Public Email to Andy Comiskey in Light of Child Molestation Made Public

In light of the recent post about learning of multiple child molestations occurring in Andy Comiskey’s ex-gay ministry, Desert Stream Minitries, and how offended I was by his telling of the story (which can be seen on this link), here is the email I just sent to him to let him give us his full explanation:

Hi Andy,
 
I was alerted this afternoon by a friend of mine to your blog post earlier this month regarding the child molestation situation with a staff member of DSM a few years back. Instead of going to you directly to ask a bunch of level-headed questions, I just fired off the following blog post of my own because I was so distraught to what I read:
 
 
Why I mentioned John Ortberg is because I know John, and was wondering if he (or any of the other churches in your network) knew anything about this situation? I will be contacting John soon as well to ask him.
 
I wrote my post because I don’t see one ounce of a public apology to the teenager or his family. The ex-gay movement, and the gay community in general, is so marred by public perceptions that gay people are child molesters, that this, at least in my mind, is a huge deal! I would think that a public apology would be the first thing written about?
 
David Roberts, from Ex-Gay Watch, commented on my blog and he said he emailed you, and you told David that there was another molestation with a teenager that happened five years later as well. So I have a few questions, and I would be humbled to receive a response. I would love for the world to hear details of your side of the story, to potentially clear all of this up. And so I am upfront, I will be posting this email, and your response on my blog to all of my readers who are now following this situation. Thank you for your time Andy.
 
Q1: For the record, do you think child molestation is wrong? You never said those exact words in your post.
Q2: Did you directly apologize to the teenager and the family of the first molestation?
Q3: Is this the first time any of this information about the first molestation has ever been made public?
Q4: Have you ever publicly apologized for this first incident of child molestation?
Q5: If so, where can I find a link? If not, are you willing to do so now and I am wondering why has it taken so long?
Q6: Is there any reconciliation between the teenager or the family and yourself/DSM?
Q7: What happened to the employee after the first molestation? If it was the same person who molested again five years later, why was he still allowed to work for DSM? Child molestation is a federal offense – did the family not want to press charges? If not, do you know why they didn’t want to? What about the second molestation and that family?
Q8: Did you directly apologize to the teenager and the family of the second molestation?
Q9: Is this the first time any of that information about the second molestation ever been made public?
Q10: Have you ever publicly apologized for the second incident of child molestation?
Q11: If so, where can I find a link? If not, are you willing to do so now and why has it taken so long?
Q12: Is there any reconciliation between the teenager or the family and yourself/DSM?
Q13: Do you understand or recognize how shady this looks for all of this information to be kept a secret, when so many people, families and churches are trusting you with such intimate details and situations? Don’t you think this would be vital information to make public so everyone knows you’re trying to be authentic, instead of just hiding horrible stuff?
Q14: How can anyone trust your leadership, or your ministry again? Why should they trust your leadership or ministry? Are you hiding anything else and would like to come clean now?
Q15: What steps are put in place now to ensure this never happens again? If it does, what are the standard operating procedures for private and public recognition and reconciliation?
Q16: Why did you hide this information for so long? Was it because you believed it would hurt your ministry, donations and influence? Were you embarrassed by it? Did you not think it was a good idea to be honest to everyone – partner churches, donors, etc?
Q17: How did you handle the situation with the employee(s) who did the molesting?
Q18: Have you kept all of this information hidden from all of your network of churches?
Q19: Why did you wait so long to make this information public?
Q20: Why did you correlate this situation of child molestation with gay marriage? Those two aren’t parallel.
Q21: One of the commenters on my blog, Anon, sees you and your work in a favorable light, but wonders:
“I just get the feeling from reading Andy’s blog that he’s not trying to tell the whole story, but just give a pseudo-historical narrative of God’s work in their ministry. I bet (I hope!) that if you asked him that there would be a lot more to the story of repentance that he’d never put on a blog.” What do you have to say to this question?
Q22: Why did you decide to highlight the fact that “not one story was printed about the tragedy” towards the end of the post? It makes it sound like you’re proud of the fact you were able to hide it for so long?
Q23: Anything else you would like us to publicly know about this situation or yourself?
 
Thank you so much for taking time to be fully transparent in this difficult situation to clear it all up.
 
