The Master’s University and Seminary are on academic probation.

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Bert Perry's picture

Mark_Smith wrote:

So another of a long line of assaults where the victim never went to the police, and may or may not have told the campus authorities. For the record, did the student even tell TMC at the time?

Look, if you are assaulted, you MUST go to the police. I know people consider that as a burden, but really the police are the only ones who can do anything about it afterward.

So you didn't say anything about this particular case?  You at least strongly insinuated that the accuser here failed to do anything and then showed up a decade later with her story.  That's the kind of habit that I'm talking about that we need to stop.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Mark_Smith's picture

Slow down, I cannot respond as fast as you do because I have to wait to get approval to post.

I said that because of what Jay said: "I know the assault allegation has been confirmed by another woman who was also a student at the time. Apparently the victim sought counseling from her  at the time and then disappeared from campus about two weeks after the assault.  The confirming woman’s conscience has bothered her about it ever since, and that is why she stepped forward to corroborate the story."

It sounded to me like she had not gone to any authorities.

Mark_Smith's picture

I am not a novice at this. I have been at a university as faculty for 9 years, brother. I have heard this kind of thing several times. And our university has had to deal with it. And you know what, it is often "he said she said." Proving a rape or assault in court is tough. Often, the victim has done things that weaken a potential prosecution, and the perpetrator knows that. For example, the girl was drunk. They were in a dating relationship and had had sexual relations before, etc...  None of that makes anything right. It makes it impossible to prove beyond a reasonable doubt.

The thing is, what is a school supposed to do if there is no criminal charge? Throw the guy out without a clear hearing? It is tough. 

Now, that being said, if what this woman says happened to her at TMC is correct, they were way out of bounds and deserve to be kicked in the teeth by the regulating authorities. 

I also AFFIRM STRONGLY that schools, even Christian schools, should not be investigating rapes or assault allegations. Turn it over to the police.

Further, the problem for Christian schools is illustrated in this case. The police investigated and had no desire to proceed with a prosecution. Now, the victim is back at school. She might have been involved in violations of the campus ethics code, which I am sure included drinking, sexual relations, etc. Schools then pursue these ethics violations, making the victim feel victimized a second time. 

TylerR's picture

Editor

It's prudent to wait for a more credible source than what we have, which is from "survivor blogs" and others who are rather less than impartial reporters of fact. I suspect my words will be met with criticism, which is what happened last time (the "gentleman" in question knows I'm talking about him. Heh, heh!).  

I get what you're saying, Mark. I also know, from prior experience with sexual abuse allegation threads, that you'll never talk your way out of anything. It's best to stay silent on this. The comments will keep on coming at you; you'll never win! Just give up. There's too much emotion attached to these issues to discuss them online in a profitable way.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government.

Bert Perry's picture

Mark, that means you needed to read the initial documents that Jim copied over.  If there is a Title IX report, or a VAWA issue, that means that the person talked to someone at TMU and TMU (to their credit) preserved records of how the matter was resolved.  You're assuming facts not in evidence and ignoring facts which are.

(and I share some of your concerns with Title IX, but for better or worse, it's the law, and any school accepting federal money must comply)

And yes, I agree at least in part with your comment #30; that if indeed the facts of the matter are as stated in the links I cite (H/T Jay, BTW), then TMU deserves some serious sanctions.  At the very least, the investigation needs to be re-opened to be reviewed.  Another person reproduced what he said was a link to the student handbook, and it appears to require a victim to face her (his) rapist face to face before going to the university or police.   If that's correct, I would have to guess that's a pretty big violation of Title IX and VAWA right there, and Biblically speaking, I'd dare suggest that the one on one confrontation in a crime of violence like rape is when the crime was committed.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Mark_Smith's picture

I misread the thread progression and thought it said she had not gone to the police. Please forgive my ignorance and inattentiveness.

