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Tuesday
Jun042013

The Conspiracy Surrounding Plaintiff Grace Goe at Covenant Life Church

Plaintiff Grace Goe [Olivia Llewellyn-Graham] is one of nine children in the Llewellyn family.  Her father goes by the name “Charlie.”  I’ve interacted with him on a few occasions and I know some of the people who work for him.  Charlie is the President of Llewellyn Realtors in Rockville, Maryland which lists 83 agents on its website.  He is wealthy.  He is an influential member of Covenant Life Church.  And he physically and sexually abused family members according to victims and witnesses.  C.J. Mahaney, Joshua Harris, Gary Ricucci, Grant Layman and others conspired to cover up his alleged crimes.  

Here are the factual allegations put forward by one of his daughters in the Second Amended Complaint under the pseudonym, Grace Goe.  [Olivia wanted me to write this post and provided critical information.  That’s why she publicly commented by name on The Warburg Watch, “Brent is okay to expose my parents.  Truth is truth.” (June 5, 2013)]   

Complaints 152-161 

152.  As Donna Doe was being subjected to the terror of living with her pedophiliac father, Defendants were also forcing Plaintiff Grace Goe to endure constant physical and sexual abuse from her father [Charlie Llewellyn], a wealthy man who was and remains a prominent member of the Covenant Life Church. 

153.  Grace Goe’s father repeatedly beat her on her naked buttocks so harshly that she bled and bruised.  Her father would then submerge her into an ice bath to hide the physical manifestations of the beatings. 

154.  Grace Goe’s father also repeatedly sexually abused her, making her rub his feet, which he then inserted into her vagina.  He also molested her on several occasions by rubbing his hands over her breasts, at times outside her clothes and at times against her bare skin under her clothes. 

155.  Grace Goe’s father engaged in the physical and sexual abuse towards the other children, including the male children, whose penises he repeatedly fondled. 

156.  Defendants Ricucci and Layman learned of the ongoing abuse no later than in or around 1997, when Grace Goe was 13.  At that time, a housekeeper named Mary Burcham reported the ongoing abuse of the Goe children to Defendants Ricucci and Layman, and discovery will show other Defendants.  Defendants Ricucci and Layman met with Grace Goe and her older female sibling, who reported the fact of the abuse to the Individual Defendants and sought protection from their abusive father.  

157.  Rather than report the ongoing abuse to the secular authorities or take any steps to stop the abuse, Defendants informed the father that his children had reported the abuse.  This led to further abuse by the father.  In exchange for the conspiracy of silence, the abusive father paid to send Defendants Mahaney, Ricucci and Layman and their families on vacation to the Kiawah Islands, South Carolina. 

158.  On or about September 17, 2008, Plaintiff Grace Goe again reached out the Defendants, seeking assistance in preventing the ongoing abuse of her siblings. Defendants failed to report or take any other steps to stop the ongoing and severe abuse. 

159.  In May 2010, Plaintiff Grace Goe again sought help from Defendants Layman and Ricucci, as she was concerned that her father was continuing to abuse the children remaining in the house. 

160.  On May 14, 2010, Defendants conspired to mislead Plaintiff Grace Goe into believing that they would finally assist in ending the abuse.  Defendant Grant Layman affirmatively made misrepresentations in writing to Grace Goe, assuring her that “[a]fter the pastors discussed this situation, the bottom line is, we feel a moral obligation to report.” 

161.  Yet this was a falsehood.  Defendant Layman and his co-conspirators again failed to report the abuse, and instead continue to assist the wealthy father in avoiding any consequences for his ongoing abuse of his children. 

Confirmation of Facts 

I’ve been able to confirm the following.  

