The following interaction took place on my Facebook page over the last two days. It serves as a fresh reminder that the sex abuse conspiracy continues and it underscores the tactics so often used to silence, discredit and evade accountability.
Scott Jones is a long term and prominent member of Covenant Life Church. His accusations and faulty arguments mirror those employed by his pastors and the leaders of Sovereign Grace Ministries. He is one of their disciples. The Morales trial is scheduled to begin on May 12.
I’ve not included all the comments that appear on my FB page for the sake of focus and brevity. They can, however, be read there.
Brent Detwiler I guess it is time for a reality check. Ten fast facts. 1) Grant followed C.J.’s evil counsel to cover up. 2) Morales’ crimes were never reported to police by C.J., Grant or other CLC pastors who knew. 3) Parents and youth at Covenant Life Church were not alerted to the predatory and homosexual activity of Morales. 4) The school administration at Montgomery County Christian Academy where Morales taught and groomed victims was never told about his abuses by CLC leaders. 5) Other youth were abused as a result of all these criminal delinquencies. 6) Grant lied to detectives in order to conceal the conspiracy. 7) CLC and SGM leaders have denied all wrong doing. 8) Joshua Harris just commended Grant on Feb 23 for his personal integrity and ending his pastoral service well. 9) C.J., Joshua, Grant and other pastors at CLC have covered up the pedophilic actions of other sex abusers with multiple victims at CLC. 10) The above have used a cadre of high priced lawyers and law firms to block every attempt to bring them and abusers to justice.
And now an opinion. Grant has chosen to resign from pastoral ministry at this time because he knows some of the above will come out in court when the Morales trial begins on May 12. That would force a resignation at CLC. And now a perspective. Grant (and Joshua) said he effectively retired from pastoral ministry due to weariness. Yet Grant has counseled people to overcome weariness by drawing near to the Lord for over 31 years (Isa 40:28-31; 2 Cor 44:7-12, 12:9-10). I find this hypocritical. In addition, he just came off a 3 month sabbatical. The issue is not weariness, it is truthfulness. Proverbs 28:13 “He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” Instead Grant is commended. He is honored. He receives standing ovations at CLC. But that is not the Lord’s assessment. The Lord knows differently because he knows the truth which the CLC pastors continue to withhold and conceal. So too, C.J. Mahaney, SGM and former churches like Sovereign Grace Church of Fairfax.
Once again, I encourage all the victims of sexual abuse in SGM to contact law enforcement. Doing so is not a sign of unforgiveness or vengeance contrary to what you have wrongly been taught. You may have forgiven your perpetrator but he must still be reported to the State for the crimes he has committed. Overwhelmingly, abusers don’t stop abusing unless there are penal consequences, public disclosure, lengthy professional counselling, and on-going civil, church and personal accountability by friends. Sex abusers are notorious con artists. They thrive on going undetected in public by faking repentance in private. They lie profusely and convincingly. This has been shown time and time again. Though it is extremely difficult for victims to report for fear of embarrassment or reprisals and ostracism by their abusers, church leaders, friends or even family; it is the right and necessary thing to do. Abusers must be exposed and held accountable. That is the only way they can be stopped and helped. If not, they inevitably abuse again. And furthermore, any contrite abuser will turn himself into law enforcement and welcome public accountability. Why? Because he knows he has broken the law and he knows himself to be utterly untrustworthy. Therefore, he is willing to accept the consequences for his heinous actions and embraced the accountability that comes from being put on a “registry” in his church or by the State. Let’s remember, none of the allegations of fact in the lawsuit were rejected by the court because of questionable merits. The allegations of fact stand. The case will be appealed. Yet SGM leaders talk and act as though the factual allegations have been dismissed and the lawsuit is a thing of the past. That aside, I primarily pray the abundance of evidence against Morales will result in a conviction. Secondarily, I pray the evidence against the CLC conspirators is entered into the record and not successfully suppressed by defense lawyers.
John Shirey Sounds like more from the horse’s other end. The first time I met you was at my brother Paul’s and his wife Kathy's wedding at Fairfax. Later I heard you preach at both CLC and Celebration. I know you were done wrong by the leaders of SGM but did it wound you that much that all you can do is continue this vindictive crusade? You sound so sure of yourself and your facts. But what if you are wrong on any of these points or on any of the other things you have accused C.J., Grant, and others of doing? Are you prepared to go before God and tell him oops I guess I didn't know it all, I didn’t have all of the facts, I didn’t know the real truth?
