“My missionary offender came back to the U.S.”

BJUGrace provides a platform for people to tell their stories who have survived abuse in the context of Bob Jones University. Although the author of this post speaks for herself and tells her own story, BJUGrace, as her publishing platform, has sought to do due diligence, through documentation and written statements from witnesses, to confirm to the best of our ability that her story is true and accurate.

The author of this article has chosen to remain anonymous, and legally her anonymity must be honored, but the people named in the article, as well as other representatives of these institutions, know who this accuser is, because she has tirelessly been in contact with them trying to make things right.


by anonymous Bob Jones University abuse survivor

“He’s here – here. He’s not just back in the U.S. He’s here in South Carolina, right here in Greenville.” 

I heard these words last month and felt shock. For years, I had lived knowing that the one who criminally sexually assaulted me was on another continent, far away from me, from my family, from my community. I feared what horrors he might be unleashing on other young, vulnerable women, but I never thought he would return. 

While his return sparked memories of the fear and humiliation of that time, it also offered me a clear step forward. Perhaps now is the time to speak. Perhaps now, my words will be heard and serve to help protect someone who cannot yet speak. 


On December 24 and 25th of 1993, Christmas Eve and Christmas morning, I experienced an extended period of criminal sexual assault by Richard DeVall, who at the time was a ministerial student at Bob Jones University. 

Richard DeVall in 1993

I myself was a recent BJU graduate, and at the urging of my former “campus mom,” I went with her to be questioned about the assault by the BJU Dean of Students, Jim Berg. Berg didn’t mention reporting to the police (which I had been taught was not a “Christian” response). Instead, he indicated that this was a matter that would be addressed by the spiritual authority over me—that is, himself, Jim Berg, as the Dean of Students and head of counseling at BJU (link). 

After this report, I was informed that Devall had met with Tony Miller, the Dean of Men at BJU at the time, had admitted to everything I had reported, and was being suspended. Shortly after these events he began stalking me, putting notes on my car windshield, telling me he was outside my house watching and thinking about me as I slept. I was terrified of him.

About a year or so later, the Dean of Students called to tell me DeVall was returning as a student. He asked for assurances that I would not do anything to hinder this godly young man from completing his preparation for ministry. When I told him of the stalking after the assault, he assured me DeVall would not be permitted off campus during the remainder of his educational training. 

However, only weeks later I found that even this promise was empty. I was contacted by the personnel director of the agency where I worked to tell me DeVall had applied to work there. After someone from the agency contacted Jim Berg to obtain more details about the assault, I was told that Berg read DeVall’s confession to her—and that he confessed to rape, a crime that should have been reported to the police. (He was not hired.)

After DeVall graduated, he went on to become a missionary to Bolivia with Baptist Pioneer Mission (link). I tried to move on.

By 2010 social media was providing a significant platform for abuse survivors to speak, and for the first time I realized I wasn’t alone in what had happened to me. I also began to learn about the risk that, statistically speaking, those who sexually assault can pose to other vulnerable women, especially when they face no significant consequences for their actions. 

In 2011 DeVall came to BJU in the official capacity of representing his mission organization for Mission Emphasis Week (link).That was also the year Bob Jones III said in chapel that the University leaders had always handled sexual assault the way they should. 

Finally, in May of 2012, at the encouragement of others, I made a police report. When I made the report, DeVall was in the U.S., but when the police attempted to bring DeVall in for questioning, he fled to Bolivia at the recommendation of his pastor (Paul Kingsbury of North Love Baptist Church, see below).

Later he wrote me a letter asking forgiveness for what he had done, but minimizing the extent of the crime. In that letter he said, “I am willing to do whatever needs to be done to handle this matter in a Biblical way. I will cooperate and work with all those who are involved with the issue.” However, in subsequent conversations I had with his mission board, it became clear that he was never planning to return to the U.S., as he did not want to face the risk of prosecution. 

In the meantime, pressure was being brought against University administrators regarding how they had mishandled sexual abuse cases, and in 2012 University administrators hired GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in a Christian Environment) to conduct an investigation as to how they had handled abuse (link to report).

At that time, GRACE wanted to interview anyone who had been involved with the school whose abuse situation had been mishandled. It was hard for me to give details about this story, but I did, because I wanted so much for the University to tell the truth about what had happened, and I wanted them to change and truly desire to help others. 

During GRACE’s investigation of this crime, they sought interviews with both the mission board and DeVall himself, but neither would agree to be interviewed. (See footnote 80 on page 99 of the report here.)

