Monday, April 25, 2011

Paul Williams Update

Does that photo send chills up your spine? Make you sick to your stomach? Well, it should!

The afternoon of April 7th someone contacted me to ask if a Paul Williams who wrote a paper for Union University back in 2002 was "the" Paul Williams. Judging from the photo and bio of the man, it was not.

However, that got me to wondering what the former Bellevue Paul Williams is up to. A quick Google search led straight to the Warren Community Church March 2011 newsletter. The story begins on page 2 and is continued on subsequent pages. I planned then to do an update, but within a few hours of forwarding this information to Christa Brown and others, Christa posted a very good article saying everything I could have said and more (and said it much better than I could have, too).

We knew he'd been hanging out at WCC several years ago, right after he left Bellevue. (He and his wife live in Somerville.) It was rumored back then that the pastor of WCC, Ken Culver, had even offered him a staff position. Several people were outraged at this news and at least one called the pastor, who eventually denied the rumor (after asking what business it was of the caller's), but he did reportedly say he wouldn't see any problem with Paul being on staff since it was all in the past (how does he know it's "all in the past"?) and how it's possible for people to be forgiven and restored. Yes. Yes, they certainly can, although that's generally preceded by repentance, confession, and asking for forgiveness, but there are consequences to our actions (ask Karla Faye Tucker), and one of the consequences of being a confessed child molester is that you are never, under any circumstances, allowed to be alone around children or, in the case of a minister or other church leader, ever be allowed to be in a position of leadership again. This is just common sense. Besides, I've never seen any evidence of repentance from Paul Williams. He never addressed the people of Bellevue and seems to have gone merrily on with his life as if nothing ever happened.

A few months later someone who lives in Somerville had taken her child to some kind of homeschooling activity they have at WCC, and she said Paul was "hanging out" there in the middle of the day during the week. Then he was spotted, alone, at a children's basketball game, just standing there watching.

Last I heard the victim still would not allow Paul to see his grandchildren, so those must be his daughter's children in the above photo.

So Paul is on the Board of Trustees of WCC now. That would be like... an "elder" or something, right? Remember what Steve Gaines said about elders?

What is an elder? It's a pastor. It's not some "super deacon." It's not some elevated lay person. An elder is a pastor is a bishop is a pastor is an elder is a bishop -- all the same stuff. There's only two offices in the New Testament -- pastor, which is also an elder and a bishop and deacons.

I realize the job of most trustees is merely to rubber-stamp whatever the pastor wants, but I'd be willing to bet there are no women on that BOT because, you know, women are excluded from "leadership" roles within the church (that don't involve only other women or young children). However, the bar must be set pretty low for men at WCC.

Paul Williams not only didn't go to jail, he was never charged with anything. (The statute of limitations in Tennessee, which has since been extended, had passed, and the victim was reportedly not willing to pursue any legal action.) Yet Paul Williams is a self-admitted pedophile! He should be listed on the sex offender registry, but he's not along with at least 95% of his fellow pedophiles.

And all this isn't even addressing what adult female victims of this man's lecherous comments (much more recent than any 17-21 years ago) have said his behavior has done to them, proving once again pedophilia and sexual abuse are rarely about "sex" but about exerting power over someone weaker. Make's 'em feel like real manly men, I guess. One of his female victims described his eyes, when he went into "pervert" mode, as "soulless."

In my opinion Paul Williams and that Hernando pastor, Eddie Prince, who was caught downloading child porn at the library should be sharing a prison cell. What would Eddie Prince's family's reaction be had it been one of their children exploited for child porn? And who knows if this guy has done more than "just look"? Besides, child porn is not a "victimless" crime. Someone's children were victimized to produce this perverted filth, and by seeking it out and watching it, you're just as guilty as the lowlife who produced it. If there wasn't a market they wouldn't do it.

Since Christa's article was published, several writers have published articles about this story, but it's no surprise we don't seem to find any mention of it in "conservative" SBC blogs or publications.

The Big Daddy Weave >> Southern Baptist church Selects Confessed Sex Offender as Trustee

Baptist Life >> SBC church names confessed sex offender as Trustee

Civil Commotion >> Pedophilia: Not a career impediment in the SBC

And shouldn't we all be ashamed that "the world" can see the problem, but so many in the church cannot?

Atheist Revolution >> Idiot of the Week: Warren Community Church, Somerville, TN

"Idiot of the Week," indeed.


puddytat82 said...

I will NEVER be able to accept this concern for the forgiveness, acceptance, comfort, well-being, happiness, and future of perpetrators. Generally speaking, it seems that at the same time these concerns are expressed, there is no acknowledgement made for the cavernous & staggering needs of an innocent victim. It is especially inexcusable among those in the Christian community who claim to have the "love of God shed abroad in their hearts." I can only believe that these are people who have allowed their spiritual eyes to be blinded by the devil, who is constantly offering us comfortable lies in which to hide ourselves. I will never be at peace with this harsh reality of our perverse, degraded, fallen world in which "evil is good spoken of." Words fail me.

