Mr. Herr & Life Literature Treasurer, Mr. Fox, Go Shopping….

Before I say what I have to say here, I want to make it quite clear that I do not believe the bulk of conservative Anabaptists (CA) are this lacking in transparency. I certainly hope not. So, please, when I ‘tell it as it is’ in a given case, don’t apply it to every CA you have ever known, or take offence if you are CA. I hope I am calling out that which is the anomaly.

My personal experience has been mixed, But the behaviour I call out here, I have seen repeatedly in those who have offended sexually and are covering up, as well as those who knew and did nothing, and who still have no remorse for that sexual abuse, or for covering it up, as the case may be. If there is nothing to hide, there is no need for games and lack of transparency.

The next thing I want you to know is that Lamar Nolt and Earl Fox are strangers to me. I do not know them, have never met them, and have one interest here; Truth. And that doesn’t seem to be particularly forthcoming. Which, again, is reminiscent of the CAM/Jeriah Mast case. There is a predictable pattern of behaviour among those who are not forthcoming, and it is always there when something is buried, hidden and/or not taken care of. It’s why I could write a blogJanuary 17, 2020 telling people how to ask questions to confront truth. I’ve done this for 10 years.

In that blog !!Critical detail Update on Life Literature & Lamar Nolt!!, I encouraged people to ask very direct questions of Lamar Nolt. That advice was based on established patterns I’ve observed in other cases of ‘technical truth-or-lie-telling’. When responses are such as Lamar’s were, that’s a pretty good sign they don’t want to tell what really happened.

Various people who started asking more direct questions wrote me (and sent me copies of their communication with Life Literature). Of that group, none received a response to those direct questions, of the ones who responded to me. After numerous attempts at calling them myself, I emailed and still got no response. There was no answer forthcoming regarding their knowledge and involvement in Harold’s plans to go to Haiti to train a replacement. No answer…

But God…

Funny thing about Him. He knows everything. Sees everything. And if He is so inclined, He will shout from the mountain that which was whispered in the shadows…

God cares about the oppression and victimization of the little ones, and the vulnerable being taken advantage of. He cares a lot.

There I was, this morning, minding my own business (again) when I received messages confirming that my gut feeling indeed was right. Life Literature, for all their “he’s not going through Life Literature” knew good and well that Harold planned to go back to Haiti. Whether going ‘with them or through them or under them or around them”, they knew he was going. In fact, they knew so well that one of their own, went shopping with Harold Herr to buy supplies at PaulB Hardware in Lititz PA.

This would be blatant surmising to assume Harold and Earl shopping together had anything to do with Harold’s (now allegedly cancelled) trip to Haiti, if they had not been heard to say they are getting supplies “for Harold to take to Haiti.” In their own words, that was the intent and purpose of the shopping outing.

Life Literature knew. Lamar Nolt refused to acknowledge that. Why?

It is a certainty that Life LIterature knew the allegations against Harold a long time ago. And they completely disregarded those allegations, insofar as allowing him to work for them. No investigation. No hearing the hearts of the alleged victims first hand. This is years into knowing about the allegations. Years!

And even after the Jeriah Mast scandal, there wasn’t an eye-opening moment of revelation that, “Goodness, maybe we should look into this. Jeriah claimed to be innocent of allegations and he was guilty. Maybe when there are so many allegations (or not that many), we should exercise wisdom and discernment and suspend workers with allegations and have an independent third party investigation done.”

Nope. They waited until September, at which time someone (or a group) from Haiti Benefit Auction put pressure on, and they ‘let him go’. But did they? What does ‘letting someone go’ look like?

Does it mean they are removed from payroll? Was he removed or did he stay on payroll after being ‘let go’? (I know the answer to when he was taken off, or if he was. But I will leave it to the public to do some homework on this and contact Life to find out if HH was removed before I published my blog. If he wasn’t, how could they claim he was ‘let go’? )

Does ‘being let go’ mean he is no longer allowed to do any training for them? Again, was he restricted from doing training? Let’s see… he recently told his family he would be going to Haiti to train his replacement. He went shopping with Life Literature Treasurer, Earl Fox. And no one wants to be forthcoming about the whole deal. That offers more questions than answers, and it sure does not speak of transparency.

As a highly respected and honourable  Conservative Anabaptist licensed counselor said to me this week: It is very rare for adult children to accuse their parents of sexual abuse and it not hold truth. (Worded as close as possible to the counselor’s wording, based on notes taken during the phone call).

That should be taken seriously and taken into account here.

Why would a son, a daughter or other family member make accusations that are not true? Especially when the risk of the culture disbelieving them and shaming them is so high. What do they gain? They might get cut out of the will. They will likely be accused of lying. They pay for it in family dynamics. And if proved to be lying, those who are professionals — true professionals — in the work force could lose that too.

None of these things are positives. None. All outcomes lead to huge losses even if telling the truth, and even more so if lying. For what earthly reason would someone choose that, if not true? Truth is a compelling force, and some will sacrifice anything to stand for truth.

As the counselor said, It is very rare for adult children to accuse their parents of sexual abuse and it not hold truth.

Blow me off if you want, but take that counselor seriously. He is human, but I’ve heard him to be highly honourable over the years. And if he says allegations from adult children of the accused generally hold credibility, then we need to pay attention. (And for those who were told by HH or others that his family has retracted all allegations, I can assure you with 100% certainty that is not truth).

There is no excuse for a mission organization looking the other way,  deceiving the public about their involvement and how they ‘let go’ the accused individual. Just own up already.

Once we start dealing with truth, we can make progress.  The games don’t speak well of the players.

 

As always…

Love,
~ T ~

*****

Trudy offers conferences for survivors of abuse, and training to equip churches and the community in caring for victims and offenders. If you would like to inquire about having a conference or training in your area, send an inquiry via Contact TrudyTo support Generations Unleashed, the charity she works for, Donate Here.

SURVEY: Conservative Anabaptist (CA) Leaders’ Response to Abuse: If you are/were CA and have been sexually abused and interacted with a CA leader regarding the abuse, this survey is for you.

I am preparing several other surveys and will release them on our SURVEYS PAGE.

© Trudy Metzger

 

 

 

 

!!Critical detail Update on Life Literature & Lamar Nolt!!

In my previous blog I stated that Harold Herr was released from his duties at Life Literature in September 2019. (This is the date I was sent). I also stated I was informed he is scheduled to leave for Haiti to train his replacement. These are Harold Herr’s own words to an immediate family member. (For the remainder of this post, keep in mind that, though unlikely, it is possible Lamar Nolt did not know of Harold’s travel plans).

On a technicality, Lamar Nolt is responding to inquiries with vague statements that Harold is no longer employed by Life Literature. This is accurate, as I stated yesterday, but does not change the fact that Harold was (and as far as we know still is) scheduled to return to Haiti. (Lamar also alleged he does not know anything about Harold “going to Haiti with anyone else or organization”… which, God only knows if that means “I know he is going, but not with anyone or an organization”, or if it means, “I had no knowledge of Harold planning to go to Haiti”. Yet it is known that Harold plans/planned to return, and the reason stated was/is to train a replacement.

Fussing about these technicalities, and using them advantageously, do not speak to noble character and transparency. They reflect the nature of the Jeriah Mast case, mirroring the response at that time. Keep in mind that Harold Herr is on record stating that he informed Lamar Nolt of Jeriah Mast’s crimes years before it was dealt with.

Anyone who cares to make a difference and express concerns over Harold Herr traveling back to Haiti this month to train his replacement can contact Chairman Lamar Nolt at 980-297-9460 or info@lifeliterature.org ” You may wish to specify that you are aware Harold is no longer employed by Life, but you are further aware that Harold was or is scheduled to train his replacement in Haiti. (You may also wish to ask if he had any knowledge of such a planned trip, alone or with someone else, or any trip at all, for any purpose, including the purpose of training his replacement). I have updated the FBI as well on this technicality.

These patterns continues to reveal themselves, and expose the extent of the coverup.

Sometimes a picture says it best.

82274055_10157825885792383_6246718688636960768_n

Addition:

To everyone messaging Lamar Nolt. I encourage you to ask specifically:

Is it true that Harold Herr is training a replacement staff? If no, was it true at any time in January?

Harold Herr told his own family that he will be leaving for Haiti late January after he gets some finances in order. He also said he will be training a replacement for his position at LIFE Literature. If LIFE (Lamar) had/has no knowledge of this, it begs a few questions:

1. Why does Harold Herr, who is not employed by them, have that kind of authority?

2. Is Harold working for them as a subcontractor?

3. If not the true reason for his trip, then why is Harold really going to Haiti and why did he tell people it was/is to train a staff member for LIFE Literature?

As always,

Love,
~ T ~

*****

Trudy offers conferences for survivors of abuse, and training to equip churches and the community in caring for victims and offenders. If you would like to inquire about having a conference or training in your area, send an inquiry via Contact TrudyTo support Generations Unleashed, the charity she works for, Donate Here.

SURVEY: Conservative Anabaptist (CA) Leaders’ Response to Abuse: If you are/were CA and have been sexually abused and interacted with a CA leader regarding the abuse, this survey is for you.

