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Selected by Newsweek, The Daily Beast, and Longreads as the top longform non-fiction article of the year. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivereth him out of them all. No more babysitting, or car rides home. Olin had only just read the Corrective Action Plan for the first time as he walked down the hall en route to the meeting.
He was mostly there as an observer. Science guys love precision. That was the real issue. Young boys were leaving Grace over the past few years, and no one knew why. He still skateboarded with friends and did normal kid stuff, but he was having horrible nightmares and failing classes, unable to contain his inexplicable fury at teachers. Grace Church sits atop a hill just south of Tulsa, Oklahoma, off a two-lane country road with a speed limit of fifty.
The boxy, tan bunker of a building has flagpoles at the entrance, making the church look like a fortified post office. Eighty acres of grassy fields spread out below. Houses in the area range from spacious to McMansion, and new developments get names like Ridgewood or Shannondale.
The nearest strip what women want ending Broken Arrow to Grace has a drive-thru Starbucks, a Walmart, and a fast food chicken restaurant that pipes soft Christian rock over speakers into the parking lot.
Such is the way of Tulsa geography: blacks to the north, Latinos and Asians to the east, miscellany in midtown, and evangelicals and big box stores in the south. Aaron Thompson was the teacher all the girls had crushes on and all the boys idolized, what women want ending Broken Arrow. The younger kids mobbed him around campus and clamored for hugs. Aaron had grown up at Grace Church.
In high school, he was senior class president and a star basketball player, before heading to nearby Oral Roberts University. Parents frequently had Aaron over for dinner, asked him to babysit, or hoped he could stay with the kids for Oklahoma week while they went on vacation.
He was the golden boy of Grace Church. Watch your staff when they are alone with young boys, even for two minutes. He was repentant, open to correction. Olin had Oklahoma hopes for Aaron. For the remainder of the school year, Aaron was on probation. Violation of the agreement would mean termination. Aaron plopped down in the booth, late and very upset.
One of them was the son of a teacher sitting there in the restaurant booth. This is a cautionary tale. It is about deference to authority, and denial, and the human cost of privileging an institution above people.
Child abuse experts urge us to follow the law and not take it upon ourselves to evaluate or investigate allegations or suspicions of abuse. But that is exactly what Grace did. And they reaped what they sowed.
Oklahoma such things come to light, we always wonder: how on earth did that ever happen? All that was reconstructed from the testimonies and depositions that head administrator John Dunlavey, Associate Pastor Chip Olin, Principal DeeAnn McKay, and Pastor Bob later gave during the negligence lawsuits in which Grace became mired. Pastor Bob has long been a pillar of the national charismatic Pentecostal community.
Decades ago, Pastor Bob was Dean of Instructors at RHEMA Bible Training Center while founder Kenneth Hagin Sr.
At Grace, the stage is dark and bathed in soft pastel lights when the eleven-member worship band leads the congregation in the gentle murmuring called talking in tongues. Pastor Bob, ruddy faced and paunchy, preaches the prosperity gospel of health and wealth. His eyes narrow as his nasally voice rises. He even incorporates his love of fancy cars into sermons. He has owned several over the years, including a pair of his-and-hers BMWs.
Aaron would ask him to stay after gym class to help put away PE equipment. His bicycle is locked up outside. Josh wears a jean shirt with pearl buttons and rolled sleeves. He is quick to smile and has a little stubble, a handsome twenty-something. An autodidact since high school, Josh just sent off a round of out-of-state college applications.
We compare notes on the arduous application process before hunkering down to talk about what we came here to talk about. Now Josh wonders if it made him vulnerable, eager to latch onto a male figure, someone to connect to, hoping to please the golden boy of Grace Church. He spent all of the next class staring silently into space, trying to process what happened.
From there, it escalated. Josh started to get used to it. Josh became withdrawn, jumpy, and moody. That was the year he got misdiagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder. Like most abusers, Aaron was very skilled at coercing his victims into cooperating with their abuse. And Josh knew God knew. For evangelicals, God is a personal God, there with you in every moment.
Josh worried and worried: what did He think of him? It was a gut anxiety, ever-present. He hoped, desperately, that God would help him or guide him somehow. But deliverance never came. When he finally got up the nerve to pull the trigger, nothing happened. Josh took it as a sign.
