22 Jan 2011

Report reveals dozens of missionary kids in Africa criminally abused at New Tribes Mission school but no one ever charged


Orlando Sentinel - Florida September 1, 2010


Sanford's New Tribes Mission faces sex-abuse allegations from 1980s


Children whose parents were missionaries in Africa were abused at New Tribes Mission school, recently released report says.

By Amy L. Edwards, Orlando Sentinel



Dozens of children whose parents were missionaries for Sanford-based New Tribes Mission were sexually and physically abused at an African boarding school in the 1980s, according to a report made public this week.

New Tribes, one of the largest Christian missionary organizations in the world, operated a boarding school in the village of Fanda, in the country of Senegal, in the 1980s and 1990s for the children of missionaries.

The report said many children endured sexual, physical, emotional and spiritual abuse at the hands of workers at the school.

It estimates there were 22 to 27 child sex abuse victims, and more than 35 victims of physical and emotional abuse.

Though the report alleges much of the behavior was criminal, New Tribes spokeswoman Nita Zelenak said Wednesday she is not aware of anyone being charged criminally for the abuse allegations at the African school.

New Tribes admits there was abuse and it takes responsibility.

"We are deeply saddened by the extent of the abuse reported by GRACE," New Tribes said in a statement on its website.

"Individuals in our organization abused children. People in leadership at the time were culpable through inadequate screening and training, creating an atmosphere of legalism and autocracy, and not addressing the abuse properly. This means that we as an organization are responsible and have sinned against these students."

Alleged victim speaks in Orlando

On Wednesday, one of the alleged sex abuse victims, Kari Mikitson, was in Central Florida and spoke with the Orlando Sentinel about the new report.

Mikitson, who agreed to be identified publicly, said she attended the Fanda school when she was 8 to 12 years old.

She told her parents about the sex abuse as a child, and in 1989, they reported it to New Tribes officials.

"There was much inaction," Mikitson said of New Tribe's response.

Now, Mikitson is devoted to bringing awareness to the issue and blogs about the alleged abuses (fandaeagles.com) at the Fanda school and other New Tribes boarding schools.

Mikitson, now 33 and living in Seattle, said children at Fanda knew there was widespread abuse. But she didn't know the extent of the sexual abuse.

When she read the report, which was compiled by the GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment) organization, Mikitson said: "The number of perpetrators was shocking to me."

Mikitson remained friends with children she met at Fanda and has reconnected with others, including those who were also allegedly sexually abused.

This article was found at:

http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2010-09-01/news/os-new-tribes-mission-sex-abuse-20100901_1_sexual-abuse-abuse-victims-abuse-allegations


To read the report online go to Missionary Kids Safety Net at:

http://www.mksafetynet.net/final_reports_main.htm


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Orlando Sentinel - Florida September 2, 2010

New Tribes Mission: Sex-abuse investigation brought tears to many

GRACE is called in when Christian organizations or churches face abuse allegations.

By Amy L. Edwards, Orlando Sentinel



When a scandal surfaces at a Christian organization, Boz Tchividjian and his Virginia-based team are often called to investigate.

His group, called GRACE — short for Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment — typically looks into small problems, like when a youth pastor inappropriately touches a child.

But the GRACE team never had such a task as figuring out what happened 25 years ago at an African boarding school run by Sanford-based New Tribes Mission, one of the largest missionary organizations in the world.

The abuse, which took 13 months to investigate, is detailed in a 68-report released to the media in Orlando on Wednesday.

"Our job was to investigate, very carefully the allegations and claims and records and all the data and information we could get, and determine if and how New Tribes failed in its dealings with child abuse at Fanda and its response to it," said Tchividjian, a former Central Florida prosecutor.

New Tribes previous handling of the allegations, he said, was disappointing.

But today, New Tribes, which invited GRACE to investigate, appears to be taking responsibility, said Tchividjian, who teaches law at Liberty University in Virginia.

"They are taking this very, very seriously. I have personally been in the room where the leadership, more than one, has been in tears over this. Not in tears as in, we got caught, but tears because of the pain it has caused," he said.

On Thursday, New Tribes CEO Larry Brown said his organization will follow the recommendations GRACE made in its report and continue to seek the group's advice.

GRACE suggests firing abusers still affiliated with New Tribes and creating a $1 million fund for victims.

"We've been very transparent in this process," Brown said. "We feel like we've been very vulnerable as well, and we're ok with that."

"We're just committed to remain transparent and accountable."

The GRACE report identifies about a dozen people accused of some type of abuse against the children who lived at the Fanda school, in Senegal, during the 1980s.