New BBC Open Forum said...

I saw a discussion about this somewhere in which a woman said she had known PW and his family for years and that she knows there is information that's not coming out that's "not bad." My thought? So what? So he doesn't kick the dog or beat his wife? So what? I remember another woman, a Sunday School teacher at Bellevue, right after this story broke, was quoted as saying, "But it was only one time!" As in, "He only molested his son once. That's not so bad." This was before the report came out which stated the molestation was repeated over a period of 12 to 18 months. Again I say, so what? Once wasn't enough? Even if it was "just once," does that make it okay?

The woman who said the "not bad" information that isn't coming out (I noticed she didn't share any new information) stated she will not judge him and that seeing all this discussed publicly makes her uncomfortable. Well, good! You should be uncomfortable, lady. Not because it's being discussed publicly but because PW has been turned loose to continue to prey on innocent women and children. He's never apologized to his victims or his former church, and in fact, has now been rewarded by his current church with a position of authority. Al Gore was right about one thing. "Everything that should be up is down, and everything that should be down is up!" Shoot me now.

New BBC Open Forum said...

David Brown asked me to post this:


puddytat82 said...

I know this has been said a million times, but you can't just wake up one morning with this uncontrollable temptation to molest a child. There has to have been factors festering for a time which have led up to culmination of the action. The act itself is simply the outward manifestation of a deep inner problem that did not just instantly crop up. The contributing sin(s) have to have been committed inwardly for some time. So to say, "It only happened once," shows a serious misunderstanding of the subject of sexual abuse.
It would be more accurate to say, "His serious sin FINALLY came out into the open."
The ignorance & denial in our churches is unbelievable. I know of a local Southern Baptist church in which a man whose picture is easily seen on your computer as a sex offender was being allowed to work the sound system at church & trying to get young kids alone. Noone had even bothered to check the sex offender registry until an outsider pointed out the picture to the church staff. HOW CAN THIS HAPPEN?
THANK YOU for your courage in using what means you have available to you to TRY to push back against the denial so that people in authority will hopefully, some day, start using their power to protect innocent children who are trusting us adults for their nurture & protection & care.
The U.S. government offers help to victims through the Memphis Rape Crisis Center. The public school system & many colleges address this as the crime that it is. The Navy Base just acknowledged "Sexual Assault Awareness Month" & advertised places for victims to get help. But for a victim to find help (or even be pointed to help) in an average church is akin to searching for a needle in a haystack. Many victims would LOVE to be pointed to a message of hope & healing from Jesus & His people for their biggest heartache but that is VERY hard to find. Many times they're forced to accept help from secular sources, which we know as Christians is limited in its ability to help if the help is absent of God's power.
It would appear that a sexual predator would be most comfortable in a church setting.

Valarie said...

It's much more disturbing to me that PW has been to Albania 7 times in the role as a missionary. He has been around innocent children and their parents have not been warned that this missionary(a position of trust)is an admitted child molester and a credibly accused sexual predator.
There is nothing godly, Biblical, or God honoring about this. I have been told by a family friend that he is under the "watchful eye" of his daughter, son in law, and wife. Gosh! Does that make anyone feel better??? Does it make it OK for this man to be in the role as missionary involving children? It doesn't. If PW was as repentant as his supporters claim...the last thing he would do is what he is doing now. I suggest he is emboldened by how easily and quickly he has gotten to this place. I feel his wife is an accessory to whatever this predator is doing under the cloak of a missionary.

Tom Rich said...

Reading David's letter just has my blood boiling.

How can a person who abuses children be "restored" to a position of leadership, but a man who is divorced, can NEVER be restored to the point of being a deacon, and therefore also excluded from being a trustee?

I know at FBC Jax, to be a trustee of the church, you must be a deacon; the trustees are nominated by the pastor from the pool of deacons.

I wonder if the same is true at Paul Williams also, therefore a deacon? Again, divorced men, don't apply, EVER, to be a deacon. I know churches won't even let a widower who remarries be a deacon. But if you are a pervert, well, you can be "restored".


Anonymous said...

I gotta say, when this came up the first time, I was disturbed beyond words and left Bellevue. As a survivor of childhood abuse AND having been "counseled" by Paul Williams while attending Bellevue, it took years to get to the point of not feeling an actual sickened, physical heaviness in my heart.

Now, it's not Paul Williams and his behavior and lack of repentence that sickens me most. It's Christians who really believe that placing him in a place of "prominence" within a church is the "Christian" thing to do. I have no more trust or faith of any kind in those who call themselves "believers" and believe that this is ok.

