Former Music Minister Timothy Mann Pleads Guilty to Child Abuse

I know that there are people seeking this information, so I am going to post this one as is. This story is courtesy of Gazette.net.

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By Patricia M. Murret

A former Baptist minister and youth choir director in Gaithersburg pleaded guilty last week to child abuse of a female youth choir singer that occurred over four years in the 1990s.

Timothy Chun-Chock Mann, 47, of Hoover, Ala., a former minister at First Baptist Church of Gaithersburg, and recent choir director at an Alabama congregation, will be sentenced on Sept. 29 in Montgomery County Circuit Court. Under Maryland code, sexual child abuse is a felony offense that brings a possible 15-year prison sentence.

Third-degree sex offense charges were dropped as part of Mann’s plea agreement, said Seth Zucker, spokesman for the State’s Attorney’s Office. A copy of a pre-indictment memorandum filed with the court’s assignment office and obtained by The Gazette shows that Mann agreed to plead guilty ‘‘to the sole count of sexual child abuse and the State and Defense will ask the Court to cap any period of executed incarceration at 7 years.” Sentencing guidelines for Mann, who has no previous criminal record, suggest 4 to 9 years in prison, according to the memo.

Mann’s attorney, Barry Helfand of Rockville, could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

The victim, now 29, was 14 years old when first abused in 1992, according to police. She reported the abuse to police in December.

Mann resigned in March from his job as choir director at Shades Crest Baptist Church in Hoover, after he told church leaders of the charges, according to Shades Crest Pastor Dennis Foust.

Mann joined the First Baptist Church, at 200 W. Diamond Ave., in 1991 as its minister of music and directed the youth choir, according to a police statement.

He ‘‘engaged in inappropriate sexual acts with a female youth choir member” between December 1992 and the summer of 1996, according to police. He left the First Baptist Church in 1998, a church administrator said. The abuse mostly occurred in Mann’s church office, according to police.

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7 Responses

  1. Sentencing was today (9/29/08) Any word on what happened?

  2. Sentenced to 7 years.

  3. The criminal Tim Mann was sentenced to 13 years in state prison, with 7 suspended, and 5 years probation after that, during which time he must undergo a program of psychological counseling. He must also be forever registered in the national sex offender database, and must inform authorities of his status at any destination that travels to after his release from prison. That’s it for him – my daughter will have a lifetime to live with this. I would also ask that anyone who is able visit http://www.thehopeofsurvivors.com/ for information on clergy sex abuse and hopefully to make a contribution to this ministry. That is the organization that was instrumental in helping my daughter begin this journey of healing.

  4. In no way do I ever condone an adult becoming involved with a minor. Adults know better and to give in to any temptation that presents itself should result in harsh penalties. Yet, something else bothers me about “victims” in cases such as this one. The law provides that minors are not responsible for their actions in these cases and I am not OK with that. This victim was involved with the perpetrator for four years. The perpetrator had no previous or subsequent behaviors that indicate he was some sort of master at mind control of young people. The victim knew what she was doing, it appears to me. She helped destroy a man’s life as much as the man did. Maybe she needs to heal from that knowledge more so than anything else.

    • She was his step-daughter, if I remember correctly. That could entirely explain the longevity of the issue. Parent/child, or in-family, sexual relationships (including steps) often last for many years – until the child becomes an older teen and finally tells or after reaching adulthood. Not because the child is a willing participant but because the child is basically a captive. Even if it doesn’t start until the child is a teen, all a family-member predator has to do is threaten to hurt the child’s mother, or turn his attentions to another child, that no one will ever believe the child and they will go to jail, too (yes, they use that line all the time), everyone will hate them, they will ruin the lives of the rest of the family, etc., etc., etc. There are a whole host of ways a perpetrator can keep a victim under his control without ever resorting to violence and in ways that seem like vapor to anyone on the outside.

      I find it disturbing that you would spread the blame to a minor. That is indicative of a distinct disconnect from the reality of this issue as a whole.

      For any child to become sexually active indicates some type of predation on that child. Not true for a teen, of course. BUT if this man came into the house when the girl was a teen and she was a complete tramp – he is still completely and utterly responsible for choosing to become involved. He had a choice — and he very obviously wasn’t an unwilling participant. In a situation like this, the girl’s character is irrelevant. If she chooses immoral behavior on her own under other circumstances, she will have consequences. But that has NOTHING whatsoever to do with this. This is ALL on the adult predator – 100%.

      — Danni

  5. Thanks for responding Danni. I would like to point out that my first words in my previous post were….. “In no way do I ever condone an adult becoming involved with a minor. Adults know better and to give in to any temptation that presents itself should result in harsh penalties.” ——–Just wanted to clarify that as you mention that I must be disconnected to the problem as a whole and that I am spreading the blame to the victim. I do not spare the adult any responsibility or blame. I do not blame innocent minors. I condemn predation in every aspect of society, not just the clergy. The only circumstance that I would find fault with the ‘victim’ is the “tramp” scenario that you described. While you maintain that it does not matter, I feel that these behaviors are equally destructive and any person participating in them can feel equally responsible for the pain and suffering that affected family members will feel. You mention that this girl was a step-daughter…the news accounts said she was a choir member under his music program. I have not seen any reference to a relation. Is it possible that you are thinking of another case?

