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Lawsuit Text (with addresses redacted)

This is the filing in its entirety.  However, we felt it best to remove home addresses.  Also, please note:  THIS IS AMERICA, WHERE WE HAVE A JUDICIAL SYSTEM THAT RECOGNIZES THAT ACCUSED PARTIES ARE INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY IN A COURT OF LAW.  This document reflects the plaintiffs’ perspective.

EDITED TO ADD:  For our new readers, this post from last year contains a great summary of the mindset and theological underpinnings that are at the root of the strange pastoral behavior and counsel discussed in the lawsuit filing.

sgmsuit

393 comments to Lawsuit Text (with addresses redacted)

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  1. Very Sad
    October 21st, 2012 at 10:02 pm

    Stunned, was it disclosed by whom the boy was abused? The second concern I have is that it appears that these now young men are either married with children or in relationships. Please correct me if I am wrong on this, but there seems to be no evidence or reason to believe that they got any help at all for their problems. If not, like you said, stunned, it could very well just have become a cycle and being perpetuated even now, and not be found out for another 10 years or more. Heaven forbid! I know God can and does heal, but the way these situations were handled is just wrong. The bible says if favor is shown to the wicked, he does not learn righteousness – didn’t look that up and think it is in Isaiah. Very, very sad indeed. I probably won’t be posting anymore, but with the recent civil suit, these things were weighing on my mind and heart. I do wish the pastors had informed us – I was in a SG church around the times of at least two of the stories I read about and have been in tears about all of it as well as the fact that my children could have been around these boys and I would not have known to protect them. Still just shaking my head, but praying too.

  2. guest
    October 21st, 2012 at 10:16 pm

    Kris & your references/link on the situation w/ CFC from Delco times. You need to update those searches because that man was aquitted and the boy was proved to have lied. That man did go to jail for a while but a judge overturned. Yes that the story happened. He was accused, asked not to come to church, arrested, tried & found guilty. On appeal the judge interview the boy and found out that he lied about where the abuse happened. The man was released from jail. I am sure his life is forever changed for being falsely charged.

  3. Kris
    October 21st, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    guest –

    They weren’t my references/links. Someone sent them to me and asked me to put them up. If anyone has an update on the case, they’re free to post it.

  4. guest
    October 21st, 2012 at 10:36 pm

    Sorry I didn’t mean to say that they were “your” links. Just referring back to your posting them.

  5. Stunned
    October 21st, 2012 at 11:07 pm

    very sad,

    i do believe it was alleged that the boy was abused by an older relative. i don’t know for sure. you’ll need to look it up on the tab which kris set up to share people’s stories. it is under the story of noel and grizzly.

    your name is very apropo

  6. Stunned
    October 21st, 2012 at 11:09 pm

    guest, i wasn’t at Cov Fel by the time this story took place so i have never heard of it. (I had been shown the door before that time.) I’m not clear on whether you’re saying that the boy was not abused, or whether he was abused but by someone else or whether you are saying that he was abused but it merely wasn’t on church grounds.

    Welcome, by the way.

  7. KWIM
    October 21st, 2012 at 11:52 pm

    Acme, there is a possibility we are talking about separate camping trips. The one I am talking about I went to the parents of these kids (a boy was there too) and asked if they were aware of perp#3 being a sex offender. All 3 families said yes they had prior knowledge. Perp# 3’s wife wanted to talk to me a out this, but I refused. I did it the good old CLC way and said I was not in a good enough place to talk to her about this. Still to this day I am not in a place to talk to her about this. She is VERY defensive of him. Like so many my daughter also attended parties at their home with just him and his wife! I was never told until they thought CLC was going to name names at a family meeting. I would like to believe I would have been more understanding if they had told me YEARS ago. At least then I would have known to stay to watch out for the other girls too.
    I know perp#3 and his 2nd wife read this blog because she mentioned it to me. So here’s what I have to say to you.
    1) Wifey you knowing married this man. This is the bed you made enjoy it.
    2) you guys never should’ve had kids together if you were not willing to inform your kids or their friends parents of daddy’s sexual offense status. Oh excuse me his child abuse status
    3) transparency goes all way!
    4) you never get to decide for other parents what they should or should not know. Everyone needs to know you abused your step daughter!

