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.
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.
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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- Either we have such an epidemic among us that we should expect a percent of leaders on a board are past offenders…or …
- We must admit that offenders are drawn to missions….or ….
- Both….or ….
- 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.
~ 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.