Category Archives: 2016

How Sexual Predators Choose Child Victims: Part 1

How do you identify a predator? (CAUTION: Graphic content)

You may live next door to one, car pool with one, work with one, attend family get-togethers with one; or even live with one. They could be your child’s teacher, doctor, coach, spiritual mentor, youth leader or club leader. We live among them.

If you are to unknowingly observe a predator you may see: A cheerful smile, a joyful attitude, compassionate care, a generous giver, a dynamic speaker, an innocent joker, a spiritual giant, a prayerful parent, or a concerned friend. Many predators have the ability to hide, blend or put on a good act. A predator is capable of separating their sexual deviance from all other aspects of their life. They can be all those good things most of the time and a predator occasionally.

We live in a world which is full of evil but even evil can have a nice side; an attractive side.

We must remember the entire issue regarding childhood sexual abuse is purely a spiritual battle and it isn’t entirely about sexual gratification; it’s about control.

Ephesians 6:12 (NIV) For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

John 3:19 (NIV) This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.

John 8:12 (NIV) When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

John 12:46 (NIV) “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.”

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How can parents protect against child predators? The sad fact remains; there is no full proof guarantee our children will never be abused no matter the measures we take to keep them safe. Statistics say 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 5 boys will suffer sexual abuse before the age of 18. Even in the Christian community.

Since knowledge is power, and I know you as a parent want the power to protect, I am going to pass on to you the knowledge I have gained through life experience and prolonged study.

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There are clues to look for and safety guidelines to live by. There is the power of prayer and there is the importance of talking openly with your children. If you need help talking with your child about their God given gift of sexuality; I have two links to Reviving Our Hearts with, Nancy Leigh DeMoss, where she interviews Josh McDowell. I thank my friend, Debbie, for bringing this broadcast series to my attention. I found the podcasts to be life changing in how I talk with my two young boys about the culture around us.

Josh McDowell: “We cannot raise our children the way our parents raised us—not in the light of the Internet.”

“. . . develop a close relationship with them (your children).” He recommends that we begin the conversations when our children are young.

Josh McDowell says when we do become aware of an issue, “Here’s the key, as a parent, not to become judgmental, not to shame.

You may listen to the interview or quickly read the transcripts. The links are at the end of this post.

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Due to the length of today’s topic I am breaking it in to three segments. The first part for today is, “How Sexual Predators Choose Victims”, Part 2 “Protecting Children from Predators”, Part 3 “Symptoms of Child Sexual Abuse”

How a predator chooses their victim. (Not a conclusive list and is somewhat dated. I believe with the rise of internet pornography, many predators will be younger and quicker. They will just do it.)

  • Looks for a child lacking close family relationships. Often preys upon children from split homes; especially children of single moms who are working multiple jobs while providing for their children. Lack of parental supervision provides opportunity.
  • Offers to provide free babysitting or fun outings for your child; without you present because it provides opportunity for victimization.
  • Often times molesters know the children are vulnerable because they know the family, or a parent has confided in this trusted person about the child’s mental state. They are very calculatingly deliberate in gaining the child’s trust. This is the most important aspect to help them accomplish their sexually gratifying goal.
  • They target victims who are undervalued by their community; the church, the school, the neighborhood.
  • They target victims in settings where they have authority or leadership over their victim.
  • Once the process has begun a predator can strike anywhere. It can be as simple as being left alone with the child for a moment, a few minutes or an hour. Molestations have happened in doctors’ offices with the parent present. Children have been molested underneath the dining room table while sitting on an unknown predator’s lap. A predator in the mood and who has a moment of opportunity can victimize by touch, fondling, showing a pornographic image or exposing their genitals. It’s quick and it’s over before you return to the room from retrieving food to serve to them or taking a phone call in the next room.

In January 2010, Oprah Winfrey sat down with four admitted child molesters and their therapist, Dawn Horwitz-Person, for a frank discussion about the cycle of abuse. Read more here:…

These predators admitted:

  • It is a high percentage (90%) of molesters who know the child/children they molest.
  • Molesters like to pick children of close friends or family members; especially children who rely on them.
  • Molesters target vulnerable children.
  • Molesters will tell the child they love him/her. They also look for children with a poor parental relationship and attempt to be the good trusting adult in the victim’s life.
  • If the molester can manipulate the victim and make the act feel good it confuses the child and makes them think it is their own fault.
  • According to these men, the “grooming” process starts early, and at first, it is subtle.

Taken from: Child Sexual Abuse: 6 Stages of Grooming, By Dr. Michael Welner

Read more here…

The typical offender is male, begins molesting by age 15, engages in a variety of deviant behavior, and molest an average of 117 youngsters, most of whom do not report the offense.

Predators will (look for a victim through these avenues; including via the internet):

  • Prey on teen’s desire for romance, adventure, and sexual information
  • Develop trust and secrecy: manipulate child by listening to and sympathizing with child’s problems and insecurities
  • Affirm feelings and choices of child
  • Exploit natural sexual curiosities of child
  • Ease inhibitions by gradually introducing sex into conversations or exposing them to pornography
  • Flatter and compliment the child excessively, sends gifts, and invests time, money, and energy to groom child
  • Develop an online relationship that is romantic, controlling, and upon which the child becomes dependent
  • Drive a wedge between the child and his or her parents and friends
  • Make promises of an exciting, stress-free life, tailored to the youth’s desire
  • Make threats, and often will use child pornography featuring their victims to blackmail them into silence

*Enough Is Enough, “How Do Predators Groom Kids?” Internet Safety 10

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One may add to the pedophile’s check-list, which does not necessarily mean a preference for girls or boys: A  particular eye color, hair color, physical build/body shape, age range, or type of clothing a child might wear. (See Toxic Tuesday: Pedophile or Molester?) 

Next time I will address: Protecting Children from Predators.

Lynn Messer’s note handwriting comparison

(Above: Handwriting analysis photo credit by Person Education, Inc.)


This is a continuation in a series of articles on the disappearance and death of Lynn Messer. I am sharing pictures of old notes I received from some of Lynn’s family members. These pictures include copies of notes allegedly written by Kerry Messer and Lynn Messer.

Lynn Messer, disappeared July 8, 2014. We now know that Lynn has been deceased the entire time and I have been told by law enforcement that Kerry Messer, her husband, has not been cleared in the investigation surrounding Lynn’s death.  Kerry is a Missouri state lobbyist who represents family, homeschooling, right-to-life, gun safety, and Christian/Biblical values.

Detective White, of the Ste. Genevieve County Sheriff’s office, told me a few months ago that he would no longer talk about or answer questions surrounding the case and he has stayed true to his word. This does not frustrate me but encourages me to think that law enforcement is protecting the integrity of their case. I’ve seen similar cases take years to prosecute, even when they knew from the start the truth and had evidence to secure an arrest. Although interviews and an arrest are important, in many cases law enforcement has an end in mind. For the investigation I was familiar with, the end goal was a conviction and a conviction is what they achieved.

A portion of letter (below) is reprinted with permission.
Aarron and Abram Messer have cowritten public letters and posted them under notes on Aarron Messer’s Facebook page.
Aarron and Abram Messer, Wednesday, November 30, 2016.

“Week before last during an interview my father seemingly opened his wallet and showed the world a note that my mother allegedly left when she disappeared on July 8th, 2014. That’s it right up there. Of course that’s not all of it. As Kerry said in that interview he couldn’t share the other half because it wasn’t addressed to him. My daughter commented to me the other day almost nonchalantly ‘grandma didn’t write that.’

‘What do you mean?’ I asked and she said what I have thought and wouldn’t couldn’t say out loud, ‘grandma didn’t call grandpa, Pa… she called him Pop. Grandpa would get so frustrated and correct her because he wanted to be called Pa, but she called him Pop.’

It’s true and it’s just one of many questions and problems with the truth about this note that my dad has now shared.”

I received the below notes from some of Lynn’s family members who in hind-sight, came to the question…was the reason Kerry kept the note a secret and wouldn’t show the entire note because he knew family would see the differences in the penmanship and refute all of the handwriting belonging to Lynn? (I have not independently verified the authenticity of the notes, but I did receive them directly from family members. I do have copies of the entire notes/letters which support the accuracy of ownership).

#1: Note allegedly written by Kerry Messer
#2: Allegedly written by Kerry Messer

#3a: Allegedly written by Kerry Messer

#3b: Same as above with printed numbers for date. Allegedly written by Kerry Messer
#4: A copy of the note Kerry Messer turned over to law enforcement alleging it was written and left behind by Lynn.
Photo Credit: DailyJournal Online, Full Kerry Messer Interview
#5: Lynn’s alleged handwriting on the bottom of a family member’s slipper.
#6: Allegedly Lynn’s handwriting

#7: Note written by Lynn to Elizabeth

#8: Lynn’s cursive writing in a note to Abram.

Some of Lynn Messer’s family members think the note Kerry turned over to law enforcement is not entirely written by Lynn. The note has different parts written in different inks at different times. It leads to the question, are parts of the note written by different people?

I’ve never taken a hand writing analysis class so obviously my opinions are mine alone. In the note that Kerry says Lynn left behind, the ‘a’s all look different from one another. The ‘o’s and ‘0’s look more round where the ‘o’s in Lynn’s notes look more oblong. The ‘m’ in the note looks more like the ‘M’ in Kerry’s signature than Lynn’s writing. The ‘p’ in the note does not look like Lynn’s ‘P’ on the calendar and is formed more like the ‘P’ Kerry signed at the end of the letter.

Questions surrounding the note and the authenticity of the handwriting may someday be answered since the FBI had been involved with different aspects of Lynn Messer’s case.

*Disclaimer: There have been no arrests made in the disappearance of Lynn Messer. Kerry Messer remains innocent of any charges. I am not claiming guilt; but simply pointing out concerns which are of my opinion. See disclaimer in the margin.

Read more: The Lynn Messer case

or type ‘Lynn Messer’ into the search bar

Abusers, Denial, and 10 Tips From Their Playbook

I keep writing about abusers because once you know one, live with one, survive one…you can see patterns of abusive personalities in society.

This is one of the reasons I took on the Lynn Messer case which you can read about here. I thought I was possibly seeing glaring red flags of Lynn being the victim, not survivor, of domestic abuse.

Understanding abuse is like understanding a football playbook. Abusers have a built in playbook and if you know the signs you understand the lurking danger.

Abusers can be found in different settings: domestic, clergy, spiritual leadership, athletics, educational, family court, or anywhere in society. They follow the same playbook/guidelines regardless of where you witness them.

Today I’m comparing what I know to what I saw in
Gayle King’s CBS interview with R.Kelly last night. Singer/songwriter Robert Kelly (R.Kelly) is charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault, with children and underage girls, dating back to 1998. He is also accused of holding women against their will in a so called sex-cult. Court documents show three of the victims were between the ages of 13 and 17. At the time of the alleged crimes, Kelly was at least five years older than these victims and there are other allegations that include a child.