  • The Llewellyn family left Covenant Life Church in 1996.  They returned in 2008 and began pursuing membership in 2010.  Charlie was denied membership by the pastors but not fellowship in the church.  For all intent and purposes, however, he has been treated like a member since his return. 
  • It appears Grace Goe was motivated to get back in contact with Gary Ricucci (C.J.’s brother-in-law)[1] and Grant Layman (C.J.’s brother-in-law)[2] when her family returned to Covenant Life Church in 2008 (cf. 158) and, then again, when they pursued membership in 2010 (cf. 159).  [That is what Olivia told me.] The time frames clearly coordinate with each other. 
  • Mary Burcham, Grace Goe and her older sister, reported the alleged physical and sexual abuse to Gary and Grant in 1996, not 1997.  Approximately six weeks later, Ms. Burcham’s employment as a housekeeper was ended by Charlie Llewellyn.  Around the same time, the Llewellyn’s left Covenant Life Church. 
  • Soon after they left, Charlie sent the Mahaney, Ricucci and Layman families to the Kiawah Islands in South Carolina on an expensive vacation.  He covered the costs. 
  • No reports of physical or sexual abuse were ever filed by C.J., Joshua, Gary or Grant from 1996 to 2012 with the Montgomery County Police Department or the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Service (DHHS).   

Observations  

  • Complaint 156 implies Gary, Grant and others knew about the allege abuse before 1996.  It says they “learned of the ongoing abuse,” not “they learned of the abuse.”  Mary Burcham, Grace Goe and her sister told them the abuse continued.  That only makes sense if Gary and Grant had knowledge of previously alleged abuse.  This is further confirmed in Complaint 158 where reference to “the ongoing abuse” includes previous knowledge.  
  • Gary and Grant met with Mary Burcham, Grace Goe and her sister in 1996.  C.J. was the senior pastor.  I guarantee that when Gary and Grant “learned of the ongoing abuse” so did C.J.!    
  • I worked with C.J. for 30 years.  Anyone withholding this kind of information from him would have been fired in all likelihood.  He expected to be involved in things of much less importance.  Gary and Grant would have been in huge trouble with C.J. if they excluded him and worked independently of him.  Moreover, Charlie Llewellyn was a friend of C.J.’s.  Gary and Grant would have told C.J. about the allegations on that basis alone. 
  • Complaint 156 says “Mary Burcham reported the ongoing abuse of the Goe children to Defendants Ricucci and Layman, and discovery will show other Defendants.  Defendants Ricucci and Layman met with Grace Goe and her older female sibling, who reported the fact of the abuse to the Individual Defendants.”  C.J. escaped deposition in the civil suit.  Maybe he’ll be deposed in a criminal investigation.  When he is, it will be shown “the fact of abuse” was “reported” to him by Gary and Grant.  
  • The alleged physical and sexual abuse was on-going for at least 17 years according to Grace Goe.  That means there is a long history.  No reports were ever filed by the CLC pastors with the police or the DHHS during this lengthy period of time.  
  • The documented reporting of “ongoing abuse” to Gary and Grant occurred in 1996, 2008 and 2010.  It includes recent history.  Joshua Harris replaced C.J. as senior pastor in 2004 but was still being mentored by C.J. in 2010.  I have no doubt, Joshua sought C.J.’s counsel and input on how to handle Charlie’s return to Covenant Life, his membership in the church, and most importantly, whether to report the criminal allegations to police and the DHHS. 
  • Complaint 160 says, “Layman…made misrepresentations in writing to Grace Goe.”  This indicates physical evidence in the form of an email most likely.  The Plaintiffs’ lawyers would never make such an assertion if Grace Goe was not in possession of that writing. 
  • The writing says “[a]fter the pastors discussed this situation, the bottom line is, we feel a moral obligation to report.”  This discussion occurred in May 2010.  It included “the pastors.”  Joshua had to be part of the decision to report the allegations of physical and sexually abuse to the proper authorities.  He and C.J. knew all about Grace Goe.  Tragically, they never followed through on their moral and legal obligation to report.   

The Conspiracy 

Recently Bill O’Neil, co-counsel for the Plaintiffs’, was interviewed on the Janet Mefferd Show.  He provided an answer that defined the meaning of “conspiracy” in simple terms.  

Janet Mefferd:  Now when you speak of the legal theory you were putting out there to get around the statute of limitations issue; what was the theory you were operating under to get around the statute of limitations? 

