Clergy Abuse Me vs. UMC (United Methodist Church) ⚠TRIGGER WARNINGS⚠

Thats fabulous news! Congrats! It’s no easy task to undertake this. Believe me! I’m in the middle of it myself!

While I know that others disagree, I really don’t see a problem with them offering money for counseling or accepting it. Admittedly I’m pretty naïve and go pretty much along the lines that everyone is gonna do (and is doing) the right thing, with the right intentions. But based on the communications that you’ve shared, it really looks like that’s the case.

It doesn’t at all look like blood money to me. It really does look like an honest effort to do something helpful. It doesn’t ring out to me that they’re aware of other incidents and keeping it quiet.

This isn’t a “cast in stone” opinion or judgment. It’s just what it looks like to me without additional info to the contrary.

No?
 
yes I agree. but it still feels like blood money, and I would never feel good about keeping it. I actually dread the day of seeing an envelope labeled "United Methodist Church" knowing what it is. And with ongoing therapy, I could probably expect regular reimbursement. more UMC checks I would have to open *sigh* :(
 
UPDATE Part 4......

I received a reply this morning from the Special Assistant to the Bishop.....

*************************

Hi [Kal]:
Thanks for making these corrections. I am copying the bishop on this email because she will want to know your story. Your corrections filled in details that were important. Do you recall the name of the ["GHI" Church] Pastor who accompanied you in your visit with the bishop?

We have identified the pastor, [Rev. M-P - full name]. He died in December 2014, so we can't talk to him, but Bishop [Regional Bishop of state where abuse happened] has been very helpful in locating old files which I am currently going through. They match your memory quite well. There are a few more meetings than you recall and the names of the superintendents and bishops who supervised your complaint are surfacing. I will get back to you on what I find.

I also talked to Becky Posey Williams. She is not making a complaint since she didn't know the name of the pastor or details adequate for such an action but she backed up your story consistent with what you shared with me and she will also help as we seek possible actions and resources that might be helpful.

So, we have made some good headway this week.


["Mr. Assistant"]
Special Assistant to Bishop [Regional Bishop of state where abuse happened]
 
Sounds like lots of movement and validation from them. I know it has to be hard when the perp is dead, most of mine are dead that I can remember by either their lifestyle or own hand. You should take compensation, as you said before you wanted to donate that money to good causes, maybe even this site or other national resources for CSA victims.
 
After thinking about it today, perhaps they would reimburse my WoR events?!? (plan on attending in October in Ohio)
 
This is a good response.

@NC-Survivor, Just let me say how strong you are to charge forward on this, I’m inspired. I get really angry and triggered in the process of getting myself into that space. I have to drive by my church all the time, finally last week I sat parked in the parking lot staring at one of the windows it would all happen. I’ll get there, therapy will help, I know I will get my time. Just incredibly inspired how you took off on this and haven’t stopped...

Gistin
 
This is a good response.

@NC-Survivor, Just let me say how strong you are to charge forward on this, I’m inspired. I get really angry and triggered in the process of getting myself into that space. I have to drive by my church all the time, finally last week I sat parked in the parking lot staring at one of the windows it would all happen. I’ll get there, therapy will help, I know I will get my time. Just incredibly inspired how you took off on this and haven’t stopped...

Gistin
Remember it was YOU who inspired ME to take this leap - don't forget that!!
 
Remember it was YOU who inspired ME to take this leap - don't forget that!!
Appreciate the thoughts, I had brought up your courage in T, (you not by name). We made a plan to get me into a space where that is possible, of course at a pace I’m comfortable. I do appreciate you sharing this journey, it helps me know there is hope in understanding.

On a side note, my T said right now she’s been working with another who also had abuse at the Catholic Church. I’m not alone up here... I’ll likely never meet this person, but I’m not alone.
 
UPDATE - got another response from ["Mr. Assistant"] that filled in a LOT of blanks...(I received the email soon after my most recent Therapy appointment so I had both to ponder at the same time.)