R. Kelly’s reactions are typical among abusers, regardless of their background.

Play #1: It begins with denial, repeatedly reaffirms denial, and ends with…denial.

R. Kelly was explosive in his denial but denial can look different from abuser to abuser.

Here are some acts of denial I’ve seen:

  • Angry and hurt…becomes silent.
  • Angry and violent…hoping fear and wanting to maintain safety will stop the conversation/confrontation, or achieve agreement.
  • Calm and positive…they believe the victim has problems and they are willing to give said victim time to heal.
  • Befuddled….turns accusations against them into questions while placing the focus on victim/interviewer.
  • Reflectful and prayerful…toward the victim who is obviously emotionally unhealthy.
  • Angry but calm…spins the story.
  • Hang their head, shake their head, roll their eyes…because some people are just too stupid to understand the lies.
  • Condescending with a straight face…while explaining why they were justified to do what they did.
  • Sad and hurt…cries.

These are all forms of denial even though many do it with an air of believability.

Please understand that any emotion mixed with tears IS NOT because the abuser is sorry for what they did. It is from their frustration of their specialness being called into question; their sin or crime being brought into the light of truth. They believe they are above moral code and law and shouldn’t have to answer to anyone. (This is especially true of individuals with narcissistic personality disorder). The tears are not for the victim and not from remorse of doing wrong.

“When we do not understand an abuser’s capacity for deceit we make it is easy for the offender to continue in deception and sadly, often call it ‘grace’.  If it lacks truth then it is not grace.”  ~Diane Langberg

Here is a detailed list of denial from an abusers’ playbook:

  1. Select, groom, and brainwash your perfect victim.
  2. They (abusers) are the real victim.
  3. The person speaking truth is made to be the liar.
  4. The offender is the good, healthy, benevolent person.
  5. The victim is retaliating for vengeance, money, or notoriety.
  6. Believes the heart of their motive has been misunderstood.
  7. Judgement has fallen on them for conduct that was ‘private’ and should never be made public.
  8. They deny all private abuse or explain why it was necessary or beneficial.
  9. There is one way to do anything and everything and it’s their way. To them this is perfectly normal and logical.
  10. They hold power over the victim they claim is victimizing them.

How do we know if an abuser is rehabilitated? Conviction, repentance and change all have to take place. This is the only way you will know if your abuser is sincere.


Don Hennessey, relationship counselor and former director of the National Domestic Violence Intervention Agency, refers to abusers as psychephiles and lumps them in the same category as pedophiles when it comes to recovery. Statistics agree that abusers stand little to no chance of recovery because they don’t believe they have a problem, and “I’m sorry” isn’t in their vocabulary.

We all know that pedophiles target children for sexualized abuse.” Don Hennessy coined the word psychephile for the man who abuses his intimate female partner. “A psychephile targets the psyche of the woman he has selected as his target for a long term intimate relationship.”

Link to Gayle King interview here… (it has been broken into several shorter segments so you will need to scroll down to watch all of them).

Abuse of Faith part 3: 10 reasons abusers keep preying

This is my response to the Abuse of Faith series published by the Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express News. They did an exceptional job investigating and reporting on a job the church should have done. Although bloggers have been investigating and reporting abusers to church leadership for years; while repeatedly ignored or slandered; I’m grateful for someone who had access to a corporate bank account, the time, intellect and leg work of multiple journalists , the determination to go after this and see it through to the end, and a large enough audience to capture the nations attention with one publication.

How do these serial offenders continue on in ministry?

  1. They are master liars.
  2. People don’t want to be inconvenienced with the burden of time it requires to pass on information, go to interviews with law enforcement, or keep track of records.
  3. Not all victims tell of their abuse.
  4. People who have heard the truth continue to be character or professional references for the abuser/criminal.
  5. Their ordaining church refuses to revoke the abusers ordination certificate.
  6. In many cases denominational leadership lies to cover for their own.
  7. Christians are notorious for treating crime as sin. All crime is sin, but not all sin is criminal. Crimes must be reported to law enforcement.
  8. Churches misapply, “When one of you has a dispute with another believer, how dare you file a lawsuit and ask a secular court to decide the matter instead of taking it to other believers!” I Corinthians 6:1 (NLT). This does not apply to domestic abuse and criminal actions.
  9. Churches and colleges are afraid of being sued for slander/liability
  10. When a new church calls an old ministry for employment verification the old ministry doesn’t tell about the allegations or charges; or references aren’t ever checked.

I get how some people find victimization hard to imagine. As time passes the human condition is to forget, minimize, or think we surely are remembering incorrectly.

If I had not journaled my history of abuse and journaled about my ex-husband, Steve’s, criminal issues I think I would believe I had over reacted. Much of this is due to what a fabulous job he did gas-lighting me; lying to me through the years. To this day, if you left me alone in a room with him for an hour I have no doubt that by the time he finished spinning his story of arrest, trial, conviction, and prison time; I would believe he is innocent and was set-up by an angry and vindictive individual or family from his church. Most likely, set-up over something as simple as they didn’t like the style of music he was using, they didn’t like that he had moved the communion table, they were mad that he didn’t take their side during a church business meeting, or they didn’t like his lesson on the plan of salvation.

Here is a response I received from a friend who was a willing accountability partner for my ex-husband when we were still married and I was trying to save my marriage. This man had flown to town to confront my husband about his mental state, sin issues, and need for professional help. He had asked to be kept updated on doctor appointments, progress and prayer needs but the pedophilia information I received from Steve’s psychiatrist proved to be, unbeknownst to  me, the last straw. I kept him updated through email. Here is the reply I received via email:

Carolyn-

I understand that life has been difficult for you. But please don’t make it more so by continually pleading your case in the court of public opinion. Whenever I hear from you it is a constant stream of bashing Steve. I’ve not said anything before, but now I must. Steve is my friend. I know he is not perfect, but then again neither are you or I. It’s almost as if you’ve been building a case against him ever since the first hint of problems last year. Your husband has always been different. Always. He was when we were in college. He was when you fell in love with him and married him. He is now. He could make us laugh like no one else. His nice guy looks and golden vocal cords along with his love for God and the church made him a joy to be around. All he ever wanted was to succeed for God. That dream appears to be a long shot now. But give him some dignity. Stop confessing his sins for him. You said in the email that you have been able to help some women whose husbands have left them, as if that is your situation.  Carolyn…he didn’t leave you.

If you made a mistake marrying Steve, say, “I made a mistake. I left him because I couldn’t take him.” Don’t write husband bashing emails. What good is that doing??? Are people lining ups saying, “Poor Carolyn,” and that’s helping you? If so, then something’s wrong there.

In love (for all three of you), Tim

I’m including this as an example of how offenders slip through the cracks. This friend, Tim Liston, is a pastor at a mega-church in Pearland, Texas. (I considered him a friend, and his wife was one of my dearest friends, but after the above email we never contacted each other again). I was told after my ex-husband was arrested that Tim continued to be a reference on Steve’s resume. Other friends with whom Steve attended Ozark Christian College in Joplin, Missouri, including David Rutherford another mega-church pastor in Fresno, California, were also references listed on Steve’s most recent resumes. I understand that Tim didn’t believe me, but he knew Steve was seeing a psychiatrist for serious mental health problems. Tim should have disclosed this to prospective churches or told them to ask for full medical disclosures before hiring him.

Steve’s ordaining church, mega-church, Johnson Country Christian Church, now known as Legacy Christian Church in Kansas never contacted me and never revoked Steve’s ordination certificate. Founding pastor Ronnie Epps and his wife Darlene were at the trial supporting Steve and were available as character witnesses should the defense need them. They also never attempted to contact me and ask why I left Steve or had his parental rights revoked.

Churches across the nation are failing to protect children.

Another friend from ministry who was also attempting to help Steve to recover his integrity and mental health, and to save our marriage called Ozark Christian College to disclose the psychiatric problems and the marital problems so they would keep Steve off of the listing of available pastors looking for jobs or weekend supply preaching opportunities. Again, Steve fell through the cracks and managed to find more weekend preaching jobs and two full time senior pastor staff positions through Ozark Christian College, both of which led to victimizations of young children.

Civil cases were recently won against Steve and Community Christian Church in Independence, Kansas, for the abuse that happened to 3 year old and 5 year old boys. Steve was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for 25 years, under the guidelines of Jessica’s Law. Law suits against Ozark Christian College are pending.

Here is a letter from White Fields Evangelistic organization who invited Steve to travel internationally as an evangelist working in orphanages. I knew Reggie Thomas and his wife Esther when I was in my early to mid-twenties and spent time with them at North American Christian Conventions. I was surprised they never looked into why Steve and I were divorced or why he never saw his own biological child. Here is a letter Reggie wrote to their supporters. I find it interesting that he didn’t disclose the type of charges for which Steve was arrested. He knew…but didn’t share…

In past years you have read of Evangelist Steve Butler in White Fields newsletters. Steve joined White Fields as an Overseas Evangelist several years back and served honorably and successfully winning many souls to Christ. Steve was not full time, he was part time. His full time service was as the Minister of the Christian Church in Independence , Kansas , where he preached and was loved by that congregation for over 6 years.

One year and a half ago Steve was suddenly arrested and jailed in Independence and he has remained in jail ever since. Many of us are grieved because we believe Steve is 100% innocent of the charge that has been made against him.

We are asking all Christians to pray for Evangelist Steve Butler. He is your brother in Christ. He was baptized as a boy by Ronnie Epps at the Johnson County Christian Church in Overland Park , Kansas , where his father and mother were among the founding members of that church. Steve was also ordained to the ministry by the Elders of the Johnson County Christian Church after graduating from Ozark Bible College in Joplin, Mo.

Steve’s trial will take place at the courthouse in Independence, Kansas, the first week of August. Several of us who live in Joplin and surrounding towns plan to be present for the trial and will be in constant prayer that God will lead the Defense Attorney to accurately present Steve’s side of the story. Please pray for Steve, pray for his wife Cheryl, pray for the Judge and for each member of the jury. Pray that Steve may be acquitted so he can continue his effective work as an overseas evangelist.

Thinking about the Apostle Paul.

During Steve’s incarceration I have often written to him and he has written many letters to me. Receiving a letter from Steve in jail is very similar to reading Paul’s Prison Epistles in the New Testament. I want to share with you one of Steve’s letters:

“Dear Reggie and Esther, Thank you for the wonderful and encouraging letter I received from you. I so much appreciate the news of our White Fields evangelists’ work around the world. I am keeping these in my thoughts and prayers—and hope to join you in the work again soon.

How could I possibly express how thankful I am to both of you for watching out for, comforting, and encouraging Cheryl through these terribly difficult times? May an abundance of grace be credited to your account. (Philippians 4:16-18).

