Forgiveness; Compassion; William McGrath a Conservative Anabaptist Leader and Sex Offender, and all the Things

FORGIVENESS
In all the Christian talk about the beauty of forgiveness, we have made the mistake of teaching and believing that forgiveness and justice are at odds. They are compatible. It is not ‘forgiveness *or* justice’. It is ‘forgiveness *and* justice’. God loves both.

The problem is that we really do not understand what forgiveness is and means, and we really don’t understand what justice is and means. (I do not propose to have the understanding either! But to think they are at odds is evidence we are missing something). As a result, most teachings on forgiveness are imbalanced, saying you must choose ‘only’ forgiveness. Many even teach that to forgive means “I am taking the consequences of your sin on myself.”

I would propose that we release ourselves from the consequences of their wrongs and sins when we forgive. Forgiveness is a matter of releasing my heart from the burden I carry as a result of the evils done against me. The greatest longterm ongoing consequence for most sins committed against me is what I believe as a result of that wrong. (There are exceptions. If a drunk driver kills my child, the longterm consequences is my grief, the loss of that child and all that goes with it. I speak here specifically to my experience and most wrong committed against me).

My forgiveness cannot free the other person; only God’s forgiveness can do that. In fact, if handled in such a way that the other person never truly comes to grips with their wrongdoing, ‘forgiveness’ (as taught by many) keeps that person in bondage. There is a kindness in a person being confronted with their own capacity for evil, when paired with compassion, mercy, grace and consequences that holds him/her accountable. If the offender is truly repentant, this encounter is life altering and a gift to him/her and those in relationship with them.

I believe in forgiveness. It transformed my life. It continues to transform my life. It is what set me free to live a whole life, to pursue my calling. And it is what breaks the power their actions had over me. It does not impose on me any code of silence. It does change the way I speak about it. I still call out evil. I still call out corruption and manipulation. I do not hate. I do not call for beheadings, literally or figuratively. I still support going to the law and ensuring offenders cannot continue to hurt people. That’s part of justice.

There is no justice in leaving children vulnerable to predators. None. Nor is that forgiveness. That is ignorance. But true justice never calls for the destruction (death or other) of the wrongdoer. Because true justice recognizes that I, too, am fallen humanity who deserves judgement, and the grace I have received is the grace I pass on. God did not remove this life’s consequences; I continue to live with those to this day. But He did offer me eternal life and removed from me the consequence of eternal death.  That is a gift I offer others, along with restoring their humanity, seeing them as having both capacity for good and for evil, and treating them with dignity even while holding them accountable for that evil.

***

Over my mother’s funeral several of my offenders showed up . One, in particular, stood out. He looks but a broken shell of humanity. Though he is not a family member, I’ve seen him at numerous family events such as weddings and funerals — I anticipate I will see him again tomorrow — and always what it stirs in my heart is grief. Not for what was done against me — I’m done with that grieving and am healed — but of what sin robbed him of. That’s not to say he hasn’t made his heart right before God. I’m not one to judge that. But the eyes tell a story…. and the story his tell… 

I saw him there… So I walked over, stood behind the gentleman talking to him and waited ‘in line’ to speak with him. When my turn came, I shook his hand, and thanked him for his expression of sympathy by coming to mom’s funeral. Admittedly, he looked relieved when my thanks was all I had to say to him.

Whatever he took from me when he molested me, it does not compare with what he lost within himself, and the consequences he has to live with for his choices. Don’t misunderstand me. I am not downplaying his crimes; they had a huge impact on me. Truth is, odds are high I would still be conservative Anabaptist if he had not done what he did. That is where and when I started feeling lost in the culture to such a degree that I knew I could not stay. I saw myself as a misfit who would never survive, and whose dreams would never come true ‘among them’. Trust me, I do not bemoan the outcome, but at the time, as a young teen who dreamed of marrying a Mennonite man — ideally a farmer — it was devastating. I saw only ‘old rejected spinster’ in my future, and that belief isolated me.

The greater harm was the sexual confusion it threw me into. Feeling things for which I had no words or teaching, and the ensuing years of deep shame it cost me. And because word got out, I had no idea who all knew. Every time a young man looked at me, I was sure he was thinking “slut”. So I would sit through special meetings at other churches, blushing and ashamed, whenever a young man looked my way. Yes, the cost was significant.

But I saw the consequences in his eyes at mom’s funeral, and felt only compassion. Since seeing him at mom’s funeral, I’ve said to Tim from time to time, “I think I need to go visit him and his wife. I need to have a conversation with them….”

We will see. If and when the time is right, I will do it. And that visit won’t be for my own good or healing; it will be for his redemption. Not relational restoration. That is not necessary. But his deep soul redemption and freedom.

If I do it, I do it of my own choice. And that choice has nothing whatsoever to do with forgiveness, other than to give me the courage to do it. Forgiveness is something I did in my heart before God many years ago. These things should not be confused with forgiveness, because they are not a requirement of the forgiving process.

COMPASSION
I felt that same compassion standing in the courtroom at Jeriah Mast’s hearing. First, and foremost, I felt deep grief for those whom Jeriah victimized. When the judge read the list of crimes Jeriah confessed to committing, it was all I could do to hold myself together and not begin sobbing. When the judge read how only weeks before the sentencing, Jeriah still said his sexual assaults (at age 25) of minors under 13 was ‘consensual’, I felt frustrated that he still doesn’t ‘get it’ how incredibly vile it is to use children and that there is no such thing as ‘consensual’ when adults take advantage of children. And when the judge handed down the sentence and explained why he chose the 9 years instead of a lesser sentence– because Jeriah is an ongoing risk to the public, in part because he doesn’t get it — I felt a mix of sadness and gratitude. Sad that it is a judge who ‘gets it’, not the church, and gratitude that at least someone does.

And when I saw Jeriah handcuffed and taken from the courtroom before a numb audience (his church and family, by all appearances), I felt compassion and deep sorrow. Sorrow that Jeriah’s crimes caused so much loss and harm to the victims, his wife and family, and his friends. Sorrow that so much of religion doesn’t grasp the harm and rallies for the offender. (I was one of less than a handful of people – and that’s a generous number – who were there to support the victims in a courtroom so full that people were standing around the room). And compassion for Jeriah’s soul and the things that took him down this path. It came out in court that he had been sexually abused by an older brother. This in now way excuses his evil deeds. To commit them was a choice, and he must own that before God and man.

Some say he has owned it. I reiterate that his comments not long before sentencing, minimizing his crimes to ‘consensual acts’, are revealing of his lack of grasping the severity of his crimes, which means he isn’t safe around the vulnerable, but the rest — repentance and forgiveness — I leave between him and God. And leave it with God to fully break him and help him understand how evil and far reaching the crimes/sins are. And to understand that children should be protected by 25 year old men; they should not need to be protected from them. 

***

William McGrath. The name evokes many and various responses, depending who is in the audience. Those who hold him high, and idolize this cultural trophy with his charismatic (so some say) personality, it evokes high praise and reverence. For his victims, and those near them, who watched a religious culture idolize him, then (some) question him, followed by deafening silence and cover-up, the name is a reminder of loss and suffering without proper acknowledgement of truth, and certainly a lack of justice. For the Beachy Amish leaders who investigated and then fell short of being honourable, I imagine the name brings shame.

For the woman whose husband — a victim of McGrath — committed suicide… I cannot imagine the deep suffering she has experienced at the silence, and at not hearing McGrath’s name where it should have been spoken, and where his actions should have been unequivocally condemned. And I can’t imagine how healing it must be for her to know that someone has heard her cries.

And ‘that someone’ who heard is the author of Anabaptist Medical Matters, a Conservative Anabaptist (CA) Medical doctor who has recently written several articles addressing the epidemic of sexual abuse in the CA community, including a current one on McGrath. He is forthright, gentle, honest, and — from what I see at a distance — seems to live honourably. (I have never met him, but still hope to one day).

In this article he tells of the case of William, and dares to speak to that which lies carefully buried. But the truth does not die with the body, and the consequences ripple throughout the generations, when sex crimes are left unaddressed. Especially when it is at a religious leadership level. To read the article, visit, “Blessed Are They That Mourn“.

(Warning: The article may be triggering for survivors. Trigger or not, I would read it for the gold that is in it. By giving you a heads up, I hope it will prevent extreme triggering and make it possible for you to push past the triggers. The first potential trigger is in ‘mourn for the offenders’. I agree with the author, but have worked long enough with survivors to know the general consensus is that offenders’ needs are always placed first. If able, push past this and read on. The second trigger is in addressing Jeriah Mast. The author may not be aware that only weeks prior to his sentencing, Mast was still defending/excusing his actions against boys as young as 11 — when he was 25 — as consensual. For those who know this, the author’s statement “By all accounts, he has sincerely repented, even expressing a desire to be rebaptized” could be very triggering).

I do not agree with everything written here, and that’s ok. I see a sincere and honest acknowledgement of deep failure in the CA community, in this writing, and bless the author for daring to go there. It is not a popular move in that culture.

Frankly, until survivors have permission to speak, and those who remain (whether family or culture) repent for the coverups and abuses, there is no changing the course of history. But God forbid that the abusers be the ones to ‘stand in the gap’ and repent for other offenders, if they have not first done so with their own offences. If you are godly, and if you have taken ownership for your wrongs and repented at a personal level, only then have you any right to stand in that gap without making things worse.

***

Tomorrow is my 50th birthday. I feel blessed to be alive and doing so well. I’ve had some near-death encounters in my life — two in particular stand out — including numerous events this year that reminded me of the fragility of life. To have made it half way to 100 and thriving, is the mercy and grace of God.

I have no personal needs but have many in my life who do have needs, so to celebrate my 50th, I invite you to support the following:

  1. THE GATHERING, our second annual event offering survivors of abuse a safe place to gather and connect, a place to find hope, safety and healing. This year we were able to offer attendance considerably below cost, thanks to donors. It is our hope to continue making this event affordable through donations. To donate, visit Generations Unleashed Donate and scroll down to The Gathering 2020.
  2. Support for victims of Jeriah Mast in Haiti who did not accept payouts from Christian Aid Ministries. We started this fund just prior to my mother’s decline and death, with a team of people willing to help oversee it, and with reports. To date we have received two donations — one for $200 and one for $20 — but unfortunately holds were placed on both donations (presumably because it was a new PayPal account, since we could not put this through GU). One hold has now been lifted. Furthermore, the tragic events in Haiti have made it impossible for us to set up vendors where these survivors can go for prepaid supplies, whether groceries or other. As of this week, that has changed for some survivors who have relocated. We will now work toward arranging for their needs to be met, where they have relocated, but will require considerably more funding than the $220 we presently have. Donate: Here and scroll down to Haiti Victims.

 

As always…

Love,
~ T ~

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UPCOMING EVENT, ELMIRA ONTARIO:
November 28 and 29
Emmanuel Missionary Church in Elmira Ontario

To see details and register visit: Generations Unleashed Events Page or print flyer (below)Thanks to donors, we are able to offer this training at discounted. If you have questions, please contact Generations Unleashed.

To read more about what to expect on Training day, click HERE and scroll down to the Elmira training announcement.

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© Trudy Metzger 2019

Article by Hans Mast: A bold and thoughtful look at CAM’s handling of the Jeriah Mast case

Not hours after sharing Randal Martin’s facebook post, someone alerted me to a statement on the Anabaptist Sexual Abuse Symposium (ASAA) website. In their statement they include an article written by Hans Mast, for The Sword & Trumpet, in which he speaks forthrightly into the poor handling of a Jeriah Mast by CAM.

I engaged with Hans several times over the ordeal, and found him to be balanced, thorough and honourable. His pursuit of truth is commendable! Beyond this interaction, I do not know him personally.

To read Hans’s article: Christian Aid Ministries worker abuses dozens, CAM leadership implicated in coverup

It is a lengthy article, but worth the read. I am encouraged to see godly men continue to rise up against the epidemic of sexual abuse among our Anabaptist communities.

I’ll leave that right there and let you all peruse it. Frankly, I’m surprised ASAA posted it.

***

Around 8 years ago a woman contacted me. Her child made disturbing statements indicating the father had sexually assaulted the child. I urged her to go to the doctor, and report to CPS and the police. She did.

Given the graphic nature of the child’s allegations, I expected everyone to trip over themselves to help. Not so. The woman was accused of being a vindictive ex who planted ideas in the children’s minds. She was sternly warned if she did it again, she would risk losing her children. She was an angry ex; she made no secret of that; he was a man-whore who had done dreadful damage. But she swore up and down she would never plant ideas.

I believed her. Furthermore, I had met with the children and, while I didn’t ask any questions specific to the allegations, we did talk about feelings and struggles. All the signs were there.

Even so, the mom wasn’t about to risk losing her children.  She went silent.

I spoke to her a few months ago for the first time in years.

The ex-husband, she told me, had moved from woman to woman. Recently they learned that in every family, he molested or raped every child. Every. Single. One. Her own children had all come forward over the years, one by one. Now in their youth, they have had more than their fair share of struggles. Many of which could have been prevented if someone had believed their story and nor forced them to return to their father for years so he could assault them.

This is a true story, playing out as we speak. Frankly, I hope the mom wins the legal battle and lands the perpetrator in prison. And every person who told her she was a bitter ex — which, as I stated, she admitted she was — and used that to silence her children’s cries, has blood on their hands.

