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Tuesday
Jun252013

Joshua Harris & Covenant Life Pastors Put Off Questions About Sex Abuse Scandal for Two Years

Joshua Harris already knows the truth about many of the sex abuse crimes committed in Covenant Life Church and also about the massive criminal conspiracy that followed in their wake.  He knows about C.J. Mahaney, John Loftness, Gary Ricucci, Grant Layman, Larry Tomczak, Nate Morales, David Adams, Steve Griney, Mark Hoffman, Dave Mayo, Charlie Llewellyn and others.  The “pedophilic ring” is big and so is the cover up.  Joshua is well aware of these facts.  Joshua also knows he has contributed to the conspiracy.  But guess what?  He isn’t talking at least not for two years. 

On Sunday night, Covenant Life Church had a Members Only meeting regarding the sex abuse scandal.  Scott Ward, a lawyer from Gammon and Grange, spoke first.  According to reports, he took 30 minutes to lay out the lawsuit timeline, disparage the Plaintiffs’ lawyers and disparage the Plaintiff’s allegations.  It has also been reported that Joshua said “(the) plaintiff’s picture is not accurate, it is far from accurate.”  If true, those words will come back to haunt him later. 

Joshua also told church members, they were not allowed to ask the pastors any questions about the lawsuit until the appellate process has concluded.  That will probably take two years.  I was told the physical evidence I submitted to the court will be returned to me then.  So mark your calendars.  If you’re still alive in June 2015, Joshua and the CLC pastors might answer a question about American Evangelicalism’s biggest sex scandal to date. 

Joshua went on to say that Covenant Life Church will be hiring an outside, independent organization to do an investigation.  He did not say what kind of an investigation.  For example, will it be limited or unlimited in scope?  Will it be controlled or free?   He indicated this investigation could complete its work in 3-6 months but said the pastors will not share the results until the appellate process is over.  That means an 18 month wait before you hear the results.  I guess that means the pastors won’t excommunicate unrepentant sex abusers or remove pastors from ministry who participated in the conspiracy until 2015.      

All of this is ridiculous!  No, it’s absurd!  Per the CLC pastors it will likely be two years before questions are answered, the Bible is obeyed, the truth is revealed, and disciplinary action is taken.  

The independent investigation should be done but the findings should be presented to CLC immediately even if that means evidence is publicly presented that contributes to the arrest and incarceration of men like John Loftness.  The pastors’ highest commitment must be to the authority of Scripture, not the counsel of defense lawyers committed to get their clients off the hook.  

That’s why the CLC pastors should be assiduously following Matthew 18:15-18 and 1 Corinthians 5:1-5 now.  That is their job according to Holy Scripture.  Not law enforcement or an independent investigator.  It has been 9 months since the first lawsuit was filed.  Why has no one be disciplined?  Simple.  They refuse to follow Scripture.  

Here’s the deal.  The Covenant Life pastors already know many of the Defendants and non-Defendants are guilty.  They have the evidence and witnesses.  Step one, “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault” and step two, “if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you” should have been completed in many cases.  At this point, the CLC pastors should be ready to “tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.”  

Take Grant Layman for example.  While I have no evidence Grant abused anyone, there is abundant evidence in the possession of the CLC pastors that he was a major player in the alleged conspiracy regarding David Adams, Nate Morales and Charlie Llewellyn.  The same is true of C.J. and Gary Ricucci.  People would be outraged if all this information were honestly presented to the church.  Grant would have to step down from ministry.  Instead, I am told the CLC pastors are planning to send him on a sabbatical. 

What’s stopping them from taking these kind of actions?  That’s easy.  Favoritism and self-preservation -  nothing new.  Also the worldly counsel of lawyers and the fear of reprisals.  None of the Defendants lawyers are interested in their clients coming clean and confessing their sins.  Their interests are opposed to the teaching of Jesus in Matthew 18:15-18.  The pastors should repudiate their pragmatic counsel and pursue biblical justice in relation to the guilty.  

Prov 28:13-14 He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy. Blessed is the man who always fears the Lord, but he who hardens his heart falls into trouble. 

They also fear lawsuits but that is unfounded.  None of the men above want to be in a legal situation where witnesses and evidence are presented against them  They desperately want to stay out of court.  Of course other forms of reprisals are real but that is the price you pay when you testify against evil.  It’s called Christianity. 

John 7:7 The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it, that its deeds are evil. 

Lastly, the Defendants and non-Defendants I’ve referenced above know their guilt.  They claim to be Christians.  If that is true, they should be turning themselves into law enforcement, making confessions before the church, and providing abundant restitution to those they harmed.  That is true repentance. 

The Covenant Life pastors need to have Boz Tchividjian come in and do the investigation.  Boz was a former Assistant State Attorney, Seventh Judicial Circuit (1994-2001) in central Florida.  While in that position, he was chief Prosecutor, Sexual Crimes Division, where he gained much experience in cases involving sexual abuse and was personally responsible for the prosecution of hundreds of cases.  He is also the President of G.R.A.C.E – Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment.  The website contains a ton of excellent material.  http://netgrace.org/ 

Recently, he was interviewed by Steve Brown on the nationally syndicated talk show, Steve Brown Etc.  http://stevebrownetc.com/2013/05/03/g-r-a-c-e-boz-tchividjian-on-sbe/ 

Here are some of the things he said about doing an investigation.  His team of experts could help C.J., John, Gary, Grant and others see how they failed if they cooperated with the investigation.  Of course, that won’t happen with the possible exception of Grant.  That is why the alleged conspiracy is on-going. 

On a side note, what is Mark Prater, the newly elected Executive Director of SGM,  saying about all of this?  Absolutely nothing.  What is C.J. saying?  Absolutely nothing.  What is the Executive Committee (aka Board of Directors) saying about all of this?  Absolutely nothing.  What is the Leadership Team saying?  Absolutely nothing.  What are C.J.’s local church elders saying about all of this?  You got it.  Absolutely nothing! 

Mark Prater, C.J. Mahaney, the SGM Executive Committee, the SGM Leadership Team, and the elders of Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville should be calling for an independent investigation too.  And Mark Dever, Al Mohler, Ligon Duncan of Together for the Gospel and Don Carson, Kevin DeYoung, Justin Taylor of The Gospel Coalition should demand C.J.’s fully comply!  That won’t happen.  Why?  Because these men loath due process in this situation.  Due process scares them to death.  

All of C.J.’s enablers, lawyers included, have sought to circumvent the factual allegations by all means possible (e.g. arguing the statute of limitations, hiding behind the 1st Amendment, claiming clergy confidentiality, intimidating leaders and publications to procure silence, making bogus claims about C.J.’s innocence, etc.).  Why?  Because due process applied to the factual allegations will result in guilt whether in the church, a civil court, or a criminal court.     

So back to Boz and the investigation.  So many lives have been “sacrificed by the institution [CLC and SGM] in order to protect the institution.”  

Boz:  “What we have found over and over again is that churches and other Christian organizations respond to abuse disclosures ultimately…in a manner that protects the institution, that is motivated by institutional protection.  And so what happens then is that instead of protecting and serving the victim, you are protecting and serving the institution.  And I have encountered more and more people who have experienced the fact that when they were abused within a church or an institution, their lives and their souls were sacrificed by the institution in order to protect the institution…. What you will often hear [from the institution] is that we are doing this to protect the name of Jesus or to protect the gospel which is just a nice, flattering, pious way of saying we are doing it to protect the institution.” [Brown, 13:33-14:44] 

Boz:  “When victims are exploited in the past and then they feel like they have been re-exploited and re-victimized by the institution, there is no trust.  And that is why you have to bring an outside independent agency in that is qualified too.  It is absolutely critical that if you are going to do an independent investigation, then it is not only independent, but those doing the investigating are qualified.  And G.R.A.C.E. is unique because we have former investigators, prosecutors, clinical psychologists and pastors so it is a multilayered approach.” [Brown 20:12-20:55] 

The original Complaint (i.e. lawsuit) was filed on October 17, 2012.  The next day, Joshua Harris was interviewed by Greta Kreuz for WJLA-TV in Washington D.C.  Joshua doesn’t believe Covenant Life Church has sought to protect their self-interests. 

[Kreuz] “Joshua Harris…says the church has never tried to cover up abuse.”  [Harris] “There has never been a policy like that.  We are very committed to involving the authorities.  Our biggest concern is not our reputation or what anyone thinks of us, it is caring for kids well.”  [Kreuz] “But those now suing don’t buy it.” 

Well, Boz Tchividjian would take a completely different approach. 

