Former Youth Minister Gordon Lunceford Indicted for Child Sex Abuse

A grand jury has indicted former youth minister Gordon Lunceford on 13 sex-related charges including six counts of 3rd degree rape, one county of first degree sexual abuse, five counts of third degree sodomy and one county of second degree sexual abuse.

Lunceford has been a youth minister at churches in Anderson, Madison and Franklin counties in Kentucky. Police are asking for anyone with information or additional possible victims to call 502-227-2221.

The Church Holocaust Through One Person’s Eyes

By Danni Moss
Copyright protected, all rights reserved

Do you think I exaggerate about the seriousness of abuse in the church? Is it of holocaust proportions?

Read the first-hand story of a 16-year old girl who loved God and wanted nothing more than to please and serve Him. She was innocent, clean, and pure – until her youth pastor noticed her…

Warning: this post is triggering! If you have experienced abuse, you will need to be prepared for triggers.

(Christa begins this part of her story from her adult perspective as her childhood memories plague her, the way it does for many abuse victims…)

~~~~

…I went for a run, hoping it would get the pain…out of my system… Then from out of nowhere, I felt his breath on the back of my neck and heard his voice in my ear. “Don’t worry, you’ll still be a virgin.”

I hurled into the tall grass and wiped the last trail of vomit on my shirt. I stayed bent over, hands on my knees, trying desperately to breathe. My chest was clenched shut. I began to shake.

Memory fragments filled my head. They were all fragments that I had glimpsed before…this time, I decided to try to line them up – “one, two, three” – the way the music minister had done…

One: I’m at the church parsonage in the same bedroom where my two sisters and I slept when my mom stayed at the hospital after my dad’s back surgery.

Two: I go in the kitchen with Dunagan, and he takes a couple beers from the refrigerator. “But it’s against our religion,” I say. He just laughs. He says that’s another one of those rules for lesser, weaker believers, and not for people like us.

Three: He puts the can in my hand and insists I drink. I don’t want to, but he keeps pushing the can up to my mouth. Finally, I take a sip. It tastes awful. He keeps drinking from his can, and then starts on another…

Five: I’m naked on my stomach on the bed. He is on top of me. I am saying “no” and squirming. I hear my own crying. His voice is in my left ear, shushing me. “Don’t worry. You’ll still be a virgin.”

Six: I hear his laugh…

At this point, I smell his breath, as real as if he is with me on the running trail. I stop and vomit into the bushes again…

I keep hearing him. It’s an endless loop in my head. His voice is there with me on the trail. His laugh goes on and on…

Nine: As we’re going into the garage, his voice softens and he tells me how special I am. “God loves you, Christa.”

Ten: It hurts to walk.

Now I’m doubled over on the trail yet again…

(From earlier in the book)

“We’re already married in God’s eyes,” he proclaimed. “It’s pre-ordained.”

“But you’re already married to Patsy.”

“Christa, God has predetermined that we are to be together. It’s already written in His plan, and He will make a way for it to happen. Your task is to live by faith and to stop fighting it. His ways aren’t our ways, and it’s not for us to try to understand.”

He told me about how men in the Bible often had more than one wife and even had concubines. I knew this was true, but I still didn’t understand.

“I’ve prayed long and hard about this, Christa. God wants you to be a helpmeet for me. He wouldn’t make me feel this way if He didn’t intend for you to be with me.”

Then he said the three words I could never argue against.

“It’s God’s will…”

“We know that all thing work together for good to them that love God and who are called according to His purpose…”

“Christa, you should know this by now. You’re called of God, and this is your predetermined purpose. You need to start trusting that God will take care of it and will make all things work together. You have to live by faith. You have to trust that it’s all part of His plan…”

God was testing me, he said, and God wanted to see whether I would continue to insist on my own way, or whether I would be willing to trust in Him and “live by faith…”

I tried to be a good helpmate, but somehow, I was never good enough…

(Later…)

After the beer-drinking episode, Eddie went back to telling me about how I was harboring Satan… He said I had seduced him and that I was a terrible temptress.

One day he called me into his office and made me kneel. I cried and cried there on my knees while he stood over me. He prayed long and loud, beseeching God to cast Satan from me and to cleanse my soul.

I went home and did my own praying… I prayed without ceasing. I begged God to keep me safe from Satan. I begged for forgiveness.

I didn’t know how I had let Satan inside me. I didn’t mean to.

When did it happen? How did it happen? I didn’t understand.

I prayed and prayed and prayed, but it didn’t do any good. I was utterly and completely alone and empty. No longer was there any Spirit beside me or within me.

Before all this, God had been my constant companion, a presence as real as any physical being. But now, God had turned away from me.

Everything went dark inside me. The darkness was like another living creature. It breathed with me and through me. It was always there – every hour, every minute, and every second. I didn’t have a clue how to make the darkness leave me…

I was terrified…

(Later…)

“God loves you.” Lots of people seem to want to tell me that, and I hate it when they do. It’s a visceral response. Those words ring in my ears like a vile curse. I’d rather hear someone say “Go to hell” than “God loves you.”

Perhaps God does indeed love me, but I will never sense it in the sound of those words. For me, those words feel like words of hate.

People seem to also want to tell me that God will heal me if only I will put my faith in Him. I try to be polite… but to me, those are also hurtful words. Faith is what got me into this. Faith is where the path turned terribly wrong.

For most people of faith, their faith is a source of solace… But for me, faith is neurologically networked with a nightmare. Sexual trauma and faith are inextricably seared together in my brain.

This is what it means to be subjected to the force of faith unleashed by a clergy predator. It is not only physically, psychologically, and emotionally devastating, but it is also spiritual annihilating. It is soul-murder. It is why many experts talk about the unique nature of clergy abuse trauma and the devastation of its impact.

When faith has been used as a weapon, it becomes almost impossible to use it as a resource for healing…