Brent Detwiler John, go back and read my original blog posts on Morales and others related to the conspiracy to commit and conceal sex abuse in CLC and SGM. They are full of facts. Since then I have learned so much more.
John, my work has nothing to do with a vindictive crusade. It has everything to do with exposing evil of the worse kind.
Scott Jones Brent, a question: Why campaign so much on this if the Morales case is going to reveal everything? Why go to all the lengths you’ve gone to “investigate” things? Especially when you’ve portrayed some of the facts inaccurately. I suggested to you before that some of what you’re doing smacked of bitterness, and it does so even more now. For your own sake, please consider carefully what you’re doing.
Dana McKee I think you do not know Brent, Scott Jones. Have you read Hebrews 12 lately? Verse 15 calls on us in the body to... “See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; 16 that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal...” Not that someone who has suffered indignities at the hand of Sov. Grace as he has might not be tempted to the sin of bitterness. But he has, in this “campaign”, as you call it, not been bitter. He is watching over the flock as well as bringing correction to his peers in the ministry
Scott Jones Dana, Brent and I have known each other for more than 30 years, so I don’t think familiarity is an issue here.
Dana McKee Brent Detwiler was our pastor in Charlotte awhile back, and we have kept up as folks can who move away, so I know him too. I questioned his tenacity in pursuing this scandal when I first heard of it. Back then it was not this pedophile cover-up case - only a public appeal to CJ to come clean, to submit to the same confession of sin that he has preached so well over the years. But as CJ was shown to remain recalcitrant, and more and more has been brought to light, I am more convinced that Brent is not serving self. Read 1 Cor. 4 where Paul, the apostle, threatens to come with a stick to correct the arrogant “guides”. It’s a great chapter to be read in context and not to pull a verse out alone. However, the section ends with this: “21 What do you wish? Shall I come to you with a rod, or with love in a spirit of gentleness?” Brent has not yet picked up a stick!
Scott Jones Dana, I understand where you’re coming from, and I’m grateful that you know Brent. At the same time, I would submit that Brent is not in a place where he should even investigate this for two reasons: (1) He’s not in a position of authority (as you alluded to with your scripture reference) to even carry a stick (God has not called him as an authority over CLC, nor is he or has been close enough to CLC to be an authority), and (2) he doesn’t know all the facts and has been wrong on some of them. If he were to carry a campaign at all relating to sexual molestation, it should be private so as to not hurt innocent people (and he has hurt innocent people), and he should do it in an appealing manner, rather than in an aggressive, accusative way (which is what betrays a potentially bitter attitude).
Brent Detwiler Scott, I have not written a blog post in 6 months. I posted about Morales 7 months ago. You should read it, “Grant Layman & the Conspiracy Surrounding Nathaniel Morales” in order to review the factual allegations, etc. But “Why campaign so much?” (Your words.) Well, why don’t you ask all of Morales’ victims - some of whom you know. Why campaign so much? Because he was not reported to police, parents, youth, school officials or other churches he worked for after he left CLC? Why campaign so much? Because it took three years for the police to make their case because Grant, et. al, were not cooperative and forthcoming. Why campaign so much? Because this is illegal and reprehensible and resulted in further abuses!
You also ask, “Why investigate so much?” Because you have never been told the truth about a 30 year history of sexual abuse at CLC that has been covered up. For instance, the law firm of Liebeler and Thaler did their high priced “investigation” but they will never reveal their findings. They will make some recommendations but they will not share the incriminating evidence they have gathered. Not now or after the appeal process is over. Ask Joshua for a copy of the contract they signed with the law firm that binds them. Ask Joshua if the law firm is cooperating with police and turning over evidence. Of course not. CLC didn’t need a review by a law firm hired by the church. It needed, and needs, a widespread criminal investigation in which the pastors grant total and complete access to all their files, records, notes and recordings and promise to reveal everything they know about John Loftness, Gary Ricucci, Stephen Griney, David Adams, Mark Hoffman, Charlie Llewellyn, Dave Mayo, Nate Morales and others.
