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Author Topic: Pastor Mark Darling-Pastor who abused me  (Read 318592 times)
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« Reply #180 on: February 21, 2018, 07:12:40 am »

You know, I probably was snarkier than necessary in my response to the people questioning Scout.  The tactics used for victim blaming and denial of abuse are so consistent and used over and over and over. It does make me angry.  It makes me angry that some people are so desperate to defend their church/pastor that they would do incomplete research--or focus on the smallest statistical possibility of false memory--to create their own narrative against a victim.  It's irresponsible to take snippets from a limited knowledge base and make them a talking point against an abuse victim.  There are a few people who are doing so on this forum and on FB.

But this is also part of how people are silenced, if they don't speak the way you think they should or if they express emotion that is negative but appropriate, their concerns are criticized and dismissed.  Or, as people on this forum and on FB have indicated, there are certain "rules" for how abuse victims should act (keeping documents, calling police, leaving their church at a certain time) and if Suzanne of her husband didn't "act" like they think a victim should act, her claims are considered un-credible.

So yes, I am tired of people who are not experts in the field of trauma counseling, law, or church abuse trying to discredit Scout and other victims by using incomplete information from those fields.  If that makes me seem full of "vile, hate, anger, spite," Godtrumpsall, so be it. I hope that you would reserve words like those for predatory abusers.  If you consider my frustration with the naysayers to be those things, I'm not going to try to talk you out of it.
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« Reply #181 on: February 21, 2018, 07:53:44 am »

I have tried to attach an e-mail from ECC's attorney to the ECC Board of Trustees on which Suzanne was accidentally CC'ed.  There is also the attorney's response to Suzanne, in which she clarifies that she does have attorney/client privilege with the Board (but not the pastors).  You can draw your own conclusions about the neutrality of the "investigation" with the fact that the attorney forwarded Suzanne's e-mail directly to the Board and asked them how to respond.

It doesn't seem to want to upload the attachments (I'm open to tips), so here is the FB link.

https://www.facebook.com/notabystandermn/posts/169024997225631?comment_id=169294293865368&reply_comment_id=169326840528780&notif_id=1519220627506960&notif_t=mentions_comment&ref=notif
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Huldah
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« Reply #182 on: February 21, 2018, 08:44:48 am »

Well, I guess now I am following the story on FB. I knew Evergreen had hired a lawyer to investigate. In my naivete, I didn't realize that there would be attorney-client privilege involved. After reading the linked discussion, it seems as though Evergreen's "investigator" is actually their advocate, doing her best to get Suzanne to reveal information that could be used against her in court. Or am I misunderstanding something? Someone please correct me if I've jumped to the wrong conclusion.

But if not, well, then, so much for Mr. Truthseeker Rick's lofty remarks about attorney integrity.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2018, 08:51:24 am by Huldah » Logged
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« Reply #183 on: February 21, 2018, 09:42:18 am »

Godtrumpsall, you're welcome, and thank you for the same toward me. Thank you also for being upfront about why you're here.

I think I can understand some of what you're feeling. There are a couple of nationally-known Bible teachers whom I've looked up to, respected, and learned from over many years. Both are now embroiled in similar controversies. One is an apologist & philosopher who misrepresented his academic credentials and was also caught in an improper online relationship with a woman. (He doesn't deny either charge. The lawsuit over the online affair was settled out of court with a non-disclosure agreement, so we'll never know exactly what happened there.) The other is a pastor and the head of a Christian college and seminary, who allegedly mishandled two serious rape allegations involving a student (victim) in one case and a professor (alleged serial rapist) in another. (This pastor hasn't directly acknowledged either incident, but his school has issued a statement that indirectly confirms at least one allegation.) I've been deeply disappointed by the actions of these two men for whom I had so much respect. So please don't think I don't have compassion for how you might be feeling. But I've had to follow the truth where it leads, even when it leads somewhere dismal that I'd rather not go. (I'm not saying you aren't willing to do the same, of course.)