Jay's picture

As former moderator here at SI and as someone that's been through several of these kinds of cases, let me hop in here for a second and deal with what TylerR just said.  He wrote:

It's prudent to wait for a more credible source than what we have, which is from "survivor blogs" and others who are rather less than impartial reporters of fact. I suspect my words will be met with criticism, which is what happened last time (the "gentleman" in question knows I'm talking about him. Heh, heh!).  

The issue at hand is how much credibility do we give people that make these kinds of reports, especially via the anonymous internet.  As I have stated many, many times on SI, the proper venue for these kinds of reports is the police.  Not SharperIron, and not even the church.

That being said, we have an Biblical obligation as Christians to police ourselves to an extent and also to stand up for the oppressed and victimized (Ps. 9:9, Is. 1:16-17, Luke 4:18-18).  When a student at an Evangelical/Fundamentalist school reports that they have been assaulted or abused, we have an obligation to expose that evil and set it right (Eph. 5:8-13).  And if that means that we have to name names and call out those within the camp who botched this (at best), then we have to do that.  Regardless of relationship, regardless of PR hit, regardless of cost.  We obey God. Full stop.

Some of you are not interested in ruffling feathers or feeding gossip.  I get that, and I was very hard on members that came to SI to report allegations like this in the past.  Some of us are squeamish about going to war with brothers and sisters.  I get that too, because I know I've blown up relationships and opportunities as result of doing this.

That being said, I've seen more than enough dropped balls, misplayed assumptions, and flat out screw-ups (to put it mildly) by nice people that didn't know what they were doing or that wanted to 'protect' their church/school/institution. I am convinced that we had taken our joint responsibilities seriously enough in the beginning, when these things originally happened, the #MeToo and #ChurchToo movements would never have needed to exist.  Or if they had, that people would know that Christians don't tolerate that kind of behavior.  So I think that this is, ultimately, a good thing, even if it scorches 'our camp'.

If all it takes for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing, then it's time we fought evil.  We're Christians.  Act like it. Get off your knees and stop praying for someone to do the right thing. Do it yourself.

"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

Jay's picture

Also - some have expressed skepticism of these kinds of allegations because there is no way to corroborate the story and/or 'prove' it's a legitimate accusation.  I personally heard about this story several months ago, although there was no way to verify it at that time.  There has now been a second report [from the accrediting agency's letter], and another person who was a student at TMS / TMU during this time has come forward to verify that "Jane" was there, was a student, and did report this assault to her and to others within the administration.  There's also circumstantial evidence that her attacker confessed to the TMS / TMU administration as well. That's a big deal.

We have verification of the story from at least two other sources.  I think there will likely be more witnesses forthcoming.  We have a Biblical standard of verification from two or three witnesses - we ought to uphold that Biblical principle.

"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

TylerR's picture

Editor

We have nothing to do with TMU or anything else that goes on there. They're accountable to their board, the appropriate higher education bureaucracies at the state and federal level, and the accrediting agency. And, judging from the text of the letter Jim posted (far above), their day of reckoning draws nigh. Those are the people who will take appropriate action. Anything else is uninformed social media speculation with many half-truths and/or selective facts; often with a spin.

From reading the accrediting agency's letter, it seems TMU has significant problems, and has a systemic leadership failure. They likely need an administrator (not a Pastor/Administrator) to take charge and knock the place into shape.

As for the alleged mishandling of sexual assault complaints, I'll leave TMU's public crucifixion to the internet mobs, unless and until we see something like the report on ABWE's abysmal failures. I doubt we'll see that, here. If TMU wants to engage an outside fact-finder, that's their choice. It might, or might not, be prudent.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government.

Bert Perry's picture

Mark, understood and forgiven.

Regarding the question of social media, it's not inherently any more or less reliable than the mainstream media, really.  Let's be honest; do we trust CNN or the NY Times when they have an article saying "sources say" without identifying the sources?  In this case, what we have is a fair amount of eyewitness testimony bolstered by the accrediting agency's report, police report excerpts, and even TMU's Facebook page.  They're talking about themselves, it's getting pretty authoritative.