Let the cases play out. And if the only ‘proof’ you have that the children are making false allegation is the bitter mom, do the world a favour and keep it to yourself. Especially when there are children involved. They deserve better.

Worst case scenario, if they did make false allegations as a result of a bitter ex’s influence, they are victims. So, either way, they are victims, either of sexual abuse, or of maternal manipulation. And either way they need compassion and understanding and the space to come forward with the truth.

God forbid that God-professing adults make judgement calls without knowledge.

As always,

Love,
~ T ~

 

© Trudy Metzger 2019

 

Events and Announcements:

Emmanuel Missionary Church
2 First St,
Elmira Ontario Canada
2 Day Training: November 28-29, 2019.

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Mike Kauffman arrested for Sexually Assaulting minors; False allegations from a vindictive b!*ch or victimized children?

To get the backstory on the charges, read the news report on Mike Kauffman’s arrest and charges he is facing:
Lititz man facing charges for allegedly sexually abusing multiple juvenile victims for years, from 2011 to 2017

***

The buzz on FB by Conservative Anabaptists (CA) — including leaders and lay people alike, defending Mike Kauffman, son of a bishop in a Beachy Amish church — is mind-boggling. (That bishop detail is important because it shows the power structure). Chatter about false allegations that do not name Kauffman, are well known to be referring to him. Some are declaring him innocent (or likely innocent) of the charges (or at least most of them) against him, Some are too polite to use the word b!tch, but the message is as clear; his evil ex-wife is out to get him. It’s false allegations, some are saying, at least most of them, if not all. And so they play god, speaking with certainty into that which only God and those present have the right to speak.

Here’s the thing, I can’t tell you whether his ex-wife is vindictive or not. I can’t see inside hearts, and the rest of you can’t either. However, even if she is vindictive, how does that negate the word of numerous children who have gone through intense interviewing and questioning; something no child should have to go through. (In the interest of full disclosure, I have been ‘friends’ with the ex on FB for a few years, and met her in person on three separate occasions. I do not know her well, so I can neither extol her nor condemn her. What she does know about me is that I will side with truth, not with her or with the accused).

I also can’t tell you that every allegation is true. I don’t know that; I am not God. I wasn’t there. You were not there (unless you are a victim reading this, or the offender). God was, and He knows the finest of details. For the sake of argument, even if only half the allegations are exactly as told by the victims, or quarter, the children still need to be heard and cared for, and he is still a serious predator. I would add  a comment about,  “If all were proven false…”, but that isn’t going to happen, I am confident. I am privy to some of the evidence and how it came out, and that evidence speaks for itself. Most significant in this is how it came out. So even if only that part can be proven, and even if his ex is a vindictive b!tch, the children deserve to be heard and cared for.

The loud cry that the ex made up the allegations is a blatant lie, and one that is being perpetuated by religious leaders and others in the CA community. The bulk of the allegations were not discovered by the ex, nor were they reported by her. They surfaced during interviews when the allegedly-vindictive-ex was not allowed in the room. To this day she has not been told the full extent of what was disclosed to professionals by the victims.

My concern here is not whether the ex is vindictive or not. My concern is children whose stories deserve compassion and understanding without the bullying and defending-of-the-alleged-perp that the CA community is engaging in. We are talking about very young and vulnerable children here, who have struggled through terrible things that no minor should have to face. If every allegation they have brought forward is in fact true, there is serious blood on the hands of many. There will be accountability before God for this kind of mindless defence of the alleged perp. If half are false, the truly compassionate leader will still guard his/her public statements, recognizing that the children are deeply wounded (either way) and the case needs to be handled gently. (And any father with any heart would protect his children, even if their allegations were false.)

Leaders who do such things are not safe to be near victims or perpetrators. They silence victims and empower perpetrators. Perps in religious communities count on this kind of protection to get by with their heinous crimes.

It is my prayer that, as in the Jeriah Mast case, the CC Matthews case and others, the truth will come out and the deeper wickedness be exposed, if it is there. If it is not, then my prayer is for truth to reveal that too. In the meantime, I pray that assumptions about false allegations not do harm to the children in this case, especially if all allegations are true. 

 

As always…

Love,
~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger 2019

 

Events and Announcements:

Emmanuel Missionary Church
2 First St,
Elmira Ontario Canada
2 Day Training: November 28-29, 2019.

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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.

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

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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 $225 to $300 monthly for victims with a spouse and family, and up to $75 or $100 for single victims. This would meet a portion of basic survival needs and support counseling costs. We will partner 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. We will ask them to update the committee in ways they have contributed to their communities, 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.

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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

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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.

 

 

HAITI: 4 New Charges Filed Against Jeriah Mast & CAM, and an Analysis of CAM Statements & Timelines….Was it Perjury?

Christian News released an article stating that four more young men have come forward, pressing charges against Jeriah Mast and CAM in Cabaret, Haiti. The article, More Young Men Come Forward as Being Sexually Abused as Boys by Amish-Mennonite Aid Worker also mentions the possibility of a fifth young man filing charges.

A fifth charge may additionally be filed, but the young man is no longer living in Haiti as the societal mistreatment from the scourge of being abused forced him to have to make a life for himself elsewhere.

A source who has been in contact with a sheriff’s office in Ohio told Christian News Network that he believes federal officials are pursuing criminal charges against Mast in the states to hold him accountable for his crimes in Haiti.

Read the full article HERE.

The information regarding this case was sent to me July 29, however, I was not able to gain access to documents to confirm, so I declined reporting. If I have learned one thing, given the intense scrutiny by Anabaptist readers, it is the need to be thorough and ensure I have evidence to support every little thing I write. To the best of my ability, I do this.

***

Prior to this news coming in, I had already written a brief analysis and overview of CAM statements and timelines. There are some rather glaring questions hounding the analytical folk in this whole CAM and Jeriah Mast case. I am not alone. The following outlines just a few of those questions.

The first item is a very short clip in which Harold Herr states that in 2013, soon after 3 victims came forward to Steve Simmons (Gospel for Haiti), he told Jeriah “If you’d be in the states, you’d be in jail now.” (The detail of “three victims” is important to remember. These three were in Port au Prince).

While claims continue by CAM that it was believed to be homosexuality, it is clearly documented that in fact it was known to be a crime, as evidenced in Mr. Herr’s statement to Mr. Mast in 2013. No one in USA gets put in jail for homosexuality! To state now that Mr. Mast was told in USA he would be in jail, and at the same time claim it was believed to be homosexuality is contradictory. By the time a missionary is told “If you’d be in USA you’d be in jail“, there must be admission that, “in fact, we knew a crime was committed and still did nothing”.

