Former ABWE Missionary: Donn Ketcham Surrenders Michigan Medical License

(news from ABWE website)

March 20, 2012

Donn Ketcham surrenders medical license

Ketcham pleaded no-contest to allegations of a “violation of general duty” and “lack of good moral character.” By doing so, he did not admit to the allegations filed in the complaint but allowed the Board of Medicine’s Disciplinary Subcommittee to proceed as if the allegations are true.

The complaint, filed on behalf of the Michigan attorney general, indicated three other women, minors at the time of the abuse, stepped forward during the investigation and reported being abused by Ketcham in Bangladesh.

ABWE terminated Ketcham in 1989 after confirming a report of sexual abuse of a female minor, but did not do further investigations or reporting until 2011. ABWE officials have since expressed profound regret for mishandling the situation and its aftermath.

“We hope this will be another step in the direction of bringing healing to individuals who have suffered and families that have been affected,” said ABWE Executive Administrator Al Cockrell. “Although nothing can wipe away what happened, we are resolved to do everything possible to promote healing.”

In recent years, ABWE has instituted a number of safeguards designed to prevent future incidents of abuse, including helping found the Child Safety and Protection Network in 2006, adopting the Policy and Manual for Child Protection in 2010 and hiring G.R.A.C.E. to investigate the allegations against Ketcham in 2011.

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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20 Responses to Former ABWE Missionary: Donn Ketcham Surrenders Michigan Medical License

  1. isaiah 618 says:

    Thank you to each of you who helped make this step in the process possible.

    (I have these lyrics running through my head today!)

    We want to see Jesus lifted high
    A banner that flies across the land
    That all men might see the truth and know
    He is the way to heaven

    We want to see, we want to see
    We want to see Jesus lifted high
    We want to see, we want to see
    We want to see Jesus lifted high

    Step by step, we’re moving forward
    Little by little, taking ground
    Every prayer a powerful weapon
    Strongholds come tumbling down and down and down and down

    We’re gonna see, we’re gonna see
    We’re gonna see Jesus lifted high
    We’re gonna see, we’re gonna see
    We’re gonna see Jesus lifted high

    -Susannah Goddard Weldy

  2. amazed says:

    Thankful for a step in the right direction.

    • isaiah 618 says:

      Here’s the cut and pasted article from WoodTV8:

      Dr gives up license after alleged abuse

      Accused of abusing girl in Bangladesh in late ’80s

      Updated: Tuesday, 27 Mar 2012, 5:46 PM EDT
      Published : Tuesday, 27 Mar 2012, 5:42 PM EDT

      LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) – An Allendale doctor has agree to surrender in medical license and never practice medicine in the U.S. again after charges of sexual abuse arose in 2011.

      Donn Ketcham, 81, was accused of sexually abusing young female patients while working as a missionary in Bangladesh between 1987 and 1989. A complaint regarding the alleged abuse was filed with the state last year.

      After an investigation, the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs reached a settlement with Ketcham in which he pleaded “no contest” to the allegations and agreed to permanently surrender his medical license. He also agreed that he will not hold or seek a medical license in any other state.

      The agreement was signed in December, but online state records show the license itself was surrendered in late February.

      Though the alleged abuse took place overseas, state investigators say Ketcham may be punished under the Michigan Public Health Code because the incidents constituted “negligence or failure to exercise due care” and a “lack of good moral character,” which is required by law for certain professionals.

      None of the allegations in the complaint alleged abuse of any patient in West Michigan.

  3. Rebecca says:

    Glory to God!

  4. watching closely says:

    Overall, I think a lot of people can breathe a sigh of relief. I find the “no contest” plea interesting, but in a criminal court it would be treated the same way as a guilty plea. In the end, it’s still a step forward.

    I hope the families affected by his abuse can take some comfort and encouragement in the way God is working. He doesn’t always work within our time frame or in the way we would choose, but He is always working. His justice may be slow but it is always sure and perfect.

