Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Statement in support of the child sex abuse victim in the Greg Kelley case

Our hearts go out to the child who bravely came forward and testified that Greg Kelley abused him. It's always difficult for victims to come forward, fearing they will not be believed, especially when the abuse is perpetrated by someone the child trusts and respects. As Greg himself testified, he wanted the children to know him well and look up to him as a role model instead of as a big stranger. According to Greg’s own words, the children high-five’d him when they saw him, and wrestled with him. Children as young as six months can recognize faces, even similar ones, therefore we believe the child, who felt comfortable enough with Kelley to high-five and wrestle with him, when he identified Greg Kelley by name as his abuser. What people seem to have forgotten, or maybe don’t understand, is that child testimony is evidence, and many times the only evidence in crimes such as this. Failure to accept the only credible evidence is not only a failure of the system, but to the child victim himself.

Holding rallies, posting misleading information on social media, and trampling the courthouse lawn in front of news cameras on behalf of a convicted child sex offender, endangers kids by causing those who see, suspect, and suffer child sex crimes to fear speaking up. Those who believe Kelley is innocent should visit him, pray for him, write to him, and help his family. But they should do so in ways that respect the child victim and his family, and do not advocate forgoing judicial process, or scare or intimidate other victims of abuse into staying silent. By mounting public displays of support for a convicted predator who accepted a sentencing deal for 25 years in prison, waiving his right to appeal, these individuals are rubbing even more salt into the already deep and still fresh wounds of abuse victims. By attempting to destroy respect and faith in our law enforcement and legal system, fewer people will be willing to speak up, making it more difficult for police, prosecutors and employers to catch and oust child molesters. This is why we speak up on behalf of innocent child victims whose voices go unheard or ignored.

Adults must learn to accept a disturbing truth: child molesters don't have forked tongues or devil’s tails or horns on their heads. They are usually not "creepy" people who give us "the willies" or seem socially inept. They are usually charming, charismatic, and outgoing. That is often how they are able to gain the trust of children and adults. So we must overcome the dangerous temptation to believe an accused sex offender is innocent just because he's likable or talented or devout. Discrediting child victims, as the Greg Kelley supporters continue to do, accusing the victim of being confused as well as untruthful, and publicly supporting convicted predators is a dangerous path to follow.

We pray that the judicial system will be swift and just,and that this case will finally be closed so that the families affected from every side can move forward and begin to heal from the new wounds that re-opening this case has created.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Davey Blackburn to speak at young girls retreat featuring session on guns

You can't make this up.

When we arrived at the Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis (after turning an 8-hour drive into a 7-hour one), we took the elevator up to the Neurocritical Care unit. My dad was the first person I saw when I stepped out of the elevator into the lobby. I caught his eyes as I began walking to him and we embraced, tears once again breaking the barrier of my eyelids and flowing freely down my face.

“Where’s Davey?” I asked my dad, after he and Tessa greeted each other with hugs.

“He’s around here somewhere. He needed some fresh air after being in the room by Amanda’s side all day. Oh, here he comes.”

I looked down the hallway and saw my big brother approaching, his eyes red and glassy, his hair disheveled. That was the longest hug we’d ever shared. A memory from over 7 years before came bursting to the surface of my consciousness of embracing my brother at his wedding, when he had pledged to love, honor and cherish Amanda Grace Byars until death do them part. More tears ran freely. I didn’t even know what to say as we stood in the lobby embracing. “I’m so sorry,” was all I could manage before uncontrolled sobbing threatened to arise from deep within my diaphragm.

We pulled away from each other and he and Tessa also shared a hug.

“Thank you both for coming,” he said to us wiping tears from his face and sniffling. “Do you want to come see her?”

“If we’re allowed, yes,” I replied, and Tessa voiced her agreement with a soft, “Yeah.”

