Last week the Christian television station CBN News aired on Pat Robertson’s The 700 Club a segment about the abuse of missionary kids in the mission field and at boarding schools. They used some footage from our documentary feature All God’s Children, which focuses on the abuse of children of missionaries at the Mamou Alliance Academy overseen by the Christian and Missionary Alliance.
Thank you for reporting on what for many of us has been a life-altering
childhood that the Christian community has not wanted to hear about or
be accountable for. There is a measure of hope in having our story told
by media which that community listens to and respects.
Bob Fetherlin said, “If we had to do it over again we would have taken
the stories seriously right from the start. We should have responded
with greater care, greater sensitivity and greater love.” Fetherlin
and others in the C&MA did not understand then, nor do they now,
that it is not just care, sensitivity and love that we need and want.
Their responsibility and our call for justice requires full, independent
investigations into allegation of abuse in each of their schools. We
fought hard for an independent investigation into Mamou. Since then
there has not been one independent investigation into credible
allegations of abuse from their other schools (Dalat, Zamboanga, their
dorms at Ivory Coast Academy, Quito Alliance, Bongolo, etc.) Their
investigations have been by a group called the SICG – almost all members
having very direct ties to the C&MA, and Scott Ross from New Tribes
Mission. What is equally disturbing is that when they have fired their
employees working in those schools because they were pedophiles, they
were quietly sent back to North America without being placed on sexual
abuse registries, generally they did not ensure the churches they
returned to were fully informed that they were sexual predators, and
often these people just “disappeared” into communities where they would
have free access to children.
For many of us who were victims of abuse by employees of mission
organizations, “greater care, greater sensitivity and greater love”
involves treating sexual assault and other abuse as crimes, and not as
“failures” or sin. It is time for reform.