    • isaiah 618 says:

      Dear Watching Closely,
      Thank you for your continued support and comments. Yes, I am breathing a sigh of relief this morning. Finally, some type of consequence for Donn Ketcham. I think it’s interesting to note that when I first contacted ABWE they told me that reporting him to the medical board in Michigan would accomplish nothing. Well, here is what happens with proper reporting. Yes, I do see God at work and am thankful. At the same time, it’s hard not to feel angry that ABWE didn’t report Donn Ketcham 20 years ago. I do take comfort, as you say, though, in the fact that God is obviously at work.
      Susannah Beals Baker

  5. Roger Fenton says:

    ABWE Executive Administrator Al Cockrell. “Although nothing can wipe away what happened, we are resolved to do everything possible to promote healing.”

    It has been a year????

  6. Jason Jimmerson says:

    I didn’t know which hunts were so easy…a few allegations here from “screen names” and boom, who cares about that pesky thing calls proof. All in all though, it’s fine, you shall be measured the same way by which you measure. Best of luck with that one.

    • Bob Bingham says:

      @Jason, for starters you need to find out how to spell ‘witchhunt’. Secondly, you are profoundly ignorant if you think a few allegations from anonymous screen names are the only thing that is on this site. Do a little more reading and you might learn something.

      • Brad says:

        I think Mr. Jason needs to a) take an English and writing course, and b) think before attempting to write about that which he so obviously knows nothing about. Perhaps if he were to know the hell of being sexually assaulted by someone with 40% more muscle mass than he has, he might not seek so much additional “pesky proof” beyond the consistent testimony of multiple people?

  7. Pamela E. Bennet says:

    Tonight is the first time I have been able to check in and see if anything has happened and what I read I could hardly believe. This is wonderful news indeed. I am only sad that he didn’t just confess his guilt, it is obvious he can’t deny guilt, so why not do the right thing which is what God would want him to do? I shouldn’t bring negativity into this and I am so very thankful this has come about. Full stop.

  8. Raz says:

    Dear ABWE MKs and their supporters: All of us at are rejoicing with you in this victory! Your persistence has finally paid off! Thank you for not backing down! Truth will prevail!

  9. I am just returning from a trip to Bangladesh and China. We arrived back home late last night and I am just now getting to read these articles. Internet was next to impossible while we were overseas and I found myself frustrated that I knew things were happening and I wasn’t in a position to learn the details.

    This IS good news. I know that our family is VERY happy that he no longer has a license to practice. My prayer is that if there have been any other victims in Michigan over the past 22 years, that they will see the Wood TV 8 report and gain the courage to make a report themselves. They have an army of brothers and sisters ready to stand beside them and support them.

    Regarding a witch hunt – some people are just ignorant. He is probably a family member or friend.

  10. Roger Fenton says:

    It never seems to fail. Every time there is one step forward in progress, some one, such as J.J. above, comes out of the woodwork with the intention of regressing three steps backward!

  11. Patricia says:

    Thank you to the BangladeshMK’s ladies of the blog and their families for keeping this issue in the hearts of all those who “seek the kingdom of God and HIS righteousness.” We have learned that every news release from ABWE is not always accurate, in fact it is often painfully misleading. Because of this blog, we now know ABWE could have taken this action years ago, but insinuated it was not possible using the excuse that the offense happened overseas.

    I too, have been praying that if their are MI victims they would have the courage to come forward to first of all get help and counseling, but most of all be able to heal and know their are Christians that do show compassion with no regard of anything in return. Statistically, a pedophiles, yes even the ones that claim to be born again Christians, do not have a great history of being self disciplined, especially when they do not choose to ADMIT “guilty as charged.”

    I not only am praying for the patients that have encountered this doctor, but also his contacts as a respected church member, since we now know ABWE was NOT truthful with the pastor for the reason he was dismissed. In our church, he would have not been able to serve in any capacity that would enable him to abuse! Not only did ABWE hold back information that put him at risk in the community, but also in the church, and probably a church that supports ABWE and their missionaries!

