February 26, 2020 Statement by Cheryl Summers, founder of For Such a Time As This Rally
We're here to protect innocent kids and vulnerable adults. We’re not here to punish or persecute anyone. This is about public safety and victims’ healing. When those happen, then it may be time for forgiveness or redemption,which are, in fact, private actions, not public actions. Public actions are what will keep others safe and help others heal.
We start with a simple truth: Sexual violence happens when those who commit or conceal it escape consequences.
We fear that's what's happening now, in part, because of the Missouri Baptist Convention.
The Convention has tapped Dr. Mike Roy to be on the board of trustees at Southwest Baptist University.
--This all stems from the case of Shawn Davies, who pled guilty in 2007 to molesting boys at First Baptist Church of Greenwood. Roy was the senior pastor there. Davies was youth and music minister. https://www.snapnetwork.org/news/baptist/baptist_minister_convicted.htm
The Missouri Baptist Convention tapped Dr. Mike Roy as a new SBU trustee in October 2019 despite all of the following:
--Police say that Roy let Shawn Davies, a minister at First Baptist Church Greenwood, MO, keep working around children for months even after the first victim came forward in July 2005 and police notified Roy of their child sex abuse investigation into one of his staff.
Although Mike Roy knew about the disclosure and investigation in July 2005, the church did not take action against Davies until October 2005 –a time period in which police believe Davies abused two additional victims.
--Police say Roy made their investigation more difficult by his unwillingness to cooperate. (KCTV-5,7/7/2006).
-- Lee Orth, a church official told the press in 2007 that the situation "was mishandled,"
--Roy hired Davies at the Greenwood church.The two went to a Kentucky seminary together.
--This month, the SBU president said that he learned that a new trustee “may have mishandled child sex abuse allegations."
--We understand there are some who want Roy ousted. We do too.
Roy has evidently declined to speak with authorities or the media. He now pastors Pathway Church in Raymore (also near Kansas City). He’s not ostracized, hungry, homeless or broke. He’s doing fine without this promotion. Again, we’re not interested in being punitive. We’re being prudent.
Because when wrongdoing or alleged wrongdoing is ignored or rewarded, more people are apt to do wrong. In a nutshell, we fear that Roy’s presence on the college’s board will hurt in two ways.
First, it may well discourage or deter one or more teenagers or young adults who were hurt at SBU from reporting the crimes.
Second, it will rub salt into the already deep and still fresh wounds of Davies’ victims.
Imagine you’re a struggling, confused and violated 17 year old freshman, living away from home for the first time. Imagine you’re raped by an SBU staff or student. You’re struggling whether to tell someone. But after hearing about Roy’s promotion to the board, despite this controversy, you keep thinking “I’m not sticking my neck out and reporting my rape. It’s obvious school and church officials don’t take sexual violence seriously.”
And maybe your rapist goes on to rape someone else.
Leaders and authorities must do all they can to encourage victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to come forward.
So leaders and authorities must be careful about their actions, their words AND the impression they create.
Let’s say a police department claims it wants to go after organized crime. The chief of that department says “If you know about organized crime, come forward.” Then that chief appears in public hanging out with a Mafia don. Such an appearance would undercut and contradict his message. People would then understandably be more reluctant to call that police department about suspected Mafia activity. This is just common sense. Let’s say a college want to end sexual violence on campus. Then it shouldn’t name a building after Jerry Sandusky or a scholarship after Bill Cosby. And of course that school should certainly not put Joe Paterno or Cosby’s wife on its board.
Appearances matter. They matter especially to already distrustful and still suffering victims of sexual assault, abuse and violence.
So EVEN IF Mike Roy somehow acted more responsibly than he’s been portrayed by police and news media – and even if others who want him gone are a bit misinformed – he should still be removed from his position as a trustee of Southern Baptist University. And they should never again give any position, job, honor or title to anyone who has committed or concealed or ignored or downplayed sexual violence, whether proven or suspected.
Further, we are here today to call on the Missouri Attorney General to launch an investigation similar to the investigation of the Roman Catholic Church.
[Note: We are now aware of the dispute between MBC and SBU regarding its trustees - a dispute that predates last Friday when we raised the concerns surrounding abuse at FBC Greenwood. It is our understanding based on the many Missouri Baptists we've heard from that MBC appointed Mike Roy over the objections of SBU, although those objections had nothing todo with concerns over alleged mishandled abuse at FBC Greenwood. It is also our understanding that the SBU board of trustees is the entity that today holds the power to remove any trustee. Reportedly, this may change at the October 2020 annual meeting of the Missouri Baptist Convention with control to both appoint and remove trustees being given to the Missouri Baptist Convention. In recognition of Baptist polity, today the only entity with standing to act prior to any ensuing changes in October 2020 would be the board of trustees. Further, For Such A Time As This Rally implores the SBU board of trustees to submit the investigation process to a third party, independent group such as GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment), a group founded by Boz Tchividjian,former prosecutor, current law professor at Liberty University and the Reverend Billy Graham’s grandson."]
CONTACT: Cheryl Summers [email protected]