Listen to the following audio clip, just over a minute long, and hear it for yourself:

After the three victims came forward in PaP with allegations against Jeriah, Harold Herr of LIFE Literature had a meeting with Eli Weaver of CAM and Lamar Nolt also of Life Literature.  This was not thought to be homosexuality by Steve Simmons of Gospel for Haiti or Harold Herr of LIFE Literature; it was known to be a crime. The following are quotes taken directly from Harold Herr’s comments on a recording posted on the second blog regarding this case, “In Harold Herr’s own Voice… CAM/Life knew; Jeriah tells the Law & Repentance Pizza Party”:

“.… so (the one victim) reported these things to Steve Simmons […] he told some of the things that were happening in the past by Jeriah, at… some… various locations. […] When this came out, Steve was distressed about this…

If there was no crime, why distressed? But there’s more…

This needs to go to CAM […] this is serious!”

I told Jeriah very plainly, this is very serious. If you’re really repenting, you need to go back to these boys’ fathers and confess and ask forgiveness. And I went along with him to do that.”

EVIDENCE STILL IN TACT, JUNE 7, 2018:
As of the day I sat and talked with him, Harold Herr still had a copy of the communication. (Hopefully still does. Otherwise that would be tampering with evidence). “To the best of my ability I’ve shared what transpired. And I read [the report written by Steve Simmons and passed on to CAM] on purpose [before you came tonight] so that I could answer … the best I can.” 

CAM’S PUBLIC STATEMENT – Haiti Investigation

(My comments are underlined and not in italics.)

June 11, 2019

As a supporter and member of our larger community we know that you have questions. This information is provided for your benefit and to help understand our efforts to date:

In response to serious allegations that a former CAM staff member sexually abused minors while serving in Haiti, CAM has initiated an investigation into this conduct. We recognize that any form of abuse of a child is both a horrific sin and a serious crime. We are actively working to investigate and address this situation and to care for those who have been harmed. At CAM, leadership and staff join the larger community in Haiti in their sorrow and concern about what has happened and the human lives impacted.

CAM has and is gathering information about these allegations. CAM can report the following:

  • Without CAM’s authorization or prior knowledge, the individual left Haiti and returned to the United States.
  • The individual was promptly discharged from CAM. (“Promptly discharged is misleading. Two key leaders, Paul Weaver and Eli Weaver had known of concerns for at least 6 years – Harold Herr states late 2012 to 2013 in his recording, they say 2013 – and had not taken allegations seriously enough to report or discharge Mr. Mast. It wasn’t until rumours reached CAM that victims were coming forward to press charges that Mr. Mast was ‘promptly discharged’. Mr. Lebady acted immediately upon Mr. Mast’s admission on May 3, 2019. It is inconsistent for CAM to take credit for a “prompt dismissal” and not take responsibility for at least 6 years of top leaders in Haiti knowing and doing nothing to protect victims.)
  • We understand that the individual made a confession to leaders in his local church in the U.S. and has reported himself to Ohio state legal authorities. (This, again, is misleading. Mr. Mast had no intentions of turning himself in for his Haiti crimes. And, in fact, he did not. He was confronted about those crimes upon turning himself in for Ohio crimes, when an FBI Liaison was present, to his surprise. To leave the public believing this was repentance and willing confession of Haiti crimes is not accurate and serves to sway the public in seeing Mr. Mast as far more forthcoming than he was in reality.)
  • CAM’s representatives are still investigating what took place and who was affected. (This is all well and good. But it’s never wise to have a fraudster audit his own books. An independent third party — and dare I say one who has no Mennonite or Anabaptist affiliations in this case — is necessary. There is far too much cover-up and collusion to preserve image for anything less to be trustworthy.)
  • CAM’s representatives have already communicated to one U.S. federal government agency about the situation and have been in communication with another federal agency with greater authority to investigate the situation. (Because the individual’s conduct took place in another country, state governmental authorities have limited ability to investigate and respond.)
  • CAM has been working inside Haiti to make contact with those who have been affected by the individual’s actions and actively pursuing ways to help them. (At the time of this statement, all 12 victims with whom I was in contact informed me that they had not heard from CAM. This remained the case until my most recent contact with them a few weeks ago).

As you consider this situation, first, please pray fervently for all those who may have been harmed or otherwise affected by this conduct. Please also pray for CAM and our Haiti staff to walk through this very difficult situation with godly humility and integrity.  (Godly humility would include asking victims what their needs are rather than imposing prescribed ‘help’ that may not meet their needs. Numerous victims have stated that they have no interest in having Anabaptist men ‘counsel’ them when it was an Anabaptist missionary who violated them. To insist on such a thing is extremely disrespectful. One of the greatest evils following the sexual violation of an individual is to impose on them the prescribed ‘help’ that potentially further victimizes them. Integrity would include allowing a third party of the victims’ choice, or at least with whom they are comfortable, do the investigation). The exploitation of anyone, especially children, is devastating to the trust in and impact of any ministry or NGO. Moreover, such abuse by one individual damages the reputation and ministry impact of all those who have worked selflessly over many years to help care for the Haitian people and who have not been part of any harmful conduct. (Frankly, it is not ‘one individual’ who does this level of damage when, in fact, at least five grown men in ministry were aware of the crimes, three of whom were CAM high level staff).

Going forward, CAM will work to keep our community appropriately informed about progress in this case. (Last I heard, CAM had not yet notified their donor base by mail, and merely responded to the public online outcry enough to hopefully appease them). Because the situation involves ongoing responses by the U.S. federal, state, and Haitian courts and government agencies, CAM is limited in what it can say and do. However, since being made aware of these allegations several weeks ago, CAM has fully cooperated with governmental authorities and has taken appropriate steps to report the matter to federal government agencies, to cooperate with the legal process, and to pursue care for those affected by the individual’s wrongful conduct. (CAM has cooperated with US officials, not Haiti, which is further disrespectful. While CAM formally announced placing Paul Weaver and Eli Weaver on leave, at least one of the men continued some duties for CAM after being placed on ‘leave’. Lest CAM would say what Weaver and Weaver do is not on them, as representatives of CAM they, in fact, were not cooperating with Haitian government. Being on leave – particularly with ongoing duties – is not the same as being fired. These technicalities do not speak to integrity.)


Christian Aid Ministries (CAM)

ISSUED:   Tuesday, June 11, 2019 at 12:25 pm

 

*****

 

An Open Letter from the Board of Directors of Christian Aid Ministries Regarding the Case of Jeriah Mast

Thank you to the many believers who are praying and waiting patiently for our team to find its way. This case has strained our human ability to process and comprehend why anyone would harm children and abuse trust. We humbly ask for your continued fervent intercession as we respond.

In light of the magnitude of this case, we are in communication with government officials in law enforcement in the United States to ensure that we do not unintentionally impact any ongoing investigation. We continue to piece together the details of what took place.

It is already well known that our former employee, Jeriah Mast, has confessed to molesting boys while working for our organization in Haiti. It is also well known that he has fled the country of Haiti and is residing in the United States. It is understood that he is wanted in Haiti for his crimes.

