Rachael Denhollander Challenges Sovereign Grace Churches to Respond Appropriately to Sex Abuse Cases

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Pastor Mike Sperou: Guilty on all 3 counts of sex abuse, sentenced to 20 years, while his devoted followers discount their own adult childrens’ testimonies of sex abuse

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Update on an earlier story:

Pastor Mike Sperou of North Clackamas Bible Community Church found guilty on all 3 counts of sex abuse of minor under 12 and is sentenced to 20 years.

 

This is one of those cases that leaves you shaking your head, thinking that you couldn’t make this stuff up if you tried. But this is good. I have a happy update to report.  Earlier, I posted about the story of Pastor Mike Sperou who was arrested for sex abuse charges.  The article is here: Pastor Mike Sperou Will Have His Day in Court: Seven Women Come forward with Sexual Abuse Allegations.  To briefly recap, this story is closely connected with my friend (and friend of SSB), Pastor Ken Garret, who previously attended Sperou’s church, North Clackamas Bible Community, where two of his daughters were sexually abused. A total of seven women came forward and reported sex abuse to authorities.

Seven women had reported their sexual abuse to authorities; however, Oregon’s Statute of Limitations prevented Sperou from being tried for 6 of the cases.  However, the one remaining case was within the Statute of Limitations. The court hearings occurred the last two weeks. Two days ago, Sperous was charged, tried, and convicted of all three counts of first-degree sexual penetration of a person under the age of 12. This earned him a sentence of 20 years.

The following is a screenshot showing the picture on the front page of TheOregonian/OregonLive. Reporters, Rick Bella (who covered most of the story) and Steve Duin, did a stellar job of capturing what it felt like to be sitting in the court room with cult leader defenders on one side of the room and supporters of the sex abuse victims, family, friends, and former members on the other side. Can you imagine the tension in that room?

 

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This is a remarkable story in that the six women who were not allowed to take their cases to court, were allowed by the judge to testify (as well as other former members, including Ken).  Their voices were heard. I am so proud of these women who chose to report their stories and go public.

This article, Steve Duin: Memory and moral suicide in Happy Valley, I found especially revealing in that it showed the insidious relational dynamics of the cult:

She usually wore Calvin Klein boxers and a t-shirt, she said. Her pastor and spiritual mentor came to bed in boxer shorts, and frequently hugged the long pillow – that he dubbed “Sally” – that separated them. Asked how long this bizarre sleeping arrangement continued, the 30-year-old Mitchell said, “Until now.”

SAY WHAT?!!!!!!

 

In this same article, we read how parents refuse to believe their adult daughters who said they were sexually abused. The parents essentially disowned them as they continued to defend and protect their brazen and unapologetic “pastor” leader. Folks, this is what we see with narcissists. There is an inner group always looking out for the leader, defending him, building him up, denying reality, even to the expense of abandoning relationships with their children.

Christ does not do this. Cults do!

Later, we read from Ken Garrett as he is quoted:

“Moral suicide,” Garrett calls it. Thirty years ago, Sperou’s disciples “never dreamed that allowing and cherishing a lie would corrupt their entire character,” he said. “Where they would actually sit in a courtroom, look in the faces of the daughters who came to them and said they were molested, and call them liars. They never dreamed they would end up here. Now that they’re here, they’re numb.”

Congratulations to Ken and Sharon. Congratulations to these brave 7 women:
Emily Bertram, 33
Shannon Clark, 28
Bryn Garrett, 30
Jennifer Olajuyin, 32
Amy Robinson, 35
Rachel Schackart, 29
Jessica Watson, 33
You are heroes. Your voices have been heard and justice is now being served.
I’m so grateful to you for standing up against this tyrant.  BRAVO!!!!

I encourage you to check out the other outstanding articles from OregonLive reporters, Rick Bella and Steve Duin: