Moody Bible Institute Called Out by Parents, Alumni, and Students for Covering-up Sexual Abuse
A prominent religious school in Chicago has been the subject of an open letter and petition, signed by more than 1,700 people, demanding a change in how staff at the school handle allegations of sexual abuse. We applaud these brave survivors and advocates for speaking truth to power and stand in support of them as they work to create a safer environment, one that is free of abuse and cover-up.
The letter and petition addressed to officials at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago allege that multiple staffers at MBI, including the current Student Dean of Life and the school’s Title IX Coordinator, have repeatedly mishandled reports of sexual harassment, abuse, and rape. Some students even allege that they were threatened with discipline for going forward with reporting these crimes. This is a disturbing situation, but one that is sadly common across the United States. We hope that the public nature of this letter and the bravery of the survivor-organizers in sharing their stories will help compel other members or former members of the community and the public to join in and demand change at MBI.
We support the call to remove the officials who have allegedly mishandled reports over the years. It seems clear to us from the testimony of the four survivors who have gone public that, in particular, Dean Tim Arens has repeatedly failed to offer support and help to victims, instead looking out only for the reputation of his school. This is common across institutions, but just because it is common does not mean it should go unpunished. Based on these reports, we believe Dean Arens has failed in his role and should be removed. To do anything less is to continue putting the institution above the individual.
Based on the reported culture at MBI, we have no doubt that there are others who have been hurt and were either ignored or were too scared to report. We hope that this news will encourage them to come forward now and make a report of what they experienced to law enforcement. As this situation shows, institutions cannot be counted on to police themselves and secular law enforcement must get involved in order to protect students and help stop future sex crimes.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)