The University never did tell the truth about what happened to me or others, and I have yet to see significant change in their approach to counseling and reporting.

Through the last several years I have communicated a number of times with DeVall’s mission board about his offense against me. Among other things, the mission board director told me, “Everyone should be protected under the law, and it is right that we use any legal means to protect [DeVall].” It seemed that he was saying criminal sexual offenders should be protected.

Richard DeVall today

Also, DeVall is in a powerful position of religious authority in his Bolivian community. His mission board has made it clear to me that they will do nothing to try to ensure that he is not committing sexual offenses while overseas. 

DeVall’s sending church is North Love Baptist Church (link), whose pastor is Paul Kingsbury, the same man whose organization, Reformers Unanimous (link), was the place Josh Dugger was sent after he was found to have committed sexual assault and adultery (link). North Love is presently raising money for DeVall to continue as a missionary (link) even though they know of my charge against him of criminal sexual assault.

In March of 2019, I received word that DeVall was back in the United States from Bolivia, which meant he could be questioned. Not only was he in South Carolina, I was told, but he had returned to the Greenville area — the place where he committed the crime, where he attended school, and where I still live. A representative of the Greenville County (SC) sheriff’s office called him to come in for questioning.

But DeVall replied that he was not in Greenville County and would not come in for questioning, nor does he have any intentions of ever returning to South Carolina, as he does not want to risk prosecution. 

This once again stands in direct opposition to his earlier statement that he would “cooperate and work with all those involved in the issue.” 

I have now chosen to tell my story publicly as one way for the truth to be made known, and in hopes that any other possible victims over the years would learn that they are not alone. I also hope that in speaking, perhaps something may happen so that any potential future victims would be protected.

25 Comments on ““My missionary offender came back to the U.S.”

  1. Beautifully and truthfully written. I am so very saddened by how this was grossly mishandled by the university. They do so many things right but where sexual abuse is concerned they have hurt so many by not taking the steps the law demands and protecting the the reputation of the university rather than the hearts and reputation of the victim. They have ignored the recommendations of GRACE ministries, which was like sticking a knife into the hearts of each victim who agonizingly told their story hoping the university would make things right with them and admit their sin against them. It never happened except in a very general way.

    • Praying for you, for justice and righteous to happen, for people to be protected, and for this man to truly repent,including his accepting consequences with real godly sorrow and contrition.

  2. Thank you for this story. It is shocking how organized religion will not only enable but offenders but will promote them. Posts like this shed light – for those who have eyes to see.

  3. Wow! My ex husband was a pastor who molested our adopted daughter. I reported it to the police in Anderson, SC. He has convinced her that she will be prosecuted for prostitution because he paid her for sexual favors when she was an adult. The fear and power he has held over her is keeping her from reporting. Police never questioned him. His parents who presently pastor a church there blame her even though it began when she was 16 at the time of adoption. Her biological father was in prison at the time for molesting her. The whole situation is sick. The emotional abuse and grooming he did to pin each member in our family against each other is evil. He presently is the worship leader at his father’s church.

    • Amanda Lindsey, I’m so sorry. This kind of thing makes me very angry. This is so surely not the heart of the Father, and is diametrically opposed to the work of Jesus Christ. It is downright evil. It is the work of Satan.

    • FYI Lindsey, there is a shift going on to arresting those who buy sex instead of arresting those who sell it… Sweden first adopted this back in 1999 and it has dropped the sex trafficking in half… 6 other countries have also made it illegal to buy sex… sadly, it has taken 1000s of years for humanity to finally figure out to go after the demand instead of the women… but it has been women’s voices making the difference in the last 20 years! in the US, since prostitution is illegal, the police are now also focusing on the buyers (usually men) now instead of the trafficked women (and sometimes men).

  4. Has the Sheriff’s Office said why they won’t issue a warrant especially since he confessed and fled?

    • This is my story. First, thank you to all of those who have posted encouraging words and to those who are praying. It means so much!!

      I cannot speak for the sheriff’s office, for any prosecutors, etc., however, as far as I am aware, DeVall’s confessions have only been to those outside of law enforcement – BJU leadership, his church pastor, his mission board leaders, etc.

      Before I reported the crime to law enforcement, I was cautioned that only a very small minority of cases result in arrest and only a much smaller number result in prosecution. They have limited resources and time. If other victims come forward, it is more likely that the case will be prosecuted.

