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

DavidM-LT

Registrant
Your reply is just fantastic!
And you’re right to ask what you did!
If they’re serious and committed in what they say about helping and your well-being, the WoR should be covered too.

I’m very happy for you!!
 
Here is my reply (sent later Tuesday evening)...

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May 21, 2019

Dear ["Mr. Assistant"],

Thank you for the letter.

I never received the copy of the apology. That would have probably been very helpful. If you could get me a copy, I would greatly appreciate it.
It is encouraging to see that no reports if abuse occurred after my report (though 2 previous victims did come forward).

Did my report end up in a "Formal Complaint" or what label was given to that process?

Perhaps the initial ["GHI" Church] Pastor (before [Rev. "GH"]) actually made contact in 1986 which caused the "concerns" during that time.

I will gather Therapy Receipts in the next week and will forward them to you. Male Survivor co-sponsors weekend retreats with a staff full of therapists experienced in Male Sexual Abuse/Assault. The next one closest to me is in Ohio in October. Registration is over $900 to attend, plus airfare & hotels the night before and after the weekend event. Would that, too, be reimbursable?

Moving forward, are there plans to let the current leadership of ["TUV Methodist"] know what occurred? Was the church leadership made aware of this issue soon after I reported it? Can attempts be made to publicize the abuse that occurred so other victims could come forward, knowing that 1) it wasn't their fault, and 2) there is help available to deal with the aftermath of the abuse.

Thank you for your diligence in all of this. It is greatly appreciated and is a huge blessing in my own recovery.

Your brother in Him,

[Kal]

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I have since done research ... Total Therapy Bills for 2017 & 2018 = $1300 total + 2 Sessions in 2019 @ $30 each (yay insurance) = $1360 in total therapy costs (so far).

why is it so hard to put an amount to it?? It feels awful!!!

Is that how much I am worth?? My Recovery is worthy?? The ABUSE is worth??

someone mentioned it was like "payment for services rendered"!!

why does it make me want to cry??
 
@NC-Survivor -
You know my position from our dialogue, ask me now, with more therapy focused on my church trauma... My train of thought is slightly different.

Yes, I feel like it’s services rendered, yes that makes me too cry... no, fold inside along with anger.

Yes, they should cover therapy, not in-house, your choosing. In my case, Catholic Church offers their own therapy to which conflicts with me. This all depends for you and how you are with your church.

I personally think about missed work, avoiding social engagements, sleepless nights, medication for panic, fear of bathrooms all the times I had to hold it painfully. How about now the emotional hangovers following my EMDR. I can’t work the next day. There’s the double life to hide my shame and pain, spiritual life wrecked, relationship disasters, which means more lone time.

There is serious baggage with the trauma that has formed us. Does that come with a price?

They’ve also showed good intentions with you, so that counts for something. Does one send a message to shit on that? Tough moral question. It still doesn’t change the fact what happened to you, to us under the house of God.

No answers for me yet, but I do know it is important to bounce thoughts off a lawyer. Lawyers must pursue your intent, but also help you see a bigger picture, however you decide you should be well informed and assure you’re not only considering the now, but future.
 
Latest Updates….

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Wed, May 29, 2019 at 3:37 PM

To: ["Mr. Assistant"]

Here are invoices for all of 2017 & 2018 and 1 of 2 sessions I have had in 2019 (trying to get a receipt of 2nd 2019 Session)

total: $1,330.00

- [Kal]

[attachments included]

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Wed, May 29, 2019 at 5:12 PM

To: [Kal]

Hi [Kal]

I will take these to our next cabinet meeting. I haven’t met with the bishop since our last correspondence to address the rest of your concerns. We have [Regional Governing Body Annual Meeting] in June so hopefully I will be able to get more answers & address these costs as well.

["Mr. Assistant"]

special Assistant to the Bishop

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Date: Wed, May 29, 2019 at 5:18 PM

To: ["Mr. Assistant"]

understand - as I get more invoices, I will submit them as well.

- [Kal]

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Thu, May 30, 2019 at 9:51 AM

To: ["Mr. Assistant"]

Here are the invoices/Receipts for the 2019 Therapy Sessions so far. ($60 - grand total 2017-2019: $1,360.00)

- [Kal]

[attachments included]

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Thu, May 30, 2019 at 11:19 AM

To: [Kal]

Thanks [Kal]. I know that our finance folks & legal department will want to know guesstimates on what we may agree to. Can you give some talking points related to how long you expect the therapy to last or limits on the amount?

