Ungodly abuse: The lasting torment of the New Tribes missionary kids

By Kate Snow, Aliza Nadi and Rich Schapiro

When the clock struck 8 p.m. inside the Aritao boarding school in the Philippines, the children would gather in a common area for their evening routine.

A nightly devotional. A Bible reading. Prayers.

The children were the sons and daughters of American evangelical missionaries. The sessions were led by mission caretakers known as the "dorm dad" and "dorm mom."

When the prayers were over, the boys and girls as young as 6 would march off to bed. Sometimes, the dorm dad would trail behind the girls, slip into their rooms and do ungodly things to them in the dead of night.

He would put "his hands under the covers and would touch me," recalled Joy Drake, who says the sexual abuse started when she was 9.

"I would pretend that I was sleeping because I was terrified that he would get angry or something worse would happen if I moved. So I'd hold my breath and wait til it was over."

The Aritao school was run by a Florida-based group formerly known as New Tribes Mission, one of the largest Christian missionary organizations in the world.

New Tribes missionaries have operated in more than a dozen countries, spreading the gospel in some of the most remote corners of the globe.

Devoting one's li...

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  • Richard Kensinger, MSW
    commented 2019-02-12 16:01:36 -0600
  • Richard Kensinger, MSW
    commented 2019-02-12 13:51:42 -0600
    Thanks for your input and references. You can reach me at onergk69 so that I can send you 2 of my articles that you may find interesting; and can continue our exchange.
    Rich, MSW
  • Rich Darr
    commented 2019-02-12 09:46:31 -0600
    Hi again Richard! Evangelical support for Trump is a little bit more complicated than what one sees at first glance. The USA evangelical culture has many subcultures. A couple of recent articles are helpful in parsing out this diversity within evangelicalism: “How Can Christians Support Donald Trump?” in Religious News Service, Dec 17, 2018 (a broad, ecumenical/inter-faith news service) and “Why Evangelicals Voted Trump,” in Christianity Today, Oct 18, 2018 (the major evangelical journal in the world, based near Wheaton, IL). The RNS article lists 5 evangelical subcultures. Nonetheless, around 80% of white evangelicals DID vote for Trump! As a former evangelical, I’d chalk that up to a sense of loss of power and privilege in recent years by these evangelicals in the areas of cultural changes (the “culture wars”) and legislation on issues such as abortion, gender equality, LGBTQ movement, nationalism, support for the state of Israel and nationalism. Trump’s stance on abortion and his nomination of conservative Supreme Court justices and federal judges play a huge role in why evangelicals continue to support Trump—even though it is widely recognized that his behavior and beliefs are ANYTHING BUT evangelical!
  • Richard Kensinger, MSW
    commented 2019-02-10 08:41:13 -0600
    Rich, great first name BTW! Interesting to me then is that many evangelicals voted for and still back Trump?. Can someone explain this to me??
    Thanks so much for your response. Hope we stay in touch.
    Rich, MSW
  • Rich Darr
    commented 2019-02-09 16:37:47 -0600
    Rich, MSW, you are correct! In Kate Snow’s interview with the missionary kid survivors, mention is made of Boz Tchividjian and his organization, GRACE. Boz and company have investigated high profile evangelical Protestant organizations such as Bob Jones University and other evangelical missions agencies in addition to New Tribes Mission/Ethnos 360.. Boz worked for many years as a state’s attorney’s investigator in Florida with a focus on sex abuse crimes. He has also taught law at the university level. As a grand-son of the late evangelist Billy Graham, Boz carries weight in the evangelical world. He has often likened abuse in evangelical Protestant organizations with abuse in the Roman Catholic Church. A good example is the piece by Josiah Hesse, August 25, 2017, “Billy Graham’s Grandson Says Protestants Abuse Kids Just Like Catholics.”
  • Richard Kensinger, MSW
    commented 2019-02-09 16:01:31 -0600
    So the Catholic Church is not the only breeding ground for pedophiles!
    Rich, MSW
  • Rich Darr
    commented 2019-02-07 21:05:02 -0600
    Thank you SNAP for headlining today’s report by NBC’s Kate Snow exposing abuse of Protestant missionary children in the Philippines and Senegal, West Africa.

    The pattern is plain to anyone who has experienced abuse at the hands of religious authorities: 1) Clergy (Protestant missionaries) abused missionary children and threatened them to silence. 2) When victims eventually stepped forward as adults, the religious organization, in this case a USA based Protestant mission agency (New Tribes Mission, now called Ethnos 360) with several thousand personnel scattered around the globe, initially protected the clergy instead of the victims. 4) When the perpetrators were finally exposed, the organization moved the perps to new locations 5) without contacting legal authorities (police) in the countries where the abuse occurred, and apparently did not report the perpetrators to the police when the perps returned to the USA. 6) New Tribes Mission’s stonewalling forced victims to take their stories public via the media in order to 7) get the truth out to the public and 8) to receive some measure of justice since the statutes of limitation had expired and the abuse occurred overseas.

    Sound familiar?

    We at Missionary Kid Safetynet (MKSN) will never forget the kindness and concrete help we received from Barbara Blaine and David Clohessy back in the early 1990’s when we first formed in Chicago and began the fight for truth and justice with the evangelical Protestant missions community. Thank you! We are proud to be affiliated with SNAP.

    Rich Darr, survivor, co-founder and current board member of MKSN.
  • Shary Hauber
    commented 2019-02-07 08:49:29 -0600
    Abuse by clergy happens not only in Catholic churches. Evangelical mission organization have had reports of abuse for over a century yet it has not been exposed. Victims have been blamed, abuser justified because of their “good work” in spreading the gospel. Cover up are the norm. Abusers move to different countries or sent back to US, never informing authorities that they are child abusers. Inside investigations they claim to be independent are not. 100s of children of missionaries, MKs, have been abused by missionaries.

    SNAP helped start MK Safety Net a not for profit 501.c3 in the 90s. MKSN works with MK who have been abused in the mission setting.

SNAP Network is a GuideStar Silver Participant