Bill O’Neil:  Our focus was on the conspiracy that we believe, and we had alleged in the Complaint, existed through the upper echelons of the church to coordinate not reporting sexual abuse incidents to the police or to civil authorities.  To keep that information compartmentalized within the church so that other church members, church families attending the church wouldn’t know about incidences within their ranks.  So you know our focus was on the conspiracy that we alleged is today even ongoing.  So most of the instances that the church learned about even in the past 18 months have never been reported to the authorities.  

The alleged “conspiracy” is comprised of two parts in this answer.  First, church leaders deciding not to notify police or civil authorities about sex abusers.  Second, church officials deciding not to tell church members about sex abusers.  It’s not complicated.  

The SGM Board of Directors has emphatically stated on two occasions that not a shred of evidence exists to shows a cover up or conspiracy of any kind. 

“Our careful review of the allegations to date has not produced any evidence of any cover-up or conspiracy.” (Statement by SGM Regarding the Amended Complaint Filed May 14, 2013) 

“Let us reiterate that our review of the allegations has not produced any evidence of any cover-up or conspiracy.” (SGM Board: Update on the Amended Civil Lawsuit, May 20, 2013) 

You always have to define terms when witnessing to people in the cults.  For example, when Mormon’s and Jehovah Witnesses tell you they believe Jesus is God and that he died for your sins.  What they don’t explain is what they mean by “God” and “died for your sins.”  Their definitions are completely different than the orthodox view of Christ’s deity and atonement.  They use the theological language of evangelicalism but with different meanings in order to deceive others into thinking they are Christians. 

The Directors on the Board are imitating the cultists.  They are not using the legal definition for “conspiracy” as found in the lawsuit or as explained by Bill O’Neil.  They mean something like the Defendants never had a meeting where they intentionally decided to lie to law enforcement, do all in their power to cover up sex crimes, and actively deceive church members into believing there were no abusers at work in their midst.  Using that kind of definition they can deny “any cover-up or conspiracy.”  But that is not the meaning of the words in the Complaint.  They are trying to deceive just like the cultists.  

I said in my opening paragraph, “C.J. Mahaney, Joshua Harris, Gary Ricucci, Grant Layman and others conspired to cover up his alleged crimes.”  That simply means C.J., Joshua, Gary, Grant and others decided not to report the alleged crimes after discussing the possibility.  In so doing, they “covered up” the alleged crimes by keeping the police and DHHS in the dark.  That’s a legal conspiracy. 

Complaint 161 in the case of Grace Goe says the same thing. 

161.  Defendant Layman and his co-conspirators again failed to report the abuse, and instead continue to assist the wealthy father in avoiding any consequences for his ongoing abuse of his children. 

The factual allegations surrounding the case with Grace Goe provide overwhelming evidence of a “cover-up or conspiracy.”  You only need ask a couple questions to prove or disprove a conspiracy.  

Did C.J., Joshua, Gary, Grant and others talk about whether or not they should report the alleged physical and sexual abuse to the police and DHHS?  If so, what did they decide to do?  Report or not report?  That’s all you need to know to prove or disprove a conspiracy.  Did they talk about reporting?  Did they decide not to report?  If they decided together not to report then they are guilty of a conspiracy. 

It is beyond absurd when the Board of Directors says, “Our careful review of the allegations to date has not produced any evidence of any cover-up or conspiracy.”  They are lying.  There are scores of examples but you only need Grace Goe to prove them wrong. 

The Horrors of Not Reporting 

C.J. is at fault in all of this.  He has directed his pastoral staff not to report sex abusers going back to the 1980’s.  When have the pastors of Covenant Life Church ever reported a pedophile or sex abuser operating in their midst to law enforcement or gotten help for victims by contacting DHHS?  Not with David Adams.  Not with Nate Morales.  Not with the teenager that sexually assaulted Renee Palmer (cf. 95-96).  Not with Grace Goe.  Not with others.  Not ever as far as I know. 

Don Carson, Kevin DeYoung and Justin Taylor from The Gospel Coalition are acting like ignoramuses when they assert the evidence for a conspiracy by C.J. does not exist.  

