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“SGMnot’s” Story

[Kris says:  The following was submitted by "SGMnot":]

In 1993 our daughter was sexually molested by the fourteen year old son of a close family friend from CLC, while he was babysitting for us. It was a week before her 3rd birthday. [This was about 6 years after exCLCer’s case]  I thank God I had taught our daughter what “good touch, bad touch” is, so she could tell us and possibly protect herself or others from sex abuse. The morning after this happened she came into our bedroom and told us. We were in shock, but for her sake remained calm, and asked her a few questions to verify. [Excuse my bluntness] He had taken off both of their pants and underwear, laid on top of her, fondled her, and French-kissed her. He stopped at this point and did not penetrate her. Her reaction at the time of the attack was to not move or cry out–she was in complete terror. We immediately called the police. We knew it was the law to report any sexual abuse committed against a minor. 

The first thing out of the pastor’s mouth, when we called him was, “Don’t call the police.” When we told him we already had, he communicated that these “things” should be handled in the church, and definitely made us to feel that he was displeased with us going outside the church to the secular authorities for this crime! The pastor called the father and the boy did confess that morning, after denying it repeatedly. The pastor immediately got on the phone with the police trying to arrange for the family to be able to turn the boy into police, rather than a police car to come to their house and embarrass them. From that point on, we felt that to the pastors, this crisis was all about the perpetrator and his family, to keep his identity secret and rally around him and his family, caring for THEM and counseling them as they navigated through the secular legal system and the crisis WE had caused by turning him in. 

We did have one meeting, within a couple of days of the abuse, with the pastor and his wife. They commiserated with us. We felt the gist of the meeting was “yes, this is terrible, it is OK for us to be angry and hurt for a few days or weeks, but after that you need to forgive and forget”! We were told not to tell our care group or anyone. And not talk to the boy and his family. Besides a brief phone call or two after all of this and the eventual “reconciliation” meeting, 6 months later, with that family and the pastor, we had NO counseling or follow-up care for us or our daughter. We had several close family members in CLC and we had close friends who LIVED with us at this time and we couldn’t even tell them! Essentially, we were on our own with all the deep grief, anger, and feelings of violation. We walked through this horrible crisis completely alone, with close family and friends and our care group all around us, having NO idea what we were going through!! God alone was our refuge and we had each other. 

A week or so after the molestation, one of the other pastors called and shared how sorry he was for what we were going through and then asked me to write a letter of leniency, so that this boy would not go to jail and just get counseling [exactly what happened to exCLCer’s mom]. I agreed, mostly because he was only 14 and it was a first offense. At the time, I was extremely vulnerable with the grief of what had happened to our daughter and what this pastor said meant a lot to me, but looking back now I feel manipulated by his words to make sure that I wrote that letter. What if I had refused? [like exCLCer’s mom] Would we have been excommunicated? 

We did not know and could not find out any details from the perpetrator on the molestation, even through the pastor, until the meeting 6 months later. In other words, we did not know if there had been any penetration or how much fondling there had been—it was torture for me as mom and as a woman to not know. I feel that my emotional needs were given “backseat” status to the other family’s privacy and care. We were not equipped by appropriate psychological counseling or advice on how to parent a victim of sexual abuse. Our daughter struggled as a little 3 year old to forgive this teenager’s crime against her. She had nightmares for months afterwards. Many months later, we went for prayer to this pastor and another, and they did pray for her, but they said the nightmares “might” not be from the sexual molestation, directly minimizing my concerns, even though nightmares are a known effect of sexual abuse! 

This is not over. She is now 21 and is a committed Christian, by God’s grace.  BUT she STILL has trouble sleeping alone. She STILL has had seasons of night terrors. She also has other EMOTIONAL SCARS directly related to the molestation and has pursued psychological counseling, now as an adult. Although, we have forgiven and prayed for this boy, now an adult member of CLC, last I heard, the results of his crime on our daughter may be a lifelong struggle for her to overcome!  