I am preparing several other surveys and will release them on our SURVEYS PAGE.

© Trudy Metzger 2020

CAM responds to HH sex abuse allegations… Life Literature to send accused to Haiti… A few thoughts on Lester Miller

Updates from today:

Today I reported the allegations against Harold Herr, of sexual abuse abroad, to FBI. I also notified them of the organization under whose employ he is scheduled to return to Haiti to offer training, in spite of these allegations, and the approximate timeframe when he is to leave USA.

Another alleged victim contacted me today. This one, like others, was disclosed years age; it is not new, though it is new to me. Please pray for this [alleged] victim, as well as previous [alleged] victims who have come forward. There is nothing of being forced to relive trauma that is easy. It is disruptive and traumatic to go back to those memories. Yet, to allow the risk of more assaults to go unchecked is not the solution.

Someone asked me if ‘an old man’ would even be a risk. To put it in perspective, there is at least one case where an abuser molested a grandchild on his deathbed. So is there a risk? There is always a risk when someone has abused, and that risk increases with time, with repeat offences and with denial. This case has 40 or more years of allegations not tended to. Yes, there is an ongoing risk.

It is my prayer, first and foremost, that [alleged] victims of Harold Herr will be heard and cared for, so they can continue healing, or begin healing, as the case may be. It is my prayer that Harold will repent, fully and openly, of all atrocities committed. While they are allegations not proven in court, my prayer is also for full truth to be revealed.

*****

A friend posted CAM’s response to the sex abuse allegations on Facebook. Or, more accurately, their response to allegations being publicized. Someone in leadership, who remains with CAM to this day, knew of the allegations since at least 2004. In that approximate timeframe is when Linda Espenshade did the news article and interviewed Stanley Fox who unquestioningly defended Harold Herr. So it is not truly the allegations CAM is responding to, but rather the exposure of what has been hidden and ignored for (at minimum) 16 years, by at least one influential staff member.

That conversation in 2004 happened approximately one year into Harold Herr’s service with CAM, or within the first year. (CAM stated he was in their employ from 2003 – 2009).  It was approximately 5 years prior to the one alleged sexual assault in Haiti. (This allegation was referenced in a previous blog Conservative Mennonite missionary “Grandpa” accused of molesting minors: 4 decades, 2 countries). If those allegations are true, then those assaults could have been prevented. Whether the assaults can be proven true or not, it: a). does not mean the assaults were not committed, and; b). is no excuse for waiting 16 years to address allegations such as this. Allegations that would be completely disregarded if I didn’t announce it to thousands.

I have little more to say in response to CAM’s statement, at the moment, beyond urging CAM to be transparent and bring in an independent 3rd party investigation team. (Ideally one not from Anabaptist community, unless it is comprised of men and women who have already spoken out boldly against abuse). An internal investigation — or ‘big boy’s club’ style — will never satisfy the discerning crowd. And it definitely won’t satisfy me. Not when allegations have surfaced repeatedly in numerous countries and against multiple individuals since the Jeriah Mast case went public. And when people are pleading with me to look into those allegations.  I plan to continue to do so as I am able — time and funds — as these things do not happen quickly. The Harold Herr case, even with information coming to me unsolicited, took countless hours of my time. It may be another 8 months, or longer for the next one. Currently I am waiting for information on a contact in one of the countries. That is my only delay in moving ahead.

If CAM hired an independent third party to investigate, I would be willing to cooperate with those investigators in regards to other allegations against more CAM staff. That cooperation comes with one stipulation, that the team is trustworthy, and not a team with a vested interest in covering up. And by independent third party I mean professionals not a handpicked group from within the culture.

In the meantime, I will continue organizing information sent to me, and following the trails. I will reveal names when survivors request that. At this point it is clear that there is a systemic pattern of dismissing allegations, keeping silent, and allowing the accused to remain within organizations working with the vulnerable sector.  That, as far as I am concerned, is one of the deep roots to the problem. We won’t end the epidemic until the organization(s) and leaders are held accountable for this pattern.

Leaders and organizations have a choice between cooperating with this exposure and ending this wickedness, or continuing in the coverups. The one thing about which I am certain, God is doing precisely what He said He would do: He is shouting the things done in secret from the mountains. And He’s just warming up His voice. This is only just the beginning.

*****

The late Lester Miller, who was with Life Ministries, is named in the timeline posted in my previous blog (Timeline of ‘Grandpa Harold’, and purpose for revealing his identity…). I never knew him, and know nothing of what his character was, so I cannot speak to that. However, I do honour his attempt at addressing the allegations by confronting Harold Herr in 1995. Back then, these things were not discussed, and such a confrontation was incredibly rare. For Lester to do such a thing is to be respected.

It is unfortunate that it stayed there and nothing further was done, especially given the statement Harold is alleged to have said three times in that meeting; “If I ever molested anyone, I was demon possessed!” (Taken from the timeline in the previous blog). But it was sincere effort, from what I am told, in a very different era.  I respect that. It’s more than we’ve seen from others, more recently, long after that silence was broken.

(In fact, currently there are several churches where leaders and some members are trying to get fellow leaders reinstated in leadership after they have blatantly abused their power with young women. And it is the young women who have to find a new church so these men can lead. (What is that anyway? Since leading the Jesus Way is about laying down our lives, and this is about anything but, how is this “leading”?) It is a truly sad day in church when this is the best quality of leaders we can scrounge together and other leaders fight to keep them in place. That raises an abundance of questions. But, enough of that rabbit trail….)

Allegedly, while Lester Miller was confronting Harold, there were other people in another part of the building, praying. (I don’t have names of all who were allegedly present, or how many, but I was given one name). That means there are people alive today who can confirm that Lester Miller did indeed meet with Harold and confront him. Somehow, even with that knowledge, Harold was able to infiltrate Life Literature, where he remained until September 2019.

I have reached out to one individual who was allegedly on site, praying, when Lester confronted Harold Herr. I hope to speak with them next week, but chose to include this portion as a follow up to the previous blog and acknowledge Lester’s effort in confronting Harold.

*****

As of now, as far as we know, plans for Harold Herr to return to Haiti to train his replacement have not been cancelled. No public statement has been forthcoming from Life Literature, and friends who told me they reached out had not heard back at the time of this writing. I tried to call, but did not get through.

Anyone who cares to make a difference and express concerns over Harold Herr traveling back to Haiti this month to train his replacement can contact Chairman Lamar Nolt at 980-297-9460 or info@lifeliterature.org

Not one of us would have stood blithely by and let Jeriah Mast return to Haiti this summer, after allegations came to light. We should not now either. (Therefore my report to FBI today, even though I do not have an address for the alleged victim(s) in Haiti. If they are inclined to follow Harold around in Haiti, they may just learn a few things).

It is true that Jeriah had admitted to the crimes, so they were verified, whereas Harold remains in denial. But, keep in mind that the allegations were known long before he admitted to them, and incredible damage could have been prevented. (Also keep in mind the Judge Rinfret’s admonition to the church at Mast’s hearing). And remember that Jeriah Mast lied and denied the allegations until someone — namely a Haitian pastor — was man enough to hold him to the wall until he brokeThat ‘someone’ had heard enough allegations to say, “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. And we’re not quitting until we find it”.

When these allegations first surfaced against Harold Herr, and every subsequent time with new allegations, they should have been thoroughly investigated. In this leaders failed the public, whether all allegations are true or not. And that lack of response is inexcusable. It can be owned up, it can be publicly apologized for, and it can be acknowledged. But there is no excuse that is justifiable.

What will it take for someone to do that in this case? And the next… and the next… and the one after that… and how ever many more after that…

… because the strongholds are coming down.

*****

Rip me to shreds for speaking up, blame it on some lame ‘she hates Mennonites’ distraction, if it makes you feel better. But I have Mennonite family, whom I love, and thousands of Mennonite friends, and Amish friends who know that I care deeply and genuinely love them, and their culture. So that mantra is nothing more than gaslighting and a shameful attempt at distracting from the real issue; anything to avoid ownership. And statements like that speak a whole lot more to the lack of character in the speaker, than to me. Only someone of questionable character would distract from something as vile as sexual abuse to focus on my alleged hatred for Mennonites. (Even if it were true, which it isn’t, you would think sexual assaults against children would trump such a thing and draw greater concern. Apparently not).

I know before God what I hate and whom I love. I hate… really, really hate sexual abuse and the soul cancer it spreads. And I love people. My people. Mennonite people. Non-Mennonite people. Amish people. Worldly people. Non-worldly people. I even love offenders…. but, oh how passionately I hate the offending.

(Warning, medically graphic): When it comes to sex crimes, and exposing them, to expose is love. But love feels much akin to a scalpel slicing into the fully conscious person to save them. Sometimes it’s an emergency tracheotomy. Sometimes, as it was in my father’s experience when anesthesia would have killed him, they take a saw of some sort, while the person is fully awake, and using only local freezing, they remove the leg. And the patient feels every tug and motion, numb to the reality of what is taking place. Every case is not the same. But the purpose, always, is to save a life.