~~~~

These excerpts are from This Little Light, by Christa Brown and powerfully reveals just how insidious and devastating this problem is in the church. I’ll be excerpting and commenting on more from her book in subsequent posts.

When the Church Usurps Authority

Another situation where the church usurped the authority of the government has been before the court. Unfortunately, the church itself wasn’t confronted directly — I believe that day in our country is probably not far away. But Kenneth Duncalfe pleaded guilty to sexual assault and indecent assault against his daughter, Susan Duncalfe. He was sentenced to 9 months in jail, partly in consideration of his age and poor health.

But the church’s complicity in this case is glaring, and was remarked upon by the judge in the case, John Lenaghan. The problem is that the church was told in 1990 about Duncalfe’s constant assaults on his daughter. From the time she was 14 years old, until she left the church at age 22, she experienced hundreds of sexual assaults at the hands of her father.

There are two huge issues which should give the church pause in this situation.

First of all, Susan realized that the only way she could get away from the abuse she was experiencing was to leave the church. That means, whether anyone wishes to acknowledge it or not, the church was a defacto abuser in this case. The church empowered and enabled her father because it teaches the absolute authority of men. Susan realized that if she left the church she would become “untouchable” and the abuse would stop. The church was not a place of safety, salvation or comfort for her. Instead, it was a place of danger and destruction, literally tearing her soul apart and driving her away from what should have been a refuge.

Secondly, when a family member reported Kenneth’s sexual assaults of his daughter to the church, her father was brought before the church and excommunicated for “lasciviousness.” Nothing whatsoever was done to help the family or Susan. And after a brief separation, Kenneth was restored to fellowship with the church. Now, what was that supposed to have accomplished? NOTHING was done about the problem!

When Susan finally attempted to work toward healing in the family, Pastor Bev Toews of the Abbotsford Mennonite Church of God in Christ stepped in. He insisted that Susan not press charges against her father (something church leaders often suggest since “Christians are not to take each other to court”) and he assured her he would make sure her father got the help he needed.

However, Susan later discovered the Pastor’s interpretation of getting her father the “help he needed” was to counsel him personally, rather than insisting on responsibility and serious counseling by a qualified professional.

So Susan took the matter to the police, though, according to the attached article, she says it was the hardest thing she has ever done.

