Friday, May 15, 2009

Passing the trash

Last week, the Oregon legislature passed a law prohibiting school administrators from making deals that hide the “sexual misconduct” of teachers who resign.

These sorts of deals are so common that they have a nickname -- “passing the trash.”

What happens is that an accused teacher is allowed to voluntarily resign from a school district, without having the accusations investigated by the state’s teacher disciplinary board. Typically, the school district agrees to either provide a reference letter or to say something innocuous when asked -- something like “he voluntarily resigned for personal reasons.”

It’s a good deal for the problem teacher and for the school district. The teacher gets to leave under a cloak of secrecy, without having his teaching license affected, and the school district gets rid of a problem quietly and quickly.

But of course, for kids, it’s not a good deal at all. It can be devastating. The problem teacher can readily move to a new school district, in or out of Oregon, where he may abuse again and again.

So, with what’s been described as a “cutting edge” law, the Oregon legislature addressed the “passing the trash” issue. When it becomes effective, the new law will prohibit any school from “entering into an agreement or contract that suppresses information related to child abuse or sexual conduct.”

The law also requires that school districts must disclose to other districts any “substantiated” reports of sexual abuse or sexual conduct by a prior employee. It broadly defines “sexual conduct” so as to include “any verbal or physical conduct that is sexual in nature and directed toward a student,” including “grooming behaviors.”

So, for the protection of kids, Oregon is working to get teachers out of positions of trust in the classroom, based on standards that are less rigid than criminal conviction.

“Passing the trash” is a problem, not only among independent school districts, but also among autonomous churches. We’ve seen it over and over again in Baptist churches.

It’s the NIMBY response at work: “Not in my back yard.”

A church with a problem pastor decides it’s easier to simply let the pastor resign, without looking too closely at troubling accusations. The church gets rid of the problem quietly and the pastor gets to keep his career.

But of course, he moves on. And then he becomes a problem in someone else’s back yard -- in someone else’s congregation and with someone else’s kids.

If a state legislature can figure out a way to stymie the NIMBY response among its school districts, why can’t leaders of the largest Protestant denomination figure out a way to stymie the NIMBY response among their churches?

Why aren’t they even trying?

Oregon has a population of about 3,790,000. The Southern Baptist Convention claims a population in its churches of 16,200,000.

Aren’t the kids in that 16.2 million member populace entitled to at least the same measure of safety in their churches as the kids in that 3.7 million member populace get in their schools?

In a civilized society, we expect the protection of kids to be a priority. But the protection of kids requires more than merely preaching rote platitudes about “precious children.” It requires action.

So long as Baptist leaders persist in doing nothing to preclude churches from “passing the trash,” they leave Baptist churches as easy playgrounds for clergy sex predators.

In case you're wondering... that's "Portlandia" in the photo. She's the second largest hammered copper sculpture in the country -- second only to the Statue of Liberty. Portlandia reaches out to the citizens of Portland, Oregon.


Anonymous said...

Great article. I wish the SBC could see the benefits of taking a lead to set an example on wha is supposed to be done to molesters. It is a shame when society gets the moral jump on the church. It happened with Civil Rights and it is happening again with molesters.

Ramesh said...

let's stop pastor darrell gilyard together > Plea Deal Has Been made.
Darrell L. Gilyard will face some earthly consequences this time. It is official, a plea agreement has been reached and signed.

The deal is 3 years incarceration and then 3 years probation.

He will be listed as a sexual predator, so this label will follow him.
Darrell L. Gilyard, if you are reading this, please know that I am strong because what you meant for evil against me, God meant for good. He has been my rock and my fortress, whom shall I fear? When I lie down and sleep, I will meditate on HIM in the nightwatch - and praise Him for all the good He has done!! To God be the glory!

Victims/survivors, won't you join me in praises to the King of Kings? He alone is worthy to be praised!

Ramesh said...

Pastor Wade's blog > The Sordid and Strange Darrell Gilyard Story and What It Reveals About the SBC [SEPTEMBER 09, 2008].

Pastor Wade's blog > The Problem of a Predator In the Pulpit in the SBC [MARCH 09, 2008].

Fbc Jax Watchdog > Gilyard's Past: You're Telling Me Nobody Knew???? [DECEMBER 22, 2007].

Fbc Jax Watchdog > Gilyard: Text Messages and "Sexual Encounters"...Here We Go Again? [DECEMBER 24, 2007].

