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

 

Timeline of ‘Grandpa Harold’, and purpose for revealing his identity…

My previous blog was not posted lightly. It has been the contemplation of many months, many conversations, and the most careful consideration given to the alleged victim(s)’ needs. I took direction from the alleged victim whose letter was shared in the previous blog, in particular, as well as several informants. All wanted to disclose publicly to prevent risk of further harm and prevent more victim at the hands of ‘Grandpa’,  who is ‘Grandpa Harold’ to some, or Harold Herr. However, for all who speak out there is a cost, and I do not get to choose when to impose that on them.

Since releasing the initial blog yesterday, the individual with the timeline [referenced in yesterday’s blog: Conservative Mennonite missionary “Grandpa” accused of molesting minors: 4 decades, 2 countries] felt peace about releasing it. There has been much conversation as to the best way to move ahead. When names are released, there is serious backlash. When they are not released, there is serious backlash. Our decision is not based on that. Our decision is very specifically made based on what will accomplish the best outcome with the least damage.

Do we always get it right? I certainly don’t. But sitting on my hands debating what to do isn’t an option.

As with other details related to going public, each party has put effort into offering understanding to the others. (ie; if one was not ready to go public, none would. And if one was not ready to make the name public, none would).

In their communication with me, and any communication forwarded, they have been kind and respectful, with no intent to harm ‘Grandpa’. They made the decision out of a deep passion and conviction to prevent further victims and give Grandpa Harold opportunity to seek real help and take responsibility. This has not been easy for them. They have my deepest respect.  I honour their voices and speak no more than they are ready for. So, if you send me messages asking for more detail, I won’t respond. It is not mine to give.

*****

To those who would like a criminal investigation done  before going public:

  1. The statute of limitations is past for these crimes. So that’s not going to happen. (Though, leaders who knew and did nothing could still be charged if it was pursued, I believe. I am not 100%).
  2. The alleged case(s) in Haiti are incredibly difficult to prosecute due to alleged victim(s) having no permanent address that can be passed on to law enforcement. We’re still working on all of this, but at best it is challenging.

*****

The following timeline was written by someone I do not know and have never met. (I hope one day that changes). The introduction is completely their words:

“The informants disclose the perpetrator’s identity only after weighing the situation with great sensitivity, compassion, and dedication to integrity vs. malice, vindication, or retaliation.  They realize that he can only receive help for his self-destructive addiction to pedophilia, perpetuated by religion, through the tough love of accountability.  Potential victims can only be protected from the danger he currently poses to society by honorably identifying him as a source of harm. Covering would be complicit participation in devastation both for the perpetrator and his victims.”

The following timeline was sent to me months ago, and the redacted version was submitted to me today, to be posted:

screen-shot-2020-01-12-at-1.04.01-pm.png

Screen Shot 2020-01-12 at 1.04.22 PM

*****

What makes the information submitted so compelling, is that sources were not connected to each other, and none, when they contacted me, knew others were communicating with me. Each carried his/her own piece of a tragic puzzle.

Even so, it is not my goal to make judgements or determinations on the details. It is my goal to:

  1. Give the church, organizations and individuals involved opportunity to repent.
  2. Once again give opportunity for the accused to come forward with truth, without manipulation, lies or other self-preservation.
  3. Give opportunity for others who have offended and/or covered up to come forward and come clean. (This is by far not the last case that landed on my desk over the Jeriah Mast case. There are other alleged abusers who were known, or in some cases allegedly known, by some of the same people, churches, and/or organizations.

Contrary to popular belief, among some, I do not find any joy in discovering more and more cases. While I am not surprised, it continues to shatter me. I read stories and testimonies, and weep. No child should suffer sexual abuse, or any other abuse. No adult should have to live with those memories, having been overlooked, neglected and silenced. Some go on to thrive and do well. Some remain locked in a state of trauma and pay with their health and their life.

To anyone involved in abuse and coverup… I am not asking you to like how I expose abuse. I’m not asking you to agree with me in practice or doctrine. But I am inviting you to reach out if you are ready to come clean and work toward acknowledging and healing for victims, and taking full ownership. You don’t have to like me for me to help you.

I won’t cover up. But I will gladly work cooperatively to bring truth to light in other ways. There is always grace, always forgiveness for the truly repentant. But cover up can not ever be part of that equation. That’s not grace of forgiveness; it’s self preservation at the expense of truth. I don’t partner with that. It is my prayer that all guilty parties here will repent. Truly repent.

I am committed to seeing this epidemic of sexual abuse in our Anabaptist culture through to greater exposure and greater healing. Even in exposing, it is my hope that somehow it will begin to heal the victims and the church. And, frankly, I hope it brings the church to her knees in repentance.

