Update: Melody Bannister arrested; Children safe

Six days ago I opened Facebook to numerous messages from a variety of friends, letting me know Melody Bannister had been arrested by the US Marshals. The children were with her in the car when she was found at a gas station in Plainfield Indiana. Rather than retell the story,  and since I have nothing to add, here is a link to the news article: Virginia mother at center of national manhunt arrested in Plainfield; children found safe.

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Since her arrest things have been very quiet, apart from a few conversations on a discussion group. Mostly speculations and wonderings… people worried and wondering. No one knows for sure where the children are. The last update I’ve seen on the children is in the news link (shared above) stating they are in DCS custody.

It is difficult to write a blog when there’s so little to say, so little known, yet many people have prayed and continue to, and care deeply for the Bannister children and their mom, Melody.

It is my prayer that truth will be fully brought to light, that the children will have a voice to speak boldly and clearly the truth of their experience. It is also my prayer that they will be fully heard and truth with triumph.

As I said in my earlier blogs, I will say again… I do not know what all the truth is in this story. I am not God. I was not there. It goes without saying that something is very wrong and the children have been through more than any child should go through…. Whatever that trauma is, these children need and deserve to be heard, and their voice honoured.

To that end I will continue to pray and ask you to pray for them as well.

 

As always…

Love,
~ T ~

*****

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

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

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

© Trudy Metzger

Call from US Marshals; Word on Bannister children; About torturing & raping little animals

TRIGGER WARNING:
PLEASE BE AWARE
THIS POST CONTAINS EXTREME TRIGGERS AND BLUNT TALK ABOUT VIOLENT SEX ACTS, INCLUDING AGAINST LITTLE ANIMALS (AKA, VIOLENT BESTIALITY) AND INCLUDES A COMMENT FROM THE PERPETRATOR

In the last week I posted several blogs on the Melody Bannister case. This seems to be a particularly unpopular thing to do. Which, in my opinion, makes it necessary. The ‘untouchable’ cases are where children are most likely to get lost in the system, and their needs neglected. Particularly their need for safety.

Nothing has changed as far as my perception of the case goes. At the risk of sounding like a broken record (for those who remember what that is like), I still hold the position that, since I was not there, I cannot know with certainty what went down. And I hold just as certainly that something was dreadfully wrong.

Admittedly, I find the allegations much more believable than some other readers do. For those who cannot fathom the horrible things described in Melody Bannister’s blog, the reason I DO NOT struggle to believe them is because I have heard similar things before. And, what’s more, I’ve heard confessions of some of vile abuses from those who committed the acts.

One is on record at a police station. I supported the man who self-reported everything from sexual interference, to sexual assault, and torturing little animals and violently sexually assaulting them. The man had told me some of what he had done before stating he would like to turn himself in, however I did not know all the horrific details until several years later.

I met him at the police station. Here I was asked to write up a report of what he had told me. If memory serves me right, he was in the interview room for almost an 90 minutes. I waited.

When the officer emerged from the room, he walked toward me and offered two words in his initial response to what he had heard:  “H*ly…! Sh*t!”

I do not know the officer well (ie; not a personal friend), but had interacted enough to know his response was drastic.

Here is the thing… This man was self-reporting crimes that started when he was a child.  Torturing animals began before his age reached double digits. Sexually assaulting animals violently began before he reached double digits. The first sexual assault on a human took place soon after he reached the double digits. The trajectory of his life was one of self-destruction.

Fortunately he desperately wanted help. Fortunately he was still a young man when he reached for help.

Tim and I have gotten to know the man and his wife better since then, and if he had not come clean with what he had done, and if he had stayed on the path he was on earlier in his life, there is no doubt in my mind he would have been capable of every allegation in Melody’s writings. Every. Single. One.

I wrote this man to let him know I am writing about him in my blog. The following is his feedback:

From my standpoint, I would state it even stronger. Not only would I have been “capable” of every single allegation. I would have committed that and more. I am not surprised or shocked at the allegations of that case. Because I understand well, the progression, the slippery slope on which the offender has seemingly no control over his own actions. No one starts there. But the progression will take him there. There is no level ground. No convenient “stopping place”. There is no “enough”

The following is an excerpt from my memoir, Between 2 Gods; A memoir of Abuse in the Mennonite Community:

“On one occasion, visiting relatives with teenagers, when I was three, several siblings and these teens headed for the barn, where they were going to play. I tagged along. Walking along the dirt path to the barn, one of the teens stopped me. “You have to stay here. You’re too young to play our games,” she said.