Furthermore, please write me Scott and demonstrate which facts I have portrayed inaccurately about Grant or the CLC pastors. When you do you must provide evidence. I will post it and correct myself. In fact, go through all I’ve written the past 4 years and show me where I’ve erred. I’ve repeatedly asked CLC and SGM to correct any errors. They have never done so. Here is the truth. I was repeatedly promised by C.J., Dave Harvey, Jeff Purswell and Joshua Harris that all my charges of deceit, lying, cover up, hypocrisy, favoritism, human idolatry, spiritual abuse, etc. would be heard and adjudicated by an independent third party using the rules of evidence. They violated their word but worse. They did so in the most deceitful way possible! Read “It’s Been a Good Week!” on BrentDetwiler.com from August 15, 2013 if you’re interested in a factual account. These men and others like Mark Prater acted in a most devious and wicked manner (I use the adjectives advisedly). Therefore, I was not surprised when the lawsuit regarding sex abuse came out in Oct 2012. Nor was I surprised when the two amendments came out in Jan 2013 and May 2013. Don’t get me wrong, I knew nothing of these cover ups and abuses. And don’t get me wrong, I was horrified. But please understand, I was not surprised by the perverse degree of deceit and corruption. It was just another horrid expression of the very issues I had been addressing in C.J. since Dec 2000 and other SGM leaders since Jan 2010.
Scott, I say none of the above because I am bitter. I say none of the above because I am vengeful. The charges against C.J. were never heard or tried as promised. I say the above because it is true (and backed up by 4,000 pages of evidence). Love rejoices when truth and justice win out. Not when lies and oppression destroy. These two slanders, bitterness and vengeance, have been repeatedly used against me, the victims, and most anyone who seeks to hold CLC or SGM accountable. It is one of the worst forms of spiritual abuse. This approach is used to silence critics and prevent a hearing of charges. It is also terrible theology. Church members get manipulated as a result and begin to view those who speak out against abuse, confront corruption, pursue justice or seek godly vindication as being vindictive. That is damming and destructive. All kinds of evil gets covered up as a result because it is never investigated. Therefore, do something profitable. Set up a public adjudication hearing at CLC where I can lay out my charges from the past 15 years and the past 15 minutes. Invite C.J. They can do the same against me. I am serious. I’ve asked to meet with the CLC pastors on numerous occasions. They have always refused. I’ve asked them to answer questions and respond to charges. They have always refused.
Scott, ask the pastors three questions about their sex abuse policy. 1) Are they committed to immediately involved law enforcement as soon as someone is accused or suspected of child abuse? 2) Are they committed to tell parents whose youth or children are in harm’s way about a person that’s been accused and is under investigation? 3) Are they committed to inform church members of known sex offenders in the church? Or are they unwilling to do all of the above for fear of lawsuits or reputational harm? CLC is not safe unless these commitments are put into place. I have little doubt that Children's Ministry on Sunday morning is a safe environment. That is NOT the issue. It is what happens outside these controlled settings that is so dangerous. It is the suspected pedophile you are not told about that is a “friend” of your family that presents such a grave danger. A “Nate Morales” type. And don’t think that not reporting suspected or known abusers only occurred in the distant past “when things were done differently.” Joshua Harris knew all about the allegations of sexual abuse against Charlie Llewellyn by 2008. Yet, he never reported these documented and extremely serious allegations brought by the house keeper and two daughters to the Montgomery County Police Department or the Department of Health and Human Services. He continued the conspiracy that C.J. Mahaney, Gary Ricucci and Grant Layman began in 1996.
Here’s my question Scott. When is Joshua going to come clean? When is Grant going to come clean? When is Stephen Griney going to come clean? When is anyone going to come clean? Never unless it is before a jury and under oath for fear of perjury.
Scott, we’ve not known each other for 30 years. What you told Dana is untrue. You knew me when I was a part of CLC in 1982-83. After that we had very limited contact. We’ve not had any interaction for probably 20 years.
You asked, “Why go to all the lengths you’ve gone to investigate things?” The answer is obvious. So people can know the truth. Immediately after our confrontation of C.J. in August 2004 (see the document, “Response Regarding Friendship & Doctrine”), Joshua, Grant, Kenneth Maresco and Bob Kauflin turned against me and began covering up for C.J. His deceit, hypocrisy and abuse worsened due to their enablement. That continued for the next 10 years. Even when CLC left SGM in Dec 2012, Joshua and the pastors were not willing to take a clear stand against C.J. Joshua has never moved away from his June 28, 2012 commendation of C.J. Here it is. “Some of you have told me that you think we should have publicly disciplined C.J. or should speak against him serving as a pastor. I disagree with that. I do not believe C.J. is disqualified from ministry. And so I wish him success in his new church plant and pray that he will prosper.” I’ve never seen a leader take a more compromised position. That was after C.J. fled CLC and relocated SGM to Louisville due to sinful offenses with Joshua and the CLC pastors that he would not resolve. That was not graciousness on Joshua’s part. That was an unwillingness to obey Scripture, honor God and take a stand that would bring down the wrath of national leaders like Mohler, Dever and Duncan. C.J. was not above reproach. He was full of reproach for so many serious reasons from over so long a period of time.
