Doug Wilson, Christ Church, Moscow, Idaho, CREC, Jamin Wight, Natalie Rose Greenfield, Sex Abuse, Rod Dreher
In the beginning of the article, Doug Wilson refers to a timeline of events of convicted pedophile, Steven Sitler. Then Wilson complains Rod Dreher not contacting Wilson for appropriate sources. (If you want primary sources and facts on Wilson, here is the place to go.) About half way through the article, Doug Wilson discusses the Jamin Wight sex abuse case. Doug Wilson’s words are in block quotes, my commentary in green font (bolding added).
The Wight Situation
The other main object of attention in Rod’s post was the situation with Jamin Wight and Natalie Greenfield. We are in the process of reconstructing a detailed and documented time line for that situation as well. But in brief, Jamin was one of our Greyfriar ministerial students who was exposed in 2005 as having been engaging in criminal sexual behavior with Natalie Greenfield a few years before. His behavior was criminal, hers was not.
Ok, that’s the very brief background. Let’s watch Wilson as he pulls the woe-is-me card:
But since others have been spreading the hurt for me, and the letter that I wrote to the officer investigating the crime has now been posted online,
And now Wilson plays Superman:
it has now gotten to point where if I speak, I might be able to help minimize the hurt that is careening around the Internet.
Please, take note – – -whose “hurt” is he referring to?
As my letter makes plain, Jamin was guilty of sexual behavior with a girl who was below the age of consent. She was underage. Our letter acknowledged fully that Jamin was guilty of criminal behavior, and we wanted him to pay the penalty for that criminal behavior, which was a species of statutory rape.
Let’s cut to the chase. Natalie has already posted publicly that Jamin forced her to have oral sex with him. A penis forced in the mouth of a young teen is not consent. Natalie publicly stated that she had a crush on him. Let’s get a reality check – holding hands would be normal for a young crush, not forced oral sex.
In a letter to the victim’s father, dated September 15, 2005, I wrote, on behalf of the elders, that “Jamin is in no way justified . . . and we have no problem with his prosecution” (emphasis added).
But the question before the court was what kind of criminal behavior it was, not whether it was criminal.
Does he really expect us to believe that the court has difficulty deciding what kind of criminal behavior forced oral sex is on a minor? I’m sure this is not the first case of oral sex Latah County courts have seen.
We had instructed Jamin, who was professing repentance, that he needed to demonstrate it by taking full responsibility for what he had done. But what he had done was very different from what was potentially at stake in his trial. Our elders had no problem with him being charged for the crime of sexual behavior with a girl who was not capable of giving legal consent (she was 14 and he was 23). At issue was whether he was going to be charged as pedophile, and placed in the same category as one who was molesting little children. But we believed his crime was not in the same category as Steven Sitler’s crimes at all. Steven’s behavior was with young children and was simply predatory. Jamin’s crime was that of engaging in sexual behavior with an underage girl.
Oh, so now Pastor Wilson has decided that he gets to interpret civil law? Unbelievable! It’s interesting that Wilson is so hung up on how the courts will define Jamin’s crimes.
The reason we did not want it treated as pedophilia is that her parents had bizarrely brought Jamin into the house as a boarder so that he could conduct a secret courtship with Natalie. So Jamin was in a romantic relationship with a young girl, her parents knew of the relationship and encouraged it, her parents permitted a certain measure of physical affection to exist between them (e.g. hand-holding), Natalie was a beautiful and striking young woman, and at the time was about eight inches taller than Jamin was. Her parents believed that she was mature enough to be in that relationship, and the standards they set for the relationship would have been reasonable if she had in fact been of age and if the two had not been living under the same roof.
Natalie’s response to the above is posted further in this article. She denies Wilson’s claims.
But please note well: Things like her height, apparent maturity, and parental knowledge of the fact of a relationship are simply irrelevant to the morality of Jamin’s behavior. They are irrelevant to the criminality of his behavior. They are irrelevant to whether Jamin was selfishly manipulating a young girl, preying on her for his own selfish ends. They are irrelevant to whether it was statutory rape or not. But such things were not irrelevant to whether it was pedophilia.
Once again, it is the court who decides such matters, not a pastor who has already shown lack of judgment in the earlier case of officiating the marriage of a serial pedophile, Steven Sitler. It seems most pastors would turn the case over to civil authorities, respond to the Court as needed, and let them decide.
