange way of bringing good out of the bad. I am glad that you are now speaking out. You really have nothing to be ashamed about, because of what Jesus Christ has done for us. Though I suspect that you know that and it can be a fight to find both the freedom and courage to get through trauma like this. The enemy works by telling us that we have to keep things hidden in the dark, but there is an incredible freedom when we bring these things out into the light. There is healing, but it does not happen when things are hidden. I was not abused in these ways, but I still had to work through giant issues and find true freedom in Christ. It was not quick or easy. And I agree with you that what the defense attorney is doing is morally abhorrent. We should not put our system up on a pedestal either. God has a system that is far superior. And Jesus’ number two enemy was the scribes (the lawyers of his day) and we should not lose sight of that either. I appreciate what you and Todd are doing.

Thanks, Mr. Jesperson:

I agree with your comments regarding shame. It seems strange to say, yet I was blessed to have been molested as an adult, not a child. At 19, I could at least process what I experienced and knew it was fundamentally wrong and not my fault. That probably would not have been true for me at age 9, even though I have wonderful parents who would helped me as best they could. They would also have called the police and let corrupt pastors get their due. I’m not trying to shame all parents who didn’t immediately react that way, as I don’t know the details of every situation. I just know what mine would have done. Certainly, the people I talked with in Japan were also supportive. There just wasn’t much we could do about such a pervasive problem, regarding sexual abuse, at that time.

No comparison exists between what I experienced in Japan and the decision of adult pastors and Christian leaders, in the U.S., to deliberately cover up allegations of child abuse against Tom Chantry. We can debate Mr. Chantry’s guilt or innocence. However, there appears to be no question that some of his friends and family tried to keep him from being investigated by the police despite knowing about credible allegations that he committed crimes against children and would likely continue doing so.

Please also understand that I am not putting the U.S. justice system on a pedestal. It has terrible problems. We all know that guilty people go free and innocent people are wrongly convicted. Many of those outcomes seem to be determined largely by a person’s capacity to hire a good legal team. That’s nothing to put on a pedestal.

My point was twofold:

1) At least victims can face the person who harmed them in a court of law and speak their truth;
2) At least vigilantism is not the only recourse for addressing wrongs in the U.S.

Again, I know that these subjects are complex and others may very reasonably disagree with me.

Thanks. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

Thanks for your response. I am well aware that the US system is better than many others, even some in rich countries like Saudi Arabia. I am not doing that kind of comparison, but rather I try to compare what is going on here with what the Word of God says. Every system comes up far short when we do that. There is far too much of men comparing themselves to other men in this world. This is a world-view that I always try to comment out of. And I have noticed too that one of the worst things about our system is that the rich get much more “justice” then the poor ever can. Even the Word of God complains about that fact in James 2:6.

Headless Unicorn Guy

I did not know that about Japan.

I was involved in proto-Anime fandom in the very early Eighties. After some of the stuff I heard there and then (and this was before Tentacle Hentai came across the Pacific), Japanese culture is seriously sexually weird. (Vending machines selling used schoolgirl’s panties for sniffing…)

A German once told me “It is not for nothing that the French are considered the biggest Pervs in Europe.”

Well, it looks like the Japanese are trying for the title of “Biggest Pervs in Asia”.

Serving Kids in Japan

“Sears also attempted to discredit Victim 5’s statement that Chantry had punched him in the face. He said the police report stated he had been punched in the face or chest, so was it possible that had actually been punched in the chest instead of the face?”

How, exactly, does this affect the victim’s credibility? What does it matter where Chantry punched him? A grown man punching a boy — or anyone, for that matter — in the either face or chest is abusive and criminal. Did Sears simply concede that Chantry punched him? If so, I fail to see how that helps his case.