EDITED to clarify a couple of points.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2018, 09:49:27 am by Huldah » Logged
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« Reply #184 on: February 21, 2018, 09:49:49 am »

Huldah, your assessment is correct and I don't think you were naive, the attorney did try to portray herself as a party without loyalty doing an "independent" investigation.  

The accidental e-mail shows that the attorney forwarded e-mails from Suzanne directly to the Board.

The accidental e-mail reveals that of course there had been attorney-client privilege with ECC the whole time, but not until Suzanne asked for direct clarification (because she KNEW about this privilege) was that disclosed.

The accidental e-mail reveals a disespectful manner of communicating about a potential abuse victim.  Which leads one to wonder if perhaps the attorney has already also decided that Suzanne is lying?  

The accidental e-mail shows that the attorney is REQUESTING INPUT from the Board about how to proceed with her "investigation."    

The follow-up e-mail states that there is attorney-client privilege with the Board of Trustees, but not with Mark Darling or any of the pastors.  So, on a technicality, she can say that she is not representing the pastors but is representing the Board of ECC.  This is true, I'm sure.  Although ECC's website says there is a pastor on the Board, so I'm not sure how that works or who that pastor is.

Scout obtained an attorney because she knew the process was stacked against her, even before that was confirmed and revealed in these e-mails.  She's sharp and courageous, but how could she play their game without having equal representation?  
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« Reply #185 on: February 21, 2018, 10:14:11 am »

The accidental e-mail shows that the attorney is REQUESTING INPUT from the Board about how to proceed with her "investigation."   
I agree with one of the FB remarks that God's hand was in this email slip-up. If it were a real investigation, then surely the investigator would have her own procedures and priorities. She'd be telling the board what she required from them, not the other way around.

With the rise of the #metoo #churchtoo movement, I've watched (from a distance) as several churches and celebrity pastors have scrambled to deal with credible, serious allegations of sexual sin against the members. So far, every single one of the accused has taken a circle-the-wagons, batten-down-the-hatches approach, even those who acknowledge that something irregular did in fact happen. This is not the kind of repentance we should expect from people who follow Christ.
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« Reply #186 on: February 21, 2018, 10:23:10 am »

It was totally common knowledge that Mark Darling had this group of pretty young single girls that he hung out with.  It wasn't even hidden.
That sounds so creepy. And so wrong, on more than one level.
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« Reply #187 on: February 21, 2018, 10:36:14 am »

Godtrumpsall, you're correct that the two men I referred to were people I never met. However, I've also had experience of knowing, or thinking I knew, professing Christians who turned out to be very different from the sterling versions of themselves they presented to me. There were red flags I failed to pick up on precisely because I was so close to the situation.

But I realize that neither one of us is likely to change the other person's mind on this issue, no matter what personal experiences we cite. I wish you well, though, in your walk with the One who is truly and completely worthy of our trust.
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« Reply #188 on: February 21, 2018, 10:47:56 am »

To clear something up, Ravi Zachariah’s was never involved in a online sexual affair so we can’t squash that lie.

I don't want to get off track here, but if you're interested in the Ravi Zacharias scandal, I suggest you take a look at the email exchange between Ravi and the couple involved.  You can read it at http://pulpitandpen.org/2018/02/15/adulterous-affair-ravi-zacharias-cover/. I stand by what I wrote. That's all I'm going to say about Ravi in this thread because I don't want to derail the main discussion.


Inappropriate boundaries between a pastor and his flock are easily crossed in a church structured like GCC because the Holy Spirit essentially is replaced by leaders and pastors because it is taught that “they speak for God” for you.

