Sovereign Grace refuses independent investigation on sexual abuse cover-up claims

“We are not saying that external investigations are never appropriate,” the SGC statement reads. “Rather, we do not think one is appropriate given the present circumstances..." - Christian Post

Related: Sovereign Grace Calls Outside Investigation ‘Impossible’

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Bert Perry's picture

....is Rachael Denhollander's comment on this.  For me, the kicker was that there are apparently sworn statements in court noting that they didn't report to authorities and didn't mention it to a future church where the perp abused more children.   Now couple that with the documentation Brent Detwiler provided regarding his tenure at SGM; whether you take Detwiler's side or not, one thing he clearly demonstrates was that there was a tremendous amount of communication between SGM pastors.  It is therefore implausible that there is not some communication regarding those issues that might be very interesting to SGM.

Unless, of course, they've deliberately destroyed documentation that would be of interest, which would itself be ....very interesting, to put it mildly.  

Personally, I think SGM is missing a golden chance to take a good, hard look at its corporate culture so they are more likely to avoid these things in the future.  They are doing some good, to be fair, by protecting their churches with MinistrySafe, but to really make progress, you've got to understand where you've been--and therefore where you may still be.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

“Rather, we do not think one is appropriate given the present circumstances, in which scandalous allegations have been made publicly against a limited number of parties, without providing credible evidence or based upon any substantive findings by criminal or civil authorities.”

So did civil authorities investigate and find the evidence lacking? Sure sounds like it to me.

What's often overlooked in these situations is that outside investigations are often extremely disruptive, expensive in terms of lost productivity if not in direct costs (but I assume that isn't free either), and--as I've noted before--can empower false accusers by giving them attention they would otherwise not receive and also by giving them the ability to disrupt the organization they are accusing.

So... there may indeed be much to gain from this kind of investigation but the costs also have to be weighed in making that decision.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Jay's picture

Aaron,

I see your point and agree with you that there is a high amount of disruption and cost, but at this point (in the cheap seats from far away), there is also the opportunity cost of

1. Not dealing with this with finality and

2. The continued disruption and suspicion that SGC refuses to cooperate simply because they know that there are/were serious problems that are being glossed over.  

Frankly, given all of Rachael's credentials and experience and SGC's best efforts to ignore this away, it's getting very, very hard to believe that Rachael is wrong and SGC is the innocent party here.

The longer this persists and the more light is put on things that happened, the more it looks worse for CJ Mahaney and SGC.  It would be better to face the issue head on than keep dodging it.  Take the stick out of their opponents' hands by agreeing to an investigation.  What could go wrong if there is truly nothing to hide?  And if there is nothing to hide, then why do they keep dodging this by reassuring us that there is nothing to worry about?

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Bert Perry's picture

The civil authorities put Morales in jail, and the main civil suit against SGM was ended because of statutes of limitations.  There's also court testimony where SGM pastors admitted they weren't reporting to the police in the Morales case, and so it is strange to me that those pastors were not tried on those grounds.  

But that said, it's also worth noting that the Texas Rangers, the Indiana State Police, and the FBI have truly embarrassed themselves regarding the 505+ girls molested by Larry Nassar, doing nigh unto bupkus to investigate USA Gymnastics, the Karolyis, and the like.  So assuming the police are "doing enough" in these cases is in my view a very dangerous assumption.  There are some very clear examples where they are not even doing basic due diligence.

And yes, there is a cost to independent investigations.  Along the same lines, there is a cost that is orders of magnitude greater about repeated offenses, especially if the plaintiffs are aware that your organization has had previous problems and done bupkus to solve them.  Just ask MSU or USA Gymnastics regarding Nassar, and just ask USC regarding George Tyndall.  Just ask the Catholic Church, and just ask the Boy Scouts.  The numbers involved do not start with a "t", but with an "m" or a "b".

Perhaps a good dividing line is that if current and former pastors have admitted in a court of law that they weren't reporting things to the police, you need to get someone in from outside who may be able to see your culture clearly and show you how to fix it.  SGM is still downplaying their problems from what was mentioned under oath in the Morales case, brothers.  That indicates they still have huge problems.

And if you don't have current problems, you at least want to get best practices in place so that you can "nudge" your culture towards best practices.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.