Mennonite-raised man with EXTREMELY strong ties to wealthy Mennonites threatens to sue me with their backing… and advice I gave his wife

THE THREAT:
On Sunday September 22, 2019, a man contacted me in a bit of a sour mood. Initially he was irritated about a status I posted, in which I wrote: “If a man had molested his own daughters (or anyone else, for that matter), in the past, is he ever the right choice to be in leadership (board of directors or other) for an organization offering support for troubled young women? To give context, he has only been dealt with quietly and has never been reported.” I don’t know context for his frustration, exactly, but he’s entitled to his opinion. I’m entitled to mine. And I’m entitled to post what I wish on my FB, as long as it does not violate FB rules… or my own conscience before God.

In any case, whatever bothered him about this status, his response was to launch into an attack on me for allegedly wrecking their marriage with the advice I gave his wife. (Advice that I have posted below). In reality, I listened to his wife, and was careful not to give advice, as you will see below.

The man then launched into threats to sue me: “If you continue to communicate with my wife I will sue you. That’s not a threat it’s a statement. [Ummm…No… It’s a threat]. You have caused enough unnecessary drama and I have the backing of a lot of plain people and major funds. Have a good life and I hope the Lord works a miracle with you.

Baffled by the allegations and not able to recall what advice I gave, beyond my usual, “I care… you’re not alone… seek professional counseling…”, I went back through my conversations with his wife to see what ‘drama’ I had created. The only ‘drama’ I can figure out is that I gave her a place to share her fears and concern…

THAT DAMNING ADVICE:
The following is the kind of counsel I gave, (with all identifying information removed, and removing all comments except my own):

I went through [something similar to what you’re describing] and didn’t even think to discuss any of it with my doctor. [identifying information redacted]. It might be good to talk to your doctor about it […]

You are not alone. Many of us have pushed through these same struggles. It is hard, but worth fighting through. Twenty-five years later, Tim is my best friend. And to think we almost didn’t make it a few times, if only because I felt I couldn’t push through anymore. I felt unloved, abandoned and worthless.”

Do you tell him he’s a good dad, and all the other qualities he has?

[Tim & I] pushed through the ‘waves’ and ‘cycles of confusion’ [in our marriage]. I tried always to build him up and speak to his strengths, and he is by nature very faithful. That helped a lot. But eventually we also had to learn to ‘fight well’ and really get to the bottom of the main hurts. There is a right time, and right way to ‘fight’ and there is a right time and right way to get to the bottom of key issues. We Mennonite women have mostly not been taught to do that well.

You can get through this, and be best friends again. I’m not going to lie. It is hard work. But it is so worth it!

Do you know each other’s love languages?

(T)he the more depleted each partner gets, the harder it is to meet the needs of the other. Hang in there. I will pray for you

So here are the professional counselors my friend would recommend:
[redacted to remove location and identifying information]..

I can’t give advice, per se, but I can encourage you to keep seeing your counsellor and hopefully get the support you need to get through this. I will pray for you.

I’ll keep praying for you, trusting God to heal and restore what has been lost.

I’m so glad [they] are healing, and I trust God will move in unexpected ways for you and [your husband], healing you individually, and relationally. I’m not a fan of ‘formulas’, but have heard couples who were transformed with the guide of Love Dare (a book). I don’t know if it would be beneficial and supportive for you, or not, but I’ll leave that with you to contemplate.

These are examples of the kind of advice I gave. And he claims I gave damaging advice that caused drama, and is threatening to sue me if I don’t stay away from his wife… even though she is the one who reached out to me! (While he has the privilege of asking me to stay away from his wife we don’t live in a country where a man can sue someone for responding to their spouse when she reaches out. It isn’t 1819. And this is USA and Canada..) Should the wife ask me not to contact her,  I presume there might be some room for harassment charges…. except that I wouldn’t contact her. Also, there’s always the ‘unfriend’ and ‘block’ or ‘block messages’ buttons on FB. That would be another option if it’s drama he is trying to avoid.

