Bob Jones Third speaks on the GRACE report

bob-jones-thirdRadio interview with Bob Jones Third, Chancellor of Bob Jones University, on September 27, 2015, with Roisin McAuley of the BBC (this section first posted at WutBJU, full interview here). Commentary on BJ3’s remarks is posted below.

The part of the interview pertaining to the GRACE report is transcribed here, with commentary on his remarks posted below.

BBC: You have had some issues about sexual abuse, because I understand that initially, is it not the case that when students reported sexual abuse the perpetrator was not handed over to the authorities, because that was to be, in the words that I read in the [GRACE] report, anyway, a betrayal of Jesus Christ to do so.

BJ3: No, no that’s totally false, and I’m glad you asked that question because I’m happy to set that record straight. The University voluntarily, three years ago, sought an ombudsman, a totally independent ombudsman, to investigate any claims that any of our graduates had that they were not properly counseled on matters of sexual abuse. These were issues that occurred in the lives, tragic instances, of these students before they came to us, and had real needs.

And so there was a time three, four years ago, when there was a sense that somehow religion was hiding these dark awful things and even countenancing them, and we wanted to be on record, my son Stephen who was  president at that time, said we want to be up front—there had been no charges, nothing—said, “We want to be transparent for the world to see that Christians do not hide sin or make excuses for it.” And so this group was hired and they did this and they interviewed. Out of 95,000 former students, there were some 40 cases who arose out of 88 years of history and said we don’t think we were counseled properly.

Now that’s a pretty insignificant number of people. The University came out of this looking very, very good, and the few people who said, “We think that the perpetrators should have been turned over to the police and the University hid it,” the local police interviewed every one of those  people in the report who said that. They investigated it independently, and they have publicly declared to the media and to all of the world who wants to listen, “We found not one instance of Bob Jones University hiding from the police any criminal action whatsoever,” so praise God that that is so.

********************

This part posted by Rebecca; this is a reposting of the statement above, with my commentary in bold italic.

You have had some issues about sexual abuse, because I understand that initially, is it not the case that when students reported sexual abuse the perpetrator was not handed over to the authorities, because that was to be, in the words that I read in the [GRACE] report, anyway, a betrayal of Jesus Christ to do so.

I’ve heard things from individuals about “betrayal of Jesus Christ,” but don’t see it in the report. The unstated reason was more along the lines of “this is an internal matter, and we’ll handle it.”

BJ3: No, no that’s totally false . . .

It most certainly is not totally false. It is absolutely true that when student reported sexual abuse the perpetrators were not handed over to the authorities. 

. . . and I’m glad you asked that question because I’m happy to set that record straight. The University voluntarily, three years ago, sought an ombudsman, a totally independent ombudsman, to investigate any claims that any of our graduates had that they were not properly counseled on matters of sexual abuse.

The University did it voluntarily in the sense that there was no pending court case, but there was a good bit of background to it. Some information about that background is detailed here: http://bjugrace.com/why-has-there-been-a-sexual-abuse-investigation-at-bju

BJ3: These were issues that occurred in the lives—tragic instances—of these students before they came to us, and had real needs.

Here he implies that all the incidents of abuse took place before the students came to BJU. The GRACE report shows that half of the 166 BJU-related sexual abuse victims who completed their survey experienced their abuse before coming to BJU and half experienced their abuse while associated with BJU.

BJ3: And so there was a time three, four years ago, when there was a sense that somehow religion was hiding these dark awful things and even countenancing them, and we wanted to be on record, my son Stephen who was  president at that time, said we want to be up front—there had been no charges, nothing—said, “We want to be transparent for the world to see that Christians do not hide sin or make excuses for it.”

That is actually not what was said at all. This is the statement from Stephen Jones: http://bjugrace.com/what-is-this-all-about/statement-from-stephen-jones-upon-hiring-grace/

BJ3: And so this group was hired and they did this and they interviewed. Out of 95,000 former students, there were some 40 cases who arose out of 88 years of history and said we don’t think we were counseled properly.

These numbers completely misrepresent the facts. First of all, the number of 95,000 former students is meaningless. A significant percentage of those are dead. Many of them have nothing to do with BJU so they would never even hear about such a thing as an investigation. Even many of those who have kept up with BJU said they never heard about the investigation until after the interviewing was over. (Also, I don’t know where he got the number 40, except from Steve Pettit’s announcement in March. It doesn’t appear to be in the GRACE report.)

Because Jim Berg has said that he counseled 200-300 sexual abuse victims per year during his tenure as Dean of Students, the real number to look at is the number of sexual abuse victims who interacted with GRACE vs. the number of those who said they their case was handled badly.

All of that information is in the GRACE report. It says that 166 sexual abuse survivors who received counsel at BJU filled out the survey.  This, according to Jim Berg’s own admission, would represent a very small percentage of the people who actually had been sexually abused who were at BJU.

The GRACE report also said that over 60% of those who filled out the survey, which would be around 100 people, believed that the counsel they were given was  damaging and their case was handled wrongly. This is a significant percentage.

BJ3: Now that’s a pretty insignificant number of people.

It is truly appalling how flippantly he dismisses these people that compose 60% of the Investigative Sample.

BJ3: The University came out of this looking very, very good,

Does it? Perhaps for people who have not read the GRACE report, but instead simply believe what he and other supporters of the University have said about it.

BJ3: and the few people who said, “We think that the perpetrators should have been turned over to the police and the University hid it,”

He is about to flippantly dismiss this huge problem.

BJ3: the local police interviewed every one of those  people in the report who said that.

