Category Archives: Non-Denominationl Abuse

Kerry Lou’s Story of Abuse and New Tribes Mission

My name is Máire Skogstjärna. Once upon a time it was Kerry Louise Gray. Born in Blacktown NSW, Australia on Aprill 11th 1971. My parents were sent out as missionaries by NEW TRIBES MISSION AUSTRALIA (& USA) to work in PANAMA in 1971, when I was 10 months old.

On November 7th 1986 at Escuela Hogar Misionero in Chame, Panama, I had my left knee put completely out of joint, resulting in that my lower leg ended up behind my upper leg. Knee cap, ligaments, tendons, artery etc, everything got ‘broken’. I was driven to Chorrera to the local hospital, but since there was no qualified doctor there, I was sent on to Santo Tomas in Panama City. At the emergency room I was taken care of by an intern, Ariel Saldaña. “luxación de rodilla izquierda con lesion a la arteria poplitia” I was operated on that night, no easy situation, as my parents were up in the Chiriquí and my dorm dad had to sign all the forms presented by the hospital before surgery could commence. I was ‘put back together’ and my left leg was put into a cast to keep the knee stabilized and in place. The ligaments in my left knee, the cruciates and laterals were all completely useless.

knee

A few days later my knee got out of joint again – despite the cast. I was once again taken for surgery – but this time I had an external fixator put on my knee – six titanium screws (very long) in the bones and then a rod between them to keep my knee in place. I wore this for six weeks or so before it was surgically removed.

This was a ‘big deal’ at the hospital as they did not have the necessary equipment with which to do the necessary surgery. Help was given by a doctor from Gorgas, a military doctor. I was not an American citizen so was not permitted to go to Gorgas for treatment.   Instead, Surgical instruments and knowledge was given to the team of doctors that would be operating. From what I understand there were more than the normal number of surgeons present for the procedures. Unfortunately, I do not remember numbers or many of the names. The first names are from the orthopaedic team, the last couple are from cardio-vascular.

Gustavo Pinilla (can be found at Centro de Ortopedia y Medicina Deportiva, S.A.; Centro Especializado San Fernando; Teléfonos 229-4026 / Telefax 229-7522 ; Consultorios Punta Pacífica; Teléfonos 204-8387 / Telefax 204-8388)

Ariel Saldaña padre

Ariel Saldaña hijo (the intern, NOW a well known Dr in his own right in Panama)

Daniel Lozano, in charge of my care

Norberto Donoso Collins

Dr. Monge

This was written by my younger sister and a friend at the boarding school and put into the school ‘paper’ that was then sent to the families of all the parents in Panama.

kerry lou article

After I was released from hospital I was put back into school at EHM and was lent an exer-cycle for physiotherapy. I did not see a proper physiotherapist or get any other qualified help (not other than the couple of times while I was actually in the hospital). I had appointments with the doctor in charge of my care a few times after my release. But these were not for my knee or other aspects of my health.

After the external fixator was removed from my leg the doctor in charge of my care – Daniel Lozano (51) – took me to a place called Campo Amor out on the way to Tocumen. “My Dr”. This is the man that sang outside the ward to make me smile, who promised me that I would be ok (though it later turned out that I could have – OR should have! – died several times along the way). I should not have turned 16. This man was given permission by my mother to take me for a drive down to Balboa, to Panama Viejo to cheer me up. I had spent the best part of three months in the hospital, in a ward of 20 or so women, with little or no privacy. Of course, I was very happy to get out of the hospital, overjoyed. I had been a very active teen and to be stuck in a bed and not being able to even walk was killing me. Anyway, we drove past the sights and then he took me to Campo Amor and raped me.

KL1

I still remember these huge garage doors that shut behind your car when you drove in. No one sees or knows who, what or why. No questions asked. Just pay at the little window inside.

I did not get out of the car. I locked the doors. I was afraid, terrified. This was danger!!! Of course, the doctor unlocked the car doors – he had the car keys in his hand. He forced me out of the car – not violently, but nonetheless. I was pushed into the small motel room; Bed on the right, shower + toilet on the left TV and mirrors in the room. I was told to undress. I didn’t. I was then forced to undress. Still no violence, but I was forced.

No, I did not scream, or yell. I realized quickly while still in the car that there was NO way out. No door out, no one that would hear me. I did not fight him. It would not have made any difference… I was terrified. I had just survived an accident that should have killed me – all I wanted to do was live. “I won’t hurt you” That is what he said before he violated me.

Yes, I was 15 years old, legally permitted to have sex in a foreign country, but not of legal age in mine. But I did not want this. I did not ask for this. I was promised all sorts of things, a job as soon as I had finished high school, gifts, and toys for my kid brother etc. (we had already been given things at Christmas by the doctor). I was still an IN-patient of the hospital on this day: January 16th 1987.


In Panama, the age of consent is 18.

Laws regarding persons aged between 14 and 18:

Article 215 appears to prohibit sexual acts with minors:

Article 215 C: “He who maltreats a minor shall be sanctioned with imprisonment from one to six years. The following conducts typify maltreatment of minors: (…) 2) Committing, inducing or helping to commit sexual abuse against him, or other lustful or lewd acts, even though they do not imply carnal access

Article 226 deals with the “corruption” of minors and prohibits sexual acts with persons younger than 18 (although it is not clear if this article prohibits such sex acts per se or only if the victim was “corrupted”):

“Article 226: “He who corrupts or facilitates the corruption of a person under 18 years of age, practicing with her a lewd act or inducing her to practice or view it, shall be sanctioned with imprisonment of two to four years”.