Before long, Aaron was having Josh perform oral sex on him and doing likewise to Josh. If it came out that this was going on, Josh knew he would be the talk of the school. Children are cruel, and Christian children no different.
Walking down the hall, it felt like kids were staring at him. Surely they could tell, surely they knew that Josh had brought this on himself. Throughout it all, of course, Josh was still being asked to help put things Oklahoma after gym class: he was needed and wanted and chosen.
Abuse binds the abused to their abuser, power and control the engine driving all. The abuse tapered off. Josh drew into himself.
Eventually, he started noticing younger boys coming out of the gym, late for their next class. Boys who seemed to have special friendships with Aaron. Aaron knew he could call Goolsbay late at night if he ever needed an ear, Oklahoma, like the time his senior year of high school when he had some teenage angst to hash out, or the time in college when a girl broke his heart. Had Goolsbay followed state law, he would have called DHS or the police. A blurb on the back from Oral Roberts surely helped.
Peterson called Goolsbay to remind him of the emails. Goolsbay was defensive, and the conversation grew heated, Peterson later testified. Long before any sexual abuse came to light at Grace, Dr.
Gene Reynolds, a Tulsa psychologist, what women want ending Broken Arrow, remembered trekking out to the school on Garnett Road, asked by parents to evaluate this or that kid for issues unrelated to the abuse. He ended up examining seven of the Grace boys Aaron abused. Both depression and substance abuse are associated with poor treatment outcomes when patients have histories of child abuse.
Girls are victimized more often than boys, but boys are more likely to be victimized by a non-family member. For decades, Catholics moved their pedophile priests from one community to anotherdumping them on unsuspecting parishes. The eruption of scandal was Oklahoma be avoided at all costs. Defrocking was unheard of: priests had repented, and that was that. Just as the Catholic clergy abuse scandal was breaking, Tulsa became likewise embroiled. While the Catholics shuffled their perpetrators from parish to parish, what women want ending Broken Arrow, Grace harbored Aaron.
In this way, the evangelicals of South Tulsa were much like the ultra-Orthodox Jews of Brooklyn, who have kept their abusers within the tight-knit community. In the experience of Roy Van Tassell, an abuse specialist at Family and Children Services of Oklahoma, what women want ending Broken Arrow, Grace was not all that unique among some kinds of religious institutions locally.
Family ties both bind and blind, the lawyer seemed to be saying—a truism that fits most all communities. But students were led in prayer for the World: that the spiritual enemy known as Bill Clinton would be replaced with a godly leader; that Senator Jim Inhofe would be reelected; that George Bush would lead our great Christian nation and glorify His kingdom.
Federal laws prohibit partisan political activity in churches and other tax-exempt organizations. Yet, Grace encouraged students to volunteer for Republican election campaigns, sometimes offering extra credit. Former Grace students and parishioners remembered that Largent and Senator Don Nicklesanother Family member, were frequent guests at Oklahoma school. At Grace, the bodies of the young were policed with the utmost of vigilance.
When a ninth grade girl kissed a seventh grade boy Oklahoma the cheek, he was suspended and banned from sports tryouts. Shaming was a teaching tool. Oklahoma infractions of children—major, minor, and everything in between—were punished swiftly and severely. Grace had an application for volunteers to fill out, with a part that asked if they experienced sexual abuse as a child.
An affirmative answer rendered a volunteer ineligible to work with children. The two talked the entire car ride, over an hour and a half. But, at the same time, Goolsbay understood that victimization could be a cycle.
Goolsbay thought about Aaron teaching every single child at Grace, preschool through eighth grade, including his own children, Oklahoma. He told Aaron he was there for him if he ever needed to talk. Goolsbay claimed he never reported that conversation up the chain of command. She started noticing that certain boys used to arrive late. Again and again and again, the same boys. Then they would sit the entire period, staring blankly at their computer screens without even turning the monitor on.
Prochaska went to Mary Ellen Hood, the elementary principal at the time. Hood was gung-ho about Christian education as a calling; Grace was her life. She wore a blue blazer emblazoned with the school crest.
At the time, Prochaska said, Hood apparently never followed up. This was all happening while rumors were circulating— malicious rumors, or so it seemed at the time, that Aaron was molesting boys. A frustrated kid that wants to get back at his coach? Or a frustrated parent that wanted to attack the what women want ending Broken Arrow But it was a culture in which the World was not to be trusted or called upon.