“As to the specific matter of C. J. participating in some massive cover-up, the legal evidence was so paltry (more like non-existent) that the judge did not think a trial was even warranted.” (Caron, DeYoung, Taylor, May 24, 2013) 

In so doing, they are aiding and abetting someone whose unwillingness to report abusers to law enforcement has allowed abusers to continue their evil craft and devastate the lives of many victims.  There has been a “massive cover-up.”  When has C.J. or any of his employees ever reported physical and sexual abuse to the police and DHHS.  Don, Kevin, Justin, produce the evidence.  Now we are talking “so paltry (more like non-existent).” 

The factual allegations against C.J. should not only be pressed in a Civil Court for damages, they should be prosecuted in a Criminal Court for jail time.  Gary, Grant and Joshua should have defied C.J. when he instructed them not to involve law enforcement.       

Furthermore, Carson, DeYoung and Taylor are being disingenuous.  They mislead their readers when the say the Judge “did not think a trial was even warranted” based upon a supposed lack of evidence for conspiracy.  That had absolutely nothing to do with her ruling.  See “Don Carson, Kevin DeYoung and Justin Taylor Defend C.J. Mahaney Against Charges in SGM Sex Abuse Scandal” (May 25, 2013) for a refutation of their misguided comments.  

Grace Goe and Her Siblings 

Grace Goe and her older sister first went to Gary and Grant in 1996 because they “sought protection from their abusive father” (156).  Not reporting the alleged abuse at the time resulting in “forcing Grace Goe to endure constant physical and sexual abuse“ (152). 

Furthermore, “Grace Goe’s father [allegedly] engaged in the physical and sexual abuse towards the other children, including the male children, whose penises he repeatedly fondled” (155).  There are five sons and four daughters in the Llewellyn family.[The three oldest children are daughters: Brieta, Olivia and Margaret.  All three have accused their father of physical and sexual abuse.] 

According to Grace Goe, “Rather than report the ongoing abuse to the secular authorities [in 1996] or take any steps to stop the abuse, Defendants informed the father that his children had reported the abuse.  This led to further abuse by the father” (157) 

In 2008, “Plaintiff Grace Goe again reached out the Defendants, seeking assistance in preventing the ongoing abuse of her siblings.  Defendants failed to report or take any other steps to stop the ongoing and severe abuse” (158). 

The Llewellyn’s left CLC in 1996 and returned in 2008.  They were involved in other churches during those intervening years.  Did Gary and Grant contact the pastors in those churches to tell them about the allegations of abuse?       

An entire family has been at risk according to three witnesses: the housekeeper, Grace Goe, and her older sister.  All testified to on-going physical and sexual abuse in the family.  It is illegal not to report these alleged crimes.  But worse, it is unconscionable. 

How can anyone claim to be a pastor when he protects the wolves while the sheep are being devoured.  Grace Goe’s childhood and youth were destroyed if these allegations are true.  [That is the way Olivia described her childhood to me.  It was destroyed by physical and sexual abuse.]  That is damnable and C.J., Gary and Grant are partly responsible if true.  It appears these men put the interests of an adult victimizer ahead of child victims.  That is evil. 

The Department of Health and Human Service in Montgomery County, Maryland have a special program called “Victim Assistance and Sexual Assault (VASAP).  They should have been contacted in 1996.  Here is a description of their services. 

“The program assists victims of crime such as rape/sexual assault, homicide, driving while intoxicated--DWI, carjacking, terrorism, torture, hate crimes, arson, larceny, robbery, auto theft and vandalism. The program provides information, referral, advocacy, crisis and ongoing counseling, support and compensation services for victims of crimes committed in Montgomery County or crime victims living in Montgomery County.  Assistance is also provided to the victims’ families, significant others, and men or women who have been victims of childhood sexual abuse.” 

And let me remind you.  Anyone with any information regarding any crime related to SGM should contact Detective Sally Magee of the Family Crimes Division at the Montgomery County Police Department in Maryland at 240-773-5400.  She can also be reached via email at sally.magee@montgomerycountymd.gov.  I’d also suggest you contact either of the Plaintiffs lawyers (Susan Burke at sburke@burkepllc.com or Bill O’Neil at woneil@oneilgroupllc.com). 