Thanks Todd. You are continuing to do a great job of covering this case.
And thanks Janna and others who may be assisting you. 🙂

Deana Holmes

Todd,

Thank you ever so much for your thorough reporting on this case, including the sidebars! It gives a good flavor of what’s going on. I don’t know if I could be in the courtroom with that stomach-churning testimony from the victims. Victim 5’s testimony about how he saw Victim 2 spanked through the window in Chantry’s office door had to be a surprise to both the prosecution and defense. Both sides probably made calls after court to line up witnesses to confirm or not whether the office door had a window in it at the time, because that’s awesome first-hand evidence.

I was very disturbed that at least for a little bit, the judge was willing to entertain the possibility of removing a picture of the defendant from a website. It’s a good thing he walked that back. But I’d say to John Sears: Dude, you did learn about the First Amendment in law school, right? And you do know the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has a mugshot of your client and it is not at all flattering, no?

Not that I have a kajillion followers on Facebook, but I did put up a link to this post there.

KJ

I can confirm that the office door had a window in 1995. I strangely remember the whole office set up.

Amy M

Potential explanation for why the Judge reversed himself, with no new evidence presented, in just a matter of hours:

We don’t really know what happened during the lunch break. His reversal likely wasn’t due to The Verde Independent or another media outlet publishing a diatribe on the sanctity of the First Amendment, simply because there wasn’t enough time for that to have happened. Judge Astrowsky already made the decision that this case would be tried in open court. He can’t suddenly seal it off mid-trial, absent some sort of major event. Courts are open for a very good reason – treading on that right is a serious act.

Was the Judge contacted, off the record, by a publisher friend or a friendly advisor letting him know how badly this act may be spun by the press? Did Easer bring forward an argument during the lunch break? Did Sears push the Judge too hard on a different argument? We may never know what prompted this reversal.

The reality is that Judge Astrowsky is an elected official who serves on the bench in the fourth most populous county in the entire U.S. When he returns home, he has to face life under the watchful eye of the Gannett Publishing empire. As Mark Twain once said, “Never quarrel with a man who buys ink by the barrel.” Back in Phoenix, Judge Astrowsky stepping on the First Amendment rights of journalists is beyond a faux pas – it’s a dog that won’t hunt. Maybe he just needed a few minutes in solace to remember he is going back home in 3+ weeks and that this may end up being his one case that receives the most news coverage.

No elected officials want a record of themselves stepping on First Amendment rights. It’s likely that he simply reconsidered his position. FTR he now serves in Maricopa County Family Court, although until recently he served in Criminal Court and earlier in his career he even briefly worked for prosecutors involved with sex crimes against children.

IF Tom Chantry’s life was truly in danger, as can be the case for certain defendants, particularly those involved in organized crime/gangs, then Todd would be seeing manifestations of such a threat level.

There appeared to have been only one Deputy escorting Chantry to the parking lot and he was wearing a thin nylon polo shirt. When a defendant is receiving serious death threats, body armor is involved. Kevlar vests with ceramic plates are fully visible on both agents and defendant. The defendant typically receives both a bullet proof vest as well as Kevlar that extends below the waist to cover the mid-thigh for added protection. You could not possibly miss that.

There are also multiple agents assigned to such high risk defendants, so if there is any open fire, one agent can take the defendant to safety while another one lays down suppressing fire and another one engages in return fire. For defendants in really serious danger, you may even see snipers on the roof. We are not seeing any of that here, nor would you expect to in such a case.

I’m sure some hotheads have said some stupid stuff on the internet, but it doesn’t seem likely that Chantry’s life is in immediate jeopardy. It’s clear that while the Yavapai County Sheriff may be affording some additional security due to the well publicized nature of the case, they are not treating the defendant like he’s in mortal danger. We don’t know why the venue was changed from Prescott to Verde Valley, but that was likely at the behest of Sears, who has also been trying to use death threats to garner more continuances. He seems to see this as the one area he may be able to make headway on, so he’s milking it.

