Thursday, August 20, 2009

Courage in Arizona

“You can’t say anything . . . you can’t. I don’t care what she knows. You can’t say anything. Oh God! Do you understand what that could do?”

Those were the words of Christopher Scott Decaire, a Southern Baptist youth minister in Arizona, caught on tape as he talked to the teen girl whom he sexually abused almost every week for a year. His semen was also caught on her jacket.

Decaire met the girl through his position as youth minister at East Tucson Baptist Church.

Guess what?

The girl talked.

She not only talked, but she also testified publicly.

Can you imagine the extraordinary courage of that girl?

At one point during the trial, “she needed more than a minute to regain her composure after breaking down into tears.”

But she did it. That girl did it. She put that predator away.

Yesterday, a Tucson jury found Southern Baptist youth minister Christopher Scott Decaire guilty on child molestation charges. He faces the possibility of 50 or more years in prison.

The girl was just 13 when Decaire repeatedly abused her. She was just 15 when she testified publicly.

But that young girl moved past all the horror in her head and did what needed to be done. She stood on moral ground and, at great pain to herself, she protected others.

If even a small fraction of Southern Baptist leaders would muster even a small fraction of the courage shown by that girl, then kids in Baptist churches could be made a great deal safer.
_______________

More news links:
Former minister found guilty of molesting girl, Arizona Daily Star, 8/20/09
Youth minister found guilty of molestation, Associated Baptist Press, 8/20/09
Girl, 15, tells jury of alleged molestation by youth minister, Arizona Daily Star, 8/13/09
Teenager claims youth minister molested her, KVOA News 4, 8/12/09

19 comments:

gmommy said...

So proud of her!!! What courage!!!
Hope the other clergy predators out there get nervous. Hope this creep being convicted will give other victims the courage to tell authorities...NOT their pastors! This is a victory for this young victim and others!!!

Elisabeth said...

I am from Tucson. I am also very proud of the girl. I am also very proud of the momma, for calling police and believing and standing behind her daughter. Unfortunately, we all know of cases where that does not happen.

I also think that the reaction from that particular church, what I've heard about it, was good. While there might have been some that didn't believe the girl, some that felt that the man must be innocent, the staff did believe her. They fired the man. They didn't publicly rally behind him. We all know of cases where, even after an arrest, firing of the creep can be slow, and ministers and other "christians" publicly rally behind the creep. That didn't happen here. I didn't hear one word of support for the creep on TV, newspapers, nothing. I was glad that in a rather high profile case like this, I didn't hear any support for the creep.

Christa Brown said...

Regarding the reaction of the church, perhaps it wasn't as bad as some, but...

1) The pastor told the media that the church was in "uncharted waters" about how to respond. (Sound familiar, ex-Bellevue people? Those were also the exact words of pastor Steve Gaines.)

2) I don't know that the church actually "fired" Decaire. The news report from when he was indicted said that the church put Decaire "on administrative leave."

3) At the bottom of this article, you can read some comments from members of the community during the trial. Obviously, some were supportive of Decaire.

Elisabeth said...

I hadn't seen the KVOA article, just the Starnet ones. And I've just read a few comments that are, like, barf!

I knew about the uncharted waters comment. I actually took that as sad, a commentary on how little training ministers in the Baptist faith get on how to handle it when a staff member is guilty of molesting a child. I had a counselor who was himself a Baptist minister, and he told me that he didn't get any training whatsoever on sexual ethics, the effect of child molestion, etc, until he got into the classes to become a licensed pastoral counselor! And that's part of the problem as to why so many ministers are clueless.

But they did fire the guy pretty darn quickly. I do remember that. If I remember right, the evening news, or maybe it was the radio, reported he was fired within a week or so.

Elisabeth said...

Unfortunately, no matter how quickly they fired the "minister", how broken up the senior pastor was because of the hurt the girl suffered, there was still a lot of damage the girl suffered at that church.

Kudos to her for coming forward. May she feel good about the fact she has kept that monster from hurting more girls in that church.

