SIM swings from one extreme to the other on child abuse policy.

Recently an MK contacted me to tell me about a situation that has been going on with his family and SIM USA. The story is written out in detail on the blog SIM Persecution. This is basically a story of a man who served with SIM for 25 years, suddenly being accused of child abuse by a new wife of a couple years, who I don’t believe was an SIM missionary herself. Without ever asking for this man’s side of the story, SIM tricked him into returning to the United States, reported him to authorities, forced him to sign documents (still a thing missions do, apparently), supported his wife financially and with SIM lawyers as they took him to court, and eventually fired him. They fired him after first refusing to accept his resignation.

The important thing is, in all of this he was never found guilty of child abuse by the DSS, who conducted forensic interviews with the children, his story was confirmed by a lie detector test, the police and sheriff’s office closed the case and ultimately a judge threw out all the abuse allegations and told his wife not to bring any future allegations. Yet SIM doggedly backed and supported the accusing party, even when other SIM missionaries appealed to the International Director. This is a crazy story and I urge you to read it for yourself.

Why would SIM have such a knee jerk reaction to an accusation of child abuse that they would go to those lengths without even asking the accused to tell his side of the story? Should SIM provide financial support and legal help to an accusing party, essentially taking sides in a court case? If you support SIM financially, did you imagine this might be where some of your money is going? At one point an SIM leader even testified against this man in court. Why would they dictate how often this man was allowed to see his children, and throw themselves into the middle of a child custody battle?

This is an organization that has been accused of looking the other way and ignoring abusive behaviour, and I have seen them spend many resources trying to prove that one of their missionaries was NOT guilty of abuse. They have now swung to the other extreme and cannot even seem to consider the idea that an accusation might be wrong, at the expense of a missionary and his children.

This man’s family, who wrote the blog, are pretty clear about how this situation should be rectified. The people responsible for this abuse of an SIM missionary used terrible judgment, and should step down from their positions. The former missionary should be reimbursed for his legal costs and travel expenses, and be provided with counseling.  Clearly there is something wrong with the new child abuse policy at SIM if an innocent man can be accused and victimized in this manner.

SIM has not so much as apologized to this man. When the family protests this, SIM USA leadership tells them that they will pray for them. (Does anyone else hate that response? I have nothing against prayer, but in this situation, and many others I have known, it is used in a condescending way. Oh, and by the way, it’s the only thing they are willing to do to help you.) If anyone from SIM who was involved in this, even MD, would like to give their side of the story they are welcome to do it here.

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4 thoughts on “SIM swings from one extreme to the other on child abuse policy.

  1. Dear Liz,
    Ok, so SIM are just a bunch of crooks!!, Sorry, but that is my opinion, and I am sticking to it.
    This Bill guy, should have dropped his bad wife, and gone into hiding with these boys. There is no other way, to avoid further victimization. SIM had already showed their true colours, with
    all their deception, when they lurred him to the USA, and also his wifes insistance in transferring the money into the ethopia. Christians should receive training also on how
    not to be naive, not just to be compassionate. I guess with having such a good marriage
    the first time, he never believed how bad a marriage could become. This story is very
    sad, and shows you, what power, money, and status can do when non honourable men or
    women are in positions of authority. But they cannot fool God, and He will separate the
    sheep from the goats. Make me think of my religious cousins, that I have in Manitoba. When I mention to them that I have lost my appetite over the last couple of days because or a very
    trying family situation (which they are fully aware of), my compassionate cousin turns to me and comments, “oh dear, try not to let it bother you so much”, lol. We don’t do lunch
    together, too often!!,

    • Hi Katie, it brings to mind Matthew 10:16. Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. I think missionaries are much too trusting of other missionaries and mission leaders. They are still human beings, folks, and they aren’t necessarily working for your best interests. This was the problem back when I was at KA – parents should never have trusted that other missionaries were going to take good care of their children, just based on their being missionaries. Obviously it still holds true today.

    • Dear Katie & Liz,
      I believe you are both right on the idea that missionaries may be too naive or trusting of other missionaries or their leaders. That’s how I was, until I learned through personal experience that no human is fully trustworthy.
      My parents were some of those who went to the mission field solely to care for other people’s children. They spent 30 + years doing so. But they were so naive they had no idea that other caretakers/teachers with whom they worked might sexually or physically abuse the children under their care.
      The positive side of current child safety training is that it makes naive people aware of the possibility of abuse even within the church, so they can be better protectors. I’ve been through training a number of times, and can confirm that missions (SIM especially) have heard MK’s cries and are proactively trying to protect all the children in their care.
      However, the training itself that I have received as a missionary teacher/church worker has a very dangerous side to it. It gives symptoms which are common to many different types of trauma, and pins in the trainees’ minds that such symptoms indicate physical or sexual abuse. So a caregiver may jump to and act upon totally wrong conclusions, and when they report their concerns, (or ask advice of “experts” about suspicions) they unknowingly start a chain reaction that destroys the very relationships and people they are trying to help. I personally suspect that is what happened in “SIM persecution” case…but if course I don’t know the details of the mother’s side. I just know how I myself was “brainwashed” by my training and trusted the mission, experts, and protocols completely, until my eyes got opened.
      I can’t speak for other missions, but I know that SIM’s protocol had the following problem not long ago, and I doubt it has changed: It implies that children will never lie about abuse, and gives no consequence for bringing false allegations. In so doing it hands complete power over to children, allowing them to usurp even godly loving parents that God has placed over them for their own protection. The situation is exacerbated within SIM by its handing so much power and authority over to those handling child abuse cases, with apparently no accountability when they make errors.

  2. Dear Liz,

    Thank you for posting this and the link to the SIM persecution blog. You are correct in your headline. My circumstances are very similar to what this person went through. I plan to post further comments soon, but am still getting my thoughts together. In the meantime, I would ask that all who read this pray for Joshua B (SIM-Intl director) and other top leadership of SIM. Pray that the full truth can get to him in some way, and he will have the courage to do what is right, not just what he may be told is “lawful” or in the best interest of mission image.

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