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GRACE Final Report on NTM Fanda

GRACE Final Report on NTM Fanda

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01/28/2013

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FINAL
 
REPORT
 
FOR
 
THE
 
INVESTIGATORY 
 
REVIEW
 
OF
 
CHILD
 
 ABUSE
 
 AT
 
NEW
 
TRIBES
 
FANDA
 
MISSIONARY 
 
SCHOOL
 
 August 
 
23,
 
2010
 
 
1
GRACE
 
FINAL
 
REPORT
 
FOR
 
THE
 
INVESTIGATORY 
 
REVIEW
 
OF
 
CHILD
 
 ABUSE
 
 AT
 
NEW
 
TRIBES
 
FANDA
 
MISSIONARY 
 
SCHOOL
 
INTRODUCTION
 
In the 1980’s and the 1990’s, New Tribes Mission (NTM) operated a boardingschool in the village of Fanda, in the country of Senegal. The children of missionaries were housed at this school, sometimes over the strong objections of their parents. The workers NTM placed in charge of these children were often crueland many of the boys and girls placed there endured sexual,
1
physical,
2
emotional,
3
 and spiritual abuse.
4
Much of this behavior was criminal.
5
 
1
Sexual abuse “is the involvement of adults, older children, or adolescents in sexual activities withchildren who cannot give appropriate consent and who do not understand the significance of what ishappening to them. Such activities violate family and societal taboos. Sexual abuse includes, forexample, sexual touching of the genitalia, oral sex, attempted or actual sexual intercourse, orincluding children in child pornography.” John M. Leventhal, MD,
Overview 
 
of 
 
Child 
 
Maltreatment 
 
in
 
Angelo P. Giardino, MD, and Randell Alexander, MD, eds., C
HILD
M
ALTREATMENT
:
 
A
 
C
LINICAL
G
UIDE AND
R
EFERENCE
,
 
T
HIRD
E
DITION
(G.W. Medical Publishing, 2005),
 
2.
 
Another clinical definition of sexualabuse’s constituent parts: “Sexual abuse consists of any sexual activity‐‐verbal, visual or physical‐‐engaged in without consent. The child is considered unable to consent due to developmentalimmaturity and an inability to understand sexual behavior. Verbal sexual abuse can include sexualthreats, sexual comments about the child's body, lewd remarks, harassment or suggestive comments.Visual sexual abuse includes the viewing of pornographic material, exhibitionism and voyeurism.Physical sexual abuse includes intercourse, cunnilingus, fellatio, sodomy, digital penetration,masturbation in front of the child or of the adult by the child, fondling of the breast and genitals andexposure of the child's body to others. These may be performed on the child, or the child may beforced to perform any or all of the above." Diane Mandt Langberg,
Counseling
 
Survivors
 
of 
 
Sexual 
 
 Abuse
(Wheaton: Tyndale House, 1997), 62.
 
2
Physical abuse includes “acts of commission toward the child by a parent or caregiver. Such actscan result in harm to the child or they might intend to harm, although there may be no harm or only aminor injury. It can include injuries that occur when a child is punished severely or when a parent loses control and shakes a crying infant.” John M. Leventhal, MD,
Overview 
 
of 
 
Child 
 
Maltreatment 
 
in
 
Angelo P. Giardino, MD, and Randell Alexander, MD, eds., C
HILD
M
ALTREATMENT
:
 
A
 
C
LINICAL
G
UIDE AND
R
EFERENCE
,
 
T
HIRD
E
DITION
(G.W. Medical Publishing, 2005),
 
1.
3
Emotional or psychological maltreatment is “a repeated pattern of damaging interactions.… Thisform of maltreatment occurs when a child repeatedly feels that he or she is unwanted, unloved, orworthless. It includes degradation, belittling, and ridiculing; it also can include actively rejecting thechild or ignoring the child’s emotional needs.… Emotional maltreatment…often accompanies othertypes of abuse or neglect and plays a major role in the consequences of these types of maltreatment.”John M. Leventhal, MD,
Overview 
 
of 
 
Child 
 
Maltreatment 
 
in Angelo P. Giardino, MD, and RandellAlexander, MD, eds., C
HILD
M
ALTREATMENT
:
 
A
 
C
LINICAL
G
UIDE AND
R
EFERENCE
,
 
T
HIRD
E
DITION
(G.W.Medical Publishing, 2005),
 
2.
4
Spiritual abuse “is the inappropriate use of spiritual authority (the Bible, ecclesiastical tradition, orchurch authority) to force a person to do that which is unhealthy. Often it will involve a forceful ormanipulative denial of that person’s feelings and convictions.” Steven R. Tracy,
Mending
 
the
 
Soul 
 
(Zondervan, 2005),
 
32‐33.
 
