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Teenager Forced to Apologize to Her Church for Being Raped

 
 
Reply Thu 3 Jun, 2010 02:23 pm
Someone please justify this pastor's actions for me. Then, please explain why her parents and the church conspired to further abuse her.


http://womensrights.change.org/blog/view/teenager_forced_to_apologize_to_her_church_for_being_raped

Quote:

Teenager Forced to Apologize to Her Church for Being Raped
by Roxann MtJoy June 02, 2010 11:08 AM (PT) Topics: Sexual Assault, women and religion

In 1997, 15-year-old Tina Anderson became pregnant after being raped repeatedly by an older man she knew from church. Shockingly, when her pastor found out, he forced her to apologize in front of the entire congregation in Concord, New Hampshire, and then promptly helped whisk her away to live in Colorado.

According to Tina, the first time she was raped by Ernest Willis, it was in the backseat of car after he'd given her a driving lesson. She didn't tell anyone because she was terrified that she'd be blamed. After being raped by Willis again, Tina became pregnant. Willis, ever the vile human-being, offered to drive her out-of-state for an abortion or to punch her in the stomach to cause a miscarriage. It was at this point that Tina confided in her mother, who in turn notified their pastor, Chuck Phelps.

It turns out, she was right was right to fear being blamed. In a disgusting turn of events, Phelps told Tina she would have to go before the entire congregation to apologize for her sins. Excuse me? It seems that Phelps explained to Tina that while Willis "may have been 99 percent responsible," she need to confess to her "1 percent guilt in the situation."

After Tina acquiesced in this humiliating act of victim-blaming, the church and her family shipped her off to live in Colorado against her wishes, where she was instructed to give the baby up for adoption. While Phelps did contact the police about Willis " you know, since he was 99% guilty and all " it became nearly impossible for them to do anything about it since Tina was now hidden away in Colorado.

This appalling story is finally seeing the light of day because Tina Anderson decided to come forward this year. Sadly, it wasn't until this February that Tina truly realized that the assault on her was, in fact, zero percent her responsibility. That's when she decided it was time to share her experience with others and to seek justice for what had happened to her as a teenager.

You might have noticed that I am using her real name, something highly unusual in rape cases because victims' names are protected. This is because Tina wanted it this way. She wanted you to know exactly who she is and what was done to her, not only by Ernest Willis, but by those she entrusted to protect her.

Since Tina came forward, Willis has been arrested and released on bail. (In New Hampshire, in cases of sexual assault of a minor, the statute of limitations does not run out until 22 years after the victim turns 18). Just as importantly, police are investigating exactly how much church leaders knew about the rape. Of course, if the adults in Concord " meaning Phelps, Tina's family, and every church congregant who heard Tina's "confession" and sat silent " had acted compassionately and responsibly back in 1997, they would have saved Tina over a decade of heartache and their community a lifetime of guilt.


For those that need other sources to verify this:

http://www.concordmonitor.com/article/police-girl-raped-then-relocated?page=0,1

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100528/ap_on_re_us/us_church_rape_case
 
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Jun, 2010 02:46 pm
@Butrflynet,
In fact, please read the other articles. Warning, the additional details will turn your stomach.
0 Replies
 
Pemerson
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Jun, 2010 02:49 pm
@Butrflynet,
Nobody can justify that guy's actions. He is just plain crazy. And, the parents? She should sue them.
0 Replies
 
CalamityJane
 
  2  
Reply Thu 3 Jun, 2010 03:00 pm
That's outrageous!!
Small town churches have more power than they ever deserve. Now that
SOB of a priest is pushing the blame towards the police. Me thinks that they
all play hand in hand: church and police can control a small town to its bitter end. Bastards!
0 Replies
 
failures art
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Jun, 2010 03:05 pm
Typically this kind of thing trips of the outrage in me. Although, this is just so awful, it's heartbreaking. What a perverse sense of morality the parents and the pastor have.

A
R
Too sad
0 Replies
 
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Jun, 2010 04:17 pm
@Butrflynet,
This happened in New Hampshire of all places?!

The pastor should also be held criminally liable as well. Say obstruction of justice felony charges.
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Jun, 2010 04:47 pm
@tsarstepan,
I have to say that that one's out there, but I've seen awful stuff from churches over the years.

0 Replies
 
Sglass
 
  3  
Reply Thu 3 Jun, 2010 05:03 pm
Organized religion sucks.
Joe Nation
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Jun, 2010 05:25 pm
@tsarstepan,
Gosh, I wonder whose idea it was to move her to Colorado? The fine upstanding MALE member (no pun intended) and his pastor. Get her out of the Concord Police jurisdiction and suddenly you've got a BUDGETARY problem. Whose going to pay to fly some detective to Colorado to interview a 15 year old complainant? Meanwhile the alleged rapist can (and did) remain silent. Any bets as to whether there were other rapes?

And we find out there were OTHER pregnant girls who were forced to publicly confess. Any bets on whether they were gotten pregnant by members of that same church?

