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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release

Key findings in the new report on abuse at “Fanda,” the New Tribes Mission school in Senegal - Aug 2010

(Here's the full report: http://www.bishop-accountability.org/reports/2010_08_28_GRACE_Fanda_Report.pdf)


Church officials “created a mindset that ignored clear evidence of abuse, protected the predators, and shamed and even shunned the victims” (2)

“Authority was exercised in a manner that was absolute and not receptive to being questioned or challenged” (7)

Children “as young as five were separated from their parent and placed in dorms” (9)

Children “were not allowed to voice concerns or complaints to their parents regarding conditions at the school.” ()

The report says that “the best interests of the children were not the priority” at the school (10)

“Authoritarian and pious leadership, coupled with a ultimate disregard for the true value and significance of children” (11)

“Child abuse was widespread and routine and involved numerous perpetrators” (11)

The report “found credible evidence of countless criminal acts” (11)

In 1997, the church hierarchy was aware of just one sexual predator with “3 known victims, 9 ‘apparent’ victims and 11 more who maybe weren’t sexually abused personally but have been witnesses to the acts and have many of the same symptoms.” (12)

The report found “22-27 child sex victims, more than 35 physical and emotional abuse victims and those spiritually abused may well include the total school population” (14)

The report identifies, by name, 12 adults who stand accused of “sexual, physical, emotional or spiritual abuse” (15)

NTM “provided no training or limitations on physical punishment” (15)

The kids’ difficulties “were exacerbated by the fact that the school was in a civil war zone” and “guns and tank fire could be heard” from the classrooms and “the threat of violence was ever-present” (23)

The “catalogue of heartbreak and pain” includes “denial, memory loss, depression, guilt, feelings of powerlessness, panic attacks, anger, fear, distrust of adults, suicidal thoughts and actions, swell harming, eating disorders substance abuse, sexual confusion, sexual experimentation, sexual repression, running away, turning to the occult, criminal behavior, imprisonment and death.” (25)


One man (Phil Gates) “admitted to explaining and demonstrating to the children how French kiss” (38)

One woman (Donna Beach) “became sexually involved with a teenager” but “was never reported to authorities” (17)

Two children recall being forced (by Judy Penner) “to eat their own vomit as punishment” (16)

One woman (Judy Penner) is accused of “yanking a child’s arm and breaking it” (16)

One man (Bob Ames) is accused of “having pulled a chunk of hair out of a child’s head in anger” (17)

One man (David Brooks) “repeatedly used” his “position of trust” to “pursue his destructive abuse,” sexually violating “one of his victims more than 50 times” while “others were too young to count the number of times. . .” (17)

“There is compelling, unequivocal evidence that David Brooks sexually, physically, emotionally and spiritually abused children.” (52)

One man (Phil Gates) “often fondled his wife’s breasts in front of girls” and “is accused of child sexual abuse” by several students (19)


The Executive Committee provided Brooks support, counseling, sympathy, legal advice and prayer. Brooks’ victims did not fare as well (36)

“The Executive Committee demonstrated no concern that Brooks might molest children in the future” (37)

“After hearing Gates admit to lewd conduct upon and in the presence of children, the Executive Committee refused to remove Gates from the dorm” and “took no measures to ensure the safety of the children” (39)

One man (Bill Poortvliet) “physically abused a boy” yet “remains employed at the NTM headquarters in Florida” (42)

In 1997, the Executive Committed “had become strict, paternalistic, anti-educational, heavily submission oriented and authoritarian” (42)

“No documented efforts were taken to notify local or US authorities regarding criminal actions” found in a 1997 church report on abuse at the school (46)

In 2002, the NTM’s attorney “inherited a backlog of 80-90 child abuse allegations worldwide” (47)

Church supervisors “knew or should have known that there was extensive child mistreatment” at the school (26)

Church supervisors “to the extent (they) acted at all, acted to protect the perpetrators and the institution at the expense of the children” (26)

If “not criminal,” their conduct “was grossly negligent” (26)

One Executive Committee member (Dean Van Vliet) “did not recommend reaching out to or in any way helping a victim or her parents even though he knew they were in great need of assistance” (35)

The Executive Committee itself “discussed destroying one or more documents that might tie them to the abuse in Senegal” (35)

“In the late 1980s,” church supervisors were “repeatedly put on notice regarding the dangers of David Brooks” but “instead of taking prompt proactive measures to protect the children” (they) “looked the other way while at the same time ignoring the plea from Brooks to be removed from the dorm” (36)


The report recommends that NTM “set aside a perpetually standing fund of $1 million” for victims (49)

The NTM “must remove those who willfully harmed children or failed to protect them” (51)

“It is critical that NTM remove any and all leaders (including members of the Executive Board) who exhibit a style and philosophy of leadership similar to that of” the committee that oversaw the school (65)


5 individuals (Bill Poortvliet, Donna Beach, Ron Abram, John Warnken, Frank Stottlemyer) “should be terminated from active membership”

11 individuals (David Brooks, Phil Gates, Reginaldo Goulart, Mark Adams, Norm Livingston, Charles Perry Utz, Audrey DeJager, Bob Ames, Rodney McCray, Mel Wyma, Dean Van Vliet) “should be retroactively terminated from active membership”

8 individuals (Chet Plimpton) should have 10% of their church income deducted and donated to the victims’ fund. “These deductions shall be permanent.”

One man (Chet Plimpton) “should be removed from the NTM Executive Committee” (63)

The church lawyer (Scott Ross) “should be permanently removed from any and all work and responsibilities involving relating to any form of child abuse” (64)

(Summary provided by SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, the nation’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 22 years and have more than 10,000 members across the country. 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)

Contact David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, [email protected]), Peter Isely (414-429-7259, [email protected]) Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747, SNAP [email protected]), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, [email protected])

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests