Kris and I are with Boz Tchividjian, a former prosecutor and one deeply committed to fighting injustices against children, on this one. There is blatant failure here to recognize the complicity of a leader in what transpired under his watch. God have mercy.
From Boz Tchividjian:
Earlier this week, I read the second amended complaint filed by eleven plaintiffs against SGM, two churches, and a number of individuals, including a man named CJ Mahaney. I won’t go into the factual details of this complaint here (if interested, you can read it here), but it is one of the most disturbing accounts of child sexual abuse and institutional “cover up” I have read in my almost 20 years of addressing this issue. Besides the horrific accounts of child victimization (some of which allegedly occurred on church property), what struck me most about these allegations is the systematic efforts by these churches to discourage and sometimes prevent the families of children who had been victimized by church officials from speaking out and reporting to law enforcement. Another aspect that struck me as I read (and re-read) through this complaint were the myriad of common threads related to the efforts made by these SGM churches to silence these survivors. As a former prosecutor, much credibility is given to disclosures made by more than one person that have distinct and unique similarities…these did….
I think it is fair to mention at this point that besides being one of the founders of SGM, CJ Mahaney was the senior pastor at one of these two churches during the period of this horrific abuse. CJ Mahaney is a founding member of an organization called “Together for the Gospel” (T4G) and close friends with the other founding members who are evangelical leaders. …
On May 23rd, a joint statement by the founders of Together for the Gospel was released. Some leaders of the Gospel Coalition released a similar statement this morning. Without addressing both statements in detail, let me make four quick observations:
- Neither statement that makes mention that the heart of this lawsuit is about a systematic church effort to discourage and eventually prevent the families of children who were allegedly (and repeatedly) sexually victimized by church officials from speaking out and reporting to law enforcement. A statement that fails to mention that this lawsuit is less about the abuse and more about an institution that took steps to protect itself and its reputation over the victimized souls and bodies of little ones. Omitting such fundamental facts from these statements speaks volumes about the inability of the authors to grasp the eternal significance about which they write.
- Neither statement mentions that CJ Mahaney was actually the Senior Pastor at one of these churches where all of this horrific abuse allegedly occurred AND where these families were discouraged from bringing this matter to the God ordained civil authorities? Including this would simply state a known fact without implicating Mr. Mahaney in any wrongdoing. Omitting such a fundamentally important fact from this statement is extremely disturbing to me and very disheartening to so many others.
- The statement by T4G fails to mention that this lawsuit was dismissed for one reason and one reason only…expiration of the statute of limitation. Isn’t it tragic that the reason why this suit was dismissed – taking too long to file – was the very objective of these church leaders allegedly had when they discouraged these individuals and families from stepping forward.
- The statement by the members of the Gospel Coalition says the following as it relates to the statute of limitations and the dismissal of the case:So the entire legal strategy was dependent on a conspiracy theory that was more hearsay than anything like reasonable demonstration of culpability. As to the specific matter of C. J. participating in some massive cover-up, the legal evidence was so paltry (more like non-existent) that the judge did not think a trial was even warranted.Does this sound like a statement that even appears to make an effort to be objective?
Many of these men have not hesitated to write (or tweet) on the Penn State horrors, homosexuals in the Boy Scouts, and universal healthcare, but have been conspicuously quiet on this issue. And when they finally speak, what is omitted speaks more than what is said.