Jail has exposed me to men who have engaged in the worst of all behaviors. Many brag about their addictions to drugs and sex—the most lewd descriptions I have been forced to hear. It is sickening to hear it day after day. The word to best describe it is TORTURE!

The good news is that one-by-one, they have come to me and asked questions about the Bible. There are moments of shame and despair. I pray throughout the day for all of them—for the Lord to reach their hearts.

One man, convinced that “all men are equal,” (not believing that anyone was better than him) _ he reacted violently toward me when I said, “Yes, I believe there are some who are better than others.” I used examples like Noah and Job and Enoch and Elijah. He nearly hit me he was so angry; he said that I was Satanic. Then after telling him that I loved him, I left the room. Later that day, I handed him a Bible reference…”Consider others more important than yourselves…” (Philippians 3:2). It amazes me how so many do not esteem others beyond themselves. Needless to say, there is little to no respect for authority.

I have always had “heroes in the faith”. These men refuse to consider anyone as being better than themselves. While I understand that “all have sinned” and “all need the Savior”, there are many who are “walking in a manner worthy of their calling.” We are to “Give honor to whom honor is due.” These are foreign concepts; they demand respect, but often forget to give it.

The hardships are discouraging, and sometimes I lose hope—but my faith is strong. I cannot deny the Lord’s word, nor can I deny His faithfulness.

Thank you again for all you are doing to help us in this difficult situation. I believe the Lord will deliver me home and restore my joy.

I love you both beyond words, Steve Butler, Psalm 103

OUR APPEAL IS THAT A LARGE ARMY OF PRAYER WARRIORS WILL SURROUND STEVE WITH YOUR PRAYERS TO GOD FOR STEVE’S ACQUITTAL.


In the case of the SBC; It will take years to know if there is sincerity. Their actions will tell; not words alone.

So, in the meantime, I appreciate the writings of men like SBC’s 62nd president J.D. Greear and Dr. Moore president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. I will remain hopeful yet it will take years to know if this is sincere. They are saying right things, but it doesn’t make up for the decades of cover-ups, lies, and inaction.

Will there be an apology to investigative blogger Dee from Wartburg Watch, or to Rachel Denhollander? The SBC assassinated their character when they brought up C.J. Mahaney and asked you to confront him and deal with the Sovereign Grace Ministries abuse cover-ups. It saddens me that it took the national media to force you to deal with all of this. Have you considered how your previous denial and inaction have retraumatized already victimized children and could contribute to them not coming to faith and keep them from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?

I wish you well and I will pray for meaningful success for the SBC, which needs to include an international and inter-denominational sexual abuser and clergy discipline data base; as well as, mandatory training for all church, seminary, and parachurch organizations. I also pray for long-term healing for the survivors, which needs to include apologies and restitution from the church.

02/14/2019, 11:00 P.M. update. Click here…
SBTS President Albert Mohler Apologizes for Supporting C.J. Mahaney; church at center of sex abuse scandal.

Representatives of For Such A Time As This Rally will be in Birmingham for the 2019 SBC Annual Meeting, June 11-12, 2019.

Here is the 3rd part of Abuse of Faith: Preying on Teens

Abuse of Faith: The SBC part 1

Abuse of Faith: part 2

Abuse of Faith: Part 2

Offend, then repeat. (Part 2 of the Houston Chronicle report)

This is an age old story with new victims every day. I’ve seen it, lived it…as in been on the receiving end of it, and now I speak out against it and advocate for victims and survivors of it.

When I separated from my former husband, who was a senior pastor and had recently been fired from a ministry, he continued to supply preach on the weekends. I left him for multiple reasons; refusing help for his mental illness and personality disorder, sexually abusing me, crossing lines with our child, fearing for my life and the life of my child until the last night I spent with him. I knew if I spent one more night it was possible I wouldn’t live to tell about the next morning.

Enter his new ministry. On weekends he supply preached/filled empty pulpits, and one particular weekend it was for a small church in a rural community who didn’t have a pastor. They loved his dynamic preaching so after church the elders took him to lunch and discovered he was a nice guy…funny, personable and full of charisma. They saw earlier in the morning that he had a nice voice and could lead worship, and was a magnet to the young people…so they offered him the position of full time senior pastor…right then and there. He packed his belongings, said good-bye to professional psychological help as a means to reconcile his marriage and family, and never looked back.

Several months later he was run out of town from that ministry for grooming, touching, caressing, and making out with/kissing a five year old; actions that were not crimes, at the time, in the state in which we were living, but are crimes today. He was investigated and there are two reports for two different children filed with the county sheriff, but he was not brought up on charges. Here is where it became tricky for me: Our divorce judge didn’t believe my husband had problems other than a wife whom he saw as lying to the court about her husband. I wasn’t. The judge didn’t want to mandate supervised visitation because he didn’t like me. Yes, this is true. I knew two of the court stenographers who worked my divorce case proceedings; I went to church with them and they verified that the judge didn’t like me. However, the judge would have had to go against the in court testimony of a child psychologist, psychologist, neuro-psychologist, family doctor, and a psychiatrist to rule otherwise. Plus, the grooming and sexual appetite my husband was showing for children wasn’t against the law in that state so I couldn’t use that information in court. In the end, the judge told me in clear words with stipulated consequences that I was not to follow my soon to be ex-husband around the country, telling people what I knew about him or thought about him and ruin his means of employment. My goals were to keep my child safe and stay out of jail so I obeyed the judge’s ruling.

Afterward, but not before, a leader from the church had questions for me about why I had left my husband and why he was only allowed supervised visits with our child. This leader told me that when my then husband was offered the job he told the elders, with whom he ate lunch that first day after church, that he suffered from narcissistic personality disorder, schizophrenia, and had supervised visitation with his preschool age child.

So, here you had a man telling them about the demons he fought, and they totally missed the red flags.

The elder told me that they thought, “Wow, what an honest guy. So upfront with his problems. What a tough life he’s had. We want to help him. Maybe we can help him save his marriage. He’s so talented and his gift needs to be put to good use.”

On that first day they decided they wouldn’t tell the church about his problems. They saw no need to do so. The elder who was leading this became my ex’s closest friend at the church, or so the man thought, until my ex decided to groom and violate this man’s grandchild. He led the decision that ultimately brought harm to his beloved grandchild; whom he allowed to be alone for hours with the pastor. He lived to deeply mourn his choice. When the harm came to his grandchild some of the church members didn’t believe the allegations.

You see, during this time the leaders, the elderly, and other church members grew to adore him as he spent time calling on them in their homes and doing the work of the ministry. He was grooming them…finding out insider information about their families so he could decide whose children were the most vulnerable and the least likely to be believed should an allegation arise. He found prey; a young child whose single parent was busy working to bring in enough money to support herself and her three children. This child suffered from separation anxiety and didn’t have a father figure in their life.

Looking back through my years of being married to him I can now see that he used the same grooming techniques for young children, teens, and adults in every ministry we held.

My point is…oh, the lengths some rural churches will go to for acquiring a warm body to fill the pulpit on Sundays. Large churches and mega churches have done the same to obtain a dynamic speaker or worship leader, or to secure a youth leader who is known for packing the youth group with oodles of kids.

Through the years it grew to the point that when law enforcement would find me, I knew what it was about. I would say, “I’ve known this day would come again. What did he do this time? How old is the child?” The only thing that changed was during the last investigation when the known abuse changed to include boys and girls…preschool age.

The first ever sex crimes investigator to contact me, Eric Quillin with the Osage County Sheriff’s office, me told me they thought this man had over a hundred victims, but they were too young to remember, understand or tell, or they weren’t believed when the did tell.

This sickened me. I knew that he had spent most of his youth and adult life attending or leading at summer youth camps for churches. He slept in dorms with young boys, shared open showers with these boys, used the same restrooms, and spent one-on-one time sharing the gospel with them.

Criminal back ground checks aren’t enough. Most offenders are never caught so their name won’t be found on a registry of any sort. My ex-husband had two reports on him. He admitted to what he had done, but it wasn’t criminal at the time so these reports were not findable on a background check. Maintaining an international data base for ministry allegations, church discipline, divorce with a statement from the spouse if there is evidence to be filed, and a sex offender registry is essential to safe-guarding the church. My former husband had a history of being fired from multiple churches for being angry, controlling and deceitful to leadership, grooming and molesting very young children without charges ever being filed, allegations of unfaithfulness, and again being investigated for grooming and crimes against children; all while attending summer church camps where he slept next to young boys in the dorms and traveled as an international evangelist working in orphanages, yet he still landed another ministry before finally being arrested. A 30 year history and no one ever called before hiring him to ask me why I left him or why I had his parental rights revoked. I kept psychological and psychiatric test results, doctors’ notes on their official letterhead, and prescription receipts for anti-psychotic, psycho-tropic, anti-depressant, and anti-anxiety medications; all for serious and some dark psychiatric disorders; database worthy documents. Most people live a normal life with their mental illnesses; with pedophilia thrown in the mix; it was a recipe for crime. I would like to see a tracking system that keeps track of these types of documents. I would have gladly turned them over to a registry.

I was a team member and speaker for the ‘For Such a Time as This Rally’ outside the SBC national convention for the following reasons: The time has come for women to be respected and honored within the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention—as Scripture teaches. The time has come for a clergy sex offender database for the Southern Baptist Convention. The time has come for mandatory training of all pastors and SBC seminaries on the issues of domestic abuse and sexual assault. The time has come to raise awareness about the sexual abuse cover-ups within the SBC. (I am not a Southern Baptist and I would like to see these issues dealt with in all churches.) We were there to come alongside the church and help protect, respond to, and minister to adult and child abuse survivors in Christ honoring ways.

Allow me to tell you how we were received. We consisted of our team members, a few SBC women, survivors who drove hours to stand in solidarity against abuse, a pastor who had never attended an annual meeting but heard about the rally and decided to attend, and a man who worked with the SBC natural disaster team who happened to be walking by while I was speaking and kindly fixed the generator for us. We had lost power to the mics and recording equipment right as I was preparing to speak. I was relegated to yelling at the top of my voice to be heard outside over the city noise. No one in leadership came near the rally. The attendees who walked by on their lunch break had a variety of reactions. With a smile I asked, “Would you like a resource page to keep on file for ministering to victims of abuse?” A handful said thank you for the free resource page. Many wouldn’t look at me, I saw many thumbs down gestures, some rolled their eyes at me, one person told me there’s no such thing, I was asked why I was trying to create problems, many men and women walked to the other side of the sidewalk or road when I offered them a resource page. One woman threw her arms in the air, jumped back as if I were dirty or trying to hurt her, and stridently made a sound of disgust. Others replied a no thank you, not interested, or I don’t want one.