Here’s my last question Scott. When is Joshua going to come clean about C.J.’s 30 year history of not reporting sex abusers in CLC? Abusers knew they could thrive in CLC and if caught could feign repentance and go unreported. They knew victims would be pressured to “forgive” by John Loftness, Gary Ricucci, Grant Layman, etc. and instructed to not involve law enforcement. All the while the number of abusers increased. In reality, it is worse than what I’ve outlined. For example, read my post about Loftness and Ricucci. All of this resulted in multi-generational abuse that spread to other churches and brought devastation to scores of victims.
Scott, I look forward to receiving your proofs about my faulty facts. If you are not willing to provide them, I must suspect you don’t have them. You are taking the same approach as SGM. That is, claim that some of my information is faulty but NEVER tell me what it is or furnished any proof to substantiate such a claim. No doubt my writings contain some errors but I have ALWAYS noted and changed those errors when discovered. But here is the REAL ISSUE. The overwhelming vast majority of what I’ve written the past four years is based upon detailed and documented evidence clearly presented. Moreover, I’ve asked to meet with the CLC pastors on multiple occasions since July 2011. They’ve never been willing. I’ve asked them to defend against charges on multiple occasions. They’ve never been willing. I’ve asked them to answer questions. They've never been willing. It is just like SGM. No one will correct my errors. No one will refute my evidence. No one will allow my charges to be presented at a hearing. I’ll drive up to Gaithersburg tomorrow and meet with the pastors in order to challenge them on the conspiracy to commit and conceal sex abuse in CLC and SGM. Let’s meet and talk about the abusers. Let’s talk about the victims. Let’s talk about evidence. Let’s talk about the 30 year history of not reporting horrendous crimes to the police. Let’s talk about Morales, Llewellyn, Adams, Griney, Loftness, et al. Have them join us. And here’s an idea since there is nothing to hide and everyone is innocent. Let’s video the exchange and put it on the Internet. Let the pastors and perps defend themselves and rebut me! Scott, the sex abuse scandal is real!
Scott Jones Brent, as far as policies go, they are in place - you can ask the pastors of CLC about that. As it pertains to providing you with information, I’m not willing to do that, for I’d have very little trust of you with that information in your hands, based on how I’ve seen you respond over the last 2+ years. And as I said before, you have no authority in this situation, so I wouldn’t want to give it to you anyway. As I suggested above, you only need to let things play out with the Morales trial – that’s where the authority belongs right now. It’s best for you to give up this campaign of yours, both for your sake and the sake of those you have hurt. Let the law address the issues of the victims.
Brent Detwiler Your answer appears evasive. Of course, they have some policies in place but not that address my three crucial questions at least to the best of my knowledge. I've asked them these questions but they did not respond. Get the policies and send them to me. I’ll post them.
Scott, you must provide “proof” so it can be reviewed and examined. If you aren’t willing to back up your assertions then you should not make them. I’ve always posted my proofs so they can be tested. I’ve be completely open. I’ve always welcomed a refutation. Scott, you are using the same excuse as SGM for not making a case. If you really have evidence make it know in public but stop blaming me for your lack of willingness to do so. SGM has used this same tactic now for years. I am not the problem. Not being willing to walk in the light is the problem.
Scott, talking about evidence, ask Robin Boisvert if Grant Layman lied to police. Send me his answer. You need to start investigating since you consider me unauthorized.
Scott Jones Brent, it’s too easy to just say, “You’re doing just what SGM does.” The question really comes down to what is pleasing to God, and your aggressive nature is certainly not. Again, you don’t have authority in this situation - no more authority than investigative journalist or someone like that.
You sound like you have the best interests of victims at heart, but you create other victims in the process. Is that kind of biting back the way to do things? That doesn't sound like righteousness to me.