I share this with my heart breaking: for her, for us, and for all those others who have been traumatized by the sex abuse cases mishandled by SGM. And I wanted to share our story so that NO ONE from SGM could use our “case” as a supposed “well-handled” pastoral victory, since we mostly cooperated with their advice. AND I wanted everyone to know that the serious effects of any sexual molestation at any age are devastating to the victim and their family for many years. It doesn’t just “go away” after forgiving!  

We were in CLC for over 20 years and served as CGLs for over 5 years and only left a few years ago. We feel that “going public” with this story, that has been a secret sex abuse case in CLC, will perhaps help others to come forward with any other cases. We have not personally confronted the pastors about this, but after hearing exCLCer family’s HORRIFIC treatment by CLC, we felt that they do not deserve that respect. 

374 comments to “SGMnot’s” Story

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  1. Mike Cole
    August 5th, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    @Fried Fish

    or Obliviate :spin

  2. Kris
    August 5th, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    I’m way late to the conversation, but I thought I’d weigh in anyway.

    Many of you have wondered aloud here what might cause these incidents of teens who prey upon young children for “experimentation.” Some have suggested that in one way or another, SGM’s unique combination teachings on romance, courtship, modesty, and men’s and women’s roles have created an environment where teen boys in particular develop twisted ways of expressing their sexuality. Awhile back, I wrote this:

    If we look at SGM’s culture, and how SGM trains its young people to view feelings of attraction and interactions with the opposite sex, I can imagine that at least some kids would develop all manner of weird hangups. SGM kids are trained to think that even something as benign as a young girl’s having a crush on a boy is akin to adultery – after all, on the Mahaney ladies’ Girltalk blog, they recently wrote a post about how the Mahaney girls were taught to view crushes and teen romances as “being in love with someone else’s husband.” Even though the young man in question would probably not be married for years, the fact that someday in the future he WILL be married means that when he’s 14 or 16, he’s already “someone else’s husband,” and therefore permitting oneself to develop romantic feelings about him is the same thing as falling into an emotionally adulterous relationship.

    That’s some very twisted stuff!

    Likewise the modesty checklist, and all the baggage that comes with teaching people to think that even something as prosaic as the way a seatbelt crosses a woman’s chest can be “responsible” for causing a young man to fall into the sin of lust.

    I wonder…and I’m just sort of thinking aloud here…

    I wonder if maybe all the fear that is instilled in these young men about the female form, and about noticing a young woman’s attractiveness, and all the courtship junk and the “must treat all women like sisters until – bam! – one day you select one to marry” teachings – I wonder if all of that training causes some young men to channel their sexual feelings to children so as to avoid the sin of lusting after a mature female.

    I still think there’s probably truth in the idea that SGM’s culture can make teens feel very conflicted about what to do with their natural feelings of sexual attraction.

    However, it occurred to me, as I was thinking about this some more, that the behavior of someone like the perpetrator in SGMnot’s case (and the perps other cases, like Noel’s) is much more about power than it is about sexual attraction. Or (God forbid) “experimentation.”

    The perp’s behavior sounds like that of someone who feels powerless…and then turns around and victimizes someone far more powerless (a toddler) to momentarily have some total control over a situation.

    Maybe a more accurate analysis would also factor in the era of hardcore authoritarian parenting teachings, where instant obedience was demanded and kids who didn’t comply were beaten with glue sticks.

  3. In Adullam's Cave
    August 5th, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    Yes, Mike, they are trying to cast many charms.

    “Pay no attention to the men behind the curtain.”

  4. Roadwork
    August 5th, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    Kerrin!

    It’s good to “see” you! With all the explosions, you might be feeling lost in the shuffle.

    I know we don’t know each other but just wanted you to know that I was just praying for you.

