Don’t Have Time to Read 1,000-Plus Comments? (Part 1)

We realize that the main post of the blog (with over a 1,000 comments from Bangladesh missionaries and MKs and many others) can be very daunting read for newcomers. With that in mind, we wanted to share this important comment from Diana Durrill which recaps a lot of the vital information that has been shared here. We’ve titled it Part 1, as we hope to publish more of these excerpts over the next few months.

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Somebody HAD to know …

… and we do ourselves no favors by denying that truth. I am weary of the “we didn’t know” or “it was a different era” conversations because this type of sin (adultery, pedophilia, deceit, etc.) is an age-old problem. They are only fooling themselves. So we didn’t call it “pedophilia” … we know that God has always hated all forms of sexual sin. I am not buying the excuses any more.

There are missionaries who have testified on this blog that they KNEW as far back as the 70′s and some before that. Maybe they didn’t know about the pedophilia but they KNEW Donn Ketcham had compromised his reputation and marriage to one degree or another.

GOD HATES SEXUAL SIN. We should, too. We should not turn a blind eye or make excuses.

You can re-read many of the missionaries posts and realize that they admit to knowing more and not doing or saying something. Or you will see the regret at not objecting to the code of silence placed upon them. I have taken the last 2 hours to peruse the comments on the blog. My heart is broken again as I read through the comments and relive the pain of many of them. Yes, hindsight is 20/20 but there is a lot to be said for having a discerning spirit. Had the missionaries been alert to the Holy Spirit’s prompting that something was amiss all those years ago (in the suspicions raised with every inappropriate act agains missionary women in early years, the highly questionable medical exam procedures, or the code of silence placed upon them) there could have been much heartache avoided. I don’t believe the Holy Spirit was not alive and well, providing warning signs and waving big, red flags along the way. Rather, there is no doubt in my mind that some made conscious decisions to look the other way.

Here is a sampling of comments I found in a not-so-quick review of the main thread:

“What is there about truth, that when people don’t like it, they call it gossip? This is not gossip. This should have been talked about 20+ years ago. It would have been had we not been told to ‘not talk about it’. Which at the time did not settle well with me. Now we face the reality that you can not cover up the truth forever, it must come out for those who have been hurt….so they can heal.” – Aunt Lynn, March 27

“It is kind of amazing that we were never asked by the mission if we had any knowledge or observations about Donn’s behavior or any incidents to report.” – Aunt Barb B., March 18

“Facts: The girl’s parents were away. I had responsibility for her. The girl was sick that day. I went out for a time. The doctor came and examined her with no other person present in the room or in the back half of the house. The doctor left. I returned. The girl was distraught immediately after the doctor left. She cried for some time, being difficult to calm down.” – Aunt Barb B., March 20

“The facts are facts and they are stubborn ones. A serial womanizer engaged in serial immoral affairs became active in serial sexual abuse of minor girls. ABWE knew of the former, but allowed him to remain on the field. When the tip of the iceberg showed on the latter situation, they finally removed him, but failed to follow expulsion with a thorough investigation to see if there were other abuses. They also failed to advise him to report himself to the legal authorities and did not report him themselves.” – William D. Barrick, March 23

“…with all due respect, 20-30 years ago something DID happen. And in 1989 something happened. And throughout years BEFORE that ‘things’ happened.” – Cheryl P., March 30

“I don’t remember any specific abuse to myself by him except the fact that I have recurring nightmares that have been going on for decades. We all saw the flirtatious way he was with women and the rides on the back of his motorcycle. I remember the ‘physicals’ that we had and they usually required us to remove our underwear . I have 6 kids and have never gone to a pediatrician where the kids had to remove their underwear, have an interal exam or breast exam when they were under the age of 13. Alot of this is documented in the hospital charts which were written by himself.” – Diane Walsh Ford, March 26