CONSERVATIVE MENNONITES AND LAWSUITS:
Back to the issue of lawsuits…
The man initially threatened to sue me if I contact his wife again. Later, in a moment of of sanctifying his threats, he told me it would be to help others….

He also told me that he is not a Mennonite, but claims to be an advocate for them. Fair enough. Being a ‘not Mennonite’ is neither here nor there to me, though, last I heard he still attends a conservative church, with his wife in covering …. so he’s ‘culturally’ a Mennonite. His father is a conservative Anabaptist leader, last I heard. And he alleges to have the backing of wealthy conservative Mennonites in his endeavours against me.

I took this to mean he was saying the threat of lawsuit doesn’t reflect badly on Mennonites, though I’m not sure what his point was, because he claims to have the backing of wealthy Mennonites to sue me, and a list of 10 people who want to sue me. (And those communications could all be subpoenaed for court. That would be fun). That, if true, puts it all right back on people in the conservative Anabaptist culture.

Following are some of the comments he sent. His messages are italicized. My response are plain text, and my added thoughts are in brackets:

“I have the backing of a lot of plain people and major funds.”

(I… SEEE-EEE…!)

(I’m constantly reminded that by taking crimes to the law I am not a forgiving person, and I obviously don’t believe in redemption. But suing me? That’s okay because, well, exposing sex crimes disrupts … well, a whole lot of things. So suing me is non-resistant? Forgiving? Turning the other cheek? Or has life really become all about money and power?  All of these threats might scare me if money was more powerful than God, or a prerequisite for getting into heaven. But…. Well…. The good news is that God is still in control and if He sees fit to use a lawsuit against me to unearth more buried corruption, so be it. I am His servant. And He will take care of me. Of this I am confident. Losing everything would only scare me if I didn’t have Him. And I don’t have that much to lose, so there’s that.)

He continued:

“I got other people talking to me about you and you know as well as I do I have EXTREMELY strong ties to the plain churches. Heck I have relatives in about every one.”

(I… SEEE-EEE…!)

(What more can a person say? Is he actually saying having “EXTREMELY strong ties to the plain churches” is a threat? What are they in his mind, the mafia?)

AND THEN THE RANDOM COMMENT WITHOUT CONTEXT:
“I was told to talk about it to you along time ago but I never did because I don’t wanna be that guy. No need to go into detail. Your a smart person and you know.”

(No I don’t know because I don’t know who said he should talk to me, or why.  And like it or not, you are “that guy”, whatever that means, because you just did it).

AND THEN THERE WAS THE POLISHING OF THE HALO:
I don’t care about myself. I care about others that are being hurt.
The Lord has blessed my business and I intend to use the funds to help others. I wouldn’t do that if I only cared about myself. God bless

My response:
“And suing blesses people how? There is nothing of Jesus likeness in your messaging today. And then end with “God bless”? Don’t use His name in vain and try to spiritualize the profane.”

His comeback:
Protects the innocent
Even if I go to hell I’ll at least have protected some people

My response:
“You don’t have a leg to stand on. I have done nothing to you or your wife, and to sue me makes no sense.”

His comeback:
It wouldn’t be on behalf of me and my wife. I would be supplying funds to someone else that has contacted me. Oh well if you have done nothing wrong then you don’t need to worry

My response:
I’m not worried. Feel free to provide funds for others. But initially you said if I continue to communicate with your wife you will sue me. So which is it? Suing on behalf of someone else or because I respond to your wife?

His comeback:
It can be either.
That’s on you

(So it seems he doesn’t care so much what method he uses to get at me, or whether his own behalf or someone else’s. He just cares that he finds some way to sue me. That should stand up well in court. “Yes, Judge, I am determined to somehow bring harm to this woman who was there for my wife when she was going through a hard time. I don’t care how. I just care that I get it done. And, as you can see, Mr. Judge, her advice is terrible! She encouraged my wife to find my strengths and praise me. She recommended speaking with her family doctor and professional counselors. She also connected her with a woman who had contacts for professional counselors and a pastor she thought might specifically help our marriage. And then she had the audacity to tell my wife she and her husband walked through similar struggles and came out as best friends! Unbelievable! So, yes, Mr. Judge, I’m going to sue her, and I’m going to give money to other conservative Mennonites who want to sue her! I’ve had quite enough of this!”  (SIDE NOTE: If you are conservative Mennonite and want to sue me but need funds to do so, let me know. I know a guy with deep pockets and a pile of money who would help you)).

