Monday, March 10, 2008

Two letters in a file

Two letters sat in a file at the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. In the first letter, a Southern Baptist pastor admits he sexually abused a kid, and in the second letter, he takes it back and denies any abuse.

In the letter dated September 6, 1996, pastor Emmett Hayslip resigned his position as director of missions at the Tillman Baptist Association and said this:

“I am resigning my position because I sexually molested [John Doe] over a period of years during his youth.” Hayslip then agrees that he “will not in the future accept employment or a volunteer position with any organization such as with a church…or a school, which would allow me to have contact with children.”

The subsequent letter, dated November 25, 1996, is addressed to the Tillman Baptist Association and shows that a copy was sent to Dr. Anthony Jordan, executive director of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. In the letter, Hayslip says this:

“On September 5, 1996…Dr. Anthony Jordan laid out a pre-printed letter with a place for my signature wherein it was written that ‘I sexually molested [John Doe] over a period of years during his youth.’ I signed that letter under extreme duress, shocked and insulted, and so fearful that my normal faculties of reason were lost to me. No one asked me if I had done such a thing. Instead Dr. Jordan said [John Doe] has been in our office and says you have molested him, and we belive you are guilty. Categorically, with God inspired insight and forthrightness I swear to you now that I did not, ever, molest [John Doe]….”

The November 25 letter is on attorney letterhead, and underneath the portion signed by Hayslip, there is an attorney-signed portion, threatening possible legal action and saying: “Mr. Hayslip has been severely damaged. Mr. Jordan failed to apply even a pretense at a fair hearing.”

So those two letters sat in a file cabinet at the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. Which letter represents the truth?

Emmett Hayslip had pastored Southern Baptist churches in North Dakota and Oklahoma, but after those letters, he did not pastor another Southern Baptist church. However, it appears he has become the pastor of an independent church in Snyder, Oklahoma.

Does the BGCO have any moral obligation to do anything?

According to John Doe, he and another victim met with Dr. Jordan and several other BGCO officials back on September 5, 1996. They presented their stories of abuse and also gave to the BGCO an audio-cassette recording of Emmett Hayslip in which he allegedly made incriminating statements. This was one day before Jordan met with Emmett Hayslip and got Hayslip’s signature on that letter.

Much to John Doe’s disappointment, the BGCO didn’t give him a copy of Hayslip’s signed letter with the admission. He says the BGCO promised him they would, but afterwards changed their mind. Nevertheless, John Doe was aware of the letter’s existence.

So when he learned that Hayslip was a pastor again, he started trying to get the BGCO to do something. That was over a year ago. I’ve seen a couple of his emails to Dr. Anthony Jordan, reminding him of the letter and virtually begging him to take action for the protection of children in the Snyder community.

In February 2007, John Doe received an email back from Dr. Jordan, saying “I have reviewed the files” and that he would contact the local Tillman Baptist Association.

Nothing happened.

John Doe says that, in a phone call, Dr. Jordan claimed the BGCO was simply holding the letter in its files but that the letter actually belonged to the Tillman Baptist Association.

Months later, John Doe wrote again, telling Dr. Jordan this: “It is you and the BGCO who have documented proof that Emmett Hayslip is an admitted child molester. It is your responsibility, as a man of faith and as a leader of the Oklahoma Baptists, to step up to the plate and stop dragging your feet on this issue…. You have the evidence -- Use It!”

Nothing happened.

When John Doe learned that Emmett Hayslip had gotten an additional part-time job driving a school bus, he contacted Dr. Jordan yet again, asking him to send a copy of Hayslip’s signed letter to the superintendent of schools in Snyder.

Nothing happened.

John Doe notified the superintendent of schools and suggested that she herself should contact Dr. Jordan to get a copy of Hayslip’s signed letter. According to John Doe, the superintendent said she called Jordan twice, but no one returned her call.

Finally, after over a year of persistent effort, John Doe was contacted by an attorney for the Tillman Baptist Association, who gave him copies of the two letters. This was the first that John Doe knew of the second letter. John Doe was told that the audiotape could not be found.

John Doe immediately gave copies of the letters to the school superintendent, and according to John Doe, Emmett Hayslip did not continue as a school bus driver.

