Similarities between Paterno and ABWE Leadership: As I see it

After reading the following article by Andy Staples in Sports Illustrated, I couldn’t help see the parallels to our current quest for truth regarding the sexual abuse by Donn Ketcham and the cover up by ABWE over the years. I have removed Paterno’s name and changed his male victim to a female to help you see what I saw when I read it.

In all honesty, it’s hard to see anything anymore without being deeply affected by what I know happened to my dear friend. Interactions between my children and others are dissected, casual touches make me cringe, every motive is questioned. Why, because I didn’t question them before. I trusted blindly. The trust was broken.

“I waited several days to write this because my first thought was what I would do if someone did something like this to my child. My initial reaction — and I’m fairly certain most parents would feel this way — was homicidal. If someone molested my child, he would need the police to protect him from me. If I found him first, his death would be neither quick nor clean. I might spend the rest of my life in prison, though I’m not sure a right-thinking jury would convict me. Those were the first thoughts that popped into my head, and I’m not ashamed to say that. So why didn’t [Russ Ebersole or Wendell Kempton], [both men] who claim to have dedicated [their lives] to the [MKS], feel the same way? Why didn’t [they] do everything in [their] power to ensure [they]  helped protect kids who couldn’t protect themselves? I thought if I waited a few days I could look at the situation through a more rational lens. I can’t. Every time I think about it, I get more angry. And I pray that I can protect my kids from the monsters, because apparently not everyone feels the same responsibility. If  [Ebersole, Kempton, Loftis, Davis, Lloyd] would sit silently for years about this, [they have] no business representing [Christ] around the world.”

[They] can’t stand up to tough questions, because [they] have no moral leg on which to stand. If no one had made an accusation, it would be completely believable that [these men] didn’t know. [Their] inaction would make sense.

But someone did tell [them]

…[acts] so heinous that the mere mention of [them] should cause any normal person to retch — exactly how extensive a report of sexual activity [did they] need to do the right thing and make sure the report [got] investigated thoroughly? No one gets a little bit fondled. … Beyond that, a grown man and a [very young girl] … That isn’t normal. That requires an inquiry. Yet [they] did nothing except kick the accusation [under the rug]. If [they] wanted the claim investigated, [they] could have made an investigation happen. [They] didn’t.

Still, we need to wait until the facts come out before judging [these men]. Maybe there is some reasonable, rational explanation for [their] silence. Can I honestly say that I would go to the police if a subordinate reported something like that to me about a longtime friend? Which person would I believe?

Remember that we’re talking about a [12]-year-old. Someone’s [daughter] who stands no chance to live a normal life. And let’s not forget anyone else who might have been harmed in the years between the [first] report and [now]. If the charges against [Ketcham] are true [and the evidence presented suggests they are], any molestation that took place between the [first report] of inappropriate actions and [now] is on the hands of everyone who knew. That includes [Kempton, Loftis, Ebersole. Davis, Lloyd…]

Forget it. There is no defense. There is no rational explanation. I hope, if placed in the same situation, I would protect the child. If I didn’t, may God have mercy on my soul….

…”May no act of ours bring [God] shame.”

Here’s a link to the original article. 

-Susannah Goddard Weldy


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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5 Responses to Similarities between Paterno and ABWE Leadership: As I see it

  1. 1teebowfan says:

    If you are being fair then these exact same things would have to be said about and asked of the parents that also knew.

    • isaiah 618 says:

      This has been a year full of questions.

      Who knew? What did they know? Why didn’t they do anything? Who did what? Why did those who were told just a little blindly believe that those who knew more were taking the proper steps to report and prevent this from happening again?

      Many people are asking these questions. I’ve asked these questions. As a teenager and best friend of one victim, I have asked myself why I didn’t do more with what little I knew. I was 14. I was told not to talk about it. I was told the ABWE leadership was taking care of it. I was told if I talked about it, I was sinning.

      -Susannah Goddard Weldy

  2. Patricia says:

    WOW! Can not believe what I just read!

    Satan is the great deceiver! A child is taught that like our Heavenly Father, a child’s earthly Father and Mother love and care for the child, would do anything to protect and nurture the child: physically, emotionally and spiritually. What could destroy that beautiful picture?