As some of them walked away, I thought to myself, “I hope they don’t have a child who is ever abused or a daughter who ends up in an abusive, destructive marriage.” In their attempt to act in a way they thought was Christian, many didn’t show Christ-likeness.

The SBC has a long and difficult road ahead of them.


A small group of activists engaged passers-by in June outside the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Dallas. Photo Credit Rodger Mallison/Star-Telegram, via Associated Press

I’m grateful for the statements we’re currently reading coming out of the SBC at this time. Intentions look to be good. Only time will tell.

With my background of domestic abuse I’ve learned never to take an abuser at their word when they have a history of denial, justification, minimization, blame shifting and spiritualization of their behavior. It’s sad to have to type this, but the SBC has acted as a secondary abuser to victims. Like abusers, they need serious, professional, long-term help if they are going to change…and even then, I’ll believe it when I see it, but I’m hopeful.

Churches must take into account that the ministry attracts people with narcissistic personality disorder, and molesters and pedophilic offenders. I was told by law enforcement that they are seeing increasingly higher numbers of these types of offenders who specifically go to school to gain access to prey through the fields of ministry, coaching, and teaching. More alarming, is the fact that law enforcement says they are beginning to see some women entering these professions for the same reason.

Click her for the free resource page on addressing domestic and sexual abuse.

I understand creating and keeping a database will not be easy and could invite lawsuits not only on the local church, but also on the SBC. It still must to be done. I have my hopes set on an interdenominational /international data base since many offenders change affiliation to keep from being caught.

Here is the full article:

Abuse of Faith | Part 2

Offend, then repeat

Southern Baptist churches hired dozens of leaders previously accused of sex offenses

By John Tedesco, Robert Downen, and Lise Olsen

Multimedia by Jon Shapley

Abuse of Faith: The SBC

1.      Please don’t look away in disgust that I wrote this article pointing out some failings of the SBC.

2.      I have lost friends and had others mad at me for writing about the SBC. Please  don’t allow the article to make you uncomfortable.

3.      If you think perhaps the Houston Chronicle overstated its case and made up facts; I assure you that what they reported isn’t even close to accounting for all the cases of abuse within the SBC, or other churches for that matter.

4.      I want to be clear; it is not just the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) that has problems with predators. Child predators, teen predators, and adult predators plague every denomination, non-denominational, non-profit, and para-church organization.

5.      This article mentions 220 abusers with more than 700 victims. These are the 700 known victims. Statistically, if you add in abuse by pedophilic offenders who held places of authority over children you will find a victim rate of over 100 children per abuser. Most victims never report their abuse. (Stat: according to Osage County, Oklahoma, sex crimes investigator, Montgomery County Sheriff, Kansas, and the Kansas State Attorney Generals’ Office when they interviewed me for the investigations against my former husband).

6.      Lest you think that the below mentioned abusers worked at one church, were caught, and then subsequently removed from ministry; that is not the case. More often than not, they leave one church and move around the country. Some of these men are still in positions of leadership within the SBC while some have switched affiliation to stay under the radar. Also, this is no small problem in mainly rural locations by pastors from small churches. This issue spans all ages, geographical locations and sizes of churches.

7.      Educating the church about such predators is a passion of mine because my first husband was one of these people. He was affiliated with the Christian Churches/Churches of Christ and is now in prison for the rest of his life.

8.      Ask your church if they have policies in place to prepare for abuse allegations, to discourage abusers preying upon church members, and to train staff , leadership and volunteers. The best place for help in this area is GRACE – Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment.

  DISCLAIMER: I’ve been having significant formatting problems with my writing platform; as you will see (nothing I do fixes it). It has a mind of its own. For this reason, I haven’t been publishing and I’m in the process of setting up a new website under a different platform. It will have a new name, new look, and better formatting capabilities. As soon as it’s finished I’ll publish the link on this website so you can follow at my new address. THANK YOU FOR YOUR PATIENCE. I’ve been waiting for this article in the Houston Chronicle by Robert Downen, Lise Olsen, and John Tedesco with multimedia by Jon Shapley to publish. These writers did an excellent job researching, investigating and interviewing for this piece. Here are a few quotes from the Houston Chronicle’s article: “It’s a perfect profession for a con artist, because all he has to do is talk a good talk and convince people that he’s been called by God, and bingo, he gets to be a Southern Baptist minister,” said Brown, who lives in Colorado. “Then he can infiltrate the entirety of the SBC, move from church to church, from state to state, go to bigger churches and more prominent churches where he has more influence and power, and it all starts in some small church.” Wade Burleson, a former president of Oklahoma’s Southern Baptist convention, says it has long been clear that Southern Baptist churches face a crisis. In 2007 and 2018, he asked SBC leaders to study sexual abuse in churches and bring prevention measures to a vote at the SBC’s annual meeting.   Offenders return to preach:   The SBC Executive Committee also wrote in 2008 that it “would certainly be justified” to end affiliations with churches that “intentionally employed a known sexual offender or knowingly placed one in a position of leadership over children or other vulnerable participants in its ministries.” Current SBC President J.D. Greear reaffirmed that stance in an email to the Chronicle, writing that any church that “proves a pattern of sinful neglect — regarding abuse or any other matter — should absolutely be removed from fellowship from the broader denomination.” But Greear said in an email that he is limited by local church autonomy. “Change has to begin at the ground level with churches and organizations,” he wrote. “Our churches must start standing together with a commitment to take this issue much more seriously than ever before.” “The election last year of Greear, the 45-year-old pastor of The Summit Church in Durham, N.C., was seen as a signal that the SBC was moving away from more rigid conservative leaders such as Patterson. Greear has launched a group that is studying sexual abuse at the request of Burleson and others.” As far as I know, and someone feel free to correct me if you know differently; a limited study is as far as this project has gone at this time. I hope the Houston Chronicle’s article will push the study into implementation of a registry. Here is a troubling line from the article: Some registered sex offenders returned to the pulpit. Others remain there, including a Houston preacher who sexually assaulted a teenager and now is the principal officer of a Houston nonprofit that works with student organizations, federal records show. Its name: Touching the Future Today Inc.   Some offenders are twisted, are psychopaths, and others suffer from narcissistic personality disorder. Please understand, any of these aforementioned personalities would get a kick out of naming their nonprofit “Touching the Future Today” and laugh themselves silly over the fact that they are telling everyone, upfront, exactly what they hope to do to future victims while believing no one will ever catch on to the sick truth in the title pointing to their sexual sins.  There are churches that claim no responsibility for abuse in their buildings on the grounds that they have no written procedure for how to handle sexual abuse allegations. Seriously. The sad and frustrating part of this truth is that some of their reasoning falls under scriptural precedence: Forgive. Don’t take a brother to court…but using such scriptures is taking God’s words out of context. Christa Brown, several years ago said, “For the safety of kids and the sanctity of congregations, Southern Baptist leaders should take action now, without waiting until they are finally pressured into it by investigative journalists, brave victims and outraged congregants.” Unlike in 2008, Burleson last year directed his request for a sex offender registry to the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, which does moral advocacy on behalf of the Southern Baptist Convention. For the first time, the study of his proposal has been funded. I wish all churches would set up a centralized reporting system to track these abusers. If we do not it will continue to worsen because abusers know there is easy prey within the church community and that Christians have a difficult time believing such duplicitous individuals exist within their ranks. For SBC members who are disappointed or angry at me for ‘jumping on the band wagon’ and claim I’m harming the name of Christ by airing the church’s dirty laundry; I disagree. I believe Jesus can protect his own name and reputation and that he wants us to fight for the oppressed. Reporters and victims who speak the truth are not the problem. The abuse is the problem. This is why I spoke at the For Such A Time As This Rally about the need for a database for tracking abusers. I hope the SBC doesn’t complain about Robert Downen and the Houston Chronicle’s story. The SBC and other churches, should hold sexual predators in their midst accountable. When we don’t…someone else will do it for us.  As a side note, to add insult to injury, a large publishing company has asked a Baptist pastor, Ed Stetzer, to write a book about abused victims of the church. Why is this an insult? Because abuse advocates allege they have attempted to be heard by Mr. Stetzer in past years but did not gain an audience with him.

The best experts on the subject are those who have lived through abuse and those who specialize in counseling the abuse survivors.  There are numerous well-known and strong voices in this field; some of whom are published. Why were they not asked? With the world at the tip of their fingers why didn’t the publisher check out the internet for those already in the trenches who know the subject, are passionate about the survivors, and could sit town and turn out such a book within weeks?

Click here to read the full article: Houston Chronicle “Abuse of Faith” (includes several short video clips).

Here is a link to the database of known abusers that the Houston Chronicle uncovered.

Happy New Year: You can do this!

I know many women who have walked a long and lonely road in a difficult, unhealthy, unfaithful, abusive, destructive and/or dangerous relationship. Some of you decided to leave and have been re-traumatized by your church who insisted you forgive, forget, pray for, and stay with your abuser while you wait on God to change his heart. This happens due to misapplication of scriptures and because of deceptive tactics used by abusers. See: Do You Have Biblical Permission to Leave a Toxic Spouse?(Please remember: God does not make anyone change if they do not want to change. Rarely will an abuser want to change). I applaud you for your courage to stand strong, shining a light on the evil around you; for darkness cannot overcome the light.

You have made it through another year! As Samuel did in the Old Testament, raise your Ebenezer stone and repeat, “The Lord has helped us this far.” (I Samuel 7) You can do this! You’re learning how to care for yourself, set boundaries, and protect your children. You may be limping into the New Year with a tear stained face, Bible pages wet from those tears, barely breath to speak at certain moments, but you have your sanity and are actively exercising your faith. God knows! He sees, He hears, and He has counted every tear (Psalm 56:8). God’s grace will again be sufficient this new year.

“Abuse, adultery, and addictions are not marital problems. They cause problems in a marriage for sure. But they are first and foremost character issues, personal issues, sin issues and are best treated working individually with the person who has damaged the marriage. It is only when that part is done can you attempt to do the work to repair the relationship.

So many therapists and pastors treat these issues as marital issues and the victim starts to feel as if she or he is the bad guy for “causing” someone to act out in such a destructive way. That is not true.

Each person is responsible for his or her own reactions and behaviors. If you’re living with a guilt trip or are taking responsibility for someone else’s ways of managing their frustrations or problems, stop it. You are not at fault. Yes, there may be mutual marital problems for you to work on once the destructive behaviors have stopped but until safety is maintained, there can be no close marital or any other kind of relationship.”  ~Leslie Vernick


(This applies to a few men I know too, but my ministry is for women surviving destructive marriages or leaving them.)

Child sexual abuse rampant during the holidays

“Over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house we go.”  We all know the song but have we ever stopped to think about the implications attached to family gatherings?

It’s rare I hear of a healthy functioning family so if you are from one…congrats and may it ever be so! Most families have a lineage of dysfunction somewhere in their background or in current relationships.

