WA--Seattle-area predator preacher accused; Victims respond
For immediate release: Wednesday, July 20, 2016
A Bellingham pastor is accused of sexually abusing a girl for two years. Now, his current and former church colleagues and members must aggressively reach out to others who may have information or suspicions about his alleged crimes or possible church cover ups.
Christopher L. Trent of the Orleans Street Baptist Church will soon face formal charges. But we strongly suspect he has abused others – either in Washington or Oklahoma. It’s not enough for his supervisors and colleagues to claim they’re “cooperating” with law enforcement. They must use their resources – church websites, bulletins, mailing lists and pulpit announcements – to seek out victims, witnesses and whistleblowers and beg them to call secular authorities.
Josh Carter, the top pastor at Bellingham Baptist, must lead the way with courage and compassion. But this duty - to reach out to the lost, wounded sheep – falls on every person who is or was associated with this congregation.
No matter what prosecutors, judges or church officials do or don’t do, we urge every single person who saw, suspected or suffered child sex crimes and cover ups in Baptist churches or institutions to protect kids by calling police, get help by calling therapists, expose wrongdoers by calling law enforcement, get justice by calling attorneys, and be comforted by calling support groups like ours. This is how kids will be safer, adults will recover, criminals will be prosecuted, cover ups will be deterred and the truth will surface.
Finally, no one should call this “a relationship.” That’s inaccurate and hurtful. A child cannot consent to any kind of sex involving an adult. So calling child sex crimes “relationships” gives the false impression of equality where there can be none and ignores or minimizes the devastating exploitation, deceit and manipulation by shrewd predators.
If I rob a bank, or steal from one through embezzle from one, my actions are correctly labelled “a crime,” not “a relationship” with the bank.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 20,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
Ex-youth pastor at Bellingham church accused of raping girl
Christopher L. Trent, 37, served as a youth pastor at Bellingham Baptist Church
He is accused of sexually abusing a girl who went to his church
Trent moved from Oklahoma to Bellingham three years ago
BY CALEB HUTTON, firstname.lastname@example.org
A former youth pastor at Bellingham Baptist Church has been arrested on suspicion of sexually abusing a teenage girl over the course of two years.
Christopher L. Trent, 37, a pastor at the Orleans Street church for the past three years, rubbed his face with his hands and wiped away tears with the collar of a green inmate uniform, as a deputy prosecutor read from a Bellingham detective’s report in courtTuesday afternoon, July 19.
The alleged victim reported she was under the age of 14 when the relationship turned inappropriate.
About two years ago, Trent started driving the girl home from church, said Deputy Prosecutor Christopher Quinn. Sometimes he showed her physical affection by giving a “side hug,” she reported, and over time they . . .
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.