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….

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Can You Hear Me Now?

Coming to terms with the abuse is one of the most horrific and confusing things I’ve ever done.  For many years I worked hard to avoid thinking about it because of intense emotions – shame, guilt, sadness, anger, isolation, and complete and utter despair.

Why did I remain silent for so many years?

First of all, I was never completely silent. There were times I had attempted to tell what happened.  Every time I opened up–even a little–I was blamed.  I tried to tell one of my elementary school teachers.  She told me she was going to take me to the pastor.  I knew I would be in trouble for telling those secrets, so I tried to take back what I said, and then was severely punished for lying. As a young teen I tried to open up to a male Christian Counselor to whom I was taken. I had just gotten out I was ‘touched’ when he asked if I’d ever taken part in the sin of masturbation.

So, I shut down.  

Silence became the only “solution,” the only “safe-place”- even though there is nothing further from the truth. The silence turned into the worst tormentor and filled me with pain of the utmost intensity.  But mostly I hated myself.  I believed I was unworthy of love as a result I became a magnet for abusive relationships.  Abuse was what I deserved.

I shut down to up to the point my body and mind could no longer contain the secrets they were holding.

In my twenties something triggered it all and the fact I was molested and sexually abused as a child, not once, but several times, by several different people came pouring out like I was hemorrhaging emotional pain much like if I were to hemorrhage literal blood from a severed artery. I was a suffering mess. I begged for help. One of the things the Christian Counselor did was ask me if I’d enjoyed any part of the sexual abuse that I needed to ask God to forgive me for those feelings.

I was quite young when I was first molested and was completely horrified, shocked and confused.  I was left with guilt on top of guilt– I was responsible for what happened.  

One of the most shocking aspects of my abuse are the identities of the abusers, because they were all those people believe “could never” abuse. They were well-respected married, fathers, and the two farm hands. These were not only people I should have been able to trust, these were the ones who, due to their positions as Christian leaders, had others trust.  As a result when I divulged most of their names, speaking of it would damage the cause of Christ was flung in my face.   I was labeled and rejected and it was incredibly painful for me. I was treated as the cause of the problem.  I was the one destroying their blissful reality that these things just didn’t happen in this corner of Christianity.  The abusers walked away unscathed and scot-free, their sick behavior was defended – while the child I was who had been so brutally violated was accused and left to suffer.  I am the one, even today, many Christians attempt to shut me up by screaming that I’m “just”….bitter, angry, an unbeliever and a laundry list of other labels because I am at last telling of these unholy acts.

It matters not if you dislike my ‘tone’; nor how I respond to your accusations of anger and bitterness.  It matters not if you think I’m doing this because I ‘hate’ the Church or Christianity.  Although those accusations are false there isn’t much I can do or say to change your opinion.  If you truly believe these things, isn’t it best you grant that same love, forgiveness, grace and mercy toward me that you are so keen on granting abusers and those who covered for my abusers?

The facts are; there are no excuses for defending the abusers. Yes, maybe they are ‘nice’ guys, kind fathers, or the all-too-familiar attempt Christians use as justification “he is a man of God” – but this is not an answer and in no way changed the situation. The facts remain that they were my abusers. They are accountable for their actions. The little girl I once was and whom they chose to abuse could not and should not – in any way – be held guilty.

Psalm 56-8

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April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Would you please be so kind and sign the following petition asking all professing Christians to better address the subject of sexual abuse?

A Public Statement Concerning Sexual Abuse in the Church of Jesus Christ by Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (G.R.A.C.E.).

“It’s All Her Fault!”

It wasn’t too long after I was discharged from the hospital that Lou was accused of molesting another little girl.  It was a daughter of someone who used to help out on the farm.

Lou was out on bail.

Lou had also been diagnosed with a lung cancer.  Lou smoked both cigarettes and cigars.  When he wasn’t smoking Lou was chewing tobacco.  Lou had a definite addiction to nicotine.

I remember Lou had to wear Oxygen.

Cleo had little time.  Cleo screeched about how much of a burden Lou was and how he was now worthless.  According to Cleo, Lou was unable to “earn his keep.”

I tried to care for Lou as best a sixth-grade little girl could.  In addition to my other “responsibilities” Cleo also expected me to keep up Lou’s chores around the farm.  Milking and feeding the cows.  Feeding the horses.  Feeding the other animals.  Mucking the stalls.

Cleo savagely beat and punished me for my inability to keep up with the responsibilities of running a working farm and caring for a near-invalid.

I had missed most of the latter winter and all the spring quarter of school in fifth grade because of being burned.   Somehow I was promoted to grade 6 without knowing what a fraction was….

As the beginning of my 6th grade year rolled around, Cleo made it clear I was to finish all of my farm chores before school and begin the afternoon/evening chores at once upon my returning from school.

Cleo was back and forth as she was running her real estate office in Philadelphia.  At least that was her story.  In reality she was running a prostitution business.  Cleo was arrested by Philly PD more than once for promoting prostitution out of a home she owned in Philadelphia.   Cleo’s second hand man for her business in Philadelphia was a young thug named Felix.

I was attending the same Christian school of which I had been long enrolled. I missed more days of school than I attended that, but no one appeared to care.

At one point, Cleo brought Felix out to the farm to ‘help’.  I used to call him, “Felix the Cat” because he possessed the talent of sneaking up, and pouncing seemingly out of nowhere.

Felix assaulted me at his pleasure.

It was a cold bright sunny day in February and I had attended school on that day.  I returned home from school.  Cleo and Felix weren’t at the farm.

I walked in the front door of the farmhouse.  Lou was quiet and still. Something was wrong.  Why was wrong with his head?

I tried to call for help but couldn’t tell the operator where the farm was located.  This was before 9-11 was implemented in the rural area where the farm was located.

I was hysterical.

I don’t know how long it was before I remembered the nurse who had helped me when I was burned.  She used to buy hay from Cleo.  When the nurse found out I was back in Cleo’s care, the nurse had given me her phone number instructed me to call her if I ever needed help.

I had written the nurses number on the tag inside my little red boots.  I wore my red boots almost constantly.  I tore off my boot and dialed her number.

I don’t remember what I said.  Within minutes the police arrived, followed by the nurse a few minutes later.

I was on the porch, pacing back and forth.  A Pennsylvania state trooper was doing his best attempting to comfort a sobbing, terrified, hysterical child, but I wouldn’t allow him near me.

The nurse sat down on the front porch steps and held me as I sobbed.  She sat there rocking and attempting to comfort me as police cleared the scene and the coroners office crew removed Lou’s body.  I remember the nurse telling the crew removing Lou’s remains that they needed to take Lou’s body out of the back door instead of past me.

The crew removing Lou’s body obediently did as instructed.

At some point Cleo drove up.  I don’t remember if someone had called Cleo.  However the State Trooper who had attempted to calm me met Cleo as she was getting out of her car.

He gave Cleo the news.  Lou was dead.

Cleo pointed at me and screamed, “She killed him! She was supposed to take care of him! It’s all her fault!”

Both the state trooper and the nurse were shocked at Cleo’s outburst and said I was in no way responsible for Lou’s death.

Lou’s death was ruled a suicide.

For many years–even well into adulthood, deep down inside I believed I was somehow responsible for Lou’s death.

The scene I came home to that cold, sunny afternoon haunts me until this day.

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April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Would you please be so kind and sign the following petition asking all professing Christians to better address the subject of sexual abuse?

A Public Statement Concerning Sexual Abuse in the Church of Jesus Christ by Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (G.R.A.C.E.)

Psalm 56-8