      These statements reflect only my own understanding of how the process works. I hope this helps!

  5. Yesterday I shared this post on the Facebook page of North Love Baptist Church (the sending church of Richard DeVall) because I believe that the congregation deserves to know about DeVall if they don’t already. Just this morning, I sent a Facebook message to the Senior Pastor of North Love Baptist Church drawing his attention to the blog post I shared and telling him that I was praying for the Holy Spirit’s conviction in his life to do the right thing. I would encourage anyone else who feels led to do so to message the Senior Pastor, Paul Kingsbury, and encourage him to do what’s right. https://www.facebook.com/paul.kingsbury.754

  6. My heart is GRIEVED! I am so very very sorry for all the pain you have had to endure. Words cannot express. You are believed and will be held up in prayer through this new part of your journey toward justice! Lean into Jesus… HE KNOWS

  7. Would it help if we contacted the district attorney’s office for an explanation as to why a fugitive is being allowed to evade justice??? Why does he even have a passport???? He’s a proven flight risk, a confessed RAPIST.

    • It seems that the more people that are contacted, the more possibility of success. Those who cover abuse and protect abusers are counting on the public at large giving the collective yawn to stories such as these. In the past, that has been the case more times than not, but the environment appears to be shifting somewhat.

  8. Wow! I followed the link for Paul Kingsbury and in his Bio he is a Hyles Anderson College graduate. I grew up in Crown Point, Indiana, the same town as Hyles Andnerson College and that place is known for sweeping sexual sins under the carpet. Hyles’own son-in-law is currently in the Indiana State Pen. for criminal sexual abuse of a minor. After my former pastor, Theron Stuart (who is now married to his husband), told Jack Hyles about his affair at his church up in Michigan, Jack told him to pray now and ask God to forgive you. He told him to then resign his church before word got out and that he (Jack) would give him a recommendation to go pastor this church down in Easley, SC, where he was my pastor for several years before he finally resigned. His affairs came out after he left and after one of our deacons pinned him down about whether or not he was gay.(That information was first hand from Theron’s then wife, who was and is still my friend.) Throughout High School, it was common knowledge among us teenagers that Hyles was having an affair with his secretary, which was later confirmed.

    Given his background, since this Pastor Paul kingsbury is ignoring the sexual sins of this perpetrator then it is possible that he is guilty himself of the same things. Let’s just sweep it all under the rug and pretend that it didn’t happen, right?! Makes me ill!

  9. I’m so sorry this happened to you and that you have not received justice. It is grievous how poorly these issues are handled in the church. I’m glad you’re finding strength and freedom in speaking out. Wrestling with these issues myself and know it’s not easy.

  10. Lina, thank you so much for having the courage to tell your story. I’ve experienced the fear of doing this, but I’m so glad I did and can’t tell you the number of people who are still being helped almost 2 years later. It took 2 years until I was able, but I made a police report which resulted in my ex-missionary husband being imprisoned, so take heart. Oh, how God will judge the men who cover up such blatant sin! May your healing continue, as you keep your eyes on Jesus.

    • Well done Lina!!
      God, the Holy Judge, hates unequal weights and He holds the balance.

  11. bless your heart! I pray that the deeds hidden in darkness will be exposed, that the wolves in sheep’s clothing will be exposed… that the eyes of those blind to these coverups will be opened… that more and more, the priesthood of all believers will be more discerning of the ungodly conduct being allowed by other leaders, and refuse to enable these leaders.

  12. (Sorry for the length, edit as you see fit.)
    I am horrified and so sorry for what happened to one of my sisters in Christ. I am offended for you and deeply saddened by all of it. I should also be thoroughly shocked, but sadly I am not, such is the state of not only our country but the world – the Christian world. It is wrong.

    “He asked for assurances that I would not do anything to hinder this godly young man from completing his preparation for ministry.”
    This is in no way a godly man, he is a criminal and he is not a Christian! Violence and rape are not godliness, they are against God! Stalking and terrorizing a person after confessing to rape in no way indicates any sort of repentance! It indicates not only that he was and is perfectly willing to keep up his evil behavior, he is also seeking to hide it. It astounds me that the word “godly” is even used to describe this evil person. We who are true Christians know how a true Christian looks, acts, and speaks, and if unsure God tells us in His Word.
    1 John 3:6-10
    No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you.
    Galatians 5:19-21
    Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, (20) idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, (21) envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
    Galatians 5:22-24
    But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, (23) gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (24) And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