    • I’ve gone back and reviewed multiple news stories about this and I do not find any reference to the victim being a relative, so I will have to say I could be completely mistaken about that. I know at one point I looked at the actual court records, and I thought that was where I got the idea originally. But it seems odd that this detail would appear nowhere else — and I could definitely be mistaken since I do read a lot of these cases, as you said.

      At the same time, I think it is a far stretch to just assume since the girl was 14 and it happened over a 4-year span, with her delaying revelation until she was in her late 20s, that she must have been a tramp. That is exactly the way it happens in a huge percentage of cases like this.

      One of the things I have seen happen repeatedly – in fact, nearly universally – in situations like this is that the victim is labeled a tramp, while everyone wants to, first, assume the clergy member is innocent, and second, excuse his behavior after he finally pleads guilty. Again, those in ministry are without excuse. They know better, know better, know better, period. Which I know you are not arguing.

      But another thing that happens a lot is not understanding the dynamics of abuse and predation. Very often, victims are chosen because of their lack of credibility and the fact that they are already “marginal” in some way. Now, obviously, I have no information at all regarding this victim. But often, victims have already been abused previously by someone else, already “know” they are powerless, and already have a reputation as both liars and loose girls (or boys, as the case may be).

      It is also true that once a child has been preyed on, it is not uncommon for them to become promiscuous. Even teens are still too young to understand, verbalize, and process what they have experienced. And they “deal with it” by acting out. But if they have become promiscuous, it is then assumed that they seduced the pastor, not the other way around.

      Or former victims “deal with it” by trying to be extra, extra good. Either way, a predator can pick them out and knows how to get inside their barriers.

      I do not know whether this pastor was targeted by the girl. I think that any young woman (or young man, to be equal-handed) who did such a thing will not get away with it in the long run – because this is a character issue that is going to crop up again.

      But I think it is dangerous to suggest that a victim may have seduced a pastor. This is a big “door out” that is used by people all the time to attempt to minimize and explain away what happened with the pastor they know. The girl is always a tramp. And the pastor they love is always the victim.

      This does everyone a huge disservice. It allows people to go on thinking their church doesn’t need to be serious about having a protection plan in place. It enables clergy and other leaders to continue to have an open playing field for predation.

      It piles more wounds on the heads of all those children and teens who were not tramps in any meaning of the word but now have to wear that stigma, too, in addition to their other wounds. For them, the church has now become a dangerous place to be rather than the haven it should have been. Often, they turn their backs on God entirely — who needs a God like that, after all?

      And this viewpoint of the victim being a tramp also allows people to remain in denial about a very real problem in churches. People in churches like to believe that these things happen in public schools and foster homes and “those bad families” — not in “our good church with our wonderful pastor.”

      If a teenage girl attempts to prey on a pastor, there really should not ever be a situation. Every pastor, by nature and requirement of his position, should 1) have no opportunity to be caught in any compromising position due to a church-mandated protection plan, and 2) immediately take all steps to get that child the professional help she needs, and attempt to find out why she would be attempting to seduce a man so many years her senior. That is an indication of a probable prior abuse situation – not guaranteed, but something is very much off about a 14-year-old attempting to seduce an older man. That doesn’t happen without a pre-story. Why is this child acting in this way??? This is not normal behavior for a 14-year-old.

      But in this case, we have no idea and no indication that she attempted to seduce him. Again, the delay in her telling her story is very normal. Most women I know, including myself, have ended up telling for the first time in their late 20s to early 30s. That’s certainly not a hard-and-fast rule. But it happens an awful lot of the time. The “magic number” seems to be about age 27 – I have no idea why but it’s amazing how frequently this is the case. And often it is considerably later in life if the offender was a family member. This is based on my personal observation; not documented science. I’ve just talked to a whole lot of women. If they tell anyone “at the time” it is usually a “sworn to secrecy” close girlfriend or a boyfriend.

      There’s also another detail that rings “off” about this situation. Mann told his family about the situation and had been in counseling for 3 years (though I think I read somewhere that his counseling was marital and not abuse related – again this is off the top of my head and not for sure; but that is denial right there if he was not in counseling as a sex abuser). But he did not step down from the ministry.

      This is a huge omission because any clergy member (particularly a Baptist) knows this situation disqualified him from pastoral ministry. He may have passed a background check but he knew he didn’t deserve to pass it — so he lied. This is deliberate concealment, not only of sin but of a crime. All of these actions scream guilt — not innocence.

      I know, as you said, you are not suggesting he isn’t guilty. And I understand your point about the girl’s possible guilty involvement. But I still think it is dangerous to suggest that a minor victim seduced a pastor, for the reasons stated above. It may seem like splitting hairs, but it really does matter – and not just to the immediate parties involved. It matters to the whole issue.

      How can we know the girl was a tramp (in any situation)? Which came first, the chicken or the egg? It’s virtually impossible to make that judgment. Since we can’t know, I think it is more dangerous than beneficial to make the suggestion.

      — Danni

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