  8. KWIM
    October 22nd, 2012 at 12:03 am

    I get all fired up and can’t type. 3) is suppose to say *transparency goes a long way. If you had be up front with new people in the beginning then you would not have to be scrambling then or now. Also you would have been doing what CLC had required of you to begin with. I also think you might just have a bit more support during these times.

  9. Wizer
    October 22nd, 2012 at 3:56 am

    5 Years #300, sorry this is late. Wow, reading your second post as a follow-up was beautiful. God truly knows our deepest needs which aren’t always sin. For instance, we all struggle with rejection sometimes, indicating we need love. Instead of feasting on Him, we go in all sorts of directions looking to fill our empty love tanks. SGM’s theology would rarely point to the need/thirst but aim instead at the all too frequently used term, ‘fear of man,’ stating we want to be liked, admired, received, accepted by others because of our sinful selfishness, not bec. of legitimate needs. Thank you again.

  10. Wizer
    October 22nd, 2012 at 4:07 am

    Stunned #332, not out of line at all :) Because I went to see trained professionals who provided COMPLETE anonymity, I didn’t have to worry about pastors sharing my case with other pastors and I didn’t take another couple or friend as Andy Farmer suggested people do sometimes into pastoral counseling. Church relationships are wonderful and we need fellowship, but we also need objective point of views into our life, where there are absolutely NO hidden agendas! There are just some things a friend/pastor are not equipped to handle.

    I can HIGHLY recommend the two following doctors in the Delaware Valley: Dr. Barbara Shaffer and Dr. Diane Langberg, whom I have the utmost respect for. Dr. Langberg use to work exclusively with ministry couples on many issues. These two doctors used to be in the same practice. Google either one and you will find them. Dr. Shaffer is in Newtown Square, I believe, and Dr. Langberg is in Jenkintown, PA. God bless and though you, Stunned, may not need it, anyone here, please get help if you need it. You can be free! I would also remind everyone, don’t forget Bob Dixon :)

  11. Julie
    October 22nd, 2012 at 6:45 am

    Ok, so we were at CovFel when that was happening, in fact, I was helping with that Alpha related course I think. Was quite a while ago now but I remember it because it was a little strange. There was a meeting where they told us about what was going on without really telling us what was going on. And then encouraged not to worry or think about it. The man was gone (I seem to remember it being said that he left to go northeast, that he was attending a SGM there maybe?) that nothing was certain or proven, that the police were dealing with it.

    The weird part was we got an odd letter a few months late, poorly spelled, poor grammar, I think it was from the man’s wife. She was accusing the church of slandering her husband and that he was innocent and the church was ruining their lives. When we asked a pastor about this it got chuckled away. But honestly, I didn’t know the man or his wife, but I felt that he was being used as a bit of a scape goat or to make the church look good, like they really deal with this kind of thing well. They were obviously not your typical yuppy, upper/middle class well-educated CovFel member.

    In other words, they weren’t important people and could easily be used badly without anyone really caring. I’m just telling you my feeling at the time. We never could get any more real info about the whole thing from any of the pastors. I’m very sorry to hear that he was falsely accused/convicted.

    That was the ONLY incicent we ever heard about officially during our 7 or so years there, I find it very hard to believe that’s the only incident that ever occurred. I do know one of the pastor’s wives was adamant that her children were not allowed in children’s ministry without her and they were extrememly careful about letting anyone watch their kids. I thought it was odd at the time but now it makes more sense.

  12. Christopher
    October 22nd, 2012 at 7:14 am

    Fooled me once, #349, thank you for the clarification on the Statute of Limitations within Virginia.

  13. Stunned
    October 22nd, 2012 at 7:35 am

    Wizer, thank you for sharing. I hope it can be of use to some around here. And who knows, I may need them, too. Always good to have a resource to call on.

    Julie, that is very sad.

    Another sad thing is that even if an incident didn’t occur while you were there (and who knows whether it did or not) you were there while at least two known child molesters were attending. Yet were you ever informed of this?

  14. Julie
    October 22nd, 2012 at 7:45 am

    No Stunned, we were never told anything about it. I’m assuming incidents did occur while we were there but obviously we never heard about them. We were there long enough in a big enough church that it’s pretty much an impossibility that nothing happened. We were always careful about that kind of thing because my husband was abused as a child and he was very intuitive about it and of course he was very protective of our kids.