For people looking to offend; holiday gatherings provide a bountiful, unsuspecting selection.

Please don’t ever think you know a person well enough to know they would NEVER harm a child. I lived with a man who was a senior pastor/evangelist and I had NO idea he was a pedophilic offender.

If you think: “My son…My husband… My brother… or…My friend would never do that.” You don’t know it! Not unless you live inside their mind or are with them every second of their entire life. (For the record there are female offenders, but the majority are male).

During this season we are busy with shopping, food preparations, and packing. Once the family gatherings commence we enjoy spending time catching up with loved ones while the kids play. Are we remembering that the children still need us to look out for them and protect them? I’m including children from infant to 18 years old because we have no way of knowing what age or sex a molester or a pedophilic offender prefers.

Definitions:

Child molester –an individual who sexually molests children.

Pedophile  – has a sexual preference for children and fantasizes about having sex with them, but if he does not act on that preference or those fantasies with a child, he is not a child molester.

Pedophilic offender – has a sexual preference for children and acts on his preferences and fantasies by victimizing children.

I don’t mean to be negative. I mean to be helpful. I want you and your children to have a safe and happy holiday celebration. My background and studying reminds me that children are targets for molesters and pedophilic offenders. I’ve taken the approach, when in a crowd; regardless of size, that there is likely an abuser in our midst and unfortunately, statistics our on my side. Depending on which stats were looking at; 1 out of 4 girls are sexually abused and 1 out of 6 boys are sexually abused. These stats are from reported abuse. Most abuse doesn’t get reported which likely makes the rates higher. With the rise of internet pornography I believe we are only beginning to see the tip of the sexual abuse iceberg.


With over 90% of abuse being perpetrated by someone the child knows, it is often a family member or close family friend. And surprisingly as much as 40% of abuse is perpetrated by juveniles – yes, often siblings and cousins. A family gathering can and does create opportunity for abuse – while we’re thinking of what’s in the oven or keeping heated family debates to a simmer, we’re often not thinking of what our children are up to. A house full of family and friends should be the safest place for our children, but in reality that is not always the case. ~The Mama Bear Effect

Are you aware that children can be ‘groomed’ or molested right in front of your eyes without you being wise to it?

  • Abusers can be touching a young child’s genitalia while the child sits on their lap at the dining table (you can’t see what’s taking place under the table-top), or while snuggling under a blanket next to them on the sofa.
  • I knew a man who, every time he picked up a 4 or 5 year old, would hold the child in his arms with his hand under/on the child’s crotch. What preschooler needs to be held that way? I later learned, he was doing it to clearly show what he was doing to the child when the parent wasn’t around.
  • Bathroom stalls are a favorite place for abusers to target children in public; including in church restrooms.
  • Relatives who insist all the kids bathe together (boys & girls), or dress in front of all the relatives. This can be seen as different perspectives in parenting, but I’ve spoken to Focus on the Family about this and they encourage these practices to stop around age 2 to 3.
  • Playing tag or other games. Parents have to be vigilant to see this take place. Often kids don’t know what took place and it can take them years, into adulthood, to realize what happened. Touching that takes place on the genitals, butt, or breasts is exhilarating to a sexual abuser who enjoys a sick and twisted thrill of touching kids and not getting caught by anyone.

The Larry Nassar case has been in the news for months. He was molesting hundreds of gymnasts, including Olympic gold medalists.  He abused children in the confines of a small room in front of the parents and the parents didn’t know. The couple of parents who wondered if he was doing something inappropriate thought there was no way this nice guy could be doing what they thought perhaps they saw. It was what they saw…and more.

Is there anything we can do to prepare our kids to stand against abuse?

Yes.

Have conversations before the gathering takes place. Several short conversations will help cement the safety precautions in their mind.

  • They can respect and be kind to everyone without compromising their boundaries. 
  • Don’t force them to be affectionate with extended family members if they aren’t comfortable with it. Allow kids to set their own body boundaries.
  • No closed doors while playing; not even if an adult is in the room with them. Any adult should know better than to do this with children who are not their own. If an adult discreetly wonders off while everyone else is talking, playing a game, or watching T.V.  and closes the door to hang out with the children; kindly open the door and explain your no closed door policy. (This can be a textbook clue of a child predator).
  • You cannot make any one respect your open door policy. If they won’t respect it, you can politely remove yourself and your children from the gathering. You are not being rude. You are being thoughtful and protective while teaching your kids how to set boundaries.
  • Explain to your kids no touching or showing body parts, or showing pictures of people’s nakedness. Name the parts. They are a fact of life and we need not be embarrassed about it. The more comfortable we are talking to them about sex and anatomy, the easier it will be for our kids to approach us with concerns and questions. It’s our responsibility and privilege to teach our children and answer their questions.
  • If cell phones become a problem at a family gathering you can request that children use technology at the kitchen table (not during the meal) while an adult is present. Cell phones with internet access, apps, and/ or stored photographs/videos are almost guaranteed to have inappropriate content on them. You don’t want children having opportunities to act out what they’ve inadvertently seen on the internet.
  • After the day, or weekend, is over ask open ended questions to give your kids an opportunity to process their answers. Examples: Did you have fun? Did anything make you uncomfortable? Did anyone try to do anything inappropriate to you or to someone else? Is there anything else you want me to know about?


Those who may sexually abuse children often try to break down a child’s personal boundaries regarding touch, and they’ll do this in front of other people. A family member that touches, tickles, or wrestles children even when they don’t like it. A teen or adult that is way more interested in spending time with younger kids than their peers should send up a few red flags that we need to pay more attention, not less.  If we witness someone that is not respecting a child’s bodily autonomy we have a right to speak up for that child and tell the person in question to stop. Everyone has a right to not be touched in a way that makes them uncomfortable. That’s not to say that we can’t have tickle fights or become a human jungle gym, but set an example for proper consent, ask permission before picking a child up and checking to make sure they’re still having fun, especially if they’re not talking.

~The Mama Bear Effect

Many child molesters use tactics like those above to break down the defenses of their victims. After all, when they invade a child’s personal space to touch, tickle, or wrestle in front of the parents, they are showing the victim that the parents know they are touching their child. This works to the abusers advantage when they have the child behind closed doors. This conveys to the kids that the parents already know the adult oversteps boundaries by annoyingly touching their body. This can cause the child to believe there is nothing wrong with the annoying sexual touching taking place behind closed doors.

How to respond if something bad did happen:

  • Don’t get upset, cry, or ask you child questions about why they allowed that to happen to them. This causes the child (regardless of age) to feel responsible for what happened to them and for your reaction.
  • Sit down and write out what you child told you after you finish the conversation with them.
  • DO NOT CALL OR TALK TO THE PERSON. They WILL explain their way out of it and you WILL believe them.
  • Do not call the host home, church, or event location where it happened and do not call other parents to compare accounts or to ask questions. This can cause major problems for law enforcement’s investigation.
  • CALL LAW ENFORCMENT. (Even if it’s your relative or spouse). Allow the authorities to investigate. Do not worry about someone’s reputation. If they are innocent the investigators will come to that conclusion. It’s extremely difficult to prove allegations, but worth the time to pursue it. You may save your child or another child from future victimization.

And…for the relative who says, “How can you call yourself a Christian?” when you dare to set a difficult boundary. Don’t buy into it. It’s nothing more than emotional manipulation. The Bible is full of examples of boundary setting. We can speak gently, firmly, and kindly while being protective and proactive. Even Jesus set boundaries while on earth.

Jesus Said No to Inappropriate Behavior


“If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” Matthew 18:6

More tips on “Understanding Abusers”

Shanann Watts domestic violence murder update

Shanann Watts’ husband, Chris Watts, confessed to killing Shanann and their two daughters Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3, as part of a plea deal to avoid the death sentence. He also pled guilty to the unlawful termination of Shanann’s pregnancy; the death of their unborn son. Watts will spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Chris Watts lied to law enforcement and placed the blame of the events that fateful night on Shanann, but investigators never believed Chris Watts’ story.

Shanaan Watts family - Copy

I truly expected Chris Watts to lie and place the blame on his wife. I hear countless abused women speak about how their husbands blame their abusive behaviors on the wife and/or children while denying any responsibility. I see this type of behavior play out over and over in court when domestic abuse is involved. I long for the day that the family court system understands abusers and their tactics; especially when cluster B personalities are involved. Cluster B’s are dramatic, emotional, and erratic.  They include:

  • Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Narcissistic Personality Disorder
  • Histrionic Personality Disorder
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder

If Chris Watts fell into one of these disorders, specifically narcissistic personality disorder, then it could be safe to assume that  when “Watts’ voice was shaking, and he could occasionally be heard sniffing after each of the nine times he said ‘guilty’ in response to Judge Marcelo Kopcow’s reading of each charge against him”  he wasn’t crying because he felt sorry for what he did. If he has narcissistic personality disorder his shaking voice and sniffles were because…”When a narcissist is exposed, their horror is about the damage it will do TO THEM to be accused and they believe that others are failing THEM by getting in the way of their ability to live out their specialness.” ~Diane Langberg, PhD

I bring up personality disorders because we need to understand there is more than one way to look at and understand a person. Usually no one other than the immediate family members knows something is not right with the person. Abusers can be kind, thoughtful, humorous, concerned and engaging in a setting such as work or church. When they are within the confines of their vehicle or home with family members they can turn to moody, mean-spirited, argumentative, demeaning and controlling individuals who enjoy picking a fight, or gas-lighting about any given subject.

Witnesses have come forward; two women and one man claiming to have had affairs with Chris Watts.

I stick by my original statement; he didn’t just snap, he was an angry and controlling husband, was unfaithful, and viewed his wife as an object. It also proves my point that abusers aren’t scary, dirty looking men; they look like your neighbor, friend, or co-worker. Abusers are often charismatic, well spoken, with a charming smile to the outside world while they secretly despise their wife and/or children.

I’m yet to hear or read of such an abuser who didn’t have a hidden sexual addiction.

Chris Watts looks like a text book abuser.

It took me 9 years to start cluing in that I was married to such an abuser. The last two nights I lived with him I thought I might not wake up alive. I stayed too long, but thankfully I made it out alive. He’s now in prison where he belongs…for sex crimes against very young children.

My heart breaks that Shanann and her children didn’t make it out alive.

If you question the safety of your living arrangements (or work place) please take the free Mosaic threat assessment found in the margin of this website.

For further reading on the Shanann Watts case:

The Shanann Watts case: My observations.

Shanann Watts case: 20 reasons abuse stays hidden and can lead to death

Lynn Messer Update November Election

Lynn Messer disappeared July 8, 2014. We now know that Lynn has been deceased the entire time and I have been told by law enforcement multiple times through the years that Kerry Messer, her husband, has not been cleared in the investigation surrounding Lynn’s death.  Kerry is a Missouri state lobbyist who represents family, homeschooling, right-to-life, gun rights/safety, and Christian/Biblical values. Lynn’s remains were found on her husband’s farm property November 1, 2016. 