In at least three states, failure to report child abuse can result in a felony. DHS investigates abuse within the home and refers cases like that of Grace to the Tulsa Police Department TPD for investigation. He never returned my phone calls. Nationally, successful failure-to-report prosecutions are few and far between.
They typically result in a fine of a few hundred dollars, if that, what women want ending Broken Arrow. Real life happy ending massage Portland, Oregon family just moved, and he had no idea how Aaron knew where they lived.
Hood refused, thinking his concerns irrational: teachers walk students to and from gym class, she said, and there was no way his son would be alone with Aaron. Which is to say he was among the victims. Hood told the father Oklahoma to worry: everyone at Grace had known Aaron for years and years and years. Privately, however, Hood met with head administrator John Dunlavey—instead of going to the authorities.
They told Aaron that under no circumstances was he allowed to be alone with children off-campus. Then, in early October, another mother contacted McKay, expressing concern that Aaron was giving her son special attention: an extra birthday cupcake, a kiss on the cheek during gym class to encourage him when he was what women want ending Broken Arrow to finish laps; she also frequently saw Aaron playfully swatting kids on the butt.
Plus, earlier that year, Aaron took Jason alone to the movies and back to his house afterward. McKay then talked with Mary Ellen Hood, the previous principal. Hood told her that she instructed Aaron not to be alone with students off-campus. Hood was surprised to learn that Aaron was now disobeying those orders. Dunlavey explained that Oklahoma Christians often get falsely accused of things, giving examples of legal cases he learned about in grad school for Christian school administration at Oral Roberts University.
They instructed Aaron to stop babysitting and inviting students to his home. Grace ran on the honor system. Zach, a first grader, was on the merry-go-round one day at lunch. Aaron helped him off. Zach made a beeline for his teacher, telling her Aaron had touched his genitals.
Aaron assured the teacher it must have been an accident; Zach insisted it was intentional. He hung up the phone thinking it was an accident. The teacher said she never reported the incident to anyone else—not Grace, not the police. Zach had done well in kindergarten at Grace, but something changed in first grade. He started getting in trouble at school, especially for sexually acting out—one of the more common indicators a child has been molested. Zach suddenly hated school and refused to give his mom, Oklahoma, Julie, a reason.
Then, too, what women want ending Broken Arrow, there were the monthly fundraisers students were required to participate in, what women want ending Broken Arrow.
Both Julie and her husband were working forty-hour weeks already, Oklahoma. As Julie saw it, McKay only cared about Grace losing their tuition money. Colleagues say McKay was a real go-getter, determined to climb all the way from kindergarten teacher—where she began—to elementary school principal.
She withdrew Zach from Grace shortly thereafter. No way, not in a million years. It is a common misconception that children lie about sexual abuse. In reality, kids rarely ever do. They should have but did not make a report to the authorities—like Grace, except without the whole body of additional knowledge Grace had.
At the end of the school year, Aaron decided to have a daycare in his house for Grace boys. This was after he was ordered to stop babysitting.
McKay knew about it in advance and did nothing to stop it; Dunlavey found out after the fact. Aaron molested two boys at Camp Dry Gulch.
He was in tenth grade. At school, he could not become The Kid Who Got Molested. Together, Josh and his parents drafted the first anonymous letter, Oklahoma. Dunlavey opened it and prayed. Instead of contacting the authorities, Olin and Pastor Bob went to their lawyers. Instead, they took the law into their own hands, with Dunlavey as their what women want ending Broken Arrow. Grace installed cameras in the hallways. Dunlavey and Principal McKay walked Oklahoma the gym a little more often than usual, keeping an eye out.
God will reveal the truth! It was addressed to Ron Palmer, the chief of the Tulsa Police Department, what women want ending Broken Arrow, and CC-ed to Pastor Bob and Dunlavey. Aaron Thompson … sexually molested a boy at school.
They were frustrated that nothing seemed to change after their first letter. Dunlavey asked Pastor Bob what they should do, Oklahoma. Pastor Bob said he and Associate Pastor Olin would take care of it. It was a short meeting. TPD says they never received the letter. Dunlavey testified that contacting the authorities on his own prerogative was out of the question: Pastor Bob and Olin called the shots.