****************

May 21, 2019

Hi [Kal]:

Here is a synopsis of what I've found. It corroborates your story. Bishop [Regional Bishop of state where abuse happened] and cabinet members of [Regional Governing Body of state where abuse happened] were very helpful in getting access to [Rev. M-P]’s file. I was, actually, surprised that we still had files given the dates we were looking for and that fact that [Rev. M-P] died in 2014. I found your complaint of 1987 and two other complaints against him. The other two were lodged in 1991 and 2007, but interestingly, they too were for earlier incidents. So, while your complaint was the first, the other two were reports of inappropriate behavior preceding your experience. Like so many of these situations and for many different reasons it takes a long time for persons to come forward.

While I cannot reveal the details of the other cases, I can tell you that they resembled yours and dated back to incidents in the late 1960s and 1970s. At least two persons were abused with allusions to others as well. As a pastor for fifty five years, I am ashamed and angry to learn that a clergyman was able to get away with such injurious behavior for so long. It is entirely incongruous with the work of redemption and wholeness and puts a mark of hypocrisy on a reputation that was outwardly portrayed as righteous and loving.

The code of silence that has so long surrounded such behavior is complicit in the harm done to you in 1984. Had it been reported in the earlier incidents I doubt that [Rev. M-P] would have been in ministry at your church in [city where the abuse happened]. It looks like your refusal to be silenced brought an end to [Rev. M-P]’s destructive behavior. At least that is how it looks from the record. Two things were at work. Within months of your complaint [Rev. M-P] was retired. He was also required to enter into a therapy program for such offenders on a weekly basis from June 3,- September 30, 1987. Being out of ministry brought an end to his access to young persons. Hopefully his therapy also put a stop to inappropriate behavior.

I will fill in some details of your story as it appears in our church records. [Rev. DS (female)] was the District Superintendent whose office was in [nearby large city] and she supervised your complaint. The ["GHI" Church] Pastor who accompanied you in the complaint was [Rev. "GH"] (his role was admirable in being the first to accompany you and stand by you after your many frustrated efforts to tell your story). [Rev. DS] met with the two of you initially. [Rev. DS] then reported the incident to the Bishop, ["TU"] who set an appointment in his office for May 14, 1987. Somehow that date got mixed up with you and [Rev. GH], so only [Rev. DS], the Bishop and [Rev. M-P] and his wife [Mrs. M-P], appeared.
[Rev. M-P] tried to downplay your complaint, saying he was a "touchy feely Person" and meant nothing sexual by his actions, and he tried to pawn off what he did with an "everybody does it" excuse. Back rubs and massage are what we do, he told the Bishop. [Bishop TU] didn't buy it and told [M-P] that he had been inappropriate, required him to seek the counseling mentioned above, required him to give you an apology (a copy is in the record) and by next month (Annual Conference) [M-P] was retired.

Another meeting was set for the next day, May 15, in the superintendent's office in [nearby large city]. Everyone came except the Bishop because of prior obligations. The DS acting on the decisions of the previous day reported what the Bishop had done. According to the notes from the meeting you and [Rev. GH] were satisfied with how it was resolved and did not want to bring a further public complaint.

As I indicated the other complaints came later, 1991 and 2007. They arose from different individuals and different times, prior to your experience in [city where the abuse happened]. Each was adjudicated by different District Superintendents and Bishops assigned to the [Regional Governing Body of state where abuse happened] at that time and they were settled in Just Resolutions. In each case reference was made to your settlement and the role that the resultant therapy played in bringing about change in [M-P]'s life. We hope that is true. At least no later cases were reported. It's unfortunate, however, that these complaints did not surface earlier which would have prevented the painful experience with [Rev. M-P] that you had. It may be that your courage to come forward spared others.