This, I can thoroughly agree with. In fact, I have commented to that effect more than once in this forum. Deep down, GC leaders don't trust the Holy Spirit to do His sanctifying work, so they try to be the Holy Spirit.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2018, 11:01:44 am by Huldah » Logged
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« Reply #189 on: February 21, 2018, 10:59:36 am »

Joan Harris got her undergraduate degree from Drake in Des Moines. I wonder if she was involved with Walnut Creek Church while she was there and is sympathetic GCC and their practices. She got her law degree from the University of MN Law School so she could be familiar with the Evergreen churches in the Twin Cities as well. Maybe this is why the Evergreen pastors hired her. I have no knowledge that this is true, but her e-mail correspondence seems unprofessional and biased toward Evergreen so it makes me wonder. Scout, you are very brave and tenacious. Thank you for standing up for all who have been abused. I stand with you.
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« Reply #190 on: February 21, 2018, 11:49:46 am »

Maybe the Ravi stuff could go in a separate forum?  The couple can't speak legally but Ravi can.  So...again we are talking about who controls the narrative and that is also a factor in Scout's story. 

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« Reply #191 on: February 21, 2018, 12:47:53 pm »

Where is the proof that a couple of layers/law firms were interviewed to find the "independent" 3rd party?

Where is the proof that "they" wanted to ensure that the firm has no bias with the church? (Which seems to have already been not proven because of the accidental email sent to Scout.)

Where is the proof that the lawyer hired has never heard of Evergreen, GCM, does not know anyone who attends?

Let's be consistent if we are demanding proof. 

And I don't think anyone should be attacked about how many posts they have made on this forum.  It's a free country. Does how many posts someone made invalidate their story or impugn something about their character?
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Janet Easson Martin
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« Reply #192 on: February 21, 2018, 01:07:06 pm »


In response to another's claim that GRACE is 'known to be biased'.  I checked out several sites reading up on Bob Jones University's interaction with GRACE.  BJU invited GRACE to investigate complaints of shady and harsh handling of victims of sexual assault and abuse after they had become public.  GRACE did their report (even though they had been asked to cease after the first invitation) and published their findings.  Here is the link:  Bob Jones University (GRACE’s Recommendation)

https://static1.squarespace.com/static/54596334e4b0780b44555981/t/552e9be7e4b0498e9c4b8c24/1429117927390/Bob+Jones+U+Final+Report.pdf


After receiving their report, BJU chose to NOT implement key measures in it to make the university and its other schools a safe environment for victims.  GRACE's report indicated actions be taken with some of the most important figures at the university.  Here is the News Article citing BJU's response to GRACE:

https://www.greenvilleonline.com/story/news/local/2015/03/23/bju-faulted-response-grace-report/70349122/


Following is the response from the Sexual Abuse Survivors at Bob Jones University in an Open Letter:

https://www.scribd.com/document/260034121/An-Open-Letter-to-Bob-Jones-University-March-2015



If we are loyal to God's people over organizations and institutions, most of us can easily see there were very
damaging dealings with victims that were graciously and systematically called out in GRACE's report.  I would guess the pedestal shaking was what offended the leadership of the university most of all.  I commend GRACE for faithfully doing it's job!


The other organization actually accusing GRACE of being biased comes from a church that appears on many websites as a very unhealthy organization  - Sovereign Grace Ministries.  Here are the links to that story:


https://www.christianpost.com/news/sovereign-grace-leaders-say-sexual-abuse-allegations-have-damaged-innocent-pastors-and-churches-217823/

Excerpt:
The church leaders also dismissed a call by Denhollander to allow Sovereign Grace Churches to be independently investigated by GRACE, alleging that the organization's leader, Boz Tchividjian, is biased against the network.


Here is an article from Christianity Today citing SGM and other Christian organizations who have practiced bias themselves in handling sexual assault/abuse cases:

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2018/february-web-only/should-churches-handle-sexual-abuse-investigations-internal.html


Excerpt:
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for churches and religious organizations to try to handle sexual assault allegations internally. Bob Jones University, Sovereign Grace Ministries, the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism, and the Institute in Basic Life Principles have all come under fire in recent years for not adequately addressing sexual abuse within their communities. Some of these organizations have been accused of blaming the victims—even those who were children at the time of abuse—and pressuring them to forgive their abusers rather than report them.



So the comment that GRACE is "known to be biased" is really unfounded and appears to be quite false.