“Yeah, you’re allowed. Um, just to give you an update,” he said as he, Tessa and I started walking down the corridor to the room,  “I don’t know how much you know already, but the prognosis is not good at all. Without God performing a miracle,” he seemed to ever so subtly swallowed a sob, “the doctors say she’s likely not going to make it.” Reality check; I was tempted to pinch myself. I wanted to wake up from this nightmare. “I know God is able, but at present the reality is grim.” He said this with such confidence and grief. His eyes were watering a little, but he was holding himself together remarkably well.

“Yeah, we’ve been getting updates from Mom all day,” I said. We passed through some double doors to enter the Neurocritical Care unit.

“Okay, that’s good,” he replied.

“How’s the baby?”

“The baby still has a heartbeat, incredibly. We don’t know if it’s a girl or boy yet. We were supposed to find out in about 3 weeks.” He slowed his pace a little. “Hey, look, just to give you a heads up, she took quite a beating. Don’t be startled when you see her.”

“A beating? She was beat up, too? How bad?” I asked, the horror of this event growing more and more evident as gaps in my understanding continued to be filled in.

“Bad,” came his simple reply as we approached her room. I could see her through the sliding glass doors, lying there on the hospital bed, intubated, face and neck swollen. I wouldn’t have known it was her had I not been led by my brother and seen my mom, my Aunt Diane, and Aunt Esther in the room with her.

As we entered the room, I got a better look at my usually warm, charming, jovial, sister-in-law who now lay unresponsive, all but lifeless, in that hospital bed. To my shame, and only for a brief moment, what I saw made my blood boil with rage. The top of Amanda’s head was completely wrapped in bandages, her face and neck were badly bruised and swollen, other scrapes and abrasions could be seen on her face neck and arms, one eyelid was bright purple, at least 3 or 4 top front teeth were missing, and her left arm was swollen and lacerated from near her elbow where the other bullet had entered to her shoulder where it was lodged. Who would do something like this? Especially to this sweet, kind, joyful blonde-haired 28-year-old girl who had been like a sister to me for the last 10 years?

Thursday, February 2, 2017

A Serendipitous Murder

This is a follow up to my posts on the murder of Amanda Blackburn. Davey Blackburn's "Nothing is Wasted Serendipity" branding campaign is in full swing.

My Davey Blackburn posts to date in order:

"It's such a conundrum" - Davey Blackburn when asked about justice for Amanda Blackburn

Pastor Davey Blackburn likens people who question him to Pharisees that killed Jesus

February 23, 2017, Peter Hyatt will be a guest on "Crime Wire" live broadcast, and will be taking your calls and questions at 9am to 1030AM EST.
Amanda Blackburn was a victim of a sexual homicide in which arrests have been made. 

Questions, however, remain in one of the most bizarre 'solved' murder cases of recent years. 

Peter Hyatt will share analysis of the case, including deception detection techniques, and what this may mean for justice.  
Blackburn Discussion: Timeline of Events Surrounding the Homicide of Amanda Blackburn and her Unborn Child
On February 1, 2016, less than 3 months after the murder of his wife, Resonate Church pastor Davey Blackburn formed the business titled NIW Serendipity LLC in Indianapolis. NIW stands for Nothing is Wasted, Davey's go-to mission statement since the immediate days after Amanda's murder. On November 13, 2015, one day after she was pronounced dead, someone at Newspring Church registered the domain Nothing is Wasted for Davey. He live tweeted that exact hashtag during her funeral. The day after she was shot, Davey started a fundraiser for himself while Amanda was dying in the hospital.

Davey's 1,776 square foot home where Amanda was murdered was listed for sale on February 22, 2016. It sold for $145,000 on April 22, 2016. Before his old home sold, Davey purchased a new home under his business name NIW Serendipity LLC on March 2, 2016. Davey lives there along with his best friends, Resonate Church worship pastor Derek Barrett and his wife Ashley Barrett. Davey's new home is 5,186 square feet with 5 bedrooms and 4 1/2 baths. Zillow estimates the home at $455,688. He has a pool now to host parties. Resonate Church still meets in a middle school in Indianapolis with about 150-200 people in attendance.