But he continues as a pastor.

And that brings me back to my original question. Does the BGCO have a moral obligation?

Recently, in connection with another accused SBC pastor who went independent, the Nashville Scene reported some religious leaders as saying that “even if pastors don’t feel they have a professional obligation to warn churches of sex abuse allegations against a new pastor, as men of God and as human beings they have the moral obligation to protect people in the pews.”

How I wish Southern Baptist leaders would act on those words from other religious leaders. I believe the right answer to the question is “yes”; Dr. Jordan and the BGCO had a moral obligation to protect people in the pews.

I don’t know what was on the audiotape that was apparently lost. But even if the two contradictory letters were the only thing the BGCO had left in its file, it still had a moral obligation to do something given the seriousness of the potential risk to others. Somebody at the BGCO should have gotten to the bottom of it, and they should have done so without foot-dragging.

Over and over again, we see this tragic pattern in Baptist circles. It is the wounded victims who struggle desperately to try to protect others while the so-called religious leaders stand on the sideline and keep their file cabinets shut.

[Note: To the best of my knowledge, Emmett Hayslip has NOT been convicted of any crime related to child molestation.]

[Additional Note: In comments, John Doe has corrected me to point out that the tape recording was not lost but that they simply refused to return it to him or to provide him with a copy.]

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

Did he molest John Doe or not?

Anonymous said...

Having known Mr. Hayslip for forty years I can testify that not only John Doe. but at least four other young boys personally known by me.

Anonymous said...

I heard the tape before it was given to the Southern Baptist leaders and Mr. Hayslip did admit to stopping sexual relations with John Doe because John Doe said," No more" sometime during his childhood after much abuse had taken place.

Anonymous said...

Another horrible and tragic scenario which the SBC headquarters and leadership is allowing to continue. This case was handled in a despicable manner but it is not any different than others. I expect that tape will never be found.

Nothing happened over and over again, when responsible action should have been taken by the leadership. This is not rocket science. I'm so sorry for the victim.

Anonymous said...

John Doe tried and tried so many times to keep this clergy molester from hurting someone else. John Doe should not have had to try over and over again and be met with silence each time. A victim is hurting so much already and needs resolution and to be able to heal. The leadership just keeps wounding when they don't do anything. It sends the message that they could care less. They will answer to God for it sooner or later.

John Doe said...

I am the 'John Doe' in this article. The BGCO and/or the Tillman Baptist Association DOES retain a copy of this recording. The attorney for the Tillman Baptist Association has told me, upon my request for a copy, "it serves no practical purpose to give it to you" and, thus, I have no copy.

I do retain a verbatim transcript of the recording, however.

gmommy said...

Dear John Doe,
What words could I speak that would be appropriate or comforting?? You have gone thru so much.
Thank you for sacrificing so much to speak the truth to protect others.
God bless you and keep you and give you strength....one day at a time.

gmommy said...
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gmommy said...
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Jeri said...

John Doe, I am so sorry this happened to you. At last, as people are starting to be made aware of how corrupt things are in these horrible churches, perhaps you will see your tormentor removed from office. Regrettably, this doesn't always happen. But you are in my prayers. These tormentors won't escape forever.

Anonymous said...

What do the police say?

Christa Brown said...

John Doe: Welcome to the blog! In answer to the question of anon 6:01, as I recall, police and prosecutors were the ones who suggested that you tape-record Hayslip and that you take your evidence to the BGCO. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Sometimes even law enforcement people simply assume that denominatinal leaders will take responsible action when one of their clergy is accused. It's such a reasonable assumption, and some faith groups do indeed have oversight systems in place. But of course, it's a wrong assumption when you're talking about Southern Baptists. (and btw...oversight systems are needed, not only for the sake of victims and potential victims, but also for the sake of accused clergy, so that accusations will be handled in a systematic, timely and responsible manner)

Experts recognize that MOST child molestation incidents cannot be prosecuted by the time the child grows up and is capable of speaking about it and reports it. That's why there must be other means for faith communities to address allegations against clergy.

John Doe said...

Thanks for the greeting, Christa.

