An overview of the current situation at Covenant Life Church involving Larry Caffery. This touches on Mark Mitchell’s communications and asks who knew what and when? Plus the timing of Larry Caffery is especially stunning in light of Pam Palmer’s efforts to change the statute of limitation laws in Maryland. This also looks at two tools that exist from Covenant Life Church – Charlotte Ennis and Terry Mayo. Finally I ask a question that eats me about Terry Mayo’s claim of a false accusation in light of my own false accusation from a Care Group Leader from Eric Simmons’ Redeemer Arlington.
“Candy once again became pregnant, and on April 15, 1979, Timothy Sean was born. The Lord had indeed answered my prayers concerning the sex of our children. There had been sexual abuse in my family as I was growing up, and I had a fear that if I had daughters I might sexually abuse them. I would have rather have had no daughters at all than to have that happen. Every time Candy became pregnant, I prayed to God that he would give us a son. We now had three wonderful sons. (Location 400-416)”
Larry Caffery in Years of Grace, Life of Mercy
“Our lawsuit included 11 victims of previous sex crimes, each citing evidence to show that the defendants were guilty of sex-abuse cover up…Guess what happened? All the evidence of our lawsuit was dismissed, not because it didn’t have merit. It was turned down because the statute of limitations had run out.”
Dominic Palmer in testimony before the Maryland Senate
“Many people abused sexually as children don’t deal with it themselves until they’re in their 30s or even late 30s”
Maryland Senator Ronald Young
“This bill lacks sufficient language to protect those who may be falsely accused years in the future,” Ennis said. “I do not see any difference in the anguish, long-term ill effects, or personal devastation experienced by those abused or those falsely accused. I know victims of both. Both have their lives grotesquely ripped apart.”
Covenant Life’s Tool – Charlotte Ennis before the Maryland Senate
There is a lot that has been written about Larry Caffery already at Brent Detwiler’s blog as well as Todd Wilhelm, and The Wartburg Watch. So I am not going to try and spend a lot of effort covering familiar ground. What I want to do is give a concise understanding of what happened and what is going on. In some cases I will use a lot of links and lean upon other people’s work and feature it. Having said all that let’s get going!
Larry Caffery was arrested on March 16, 2016 on 9 counts of child sex abuse and 2 counts of false imprisonment. Caffery’s preliminary hearing is coming up on April 15, 2016. Now Covenant Life allegedly learned of the arrest on March 26, 2016. Mark Mitchell the Executive Pastor of CLC sent out an email to the congregation on March 29, 2016. I did the analysis of that email here. For the details about this situation I would recommend you read Brent Detwiler’s post and Todd Wilhelm’s post. They are both excellent. What I find disturbing about this situation is that Larry Caffery wrote a book in which he stated that he feared he would sexually abuse his daughter if he ever had one. Here is the quote from his book: “Candy once again became pregnant, and on April 15, 1979, Timothy Sean was born. The Lord had indeed answered my prayers concerning the sex of our children. There had been sexual abuse in my family as I was growing up, and I had a fear that if I had daughters I might sexually abuse them. I would have rather have had no daughters at all than to have that happen. Every time Candy became pregnant, I prayed to God that he would give us a son. We now had three wonderful sons.” (Location 400-416) This basically foretells what was to happen. This is quick rundown of the who worked with Larry Caffery and knew what:
- Kenneth Maresco counseled and worked with Larry Caffery. The question remains to be asked…what did Kenneth know and when did he know it? Maresco practiced “Gospel Centered Flight” and left for Soverieng Grace Fairfax in September of 2015. I have written about Fairfax in this post here.
- Larry Caffery’s book Years of Grace, Life of Mercy was allegedly looked at by Robin Boisvert. Robin claimed he did a “cursory” review which I have a hard time accepting. Given how Covenant Life Church
was ruled with an iron fist, whoops I mean governed, I find it hard to believe that it was looked at fleetingly. After all so many other authors and material was screened out and kept out of the bookstore, how was this not known?
- My question which I wrote about in this post here is the following. What did C.J. Mahaney know and when did he know it? I really believe this is the question that should be asked. In a pyramid style form of leadership with all information flowing up, I find it hard to believe that the information did not get to Mahaney.