He's moving on up and finished his book, Nothing is Wasted. He recently traveled and spoke to Dave Ramsey's staff in Nashville, Tennessee and at MOPS in Denver, Colorado.

Davey had his business name Nothing is Wasted engraved on Amanda's headstone.

No one's life should ever be cheapened and reduced to a hashtag.

A photo posted by Davey Blackburn (@daveyblackburn) on

The gun sermon, Worship as a Weapon, is the message Davey preached 2 days before Amanda was murdered, execution style, with 3 gunshots from behind, including one to the back of her head. She was also found to have scratches on her face and a tooth knocked out. It was uploaded to the Resonate Church website on November 19, 2015, just 4 days after Amanda's funeral.

full message

Friday, January 27, 2017

The cult in the woods of East Texas: Church of Wells

The Church of Wells

The Younger Years of the Church Elders
Ringnald and Morris graduated from Baylor in 2008. Without the structure and demands of college, their religious fervor intensified. They traveled and preached on the street for two years before amassing a handful of followers and moving their tiny church to Arlington. In 2012, they moved the group for financial reasons to Wells, a town of 792 people located between Lufkin and Jacksonville, where their fervent evangelism has not found a warm welcome, particularly after the death of Baby Faith in May 2012 and the arrival of Catherine Grove from Arkansas in July 2013. Grove, 27, left for Wells without a word to her family about her plans, and her parents have been trying without success over the last eight months to see their daughter outside of the presence of the church’s elders, as Morris, Ringnald, and Gardner now refer to themselves.
Exposing the Church of Wells 

Ryan Ringnald: Women Silence Stripes Subjection : "The Blueness of The Wounds Cleanseth Away Evil"
Transcript of Audio : 
"Silence! Sisters need to LEARN with all subjection. Silence. She is not to usurp authority. She is to learn in silence with all subjection. She is to LEARN: sisters, you gotta LEARN! And 'the blueness of the wound cleanseth away evil, so do stripes the inward parts of the belly'.....speaks about women; women if they would adorn themselves with good works, and they would learn with silence with all subjection.....not usurping men but to be in subjection and he gives the reasons why notwithstanding she shall be saved: IF the woman continues in charity and faith and holiness with sobriety. If you don't you won't be saved. If you don't continue in those things, sisters, women, you will not be saved. Charity -- you gotta keep charity -- Faith with Sobriety, because those things equal Christ. Those things equal abiding in Christ; and if you're not having holiness with sobriety, if you're not having charity, if you're not having faith, then you're not abiding in Christ; and there is no salvation anywhere else. Those things are in Christ. Christ is in those things, and a woman shall be saved. She is not to usurp authority. She is to learn silence with all subjection. She is to LEARN: woman, you got to LEARN. Sisters need to LEARN with all subjection, in silence. She shall be saved through childbearing, bearing her cross if she bears it in Christ. And in Christ when you bear crosses and tribulations, they're not losses: they're for gain. They're sanctification; they're bread for you in Christ. Outside of Christ, crosses and losses and distresses and pain and shame is going to mar you and make you bitter and make you upset and make you angry. But in Christ, if you are abiding in faith and charity, holding to sobriety, sisters, no matter what you go through, it's going to be bread for you. You're going to be more holy. You're going to be more sanctified, and 'the blueness of the wound cleanseth away evil, so do stripes the inward parts of the belly.'"
Sinners in the Hands: WHEN IS A CHURCH A CULT?
A couple of months later, on July 2, Catherine gave all her belongings to Goodwill and disappeared without a word. Her parents had no clue where she had gone. On July 7, their phone rang, just after eleven-thirty at night. “I’m in Wells, Texas, with a group of people who are taking good care of me,” Catherine said. “But I can’t listen to you anymore, I can only listen to my elders. I have to keep my hands over my ears. You’re going to see a lot of bad stuff on the Internet about them, but none of it is true.”
But as Catherine had warned, there were some truly unsettling stories about the church online as well. About a year earlier, in May 2012, a baby born to church members had died while her parents—instead of calling 911 as she struggled to breathe, her tiny body turning blue—prayed that Christ would heal her. If that wasn’t chilling enough, there were the eerie stories about a serial killer named Israel Keyes, who the FBI believes is responsible for at least eleven murders and whose mother and four sisters belong to the church. Keyes himself had no involvement with the Church of Wells, but he had been arrested in March 2012 while in East Texas to attend the wedding of one of his sisters.
Faith Shalom Pursley had been born at home on May 23, delivered by her father inside the family’s apartment. She wouldn’t nurse, and over the next three days Daniel had to feed her breast milk with an eyedropper, according to an investigator’s report. She also had a bluish tint to her hands. Despite this, a doctor was never called. When Faith began to struggle to breathe, the elders gathered some twenty members of the church around her bassinet and prayed over the infant. Other residents of the apartment building recalled hearing chanting coming from the unit. She died around 12:45 p.m. on May 26. For the next fifteen hours, her body was ferried from house to house as members prayed that she might be resurrected. Finally, at 4:06 a.m., Daniel called the authorities to report the death. When deputies arrived they discovered Faith, clad in only a diaper, lying in a blanket-covered bassinet in the corner of her parents’ bedroom. Her tiny body was whisked away to the Dallas County Medical Examiner’s office, where an autopsy determined that her death was caused by pulmonary valve stenosis, a congenital heart condition that is dangerous but treatable. She had lost more than two pounds since birth.