I have faith that, as the scalpel slices, honourable missions will not only survive, but rise up and stand against abuse. Because honourable missions will respond in honourable ways, and people will see that and support them. The same is true for honourable men and women. And churches. They do not fear truth; they welcome the scalpel for the life-saving measure it is.

That is my goal here… to save a life… or two… or many…

As always,

Love,
~ T ~

*****

Trudy offers conferences for survivors of abuse, and training to equip churches and the community in caring for victims and offenders. If you would like to inquire about having a conference or training in your area, send an inquiry via Contact Trudy. To support Generations Unleashed, the charity she works for, Donate Here.

SURVEY: Conservative Anabaptist (CA) Leaders’ Response to Abuse: If you are/were CA and have been sexually abused and interacted with a CA leader regarding the abuse, this survey is for you.

I am preparing several other surveys and will release them on our SURVEYS PAGE.

© Trudy Metzger 2020

 

ASAA Founder confirms CAM “badgering” Jeriah Mast’s victims, The Gathering update, and upcoming Ontario Training Day

Someone sent me a screenshot of a statement made by Anabaptist Sexual Abuse Awareness (ASAA) Founder, Randal Martin, regarding the Jeriah Mast case on November 5, 2019 following Mast’s sentencing:

Randall_M_ASAA_Haiti

Whatever presently-irreconcilable differences I might acknowledge in regards to ASAA — that is until last year’s deceptions and gaslighting are appropriately addressed — I appreciate truth, regardless of it’s source.

What stands out most is the bold statement that CAM continues to use coercion and abuse of power in Haiti in regards to the victims, as well as the lack of Christ-likeness in the tragic responses to abuse.

He offers no testimony or proof to corroborate the claims, and I can’t speak to the ‘continuously’ part of it, but it does echo what some of the victims have said all along. But certainly he is right to call out the response of Jeriah, his leaders and church. And he is so right that no symposium or conference will bring change. Only repentance will.  True repentance. With repentance will come a new way of responding to crimes in church, and new care for those victimized as well as new respect for the laws of the land.

It will take more than lip service.  More than saying reporting is important and consistently doing it without interfering with the law and trying to get sentences reduced. 

THE GATHERING:
At The Gathering this weekend we had a time of repentance on behalf of the church for the dreadful response by so many to those who have been traumatized by sexual abuse. We worshipped together.  We cared for victims by giving them a safe space to speak the truth of their experience. They were free to identify and name their abuser and his/her role in their lives, if they wished, and tell what he/she did, and how we can pray for them. It was sweet, the safety and the support in the room.

At one point a survivor shared that her abuser has been in prison for 10 years, and honoured their mother for supporting her children in the process. A cheer rose from the audience. A cheer that offended a few people, concerned there is no grace for offenders. Here’s the thing, there is grace. Lots and lots of it. There’s also consequences. And there are survivors who will cheer because, at least for a time, they feel safe. At least for a time that person won’t hurt a child. That’s something to celebrate. Not to mention that giving a safe space to feel and heal means a safe space to feel and express some uncomfortable things. Some will cheer. Some will cry.  Some will be conflicted.

It was safe to cheer. And next year, when we plan to do The Gathering again, it will be safe again, if that is what they need in the moment. And we won’t judge their hearts for cheering, or assume they don’t hold the grace of God in high regard. That kind of judgement is what makes church unsafe in the first place.

We shared communion in the truest sense of the word; in relationship. No performance. No shame. Just true connectedness with a room full of people who understand each other. Acknowledging it is JESUS, only JESUS, who makes us worthy.

We also spent part of our day giving opportunity to acknowledge the lies we believe, and speaking truth over those lies. And then we worshipped some more. And in the evening we had a concert with Jason Gray and Behold the Beloved.

Many expressed it was the best day they ever had being together with other survivors. Feeling safe like they’ve never felt before. Knowing that if anyone who offended sexually as an adult, and if they felt unsafe or uncomfortable, there was security present to remove that individual. It was a commitment we made, and without excuse or exception, we would follow through. Not because it is easy, but because it is right. This, again, has nothing to do with grace or no grace. There is grace. Lots of it. And there is a place for offenders in the kingdom of God. But it isn’t at a healing event for survivors where they are promised safety … for most, the first time. We plan to offer that safety again next year.

We are deeply grateful for the volunteers who gave all they had to give, and then a little bit more, to make the day run smoothly. Above all, we thank JESUS for loving us and inviting us to gather in relationship. First with Him, and also with each other.

On that note, if you are a survivor of sexual abuse that took place in an Anabaptist community, set aside Saturday November 7, 2020. We plan to make The Gathering an annual event, and for at least the first few years plan to hold it somewhere in Lancaster County. We have not determined yet if we will open it to survivors outside of Anabaptist community or not, as there is also something healing about gathering with a group who understand the cultural aspects of our journey. We rented a room to hold the events of the day this year, and with 120 people it was packed out, but a perfect size audience for deep connections. Going forward we will need to determine whether we want to keep it small or grow it, and how large.

In any case, it is the beginning of a ‘family’ where survivors of horror are understood and worship God together. The focus was not on the abuse, but on Jesus and healing, while addressing and acknowledging the horror of abuse, the injustices and misrepresentation of God in many of our experiences, and the need for a more holistic response to abuse in our communities.

That said, it is not for everyone, and a few attendees had some complaints. And that’s ok too. None of us are called to reach everyone, and I certainly have no ambitions to cater to all or please everyone. If what we do ministers to you, come out again. If not, hopefully there’s a place for you elsewhere that is healing and encouraging. Either way, we wish you God’s very best.

***

EVENT IN ELMIRA ONTARIO:
November 28-29 we are doing our first event local since 2014. The reason for this is that the past five years we have had so many request from out of the area that we’ve not had weekends or time available to look for a local venue to host an event. Recently we were asked if we would do a training locally, if the venue was available.

Training is very different from the conferences we do. (We still do conferences when invited). These days are focused on practical ways to support survivors of abuse as well as how to help offenders responsibly. Day One focuses only on supporting victims, understanding their needs, the pitfalls that come with helping them, and then how to ensure we don’t burn out. Day Two focuses on protecting the innocence of our little ones; the reason responsible help is so critical. It then moves to offender needs and the pitfalls that go with helping them, after which we interview someone who has offended and who speaks very honestly about that journey.

Survivors of abuse are welcome to attend, even though training is geared toward those who want to support them, rather than for survivors.  However, it is critical to be aware of the presence of someone who has offended. Here in Ontario, for this particular event, he will be present both days, though not in the room on the first day. He has offered to prepare the meals both days (with whatever help he recruits), and will be present in this context, as well as the interview and whatever sessions he sits in on for Day Two. If his presence is problematic for you, or our interview with him, we urge you not to attend. We do not wish to traumatize or trigger anyone. Your safety is of utmost importance to us, emotionally, physically/sexually, and spiritually. For this reason we are making you aware, while we also assure you that we have worked closely enough with him to believe he poses no risk. He is respectful of our boundaries and safety protocol, including publicizing his presence in advance.

To register you may fill out the form (below) and mail it in, or go to Generations Unleashed and register online. Group sizes for Training generally range from 20 to 50, and are more intimate and interactive.

Screen Shot 2019-11-05 at 11.55.12 AM

 

As always,

Love,
~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger 2019

 

 

Updates: CAM & Jeriah Mast and investigating other other sex abuse allegations overseas; And a excellent writing by an Anabaptist Medical Doctor

It’s been some time since I posted updates regarding investigating other allegations brought forward against missionaries overseas. As a result of being rear-ended at 100km/h (65 m/h) August 1, I have been in physio twice weekly. Initially it seemed there was almost no harm, but neck and back problems became progressively worse with the passing of time. As a result, extensive travel has not been an option, and things were put on hold. However, as I improve, it is my hope to be able to do everything I did before. Tim and I did a four hour flight, which went reasonably well. There was still much stiffness and discomfort at times, so he managed all the luggage… and faithfully put pressure on the tight spots in my neck and shoulder.

Tentative plans are to fly to one of the locations in early December, to meet with the alleged victims of another missionary in a separate case. Funds that came in for this to cover my travel costs have been set aside. However, given the dynamics of the situation, I have asked an Anabaptist couple familiar with that particular country and region — as well as having connections to the alleged victims — if they would consider flying with me. They are willing, on the condition of having funding provided for their flights. If you are willing to give toward the cost of their travels, please contribute via TRAVEL EXPENSES. (Should there be excess funds they will be donated to Generations Unleashed).

Having learned that all victims of whom I was aware, except three, have received payoffs from CAM, the need for monthly funding to help them in the interim is significantly lower than anticipated. (Roughly $500 is all that is needed. We currently have $216 so far this month). We have connections in Port au Prince for food packages to be provided for these victims who did not accept the payoffs. Any medical/counseling needs will be paid directly to the professionals. If you wish to contribute, please do so via “HAITI VICTIM SUPPORT‘. Please include comment of “Haiti Victim Support”.

