If you believe that Jay Walsh is innocent of the allegations against him, the document from ABWE still deserves your attention. What does it indicate:
- The investigation had some holes. Simms Showers/ABWE didn’t even attempt to interview a key witness. That’s a problem, by any standard.
- ABWE clearly determined (their determination, yes, not a court of law) that he was guilty enough that they had to sever ties. And yet they tried to do it very quietly and secretly, once again hiding matters involving child sexual abuse. That’s a problem, by any standard. I believe that even if you think he is innocent you should still agree with the premise that secretly dismissing any man for breach of a child sexual abuse policy is a problem.
- Even if you believe in Jay Walsh’s innocence you have to admit that ignoring allegations against him in 1979/1980 and again in 1989, recanted under duress or not, is strange. That’s a problem, by any standard.
- ADDED: Also the letter proves that yet another terrible travesty happened with Russ and Russ in 1989. A 14-year-old girl accused someone other than DK and not only did they never tell her parents, they questioned her until she recanted.
So, in short, the point is that you can fully believe in Jay Walsh’s innocence and still see the inherent problems that the ABWE letter to him exposes.
I believe that people around a man in ministry must be able to make their own choice in this matter–to believe allegations or not to believe allegations. To take that choice away from them is unacceptable. And let’s call them that, because that’s what they are “allegations,” which ABWE found credible.
If your child attended a school were there were allegations against a teacher would you not be outraged if you were not informed the allegations existed? If allegations existed against your pastor and you were not informed, would you not be outraged?
So, I guess the point could be summed up by a bumper sticker I saw the other day:
If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.
And that should be true for those who believe in Jay’s innocence as well as those who believe in his guilt.