Joe(no wonder Jesus wept.)Nation
plainoldme
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Jun, 2010 05:45 pm
Isn't it wonderful to witness how people close to God act?
0 Replies
 
Eva
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Jun, 2010 06:12 pm
@Joe Nation,
I was repulsed by details of the story, but also by the FOXNews-style "reporting" in Butrflynet's original article. As a journalism teacher, that article raised several red flags. It is not written objectively as "news" is supposed to be--it is sensationalized. So I read the links. (Thanks for providing them.)

Joe Nation wrote:
Gosh, I wonder whose idea it was to move her to Colorado? The fine upstanding MALE member (no pun intended) and his pastor....


Nope. According to the links provided, it was her MOTHER. She asked the pastor to find a place out of town for her daughter.

Also, the pastor allegedly reported the rape accusation to police within 24 hours, but he says police investigators never asked him for help. Tina Anderson was flown to Colorado "at least 2-4 weeks" later. In a related link to the Concord paper, several other church members also prompted police to investigate during this time, but they did not.

Looks like there's enough blame here to spread a little of it around.
Eva
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Jun, 2010 06:26 pm
From a May 25 article:

"Mitchell said the police are looking at pressing other charges.

Willis was released on $100,000 personal recognizance bail. He faces an arraignment June 16 in Concord District Court."

http://www.concordmonitor.com/article/police-girl-raped-then-relocated?page=0%2C1
0 Replies
 
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Jun, 2010 06:29 pm
So your daughter gets raped, and you tell....the minister?

Not the police?
0 Replies
 
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Jun, 2010 07:26 pm
It just gets uglier the deeper I dig into this story. The actions of these church people make the blowhard rantings of Reverend Jeremiah Wright seem saintly.

http://www.concordmonitor.com/article/correction-305

Quote:
Correction
By Monitor staff
May 31, 2010


A story in the Sunday Monitor incorrectly said former Trinity Baptist Church pastor Chuck Phelps told Tina Anderson to write a letter of apology to the wife of Ernest Willis. According to Anderson's statement to the police, the instruction came from a pastor in Colorado.

Read the corrected story here.


The corrected story:

http://www.concordmonitor.com/article/woman-i-was-afraid-to-tell-of-rape

Quote:
Woman: I was afraid to tell of rape
She was silenced in earlier case, she says
Photo by Courtesy photo
Tina Anderson and her baby in March 1998.
By Ben Leubsdorf and Trent Spiner / Monitor staff
May 30, 2010


While being kept in seclusion at her pastor's Concord home in 1997, Tina Anderson, then 15, was too afraid of the reaction from members of her church to tell the police she had been raped and impregnated by another parishioner, she said in an interview with the Monitor.

Anderson, now 28 and living in Arizona, said Trinity Baptist Church members had told her not to report an earlier case in which she had been molested by a convicted sex offender who was also a member of the congregation, so she expected them to do the same if she told them she had been raped.

"They told me that to be a good Christian, I need to forgive, forget and move on in my life," she said. "And they told me that a good Christian doesn't press charges on another good Christian."

This month the police charged Ernest Willis, 51, of Gilford with raping Anderson twice in 1997. Then-Pastor Chuck Phelps, who now preaches at a church in Indianapolis, said he made the police aware of the rape allegation less than a day after he learned about it but that investigators never asked him for help. The police said they investigated but were not able to find Anderson. They closed the case, leaving it unsolved for 13 years.

The Monitor generally does not name victims of sexual assault but made an exception at Anderson's request.

"I felt very ashamed and dirty, and I felt like it was my fault," Anderson said. "I didn't think that if I told anybody that anything would happen anyway."

Growing up, Anderson said, a family member molested her and beat her and her brother with a belt to "show us who was boss." When the man was imprisoned for an unrelated sex crime, Anderson, then 13, said she felt comfortable enough to tell church members that she, too, had been a victim. But she said church members told her to keep quiet.

Anderson said Phelps directed her to visit the man in state prison to offer her forgiveness.

"He said if I didn't forgive him and give him forgiveness, then I would get bitter," she said. "It's just kind of how things at the church go. The woman is blamed for everything."

At the state prison in Concord, Anderson said she was forced to confront the man with her mother. "It was horrible," she said. "It was awful."

Anderson never reported the allegation to the police, and the man was not charged with assaulting her.

Over the next two years, she confided in Willis, a Trinity parishioner, who offered emotional support, she said. Anderson began babysitting for two of his children.

"I had gotten very close to the (Willis) family," Anderson said. "At Trinity, your whole world revolves around the church and the people who are in the church, so those are really the only people you have contact with."

But according to Anderson, Willis raped her twice when she was 15 - once at her home and once in the parking lot of a Concord business during a driving lesson. Those allegations are the basis of the criminal charges the police have filed against Willis. Several months later, Anderson realized she was pregnant.