***

UPDATES ON CAM IN THE FOLLOWING LINKS:

Pittsburg Post-Gazette September 2: HAITIAN LAWYER CRITICIZES CAM PAYING OFF VICTIMS
(When the ‘pay off’ money runs out, or even before, the victims in Haiti have the right to join in a lawsuit to get yet more money. The payoffs allegedly included ‘reparation’ agreements that the victims had to sign. Problem is, some victims claim they were not allowed to read them, but had to sign them to get the money. If true, how is that an agreement and not manipulation?)

Pittsburg Post-Gazette September 9: OHIO PLAINTIFF SUES JERIAH MAST
(It is ironic that, as some of the Anabaptist community bemoans the wickedness of a victim suing the offender, others in their community are threatening to sue me for exposing crimes).

Statement by CAM September 20: REPARATION AGREEMENTS 
Again, reparation agreements are not legally binding, from what I understand. Less so when victims don’t read them but have to sign them, if that claim is true. And going behind their lawyer’s back, in the case of at least 5 victims. Long term support… Now that’s something I could get behind. …if it was lacking the manipulations that are allegedly involved here. We will see… CAM will have to prove itself with greater transparency.

In other happier news, my husband sent me this this blog written by a conservative Anabaptist Medical doctor: Vestiges of the Pre-Reformation Past. I highly, highly recommend reading this wisdom-filled, balanced article. It is not important to me whether I agree with every word written. It is important that someone is speaking truth with heart, compassion and clarity.

As always…

Love,
~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger 2019

 

Events and Announcements:

Dayton Virginia: Training and conference, October 9-12, 2019.

Screen Shot 2019-08-19 at 1.59.27 PM.png

To read a recent 5-part series addressing victim healing and forgiveness for offenders, click: HERE.

***

ANONYMOUS SEXUAL ABUSE SURVEY BY ANABAPTIST MEDICAL DOCTOR

Some time ago, a friend told me of a medical doctor (Anabaptist) who is doing research into sexual abuse in Anabaptist communities. To take his survey visit:
Anabaptist Medical Matters

***

JASON GRAY CONCERT:
NOVEMBER 2, 2019
Lancaster Bible College, Lancaster PA
7:00pm
CONCERT TICKETS NOW AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC: Here

NOTE: Due to the concert being the celebration for survivors of abuse,
we ask that any who have sexually abused as adults not attend out of respect

Screen Shot 2019-08-26 at 10.51.52 PM.png

November 2, 2019:  THE GATHERING, held at Lancaster Bible College, is a place where survivors of sexual assault, together with our support person(s), collectively invite God into our grief.  It is exclusively for Anabaptist survivors of sexual abuse and trusted support persons to gather for a day of acknowledging the generations of suffering and sexual violence among us. We will cry out to God, together. Come as you are in your raw brokenness, if that’s where you’re at, or in your healed togetherness. We welcome you! The itinerary is simple. It isn’t about ‘who’ or ‘how’; it is about Jesus and a safe place to meet, to grieve and heal another layer, together.

NOTE: Anyone over 18 who sexually assaulted someone – whether child or other adult – is not welcome. This does not mean they are not forgiven if they have repented. It means victims should not fear being confronted with the source of their trauma on such a vulnerable day. Security guards will be present to remove any who show up and are identified as offenders by the victims.

Until August 1, 2019, registration for the day’s events includes lunch and attendance to the evening concert with Jason Gray, whose music had brought hope and healing to countless victims. Songs like “The Wound is Where the Light Gets In“, “A Way to See in the Dark“, Sparrows“, “Nothing is Wasted“, and many more speak a language we understand.

NOTE: After August 1 concert is included dependant on availability. Once concert tickets are sold out, registrations will continue until October 1 and include lunch only.

***

If you are able to contribute to Generations Unleashed and our work with and for victims, you may donate via PayPal or e-transfer to info@generationsunleashed.com. Or visit Generations Unleashed Donate.

CAM’s lawyer responds to reports of Haiti victim being offered money

ROBERT FLORES, LAWYER FOR CHRISTIAN AID MINISTRIES (CAM), CONFIRMS VICTIMS OF JERIAH MAST WERE OFFERED MONEY

The blog (below) was already written when the phone call came….

“It turns out you’ve been telling the truth all along,” he said.

Ten little words.

It was no surprise to me that what I said was true. I had followed the evidence, gathered testimony from multiple sources. Each offered the same story; money was offered in exchange for signing a “Withdrawal Form”.

What came as a complete surprise is that CAM’s lawyer, Robert Flores, acknowledged that money had been offered. I respect the honesty. As far as I know, he did not acknowledge that victims were required to sign Withdrawal Form before funds would be released. (It is possible he is not aware of it. But it is important that readers know this was not directly confirmed, even while evidence supports it to be true. It is also unclear to me if he knew CAM was making these offers  in the first place). He also did not acknowledge that money exchanged hands, though some recent shopping ventures in Haiti — of which I have evidence — and testimony from the community members would strongly suggest otherwise. Even so, I continue to say ‘allegedly’.

(UPDATE: A source says they spoke with a CAM staff member who confirmed victims were required to sign a form before receiving funds. A source also reported that part of the funds were being taken from interest made on a cash reserve fund, so that CAM can say they did not use donor money. There was discussion about ‘tapping into the funds’ but whether they did so or not was not disclosed).

I have never asked God to vindicate me in any way, and I won’t. But, I confess in that moment, when I heard those ten words “It turns out you’ve been telling the truth all along,” I was grateful. I had not asked for anyone to investigate or prove my words; I simply reported what I knew to be true and what I knew needed to be exposed so that taking advantage of victims’ vulnerability stops. I am committed to doing what I am called to do, no matter what, but I am thankful for this confirmation.

PREVIOUSLY WRITTEN BLOG:
Questions continue to come in. Am I certain money has been offered? Is it true that the young men have to sign a form before CAM will release funds? Did they meet without lawyers present… How sure am I that this isn’t just rumour…

Very sure. Like, absolutely certain. These are facts: Money has been offered. Documents referred to as a “Withdrawal Form” (translated from Creole/French to English) are required to be signed before release of funds. Some victims refused to accept the funds and sign the papers. Allegedly several have signed and did accept the money. (This is supported by evidence that some of the young men have suddenly come by a windfall). And some admit it is tempting when money is being dangled in front of them and the day to day financial survival is so challenging.

Placing individuals already suffering in a situation where they feel they must violate their own integrity is not honourable.

Furthermore, if what CAM is doing is so good, and so honourable, why haven’t they made a public announcement, stating they are offering money to the victims and asking victims to sign the “Withdrawal Form”. Why is it so hush-hush? Why is it making victims feel like they are selling out their honour to accept?

If what CAM is doing is noble, they ought to make it well known so that it does not feel underhanded to the victims, to donors and … well, to people like me who advocate for victims and fight against the epidemic of sexual violence against children. There ought to be transparency. The documents being signed should not be such a secretive thing. (Nor should such documents now be destroyed. They are evidence). Victims who have lawyers should have their lawyers invited to the table. If there is nothing to hide, Homeland Security should be sent a copy of those documents, and be aware of what is going on given that there is an active investigation. If the latter has happened, I am not aware. And if Homeland Security knows and blesses what CAM is doing, then yet the more reason to inform donors and the public so that this shroud of secrecy is lifted.

By some I am told what CAM is doing is illegal, and by others I am also told it is above board. I have not made bold proclamations one way or the other, though I sincerely question it.  I have been given names of some individuals in Haiti involved in offering the money, and ironically they are all Haitians of the ones I have been made aware. No Americans. This raises its own questions. If it is illegal it is very possible these individuals are not aware of that fact. As one individual from Haiti said, “Everyone has a price… they’ve gotten support from CAM from the past… I doubt they know what it means legally.”

The gentleman said, “[What CAM staff/leaders] are doing is the same as what Jeriah was doing which is preying on the vulnerability and the poverty level to treat us victims poorly. Jeriah used to say if you don’t let me abuse you, I won’t buy you food tomorrow, nowadays CAM is saying if you don’t accept this little bit of money and shut up, you might die before justice is served in court, so for them, their abusive treatment is still the best we can get. If they really cared about the victims, they would of put a program in place to support the victims just so they can keep living while waiting that justice is served without asking them to sign the withdrawal paper.”

It is this dialogue with those victimized that compels me to stand against the corruption.

I am very aware that many religious men and women — and some leaders in particular — condemn what I do. This is ok with me. I have done my homework and know I am speaking truth. CAM knows I am speaking truth. Above all, God knows. And as long as I believe He is calling me to expose, the opinions of anyone other than those in leadership over me are not particularly influential. I hear them — whether concerns or attacks — and look for the truth bits and applicable tidbits.

That said, I do not, and I cannot take them to heart. I’d be in a constant state of disregarding God if I listened to every voice attempting to speak into my life or judge me. (Particularly those who condemn me for speaking out… while they do the same thing and speak out against me. Irony of ironies. I am not allowed to expose sex crimes but it’s okay to expose me for exposing? Not to mention it is ok for them to call me a liar for telling the truth, but I am not allowed to expose abuse of power? Not that I much care, because it says more about them than about me or anyone else.

