“A man dies when he refuses to stand up for that which is right.
A man dies when he refuses to stand up for justice.
A man dies when he refuses to take a stand for that which is true.”
~ Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. ~
QUESTIONS CONTINUE TO TRICKLE IN, SO I WILL ADDRESS THEM HERE, INCLUDING THE MEETING WITH MOSE STOLTZFUS, HAROLD HERR AND DARWIN HOSTETLER:
- Q: Does Harold’s own daughter defend him and say the allegations are false?
A: Yes, one of Harold’s three daughters, Rachel Herr Weaver, insists the allegations are false. She, however, is not an alleged victim (to my knowledge), and therefore has no authority to declare her father’s innocence or guilt. (That would only change if she saw him molest someone, heard him admit to molesting someone, or was molested herself). We have authority to speak with certainty to our own experience, not the experience of another. My father molested numerous children, starting when he was only 13 (from what we know), with several victims being his own children to varying degrees. Many of his 16 children were never sexually abused by him. Rachel’s experience (or lack thereof) has no bearing on her brother’s or any other alleged victim’s story. My experience does not negate the experience of my siblings, nor theirs mine.
- Q: More specifically, some are saying Rachel says allegations of him having fathered a child are false; is this true?
A: I have been told by numerous sources that Rachel insists it is lies and false allegations that Harold fathered a child. Again, apart from a DNA test, that is not a question she can answer. Nor can I. But it sure begs the question how many godly innocent men have to provide DNA tests… And even then, a DNA sample does not prove a lack of sexual contact. It merely proves a lack of conception when there was contact, if there was contact.And that provides a perfect segue into the next question…
- Q: Did Harold Herr have a DNA test after allegations first surfaced, to prove a child alleged to be conceived by him was not his?
A: As far as I know, after contacting one of Harold’s children for confirmation, there was never a DNA test done. (If there was, the whole family is not aware. And, given the dynamics, it is highly likely that they would have known. So if it was done, that info was withheld from some). I have not spoken with the mother of the child in question, and for the sake of her wellbeing I have no intentions of going there, or disclosing her identity. My focus has been and remains on allegations made by Harold’s son Daniel, and the fact that church leaders, missions and community members did nothing when there was ample cause for concern.
- Q: (a). Are you sure Harold Herr and Earl Fox were shopping together, or did they just happen to stumble upon each other at Paul B’s Hardware? (b). And did they say they were shopping for supplies for Harold to take to Haiti, or did the person who saw them assume this?
A: I am told Harold and Earl was heard to say that they are gathering supplies for Harold. And that they explicitly stated the supplies were for Harold to take to Haiti.
- Q: Are you sure Harold was going to Haiti to train his replacement, or was he just going to live there? (Note: He owns a house there).
A: Harold Herr told his family he is going to Haiti to train his replacement. He was with LIFE Literature, previously. That is where a replacement would be needed.So “do I know for certain?” . No, because I don’t know if Harold Herr is a blatant liar who would tell his family he is going to train his replacement or not. Either he is a blatant liar and he was not going to train his replacement, or he was telling the truth and that was precisely what he was doing.
If that is what he was doing why does Life Literature not own up? (And also acknowledge the shopping trip to buy supplies, while at it).
If he was lying, then tell me, how do we believe him anywhere else? If he lies about ‘little things’ (like innocent trips to Haiti), why would he not lie about bigger things?
- Q. LIFE Literature pleaded with Harold *not* to return to Haiti; is it possible they did not know he was going?
A: Is it possible? Absolutely.Either way, it raises questions:
a). Why wouldn’t they put out a statement publicly to that effect instead of Lamar Nolt responding in ‘beat around the bush’ kind of answers that don’t ever tell the facts as they are?
b). Why did they continue paying him after he was fired back in September, until after my blog came out?
c). And a random other question… Them firing him overlapped with Haiti Benefit Auction allegedly raising concerns about Harold…. What hidden stories lie beneath all that silence?
- TRIGGER ALERT:
Q: Was Harold Herr’s wife crazy, psychotic, or mentally ill?