Fbc Jax Watchdog > One Bright Spot in the Gilyard Story [DECEMBER 25, 2007].

Fbc Jax Watchdog > Gilyard's Ugly Past [DECEMBER 27, 2007].

Fbc Jax Watchdog > Examples of the Poor Treatment of Women at the Hands of Jacksonville Churches [DECEMBER 19, 2008].

Stop Baptist Predators > Showing posts for query Darrell Gilyard.

gmommy said...

Three years seems like such a short time for all the years he has been a sexual predator. But I'm glad the man will have some jail time.

Will we hear any apologies from those within the SBC who covered for him, praised him publicly, and shamed his victims????
Will Gilyard ever name the names of those in the ministry who helped him continue his abuse while preaching??

gmommy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ramesh said...

New BBC Open Forum > Darrell Gilyard Arrested While Patterson Attempts Damage Control [JANUARY 14, 2008].

New BBC Open Forum > Who's really the sociopath here? [APRIL 09, 2009].

Blount said he had no idea why Hinson looked into two other blogs, and

* Was Hinson acting on his own, or was someone pulling his strings? Ask yourself, who at FBC Jax would most like to see Tiffany Croft's blog and the NBBCOF shut down? It makes no sense unless someone was simply on a phishing expedition to reveal the identity of Watchdog and me. As for Tiffany Croft, what possible motive could there be except to intimidate her? She's always blogged using her real name! While she doesn't seem to have been particularly critical of Brunson, she has been critical of FBC Jax and Jerry Vines for allowing Darrell Gilyard to preach at FBC Jax and for Vines preaching at Gilyard's church after Gilyard's long, sordid past became public knowledge. She has also been critical of Paige Patterson for covering for Gilyard, and we know Brunson and Patterson are buddies. Mac Brunson reportedly approached Ms. Croft's father, who is a member of FBC Jax, and pressured him to get her to take down her blog. It's my understanding Brunson now contends he's "not familiar" with Ms. Croft's blog

I still can not believe Det. Hinson could not determine by reading Tiifany's blog, that it was authored by Tiffany and not an alias. Lord help us.

Christa Brown said...

"Will we hear any apologies from those within the SBC who covered for him, praised him publicly, and shamed his victims????"

Recommendation: Don't hold your breath.

And while we're at it, let's remember who at least a couple of those high-level SBC honchos were who kept promoting Gilyard's career despite numerous accusations against him -- they were none other than former Southern Baptist presidents Paige Patterson and Jerry Vines.

See: "Two SBC presidents knew a lot" and "How many does it take?"

Phyllis Gregory said...

Personally, I think former Southern Baptist presidents Paige Patterson and Jerry Vines are slime just like Gilyard. That is how they got where they are today -- slime -- wolves in sheep's clothing. If anyone investigated the past of those two, what would they find?

Anonymous said...

Personally, I think former Southern Baptist presidents Paige Patterson and Jerry Vines are slime just like Gilyard. That is how they got where they are today -- slime -- wolves in sheep's clothing. If anyone investigated the past of those two, what would they find?

May 17, 2009 12:33 PM

Paige's list is very long. It includes everything from having CP dollars pay his taxidermy bills for his big game hunts in Africa to a 5,000 tombstone for his dog, to taking a typewriter (this was back in the early 80's) to a rich mans hospital room to get him to put a codicil in his will to give to Patterson. Recently, we have pastry chef's at Pecan Manor paid for with CP dollars, The firing of Klouda and lying about that process, etc. The Gilyard thing, etc.

He is NOT a nice man. I would not trust

But it has been well hidden. Since the internet more stories and collaboration of those stories have gotten out. He has had to have some heavy hitters save his job several times and find a new place for him in the SBC. He is one of those players that always lands on his feet in some SBC 6 figure job paid for with tithe dollars. Sort of a combo of Boss Hogg and JR Ewing.

Remember, Patterson is the one that proudly teaches abused women to go back and submit more. That is his view of women.

Christa Brown said...

Sometimes the whole money thing gets under my skin almost as much as the sexual abuse and cover-ups. My dad was an extremely hard-working blue-collar man. He knew nothing other than work. He wouldn't have known how to NOT work. He came home dirty and often physically exhausted, particularly if he had worked a double or a triple. But he always wanted the overtime. He kept shoes on our feet and Big Chief tablets in our hands. And he gave money to the church. (My sisters and I were raised from day-one to give dimes from our allowances and to tithe from our very first babysitting dollars. Why? Because my dad taught us to.)

