Former Pastor Steven Bicknell Imprisoned for Sex Abuse

Judge Steve Verby rejected a proposed sentence of 60 days in jail in the plea agreement for the case of former pastor Steven Bicknell on Tuesday, Dec. 16. Bicknell was charged with sexual abuse of a minor regarding his treatment of a 9-10-year-old girl in 2005-2006. The abuse occurred when Bicknell was pastor of Priest Lake Commmunity Church in Idaho. The girl reported the abuse to her parents earlier this year.

The charge was subsequently downgraded to felony battery as part of a plea agreement. Unfortunately, this charge carried the potential of a mere 60-day jail sentence and probation. Though Bicknell’s attorney claims his client has been “racked with guilt” for three years and Bicknell said predictably, “I hope that in time, somewhere down the line, that like the good book says that we take so faithfully, that you will find it within your heart to forgive as we have been forgiven,” neither the family nor the judge were so easily convinced.

According to the referenced article, the victim’s parents have voiced strong objection to the plea agreement. They contend Bicknell had a moral obligation to confess early on and plead guilty as originally charged. They are so right! They have exactly pinpointed the problem with these court confessions. After-he’s-caught-confessions are not worth a thing. They are just “I’m sorry I was caught” confessions, no matter what skillful words or how many tears the defendant may throw on the court.

The judge has imposed a 2- to 5-year prison sentence, though Bicknell could be released after serving six months.

Former Pastor Ted Haggart Promotes Documentary About Fall Into Sexual Sin

In a story so full of irony it boggles the mind, former Colorado Springs pastor Ted Haggart has agreed to promote a new film, “The Trials of Ted Haggart,” which documents his 2006 exposure of sexual misconduct and drug involvement by a male prostitute. A few well-placed tears, some hand-wringing, a sympathetic story or two…

Haggart was dismissed from his church and banned from speaking about the situation for two years; a period which is not quite concluded. However, the church in Colorado Springs has recently released him from this restriction so he can “move on” as they have moved on. (Do I smell a large financial contribution hiding under the rug somewhere? Money does make moving on so much easier.)

Haggart apparently failed to complete his “restoration process” that was to help him “heal” but he has recently resumed church speaking engagements in a rural Illinois church, where, predictably, he played the sexually-abused card.

Was he really abused as a child? Who knows – but it’s never an excuse for today’s behavior. We’re supposed to believe his adult behavior is excused because he was sexually abused in second grade? Yet somehow a whole host of the rest of us have been sexually abuse and haven’t turned into sexual deviants and abused God’s trust in a position of authority! Nor have we then bailed out on an accountability and restoration process — but Christendom is letting this man back in the pulpit?

This is blind foolishness — and that is a simple fact, not out-of-bounds judgment. That is judgment as God calls us to judge. Anyone who lets this man behind a pulpit is complicit in blatant ungodliness. Not only has Haggart thwarted God’s justice for his own sin, he has returned to the pulpit where he has no business based on God’s standard for a preacher/pastor, and he is profiting from his sin with this film — whether financially or merely through recognition and association. It cannot be without notice that the film is directed by Alexandra Pelosi, daughter of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and is set to air next month on HBO.

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO BECAUSE IT MATTERS!

It’s hard to believe, but today marks the first anniversary of this blog!

As of this moment, there have been 114,809 views of the blog in the past year. That blows my mind! By the end of the day that number will go over 115,000.

The posts which have gotten by far the most viewers have been a few particular cases of charges of sex abuse against pastors. These have been the posts where the church community has found a place to communicate – for better or worse. While often it seems like it is for worse, I’m watching a narrative unfold that tells a greater story of what really happens in the church when a pastor is accused of sex abuse – whether justly or unjustly. The effects are far more devastating that anyone wants to admit. And I hope that some find answers and learn more about the issue of sex abuse in the church as a result.

There are two posts on this blog which are viewed every single day. They are God Answers Prayer in Abusive Marriages and Does God Want Me to Stay in an Abusive Marriage? The simple fact that these two articles are literally viewed several times, and sometimes many times, every single day says volumes about the relevance of this issue in the church. All the other articles I have written about domestic abuse in the church are viewed constantly, though not every one is accessed every day. Many of them (collectively) are accessed each day. Overall, the domestic abuse articles are viewed more than the articles on clergy sex abuse.

Thank you — to all of you who regularly, and occasionally, read here. Bless you — to all of you who have become cyber friends! You know who you are! I’ve “met” some wonderful people in the past year.

I’m looking forward to what God has in store for the next year. I know the very nature of this blog doesn’t bring all roses, but I know God also has good things planned. There are always good plans awaiting as well.