I think I have the other questions wrapped up— at least in terms of how to pursue further equities?

["Mr. Assistant"]

Special Assistant to Bishop [Regional Bishop]

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Thu, May 30, 2019 at 11:33 AM

To: ["Mr. Assistant"]

no idea. this is a long term thing. I am now getting referred to a Trauma Specialist as well for additional therapy - 1st several appointments are covered at 100% by my employer, then insurance (again are $30 per session). Still getting the details.

Also the Weekend of Recovery event in October in Ohio, details are here: https://menhealing.org/event-3139343

- [Kal]

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

Thu, May 30, 2019 at 1:12 PM

To: [Kal]

Okay. I will see what I can do.

["Mr. Assistant"]

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Yes, this can certainly go either way. They have a legal involved, which says a lot good, but raises questions. You're asking them to cover years of therapy going forward, or also comped for the past as well... Either way, legal is likely looking at this as a much deeper.

Legal will be looking at expenses on a worst case beyond normal therapy. For example, You end up in a treatment center because healing took a big left turn the other way. Consider health related issues due to stress, etc. -These big ticket items, and liability that goes along with that agreement to cover those expenses ongoing. They'll likely offer a settlement rather than offer to pay monthly bills. That settlement, will likely come with a non-disclosure, and it goes away and never happened. You don't want to omit your own worst case scenarios based on past and present experience. It's not waging a war, it's being fair to the reality of your situation, so removing emotion from money makes things more productive.

I would totally engage your own legal.

Breathe easy man and thank you for sharing...
 
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Yesterday, I talked to an atty (actually intake person) to advise me on the UMC issue and how to move forward with my father, in light of the new "casserole" CSA (PM me for an explanation if you don't already know). she will take the info to an atty there (in the state where the abuse happened, recommended by SNAP) and get back to me by the end of the week.
 
Deepest respect for you Kal in how you're dealing with all of this, on every level. Your work in therapy, the journaling you're doing, the sharing you do on this website and the actions you're taking to speak out on your own behalf is all inspiring. You are doing the hard work of recovery. Thanks for keeping us current on your progress.
 
UPDATE - got another response from ["Mr. Assistant"] with a first "Settlement Offer" - I have not yet responded. Let me know what you think. I will add my opinion later...

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Thu, Jun 13, 2019

Hi [Kal]:

I'm sorry I couldn't get back to you last week. I was dealing with a death in the family and had to travel for support and services. I believe I have covered all the bases with researching issues of your concern and the appointment history of [Rev. M-P].

I thought I had forwarded a copy of [Rev. M-P]'s apology. I did have a conference call while I was away with the Bishop and [Regional Governing Body] officers and got responses from them about how to proceed with your concerns. They have agreed to pick up your out of pocket costs for therapy already accomplished, $1360, and will work to secure some funds for future counseling. Our [Regional Governing Body] attorneys will require a signed waiver limiting liability of the [Regional Governing Body] and fixing a final number of $1500 additional funds for future counseling.

We are not allowed to share supervisory files but I can make copies of reports that directly pertain to your case. I have them in hard copy and will forward them to you along with the original apology from Jack. Our administrative secretaries have combed the files and report that they are "finding nothing." This is not surprising due to the fact that [Rev. M-P] retired in 1984. Fortunately we located the notes from your hearing with the District Superintendent. As to your question of whether you filed an official complaint, my answer is "yes" and "no." We located no written complaint, which is required by the Book of Discipline to formalize it. It must also be signed by the complainant and presented officially through registered mail to the respondent. These technicalities were not done. Reading the notes from the hearing, however, it looks like the DS and the Bishop treated your verbal report as a formal complaint and processed it as such. According to the notes you and your support pastor, [Rev. "GH"], agreed with how the process played out and the way that [Rev. M-P] was sanctioned and you did not want to press it any farther.

Our District Superintendent in [nearby large city] has followed up with the church at [city where the abuse happened] and we have tracked [Rev. M-P]'s appointments elsewhere. There have been no other reports of misbehavior. The other two complaints I mentioned to you earlier were from reports by two different persons in a context outside the local church and at periods earlier than your incident. They simply happened to be reported later than 1984. Each of those cases were dealt with according to the judicial processes of the UMC and resolved with just resolutions to the satisfaction of the complainants. Those two complaints lend credence to your statement, hence the seriousness we give to your story. [Rev. M-P] may not have been "legally" an abuser given both of your ages and statute of limitation laws, but he certainly did not behave in accordance with the standards and morals required of a pastor and our Book of Discipline or the responsibility" of a "healing professional." Our church apologizes for his behavior and want to assist you in your efforts to find healing and wholeness in your life. We recognize the depth of your injury which as you said, goes clear back to your father when you were three years- old. There is much work to do.