*Disclaimer: There have been no arrests made in the disappearance of Lynn Messer. Kerry Messer remains innocent of any charges. I am not claiming a diagnosis or guilt; but simply pointing out concerns which are of my opinion. See disclaimer in the margin.

JustsiceForLynn 1 yr anniversay of remains

I continue to look into this case for many reasons.

I committed to it see it through to the end; whatever that may be.

Although for me this is a local case; it has also garnered national and international headlines; including being featured on TV programs internationally.

As a survivor of domestic abuse I want to speak for those who aren’t comfortable with a public platform, or who no longer have a chance to use their voice.

I advocate for women living in, or leaving, domestic abuse. I have reason to think that Lynn was a victim of domestic abuse. I base my opinions on her husband Kerry Messer’s Find Lynn Messer Facebook page and on the testimony of a few of her friends and family members. I go in to this more in-depth here…My Original Interest in the Lynn Messer Case.

I contacted Detective White of the Ste. Genevieve County Sheriff’s Office by phone and email to confirm that the investigation is still open, but he is no longer answering questions. I knew this might be the case since he told me back in January of 2018 that he would no longer be giving press interviews or answering inquiries surrounding this investigation. In January he confirmed the case is still open. Although I wasn’t able to speak to the detective, the person who answered the phone confirmed that the investigation is still open.

I wanted to confirm that Kerry Messer and the woman he was reportedly in a relationship with shortly after Lynn’s ‘disappearance who is now his wife, Spring (Thomas) Messer, have not been officially cleared in the investigation of Lynn’s death.

I’m comfortable with no reply from the detective and I understand the case takes first place above public interest. This boosts my confidence in the integrity of the case and gives me hope that Lynn’s cause of death will not remain a mystery much longer.

This Tuesday, November 6, Ste. Genevieve County will be voting for a new prosecuting attorney. This is the person who will be handling legal proceedings if it turns out a crime was committed against Lynn Messer which resulted in death. Attorney Wayne Williams is running uncontested and I see why. First, I’ve heard good comments about him and second, after doing some internet reading I found that Attorney Wayne William has a stellar reputation in his field as a criminal defense lawyer.

Photo Credit: Amy Patterson  DailyJournalOnline.com

Read the article here…Daily Journal Online: Farmington public defenders’ office receives award for excellence, by Amy Patterson

I look forward to the outcome of Ste. Genevieve County’s election, and January when the new P.A. begins his job.

Many questions remain surrounding Lynn Messer’s death. Here are a few of them:

How did Lynn die?

How could a small woman with an injured toe and hip replacements walk through pouring down rain in a thunder storm, in the dark of night, over muddy ground, and according to family member, have to avoid electric fences in the dark, and open and close multiple heavy gates to arrive at her destination? All while carrying belongings from the house with her? (For reference; click text and scroll through article to:  11/23/2016 Lynn Messer: Abram answers more questions. References to items being recovered with Lynn’s remains can also be found here..

Was it murder? If so, was it premeditated?

If it was murder, was her body moved or somehow concealed to keep search and rescue from finding her? Trained dogs should have found her scent; especially after a few days of her remains being in the elements.

How is it possible her remains were not discovered in the extreme heat of the summer, in a location that had a marked grid/map for everywhere the search teams and search dogs had looked? The first night alone had 50 people and search dogs exploring the farm with the teams expanding in the coming days.

This article places search teams still on the farm August 10, 2014.

I know I received invitations for several weeks through our local home school community asking for volunteers to help search, and for help providing drinks and food for the searchers.

Why did Kerry Messer insist the cows be moved to a different pasture the first morning Lynn was missing…moved in the direction of which Lynn’s remains were found? Who would be thinking of moving cows around on the farm when a loved one is missing and possibly in danger? Besides, according to family, Lynn was the person responsible for pasture rotation of the cows, not Kerry.

Why, as reported, did Kerry Messer leave his cell phone at home the morning he was said to have been searching for his missing wife?

According to Lynn’s son Abram, and daughter-in-law Elizabeth, when law enforcement arrived at the scene the first morning, Kerry insisted his wife didn’t suffer from depression. Yet after her remains were discovered he is quoted as saying his wife “was suffering from depression in the months before she went missing.” 

Why did Kerry keep the content of ‘the note’ a secret from his sons and not admit to law enforcement he had made copies of the note?

Why did Kerry Messer insist to friends, co-workers, and church members that he and Spring Thomas were never romantically involved and that talk of such a thing was incorrectly portrayed by the media and his sons? How does one come to marry someone with whom they are not romantically involved?

I hope, and I think, that the Ste. Genevieve County Sheriff’s office, with the help of the F.B.I. has a solid case to move forward with presenting Lynn Messer’s cause of death, possibly an arrest(s), and some form of closure for Lynn’s loved ones.

Authorities won’t disclose details until her cause of death is determined and the case is closed. 

I’ll end with a quote by Sheriff Gary Stolzer, “It’s going to be an open case until we figure it out.”

 

Hope lost in a difficult marriage?

DMV awareness month

Life is hard, and life married to an angry, controlling spouse seems impossible. Without realizing it you withhold hope as an area in which you allow God access. Hopelessness is an easy place to arrive when talking to counselors, doctors, domestic violence, and advocates for women in abusive marriages, but mainly after praying for years yet seeing no improvement in the abusive personality with whom you live.

Don Hennessey, relationship counselor and former director of the National Domestic Violence Intervention Agency, refers to abusers as psychephiles and lumps them in the same category as pedophiles when it comes to recovery. Statistics agree that abusers stand little to no chance of recovery because they don’t believe they have a problem, and “I’m sorry” isn’t in their vocabulary.

We all know that pedophiles target children for sexualized abuse. Don Hennessy coined the word psychephile for the man who abuses his intimate female partner. A psychephile targets the psyche of the woman he has selected as his target for a long term intimate relationship.

 

Today I want to remind you not to lose hope. If you have lost reason to hope for a healed marriage then find another reason for hope. Hope for the future, for what God is working out that you can’t yet see, for the strength you are gaining, for the boundaries you are learning, for the wisdom you are gaining…hope for answers to your questions.

Abuse brings questions that cause wrestling through our faith. This can strengthen, weaken, or destroy our faith.

Ministering in the advocacy community has shown me countless survivors who have friend of a survivorturned from church and some from their faith. Please don’t let this be you. I pray you can be encouraged, strengthened, and validated through the wrestle. If your church family isn’t capable or willing to walk this road with you, look for a church that will welcome you.

 

If you are struggling and asking God questions, I want you to know He hears every one of your inquiries. Ask away! He is not angered, frustrated, or afraid of our questioning. He tells us to ask, seek and knock (Matthew 7:7-8). Don’t feel guilty for asking Him. He knows, He sees, He counts every tear that falls from your precious face. Every tear is recorded by Him (Psalm 56:8). Allow your sincere questions to grow and strengthen your faith in God. The woman you are becoming will be amazingly strong and different in the years to come.

“No one toxic will offer you apologies, explanations or closure. The toxic person does not recognize their own issues. In any case, you have the power to heal without their participation.” Peter Shepherd

I know there have been people who haven’t given you grace on this journey. They are human; Jesus isn’t. Jesus allows weakness, He allows questions, and He gives grace. Jesus says, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” He’s the only perfect one; the only one who has the right to cast the first stone, but He chooses not to do it. Instead He offers mercy and grace (John 8:1-11).

When you re-engage with your difficult spouse you need to know what is true; not what he says about you, and not what you feel. So…ask Jesus what is true.

I’ve been going through The Quest bible study by Beth Moore where she proposes “five recalibrating questions” God presents in scripture. Anytime we are wrestling or off track these questions will help us find our footing.

I’ve memorized these questions so I can ask them of myself when I’m wrestling.

  1. WHERE are you? (Genesis 3:9) But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
  2. WHO told you that? (Genesis 3:11) “Who told you that you were naked? 
  3. WHAT are you seeking? (John 1:38) Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?”
  4. WHY are you afraid? (Matthew 8:26) 26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.
  5. HOW much more? (Luke 11:13) If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

 

To find joy and hope in an unhappy or difficult marriage you must guard your heart (Proverbs 4:23).

Remember that you don’t wrestle against flesh and blood, although it feels like it when you are living in the battle day after day. Your fight is against your enemy, the devil (Ephesians 6:11-13). Your difficult spouse may feel like the enemy in the heat of the moment, or when remembering previous difficult memories but the enemy is Satan. Jesus warns us that Satan is out to steal, kill, and destroy, but Jesus has come that we may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10).

Have you been busy surviving and lost track of your hope? Open your hope to God. Search out your questions!

 

 

 

Shanann Watts case: 20 reasons abuse stays hidden and can lead to death

The last time I wrote I gave you my observations on the Shanann Watts case; specifically my thoughts on the husband’s behavior in interviews. 

*Disclaimer: Abuse crosses all genders, socioeconomic statuses, nationalities, tones of skin, and religions. I minister to women and therefore I use the term woman in most of my writings.

Allow me to explain what it could have been like in Shanann Watt’s home based on my experience of domestic abuse.

Here are lessons I’ve learned from my own background as a survivor of domestic abuse, and from ministering to other survivors of domestic violence:

1.      You NEVER know what goes on in someone else’s home. Sometimes a spouse doesn’t know what goes on in their home, or during the other person’s time away from home. Don’t assume you know better than them.

2.      You can live with a person and not know if they suffer from mental illness or a personality disorder.  

3.      Many women don’t understand that the difficult marriage is actually a destructive marriage by an angry and controlling man. When a woman tries to talk through a problem the tables are turned on her and he insists the only problems are the ones she creates. He often shames, talks down, belittles, withholds, and throws temper tantrums while telling her, “It’s all you.” Or, “I never did or said that.” Lots of crazy making/gas lighting goes on in this type of relationship.

4.  Constant denial or justification of the hurt and wrong they’ve committed against you is the number one clue that you’re living with an abuser.

5.      It can be nearly impossible to know if your loved one could kill you. (If you question your safety, please take the free MOSAIC threat assessment to determine if you are a candidate for violence or death).

6.      Angry and controlling men rarely change; in fact, the abuse usually escalates…not improves.

7.      Often times the system fails abuse survivors. Victims are statistically not believed in a court of law when they bring up domestic abuse.

8.      Promoting an ideal marriage in social media posts may be an attempt to throw the abuser off the trail of an upcoming separation or divorce; especially if the victim fears for their life. It could also be an attempt to appease the abuser and ‘respect’ his orders to make him look good.

9.      Talking well of the spouse is expected in most social circles. Truth telling about marital problems has caused many abused women to lose friends, or their children’s playmates.