Boz:  “If an institution comes to us and says, “We think we goofed.  We’re not really in a position to investigate this, could you do that?”  We will do that but one of the things that is really important at the beginning of the process is for them to understand why are we are doing this.  What is the objective?... We will come back to them and say, “No, your ultimately objective is for you to understand where as an institution you failed so that you can demonstrate authentic repentance…. We think it is important to help the victim but often times if you are so focused on trying to help the victim, the spotlight is on them and never on you and the reality is the institution is often times the one that is rotting from within and so to understand where you failed so that you can demonstrate authentic repentance.  And I think…that is the only time when God will then breathe new life into the institution is when the institution truly understands where its failed and truly demonstrates repentance.” [Brown, 25:35-26:58] 

Boz:  “My pray is that I want to run into people one day, 10 to 15 years from now, who say “I was abused, I was sexually abused within the church.  When I brought it to the attention of the church leadership the way they responded actually brought me into the arms of Jesus.  And not propelled me away.  And I think when we begin to see those results that’s when God is going to do some really amazing work.” [Brown 36:35-37:00] 

So many victims from CLC and other churches have abandoned the faith because C.J.’s leadership over the past 30 years propelled them away.  They are far from the arms of Jesus.  C.J.’s policy of not reporting sex abusers, not alerting church members to predators, and not helping victims has devastated scores of lives.  But given his fierce love of reputation, I don’t expect he will ever take responsibility for his heinous actions.  

For three decades, C.J. tragically mislead the pastors in CLC and other churches where abuse was occurring because of financial and reputational concerns.  So many molesters could have been stopped.  So many children and minors could have been spared.  Those that followed his evil counsel should be held to account but we know who is ultimately responsible for the needless destruction of souls.  

One year ago I wrote the following post.  Here is an excerpt. 

C.J. Still Not Qualified to Lead Sovereign Grace Ministries on the One Year Anniversary of Sending Out “The Documents”
Friday, July 6, 2012 at 11:58 PM
Brent Detwiler 

Every day for the last 365 days, I have determined to play no favorites, fear no man, and oppose evil justly.  I have not lied, compromised my integrity or made up charges.  Instead I have resolutely testified against persistent evil by the grace of God amid much affliction.  

One year ago today, I sent out Response Regarding Friendship and Doctrine, A Final Appeal, Concluding Remarks, and The Untold Story to the pastors of Sovereign Grace Ministries.  This became necessary when C.J. and Dave Harvey repeatedly lied, broke numerous promises, misled the movement, and tried to covered up their sinful activity.  I could not allow this to continue.  I’d encourage all SGM pastors to re-read these documents from the perspective of a year later… 

The fear of C.J. has been a long standing problem at Covenant Life Church.  Joshua Harris made numerous statements to that effect during the Members’ Meetings last July [2011].  I think it remains a problem that must be addressed… 

From: Brent Detwiler
Sent: Saturday, June 30, 2012 10:57 AM
To: Adam Malcolm; Ben Wikner; Bob Schickler; Braden Greer; Corby Megorden; Dave Brewer; Don DeVries; Eric Sheffer; Eric Simmons; Grant Layman; Issac Hydoski; Jamie Leach; Joe Lee; Jon Smith; Joshua Harris; Kenneth Maresco; Mark Mitchell; Matt Maka; Robin Boisvert
Subject: Question re: “I do not believe C.J. is disqualified from ministry.” 

Hello Joshua, 

This is a sincere and warm hearted inquiry.  

Here is one of your statements from the Members’ Meeting on Thursday night regarding C.J.  I have several questions about it (e.g., why Matthew 18:15-17, 1 Timothy 5:20-21 don’t apply to C.J.) but I’ve reduce them to one that gets at the core issue as biblically defined.     

“Some of you have told me that you think we should have publicly disciplined CJ or should speak against him serving as a pastor.  I disagree with that.  I do not believe CJ is disqualified from ministry.  And so I wish him success in his new church plant and pray that he will prosper.” 

I do not understand how you can possibly say “I do not believe C.J. is disqualified from ministry.”  In making that declaration, you boldly asserted that C.J. is above reproach (1 Timothy 3:1) and blameless (Titus 1:6) and meets all the qualifications of Scripture.  How is that possible given the meaning of these words? 