On March 31, 2016 Mark Mitchell who at this blog has the distinction of being “The Church Lady” of Covenant Life Church issued a 13 minutes video that was a follow up to his worthless email, his radio interview, and more. You can listen to that statement right here. As I alluded to on March 31, 2016 a local Washington, D.C. radio show, Kojo Nnamadi discussed the situation in Sovereign Grace and former churches. On the show was Mark Mitchell, Pam Palmer, and Tiffany Stanley. I’ll get into Pam Palmer below, Tiffany Stanley wrote a good article about the problems in Sovereign Grace in the Washingtonian article. You can read that article here and my analysis here. Also you can read about the coverage in this issue in Time magazine here. Plus there was also Terri who called into Kojo who is a Covenant Life Church member who is opposed to the statute of limitations being extended.
Here is the problem that I have with what Mark Mitchell said in the Kojo Nnamadi. Mark Mitchell references the role that an independent investigator played in Covenant Life Church in the past. For me what is troubling is what and how “independent” is defined. Was “independent” done internally? Was an “independent” investigation include friends or associates of the church who would not be neutral? What is “independent investigation?” I know how the government, military, and business world would look at independent investigation. How does Mark Mitchell and in the pats CLC define “independent investigation?” I believe this is a fair question. The other point that was raised and singleed out is that Mark Mitchell said the following about “genuine victims”. Here is the context. “Well, obviously the first thing I’d want to say is that we are deeply troubled by any report of sexual abuse, and we’re grateful that as a society this is something that we’re taking much more seriously, and we hope and pray that our justice system would function effectively in prosecuting those who have perpetrated these crimes. And we certainly as a church want to grow in providing support and help to those who are genuine victims. With regard to those specific allegations at Covenant Life Church, we’ve denied them. There was a civil lawsuit that was brought against the church and in that civil lawsuit it alleged that pastors of Covenant Life were guilty of conspiracy to protect sexual deviants, pedophiles, as well as obstruction of justice. Here is what I would like to know…what is a genuine victim? How do you define a genuine victim? Maybe its me but that seems as if the blame is shifted…does it not? Since Mark Mitchell said that in a radio show what that probably indicates is the following. Mark Mitchell was most likely speaking spontaneously on his feet without a script and you most likely got a peak into how he really thinks and perceives this issue. After all in other situations and messages he most likely crafts his notes and organizes them in advance. In more formal settings he can control what he wants to say, and more importantly not say. Will the real Mark Mitchell please stand up! 😉 But before the situation with Larry Caffery broke there are the ongoing efforts by Pam Palmer to change the statute of limitation laws in Maryland.
Efforts to Change Maryland Statute of Limitation Laws and Two Tools of Covenant Life Church
On March 9, 2016 Pam Palmer went before the Maryland Senate and testified in favor of Senate Bill 69. The bill which is sponsored by Ronald Young is aimed at changing the statute of limitation laws from 7 to 20 years in specified civil actions relating to child sexual abuse; and applying the Act retroactively. Before the Maryland Senate Pam Palmer said the following. “When there is pervasive collusion by an institution, victims deserve to have freedom to bring civil litigation through extended statutes of limitation,” she said. “This stop predators, and it brings about greater safety for the society at large.” Susan Burke who was the attorney filed lawsuit testified on March10, 2016 in an effort to sway the Maryland committee. Last year the main opponent of the bill was the Catholic Church, this year the main opponents were two tools most likely sent by Covenant Life Church to lobby on their behalf. I find it deeply ironic that a church so committed to complementarian theology had two women to try and stop proposed legislation.
Covenant Life Tools Charlotte Ennis and Terry Mayo
The first tool who testified was none other than Charlotte Ennis. Charlotte’s husband Pat was in C.J. Mahaney’s inner circle and the former Executive Director of Sovereign Grace Ministries. So Pat was probably sent on a mission to testify against SB 69. In the process Charlotte Ennis went after exCLCer in her testimony. I have ex-CLCer’s response below which was given on SGM Survivors. In addition Charlotte also raised the issue of false accusations. Terry Mayo also testified and claimed her husband was the victim of a false accusation. Furthermore Terry Mayo also called the Kojo Nnamadi and spoke about the false accusation at length, and claimed that she was opposed to this bill. Both women spoke about the issue of false accusations and were opposed to SB69 because they were concerned it would bring about witch hunts. Both women I would suggest received strong pushback and their motives were exposed. Having stated that, I do want to get into the situation about the false accusations and address that below.