Psalm 10:17-18 O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear [18] to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more. 

Favoritism at Work 

I believe Charlie Llewellyn would have been reported to the police in keeping with the law if not for his wealth and relational connections.  Scripture explicitly warns against preferential treatment for the rich and powerful.  

James 2:1-4,8-9 My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show favoritism. [2] Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in. [3] If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” [4] have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?... [8] If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. [9] But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. 

Charlie is a good friend of C.J.’s.  He gave lots of money to SGM and the church.  He brought people into the church with money.  He gave gifts to C.J. like the vacation in 1996.  He is also well connected to powerful people. 

For instance, Charlie is close friends with Chip Grange.  Chip is the senior partner of the law firm, Gammon and Grange.  This firm has provided legal counsel to CLC and SGM for three decades including work on the recent lawsuit for Defendant Covenant Life School.  Charlie has many like connections inside Covenant Life Church and at large in the community. 

Partiality and favoritism are huge problems in Sovereign Grace Ministries.  For example, the Covenant Life pastors demonstrated little integrity and courage in holding C.J. accountable in 2004 and thereafter.  Will they hold him accountable now?  They know he is at the center of the “cover up and conspiracy.”  Will they bring him to justice?    

What would have happened if Charlie was a poor man in shabby clothes.  If he had little money, could provide no gifts to the pastors, didn’t have powerful friends, and was unknown in the business community or prestigious social circles?  Would he have been reported to law enforcement then?  

Turning "Joe six pack" into law enforcement is one thing.  Turning a powerful millionaire into law enforcement is another thing.  The former ends up on the back page of the paper.  The latter on the front page. 

Congregationally Accountable 

The pastors of Covenant Life Church claim to be accountable to the congregation.  One of the pastors, Kenneth Maresco, described it this way.  

All About Our New Constitution
February 2013 

We have described our approach to church government as “Jesus ruled, elder led and congregationally accountable.”  Here are some principles that touch on a sound relationship between the congregation and its leaders and inform our governance:  

  • Leadership is based on trust.  The authority that pastors/elders exercise is limited by Scripture and is intended for edification (2 Corinthians 10:8; Hebrews 13:17). 
  • Church members submission to that leadership is an act of faith toward God.  It is not passive but active.  It includes members’ timely observations, questions, discussion and deliberation as they engage with and affirm the leadership of the elders in fulfilling the church’s mission. 
  • Leaders must resist the temptation to lord it over the flock and also the temptation to abdicate responsibility.  Similarly, church members must resist the temptation to be overly assertive as well as the temptation to passivity regarding how the church is governed.  This is Christ’s church, and we all have our part to play in it. 
  • Leaders must cultivate an atmosphere in which they are approachable and easy to entreat. There must also be a clear process for dealing with charges against an elder.  

—Kenneth Maresco
on behalf of the Covenant Life pastors 

The Grievance Process Committee 

In order to fulfill this commitment, the Covenant Life Church pastors created a Grievance Process Committee assigned the responsibility of adjudicating charges against the pastors objectively and fairly. 

Update on Work of the Grievance Process Committee
June 8, 2012 at 7:04 pm
Kenneth Maresco  

The Grievance Process Committee began meeting in October of 2011 with the goal of helping the pastors create a process that that would both protect members from misuses of spiritual authority and the pastors from spurious charges.  Ken Sande in his article, Accountability: The Mark of a Wise and Protected Leader, speaks about the two dangers of grievance policies (over-protecting a leader and under-protecting a leader).  It is our hope that this policy will help us to process grievances against leaders objectively and fairly...

May I ask you to pray for the work of this committee?  God has been good to provide a group of members whom we can eagerly commend to serve alongside Ben [Wikner] and Joe [Lee] [Ben resigned over differences and Joe was laid off because CLC had to cut expenses due to loss of income.] to help solidify our approach to the handling of grievances at Covenant Life.  Please pray for God’s help and wisdom in bringing the committee work to a fruitful and practical conclusion…

Here are brief bios on the committee members in alphabetical order… Claude Allen… Don Glab… Joe Lee… Clyde Lutter… Kris Marcantonio… Darrel Mordente… Joe Mori… Bill Osburn… Steve Plaisted… Beth Riddlesberger… Paul Rowher… Marlana Titus… Ben Wikner

Well, it is time to put this Grievance Process Committee to work! 