1 Tim 3:2 An overseer, then, must be above reproach. The word (Gr., anepileptos) literally means “not apprehended, that cannot be laid hold of; hence that cannot be reprehended, not open to censure, irreproachable,” “blameless,” “irreprehensible, unassailable.”  It bespeaks of irreproachable conduct and it also means “not only of good report but deservedly so!” 

Titus 1:5-6 …appoint elders in every city as I directed you, [6] namely, if any man is above reproach.  The word (Gr. anengkletos) literally means “that cannot be called to account, unreprovable, unaccused, blameless.” 

I know you want to be “balanced” in your assessment of C.J. but how is your conclusion biblical?  I am happy to come to Gaithersburg to discuss this matter.  It goes to the heart of the matter.  

I also observed you used the singular pronoun “I”, not the plural pronoun “we”, in stating your perspective.  Does that mean some of the pastors disagreed with you?  If so, don’t you think the church should have been told about those disagreements?  From my perspective, that information would be helpful, not harmful, to the church.  I think many would appreciate knowing some of the pastors don’t think C.J. is qualified for ministry. 

If I may give one other opinion, I think you should have made your case to Covenant Life Church as to why you believe C.J. is deservedly of good report and therefore cannot be called to account. 

Sincerely,
Brent 

Conclusion

Nothing has changed.  Joshua and the CLC pastors have demonstrated no courage in holding C.J. accountable since I wrote them this email last June.  Now they know C.J. is behind the alleged criminal conspiracy.  What will they do?  Probably nothing.  God forbid Joshua puts out another statement that C.J. is fit for ministry and therefore above reproach and blameless. 

So too in the case of Charlie Llewellyn.  They are unwilling to take any action in obedience to God’s Word.  One week ago I wrote the following post.  Here is an excerpt. 

Charlie Llewellyn, Alleged Child Abuser, Sells Llewellyn Realtors to Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.
Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at 11:47 AM
Brent Detwiler 

They [the CLC pastors] must also hold C.J. accountable as the one ultimately behind the conspiracy to cover up Mr. Llewellyn’s alleged crimes.  C.J. has known about the repeated accounts of physical and sexually abuse for the last 25 years.  

This Sunday night, Covenant Life Church has a Member’s Only Meeting to talk about the lawsuit.  I’ve asked all the pastors to be completely honest about everything including C.J.’s knowledge of Llewellyn’s alleged crimes. 

From: Brent Detwiler
Sent: Tuesday, June 11, 2013 2:49 PM
To: Adam Malcolm; Ben Wikner; Bob Schickler; Braden Greer; Corby Megorden; Dave Brewer; Don DeVries; Don Nalle; Eric Sheffer; Eric Simmons; Grant Layman; Issac Hydoski; Jamie Leach; Joe Lee; Jon Smith; Joshua Harris; Keith Welton; Kenneth Maresco; Mark Mitchell; Matt Maka; Robin Boisvert
Subject: Hard Evidence Regarding C.J. 

I now have hard evidence proving C.J. knew all about Charlie Llewellyn in 1996.  I pray to God you are completely honest on June 23. 

Soon after I posted, “The Conspiracy Surrounding Plaintiff Grace Goe at Covenant Life Church” on June 4, Charlie Llewellyn denied to his employees all the allegations found in the lawsuit (i.e. Complaints 152-161). 

I wrote the Covenant Life pastors again and appealed that they expose Charlie to the church (Matt 18:15-18, 1 Cor 5:1-5) and to law enforcement (Rom 13:1-5).   

From: Brent Detwiler
Sent: Tuesday, June 11, 2013 4:35 PM
To: Adam Malcolm; Ben Wikner; Bob Schickler; Braden Greer; Corby Megorden; Dave Brewer; Don DeVries; Don Nalle; Eric Sheffer; Eric Simmons; Grant Layman; Issac Hydoski; Jamie Leach; Joe Lee; Jon Smith; Joshua Harris; Keith Welton; Kenneth Maresco; Mark Mitchell; Matt Maka; Robin Boisvert
Subject: RE: Hard Evidence Regarding C.J. 

Charlie has flagrantly lied to all his employees.  You must expose him.

Where does all of the above leave us?  Nowhere.  Well almost nowhere.  Check back in two years.  Joshua and the CLC pastors might answer some questions about sex abusers at work in the church and the conspiracy directed by C.J. to protect them.

In the meantime read the following statements by Boz Tchividjian.    

