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. (NOTE: START AT THE BOTTOM.)
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:
♦ August 8, 2016 – Channel 8/Wood TV in Grand Rapids airs a 12-minute segment on Donn Ketcham, including a summary of the Pii Report and interviews with former MKs. View Ken Kolker’s report HERE.
♦ August 1, 2016 – Channel 8/Wood TV reports that a local Western Michigan victim, allegedly abused at Ketcham’s Allendale family practice, who first came forward to police in 2011, is currently pursuing charges. Ken Kolker reports.
♦ May 10, 2016 – ABWE releases the report publicly along with a video apology from Al Cockrell; a letter from interim President Al Cockrell; their May 2016 Child Protection Policy; and ABWE’s Media Release. [As the main “Protecting Our Children” page on ABWE’s site changes according to what is new in the situation, we’ve captured the screen shots in this May 20th pdf, in case the information is changed or moved at a future date.]
♦ May 6, 2016 – “Persons of Interest” in the report, are sent digitally protected copies of the report. Printed copies of the report begin to arrive for victims who requested them on or after May 2.
♦ May 2, 2016 – Many (but not all victims) receive digitally protected copies of the Pii Report. Most request printed copies, because of the difficulty in reading, processing, and sharing–even with family members–the information in this form.
♦ April 24, 2016 – A psychologist in Ada, Michigan, acting on behalf of ABWE, sends written letters to victims of Donn Ketcham identified during the Pii Investigation to inform them that the Pii Investigation was complete and the full report (with victim’s names protected) would be available to them privately the week of May 2, 2016.
♦ April 22, 2016 – ABWE announces that the Pii Investigation is complete and they are committed to sharing all of the findings.
♦ April 4, 2016 – ABWE President Jim O’Neill resigns and Al Cockrell returns as interim president.
♦ March 11, 2016 – Pii Report on Donn Ketcham and ABWE is completed. (Presumably released to ABWE executives on this date.)
♦ February 25, 2014 – Bob Jones University boldly rehires GRACE under the original terms of their agreement.
♦ February 7, 2014 – When GRACE announces that Bob Jones University terminated their investigation agreement (just as ABWE had a year prior), renewed interest is shown in how ABWE has conducted itself after terminating GRACE. An ABWE MK comes forward with her ongoing private correspondence with Duane Early of ABWE in an effort to demonstrate ABWE’s behavior post-GRACE and in the process outlines the details of her bad experience with Pii back in November 2013.
♦ November 21, 2013 – Pii (Professional Investigators International) contacts an MK via email and the language used shows obvious signs of downgrading the severity of the situation. What should be an investigation is now “research” and what should be looking into the sexual abuse perpetrated by Donn Ketcham and subsequent coverup by ABWE staff is now just research into the hospital. The MK exchanges a series of emails with Pii regarding the terms of the investigation, who will be present at the interview, etc., and Pii refuses to answer the questions prior to a personal face-to-face meeting. After a few emails are exchanged, in which Pii continues to stonewall, the victim asks if she will be excluded from the investigation since Pii refuses to answer her questions prior to a face-to-face meeting. Pii ignores that email, does not even bother to respond.
♦ February 20, 2013 – ABWE suddenly decides–despite no communication with MKs to answer the questions we first raised days ago–to make the Pii report public and also takes the opportunity to sling more accusations at GRACE; purports to love abused MKs, but fails to recant accusations in initial announcement that MKs conspired during meals in Philadelphia, resulting in “tainted” testimonies; admits only 8 of over 100 interviewees found any fault with GRACE
♦ February 19, 2013 – At some point during the day Christianity Today confronts ABWE with MK concerns about the Pii report being confidential
♦ February 18, 2013 – Members of BangladeshMKsSpeak are interviewed via email by a reporter from Christianity Today and we express concern that the Pii report will not be made public
♦ February 11, 2013 – GRACE responds to ABWE’s allegations with this letter
♦ February 9, 2013 – Some but not all MKs receive an email from ABWE President Al Cockrell stating that GRACE was fired and the organization “meant” to inform MKs first
♦ February 8, 2013 – Member of BangladeshMKsSpeak points out to ABWE that MKs should have been the first to know
♦ February 7, 2013 – ABWE fires GRACE. Uses website announcement to break news.