When I think of all the hundreds of thousands of good Baptist people who work so hard to try to provide for their families and who give money to the Cooperative Program, the financial waste and extravagance I see just about drives me nuts. Good people are putting extremely hard-earned dollars in Baptist offering plates, and yet a whole lot of Baptist officials are showing just about zero respect for those dollars and for the people who gave them. Those hard-earned and faithfully-given dollars are being used to fund all manner of extravagances for a whole slew of bureaucrats who sit in fancy offices and stay in fancy hotels and mostly do a lot of nothing... other than talk.

But of course, that's the Baptist way, isn't it? Accountability goes by the wayside pretty fast for fast-talking high-honchos.

Ramesh said...

Pastor Wade's blog > Walking Where SBC Preachers Fail to Tread.
A handful of leaders in our Convention, as detailed here last September, 2008, neglected to fulfill their God-given responsibilities to shut down Gilyard's ministry and provide help to his victims. Alas, a young Southern Baptist woman, a Gilyard victim herself, approached the unenviable task of bringing Gilyard to justice with the zeal of a modern apostle. Tiffany Croft began her blog with the goal of treading where we Southern Baptist pastors and leaders feared to trod. With all the negative press from official channels in the SBC regarding blogs, it would be great to see someone like Tiffany be given credit using a blog to bring about good in our society.

Lin said...

"Sometimes the whole money thing gets under my skin almost as much as the sexual abuse and cover-ups."

Me too. And it is finally starting to dry up. It will take a while but more and more folks are questioning what their hard earned dollars are paying for. And the internet is helping to bring many of these extravagances to the forefront.

I finally realized from studying the NT that God does not require we give to pay for a church building and high salaries. He requires we help take care of those in the Body of Christ and to spread the Gospel.

My giving can Glorify God by helping a single mom in the Body of Christ fix her car. I think we have all had it backwards for many years.

Ramesh said...

Fbc Jax Watchdog > Soaring High: One Person Can Make a Difference.

It is absolutely amazing what Tiffany Thigpen Croft, a local Christian wife and mother, armed with only a blog and the power of free speech and her faith in God, has been able to accomplish. Tiffany has done what most baptist pastors in this city were too cowardly to do. And she didn't have a budget, a PR firm, or any position of power in the city of Jacksonville.
And most importantly, Tiffany didn't cave into those cowardly voices that told her that her blog was harming the cause of Christ, that it was beauty-shop gossip and should be shut down. No way - Tiffany stood strong, knew that truth was on her side, and she KNEW that God was pleased with what she was doing. You see, for far too long, people inside baptist churches have been afraid to call public attention to abusers, especially pastors. They have used the illogical excuse that to do so would harm Christianity - that people would be turned away from Christ if light were shone on the abuses of pastors, that things should be kept quiet. They've even used lame excuses like the pastor is God's man, and "touch not thine annointed", or "just let God handle it."

Phyllis Gregory said...

I knew Paige Patterson was/is scum! I would love to see all the trash about him plastered on the front page of the newspapers. Even if it was, though, the narrow-minded SBC conservatives would still say it is not so concerning their illustrious leader.

Anonymous said...

I have been reading your articles for some time now. This one is another great article. Thank-you for all that you do.

Christa Brown said...

Cathy's Corner:
Welcome to the blog!

Phyllis Gregory said...


I am probably not supposed to do this, but I don't have your email since you are back in the states. I would love to hear from you. or

Anonymous said...

Phyliss, I'm so glad you did comment. You made my day. I hope it's ok to comment like this here.

Christa Brown said...

Cathy's Corner: It's more than ok. I'm delighted you've been able to connect here.

Ramesh said...

News4Jax > Ex-Pastor Pleads Guilty To Sex Charges.
After the plea, his lawyer rushed Gilyard out a side door.

Prosecutors said Gilyard has a history of inappropriate relationships with his parishioners.

"He was a person who obviously could not control his sexual desires," said Assistant State Attorney Alan Mizrahi. "He used his position of trust to gain access to children and he used that position of trust to gratify himself."

Other women have come forward to say Gilyard had inappropriate relationships with them, but the only criminal charges included the two juveniles

Ramesh said...

FirstCoastNews > Former Shiloh Pastor Pleads Guilty to Molesting Teen.
JACKSONVILLE, FL -- The former pastor of Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church is now looking at three years in prison.

Darrell Gilyard appeared in court Thursday morning where he pleaded guilty to molesting a 15-year-old girl at his church.

He also admitted to sending explicit text messages to another teen.

Prosecutors say Gilyard will be sentenced in June to three years in prison. The prison time will be followed by three years probation and Gilyard must register as a sex offender.

Gilyard stepped down as pastor of Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church in December of 2007 as allegations against him surfaced.

In January of 2008, police arrested Gilyard on lewd and lascivious charges. A mother told police her 14-year-old daughter received an explicit text message from Gilyard that appeared sexual in nature.

In a separate incident, court documents revealed a 15-year-old girl told police Gilyard kissed her on two occasions while in a darkroom. Gilyard had been counseling the girl.

The records also showed Gilyard left four churches in Texas during the eighties and nineties after women complained of sexual abuse.

Gilyard is also facing a paternity lawsuit filed by a woman who claims the former pastor is the father of her 3-year-old daughter. The woman claimed in her lawsuit Shiloh knew or should've known about Gilyard's past

Christa Brown said...

Thanks for the article links, Thy Peace. I've now got them posted up on the main StopBaptistPredators website.

Ramesh said...

Words of a Fether > Brood of Vipers.
This is beyond evil. No wonder the apostle John stares in horror at what he can scarcely believe was ever the ekklesia in Rev. 17:5-7. (There are only two entities in the Bible that were ever said to be “married” to God: Israel and the ekklesia, and I think we can rule out Israel in that passage. The reason this matters is because she is called a prostitute, and this is God’s way of referring to His wayward “wife”.) How can any group of believers harbor such evil, enabling it by silence while the perpetrators roam freely among the sheep?

But while many good points are made at that link, here’s what I think is the foundational “enabler”: The Institution, the “church”, the System. It fosters hierarchy and divides the Body. It puts up barriers between the people and their Savior and God. Of course even a “house church” can be just as bad, but when you have multi-national conglomerates that call themselves “Christian”, you multiply both the severity of the crimes and the number of victims

Think about it. If you have been taught all your life that you have direct access to God, that you have the Holy Spirit to guide you and the Bible to keep you in the truth, then it will be much harder for anyone to use position or fear of hell to victimize you. But if, as in any cult, you have been told that you must blindly obey your rulers, who will not hesitate to hunt you down if you run or smear your name if you talk, you run a much greater risk of falling victim to the aggressive, to people who are known for their ability to put on a pious face while savagely tearing apart the sheep

Ramesh said...

let's stop pastor darrell gilyard together > You are no longer silenced.
But, how sad it was to sit there and watch a man with such gifts, such potential, hang his head as he received the sentence for crimes that he hoped no one would ever know of. The same crimes he has intimidated people from reporting, the ones he has tried to convince others did not happen, the ones he himself has adamantly denied - until now. What a shame, I am truly sad for him.

Ramesh said...

ABP News > Former rising star preacher pleads guilty to molestation.
A woman who claimed she resisted sexual advances by Gilyard when she was 18 and a youth leader at First Baptist Church in Jacksonville in 1991, started a blog in 2008 urging others with similar stories to come forward.

Tiffany Thigpen Croft said in a recent posting she was not rejoicing about Gilyard's downfall, but she labeled him a sexual predator and said he should suffer consequences for his actions. Croft said if Gilyard had not been sentenced "I am confident that there would be more victims."

In April Gilyard settled a lawsuit with a woman who claimed he sexually assaulted and got her pregnant, but a paternity suit against him continues. According to the Florida Times-Union, an earlier sexual misconduct case against him was settled quietly by his church for $300,000

Jacksonville News > Former Jacksonville pastor pleads guilty in sex case.
“You taught us the truth ... but you lived a lie,” one victim’s mother told Gilyard, 47, in court. She said she’d continue praying for him.
So was a woman who writes a blog titled “let’s stop pastor darrell gilyard together.” Tiffany Thigpen Croft said she watched Thursday’s court proceedings with a mixture of satisfaction for Gilyard’s victims and sadness for the self-imposed downfall of a talented preacher. Most importantly, she said Gilyard won’t be able to harm anyone else while locked up.

“This is for all the victims that were never heard,” she said. “It’s time to heal.”