Curious, I followed a bit later to see what it was they ‘played’. Confused, I watched as the teenagers—closer to twenty years old than to ten—used my siblings for sexual gratification. By pretending to be animals, feeding their babies, they made oral sex appear as innocent play. I wondered if mommies and daddies really feed babies that way. But, being too much for my child’s mind to grasp, I pushed the thoughts from my memory, without a word to anyone of what I had seen. And there the memories lay dormant, locked up in my subconscious for many years, resurfacing only in nightmares and one or two childhood conversations, before disappearing from conscious memory for several decades.

Oral sexual abuse and child-to-child interaction was the only form of sexuality I knew, consciously, and knew it well… I only knew it as something people do, not aware how wrong and devastating these acts were. Other than what I witnessed, always it was me doing what I was asked to do, performing favours, and it would remain this way throughout childhood as other children and preteens used me this way, over and over again.” (Chapter 2)

Does this mean the allegations in Melody’s blogs are 100% as written? It means anything is possible. And it is on these grounds that I maintain it is irresponsible to not investigate the allegations thoroughly. It is, frankly, irresponsible (in my opinion) to have a warrant out for the arrest of a woman desperate to protect her children. There is no way for her to come forward safely for help. She goes to jail. Her kids go to the man they say they fear (read below for their alleged testimony). And the men who ALLEGEDLY assaulted them have access again.

What mother would come out of hiding for that?

I’ve received a few calls and messages from total strangers connected to Melody since releasing the initial blogs. Opinions are mixed among them. Some insist she has a mental illness and it is unlikely (or impossible) that the allegations are true. Some of the individuals who do not believe all the allegations made insist the father is not safe for the children. As you will see below, there are professionals who have vouched for her.

My interest is not in determining what is true and what is not. My interest is the safety of the children and their mother. But especially the children. I’m a mom. My safety would be secondary to me over the wellbeing of my children.

I believe firmly that, mental illness or not, all allegations being true or not, that Melody believes the allegations 100%.  And this is my belief following conversations with people directly connected to Melody and her children. I do not understand punishing a woman for that.

I am also aware that for some law enforcement the allegations are so extreme that they are deemed impossible, if not ludicrous, and therefore are not taken seriously. This is troubling to me. No matter how extreme, how ludicrous and how impossible, they ought to be treated as worthy of serious and sincere investigation. In part for the mother’s mental health, and in part because humans are capable of extremely depraved things.

What is more, Melody grew up in an extreme cult environment, and then married into another cult, and has had her own trauma to recover from. (I do not know many details of that trauma, but it is there). Being told to beat the devil  out of the children, and (as you will see below) her husband beating the children until they bled (again, a religious duty), is more than enough trauma already. (This comes not only from Melody, but others who have known the family for years have contacted me and shared the same allegations). To come from that and then be sent back to the father, even if every other allegation is bogus, is not right and it is not safe.

These things must be considered in this case, if there is to be any justice at all.

*****

A US Marshall contacted me December 16. We spoke briefly. The exchange, from my perspective, was respectful. He expressed interest in the children’s safety, which is my highest priority as well. I shared concerns that such safety does not exist for the children in their father’s care, by the children’s own testimony.

He also said he doesn’t want to see Melody Bannister spend a day in jail. I echo this.

Yet, presently, if she were to come forward two things would happen:

  1. The children would go to Bill Bannister.
  2. Melody would go to jail

I told him I would rather die or go to jail myself than to do that to the children. I couldn’t in good conscience even attempt to help locate them unless I knew the children would NOT be sent to their dad, and Melody would NOT be arrested for trying to protect her children… or for mental illness… or whatever is (or is presumed to be) going on. If she is mentally ill, an arrest will not help. If the children’s allegations are true, arresting their mom will not keep them safe.

*****

The following was written by Tim Yarbraugh from Alabama, where Melody and her children stayed temporarily in July. I briefly interacted with Mr. Yarbrough before posting this.

For anyone at all familiar with domestic violence and sex crimes, and especially those who know the children from pre-escape, this is a particularly insightful glimpse into the lives of the children. Included are excerpts from professionals regarding Melody and the children. These speak powerfully to the case.

A Voice From Alabama: How joyfully surprised my wife and I were to awaken one recent morning to find our social media flooded with a blog by Melody Bannister going public with the tragedy of what has happened to her and her children . That post from Melody at least informed us that she and her dear children were somewhere and at least safe enough that she could communicate her story. We had not seen Melody or the children since August 20, 2019. That faithful day in Jefferson County, Alabama when Melody and the children, as well as all other parties of interest, should have had the benefit of a court hearing, the open reception of significant evidence from various parties including the husband because JUSTICE was the desired goal, and the entertaining of the testimony of a forensic physiatrist and her conclusions about the story told by Melody Bannister and her children. I am both angry and embarrassed that such a day of justice did not happen for Melody and her children. Our Alabama court failed – and miserably so. No hearing took place. No evidence was gathered. No process of justice even broached the courthouse that day. Our court left those children stranded in no-man’s land.

