Why aren’t there any court cases?

 If these things really happened and are really as bad as you’re implying, why aren’t there any court cases?

There are. Abusers are being brought to trial and convicted of their crimes, but it’s a tedious and often emotional process that starts with the decision to report the crime, which in itself can be traumatizing. Is an abuse survivor willing and able to tell her story of horror publicly? Is she willing and able to face her abuser in court?  Is she willing and able to consider the possibility that the side of the courtroom where the friends of the accused sit might be filled with “good church people” while her own side might have only a few supporters? Is she strong enough for the probability that the case may drag out for years? We know of one BJU-related case that took almost four years to reach a conviction.

Often by the time an abuse survivor is strong enough to report the crime (sometimes decades), traditional forms of evidence might be hard to come by. However, here is an article about one BJU grad who confessed to the crime of sexual abuse. The trial of Ernie Willis (convicted criminal who sexually assaulted a fifteen-year-old girl), which you can read here,  may be one of the most well-known cases pertinent to the BJU situation, because Willis’s pastor Chuck Phelps, who allegedly protected him while allegedly shaming and blaming the victim, was also on the board of BJU. In the same church (Trinity Baptist of Concord, NH), with the same pastor, another man was recently convicted of sexually assaulting the same person. That report is here.

In another trial of a BJU grad who was the principal of a Christian school, incriminating evidence against the accused was ultimately ruled to be disallowed in court, so the jury couldn’t declare the accused “guilty beyond reasonable doubt.” The one who had accused him, the alleged victim of the crime, immediately went on to take his own life.

There are many fears related to bringing a case of abuse to the justice system, but one of the biggest is that the one accused of criminal conduct will be found not guilty and then will be free while the one who made the report is unprotected.

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