Another article, Article 219, prohibits consensual sex acts with a “maiden woman, over 14 years old and under 18” (probably understood to mean a virgin girl aged 14–18):

Article 219: “He who has carnal access to a maiden woman, over 14 years old and under 18, with her consent, shall be sanctioned with prison of one to three years. If a marriage promise is involved, or if the deed is committed by a relative, a minister of a cult that the victim professes a tutor, teacher or person in charge, by means of any title, of the education, safe keeping or upbringing of the victim, the penalty can be increased up to twice the amount”.

In regard to the Article 219, the action or penalty is to be extinguished if the author and the assaulted person are to be married; this is stipulated by Article 225.

Laws regarding persons younger than 14:

Article 216: “He who has sexual access with persons of either sex, utilizing his genital organs or other parts of his body, or introducing any object in the genitals, mouth or anus of the victim, shall be sanctioned with imprisonment from three to ten years in the following cases: 1) When violence or intimidation is used; 2) When the assaulted person is deprived of reason or of sense or when due to physical or mental sickness or for any other cause she cannot resist; 3) When the victim is arrested or imprisoned and entrusted to the guilty party to supervise her or take her from one place to another; and 4) With a person of either sex that is not 14 years old, even though none of the circumstances expressed previously apply.”

Article 220: “He who with the purpose of achieving carnal access executes libidinous acts in prejudice of a person of either sex, by means of violence or intimidation, or when the victim is not 14 years old or cannot resist, shall be sanctioned with imprisonment of three to six years. The sanction can be increased by one third to half, if any one of the circumstances established in the second paragraph or Article 219 occur.”

Not long after this I was released. I remember my mother, the doctor and I going out for lunch at some quaint little restaurant. Sangria was served with the meal. I remember ‘playing footsies’ with the doctor who sat opposite me at the table. I remember him having my foot in his lap. I also remember a comment about ‘having a chaperone’.

After leaving the hospital, I was given a date to come back for a check-up in about a month. The person who went with me this time was told to sit in the reception and wait there. The doctor drove me to his private practice a few streets away and once again raped me – this time on the floor of his office. There was only a thin sheet between me and the floor. My mind went to far away places; I had no reason to do anything. I was already tainted, spoiled, ruined. My life had lost value the day I had my accident, it lost even more the day I was raped by the doctor. I had no reason left to live. All that I valued was taken from me.

Again another month or so passed. We are in March 1987. This time I said no. I did not let him touch me. And he did not. See, he was so smart that he told me about pregnancy prevention. By counting the days since your last menstruation you can work out when the chance/risk of pregnancy is greatest -> 12-17 days after the first day of your period. I still have that in my backbone! L On the other hand he had also said that if I should get pregnant that he would fix it – pay for an abortion etc. And no one would ever know.

Now for April and my 16th birthday on the 11th came and I was permitted to travel up to the Chiriquí and have my birthday at my parent’s house together with my sister who was at the school. We had my party. All my local friends came. On the 16th of April the rest of my family was at a meeting at the church, and I stayed home. A young man I knew came by and under the pretences of looking at a co-worker’s car – he had been asked to buy spare parts for the car. In the darkness of that garage stood this young man wanting sex and I did not care any more, at all!! I knew that I could get pregnant that week. I did not care about that either. I could get pregnant and thus get out of being raped by the doctor, might have to marry this young man – but he was of a good family in the town OR nothing would happen and it would be easier to say no to the doctor should he try again.

In May I had another appointment. But I could not say no to the doctor. Again, He drove me to his private practice office and raped me a third time…

We returned to the hospital again and I had to have x-rays done. Since having missed my period in early May I had to tell someone. I told my best friend at school. She got my mother and we told her… I do not remember much other than the room we sat in. Then having to go into the city to have a blood test done to see if I really was pregnant, and a visit to a gynaecologist to be checked physically… The experience was horrific. Not just being so close to death a few months earlier, and somehow subconsciously knowing that, but also the physical and emotional (add then sexual) mutilation that I suffered by being raped and then being put thru this physical examination. I felt like I was being raped again.

My best friend and I got in a great deal of trouble. She was accused of being my accomplice – I confided in her that I wanted to hitch a ride up to Costa Rica as I had friends up by the border. I got suspended from school and was then kicked out. She got 2 weeks suspension, I think.

I was treated badly. I did the end of year exams from the house we were living in. My mother had to sit and make sure I did not cheat. On my Science test I got a 79%, only to find out later that everyone else was given it as an ‘open book’ test. But not me, I got my grade from what I remembered. A classmate complained and was told to leave it be, I did not deserve that help on the test. (This is just an example of my treatment by the school.) The teacher of that class was William Bacchus.

We were sent back to New Zealand in disgrace. I was fully to blame. It had come forward that I had kissed a boy and had a boyfriend. So, obviously getting pregnant must have been done of my own free will. Not a single word was said about being raped by the doctor.

I remember sitting in the office where the field committee pronounced their judgement over me. I was a slut, promiscuous. They spoke ‘over my head’, not to me, but about me. I was not given any chance to speak up for myself or explain. Present in the room (that I remember): Bryan Copeland, Harry Huddleston, Bruce Haste, my parents and I. (I have a vague memory that Joe Goodman and Brian Simmons were on the field committee then and would have also been present.) I have been told that Don Barger was representative for the work in the Chiriquí but was on furlough when this happened.

I have since found out that Bruce Haste “grilled me” and I told him about the rape. I do NOT remember this myself. My mother told me of it recently. I also had confirmed the “advise” given to my father about not doing anything about my rape as the Dr had friends in high places.