If you are okay with what I have been able to accomplish in response to your initial enquiry, I will put it into a formal statement for signatures and arrange for the remuneration for your previous expenditures for counseling and a process by which our conference treasurer can pay future "out of pocket" expenses for therapy.

Once again I am sorry for your experiences with [Rev. M-P] and ashamed that he served in the capacity of a pastor, but I am glad that your coming forward in 1984 put an end to his irresponsible behavior. Had others done so earlier you may not have encountered him at [city where the abuse happened]. He was a blot on our profession which should be redemptive rather than hurtful. I wish you the best in the future and from our conversations it sounds like life has been blest in many ways despite people like [Rev. M-P].

Blessings to you,

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

DavidM-LT

Registrant
Okay. I read this. And just can't bring myself to read it again a couple hours later in order write this. So I hope that I'm not totally off-base here.

There's 2 things that immediately jumped out at me. Well, 3. Only one of them good.
1. good. The have no problem reimbursing you for past therapy expenses. BRAVO!! Congratulations! And this is something very good on their part.
2. Not so good. Unless I'm reading this wrong, they've put a cap on future payments at 1500. I don't have an issue with the amount, especially since I'm totally clueless as to how far that goes. Lord knows it would last me years and years here. But Therapy elsewhere is exponentially more than what we pay for mine.
3. Really not so good, and probably even just plain bad. What exactly is this "waiver" that you're supposed to sign? It certainly doesn't sound like a confidentiality agreement, though it could just be a disguise for being one. While the reality of the waiver is not good, I find commendable that it's being presented clearly (aside from explaining exactly what this is; but that's normal at this stage). There's no leading you on and then smacking down this destabilizing (deliberate word choice) condition on receiving help.

This last point is tied into the rest of what I'd like to try and say. For anyone reading this, I must remind you that I'm a survivor of clergy abuse as well. I'm also a guy on the inside of the Church. That in and of itself is probably a paradox. But I've no intention to have a different life. I'm also admittedly naive, but a good judge of character.

There are great details provided. And in the communication that you've shared, Kal, there always has been. This is very good on their part and a sign that there's understanding and progress on transparency. The points which he indicates are to remain confidential are normal. Not normal because of it being church-orientated, but normal because it's how anything else works. That much is ok. What isn't ok is this waiver and the cap on future compensation. These two particular points are inherently contradictory to the continued commitment they express to being concerned with your well-being and wanting to help make things right... meaning, getting you to a better place.

Based on the interactions that I have had in my own situation, I can say that this contradiction is most likely unintentional. And yet again, we as survivors in need of help and support are the ones who need to take the high road, have patience and understanding while trying to educate others who should actually be more atune to things. Many times, it's just frustrating, other times infuriating, and still other times just downright hurtful. Coming out and attacking them as deaf, cold and incompetent (just imagined examples) however isn't going to advance anything.

They can say "I'm sorry" all they want. But placing the limits that they have on the help that they're going to give you is inconsistent. Now, we've all got to keep in mind, that it's normal for them (or anyone) to seek a way to ensure that they're not gonna be obliterated. This is completely normal. It's human, it's self-defense and self-preservation. But there has to be a different of doing it. Because what they've done there just doesn't cut it. You don't know how long therapy will run, what changing fees might come, what therapy will uncover more and result in a longer time in therapy. You can't place a dollar amount on it. Not 1500, not 15 thousand. Not even 15 million. That's not the way to go about it. And there needs to be fairness to both sides.
 
UPDATE - this is my response to the first "Settlement Offer" from Thursday (and his response) - you can see I left it rather vague to keep my options open...

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Thu, Jun 13, 2019 at 6:31 PM

I understand what is being asked of me. Go ahead and send me whatever legal paperwork they would like me to sign. I would like to read through all of it before making any final decisions. In the meantime, if you could forward me the other documents as requested, it would be greatly appreciated.

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

Fri, Jun 14, 2019 at 12:16 AM

Hi [Kal]:

I will try to get it done next week.