When the same organizations and individuals are involved in repeated cases of sexual crimes, at home and abroad, we have to start asking some pretty hard questions.

How did we get here?

And how do we move to a better place?

The problem is multifaceted. The solution, while complex, must begin with a repentant individual or group, no longer willing to cover up. That’s step one… and only the beginning.

****

NOTE: As stated yesterday, Grandpa Harold is to return to Haiti in the near future to do some training for the same organization where Jeriah Mast worked one day a week. We have not heard if this trip has been cancelled.

I am not out to destroy mission organizations. I am determined to hold accountable those who have and are looking the other way when they know there are allegations. It is inexcusable that the leader at CAM, who was interviewed by the reporter (yesterday’s blog), stated ‘good behaviour’ (in a nutshell…and assuming in public, given the crimes allegedly going on behind the scenes) is enough to declare innocence.

As always,

Love,
~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger 2020

Of Gnats & Camels: 2012 or 2013? And the Amish Steering Committee’s Role in the Jeriah Mast, Haiti, CAM Case

Seems there’s a lot of Christians straining their water these days, to avoid choking on gnats, while swallowing camels whole. (What wise man said that again?) And, what were His words just before using satire to make His point? “Woe to you Scribes and Pharisees”… He then calls out on tithing even on their spices, but adds, “[you] have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. 24 Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel…”

It turns out that me being told that Jeriah was sent home in 2012 is a serious stumbling block to Christians, that I would lie like that. It seems elementary, but let me inject here that having a jot or tiddle out of place, I mean, having the date wrong – and that because I was told the wrong date … by one of the men who knew and did not report – is not known as lying. It is known as “Oops, Harold wasn’t quite sure which year it was, and Trudy relayed his imperfect memory.” That kind of nitpicking is the very thing that takes the focus off of helping victims, acknowledging we have a serious problem and dealing with it.

Several have also kindly informed me that I pretty much have it wrong about Jeriah’s early years. It seems to me that testimony of numerous ‘early years’ victims and friend  (from unlinked sources that tell similar stories)… they might actually be worthy of acknowledgement. That said, I said very little about his early years.

As I’ve responded to some, I will state here. I am keenly aware that what I shared is incomplete. Very incomplete. It is my hope that the Mast family, as well as other victims and offenders in the inter-linking scenarios that were excluded will appreciate my reasons for this. My goal here has been to call a religious organization to accountability for egregious errors in judgment in the Haiti victims case, and hopefully prevent this type of violence from continuing against anyone. Especially the impoverished who have no recourse, and depend on the very source of their abuse for  survival.But I will not go further at this time.

My goal here is to sweep up a few gnats I’m told are distracting people from caring for the victims. I don’t really believe gnats do that. I believe some look for excuses to downplay things, for other reasons. But I don’t mind sweeping gnats, just in case. It would be a tragedy to have children being raped and molested be downplayed because I was given a few inaccurate details by key people in the story.

Nitpicking about details to discredit the truth and pretend there isn’t an epidemic shows how willingly we allow abuse to continue.

The Gospels – four authors, four views –  each tell the story of Jesus. Each tell the same stories on several occasions, but tell them differently. This is called ‘perspective’. If we stand by a wall and describe the scenery, the ones facing the bricks will have a very different account (perspective) of what they see than the ones facing the garden.

And the one staring at bird poop on the table… Yeah, that’s a whole ‘n’other perspective completely that no one wants to hear while trying to enjoy dinner.

I think many people are trying to eat dinner right now, as this case unfolds….

canstockphoto24004164

Jesus used an exaggerated scenario to make His point. If I was not as clear, feel free to ask questions.

***

Almost a month ago, when I first heard the Amish Steering Committee was involved in the Jeriah Mast case, I attempted to track down their number. I reached out to Dell Sauder in Pennsylvania, who has many connections and whose wife has Amish background, hoping they would be able to help. I also reached out to friends in Ohio who did some asking around. But the information seemed no where to be found.

Soon after my first blog came out, several people kindly reached out to correct me, saying they were not involved. I requested that they forward my number to the ASC and ask one of the to call me. Another person forwarded a contact number, which I tried immediately, but was not able to get through.

This week, Tuesday I was finally able to speak with one ASC member. I wished I could see his eyes, because phones are limiting that way. However, he was honourable and kind. I learned that what my sources — statements  Jeriah’s immediate family made, which then were forwarded to me out of concern by friends — was not reflective of facts.  I have yet to figure out why his family believed what they believed, but that is theirs to tell truth about. I have this evidence, but will not release it without the permission of those who sent it.