You are somewhat correct about the impetus for the tape recording. Back in 1996, Emmett Hayslip visted my home. He had a teenage boy with him at the time. They were travelling to a "church camp" somewhere in the midwest. As I had known Emmett Hayslip for a number of years, this travelling companion didn't seem out of the ordinary as he ALWAYS had young, teenage, boys with him. In fact, over the years, many young men stayed with Emmett, overnight, in his bed. This is a known fact. I'll let anyone here draw their own conclusions.

Nevertheless, this time something hit me a bit different. As a new father of an infant son (at that time), it dawned on me that I could not fathom something so evil happening to someone so perfect (an innocent baby) and from a supposed man of God.

I had to take action.

Thus, after a few words of advice from trustworthy friends, I was put in contact with the local prosecuting attorney in the large city near where I lived at the time and he, also being a Southern Baptist, told me to tape record Emmett on the telephone (as he lived in another state) and to bring up the subject of his molestation of me to see how he might respond to it. Yes, he did respond.

This prosecutor, after two hours of discussion with he and his assistant prosecutor (it was only supposed to be a 15-minute appointment), told me that I had described the "classic" pedophile and that, more than likely, Emmett is a "serial pedophile."

As Emmett has never been married, he has had more than enough latitude to exact his brand of perversion on the local sons of the church and community.

I have been fighting, on and off, for the past 11-odd years to get SOMEONE to help me shed light on this case. He may have lost his ordination as a Southern Baptist minister, but he is now preaching locally in a church of his creation. Christa has been so kind in giving advice, comfort, and a forum here to tell this story.

My sole purpose is to ensure that people where he lives are educated on who Emmett Hayslip is. It is so cliche and yet, if just one local person in Snyder, OK comes across this blog and tells another, who tells another, then, maybe, people will again believe.

I can't help but to think of Matthew 7:15 when I think of Emmett: "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves."

Emmett is the epitome of something he is not. Parents are duped everytime. His brand of evil goes against the fundamental teachings of Jesus Christ. Yet, he is too egocentric to see the error of his ways.

John Doe said...

One more thing related to some of the well wishes toward me here...

I do appreciate the support of those who have written nice comments. I need to let you know that the events of my life, and the past 11+ years in dealing with this issue have done nothing but make me a much stronger person.

My life story is much more horrific than just my experiences with Emmett Hayslip.

Nevertheless, I have mourned for that child of long ago. He is gone and yet the fight for him, and all other children who are potential victims of evil sexual predators, remains.

What I am doing in publicizing my case is not for revenge for I believe that God can exact revenge on a level far greater than anything I can come up with. I also believe God will exact revenge. So, I leave that up to Him.

My only goal is to stop Emmett Hayslip from molesting young men.

If this means someone, within the statute of limitations, has the courage to come forth and successfully prosecute Emmett (thus sending him to prison), then so be it. If Emmett dies of natural causes or other, then so be it.

DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT ADVOCATE PHYSICAL VIOLENCE TOWARD ANY PERPETRATOR. THERE ARE OTHER WAYS TO ACHIEVE A GOAL.

Maybe I shouldn't be so callous but, then again, the lives of young people are at stake as long as Emmett Hayslip is free to roam. I was lucky, I became a voice. Many, many, more victims become statistics of drug and alcohol abuse, sex abuse, criminals, or other... not to mention the worst thing of all -- denying their relationship with God.

So, thank you for your comments. Right now, I'd rather have the prayers of the faithful and caring so that we, together, can stop Emmett Hayslip from acting out on his twisted fantasies.

I can't do it alone.

Jeri said...

What is the name of Hayslip's current church?

Phyllis Gregory said...

John Doe: I am so sorry for all you have gone through. You are very courageous to face this man and his cohorts with the awful things he did to you and others. Your courage will also encourage others who are facing similar abuse from the past.

I grew up in OK and still have family there so this somehow bothers me even more. My evil parents and I were members of Sequoiah Baptist in Claremore, First Baptist Claremore, First Baptist Cushing, and First Baptist Stillwater.

This really might not be the place for this -- Christa just zap me if it is not. But, if there are any people out there who grew up in any of these churches, and were abused by the pastor or leaders in the church, and would like to talk about it, would you please contact me.