Why was reading that blog that eventful morning even important to my wife and I? We were the original, though not only, family in the State of Alabama where Melody and her children came in the middle of July. They needed a place of safety, acceptance, and an offer of help and somehow our small town work with widows, abused women and children, and single moms had made its way onto the “information network” out there in cyber world. Melody found us and we are so thankful she did. We never ask how and we honestly don’t concern ourselves with that. It is just not important. What was important is that she and her children were here. Perhaps we could help – we never know. But we do know we can love them – and it never fails, to be loved by them. To be loved by vulnerable people is one of the most humbling events in life. Well, so our experience has taught us to think.

Over the course of the next few days, Melody shared, to a limited degree, her concerns about the abuse of her children, her fear of what had happened to them, and what could happen to them. It was not difficult to pick up on her “momma-bear convictions” that what her children had shared with her she believed. She was searching for what direction to take. It was also easy to observe this was a good mother and her children loved her company.

Having people in these kind of trauma situations “drop-in” is not an uncommon experience for us. It is also not a daily event. Melody and the children arrived in our town and we, with thankful hearts to our God, welcomed them into our home. It was a joy for us to have them stay in our home, a privilege to have the opportunity to love them, and to interact with them, and — to listen to their story. One of the first things we knew, based on what we were learning, is that Melody and the children needed legal help and we participated in getting Melody in touch with Mr. Sam McLure – an attorney here in Alabama who has touched our family more than once through adoption. Sam is a man with integrity of character and honorable toward those he serves. They took the legal process from there.

While staying in our home we had many conversations with Melody and with each of the children. We actually had the opportunity to take them fishing and watch each of the children catch their first fish! That made for laughter, squeals, and bonding (the worms “were a thing”). During the time Melody and the children were with us, it was often that opportunity arose for conversations about what had happened that brought them to the place where they were. We came, in such a short time, to have a tremendous affection for this wonderful mother and these dear children. Our experience and observation taught us, contrary to the propaganda that has been spewed over social media and primetime networks, these children are loved and are safe with this mother. To paint it otherwise is a concocted boldfaced and knowing lie.

There have been exceptionally qualified individuals speak on these matters. For instance, Marie Anderson, MA, LPC, and a licensed professional therapist in Virginia was Melody’s therapist from September 10, 2016 through November 1, 2018. She conducted 30 sessions of 50 minute durations over that time frame – approximately once a month. Her August 19, 2019, letter of submission to the Alabama court, concluded as follows (these files are all a matter of record at the Alabama Civil Court of Appeals):

“. . . when treatment was ended in November 2018 I was confident in her ability to do extremely well as she faced the challenges in her marriage and caring for her children.”

Consider Dr. Michael Stone, of Columbia College, preeminent in his profession, in his letter of submission for the Alabama Court dated August 19, 2019, provided:

“Having spoken with Ms Melody Bannister and having also reviewed what she has written concerning the situation with her children, I can attest that she is a woman of 34 . . . with four children . . . – who is of sound mind – and who speaks truthfully and believably about the circumstances involving the abuse of her children (the girls, most especially). She comes across as a bright, articulate, and empathic woman.
Apart from an understandable measure of anxiety vis-a-vis the situation and fate of her children, she shows no signs of any mental illness or disorder.”

Dr. Carole Lieberman, M.D., M. P. H., submitted a 24 page “Psychiatric Evaluation of Bannister Family” after doing significant interviews with the children and Melody for consideration by the Alabama court. Dr. Lieberman, a delightful lady in her own personality, and a professional with the dignity of honor at what she does, believes Melody and the children. She has described some of her involvement in this case on her radio show:

https://www.voiceamerica.com/…/mom-and-kids-flee-for-their-…

Our Conversations: Probably the only thing we can add to the ongoing conversation is what we learned directly from the children themselves. I have never met William (Bill, Billy) Bannister, Melody’s husband and the children’s father. Mr. Bannister did reach out to me on social media and by private message and wanted to talk and provided his phone number. By this time my wife and I, as well as some of my neighbors and other members of the Bannister family we later learned, had been visited by the federal marshals who were looking for Melody and the children. We saw the warrant for the first time that night. They apparently thought we were hiding them. Due to their threatening demeanor for the course of two hours or so, we deferred conversations and referred them to our attorney for further interaction. I am aware they were just trying to do their job – I was doing mine. What has happened to Melody Bannister and her children is criminal – you are looking in the wrong direction. BTW, Professor James Duane of Regent University has given a tremendous lecture on “Why You Should Never Talk To The Police” over on youtube. Look it up – educational and practical for the citizen and police. Due to a need to exercise constitutional priorities and protect ourselves from possible attempts of deception, Mr. Bannister’s request was declined.