“I know it was a generation thing for us to keep quiet; not to hurt someone’s reputation; not to harm the ministry. We didn’t want anyone thinking bad of our daughters. If you didn’t say anything, it would go away……..Maybe that’s why we tried to ignore this ugly thing going on in our midst! I don’t know. What a mess! I’m trying to understand it. Of course, we didn’t know how many were affected. DK had a way of pulling off his abuse almost in front of your eyes, which somehow took away some of his guilt perhaps-after all, you saw what he was doing and didn’t say anything. Example: examining the girls in presence of the mother like Sue James mentioned. That also happened with our oldest daughter. He was already preparing to give her physical when I came into the exam room-no nurse present. I also remember the breast exam, he says, ‘it’s never too young to learn to self-exam for lumps, etc.’ – I think she was 15 or 16. There were other things, too. She was part of the 2002 group. I just want to ask forgiveness from you girls for not pursuing, investigating, or whatever was necessary. We knew there was a problem with his relationship with some of the missionary women.” – Aunt Barb & Uncle Bob Adolph, March 29

“I truly am sorry anyone would think it was in anyway a defense of Donn Ketchum because I am not a defender of him, his actions or of the missteps that have occurred in handling this over the entire time from the first reports in the 70’s to now.” – Tony Beckett, March 29

“However, your aunts and uncles were wary of the doctor’s defrauding ways with adult women, especially the single ladies. We know of several times the doctor was confronted about his flirtatious ways. Midway through our 14 years I personally addressed this issue with Donn while he was recovering from his heart attack in the USA (1974). But, alas, we only suspected ‘inappropriate behavior’ for a Christian gentleman at that time.” – Uncle Jess & Aunt Joyce Eaton, March 29

“We wanted to scream but the chain of ‘SILENCE’ (don’t talk about it) tightened around our throats and mouths. The chain of ‘NOT YOUR BUSINESS’ handcuffed us, and the chain of ‘FEARS’ (of being guilty of gossip and of damaging the name of Christ) was the final gag.” – Jack and Margaret Archibald, March 30

“Concerns regarding Donn Ketcham’s repeated inappropriate behavior with the opposite sex on the field could have resulted in his termination as early as 1975, but continued indiscretions should have resulted in dismissal no later than 1985. Regrettably, we did not terminate him as a missionary but rather gave repeated opportunities for counseling and remediation which allowed him time and opportunity to sin against you. Please, please forgive us.” – ABWE Board, March 31

“We could have known more if we hadn’t been put under—and abided by—the insistence on silence that Russ Lloyd imposed on us. If only one of us had stood in that SGR 1 living room on that July 23, 1989 afternoon, and said, ‘We will NOT be silent. We must get to the truth in all of this.’ But no one did, and for that I apologize and ask your forgiveness.” – Jeannie Lockerbie Stephenson, April 2

So you see, I find it indefensible that NO ONE knew: SOMEBODY HAD TO KNOW.

— Diana Durrill

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About Bangladesh MKs Speak

We are a group of American former missionary kids (MKs) who lived in Bangladesh while Donn Ketcham worked as a missionary doctor there with the mission agency Association of Baptists for World Evangelism (ABWE) out of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
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10 Responses to Don’t Have Time to Read 1,000-Plus Comments? (Part 1)

  1. Tamara Barrick Rice says:

    I’m really grateful Diana took the time to do this, because I think it’s important for a lot of reasons.

    1) As she already stated, it proves people had clues. (Had they felt more freedom to discuss those clues a lot of heartache could have been avoided … and yet we are still sometimes attacked for discussing the truth, despite the lesson to be learned here.)

    2) It proves that the blog is NOT a bunch of disgruntled MKs out to make ABWE look bad. These are the voices of our parents (who sacrificed much for the gospel) and their coworkers in Christ and even an MK who went on to be a missionary herself. Listen to their voices, if you will not listen to ours.

    3) It should tell visitors to this site all they need to know: People were hurt by this man, and people were hurt because of the way ABWE handled him time and time again.

    • Mother of 14 year old survivor says:

      I am sick, sick, sick! I just re-read the comments from fellow co workers. And..a couple co-workers made comments to me all those years ago when the men from home office came out that they “should of warned us”. If these same people would have done what was right in the past (warn us about DK), our daughter would not have been as hurt and having so many struggles.

      And yet, many of them still catered to DK in the future. Even to the point of invitations to special occasions…which meant that we could not attend weddings, etc. They are not being totally honest either. You do not know the hurt of always being an after-thought of special invitations because these people wanted him there, desiring his an Kitty’s company. We always had to ask if he was going to be there and usually the answers was “yes”, so we stayed home.

      I am trying so hard not to be bitter but this has opened up wounds again. These people just went with the flow. Now suddenly they want to be on the bandwagon with this? Where were they years and years ago? Pray for me as I am struggling and I have tried so hard not to be bitter with our co workers who we have loved and worked with for many years. But this is hard.