Furthermore, the pastors made the following commitment just after the First Amended Complaint was filed on January 11.   

Pastoral Letter to CLC
January 16, 2013 

We want you to know our commitment is to do what is right before the Lord throughout this process.  We want justice and truth to prevail—whether this indicts past actions or vindicates them.  If wrong has been done, we want that to be revealed and for there to be appropriate accountability. 

The pastors of CLC

Doing right before the Lord includes a thorough investigation by the Grievance Process Committee.  Keep in mind Complaint 160.  It alleges a conspiracy by “the pastors,” not just Gary and Grant.     

“160.  On May 14, 2010, Defendants conspired to mislead Plaintiff Grace Goe into believing that they would finally assist in ending the abuse.  Defendant Grant Layman affirmatively made misrepresentations in writing to Grace Goe, assuring her that “[a]fter the pastors discussed this situation, the bottom line is, we feel a moral obligation to report.” 

This allegation disqualifies the pastors from investigating themselves.  They need to be thoroughly investigated by the Committee.  The scope of the investigation must include C.J. and Gary even though they are no longer a part of Covenant Life Church.  A detailed report should be provided to the church once the investigation has been completed.  “If wrong has been done, we want that to be revealed and for there to be appropriate accountability.”  Consequences should follow if guilt is proven. 

The SGM Board of Directors should ask C.J. and Gary to fully cooperative.  The elders of Sovereign Grace of Louisville should require C.J. and Gary to fully cooperate.  If they refuse this should be documented in the CLC report.  Furthermore, all information gathered by the Committee should be turned over to the police. 

The original Complaint (i.e. lawsuit) was filed on October 17, 2012.  The next day, Joshua Harris was interviewed by Greta Kreuz for WJLA-TV.  

[Kreuz] “Joshua Harris…says the church has never tried to cover up abuse.”  [Harris] “There has never been a policy like that.  We are very committed to involving the authorities.  Our biggest concern is not our reputation or what anyone thinks of us, it is caring for kids well.”  [Kreuz] “But those now suing don’t buy it.” 

A few days later I wrote the following. 

Sexual Abuse and Spousal Abuse in Sovereign Grace Ministries
Monday, October 22, 2012 at 5:45 PM
Brent Detwiler 

Joshua has put himself in the middle of the lawsuit.  He will have to defend his denials on three counts.  One, the pastors have never covered up sexual abuse.  Two, the pastors have a proven record of involving the police.  Three, concern for their own reputation as pastors has never been put ahead of their concern for sexually molested children.  That is a tall order to defend against since four [C.J., Gary, Grant, John Loftness] of eight defendants were pastors from Covenant Life Church.  If these pastors are found guilty, Joshua is found guilty of defending the guilty… 

Joshua Harris claims Sovereign Grace Ministries is devoid of debased motivations like those behind the Penn State University scandal.  I have to challenge that contention.  I think Joshua has failed to apply the doctrine of sin.  Every church is tempted to cover up sexual molestation because no church wants to be cited by the Press for negligence.  There are serious consequences for one’s reputation and income if word gets out that sexual abuse is occurring due to lax policies, or lax enforcement of policies, or negligent pastors who do not prosecute abusers and identify them for the church.  Every church should have a register of child molesters on their website.  The well-being of children is far more important than protecting the reputation of abusers who return to their crimes at a high rate.  Even in churches!   

Joshua said “there has never been a policy” of covering up abuse.  I believe him in one sense.  I don’t think CLC has a written policy forbidding staff or pastors from reporting sex abusers to the authorities.  

He also said, “We are very committed to involving the authorities.”  I don’t believe him.  Why?  There is no evidence.  “Very committed” means there should be a long list of occasions when the CLC pastors took the initiative to report sex abusers to the police and involved DHHS.  They have produced no examples.  