ABC Breaking News | Latest News Videos

ABC Breaking News | Latest News Videos

ABC Breaking News | Latest News Videos

Family fears son was targeted by cult in Downtown Austin

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Evangelist Amy Lambert arrested for driving while impaired in Charlotte, North Carolina

Amy Lambert is the founder of Hope Uprising in Charlotte, North Carolina. She is an evangelist and speaks around the world.


The mission of Hope Uprising is to fuel an uprising of hope one person at a time. We spread hope by using unconventional methods to reach the overlooked, destitute, and forgotten people around the world. We fulfill this through four ways: AwarenessRecoveryInvasion, and Training.
Hope Uprising was formed by former drug addict, Amy Lambert.  Through Amy’s own personal journey of battling, and overcoming addiction, she was inspired to create a movement that would not only reach those without hope, but ignite passion in others to go and do the same.

Amy's story of addiction was featured here on CBN.

Amy Lambert was arrested on December 31, 2016 and charged with driving while impaired. In a new post today on Facebook, she shares thoughts on hitting rock bottom. She does not mention her arrest. I posted a comment asking if she is going to tell her followers, but she deleted it after just a few minutes. She also blocked me on Twitter after one tweet with the link to the news about her arrest.

As an evangelist and public figure leading people who are in recovery and fighting addictions, it does not serve them well if she is not being honest with them about her own struggles, and in this case, attempting to hide an arrest. It also concerning if she is not seeking professional help for her struggles and encouraging others to do so as well. Social media posts and scriptures may make people feel connected with her, but that will not suffice when professional intervention is needed.


Monday, December 5, 2016

"Is Covering Up Abuse Authentic Manhood?"- a victim of Rick Trotter from Fellowship Memphis speaks out

J.B. Martinez shared her story here and expressed disappointment that Independent Presbyterian Church in Memphis is hosting a women's luncheon on Tuesday, December 6 with guest speaker John Bryson, lead pastor at Fellowship Memphis.
When allegations of Rick Trotter’s criminal activity at his new place of employment had surfaced back in August of 2016, I was told by another victim that John Bryson and Hamp Holcomb had instructed she and I not to talk to reporters investigating the allegations. They said not to answer the phone when reporters called. They would handle making a statement. This former Fellowship Memphis employee said Holcomb and Bryson wanted to “protect” the victims from the media.
I feel terrible guilt about not going to the police myself, taking their word that it was being handled and that they had actually gone to the authorities when Rick was originally caught by the corrupt and criminally negligent leadership and staff and Fellowship Memphis. I should have been screaming it from the roof tops 5 years ago. I am convinced I could have prevented hundreds or thousands of others from being exploited.
I have written about Fellowship Memphis and Rick Trotter here and here.