  2. paulspassingthoughts says:

    “We wanted to scream but the chain of “SILENCE” (don’t talk about it) tightened around our throats and mouths. The chain of “NOT YOUR BUSINESS” handcuffed us, and the chain of “FEARS” (of being guilty of gossip and of damaging the name of Christ) was the final gag.”
    My comment borrows from the thoughts contained in above quote from this post. As one who was at the sharp end of pastoral abuse because of a stand I took on doctrinal issues, I relate to all of the run of the mill threats that silence those who care. However, my son-in-law and daughter would not back down. “It’s none of your affair; besides, God will judge in His own time,” etc, etc, gag, ad nauseam. In our case, the fight continues until every one them are out of the ministry, and in the process, much further abuse has been prevented. Keep up the good fight, one resignation is not enough; ALL of the ABWE cowards must go, all of them.
    paul

  3. Rebecca says:

    Diana and all, someone knew. Someone always knows. The earthly knowledge came with a coverup and subsequent unnecessary pain. It came with minimization and discount, shame and secrets. This should not be, but thankfully it is not all there is. Or all there was.

    There was a heavenly knowledge here, a spiritual dimension to this that will ultimately win the day. God always knew. Regardless of the pain and hurt experienced by you, your family and all these other brave people here, He always knew. His heart broke for you. His heart longed to heal you all, to hold you and to bring you safely out. He who was with the three young men in the fire was with you then. He is with you now.

    Hang in and keep it up. Much love from here.

  4. Tamara Barrick Rice says:

    I deleted one important sentence, so that Diana’s comment would stand alone as a post. However, I wanted to note that in that one sentence she makes it clear she wrote this in response to the statement “Ex-GARB” made here: http://bangladeshmksspeak.com/2011/03/11/introduction-to-bangladeshmksspeak/#comment-2497 that “someone had to have known.”

    As she proved, people did know stuff. No, maybe not the whole truth. No, maybe not without any doubt that he was guilty of pedophilia until 1989. (Maybe.) But certainly SOME people (no, not all) knew things that pointed to Ketcham’s immorality and improper conduct and they did not push for action. As I said elsewhere, it is indefensible to have known anything about his “way with women” and not shouted until he was gone. Many missionaries have done the right thing, apologized for not standing firm to what they felt in their hearts they should do, and I applaud them for having the courage and humility to say that. They are loved and respected all the more for being able to admit that something was amiss and they were (for many understandable reasons) a part of the problem.

  5. Phil Walsh says:

    Not only did missionaries know something wasn’t right from very early on, but nationals knew as well. It is easy for us to look at this in a vacuum, as only affecting the “white man.” This has had a devastating, and long-lasting, effect on the ABWE culture in Bangladesh and on the nationals there. I have a letter written to me from someone who was present in 1986, when Donn was caught with a single missionary nurse, in which the writer says she “could see it in their [nationals] eyes that they knew” (what was going on). But because of the culture of fear, they never said anything. I have had nationals tell me personally that they knew about this situation and others, including things that occurred later. They believed that the missionaries knew and they wondered why nothing was being done.

    I remember well having a national leader visit our apartment in Chittagong during the winter of 2002/2003, after I had tried (without success) to get our field leadership to address the rapes of minor girls and serial adultery by a national man being paid by ABWE to be a “missionary” in a town to the south. This national, a friend of mine, put his arm around my neck and took me aside to say, “Brother, you don’t have to say anything. I know all about this. We all know about this. It is an open secret. Don’t you have any missionaries who think like you do who could deal with this situation?” The answer, unfortunately, was “No.”

    It bothers some people horribly that I continue to tie the Donn Ketcham abuse to abuse taking place among favored national leaders. I’m not sorry about that. I do this to show that the culture that allows for all of these abuses is one and the same. It is somehow beneath us to address evil (and yes, crimes) in our midst, or to admit that “Something is rotten in the State of Denmark.” But there is something rotten, and to pretend that there isn’t is a lie that will go on to destroy even more lives than those destroyed by one missionary doctor. We must be proactive in our approach to dealing with evil in our midst instead of being reactive. Judging from some of the disturbing reactions we’ve seen so far, we have a long way to go before we change the way we think as believers. This is important to note, since where we come out in our actions is entirely dependent on how we think. We must expose all of this to the cleansing light of Jesus Christ because only the truth will free us from the bonds that have held us for so long.