    It is the denial the disbelief that this has happened to my child, I do not know too many parents that have studied a manual on what to do in the stage of development in their child’s life when they are abused. No more than parents take course on what to do when your child is dying. It is an issue they hope they never have to deal with, when it happens they go for GODLY advice, how would they know the people that promised to help them were in fact aiding the abuser!

    Pastors, fellow co workers, people that knew of this man, heard him speak in churches and camps around the country did not know, we all thought he had fallen into sin, it was the mission board that caused years of a GROWING WEB OF DECEIT and many choose to still be caught in the web, I am NOT one of them. It was not the fault of the children or the parents.

    I have talked to adults that were abused as children, I have read literature about abuse victims, the precious little children that are being abused CRY OUT IN “SILENCE” FOR HELP AND WONDER WHY GOD AND THEIR MOMMY AND DADDY ARE NOT COMMING HELPING THEM!

    On some level they THINK their parents KNOW about the abuse and CHOOSE to not help, the guilt the abuser throws on them keeps them silent, THE INFORMATION IS SHARED WHEN THE CHILD FEELS SAFE ENOUGH TO TELL.

    I can tell you from personal experience that this devastates the parents! They think they are the safety net, but in most cases it is only when they find an adult they feel they can trust, so you need to ask NOT why did the parents not ask questions, BUT what was done to the child to make them feel they could NOT trust the parents. This is NOT an unusual pattern. The oddity in this situation is that GODLY PEOPLE IN POWER HELPED THE ABUSER AND CONTINUE TO AID THE ABUSER AND HARM THE ABUSED TODAY!

    You have been able to see it in print since last March. An evil man, pretending to love God and be a healer, and a mission board pretending to love the missionaries and their families. Churches and individuals and PASTORS across the country that say they are willing to support missionaries and will hold mission agencies accountable for all actions and decisions but have NOT!

    It speaks VOLUMES to me that we are approaching a year that this information has been on the blog. WHY has ABWE not rushed to heal and aid the victims? WHY are churches and individual still supporting ABWE. And I have one more question and maybe this will help answer some questions from the past:

    WHY, WHY, WHY would any missionary, that truly loves the LORD and wants to share the GOSPEL with the lost WANT THE STAMP OF APPROVAL FROM ABWE ON THEIR PRAYER CARD!

    It honestly nauseates me to think of a PRAYER CARD and the ABWE logo together, talk about an oxymoron!

    Such harsh questions hurled at the victims and their families, what about today with the information given and the acknowledgement of the sin, and the cover up ask the tough questions for today:

    WHY? Would any individual, church or Pastor, support this mission agency!
    WHY? Would any couple serve under an agency that has shown so little regard to children and missionary families!
    WHY? Would any decent human being, let alone some one that claims to be an CHRISTIAN and ambassador for CHRIST want to have anything to do with this mission agency in a position as a STAFF MEMBER or a BOARD MEMBER!

    That is the tough questions to ask today, not would have, should have, could have, in a situation from the past that we still may not have all the information, the abuse victims, still are not getting the answers they need and it has been YEARS!

    Along with praying about this situation, I think every one that claims to know and love the Lord needs to ask, what can I do to show these brave ladies that I will ask for justice, I will ask tough questions, I will not allow this to continue, not under the BANNER OF THE LORD!

  3. concerned reader says:

    Amen and Thank you for putting it so well

  4. Pamela E. Bennett says:

    I say WOW to Patricia’s post. You wrote what I am thinking. A closer look at all the mission agencies that the GARBC people were/are familiar with, such as, ABWE, BMM, EBM all have scandals on their hands in one form or another. I realize EBM no longer exists but what a strange set of circumstances, and I wonder, are people able to grill them on the who, what, when, why? Just check out Biblical Accountability in Missions and you can read about BMM, are they being questioned as to the who, what, when, why? Are the churches and missionaries asking ABWE the who, what, when, why? We have been given so much information on all these boards and yet the victims seem to be the ones still on trial. One more thing, I hope people who get on this blog read the documentation and not just the comments, as it surely will clear up some questions immediately. Full stop.

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