The boy that I kissed: Ignacio Montezuma Montero Haste

1980-1981

He was several years older than me. We used to live as neighbours. In the house we lived in (with an older single lady, Charlotte Teubner), there was a tiny book room. In this room Charlotte kept her Bibles, song books etc for the Guaymi (indigenous people) that came to the base. In this room Ignacio used to kiss me and  fondle me. Most of the time he wanted to stand behind me and push himself up against my buttocks. He was always sexually aroused. I cannot have been more than about 10 years old. They were building our family a house when we got back from a furlough in the UK-Australia-New Zealand.  I do not remember if we had started at the boarding school yet – I do remember being home-schooled in the big living room in this house. So, I am guessing 1980- 1981. I wish I remembered more clearly when. Nor do I remember how long this went on. My younger sister and I started at boarding school and only came back to our parent’s home for summer holidays and Christmas.

Stepping in to 1983/84

“There is one other incident that happened in the dorm of sexual nature while I was at the boarding school. It would have been in 83-84 (?) I think. Our dorm parent’s daughter had a couple of horses and one of the older boys and I used to ride them so that they got exercise. This boy, Brian Grindstaff, started to touch me and fondle me on these excursions. It then became something that he did whenever he could get me off alone with him. It became unbearable and I did not know how to get out of this situation. I told the girl who had the horses one day and she told her parents. The boy was severely punished for what he had done.

My boyfriend: Raúl Antonio Santamaria, hijo (son)

When my family moved up to Tolé, I became friends with a neighbouring family. Their son was a year older than me but was my best friend. We did everything together. Yes, he did kiss me on occasion. He and I had plenty of opportunities as young teens to do whatever we wanted but we did not. I refused to. I told him that a stolen kiss is one thing but that any more than that had to wait till we were married. I honestly imagined myself marrying him as soon as I was 18 years old. I loved him. He loved me. But we had a mutual respect that few ever understood. In the wake of my accident I did not see him for months. He came down to the city to see me in hospital but could not do it. He could not face seeing me so messed up. He did not come by at Christmas either for the few days that I was allowed to be at home with my leg in the external fixator etc. I did not see him at my 16th birthday either – he was at school in Santiago de Veraguas.

I heard via the jungle telegraph that I was spoken of as ‘the pregnant girl from Panama’ from a classmate on furlough in the US.

I had my baby, a little girl, on January 20th 1988. I then gave her up for adoption – a couple that were related to a good friend of my father could not have children. It is an ‘open adoption’ so I have had contact with her all along. She just turned 25 a couple of weeks ago.

I have not named her father previously – Vicente Tuñon Marrone – my family know who he is well. But he did not mean much to me then, much less now.

  **********

I left New Zealand 1990. I moved to Sweden to work as a nanny (anything to get away from my family). A year later I married the Swedish boy I had met and we had two kids. But because of his continued abuse that ended in 1999. I re-bounded into a second marriage in 2000, had two more kids, but that only lasted until 2005 when this man committed suicide. Both of these men abused me. I did not deserve better. I wanted to kill myself innumerable times along the way. I saw no way out of the hell that I had been put into, and no one cared. No one fought for me, protected me, or stood up for me.

In 2004 my daughter, that I had given up in adoption, came to visit me in Sweden –I paid for her to come. She was here for her youngest sibling’s birth. During her nearly two month long visit she told me that her family had had a boarder in their home who turned out to be my own mother’s closest friend. This lady told my daughter about all the “family secrets”, skeletons in the closet as you might say. One thing that came forward was the fact that my mother had planned on running off with “my doctor”, the man that raped me. This, to me, explained the comment about a chaperone.  [My mother now (June 2013) claims this is something that I have fantasized up… it is all in my head. She only ever felt “flattered” by the man. I beg to differ.]

I was never given proper medical treatment with regard to my injury. I was told when we got to New Zealand that my knee would have been fixed properly IF I had come back to NZ or the US straight away – waiting for months made it impossible to fix. I did not get physiotherapy until after we got to NZ and then had to take a break as I was having a baby. By the time I got back to physiotherapy 16 months had passed (at least!) from when I had the accident. I was not given a fair chance at recuperating the use of my muscles etc in my leg with qualified therapists.

I found out in 2010 that my parents had been sent a letter from New Tribes Mission Australia (now Crossview) with a sort of apology for the way in which they were sent home. I have NOT seen anything of that sort personally. In 2010 my parents visited Sanford Florida and met with several of the former leaders from when our family was stationed in Panama. Apparently my parents were asked if there was anything they wanted passed on to the present executive committee regarding the things that happened in 1986-7. They said no. When I was told this I reacted strongly and my mother then sent an email to Don Barger stating that they were not happy with the way I was treated – I was not told how detailed that was, or what exactly was said. I have not heard from NTM yet.

My father told me last year that they were not permitted to press charges against the doctor or the likes. New Tribes Mission’s excuse was that they did not want to come up against a man who had friends in high places as the entire mission could be kicked out of Panama.  This is very hurtful since it shows that I am not worth much in NTM’s eyes.

In August 2012 I was in Florida to be interviewed by PII, part of the IHART investigation into abuses in NTM worldwide. I spoke with Anne Kulinsky, Bob Davis and Linda Davis from 9 am to after 5 pm that day, with a short lunch break mid-day. They have transcripts of all that was said. Obviously that meeting was more emotional than what this is (I am trying to be objective and just put the facts – not all the feelings- that pertain to this).

Colin’s Story of Abuse and New Tribes Mission

Long before I was born, my destiny was already being formed.  My parents were products of post war Britain, who traveled the world in search of a better life and after exploring Canada, settled at the opposite end of the globe.