  6. Deb says:

    There is something in us that wants to believe the best of people and not the worst. Especially someone you’ve known and respected for many years.
    I have dear friends who learned only through court depositions that the abuse of their children, by their grandfather, was sometimes happening in their presence. And they had missed every clue because the clues were so subtle. Only when the truth came out could they look back and connect the dots.
    Sometimes like to think that if God really wanted me to remember something, He would remind me of it. And that if there was something wrong in my life, He would show me. But my walk in the Spirit doesn’t mean I will be always be perfect, or notice, or be convicted.
    I have found that even when I was praying and listening for that still small voice that I was still blind to some of my faults and that I couldn’t see through the deception that was right in front of my face.
    I’m not saying this to let people off the hook who had evidence. But I am saying that there is a vast amount of sad truth in hindsight being 20/20.

  7. Deb says:

    P.S. I totally believe the Spirit convicts us of sin, (my post may make it sound like I don’t!) it’s just that sometimes we don’t see it clearly and may need others to show us. I believe we’ll eventually be convicted of our own sins, but not necessarily will we be convicted of someone else’s.

  8. Ex-GARB says:

    I think extracting the missionary quotes from this blog was a great idea. It addresses the potential denial right from the beginning. All of you who were in BD know each other and the more that comes out, the more will come out. I am sure GRACE will do this but I think fine tuning timelines is always helpful. And it is helpful to remind everyone that these are facts, not differences of interpretation. For example, ABWE says that there was enough to fire DK by 1975. How does the current ABWE board know that? Do they believe what they read on this blog or do they have their own records or both? Apparently, DK was confronted during the recovery from his heart attack. That was 1974-76. So what had he done prior to that to warrant a confrontation? DK himself confesses to three adulterous affairs while in BD. Who are these three women? Someone has to know if you all lived so close together? Sadly it appears that DK has never really had to face the consequences of his behavior. Others have always paid for his sins. I am guessing that by 1975 he had gotten away with it so many times that he had no fear. So it only got worse. Between 1976 and 1989 (if not before) he began abusing young girls capped off with a severe abuse of power with a 14 year old girl. Even when he leaves the field, there is no remorse. His confession reads like some kind of sick resume, not a confession and there is not one drop of repentance. Then he has the audacity to reassure everyone that his wife has met his needs, as if this has anything to do with his “needs”. Once you can look at a blue sky and genuinely convince yourself it is green, you are capable of rationalizing almost anything. That is why the only weapon in the hands of his victims is the truth. That is why the words of the people who were there need to be heeded and timelines need to be constructed. It is going to be an ugly story but it needs to be told.

  9. Along the lines of mission boards turning a blind eye and a deaf ear to problems, and more particularly, covering up issues they couldn’t ignore, I welcome any comments on my blog concerning issues anyone here may want to share about such mission cover ups. We know about the sexual abuse issues, but I’m sure there were other issues, as well. And I know many readers of this blog have similar experiences from other fields, as well. Please feel free to leave comments at:

    http://bamissions.blogspot.com/2011/08/baptist-mid-missions-and-natore.html

    The previous link is to a post on my blog that I made a couple days ago, beginning to address Baptist Mid-Missions’ failures at Natore, Bangladesh. There were many. There were sinful acts committed by missionaries at Natore. In some cases, even criminal acts. And yet everytime attempts were made to tell the home office they’d say “I don’t want to hear it” and walk away.

    On issues they couldn’t ignore, they covered it up as best as possible, and then issued gag orders to the remaining missionaries. BMM continues to deny this. But my list of disgraceful acts by BMM missionaries at Natore continues to grow day by day, as I continue to investigate beyond what I already knew from personal experience.

    I greatly welcome anyone’s comments about BMM or ABWE or any other mission agency and such cover ups and gag orders. I am seeking to shed as much light as possible on this issue in an attempt to make the church as a whole face what is really going on, and hopefully bring these mission agencies under control.

    The testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ has been greatly damaged. The cancer is eating away. Invasive surgery to open up the issues and cut them out of the Body is our only option left.

    Thank you,
    your brother in Christ,
    Wes Patterson
    http://bamissions.blogspot.com/
    (Biblical Accountability in Missions)

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