    Bob Jones III lied in chapel in 2011 when he claimed that “the University leaders had always handled sexual assault the way they should.” Obviously not! The Bible tells those in charge how to deal with predators, evil wolves wearing sheep’s skin in their midst, they are to put them out. Further, we are to obey the laws of the land in which we live, such as call the police! He failed to follow God’s teaching in 1 Corinthians 5:11. The Bible also tells us all just what a dim view God takes of such people.
    1 John 1:6
    If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. (NIV)
    1 Corinthians 5:9-13
    9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. 11 But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people. 12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.”
    Proverbs 17:15
    He who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the just, Both of them alike are an abomination to the LORD. (NKJV)

    “I am willing to do whatever needs to be done to handle this matter in a Biblical way. I will cooperate and work with all those who are involved with the issue.” Another lie by Richard DeVall, designed to extricate himself from the consequences of his reprehensible actions. He is counting on the leaders to be ill-informed of Scriptural truths concerning these matters. He is counting on their ignorance and gullibility to cover for him. Perhaps he is also counting on their lack of true Christian faith. He doesn’t care one bit for anyone except himself. There is no evidence of true repentance, no coming forward to confess, no making amends or restitution, and no assurance that it will never happen anywhere to anyone ever again. Likely there is no therapy or counseling sought, either, because it was not stated by DeVall or Kingsbury or Jones. Where is the grief at what he has done? Where do we see him throwing himself on the mercy of Jesus? Where is his sorrow for his sin and what he has done to this woman, a Daughter of the King? Nowhere. He runs and hides, as sin always does.
    True repentance both to God and between people is obvious; it leaves no question in the mind of the observer, or in the mind of the one to whom the repentance is given. Furthermore, it is rare. I have seen about 10 times more false repentance than real. Real repentance is not an assumption and it is not a letter, it seeks out the person wronged to ask for forgiveness face to face. That face-to-face repentance is a huge sign of the real deal.
    As Rebecca Davis says: “What I call “transactional forgiveness” is between you and the other person, and can happen only after the other person truly repents.” And “First John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins.” Biblical confession means “agreeing with God about the sin.” Only when we confess—agree with God about our sin—does God extend forgiveness to us. . . .”
    1 John 3:6-10
    No one who abides in Him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen Him or known Him. Little children, let no one deceive you.
    John 3:19-20
    This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. (NIV)

    When the mission board director said “Everyone should be protected under the law, and it is right that we use any legal means to protect [DeVall].” He was indeed saying that criminal sexual offenders, in this case DeVall in particular, should be protected. Where is THAT written? Not in my Bible! Not in the laws of this land, either. Criminals are not guaranteed protection, they are guaranteed a fair trial in order to ascertain the truth and deliver justice.
    This strikes me as just one more case of misguided Christian leaders siding with the abuser, the criminal. The Bible is quite clear on how God views such criminal behavior, and it is clear on how God views those who side with the evil perpetrator.
    Jeremiah 23:1–2
    “Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture!” declares the LORD. 2 Therefore this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says to the shepherds who tend my people: “Because you have scattered my flock and driven them away and have not bestowed care on them, I will bestow punishment on you for the evil you have done,” declares the LORD. (NIV)

    It is probably obvious to all who read this account here that North Love Baptist Church is not a wholesome, Christian place, not with wolves in sheep’s clothing in leadership positions. It is written in God’s Holy Word how every true Christian is to think, speak, and act. Good trees bear good fruit (behavior, words) and bad trees bear bad fruit. Bad trees will be cut down and burned. Those in positions of leadership know this, so if they do not believe it, what else do they not believe? If I, an untrained simple Christ follower can know this for a certainty because it is written, then shouldn’t they, trained in ministry, know it as well? Again, I would like to ask them what, or more likely who, exactly do they believe?
    Matthew 7:17-20
    A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. 18 A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. 19 So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. 20 Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions. (NLT)
    Luke 3:8
    Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. (NKJV)
    John 8:44
    You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. (NIV)

    This behavior on the part of a false Christian missionary, Richard DeVall, is hideous. North Love Baptist Church appears to be a fraud, and Paul Kingsbury has a lot to answer for. We are told to have nothing to do with evil people and their wicked ways. Sadly for them, they will each have to answer to God for what they’ve done. They can ignore God’s Word and scoff all they want here on earth, but one day soon they will absolutely know what they did, and they will be required to pay for it – in full.
    2 Timothy 3:1-5
    But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.
    2 Peter 2:4-10
    For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell,[a] putting them in chains of darkness[b] to be held for judgment; 5 if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others; 6 if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; 7 and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the depraved conduct of the lawless 8 (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)— 9 if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment. 10 This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the flesh and despise authority.