Anderson confided in her mother, who called Phelps for help. Anderson said Phelps removed her from Trinity's Bible school. "I was told that I was a bad influence," she said. "I was told I was going to have to go up before the church."

In a meeting at her home with Phelps, his wife and Anderson's mother, Anderson said she was told by Phelps that she'd be kept in a "prophet's chamber" at the Phelpses' Concord home until she could be relocated.

The chamber, which Phelps said is simply a name for a guest room above the garage, was set off from the rest of the house by a separate stairway. It had windows, a bathroom and, according to Phelps, a television and phone. He said it was also used to host traveling ministers.

"I just know that they made me stay at their house, and I wasn't allowed to see any of my friends or talk to anybody," Anderson said. "I had to stay there until they shipped me away."

Phelps said Anderson stayed at several homes of church members, mostly during the day and not overnight, because "her mother asked that someone watch over her so she could continue her job." He said Anderson wasn't locked away.

Anderson said she can't remember how soon she was flown to Colorado to live with another family. Phelps said it was at least two to four weeks.

"I respected the mother's wishes," he said. "Tina did not want to be alone in her home. Her mother had to work. So her mother was looking for someone who could look over her daughter in a time of crisis. Numerous families in the city of Concord provided that service for her, all of us anticipating an arrest to come shortly. None did."

A Colorado family, whom Phelps had met while he was a pastor there, agreed to home-school Anderson. Phelps said this came at the request of Anderson's mother, who did not want her unsupervised or at a public school.

Before she left for Colorado, Anderson said, she was made to stand before the church to ask forgiveness for getting pregnant. She said it was a form of church discipline. "I was completely humiliated," she said. "I felt like my life was over."

Phelps read a single-page letter written for Anderson apologizing for allowing herself to get in a compromising situation and getting pregnant. Church members were then asked to come forward to offer their forgiveness, Anderson said. Willis also had to apologize for cheating on his wife. "They said, 'We forgive you for getting pregnant,' " she said. "It felt stupid, it just felt wrong."

Phelps said this wasn't a case of the church disciplining Anderson. Instead, it was a chance for the congregation to help Anderson.

"Church discipline is the removal of a person from the assembly," Phelps said. "This was not that. This was a chance for people in the church assembly to embrace her, and they did."

Anderson said that after she moved to Colorado, a minister there asked her to write a letter to Willis's wife, apologizing for abusing her trust by having sex with her husband. Church members there monitored her phone calls and didn't allow her to be with people her own age, she said.

Anderson said two church members were with her when she gave birth in March 1998. At Phelps's urging, Anderson said, she gave her baby girl up for adoption.

She continued to be home-schooled until what would have been her senior year, when she returned to Concord for about six months. She lived with her mother again and attended Trinity, sitting in the same pews as Willis. Anderson's mother remains a member of Trinity today.

Anderson left Concord to attend a Baptist college in Wisconsin. She is now married and has since given birth to three more children. She stays in touch with her first-born's adoptive parents.

In a public statement last week, Trinity Baptist Church echoed Phelps's version of events, saying there were multiple documented calls made to the Concord Police Department to report the rape and the names of those involved, including Willis.

"Trinity Baptist Church was the first to report this crime in 1997 as well as the only one to give repeated reminders to the Concord Police Department. We continue to be committed to assisting in the investigation in any way possible," the church said.

Anderson said she wasn't aware of attempts by others to contact the police.

"I don't really have anything to say to any of them right now," she said. "I think my mind is just so overwhelmed with everything."

CORRECTION: The original version of this story misstated who directed Anderson to write a letter of apology to Willis's wife. It was a pastor in Colorado.


chai2
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Jun, 2010 07:29 pm
@Butrflynet,
Butrflynet wrote:

Chuck Phelps told Tina Anderson to write a letter of apology to the wife of Ernest Willis.


Oh.....my....God
0 Replies
 
Eva
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Jun, 2010 07:31 pm
Yeah, I read that, too, Butrflynet. These people are really out there. No church I've ever been involved with resembles this. I hope they throw the book at the whole lot of them.
dyslexia
 
  2  
Reply Thu 3 Jun, 2010 07:35 pm
@Eva,
I'm thinking we should all blame jesus for all that's happened here.
Sglass
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Jun, 2010 07:42 pm
Actually I lived in Concord for a year, and frankly the people are wierd.
0 Replies
 
chai2
 
  3  
Reply Thu 3 Jun, 2010 07:46 pm
@dyslexia,
dyslexia wrote:

I'm thinking we should all blame jesus for all that's happened here.


dyyyyyssss....

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_k-PwB1POw2M/Sr-a98ksKwI/AAAAAAAAAIQ/PFXofYPQQQg/s400/Viking+of+Disapproval.gif
0 Replies
 
Eva
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Jun, 2010 07:49 pm
@dyslexia,
dyslexia wrote:

I'm thinking we should all blame jesus for all that's happened here.


Oh, please. Jesus has his hands full.
 

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