New Tribes Mission Sweeps Child Sex Abuse Under the Rug

Adults who were abused emotionally, spiritually, physically and sexually while children in a New Tribes Mission boarding school in Fanda, West Africa are speaking out and seeking justice. The boarding school was for the children of missionaries with New Tribes Mission. It has long been the established practice for missionary children to be sent to boarding schools while their parents served in foreign countries. This practice is not unique to New Tribes Mission, but has been an established practice of most mission boards that I have ever known.

What makes this particular school and situation stand out is that there is now extensively documented evidence that the mission board knew of the sexual abuse by 1987 but did nothing about it. As of the present time, more than 20 years later, they have still taken no legal action and persist in ignoring the pleas of former victims for justice. They are making token noises about the systemic abuse but have done nothing definitive.

What will it take for New Tribes Mission to step up to God’s standards of righteousness? This is inexcusable. Any “work for the Lord” is tainted and polluted when the same people who claim to be winning the lost for Christ are simultaneously flushing other lives down the drain in some of the most destructive ways possible. A “little” poison in the brownies is enough to kill all who eat them. This is not just repugnant. It is a spiritual outrage that should appall anyone with a conscience. Yet, these leaders do not seem to see the situation with any sort of godly perspective. That fact should give anyone serious pause. The documented facts are enough to reveal there is no acceptable excuse.

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25 Responses

  1. Danni, have you been in contact with NTM about these things? I have emailed them, but they haven’t answered me.

    However, I was included on the CC line of an email sent by Don Pederson, an NTM missionary who works in Sanford. He was writing to someone (an elder?) at Northland Church in the Central Florida area. Here is what he said regarding the Fanda Eagles’ blog:

    “The blogs charge that NTM doesn’t take abuse seriously and that it has been non-responsive to the complaints of adults who went [to the NTM boarding school in Fanda] years ago. Actually NTM probably has one of the most extensive programs to help our schools and field leaders identify abuse problems and is very proactive in taking steps when abuse is suspected. The instances mentioned in the blogs are from the ’80s when the understanding of how to identify and deal with these issues was much less known. Again, I was never privy to all the charges, responses and actions related to these cases, but as you know, it is very difficult to sort out charges and counter charges from events that took place 20+ years ago. From what I know of the situation, a good faith effort was made to resolve the complaints, but despite considerable efforts it has not happened.”

    Comments?

  2. as Gene Long well knows, abuse in NTM may well have a written procedure, but these procedures are not being followed.

  3. Gene Long & Danni:

    They may have such procedures in place, but they do not follow them. There is written documentation of a confession on the part of at least one abuser on the fanda blog. It is written documentation provide by NTM themselves.

    This abuser has not been prosecuted, reported to authorities, nor does NTM shown any interest in doing so. This places other children at risk for abuse by the pedophile, and makes NTM criminally liable for any future crimes he may commit since they are mandated reporters.

    There is also documentation on the blog, as well as, in local papers, of an NTM youth pastor on staff in their Florida office who is currently in jail for having more than 6,000 images of child pornography on his computer. THIS HAPPENED IN 2008! The newspapers clearly document that NTM did not dismiss this man, or even place him on administrative leave when the investigation began. He was not dismissed until the day he was arrested. NTM continues to claim that these are old issues, and we should applaud their recent efforts. Yet, they have one abuser still walking around free to abuse more kids, and another one in jail for kiddie porn in 2008.

    Clearly they are not following their own procedures.

    • All of this is painfully similar to the way the Southern Baptist Convention is handling the same issue in SBC churches. They have written policies and talk a good line — and cover up, manipulate, intimidate victims and their families, etc., all the while doing nothing other than protecting their kingdom. God will not, and cannot honor this. Eventually the kingdom will crumble.

      — Danni

  4. Link to two other NTM staffers in jail for child porn or molestation (it was not just fanda!)

    http://www.wwrn.org/article.php?idd=29869&sec=32&con=4

    • A – Interesting that Goolde was also a foster parent – B’s were foster parents before becoming missionaries, and it’s possible that they have been since “resigning”….

  5. If you read the extensive documentation on the Fanda Eagles site, it is mind-blowing to think that Don Pederson, whoever he is, could say with a straight face that “a good faith effort” was made to address the complaints. NTM had a sexual abuser who CONFESSED to molesting at least two girls in the late 80’s and they launched an “official investigation” in 1997!! It continues to this time, and not one thing has been done – many more victims have come out since and so far NTM has refused to even go by their own manual and reimburse counseling costs for them. And no apologies or admittance of the sin of cover up to this day either. How can such a display of criminal incompetence and spiritual blindness possibly be construed as a “good faith effort?”

    • @ Mabel: Don Pederson works at the NTM Field Ministries Office in Sanford, Florida. I don’t think he is assigned to the group that is “working” on the Fanda Eagles’ issues, but his comment is still instructive as a reflection of what NTM missionaries are being told and may well be representative of the seriousness with which they view this whole thing.

      It is also significant because he was writing to the leadership of Northland Church there in Central Florida when he put me on the CC line. This sort of response is probably pretty typical of what NTM says to pastors and churches.

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