The report estimates 22 to 27 children were sexually abused, while more than 34 were physically or emotionally abused.

And while the report says much of the behavior was criminal, New Tribes spokeswoman Nita Zelenak said she is not aware of anyone being charged criminally for the alleged abuse.

Tchividjian said there are several reasons such incidents don't lead to arrests — and why abusers are attracted to the mission field:

If an American abuses another American in a foreign country, the government there might simply not care.

Also, an organization may not want to report an incident to authorities and risk getting kicked out of the country.

For abusers, the risk of getting caught isn't high. The worst-case scenario: you get sent back to the United States.

"The potential consequences are so minimal," Tchividjian said.

There are also jurisdictional issues — crimes are generally prosecuted where the incident took place.

And in some cases, depending how long it took to report the incident, there could be an issue with the statute of limitations.

Many of the victims asked the GRACE team to "do everything possible" to see that one of the alleged abusers is imprisoned, the report said.

This article was found at:

http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2010-09-02/news/os-new-tribes-sex-scandal-20100902_1_abuse-nita-zelenak-new-tribes

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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests - September 1, 2010

Stunning 68 page new report on crimes at overseas mission is released

SNAP Press Statement



Statement by Kari Mikitson (a Seattle woman in her 30s who was victimized in childhood at the NTM school in Senegal Africa) 312 505 0160 kari@peregrinebynature.com

Today, we’re outside a police station for one simple reason. This is where child sex crimes should be reported – to law enforcement.

No matter what anyone thinks of how any church officials handle any abuse cases, child sex crimes – both known and suspected- should be reported here – to secular authorities, not church authorities.

I returned to Senegal in 2008 to explore the country of my childhood. While I was there, I began hearing stories of sexual abuse at the missionary-run boarding school I attended. This was my first inkling that the sexual abuse that I suffered and reported to New Tribes Mission in 1989 did not happen to me alone.

I talked with another missionary kid from my school. She too was eager to find out the whole truth. As we began contacting other MKs (missionary kids) and asking questions, the reports of abuse snowballed. We took our findings to the current NTM Executive Board expecting outrage and sorrow. After several meetings with the Executive board and other leaders, we realized that New Tribes Mission was still treating us as an inconvenience. We felt powerless and marginalized. For such a large mission who claimed to be acting in the will of God to have such a stance on pedophilia and physical abuse of children concerned us, to say the least. We feared for other children in NTM schools around the world. We still do.

The Fanda Eagles blog began as a response to NTM’s unwillingness to go back and find out what really happened.

Today, I am still grieved about the whole sordid ordeal. I grieve that NTM has to date still not publicly acknowledged these accusations and offered to stand with us. I feel as if we are still being treated as an inconvenience as evidenced by the corporate lethargy NTM has shown in handling these claims. I am saddened that NTM did not call this press conference immediately after the report was released on August 23 or any day since then. My colleagues and peers were not protected then or now. I grieve for the children today in NTM boarding schools around the world who do not have adequate child protection policies in place.

We call upon NTM to immediately implement all the recommendations listed in the report and to immediately launch investigations into all NTM schools where abuse was reported worldwide. We hope to see NTM not only fulfill the listed recommendations but to go above and beyond in an effort to restore trust with those children who have been hurt as a result of their inaction. We call upon NTM to adopt a stance of transparency in these matters. Transparency benefits corporate entities who have nothing to hide.

We call upon churches to read the report and begin to examine their own abuse manuals and make changes as necessary. We call upon the church to live with transparency and hold their members accountable to the same laws that the secular world lives by.

We call upon NTM to investigate the laws regarding child abuse in all countries where they operate schools and provide this information to school officials and parents.

We ask for NTM to act swiftly using their influence within the Christian world to set a precedent on how missions respond to abuse allegations. If NTM truly experiences heartfelt and organizational change, they will not be angry at the involvement of the press, but will welcome any platform to tell pedophiles that they are no longer welcome in NTM. They will stop with the secrecy that is so damaging to victims while protective to abusers.

This investigation would never have been launched had it not been for the work of the Fanda Eagles who told their stories on the fandaeagles blog. Thank you so much to my peers, our parents, the commenters on the blog, the readers and all who listened.

Statement by Barbara Dorris of SNAP, 314 503 0003

“Telling the truth is a tiny first step that, by itself, doesn’t protect the vulnerable or heal the wounded. So let’s not confuse ‘disclosure’ with ‘reform’ nor ‘recommendations’ with ‘action.’ We should all avoid the temptation to assume this report alone will ensure genuine change on the part of these church officials.”