The church does not have the authority to violate the law of God – which states we are to submit to governmental authorities. The Word says government officials have been given for our protection and for punishment of evil. The church does not have the authority to supercede that. There is no Scriptural justification for such an idea. The fruit of these actions will always lead to the triumph of evil and destruction in the lives of the sheep the church is called to protect.

Minister David A. Merritt Charged with Child Rape

Ordained minister (not practicing) David A. Merritt has been charged with eight counts of first-degree rape, two counts of unlawful sexual contact and one count of continuous sexual abuse of a child. The child involved was 12 when the abuse allegedly began in 2006.

Though Merritt was employed by a church at the time of arrest, he was a web designer and had no contact with church members, according to a church representative.

The “Not Rape” Epidemic

This tremendously powerful essay was brought to my attention today. I will offer the same warning as the author – it could be a trigger for those who have experienced sexual assault. However, this is one of the best pieces on the subject of unrecognized sexual assault that I have ever read. Every adult should be required to read this essay to gain a better understanding of the nature of sexual assault.

Original Essay: The Not Rape Epidemic.

Added later:

It occurred to me, that many people may miss the relevance of this essay since it written in a culturally specific setting. Perhaps it may have been particularly obvious to me because of being a girl/woman who traversed that same dangerous “not rape” path within a Christian sub-culture.

So I am writing to clarify and ask that readers remember the same phenomena occurs within Christian circles. This is not specific to only the “type of people” talked about in this essay, and therefore, we don’t have to worry about it. Some particularly foolish and judgmental individuals might even suggest they “get what they deserve.”

Girls and women in Christian circles have brothers, cousins, uncles, fathers, and grandfathers, too. They have family friends, deacons, elders, Sunday School teachers, youth pastors, and pastors. They have other teens in the youth group. And they are subject to exactly the same types of scenarios described in this essay.

I grew up in a virtually enclosed Christian sub-culture. Yet I, too, faced an almost constant barrage. From being molested by a Christian teenaged babysitter when I was five – who was a girl – right on through being repeatedly groped by other teenage girls! — yes, it can happen in the Christian world, too. I never understood it then, but for some reason teenaged guys seemed to like me, and there was the constant pressure there, too – including the dishonorable, being caught in back halls and corners, being grabbed and groped – in the church, with no chance or choice to say no.

That doesn’t even touch on the pressure put on a woman or girl by an authority figure in the church or in her family who is far more sophistocated about it, both manipulating and forcing her into an impossible situation of demanded compliance with his sexual advances. All the while, she knows she cannot tell — because no one will believe her. And she is very frequently right. Even if she is believed, her reputation will be dragged through the dirt and she will lose friends, or even more, in the process — because there will be many who refuse to believe she didn’t bring it on herself. Because it is “not rape.”

Does Rape Feel Good?

Quite a few times I have seen this phrase as a search term used to find this blog. I’m not sure what that phrase has found on my blog since I have not directly addressed that question prior to this, but the question is obviously something quite a few people want to know.

Since it keeps coming up, I have written an answer to the question. However, given the sensitive nature of the subject I decided not to make a blog post of it.

If this is a question you need, or want, to know the answer to — check out Does Rape Feel Good?

Will Pastor Chester Mulligan Make it To Trial This Time?

Will he finally make it to trial this time, or will his attorney stall yet again?

When Pastor Chester Mulligan appeared in court for his arraignment in Lake County, Indiana, in January, 2004, Mulligan pled innocent to the charges against him and predicted the case would never go to court. Who knew “never” meant through the manipulation of legal maneuvering rather than because charges were dropped due to lack of evidence. Avoidance is not equivalent to innocence.

Mulligan, currently pastoring Grace Baptist Church in Miami, FL, has been charged with multiple counts of child sexual abuse. He is accused of two instances of sexual intercourse with a minor child. He has a court date scheduled for September and many are praying that this time he will appear.

If you have information relating to this case or Chester Mulligan, please call the Lake County Indiana Sheriff’s Department at (219) 755-3400, or the Miami Police Department Sexual Crimes Department at (305) 715-3300.