If the jurors are seeing any of this, Sears may also simply be engaging in theatrics, designed to make the jurors feel sympathy for the defendant. Sears has already tipped his hand telling us his goal is to make it sound like Chantry is the victim – the well meaning pastor who is being persecuted. Sears can try to add gravitas to his silly claims if he can make it sound like the Chantry clan have to live in constant fear. Sympathy/Empathy for defendants is a powerful tool. Sears may be looking for a hung jury, more than for an acquittal. His best bet is to get a few jurors to feel bad for the Chantrys. I sincerely hope that the jurors understand how much stagecraft is involved in both modern ministry and criminal defenses.

I am glad that Judge Astrowsky appears to be more unwilling now to help Sears with this narrative. I do believe some of this may have been influenced by the Judge’s recollection that Gannett does not look favorably upon elected officials who try to clamp down on the media’s constitutional rights. It is still a good idea to not come across as antagonistic, so I admire your restraint Todd.

Thanks for the great analysis, Amy. In your view, is it possible that the judge looked at Todd’s blog and realized how ridiculous it is to suggest that Thou Art The Man is fomenting any kind of violence?

Todd is also appearing in public such that his appearance can be clearly viewed, and he is using his real name.
To my knowledge, all of the pictures of Tom Chantry, on this site, were taken by others.

No one attached to this blog is photographing people from car windows or anything of that nature.

Nor has Todd approached a person who may not want to speak with him. I really don’t think that someone wanting to commit a crime would be as transparent and well behaved in a court setting as Todd is being.

For the record, I manage most of the tech aspects of Thou Art The Man and review all its comments, including the few which aren’t published because they don’t meet the comment guidelines.

If anyone made a death threat, I would contact the police generally and also do my best to reach anyone directly in charge of Tom Chantry’s security.

To date, no one has made threats of any kind respecting Todd’s coverage of the Chantry trial, which is a surprise to me. Normally trolls make borderline threats about most of the content on this site.

Thanks. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

Lydia

Amy, my guess was Sears might have tried to make an argument that Christian oriented blogs are not “media”, Chantry is a limited public figure and perhaps imply threats were coming from reading the account here. Ligonier ministries tried similar back around 2006 but dropped it. There is more to situation because it was the first lawsuit of its kind. It made USA Today, Orlando Sentinel and Glenn Reynolds (Instapundit) wrote quite a bit on the implications. It isn’t the exact same situation but there are similarities.

Thanks, Lydia. I hope that no one attempts to disrupt the generally accepted free speech rights of anyone directly associated with this blog, which we possess by simple virtue of the fact that we are American citizens, subject to rights granted us in the U.S. constitution. That would be unethical and possibly even illegal in my view. If lawyers, and I am not referencing anyone in particular, attempt to squash coverage by using specious legal arguments or harassing bloggers more informally, I have no qualms about filing written, respectful complaints against them with any state bar associations to which they belong.

Lawyers have all sworn to uphold the law and, to my knowledge, all 50 state bars state clearly that attorneys may not use their professional status to harass or intimidate non-lawyers.

Again, I’m not referencing any lawyers in particular. In my own life, I have been bullied by lawyers who did not back off until I threatened to file complaints against them with their state bars.

I certainly hope that doesn’t happen again. Thanks. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

MW

Do you know if anyone saw Chantry punch Victim 5? It sounds like he mentioned a bunch of adults came over to him following the incident and it made me wonder if there were witnesses.

Dee Parsons
Dee Parsons

Well done, Todd. I believe that the judge was in error in his first move to limit the freedom of social media reporters. I am grateful that he revisited the issue and vacated his order. It appears to me that Chantry’s attorney is trying to make Chantry sound like a victim of social media. I wonder what he would say if he learned that I believe that I, as a blogger, was a victim of the over the top defenders of Tom Chantry as I have documented on my blog?