I applaud J.B.'s courage in sharing her story and breaking the silence. I proudly stand with her from Texas. I am glad to help support J.B. and other survivors that have reached out to me over the years. I count it a privilege to share their stories and to do what I can to support abuse survivors and help protect kids near and far from me. Protecting kids should be all of our business.

I received an email today from Leah H.. This is her email in its entirety.

Hi Amy,

    I recently came across your blog and social media sites while doing some research. A few things stood out to me, and I wanted to discuss those things with you. It seems like you spend a lot of time at your computer, so I figured emailing you would be best. 

    From what I've gathered through my own experiences so far, imperfect people make up the majority of people in churches. You know why Jesus had to come here in the first place, right? I've never been to, or been a part of, a church where there wasn't a past rape/infidelity scandal. You shouldn't be so surprised when you discover this. People give in to their flesh everyday. I've seen this situation dealt with the right way, and also the wrong way. Unfortunately, many times churches try to cover themselves instead of people, which I don't stand for. It's also clear that you find most of your information on the internet, but you lack information on all the real life conversations, pain, counseling, apologies, and grace that goes on behind closed doors. Yes, you have access to the sex offender lists as well as their victims online, but you don't know these people, their hearts, or their entire stories (on both sides). You seem to think that you're giving a voice to the victims in these situations, but it seems like you need a reminder that you literally have nothing to do with them or their lives, whatsoever. They have family, friends, counselors and mentors that they have walked through these incidents with. These situations are already so painful and it seems like you just want to add fuel to the fire. It's also a little creepy that you live in Texas and you've made a hobby out of making people's lives more difficult in cities that are hours away from you (that again, you have nothing to do with). The women and victims in these situations don't need a random woman on twitter or a blog outing their stories..they need love and counseling and reassurance of their worth. As an advocate for children and families in difficult situations (I also have a degree for it) I'm all about helping people and providing a voice for them in these situations, but it seems to me like you're more into gossip and making their lives harder while thriving on the drama of it all. And on the other side of things, you need to be mindful of the families of the rapists, sex offenders, and men your after. Yes, they need major accountability, but these people have families, and they also have kids on social media since it's 2016. So where you think you're helping the victim, your also providing heartbreaking news to children about their fathers using a really unfortunate platform (twitter), which can be incredibly mentally damaging to them in the long run. You should think twice before you publicly call yourself an advocate for children, and also a protector. What you are doing is far from protection. 

When I first came across your Twitter/blog, I thought you had good intentions and that you were doing something good and helpful. And then I kept reading and it was clear that you potentially had alternative motives, rather than truly caring about the victims in these situations. 

 I truly hope that you will consider every side to every situation the next time you want to publicly share information about a situation that you have absolutely no involvement in. I also hope that when women and victims reach out to you in the future, that you will guide them to resources that will genuinely help them in their healing process, instead of exploiting them on social media.

Thanks for your time,


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Courage begets courage in Memphis: another survivor of sex abuse at Immanuel Baptist Church tells her story

Karen’s Story

I was manipulated and controlled by my abuser for nearly 2 years. I just recently realized that I've continued to allow him to manipulate me by keeping quiet since then. That's one reason I must get the truth out. He can control me no longer. Last week I filed an official police report, and now I tell my story. 

