Mr. Steve Pettit’s Own Disturbing Statements Concerning the GRACE Report

The following is what Mr. Pettit told the Bob Jones University faculty/staff in a recent staff meeting. Mr. Pettit has also stated nearly identical misleading information emails to me personally:

The allegations that we did not report to the police about some situations: When it comes to children under the age of 18, reporting abuse or assault is absolutely mandatory—every employee at BJU and BJA is required by law to make a report. We comply with what is known as Title IX, which means that educational institutions whose students receive federal funds are not responsible for reporting incidents for those 18 years or older. They cannot report without the consent of those over the age of 18 unless we believe there is imminent or immediate danger to a minor or vulnerable individual. We CAN’T report it—we can only do that with the consent of the one who is a victim. The GRACE report did not acknowledge our Title IX obligations in most of the incidents it cited. So when you are reading in the report that we didn’t report the incident, they were basing it on their philosophy—which is a moral obligation to report. From their perspective, it wasn’t the law; it was the moral obligation that GRACE placed upon our people as a responsibility to report.

Jim Berg was misled in his interview by GRACE to the point where Jim said he must have failed to report; when we actually were within the law because they were making the point of the moral obligation. [Dr. Pettit] was asked by Channel 4 why it is that we didn’t report because of the moral obligation concept—and he responded that we are morally obligated to obey the law of the federal government; and we were obedient to the law in that in some cases, we were not in a position where we could report.

It is terribly disheartening to read these untruths that Mr. Pettit is putting out there about the investigation and about GRACE. Bob Jones University was prohibited from receiving federal funds until 2007 – hence the University not subject to Title IX.

In my case, the counseling occurred in 1996. As an adult, I specifically asked Jim Berg how to report my sexual assaults and child sex-trafficking. To be more specific I asked Mr. Berg which agency it was I should contact, whether it should have been the Greenville County Sheriff’s Department -because I living in Greenville, SC at that time? Or should I have contacted the PA State Police or should I have contacted the Feds? Only a small portion of the counseling had anything to do with my marriage, because I chosen to leave my ex-husband and divorce proceedings were in progress! As described here, Mr. Berg actively spoke against notifying law enforcement. Berg advice was that I “would bring shame upon the cause of Christ – that would cause people to burn in hell for eternity.” Further stating “there is no point in you telling the cops because they would never believe you.” Mr. Berg overtly humiliated and shamed me to the point that I never once thought of reporting to law enforcement for another 20-plus years until GRACE heard and believed me.

To make it worse, in his last paragraph Mr. Pettit goes as far as to claim GRACE misled Jim Berg in his interview! GRACE quoted Mr. Berg’s own words in its report. They allowed Mr. Berg to talk and to talk and to talk. What about his all of his own books and sermons? What about all of his handouts, pamphlets, class lectures and DVD’s? What about Jim Berg’s new project, “Freedom that Lasts”? Is Mr. Berg misled by GRACE while he is writing and teaching?

Jim Berg

All of this makes me wonder if Mr. Pettit actually read the GRACE Report because Title IX gets multiple mentions.

Mr. Pettit, you may wish to ask your attorney about the SAvE Act which took effect March 2014.

More to come….

Sexual Assault Awareness Month 2015 Coming BJU

Each April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). During April 2015 the national conversation will focus on preventing and to build policies and programs that will respond well to sexual violence. In light of the Bob Jones University choosing to ignore the Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Community (G.R.A.C.E.) Investigation Report.

The national conversation will need focus on Bob Jones University too.
2015 SAAM poster
Recently, the president of the University has made some confusing statements to people in emails. Mr. Pettit has claimed to some that if the University were to follow Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Community (G.R.A.C.E) recommendations would cause the University to be in violation of Title IX and Clery Laws. (PDF)

Psalm 56-8

No GRACE at Bob Jones University

After a two-year-investigation of BJU Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (G.R.A.C.E.) suggested that at least two men be disciplined relating to mishandling charges of sexual assault.

Bob Jones University President, Mr. Steve Pettit, disagrees with G.R.A.C.E. The two men named in the investigation were Bob Jones III and Jim Berg. Bob Jones, III made public statements concerning what he termed “consensual rape” after the a jury convicted a former church usher of the forcible rape of a fifteen-year-old girl.
Jim Berg was the one who performed most of the counseling which was the focus of the Report.