And when all else fails they remind me I could be sued for defamation. My response to this is as follows:

  1. I knew this before I posted the first article and had that discussion with my husband. If I teach ‘be willing to go with truth at all cost’ yet do not live it, I am a hypocrite.
  2. There would need to be proof of malicious intent, and it does not exist. Calling out crime and exposing injustice is not malicious; it is helping the oppressed find a voice. Haitian victims would have no voice at all if no American/Canadian advocates got involved. In all my private conversations and public I have made it clear that I am advocating for victims not against CAM. I’ve not had any goal to ‘take them out’. Their transparency or the lack thereof will influence the outcome more than any other thing.
  3. What I have written has consistently been proven true. I am not making things up. I am not lying. I am not dreaming up allegations. When I hear things, I try to be thorough and have multiple sources for everything I make public.

I am repeatedly told this should not be aired in the public. Some Anabaptist leaders are boldly stating on Facebook that there is no biblical grounds for a Christian ever publicly calling out another Christian. Some are boldly stating that only leaders may call out leaders…. which, frankly, is a dreadful twisting of Scriptures that has led to this epidemic of abuse in the first place, while leaders hide their own past corruption and cover for others.

Besides, here’s the thing. Crimes were committed against the public. Covering it, or handling it quietly will not bring change. Look at history. So we are calling out criminals, not fellow saints. (With repentance, sure, they can be just that, but child molesters, rapists and those who cover for them are not particularly saintly. And those twisting God’s word to keep it under wraps are part of the problem. A big part). Furthermore, the ongoing less-than-forthcoming-and-honourable handling of things by CAM has been more than enough proof that public accountability is necessary. It’s the only way victims are ever going to be respected and cared for holistically.

Presently at least some victims have admitted to feeling like their poverty is being exploited through these attempts with payouts. That needs to stop. Making certain their needs are met in a transparent and honourable way would be appropriate. According to Peter Smith who wrote an article for the Pittsburg Post-Gazette, the lawyer’s statements indicated CAM will be looking at a more longterm approach and not trying to make this all go away quickly. It is my hope there will be follow-through, and that CAM will be transparent in these efforts.

Screen Shot 2019-09-02 at 12.47.12 PM

Read the article in the Pittsburg Post-Gazette: After criticism, mission agency seeks greater amends over Haiti abuse scandal

HOW CAN YOU HELP?
In the past three months I have been contacted repeatedly, people asking “What can we do? Where can we contribute? Are you helping victims financially?” And always I have turned away funds because we had no avenue for directing monies. I had previously posted other efforts but all have not been comfortable with the functioning of those plans, and lack of clarity where the money was going.

In response, we have set up a PayPal fund specifically to help the victims in Haiti with day-to-day survival needs.  It is a very basic and very transparent plan. We have made no promises or commitment to victims, and will in no case hand out large sums of money. However, it has become clear that the victims struggle to find work, even more than most in Haiti, because of the label of homosexual (Madam Jeriah) assigned to them. In at least one case we we have been told about, a victim was declined work after the job was offered because someone went to the place of employment and advised against hiring that victim. We are not talking luxuries. We are talking food on the table, and the most basic of needs. 

We will provide a monthly spread sheet with reflecting all funds paid out. These spreadsheets will reflect victims as “Victim 1… Victim 2” and so on, to protect their identity. At present we have a list of  victims whose allegations have been documented in various public record, as well as some confirmed by Jeriah’s own admission, or CAM staff and missionaries, with the awareness that that number could grow exponentially.

The initial proposal, based on feedback regarding monthly living costs, is to raise $200 monthly for victims with a spouse and family, and up to $75 for single victims. This would meet a portion of basic survival needs and support counseling costs. We will partner with victims, expecting them to contribute in meaningful ways to their community as part of taking initiative and responsibility for their own healing. Healing comes in many forms, and one of the most significant ways is by moving beyond our hardship and helping others (Isaiah 58). This would be a blessing to the communities in which the victims reside, thereby hopefully helping to reintegrate them into their communities. They will also need to be actively looking for work. We will ask them to update the committee in ways they have contributed to their communities, and job search efforts, which will help establish meaningful relationships with the team.

In total we hope to raise $2500 monthly, with the present victim count, which would a surplus for unexpected medical care, for new victims who come forward (and are confirmed), and to create a small reservoir. While we would not plan to send American representatives frequently, we would from time to time send someone, and would need funds for this. All such expenses would be reflected on monthly expense sheets. These expense sheets would be inspected and accuracy confirmed by a minimum of three individuals each month.  These individuals will be given names of victims being supported, but will be asked to hold those names in confidence.

Committee members will not receive payment for their services. We will provide a list once each one has confirmed. We are still waiting for several individuals to respond. Presently we have the following committed to oversee accountability of fund distributions:
Abe Harder
Elsie Kornelson
J. Anthony Hertzler
Tim & Trudy Metzger

Support is not dependent on any agreement with victims to pursue criminal charges or not pursue. No funds will be used toward litigations costs, should victims choose to press charges or sue CAM or Jeriah Mast.

Contact: victimsupport@aslanhasheard.com

Donate via: Victim Support 

PLEASE NOTE: This is completely unaffiliated with Generations Unleashed or any other organization or venture. We do plan to work cooperatively with missionaries on the ground in Haiti to delegate support to victims.

AS FOR WHAT I HOPE HAPPENS TO CAM:
“What do you want from CAM; are you trying to take them out?”

This question has been coming my way since the initial exposure of the Jeriah Mast case, in various forms from different people, including friends and enemies, acquaintances and strangers. The questions are fair. The answer quite simple.

What I hope for CAM is straightforward. Transparency and truth. I am told that what they have been doing is above board, it is honourable and completely legal. I am also told that what they are doing is bribery, silencing victims, and shady… at best, if not illegal.  I am told (by Americans who are not on the ground) that there are no documents to sign to receive payouts. I am also told by victims on the ground — including names of who is involved — that there are definitely documents that have to be signed before any money will be released. The latter has been admitted by CAM staff insider and consistently stated by victims who have been offered money.

In my previous blog I made shared very little of my opinion on what they are doing, beyond questioning it. I stated that there have been rumours of hush money dating back many weeks ago – and called hush money by multiple missionaries in Haiti – and that this offering money continues to the present. And I questioned the integrity of it.

I would like CAM to become transparent. To be Christ-like and open about this mess, if it is Him they wish to represent. They know I’ve been telling the truth. I don’t need to be vindicated, but the public deserves for them to acknowledge the truth to its fullest extent. I would like to see them work in partnership with the victims in Haiti to meet their needs holistically and big picture for the longterm. They have been physically/sexually assaulted. They have been spiritually abused (Jeriah Mast was a leader with power parading as a Jesus-representative). They have been psychologically harmed. The impact has brought death threats and other threats into some of their lives. It has made it difficult for some to find work, and in other cases opportunities they had were taken away. It has cost them more than we can imagine, in a culture where same gender sexual contact – even through abuse – is viewed as homosexuality, and homosexuality is condemned and the victims shamed for it.

So what would I like to see happen to CAM? Show sacrificial care for the victims. Lean in. Ask, “What do you need from us to help you heal from the sexual assault? What do you need to heal from the spiritual betrayal? What do you need to heal psychologically? What do you need to survive and thrive?” And that ought to include how to help them thrive where jobs are lost or impossible to get. Throwing a wad of money at victims in secretive and hidden ways does not bring healing. It never has. It never will. Offering calculated support can play a role while healing is pursued in other ways.

Partnering. Valuing. Acknowledging. Grieving. Supporting. Listening. Entering in… These things humanize the victim and their suffering, and bring healing.

This is what I would like to see happen to CAM. It is the only way trust will ever be rebuilt. My Anabaptist culture are a very forgiving people. To a fault, at times and in some cases to the point where forgiveness isn’t really forgiveness anymore and has turned to cover up. But certainly forgiveness, at its best, is a strength among us.

Many of my Anabaptist culture are also truth warriors. Goodness! We were raised to expect transparency. The way confessions were demanded over listening to ‘worldly’ music, wearing the wrong clothes, or other constitution violations… the way leaders pursued us to tell all… the way we were asked to report to leaders when someone violated church’s written and unwritten standards… Really, what choice did we have but to become hyper-vigilant about truth? I have said it often, the culture I come from trained me to do what I do. Not only in my quest for truth and transparency, but in being observant of details that are the ‘tells’ for what is really going on. That, combined with living in a home filled with violence and death threats… It is the best investigator training available, because it shapes it as an instinct so you don’t even know you’re gathering information until it is needed.

That is the culture now asking for transparency and truth from organizations and leaders at every level. And it should be forthcoming.

I pray it will be.

As always…

With Love,
~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger

Events and Announcements:

Dayton Virginia: Training and conference, October 9-12, 2019.

Screen Shot 2019-08-19 at 1.59.27 PM.png

To read a recent 5-part series addressing victim healing and forgiveness for offenders, click: HERE.

