This story just goes from bad to worse.
On Wednesday, July 23, 2008, 37-year old Mark Evan Brown was arrested and charged with third-degree child rape for allegedly encouraging a 14-year-old female student to run away from home and providing her with a room at Highland Christian School in Arlington, Washington, where he is the principal. Police allege that Brown and the girl have exchanged over 700 text messages and phone calls. News stories offer varying information. Some say school officials “stand behind” Brown and he has been placed on administrative leave pending the investigation. Others say he has been fired.
However, that is just the tip of this particular iceburg. You see, Brown is no stranger to the school room or to allegations of sexual misconduct. In 2004, school officials at Concrete High School in Skagit County contacted Child Protective Services when allegations surfaced about Brown having sexual contact with several female students. Brown was released from his contract as wrestling coach at the high school and was promptly hired by Highland Christian School in 2005. Nothing has been mentioned about whether Highland obtained a background check on Brown prior to hiring him, but they do not required their staff to be certified.
And it gets even richer. Brown’s ex-wife divorced him in 2004 when she discovered inappropriate text messages between Brown and a cheerleader at Concrete High School during that dust-up. It seems she knew to be suspicious. She herself began dating Brown when she was 14 and he was 26, and married him when she was 20 against the wishes of her family. She claims their own relationship began the same way, became sexual when she was far from consentual age, but she nor her family reported it.
The primary issue I would like to point out in this story, however, is the actions of this Christian school. What did this man who has a history of alleged sexual misconduct with teenaged girls do when his actions were exposed at the public high school? He went straight for the Christian private school. Did they do a background check? Unfortunately many still do not – even the ones that say they do. And pedophiles know this!
This is why the church is one of the best and brightest targest of pedophiles — because it is just such an easy one. Looking godly is one of the simplest cons around. And with cute looks, lots of charm, and just the right words, someone who is an alleged sex offender such as Mark Evan Brown has it made.
Filed under: abuse and the church, Abusive Leaders, child abuse, child sexual abuse, In the News - Abuse & the Church, sex abuse | Tagged: abuse in the church, abuse of power, child abuse, child sex abuse, church abuse, Clergy Abuse, clergy sex abuse, pastor abuse, sexual abuse |