News from New Hampshire

http://www.concordmonitor.com/article/police-girl-raped-then-relocated]h...

 

 

** Corrected Link *** 

Jim Peet***********************

8030 reads
BryanBice's picture

Well, the link needs fixed, but this story will certainly generate a great deal of discussion! Sad to read the comments after the article, too.

Mike Durning's picture

If this story is accurate, it reflects yet another area in which some Fundamentalists fail their children by not involving the authorities when laws are broken. Over the years I have run across a large number of stories in which parents guilty of molestation of their own children were "disciplined" by the church but authorities were never contacted. Or stories in which parents found out an "uncle" or someone else had molested their children, and chose to handle it through church discipline in the imagination that it was more Biblical. The result has always been scarred children.

Such stories surely reflect a failure to value children as our Lord does in Matthew 18.

Some may reply "But the authorities were involved!" Sure. But if the story is accurate, is certainly appears that the interpretation of events and the chruch's handling of them had the effect of obstructing the investigation and justice.

Charlie's picture

Like most readers (I suppose), I vacillated between outrage and heartbreak while reading the article. However, I'm going to put that aside to ask a few questions:

1. Is it normal for people to have to apologize (repent?) publicly in front of the church if they have engaged in immorality? Why should the whole church have to know?

2. Why should the victim of a rape have to admit even 1% guilt in such a situation? Why incriminate her and saddle her with misplaced guilt? I suppose at the time she, for a variety of reasons, may not have said it was rape, so the church was acting on misinformation.

My Blog: http://dearreaderblog.com

Cor meum tibi offero Domine prompte et sincere. ~ John Calvin

Don Johnson's picture

Just remember that you are reading this story through a reporter's point of view, you don't have all the facts, you don't know who is spinning who, and it is highly unlikely you will ever know all the facts, even after a trial in court. It is quite easy to jump to conclusions and pass judgement. Please note other individuals who are involved in the story who have a well known vendetta against fundamentalism and lack credibility themselves.

In other words, don't rush to judgement just because a sensational story makes the newspaper.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

pastorwesh's picture

Quote:
Is it normal for people to have to apologize (repent?) publicly in front of the church if they have engaged in immorality? Why should the whole church have to know?

If the sin is a public sin, then the repentance should be public as well.

Serving the Savior, Pastor Wes Helfenbein 2 Cor. 5:17

BryanBice's picture

Charlie wrote:
Like most readers (I suppose), I vacillated between outrage and heartbreak while reading the article. However, I'm going to put that aside to ask a few questions:

1. Is it normal for people to have to apologize (repent?) publicly in front of the church if they have engaged in immorality? Why should the whole church have to know?

2. Why should the victim of a rape have to admit even 1% guilt in such a situation? Why incriminate her and saddle her with misplaced guilt? I suppose at the time she, for a variety of reasons, may not have said it was rape, so the church was acting on misinformation.

Re. #1 -- It's not normal in my ministry. The only time the church as a whole is brought into the picture is if the immorality is public enough that many in the congregation know or will inevitably be aware of the sin.
Re. #2 -- She shouldn't. Even if she was flirtatious and dressed immodestly, she shouldn't be brought before the congregation in a church discipline process--unless the church does this with all females in the congregation whether they've been raped or not. And if it does, well, there's another problem. I personally think it's inappropriate to bring this kind of church discipline on an underage young person, that is, one who is first of all under the authority/discipline of her parents. I'm thinking it's the parents place & responsibility to handle this, even to the point of having the incorrigible church-member child removed from membership. [Needless to say, there would be a great deal of interaction with the church leadership through this process ].

Regarding Don's caution about rushing to judgment, that's certainly warranted. Indeed, the story left me with a few questions, like, why would the 15-yr-old have allowed her rapist into the house, regardless of his excuse, when her mother wasn't home? She would have to have known that there was at least a fair chance he'd try something, wouldn't she? I'm wondering if Chuck's approach wasn't influenced by the way the girl felt about the guy. Did she have a teenage girl's crush on an older guy, who fed that crush with compliments & attention? Was that her "1%"? That might explain why Chuck apparently considered this statutory rape, which ( I understand) implies willingness on the part of an underage girl/guy. Nevertheless, regardless of some of the specifics, it seems clear enough that the whole mess wasn't handled wisely. It is unfortunate that folks in the church who were uneasy about this situation (as the former Clerk was) didn't speak up. It's also true that we who are so far removed from this will never know all there is to know about it. Nevertheless, we can learn a great deal from this debacle.

Bob T.'s picture

The Pastor of the church, Chuck Phelps, was to become president of Maranatha Baptist Bible College for a short time.

I would agree that this newspaper story may have inaccuracies. It would be difficult to see why the girl was made to confess and then was sent away. It may have been the parents who sent her away not the church. The church would most likely not be involved in such. At least we can hope so.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

I have to say that the church discipline scenario the article describes does not sound likely to me at all. I don't know Chuck Phelps personally, but much of what was described does not sound credible. In deference to the victim, perhaps she has confused some details regarding what sorts of things were said in what conversations with whom. Maybe something will come from Phelps to help clear it up. I would not personally want to suggest the girl had any blame at all in the matter.

This might be one of those discussions than can only be profitable if it goes in the direction of general principles rather than the case itself, since there is so much that is not known.

Jim's picture

http://www.ktar.com/?nid=509&sid=1298169

Quote:
Phelps, who is now a pastor in Indianapolis, said Tuesday he reported what the teen told him to police and child welfare officials within 24 hours. Phelps would not comment when asked about his role in relocating the teen to a pastor's home in Colorado.

"I called in a report," Phelps said. "I think I've said what I need to say."