  15. Stunned
    October 22nd, 2012 at 7:52 am

    I would like to encourage everyone or anyone who has been involved in not just sexual abuse but also in domestic abuse while in SGM, to contact Susan Burke and tell her your story.

    Almost all of us think, “My story isn’t important. It doesn’t matter.” But it does.

    Adding your story may be just what the judge needs to see that these three situations are NOT just isolated incidents but patterns of abuse that happened over the past thirty years

    I know it’s scary. And I am sure you are doubting if your story is worthy of being part of a class action law suit. I’d just like to encourage you to contact Susan Burke, tell your what happened to you and let her decide if it’s something that can be added to the lawsuit or not.

    I believe you can contact her at sburke@burkepllc.com or 202.386.9622.

    Stunned

  16. Toni
    October 22nd, 2012 at 7:56 am

    Christopher #362 Statue of Limitations are complicated. Each state is different. If you have questions related to this Class Action and a possible abuse case, you should contact their attorney to clarify.

  17. Stunned
    October 22nd, 2012 at 7:59 am

    Good for him being protective of your kids, Julie. I’m sorry he suffered what he did.

  18. QE2
    October 22nd, 2012 at 8:48 am

    Ah, yes, those meetings where they “told it to the church”. Except they rarely told the church anything except the person was under church discipline and they were telling the church. We would leave the meetings going “What the heck did they just say?”
    Maybe even telling the church is considered gossip/slander these days? Paul seemed to have a different opinion…

    My husband talked to a pastor about one person’s bungled “discipline” when the real story was revealed to us later. The pastor admitted he messed up, and gave a reason why he mishandled it.

    On one hand, grace should be extended to those who are truly repentant. But on the other hand, along with the grace, why doesn’t the issue of competency ever arise?

    I think a lot of these pastors are just not competent!! One of the reasons I am out is that I could no longer be a part of the smiling Sunday faces when I knew of all the carnage that was strewn along the road in their wake.

  19. FormerSGPK
    October 22nd, 2012 at 8:58 am

    SGM deserves everything that is coming to them. They have ruined lives and destroyed entire families. I pray that they are finally held accountable for their actions and leadership.

  20. Stunned
    October 22nd, 2012 at 9:02 am

    QE2- Amen in regard to those family meetings!!!!!!!! I remember that they would add, “If you really want to know specifically what the man did, you can ask us privately later.” Of course, it had already been taught and was sometimes mentioned after that, that it was sinful to want to know more and that it showed a great lack of character. But the martyrs that they were, they would tell you if you INSISTED on knowing.

  21. Friendly Observer
    October 22nd, 2012 at 9:35 am

    Oswald — Thanks. The Carter Conlon message is what I’ve been looking for. Should have been easy to find by “intuition,” but I am not very adept technically. The message is, indeed, a powerful call to literally run away from bad and dangerous stuff — an “old-fashioned” call to separation and holiness. The link was posted here originally by (I assume) a zealous and kind “survivor” warning “on-the-fence” people to break ties with the aspects of SGM pastoral and church ministry that were over-reaching and so authoritative as to create bondage, etc.

    I do not have SGM affiliation (though I shared friendship many years ago with a number of PDI pioneers and have friends still in some of the related churches), but the sermon resonates within me as a proper warning about any entanglement that leads to spiritual bondage rather than to freedom in Christ and His “great salvation.” Certainly applicable (again) now in the “atmosphere” resurrected by this lawsuit — and the tragic need for such a lawsuit to bring things hidden (legally, and for so long) to the light.

    Again, my thanks to Oswald and others here who share so deeply and, I’m sure, painfully, from your own experiences. I hope this doesn’t sound shallow or “religious,” but God’s Word tells us of a coming day when He shall wipe away all (read: ALL) tears.

  22. Former CLC'er
    October 22nd, 2012 at 9:56 am

    I do remember a few family meetings and I felt the same as all of you guys – what was that? And a rush of negative emotions. I am so appreciative that, in my new church, they are very upfront about things that are occurring, including hiring new staff (even when they are just interviewing). They also had an incident where the bookkeeper embezzled money, and they handled it so beautiful – informing the congregation, and then working out a system where she can have the minimum punishment and pay the $ back – that I was so impressed with all the staff. That played a big part in me staying at this church. Honesty, plus reconciliation. How refreshing!