Lydia said...

I am so very proud of that girl. She is encouraging every victim out there. And not only that...but her courage will protect other girls. God Bless her!

I hope he gets 50 years.

gmommy said...

Uncharted waters??????What a joke.

Anonymous said...

Youth ministers are a JOKE! These type of "professions" need to be eliminated immediately.

john said...

ANON 11:54

As a former pastor I agree with you 100%. It did not take but one experience with these people until I was convinced that they were unnecessary and a high risk. Most of them are hired with no experience and little if any training.True, there are some, not many, exceptions. But, most of the time tey are hired to do the work that parents could do if they only cared enough to do so.
Thanks for your observation. Maybe someday churches will wise up. Until then, PARENTS BEWARE!

Christa Brown said...

Anon 11:54 - Yes, it's a "profession" with easy entry. Baptist ministers are not required to go to seminary before entering the "profession" and most youth ministers don't. Yet, they still carry the title of being a "minister," and for most people in the pews, that title carries with it the voice of religious authority. So, they have authority, power and trust, along with easy access to kids, and yet they seldom have any significant screening mechanism on the front end. It's a very dangerous combination.

Almost ANYONE can be a Baptist youth minister.

Anonymous said...

Baptist ministers "minister" only to themselves. Everything else is a con.

"Uncharted waters"??? He's just reading the Baptist pitch script.

New BBC Open Forum said...

The pastor told the media that the church was in "uncharted waters" about how to respond. (Sound familiar, ex-Bellevue people? Those were also the exact words of pastor Steve Gaines.)

It seems to be an "industry-wide" problem. Note the theme for the 2010 FBC Jacksonville Pastors' Conference.

Anonymous said...

BBC, does this mean they can no longer use this excuse since they are having a conference that will tell them how to navigate uncharted waters? :o)

Christa Brown said...

"Navigating Ministry in Uncharted Waters" -- Aarrgghhhhh!!! We're gonna be hearing that "uncharted waters" excuse from the mouths of Baptist ministers for the next 50 years!

New BBC Open Forum said...

BBC, does this mean they can no longer use this excuse since they are having a conference that will tell them how to navigate uncharted waters? :o)

Unfortunately, I think in this case it's mostly the blind leading the blind, so I'm afraid Christa's right. Be prepared to hear that one a lot more in the years to come. After all, things turned out pretty well for Steve Gaines when he used it. That is, if you can consider having a few thousand members of your church leave and James Dobson and a seminary president publicly recommending you resign "turning out pretty well."

Anonymous said...

Uncharted Waters?

Listen as Steve Gaines explains "Being Abused" after telling how his father kept him in line.

Now can you see why he abuses his parishioners...

Elisabeth said...

My fingers are shaking as I type this, because it's the first time I've ever done something like this. Guess I need someone to tell me it's okay.

I've told one of my closest friends and a few pastors the truth of how that abusive pastor had gotten me to having sex with him. I was having struggles with homosexual feelings, and I didn't feel that I could be one of God's if I had those struggles. And the pastor convinced me that he was helping me by giving me an example of "what a healthy relationship between a man and a woman should be." He also convinced me of something I already suspected: that my homosexual desires were evil, and that sleeping with a man was more godly than having homosexual desires.

But what I've always kept under wraps is this: that the homosexual desires weren't just when I was in my teens and twenties, trying to get over having been raped by a neighbor boy when I was a child. No, I am a 43 year old married mother and grandmother who is firmly, definitely bisexual. And while I think that the action of having sex with a same sex partner is a sin, (which I have never done, BTW), the desires are a temptation. And I guess God loves me even though I struggle with this temptation.

john said...

Elisabeth,
When you meet God you experience the truest form of unconditional love kown to anyone.
May God guide you in you journey.

Lin said...

Elisabeth, Satan does not bother tempting those who already belong to him except to use them for evil purpose against others. He does not need to waste his time trying to discourage them about their salvation.

But he targets those who belong to Christ.

Keep yourself in the Word.

I am praying for you right after I finish writing this.