["Mr. Assistant"]
 
UPDATE #1 _ I forgot to add these earlier....

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Wed, Jun 5, 2019 at 3:54 PM

I would still like to see a copy of the Apology from [Rev. M-P]. I do not recall ever receiving it.

Also is there any way I can get copies of the file(s) that pertains to me?

- [Kal]


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Thur, Jun 6, 2019, 8:56 AM

I have done research. They said most victims of abuse take 6 years of therapy at 2 1-hour sessions per week = 624 hours of professional therapy to become "healed".

Including this week, I have had only 16 hours of professional therapy.

I include the invoice/receipt for the session this week (Grand Total: $1,390.00).

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

UPDATE #2 - I received this Friday night - been thinking about how to respond over the weekend - I have not yet responded, but plan to later today.

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

Fri, Jun 21, 2019 at 9:11 PM

Hi [Kal]:

Attached is a proposed agreement that I have put together. Please look it over. I will take it to the Bishop on Monday. She is copied on it as well. She will have her finance officer and legal counsel look it over for her. I believe it is a fair agreement and hopefully all will join in.

I have a hard copy of the letter of apology that [Rev. M-P] wrote to you. I will need a mailing address to send it to you.

["Mr. Assistant"]
Special Assistant to the Bishop


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


RESPONSE TO ENQUIRY FROM [KAL]

In April 2019 [Kal] contacted the Episcopal office of Bishop [Regional Bishop of state where abuse happened] to enquire about a complaint he made against a pastor of [Regional Governing Body] in the 1980s. He didn’t recall the name of the pastor, except that he was called [Rev. M-P] and the incident happened in ["TUV Methodist"] in 1984. He made the complaint against the pastor in 1987 and the case was settled at that time following a meeting with the DS or Bishop, he couldn’t recall which.

In the recent years [Kal] has begun therapeutic treatment to work through issues surrounding that incident as well as other experiences in his life and he was wondering if there might be financial assistance with this effort from the [Regional Governing Body]. He asked if the [Regional Governing Body] could do some research into his old complaint and provide some answers for him.

Bishop [Regional Bishop of state where abuse happened] assigned her Special Assistant, the Rev. ["Mr. Assistant"], to look into the case and determine what we could from an incident that is now 35 years-old that involved a pastor who has been dead since 2014.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The Complaint against [Rev. M-P]

A search of the records surfaced a complaint against [Rev. M-P] by [Kal] in May of 1987. It was not a formal written complaint but of serious enough nature to warrant treating it as such. The District Superintendent, [Rev. DS], received the complaint and informed Bishop ["TU"]. The incident had happened in 1984. Both parties were adults, [Kal] aged 20 and [Rev. M-P] near his retirement. Supervision was done by both Bishop ["TU"] and by [Rev. DS]. While [Rev. M-P] did not admit to the specific charges leveled by [Kal], it was determined by the bishop what [Rev. M-P] had done was “inappropriate” and that he had “gone too far.”

[Rev. M-P] was required to apologize to [Kal] and he was referred to a therapist for counseling on a weekly basis from June 3 to Sept 30, 1987. [Rev. M-P]’s active ministry was also ended the following month by retirement.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

[Kal]’s Recovery Process

While the [Regional Governing Body] does not take responsibility for all the areas of [Kal]’s life that will benefit from therapeutic assistance, it does acknowledge that [Kal] encountered behavior from his pastor, [Rev. M-P], that was unbecoming of a clergyman as well as noncompliant with Book of Discipline standards. Despite the fact that [Kal] was an adult, our Book of Discipline defines “abuse” as any sexualized behavior toward a parishioner. There is a power differential, which is exploitative and prohibited. It makes no difference that [Rev. M-P] denied the specific charges or ceased his behavior when [Kal] told him to. It left [Kal] confused and uncomfortable and ultimately he exited the United Methodist Church.

Our church recognizes the delayed responses to early traumas in life. [Kal] acknowledges that there were incidences early on in his life that also contributed to his problems, but [Rev. M-P] certainly played a part. For that reason the [Regional Governing Body] agrees to assist financially with the on-going recovery process.

By coming forward with his complaint in 1987 [Kal] brought an end to inappropriate behavior of a pastor. [Rev. M-P] could no longer use a position of authority and power in the church to approach young men.