In the past several years since I've left Bellevue, my family and I have been ridiculed, bullied, maligned, black-listed, and come up against the most rude, arrogant, cruel, vicious group of people I've ever encountered in my life...they call themselves "the Church". It's a daily struggle in my prayers to keep my focus on God, not man. I've gotten to the point that the only way I can "protect" myself and maintain a spiritual walk with the Lord is to STAY AWAY from "the Church." And, of course, I'm condemned for this by "the Church".

So, really, why should it surprise me that a group of people who can so easily and eagerly "devour" others,(and yet continue to THRIVE within the sickening theater production that we call "church" today,) should be ok with--even angrily defensive of--an unrepentant pedophile?

Yeah I'm angry--and I'm sure there will be people quick to attack what I had to say here. I'm just typing this in the heat of the moment, as my face is red-hot with anger--not taking my usual time to cool down and compose a carefully worded response. I'm sure a carefully worded response would have no different impact anyway...been there-done that.

Paul Williams being placed in a postion of authority within the "church" again??? This is WRONG, people. It's WRONG. IT'S WROOONNNGGG!!! It's SIN. It's DANGEROUS. It's UNSCRIPTURAL. It's CRUEL. It's CRIMINAL. My biggest question--I find myself asking this everyday--is, "WHAT PLANET AM I ON?? What is wrong with these people!!!??? Am I the one who's crazy??" I don't have an answer to that question. (I'm sure some will be quick to answer that for me...) Maybe it is me. I just know this--I'm so tired...

New BBC Open Forum said...

Someone started a Facebook group if you do Facebook....

Fire Paul Williams

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the Facebook link. I checked it out and "like"-ed it.

puddytat82 said...

There are plenty of people sitting in jail today for doing far less than Paul Williams did.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Most of them didn't have a megachurch with millions of dollars and people in high places covering for them either. It's a crying shame when "the world" has a lot better grasp of how to deal with situations like this than "the church."

New BBC Open Forum said...

It's a daily struggle in my prayers to keep my focus on God, not man. I've gotten to the point that the only way I can "protect" myself and maintain a spiritual walk with the Lord is to STAY AWAY from "the Church." And, of course, I'm condemned for this by "the Church".

You are not alone. I'm sorry for your experiences. My heart goes out to you, and I'd offer you a hug if I knew you. There are lots of us "dechurched" folks around, probably a lot more than we realize. I, too, just have to stay away from all the fake, "churchy" people at this point in my life because they're only a distraction from the things that really matter. (Not saying all the people at church are fake because they're not, but I have to avoid the ones who've shown themselves to be wearing the "perfect Christian" mask.) The only difference is I've not felt condemned by the church. I don't think anyone cared when so many of us just stopped going. Never a call from the SS teacher or anyone in our class, but by golly we still get that envelope of offering envelopes in the mail every month! I think they'd be happy if we just mailed in a check every week and never darkened the doors of the church again.

David said...

What saddens me so much is this rush in the Christian churches to be the most popular. They will try all kinds of gimmicks and changes in the name of attracting the unsaved. Really? I am sick of seeing fallen ministers and priests being “restored” to positions of authority so they can start the money wheel going again. Steve Flockhart lied his way all over the SBC and was a rising star till his lies caught up with him. Darryl Gilyard was protected so many times it is so ridiculous. And let’s not forget good ole Ergun Caner and all his lies. Now we have yet another Southern Baptist church that wants to “restore” an ADMITTED pedophile. Does anyone see something wrong with this picture? Just like the Catholic Church it is all about the money. And I am also sick at people that get upset and tell me I am destroying the Body of Christ and His work by attacking these men that are “called” of God. When they act like men of GOD I will back off. I suggest they are called by the $$$$ signs instead. The Gospel I understand and theirs are certainly different. As I have said before let our voices be heard although I am not sure many of these religious leaders really care. They care more about the bottom line. But understand this, we will not go away and we will not be silent.

David Brown

New BBC Open Forum said...


If I've learned one thing in the years I've been at Bellevue, it's that money talks. This was the case long before Steve Gaines came on the scene, and it applies to the SBC and for that matter the world. It's not just a "Bellevue thing" by any means.

When trying to wrap your head around something, just remember rule #1 is "follow the money." That will usually provide the answer.

Rule #2 is "image preservation at any and all costs" (including but not limited to human) which often involves rule #1. I'm convinced this is one (not the only) reason PW wasn't dealt with years ago.

Martin_Luther said...

When watching this, you can see that certain things that stand out:

Steve Gaines Promotes Financial and Biblical Counseling at Bellevue Baptist Church.