Phyllis Gregory
billnphyllis@comcast.net

John Doe said...

Christa..

If you think it appropriate to answer Jeri's (10:26am) question, I defer to you..

Christa Brown said...

It's Calvary Community Church of Snyder, Oklahoma. This is the church where Hayslip was while John Doe was dealing with the BGCO during at least the past 15 months.

Anonymous said...

John Doe, my prayers are with you. I am so sorry for what you have been through and am thankful that you are strong enough to tell your story and make efforts to keep others from being victims.

Kaye Maher

Anonymous said...

What baffles me is that John Doe has to be the one to make efforts to keep others from being clergy victims, when it should be the SBC leadership leading in those endeavors.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 4:20, i have to agree with you. I have just joined a Baptist church after many years away from one, and just want to say as a new member how proud i am of the victims who have the courage to fight this evil and I really hope some of these people start to be prosecuted in a court of law. This is every bit as bad as what I have read about in the Catholic priest scandal. You all are brave, and some of us are proud of you. I pray that the leadership of the southern baptist conference starts to take the strongest stance possible against these criminals. C Treadway

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry to hear of what happened to John Doe. It almost sounds like these evil men have a play book on how to do this and get away with it. I do not understand -- There are so many cases -- Why cannot the people who can do something not do so -- I was abused and I am still trying to find a way to get him out of the church -- Even with so much evidence -- some people just choose to pretend nothing happened and keep putting more children at risk -- What is wrong with them -- If it was someone they loved - would they still act the same -- To anyone who is in the ministry and have not done something to help -- some day we all stand before God -- I hope you have a good excuse to give him -- Matthew 12:36-37
But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned."

I CORINTHIANS 5: 11-13

But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler, With such a man do not even eat.
What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked man from among you.”

EXODUS 21:29

If, however, the bull has had the habit of goring and the owner has been warned but has not kept it penned up and it kills a man or woman, the bull must be stoned and the owner also must be put to death.

MATTHEW 18:6

But, if anyone causes one of these little one who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.

Thanks for listening and May God help those that do not

Thanks

Debbie V

gmommy said...

But, if anyone causes one of these little one who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.

Sure seems like this verse would be enough to break the hearts of those who know the truth but they have hearts of stone.

Why is it that those who have suffered because of the sins of others are the ones with the kind and merciful hearts???

I pray that God will richly bless our sisters and brothers here.

Debbie V and her child...the innocent ones.
Tiffany the Brave one !!
John Doe the Courageous one!
Phyliss the Resilient one!
and....

Christa the Relentless!!!!!

May we pray for each other daily.

Jeri said...

The reasoning leads to only one conclusion: the victims who remain with conscience and empathy are the real Christians, and their tormentors are counterfeits. We shouldn't be surprised that big religion is a big (and dangerous) fake. True religion is still (and always has been) a matter of the heart.

Anonymous said...

To your comment on the two letters file of the pastor of calvary community church. I know this pastor personaly and use to attend his church no longer do due to some circumstances. But in my heart I believe all this and let me tell you the word of God says that your sins will find you out and I have been praying that this sin would come to a head and be expose. This pastor and another indiviual who still attends his church.

John Doe said...

To 'anonymous' (July 18) or anyone else...

I would like to hear of any information you might have on Emmett Hayslip (past or present). A child's future may be seriously affected.

Please e-mail me at:

StopEmmettHayslip@gmail.com

Thank you!

John Doe

Anonymous said...

I was curious if anyone knew anything about the probation time or jail sentence for Jerry Carver? (convicted of sexual abuse, education minister of Great Hills)

Anonymous said...

After hearing of this and reading into it, my mother and friend are going to do everything in our power to make this whole town aware of the seriousness and harm this man can cause as a mother of 4 young children I'm willing to go beyond the ends of the earth to protect them... And as for this man he deserves no happiness and no love... How can u be so cruel to ruin a child's life? It's sick! And to go on living and expect to justify it is horrifying! I'm sorry for everything u have experienced I hope that something is done and you can lay your head down knowing u fought for a good cause! God bless you my prayers are with u!