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I received a copy of the second complaint against Sovereign Grace Ministries earlier today. We have been expecting this second amended complaint for some time now. As if the original complaint was not bad enough, this new complaint is beyond what I could have imagined. It is difficult to fathom these kinds of crimes committed under the facade of an environment that is so pro-family, so keen on being sexually pure, dressing modestly, having godly complementarian marriages, being so cross-centered, children’s hearts being shepherded etc. To read what you are about to read will no doubt be shocking.
If even 10% of the allegations prove to be true, it is horrific. I do believe the plaintiffs and have no doubt that 10% will be far closer to 100%. As weeks and months have gone by since the original filing, so many of us have been shocked to see the stance of Christian leaders who are friends with some of the defendants on this lawsuit. C.J. Mahaney continues to speak at churches and conferences – even overseas as recently as last month – as if he is a Christian in good standing with his peers. Do they need to see sexual acts done to minors in front of their eyeballs in order to speak out or take a stand against abuse? WHAT MORE DO THEY NEED before they take a stand and say enough is enough?
I must issue the strongest disclaimer right up front. If you have suffered abuse of any kind. Please be careful. I do not want to cause triggers for you. Why am I going to post some of the allegations? Because these survivors have not had a voice for years and years. Their voices have been squelched, they have been told to deal with their own sin (appalling!). These survivors were denied the opportunity to get civil authorities involved, were denied access to proper mental health care, were denied the opportunity to talk to their closest friends. These families have been alone and silent. That is not going to be the case anymore.
It saddens me to share the stories from the newly filed amended complaint, but if it prevents one more person to go through what they have gone through, then it will be worth it. The plaintiffs’ family members I have communicated with seem to be in one accord on this issue. They agree that the truth MUST be known.
One more thing before I continue. I would once again ask my readers to pray for these precious families, not only the families of the survivors, but also the families of the alleged perpetrators of these heinous crimes. Some are just now learning or coming to grips with what has occurred. You can be sure that families and lives are being tragically affected.
Some of the plaintiffs have now decided to disclose their identities. That is a brave and powerful step to take. People will now be able to put names and faces together. Some will be shocked when they see the names and recognize faces. That’s good. It’s time to realize these acts of violence were committed against real people, not just pseudonyms. Those who have remained anonymous are just as real as those who have revealed their names. We must not forget any one of the survivors.
Here are the brave plaintiffs who have decided to reveal their names:
Heather Thompson Bryant (formerly identified as Paula Poe)
Jessica Roberts-Thomas – *new plaintiff
Dara Sutherland (formerly identified as Robin Roe)
Renee Palmer Gamby (formerly identified as Norma Noe)
James Robert – *new plaintiff
Six other plaintiffs use a pseudonym: Jane Doe, Karen Koe, Karl Koe, Carla Coe, Grace Goe, and Donna Doe.
This is a key paragraph (screen shot) taken from the complaint:
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Ok, once again, please, be careful when reading this if you are triggered when reading abuse stories. I cannot stress that enough. I am only going to highlight from #32 to #56 of the lawsuit below. If you do not want to get triggered, please stop reading now.
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Beginning at #32 and cont.: Plaintiff Roberts, an elementary school child, was allegedly fondled by David Adams. Plaintiff Roberts told John Loftness, principal of the school, what happened and Loftness told Roberts to re-enact what happened. Loftness failed to report the incident to Roberts’ parents. He also failed to report the incident to authorities, but instead, directed Roberts to forgive Adams.
#35-36: 1986-1989 Roberts was later molested by Morales during his middle school years. The claim indicates went on to molest others including his daughter. Morales hugged Roberts and manually manipulated his penis. Roberts did not report this to anyone because he was afraid he’d be forced to reconcile and forgive.
#41: Daughter of David Adams discloses to her mother, Peggy, that she had been molested by her father from the age of 11 to 14 (1983-1986). The abuse: oral sex, digital penetration
#43-45: Peggy reports sex abuse to Dave Mays who reports to Defendants Ricucci and later Loftness. They failed to tell authorities of Adams’ prior sexual abuse. Peggy is told to let them handle it, that they will “take care of everything.”
#46 Peggy was not told of Adams’ abuse of Plaintiff Roberts.
#56 This begins the story of Stephen Griney and Plaintiff Thompson: In the summer of 1984, ‘Stephen Griney, a teacher at the School and the head of childrens Ministry at the Church, came into the room where Plaintiff Thompson, then age three, was napping. He laid down next to her, began to kiss her neck and fondle her vagina. He told her she was “special.”‘
In the fall of 1985, Plaintiff was a kindergarten student. During the 1985/86 school year, Griney repeatedly “isolated Plaintiff Thompson, then age five, in the coat closet in the classroom. There, Griney kissed her on the mouth, used his hands and fondled her vagina, and rubbed his hands all over her body under her clothes.”
During the 1985/86 school year, “Defendent Lofness, Griney and a third person isolated Plaintiff Thompson along with two other girls attending the school. Defendants took the children to a room within the school, and directed them to take off their underwear. Defendant Loftness pulled a plastic rod along Plaintiff Thompson’s left leg and through her vagina. He then began to hit her bottom.”
Okay. This was bad enough. Friends, it gets worse, much worse. There are 218 entries and I only got to #56. What you will read (if you choose to do so) is church leaders in a concerted effort to cover up abuse, prevent parents from reporting, church leaders violating horrific crimes against children, church leaders conspiring together to keep the crimes under wraps away from civil authorities. You will also see leaders using their positions of authority telling victims to reconcile with their perpetrators. That sends shivers down my spine.
Below is the link to the full amended lawsuit. It is despicable.
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Updated 5/17/13: See judge’s ruling here.