  5. jedi
    August 5th, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    I have a question I keep going in circles, depending on if my child was the victim or the perpetrator. I am torn with what is the right way to handle sexual abuse in church. Has this been answered somewhere I missed?
    What is the proper protocol for pastors when they find out someone has been abused? What should members do when they know someone has been abused and nothing has been done to help the victim? Do other churches offer/recommend/provide counseling after they become aware of the abuse? I have heard talk of calling the authorities, should they be called immediately?
    I guess because we have been told all these years that these things should be kept in the church, and kept only with those involved, I am wondering how should it be handled??

  6. Fried Fish
    August 5th, 2011 at 8:05 pm

    @Jedi #355 –

    I guess because we have been told all these years that these things should be kept in the church, and kept only with those involved…

    The way I understand that, it really concerns me. It would mean that there was a program (official or otherwise) in place to predispose and/or program people toward not reporting abuse… please tell me I’m wrong…

  7. sgmnot
    August 5th, 2011 at 8:33 pm

    Fried Fish #356 — Yup. In fact, my husband and I KNEW ahead of time, that when we chose to call the police FIRST and not the church…there would be flack and disapproval, but frankly, we didn’t trust deep down that they would handle it correctly, even though we did basically cooperate with them with everything else. We were obedient, marchin-in-the-ranks CG Leaders after all! :koolaid

  8. Matt
    August 5th, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    Kris, I think you have hit on something. In SGM it seems there are certain people who have no power at all to make any decisions.

    A very important part of raising kids is teaching them to make decisions and take responsibility for the decisions they make. Starting small with what coat to wear, etc. and gaining in importance and then allowing natural consequences to occur when bad decisions are made.

    But it seems even toddlers in SGM type churches cannot be shy of strangers without being in big trouble. This tells me all feelings are ignored and there is no sense of self control for these kids since everything is controlled for them. Therefore, they never learn to manage their feelings, make wise decisions with natural consequences and they are really non persons.

    Many of them will seek to control something eventually. Control of others is something worthy of obtaining in SGMland. It is modeled.

    In fact, the way SGM handled the teen predator, once again, took away the natural consequences of his heinous crime and taught the predator the he was more important than the little girl he molested . The ignorant pastor even downplayed the seriousness of the crime by calling it experimentation. At the expense of another’s entire life? I am glad I do not know his name.

    Add to this the teaching on strict gender roles as in what women are allowed to do and not do, etc.

    Recipe for total disaster in life at many stages.

    I am amazed that any kids come out of that system with any normalacy at all.

    We can raise kids tht look real good on the outside but are empty on the inside. Our our goal should be that their hearts are pure. We can get compliance out of them with fear but at the risk of them being very immature troubled adults who know how to play the deceitful game very well.

  9. sgmnot
    August 5th, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    Matt #358 — “We can raise kids tht look real good on the outside but are empty on the inside….We can get compliance out of them with fear but at the risk of them being very immature troubled adults who know how to play the deceitful game very well.”

    So true! And your take on the control thing being “worthy of obtaining” and some kids will react to that by acting out and taking control of someone, somehow!

  10. Breeezey
    August 5th, 2011 at 8:57 pm

    @Mike Cole… good post on the timeline :goodpost

    Seeing this visually is GREAT!!! :clap :clap :clap

  11. Yellow is a Happy Color
    August 5th, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    Hey Josh, and CLC pastors–

    I have a suggestion. Can you make available SGM’s policy/protocol on sexual abuse? What is the protocol today? Perhaps it has changed since some of the testimonies shared on this blog. If so, why not step out in good faith and demonstrate some transparency on this issue.

    It would really help CLC members to know where sexual abuse victims really stand in the eyes of the pastors.

    Better some belated transparency in house than a big media exposure to the whole community/nation….. Don’t cha think?

  12. LongingforHeaven
    August 5th, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    Sorry to interrupt the discussion, but Kerrin how goes it? Like other commenters have mentioned, it is good to see you here! I really hope you and your mom are doing well.