***

ANONYMOUS SEXUAL ABUSE SURVEY BY ANABAPTIST MEDICAL DOCTOR

Some time ago, a friend told me of a medical doctor (Anabaptist) who is doing research into sexual abuse in Anabaptist communities. To take his survey visit:
Anabaptist Medical Matters

***

JASON GRAY CONCERT:
NOVEMBER 2, 2019
Lancaster Bible College, Lancaster PA
7:00pm
CONCERT TICKETS NOW AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC: Here

NOTE: Due to the concert being the celebration for survivors of abuse,
we ask that any who have sexually abused as adults not attend out of respect

Screen Shot 2019-08-26 at 10.51.52 PM.png

November 2, 2019:  THE GATHERING, held at Lancaster Bible College, is a place where survivors of sexual assault, together with our support person(s), collectively invite God into our grief.  It is exclusively for Anabaptist survivors of sexual abuse and trusted support persons to gather for a day of acknowledging the generations of suffering and sexual violence among us. We will cry out to God, together. Come as you are in your raw brokenness, if that’s where you’re at, or in your healed togetherness. We welcome you! The itinerary is simple. It isn’t about ‘who’ or ‘how’; it is about Jesus and a safe place to meet, to grieve and heal another layer, together.

NOTE: Anyone over 18 who sexually assaulted someone – whether child or other adult – is not welcome. This does not mean they are not forgiven if they have repented. It means victims should not fear being confronted with the source of their trauma on such a vulnerable day. Security guards will be present to remove any who show up and are identified as offenders by the victims.

Until August 1, 2019, registration for the day’s events includes lunch and attendance to the evening concert with Jason Gray, whose music had brought hope and healing to countless victims. Songs like “The Wound is Where the Light Gets In“, “A Way to See in the Dark“, Sparrows“, “Nothing is Wasted“, and many more speak a language we understand.

NOTE: After August 1 concert is included dependant on availability. Once concert tickets are sold out, registrations will continue until October 1 and include lunch only.

***

If you are able to contribute to Generations Unleashed and our work with and for victims, you may donate via PayPal or e-transfer to info@generationsunleashed.com. Or visit Generations Unleashed Donate.

HAITI UPDATE: Anabaptist Christian Aid Ministries (CAM) Admits Offering Jeriah Mast Victims Cash Payout

Friday August 23, 2019
For weeks there has been rumblings of cash offers to Haitian victims of Jeriah Mast. This dates back to the early exposure of the crimes, and other missionaries’ expressed concerns that someone was offering cash to victims of Jeriah Mast in exchange for silence. Since then, the hush money attempts have continued, and continue still.

I was contacted weeks ago to ask whether I might expose it, saying that individuals representing CAM are offering the victims $8000 each. Money that, up until recently, of the victims of whom I am aware, has been declined. (This I am now told has changed). Due to sparse evidence, I refrained from commenting publicly, and even now will keep this post to a bare minimum.

However, I did receive copies of communication from one of the Haitians, confirming money has been offered (accepted by some) and I believe it warrants public awareness. After the $8000 was declined, a new offer was made for a higher amount I will not disclose. According to sources, victims were allegedly given the choice between a one time lump sum payout greater than $8000, or a considerably higher (double to triple) the amount not as a lump sum, to help with vocational skills, training or starting a business.

Sources say that the country has been split into sections (I am told 5), with a handful of individuals in each of five teams, scouring the country for victims, and offering them cash payouts.

Their lawyer has been meeting with victims without the representation of the victims’ lawyers present. Concerns have surfaced over victims signing under duress, and some victims report being threatened by fellow victims should they refuse to sign.

I suppose this is one way to save themselves money. Especially given that a lawyer – the same one who was instrumental in exposing the Catholic Church, and who was featured in the movie Spotlight – recently won a $60 million settlement for over 150 Haitian victims of Douglas Perlitz, a Jesuit Missionary. No doubt that would make CAM nervous, given there is believed to be as many as 100 victims of Jeriah Mast, or more, according to a statement released by a fellow missionary.

So if money is the most important thing, and ethical responses out the window…

EDIT: What is unethical? It is unethical to say church and state are separate and each are ordained by God as separate entities to do their duty, and the manipulate victims when the law gets involved. It is unethical to push darkness, sin and crime underground. That is not the Jesus Way and it is not living the New Testament of exposing evil and shining Light on sin. It is unethical to make claims to representing and teaching Jesus and then living in a lack of transparency.

Monday August 26, 2019
Writing was put on hold for a few days as life took over… That pause proved to be a good thing, as far as confirmation goes.

Today a friend let me know that Christian Aid Ministries (CAM) has acknowledged that they are indeed paying off the victims of Jeriah Mast in Haiti. The following is a quote sent by CAM via snail mail, in a letter from CAM and included in the June 17 Statement they released:

Update as of August 9, 2019: The Board has authorized a committee in Haiti to carefully consider each case and provide settlement and appropriate assistance for needs of victims.

PLEASE NOTE: This update *has not* been added online to the June 17, 2019 Statement. And I am told it *has not* been sent to donors. I have only been informed of it being sent to those asking to be removed from the CAM mailing list.

Silence comes with a price tag. One that costs much more than the donor funds being used to pay off victims allegedly in exchange for their silence. And that price tag will be paid in souls for many years, apart from deep repentance.

(2 Chronicles 7:14) “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

Healing will only come through deep repentance and transparency. And the corruption and vile abuses will only end through deep repentance and bringing all to light. God will bless nothing less.

As always….

Love,
~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger 2019

Events and Announcements:

Dayton Virginia: Training and conference, October 9-12, 2019.

Screen Shot 2019-08-19 at 1.59.27 PM.png

To read a recent 5-part series addressing victim healing and forgiveness for offenders, click: HERE.

***

ANONYMOUS SEXUAL ABUSE SURVEY BY ANABAPTIST MEDICAL DOCTOR

Some time ago, a friend told me of a medical doctor (Anabaptist) who is doing research into sexual abuse in Anabaptist communities. To take his survey visit:
Anabaptist Medical Matters

***

JASON GRAY CONCERT:
NOVEMBER 2, 2019
Lancaster Bible College, Lancaster PA
7:00pm
CONCERT TICKETS NOW AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC: Here

NOTE: Due to the concert being the celebration for survivors of abuse,
we ask that any who have sexually abused as adults not attend out of respect

Screen Shot 2019-08-26 at 10.51.52 PM.png

November 2, 2019:  THE GATHERING, held at Lancaster Bible College, is a place where survivors of sexual assault, together with our support person(s), collectively invite God into our grief.  It is exclusively for Anabaptist survivors of sexual abuse and trusted support persons to gather for a day of acknowledging the generations of suffering and sexual violence among us. We will cry out to God, together. Come as you are in your raw brokenness, if that’s where you’re at, or in your healed togetherness. We welcome you! The itinerary is simple. It isn’t about ‘who’ or ‘how’; it is about Jesus and a safe place to meet, to grieve and heal another layer, together.

NOTE: Anyone over 18 who sexually assaulted someone – whether child or other adult – is not welcome. This does not mean they are not forgiven if they have repented. It means victims should not fear being confronted with the source of their trauma on such a vulnerable day. Security guards will be present to remove any who show up and are identified as offenders by the victims.

Until August 1, 2019, registration for the day’s events includes lunch and attendance to the evening concert with Jason Gray, whose music had brought hope and healing to countless victims. Songs like “The Wound is Where the Light Gets In“, “A Way to See in the Dark“, Sparrows“, “Nothing is Wasted“, and many more speak a language we understand.

NOTE: After August 1 concert is included dependant on availability. Once concert tickets are sold out, registrations will continue until October 1 and include lunch only.

***

If you are able to contribute to Generations Unleashed and our work with and for victims, you may donate via PayPal or e-transfer to info@generationsunleashed.com. Or visit Generations Unleashed Donate.

 

 

(PART 1 of 5): Should abuse victims sue? And what about healing & forgiveness?

SHOULD VICTIMS SUE?
My previous blog “Why Anabaptist Sexual Abuse Awareness (ASAA) Founder Hopes Conservative Anabaptist Church Gets Sued…” left some questions unanswered, I’ve learned. In it I addressed a conversation with ASAA founder, Randal Martin, and his wife, and him saying he hopes the conservative Anabaptist church gets sued, as he believes it is the only way they will take the ongoing problem of sexual abuse seriously. What was unclear in my blog, and left people with questions is my position. Where do I stand on victims suing abusers?