My family helped found Immanuel Baptist Church in Germantown when I was in 8th grade. Near the end of my freshman year, Jim, a volunteer youth worker who was married, began to endear himself to me as a friend/mentor/encourager/confidante. Over the following months, he fostered a sense that he was the only one I could really trust. It was during this time that he began to also turn the "friendship" into more of a "relationship." His physical/sexual pursuit followed quickly. This also continued to escalate, and Jim forcibly raped me. I was falsely burdened with guilt and shame but felt I had nowhere to turn. The "relationship" continued off and on for about another year and a half. He would say things to me like, "If you tell anyone, I'll deny it all." and, "No one will believe you, or they'll say you wanted it." Jim was super skilled at knowing how to keep me under his thumb. After many attempts of trying to escape and him reeling me back in, I finally was able to make a permanent break from him. I told no one during the entire 2 years. 

Fast forward about 3 years to my sophomore year of college when I began to make really bad relationship choices and got pregnant. {Let me pause right there. At this point, I seemed to choose guys I knew I couldn't trust, because I knew exactly what to expect from them.} When I told my parents that I was pregnant, the events from when I was 15 & 16 came out too. My dad spoke with police, and it was determined that the statute of limitations had passed on my case. He then spoke with Scott Payne, pastor of the church, and I met with him to give more details about what had happened. Payne set up a meeting with Jim and two men in leadership at the church to confront him. He denied it all. All 3 of those confronting Jim told my dad that they couldn't tell if Jim was telling the truth or not. He agreed to leave the church and nothing else was done. 

 Last year (2015), I was reconnected with a high school friend. She wanted to let me know that she was also sexually abused/raped by Jim. She was ashamed that she had not gone public with that information when my story was originally made known in 1996. She asked for my forgiveness for not backing me up and giving my story more credibility. Although this unearthed what I had tried to bury, I finally felt validated. I knew people didn’t believe me when I first told my story. But more importantly, her story confirmed my worst fears over all these years: that I was NOT the only victim. Chances are that Jim West has countless other victims out there suffering in silence. If you are one of his victims, please come forward. The long- term devastating effects of Jim’s abuse and molestation of me are indeterminable. Though I've had counseling and dealt with this for years, I still struggle emotionally, spiritually, physically, mentally, and sexually on a DAILY basis as a result of having my innocence stripped from me this way.

I've spent decades trying to convince myself that my forgiveness of these offenders meant not pursuing accountability for them. That was a lie. In Corinthians 13, Paul says that "Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices in the truth." I'm making the truth about my abuse public because God loves truth, not because I'm seeking harm or revenge toward either of these men. And to their families I say, “I’m sorry that you are also suffering as a result of your husband’s, father’s, etc. choices.” The TRUTH will win. Scripture says, "It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones." 

My purpose and plea is four-fold. First, as I stated at the beginning of this, I refuse to be controlled by my abuser any more. The truth is finally out there! If you want more details, I'll share as much as you want to know within the limits of what I haven't suppressed or forgotten. Second, if you have experienced sexual abuse of ANY kind by ANY one, please come forward. You are NOT to blame, and there is healing to be found in Jesus. Tell someone who can help you get help. Do not carry that burden alone any more. And I encourage you to file a report with police. Third, I had to get the truth out there about this because Scott Payne, the pastor of the church, has apologized and publicly renounced his mishandling of another sex abuse situation (victims Stubblefield, Hansen, & Hansen) which he swept under the rug. But it seems to me that if he was truly sorry, he would be seeking to make amends with me and all the other abuse victims he knows of under his watch...and there ARE others. AND he would be exposing my abuser and all others he knows of. As the shepherd who was supposed to care for his flock, he failed miserably. And because of his neglect in reporting to police and subsequent churches, his guilt is multiplied. Fourth, I want to help bring about changes in the legal ramifications that churches and pastors face for not reporting crimes like that which was committed against me. This will in turn change the way churches handle situations like mine. If abusers know that pastors will expose them, they will feel less freedom to prey on and destroy the lives of our precious babies in our beloved churches. This is a fight worth fighting! Won't you join me?

 If We're Honest by Francesca Battistelli 

Truth is harder than a lie 
The dark seems safer than the light 
And everyone has a heart that loves to hide
I'm a mess and so are you 
We've built walls nobody can get through 
Yeah, it may be hard, but the best thing we could ever do, ever do
Bring your brokenness, and I'll bring mine
'Cause love can heal what hurt divides 
And mercy's waiting on the other side
If we're honest
If we're honest 
Don't pretend to be something that you're not
Living life afraid of getting caught 
There is freedom found when we lay our secrets down at the cross, at the cross
Bring your brokenness, and I'll bring mine 
'Cause love can heal what hurt divides 
And mercy's waiting on the other side 
If we're honest 
If we're honest 
It would change our lives
It would set us free 
It's what we need to be 
Bring your brokenness, and I'll bring mine
'Cause love can heal what hurt divides 
And mercy's waiting on the other side
If we're honest 
If we're honest 


On November 25, 2015, Kenny Stubblefield, another survivor of sex abuse at Immanuel Baptist Church, recorded a call with Kyle Cockrum. Kyle is a former pastor who was previously on staff at Immanuel Baptist Church and Cherokee Baptist Church.

In the audio embedded below, Kenny Stubblefield discusses his and others' stories of child sex abuse with Cockrum. Kenny Stubblefield, Brooks Hansen and Michael Hansen came forward recently to share their stories of abuse by former Immanuel assistant youth pastor Chris Carwile, now employed with the City of Memphis. Carwile has been placed on leave pending the outcome of a criminal investigation. These victims told The Commercial Appeal that after their assaults, they told former lead pastor Scott Payne at Immanuel Baptist Church, but he did not report this information to police.
"The church's attitude was we fired him and that's good enough," Hansen said.
Kyle Cockrum and Kenny Stubblefield can be heard on the audio discussing Scott Payne's role in the alleged cover up of sex abuse at Immanuel Baptist Church.  This is a partial recording of the conversation. Kyle shares his thoughts on Scott "Captain Mediator" Payne:
I'm going to be honest. Scott was the king of brushing stuff under the damn rug. It was about perception over substance...He was able to talk the Moores [Karen's parents] down from going to the police.
Tennessee has a "one-party consent" law. Under a one-party consent law, you can record a phone call or conversation so long as you are a party to the conversation.

Raw Story: Highpoint Church with convicted sex offender on worship team postpones merger with second church facing abuse claims
The Survivors Network of those Abused (SNAP) has called on the Church at Schilling Farms to fire Payne over the cover-up.