Brent Detwiler Scott, you need to read your Bible. My “aggressive nature” doesn’t compare to those who confronted corruption and abuse in Scripture like that committed by leaders in CLC and SGM. I am a wimp in comparison! And please name one victim I’ve created? But do you have no concern for the actual victims? Here is what pleases God. Exposing evil. Not being silent! The biblical prophets were about righteousness. Have you read them recently? The stand I have taken does compare to the stand they would take against CLC and SGM. I can only imagine what Isaiah, John the Baptist, or Agabus would say and do in the face of such abuse, hypocrisy and corruption.
Scott, I not “biting” back. I am calling you to account but you refuse to be accountable.
Scott Jones Brent: When I mentioned “biting”, I wasn’t referring to your biting me - I was referring to your biting others who are innocent victims. … Mary, this isn’t a question about authority. It has to do with Brent not having all the facts, his not having authority to judge CLC in this, and his hurting innocent people.
All believers have the responsibility to judge others, as long as it is a righteous judgment (Mat 7:1-5); otherwise, the judgment shouldn’t be made. Brent is not in the position to judge CLC’s situation (especially with the tone he uses) because he doesn’t have all the facts; therefore, he can’t judge with equity - and that’s very shaky ground to stand on. CLC has accountability through the independent firm that has been hired and given broad powers to evaluate everything related to past sexual abuse issues. Also, light will be shed with the Morales trial. In the end, it could legitimately be said that CLC has more accountability at this point for the past than anyone else. Brent shouldn’t insert himself into that accountability, because it’s not his role, so he should end his campaign as it relates to CLC.
Todd Wilhelm It is apparent Scott Jones is intent on silencing Brent Detwiler. Unfortunate that he doesn’t display similar energy in defending the victims of abuse.
Brent - thanks for being true to the scripture, no matter the cost.
“For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,
“Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:5-16
Brent Detwiler Scott, I don’t have “all” the facts but I have a lot more information than you could imagine. I’ve interacted with victims, talked to witnesses, provided evidence to police, participated in the lawsuit, filed an affidavit with the court, read police reports, talked to investigators, etc. You are the one who is ignorant of the facts! Therefore, I ask again, what “innocent people” am I hurting Scott? What “innocent people” am I biting? Do you mean Layman? Great, show me where and when he reported Morales to the police, alerted parents and youth, contacted school officials. Or do you mean Llewellyn, Loftness, Griney, Hoffman, et. al? Tell me who is innocent! Then provide evidence in their defense. You can’t because you don’t have any evidence. All you have are deceitful denials of all wrongdoing. Don’t you understand Scott, sex abusers are pathological liars. And regarding the CLC pastors, please send evidence that they have reported suspected or known sex abusers to police over the past 30 years. There is none.
Scott Jones Todd, I’m very glad Brent has a considerable concern for sexual abuse victims - and I share that concern. I have children too, and I don’t want them to be abused; and it wrenches my soul to know that any other children are abused. It’s just that Brent needs to share that concern within the right contexts and in an irenic spirit.
Brent Detwiler Scott, a widespread conspiracy to commit and cover up sex abuse over 30 years that resulted in scores and scores of victims must be confronted forcefully. That is true love. Nowhere in anything you wrote above did you express concern for the victims. Nor have you expressed any concern for the pastors. Nor have you expressed any concern for the presence of abusers in CLC. But you are concerned for an “irenic spirit.” Scott, you should be filled with righteous indignation! CLC has no accountability at this point. What wrong have they acknowledged? None! What abusers have they disciplined? None! What victims have they restituted? None!
Joshua even told the whole church the pastors would not answer any questions about the lawsuit or the work done by the law firm until the appeal process was over in 18-24 months. And what will he say then? Nothing incriminating! That information will be concealed and withheld. Here’s the reality! If the CLC pastors are ever honest, a lot of people will go to jail and C.J. for one will be forced out of ministry in total disgrace.
Let’s not forget how this whole conversation started. I posted “Grant Layman Leaves the Ministry to Sell Paint” by Todd Wilhelm on my FB page. Then comments followed. I responded because Grant’s role in the conspiracy has been huge and yet Joshua honored him for his integrity and finishing his pastoral ministry well. That is just like Joshua saying C.J. was fit for ministry after he left CLC, relocated SGM, refused to be reconciled, etc. Grant should have been removed from ministry, not honored.