A: This is a very interesting question. And one we cannot answer with certainty in the clinical sense. There was definitely signs she was depressed, based on information I have gathered. She would be some special kind of woman — somewhat super human, really — if she wasn’t depressed after discovering her husband was having sex with animals. I think most women would struggle, don’t you? I mean, another woman you can find a way to confront. But… animals? That makes anything fair game.After Harold Herr was released from the school he had somewhat of a breakdown and they went to Phil Haven for family counseling. His son Daniel, in the presence of others, said to Harold, “I saw you with the chickens.” His wife (who was allegedly the crazy one, according to rumours), was forced to contend with the fact that her husband was not faithful to her. Not only was he unfaithful to her, he didn’t choose another woman, he chose chickens. Pause, for just a moment, and process that. As a wife, honestly, wouldn’t you struggle just a smidge? It’s almost beyond human comprehension.
Now add the fact that her son saw his father using the chickens for sex and at age 14 had to be the one to speak out.* Any mother who wouldn’t struggle wouldn’t be healthy and normal. If that stuff doesn’t make your mind spin, as a wife or a mother, and even more so depending what other traumas she had in her life…
The following letter was written by Isaac K. Sensenig to Freda Herr.
August 17, 1988
I received your letter, and it is shockingly informative. Harold had poured his heart out to us as a Centerville ministry some years ago. He confessed to taking something from the place he worked that did not belong to him. He also confessed to beastiology [sic], and we had him make a public confession concerning the matter. We feel he had repented of the matters involved including necessary restitution. We knew nothing of the items of incest you refer to in the letter. They may have taken place since. I am sorry to hear this and pray for his repentance and deliverance.
Since he is no longer a member with us, you probably should write to Earl Horst or Edwin Gehman. I am surely willing to be used to help him, like all other persons. We as a church surely would not cover anything up to spare such a person.
I would like to see him repent, and their marriage corrected as well. I have a deep-felt concern that the items mentioned will not hinder you nor your mother from being saved people.
Isaac K. Sensenig
*More later on what it means that Daniel, as a youngster saw his father raping chickens, and at age 14 spoke up about the bestiality, but was not believed when he spoke out later about his fathers heinous crimes. Yes, raping chickens, in and of itself is a crime. (To all who cry ‘it’s under the blood’… more on that later as well).
- Q: Are you aware that a group of men (named to be among them were Preacher Mose Stoltzfus, Darwin Hostetler) met in PA recently to discuss: “What do we do with Trudy?”
A: (Following a hearty laugh. This brings to mind a certain song in Sound of Music: How do you solve a problem like Trudy… I mean, Maria?) I did not know, and then I did, after several people contacted me…To the question at hand: What to do with Trudy? That is a very good question. If the men in this group are looking to silence me, they will have to kill me. It’s that simple.
I am called to expose this corruption. And expose it I will until God says ‘be silent’ or someone here takes matters in their own hands and puts me to rest. Even that they cannot do until my death serves His kingdom purposes more than my life. He holds my life in His hands.
I have suggestions for other less extreme measures that could be tried, some that have already been threatened by other ‘godly Anabaptist world-changers’ … like a lawsuit. But that would only confirm the true character of the individuals involved. So, as much as no one wants that stress, I do want to see the true character revealed, and if that is what it takes…. so be it.
There are a whole host of victims who were beaten and whipped, molested and otherwise abused under the advice and under the leadership of Preacher Mose and Charity (Ephrata) leadership. I have no doubt there are many who would welcome their day in court. So in the end, if it will all serve the desired end of revealing truth of all the corruption buried, I am willing to go through whatever I must for that to happen.
So my advice? Do what you need to do to show us who you really are. Because there are godly Anabaptists — leaders and lay people alike — who will rise up against corruption when they see it. Some sincere ones don’t see it yet. But they will.
Alternatively, there would be the much better option of coming clean, fully repenting and moving toward Christ-like redemption.
- I do have one closing question to leave here, hanging in thin air: What devilish thing lies hidden that makes me such a threat that I am worthy of these men meeting to figure out what to do with me? If there is nothing hidden to be unearthed, why not just let me rant and let it blow over? What wickedness do they not want exposed that would inspire them to gather together to discuss what to do with Trudy, or how to get rid of her?
That alone sounds like the work of demons and devils. It most certainly is not the least bit reflective of Jesus Christ, who suffered false accusations in silence. He was the one the Pharisees sought to eliminate because He was an affront to their hidden wickedness. Jesus was never the one seeking to rid His world or His space of those who spoke out, whether speaking truth or not. It simply is not the Jesus Way
The fact is, I am not throwing around false allegations. At least one Eastern leader has confirmed to a friend that some of the allegations are true. I have said, and continue to say, I do not know what all is truth in this story. I was not there. I am not God. What I do know is that Harold engaged in bestiality and his young son could only have known to address it if he saw the crimes committed. In that act alone, laying aside every other detail, the then-young-Daniel was extremely sexually violated. Extremely victimized.*.
