For sometime now I have felt like a “voice in the wilderness” when it comes to exposing the childhood sexual abuse occurring within the confines of the Southern Baptist Church. Since my abuse happened at the hands of a youth minister at a prominent SBC church in suburban Atlanta, I have received nothing but contempt and distain from those in power within the SBC. This man, who admitted to a pastor and deacon that he sexually abused me just keeps getting moved from church to church…sound familiar? And I am not is only victim. 6 others have come forward telling their own story of abuse. These are just the boys I KNOW about, ages ranging from 9 to 15 at the time the abuse occurred. Only God and Frankie know how many little boys he’s actually molested, abused and raped.
His name is Frankie Wiley and currently acts as the “Praise Leader” at Trinity Baptist Church in Ashburn, GA. All I get from the SBC, is that they “will pray for me”, but no one seems to be willing to act on KNOWN pedophiles using their facilities as a hunting ground for new victims. Even the pastor of Trinity, Rodney Brown, knows the truth and refuses to do anything about it. He actually called me and told me “I was a bad person for causing a split in HIS church.” To which I replied, he is the one giving a known pedophile access to children. And the last time I checked, it’s not HIS church, the church is the body of believers, not the man standing in the pulpit. After which, he has given no reply.
The constant rhetoric I am told is that, “each church is autonomous”. The problem with this fallacy is that if each so-called autonomous church doesn’t pay the SBC a certain amount of money, they are not allowed to send “Messengers” (or delegates if you think of it in political terms) to the national convention to vote on issues and help create the platform with which the SBC uses to have guidelines that “rule” over each church. Sound “autonomous” to you?
It has been clear to me for sometime now, and it looks like others are recognizing that the SBC is no better than the Catholic Church when it comes to covering up the pedophiles hiding under the cloak of ministry. Below you will find an article that shows exactly what I’ve been saying for years.
As we have seen in recent news, no religious organization is immune. Childhood sexual abuse occurs in churches, synagogues, mosques, schools, Boy Scouts, etc. We have got to stand up for these children who aren’t able to speak up for themselves. Help us help these children. Demand the immediate removal of known child molesters like Frankie Wiley.
April 20, 2013 at 5:00 am
Well-said and amen!!
April 24, 2013 at 8:43 pm
Thanks for the post. It’s the first time I’ve heard of another church besides the Catholic church although I’ve always thought that Catholic priests weren’t the only clergy that had been perpetrators. The response you got is amazing. How can people close their eyes to that which is so clear to see.
April 30, 2013 at 4:10 pm
Unfortunately, sexual abuse happens everywhere. Some settings are more protected for it such as in the case of priests.
July 4, 2013 at 9:18 am
or ANY clergy
July 4, 2013 at 11:12 am
It’s true Mimi, every religion I know of finds itself tangled in the cover-ups and crimes of childhood sexual abuse. But it’s not just religions, It’s any position of authority. They believe they are above being caught, which is why we all have to remain vigilant in exposing anyone in any position that has abused a child.
April 30, 2013 at 3:42 pm
Great post, great blog. Thanks for the work you’re doing.
I ran across a Baptist Minister’s blog recently sub-titltled with the tag line “Keepin’ it Real.” The post I saw was about finding guidance in Scripture for how to deal with sexual abuse by church officials. He was taking Paul’s advice to Timothy as his text. Although I had disagreements with both this minister and Paul, it got me thinking.
The church that Jesus established was revolutionary. No longer would ordinary people be bound and confused by earthly authority structures in their churches while trying to be spiritual. The new authority was to be the living God. It was a bottom-up structure. It was democratic.
From my recent research I see that this bottom-up structure is an extremely important component of many churches today, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) included. They hold the heritage dear, and consider it to have been God-given.
There is clearly hypocrisy at work in a church association that claims it is powerless to control its member churches, but then benefits from them directly.
And it is equally clear that the Child Safety policies- or lack thereof- in the SBC- result in abuse. It is times like these one would prefer to be dealing with a righteous top-down authority that could and would get them straightened out.
It strikes me as ironic that a top-down organization such as the Catholic religion has lots of abuse by priests too. Obviously, the presence of institutional power does not necessarily ensure good behavior on the part of its individual members. In fact, judging from the huge amount of abuse by Catholic priests, it would seem to make it worse.