Regarding the vehemence of how these things are debated, probably the biggest thing we can do to discuss it well is to lay off the hasty assumptions, generally like "they were intentionally drunk and/or fornicating."  Sometimes yes, sometimes no, but most states (a) make it flat out illegal to have sex with someone who is intoxicated and (b) prohibit defense attorneys from introducing evidence of an accuser's sex life unless the judge agrees with the attorney that it's relevant to the case.  In other words, legally and ethically speaking, this line of thinking is out of bounds, and we shouldn't be surprised when accusers and their supporters react badly when this line of thinking is used.

Or, put differently, you can often be amazed how productive a discussion is when you don't insult the other person.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Jay's picture

For whatever it’s worth, we need to keep in mind that a rape victim was not only ignored, but was thrown out of school and had her grades reduced to F’s.  

The school looks bad and has work to do, but it’s going to be an uphill battle (for me at least) to express sympathy for their plight.  Not when they expressed so much sympathy for her.

"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

Jay's picture

We have nothing to do with TMU or anything else that goes on there.

You’re right, Tyler.  We have never talked about MacArthur, or Grace Community Church, or Master’s Seminary or Master’s University.  Not on this discussion board. And we certainly have never done a live blog from the Shepherds’ Conference.

Anyone else never hear of this guy or the school?

Bueller? Bueller? Hello?

Ah, nevermind. It doesn’t concern us at all. We should wait for our friends on TV, at the Washington Post, or the NY Times to weigh in first to tell us that TMS / TMU is OK.

"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

If the complainant has a transcript, that is easily verifiable if true, and hugely embarrassing.  Either they are shown as being extremely petty for issuing all Fs--most schools will still give you the grades you've actually earned, even if they're expelling you--or you have to ask the question of how on earth one could stay at a school for years without ever passing a class.   You simply can't explain that one away.  "Here's your sign, TMU."

Regarding the notion of "not our business", sorry, but ministries with a national and international reach are accountable to the movements they serve, not just ten deacons/elders in LA.  You want some people out there who care enough about you to say "knock it off".  

Looks like they passed in 2012, though, and had since 1975.  Either previous auditors were not on the ball, or something changed in the past decade.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

TylerR's picture

Editor

Jay (et al):

It's not that I don't care. It's just that I have my own problems to deal with. For example, a phantom vagrant has recently made it a habit to wander by the church around 0100 and masturbate in front of the security cameras with a big smile on his face.

That's a more pressing and immediate sexual assault worry for me than agonizing about whether TMU is following proper procedures regarding sexual assault allegations among students. It's academic to me, Jay, because I'm not there and I can't do anything about it. It's academic to me the same way my "Mystery of the Phantom Vagrant" is academic to you! I hope you see what I'm saying.

Yes, my phantom vagrant story is real. He struck again early this morning. I can't wait to wander by the church and see if there's anything to sanitize before next Sunday ... You can add this item to the long list of "things they didn't tell you about in Seminary!"

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government.

Jim's picture

http://pulpitandpen.org/2018/08/20/masters-university-placed-on-probatio...

If you read the reports from WASC yourself (we linked them above), you’ll see that they didn’t make any clear accusations, but asked questions that need to be resolved. Far from being concerned about the institutional integrity of Masters (or the personal integrity of Dr. MacArthur), I’m far more concerned about the accreditation integrity of WASC. Is it simply unfeasible for a college’s president to also be a pastor where the majority of employees and students attend? From the WASC report, it seems that alone is enough to accuse the institution of lacking boundaries, autonomy, and integrity. And for the sake of quality religious education in America, that’s a problem.

Bert Perry's picture

Not important to you, but how many comments have you made, Tyler?  :^)

Seriously, one thing I learned in a town not much bigger than Olympia--Boulder, CO, population about 100,000--is that there are a limited number of actual vagrants, and the police are often acquainted with them.  When I volunteered one night at the homeless shelter, I was surprised over the next week how many of them (there were about 100 people at the shelter) I recognized.  

And if one should happen to, say, give the video to the police, explaining that the behavior took place in a public place and that there were certain precautions you were taking against neato creepy-crawlies he might be leaving behind, you might get some action on the part of the police.