(Note: I released to law enforcement what I felt might be of help to them).

In conversation with the ASC leader I learned the following about them:

  • they’re incredibly respectful to engage with (I sensed no manipulation, only respect)
  • our visions align
  • their purpose is to be a liaison/messenger between law/government and the Amish church
  • they’ve been around in some form for 50-60 years, not only 2.5
  • many of their cases are minors
  • many of their cases have nothing to do with sexual crimes, incest and molestation
    • if they are sexual crimes they are referred to the Restoration Committee
  • they work cooperatively with the law (one ‘evidence item’ said they take the place of the law)
  • they don’t interfere with law to keep offenders out of prison (again, many of their cases are minors)

And I also learned the following about ASC’s involvement in this case:

  • No one contacted the ASC’s State Director for assistance in case
  • someone at Shining Light church got their hands on a Restoration Plan that was drawn up for another offender from a few years ago
  • the church reached out to the Restoration Team to look at the plan
    • the name had been redacted, so they did not know it was for Jeriah Mast
  • Shining Light then asked a Restoration Team member to set up the appointment with law enforcement
  • Family told various people that ASC was involved, and stated that it was to “help avoid consequences” and “do what the law would do”, as well as hold Jeriah accountable
    • This alarmed people who reached out to me.
    • This, the State Director (who is the Amish gentleman I spoke with) is completely inaccurate and not what the ASC is about

The Restoration Committee Role and Purpose:

  • hold everyone accountable when dealing with molestation and other troubled situations and “hold people’s feet to the fire”
  • they guide processes and make sure proper processes are followed
  • draw up restoration plans which are strict accountability plans to be followed
  • offer teaching and education to help recognize abuse, and work toward prevention
  • do NOT assume role of:
    • law
    • CPS
    • Ministry
    • Counsellors
  • they are contacted for help by:
    • law enforcement
    • CPS
    • Church Ministry
    • Counsellors and therapists
    • Individuals needing support in their church community

***

The information came to me via friends of immediate family, but how the family in this case came to believe the information they shared with people, I cannot speak to, nor do I wish to. It may have been a sincere misunderstanding.  These things happen, and in the midst of stress and chaos that is yet more likely.

It is ironic that since my source is those with some of the highest stakes – the family – that I am the liar for repeating their words. (I would say I misunderstood if I did not have evidence).

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. The hate, the lies and all of that, I am not too worried about. If that’s what it takes for this epidemic to be addressed, so be it. I am far more concerned that I stand before God one day and, while imperfectly, have done what He called me to do.

***

What’s next in this case?

The law is doing the thing it is designed to do. I am doing the thing I am called to do, and cooperating with the law in the process. All information that is sent my way, that holds any meaning, I forward to the law. And sometimes I forward what I think is useless but might mean something to them. Charges will be forthcoming, at least for one ‘piece’ of this situation, in the relatively near future, I am told. We will see. That isn’t my part to follow up on.

I continue to interact with the people of Haiti who were impacted, including Jeriah’s victims and those near them. It is hard because of distance, and feeling helpless to do much given the language barriers, but I try to answer their questions and connect them with those who are able to help them navigate the maze of the legal system. (On that note, if anyone reading this knows of a Human Rights Lawyer who would be able to support these victims, that info would be much appreciated. Please send it to me at: Generations Unleashed.

What next for me?

Before this case went public, people were hearing there was a ‘big abuse case’ with an Anabaptist organization, and they reached out to ask what I know. I wasn’t ready to give information much, back then. As a result information trickled in about multiple organizations, in multiple countries. When three or more concerns trickle in, each holding pieces of a story, it is a strong sign that something lies buried.

It is my plan to follow up on these cases if doors open. I am very comfortable letting God open and close doors. If funds come in to cover the costs of travel, I go. If not, I don’t. It’s that simple and that black and white how I determine whether it is meant to be. And I listen to the niggling of caution, that radar for spiritual manipulation that goes off in my inner being, when determining with whom I will partner in these things. And I am thankful to say that there are thousands of conservative Anabaptists offering prayer support and encouragement in this.

I hope to fly out within the next two weeks to confirm details in another case, if funds come in to cover the costs. And if they do not, I will rest in this not being the right time. I am comfortable laying down calling any time God closes doors.

If you are able to contribute, and willing to do so, you may send funds to info@generationsunleashed.com, or visit Generations Unleashed.

My commitment is to walk through the doors God opens. I will not force them. But I will not ignore the open ones. And if they crack open and stay there, I’ve learned that usually, sometimes years later, they swing wide open.

As always…

Love,
~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger 2019