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Heterosexual Menace: Church-Sanctioned Rape, Humiliation and Exile

Jim Burroway

June 1st, 2010

In 1997, a teenage girl was raped and impregnated by a fellow churchgoer at Trinity Baptist Church in Concord, New Hampshire. When she complained to her pastor, Chuck Phelps, he reported the rape to state youth officials, but police were never able to find the victim. That’s because  was shipped of to another church member’s home in Colorado, where she was home-schooled and not allowed to have contact with others her age. And all the while, she was told it was her fault she was raped:

The victim said Phelps told her she would be put up for “church discipline,” where parishioners go before the congregation to apologize for their sins. She asked why. “Pastor Phelps then said that (Willis) may have been 99 percent responsible, but I needed to confess my 1 percent guilt in the situation,” the victim told the police.

“He told me that I should be happy that I didn’t live in Old Testament times because I would have been stoned.”

Fran Earle, the church’s former clerk, witnessed the punishment session. At a night meeting of the church’s fellowship in 1997, Phelps invited Willis to the front of the room. Willis apologized to the group for not being faithful to his wife, Earle said.

“I can remember saying to my husband, I don’t understand it’s any of our business why this is being brought up,” Earle said. Phelps then told parishioners a second matter was at hand; he invited the victim to apologize for getting pregnant.

“I can still see the little girl standing up there with this smile on her face trying to get through this,” Earle said.



Ken R
June 1st, 2010 | LINK

Truly sick. Not the first time I read that the victim is also responsible for them being raped.

“What were you wearing, Dear? If you were wearing something inappropriate, then the rapist couldn’t help himself. You led him to sin.”

Ugh…truly sickening!

June 1st, 2010 | LINK

It’s the first rule of abuse: get the victim away from help. Crime and abuse that happens in the family stays in the family.

It’s par for the course that the “minister” hid what happened, but what about all the people sitting there that night, listening to a young girl tell of “getting pregant” (as if she did it all by herself) when it was obvious that one of their men had caused the pregnancy? Didn’t any of them think to go to authorities? Didn’t any of them realize he could (and probably did) go after their daughters next?

EVERY ONE OF THEM shares in the rape of that child.

I hope that she manages to overcome the evil that was perpetrated on her by that entire “church.”

June 1st, 2010 | LINK

Sorry,that is not an article. What happened? How did it get out? What are the repercussions? Has anyone been charged with anything? How was it verified?

These sound like gossip mag stories without that info.

Timothy Kincaid
June 1st, 2010 | LINK

If you have any questions, you can click the link and read the article for yourself. It is actually quicker to click the link than it is to type a complaint.

Jim Burroway
June 1st, 2010 | LINK

Wow elaygee, every one of those questions you asked were answered in the hyperlink I provided. I know that moving your mouse and pressing a button is a lot of work, but it sure beats typing out a message that reveals that you have no idea what the “web” part of the World Wide Web means.

Shannon Spencer Fox
June 1st, 2010 | LINK

Heheh. To paraphrase Eric from an episode of ‘That 70’s Show’, ‘That is the seldom-seen, but always-feared, “Burroway burn”.’ Well-spotted, good sir.

As for the whole affair… the article mentions the police are looking to file other charges, so I hope whomever was responsible for removing this poor girl from her home isn’t too comfortable where they are now, since I think some nice ‘aiding and abetting’ charges are going to be coming up soon, along with conspiracy…

And they deserve every bit of it, and more.

Jason D
June 1st, 2010 | LINK

It confounds me when people online don’t know or understand hyperlinks.

Do they think writers like to randomly underline words and phrases and get a kick on adding an effect if the mouse floats over it?

June 1st, 2010 | LINK

I am all for tolerance in society. If someone wants to believe in a fundamentalist religion, that’s there perogrative, but where do we draw the line? How do we make sure that young children like this who are terrified to death with threats of being sent to hell in the after-life are having their rights and lives protected? I do research into fundamentalism and it amazes me how often people are so deeply damaged by it. Is there not some limit to freedom of religion? We wouldn’t advocate a religion of human sacrifice, now would we? Of course not! How can we protect the first amendment and yet recognize that certain religious structures and teachings are spiritual/emotional abuse?

The problem is that the theology of these churches is that “God’s law” supercedes man’s law, so they feel in perfectly good conscience behaving like like this, because, in their twisted theology, they believe it’s the church’s right to excercise “church discipline” when its members are involved and that the “world” doesn’t have a say – a total misunderstanding of 1 Corinthian 6. Fundamentalism is a cancer on religion. This pastor probably only reported this originally in order to cover his own A$$, because he was afraid that someone in the congregation would figure out what happen and go to the police – in other words, not out of concern for the girl, but for himself! I’m tired of running into people who have their lives destroyed because these people. When is enough, enough?

Richard Rush
June 1st, 2010 | LINK

I clicked on the news story link to find out: Where were the girl’s parents in this sickening story? Obviously deeply immersed in the religious delusions instilled in them by their church, as they were apparently in favor of exiling their daughter to Colorado!

And then there was this:

Earle, who left the church in 2001 after 19 years, said it was regular to see young girls who were pregnant called to the front of the congregation to be humiliated.

The Super Christians claim to be qualified to teach the rest of us all about morality – you know, abstinence only sex education, every child needs a mom and a dad, Godly values, righteousness, and all that good stuff.

I can’t help think about the comments on another recent BTB post wherein the correlation between religious fundamentalism and social pathology was discussed. Just saying.

Timothy (TRiG)
June 2nd, 2010 | LINK

I liked PZ Myers’ take on this story.


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