The following are some brief snippets of what the children revealed in conversations and which we have heard with our own ears:

1. The most dominant characteristic that each of the four children related about their dad was his anger. All of them saw their dad as a man controlled by his anger and they were afraid of that anger and never knew when it would go “volcano”. Note: In all the cases of abuse/counseling we have been involved in over the years, this one characteristic is the most common cited problem by the children. It controls the household environment and is itself a tool of control.

2. Each of the children discussed how their dad would take them to a room or a basement and would use a belt, including the metal part, and spank them until they sometimes bled

3. Each of the children talked about how their dad was suppose to be working from home but would rather spend hours playing video games. Two of the children shared that they observed when he started heavily playing the video games, his anger level against them seem to lessen.

4. All of the girls discussed to varying degrees being taken to the barn by their dad in the middle of the night, being forced to climb the ladder to where other men were located and knowing what was going to happened to them (many times relating being forced to perform oral sex on several men as well as some acts of violence against small animals with a machete), sometimes standing at the bottom of the ladder and hearing the muffled screams of one of their sisters in the top of the barn and simply being filled with horror and not knowing what to do, – you have read the stories elsewhere – we heard them first hand. I believe these children.

5. Prior to the court hearing of August 20, 2019, sitting at our kitchen table, I ask each of the children what they would do if a judge ordered them to return to their home. WITHOUT EXCEPTION, each child told us they would find a way to run away. It was crushing to listen too that “home” was not a place in their mind that was “safe”. How horrible.

6. When we ask the children about the detective and CPS worker who interviewed them in Virginia, WITHOUT EXCEPTION those children told us they did not trust them. That is not uncommon in our experience. Children under those circumstances have their antenna up and are generally quite perceptive.

I cannot think of any reason for us to say more because people far more qualified and far more involved have. I will conclude with this to Melody and her children:

Our community of believers in Jesus Christ that you met throughout this area do not know how this will fall out though we pray for justice for you and the children and we will do all that we can to further that end. However, we want you to know that whenever this is over, you and your children are welcome to come to our community (or we will come get you) and we will provide you a home and shelter, work for your hands, training for your children, and opportunities to grown beyond this evil and turn it for good. It is an option open to you for you to exercise in whatever discretion you decide. We love you and we love your children. May it please God to give you justice and we are thankful that you wrote your post – at least we know you are alive and well. Thank you for coming to our home.

We also know you are no danger to your children. We have seen you with your children; we have heard you sing; we have watched you laugh; we have watched you cry; we have watched you pray. I am so sorry that the Alabama courts have so failed you and your children. You have a good attorney in Sam McLure – but you know that.

Those are the words of a gentleman who spent time with Melody Bannister and the children. I have not spent time with them, and share this as written from his heart, as he perceives things to be.

*****

There are many unanswered questions… Of the countless children that disappear each year, with no resources allocated to finding them, and no public statements made, why is a case like this so important? Is it the father’s money? Is it that Melody went to the law and is now seen to be ‘thumbing her nose’ by speaking out and not trusting them with her kids?

The ‘stacks of 100-dollar bills’ sitting around, mentioned in Melody’s blog, were also seen by others who have offered first hand testimony to that fact. Where did the money come from? How could Bill afford to sit around playing video games when he had a family to provide for?

Why are allegations like this determined to be impossible or imagination before a deep investigation is done? (Not something that can happen in a few days, a week or a month. It’s not that uncomplicated).

It is my hope and prayer that the Bannister children are not forgotten. That they are not forced to return to a father who was allegedly emotionally and otherwise absent, and from whom they allegedly feel disconnected. A father they allegedly fear. That they will not need to stay in hiding to be with their mom, but can safely come out and have their allegations investigated as though they have been heard for the first time and are possible.

What is absolute truth and what is not, in this case, remains a mystery to me. But the one certainty is this, the children should not be pawns used by Melody, by her husband, or by the law. They deserve to be cared for. They deserve to have their voices heard and respected. Power plays that revolve around children are evil, plain and simple, no matter who does it. No matter why.

The children deserve better.