Paul Williams

Financial counseling (= salesman, ie: top money raiser)

Bellevue Baptist Church

Steve Gaines (all sins are forgivable, except blogging)

Jamie Fish

Confidential counseling (first to know about PW )

puddytat82 said...

Are you serious?
True story: Know a family personally. Within the last 10 years, a family member who was 12 years old at the time was raped at Bellevue on a Sunday morning by what might be termed as a secondary part time employee, possibly similar to a janitorial type position.
The family has never asked for money, although they have confided to me that the attempts to bring healing have been quite expensive. The family also has never been interested in a lawsuit. However, attempts to receive a meeting with Bellevue counseling staff within the last year & a half to receive a formal apology for the struggling victim were met with indifference & apathy.
YOU go to "Bellevue's Biblical Guidance Office" if you want, but I won't be availing them of their services.

puddytat82 said...

'Course, they probably DO know a whole lot more about money than the real needs of real people.

New BBC Open Forum said...

"Confidential" counseling, my foot. I know of one woman who had gone to their "Biblical guidance" a few years earlier and talked about some very sensitive issues. She told her story here a long time ago, so I'll only repeat what she wrote herself. After PW became public knowledge, she found out that her counseling file (she couldn't remember if she saw PW or someone else, just that it was a man) was at that moment sitting on David Coombs' desk with heaven knows how many other people's "confidential" files so they could "review" them to see if PW was "inappropriate" with anyone else. (As if he would record it in the person's file when he went into pervert mode.) Turned out she had NOT seen PW, but she was furious and rightfully so! To think that anybody up there had access to her file, especially DC... aaaaargh! So this old business of "confidential" is a joke. They were apparently just perusing all the files for the heck of it. Can't you just see them sitting up there digging up dirt on people to use against them later?

puddytat82 said...

More about the true story: According to sources at a local government-sponsored counseling facility, attempts to meet with local churches BEFORE this victim's rape were unsuccessful. When local churches were confronted by the counseling personnel about the security hazards associated with the churches, the answers the counseling personnel received were: "That doesn't happen here," or, "You're doing a great job. Keep up the good work. There's the door."
Although sexual predators can many times be comfortable at church, victims CANNOT!
To those who would try to categorize anonymity as being close to a sin, I say - YOU KNOW NOTHING ABOUT THE PRIVACY NEEDS OF A VICTIM!
To those who would insist a victim reveals all the details of their assault before they are offered help or compassion, I say - PRAY you never ever have to walk the same road.
Churches, PLEASE get your heads out of the sand & start DOING SOMETHING to help families like my friends. This is a VERY common problem, & you won't grow effective church members without offering them educated & understanding help to get through these deep & troubled waters. The problems WILL NOT go away by ignoring them or preaching at the people to "get over it & just get busy."

another anonymous said...

I would just like to confirm what several others have commented on concerning the Biblical Guidance Department of Bellevue Baptist Church. The personal information I shared and the reason I was seeking "Biblical Counseling" was not kept confidential. My experience was the department functioned much like the Human Resorces Department. If you have a problem with anything at Bellevue "You are the problem"! After counseling, my circumstances worsened and became more hostile. My boss had a habit of saying "we will pray them out" if he decided he didn't like someone. I still grieve. I lost my supposedly christain friends, my church and my job. Not to be confussed with losing my faith in Jesus Christ or in God's word. His love remains for me and my love for Him. Those who consider themselves more spritual than me can not take Christ out of my heart. Unchurched is not what I ever expected to be but in my case I am better able to focus on serving others and sharing my faith. Bellevue had become a very hurtful place. Bellevue was distracting me from what I am saved to do.
I have never contributed to the blog before but have followed it all along from the beginning. I would like to thank everyone for their comments, shared grief, outrage, honesty, and for scripture that has spoken to my heart. I have been blessed by you and you have and are helping me heal. I like many have suffered at the hands of others some who thought they were doing what they should. This blog has led me to think things out from different perspectives. You have affirmed what I believe about right and wrong and where scripture backs up those beliefs. Without NASS and others who want to get right down to the facts this would not have been possible. Thank you so much!

New BBC Open Forum said...

Unchurched is not what I ever expected to be but in my case I am better able to focus on serving others and sharing my faith. Bellevue had become a very hurtful place.

I prefer the term "dechurched." For me it's more a scary place than hurtful, but I understand how for many it became hurtful. The hurt I saw in others was the impetus for this blog.

Anonymous said...

I've heard the two fastest growing churches in the area are Faith Baptist and Hickory Withe Baptist in Fayette County. Former Bellevue members are going to these churches. The main reasons? Not popularity, but the music, preaching, and the members made them feel welcome. Don't overlook the last issue. It makes a huge difference whether a visitor makes a second visit to a church.

Anonymous said...

It has been over a half a year. Did the church leadership take any action? What is Williams doing now?

Any updates?