10.  Positive media posts can be a coping mechanism for surviving a traumatic marriage. Maybe it’s a snapshot of a good moment in the midst of many difficult circumstances. It encourages outsiders to believe they have a wonderful life. What person wants to admit to domestic abuse?

11.  Sometimes the abuser controls the victim’s social media and electronics by posting for them; as them, going as far as to place spyware on the devices and GPS tracking on the vehicle. (The women I minister to all report having spyware placed on their electronics right before or during the separation or divorce).

12.  Domestic violence doesn’t always equate to physical abuse. It can manifest as sexual, reproductive, verbal, emotional, spiritual, financial, and one I had not included in my list before today; digital abuse which would be secondary emotional abuse.

13.  Domestic violence causes health care problems.  The  trauma caused by domestic abuse can cause immediate injuries, and contributes to a number of chronic health problems, including depression, alcohol and substance abuse, sexually transmitted diseases, heart problems, cancer, and auto-immune diseases.

14.  Domestic violence is about control and power. It’s not about anything the wife or children are doing wrong.

15.  Women are objectified and viewed as property. Property is disposable. (I haven’t seen a case yet that didn’t involve the use of pornography). 

Shanann and Nickole Utoft
Shanann with friend Nickole Utoft. Photo credit: Shanann Watts’ Facebook page.

16.  Victims need support from family, the church, and friends; friends like Nickole Utoft who knew enough to know Shanann and her children were missing and in danger. Be the friend a woman can safely confide in without passing judgement on her. 

17.  Most of the women I minister to report that friends, neighbors, and church family always looked at their family as normal, happy, and healthy. Very few outsiders would have guessed there was a toxic personality in their home.  

18. Instances of domestic abuse are not limited to isolated cases and there isn’t just one type of person who feels entitled to abuse and/or kill their family. It’s becoming more rampant for men to abuse women. I have my opinion on why abuse is escalating, (Pornography mixed with hand-held electronics. Any woman at any time; instantly. The devaluing of life.), but that is an article for another time.

19. Family, friends, neighbors, and church family have a difficult time believing these men exist and are as bad as the wife knows he is. They aren’t the only people in doubt. Law enforcement and those who work in the court system also don’t believe the depth of the problem; leaving the victims unprotected.

20.  Court cases requiring legal intervention are overwhelmingly domestic abuse cases, but the courts fail to recognize and act on this fact. This leads to retraumatizing the victims, continued abuse…and sometimes…death.

 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 

Here are some possibilities of why Chris Watts may have finally went through with disposing of his family based on other domestic abuse cases.

·         He could have suffered from severe, untreated mental illness or a personality disorder.

·         He could have been having an affair.

·         He could have taken out life insurance policies on his family members.

·         He may have known she was leaving, and since angry and controlling abusers must maintain power and control; he may have decided to kill them rather than allow her to leave.

·         Financial reasons: There is a legal obligation the court would have enacted on him for child support. If he wanted relational freedom to wine and dine a new romantic interest, paying money to an ex-wife and three children would greatly hinder his fun.

I don’t believe one thing could have caused Chris Watts (or any other abuser) to snap, but rather numerous issues building up over time led to it. This is why the MOSAIC threat assessment is important. MOSAIC takes all these issues in to account and determines if you are at risk.

There is NOTHING; not a thing…zero, zilch, zip that this momma or her daughters did that could have caused Chris Watts to murder them. Abusers and murderers do what they do because of evil in their hearts. In many cases, the abuser’s brain is wired wrong and there is no making sense of it. 

If you believe you, or someone dear to you, may be in danger please check out the links in the margin for safety concerns and other help. If you wonder if you are in an emotionally destructive marriage there is a free relationship test for you to take.

 

Read: The Shanann Watts case: My observations

8/21/18 5:20 PM update: COLORADO MAN CHARGED WITH MULTIPLE COUNTS OF MURDER IN KILLINGS OF PREGNANT WIFE, DAUGHTERS

8/21/18  6:20 PM update: Chris Watts claims wife strangled kids

His account of what happened doesn’t make sense to me. I would think if you saw one daughter blue from death, and the other being strangled by your wife, you would call 911 for immediate help; not go kill your wife and then hide the bodies. I don’t own a newer baby monitor, but would you be able to clearly see on a baby monitor if a child was blue? And who on earth could have a conversation, kill a person, decide how and where to dispose of the bodies, clean-up the crime scene, and load a truck with three deceased bodies & evidence in under 3 hours?

 

 

The Shanann Watts case: My observations.

 

I think these were likely heinous, violent, selfish, dark acts of murder from a cold, calculating, evil, angry, and controlling man who looked normal, nice, caring, and nurturing to those watching on the outside.

 

Shanaan Watts family - Copy
Chris Watts with wife Shanann with daughters Bella, four, Celeste, three, pre-born son, Niko. Picture: Instagram public picture

 

I’m sure you’ve seen it all over the headlines: Husband kills pregnant wife and their two little girls.

I’m involved in an online community of domestic abuse advocates so when this story broke I immediately took interest. You know me…my first thought was that the husband is statistically most likely involved. I immediately watched the interview done by a local Denver, CO news station.

Here were some of the red flags about Chris Watts that caught my attention:

The detachment in one of his statements when he referred to his family as: “everybody”, “anybody”…it was off. His demeanor during his interview was non-emotional about his family and detached from the gravity of them being gone…just words; which seemed empty to me. He appeared to be smiling during some of it; almost giddy with underlying excitement…which to me speaks the age-old adage that he possibly believed he’s so special and smart that no one would ever catch him at what he did. His grin told the story of how proud he was of his deception. He exuded arrogance and assumed people would believe him.

With word spinners you have to pay attention to the grains of truth woven throughout the lies… “It was like I walked into a ghost house.” Hmm, could this be because he killed them and was haunted by what he did?

He talks about himself…his feelings, his needs, and his thoughts. He lacked the emotions that go with trauma and fear, and instead smiled through most of the multiple interviews.

He mentioned the empty house but showed no emotion about the loneliness or fear of why the house was empty.

“When I got home yesterday it was like a ghost town…it’s like a nightmare that I just can’t wake up from.”  Why is he speaking of a nightmare so early in the investigation of which he says he knows nothing and has no inclination of what happened or where they are? After all, the possibility exists that they are with a friend or family member? What’s so nightmarish about that?

“I had every light in the house on.” Perhaps because he couldn’t live with what had taken place during the night?

I noticed how tightly he had his arms crossed in front of him as if to say I am bottled up, I’m lying, and I am not telling what I know.

He was shaking his head no, while stating he wanted his family to return.

When Chris Watts stayed with friends Monday night he referred to his wife in the past tense. They notified police that they didn’t think Chris was doing enough to actively look for his family.

His body language, words, emotions and actions didn’t add up to innocent.

 

Chris Watts arrested for the murder of his wife and daughters

 

When news broke that Chris Watts had been arrested for the murder of his wife and children, people were asking, “what made him snap?” The public and the media seem shocked that this nice looking, well-spoken man could be responsible for murders while smiling at the camera and stating, “Shanann, Bella, Celeste, if you’re out there, just come back. If somebody has her, just bring her back. I need to see everybody; I need to see everybody again. This house is not complete without anybody here.”

I wonder how the police obtained a confession from him. Perhaps they had overwhelming evidence from the crime scenes.

A next door neighbor said Chris Watts was a normal helpful neighbor, “He would reach out and help anyone who needed help with anything.”

A reporter asked, “How a man who appeared to be such an adoring husband and father could do this?”

If you’ve read my blog for long you know this is a major issue I’ve tried to address. I also addressed it when I spoke in Dallas at the SBC: For Such a Time as This Rally.

These types of men “are grand actors and magnificent manipulators. They may be sitting next to us in worship, Sunday school, or small group. They can be pastors, Sunday school teachers, and our best friend, charming, smart, and biblically brilliant. They can be high functioning in their job, helpful in our time of need, and financially generous if hardship strikes us; all while destroying the wife and/or children at home.”

What’s worse is that often times the women don’t realize they are being abused. How can this happen? you may ask.

The victim may be confused about what is wrong, or who is in the wrong in the relationship. For me, and for other countless women, we believed our spouse’s lie that everything wrong in the relationship or home was our fault. Chris and Shanann hadn’t been married many years. It’s possible this may have been her experience…or maybe she was waking up to the idea that something was wrong in her marriage.

Here is an excerpt from a journal of an abused wife in the first years of marriage. She believed all the anger and control problems her husband had were going to get better as he became accustomed to being married.

“Thank you, Heavenly Father, for a godly husband who loves me. He’s a good daddy and an excellent provider. Please help him adjust to married life quickly, and help me to be the wife he needs and wants.”

In the above case; years would prove that she wasn’t the problem and that no matter how wonderful a wife and mother she was, it wouldn’t meet with his approval or kindness, or satisfy his need for power over her and control of her.

Other possibilities: 1) You can live with a person and not know if they suffer from mental illness or a personality disorder. 2) The wife is usually the last person to find out about an affair. 3) Maybe Shanann had decided to leave her husband.

Whatever the case; make no mistake, Shanann and her daughters did nothing wrong to provoke anyone to murder them. I don’t believe this was a snap decision, but likely numerous issues building up over time. This is why I recommend the free MOSAIC threat assessment.  What is MOSAIC? A combination of factors that are associated with escalated risk and danger requires that you know what questions to ask, and then know how to consider all your answers in a way that enhances insight. The MOSAIC method works by breaking a situation down to its elements, factor-by-factor, and then seeing what picture emerges when the pieces of the puzzle are put together.

As many women have learned; it’s difficult to leave an angry and controlling man…sometimes impossible.

I think it’s safe to assume that Shanann confided in a friend that something was deeply and fearfully wrong with her husband. Her friend Nickole Utoft, who dropped Shanann off at home around 2 AM after a business trip, tried making contact early that morning by text, phone, and going to the house. When Nickole couldn’t make contact with her friend she called the police and asked for a welfare check that afternoon. When Nicole discovered Shanann’s purse, phone, and keys in the house she filed missing person’s reports. Nickole knew something!

I’m grateful Chris Watts confessed early and disclosed where he placed the bodies. When a woman ‘disappears’ it’s usually at the hand of her significant other. When children are killed it’s usually at the hands of a parent or guardian.

Next time I will address lessons I learned about domestic abuse.

If you question the possibility of being in danger, please go to MOSAIC and take the free threat assessment test.

 

Sign petition to encourage abuse disclosure protocol, training & a database for the SBC

Mary DeMuth

Please sign this petition to encourage the SBC to take action against abuse now. The story of is one of too many.

Click here to sign: Establish SBC Abuse Database, Abuse Disclosure Protocol and Ministry Leader Training Now

Anne Marie Miller was sexually abused by a Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) youth pastor when she 16-years old.