****

For those interested, we now have 146 response to the survey on Conservative Anabaptist (CA) Leaders’ Response to Abuse. I’m still hoping for 200 responses before analyzing the data. If you have been sexually abused and interacted with a CA leader regarding the abuse, this survey is for you. I am preparing several other surveys and will release them on our SURVEYS PAGE.

 

As always…

Love,
Trudy

© Trudy Metzger 2019

 

PLEASE SHARE & READ: BANNISTER CHILDREN ARE SAFE! Detective cites ‘clandestine religious group’ as concern for their wellbeing; Mrs. B isn’t part of a cult…

Recent developments, the news is reporting, are raising concerns for the wellbeing of Melody Bannister’s children, whom she abducted in June of 2019.  (In my previous blog s US MARSHALS issue warrant for MELODY BANNISTER’S Arrest I posted links to her writings and various news reports, for those interested in the backstory).

What are those recent developments?

The only obvious new development is that Melody Bannister started blogging and sharing publicly of the vile sexual abuse allegations against the children’s father, grandfather and other men in the community. How sharing their allegations publicly puts the children at risk is beyond me. I would think with public accountability comes greater safety.

That’s all I could find that ‘due to recent developments’ could have put the children in danger.

But… then LIVE PD WANTED interviewed the detective on the case…

When questioned about this risk to the children (Video), Detective James Wright said, (transcribed verbatim): “We believe they’re in danger because they’re… they be..uh.. be.. belong to a religious organization that … ah… in it’s clandestine nature we just don’t have a whole lot of information on.. and… we’re concerned about the welfare because they’re unable to take care of themselves.. they don’t have any means to take care of them… Melody doesn’t have any means to take care of them…”

How does this have anything to do with risk to the children? Let alone new risk? Firstly, that is not a recent development. Melody Bannister left the cult she was part of when she married Mr. Bannister. More on that later…

Det. Wright goes on to say that Melody Bannister, herself, calls the group a cult…. (Read her comments here… she is referring to one of the alleged abusers in her comment about a cult; Charles Simpson).  He also states they don’t have the means to care for themselves. While true, other people DO have the means and ARE taking care of them. (Since I started blogging, without asking for help, people have been reaching out to me to offer what they can!)

I’ve heard from several individuals who have known Melody Bannister a long time. They have filled in some of the following gaps for me.

Charles Simpson, one of the founders of the Shepherding Movement cult became the “spiritual father” to a man named Jim McNally and often had McNally participate in his Charles Simpson Ministries conferences.

The confusion comes from this…. Mrs. Bannister was part of a cult called VISION FORUM BUT she left that cult when she married Mr. Bannister at age 19! (This movement folded after its founder, Doug Phillips was accused in 2013 of sexual activity with his children’s nanny.) 

Melody and Mr. Bannister were then part of the religious cult, Harvest Christian Fellowship (HCF), which was founded by Jim McNally. This church allegedly promoted unquestioned church leader authority, unquestioned male dominance and corresponding female submission, even to the point of wife spanking.  As Jim McNally traveled all over the world, allegedly preaching his doctrine of “fatherhood,” Harvest Christian Fellowship branched out into Harvest International Ministries. It was in this cult that the Senior Bannister raised Bill and his other children. And it is into this cult that Melody Bannister entered upon marrying Bill.

(Interesting rabbit trail… that Ephrata-based Charity-type church I mentioned in my previous blog, where they made a paddle with holes to spank children without leaving marks… There was allegedly wife spanking among them too, and an infestation of child sexual abuse. And they also promoted unquestioned male dominance. What is with these cults?! See a pattern?)

However, Harvest dissolved in January of 2015 when McNally, his health deteriorating, moved with his wife to Florida to be near their son. He died November 2015. It was only after this movement folded that the Bannister family began visiting other churches.

Only then did Melody begin to see and experience what normal life is like outside the cult. Her whole life until 2015 was entangled with cults. Now that she is finally free from all cults, suddenly, when she begins speaking out, her children are in danger because of a religious group that is ‘clandestine in nature?

Vision Forum, for context, is the same cult with which the Duggar family were entangled. The cult that taught the Duggars to blame victims, in their case, the daughters, for the abuse. (Most of us remember the Josh Duggar scandal. And to the “you can’t bring it up, he was sorry” crowd: save it. The Bible is full of forbidden, forgiven stories). Even Michael Pearl — whose teachings I abhor for their abusive and ‘perverted form of patriarchy’ tone, and training gullible parents to be abusive parents — allegedly has spoken out against the extremist patriarchal approach of Vision Forum. And if I’m endorsing something Michael Pearl said, those who know me (and know my opinion of his parenting teachings) will know that only one thing could motivate me to do so; the belief that (in this case) he is speaking truth. In this case, he has some a few good things to say. … and then… some not so good. So this is no endorsement of him or his teachings.

