NH church at center of 1997 teen rape case // Currenthttp://current.com/news/92457585_nh-church-at-center-of-1997-teen-rape-case.htm[6/28/2011 3:25:56 AM]
"Instead of engaging in talk about this incident, I beg you to pray for all thoseimpacted by this crime," Fuller wrote. "I love you tenderly and am confident you willonly talk of these matters to our Lord in prayer."That's just the type of control Matt Barnhart said drove him away from the church.The Concord man said he and his family had been members of Trinity Baptist for justsix months when he witnessed Willis and Anderson's church discipline session."It was definitely, unequivocally put up as two separate incidents," Barnhart said. Ashis children grew, he said he saw the "high control" the church was exerting overtheir dress, music choices and conduct."We left because of Tina. It nagged me for years. They blamed her. They shippedher off," he said.Fundamental Baptist church leaders believe in the autonomy of each individualcongregation. The website of Trinity Baptist Church states that "on all matters ofmembership, policy, government, discipline and benevolence, the will of the localchurch is final."While in Colorado, Anderson said, she was home-schooled, had no contact withstudents her own age and was told by her pastors not to discuss what happened toher in New Hampshire.She placed her daughter, born in March 1998, up for adoption at Phelps' urging, witha family he had chosen.Anderson, now 28, was educated at a Baptist college and offered a job as a musicteacher at International Baptist College in Chandler, Ariz. She was married, themother of three other children, when a phone call out of the blue in early Februaryfilled her with dread. It was from Concord Detective Chris DeAngelis, saying helearned of her case through a Facebook page titled "Independent FundamentalistBaptist Cult Survivors.""I was kind of in shock, but I just answered his questions," Anderson said."Everything is changing because I'm seeing the things I was taught for so manyyears are not necessarily correct. It's almost like I had blinders on, believing all ofthis was my fault."Crystal Evans, a longtime friend and former classmate of Anderson's at TrinityBaptist, had joined the Facebook exchange and provided police with informationabout Anderson and her whereabouts.Evans, who now lives in Boston, said she left Trinity Baptist Church when she was18 because she found the atmosphere "very cold and controlling ... the men in thechurch all controlled the women." And she remembers her confusion aboutAnderson being sent away."I didn't understand why she was being punished," Evans said. "She was the victim."