Thanks for the recap Todd. My impressions of what you have written is that it is interesting that a simple photo on a blog which does not appear to have all that much traffic would gather that much focus. The only reason that I can think of is because Satan and his pawns love to hide in dark places like the cockroaches that they are. In this spiritual battle, “reasonable” does not exist. Let me encourage you to look at the bigger picture. We do not struggle against flesh and blood. I think this is good news because it means that the Devil has noticed what you are doing. He sees you and this blog as a threat, so you are doing something right. When I have stepped out myself to do what is right I have noticed a pretty consistent over-reaction from the enemy coming quickly. When I do not see it, then I wonder if I am on the right track or being near as effective as I hoped. So, do not be surprised if this kind of thing continues. The war is real, as are the casualties, but normally all we see are the pawns being moved. We cannot see the spiritual influences behind the moves.
I also wanted to say that I have a heart that also wants to do what you are doing. One of the great problems with The Church today is that it has no internal police force. There is no one inside with the authority to bring correction into out-of-control churches. This, I think, is because of an over-reaction to our history when, actually not that long ago, there were bishops who had this authority, but almost all of them were corrupted by the power and could not be trusted. They became the abusers and there was no earthly power to correct them. Now The Church swings to the opposite extreme and there is so much lawlessness that the civil authorities are the only hope for correction and even that proves too weak for justice to be had much of the time. Justice is the foundation of God’s thrown, His very authority, and His Word tells us that we are supposed to hold each other accountable.
I would love to help personally be a part of what people like you are doing, but I lack both the resources and the practical wisdom on how to proceed to do something to help fix this mess. If God were to provide both, then I would be in the trenches with you there. We need faithful people who will expose this stuff. We also need God’s help and His power to bring it out into the light so that more people can see it. The current lawless state of matters does need to end. I keep praying to God that He would bring about that change and I have done what I could myself to see this happen. Narcissism in church leaders does need to be exposed, along with the idolatry of the people who worship the narcissist leader taking his throne inside God’s Church thereby defiling and desecrating it. All of these narcissists are abusive leaders with zero Godly character. Some are womanizers, some are greedy, they all want people to be devoted to them, instead of Jesus Christ, and some are child-molesting Sons of the Devil.
Beyond all of that, it looks like Sear’s strategy is back-firing on him, if your descriptions are accurate. Being overly aggressive against people who were once abused as children is likely to create additional sympathy in the jury for those same witnesses. And Sear’s sharp, repetitive line of questioning brought out an eye witness account no one knew about through a window. I think these things only strengthen the prosecutors position. Thanks again!

Headless Unicorn Guy

“There was a tutoring class scheduled for the next morning, so it worked well to have Victim 2 spend the night at the parsonage, alone with Tom.

Chantry had obviously been planning this sleep over for some time. ”

Standard sexual predator M.O.
Groomed and pre-planned in advance (even to making “special equipment”).

We had a sexual predator who used a similar M.O. at Furry conventions years ago (and I’m sure he wasn’t the only one). He’d offer a room share at the con hotel to the (scoped out and younger) prey. Offering a room share is not suspicious in and of itself, as congoers often share hotel rooms to save money. However, when the prey got to the con, the room turned out to be a single and…

“Tom then instructed Victim 2 in a little church history. He told him that the church used to have monks.”

Church History(TM) straight out of the Da Vinci Code
Setting up for a little sexual sadism session like that Smyth guy in South Africa, except without both of them being nekkid. And apparently no pool of blood on the floor at the end of the session.

Headless Unicorn Guy

Sometimes Victim 2 was spanked as he lay across Chantry’s knees, other times bent over a desk, other times he was standing and was told to bend over and grab his ankles.

Don’t know about the meaning of that where you are, but where I am the expression “bend over and grab your ankles” has a secondary meaning of code words for anal rape.

Victim 2 recalled being told many times by Chantry that “disobeying me is disobeying God.”