Who of you would let your young son witness his father having sex with animals and walk away concluding he was not sexually victimized? (And if even one of you said yes, shame on you!)
- Q: Is it true that Harold Herr’s wife committed suicide?
A: Since no autopsy was ever done, it is impossible to say with certainty one way or the other. Given what I’ve shared of what she was living with, and the fact she was not heard and the church made her the crazy one, it certainly would not be a shocking outcome, but I would hesitate to surmise such a thing without proof. To my knowledge it was not ruled a suicide. (I welcome updates if there is evidence to support such a thing).
- Q.) How do we know the letters written by Daniel and dated some 30 years ago is/are legit?
A: Let me repost the letter (with Daniel’s permission) after the last question, showing the list of all who received a copy at that time. It speaks for itself and is well documented.
- Q: Lastly, is it true that I redacted a portion of the letter (shared next in full) to hide the fact that Daniel stated some uncertainty regarding details in his memories?
A: No. I posted the very redacted version because I had promised Daniel to post nothing revealing. I kept that promise. As for uncertainty about all the details, that is the most normal thing in trauma memory.Today I sat with a friend whose child was tragically killed a few months ago. Not forty years ago. A few months ago. As she told me the story of the events of that day for the first time (she is in another country and it was our first time meeting since her child’s death), she would pause and say she’s uncertain about something. She would share a detail, then pause and question her memory. And she would pick up the pieces of the story, through the trauma, and keep talking. She didn’t doubt whether her son died. That fact was a certainty. She did question details.It is the height of idiocy to write off someone’s traumatic experience based on a most normal trauma response. To be confused about the details of vile acts committed against you as a child is normal. To question the horror — especially when there is an evidence trail (ie; Harold admitting to bestiality and his young son speaking up about it), and then to believe the abuser, (yes he is that, what else do you call someone who rapes chickens?) while disregarding the son and the wife…
That is the game of people who are pursuing self-preservation, not truth. It is the game of the guilty. It is a game of those covering evil. It is barely worth entertaining such nonsense in a blog. And I certainly don’t do it for them. I do it for those who sincerely want to know the truth.
ABOUT CRITICAL THINKING AND SPIRITUAL DISCERNMENT:
We hear and use the statement “don’t check your brains at the door”. In essence, we are hearing, “Apply critical thought to the information you hear/see.” That includes right here, on my blog. And it should include the teachings you’ve been handed and told are truth. If you read the evidence I post through the lens of what you’ve been told to believe or out of thoughtless belief that what I say is true, rather than through critical thought and spiritual discernment, then you have checked your brains at the door. I urge you to think deeply and analyze what I write. (And I’m not talking about having a minor detail wrong. That’s just petty).
Spiritually, we call this discernment, using both brain (thought) and spiritual awareness, or the ‘sensing of things’. Spiritually, we my not have a solid thought process to offer, but something just ‘feels off’, or ‘feels right’, not an emotional sense of ‘feeling’, usually, but an awareness. A quiet ‘knowing’. This should be held with humility and caution; the human mind has great influence and it is easy to assign spiritual significance to human thought, or hold as certain that which may not be. This can be deadly. (For example, when a spiritual ‘guide’ – whether counsellor, pastor or other – ‘senses’ that a person has been abused and even by who, and then plants such a thing. There are people who have brought false allegations against individuals this way. It is not wise, and it is not right).
Critical thinking can be intertwined with discernment, or it can be a most practical non-spiritual exercise. It can be ‘looking at the facts with a deeper ‘below the surface’ kind of critique’. What I plan to share today focuses on the latter; a practical exercise in looking at information I posted in the blog Timeline of ‘Grandpa Harold’, and purpose for revealing his identity…. Evidence that is easily missed apart from applying critical thinking, combined with knowledge of at least some details, and if or how there might have been an admission of guilt by the accused. In this case, that admission is documented.
A series of question every individual must ask in a case like this is:
- Is it wrong (abuse) to have sex with an animal? (Known as bestiality).
- Is it wrong (abuse) to have sex with an animal in the presence of a child?
- Is it wrong (abuse) for a parent to engage in sexual activity of any sort in front of child?