The question that many have asked is this: What, if anything, did the board of directors and executive management know about Jeriah prior to his deplorable sexual abuse exposed in May 2019?

1. Is it true that CAM management allowed Jeriah Mast to continue working with CAM after they knew that he had sexually abused minors?

CAM’s Board of Directors was not aware of any sexual conduct between Jeriah and minors until 2019. (The public has not yet heard from Director David Troyer, clearly stating whether he knew or not. The public and donors deserve a forthright statement from Mr. Troyer addressing this concern. Anything less lacks transparency and integrity). Paul Weaver and Eli Weaver are two men who have faithfully served the Lord and our ministry for many years in management roles. (Management roles, in this case, is the executive board that includes the Director, David Troyer and others). Unfortunately, they allowed Jeriah to continue to work in the field even after his confession in 2013 of sexual activity with young men that had taken place several years prior. Both men recognize that their failure to properly investigate and inquire into Jeriah’s conduct was a serious failure in judgment and should have severe consequences.

2. Is it true CAM is trying to cover up this case by providing settlements?

The board of directors has not authorized any settlement payments and has no interest in covering this up. (Yet it is CAM lawyers approaching victims to this effect. Since the lawyers are NOT footing the bill from their own pockets, but rather CAM’s coffers. it is the responsibility of CAM to know what is happening under their noses. To ‘not know’ is not the same as being ‘not responsible’, as we see in the Jeriah Mast case. Pilate washing his hands did not make him innocent). 

3. In light of the circumstances, what is CAM going to do with respect to Jeriah?

Although CAM no longer has any control over Jeriah, the board believes it would be the right thing for him to appear in Haitian court to answer for his confessed crimes. However, this needs to go through the proper judicial and extradition processes of the United States and Haiti.

4. Will CAM take any personnel action in this case?

CAM is placing Paul Weaver and Eli Weaver on administrative leave pending a full investigation of their role in this matter. (As noted earlier, being placed on leave did not prevent at least one of the men from continuing in some role with CAM). The Board and leadership of CAM understand the gravity of the situation and have mutually come to realize it would be difficult to work through this case with their involvement.

5. What is CAM doing to care for the victims?

We are deeply committed to the long-term goal of ensuring the boys Jeriah molested will receive the help and support they need. CAM is still attempting to understand the scope of the tragedy. We realize there are no easy solutions and any steps we take will require extensive preparation. We will be seeking counsel and support from those in Haiti and the larger Anabaptist community.

These are just the first steps in our journey to find God’s direction for this situation.

We close by repeating our request for your prayers, most of all for the victims, and also for us as we agonize over the tough decisions to be made in the coming days.

Sincerely,

The Board of Directors

Christian Aid Ministries (CAM)
ISSUED: Monday, June 17, 2019 at 10:45 p.m.

 

*****

The following is a statement released by Paul Weaver and Eli Weaver the same day as the previous statement by CAM was released to the public, with this one addressed to Missionaries in Haiti, not the general public.

June 17, 2019

Fellow Missionaries of Haiti,

As leaders of CAM Haiti management, we are deeply sorry for our part in the decision in 2013 to allow Jeriah Mast to continue to serve with CAM in Haiti.

We have asked God for forgiveness, we ask the victims for forgiveness, and we ask you fellow missionaries for forgiveness.

Following is information about what took place in 2013. We are not saying this to excuse ourselves but to clarify our knowledge of this situation until May 2, 2019.

In 2013 Jeriah confessed that he had homosexual involvement with four youth in Haiti several years prior. (This statement flies in the face of Harold Herr’s statement that Jeriah Mast was told he would be in jail if he was caught in USA doing what he did in Haiti. USA does not imprison people for homosexual relations. Therefore, we must conclude that they knew it was criminal activity *if* Harold Herr relayed the extent of his concerns to Eli Weaver, as he says he did. Furthermore, in 2013 Jeriah was 30 years old and the young men were in their late teens, and as stated here the “homosexual involvement” was several years prior. The most basic of math here is evidence that crimes were committed, and it was not homosexual relationships). After his confession and restitution, we met with him to verify his repentance, brokenness, and present walk. (How does a child molester make restitution on the mission field for sexually assaulting boys, and then continue on the field and victims being forced to encounter him, to their **expressed distress** with victims’ expressed needs being completely disregarded? It is documented that such distress was expressed to leadership, and dismissed based on ‘it being taken care of’ by Jeriah. And how do leaders ‘verify repentance, brokenness and present walk’ with a man who has deceived them for years?) We then allowed him to return to Haiti, believing that everything had been resolved. Looking back, we realize we should have asked more questions, gotten more details of what took place, and reported the matter to legal authorities. (I reiterate, was the distress expressed by Mr. Simmons and Mr. Herr not enough? Hindsight is 20/20, but the honourable thing to do – if indeed Mr. Herr relayed the extent of his concern, as he claims to have done –  would be to to go beyond stating “we should have done more investigating” to admitting “we knew more than we wish we knew and we failed to take it seriously. For this we are deeply sorry.“)

No information surfaced between 2013 and 2019 that was brought to our attention. (A discrepancy comes into play here. There were three young men in Port au Prince,  and there were four young men in Petit Goave, who approached Pastor Brucely and for which Jeriah was excommunicated and sent home). 

As we consider the loss of purity in the young boys who were victimized by Jeriah, their shame, their reproach, their fear of being found out, their concept of Christianity and missions overall, and we again consider that we were a part of the decision to allow Jeriah to continue working for CAM, we feel deep remorse. (These young men did not lose their purity. They were robbed brutally of their innocence. Their purity remains in tact, based only on being violated. To impose ‘impurity’ on the abused is further abuse, albeit out of ignorance. On this front we are all learning, and do well to take note of the difference).

In closing, we ask for your forgiveness and prayer for the victims and for CAM. We need your prayers.

Eli Weaver

Paul Weaver

NOTE: This communication from Paul Weaver and Eli Weaver was sent June 17, 2019. These men were placed on leave at that time, and several days later I learned that James Mullet – who formerly served in Haiti and at that time served on the Board of Directors – was to take over in Haiti. If this communication was not sent to the Board of Directors, it was either irresponsible or intentional failure to communicate. If it was sent out, then Mr. Mullet perjured himself in court, because this letter clearly states Paul and Eli knew of the four boys – which were the four in Petit Goave, which were not the same victims as the three boys in Port au Prince. It is inexcusable to not do proper homework before going to court to testify, and adds to the disrespect of the Haitian authorities. Critical thinking and analysis is necessary. Blind trust is one of the things that has allowed abuse to flourish in our culture. Criticizing those who take time to analyze and apply critical thinking is part and parcel with that spreading of an epidemic). 