Google them and do some reading. Interesting stuff. And if Melody was involved with them, I’d be tripping over myself to help Det. Wright and the US Marshals find them.

HCF cults… they seem to have been truly obscure. If anyone has info on them, please send it to me. I’m trying to research them, but the bulk of info will likely need to come from those once involved. The bit I know is the teachings on Fatherhood… Father MUST be listened to and obeyed without question. Always. And the ‘Father’ position, as I understand, extends to the leader (ie; Jim McNally) who must also be obeyed without question. Therefore, if church leaders tell you to “beat the devil out of the children” (which members were allegedly told), then that is what you must do. They were required to beat their children.

This, again, is not something Melody is part of. It is something she married into when she married Bill. It is what they left in 2015.

IF THE CULT CONNECTIONS really was/is the cause for concern, why were things silent from June until now? Why was the law not frantically trying to find Mrs. Bannister and the children, and notifying media all along? Why, immediately after Bannister publicizes the horrendous allegations, is a group to which she is no longer connected cause for concern?

Especially since she IS NOT part of any cult, and has not been since 2015. 

I would be interested in hearing more from Det. Wright regarding cults and the Bannister’s involvement, and why this is a concern now that they are finally out.

 

*****

Mrs. Bannister is KEEPING HER CHILDREN SAFE FROM THE ALLEGED ABUSERS.

SHE IS FLEEING FROM the group she referred to as a cult (or the ‘clandestine group’), IT WAS ONE OF THE ALLEGED ABUSERS, CHARLES SIMPSON, SHE CALLS A CULT LEADER… She is fleeing from the accused men and the law BECAUSE SHE BELIEVES HER CHILDREN HAVE NOT BEEN GIVEN APPROPRIATE CARE OR VOICE. (No forensic interviews done by Stafford VA police in spite of horrendous allegations! Read about that in her blog by clicking this link.) And Mr. Bannister IS part of whatever ‘clandestine group’ the alleged abusers have formed…. if they are actually a group.

I continue to state that I do not know if the allegations are all true, or some, but I am 100% confident that SOMETHING is very wrong. What would make children so desperate that they would make such allegations and maintain the story while police investigate them? There are two things that I can think of:

  1. They experienced every bit of the horror they allege to have experienced
    – or –
  2. They experienced other horror to make them speak agains their dad… horror that deserves deep investigation

The latter is problematic because it would require four children maintaining accurate testimony about a lie, without contradicting itself and/or each other. One child lying and keeping the story straight is hard. Any more than one? Not gonna happen.

Screen Shot 2019-12-16 at 10.41.55 AM
Please click the picture and continue signing the petition!  Dr. Lieberman risking her reputation for these children speaks for itself.

 

What I wouldn’t give to sit with these four children and have a conversation with them! I have a list of questions…  But that’s not my place any more than declaring that the allegations are all true.

In any case, if it the children reneged their testimony, and there was evidence it was all the work of their mom, heaven knows I’d be tripping over myself to bring truth to light.

My questions remain unanswered. What was so very wrong in their lives and household that children bring forward such allegations? And, if Det. Wright and the CPS worker are right, and the allegations are their ‘imagination’, then how did these children manage to all lie convincingly enough to dupe “two of the most prestigious forensic psychiatrists in the country: Dr. Michael Stone and Dr. Carole Lieberman“? And why was their professional testimony not considered when it was brought forward?

Screen Shot 2019-12-16 at 10.41.55 AM

Last, but not least, let’s assume Mrs. Bannister did in fact have some mental health issues… That wouldn’t answer the above questions as to how children could keep their stories straight. And unless a parent is a threat to their child, since when do we take children away from parents who have mental illness based on that assumption? (I say ‘assumption because in this case Dr. Stone and Dr. Lieberman have refuted it).

Regardless what is true in this case, it goes without saying that these children need help. Mrs. Bannister needs help. And Mr. Bannister needs help. By the time a man calls his wife insane and manages to convince a judge to such an extent that the testimony of forensic psychiatrists means nothing, there is already something badly wrong.

And I stand firm on that. There is something badly, badly wrong for kids to make these allegations against their father and grandfather and maintain those allegations after it has cost them this much. And when two forensic psychiatrists determine they are not lying.

The way this is being handled by professionals in Virginia raises many unanswered questions.

Those questions deserve to be addressed.

For the sake of the children.