    So we all see how ABWE treats missionary children, and people in a church that accept a missionary that has returned home under less than commendable circumstances. ABWE has no ethical or spiritual restraint to place children, missionaries, or churches at risk by their lack of sharing important information, who benefited from this??!!!!!!! Or were they afraid of what might happen by sharing this information, the ramifications of making this information open to the public that this doctor served, would that put ABWE at risk for lawsuits from other abuse victims?

    From this observer, ABWE only does the right thing when their hand is forced, when there is public outcry and shock, and their PR department can not change opinion by spiritual platitudes and “legal lease.”

    Thank God, for the courage of the ladies of the blog, even through their pain, they seek to shine the light on a very dark situation!

    I am shocked but not surprised that the wordage once again from ABWE indicates they took this action, in REALITY, their hand was forced to take this action, it took them way to long which speaks volumes about how and why and when they seek to do the right thing.

    Praying for the brave ladies of the blog, although we would all like this to move faster, God is working!

    • isaiah 618 says:

      Thank you, Patricia, for your your comments. Everything you said was right on. I also was shocked with the wording from ABWE that seemed to give no credit to the women who worked so long and hard to have ABWE report Donn Ketcham to the Michigan Medical Board.

      • isaiah 618 says:

        I daily run across articles, quotes and situations that make me think about this blog and the our quest for truth. I don’t always research the source of the quote or thought, I just read it and think…

        Here are a few I ran across this weekend.

        “Truth Does Not Fear Investigation”
        David McPherson

        There’s a good saying that brethren have used over the years to show our sincerity in what we practice and preach: “truth does not fear investigation.” The idea is that if one is genuinely concerned about doing right, he’ll not be afraid of someone else questioning what he does. By frequent examinations and regular defenses one is constantly kept “in check.” If by an “investigation” one’s preaching and/or practice is proven true, great. If however it is proven to be false, there’s a since in which this is also great, for now the sincere individual can make the necessary changes to get back on track and be right.

        Unfortunately, not everyone is interested in truth. Some are content to go on in their error hoping no one will ever challenge them. If they are questioned, too many write it off as being “bothered” and ignore the “investigator.” How sad!

        Those fearful of investigation need reminding of what Peter wrote, “…be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you…” (1 Pt. 3:15). When a person gets to the point where they cannot defend or give an answer for what they’re doing, it’s time to do something else. While error may clam up, get aggravated and run from it – truth does not fear investigation. What about you?!

        Action expresses priorities. -Mahatma Gandhi
        Truth never damages a cause that is just. ~ Mahatma Gandhi
        Do you have any thoughts or quotes to share?
        -Susannah Goddard Weldy

  12. concerned reader says:

    It was bittersweet for me to read that DK pleaded “no contest” as his med. license was revoked in regard to the charges against him– the charges he admitted to. Still, I am pleased if it gives some dignity back to those who risked ALL for the TRUTH to come out.

    I am someone who has lived in the area of DK,;attended (former) church that supported him; had friends who went to Bangladesh as short term missionaries; and in my 20’s worked at the hosp. DK was in for his residency/furloughs. I am someone who also believed he must have had an “affair” (maybe even with a national as there was so much secrecy). It wasn’t a stretch for me to believe him to be unfaithful as he seemed to often have groups of nurses around him while he explained the missionary vision of Bangladesh hospital–very “charismatic” around females. At the time, I also felt the secrecy might be to protect the victim. Like so many I was in serious error..

    Since finding out the Truth, God has burdened me to bring the victims before the Throne of God and plead for healing as I continue to do. In this Lenten time of reflection, may God’s redemptive work through Jesus Christ give that healing, peace, love and comfort because we do have a God that requires us to seek after Righteousness and Truth. John 8:31 “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the TRUTH and the TRUTH will set you FREE!! Continue to hold on to the One who died and rose again to redeem you. My prayer for Easter Sunday: may you look in the eyes of Christ and know the Man of Sorrows who acquinted with Grief can still Love beyond all measure and Wrap His loving arms around you with Grace & Understanding that no one else can have–
    In His Precious Name… Amen

  13. Roger Fenton says:

    There has been no activity for twenty days. I would hope that we will see more results from ABWE proper.

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