 

***

Prayer needs for Haiti situation

Jul 9, 2019

Thank you for your prayers, words of advice and correction, and notes of encouragement. We need your prayers! Here are some specific ways you can pray:

• Victims and their families. Sexual abuse leaves victims in a wake of trauma and difficulty. Pray for their healing and restoration.

• CAM Haitian and American staff and other mission staff in Haiti. Both CAM staff and those from other Anabaptist missions face many pressures in relation to this situation. Pray that God will give them strength and grace for today and the days ahead.

• Board of Directors and CAM management: We have been meeting frequently to work through this situation. Pray for us as we make decisions and take action to care for those who have been affected. Much discernment is needed as we review policies and practices, work to heighten staff awareness of abuse, and create better ways for staff members to communicate questions and concerns. We want to continually improve mechanisms to protect children and other vulnerable people.

• Victim care groups: Pray for all those who are seeking to respond to the needs of victims. Independent Anabaptist groups who have experience in dealing with sexual abuse victims are organizing themselves to help victims in Haiti. CAM also needs wisdom in fulfilling its responsibility toward victims.

Thank you for praying.

Sincerely,

The Board of Directors

Christian Aid Ministries (CAM)
ISSUED: Tuesday, July 9, 2019 at 7:00 A.M

 

****

Unrelated to these statements by CAM, one of my biggest concerns is the number of men involved in leadership in various ways, who have themselves sexually offended in the past. On staff with CAM in key leadership are at least three men with such history – granted, with one of the three coming forward on his own to apologize but with all three never having faced legal consequences. A second apologized when he was confronted. The third I do not know if he apologized or not. Besides this, there are allegations against another leader that I continue to investigate and document.

Why is this information important? (Especially when they have apologized!) Two reasons:

  1. Jeriah Mast also apologized but continued to molest youth and abuse power with the information being kept secret. To keep this information hidden is to risk the abuse continuing. If these men are truly repentant and forgiven, being forthcoming and transparent about this gross past failure should be expected, in particular in relation to working with the vulnerable. In particular, in this case, those who are delegated to be part of the Haiti Crisis Operations team should not have any such history, anywhere in the past. At least one individual who was proposed for consideration to help with Haiti’s crisis has such history. My question is, how can a man who has molested children in the past justly be part of a team to meet the needs of victims?How is this not being screened? Is no one sitting face to face with these men and boldly asking “Did you ever sexually assault anyone, molest a child or engage in sexual misconduct that victimized another human? Did you ever touch a child or minor in the breast, groin, or anus area? Did you ever expose yourself sexually without mutual consent to anyone, or to a child or minor (in which case consent is irrelevant)? Did you ever force a child, minor or unwilling adult participant to touch you sexually? Did you ever undress a child/minor or unwilling adult participant and look at his/her genitals?” Those who have done such things should be disqualified from providing care for victims. That is simply common sense.
  2. The second reason is because those who have done these things in the past and not faced legal justice or exposed their own crimes – having never turned themselves in to the law – will not likely insist on such legal justice in cases such as Jeriah Mast. If they think they can hide it from the law, many have proven they will try. They may be willing to cooperate and even accompany an offender with turning himself in once the offender is caught and his hand is forced but it is likely that they will attempt to keep it quiet and ‘in house’. After all, their crimes were never exposed, and the programming to “let him who is without sin cast the first stone” runs deep. That is problematic when dealing with sex crimes against children within a culture that avoids going to the law. It allows crimes to slip under the proverbial rug, and continue in the guise of repentance.
  3. The third reason is to encourage analytical thinking, since a lack of it has opened the door to all manner of evil among us.

So why am I not naming these men publicly? Because their victims have not given me permission to do so. And it is for that same reason that I am not offering any identifying information beyond saying that three of the men are in leadership in CAM. That is also problematic.

When it comes to missions and going to vulnerable countries, those delegated to go should be of all men most honourable, presently and historically. As it stands, given the number who have been exposed in leadership in relation to this case, we are forced to contemplate the following:

  1. Either we have such an epidemic among us that we should expect a percent of leaders on a board are past offenders…or …
  2. We must admit that offenders are drawn to missions….or ….
  3. Both….or ….
  4. It’s a fluke.

And that last one isn’t believable. There’s too many other situations with similarities to this to be a fluke.

In any case, no matter what conclusion we draw, we must admit we have a problem. And that problem needs to be appropriately addressed. To date it has not been. Proper screening is not yet happening, not even within CAM. Men ‘investigating’ either are not being screened to ensure they never victimized minors, or they are getting the ‘go ahead’ to do so in spite of such history. How can men who have molested minors be appropriate candidates to send to investigate sex crimes against minors?

Surely we have enough men among us who never in the past, not in their youth and not in adulthood, molested children, and who are willing and able to take on roles in missions leadership! Surely there are enough without such history to lead in roles that gives them authority over the vulnerable! Surely we can do better, and start properly screening who gets sent, and where they get sent.

Totally unrelated to all of this, I recently learned that another missionary heading overseas sexually assaulted a teenager. … And I find myself in an ethical dilemma… To hold the confidence of the person who told me, or expose publicly what I was told, or report to the mission board (with little confidence they will hear me), or report to the law, or all of the aforementioned? Holding crime confidentially is not the right thing to do. Nor do I offer any such promise. I never have. I never will.

(On which note I will state: If you send me information that is ‘confidential’, if it involves crime, I will report. It’s that simple. I am frequently sent information with no opportunity to offer my preamble of “If you tell me of a crime, I will report it to the law. If you tell me of a minor who is abused or neglected, I will report. I offer no confidentiality by virtue of moral and legal obligation to report to the law.”)

In an effort to notify the mission board – for whom I have no contact information – I made a call to Stanley Fox. More accurately, I should say I attempted to make a call to Stanley Fox, because I was told explicitly the mission is affiliated with Mid Atlantic which is the “same church as Stanley Fox”. I figured if Stanley sincerely is as repentant and sorry as he stated, he is one man I should be able to trust to do the right thing. His wife answered when I called, and after telling Stanley who it is, said, very politely, that Stanley declines to speak with me if I can accept that. Certainly, I told her, I can accept that. Truth is, I wouldn’t want to talk to me either if I was in his shoes and exposed for not responding to an apparent sexual trauma and crime. I shared the information with another professional, reading the statement of what the man had done as sent to me by the person he admitted it to, and alerted the law. I do not know the victim, and therefore cannot do more without her knowledge or consent.

It is the responsibility of every adult to protect children. Hiding the crimes of anyone, especially those who hold this kind of power, will not serve us well, and it surely will not serve the vulnerable well.

It is my hope — even if ‘hope against hope’ — that people will learn from this and ask blunt, blunt questions. Very blunt questions. “Did you ever touch a minor sexually? Did you ever sexually assault anyone?” Sure, they can lie. And they might. But that’s no excuse to not do due diligence. And with any discernment at all, the Holy Spirit will speak and the interviewer, if indeed led by the Spirit, will have a niggling of unrest.