Although they came from similar environments, they came from considerably different family structures and had quite different personalities.  My mother was a gentle person, while my father was able to achieve to a high level in most things he tried his hand at.

Life was routine till I was five, when my parents discovered Christianity and like everything else my father did, he embraced it with both hands and the fervor never died.  This religious fervor caused a split with the extended family, with my Grandfather cutting off contact, after being bombarded with large doses of religion, on my Grandparents one and only trip to see us.  By the age of ten they had decided to join a Florida based missionary organization, called New Tribes Mission, an unusual choice for a couple living at the bottom of the globe, as New Tribes Mission had a very small presence in New Zealand.  We soon ended up in Australia for the “Boot Camp” part of the training program.  Conditions were spartan, while the staff lived in normal homes, the recruits lived in shacks which were little more than a large room with a few partitions, no running water or facilities.  For me the warning bells went off soon after arriving, the raids looking for “illicit” reading material and the mind control.  While it seemed all others happily went along with the mantras and heavy doses of indoctrination, I began my journey of questioning what we had really got ourselves into.  I just couldn’t understand why there was the constant repetition of religious principles, figuring that being of average intelligence that being told something once or twice would suffice.

We had a year of somewhat normality back in New Zealand, while my parents completed the language school component of their training..  And then we went to Papua New Guinea and life became very strange.  Language skills were not my parents forte, so they were assigned to the headquarters, where my father became the odd jobs person, taking on a range of jobs that he was hardly qualified for, including become the base mechanic, for which his qualification seemed to be that he owned a bicycle at some point in his life.  They also did a stint as dorm parents and were given the children that no one else wanted, which raises one of the obvious problems that occurred.  Not all missionaries were equal.  Non U.S. citizens were given the jobs that U.S. citizens did not wish to do and if they complained they were dismissed and their homes and possessions confiscated.  This blatant racism was a shock, but worse was to come.  Some of the racial attitudes towards the local population were unbelievable.   Strange racial theology was taught in the boarding school and some missionaries made no secret of what they thought of people with darker skin tones.  To New Zealanders, this was highly offensive.  I wondered why some of the missionaries had bothered with their chosen career path.  Years later I came to the conclusion that for many of the male missionaries it was an ego trip, an escape from the hum drum of routine suburban life to the elevated dizzying heights of being the all powerful, technologically enhanced and spiritually enlightened missionary master, amongst uneducated stoneage populations and those inferior creations of their god, women.  For far too many, this ego trip took a sinister turn and they became a law unto themselves, crossing boundaries that in any normal society that would be deemed criminal.

Discipline was harsh in the boarding school, teachers turned out often to be unqualified and the misfits became dorm parents.  The most notorious dorm parent of the time openly bragged about what he was doing with his wandering hands.  Another dorm parent seemed to revel in his sadistic pleasure at administering discipline.  Beatings were done in public and there was a strange obsession with keeping any physical contact between the genders to a non-existent level.  Infractions of the strict rules resulted in a weeks solitary confinement in the first instance and more severe punishment for a second offense.  Meantime there were the rumors of affairs and infidelity going on and past sexual indiscretions committed by a dismissed former school staff member.

Constantly imprinted on our already guilty consciences was the mantra that we were a team, a sort of Spiritual elite fighting unit and that if we did not tow the line then the family could be sent home and the souls of natives would be in peril.

My father was the ultimate in piousness, every pore in his body oozed his religious beliefs, but he had no tolerance for anyone who did not agree with his narrow band of religious beliefs.  And so began a life of humiliation and mind control.  My father would use anyone and anything to achieve his bizarre goals.  I retreated into a world of isolation, making coffins in the basement of our house for the locally deceased and getting off the base at every opportunity that presented itself.  I participated reluctantly in what religious activities that were required, I made no fake profession of faith as most of my peers did and eventually I switched to doing a correspondence course, which avoided having to put up with the discrimination that was handed out on a daily basis.  The bullying started at the top with the principal and filtered down right through the system.

I spent much of my childhood trying to win my father’s approval and consequently ended up with a considerable few returned gifts.  I would buy my father Christmas and Birthday presents that I knew he would like and yet he would return them claiming he had no need for them.  This procedure continued on well into adulthood, when the light dawned and I stopped buying gifts for him.  He never did this to anyone else and it was just another method of breaking me down psychologically.  I could have become a nobel prize winner and my father would have held up the village drunk as a better person than I was, such was his strange ritual of humiliation and mind manipulation.  My father also used my siblings in his strange game of humiliation.  The one thing he wanted was the one thing I was not prepared to give him and that was my independent mind.  I saw him preying upon those who had fallen on less fortunate times and he openly stated that he had no other reason for interacting with other people than to convert them to his religious point of view.

And so I returned home and just got on with life.  The past was just something that happened, something that would circulate in the mind because it raised far more questions than it ever answered.  I pursued a career in medicine and also discovered a passion for creative writing.  My father refused to have a family conference to sort out the past issues and dismissed my concerns as being ungrateful fabrications.  He completed another term of service and then was dismissed by New Tribes Mission, for reasons that have never been provided.  He was stripped of his assets, his home and his career, yet he continued to sing the praises of New Tribes Mission.  When I intervened and managed to attain a financial settlement for his confiscated house, he became very angry and demanded the matter never be raised in public. And I began to get an insight into how convoluted and secretive his world was becoming.

In May, 1995, another Missionary Kid from Papua New Guinea, was jailed for shooting the rest of his family (his parents and three siblings).  They were not with New Tribes Mission, but the story of strange sexual occurrences and abuse that came out in the trial rang more warning bells, for all the ingredients that had tipped this family over, were emerging from the murky pasts of those I had grown up with.  (As a footnote, David Bain’s convictions were squashed 13 years later, public documentation and opinion on the case is widely available on the internet).  What disturbed me about the case was how deeply affected Missionary Kids could become by what they had seen and experienced and how dysfunctional New Zealand missionary families often became upon their return home.