Analysis of the Situation
Let me just came out and say the obvious…Covenant Life Church, Sovereign Grace, and other former SGM Churches have a problem with child sex abuse. I certainly hope I never have to write about a child sex abuse scandal at Redeemer Arlington. At the Senate hearing it was said that Covenant Life Church is a clearing house for sex offenders. These stories keep coming and there is no stop to them at all. Nathaniel Morales happened a few years ago and was recently convicted and imprisoned. Against all this effort by Pam Palmer comes the story of Larry Caffery. The situation and the timing of Larry Caffery is particularly interesting for me. Its a tragic story, sad, and for me angering if I will be honest. But this story highlights why the Maryland Statute of Limitation law needs to be changed. I am going to go out on a limb here and say the following…with the rates and number of victims that comes from child sex abuse I fear we are going to hear of more victims. I fear there was a reason why Larry Caffery wanted to work in Discovery Land, and its going to be a deeply disturbing reason. Time will tell. But the Maryland Statute of Limitations laws need change. And its the goal of this blog to support Pam and Dominic Palmer in their efforts to change the law. Changing the law makes sense, its needed and it could help prevent other situations. Sadly if child sex abuse occurs it will give those who are hurt the time to process and appropriately respond. I am proud of Pam Palmer, my big sister and wish her well in her efforts.
There is another aspect I find troubling that I need to raise as well. There seems to be an effort by former SGM churches to state the abuse didn’t happen on church grounds. Why does that matter? Abuse that happens anywhere is inappropriate, dangerous and uncalled for and should not be an issue. Abuse in a church school is just as destructive as abuse at home. Why does former SGM churches try and stress that abuse didn’t happen at the church location? Abuse is abuse and its dangerous anywhere it happens. I honestly don’t get this at all…after all in the modern evangelical church in an effort to create authentic community you are trying to duplicate a church community through Bible studies and small groups, and group meals with most of the activities happening outside of “church”. So what happens off church property is just as serious as what happens on church property. But I also believe the church should be held accountable as these offsite activities are often planned and organized from church locations.
The final point to emphasize is deeply personal for me. But I need to tackle this very sensitive issue for me. I listened to the video of Charlotte Ennis and Terry Mayo about false accusation early in March and that hit a nerve in me at the time. However, when I was listening to Terry Mayo call in and talk about the false accusation there was something that was eating at me and I didn’t know what it was…until the other day. If the false accusation occurred to David Mayo, then why isn’t David Mayo speaking up and working at clearing his name? Why is Terry doing all this?
This is going to get personal but I need to speak to this, as I underwent a false accusation in my life. On May 8, 2013 an Air Force Captain, who was a Care Group Leader at Redeemer Arlington gave birth to a false accusation that took aim at my name, ability to earn income, and future employment. You can read about it in detail here. Andrew White was shepherded by Jordan Kauflin who is Bob Kauflin’s son. The extremely stern false accusation taught me why rape and sexual assault is a serious issue in the United States military, especially when a military officer abuses his position. Intentional or unintentional. On May 7, 2013 I didn’t think rape was a problem in the military. A few months later as I processed everything I clearly did. The false accusation was traumatic. It was so traumatic that I wept in pain at times in the middle of the night. I re-arranged my life to avoid Andrew for 408 days. Yes you read that right. The situation was so troubling that when I went into a grocery store, gym, or restaurant and heard the word “stalking” or “stalk” I froze, cried, sweated at times and privately wondered…”Dave…what is happening to you?” Dee Parsons asked me to call her when this happened. Yes and this is the first time I am writing specifically about it but Andrew claimed I was a threat to his family. This happened shortly after he asked me to stay in his condo, change his computer password, and walked me through his wedding album to Jillian. I know who invites a stalker over…it’s a good question. If you find an answer let me know.
I say all this to bring me back to Terry Mayo. I honestly don’t get her behavior. After all I went above and beyond to clear my name in my false accusation. I consulted with an attorney and even write about it here because I wanted to clear my name. I needed to be proactive myself since my name was on the line and tell the world what had happened and fight for my name. When you undergo a false accusation the person who was hurt can and often pushes back and goes to great lengths to contest and fight for their name. So here is the problem I have with Terry Mayo going around and calling people about the false accusation her husband was accused. Why isn’t Dave Mayo doing this? Why isn’t he going above and beyond trying to clear his name like I have been doing? Why isn’t he pushing back, contesting, and actively speaking out about it? Why? Why? Why? I honestly don’t get Terry’s behavior…and I write this after being the subject of a false accusation and also learning why rape and sexual assault is an issue in the United States military. This blog…The Wondering Eagle was born out of that trauma. It’s why I am typing this on a Friday morning at 12:01. The trauma drives me still.
That’s it…those are my thoughts. Pam all I have to say is you go girl! As always I welcome your thoughts and perspectives on this topic. Again I love you guys! 🙂