« Last Edit: March 02, 2018, 05:35:26 pm by Janet Easson Martin » Logged

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« Reply #193 on: February 21, 2018, 01:15:46 pm »

I guess I'm just caught off guard by the whole lawyer-as-independent-investigator thing, with all its implications including attorney-client privilege. When I envision an independent third party, I picture something like a team including perhaps a pastor (from outside the movement, of course), a social worker who has experience with sexual assault victims, and someone with a law enforcement background, or maybe someone formally trained in investigative journalism. Several people with different but relevant backgrounds. I'm just amazed (not in a good way) that lawyering up and discrediting the chief witness is what passes for neutral third-party oversight in the GC world.
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« Reply #194 on: February 21, 2018, 04:24:55 pm »

JANET,

I found the same information about GRACE, and because I have been following them for a few years I knew about the issue SGM has taken with them.  People who run the Courage Conference (faith-based healing for sexual abuse) commend and trust GRACE as well. Mary DeMuth shares how her story of abuse was redeemed through Jesus and encourages others to "re-story" (let their stories and identities be redeemed).  Diane Langberg is a licensed trauma therapist and Christian and has written amazing books for helping Christians to heal from sexual abuse and works closely with them.  I only mention these resources in case anyone reading this would like more support.  They collaborate together as they are some of the main people nationally addressing this issue non-denominationally.  Meaning some of the larger denominations might have quality programs but I'm not as familiar with them.

HULDAH,

The multi-professional investigation team you describe is the model GRACE uses.  But I imagine that could have been assembled on a local level.  I have a vague memory of a multi-church crisis intervention team in Rochester who goes in to church situations like this.  They make recommendations for the best way to make systemic change and care for the congregation.  An inter-disciplinary team is a good idea--you get multiple perspectives as well as a team, so not just one person making the final call.
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« Reply #195 on: February 21, 2018, 05:26:21 pm »

I was thinking today about what a "normal" (i.e. not a shepherding, high control church) would do if someone on Twitter alleged sexual abuse from a pastor. You know, a normal elder run church (Baptist, Presbyterian) where the congregation votes on the elders and trustees. Not an shepherding elder run church where the pastors appoint themselves and the board of trustees while the congregation is left out of any meaningful involvement in choosing leaders.

My guess would be that they would rather quickly do two things.
1) Contact the person immediately and let her know they are horrified to hear this and want to know her story. They would work to find a safe place where she could tell her story and they would listen.
2) They would issue a public statement via Twitter (since that was how the charge was made) saying they were taking the charges very seriously and would be determining their course of action soon.

A normal church probably would not reply to the Tweet with a condescending statement saying the person making the allegations had been fully heard on this matter years ago. Wouldn't a normal reaction be to communicate the idea that, "Oh, dear, these charges are awful, I hope they are not true, but we are going to do all we can to hear your story, and get to the bottom of things," instead of a harsh, "We already talked about this, remember?"

Could the reason that they did not go with the normal reaction have something to with the fact that this was old news to them. They had already heard the allegations in front of a counselor and others, so their gut response was to say she had already been heard on this matter. Thus, the first Tweet.

Upon further review, could they have realized that the suggestion on Twitter (that they had heard her accusations of sexual abuse already) sounded like a cold brush off? That would explain the sudden change in the narrative.

Now, we are informed by Godtrumpsall that three people at that meeting (I assume Mark D., Mark B. and Kathy D.) say there was no discussion of sexual abuse. Also saw that claim made on Facebook, but can't remember who said it.:

Quote
There are people at the meeting saying she never claimed that she was being sexually "abused".  And yes ECC did respond saying they addressed these issues in their response, but they should have been more careful in the wording, as they dealt with the complaints from the same person 17 years ago that did not include sexual abuse allegations.

At this point, the narrative changes to "they should have been more careful in the wording" of the Tweet.

OK, let's say that is the case. They worded the Tweet poorly and are now claiming that ECC had no idea about the sexual abuse claim. If that is the case, isn't it extra cold to have the first response be we already heard you. Shouldn't the first response be, "Oh, my! This is a serious charge. I hope it is not true, but we want to hear your story." Wouldn't a caring church who first heard a charge of sexual abuse by a pastor, post something other than a condescending, thoughtless, "We already heard you?" This is troubling to me.