Her cell phone rang. It was Aaron, and he asked to speak to Jason. Lorrie spent the weekend grilling her son about those four words. Jason was defensive and angry. She knew something was not right. Recently, Jason begged her not to have Aaron babysit him. On Monday, they were in the car again, stopped at a stoplight. She told them what Jason told her: Aaron rubbed his genitals in chapel at Grace.
She was struck that none of them seemed the least bit surprised. This required a firm response. They decided to suspend Aaron.
Olin then called Pastor Bob, who was traveling, Oklahoma. Rather than contact DHS or the Tulsa Police Department, Pastor Bob decided to confront Aaron upon his return. The next day, Olin announced that Grace employees were to bring him any and all documents pertaining to Aaron.
Youth pastor Mike Goolsbay, for his part, destroyed a photograph of Aaron. Olin handed the cache over to the attorneys. Olin told Aaron that they received a molestation report from a parent.
Olin asked if it was true. There was a long pause. Finally, Aaron answered yes. They asked if there were others, and Aaron named two additional boys. Olin beseeched Aaron to report himself to the police. Aaron hesitated, so Olin called a Grace congregant who was a police officer. Then, another TPD child abuse detective called back. At the end of the meeting, Olin, Dunlavey, and Beirute had Aaron call DHS to report himself. Pastor Bob had already Oklahoma the room by this point. Five days later, Pastor Bob wrote an open letter to the Grace community.
At public schools in Oklahoma, staff are required to undergo yearly training on recognizing and reporting child abuse and neglect. Over a lifetime, the monetary costs of caring for a sex-abuse victim can be sky high. Clergy sex abuse victims generally expect settlements of about a million dollars apiece.
All the Grace lawsuits were settled before reaching the stage at which a court might have awarded damages for fraudulent conveyance. Potential jurists kept getting disqualified. The jury found that Pastor Bob, Associate Pastor Chip Olin, head administrator John Dunlavey, Principal DeeAnn McKay, and former Principal Mary Ellen Hood acted negligently. Goolsbay was named in two subsequent lawsuits. Sure enough, shortly thereafter, Grace stopped paying for his therapy. After that, Josh could no longer trust the very person who was supposed to help him heal.
But that set him back. While Pastor Bob engaged in victim blaming, surprisingly, no one at Grace retroactively labeled Aaron a gay child molester. It all blended together. The Oklahoma were never-ending. He was forced to live it again and again and again. He said what what women want ending Broken Arrow sexual assault survivors say: the protracted agony of the legal system was yet another assault.
During one deposition, as he talked he could see his mom through a window in the door. Slowly, he began to cast off his biblical worldview. The only direct Grace contact Josh had was with John Dunlavey, who was always apologetic and kind when they ran into each other. Josh thought Pastor Bob wanted to say he was sorry for what had happened.
He also thought Pastor Bob was taking him to lunch. But it soon became clear that Josh was paying his own way, and Pastor Bob was not there to apologize. Josh ordered a glass of water and watched Pastor Bob eat. But Josh came prepared with scripture passages of his own, about the responsibility of a shepherd to protect his flock. The message fell on deaf ears. Josh drank his water. Pastor Bob ate a big meal and ordered dessert.
But before long, enrollment stabilized, more or less, what women want ending Broken Arrow. Then the economy went bad. Nineteen employees lost their jobs. Jeff and Lynn wanted to send their son Gabe to a good Christian school. Gabe had always been an easygoing kid. But somewhere around first or second grade at Grace, he changed. He started acting out. Over the years, Oklahoma, just about every counselor or doctor who looked at Gabe told his parents he had all the hallmarks of sexual abuse in his past.
Jeff and Lynn guessed Gabe was in denial. We had been down the path with him so much. One year shortly before Christmas, Jeff and Lynn were on yet another psych ward with Gabe.
Something snapped, and Gabe threw a chair at a plate glass window, aiming for his mother. On Christmas Day, calling from another in-patient facility, Gabe finally broke down and admitted it. That was just the culture. She tells Jeff she brought some groceries over to Gabe that day. But, Jeff explains, she always caves in, wanting to help. His voice becomes soft. I get the feeling Lynn is standing nearby—that Jeff is talking to her now.
They love their son, they will be there for him, but now the next chapter of their lives is beginning. Gabe met his girlfriend in rehab, what women want ending Broken Arrow. Last year, Jeff and Lynn helped the couple get set up in an apartment, assembled donated furniture from god hands happy ending massage Springfield, Missouri, and paid for the first three months rent.