But the whole thing didn’t end there. He returned with more bullying a day later, after I posted a status saying that after I posted about getting lawsuit threats, I had learned of three conservative Anabaptists wanting to sue me. That inspired the following:

His message:

“you only know of three. I have written proof of at least 10
But it wasn’t right of me to say everything I know yesterday and I apologize.

My response:
“I can’t recall a thing you said that amounts to ‘everything you know’ or what others might have told you. No need to apologize. And I’ve updated the status to include the 10 🙂

His comeback:
Basically I got derailed for the things you told my wife. You have only heard her side of the story. [Redacted for confidentiality and protect their marriage]. You made it worse. Even if you can see that you will never admit it. Also you have no respect for men otherwise you wouldn’t feel the need to text me wife to cover your tracks when I asked you not to. Good day

[Redacted for confidentiality and protect their marriage]

[Redacted for confidentiality and protect their marriage]

My response:
“I went back and read all conversations between me and your wife. I don’t know what you think I ‘advised’ or told her, but you have it very, very wrong. I didn’t text your wife to cover my tracks [yesterday after being accused of causing drama and bad advice]. I messaged her to apologize for anything I did to cause harm, and I asked if she could point out what I did/said to cause that harm so I might learn from it. How you think that is me covering tracks is beyond me. You sound paranoid, at best.

His comeback:
I’m not paranoid. At all. We are currently doing a roof for the retired police commissioner of Chicago and he went down over your timeline, you should here what he has to say…..oh wait you would probably call him paranoid also.”

My response:
lol! I’m talking about [being] paranoid over my conversations with your wife and what advice you think I gave. I have hard evidence of what kind of advice it was, and I would comfortably post it on a blog. [as I have now done here]

As for the police commissioner… I shared the stage with an LAPD Sex Crimes Officer (currently off due to injury) this weekend who does the same work I do [of confronting and exposing sex crimes]. And I have lawyers, doctors/psychiatrists and other professionals on my friend list who give me feedback on my writings. And I would welcome hearing the Chicago commissioner’s words and opinions.”

(COMMENT: Interesting fact. What is public on my profile would not raise any concerns for any law enforcement officer. This was a power play. So, yes, Mr. Retired Commissioner, please forward your concerns about my Facebook Posts via my Contact Page).

His comeback:
Well you definitely made our marriage worse. *Everyone that reads our texts agrees.”

My response:
“Take some ownership, [name redacted]. You haven’t read the advice I gave. If you did, you’d know it was good advice.”

His comeback:
“You got a big head. You made a mistake and you can’t own up to it”

My response:
“Own your wrongs. Stop blaming other people. Don’t use your “I’m rich and powerful” to attempt to intimidate people.”

[insert “deleted comment”]
NOTE: I shared the advice I gave his wife — same as above — but decided to delete and share on my blog instead as I was not interested in further private dialogue with him. He opened the next comment before I was able to delete it:

“Those are direct copies of advice I gave your wife. [referring to same as above]. I’d tell her all of those things again. Shame on you for trying to blame your failure in your marriage on me.”

His comeback:
There is a special place in Hell for people that wreck marriages. No fingers pointed. Only cowards remove messages. No fingers pointed

(A day ago he was the one who deleted messages. Of course the rules are different for other people in the lives of bullies).

My response:
“Then stop wrecking your marriage and avoid that special place in hell. Take ownership.
I removed the messages because I decided it can go in a public blog instead.”

His comeback:
Btw I’m not a Mennonite. Just a advocate for them.

My response:
“You are abusive. And you are a bully.”

“You’re mennonite.
It’s a culture. And you are definitely in it.
Now you can stop harassing me.”

His comeback:
Thanks for that one message calling me names. Libel lawsuit grounds.

My response:
“You mean calling you a bully?
Libel, my friend, is not based on a private message.
It is based on public statements.”

