I am glad to clear up any confusion which has surfaced due to my post. While I commend your sincerity in seeking my ‘full transparency,’ I think many of your questions can be answered by reviewing what exactly has gone on concerning the violations which occurred.
I’ll begin with the exact email I sent to David Roberts of ex-gay watch. It provides a brief-overview of what went on:
“In 1997, a man met at separate times with two teenagers in the name of DSM and made sexual overtures to them and committed some acts. The details are unknown to us. He like any predator hid what the had done. We became aware of one of these instances at the end of 1997; the teen and his parents came forward, and the man was promptly fired then jailed. The teenager received help for the spiritual and sexual abuse that had occurred. We knew that another teen had met with this man, also in 1997; when asked, the teen claimed that nothing had happened. 5 years later, as a young man, he claimed that he had been abused by that man in 1997. We believed him, and made a lengthy and weighty restitution for the sins committed against him. Since 1997, under legal counsel, we have established new and strong boundaries for all of our dealings with participants. (We no longer offer help to minors.) As many of our adult participants have been subject to sexual abuse as children, we take very seriously our responsibility to ensure that we do not abuse them further. The weight of these offenses committed in our name, and the amount of time and money we have spent to help repair the damage done, has helped teach us that lesson.”
As we became aware of the sexual abuse, we began a ten-year process of seeking restitution with these two teenagers and their families. Desert Stream faced several civil lawsuits, and criminal charges were filed against the perpetrator, our ex-staff member.
Our restitution involved taking responsibility and seeking forgiveness for our sins and doing all we could to repair the damage done. This was all under legal guidance, which placed guidelines as to what we could and could not say publicly about their families and their suffering.
To prevent further violations, we sought and submitted to legal counsel in crafting better boundaries between lay leaders and those they served.
Within the legal constraints on what we could say publicly, we took many opportunities to make known the sexual abuse and its implications for us as a ministry. That included integrating into our week-long national training seminars an entire evening dedicated to teaching what kind of boundaries must be in place to prevent such violations and references to what happened in Desert Stream conferences in the late nineties and in Exodus conferences in both 2001 and 2008.
I also spoke of this abuse in 2003 with the publication of Strength and Weakness (see pg. 207) and was featured in a lead article in Desert Stream’s spring newsletter in 2009 (available for download online at http://www.desertstream.org/Group/Group.aspx?ID=1000040183).
On a final note, Andrew, I would have appreciated some warning before your post. I understand your anger and I should have been more careful before posting such sensitive information in the light of many reading it that had no way of putting the information in context. Many of your concerns, however, could have been easily cleared up by direct contact. As you are intent on defending those wrongfully accused by the church, I am perplexed as to why you would so quickly leap to judgment against me in this issue. I hope this response puts to rest unjust assumptions.”
Below, you will find my email back to Andy. I will not be commenting further on this situation from here on out – I explain my reasoning why in the email: