A Joint MK Statement to ABWE of Solidarity on These Points

Though recent allegations have divided the MKs of Bangladesh, we believe in these last days of the GRACE investigation it is important to remember that which unites us. We do not wish for Satan to have yet another victory in this saga by placing walls between us in these final hours.

So, we wish to remind you and remind ABWE of the things we stand for, undivided:

1. ABWE has not only failed in the past to address child sexual abuse properly–as they have admitted–but their mishandling continues to this day with half-hearted internal investigations with secret outcomes, as demonstrated in the Simms Showers investigation. We ask for thorough investigating by true third parties in the future, for a full disclosure of the Simms Showers report(s) and any future reports, including a response from the accused, with only victims’ names protected. We also agree that the child abuse policy/guidelines at ABWE should be balanced enough that there are protections built in for both the accuser and the accused. We hope that ABWE will allow GRACE to inform such policies and allow for input from adult MKs.

2. ABWE has not properly and publicly addressed their handling of administrative employees who were involved in child sexual abuse mishandling, including Michael Loftis, who they maintain publicly left for unrelated reasons.

3. ABWE has not properly and publicly investigated and addressed concerns of sexual misconduct by nationals on the field of Bangladesh and concerns that nationals may have been abused by Donn Ketcham. All victims matter, not just MKs.

4. We do not desire to destroy ABWE, but rather to see it restored to its former reputation of integrity.

We hope that our fellow Bangladesh MKs will agree with us on these points and join us in praying that God would work in all of our hearts at this time. Signed as one …

  • Rick Adolph
  • Susannah (Beals) Baker
  • Nathan Barrick
  • Deborah (Barrick) Beddoe
  • Scott Benedict
  • Daniel DeCook
  • David DeCook
  • Stephen DeCook
  • Diana (James) Durrill
  • Diane (Walsh) Ford
  • Mark Goddard
  • Kimberly James
  • Debi (Totman) Martin
  • Lynda (Adolph) Miller
  • Tamara (Barrick) Rice
  • Cindy (Adolph) Smith
  • Anne (James) Smith
  • Eric Tower
  • Jonathan Tower
  • Debbie Walsh
  • Doug Walsh
  • Phil Walsh
  • Susannah (Goddard) Weldy
  • Linda (Walsh) Zylstra

If you would like your name added as a Bangladesh MK, please message us on our Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/BangladeshMKsSpeak and we’ll be sure you get added.

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NOTE: The blog will take an indefinite time of silence to be in prayer. We ask you to join us in petitioning God for our unity, peace and comfort in God’s sovereignty. We will continue to post verses on Facebook as reminders to pray, but it will not be a place for discussion at this time. 

Changes & Prayers

We ask for your prayers as we consider ways to make continuing the blog possible. Over the last 18 months what began as a strong team has dwindled under the pressures of this difficult task.

We know it probably looks easy from your computer screen, and that many times you have probably seen how we answered a difficult comment and thought you could do a better job, and who knows, you probably could. But you aren’t doing it. It’s just us and we have withered to a tiny number. Continue reading

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

Gathering Contact Information for the ABWE Investigation

UPDATE 5/21/2011: We have direct contact information for the GRACE investigative team. See this post for details.

If you are a Bangladesh missionary or MK (past or present) with information that may be important to the future investigation, please–if you have not already done so–send your contact information to Bangladesh MK Pastor Dave DeCook at davedecook@mac.com, indicating the years you were in Bangladesh and whether or not you were an MK or missionary.

Also, if you were not on the Bangladesh mission field, but have information that would be important for an investigation of ABWE and Donn Ketcham by the third party, please send your contact info to davedecook@mac.com or email the moderators of this blog at BangladeshMKsSpeak@gmail.com.

Thanks!

Timeline of ABWE Abuse Events

UPDATE: PLEASE CLICK ON THE “TIMELINE” LINK AT THE TOP OF THE PAGE TO SEE THE MOST CURRENT VERSION OF ABWE-RELATED EVENTS.

The following is a timeline of events and documents that may help those who are new to the story or new to the blog understand how this story has unfolded. We will be adding to this timeline and making corrections as necessary, so understand that it is a living document.

We’ll start with the most recent, and head back in history as far as we can at this point, based on documents from ABWE and testimonies here on the blog:

JUNE 2011

♦ JUNE 7, 2011  Pres. Loftis Exits ABWE (DISCUSS)

MAY 2011

♦ May 19, 2011  ABWE HIRES GRACE! (DISCUSS)
♦ May 16, 2011  34 Days Since ABWE’s Intent to Hire GRACE (no agreement reached)

APRIL 2011

♦ April 25, 2011 – ABWE names board members (DISCUSS)
♦ April 20, 2011 – Board Tells Moderators It Will Be a 30-Day Process
♦ April 12, 2011 –ABWE Announces Intent to Hire G.R.A.C.E. (DISCUSS)
♦ April 9, 2011 – Dr. Loftis Sends Letter to Supporting Churches (DISCUSS)
♦ April 9, 2011 – Dr. Loftis Sends Letter to ABWE Missionaries (DISCUSS)
♦ April 8, 2011 – Blog’s First Official Press Release made public (DISCUSS)
♦ April 5, 2011 – ABWE Announces the Commission to Find Third Party
♦ April 4, 2011 – ABWE reports DK to Nat’l Center for Missing & Exploited Children
♦ April 2, 2011 – Russ Lloyd Diaries made public /viewed by 9,000 people (DISCUSS)