Two more things are being worked on. We have people still trying to discern if there were any others in the churches or camps that [Rev. M-P] served who may have been harmed. This is more difficult because there are no actual reports. Some of our information was derived by reading through the lines. For instance, the District Superintendent before [Rev. DS] reported that in 1986, the Staff Parish Relations Committee at ["TUV Methodist"] was not happy with [Rev. M-P] and wanted to have a private conversation with him. Could it be that they had gotten word about what happened to you or were they aware of other incidents? You reported that you had heard rumors to that effect which is why you insisted on telling your story again to prevent any further incidents. These are not easy to parse out but we are working on them.

Secondly, I have sought funding to assist you in your efforts for well-being. Counseling even at this remote time is warranted. We understand that the implications and impact of such experiences are often not felt until years later. You mentioned that you have estimates of what the counseling has cost you. It would be helpful if you sent me that information. I have talked to our Bishop and our Treasurer and they have assisted me in seeking a source to help with this.

I know that [Bishop TU] apologized to you as well as requiring [Rev. M-P] to do so when he received your complaint. No pastor of ["TUV Methodist"] should behave as he did. I too was ashamed when I read those files and heard your story. The church is in the business of salvation, healing and building up the human spirit, not injuring people. We thank you for the courage you had in 1987 and the role you played in putting a stop to things and perhaps saving others. Let us figure out how to help you on your journey to wholeness and a healthy life.

I hope to hear from you soon and [further salutations]!

["Mr. Assistant"]
Special Assistant to Bishop [Regional Bishop of state where abuse happened]


*********************

So, despite what my 35-years-older memory could recall, there were actually THREE meetings that happened with the confrontation (2 years after the initial abuse). My weird memory actually made them into an amalgam of ONE meeting.

The FIRST meeting was with me, the District Superintendent (female) and my pastor.

The SECOND meeting was the "confrontational meeting" a few weeks (?) later on May 14, 1987. This meeting had me, the "DS" lady, the UMC Bishop, The Minister-Perp, and the Minister-Perp's WIFE. My OWN pastor got the dates mixed up and did not show up. I had forgotten this part. This means it was literally FOUR-AGAINST-ONE (and the "ONE" was 22-year-old me!!). My pastor WAS NOT THERE!! Apparently, I didn't care!! I still said what I came to say and stood my ground!

The THIRD meeting was the same as the SECOND, minus the Bishop, PLUS my Pastor. This was the next day: May 15, 1987. This was just discussing the aftermath and the "punishment".

*******************

Again I received the email (perfect timing) right after my most recent T session which I was already a bit raw from. It took me some time to process and sort things out. I FINALLY got the name of my Pastor who stood up for me in all of this (I had forgotten his name). I was able to find him on Facebook and sent him a Friend Request. I hope to reconnect with him soon.

I am SO PROUD of 22-year-old me!!! In my mind, ever since, I had merged the 3 meetings into 1 meeting!! (PTSD thing?? was being alone in meeting #2 too traumatic, so I "updated" the memory?? Had I dissociated?? more things for my next T session!!)

But despite being a bit "raw' from my T session and VERY RAW from the new CSA stuff that had been recently uncovered (that I am still having a difficult time dealing with) - I was actually HAPPY!! So VERY VERY pleased with myself knowing that I stood up to the Minister-Perp BY MYSELF!!!

What a JOY to have this information uncovered.

*****************

Brothers, what are your thoughts???
 
This one actually made me cry, still choked up.

So much in this letter, like others.
- Validation.
- Consequence that was given to him. (Therapy should not have been enough!)
- Their willingness to cooperate.
- Seeking funding to cover your well-being.

The best part for me:
It looks like your refusal to be silenced brought an end to [Rev. M-P]’s destructive behavior. At least that is how it looks from the record.

And... YES BROTHER!
I was actually HAPPY!! So VERY VERY pleased with myself knowing that I stood up to the Minister-Perp BY MYSELF!!!

And this is how it started for me with Fr. M:
Back rubs and massage are what we do, he told the Bishop.
This triggers me differently since my last EMDR session this week... Fight comes to the surface.

@NC-Survivor , thanks for sharing this...
 