“If You Question Anything I Do
YOU REBEL AGAINST THE FATHER, TOO!”
— Steve Taylor, “I Manipulate”

Shauna

I am following this and thank you for being there. My heart truly is saddened for these now men who were abused and violated by this monster! As a mother of a child who had been abused by a church member, I just get so angry at the protection and trust these animals are given by the church and even parents. I can not imagine for one minute of one second not believing my child and then handing him over. I hope the parents of these courageous men have made things right with their sons and are supporting them. Tom Chantry is a sick twisted human being who should rot in prison. The church and men who protected him and knew need to be rotting there as well! As far as I’m concerned they participated in the abuse with their protection of him and their silence! I hope the victims have had healing and someone to help them work through the trauma they endured. If they are reading your blog and the comments here I hope they see mine and know that they are and never did anything to deserve what this animal did to them. I want them to know that talking about it is putting all the shame on their perpetrator because he’s the one who is vile, filthy, dirty, scum and not them. They are pure and innocent and everything they did in order to survive those times of the abuse they did it right. My son couldn’t even scream out to me and I had been in the other room. He had a sharp object placed to his throat and was told he would die along with me had he screamed. My baby survived to this day he says he should have screamed should have fought. He blamed himself and every chance every opportunity I tell him he did everything right to survive that he did what anyone any adult would do to survive and that it’s not his fault. The perpetrator is the animal he’s the one who did it. I say to these brave, beautiful, wonderful boys who are now men that you survived, you didn’t do anything wrong, he’s the animal and he carry’s all the shame and the guilt not you. As I think back to the night my son was abused and reading your blog I am choked up and my heart grieves their loss along with my son. They are so amazing as my son is because he to spoke up and stood his ground against his perpetrator. He has told his story and has fought accusations and slander. He is now 18 and is one of the most courageous people I know and have the privilege of calling son. These men model for my son and many more courage because I can’t imagine it’s not easy for them to relive the abuse. I think what breaks my heart the most is that they suffered in silence carrying such a heavy burden for so long with no support during that time. I hope nothing I have said here is offensive I just want them to know how impressed I am with them. That anyone reading their story needs to 100% back them.

Dear Shauna, thank you for sharing all this.

And please tell you son that I honour him. And I don’t think he was in any way to blame for not crying out at the time.

Your son, and any other survivors of sexual abuse, might like to look at these two links. They are a training videos for professionals who are first responders to victims of sexual crime. But in my experience, victims themselves can also receive a lot of validation by watching the videos.

Part 1, Sexual Assault: A Trauma Informed Approach to Law Enforcement First Response
https://youtu.be/gtWD1XJrhNo

Part 2, Sexual Assault: A Trauma Informed Approach to Law Enforcement First Response
https://youtu.be/O0Om695cHjg

Shauna, I grieve with you for your son. I fully agree about the protection and cover up for these monsters – there isn’t a more appropriate name to call them!
I do struggle with the fact that these parents made these choices – I didn’t want to publicly shame them in my post as I didn’t walk in there shoes…however I am fully aware of how it feels as a child because my parents also allowed the powers that be to cover for my abuser and they did not act once told to remain silent. I know how that feels as a victim to not be fought for and protected by your parents for the “good of the church”. I’ve never recovered from that, I felt I was worth less than their church and the heroes they worshipped – now they regret it. But the message was given to me and is marked on my soul. I forgive them, but it changes everything.

Shauna, I’m thankful you found a voice to fight for your son! I respect that in you! ❤️ I pray for healing for your son.