With this, I closed comments so he could no longer message me. I can take a lot, but there’s a point where the bullying is a waste of time that could be spent elsewhere. As for libel, there’s not grounds for a libel suit even with me posting all of this publicly. For one, I have not named him, and he is not identifiable. Besides, it is truth I’m posting, and not lies. I have quoted his own bullying here, and how he uses his money as power to destroy. Money is fleeting. By tomorrow morning, if God saw fit to let some tragedy befall any of us, we’d be a pennyless beggar. I do not wish that for him or anyone. But I do pray God gets hold of his heart and he uses his finances for the Kingdom of God not the work of the devil.

Having blocked his messages, he wasn’t done. He went to my other account and sent the following:
70608893_2379340202393682_2696355712237305856_n.jpg

My response was to block him there completely. As for how many people he has spying on me, I really couldn’t care. Spy all you want…. bring in an army of spies. I’m used to be watched. I’ll still tell the truth.

I told him to stop harassing me — because he was the one reaching out to me, and he follows that up by telling me not to harass him or his wife? He’s been hounding me, and I’m asked to stop harassing? (Gaslighting much?) And he includes more litigation threats. That’s harassment. He reminds me again of how much money he has. (Yeah, yeah, buddy, I heard you the first time. You’re filthy rich. So?) And he ends by saying money goes a long way in the judicial system. Huh? Is he saying the system is corrupt and he will use their corruption in partnership with his own corruption to try to sue me unjustly? Like… is he saying US judicial systems are so corrupt that he can use money to win a case against me that’s not legit?

Even if true, here’s the problem. I’m Canadian. An American would have to sue me in Canadian court because Canada has jurisdiction over me. And, frankly, I don’t believe our judicial system is so corrupt that an American can come prancing in here with a lawsuit (based on what, again?) and a bag of money to buy favours.

So, dear Mr. I-WannaSueHerPantsOff, you should start by researching how to sue a Canadian who has broken no laws and committed no crimes, and brought no harm. And then you shouldn’t tell me you plan to sue me. You should just do it. That is, if you can find a lawyer desperate and crooked enough to take your money when the case has no grounds for a lawsuit.

Never play poker with your cards facing the other players.

And never ever use empty threats to bully people. In particular people who would reveal in court that, in fact, they were helpful and supportive to your wife, and encouraged her to get professional support and advice. That giving such advice is such a threat to any husband is very concerning.

In closing, I know you are wealthy. No need to remind me.

Truth is, for me ‘stuff’ in this life is not that important. I’m halfway to 100. Anything God needs me to do in the next 20 to 50 years (or week or two, since we are not promised long life), He will provide. Unencumbered by ‘stuff’, usually makes people more passionate and committed to their calling. And passion and commitment to a calling makes stuff less important. Win/win.

My prayer is that those who are offended at truth telling and exposing wickedness take a step back, and check their hearts. What is it about telling the truth that offends you so deeply? What about it makes you hate me and wish me dead? What about it makes you want to sue me?

To those threatening lawsuits… Some of you claim to know Jesus. Some claim to be non resistant. If war should arise and you would be drafted, you would seek to be excluded on religious grounds. And some of you stand behind a conservative Anabaptist pulpits preaching Jesus on Sundays. (Or is it Him you preach?) Yet, Monday through Saturday you think about suing me and even talk about it? If I am so far gone astray, should you not reach out to me to draw me to Christ? And if you are not interested in the Jesus Way, why bother holding on to a culture and religion that claims His name, and defame both Jesus and the religion?

I will unapologetically continue to expose sexual abuse and violence. No amount of empty lawsuit threats will stop me from my calling, and bullying and threats will be called out publicly. I am careful to speak truth. If ever I get things wrong that I have posted, I apologize. I never function out of hatred or a desire to destroy people, but rather to stop abuse and corruption.

If that is so wrong, then go ahead and do what you need to do.

 

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.

***

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Continued… (PART 2)

 

As always…

With love,
~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger 2019

***

ANONYMOUS SEXUAL ABUSE SURVEY BY ANABAPTIST MEDICAL DOCTOR

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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