More than 11 years after this information was disclosed to officials within the SBC, her alleged abuser, Mark Aderholt, was arrested on July 3 charges of sexual assault against a child under 17 and two counts of indecency with a child — sexual contact. 

In 2007, upon identifying the reality of the abuse later as an adult, Anne courageously contacted the International Mission Board (IMB), the Southern Baptist missionary organization where Aderholt had worked for seven years as an overseas missionary. The IMB conducted an investigation into the abuse. They found that Aderholt not been truthful with IMB officials and had  “more likely than not” engaged in what the IMB termed an “inappropriate sexual relationship” or what the state and most people educated on abuse would term “sexual abuse.”  No one from the IMB reported the sexual assault to the authorities.

The IMB knew of Anne Marie Miller’s abuse for 11 years before Mark Aderholt’s arrest. Her abuser was able to continue working as a missionary, pastor and convention leader in the SBC with access to other children and vulnerable populations in his ministry roles.  They never investigated his overseas ministry to see if there were further victims. They still will not take responsibility. 

SIGN NOW to tell the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), the International Mission Board (IMB) and SBC President J.D. Greear that the SBC must:

  • Establish a clergy abuse database
  • Establish abuse disclosure protocol
  • Establish new and improved training procedures for pastors, seminary students and all SBC ministry leaders. 

Despite the apparent confirmation of Anne’s abuse via the 2007 investigation,  the IMB allowed Aderholt to quietly resign. Within two months, he was again employed by a church in the SBC before enjoying a successful ministry career culminating in his position as Chief Strategist for the South Carolina Baptist Convention.

Having been led to believe that Aderholt was terminated by the IMB for her abuse, Anne was perplexed by his continued, successful career.

Sarah Smith at the Star-Telegram in Fort Worth, TX reported on the follow-up action Anne took :

“On Feb. 13, 2011, she sent another email to Gaubatz [IMB attorney who participated in the investigation].

How can Mark still pastor inside SBC churches like he is?” she wrote. “Isn’t there some checks and balances with something as serious as what he was terminated for?”

The For Such A Time As This Rally met on July 11 with the office of J.D. Greear, President of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Rally spokesperson, Ashley Easter shared the need for action  with Todd Unzicker, Associate Pastor at The Summit who was representing J.D. Greear, SBC President. She asked that the SBC take steps to protect others from abuse like what Anne Marie Miller experienced and offered a partnership with the president’s office. 

The For Such A Time As This Rally initially had held an event outside the June 2018 Southern  Baptist Convention Annual Meeting in Dallas, and is continuing to work to meet its three goals:

  • Goal #1 – Women to be respected and honored within the churches of the SBC. 
  • Goal #2 – Establishment of a clergy abuse offender database for the SBC. 
  • Goal #3 – Best practices training of all pastors, ministry leaders and seminary students on the issues of handling domestic abuse or sexual assault disclosure or incidents.

Even in the last few weeks following Mark Aderholt’s arrest, the IMB has not reached out to Anne to apologize for their mishandling of the investigation.  Anne has asked the IMB to answer questions about how Aderholt was allowed to continue a meteoric career rise within the SBC after the IMB’s investigation.

One of the most significant questions is how the IMB could still have been referring to criminal sexual ABUSE as merely an “inappropriate sexual relationship.” Education is imperative, as is the establishment of human resources protocol for addressing employees involved in abuse.

A secondary but equally significant question is why the IMB did not further investigate Mark Aderholt’s ministry overseas while he was employed by them. There is no way of knowing if he engaged in any other sexual misconduct or abuse while being supported by SBC funds. We need to know if there are more victims.

SIGN NOW to tell the SBC, J.D. Greear and the International Mission Board to:

  • Let them know that you stand with Anne Marie Miller and want to see the SBC take action NOW.
  • Let them know that you want an SBC that will not tolerate the abuse of our children.
  • Let them know that  it is not acceptable for the SBC to move abusers along to the next church and allow an abuser’s career to be uninterrupted while the abused suffers lifelong consequences.
  • Let them know that you stand with the For Such A Time As This Rally and its three goals.
  • Let them know that you need to see the SBC establish a clergy abuse database, abuse disclosure protocols, and new training and education protocols for all ministry leaders.

Anne’s abuse is not an isolated incident, but it is a recent example of what is so broken within the SBC.

Abuse survivor, Christa Brown has established a website, Stop Baptist Predators to document other abuse incidents.

SNAP (the interdenominational Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) and the Associated Baptist Press reported on the sad case of convicted sex abuser Shawn Davies who was allowed to abuse boys at four different SBC churches before being arrested while employed by First Baptist Church, Greenwood, Missouri.

The For Such A Time As This Rally has suggested to the SBC that they reach out to Boz Tchivijdian and Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (G.R.A.C.E.). It could assist with an independent investigation and review into the deeply flawed 2007 IMB investigation of Anne Marie Miller’s abuse, and provide assistance in establishing a much-needed new training protocol for all SBC ministry leaders.

Many states have passed laws in the last decade that require schools to disclose credible child abuse from teachers or other employees so that they cannot continue to move around school districts.

As representatives of the Gospel, churches should be leading the way in creating and passing legislation that protects the most vulnerable among us.

Sign Now to stand with Anne Marie Miller, the For Such A Time As This Rally, and all those who have experienced abuse to call for immediate action by the Southern Baptist Convention!

Lynn Messer 4 years later: What her death certificate says; Kerry and Spring’s wedding invite


Lynn 1

Tomorrow, July 8, marks the 4 year anniversary of the reporting of Lynn Messer as a missing person.

Upon her disappearance, the family farm where Lynn lived with her husband was mapped with grids and searched by rescue and recovery teams, along with trained search and rescue dogs. Searching was done by air, foot, and all-terrain vehicles; by day and by night. 

Rescue dogs are trained in locating human remains by tracking, trailing, and air scenting. This should have been an easy job in the outdoor air of the extreme summer heat during July and August.

2 1/2 years ago, November 1, 2016, Lynn’s remains were found on the farm; recovered from the direction of the scent found that first morning in 2014. The problem was that Kerry, Lynn’s husband, had the cows moved from one pasture to another that first morning, July 8, 2014, possibly contaminating evidence of her scent.  The pasture where he had the cows moved was located between the house and the field where Lynn’s remains were discovered.  Rotating cows from pasture to pasture, according to Lynn’s sons, was always Lynn’s responsibility. Lynn’s son Abram told law enforcement that his father was adamant the cows had to be moved that morning; the morning Lynn had been missing since the middle of the night, and her husband said he had been out looking for her. In my first interview with Abram he admitted that in hind sight, moving the cows for his dad is the one thing he wishes he had not done.

Lynn was considered missing until November 1, 2016. We’ve been told by law enforcement, after a coroner’s autopsy, that Lynn had been deceased the entire time, since July 8, 2014.

 

I am a survivor of domestic abuse and I minister to and advocate for women in, or leaving, destructive marriages.  When I heard Lynn’s story I thought I recognized similarities to life experiences I’ve lived. I think, after talking to Lynn’s family and friends, that she possibly lived in a destructive marriage, and didn’t survive to tell her story. This is why I advocate for her…waiting for answers, keeping her story alive, and hoping for justice for Lynn. 

 

Lynn 2Lynn’s husband, Kerry Messer, has not been cleared in the investigation surrounding Lynn’s death.  Kerry is a Missouri state lobbyist who represents family, homeschooling, right-to-life, gun rights/safety, and Christian/Biblical values. 

Weeks after Lynn was reported missing law enforcement found out that Lynn’s husband Kerry was involved with another woman. Spring Thomas, according to law enforcement, admitted to being in a relationship with Kerry at least 8 weeks after Lynn went missing. Abram, one of Lynn’s sons has messages from Spring that dates the time to at least 6 weeks after Lynn went missing, but he thinks the romantic relationship predated his mom’s death.  He has based this upon the previous years of watching his father interact with Spring. In fact, before Abram knew anything about Kerry’s relationship with Spring, Abram says he expressed concern to his father about his  inappropriate behavior around Spring in the past as well as their behavior around each other when Spring showed up for organized searches to help look for Lynn, after Lynn’s disappearance, on the family farm.

 

Below is a copy of Lynn’s Messer’s death certificate which was issued June 20, 2018. In other words; recently. I want people to understand and believe that this case is not over.

 

death certificate internet

I find this hopeful. The state could have listed the cause of death as ‘unknown’. They didn’t.

Instead it says, ‘MANNER: PENDING INVESTIGATION’ 

‘UNDETERMINED AT THIS TIME’

 

The death certificate does not say ‘Could Not Be Determined’.

This case is not closed.

I think answers are out there.

I continue to pray for #JusticeForLynn.

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7/22/2018 UPDATE:  So…this is happening, a wedding, August 4, 2018.

The question remains: Did the church allowing this ceremony talk to Lynn’s sons, Lynn’s friends, or to the police? I know they didn’t talk to Abram.

*I found out today that the testimony against your spouse provision in the law doesn’t apply to knowledge you had before the wedding. So for those of us who wondered if marriage would keep them from testifying about each other, should an arrest happen; it doesn’t apply.

Abram Messer received a voicemail message from his dad on Wednesday. Kerry told Abram he was praying about when the Lord would allow him and Spring to get married, that they were planning a wedding, he would like his sons and their families to attend, and that he would wait for a reply from Abram.

Thursday, people (not Lynn’s sons) began receiving wedding invitations by mail. Friends and family were concerned and rightfully began contacting each other. I’ve received 2 copies from concerned readers.

The reason I’m posting this invitation is to validate Abram and Elizabeth. Church family, friends, some in the homeschooling community, and a few relatives have believed Kerry when he told them that he and Spring were nothing more than friends. I personally had people tell me law enforcement, Abram, and Elizabeth were all lying to me about this so-called relationship and that it was immensely hurtful to Kerry and Spring to have people believing such nonsense. I was also told newspapers lied about the relationship.

I long for the day when churches listen, believe, and act upon the woman’s story and not the husband’s denial. I’m saddened and frustrated that a church is celebrating and performing this wedding before Lynn’s cause of death is released.

 

Kerry Messer wedding invite

After the television airing of American Gothic: Finding Lynn Messer on Investigation Discovery, Lynn’s story became an international public interest. I believe it has aired at least 6-8 times, and in different countries around the globe. I can tell because every time it airs my blog stats shoot higher than usual for my articles about Lynn.

Thank you for your continued and interest and prayers.

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The format of this site has changed. You’ll find many of the past articles I’ve written about Lynn Messer under the link: Lynn Messer case history. Articles are listed by title and dated from recent to earliest. Comments are now easier to find and post at the end of each article.

You may read more about inconsistencies in the case here. 

Spring Thomas here… 

The Note here… and here…

 

Kerry Messer is a public figure/state lobbyist who fund raises from private citizens in the state of Missouri; making this a public interest case. *See disclaimer in margin.