♦ January 18, 2013 – GRACE Update promises investigation will wrap up by end of March 2013
♦ October 12, 2012 – ABWE announces that they have let Don Davis and Russ Ebersole go. Admits for the first time that Michael Loftis resignation was impacted by ABWE abuse scandal, citing “leadership failure” for the first time publicly–and incidentally directly contrary to statements regarding Loftis by Church Relations VP Tony Beckett (who had nothing but “love and appreciation” for Loftis) and former Chairman of the Board Ron Berrus (who stated Loftis had “unquestioned moral and financial integrity, giftedness, and a great passion for the cause of Christ worldwide”) in 2011.
♦ September 5, 2012 – BBC announces that plans to name the athletic center for Kempton have been suspended pending review. The matter is covered by the Scranton Times Tribune.
♦ September 1, 2012 – BangladeshMKsSpeak is informed by blog comments that the heavily ABWE-tied Baptist Bible College and Seminary of Clark Summit, Penn., plans to name their new athletic facility for Wendell Kempton.
♦ August 31, 2012 – One hour later BangladeshMKsSpeak obtains a copy of the disciplinary letter given to Jay Walsh on May 16, 2012. It confirms the 14-year-old MK named Jay Walsh in the 1989 Russ Lloyd Diaries (the letter had been hand delivered and signed by the Chairman of the Board) and concludes there were credible allegations of abuse of non-MKs in the 1970s. BangladeshMKsSpeak publishes the letter online.
♦ August 31, 2012 – ABWE Chairman of the Board says he hasn’t seen the Russ Lloyd Diaries and leads a member of the James family to believe that ABWE is not aware the once 14-year-old victim–never contacted by Simms Showers–had named missionary Jay Walsh as a molester in 1989. Chairman stated that if true it would, “Change everything.”
♦ August 28, 2012 – BangladeshMKsSpeak asks ABWE-supporting churches to call ABWE into full accountability in this matter of multiple unnamed pedophiles.
♦ August 27, 2012 – BangladeshMKsSpeak encourages former and retired ABWE missionaries to have their names cleared, as ABWE’s decision to not name the pedophiles causes all to be suspect.
♦ August 23, 2012 – BangladeshMKsSpeak finds 60% of those surveyed who believe Simms Showers should have contacted them, were never contacted.
♦ August 20, 2012 – BangladeshMKsSpeak becomes aware that ABWE has concluded its internal Simms Showers Historical Investigation into child sexual abuse and has posted a statement online saying multiple pedophiles (unnamed and not clearly numbered) were disciplined, it was a private “personnel matter,” and the matter was closed.
♦ May 30, 2012 – GRACE UPDATE: MK interviews are all but completed and missionary interviews have begun.
♦ May 16, 2012 – Date of ABWE Board Chairman letter informing Jay Walsh that the Simms Shower report found the accusations against him mostly credible and dismisses him from any association with the board.
♦ April 23, 2012 – BangladeshMKsSpeak launches Facebook page.
♦ March 20, 2012 – ABWE announces that Ketcham pleaded no-contest to allegations of a “violation of general duty” and “lack of good moral character” by the State of Michigan Medical Board of Review after their investigation, which was begun in mid-2011. Ketcham surrenders his medical license once and for all.
♦ March 2012 – An unknown percentage of MKs and missionaries are contacted by a new law firm hired by ABWE (Simms Showers) to investigate cases of “historical abuse.” This firm is not required to provide any accounting of their investigation to anyone but ABWE, making it entirely internal.
♦ October 29, 2011 – BangladeshMKsSpeak exposes ABWE’s long-standing relationship to GARBC and asks the GARBC to stand in support of abused MKs
♦ October 22, 2011 – BangladeshMKsSpeak Challenges ABWE to CHANGE (DISCUSS)
♦ October 22, 2011 –
Blog moderators discover all mentions of this blog are gone from ABWE.org, as are all mentions of the hiring of GRACE, GRACE updates, and the ABWE confession of wrongdoing made on March 30, 2011 (no worries, we have the screen shots) NOTE: We discovered the mentions about GRACE and the reports from GRACE are actually there, you just have to dig for them in news and articles–and we noticed they are reformatting GRACE’s reports to publish them as they please. They are not posting PDFs of the actual reports, as GRACE writes them.