There are four characteristics of a spiritually abusive religious institution.
Power 
 
 posturing
 
occurs when the “leaders are preoccupied with their authority and continually
 
2Although many factors contributed to the abuse, it was the conduct of NewTribes Mission, which emphasized the saving of souls at the expense of children,that made the abuse that followed predictable. The theology that was unleashed inFanda not only resulted in the abuse of children, it created a Field Committee with amindset that ignored clear evidence of abuse, protected the perpetrators, and, inseveral instances, shamed and even shunned the victims and their families. Thisbehavior from the hierarchy in the field was grossly negligent, if not criminal.
6
 This report details the abuse of the children at the Fanda boarding school, theenvironment that made the abuse possible, and the feeble response to its aftermath.The report also offers recommendations to aid the children and the families whowere physically and emotionally scarred by those who worked at and whomaintained the boarding school.Specifically, this report is divided into the following sections:1.
 
A summary of facts and analysis of the Fanda leadership, the childabuse that was prevalent at the boarding school, and the failedresponse to this abuse.2.
 
Recommendations to NTM for assisting the victims, holding theperpetrators and leadership accountable, and implementinginstitutional change to limit, if not eliminate the possibility that children will be abused in the future.3.
 
Conclusions and lessons learned from this investigatory review.
remind people of it.”
Performance
 
 preoccupation
 
takes place when spirituality “becomes a matter of external performance, not internal character.”
Unspoken
 
rules
 
such as “’Don’t ever disagree with yourpastor or you are disloyal and unspiritual’” are “not discussed openly but are enforced rigidly.”Finally, spiritually abusive religious institutions have a
lack 
 
of 
 
balance.
 
That is, “spiritually abusivechurches have little or no spiritual balance, and the leaders exhibit either extreme objectivity (‘youmust have graduate degrees to have any spiritual knowledge’) or extreme subjectivity (‘the Lordgave me this message, and you must accept it’).”
Ibid.
32‐33.
 
There are a number of studiesdocumenting the impact of abuse on spirituality. For example, a study of 527 victims of child abuse(physical, sexual or emotional) found a significant “spiritual injury” such as feelings of guilt, anger,grief, despair, doubt, fear of death, and belief that God is unfair. Lawson, Drebing, Berg, Vincellette, &Penk,
The
 
Long
 
Term
 
Impact 
 
of 
 
Child 
 
 Abuse
 
on
 
Religious
 
Behavior 
 
and 
 
Spirituality 
 
in
 
Men,
 
22(5) C
HILD
A
BUSE
&
 
N
EGLECT
(1998)
 
369,
 
376‐377.
 
Victims of severe abuse may remain “stuck” in their spiritualdevelopment such as remaining angry with God. Children abused at younger ages are “less likely toturn to God and others for spiritual support.” Terry Lynn Gall,
Spirituality 
 
and 
 
Coping
 
with
 
Life
 
Stress
 
 Among
 
 Adult 
 
Survivors
 
of 
 
Childhood 
 
Sexual 
 
 Abuse
,
 
in C
HILD
A
BUSE
&
 
N
EGLECT
,
 
30
 
(2006)
 
829,
 
838.
5
In the United States, and throughout most of the world, child abuse is a crime punishable byimprisonment or other severe consequences. For an overview of the criminal nature of child abuse,see generally
 ,
 
I
NVESTIGATION AND
P
ROSECUTION OF
C
HILD
A
BUSE
T
HIRD
E
DITION
(2004).
 
6
In a number of states, there is criminal liability if an individual intentionally or knowingly fails toprotect a child from abuse by another person (
Id.
 
at 195‐197). See
 
e.g.
 
People
 
v.
 
Stanciel,
 
606 N.E.2d1201 (Ill. 1992); and
Commonwealth
 
v.
 
Cardwell,
 
515 A.2d 311 (Pa. Super. Ct. 1986) finding that mother knowingly endangered child by violating duty of care, protection, and support when she wasfully aware her husband was sexually abusing her daughter but took only minimal actions to protect her child, such as writing her husband letters or registering her at a different school.

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