Secret History of Sexual Abuse: Great is the truth, and it prevails

"Prep-School Predators: The Horace Mann School’s Secret History of Sexual Abuse" appears on the front page of the New York Times magazine today. It is a detailed, moving, important, well-written account by Amos Kamil of alleged widespread child abuse at the elite private school in New York City. It is well worth the time to read it in full. A few notable excerpts:
-When the Penn State scandal came out last year, I kept getting tangled in the questions everyone else was getting tangled in: How does an institutional culture arise to condone, or at least ignore, something that, individually, every member knows is wrong? Andrew’s story came back to me in a rush. The questions of Penn State, I realized, are the questions of Horace Mann and perhaps every place that has been haunted by a similar history.
-But several faculty members of that era said that, to their knowledge, the school said nothing — not to the students, not to their families and not to the police.
 -E. B. agreed to tell me his story (though he asked that I identify him only by his initials) at an Italian restaurant outside Lincoln Center. As he spoke, he seemed both nervous and eager, his eyes darting around the room. “He was a hero to me,” he said. “But he was also a monster.”
 -E. B., too, is still struggling to make sense of what happened to him. He started a blog called “Johannes Somary, Pedophile,” which he hoped would become a gathering place for fellow victims.
 -Victims rarely speak out, said Paul Mones, a lawyer who represents people who have been sexually abused by authority figures. “The whole goal of the grooming process is to wrap the child close,” he told me. “The affection and trust is to make the kid complicit in the act. Make them feel like it was their fault, so it won’t even occur to them to talk.”
 -But in too many other cases, we got models of how to abuse authority, how to manipulate trust, how to keep silent, how to fix your eyes forward.
 -“Great is the truth, and it prevails.”

This story resonates with me as an advocate for survivors of child sexual abuse and as a whistle blower to the child sexual abuse that has occurred at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Dallas by my former youth music minister John Langworthy who is awaiting a criminal trial in Mississippi for felony child sexual abuse there. I have also heard from and about victims of 2 other former Prestonwood ministers and one adult volunteer. To my knowledge, none of these incidents of child sexual abuse has been reported by Prestonwood to law enforcement as required by law, though they have heard directly from victims.

Like at Horace Mann, the leadership of Prestonwood, headed by Dr. Jack Graham, has never said anything- not to the congregation, not to parents of kids in the church, not to the police, not to subsequent unsuspecting churches and communities of these credibly accused ministers, thus endangering more kids and enabling these predators. Silence.

This awful behavior of child sexual abuse at Prestonwood and covering it up by failing to report it has been shrouded in secrecy for too many years. Their negligence is outrageous. Their breaking the law of mandatory reporting of suspected child abuse, not one but several times, is inexcusable. There has been no apology or trace of caring about the kids whose lives have been so terribly damaged. Protecting the institution has taken priority over protecting children. Hopefully, anyone who saw, suspected or suffered abuse there or *elsewhere will come forward, go to the police, get help, start healing and protect others. Silence only helps the predators who need secrecy to harm kids.

Mississippi state representative from Clinton, attorney Philip Gunn, now the House speaker, is an elder at Morrison Heights Baptist Church and a friend of John Langworthy. In meetings with Langworthy last year prior to his resignation from Morrison Heights, Gunn, pastor Greg Belser and the other elders heard Langworthy confess to the past sexual abuse of boys. They did not go to the police with this information. These crimes had never been reported to the police. Belser, Gunn and the elders conducted their own investigation. He attempted to "discuss a resolution" with me. I said, "No." The story is here on WJTV.

A Troubled Silence
The stories of abuse at Horace Mann and elsewhere are truly horrifying. But the victims will have done a great service if their actions persuade others to come forward...

Missed stories: About that Horace Mann School article in the Times

Jerry Sandusky: Innocence on Trial by Jerome Elam in The Washington Times

"Pedophile Speak" by Kid Safe Foundation

*There is a former Second Baptist Church Houston music minister, Eddie Struble, that has also been credibly accused of child sexual abuse. I posted this information here with the police report from the Houston area that contains concerns of his stalking a minor that he met and befriended while on staff at Second Baptist.

The light of knowledge and truth is our greatest tool to protect kids.


Popular posts from this blog

Silent no more: a survivor of sexual assault by prominent Memphis pastor Andy Savage shares her story #metoo #churchtoo #silenceisnotspiritual

Berean Baptist Church shows lead pastor Wes Feltner's video message to the church as he blames victims and their advocates for his suffering

Jules Woodson issues statement in response to Andy Savage starting a new church