That niggling should never be disregarded. The safety and wellbeing of the children of the world depends on it.

As always…

With love,
~ T ~

 

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.

One of the things we are working toward November 2, 2019, at THE GATHERING, is creating a place where we collectively invite God into our grief.  It is exclusively for Anabaptist survivors of sexual abuse, and their trusted support persons to join together for a day of acknowledging the generations of suffering. We will cry out to God, together. The invitation is to ‘come as you are’ in your raw brokenness, if that’s where you’re at, or in your healed togetherness. The itinerary is simple. It isn’t about ‘who’ or ‘how’; it is about Jesus and a safe place to meet, to 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.

***

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. In light of having Generations Unleashed’s vehicle totalled in a crash on August 1, 2019, and insurance not covering the full replacement, your contributions are especially needed and appreciated.

HAITI: 2nd Court Hearing Jeriah Mast & CAM (July 18, 2019)

On July 18, 2019, the second court hearing was held in Petit Goave, on behalf of some of the victims of Jeriah Mast. One of the individuals who sent me updates, was a gentleman from USA who has guardianship over a young man in Haiti, who sent short updates during the procedure, and more after the hearing was over. I also received photos of the hearing.

The following is a statement from one of the lawyers for the young men represented in this case:

Mr. Emmanuel Louicéus:
A warrant was issued by the public prosecutor’s office against Pastor Erisse Labady who did not appear at the hearing although he was expected for this purpose.

We, the attorneys for the victims of Jeriah Mast, requested that the prosecutor defer the lawsuit to the office of investigation for an investigation to be conducted on this subject. We also asked for the arrest of the CAM representative, which was not done by the chief prosecutor.

We continue our battle in favor for the victims so that justice will be rendered to them.

***

The hearing was intense according to those who have sent updates. Two CAM representatives showed up; Dan Hooley and James Mullet. Mr. Hooley is relatively new to CAM in Haiti as Field Director in Titanyen, and Mr. Mullet was placed in Eli Weaver’s position when Mr. Weaver was put on administrative leave, I am told. (If nothing has changed, James Mullet will be working with Eli Weaver’s support during the transition. Though further details have not been made public).

When questioned on the stand, CAM’s Mr. Mullet denied CAM board having any knowledge of the abuses in the past. Simeon Shankster was in the audience and knew this information was not accurate. He approached the stand (I was not told if summoned or voluntarily) and informed the courts that Eli Weaver and Paul Weaver both knew.

Jeriah’s victims were supported by other missionaries present at the hearing.

In an exchange after setting the record straight, Mr. Mullet stated that he misunderstood what they were saying. The following was one of the updates sent to me from Haiti:

The magistrate asked James Mullet, “Was any members of the board aware that Jeriah was doing these actions in Haiti?” And James said, “No, none of the board members was aware.” […]  After Simeon sat down, [he asked] James “Do you know what I was talking about?” And James said, “No I don’t.” […] James was answering for, “Did any of the board members know about these specific four victims.” So he felt like he was answering honestly. 

One informant wrote that it did not look good for CAM to have a representative on the stand who was not informed. Mr. Mullet had to keep telling the commissioner over and over that CAM did nothing for the victims and sent no one to find them or check on them.

Whether blatant lies, strategy or ignorance, it showed disrespect for the Haitian authorities.

Throughout the proceedings the magistrate stressed repeatedly that this thing is NOT a joke. It will NOT fall through the cracks. The ball will NOT be dropped.

When it was over, one informant wrote that the hearing was shut down for the day because the head Haitian Pastor (Erisse Labady) for CAM was ordered to be present, but never showed up. “Purposely is the charge.”

***

On the heels of that, someone sent me a statement from CAM leaders… (or is it former leaders if on administrative leave, but allegedly still helping behind the scenes?) Paul Weaver and Eli Weaver:

img_0408-1

***

On another front, the gentleman from USA was in Haiti to support victims in another area of Haiti, near where his son – the young man of whom he was granted guardianship – and advocate for them.

A gentleman in the community there told of the portable tent Jeriah Mast carried with him; a tent he allegedly used to lure young boys. His supplies of food drew them. Allegedly, if they refused his advances (at least in some instances), Mr. Mast refused to give them food.

He also had a tent he set up on the roof of a house, where he would molest young boys, within sight of a beautiful new church. And I find myself wondering…

How many victims look out their ‘window’ and see a ‘beautiful church’… just beyond the reach of their need for safety and protection?

***

***  See below: early ‘concert only’ registration for abuse survivors Nov. 2, 2019. ***

The young woman who was assaulted at age 7… Today was ‘search for a counselor day’. two donations have come in so far with enough funds to cover the first few sessions. (We are still waiting to confirm the fee, so not sure just how many). Thank you for contributing. This is will require ongoing support. If you wish to contribute, you may do so via PayPal through the following link: Support for Rape Survivor.

She extends her thanks and appreciation. One day, when this all comes to light, I pray that she will be able to tell her story in full, and you will continue to hold her in prayer and support. And I pray that you will see the powerful redemption God brings to the most horrific of places and stories.

As always…

With love,
~ T ~

***

ONLY 2 MORE WEEKS TO REGISTER WITH LUNCH AND CONCERT INCLUDED!
(ENDS AUGUST 1, 2019)
THE GATHERING, NOVEMBER 2, 2019, LANCASTER BIBLE COLLEGE:
One of the things we are working toward November 2, 2019, at  THE GATHERING, is creating a place where we collectively invite God into our grief.  It is exclusively for Anabaptist survivors of sexual abuse, and their trusted support persons to join together for a day of acknowledging the generations of suffering. We will cry out to God, together. The invitation is to ‘come as you are’ in your raw brokenness, if that’s where you’re at, or in your healed togetherness. The itinerary is simple. It isn’t about ‘who’ or ‘how’; it is about Jesus and a safe place to meet, to 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.

(More information for potential attendees is available under THE GATHERING Registration and for non-attendees at THE GATHERING Information.)

EARLY CONCERT REGISTRATION FOR ALL SURVIVORS OF SEXUAL ABUSE:
If you are a sex abuse survivor – Anabaptist or not – but are not a sex offender, and wish to attend the concert only portion of The Gathering, we will allow for early registration before tickets are released to the public. For link to register for the concert only, email AslanHasHeard@gmail.com. Subject line: “Concert link for survivors”.

***

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.

© Trudy Metzger 2019

Haiti Update: Petit-Goave next court date, Help for CAM & Jeriah Mast victims, & the question we should be asking

Thursday July 18, 2019, is the next scheduled court hearing for victims of Jeriah Mast and CAM, in Petit-Goave, Haiti, which CAM officials and Jeriah Mast are asked to attend.