We might find that if we moderate our radical congregational assumptions, we might be able to work together and solve some issues that we didn't even know we had.  My churches in Boulder also had issues with vagrants.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

TylerR's picture

Editor

The police have the video. The homeless problem is an epidemic in the Olympia area, as it is in many liberal cities on the West Coast. You can't imagine what these cities tolerate.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government.

Bert Perry's picture

I just visited San Francisco, and lived in Boulder for a decade.  Shockingly, San Francisco was worse than Boulder, which is saying something.  But seriously, what high class neighborhood these days doesn't have used IV needles and human waste on the streets?  We just need to be more compassionate and "enlightened." 

 Feel your pain, bro, and I'm guessing the po-lees ain't doing squat.  It's like the time I approached a Boulder liquor store owner and suggested he might do well to not sell forties and bum wines, because he just might not want mentally ill addicts in his store.  He was more "enlightened" than I, to put it mildly, and a church I attended there (now the mosque in town) had a consistent problem with bums coming by asking for money for "bus tickets."  

Side note: JD Hall does not disappoint with his total misreading of the cover letter (and failure to read the report), seeing no problem whatsoever with a board of directors that relies on John MacArthur for their pay.   Certainly no one who needs to make his next mortgage payment would have that in the back of his mind when controversial issues are being discussed.  Nobody would ever keep quiet because he didn't want to lose his house or get bad credit or anything.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Jay's picture

It...doesn’t surprise me in the least...that someone would respond to these allegations by attacking the integrity of the accreditation agency. 

As for this:

Is it simply unfeasible for a college’s president to also be a pastor where the majority of employees and students attend? 

Pretty much. That’s called “conflict of interest” in the real world.  You can’t hire, manage, and terminate employees AND also make them dependent on you for spiritual guidance.  Personally, I figured that MacArthur was more of a figurehead than the actual president because of his pastoral responsibilities.  It doesn’t sound like that is the case.

I also have to admit being impressed at the P&P’s backhanded dismissal of the rape.  Clearly, the son in law’s potential to make money off of GCC is more important and more worthy of coverage than the fact that a student was raped.  That being said, we did tithe mint, anise and cumin on Sunday so it’s all good.

Some people need to reassess their priorities.

 

"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

josh p's picture

Tyler, come up to Seattle sometime. The homeless call it “Freeattle”. I imagine Olympia being the state capital it must be pretty similar though. 

Mark_Smith's picture

Rape and sexual assault charges are complicated. People want to pretend they are easy, i.e. believe the accuser. The problem is, if after going to the police there are no charges, what is a school supposed to do? Secular schools often do nothing. Why? There is nothing that can be proven. If it is a Christian school they can expel the accused for a conduct violation, but they also have to expel the accuser. See, from that perspective, what we have is extramarital sex, which violates the conduct code. Tricky huh...

On the other hand, the administrative elements are in the school's control. Changing a student's grades after the fact is simply unethical. Period. If a student earns an A in history, then commits gets thrown out of school, so what. They still earned an A in that class. Also, dealing with employees that are also members of your church violates the "clean" standards that accreditation organizations want and demand. That is the problem with accreditation... it seeks a uniform system in a diverse world. But things are what they are.

Bert Perry's picture

Mark, agreed that these things are not easy, and of course when you get allegations, you know that the basic outcomes will be conviction of the accused, insufficient evidence to convict, or perjury on the part of the accuser.  Unfortunately, as you probably know, 60-80% of accusations fall into that middle bin.  

But in that case, why not just assume that accuser's story may be true and encourage her (him) to go to the police, help the accuser to get counseling, and if desirable, help the accuser transfer somewhere else?  And for the accused, about the same, except one might expel him (her) if there is clear evidence of fornication?  Really, through this process, the truth will often end up coming out.  

I can't say for sure here, but a lot of times, it seems as if Christian colleges are coming down with a hammer assuming guilt on the part of the accuser when the reality on the ground is that the evidence is in dispute.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

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