On July 29 the Orlando Sentinel reported that New Tribes is being sued yet again by an abused MK. This is the second suit filed against New Tribes this year. The first was filed last May, by a female MK from the Philippines, who attended Aritao school in the Philippines and named Les Emory as the perpetrator.
This latest suit is filed by a female, being referred to in the article as Jane Doe, who attended Fanda Boarding School in Senegal. Although the suit names a male dorm parent as the perpetrator, it is being brought against New Tribes. New Tribes is accused of not properly investigating abuse, and when it did find out about it, covering it up.
Fanda is the school investigated by the GRACE organization, who published their final report last fall. You can read this report on the MK Safety Net web site, and also on the Fanda Eagles web site. The investigation found that more than 50 MKs had been physically, sexually and/or emotionally abused at Fanda. After the Fanda investigation was wrapped up, MKs from several other New Tribes boarding schools urged New Tribes to investigate their schools as well. After much dragging of feet and a petition, New Tribes has opened investigations into their other schools. This time around the investigations are being headed up by Pat Hendrix, who previously worked on the PC (USA) investigation.
A hearing is set for August 30 in the case of the lawsuit filed last May. According to the Orlando Sentinel article New Tribes plans to argue for dismissal of the suit, because of the length of time before the victim came forward. I hope and pray that this will not happen. I find it interesting, and I hope Missions are taking note as well, that MKs are suing the Mission and holding them responsible, instead of solely going after the perpetrator. I’ve been involved in discussions over whether a Mission is really at fault for abuse that took place in their boarding schools. If they are told about the abuse and do nothing, they should be held responsible, just like any school would be held responsible under the law today. Does the fact that it happened many years ago mean that it no longer needs to be reported and addressed? The victims are still living with the very real consequences of the abuse. If a Mission has files detailing stories of abuse, and they do nothing to help the victims or hold perpetrators responsible, they are at fault. I hope these cases will drive home the responsibility of Missions for abuse that occurred in their schools.