As you pointed out, the problem is everywhere.
I would like to call your attention to the Unitarian Universalists. I have looked at a half-dozen churches so far, and the UUs are leagues ahead of anyone else. We might not agree with all of their conclusions and recommendations, but ya gotta hand it to them for devoting the resources to thinking it through so thoroughly. Their webpage is comprehensive in the extreme.
April 30, 2013 at 4:07 pm
No religious group is immune from sexual abuse. Children are re-abused when the church reacts in such a way that it does not acknowledge the abuse or support the victim. My husband is a Baptist preacher. Our child was sexually abused in another Baptist church by another pastor’s 17 yr old son who was also abusing other kids (we found out). The other pastor convinced people, including those in our association, that we were just trouble makers because we didn’t just forgive and forget – and let the abuse continue. We got the police involved, they prosecuted. Even to this day, years later, they still spread lies about us and cause us trouble.
However, we do not blame God or the Baptists in general. We are still Baptists. This is the reaction many have to sexual abuse. No one wants to face it. Predators know this and use it. Of course predators are going to get involved in places with large groups of kids to prey on. This world is getting more and more perverted. Sexual abuse is becoming more common. The important thing for a church to remember is to protect the victims and don’t ignore the crimes. Churches are legally bound to laws of the land such as reporting child abuse. Those who allow children to be abused should be sued in civil court for damages or criminal court for allowing crimes to occur
Satan enjoys destroying children in our churches. Don’t let him get away with it. There is a book you might like called When Child Abuse Comes to Church http://www.amazon.com/When-Child-Abuse-Comes-Church/dp/1556612869
God bless, Patty
April 30, 2013 at 4:40 pm
In the late 70’s it was remarked in the dining room at Jehovah’s Witnesses world headquarters in Brooklyn; from a visiting ‘Branch Committee member” on one of the things he learned during his educational stay was ,”efficiency was not a fruitage of God’s spirit:”
Two decades later my ‘private pedophile’ was still classified as an Elder in the Kingdom Hall.
Efficiency rules! Everywhere.
June 3, 2013 at 9:11 pm
Reblogged this on nexusmods and commented:
religion and liking pedophiles
July 15, 2013 at 6:11 pm
Autonomous or not, harboring this kind of behavior is wrong. Crime needs to be reported and dealt with immediately, not passed along to someone else. That’s why we have laws.
July 16, 2013 at 1:07 am
It seems to me molesting children is some dark secret of the Christian plan, may have started with the Catholics, but their plan is to molest certain children for several reasons…They are all of course insane…
July 18, 2013 at 2:36 pm
The ‘insane’ label is commonly used against CSA victims. They’re wicked.
July 16, 2013 at 10:05 am
Excellent Blog. I would just like to add that any religion that sublimates a persons natural desires and behaviors for “pseudo” religion vs. true spirituality ( which allows people to confess their sins (shortcomings) ) so that they can be addressed will continue to experience cover-ups and protection of the pedophile.
I have seen it in Pentocostalism, SDA, Jehovah Witnesses. AME, etc.
And unfortunately, it is more deeply imbedded in the Black church. Sexual predators are rampant and protected under the veil of “God’s elect.”
And as previous posts have stated the abuser keeps victimizing children and leaves a trail of shame and guilt to those he/she has victimized.
July 16, 2013 at 11:38 am
For this reasons I left to believe in religious groups specially if they are interested in children. I had bad experience with Catholic priest when I was a child. But I can not leave to think that always there are a good persons with good intention inside of this groups.
July 16, 2013 at 10:30 pm
We have found the same things in Thailand also. We try to solve this problem, try to equip and to educate church people know about this issue, it’s so sad which many Big person in Christainity are not concern about it.
We would like to bring God’s justice to many kids who has been abused and help them grow in God’s love again.
The Office of Child Protection The Church Of Christ In Thailand
July 17, 2013 at 5:32 am
David, really sad to read this and to recognise what an uphill battle you have. Being a Baptist minister who has dealt with other forms of sexal abuse in his denomination I understand the wall you bang into here. Many good people find it hard to believe that a friend, a co-leader is actually doing what they are accused of. You need allies and experts to get them to understand the seriousness of the issue. One thing I’ve recommended to people here in NZ is to sue the church. Its a hard thing to do but unfortunately for some people only money speaks and exerts enough pressure
July 17, 2013 at 5:44 am
Thank you so much for the understanding and compassionate words Rob. Would it be possible for you and I to talk in greater detail about this? If you have a moment, send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s see when we could schedule some time. Also, are you on Skype? That would make it easier, and obviously far less expensive, than a phone call. My Skype name is “dukane31”. I look forward to hearing from you!