Statement by Martha Jean Lorenzo of SNAP (727-512-1689 cell, 813-879-6290 home)

On one hand, this report, though long-overdue, is impressive. Its authors are blunt and their recommendations are sound.

On the other hand, however, a report is just words, and words alone don’t protect the vulnerable or heal the wounded. That takes action, and no one can tell whether the NTM will follow through with concrete steps and reforms.

It’s worth remembering that the NTM was prodded into commissioning this investigation by the brave, compassionate and relentless efforts of deeply wounded women and men. These are victims who, as the report says, were “shamed” and “shunned.” Today, they are heroes, each one of them.

I applaud the strength, courage and determination of Kari and her colleagues who have fought so hard and long to be heard.

This article was found at:

http://www.snapnetwork.org/snap_statements/2010_statements/090110_stunning_68_page_new_report_on_crimes_at_overseas_mission_is_released.htm


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2 comments:

  1. Another missionary with New Tribes Mission guilty of abusing children.

    PRESS RELEASE: MK Safety Net http://www.mksafetynet.net

    Lori McAlister reported in 2006 that Gary Earl had abused her when he was her dorm parent in Papua New Guinea. Two investigations have confirmed Gary Earl had physically and sexually abused Lori McAlister and other children. Gary Earl was “forced to retire” from NTM, is currently back in Papua, New Guinea, and has applied to work for another mission, ROCK International, www.rockintl.org, which cares for children.

    Lori McAlister has posted correspondence spanning 8 years which trace NTM’s internal investigations conducted by Scott Ross and by Professional International Investigations (Pii) http://www.teampii.com Lori McAlister decided to go public with her story to try to stop her perpetrator from having any access to any other child. http://bit.ly/1i24snP

    As a missionary kid in Numonohi, Papua New Guinea, McAlister was severely beaten and sexually traumatized in 1981 by Gary Earl, the dorm father. Lori reported the abuse to New Tribes Mission (NTM) in 2006. Scott Ross, legal counsel to NTM, investigated the abuse and found Gary Earl was guilty of abusing Lori. No action was taken by the mission and Earl continued working as a missionary with NTM.

    In 2013, McAlister heard that NTM had hired Pii (Professional International Investigations) to investigate abuse allegations again. McAlister received the Statement of Findings from the Pii investigation, which included a finding of abuse against multiple children. New Tribes Mission’s response was to give Gary Earl, 67 years old, a ‘Forced Retirement”. Gary Earl has applied to another mission, ROCK International, which works with children and continues to receive financial support through New Tribes Mission’s website.

    continued below

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  2. New Tribes Mission has a history of abuse in their organization. One of their past missionaries, Les Emory, confessed he sexually assaulted girls while in the Philippines https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8rLkXrk8TM

    Scott Kennell was recently imprisoned for 58 years for sexual assault and creating pornography in Brazil. http://nydn.us/1fMKzAx

    A report into NTM’s Fanda school documents widespread, systemic abuse. http://bit.ly/1ec4dW4

    “MK Safety Net is very concerned with the continued posturing of evangelical mission organizations when it comes to disciplining persons who stand accused of sexually assaulting children. MK Safety Net wants mission agencies to terminate staff who abuse children. The military calls it a dishonorable discharge so everyone knows that there was improper conduct. When NTM forces Gary Earl to retire it shows their weakness and ambivalence when it comes to dealing with employees who harm children. This is not acceptable and every Christian who supports NTM and other mission boards should insist that those who abuse children should be terminated and that their supporters be notified of this disciplinary action.” Dale Ingraham, President of MKSN U.S.

    “It is particularly difficult for evangelical Christians to accept that missionaries they have been supporting, both financially and through prayer, are capable of criminal abuse. Mission leaders have traditionally called abuse sin rather than crimes. For this reason they have seldom reported abuse to law enforcement agencies”. Beverly Shellrude Thompson, President Emeritus MKSN

    MK Safety Net joins Lori McAlister’s voice to request that New Tribes Mission (NTM) immediately terminate Gary Earl (not “retire him”), remove his name and donation link from NTM, and inform the ROCK from the mission field in Papua New Guinea, and write a clear statement to the staff of NTM and to all the financial supporters of Gary Earl for the reason for his employment termination and the reason for his termination from NTM.

    Contact: Lori McAlister LoriJMcAlister@gmail.com

    Rachel Steffen - Former NTM missionary, Advocate for NTM MK’s rsteffenadvocate@gmail.com

    Bonnie Clingerman bonnieclingerman@gmail.com

    Dale Ingraham, President, MK Safety Net U.S. dfingraham@speakingtruthinlove.org

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