***

The attitudes toward Haitians (and other impoverished countries) among some in religious groups are despicable, to put it mildly. And they are among the contributing factors to the problem of missionaries assaulting vulnerable children and getting by with it. I will provide but one of the examples that someone sent to me:

Screen Shot 2019-07-15 at 3.51.25 PM

In reality, these young men’s lives are so scarred and shamed by what Jeriah did, that victims have written me to tell me what happened, but pleading that their names not be released because of what it will cost them. When they go in the streets they are called “Madam Jeriah”, and are shamed, bullied and threatened. It is appalling to suggest they would come forward for a ‘free ticket’. Worst case scenario, if some would, I don’t see how anyone can say “my first concern in this whole thing” is that.

Some have been faced with death threats because they are seen as homosexuals (due to  a male assaulting them) and for that reason should be offered asylum. The threats are serious enough that I was sent evidence in case the holder of it would turn up dead, in which case I am to release everything I have.

This arrogant, ‘better than you’ attitude towards them is dehumanizing, and sickening.

Maybe it’s time for people to stop ‘helping’ or ‘fixing’ or sending missionaries to ‘those poor people’ and start listening to them and valuing them.

***

As I write Rick Ashley – a first responder who took guardianship of a young Haitian boy almost 10 years ago – is in Haiti meeting with lawyers, a psychologist, and other professionals. He is paying for an arranging meetings for the known victims in one of the communities with these professionals, as well as medical care since some have developed health issues.

While I have no direct affiliation with Rick, or the services they provide in Haiti, I have spent enough time on the phone with him to hear his care and compassion. I do not know him personally, but hope one day to meet him. He has sacrificed much to reach out to the victims, and has set up a GoFundMe account to help with these expenses.

If you wish to read more and support his efforts, you may do so at:

URGENT NEED FOR HAITIAN BOYS VICTIMIZED BY JERIAH MAST & CAM

 

***

HAITI MISSIONARY ‘HELP’ FOR VICTIMS UPDATE:
The following images are an update for the proposed help to Haiti victims, organized by the men in Haiti. I offer no criticism of the plan itself, However, due to *ASAA being invited to be part of it, when they left a case completely unresolved last year*, and because the organizers explicitly excludes GU (and therefore me… or is that ‘excommunicate’), I will respect that and simply offer the outline they have prepared.

(In humour: A friend who saw the documents wrote to say “I see you’ve been black-balled!”  To which I responded, “Yes… the curse of being a woman and not Mennonite!” But, on the bright side, the less relational entanglements I have on that front, the more free I am to continue investigating without the temptation of protecting relationships. I am ok with that).

And I genuinely hope that those who help are effective, qualified, no history of molesting children and sexual assault, and seek first to understand the needs of victims, rather than imposing their ‘fix them’ plan.

79be5194-9889-4782-9717-1bd8f15c37cd

3fc95121-43d0-4f29-bf69-1cedfb375762

*REGARDING ASAA: Currently I am not prepared to release the documentation for this case publicly. It is convoluted and requires time investment to organize ASAA’s involvement, the gaslighting and handling of the case. I have not had any time for that. A link to the backstory (which does not include the details of ASAA involvement at this time) is available upon request, with full name, and all contact info, as well as reason for interest. It is relevant and I have been working toward addressing it for a few weeks, because I’ve received 3 complaints in the past month about the same offender).

***

In the past two months quite a number of people have sent messages stating that their abuser was never dealt with by their church, and then sent off to missions. In some cases the church was actively involved in helping them avoid the law. Sending them on missions is extremely high risk, and extremely disrespectful. But what if it’s strategic?

The question “Are known child molesters/rapists being sent on missions by the church because the church assumes impoverished countries have no resources to expose them?” has haunted me these past few weeks, and more so with every story forwarded. And, for that matter, are child molesters/rapists asking to go on missions for that same reason? The odds of getting by with the abuse is so much higher!

In America a serial child molester/rapist is far more likely to be caught. And if caught will tarnish the church image and more likely land behind bars. If they go on missions, all looks good, and life goes on.

This question has especially haunted me since learning other missionaries with serious and extreme allegations against them have also been sent, to Haiti and to other locations.

This question deserves serious consideration.

The number of conservative Anabaptist men whose names have come up since this CAM fiasco – some with , who molested in the past and are now in leadership, is startling. Ten conservative Mennonite pastor’s names were sent this weekend (some I had heard before),  involved in churches at home or in missions, or both. On top of that, a list of the leaders who knew and looked the other way.

Either we have to admit the epidemic is so severe among us that a considerable percentage of those running missions and churches will inevitably have committed these crimes, or we have to look at why so many of them are sent out and ordained.

It is well known that many sex offenders are especially gifted in manipulating their way into favour and leadership. That, along with the ‘in house’ handling of things, and ‘back room deals’ with the law in some communities, makes offenders in religious communities yet more ‘untouchable’.

***

The matter  of the vast number of offenders in leadership, and the ongoing ‘rise to power’ of these men needs to be further explored. Repeatedly leaders are saying, “Let’s work together. We’re all on the same team.” Yet there is an ongoing disregard for the needs fo victims.

I welcome any personal testimony of victims who have had experiences with these ‘backroom deals’ in which offenders were given special favour, and where victims were neglected. (Send to: info@generationsunleashed.com).

In the past week I have had several individuals share their stories of neglect, while leaders fight for the offenders to avoid prison, while silencing them. The testimonies I’ve heard are concerning, and make me more and more aware that this is no small matter.

If you want to share your story, anonymously, I welcome submissions. There must be enough details to make sense of the situation, but no need for identifying information.

I’m learning that your stories, your testimonies are reaching people far more and with more impact than my many years of working to bring light to the darkness.

***

PS: Emails sent without your full name included will not be read. I received one this evening after posting the blog… scrolled to the bottom, and saw no name and ‘filed’ it. I have no interest in the opinions of those who cannot sign their name. I connect with people, whether I agree with them or not, not with anonymous opinions. … whether I agree with you or not.

***

Matthew 18:6-7, 10

But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes! […] Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven. 

***

As always…

With love,
~ T ~

***

THE GATHERING, NOVEMBER 2, 2019, LANCASTER BIBLE COLLEGE:
One of the things we are working toward November 2, 2019, at  THE GATHERING, is creating a place where we collectively invite God into our grief.  It is exclusively for Anabaptist survivors of sexual abuse, and their trusted support persons to join together for a day of acknowledging the generations of suffering. We will cry out to God, together. The invitation is to ‘come as you are’ in your raw brokenness, if that’s where you’re at, or in your healed togetherness. The itinerary is simple. It isn’t about ‘who’ or ‘how’; it is about Jesus and a safe place to meet, to 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.

(More information for potential attendees is available under THE GATHERING Registration and for non-attendees at THE GATHERING Information.)

***

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.

© Trudy Metzger 2019