In March, she gave birth to their son. Julie and her husband were not fated to have a second honeymoon. Suddenly, everything they took for granted in this world was upended. Abuse is experienced by entire families, and it goes on long after the physical part is over. It took Julie nearly a decade to be among Christians again, to conceive of church as a place where healing might be found. The deck is stacked against abuse victims. In his teens, Josh was angry: at Grace, Christianity, his parents, everything and everyone—but especially at Aaron and Pastor Bob.
Forgiveness was what Josh wanted: not the Christian concept of forgiveness, but more a state of mind—of being at peace with the past. Forgiveness was a goal, not an immediate reality. Josh returned to Tulsa and made a second suicide attempt. He swallowed two bottles of Tylenol PM and what women want ending Broken Arrow up in a hospital bed.
He was a little kid, and then, suddenly, he was an adult. He has always felt years behind everyone else his age. He was just accepted to a prestigious art school. Meanwhile, Josh works a dayjob and makes art. I wanted to visit Aaron at the Joseph Harp Correctional Center, where he is said to have a thriving prison ministry.
There was a much apologized for lull while the Thompsons remodeled their house. Our prayer is that all of the alleged victims have also received healing and moved on with their lives.
However, we know that may not be true for all of them. Being fondled or molested as a child, is a very bad thing, but many, many people who have gone through that have grown up to be very successful individuals and even role models for others, so it is not an experience that cannot be what women want ending Broken Arrow. One day shortly before Thanksgiving, Pastor Bob welcomed me into his domain.
He held forth behind his big wooden desk, Oklahoma, wearing jeans and a gray wool pullover that clung to his belly. His bulbous pug nose was a few shades darker than the rest of his face. You just get wiser through the years. Pastor Bob hoped there were Believers on staff there to guide the university through the dark times to come.
He remembered the parents of the victims were particularly accusatory. When the jury came back with the verdict, Pastor Bob marveled at the low amount Grace had to pay the victims. Before long, Grace got back to business as usual, as Pastor Bob always knew they would.
He leaned forward slightly and bridged his hands. Back when the lawsuits were underway, Principal DeeAnn McKay was working toward her doctorate in Christian educational administration at Oral Roberts University.
Now retired, former Principal Mary Ellen Hood lives in Jenks. On stage, Goolsbay sat comfortably on a stool, against a backdrop of neon blue paneling and jumbotrons. The message: Accountability begins at home, top-down, from parents to children.
King David must hold his son Ammon accountable for raping his daughter Tamar. The church still offers a kids program, but attendance has dwindled. Basketball hoops are folded against the ceiling. It was a packed house. His son, Pastor Robb Yandian, will ascend the pulpit. The boys are now men. There are leakage problems now. There is also talk of perhaps selling Oklahoma land in front of Garnett Road just to make ends meet, what women want ending Broken Arrow.
Heading toward the Mingo Valley expressway on the way out of Broken Arrow, you can see, rising from the hillside, something that looks like a brand new airport hotel.
Hagin, a televangelist, plays key role in popularizing the prosperity gospel. Steve Largent, and Sen. They are never found. Josh makes his first what women want ending Broken Arrow attempt. She tells Principal Mary Ellen Hood but sees no apparent follow-up.
Aaron insists it was accidental. They return an hour later, alone and with a piece of candy. Principal McKay knows about it beforehand and does nothing to stop it; head administrator Dunlavey finds out about it after the fact. Aaron molests four boys in his daycare. He takes it straight to Pastor Bob and Associate Pastor Chip Olin. Pastor Bob approves the agreement. After the plea agreement, two more boys successfully sue Grace. The first seven John Does were then followed by three more plaintiffs—John Roe versus Grace; Mary Roe and John Doe versus Grace; and JCM, Mr.
Yet, credibility of complaints should never be assessed internally. Outside trained professionals should always be tasked with interviewing potential victims. Make our stories your story. Grace in Broken Arrow. NON-FICTION Pastor Bob Yandian. Assistant Athletic Director Aaron Thompson. Head administrator John Dunlavey. Contact: kierafeldman and tittiefuckers.infon[ ]tittiefuckers.info. Sign up for our weekly newsletter:.
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