["Mr. Assistant"]
Special Assistant to Bishop [Regional Bishop of state where abuse happened]
June 21, 2019

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

AGREEMENT TO ASSIST WITH RECOVERY PROCESS

It is agreed that the [Regional Governing Body] will reimburse [Kal] for the out-of-pocket costs for therapy already completed, amounting to $1360. It also agrees to assistance with future therapy up to the amount of $1500. These future payments will be made to the providers upon the presentation of the bill or voucher to our conference treasurer, [address of Treasurer]

It is agreed by [Kal] that the reimbursement agreed to by the [Regional Governing Body] of the UMC is not an admission that the [Regional Governing Body] is liable for any of the actions of [Rev. M-P] that have been reported now or previously to the [Regional Governing Body].


_____________________________________________ _______________
[Kal]......................................................................................... date


_____________________________________________ ________________
[Regional Bishop of state where abuse happened]....date


_____________________________________________ _________________
[Regional Treasurer of state where abuse happened] date
 
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My initial Reactions (to "Update #2")....

he was wondering if there might be financial assistance with this effort
This is not true, THEY initially (both the Chicago person and the Assistant) offered Therapy reimbursement to me. After at first rejecting the notion, I was advised to consider it.

therapy up to the amount of $1500
I am going to initially request $18,270.00 (624 sessions minus 15 -- the number of sessions I have already had as of May 30, 2019 -- for a total of 609 sessions @ $30 each)

These future payments will be made to the providers upon the presentation of the bill or voucher to our conference treasurer
I am going to protest that as well, It should be a reimbursement account that *I* submit receipts to. Too much trying to convince all my practitioners to bill out of state for my co-pays (plus I have had some already-inccurred or will be incurred expenses before this thing is finalized). I will also attempt to expand the things that can be reimbursed, to include expenses related to Recovery Retreats (such as WoR) and include Registration, travel expenses, hotels, and per diems (following IRS/GSA per diem rules) during such events.
 
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UPDATE: Well, I just reiterated those concerns in my reply email....

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Mon, Jun 24, 2019, 11:58 AM

I have some concerns...

1) "he was wondering if there might be financial assistance with this effort" -

This is not actually true. Both you and Becky Posey Williams offered financial assistance to help with the price of therapy. I initially declined Becky's offer, but after getting advice from other survivors, I changed my mind and was willing to accept this offer. The wording within the agreement should clarify this.
2) "therapy up to the amount of $1500" -
I disagree with the amount. As I mentioned in my previous email to you (dated Thur, Jun 6, 2019, 8:56 AM Eastern Time) It is said that most victims of sexual trauma can expect 6 years of treatment at 2 one-hour sessions per week, bringing the total of therapy hours to 624. If you deduct the 15 sessions that have already occurred (and accounted for in the $1,360.00 amount), that leaves 609 additional sessions. If you multiply that figure by the current co-pay amount of $30.00, that brings the "additional Therapy out-of-pocket expenses" to be $18,270.00. Your proposed figure is not even 1/10 of that. Keeping in mind that co-pay amounts may go up year-to-year, and there is no telling if my current employer will stick to the current plan or if I will even retain this job and its benefits. I could very well end up paying full price again for therapy. I believe this updated figure is more than fair.
3) " These future payments will be made to the providers upon the presentation of the bill or voucher to our conference treasurer " -
I disagree with this statement, as well. Instead, this should be a reimbursement account that *I* submit receipts to. It would be too difficult to try to convince all my practitioners to bill out of state for my co-pays (plus I have had some already-inccurred or will be incurred expenses before this thing is finalized). I would also like to expand the items that can be reimbursed, to include expenses related to Recovery Retreats (such as the WoR retreat that I mentioned in a previous e-mail) and include registration, travel expenses, hotels, and per diems (following IRS/GSA per diem rules) during such events. I would not increase the above $18,270 figure to include additional funding for such retreats, but knowing the expense related to such outings would most likely equal to the psychological benefits I would receive from such events.
 

DavidM-LT

Registrant
I’m not looking to start a war, especially among friends. But I don’t agree that they are rich and culpable. The liability statement in the signature to accept the initial reimbursement is completely normal I find.

I’m not quite sure what else I can say that I’ve not already. The amount they offered is not very fair. Because of the other events from the camping trips and other stuff with your dad, they very well could end up not giving you the whole amount of what you asked. Why? Because it had nothing to do with them.

But regardless.... the amount they offered is piddely Pooh.

Your responses are fabulous! And they obviously took a great deal of time. Kudos to you!! You’ve got to be exhausted.
 
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