Finally, if the charges were not sexual abuse, why in the world would there need to be another pastor and Mark D.'s wife present. I could see why Mark B. might be there as support for a fellow pastor and as a witness. However, is it normal when people have issues or conflict with a pastor in his role as a pastor for his wife who is not employed by the church to show up? It makes no sense why a wife would show up at a meeting like this unless somehow it affected her.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2018, 05:28:22 pm by Linda » Logged

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« Reply #196 on: February 23, 2018, 07:54:02 am »

 
Quote from: Godtrumpsall
Again, as I have said, I have slandered NOBODY, I have stated facts...

Quote from: Godtrumpsall
Suzanne is choosing to slander and defame a person on here and social media...

You have stated that Suzanne is slandering and defaming a person. If her allegations are true, you have slandered her by calling her a liar. Just saying'.
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« Reply #197 on: February 23, 2018, 09:16:58 am »

Okay, I've learned something from this thread: in a legal sense, "sexual abuse" may be different from "sexual harassment." I wasn't aware of the distinction until Godtrumpsall brought it up. Also, I expect that the exact definitions of those terms vary from state to state.

However, in everyday speech, "abuse" is a catch-all term to describe a large range of wrongful behaviors directed toward a victim. Perhaps this is how Suzanne was using the word. That's how I took it. Sexual harassment is a means of asserting dominance and control over the victim by violating her sense of safety, wellbeing, or propriety. This certainly qualifies as emotional abuse, as well as spiritual abuse when done by a religious leader. I don't think Suzanne was out of line to call it "sexual abuse," especially if she (like most people) was unaware that the term had a specific legal meaning.
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« Reply #198 on: February 23, 2018, 10:02:24 am »

Sounds like there were a lot of people at the gathering where Mark Darling and other leaders made "serious, life changing, negative public claims" against Scout and her family. Can't imagine what that was like for family members who were there.  And people were told, "Don't talk to them or the family." Talk about life changing and negative and serious and less than full of love, integrity, honesty. 

As far as definitions, it depends on what the definition of is is.  If it had happened to me, I am sure I would call it sexual abuse.  Whatever it is, it is gross and super creepy.  Especially since it is combined with emotional and mind control, which goes along with sexual abuse and harassment.  And usually there is not just one victim.  Someone else is groomed to take her place if she leaves.  I know something about this subject because my youngest sister was sexually abused when she was a young girl in boarding school in Africa.  When she left, there was always another girl.  To be used. 

I'm just so glad there there is a venue where the other side of the story can be told. 

I was around when all this was happening.  I knew about Mark's special girls and how he needed more than his wife to confide in.  I knew I would hate that in my marriage. Yuk!  But somehow I got brainwashed into thinking that Mark was a spiritual giant who could handle this with innocence.  After all, these girls were really sweet, pretty nice girls and some of them were getting married, usually to someone who  became a leader. 

I have a feeling that the meeting with girls alone probably stopped after Scout confronted in front of other pastors.  I hope so. 

But I saw it, I knew about it.

I go to a church now where a pastor in their past was caught in sexual sin.  Of course he had to leave.  I hope he got help and there was true repentance.  It is not white washed.  It is part of their church history, open, a warning.  It is possible to handle something like this with integrity.

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« Reply #199 on: February 23, 2018, 10:22:09 am »

I repeat. If Suzanne’s claims are true, your comment that she is a slanderer is, in effect, calling her a liar.

Quote from: Godtrumpsall
I have not attached a negative title to her name.

You attached the name “slanderer”.

Haven’t seen the video, but posting a video on the difference between sexual harassment and sexual abuse is not defamation.

I’ve heard some of her story and would call some of it sexual harassment and some of it sexual abuse (because according to her it involved physical touch). I’ll look for the video.

I did note the attorney used the word harassment and not abuse. My recollection is that her allegation was abuse. I’m pretty sure she knows the difference.
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