*****

NOTE: To the best of my ability I have collected information that is true and accurate. If you know me at all, you know I love truth. And you also know I apologize freely and publicly when I get it wrong.

The urgency in this case requires the conversation to continue, which creates higher risk of error. I am doing my utmost to avoid that.

*****

Again, please sign the petition. Since it began a few days ago, we are at almost 30,000! Keep the momentum going. Keep sharing even if you’ve signed. Let America know that the children’s well being is of #1 priority. And then, for a little ‘feel good’, sit with the tab open and watch the numbers rise. It’s so satisfying.

And for easy access to the backstory and Melody’s blogs, other news reports etc, I’ve included them  them in my previous blog.

*****

Be careful not to despise — disregard or think little of; not give proper value to — these little children. I’m telling you… their angels in heaven are always before the face of my Father in heaven. ~ JESUS ~  (Matthew 18:10)

The children are safe.

 

As always…

Love,
Trudy

© Trudy Metzger 2019

 

PLEASE SHARE! URGENT: US MARSHALS issue warrant for MELODY BANNISTER’S Arrest!! (The other side of the story)

If the news articles released regarding Melody Bannister’s children being in danger — the case I wrote about a few days ago — is all people know, they will report when they see them and put the children back in alleged danger!

The news stations are only reporting what they have been told; they don’t have the bigger backstory. Therefore I am pushing it as hard as I can, so they and the public are forced to contemplate WHAT THE CHILDREN REALLY NEED. HOW IS THAT NOT HIGHEST PRIORITY HERE?

WMBF News shared an article stating the children of Melody Bannister may be in danger, according to deputies. This is utter nonsense. The mother fled with them after they disclosed horrific abuse by their father (who was then granted custody), their grandfather, and other men.

WPMT FOX43 released a statement saying the US Marshals have issued a warrant for her arrest.

SHARING THE FOLLOWING LINKS IS NOT INTENDED AS AN ENDORSEMENT OF THE CONTENT, BUT TO ALERT THE PUBLIC TO THE BACKSTORY. AND HOPEFULLY ASK OURSELVES WHAT IN THE WORLD WOULD MAKE CHILDREN BRING ALLEGATIONS THIS HORRENDOUS (EVEN IF NOT ALL TRUE) AGAINST THE FATHER AND GRANDFATHER IF NOTHING  IS WRONG. THIS IS THE PART THAT NEEDS TO BE INVESTIGATED. (AND BY ALL MEANS, IF MOM IS GUILTY AND THE CHILDREN DID NOT SAY THOSE THINGS, MOM SHOULD BE DEALT WITH BY LAW). FOR NOW, THE KIDS NEED TO BE CARED FOR AND IF THERE IS TRAUMA WITH DAD, HE SHOULD NOT HAVE CUSTODY.

BANNISTER STORY PART ONE

BANNISTER STORY PART TWO

BANNISTER STORY PART THREE: TRIGGER WARNING!

AND IF YOU FIND THAT STORY UNBELIEVABLE, AND WONDER HOW THE ABOVE ATROCITIES ARE EVEN POSSIBLE, READ THE GHOST RAPES OF BOLIVIA. IT SHOWS CLEARLY HOW SUCH A THINGS *WOULD* BE POSSIBLE, WITHOUT A MOTHER EVER KNOWING. (This is not to say that every allegation made is true. I repeat that this is not my point. My motive is to get people to realize the extent of wickedness that is possible).

UPDATE: People are messaging and asking how it would be possible to use the bullwhip and physical abuse without leaving marks. It’s not that hard. Here is my response to them:

All the abusers have to do is put a protective layer over the children to prevent bruising/scarring, and still have the terror an a bit of pain. It’s not hard. The greatest power these sadists have is controlling the mind, instilling debilitating fear, and making their victims sound ‘crazy’ and their stories not believable. It is their best cover.
 
The Charity church in Ephrata PA (where Mose Stoltzfus was formerly a leader) had a paddle especially designed with holes in it, which they kept in a soundproof room. This, to increase aerodynamics, decrease risk of marks and bruising, and cause serious pain. (And I spoke with a family member of the individual who created it. That’s how I know the purpose and details). In that sound proof room I have numerous testimonies of babies being beaten until they went limp, including infants under a year old.
 