Here’s my question Joshua.  Were you “very committed to involving the authorities” when you found out about the alleged physical and sexual abuse going on in the Llewellyn family?  Did you report it in 2008?  Did you report it in 2010?    

While there has never been a written policy against reporting sex abusers, there has been an unwritten policy of not involving the authorities.  It was set by C.J. and Joshua knows it.  He needs to blow the lid off the conspiracy to not report.  

Two weeks ago in his Sunday sermon, Joshua revealed he was sexually abused as a child.  He also instructed past and current victims of abuse to contact the police. 

“If you have been a victim of sexual abuse or physical abuse, you need to hear this from me.  You need to hear this from God.  You need to believe this that what happened to you is not your fault.  It is not your fault.  You are not the one to blame.  And if you have been abused or you are being abused, I want to plead with you, please go to the police.  Please get help.  If you are afraid to go to the police, go to a friend, and ask them to go with you.  Make that phone call.  There is help for you.... You know right now we are facing this great difficulty as a church and it has the potential to disillusion and confuse and I’ve heard from people this past week who have already made the decision to leave our church because of the allegations.  Maybe you’re in the same place.  Maybe you feel that you need to leave CLC.” (Joshua Harris, How the Story Ends, May 19, 2013) 

This is a start but it is not enough.  It is addressed to victims.  What about the pastors?  Are they committed to involve the police when they suspect physical and sexual abuse?  Will they ask the police to investigate?  Will they get DHHS involved?  

But that is not all.  More needs to be done.  Here is an exchange from my Facebook page. 

Facebook
May 17

Brent Detwiler  The Covenant Life pastors should publicly promise the church they will do all in their power to prosecute the sex abusers that have operated in their midst! Furthermore, they should take strong action against any pastor who obstructed justice, refused to report crimes to law enforcement, failed to alert others in harm’s way and thereby contributed to molestation of other children.  They must hold C.J. accountable.  All this happened on his watch.  He was complicit in covering up the activities of sex abusers and they now know that to be true.  They can’t remain silent.  In addition, they must clearly state their policy on reporting suspected pedophilic crimes to law enforcement and also their policy on warning all families of pedophiles in the midst. 

Pete Berry  Brent, the CLC pastors have specifically said they will NOT warn families in their midst.  I have the emails.  Further, to my knowledge, they have yet to even acknowledge that any are present.  As of February 2012, there were at least 4 pedophiles at CLC and the congregation was not told.  I know because of my position on the greeting team at the time.  The four were the ones I was told about.  There are more.  That doesn’t count [two alleged abusers cited in the Second Amended Complaint].  The policy of not even telling the congregation of their existence let alone their identity was one of the drivers in my family and me leaving in June of 2012.  

Brent Detwiler  That is outrageous.  CLC cannot possibly protect families against pedophiles unless they are informed.  That means all the children at CLC are vulnerable.  The next time a child is molested because parents were kept ignorant by the CLC pastors, the parents should press criminal charges against the pastors. 

Final Remarks 

Mark Dever, Ligon Duncan, Albert Mohler, Don Carson, Kevin DeYoung, and Justin Taylor have rallied around C.J. and proclaimed him the ultimate paragon of virtue.  He is blameless.  The victim of slander.  The suffering servant.  He bears no responsibility for the horrors described in the lawsuit.  There is not one shred of evidence against him.  None.  

Meanwhile, I rather imagine Grace Goe suffers alone in the shadows of her abuse.  Does she have any kind of a support system?  Who is rallying around her?  Who is comforting her as she ponders the dismissal of all her Complaints?  Her soul must be in great agony watching those who could have stopped her alleged abuse held to no account.  She in turn is left to deal with the traumatic effects of betrayal by the those God intended to protect her.     

She is the real victim.  May the example of Christ comfort her soul.  God grant Grace Goe abundant grace! 

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[1] Gary provides pastoral care for the students and their families attending the SGM Pastors College in Louisville, KY.  He is also an elder in C.J.’s church – Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville.  Gary’s wife, Betsy, is C.J.’s sister.

[2] Grant remains at Covenant Life Church.  His older sister, Carolyn, is married to C.J.  

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