♦ September 26, 2011 – GRACE Update: Still don’t have all the requested documents and got a new person from ABWE assigned to be liaison (DISCUSS)
♦ September 20, 2011 – ABWE’s The Message: Tony Beckett says ABWE isn’t changing and makes no mention of the problems with child protection accountability (DISCUSS)
♦ September 3, 2011 – GRACE releases questionnaire
♦ August 25, 2011 – Launched: BangladeshMKsSpeak.com w/ FORUMS
♦ August 19, 2011 – Televised: Blog Co-Founder Tells Story to TBN
♦ August 11, 2011– The day TBN was originally supposed to air their story on MK abuse, ABWE released this statement claiming their child protection policy of November 2010 led to new “best practices” (no mention of their denial letters of March 2011)
♦ July 31, 2011 – GRACE Update: Representative visited ABWE (DISCUSS)
♦ July 7, 2011 – Appeal for contact info of missionaries and MKs
♦ June 7, 2011 – Pres. Loftis Exits ABWE (DISCUSS)
♦ May 19, 2011 – ABWE HIRES GRACE! (DISCUSS)
♦ May 16, 2011 – 34 Days Since ABWE’s Intent to Hire GRACE (no agreement reached)
♦ 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 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 23, 2011 – Local Channel 8 News Cover Story in Grand Rapids
♦ 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, 2010 – ABWE adopts a new plan of “best practices” for child safety, but DOES NOT contact the victims of Donn Ketcham or follow up on promises of an investigation made in 2002
♦ 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 27, 2009 – Susannah Baker queries ABWE lawyer Don Davis about DK
♦ 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 ABWE employee Jess Eaton about the abuse they suffered from Donn Ketcham while children on the mission field–these specific women are promised an investigation (which did not happen until GRACE was hired in 2011); these specific women are promised payment for counseling (which did not happen until 2010, after a sibling insisted ABWE begin helping)–note: only a fraction of Donn Ketcham’s MK victims were even present at “The Return”
♦ 2001 – Michael Loftis, an ABWE missionary with close ties to the GARBC, becomes president of ABWE, taking over for Wendell Kempton
♦ 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
(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 // NOTE: In August 2012, we received confirmation that the MK also named missionary Jay Walsh as a molester, but was talked out of her accusation under duress.
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
♦ 1974 or 1975 – Donn Ketcham is sent home temporarily for counseling due to an extramarital relationship on the mission field
♦ 1971 – Wendell Kempton begins his 30-year presidency of ABWE, during which he spent 16 years as part of the leadership of the GARBC’s “council” (between 1975 and 1996), 16 years that happen to span the years that ABWE was dealing with the indiscretions and sin of the GARBC’s beloved Robert T. Ketcham’s son, Donn Ketcham
♦ Late ’60s -Donn Ketcham has a relationship with a student nurse at a Catholic hospital in the midwest while on furlough that results in the dismissal of the nurse from nursing school, according to this eyewitness and former friend of the Ketcham family
♦ 1963 – Donn Ketcham begins missionary service with ABWE in East Pakistan, a country later to be known (after the war) as Bangladesh
♦ 1962 – Newhall Baptist Church of Wyoming, Michigan, commission Donn and his wife for missionary service
♦ 1957 -Donn Ketcham is ordained by Belden Ave. Baptist Church in Chicago, where his parents were members
♦ 1950s -Donn Ketcham has extramarital affairs during every stage of his medical training, as he admitted in his confession of 1989
♦ 1952 -Donn Ketcham graduates from Baptist Bible Seminary
♦ Late ’40s -Donn Ketcham attends Kings College for one year, then transfers to Baptist Bible Seminary (later known as BBC in Clark Summit, PA, with a dorm named for Ketcham’s father Robert)
♦ 1935 -ABWE, a fairly new mission board (formerly ABEO) elects GARBC Pastor Harold Commons as president, a role he continued for a long 36 years, until 1971, well after Robert T. Ketcham’s son became a missionary to Bangladesh
♦ Early ’30s -Donn Ketcham’s father, the Rev. Robert T. Ketcham begins his long-held leadership role in the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches (GARBC), the association of Baptist churches closest in ties to the mission board ABWE. While he did not become president of GARBC until 1934, Robert T. Ketcham was vice president in 1932 and is considered by the GARBC to be the most influential leader in its history.
