[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.