In February, 2011, a major earthquake destroyed much of the city where my wife and I lived and we were unable to return to our home due to enormous boulders that had been dislodged from the cliffs above and could not be stabilized.  Even though this was a considerable loss, it didn’t weigh as heavy on the mind as the ongoing nagging concerns about my strange childhood and its after effects.  Shortly after this, I became involved with a website called Fanda Eagles and what I had suspected, was portrayed in graphic detail.  Not just in Papua New Guinea, but almost every other boarding school that New Tribes Mission had operated globally.  An independent agency had been commissioned to look into just one school and the report was a disturbing account of sexual abuse, mental manipulation, beatings and other forms of child abuse.  Yet all offenders had escaped justice, with one notable exception.  Apparently under U.S. law, historical crimes committed by U.S. citizens outside U.S. boarders are not able to be prosecuted.  Many of these offenders were allowed to return home and to assimilate themselves back into society with no repercussions for their crimes.

The exception was a New Zealand citizen, who was jailed for sexual offenses.  He was the head of New Tribes Mission in New Zealand and when the New Zealand arm closed down, he arrived in Papua New Guinea shortly after our family did.  He was our neighbor in both countries and we shared a house for a period of time.  In comparison to my father he seemed a fair and moderate person.  His victim was victimized by those in power, for speaking about the abuse, at the boarding school and waited until he returned to New Zealand soil before successfully pressing charges.  Yet despite requests for his crimes to be fully exposed, they were covered up by the Australian branch of New Tribes Mission (now calling itself Crossview Australia and attempting to distance itself from its former parent organization).  His sudden absence from the mission field was explained as being a “mental health” issue.  No one from New Tribes Mission bothered to investigate if there were any other victims and when I wrote to ask for further information regarding the matter, it took over a year for Crossview Australia to reply and when they did it was a threatening e-mail and an attempt to ensure my silence.

I confronted my father about the revelations and the incarceration of the neighbor.  He said he did not care about the missionary children he had known and that it was no concern of his.  We had a heated discussion and that was the last time we spoke.  There have been strange rambling letters in the mail, containing sentiments of “doing the devils work” and “ruining the reputation of Godly men”.  I have not replied.

One positive effect of the earthquake was that it enabled me to leave my family behind and move away from the area where we all formerly lived.  I did not leave a forwarding address.  When the revelations about the past tumbled out in the Fanda Report and other boarding schools, my family members all had a choice to make.  I opted to pursue justice through my writing and to help others through they’re past journeys.   My father opted to deny that any abuse took place.  My mother is a puppet of my father and is not afforded the opportunity of voicing her own opinions.  Like many New Tribes Mission males of my fathers era, he views women as being inferior to men and they should not voice or even have opinions, except those that echo the thoughts of themselves.  My father has documented his opinion that any allegations of child abuse are purely mass hysteria, whipped up by a few ungrateful former missionary children who are not adhering to his version of religious beliefs.

I corresponded with a few New Tribes Mission personnel about the history of child abuse and all assured me that policies and procedures were now in place so child abuse would be a matter of the past.  However my worst fears were confirmed when a Scott Kennell was arrested at Orlando airport and consequently pleaded guilty to sexual offenses with young girls, which he had made images of.  My fear that the abuse had not stopped, was confirmed.

And so, I find myself now at the age of half a century, living a happier and more settled life.  Not having all the answers about what happened in my childhood, or what motivated some of the strange people who I came into contact with, but certainly considerably more enlightened that none of this was my fault and that I was not the only one who had a very negative experience.  My suspicion that this was a cult my parents were involved with has been reinforced, for I cannot find any other logical explanation for why there is so little concern for the children I grew up with and all the other children abused within the confines of New Tribes Mission.  I have conquered the guilt heaped upon me by my father and no longer fear his verbal outbursts, he is out of my life, almost out of my head and I am very grateful for this.

From what I have discovered, my journey is pretty much typical of New Zealanders who have been involved with New Tribes Mission.  About half of us have no or very little contact with our families and little prospect of any reconciliation.  It is not a journey I would recommend, but one I am very grateful to have survived.

Colin

New Tribes Mission (NTM) Abuse and Fanda

While most of us at Fanda were abused in some form, what we find especially damaging is the abuse of leadership who chose not to protect us at the time in spite of documented evidence and, who have still not reported the crimes to authorities nor sought justice for us today, 20 years later. – Victim of Abuse

This statement by a victim of abuse at a religious boarding school, reveals a glaring reality about victims of childhood sexual assault. Some victims of abuse are still no closer to finding vindication and restitution for the crimes perpetrated against them, even after years of effort to do so. As a result, healing from the psychosexual abuse is not taking place and victims are struggling under the emotional load.