I’ve worked with survivors for nearly a decade. None have ever, to my memory, expressed interest in launching a lawsuit. And I have never suggested such a thing. But I do tend to agree with Randal’s statement, and am concerned the issue will never be taken seriously by some churches and communities until such a thing happens. Will it then? Possibly. Or will they revert to the cry of, “We’re being persecuted for righteousness sake.” The latter is more likely, but, Sunday after Sunday they will think about victims when they pass the offering plate to cover the lawsuits, I imagine. They won’t think kindly of them, or compassionately… but they will part with their hard earned dollar and remember…

I’m also fairly certain if the problem of sexual abuse hits the wallets they will have a vested interest in functioning differently, going forward. So, while the heart wouldn’t necessarily change, the methods might, and children be more protected. I mean, how often can you afford a massive lawsuit? A recent case against the Jesuits, whose missionary Mr. Perlitz abused around 150 victims in Haiti, cost them a whopping $60 million. The similarities to the current Jeriah Mast case are uncanny. I’m suspicious the Jesuits will be screening their missionaries better, going forward. And that, I would expect, will happen with our culture too, when a massive lawsuit hits. It seems that might be a positive outcome, regardless of anyone’s personal opinions about suing.

While suing has never come up with my clients, if one were to express interest in launching a lawsuit, I would definitely not interfere or try to talk them out of it. And I would continue to support them as I did before. They’ve been robbed of their voice and thrust into deep struggle against their will. Finding their way back out is messy.  And whether they sue or not in that process is none of my business. I trust God will allow what needs to be done to bring accountability to the church, and bring the people of God to their knees in true repentance. And that may well include this kind of thing, given other cries have been long disregarded by religious communities.

That said, what I would tell any client is that the lawsuit will not bring you peace. It can’t. It might provide the funds to afford the help you need, but it won’t heal you. It might make it possible for you to relocate to a new start. But it won’t remove the hell you must walk through. That hell will follow you. It may distract for a while, but sooner or later you will have to face the truth and walk through the healing process. Much like grief, it comes in stages and phases.

There will be anger, for most. There will be tears and sorrow over the loss. There is, most often, phases of denial. There is despair. There’s the overwhelming sense of lost identity.

Money doesn’t address any one of those things. It can’t. But that doesn’t mean God won’t allow – even orchestrate – a series of events to shake up His people through lawsuits. He’s been known to do things like that and use uncomfortable means and methods to call His children back to truth and what really matters. And right now money and power matter too much. Don’t be surprised if God strips those idols.

So I let those things play out as they do, knowing God has a higher purpose, and in all things He pursues all hearts. That is who He is, it is what He does..

HOW THEN DO WE HEAL?
Every victim has his/her own journey to walk toward healing. I’ve not met two people whose stories were identical. None that could be turned into a calculated formula to apply to every individual. There are steps and layers. And how they bringing healing, or what order, is dependent on so many things, such as temperament, the nature of the crimes committed against the victim, and by whom.

Sometimes it is non-victims who offer more compassion and understanding than other victims. It is easy for victims to get down on each other for how the other is not healing their way. I see comments and statements by victims directed at other victims that are not helpful. And when I ask the nature of their stories, the one may have been a rape victim at the hands of a father, pastor or brother, the other had someone pull down their panties and looked at them.. sometimes touched. Or, they may not have suffered sexual abuse at all, but suffered emotional abuse, and somehow feel all healing should follow the path that worked for them. And, sometimes, once victims are healed, they forget their own struggle and have no grace for others to walk the journey they themselves walked.

It isn’t realistic to expect victims to arrive overnight where we took 20 years. Not even if we impart our wisdom. Is it possible they can avoid 20 years of agonizing struggle with healthy support and guidance? Yes, by all means! This doesn’t mean they will never struggle or have tough moments even after healing, but there is a far cry between living in that dark pit and slipping over the edge at moments, or being triggered. But, no matter what, they still deserve space to walk the messy process of healing.

While there is not a formula, there are certain steps that must be part of that process, for deep healing to be achieved. …

Continued… (PART 2)

 

As always…

With love,
~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger 2019

***

ANONYMOUS SEXUAL ABUSE SURVEY BY ANABAPTIST MEDICAL DOCTOR

Some time ago, a friend told me of a medical doctor (Anabaptist) who is doing research into sexual abuse in Anabaptist communities. To take his survey visit:
Anabaptist Medical Matters

***

JASON GRAY CONCERT:
NOVEMBER 2, 2019
Lancaster Bible College, Lancaster PA
7:00pm
CONCERT TICKETS NOW AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC: Here

NOTE: Due to the concert being the celebration for survivors of abuse,
we ask that any who have sexually abused as adults not attend out of respect

November 2, 2019:  THE GATHERING, held at Lancaster Bible College, is a place where survivors of sexual assault, together with our support person(s), collectively invite God into our grief.  It is exclusively for Anabaptist survivors of sexual abuse and trusted support persons to gather for a day of acknowledging the generations of suffering and sexual violence among us. We will cry out to God, together. Come as you are in your raw brokenness, if that’s where you’re at, or in your healed togetherness. We welcome you! The itinerary is simple. It isn’t about ‘who’ or ‘how’; it is about Jesus and a safe place to meet, to grieve and heal another layer, together.

NOTE: Anyone over 18 who sexually assaulted someone – whether child or other adult – is not welcome. This does not mean they are not forgiven if they have repented. It means victims should not fear being confronted with the source of their trauma on such a vulnerable day. Security guards will be present to remove any who show up and are identified as offenders by the victims.

Until August 1, 2019, registration for the day’s events includes lunch and attendance to the evening concert with Jason Gray, whose music had brought hope and healing to countless victims. Songs like “The Wound is Where the Light Gets In“, “A Way to See in the Dark“, Sparrows“, “Nothing is Wasted“, and many more speak a language we understand.

NOTE: After August 1 concert is included dependant on availability. Once concert tickets are sold out, registrations will continue until October 1 and include lunch only.

***

If you are able to contribute to Generations Unleashed and our work with and for victims, you may donate via PayPal or e-transfer to info@generationsunleashed.com. Or visit Generations Unleashed Donate.

 

Why Anabaptist Sexual Abuse Awareness (ASAA) Founder Hopes Conservative Anabaptist Church Gets Sued, Mr. Hoover on Mandatory Reporting, & the Porn and Sex Trafficking Problem

Screen Shot 2019-08-12 at 10.18.52 AM

***

When I met face-to-face with Randal Martin, founder of ASAA, and his wife at a Panera Bread in Lebanon PA, he said he hopes victims will sue the conservative Anabaptist church to force them to take sexual abuse seriously. His message was that if they have to pass the offering plate to collect money to pay for those lawsuits, they will be forced to take abuse seriously. Until it hits the pocketbook, he said, he is concerned that the issue will not be given serious attention. I agreed. Said that I fear, too, that victims will never be truly heard until this happens.

I had no notion on doing such a thing then (and still don’t), but I told him I know of someone who mentioned launching a class action against the Eastern Mennonite church. Randal gave me the name of the lawyer who  handled the Haldeman church lawsuit, to pass on.

It seems that this wish for a lawsuit – or was it a prophecy? – is coming to pass in the current CAM case. Ironically it is in the very case in which ASAA is being asked to help the victims in Haiti. God has an uncomfortable sense of humour, in the timing of things.

It is my hope that ASAA will support the victims in Haiti who wish to pursue litigation, even if it is against Christian Aid Ministries rather than the Eastern Mennonite Church. It is the only non-hypocritical thing to do in light of Mr. Martin’s comments.

***

The following article on reporting sexual abuse is well written. Excellent, really. I’ve heard criticisms of details like, Is reporting really only important because it is a legal duty.. like, what about moral obligation? I’ll speak for myself and say this. Dealing with sex crimes is always a moral duty. Always. But how we deal with them is influenced by the laws of our land. Knowing Mr. Hoover a bit better than I did a few months ago, I know he also feels a sense of moral duty to get involved and does so. He and I do not agree on some of the ‘how’ of what he does, and he knows I have some grave concerns, but he does feel a sense of moral duty. Also, in fairness, he has disagreements with me as well. I am comfortable with that, and far as I can tell, he is too.

Some time ago I asked Mr. Hoover for permission to share it on my blog; permission he granted. He is on the Advisory Board for the Anabaptist Sexual abuse Awareness (ASAA). I have interacted with him a fair bit in recent months, and have been forthright with him about my concerns, both in ASAA handling of events last year — details he still knew nothing about — as well as ongoing concern over how offenders are being prioritized to the neglect of victims. (For example, victims’ voices are not yet being invited into the legal processes, nor are they being represented with skilled and informed support persons who know the legal processes. This support is still being given to offenders). In my honesty about my concerns, I have felt he tried to hear me in spite of disagreement. He has been honest with me too, from what I can tell, and I have tried to hear him.

Where truth is spoken, I appreciate it. The following article is truth.

***

How can Conservative Anabaptists reconcile the command of Matthew 18, “If thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone,” with the reporting requirements in Pennsylvania?

The entire issue hinges on the words, “If thy brother shall trespass against thee”. What sins would this include, this “trespass against thee?”

Perhaps he trespassed by having moved the line-fence and thereby taking some of his neighbor’s land, or borrowing something and returning it broken, or slandering a brother’s name by repeating unkind gossip. There are many ways that a brother may trespass against a brother personally, and we then need to go to him alone to see if we can come to an understanding.

But what about serious sins that are much more than a personal trespass against an individual? Did Jesus also imply that if my brother murdered his neighbor or raped my wife that I would need to go to him between me and him alone, and if he hears me I have gained my brother?