July 18, 2013 at 3:17 pm
Hey rob, I’m out of town this week but will be back on the 23rd so I will be able to respond to the Skype msg and have the time to speak with you then.
October 14, 2014 at 10:13 am
Hi Rob, I know it’s been a while but our email has changed and I wanted you to have it in case you wanted to correspond in the future. The new one is – email@example.com
July 18, 2013 at 3:02 pm
I find a great resemblance between the reactions to crimes by religious authorities and the reactions to crimes by family members. Shattering people’s trust systems seems to bring out the worst in people. They wimp out completely. How shattering, then, is it for the victims of the crimes, to be abused by people they trusted? Most people -the vast majority- ‘can’t handle’ hearing that those they trusted have committed felonies. In their fear of thinking out of the box, they make demands on people who have suffered far more than they from the same breaking of trust, and who in addition are victims of the felonies.
Even those who can ‘handle’ it fail by protecting other people who also have suffered less than the victim. Often their first reaction is “Oh, we mustn’t tell so-and-so….” It seems that there are several hurdles they must go through, since after that many of them belittle the crimes committed in an attempt to make them more bearable to hear about, and after that they are eager to put it all behind them and pronounce the victim ‘cured’. The first wave of opposition is denial, the second is belittling the crimes and the third is fake therapy.
It seems that shattering of trust is a great test of character. It separates those who will have everlasting life from those who will not. And it reveals the sad fact that, as Jesus said, most will not.
July 18, 2013 at 3:18 pm
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September 22, 2013 at 9:31 pm
I just wanted to let you know that I too encountered Frankie Wiley in my youth, growing up in Ashburn GA. It was pretty well known in the ’70s that he was molesting kids. I know of several other boys besides myself during that time. I see you also mention Rodney Brown, and if that is the old Pastor Brown’s son from Sycamore, then he knew about Frankie back then too. I think Rodney was about Frankie’s age, or maybe a few years older, and he and his brother Eddie both knew about Frankie, heck just about everyone in town did. Back then people just called him queer and other names and kind of turned their back, perhaps most not really knowing that he was actually molesting young boys in the church. But all the kids knew. This is when Frankie was in his 20s and he was always involved in leading some kind of youth group. He particularly liked to organize campouts for boys. You get the idea.
At the time when I ended all contact with Frankie, despite his efforts to contact me, I believe he was the Minister of Music at a church in Cordele, GA. That doesn’t seem to be on your list. This would have been somewhere around 1975 or 76. Seems like he was also involved in a church musical group called Maranatha out of Cordele too.
From time to time over the years I’ve looked online to see if he ever got caught or punished, and this web site is the first time I ever found anything mentioning him. Apparently he still goes unpunished and unreformed. In my case this was nearly 40 years ago, so that would make him in his mid-60’s now. And he’s probably done the same stuff for 40 years. Even though there were at least 3 incidents I recall, I’ve lived a pretty normal life and been able to cope, I think. I’m sure the scars have caused me some problems, but I’ve never talked about it and never told anyone that I was molested as a child, much less publicly accused Frankie. I’m probably not interested in coming forward now either, after all these years. But after finding this site I had to at least post a note. I’ve put in an email address that will actually reach me, it’s real but anonymized.
If I can provide any information that will help your cause then I’ll consider it, but I’ll probably not make my own identity public. I don’t really want to open up that old wound again, and don’t really want to admit to people who know me that this happened. Yes I was a child, but I feel like I somehow allowed it to happen too, being at a very susceptible age. Frankie was not violent and didn’t force me to do anything, other than by manipulation. So I remain ashamed to this day.
September 22, 2013 at 10:11 pm
Thank you for sharing your story and in doing so for exposing the lies Frankie has told to try and justify his pedophile and sexual predatory actions. I will email you privately to discuss further. But thank you for letting us know this goes much farther back than his time at rehoboth baptist church.