This statement is a typical one heard by sexual assault victims everywhere that have been fighting to get their respective religious institutions to prosecute their abusers; many of which they KNEW about. The glaring reality, once again, is that because of the stall tactics and/or inaction on the part of the religious institutions in turning in abusers to authorities, many victims may consider giving up the fight. That’s right. They might consider giving up!  But why would they do this?  Many of them may be tired of the battle of trying to be heard and, the fight to get their abusers prosecuted.  While religious institutions may opt to offer therapy and some compensation to victims of abuse that make it into the public eye through media news, many other victims of abuse within the same organization will be ignored and receive no aid or help; nor will they see their abusers turned in to authorities for prosecution.  Monetary compensation and aid is just one aspect of the kind of help victims of Religious Abuse and sexual exploitation and assault need in order to recover and heal; and, many religious institutions are ignoring this fact.  Many boarding schools are guilty of crimes against women and children. Many churches are guilty of crimes against women and children. Many religiously run camps and behavior modification facilities are guilty of crimes against women and children.  While some religious organizations have paid for therapy and settled with some of the victims of abuse, this “compensation and help” is small in comparison to the number of victims affected.  Paying for therapy for awhile does not help the victims long term. It does not cover long term medical treatment and medications needed by victims to control mental illnesses and physical problems that many of these victims may suffer from as a result of the abuse and trauma they suffered. When I talk about restitution and vindication for victims of abuse, here is what I mean:

  • The rapists and pedophiles MUST be turned in to authorities for prosecution by the religious organization that allowed the crimes to occur and/or hid them. THIS IS MANDATORY.
  • Those that were complicit in the crimes through knowledge of them and did nothing to stop them, nor turned in the abusers, need turned in to the authorities for prosecution.
  • Monetary compensation should be for as long as the victim needs medical assistance and medications of any kind in their recovery. Lump sum compensation should be given to EVERY SINGLE VICTIM TO HELP THEM TO LIVE. MANY of them can’t hold jobs due to the trauma and after affects of what they suffered! Many suffer from PTSD.
  • Public admission of the crimes against victims needs to be made in EVERY INSTANCE along with publishing the names of those who committed the crimes.
  • Religious Institutions and their followers need to rally their support around the victims and not the abusers instead of shaming, blaming and shunning them! PERIOD.

These are the types of things that religious institutions are NOT doing. They are using a “band-aid” approach with victims, only helping those that get media involved or file class action law-suits. Most religious organizations do not want their dirty laundry aired to the public, so they will settle with some victims instead. But what about those that have been silenced, blamed, shunned, shamed and ignored?  They are struggling in frustration and ready to give up the fight. These are the ones that I am referring to that are ready to quit!

What many victims of abuse may not realize is that Religious Institutions have mastered the tactic of “stalling” and “manipulating” victims. They KNOW what they are doing. Every step of the way they ignore victims, give them lip service, frustrate, malign and antagonize victims in order to get them to back off. The longer the church/organization can draw the process out, the easier it becomes for victims to call it quits. The harder and more humiliating the organization can make it for victims, the easier it becomes for victims to call it quits. The church or religious institution wins and, continues to abuse and manipulate others the same way.  The church/religious organization knows these tactics work because they have been using them for centuries to silence and frustrate victims of abuse. So, many are weary and ready to move on with their lives.  They are considering removing their voices from the foray. Many are considering allowing the victory to go to the abusive organization.

What does this mean for those victims that decide to call it quits?  What this means is that they will be helping these abusers to move on to new victims. Through their silence and complacency, they now are complicit in the future crimes of these rapists, pedophiles and emotional and spiritual abusers!  Silence always leads to more abuse when it comes to any abuse. Giving up can never be an option for these victims of Religious Abuse. There is just too much at stake to ever consider calling it quits.

Sexual exploitation of women and children in abusive religious institutions is a very difficult subject matter to deal with. Exposing it is an even harder task. Churches and other religious institutions have mastered the art of silencing, bullying, building loyalty, stalling and, walking away from victims without ever helping them and providing restitution and vindication for the crimes perpetrated against them.

One of the main reasons for this lack of prosecution of rapists is Statute of Limitations (SOL) laws here in the U.S. that prevent victims of sexual assault from prosecuting their rapists after a certain number of years has passed. It can take decades for a victim to muster up the courage to speak out! Another reason is that many of the crimes are perpetrated in foreign countries where our laws do not apply. Many rapists come back from the mission field to live free lives here in the U.S., never spending one single day in jail for their crimes. Prosecution must be sought in the country where the crime occurs in order for victims to stop their abusers from hurting others. Mission organizations are not reporting the crimes and predators are going free. The following video is one of the perpetrators admitting to his abuses and living freely here in the U.S.

Video: Leslie Emory admits to molesting girls in the Philipines

Another issue is that some of the rapists are still over seas and cannot be prosecuted because of this. Despite these frustrations, victims of sexual assault must forge ahead, paving the way for changes in law that will protect women and children in religiously run institutions. Is this an easy endeavor? NO, it is NOT! It takes years to affect change. It takes years to get all the cogs out of the wheels of religiously run institutions that are in place to specifically protect the institution from accountability to victims! Can it be done? Absolutely Yes…if victims will be persistent and join their voices together will all the thousands out there that have suffered the same fate as them. There truly is POWER in numbers.

WHY DOES IT TAKE DECADES TO SPEAK OUT ABOUT SEXUAL ABUSE?

What the general populous has a difficult time understanding is why victims of childhood sexual assault wait for decades before speaking out. They do not understand that sexual assault brings with it psychological and emotional trauma, guilt, fear, shame and a host of other emotional issues that each victim has to battle on a daily basis. Nor does the populous understand that for those victims within religious institutions, Spiritual Abuse goes hand in hand with the Sexual Abuse and is one of the reasons for their long-term silence. So, What Exactly is Spiritual Abuse? It is only ONE facet of Religious Abuse. Before you move forward, it is vital to understand what this is. This article I wrote – Religious Abuse – What Exactly Is It? – will help readers to understand all facets of this type of abuse. All cases of sexual exploitation of women and children in the religious setting involve Spiritual Abuse.