What we wanted the court to know was simply this: it is simply not possible to have it both ways. If you are pressing charges of child abuse, you are saying that Jamin failed to respect the fact that Natalie was a child. But this was the same failure that he shared with her parents, who thought she was a remarkably mature young woman. That fact simply needs to be recognized on all sides. I do not argue this to intimate or hint that her parents were in any way aware of the crimes Jamin was committing. What they were unaware of, Jamin did need to go to prison for.
Nevertheless Jamin was brought into the house in order to make Natalie the object of his romantic intentions, and to do so more conveniently, out of the eyes of community accountability. The arrangement became public years later, and with much harm done. Jamin was trusted by Natalie and her father. He certainly abused that trust sinfully and grotesquely—and took terrible advantage of it. He abused it in criminal ways, and the time he spent in prison for it was no miscarriage of justice. However, the time he has spent on the Internet, characterized as a pedophile, by people who were entirely ignorant of the facts of the case, and whose only interest in it was finding a rock to throw at me, is the very definition of injustice.
The first letter that Natalie posted on line from me was addressed to her father, and it admonished him for failing to protect his daughter. There was outrage that I had dared to admonish the “father of the victim.” But the father of the victim had approved an extraordinarily foolish arrangement that left his daughter vulnerable. Two weeks later I wrote her father another letter on behalf of the elders, and this letter has not yet been published online. In this second letter I said, “We simply want to make sure that Natalie is protected by you in the coming months . . . What we are doing is exhorting you to make protection of Natalie your highest priority in the months to come, because we are convinced that she will need it” (emphasis added). Unfortunately, that did not happen.
We found out about the abuse of Natalie years after the fact. In the areas where we could act, we did act right away. Jamin was disciplined for it immediately (e.g. expelled from Greyfriar Hall). We supported his prosecution. We exhorted Natalie’s father repeatedly to protect his daughter. This is yet another situation where reasonable men could easily have made different choices. But it is also a snarl where it is possible to look back with a clean conscience.
Up until recently, Natalie’s account has been dangerously incomplete and misleading. We were letting it go for the sake of others. As things have spilled out, it is much closer to the full story now. The whole thing was tragic and grievous. The damage it has done should be clear to any observer, from sea to cyber sea. In the midst of all of this, it is our heartfelt prayer that Natalie will return to Christ—the only place where the kind of wounds she received can ever really be healed.
Ok, this shows Wilson’s true colors. First, we see an excessive amount of time defending a perpetrator. Wilson wants to show the court his perspective as if his account is the correct account. No, no, no! This is why we have a court process, so that both sides get a fair hearing. Wight had his day in court and the court decided. Wight was convicted. Wilson should now be quiet.
What’s obviously lacking is his genuine support for Natalie. How does he show her love and compassion? Did you read that last line – – their prayer is that “Natalie will return to Christ?” Natalie hasn’t been to Christ Church for some time and he is presuming to know her spiritual state? Or that she hasn’t healed?
I have met Natalie and spoken with her on the phone at length. One of the remarkable things about Natalie is she is not vengeful or vindictive. She has dealt with her abuse in healthy and productive ways. And now she is using her tragic story to help sex abuse survivors to have a voice, and also to challenge and encourage pastors to handle sex abuse cases appropriately.
Oh, one more thing. Remember where I said to take note earlier? Can someone please identify who the hurt people are/is he trying to protect here? “I might be able to help minimize the hurt that is careening around the Internet.” Is it Natalie?
Ok, enough from me. So now, let’s hear from Natalie who responded to Doug Wilson’s words above.
by Natalie Rose Greenfield
Once again the spotlight is being taken from the only place it has ever belonged. Once again accusations against my parents for allowing a ‘secret courtship’ to occur between my 14 year-old self and my abuser have been plastered all over the Internet. Comments about my physical appearance as a young teen are being used to redefine the nature of the criminal activity. A severe and dangerous contorting of my story by people who were not there is taking place and while this means a very uncomfortable re-shaming for myself and my family, the deeper concern is what it means for future victims. The marginalization of a serious and devastating crime does not bode well at all for others who will suffer abuse in the future.
Personally, I have experienced a wide range of emotions concerning all of this but the overwhelming emotion recently has been sadness – sadness that a pastor’s gross misunderstanding of abuse, consent, and criminal behavior has resulted in such harm and shaming and will inevitably result in harm to others who are abused. I am sad that he cannot humbly admit wrongdoing and begin to rebuild a system which is broken, a system which perpetuates abuse and marginalizes victims, which in turn creates a ripple effect of devastation and pain.