    How on earth can any supposedly Christian school or church put forth a known sex offender as a godly man and as a missionary? THAT is behavior they approve of? THAT is what they think stands for Christ? Since when?!

    I do not care if BJU gets some things right, God gives no excuses for sin. NONE. When the leaders do not follow Scripture and do the job God gave them, the flock is devoured and the witness to unbelievers is destroyed. Their continuing to turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to this evil says a lot about the state of their heart and the beliefs they truly hold. God has much to say about all of this. Shame on all of them.
    John 8:44
    Jeremiah 23:1–2
    Proverbs 17:15
    1 Corinthians 5:9-13
    1 John 3:6-10

    Richard DeVall’s mission board, Paul Kingsbury of North Love Baptist Church, Jim Berg, and Tony Miller at BJU have all sided with evil and against a righteous woman, they have aided and abetted a criminal. Do these men have any clue as to what God says about siding with an evil abuser and against the victim? Those in charge, those supposed shepherds, should know better.
    Proverbs 17:15 surely applies here: “Acquitting the guilty and condemning the innocent – the Lord detests them both.” (NIV)
    1 Corinthians 5:11
    But here is what I am writing to you now. You must stay away from anyone who claims to be a believer but does evil things. Stay away from anyone who commits sexual sins. Stay away from anyone who always wants more and more things. Stay away from anyone who worships statues of gods. Stay away from anyone who tells lies about others. Stay away from anyone who gets drunk or who cheats. Don’t even eat with people like these. (NIRV)
    Proverbs 4:14
    Don’t take the path of the wicked; don’t follow those who do evil. (ERV)
    Exodus 23:2
    You must not follow a crowd in wrongdoing. Do not testify in a lawsuit and go along with a crowd to pervert justice. (HCSB)

    Until churches mature and start following ALL of Scripture, until churches and their leaders repent and actually turn to Christ and leave their own worldly vices and false beliefs and twistings of Scripture behind as they follow Him, they will continue to aid and abet the evil one, satan himself, the sworn enemy of Christ. Churches all over America and the world would do well to read 2 Chronicles which speaks about Solomon dedicating the Temple. There are two very important and timely passages for the church today, 2 Chronicles 7:14 and 2 Chronicles 19-22.
    Matthew 12:30
    “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. (NIV)
    He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad. (NKJV)
    2 Chronicles 7:14
    If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
    2 Chronicles 19-22
    But if you turn away and forsake My statutes and My commandments which I have set before you, and go and serve other gods, and worship them, 20 then I will uproot them from My land which I have given them; and this house which I have [g]sanctified for My name I will cast out of My sight, and will make it a proverb and a byword among all peoples. 21 “And as for this [h]house, which [i]is exalted, everyone who passes by it will be astonished and say, ‘Why has the Lord done thus to this land and this house?’ 22 Then they will answer, ‘Because they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, who brought them out of the land of Egypt, and embraced other gods, and worshiped them and served them; therefore He has brought all this calamity on them.’

    Well done my sister!
    Your courage, strength, and love for Jesus is a shining beacon in a dark and sinful world. Your willingness to exhaust all avenues in the quest for justice is right and admirable, and you are an encouragement to me and others like me. I applaud you and I am praying for you to have strength and safety in your continuing efforts to expose this evil. God Bless You.
    Eph. 5:11
    Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. (NIV)
    1 Thessalonians 5:22
    Reject every kind of evil. (NIV)

  13. Hope you will see the true love of God that never covers up evil abuses, but rather exposes them to the light. God is a God of justice and He is always invested in the truth. He is the champion of the oppressed! He will be with you every step of the way!

  14. Bolivia has an extradition treaty with the US, with a dual criminality clause,meaning if an individual has committed an act which is considered a crime by both countries, it is an extraditable offense. That would include forcible rape. Bolivia also has one of the highest rates of sexual violence in Latin America, so it is distressing that this man remains in a position of influence there. Seek extradition.


  15. I am a pastor and am sickened by NLVBC’s response! They may avoid justice but they will face God’s. You’re so brave to tell your story!! God bless you!!

  16. Can he be extradited?

    Thank you for sharing your story.
    Praying fervently for your healing and justice.