I grieve for these victims of Chantry

Shauna

Tiffany,
I mean no disrespect to you in your comment as I believe it was well written. I am so sorry you went through that and I am so glad you have found forgiveness towards your parents. I in no way want to shame the parents but rather point out that parents need to wake up and stop denying , not believing, or ignoring the issue when God clearly gives a clear indication something is not right. I think we have been given a massive responsibility to protect our children. I to was a victim as a child and although it does not affect me today and I have myself forgiven my parents I recognize the responsibility I have to my son and for justice to be exercised. This story isn’t about me but rather the children and how we as adults fail at times but on the other end of the spectrum parents who purposefully place their children in harms way in order to keep their status, give recognition to leaders, protect their reputations, or whatever the reason I just don’t think we need to put brainwashing or anything else in place of personal responsibility when it comes to child sex abuse. It’s like passing the buck! Sure they don’t ever want their children to suffer like that however when a parent ignores it to me it’s just as egregious. I’m sorry but I can’t see it any other way and when I read this article it brings anger not just against the perpetrator but towards those who harbored him and this includes the parents for failing to protect in this case. Those kids had no choice in who they were exposed to and the parents had control of that. So in my mind every time that man picked them up they were being handed over with no way to protect themselves. If this doesn’t make anyone angry then I have no words for that. It doesn’t matter if it happened twenty years ago or yesterday it should strike a fire in every person reading it. Also people who hold even parents accountable and this involves asking what were you thinking? The shame that comes along with it isn’t the shame that we heap but the shame they brought on themselves for decisions they made that put them in the position in the first place! In regards to my son I acted immediately and believe me we paid a price however that is nothing compared to being complacent and compliant with what the pastor wanted out of us after the assault. My son had paid a much higher price and there was no way I was going to stick around. I had our pastor on a pedistool to and I was kind of oblivious to some things but not when it came to abuse. Had I known about the other abuses in our former church we would have high tailed it out of there. I think back and their silence (the congergation) could have saved my child. This is where i get angry with former and current members of churches that know of the abuses and say nothing they do nothing. A few families took a stand for my son and they to paid the price while others gathered with the pastor and my sons perpetrator. For that they will answer to it some day although it makes me angry it does nothing for me to think about them. Except when I read how these members and parents continued to hand the boys over with no checking and worse it is very clear the boy was punched in front of other members of the church. The attorney pretty much confirmed this with his line of questioning and it doesn’t take a genius to figure this out. With all of this said Tiffany I loved your comment and I respect the fact that you are being kind by not throwing the parents under the bus. Unfortunately I share a different opinion in regards to that but we can agree to disagree and it still be ok. If I came across as rude or not recognize that you were being kind I am truly sorry for the misunderstanding and I hope that you will accept my apology.

Besides the obvious crimes of abuse against these poor victims, three things stand out to me which continue to prove our points on why victims don’t report sooner:
1) What church people want a Pastor who punched a child in the face – regardless of his “apology”? This incident after only being there for one month as Pastor sent a very strong message that he was in charge, he would not be punished, he was invincible and powerful. That should have been met with charges and immediate firing.

2) His power to the victim proven by the fact that victim 5 after already having been punched he now witnesses and endures hearing his brother being spanked weekly by this monster and his parents don’t believe him.

3) This victim #2 endures all of this and knows his brother is outside, and gets the message that this is “normal” because his parents allowed him to be there, his brother is outside, he’s special/chosen because it’s just him, and this is reiterated by the parents, there must have been signs of a change from the trauma even while he tries to tell his parents (not believed) and yet he’s sent back
Power

4) The poor child cries for help and is not believed – typical of victims up against powerful “good” “godlike” leaders

5) Tom, the monster/Pastor/Teacher, tells this victim that to disobey him is to disobey God – which immediately throws every thought of this not feeling right into a moral and spiritual controversy because any thoughts against his Pastor/Abuser immediately contradicts his young faith – and the position of his very religious families dedication to the “church”. This is a psychological and spiritual abuse that is incredibly hard to untangle.
He furthers this point by his twisted tale of Monks and how this is “normal”

6) The victims are children, they want to “be good” and receive approval of their parents and leaders

7) Because he is not believed, and due to the hero worship
of this Pastor along with I’m sure many messages from the pulpit that elevate his power and hold on them, the parents continue to hand him over to his abuser every week and then entrust him for a sleepover “babysitting” – I’m sure the parents griev this decision – but they are sucked in and brainwashed, never seeing this man as anything but a “godly” spiritual leader. However, this further solidified (concretely) to this victim and his brother that this man has all power, they will not be rescued or believed, and that this is expected – why would they tell again? The power play is solid.

