Recap of the Benjamin Lawson Adams case
with a mention of Case #5 in the GRACE report
CONTENT WARNING: Explicit sexual abuse stated.
All our discussions about the Ben Adams case have been taking place on our Facebook page, and since some of our followers don’t have Facebook, here’s a recap.
Monday morning June 20th at 8:00, one week ago now, we posted this news article about Ben Adams, a Bob Jones Academy grad and a former student at BJU. The Los Angeles detective was asking for people with more information to contact her, so that’s what we asked for, of our readers in Greenville, South Carolina, in particular, where Ben used to live when he attended Bob Jones and Hampton Park Baptist Church. The news article from Los Angeles said in part,
Benjamin Lawson Adams, 30, of Los Angeles, was arrested last Wednesday after a warrant was issued for his arrest for several counts of sex and sodomy with a minor under the age of 16 years old, Manhattan Beach police said in a statement. . . . Anyone with information about Adams can call Manhattan Beach police Detective Aleina Smith at (310) 802-5133.
We later provided the email address as well, email@example.com.
Manhattan Beach police are looking for any potential victims of a 30-year-old entertainment attorney arrested last week on suspicion of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old boy he allegedly met through social media.
Benjamin Lawson Adams of Los Angeles was arrested May 25 and charged with nine felony counts, including lewd or lascivious acts, oral copulation, sexual penetration and sodomy, all with a minor under 16. . . .
“It is believed that (Adams) used his title to attract, with our particular victim, his particular interest,” Smith said. “I’m looking for additional victims to see if there’s anybody else out there.”
The MBPD seeks assistance to identify potential additional victims. If you have any information or you believe you may have been victimized by Benjamin Adams, contact Detective Aleina Smith at (310) 802-5133.
Over the course of the week, as local news sources picked up the story, we at BJUGrace received a number of private messages from people who had information and were planning to contact the investigator.
Late in the week, www.wutbju.tumblr.com published some screen shots from Ben Adams’ Friends-only Facebook posts.
None of us admins at BJUGrace had heard of Ben Adams before this and didn’t know how loved he was and is, but apparently he was and is perceived to be helpful, considerate, thoughtful, kind, and funny, which of course would make such an accusation very disturbing to those who know him.
Even for those who didn’t know him, though, some of the discussion taking place online centered on the idea that we didn’t have enough facts to post these news articles, or we were gossiping by posting them.
One of the questions asked was why, when Ben Adams graduated from Furman University, BJU seemed to be implicated in our posts. The answer to that is Ben was a former BJU student, asked to leave under circumstances that have not been officially divulged; we administrate a page and website seeking grace and truth in abuse allegations related to BJU; and when someone sent us that news item asking us to post it, we believed it related to the purpose of our page, because as we were asking for information about possible victimization in the Greenville, SC, we were aware that, if there were any in that area who had been victimized, some of them may have been connected with Bob Jones University or Bob Jones Academy.
Another implication made during the course of the week was that Ben Adams was the same person as Case #5 in the GRACE report on pages 288-289. We’ve not been able to confirm that this is true, but this seems like a good time to pursue this case, even if it has no connection with Ben Adams. You can see Case #5 in its entirety here, but here are a few excerpts from it:
Several witnesses and supporting documentation indicated that a BJU student engaged in possible criminal behavior with minor boys who were attending Bob Jones Academy in the mid-2000s. When the allegations surfaced, the junior high principal interviewed approximately nine minor boys about the reports he received involving the BJU student. A number of the boys expressed concern that the BJU student was “perverted,” and wanted “nothing more to do with him.”
The reports indicated the adult BJU student’s range of suspicious and/or potentially criminal activity with minors:
requesting that minors pose for nude photographs, . . .
asking repeatedly for a minor to measure his sexual organ,
requesting to masturbate and/or watch others masturbate, and
making specific statements about engaging in sexual activity.
According to university reports, the university student denied most of the allegations or described the comments as jokes. After BJU officials concluded their own investigation, the alleged perpetrator was required to withdraw at the request of the administration for a period of one year and did not return to BJU to complete his university education. There is no indication that BJU reported any of the alleged criminal activities of this student to any outside law enforcement agency.
Dr. Bob Jones III, in his recorded remarks, refers to both the accused and the minor boys in this situation together as a group of “teenage boys,” though the accused was 18 or 19 (GRACE referred to him as an adult) and the minor boys were 13 or so (the age of junior high students).
Dr. Berg noted, “In all the testimonies, it appeared [the alleged perpetrator] was the aggressor and was corruptive.” Dr. Berg also wrote, “I pulled the file report . . . that showed in each of the testimonies that [the alleged perpetrator] was the aggressor in the conversation and that each of the boys had tried in one way or another to distance himself from [the alleged perpetrator].” . . .
Dr. Berg said of the incident, “Knowing what we know today, we blew it. . . .”
We have two requests of employees, administrators, and board members of the University.
(1) If you currently know or have ever known of any information that is pertinent to the current situation regarding Ben Adams, report it to the Los Angeles detective, and encourage others who might have information to report as well. (If Ben Adams has been guilty of a crime, federal privacy laws do not apply. According to FERPA: “An institution may disclose to anyone—not just the victim—the final results of a disciplinary proceeding, if it determines that the student is an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense . . .”)
(2) If you haven’t done so already, report to the local police any information you have, or have ever had, about Case #5 in the GRACE report, pages 288-289, and encourage others to do so as well. We also ask you to make this information public, so that others can be warned about this alleged predator. (Again, according to FERPA: “An institution may disclose to anyone—not just the victim—the final results of a disciplinary proceeding, if it determines that the student is an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense . . .”)
We believe this is one way to back up the stand you claim to take when you decorate the campus with pinwheels every April, “to promote keeping children safe and secure and to stand against child abuse.”
UPDATE 6-29-2016: The term “non-forcible sex offense” is very narrowly defined in the FERPA guidelines. In this case, it would refer only to statutory rape, including sodomy. The examples given in Case #5 do not fit that definition, which would mean that if these were the only known offenses in Case #5, according to federal guidelines the name of the alleged perpetrator may not be disclosed.