♦ 1930 -Donn Ketcham is born to Robert T. Ketcham and his second wife (the first passed away)
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You may want to update your own website; this information is misleading, at best: “Blog moderators discover all mentions of this blog are gone from ABWE.org, as are all mentions of the hiring of GRACE, GRACE updates, and the ABWE confession of wrongdoing made on March 30, 2011 (no worries, we have the screen shots) NOTE: We discovered the mentions about GRACE and the reports from GRACE are actually there, you just have to dig for them in news and articles–and we noticed they are reformatting GRACE’s reports to publish them as they please. They are not posting PDFs of the actual reports, as GRACE writes them.”
I went to ABWE’s site to check this out – all of this is easy to find and open to see (including past articles of confessions). I am not an “enemy” to your cause, either. I have been following it over the last few months and do want justice to be done and a child abuser (if he is found to be so) to be stopped. I pray for your peace and healing (as only God can do, with or without earthly justice). I was thrilled to see that ABWE submitted to the oversight and review of GRACE and will continue to follow its results.
God bless your efforts to arrive at truth and justice – from another MK of ABWE.
Thank you for writing us. We will check this out.
Linda, if ABWE has made the articles easier to see then that’s great. At the time, they were difficult. We are very cautious here on this site what we alter and do not alter, once we have said something. As much as it is possible, we are into apologies, not altered statements. That is why, though your quote from our Timeline does not have the words scored out, they are indeed scored out in the Timeline, followed up by the “note” of update. This is very purposeful, as we wanted to clearly correct our mistake. And also, at the time–don’t know if it’s still true–ABWE was NOT publishing GRACE’s actual reports. To my knowledge, this remains accurate.
I am a little confused about the comment by Linda Teekell, she said, “I have been following it over the last few months and do want justice to be done and a child abuser (if he is found to be so) to be stopped.” Doesn’t all the documented information and his signed confession tell us he is in fact a child abuser or is she just meaning if he is charged by a court of law to be a child abuser? Just confused with that sentence, that’s all. Full stop.
Tam, thanks for your reply. I do see the scored out lines now on your quote; I don’t believe those were there when I first read it, and I merely cut and pasted the words. However, I’m not accusing you of adding it (the scoring), but just that my computer may have had some kind of “glitch” – or I’m getting too old – could be that, too (ha!). Anyway, I appreciate your clearing it up quickly. All I originally did to verify the statement was to go to ABWE’s website, type “GRACE” in the search engine, and scroll through the dated news articles and such. I agree that it will be important for ABWE to update the “findings” on a regular basis as I (and others, too, I imagine) plan to check to see how this has all been handled.
Pam, I meant the latter, for that probably should occur if the findings prove so by a full hearing and/or a court of law.
Linda, maybe the scoring through doesn’t always show up. We’ll need to look into that, as I am hesitant to remove that sentence entirely, but also don’t want to spread false information. Thanks for letting us know.
As for ABWE, our frustration lies in the fact that before GRACE was hired by ABWE, one of the things GRACE discussed as a benefit of their involvement was that the religious institution being investigated may be required to have a tab on their homepage, making information about the situation/investigation transparent and easy to find. Obviously, that hasn’t happened. We are not privy to what is said now between those two parties, but we do know that ABWE is choosing not to make the information “readily” available. As in, if a Baptist family thinking of becoming missionaries and doesn’t know anything about this goes to the ABWE website are the likely to find out anything about this if they don’t know to look for it? Not likely. So that’s frustrating to us (or to me personally), as one of our major concerns is MKs on fields with ABWE right now and in the future. ABWE’s current system of child protection is absolutely NOT about child protection, but that is something we will dive into in a future post.
Thanks, Linda. — Tam
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