There is currently a serious situation at Bellevue that is just now coming to light. References have been made to this issue in the past few days, but the story is getting out now, and I think it's time to address it openly. A discussion was started in the "Apologies and Forgiveness" thread on December 14th after a list of needed changes for "Pastoral Accountability to the Congregation" was posted by "25+yrs@bbc" which included this:
"Timely removal from office of ministers guilty of sexual immorality with immediate and timely coordination with the appropriate authorities if any laws have been broken by a minister (no matter how long ago), including thorough investigation of the matter when the minister's conduct may have affected other church members or their children."
A poster with the screen name "sackcloth&ashes" wrote:
"Bellevue has a minister who has been on staff for many years who, while serving on staff at Bellevue, sexually molested and sodomized his own pre-teen son and continued for some time thereafter.
"The son is now of age and he confronted his minister father and the minister confessed in front of witnesses at the church.
"Gaines has known about this for well over a month and little to nothing has been done. Gaines said that it was "under the blood."
"While that may be true, it still does not relieve the minister of consequences in this life. If he would do such a thing with his own son, then perhaps it would be easier with someone else's. Usually this kind of thing can involve many other children.
"To make matters worse, this minister has been over the record keeping for children's workers for quite some time.
"This is far bigger than some private, family sin. Gaines should have removed the minister from Bellevue the MOMENT he found out about it.
"Ministers of Bellevue have been removed in the past for adultery... how could Gaines have thought that incest and sodomy were not as serious?
"God is cleaning house at Bellevue... The membership needs to wake up! It is time to stop all the standing ovations and get down on our faces and seek God.
"Mothers of Bellevue find your voices and fathers of Bellevue find your courage! Your leaders have been quiet and spineless.
"It is way past time for light and truth."
And that pretty much sums up all most of us know about it other than the names of the minister and his son. The discussion continued from there with a couple of people strongly urging the name of the minister involved be revealed in this forum. While many are aware of the man's name, including the proper authorities now, he does have a family and we need to respect their feelings, especially those of this man's son who is the real victim in all this. Therefore, in the discussions which will inevitably follow, at least until this story becomes officially public, I would request that no mention of this man's or any of his family's names be made in this forum. This news unfortunately is likely to break in the media very soon, but we do not have to broadcast the details of the story here, especially since we really don't know all the details. This is not the place for speculation about what did or didn't happen in this family. It's also not right to say that Dr. Rogers may have known about it. There's no evidence whatsoever than anyone outside the immediate family knew anything about this until the past few months when the son came forward with it and the minister confessed before Steve Gaines and other witnesses.
The discussion here now needs to focus on how the cover up of this issue by the administration has affected Bellevue and how we should go forward from here. The proper authorities must be entrusted to handle the specifics of the situation with the perpetrator and victim.
Some questions to consider include:
1. When did Steve Gaines learn about this situation?
2. What other staff members were aware of it and when?
3. What did Steve Gaines and the administration do about the situation? Did anyone call the authorities?
4. Why wasn't this staff minister immediately fired? Why is he still serving on the staff at all?
5. Since he was allowed to remain on staff, were any measures put into place to ensure this man never came into contact with children while at church?
Maybe this comment by "westtnbarrister" sums it up best:
"I first heard this molestation story roughly two weeks ago. I found the tale so stunning I couldn’t believe it was true. Not at Bellevue! Gradually, as more and more details have come out, my disbelief and shock were transformed into belief and anger. How could our pastor know this and do nothing? How about those other ministers on staff? Was there not even one man willing to risk his job for the truth? For children?"
There are many comments on this topic in the "Apologies and Forgiveness" thread which is the thread just prior to this one beginning around 10:50 a.m. on December 14th. Please continue that discussion in this thread.
There is also the allegation that a Bellevue Board of Directors member has been involved in an ongoing extramarital relationship, and he has reportedly been asked to resign. Whether or not he has complied, no one seems to be certain, but again, I would ask that any discussion of this matter also be conducted without mentioning names -- again for the sake of the families involved.
I cannot begin to fathom how painful this has been and will be for these families in the days and weeks to come. I fear there are going to be some dark days for our church in the weeks to come as well. Please, let's pray for the families that the Lord will comfort and strengthen them in this stressful time. And let's pray that Bellevue will be cleansed from the inside out and returned to the shining beacon on a hill it once was. There's much housecleaning to be done before that can ever happen.
The first 9 comments are reposts of some of the more relevant comments from the previous thread.