8) The victim is taught that this is discipline – furthering the power play and also attributing guilt – the victim thought he “deserved” this punishment. The biggest crime and the hardest part to overcome – he blames himself and can’t think clearly, brainwashing. And the parents tell him to submit because “he must have done something wrong and he needed to study harder”. I am not judging the parents, I’ll reserve my own thoughts on this, however this message by brainwashed followers of a leader in the church is all too common and it is continually manipulated by the perpetrator in conversations. Make no mistake, it is a constant work in action to confuse even their own questioning and doubts.
The victim also watches this manipulation of his parents, and realizes he won’t be rescued, it’s hopeless.

This is the incredible mind games, power plays, manipulation, control and power that are wielded to allow perpetrators to prey on people in the church.
It is the same in Hollywood for movie roles and furthering of careers (and standing up means being blacklisted), it is the same in business corporate settings, and the potential to “be ruined” or demoted. Those are adults….imagine the confusion and devastation on a young child or youth in a youth group – they are not only up against their entire church, but their parents and family, and most confusingly – God (they have been led to believe) – whom can they trust?

We have to start a new discussion and we must tell
our children what is never safe – and not teach or children to implicitly trust “men of God”, and not treat them as powerful leaders to our children. We must understand what’s at stake. No one is to be idolized this way. And when they seem to demand it, beware. When they want you to submit or agree to things that seem “off”, question it.
We are sheep that have ONE shepherd, the earthly ones need to be questioned and evaluated daily and constantly- when your earthly shepherd becomes unquestionable and powerful – beware.

I grieve and pray for these victims – we will never know what the impact does to their daily lives and how it has altered everything. God never intended this for anyone, His way is peace and love and protection and abundance as we grow in faith with and for Him – never for man.

Thank you Todd for the heart wrenching coverage, people NEED to understand the workings of predator Pastors.

Shauna

Your comment is really good and accurate. I do have one question though you reserve not commenting about the parents actions. I’m confused because anyone who is made aware especially when a child is being abused there is no excuse in the world that absolves their participation. Why do we resort to the parents being brainwashed? Abuse is abuse no matter what type of delusion the parents are under and the fact that the boy was punched in front of witnesses, which he was that alone puts the parents on notice including the congregation. God like authority? I don’t think so because the brainwashing wears off the minute he was caught committing a criminal act against a child of all people. I’m sorry but the parents and the church had knowledge and rather than adhere to what is moral and right they chose to ignore it and still allow the children to be in his care. If this were a man in any other organization he would be vilified as he should and those who allowed him to have access to their kids wouldn’t get off easy either or chalk it up to brainwashing. I understand that a form of brainwashing occurs however it doesn’t keep you in the dark when the darkness is exposed. You have a choice at that point and it’s a difficult one for some but none the less you have the choice that the children don’t and that is freedom to kick his butt to the curb, have him arrested, and most important get out of dodge! Your children look to the parents for protection and safety and in this case at least on two occasions they ignored them completely and in fact told him he probably deserved it to study harder. I hope they have made peace with God and their sons for their horrible decisions. None the less in my opinion every one who had knowledge of this mans actions were complicit in the continuing abuse. Makes me so angry to know that they at least knew he punched another persons child and they did nothing! What more would you need to know he is out of his freaking mind? I had a choice after my child’s abuse to stay and not rock the boat and a few others who refused to get in line as a result of questioning also paid a price and yet although confusing and difficult they left. They felt they were brainwashed but not to the point of ignoring abuse.

JHenry

It would appear that the defense fears the social media reporting of this case. Perhaps the abusers in the church resent that social media has knocked down the ‘Don’t tell’ door and allowed truth to flow forth.