If a *church* (Anabaptist and ‘peace-loving’ at that) can be this conniving, why should we be surprised when others are creative in their sadism?
I reiterate that I do not know what all went on, and what each alleged perp is guilty of.  And I reiterate that even if only 10% is truth, the children need to be protected and heard. (And even IF the mom is whacko and making things up, the children need to be heard). But to write the allegations off as the imagination of children is irresponsible.
*****

WPMT FOX43: US MARSHALS ISSUE WARRANT FOR BANNISTER’S ARREST

DEPUTIES TELL WMBT NEWS: BANNISTER CHILDREN MAY BE IN DANGER (THE BANNISTER CHILDREN ARE NOT IN DANGER. I KNOW THIS WITH CERTAINTYTHIS IS INTENDED TO PLAY ON THE EMOTIONS OF THE PUBLIC. DO NOT FALL FOR IT. PLEASE DO NOT REPORT THEM IF YOU SEE THEM). What has changed in recent days? Mrs. Bannister is blogging. She is telling the children’s stories. And suddenly news stations everywhere are being alerted that her children are in danger! On what grounds?

LIVE PD WANTED Video:
DETECTIVE JAMES WRIGHT (Transcribed verbatim): “We believe they’re in danger because they’re… they be..uh.. be.. belong to a religious organization that … ah… in it’s clandestine nature we just don’t have a whole lot of information on.. and… we’re concerned about the welfare because they’re unable to take care of themselves.. they don’t have any means to take care of them… Melody doesn’t have any means to take care of them…

Given the vast number of cult-like groups where children are being raped, abused, and cases still left for the community to have say, this ‘concern’ is bizarre, in my opinion.

OTHER STATIONS ISSUING THE WARNINGS WHO DO NOT LIKELY HAVE THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STORY (IN ABOVE LINKS), AND WHO NEED TO DO INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING ON THIS, ARE:

LEX 18 NEWS
WYFF 4

WHSV

That seems like a SILENCING TACTIC! So I did my own investigative work. The children are safe. (I will repeat this several times).  I don’t know what of the allegations are true, or if all, but (and I will repeat this) something is wrong. And that something needs to be looked into. 

TO SIGN A PETITION ON THEIR BEHALF: SAVE THE BANNISTER CHILDREN FROM SEX TRAFFICKING

 

*******

No matter how well-intentioned, this appeal to the public to ‘help the children’ is not because the children are in danger. (I have personally confirmed they are safe). It’s because a mother defied the law to do what she genuinely believes is best for her children. I have not yet saId, nor will I say that every allegation these children made is 100% as they say it was. I do not know this; I am not God. But there is nothing believable about young children whose father provides well (over six digit US dollars) and gives them ‘the good life’, making these extreme allegations if they are 100% unfounded.

SOMETHING,.. SOMETHING IS VERY, VERY WRONG! Kids who are loved and respected by parents, and well provided for, don’t give up everything to live on the run ‘just because’. Think it through. Do the math. Be logical. And then bring in SEX ABUSE PROFESSIONALS to help these kids and their mother! 

It may be true that the law found no evidence. That does not negate the validity of the children’s allegations. Children who have not experienced trauma do not have such extreme nightmares, and traumatic aftermath. These children have been interviewed by professionals who say their stories are true. I still maintain none of us are God to know with certainty every detail. But I have worked with sexual violence against children for over 10 years, and I insist further investigation is necessary. At the very least, if the children are that traumatized by their father and grandfather and other men in the community, they should not be returned to the source of their trauma. That is irresponsible.

Anyone who knows me, knows I am 100% FOR REPORTING TO THE LAW.  And I have much respect for many law enforcement officers. But, I will say this… I have yet to meet a law-enforcement officer who is truly an expert in sex crimes. I am not saying they don’t exist, I am saying I have yet to meet one. There is no way they should be the final authority on these children going back to what they say is the source of their trauma. Especially when several professionals have interviewed the children and said they are not lying. Child safety takes priority over the law, and every other thing. We, as adults across the world, HAVE A DUTY TO PROTECT THE CHILDREN at all cost.

Have we learned nothing from the Epstein case… and others? Those with means to commit crimes and ‘make them go away’ are very difficult to prosecute. And I’ve been involved in cases that ‘fell by the wayside’ with undeniable evidence (recorded confession etc). I have evidence for these cases that, if victims would ask me to do so, I would blow wide open and expose what really goes on behind the scenes. (And we all saw how the CAM/JERIAH MAST case was impacted and held accountable when I leaked evidence to the public and the media got hold of that story this summer). We, the public, have a lot more influence than we realize. Let’s use it for the most powerless among us: the children. And if even half of these allegations… nay, if even one tenth are true, these children must be protected! 

PLEASE SHARE!!
Let the public know the other side of this story. Force it into the spotlight. I am only interested in truth and the safety of these children. We owe it to them to LET THEIR CHILD VOICES BE HEARD

As always…

Love,
~ T ~