MARCH 2011

♦ March 30, 2011 – ABWE Board & Admin. Publish Confession (DISCUSS)
♦ March 29, 2011 – ABWE Board Reports DK to Medical Board of MI
♦ March 27, 2011 – DK’s sending church pastor of 1989, says publicly he was told moral failure was adultery, and pedophilia was never mentioned
♦ March 26, 2011 – ABWE Denies Forced Confession/Answers Questions (DISCUSS)
♦ March 25, 2011 – 2009 Emails w/ ABWE Lawyer Don Davis made public (DISCUSS)
♦ March 23, 2011 – Ketcham Conf. and Forced Conf. of Minor made public (DISCUSS)
♦ March 23, 2011 – ABWE First Response to Blog Page 1 Page 2
♦ March 20, 2011 – Susannah Baker Beals Posts Her Story (DISCUSS)
♦ March 20, 2011 – Ketcham’s 1989 Ltr./Ebersole 1989 Ltr. made public (DISCUSS)

March 11, 2011 – BangladeshMKsSpeak.com Goes Live (DISCUSS)

PAST HISTORY OF EVENTS:

NOVEMBER 2009

♦ November 18, 2009 – Sibling of two victims pleas in written letter to Loftis for justice
♦ November 6, 2009 – Don Davis Responds to S. Baker 

AUGUST 2009

♦ August 27, 2009 – Susannah Baker queries ABWE lawyer Don Davis about DK

2002

♦ July 2002 – Jess Eaton states he turned reports over to leadership
♦ Early 2002 – At “The Return” ABWE MK reunion at Messiah College a group of MKs, now grown women, tell Michael Loftis and Jess Eaton about the abuse they suffered from Donn Ketcham while children on the mission field

SEPTEMBER 1989

♦ September 18, 1989 – Ebersole letter to Ketcham’s supporting churches to notify of termination and request continued financial support of Ketcham through November 1989 
♦ September 13, 1989 – 
Ketcham letter to supporting churches to say he has left mission field and confessed his sin to his sending church pastor

JULY 1989

(These events are found in the Russ Lloyd Diary)

♦ July 22, 1989 – Parents of victim are informed / DK is confronted and confesses 
♦ July 21, 1989 – 
Lloyd, Ebersole and victim stay in Dhaka at the home of an Ebersole relative, where victim is coerced into signing “confession”
♦ July 20, 1989 – 
Lloyd, Ebersole and victim travel alone to Bangladesh from the US
♦ July 14, 1989 – 14-year-old MK visiting family in the US without her parents reports sexual abuse by DK to her pastor, who reports to Russ Ebersole, who then contacts male counselor Russ Lloyd 

Earlier in 1980s

 1988 – Donn Ketcham begins sexual abuse of 14-year-old MK
♦ Mid-’80s – A female missionary to Bangladesh is sent home because of an extramarital affair with DK, and DK’s consequence is to be moved temporarily away from the hospital at Malumghat to Chittagong

1970s

♦ 1974 or 1975 – Donn Ketcham is sent home temporarily for counseling due to an extramarital relationship on the mission field

1960s

♦ Late ’60s -Donn Ketcham has extramarital affairs during his medical training and one results in the dismissal of a nurse from nursing school

Is This Blog Still Necessary?

I did publish this response on my Facebook profile and as a comment to the main post (in there with 1,000 other comments, quite literally), but was asked to republish it here, in a place where others would have better access to it. I wanted to weigh in on a question that has come to some of us from many different sources. The question is:

Now that the blog has “done its job” will you close it down?

I think I can speak for all the other moderators when I explain that the answer is indefinitely no.

To answer the question, here are some thoughts:

1. No, the blog has not yet done its job. Donn Ketcham still has a license to practice medicine in the state of Michigan and is not a registered pedophile. (Please, let’s never forget how important this is. Let’s think about people and children in Allendale, Michigan, and not just ourselves.)

2. Those individual men responsible for the mess at ABWE have not repented individually, publicly or in writing. I speak of their sin and law-breaking (child endangerment laws) as individuals who bear individual responsibility for their actions, and I speak of a handful of men, not the organization as a whole. Let me be clear. Just a handful of men. We fully recognize that the board published a beautiful confession and we are appreciative of that.

[Addendum: Michael Loftis did recently admit in PRIVATE correspondence with moderators of the blog that “ABWE had an “inadequate” response to DK’s sin. We made this letter from Loftis public, but note that he, himself, has never put his name on public repentance or confession in this matter. We take this seriously, and think it is important to note and should not be glossed over or forgotten.]

3. This blog has brought healing to a lot of people. Why would we shut it down? It is the story of truth and redemption. If some of the people discussed on this blog wish to have this blog, with over 1000 comments in just one month and over 6,000 views on average each day become a place where people read a story of redemption, they can go public with their apologies for ignorance or naivety or whatever they are guilty of, right here on this blog, as some others have done. Do you know what a blessing it has been to others? I hear this every day, what a blessing it is to see Christians stand up against lies and pedophiles, and see Christians admit they were wrong (i.e. aunts and uncles, the confession from ABWE’s board, etc.).

4. Even the Bible does not erase the sins of its “main characters” from history. Do you think David preferred the story of his sin with Bathsheba not be recorded in holy books? Do you think Thomas was a little embarrassed that his moment of doubt was all his coworkers for the gospel seemed to remember about him? Do you think the people Paul called out in his letters to various churches really wanted to be remembered that way for all eternity? God’s story is still being written. No, not the Bible, but the story of how God redeems and transforms His people every day.

People can either be part of it or they can look away, but if they are hoping this blog will shut down, they haven’t quite grasped the importance of transparency and honesty in ministry (and life!) and so this blog is still quite necessary.

– Tamara Barrick Rice