I will get there one day... I hope to have you two there as I go through this one day.
Gives me fuel to keep doing the work so I'm not like a bomb of emotion going off.

So proud of you.
 

manipulated

Moderator
Staff member
You have every reason to be proud of 22yo you! And proud that your actions “retired” him. I only hope he did not just use cover of a retired respectable clergy in a non UM venue to continue predation....
 
You have every reason to be proud of 22yo you! And proud that your actions “retired” him. I only hope he did not just use cover of a retired respectable clergy in a non UM venue to continue predation....
Yes, exactly.
 

manipulated

Moderator
Staff member
Sad that I can not take this assumption at the good intent with which the Special Assistant offered it. In my case, the Perp lived within two miles of my parents and continued off and on as an elder in their church. To my “neighbor” knowledge he never again served in a position like scoutmaster, the church lost out any youth after my age group so there was no more opportunity there, and yet I can not believe it ended after he went through the troop. Perhaps my paranoid mind but I believe it is more likely he continued to perpetrate as pets do not quit until the coffin closed or the oven flames.
 

RJrj

Registrant
This is so frustrating. There was obvious collusion and cover up with this organization. I would HIRE A LAWYER. Don't be a martyr. They have a file on this guy!!! I don't believe anything they're telling you. They know way more than they're revealing.

Through discovery, A lawyer could force them to show they're hand and reveal what they're not telling you. A lawyer would LOOOOVE to sue the Methodist Church. It's a corporate entity. "Church" is a "business", Any Lawyer would take the case pro bono. The church would bow and settle to avoid bad press, just fyi...

It's not blood money, as you say. If you think that, fine. If you want to donate to charity, fine. But imagine what 10 times the offer could do for charity. They're going to lowball you.
 
@RJrj All good points, my T suggested I should report to the authorities and employ SNAP to help. I contacted them and they offer free legal and take their payment out of any settlement.

To me, and among other personal things, I can’t get past my parents giving to the Catholic Church all those years... while they sit in Mass unknowing their son was being abused. A settlement makes me (at the moment) feel like I was being pimped out. The ego of the Priest though, knowing he was having his way, while my good parents gave money.

I can’t speak for @NC-Survivor obviously, but the idea of just getting better for me vs. a legal battle to me sounds better.

You do however light a fire, and I’m waiting to face the Church once therapy has stable enough to face them. One man already killed himself over this, from the same priest, I don’t want to implode either.

-G
 
Kal, this is absolutely wonderful! Congratulations!

It doesn’t surprise me that your memory did that. It doesn’t surprise me either that the guy’s wife was there. I say that based on reading another book. Explaining it though would go way outside the scope here.

22 or not, left there on your own with such a horrendous thing is just beyond words. But you did it! And that’s quite the accomplishment.

Still, it’s crazy that there’s like this gang-up on the victim. Not saying that it was exactly that. But still.... we get victimized, and then gotta fend for ourselves. There is just nothing right in that. It reminds me of an article I saw at the beginning of the #MeToo movement....

The guy writing (yes it was a guy telling his story) was an army ranger if I remember correctly. At any rate, he clearly portrayed himself as the “manly man” who takes no guff. Tattoos for sleeves and all. And yet him as a kid, was abused by a coach or a teacher. Memory fuzzy. Regardless, it was someone of the school system. He told his parents who reacted how we’d all love our parents to react. It came time for the hearing. Superintendent, principal, lawyers, perp, etc. Dad is there, consoling, comforting, promising to be there, kid is courageous and brave, etc. Time comes for the testimony, policeman prevents the dad from going in. The kid’s got to do it on his own. From what I remember he was like 9. Who does that? How is that even legal? It’s just so wrong that victims have to go through that.

So yes, Kal.... be proud of yourself!
I am. And I’m pretty sure it’s safe to say that we all are!

The whole letter and all the communication of this grueling process for you has been quite positive. It renews hope that good is still there, and these efforts of silence are disappearing.

Be proud of yourself!
Congratulations!!
 
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