God forbid! Such a sin needs to be reported immediately to the proper civil authorities, who do not carry the sword in vain (Romans 13:1-6, 2 Peter 2:13-17), then to the church.

Yes, we believe that if a brother has trespassed against us, we should first approach him alone. But if we discover that he has seduced a neighbor’s 13-year-old child and ended up violating her (either emotionally or physically), we do not believe that Jesus would direct us by this command to keep it “between thee and him alone.” Such a brother has not only trespassed against his neighbor, but he has broken the laws of God himself as well as the laws of the land. This is not only a trespass against an individual, but a heinous crime. We are duty bound, both for our brother’s sake and for our daughter’s sake (as well as possible future victims), to report him.

Today we know of the terrible hold of sexual addictions. We have seen perpetrators who have been found out, and who “repented” and made their sins right with the church, and life supposedly went on as usual. But, life did not go on as usual. The sexual addiction had not been dealt with, and later there were relapses, with more cover-ups, more victims, and more children whose lives were forever changed, because we did not deal with the sin in an appropriate and timely manner. 

We need to acknowledge and recognize the difference between a trespass against a brother that can be taken care of “between thee and him alone,” and serious sins that are much more than just a trespass against a brother. This is why we believe that it is good, proper, and indeed necessary to obey state laws on mandated reporting.

The offender can only be brought to redemption if he or she takes full ownership of his or her iniquity, transgressions and civil responsibilities. Using civil authority is a part of that not a power play. We are loving the offender when the sin is exposed to authorities because he/she is in bondage to their sin and full of deception – and an emotional response to exposure and a few words of apology are no sign of repentance. The offender is self-injuring, not just injuring others. No habituated sin is easily stopped. If we are honest, we all know this on a personal level.

~ Allen Hoover, Advisory Board for ASAA ~ 

***

I was surprised that ASAA advisory board wasn’t even made aware of the details surrounding last year’s fiasco, in which a man admitted to their vice-chair having assaulted a young woman and the young woman was not offered care while the offender continued in close relationship with the board member. And I am just as surprised that the Advisory board didn’t think it was important to know details or get involved, being too busy with other things.

As I said to Mr. Hoover, it is this sort of lack of engagement that created the dreadful abuse situation we have in Haiti, and I struggle to grasp how a group can help others overseas if they don’t first deal with their own situations appropriately at home. When victims are blatantly neglected in cases at home, how are they equipped to go to Haiti and help there. I would hope they can and will do better. Especially since Mr. Hoover’s statement so clearly states that “an emotional response and a few words of apology are no sign of repentance” as was proven true in last year’s fiasco. The offender at the centre of that case has continued with inappropriate connections with women. This summer I heard from three more women regarding the same offender, proving Mr. Hoover’s words to be accurate.

In light of this, while I support what is written by Mr. Hoover and promoted by ASAA, and I am posting it as I had told him I would after he granted permission, I appeal to them to live up to their own words and teachings. I appeal to ASAA to first deal with their own issues honourably at home, before going overseas. Don’t just teach better ways of responding; live it. When that happens, I will be happy to support ASAA efforts.

Disclaimer: When I asked permission to post the above, I did not yet know that the ASAA founder and the board of directors had not informed their other committees thoroughly of my concerns. This only came up in communication with Mr. Hoover on August 5, 2019.

***

ASAA also posted the following video on their Facebook page. (It was from their site that I took my featured image, to give credit of sources). It is a powerful video addressing pornography. If you are into porn, you are part of the sex trafficking industry. You are funding it. Advertisers rely on your addiction to evil, to fund this industry. 

 

***
***

If you have the stomach for it, the following news report is a powerful, powerful news report on sex trafficking. I submit that political agenda is intertwined, quite obviously. Tune out the jargon and listen to the problem of sex trafficking. It is real, and it is closer to home than you would imagine. I know of conservative Anabaptist youth being used as prostitutes, where one ‘user’ (Anabaptist adult male, in one case) will alert others to the girl being vulnerable. I know of them being offered money for sex. I know of one case where money was exchanged. This is not so far out there.

The video clip is hard to watch, admittedly. But this is based on the true story of a young woman who was trafficked.

Her brother speaks after the video clip. He shares a lot of wisdom on the problem of sex trafficking, and how it works. He isn’t about fear-mongering. He gives solid information. He addresses the fallen morality of the nation of USA. He talks numbers of what pimps make.

And he makes this gut-churning statement, “You can almost order a child like you order pizza.” And later he says, “This shouldn’t be a conservative issue or a liberal issue […] children should not be for sale.”

He also states, “It starts with a pornographic culture. Soft porn. It’s the objectifying of women. Which, we as a country have done a great job at completely objectifying women into sex objects and emasculating men.”‘

These statements should startle us. According to several studies, a high rate of men in church admit to porn use

There is no child immune. No culture protected. This wickedness is something we need expose. And we, as the people of God, ought to be leading the way. But I challenge you to consider that sex trafficking in a different form is happening among us. Just as in the country structure, in religious structure the top most powerful are protected. There is grace for these offenders, and protection, while those ‘sold out’ are mistreated to keep them in line. The similarities are startling.

Like our sexualized culture, we are desensitizing church culture to child sexual assault, but we are doing it through treating victims shamefully and protecting offenders. The culture is such that abuse thrives, the oppressed have no voice, and sexual violence against children is viewed as ‘moral failing’ and ‘a mistake’.

Children are being trafficked among us, and it starts with the cavalier attitude toward child exploitation that allows adult men and women to call it ‘moral failing’, or ‘a mistake’. It starts by dehumanizing the victims in the eyes of the congregation or community. It starts be silencing victims. And it starts by leaders hearing things and shrugging them off rather than digging deeper and doing their due diligence in cases such as Jeriah Mast. (Using one that is public of the hundreds or thousands I could choose from). Because when abuse is handled this way in church, it is the exact same thing as sex trafficking, with different players and a far more deceptive mask.

All of these things teach the ‘pimps’ and abusers that it isn’t really that big a deal to use and abuse the vulnerable. They do not take it seriously. I had one man say, after molesting his daughters, “I only did it for 60 seconds.” His church gave him a short proving period and then life went on as before. He had a history of sexually assaulting starting in his teens, right up to his late 40’s when I confronted him. The church blinked. Didn’t report. Bishop from PA intervened in TX to help navigate it. And life went on as before. (I tried to report. The social work I was communicating with who was passionate about the case, when I called back a few weeks later, was told, “She is no longer with us”. The church leaders talked with the Sergeant, and he stopped responding. I will never know why. I have solid evidence and an open confession in my possession, legally obtained. And the law does nothing. The church does nothing more than they have to.

That, my friends, is how sex trafficking continues in church.

These things have desensitized many in the church culture, and silenced others for many years.

And while all of that is going on, and children are being stripped, destroyed, raped and programmed… on the streets and in church… We can’t get our act together to stand firm against this wickedness….

God help us…

God help the children… And He will.

Someday, He will come and set the children free…

He will come…

As always…

With love,
~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger 2019

***

ANONYMOUS SEXUAL ABUSE SURVEY BY ANABAPTIST MEDICAL DOCTOR

Some time ago, a friend told me of a medical doctor (Anabaptist) who is doing research into sexual abuse in Anabaptist communities. To take his survey visit:
Anabaptist Medical Matters

***

JASON GRAY CONCERT:
NOVEMBER 2, 2019
Lancaster Bible College, Lancaster PA
7:00pm
CONCERT TICKETS NOW AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC: Here

NOTE: Due to the concert being the celebration for survivors of abuse,
we ask that any who have sexually abused as adults not attend out of respect

November 2, 2019:  THE GATHERING, held at Lancaster Bible College, is a place where survivors of sexual assault, together with our support person(s), collectively invite God into our grief.  It is exclusively for Anabaptist survivors of sexual abuse and trusted support persons to gather for a day of acknowledging the generations of suffering and sexual violence among us. We will cry out to God, together. Come as you are in your raw brokenness, if that’s where you’re at, or in your healed togetherness. We welcome you! The itinerary is simple. It isn’t about ‘who’ or ‘how’; it is about Jesus and a safe place to meet, to grieve and heal another layer, together.

NOTE: Anyone over 18 who sexually assaulted someone – whether child or other adult – is not welcome. This does not mean they are not forgiven if they have repented. It means victims should not fear being confronted with the source of their trauma on such a vulnerable day. Security guards will be present to remove any who show up and are identified as offenders by the victims.

Until August 1, 2019, registration for the day’s events includes lunch and attendance to the evening concert with Jason Gray, whose music had brought hope and healing to countless victims. Songs like “The Wound is Where the Light Gets In“, “A Way to See in the Dark“, Sparrows“, “Nothing is Wasted“, and many more speak a language we understand.

NOTE: After August 1 concert is included dependant on availability. Once concert tickets are sold out, registrations will continue until October 1 and include lunch only.

***

If you are able to contribute to Generations Unleashed and our work with and for victims, you may donate via PayPal or e-transfer to info@generationsunleashed.com. Or visit Generations Unleashed Donate.