Much love,
Andrew Marin

About Andrew Marin

Andrew Marin is President and Founder of The Marin Foundation (www.themarinfoundation.org). He is author of the award winning book Love Is an Orientation (2009), its interactive DVD curriculum (2011), and recently an academic ebook titled Our Last Option: How a New Approach to Civility can Save the Public Square (2013). Andrew is a regular contributor to a variety of media outlets and frequently lectures at universities around the world. Since 2010 Andrew has been asked by the United Nations to advise their various agencies on issues of bridging opposing worldviews, civic engagement, and theological aspects of reconciliation. For twelve years he lived in the LGBT Boystown neighborhood of Chicago, and is currently based St. Andrews, Scotland, where he is teaching and researching at the University of St. Andrews earning his PhD in Constructive Theology with a focus on the Theology of Culture. Andrew's research centers on the cultural, political, and religious dynamics of reconciliation. Andrew is married to Brenda, and you can find him elsewhere on Twitter (@Andrew_Marin), Facebook (AndrewMarin01), and Instagram (@andrewmarin1).

  • http://www.dannyjbixby.com Danny Bixby

    Excellent email. Looking forward to reading his responses.

  • http://www.LifeWalk.info David Foreman

    I can’t believe people “Un-friended” you over that email. They obviously have issues of their own. Sounds like a text-book right-wing head-in-the-sand reaction to me. (Wow. Look at all the hyphenations!)

  • http://www.peregrination.org.uk Phelim McIntyre

    Andy – please read his books and websites before asking questions in a public email. To those of us who do it does not show your concerns rather you trying to score points. You condemn critics who read your stuff as well as those who don’t but do not bother to try and speak with Andy or read his materials. No wonder many in the ex-gay community have concerns about you when you do this.

    All your question will be answered if you bother to read the books Pursuing Sexual Wholeness and Strength Through Weakness. Until you bother to do this please refrain from this type of action, it just shows how insecure you are in your ministry.

  • William

    Any answer yet to your e-mail, Andrew?

  • Jeff

    I was there when a lot of this happened at Desert Stream. Due to what happened with one previous staff member and due to legal issues they had to keep mum on the whole situation. As well DS had a difficult relationship for a while with the Anaheim Vineyard till everything came clear in the court case. One of the major things that changed was that no one going through DS could be under the age of 18 which was normally the case but there were a few exceptions and with that created the mess with the former staff member. I honestly think Andy was trying to be forthright and honest and waited till a later date to disclose what occurred. Not hiding or running from the facts because during all the mess he was very upfront with anyone who knew or asked.

    As well I know for a fact there was an apology to the family and the young man and their was great grief and sorrow of what happened to them as a family. As to child molestation and it being wrong that is a no brainer coming from Andy for in fact he is the father of four young adults now and in the Living Waters material you can easily see that it is wrong dealing with the areas of abuse.

  • Caldog

    Years ago I enrolled in Desert Stream in Santa Monica. Talk about suspension of disbelief – I tried to accept all that Andy taught, but the noxious brew of charismatic healing doctrine and pop psychology was more than a reasonably intelligent and educated man could comfortably swallow. At the time I was attending an evangelical non-denominational church. During this time I was deeply depressed and tried to feel better through anonymous sex in public restrooms. Anonymous sex was a way to live out the ex-gay lie by avoiding social contact with gay friends that might offer the possibility of real intimacy. The self-destructive behavior only made me feel more lonely and depressed. I have long since returned to the Judaism in which I was raised, a tradition that allows ambiguity and accepts differing viewpoints on life’s questions including sexuality. I now fully accept my sexuality and look back on the time I lived as a Christian denying my true identity as the saddest period of my life.

    • Lauren

      Wow Caldog, great post. I was one of those people at church trying to get gays to change and go to Desert Stream. In fact I went through it myself to support a lesbian friend. I can relate to your statement about suspension of disbelief. I really talked myself in to believing it, and I fully thought I was doing the right thing. But there was always a tiny voice of reason whispering otherwise into my ear. Now years later, I regret what I did. My friend didn’t stay “straight” and is now married to a woman. I’m happy she doesn’t hold that time against me! I’ve completely changed my views now. I’m glad you’ve moved upward and onwards….


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X