  23. Stunned
    October 22nd, 2012 at 9:57 am

    FO, one of my more favorite scriptures. Thank you for reminding us.

    Stunned

  24. Whirlwind
    October 22nd, 2012 at 10:03 am

    There was no mention of the law suit in my SGM church this weekend, though I didn’t really expect there to be. It’s a smaller SGM church and we’re not on the east coast where it seems there’s more “turmoil” within the churches. I have rarely heard anyone express any concern over the problems regarding CJ and the rest of leadership – most people just don’t seem to have it on their radar. Our pastors have privately expressed that some SGM pastors mishandled some abuse cases, but don’t tend to lay any of that at CJ’s feet and they tend to think CLC didn’t handle the situation with CJ in the best manner. I think that’s consistent with what I’ve seen from other SGM pastors.

    I expect we’ll receive an e-mail at some point giving a viewpoint on the law suit that is favorable toward SGM. We may receive something sooner that just acknowledges the suit, but promises more information in the future as the suit progresses. I look forward to seeing what information comes out of the suit that may pull CJ and the other “apostles” into the mix a bit more.

    (I haven’t mentioned what SGM church I attend because I’ve never seen anyone else mention coming from there. Kris, I wonder if you have any information on what churches are represented among the posters on here. I’d find it interesting to see how many SGM churches are represented, but I know publicly posting church affiliation under one’s pseudonym may make them more identifiable than they desire. While I tend to doubt it, I do wonder if anyone else from my church does post on here.)

  25. Guest
    October 22nd, 2012 at 10:50 am

    Stunned #356
    From what I remember hearing that the boy confessed that he had lied that it had be done by the man accused at CFC or even on CFC property. I don’t know if the boy was really abused. Sounds like he must have for the details he shared about what had happened to him just that this perticular case was NOT done at CFC.

  26. Stunned
    October 22nd, 2012 at 11:11 am

    Oh, how sad, Guest! I feel for that little boy. And for the man and his family if they were truly faslely accused. What a horrific thing to have endured!

    It is interesting that the wife wrote a letter to the members, accusing the pastors of using her husband in this situation. I wonder what she meant by it. Did you receive that letter or did someone else here mention it? Either way, TRAGIC.

  27. Anonamous
    October 22nd, 2012 at 11:38 am

    Redeemer Arlington was never a part of SGM. They never signed the membership agreement when they were planted out of CLC

  28. What???
    October 22nd, 2012 at 11:49 am

    Are minds beginning to change at SGM?

    This past week our church talked about Elders and Deacons. They said two things that floored me.

    1) Deacons should be voted in by the congrgation
    2) We will be having deaconesses as well!

    What??? What???

    Did someone finally read their bibles???

  29. Stunned
    October 22nd, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    Praise God for the changes, What??!!!!!!!

    Can you say which church did this? It is awesome news.

  30. Pamela
    October 22nd, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    Anonamyous

    Not sure which Redeemer Arlington church you are speaking of because it is hard to believe that the slick semantics of so called ‘unsigned documents’ when most of the membership and leadership are from CLC. Bob’s Kauflin’s son is the assistant pastor and Eric gave presentations at CLC regarding his vision of bringing the gospel to the 1% in Arlington.

    It was advertised at CLC as a Sgm church plant and sent off as such (though it was delayed because they were trying at the time to control the fall out from the sex abuse scandals going on at the Fairfax church). Most if not all the official leadership is from CLC.

    Please don’t mislead people.

  31. anon
    October 22nd, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    What??? #378 — well, I’ll be a monkey’s butt, pigs do fly, and it must be a cold day in hell. Now THAT is amazing, good news. Now there’s a church I might go to. (and I said maybe).

  32. Jenn Grover
    October 22nd, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    ho funded the Arlington church plant?

  33. Jenn Grover
    October 22nd, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    *Who

    Who funded the Arlington church plant?

  34. anon
    October 22nd, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    FormerSGPK #369, yes, I agree. At this point they do deserve it – being held accountable to God, the church, and the law, like the rest of us. From your name, I guess you would know.

  35. anon
    October 22nd, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    FormerSGPK #369, yes, I agree. At this point they do deserve what comes – being held accountable to God, the church, and the law, just like the rest of us. From your name, I guess you would know.

  36. presbyterian
    October 22nd, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    Saw that this was now posted about on Puritan Board (the go to website for the really confessional reformed). http://www.puritanboard.com/f24/lawsuit-filed-against-sgm-mahaneys-group-76307/

    What stood out was one comment stating:
    “Does it bother anyone else that there’s no mention of this at all from the major neo-calvinist sites representing folks w/in C.J.’s circle? Not a word from The Gospel Coalition, not a word from Challies (though he’s just posted an article recommending a talk from CJ), nothing from Mohler, nothing from Lig Duncon or anyone else from T4G… But several of the same have mentinoed the Dinesh D’Souza kerfuffel.. I don’t have any vested interest in any of these organizations, but I do have a problem when we only aim our attention at those outside our clique and those inside are immune to scrutiny (think back when Thabiti was the only voice from TGC to speak up and criticism over the Elephant Room 2 and MacDonald inviting TD Jakes…)

    Thoughts? Does this bother anyone else?”

    I couldn’t agree more.

  37. Sidney
    October 22nd, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    What??

    Are the elders, or any of them, voted by the congregation? Or are they all the staff pastors and/or lay elders who are chosen by the pastors?

    Don’t be fooled into believing that paid pastors being called “elders” is a “biblical” model.

    Sidney

  38. Anonamous
    October 22nd, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    @Pamela I am not misleading people. Yes, it was planted out of CLC (and so Eric gave presentations). But, they have never paid any money to SGM, and they don’t go to meetings, are not and have not been one of SGM’s churches. It doesn’t matter who is on staff there… they are on their own, they are not an SGM church.

  39. Persona
    October 22nd, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    Anonamous 277

    This is a left-over blurb on the SGM website:

    Redeemer Church of Arlington (Arlington, VA) – Sovereign Grace
    Redeemer Church of Arlington (Arlington, VA). Contact Information. www. redeemerarlington.com 703-672-0093. Pastor Eric Simmons Email. Meeting time and …

    SGM recognized Redeemer as one of their ‘local churches’ and I was at CLC when they sent out the founding members of Redeemer. Whether they ever sent tithe money to SGM, is another question, we would not be apprised of. But, SGM definitely claimed them as their own.

    We should not allow former SGM churches rewrite history, like CJ used to so at CLC.

  40. Anonamous
    October 22nd, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    Someone go ahead and call them and ask then. Then you’ll see I have the correct information. Sorry you don’t believe new people.

  41. anon
    October 22nd, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    Abide in Him #297, thanks for letting us know about the family meeting at GCC where MP and the pastors informed the congregation about the lawsuits. This is good news, certainly unprecedented in the 14 year history of this church, and progress not to be ignored. The culture of silence needs to be broken. I pray open, honest, and transparent conversation continues, not just the pastors TO the members, but BETWEEN MEMBERS.

    Question, does your pastor know you read the “evil” blogs? Don’t you know it’s worse than porn? CovFel thinks so. I know your former senior pastor would not approve of you reading here, either. The sound clip of him repremanding Metro Life at just the thought was, well… (sigh).

    But I applaud you for investigating for yourself. It would do all SGMers and pastors good to read the stories here and quit acting like they don’t exist, instead of being forced to finally acknowledge that something is deeply wrong because of lawsuits against their “family of churches” splashed all over the national media.

    These are child sexual abuse cover-up cases, but the problem IS systemic. There is widespread SPIRITUAL ABUSE of pastors and leadership “lording it over” the flock within SGM, in YOUR SG church – just ask all the people who have mysteriously disappeared over the years. Ask them why. Then google top ten (20, 50) characteristics of a cult. That would be a good place to start.

    We continue to pray for the saints in SGM churches. That they would come into a better understanding of the priesthood of ALL believers and affect change NOW.

  42. presbyterian
    October 22nd, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    Anonamous: If what your saying is true it contradicts the way it has been portrayed by SGM and CLC. If today you go on CLC’s website, on the top is a drop down for area Sovereign Grace Churches, and the first one listed is the Arlington Church.

  43. Square Peg
    October 22nd, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    Defended #312…

    Pornography “allowed?”………………. :wacko:

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