Interview with Boz Tchividjian an Absolute Must Read!
Wednesday, April 03, 2013 at 4:16 PM
Brent Detwiler 

http://abrentdetwiler.squarespace.com/brentdetwilercom/2013/4/3/interview-with-boz-tchividjian-an-absolute-must-read.html

Where Are the Voices?  The Continued Culture of Silence and Protection in American Evangelicalism
May 24, 2013
Basyle ‘Boz’ Tchividjian 

http://abrentdetwiler.squarespace.com/brentdetwilercom/where-are-the-voices-the-continued-culture-of-silence-and-pr.html

##



Tuesday
Jun252013

Southern Baptists: Take care with ties to those accused of mishandling abuse by Peter Smith

Southern Baptists: Take care with ties to those accused of mishandling abuse
Peter Smith
Posted on June 12, 2013 
The Courier Journal - Louisville, KY 

With controversy over a Louisville pastor in the backdrop, Southern Baptist messengers today voted Wednesday to call on their leaders to use the “highest sense of discernment” in affiliating with anyone with “questionable” practices or policies on sexual abuse. 

The vote comes in the wake of statements by Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, and others on behalf of pastor C.J. Mahaney of Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville. 

The resolution does not mention the controversy explicitly, but its sponsor did in an interview. 

Mahaney and others were accused in a recent lawsuit against Sovereign Grace Ministries of allegedly conspiring to cover up sexual abuse in congregations in the denomination, which was based in Maryland until it moved to Louisville last year. Mahaney served as its president until recently and was formerly pastor at the Maryland congregation where some of the claims of cover-up are alleged to have occurred. 

A Maryland judge recently dismissed much of the lawsuit on the grounds that the plaintiffs waited too long to sue. The 11 plaintiffs now have a pending motion for reconsideration. 

Peter Lumpkins — the Georgia pastor who proposed the resolution — took issue with the statement, which was also signed by Southern Baptist pastor and author Mark Dever of Washington, D.C. 

“It appeared as though they were siding with the accused rather than the victim,” Lumpkins said.  While he said pastors should not be sidelined due to hearsay or gossip, “this is serious stuff,” he said. 

“If a pastor were involved in a civil suit where there’s 11 plaintiffs and all these kinds of allegations of serious breach of trust, I would support him stepping down or stepping aside until all this is settled.” 

Lumpkins’ original resolution had a stronger call for severing ties with the accused, such as canceling speaking engagements. It was deleted by the resolutions committee, but his floor amendment adding the call for discernment was approved. It is non-binding. 

Mohler and others who have sponsored preaching conferences with Mahaney through the group Together for the Gospel — which draws thousands of attendees to Louisville every two years — issued a recent statement defending Mahaney and calling the charges baseless. 

Mohler was unavailable for comment Wednesday due to the busy annual-meeting schedule, according to J.D. Gunter, his director of communications. 

An email query to Sovereign Grace Ministries was not immediately returned.

The resolution also reminds Baptists “of their legal and moral responsibility to report any child abuse to authorities,” to cooperate with law-enforcement investigations and to conduct background checks of prospective staff members and volunteers. 

The resolution text is here. Following are some excerpts: 

“RESOLVED, That we remind all Southern Baptists of their legal and moral responsibility to report any child abuse to authorities in addition to implementing any appropriate church discipline or internal restoration processes; and be it further 

“RESOLVED, That we likewise call upon all Southern Baptists to cooperate fully with law enforcement officials in exposing and bringing to justice all perpetrators, sexual or otherwise, who criminally harm children placed in our trust; and be it further 

“RESOLVED, That we strongly urge Southern Baptist churches to utilize background checks like those provided through LifeWay Christian Resources (www.lifeway.com/backgroundchecks), databases of sexual predators such as the US Department of Justice sex offender database linked at SBC.net(www.SBC.net/localchurches/ministryhelp.asp), or other relevant resources in screening all potential staff and volunteer workers, particularly those who minister to children and youth…. 

“RESOLVED: that we encourage all denominational leaders and employees of the Southern Baptist Convention to utilize the highest sense of discernment in affiliating with groups and/or individuals that possess questionable policies and practices in protecting our children from criminal abuse.” 

In the past, advocates for victims of abuse have said that background checks are only part of the solution — that Southern Baptist churches should also create a safe venue for victims to bring allegations.