My personal testimony includes but is not limited to the following:

I went to Jim Berg and told Berg about years of sexual assaults and child sex-trafficking. Berg thought it best to inform me that it was I who had sinned. After counseling me for approximately 6 months Mr. Berg became infuriated with me because I wasn’t getting better fast enough for his taste. He told me, “I can’t help you. No one can help you. Not even God can help you. You’re too damaged.”

While that is bad enough, at this time while attending Bob Jones University I was a “town student.” During a portion of this time I was married. My then husband was physically abusive. I went to what was known as the “clinic” which was East North Medical Associates. The “clinic” was the doctors BJU faculty/staff and students could see. I was sent to Mr. Jim Berg for counseling.

On more than one occasion I went to school with bruises and blackened eyes. I was told I needed to submit to my then husband and pray for him. At one point, Mr. Berg told me “You need to duck better and let God hit your husband.” During the course of counseling I divulged to Mr. Berg that I had been sexually abused from my earliest memory.

We (Mr. Berg and I) talked more about my past child abuse than we did about my marital problems. I told him that I was sold to others. I told him that I had memories of possibly being kidnapped. I told him of my finding out that Cleo Smith had never legally adopted me when I was 12 or 13. I told him I had found out that the name “Salina Smith” Cleo had called me was false – there weren’t any little girls born between 2 years of my birth with that name.

I informed Mr. Berg of the different versions of the story I had been told over the years:

1) I was abandoned in one of the rental properties in Philadelphia. Cleo took me and then drove me up to Bethel Baptist Church, Sellersville, PA . I was around 3-years-old. The pastor, Richard A. Harris saw me, claims he told her she just couldn’t keep me but the pastor never called the police or Child Protective Services.

I remember being in Cleo’s car and taken to the church. I remember the carpet in the church as red.

The pastor was always around when I was on the farm. I went to the Christian school associated with his church. If you’ve been reading this blog you know there are many other details too including the fact that I was taken in. I was given a bed in the corner of the open floor-plan basement while the the Pastor and his family their own private rooms.

2) My biological parents sold me to Cleo.

3) At other times when I asked too many questions about my Biological family they told me that after Cleo took me; my father was blamed for murdering me. That my father had died in prison.

I divulged all of the above to Mr. Berg in much greater detail. I specifically asked Mr. Berg what I needed to do to contact law enforcement because the differing stories about how Cleo got me and who was involved I had been told where not adding up. He not only did nothing but actively spoke against notifying law enforcement. At first Mr. Berg said that since those who sexually abused me were well-respected ministers in BJU-orbit fundamentalism I “would bring shame upon the cause of Christ – that would cause people to burn in hell for eternity.”

When I questioned Mr. Berg about that, Mr. Berg told me that “there is no point in you telling the cops because they would never believe you.”

I had been told all of my life if I told no one would believe me. Jim Berg – was the most respected counselor at BJU- telling me that no one would believe me once again shut me down from thinking about reporting to law enforcement for more than 20 years.

Berg served in his capacity as a counselor for 30 years. GRACE recommended that he be banned from counseling, and that the school should cease sales of his books and DVD’s. Pettit has stated that the University finds Mr. Berg’s teaching and materials “Biblical.”

It is also said that Jim Berg has been promoted to professor of counseling after the G.R.A.C.E. report was issued.

Sexual abuse and sexual assaults are hideous crimes.

Mr. Pettit talks a lot about the trustworthiness of Bob Jones University. Mr. Pettit talks a lot about the safety of Bob Jones University. Parents and students are supposed to trust that whatever occurs on the campus will be handled properly. Parents and students are to trust school administrators to act wisely in all matters. Then Bob Jones University hires an outside organization to investigate allegations of both sexual abuse and poor counseling to its victims and Mr. Pettit refuses the G.R.A.C.E. Teams recommendations? Trust is earned, Mr. Pettit.

**You may be unaware but in December 2014, Greenville County, SC Solicitor Walt Wilkins opened an investigation into the way Bob Jones University handled sexual abuse reports from students to see if state law was broken or obstruction of justice occurred.

Greenville Police Detective Collis Flavell is currently investigating these allegations. Detective Flavell can be reached by calling 864-271-5333 or by email at cflavell@greenvillesc.gov