Anyone who who professes Christianity and answered any of the above ‘no’, I’d like to hear your justification. You may send me your argument via the “Contact Trudy” page. And if you do these things, please include details of your acts, as well as your full name, date of birth, full address. These acts are all crimes. But, I cannot imagine that anyone said the above are ok.
On that assumption, we have established:
- Sex with an animal is abuse.
- Sex with an animal in front of a child is abuse, of both the animal and the child.
- It is wrong for parents to have sex in front of their children.
The next series of questions is:
- Can we establish that any such acts took place?
- Can we establish that any of these acts were admitted by the accused?
The first question was answered in the timeline. It tells us that, when speaking with Detective Ortenzi, Harold Herr tried to shift focus away from the allegations of sexual abuse and admitted to engaging in bestiality. (There is also a letter from a church leader who acknowledged Harold did indeed admit to bestiality).
For the sake of argument and in honour of a few of my heckling Facebook friends, let’s grant it that Harold ‘repented’ of bestiality at Centerville church, as per the letter. Let’s say that moment it indeed was “under the blood” (as these same men like to repeat in every allegation). In that case, “Praise Jesus!”
If true! Praise Him indeed! This means there is no more reason to hide, to walk in shame, to manipulate…
But, alas, that ‘repentance‘ took place around 1975, give or take a year or two. Those dates are approximates, lest anyone feels compelled to use this uncertainty of which year to distract from the real issue. It is hard to ask dead men for confirmation. Also, séances are forbidden by God, so we won’t go there.
At that time Daniel Herr was approximately 14 years old. After his father, Harold Herr, was released from teaching school, they went to Phil Haven for help. While there, in the presence of others but addressing his father, the young Daniel made the statement that he had seen his father engaging in bestiality. (This was not told to me by Daniel, but by someone else who was present at that time and heard it).
We have established that Harold Herr engaged in sexual abuse of chickens. He admitted to bestiality and *allegedly repented. (*I will explain this ‘allegedly’ momentarily).
We have further established that Harold Herr sexually violated his son when he engaged in bestiality in front of him. We have also established that his young son first spoke out as a very young teen, in the presence of multiple witnesses. (For them what thinks there has to be a few witnesses for it to count).
The problem is, Harold Herr did not repent of this abuse of his son. Sins cannot be “under the blood” as many like to say Harold’s are, when they are denied and not repented of. It is not possible. They can be covered up, denied, ignored and excused. But they cannot be under the blood when they are denied.
Harold’s son, Daniel, deserves a humble apology from his father and humble repentance for his sins and crimes. At 14 …. think about it… at 14 he spoke up. And still he is being viewed the liar and his father the saint by some. I can’t even wrap my head around what level of religious perversion that requires… Religious perversion, and religious arrogance. And I pray that is but a small (albeit vocal) group ‘among us’.
Furthermore, even after his ‘repentance’ in the mid 70’s, Harold’s son saw him engage in ongoing sexual assault of animals over the period of numerous years.
It is easy for some in religious community — usually those with a vested interest in silence and not having something discussed or exposed — to grab the widest brush possible and say, “He has repented. You should not speak of it again. That sin is under the blood.”
I say, “If it’s under the blood so thoroughly, by all means, let’s talk about it!” Let’s be honest about what was done, how it impacted others, how we pursued healing and redemption on behalf of those we harmed and victimized. Let’s not focus on our own self-preservation.
If we truly believe that Jesus came to do what He said He came to do, then let’s be like the Apostle Paul and not hide our sins. And let’s make sure that those we victimized, and their families, hear us acknowledge our wrongdoing.
~ T ~
© Trudy Metzger 2020
Was the meeting between Preacher Mose, Darwin Hostetler, and others to discuss what to do about you specifically, or about how to handle the sexual abuse allegations that you’ve blogged about? It would be different if they met because they thought the ABUSE ALLEGATIONS were the problem that needed to be addressed vs. meeting because they thought YOU were the problem that needed to be addressed.
I was told it was to discuss “what to do with Trudy”. The info came from someone very close to one of the men at the meeting. I am addressing this in my next blog.
Thanks for replying. I look forward to reading your next blog post.
I am looking forward to the next blog. I very much appreciate your desire to expose abuse. We need it. We also don’t want you to lose your voice. Please be careful on the way you respond. I also am very close to another party who was in the meeting. He affirmed to me that the meeting, in fact, was not about Trudy. But rather it was sincere effort by responsible leaders to do their best to discern the truth about Harold Herr.