    Kris, I am no expert in this area by any mean (NLR, I believe from your very informative comments you have more experience and expertise to perhaps enlighten us) but I have heard that most sexual deviancy is a power thing. And my own experience within SGM has made realize how much power comes into play. I believe SGM can be divided into to the following groups:

    Tier one (power holders, don’t necessarily sell out totally to the teaching therefore can’t understand the big deal of why the others can’t deal with the rules they don’t have to follow and are given a free pass for because of there innate position)

    The big tithers
    The influential (think excutive level)
    The legacy kids or those or marry into the top families/pastors or connected to them
    The persuaders/guys with tons of charisma and hair gel

    Tier two (eager to please, attracted to more power)

    The fundies who love the unspoken rules and give a great show of how the SGM works
    The “fatherless” men and women attracted by the strong even abusive male leaders
    The ‘humble/wimpy’ men who will be loyal to any system that transforms them into the hulk.
    The pretty pliable 18 year old ready for marriage

    Tier three (least powerful group)

    Children
    The older single women who are great for babysitting and enmeshed into the system because they have wasted their time waiting for mr.boy.meets.girl
    The vulnerable and already abused who feel so comfortable with an abusive situation that they don’t even realize that SGM fits everything they are running away from.

    I don’t why but something in the way Josh hande,Ed the questions at the members meetings and the way almost 97% of the people made sure to preface each question with verbose intros of how much they respected/loved the establishment or Josh himself suddenly crystalized this structure and the power play within it.

    Maybe it doesn’t resonnate with others but it made sense to me.

  13. exCLCer
    August 5th, 2011 at 9:24 pm

    Yellow said:

    Hey Josh, and CLC pastors–
    I have a suggestion. Can you make available SGM’s policy/protocol on sexual abuse? What is the protocol today? Perhaps it has changed since some of the testimonies shared on this blog. If so, why not step out in good faith and demonstrate some transparency on this issue.

    :goodpost Good idea.

  14. Longingforheaven
    August 5th, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    Ughh wish I could bold to make it easier to read! Could someone share how this is done?

  15. exCLCer
    August 5th, 2011 at 9:26 pm

    Longing for heaven Surround text with tags to make it bold, or with to italicize it.

  16. exCLCer
    August 5th, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    oops, I meant surround the text you want bold with the html tag that says strong

  17. jedi
    August 5th, 2011 at 9:31 pm

    I think it is more than just the kids looking good on the outside but empty on the inside. I don’t think we can put an age limit on this.

    It is also based on the type of individual, their history,upbringing etc. I know many adults, including myself (for many years), who are empty on the inside but going with the flow and doing all the right things on the outside.
    I believe this is why I am experiencing freedom on one hand, but I have to relearn so much. I have been taught so many wrong things the past 20 years and not disclosing abusive information is only one of those things. Believing that the church is set apart from the world, then I guess, why would we bring in worldy authorities? Why would we talk about these things that are being taken care of by the “right people” or the pastors? Don’t we trust our pastors?? Why do we need to know what is going on? What does that reveal about our own hearts? There is absolutely NO professional help offered to those who have been abused. There is no need, we serve a God who does it all. We just needed more faith.