One FACET of RELIGIOUS ABUSE is Spiritual Abuse

SPIRITUAL ABUSE: This type of abuse, like emotional abuse, leaves no physical marks. However, its trauma is profound in the life of the one being victimized by it. In this type of abuse, God’s Name is used to JUSTIFY all abuse inflicted. Scripture (the Bible) is also used as a tool to force victims into submission to the dogmas, beliefs and rules of the religious sect. God’s Name and Scripture (Bible) are the two main “weapons of choice” employed by abusive religious leaders to extract money, prestige, power, personal gain, and, to sexually exploit women and children within their congregations; thus gaining control in all aspects of their followers lives. All messages taught and preached have one agenda in mind – to control each individual within the congregation. Using deceptively packaged sermons laced with “underlying meanings,” religious leaders attempt to stifle creative thought, independent thinking and, instill new thought patterns and behaviors into their flock (Behavior Modification). These new thought patterns and attitudes become the norm by which everyone is judged. Those who adopt the same thought patterns and beliefs as the Leadership, are “right with God.” Those that do not, “are not right with God” and, are in jeopardy of being attacked, shunned and character assassinated.

Using Scripture to modify behavior is paramount in controlling an individual and, instilling a fear of further punishment from God if they tell anyone about the abuse they have endured or witnessed.

Spiritual Abuse can be inflicted without the knowledge of the victim. When it does occur, it leaves its victims in shock, hurting, confused and, yes, traumatized. They know that they have been hurt, but justify the abuse because they don’t know that it IS abuse. They think within themselves that the “preacher” is really trying to look out for their best interests and accept the abuse as “God sent” in order to bring them back to the “right path.” They may not even realize that it is, in fact, abuse. For example: The sect I came out of used the pulpit as a whipping post to attack congregants publicly who did not conform to the rules and standards of the church and its leaders (public humiliation). They used the pulpit to attack publicly, those that questioned the pastor’s authority, disagreed with the pastor, or exposed abuses in the church. They used God and Scripture to support inflicting this emotional attack. Therefore the trauma is two-fold – emotional and spiritual. The twisting of scripture to suit leadership’s agendas and long-term goals is professionally done in order to reap personal gain. Those that do not question what is being taught, follow blindly whatever leadership wants done, even if it means inflicting more emotional trauma to the same victim (secondary abuse).

Spiritual Abuse is the most deadly of all abuses because those subjected to it, are left seeing God as an abusive entity that lacks love, compassion and acceptance. He is ever ready at any moment to hurt and destroy anyone that does not conform to the religious dogmas and standards of the “church system” they are a part of. He is seen as someone that is angry all the time and ready to destroy at the slightest infraction. Because of this, many followers will adopt that very attitude in dealing with those that fall short of perfection in keeping all the religious rules and precepts. Some will adopt that very attitude with their children, leading to the emotional and physical abuse of the child.

As a result of Spiritual Abuse, many victims fear speaking out because they have been taught that GOD will punish them further, or their children, or their families, if they dare to speak out against “God’s Man.” It can take many years of therapy for a victim of this kind of abuse to overcome their fears and speak out!

Spiritual Abuse is also the number one reason that multitudes of people are turning their backs on God, the Bible, the Church and religion. Religion and Scripture to the Spiritually Abused, is TOXIC. For many, it creates anxiety, fears, mental illnesses and physical illnesses in those subjected to it. Just as the other abuses traumatize and have ill affects long term, so does this type of abuse.” – Cynthia McClaskey, Author and Religious Abuse Survivor.

These emotional issues are traumatizing. They are debilitating. They are huge hurdles that each victim either crumbles under the weight of, or, finds a way to conquer and overcome. The old adage, “Time heals all wounds” is partly true. While it does not heal all wounds, it is necessary for time to pass  in order for wounded and broken people to find the strength and courage to overcome their fears and to speak out. Those that break under the weight of the trauma use alcohol and drugs to help numb the pain, while others, commit suicide. But, those who manage to jump the hurdles and find the courage to speak out need to have their voices heard AND, need to be protected from as much secondary abuse as possible while they speak out.

Here’s why: Once a victim of sexual assault does find their voice, then the even bigger battles begin. Those who do step forward publicly become the targets of religious leaders and their religious followers. They are character assassinated, publicly humiliated and further victimized psychologically and emotionally through secondary abuse. Telling one’s story also triggers and sets in motion a “re-living” of the events that initially caused the trauma. All the hurt, shame, imposed guilt, fear and turmoil come flooding back to the surface. No one can truly understand how difficult it is for just one single victim to tell or write their story of abuse! This is why it is so very important to protect victims emotionally that do step out and tell about their abuse. This is why it is important to rally around victims of this type of religious abuse and succor them and encourage them. That is why it is vital for survivors of Religious Abuse to stick together for the support they need!  For many, all they are looking for is, “I believe you. Let’s see what we can do to help you.” They have been called liars by the churches they were a part of, liars by their families, liars by their closest friends; all of which, supported the abuser instead of them. This is what makes Religious Abuse hidden underneath the mantle of religious institutions the worst crimes against humanity – the victims are ignored, shoved aside, blamed and emotionally assassinated. It is time for all of this to change.

Today, I would like to talk about a group of Religious Abuse victims that are fighting this battle of exposing the abuses that were perpetrated by those whom they were supposed to be able to trust. Abuses that encompass all facets of RELIGIOUS ABUSE. Once again, I highly recommend that everyone read my article entitled, “RELIGIOUS ABUSE- What Exactly is it?” before moving forward in this article. Until you understand what it is, you will never understand a victim’s emotional trauma.

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NEW TRIBES MISSION (NTM), FANDA, and OTHER NTM BOARDING SCHOOLS

Who is New Tribes Mission? New Tribes Mission was founded in 1942. Today, New Tribes Mission (NTM) is an international, theologically evangelical Christian mission organization based in Sanford, Florida, United States. NTM has approximately 3,300 missionaries in more than 20 nations.