I’ve had a blog ready to go for over a week, but have been trying to find a few answers that seem a bit hard to come back. I have it on record that at least one of the men present — who certainly says the meeting was not about Trudy — also says there was discussion about me. This is where I believe it came from. If the original source was only told about that part of the conversation, it stands to reason they would have understood that was what the meeting was about. The source is now informed that the meeting was to discuss Harold Herr.
There’s a whole lot more to this than meets the eye here. I’m discovering not all who attended the meeting seem to have the same interpretation of the meeting purpose and/or outcome. I would be happy to discuss this further via phone or email, but not in public forum.
I get so mad when people accuse Granny of being crazy.
She was a wonderful woman who is no longer here to defend herself.
She left grandpa after she caught him inappropriately touching me when I was under 5.
She was such a wonderful lady and people feel the need to slander her.
Many of us have known the truth about grandpa 30 plus years but no one wanted to listen. Instead they wanted to keep him on a pedestal.
Thank you for publicly addressing this. That takes great courage! I’m truly sorry for what you suffered. You all deserves to be heard 30 plus years ago. Know that we – some of us who care – are listening today. If there is anything we can do to support you, now or in the future, there are those of us who are willing. And, to put what was committed against you into perspective, we call ‘inappropriate touch’ of a child “sexual assault of a minor”. I say that for the benefit of readers who downplay; I’m sure you are very aware of this, given your experience.
Thank you for speaking up. I’m so sorry that some people felt (or feel) the need to treat your grandmother horribly while ignoring the allegations against your grandfather. She did not deserve to be treated that way, and your family did not deserve to be subjected to people treating her that way.
Also, no granny didn’t kill herself. She died of heart failure
I have a copy of the death certificate and it says nothing of suicide. It only mentions “cerebrovascular event”, which means stroke. (So close. At first glance I thought it said “cardiovascular” which would be heart. An easy/honest mistake). Any speculation of suicide is nothing more than that; speculation.
Sounds about right.
She had been hospitalized for health issues the week before
When a + b Doesn’t = c
I am aware that some folks believe that:
a Daniel’s “mentally ill” mother Anna Mary brainwashed him into believing he was sexually abused.
b The nature of Daniel’s mother’s death (unautopsied) proves beyond doubt her mental illness.
c Daniel’s claims of sexual molestation by his father are illegitimate.
However, I, Daniel’s sister and Anna Mary’s daughter have no recollection of our mother referencing Daniel’s molestation by his father Harold before Daniel disclosed it a letter to his family in 1990. Daniel has no recollection of discussing his abuse with Anna Mary prior to 1990.
Harold’s initial response to the 1990 allegations was to frame Daniel for being unstable and to blame Daniel’s therapist for putting self-deceptive ideas into Daniel’s head. By 1999 Harold had shifted the blame and framed his estranged wife for fabricating the allegations.
It is of curiosity to me what pay off folks fixated on the nature of Daniel’s mother’s death (as a way to disregard his abuse accounts) believe that Daniel, a now 60-year-old who graduated from Georgetown University Law Center with a stellar record of having excelled in professional positions requiring utmost skills and abilities in critical thinking, would derive from touting delusions from his mother now deceased for twelve years. Would one of you in this school of thought be so kind as to explain your position to me?
Even IF Anna Mary struggled with mental health problems that does not automatically make what she thought or said invalid. Even if a person suffers from a more severe mental illness such as schizophrenia or bipolar with psychotic features that does not mean that people get to automatically dismiss what they say as them being delusional. Sexual assault allegations are serious and deserve to be thoroughly investigated. Not to mention that in this case Harold Herr was let go from teaching in the seventies because of allegations that he abused boys. So even if someone wants to believe that Anna Mary brainwashed Daniel into thinking he was sexually assaulted how do they explain Harold Herr what happened in the seventies?
It’s time to stop hiding behind the “they’re lying, they’re mentally ill, they’re vindictive” defenses when talking about abuse allegations, and acknowledge that sometimes people commit horrific atrocities. Just because someone has always seemed like a good person to you does not mean that they are in fact a good person, and does not mean that they are good to everyone with whom they have contact. People can be manipulative and your good experience with a person does not invalidate someone else’s bad experience.
BTW: “You” and “Your” are used to refer to anyone who’s reading this and thinks that because someone has always seemed like a good person they are incapable of committing any sexual offenses against anyone else.