What an incredible statement, and blatantly false. The local police did no such thing. For one thing, they didn’t even know who these people were unless the people themselves chose to tell them. For another thing, we at BJUGrace know for sure of more than one who tried to pursue reporting their case to the police, and  their phone calls were not returned.

BJ3: They investigated it independently, and they have publicly declared to the media and to all of the world who wants to listen, “We found not one instance of Bob Jones University hiding from the police any criminal action whatsoever,”

This is a blatant falsehood. The police did not say this. Rather, they said, “Insufficient evidence exists to establish probable cause or prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Bob Jones University employees failed to report knowledge of criminal sexual conduct against juvenile students,” according to the Greenville News report here: http://www.greenvilleonline.com/story/news/local/2015/07/21/greenville-police-conclude-investigation-bob-jones-university/30427839/  This is very different from saying that they found not one instance of BJU had hid any criminal action. The police were simply saying that they didn’t have enough evidence. Yet we at BJUGrace know that when former victims asked to see their BJU files, they found that significant evidence of their reporting their abuse was missing. 

BJ3: so praise God that that is so.

We hope that people who hear Bob Jones Third’s statements will take time to see for themselves the misrepresentations of the truth that he is presenting. You can access the full GRACE report here:  http://static1.squarespace.com/static/54596334e4b0780b44555981/t/552e9be7e4b0498e9c4b8c24/1429117927390/Bob+Jones+U+Final+Report.pdf

 

 

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7 comments on “Bob Jones Third speaks on the GRACE report
  1. Just me says:

    As a victim who was raped by one of BJU’s preacher boys, was encouraged to tell no one of the rape when it occurred, was interrogated to find how I must have somehow done something to deserve being raped, I am very disturbed by these statements. They are false. One simply has to read the GRACE report. The report describes a toxic atmosphere where rape victims were blamed, forced to repent and ask their rapists for forgiveness while the rapists themselves were often honored, forgiven and paid no penalty for breaking the law.

    My rapist fully confessed his crime to the school and admitted that I had done absolutely nothing to lead him on – no flirting, no dressing “provocatively,” no dating – NOTHING! He simply raped me. My file states that I was not right with the Lord as if somehow that excused this “godly” man’s (their description of him) rape.

    They graduated him with a degree in ministry, calling me to ensure that I would not tell anyone what he did.

    As for the police, they did NOT have access to the testimonies given to GRACE so it wasn’t possible for them to investigate and “prove” that BJU had done nothing wrong.

    BJU has also made statements regarding the destruction of records as recommended by their attorneys. I am appalled that Bob III would be so deceitful and callous towards the many victims who have been harmed by BJU’s version of counseling and silencing victims.

    I am truly horrified that he would say these things when he knows that there is proof that what he is saying is not true.

    Personally, I feel crushed. The school ASKED us to participate in the GRACE investigation, then they completely dismissed the results of the investigation and made up their own version of the “truth.”

    I am truly sickened and shocked at these statements.

  2. BJUGrace says:

    We’re sickened and shocked too, Just me, and want to see the right thing done.

  3. Another says:

    If I hear the “before they came to us” sort of statement one more time, I’m going to either scream, throw up or both. I was sexually assaulted DURING my time as a student at Bob Jones University BY a Bob Jones faculty member. I participated — at great personal cost — in the G.R.A.C.E. report because I was asked by my alma mater to do so for the sake of current and future students. Thank you, Dr. Bob, for letting me know that I and my fellow participants are “insignificant” … that protecting the image of your institution is more important than the souls you claimed to serve.

  4. Pege' says:

    …”that’s a pretty insignificant number”… of people. 40…an insignificant number?
    Jesus said a good shepherd would leave the flock to find ONE stray sheep. ONE.
    He thinks 40 PEOPLE are insignificant.
    Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
    His own words accuse him.

    • BJUGrace says:

      True. Not even one would be insignificant.

      But the fact is that the number 40 isn’t even in the GRACE report. Bob Jones 3 is trying to minimize the entire situation by comparing 40 (the number he has chosen to use for the ones who told GRACE there was a big problem) to 95,000 (the total number of students who ever attended BJU). That is .04%, which really is a very, very small percentage.

      HOWEVER, the accurate numbers to use would be 166 (the number of BJU-related abuse victims who filled out the survey) to 100 (the number of abuse victims who filled out the survey and said that there was a big problem). So the real percentage is 60%. This is a huge difference.

    • Bj alum says:

      I agree completely. No number, no matter how small is “insignificant”! There should be genuine sorrow that it happened to anyone and real steps taken to assure that it will never happen again.
      I do find it ironic though that BJUGrace says they have no idea where Bob III got the number ’40’ from and then provides a link to the Greenville News that says, “…the GRACE report and included discussions with 40 victims…” Where did the Greenville News get the number ’40’?

  5. BJUGrace says:

    BJU Alum, From what I remember (this being over two years ago now), I did a search throughout the GRACE report for the number 40, and nothing came up. That was why I said the number 40 wasn’t in the GRACE report. I could be wrong about that, though. ~Rebecca

2 Pings/Trackbacks for "Bob Jones Third speaks on the GRACE report"
  1. […] was still the attitude in 2013. If that attitude has changed, we have seen no evidence of it, since only a little over a year ago he said the University “came out of [the GRACE investigation] looking very, very […]

  2. […] in an interview with the BBC in September of 2015. (You can read the transcript and commentary here.) In this interview, the interviewer said, “When students reported sexual abuse, the perpetrator […]

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