"Is Covering Up Abuse Authentic Manhood?"- a victim of Rick Trotter from Fellowship Memphis speaks out

J.B. Martinez shared her story here and expressed disappointment that Independent Presbyterian Church in Memphis is hosting a women's luncheon on Tuesday, December 6 with guest speaker John Bryson, lead pastor at Fellowship Memphis.
When allegations of Rick Trotter’s criminal activity at his new place of employment had surfaced back in August of 2016, I was told by another victim that John Bryson and Hamp Holcomb had instructed she and I not to talk to reporters investigating the allegations. They said not to answer the phone when reporters called. They would handle making a statement. This former Fellowship Memphis employee said Holcomb and Bryson wanted to “protect” the victims from the media.
I feel terrible guilt about not going to the police myself, taking their word that it was being handled and that they had actually gone to the authorities when Rick was originally caught by the corrupt and criminally negligent leadership and staff and Fellowship Memphis. I should have been screaming it from the roof tops 5 years ago. I am convinced I could have prevented hundreds or thousands of others from being exploited.
I have written about Fellowship Memphis and Rick Trotter here and here.

I applaud J.B.'s courage in sharing her story and breaking the silence. I proudly stand with her from Texas. I am glad to help support J.B. and other survivors that have reached out to me over the years. I count it a privilege to share their stories and to do what I can to support abuse survivors and help protect kids near and far from me. Protecting kids should be all of our business.

I received an email today from Leah H.. This is her email in its entirety.

Hi Amy,

    I recently came across your blog and social media sites while doing some research. A few things stood out to me, and I wanted to discuss those things with you. It seems like you spend a lot of time at your computer, so I figured emailing you would be best. 

    From what I've gathered through my own experiences so far, imperfect people make up the majority of people in churches. You know why Jesus had to come here in the first place, right? I've never been to, or been a part of, a church where there wasn't a past rape/infidelity scandal. You shouldn't be so surprised when you discover this. People give in to their flesh everyday. I've seen this situation dealt with the right way, and also the wrong way. Unfortunately, many times churches try to cover themselves instead of people, which I don't stand for. It's also clear that you find most of your information on the internet, but you lack information on all the real life conversations, pain, counseling, apologies, and grace that goes on behind closed doors. Yes, you have access to the sex offender lists as well as their victims online, but you don't know these people, their hearts, or their entire stories (on both sides). You seem to think that you're giving a voice to the victims in these situations, but it seems like you need a reminder that you literally have nothing to do with them or their lives, whatsoever. They have family, friends, counselors and mentors that they have walked through these incidents with. These situations are already so painful and it seems like you just want to add fuel to the fire. It's also a little creepy that you live in Texas and you've made a hobby out of making people's lives more difficult in cities that are hours away from you (that again, you have nothing to do with). The women and victims in these situations don't need a random woman on twitter or a blog outing their stories..they need love and counseling and reassurance of their worth. As an advocate for children and families in difficult situations (I also have a degree for it) I'm all about helping people and providing a voice for them in these situations, but it seems to me like you're more into gossip and making their lives harder while thriving on the drama of it all. And on the other side of things, you need to be mindful of the families of the rapists, sex offenders, and men your after. Yes, they need major accountability, but these people have families, and they also have kids on social media since it's 2016. So where you think you're helping the victim, your also providing heartbreaking news to children about their fathers using a really unfortunate platform (twitter), which can be incredibly mentally damaging to them in the long run. You should think twice before you publicly call yourself an advocate for children, and also a protector. What you are doing is far from protection. 

When I first came across your Twitter/blog, I thought you had good intentions and that you were doing something good and helpful. And then I kept reading and it was clear that you potentially had alternative motives, rather than truly caring about the victims in these situations. 

 I truly hope that you will consider every side to every situation the next time you want to publicly share information about a situation that you have absolutely no involvement in. I also hope that when women and victims reach out to you in the future, that you will guide them to resources that will genuinely help them in their healing process, instead of exploiting them on social media.

Thanks for your time,



Mark Belenchia said…
Leah, I've known Amy for several years, I too am part of SNAP. What you see on social media and Amy's blog is the 'tip of the iceberg '. I'm working with a victim right now who wishes to remain anonymous. That is her wish and it will stay that way. She was referred to me through Amy. I'm not so damn sure you know what advocacy is all about. We have spoken to victims who only want someone to talk to, others are ready to go public, we help them all. I myself talked to a 'Amy' three years before I could build the courage to go public. My degree is from over 40 years as a victim/survivor and a advocate. I'm personally insulted that you would speak of my friend the way you did. Take your degree and shove it!
Anonymous said…
Hi Amy. I know this doesn't directly pertain to the post I am commenting on but I have been sick with worry over another horrifying situation in Memphis. Like other readers I read with horror the testimony from the brave young men who suffered abuse at the hands of former youth worker Chris Carwile. Over the weekend I learned some very disturing news that pertains to this case. Perhaps I should not call it news but a rumor. Either way it is very deeply disturbing. A source with a tie to Chris Carwile's employer has told me that there have been discussions about Chris Carwile returning to work at the Memphis Library. I do not have any confirmation beecause my source spoke to me on condition that I do not reveal their name. They then proceeded to tell me that the Memphis Library is planning to quietly bring Chris Carwile back into his old job. That he will be placed back in his position as if nothing had ever happened. They are talking about quietly doing this as Chris Carwile has not been formally charged or convicted of any crime. I do understand how this might be a position they would contemplate but it is a horrifying thing for them to even be considering doing! A library is funded with government money and is a play which is considered to be a National Safe Space. Let us examine what that means: "Businesses and community buildings such as fire stations and libraries are designated as "Safe Place" sites. Any youth in crisis can walk into one of the nearly 20,000 Safe Places across the country and ask an employee for help. These locations display the yellow, diamond-shaped Safe Place sign on their location."

There are safe place signs all over the outside of that building, stop and think about that for a minute. Children and teens in crisis are actively told to come to the library and approach a staff member for help. This is like a breeding ground for a pedophile and it gets worse. What people outside of Memphis may not know is that the Chris Carwile Library is located next door to a high school called East High School.

Something must be done to stop this from happening. I do not know what that is, perhaps we can do something here in Memphis to protest or more victims can speak out. Pressure needs to be applied because if the Library allows a potential child molester to return to work at their facility he will have access to a high school that is within a stone's throw and he will be acting under the umbrella of being a national safe place. The Library may respond with a saying to the affect that they cannot fire an employee over allegations that have not been proven but I have on good authority that they have fired people for far less. To allow Chris Carwile to return to work at this government facility which has an influx of many many children on a day to day basis is disturbing. We must ramp up our efforts here in Memphis. Please help me to share this word.

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