TN-- Victims want Mid-South preacher fired

Leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, are urging Mid-South Baptist Association in Tennessee to “denounce, discipline and publicly remove Rev. Scott Payne” from any posts in their organization.
In media interviews, Payne admits that he did not call police when he was confronted in the 1990s with allegations that Immanuel Baptist Church assistant youth pastor Chris Carwile had abused kids.
In recent news reports, several victims have come forward to tell their abuse stories and file police reports against Carwile. He’s worked recently at the main branch of the Memphis Public Library until he was suspended days ago.
SNAP contends that Payne’s actions are “a violation of common sense, common decency, pastoral responsibility and state law.”
“Rev. Payne should have no role or position in any church or religious body and should be drummed out of the ministry and never again given a position in which he might again ignore or hide child sexual abuse, either known or suspected,” David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP. “We hope law enforcement will investigate his actions - and inaction – and consider prosecuting him.”
Payne is listed as a leader on the Team of Encouragers for the Mid-South Baptist Association in Tennessee. The association is directed by Dr. Mitch Martin. 
“We hope Mid-South Baptist Association will publicly denounce Rev. Payne, and send a clear signal to their employees and congregants that ignoring or hiding suspicions of child sex crimes is immoral and won’t be tolerated,” said Clohessy.
“We hope Mid-South Baptist Association will publicly chastise Rev. Payne and send a clear signal to their employees and congregants that ignoring or hiding suspicions of child sex crimes is immoral and won’t be tolerated,” said Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, SNAP’s Outreach Director. “Whether this post is important or ceremonial, paid or unpaid, fulltime or part time – none of that matters. Giving any kind or role or honor or power to someone who admits hiding suspected child sex crimes is wrong and counter-productive.”
SNAP says that the law clearly says that everyone in Tennessee is a mandatory reporter of child abuse. 
“Rev. Payne admits he didn’t call police and now asks forgiveness. But forgiveness is premature and does nothing to protect kids,” said Clohessy. “First, Payne must help police, prosecutors and Carwile’s victims first, by doing everything he can to help ensure that Carwile is successfully prosecuted. The same is true of current and former supervisors and colleagues of Carwile’s at every church where he worked, even for a short time.
“Rev. Payne’s excuses for acting selfishly, recklessly and deceitfully ring hollow. And ignorance of the law is no excuse,” said Amy Smith, SNAP leader Dallas-Fort Worth. “We hope law enforcement will investigate Rev. Payne, see if he’s done this in other cases and prosecute him if possible.
"Some say that because Rev. Payne didn’t call police, he was not kept on staff when a merger of two churches was planned. SNAP says that’s “not enough.”
 “If church officials opted out of the merger and rejected Rev. Payne because he refused to call police about abuse, they need to disclose this publicly,” Clohessy said. “They owe it to police, prosecutors, parents and the public, not to mention their own flock.”
“Quiet consequences for serious wrongdoing achieves little, especially when there’s clear admission of guilt,” said Dorris. “Only by publicly demoting, disciplining and denouncing “enablers” will kids be protected, abuse be stopped and cover ups be deterred.”
We applaud Karen's courage, and we are thankful that she is telling her story. She was preyed upon by a trusted adult in her church. She is not to blame. Kids are not to blame. Adults that prey upon kids are to blame.

When offenders are elevated to positions of trust and leadership, victims may be intimidated and scared to come forward. This has a silencing effect upon kids who have been abused by a trusted adult in the community. Victims fear they will not be believed. 

We hope every single person who saw, suspected or suffered sexual abuse by Jim West, Chris Carwile, Timothy Heinz, or any other church leader will find the courage to come forward, report to police, help others and start healing. When victims come forward they give courage to others who have been suffering in silence and self-blame. Silence only helps predators. 

Jim West is reportedly a leader at Central Church in Collierville, Tennessee (Memphis area).

The light of truth and knowledge is our greatest tool to protect kids.
Everyone in Tennessee is a mandated reporter under state law. Any person with reasonable cause to believe a child is being abused or neglected must, under the law, immediately report to the Tennessee Department of Children's Services or to local law enforcement. The reporter can remain anonymous.

How to report sexual abuse

Cyber Tipline

Child Help

Memphis Police Department


This afternoon, Dee Parsons at The Wartburg Watch called the main number at Central Church to ask if Jim West is a member there. She spoke with the church secretary who told her that there is no one by that name at the church now nor has there been in the recent past as far as she knows. Dee explained the story to her, but she said that she has not heard of him.

After Dee's phone call, I emailed Janell O'Leary, Communications Director at Central Church.

I have not received a reply from Janell yet. About 8 pm tonight, I called the main church number and spoke with Tori. I asked her if Jim West is or ever has been a church member there. She transferred me to a women's ministry director's voicemail which was full, so I called Tori back. Again I asked if Jim West is a member there. She then gave me the name and number of another pastor there, Gene Sauls. I then asked her again if she could confirm that he is a member or not. Tori stated that Jim West is not a member and that he has never been a member at Central Church. I informed Tori that I would be quoting her in an update on my blog post. She said not to quote her, and that she didn't even know what I was writing about. I explained that my post was about a victim reporting Jim West to the police for sex abuse. She then replied that she had heard about that story. She again confirmed to me that Jim West is not a member and never has been a member at Central Church. This conflicts with information shared with me by others close to the situation that Jim West is a member at this church.