The organization sends missionaries from local churches around the world to Latin America, West Africa, Southeast Asia and the Arctic. Countries include Brazil, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Colombia, Greenland, Guinea, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mexico, Mozambique, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Philippines, Senegal, Tanzania, Thailand and formerly Venezuela [Wikipedia].

NTM also has boarding schools for missionary kids in these various places. Fanda is one of the boarding schools of NTM where child sexual abuse, rape, physical abuse, emotional and spiritual abuse took place. In 2010, G.R.A.C.E.(Godly Response To Abuse In The Christian Environment), an organization dedicated to helping Christian organizations deal with abuse, documented reports of sexual, physical, emotional and spiritual abuse at the Fanda boarding school operated by NTM for the children of NTM workers in the country of Senegal during the 1980s and 1990s. You may read and download this report HERE.

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Recently, I was contacted by one of the victims of abuse from this mission and asked if I would be willing to share their story about NTM and Fanda on my blog. I agreed because they are not the only religiously run boarding school that is guilty of crimes against children. Please read the articles on my blog regarding New Bethany Home for Girls in Arcadia, La. Countless numbers of boys and girls were sexually assaulted, physically, emotionally and spiritually abused; many were tortured in the New Bethany Homes for boys and girls.

Donna Trout’s Story – New Bethany Home for Girls, Arcadia La.

Kimberly Ann Howard’s Story – New Bethany Home for Girls, Arcadia La.

New Bethany Home for Girls – Kim Holt’s Story

Simone’s Story – New Bethany Homes For Girls, Arcadia LA

These victims of New Bethany have been fighting for years to get the abuses recognized and the perpetrators arrested. They have hit roadblocks at every turn. Today, however, they have broken through some of the strongholds and are finally making some strides! They NEVER gave up the fight and it is beginning to pay off for them.

First of all, I want to mention the tremendous efforts of these victims of Fanda in organizing their evidence for the world to see. Just as the New Bethany victims have also been laboring long and hard for years to bring prosecution to those involved in their abuses, so have these victims of Fanda.  As a result of their efforts, an investigation has already been conducted by G.R.A.C.E. (Godly Response To Abuse In The Christian Environment) that has vindicated them and supported their abuse claims.

Stunning 68 page report on crimes at overseas mission school is released
SNAP Network, David Clohessy, Barbara Dorris, Martha Jean Lorenzo
[Press release]

Grace report brings tears to many
Orlando Sentinel, Amy L. Edwards
[article]

What is missing from all of this is NTM’s willingness to provide restitution to victims who were abused in their other boarding schools and to turn in the perpetrators to the authorities where the crimes occurred, for prosecution. While there have been some arrests due to victim efforts, these victims have not been dealt with properly nor, received proper restitution (as mentioned above) from the mission for the damages done to them. Many of the rapists and pedophiles are still free today because the mission let them go. It is time for these victims of abuse from NTM to receive the restitution and vindication they deserve (as listed above) and, the populous needs to be warned about the abuses that lurk underneath this institution’s religious mantle. Secondly, I want to give links to the “proof documentation” and the news articles regarding the abuses. Take some time to read through these as they will probably make you mad enough to want to jump in and help these victims. They NEED the SUPPORT!

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For PROOF Documentation click here: PROOF
Fanda Eagles Website containing media links below: MEDIA
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Thank you for organizing all this material and bringing it up to date. Including some correspondence that happened as this blog was launched. It is a very sad commentary on how NTM handled and still handles situations. In 4 years, we have not seen evidence of anything “new” on their part. The cover-up goes deeper. For instance, today as the news of the arrest of Scott Kennell came out, the NTM spokesperson states that his life does NOT have to measure up to his message. His personal life can be looked at separately from his “work’ for NTM. Unbelievable! I am controlling my response, as I am VERY disgusted and VERY angry!” – Angry Victim, June 5, 2013.

Victims of abuse within the religious system are not being handled properly by the very institutions that allowed the abuses to occur. They are receiving “lip service,” but no definitive action!  The abusers are being upheld and supported by the religious institutions! These religious institutions that covered up the abuses and hide the perpetrators and/or moved them to other places, are directly responsible for all future abuses, secondary traumas inflicted to victims and, future victims of these rapists and pedophiles. There is absolutely no EXCUSE for the way these victims have been handled. This institution needs to be held ACCOUNTABLE by state and local governments and law enforcement for the crimes they have allowed to be perpetrated against women and children while on their watch.

Because sexual exploitation of women and children is rampant within the religious systems of the world, it is imperative that victims everywhere speak out. All the numbers reported by religious institutions regarding abuse are inaccurate because religious institutions have been working very hard at hiding the abuses and perpetrators for not just decades, but centuries! The reality is that sexual exploitation of women and children is a global problem and, silencing victims of these abuses only allows for the abuses to continue. Victims everywhere need to find there courage to tell their stories. It is through the telling of their stories that they will realize that they do have the power to affect change — changes in law that affect the way religious institutions operate, changes in law that will prevent abuses from being hidden, changes in law that will protect women and children from the abuses.

The time is now to start affecting this change. The time is now to tell your story. The platform for doing so is now available for Religious Abuse Survivors of all denominations and nationalities. If you are interested in entering the foray with your voice, contact me through my blog: www.religionscell.wordpress.com. You can make a difference!

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STORIES OF ABUSE:

Colin’s Story of Abuse and New Tribes Mission

Kerry Lou’s Story of Abuse and New Tribes Mission