  18. Guy
    August 5th, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    FWIW, Brent has a new post on his blog

  19. PolyJuice
    August 5th, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    I honestly never thought I would speak about this, ever. I had long since repressed the hideousness of what our family was forced to endure with no support. So as to protect the identity of my child, I will be loose with personal references. As a couple, we were in marriage counseling when we were horrified to be told by our child that a molestation had taken place by another child (same sex). We brought this to the counseling team. Lo and behold, we were informed that this child had molested a number of other children (why this child did not mention our child’s name is beyond me, because it happened on more than one occasion.) A meeting was orchestrated (that my child did NOT want to attend, because it would mean being in the same room with the perpetrator.) This perpetrator was also accompanied by parents and simply read a statement, asked for forgiveness, my child was required to respond and simply mumbled okay. We were instructed that since the perpetrator had “repented” we were not to discuss this with anyone, ever. Fast forward a few years later, and our child was in a juvenile institution for serious issues, including perceived suicidal ideology. I called the youth pastor and our family pastor, since only immediate family and clergy were permitted to visit. The request was refused and I was informed that if my husband did not make the request, it would not be considered. My husband was already furious with the leadership of the church and refused to make the call. My child had to be institutionalized a second time. To this day, this child gets visibly agitated when driving by the church and refuses to ever go in there again. This child lives out of state but cannot trust in a God that not only allowed this to happen, but His representatives completely ignored/disregarded the pain, having never followed up, not one time. (If No Longer Condemned has the audacity to respond to this post, I will have to never come back to this site. The seeming ignorance with which this poster comments is offensive at best. Please spare me any of your lingo/lack of compassion.)I believe that we, as parents, did not know that the children of then-close friends could do such lasting damage, and could we have done anything to prevent it? I rack my memory and I do not think so, but this was during the time of the aftermath of the “therapeutic nonsense” teachings, and there was no such thing as a victim, only an unforgiving/bitter person who has not apprehended the gospel. Thousands of dollars of counseling later, and apart from divine intervention, I do not know how this will end. I just know that God was not on vacation, He loves this child and our family, and that the pastors who turned their backs on us were not God’s representatives; indeed, I do believe that they were not just negligent, they were drinking the polyjuice potion, since their jobs depended on it. I do not fault them, I fault the system. I, myself, would morph into whatever was necessary in order to fit in. No more. I am free to be who God made me/called me to be. And the church, under new leadership since that time, has been a refreshing change. I just want to say that I had no idea that I would have a similar experience as others who have posted here (this is my first visit!) and I am committing each family and their pain to the only one who can bring lasting comfort: the Holy Spirit. That is the best way we can serve one another since we are in anon-land. So I will pray. Also, I know other offenders that are still in the congregation, even after having served time. Although I do believe in the forgiveness of sins, I also will not permit my other family members to interact with these individuals. We all have a fallen nature, and how long is long enough? I do not want to experiment with that answer. Unfortunately, there are earthly consequences to sin. Each of us must walk in those daily. Where we have eternal hope is due to each of those sins not being held against us on Judgment Day. So we must live soberly and not walk around like we have been given a “get out of jail free card” to use as a license for sin. We must accept responsibility for our wrong choices, and make right choices every moment of every day. A righteous man falls seven times in a day, but still gets back up. That being said, if I were to have been a perpetrator, I would rightfully need to walk in ostracization of certain :new socio-economic groups that would resemble my victim. I would wear the scarlet letter P so as to serve others around me. Even if I became a new creature in Christ, my sinful nature would still be there, and I would wish to protect others and also protect myself by “fleeing temptation.” I know I am going to get dinged on this, but I believe God calls us to walk wisely, not with blind-trust-in ourselves or in others.

  20. LongingforHeaven
    August 5th, 2011 at 10:06 pm

    exCLCer thanks so much! Can I also add that your story made me so sorrowful and just ache inside with pain. I wished that you had someone, anyone who could have protected your family and I wish for some kind of justice.

    My heart and prayers are with all the brave souls, sgmnot, happymom, Noel and others who may have shared their stories yet, who have been marred by the evil of sexual abuse.

  21. Ellie
    August 5th, 2011 at 10:08 pm

    LongingforHeaven,

    use before what you want to bold, and then with a /right before the b to end it, like this: (/b) – only with instead of ( )

  22. Ellie
    August 5th, 2011 at 10:11 pm

    ooooookay, use instead of ( ) everywhere I use ( )

    (b)I want this bold.(/b) I don’t want this bold.

    This is how it will look:

    I want this bold. I don’t want this bold.

  23. Ellie
    August 5th, 2011 at 10:13 pm

    Okay they are disappearing on me.
    Use
    everywhere I have used ( and ) in the above example.

    Hopefully this will show up okay.

  24. Kris
    August 5th, 2011 at 10:14 pm

    Comments to close here soon – new post up, with Jenn Grover’s helpful timeline. (She actually emailed me with it a few days ago, but I’ve been away from internet access and haven’t had the chance to publish it until now.)

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