In two disturbing cases involving alleged child predators barriers were encountered. In both the Paxton Singer situation at Harvest Bible Chapel scandal in Chicago and the Scott Woods alleged abuse at McLean Bible justice has been elusive. The main concern this blog has is that the laws are not keeping up with the quickly evolving technology. And that is leading to problems and opens our society to risk in many ways.
“A man dies when he refuses to stand up for that which is right. A man dies when he refuses to stand up for justice. A man dies when he refuses to take a stand for that which is true.”
Martin Luther King
“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
Martin Luther King
Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.
Colossians 3:16 NIV
There are two situations that this blog has been concerned about. And in writing on both there are issues which highlight current problems with the law. Let’s look at two cases of how two separate alleged predators operated in two churches in both the Chicago, Illinois area as well as Washington, D.C.
Alleged Grooming By a Youth Pastor at Harvest Bible Chapel in Chicago
Paxton Singer started as a Youth Pastor at Harvest Bible Chapel Rolling Meadows. He then coached at Elgin before moving to Aurora. Singer met his victim on a bus trip to Camp Harvest in Michigan if my research is correct. Over the course of time the Harvest Youth pastor exchanged 2,000 text messages with a 15 year old. Singer was accused of knowingly enticing a minor to remove their clothing. Paxton allegedly engaged the minor both through texting and FaceTime. Paxton was accused of personal sexual gratification in the pictures he was asking. In texts Paxton allegedly used words like erection, 69, jerk off, send pics, snapchat, pubic hair, and are you in the shower? Despite these disturbing texts and more a judge ruled that Paxton Singer was not guilty of child sexual exploitation. The more serious of the charges facing Paxton were dropped and in this blog’s view an alleged offender is allowed to go free. If you would like to read more about Paxton Singer you can read the following articles.
- “Paxton Singer Thread on Twitter Regarding the Former Youth Pastor’s Arrest for Sexual Exploitation of a Minor.”
- “Guest Post: An Open Letter from a Concerned Mother Disheartened About how Harvest Bible Chapel Mishandled Paxton Singer’s Arrest.”
- “The Paxton Singer Trial in Chicago: Preserving the Twitter Discussion of the Former Harvest Bible Chapel Youth Pastor Charged with Sexploitation.”
- “A Petition to Judge Michael Noland in the Paxton Singer Trial.”
- “Daily Herald Writes About Paxton Singer Being Found Not Guilty of Child Sex Exploitation.”
- “Guest Post: A Parent’s Reaction to how Harvest Bible Chapel Mishandled the Paxton Singer Situation, and His Concerns With the Judge’s Decision.”
Entrance of McLean Bible
Alleged Grooming By an Adult Volunteer at The Rock Ministries in McLean Bible
This blog has dragged out a dark story from David Platt’s McLean Bible. It deals with the alleged grooming by a predator in The Rock Ministries. The Rock deals with teenagers in junior high and high school. At the Tysons Corner campus Scott Woods an African-American male who is in his mid 30’s ran a program called “The Upper Room.” In it Scott targeted and placed a number of hand picked teenagers in this group. He then slowly started grooming a number of teenagers for planned sexual abuse. What Scott allegedly did is take pictures of genitalia from Greek and Roman statutes and text them to minors he was grooming. He pushed boundaries but knew how to work around Virginia law. He took teenagers to a cabin in West Virginia and one question that exists is did he place a camera to record them when they dressed, undressed etc… ? In a very diabolical way Scott allegedly worked at grooming kids as minors so that when a couple reached 18 he could allegedly target them for his sexual fantasy. When everything came out he left McLean Bible and the church badly mishandled this dark mess. With as many as 20 to 25 teenage boys who could have been harmed a restraining order was taken out against Scott in order to keep him off McLean Bible Tyson’s and all other campuses. If you would like to read more you can do so in the following posts.
- “How David Platt Never Learned From the Mark Aderholt Situation. The Disturbing Story of how McLean Bible Mishandled Scott Woods, an Alleged Predator in The Rock Ministries.”
- “Anne Marie Miller’s Response to David Platt’s Mishandling of the Scott Wood’s Situation at McLean Bible.”
- “What is Grooming? And how an Alleged Predator Operated in The Rock Ministries at David Platt’s McLean Bible.”
- “As #CaringWell Ends The Wondering Eagle is Calling for an Independent Investigation into McLean Bible. Regarding Scott Woods, Why Did David Platt’s Church Cover-up an Alleged Predator Who Groomed Teenagers for Planned Sexual Abuse?“
- “David Platt Apologizes for McLean Bible’s Mishandling of a Sexual Predator. While its a Step in the Right Direction the Celebrity Pastor Still Will not Name Scott Woods as the Alleged Predator.”
- “Did McLean Bible Cover Up a Child Sexual Predatory Situation? A Comment on The Wondering Eagle Raises that Question.”
Concerns About the Law Not Keeping Up with Technology and Why Citizens Should be Troubled
In both of the above situations of Paxton Singer and Scott Woods, both alleged predators worked around the law and exploited its vulnerabilities. Or another factor is that the law did not keep up with the changes in society or legal personnel misunderstood the issues. When Paxton was let go it from Kane County, Illinois court it remains clear that Judge Michael Noland did not understand the issues of child sexual predation. Noland in his decision stated that he wished that when the boy testified that if he felt pressured to remove his pants to show Paxton Singer his underwear. The judge then said that he wouldn’t have been able to consider the boy’s answer because the boy may have wanted to avoid hurting Paxton Singer. And, according to the judge, Paxton had been a mentor. That raised another issue when it came to sexually charged texts. If my research is correct the judge also said that as a pastor in his line of work he was trying to help the boy by asking questions about sexuality. If that is true then the judge didn’t understand the issues with child exploitation for sexual purposes. Paxton was hiding behind his position and its this blog’s belief that he abused it. The judge didn’t appear to understand how that pastor position could be misused. Is it normal for an adult to send text messages about erections and more to a teenager under age? One thing that is troubling is that while Paxton gets off in this area, if any adult would have turned his texts into emails and sent them to co-workers at their job they would have lost their jobs, and face charges of misconduct or sexual harassment. Yet for a pastor its mostly explained away.
In the case of Scott Woods what happened is that the alleged predator knew the boundaries and exploited then. Greek and Roman statutes do not qualify as pornography and are not explicit. Yet when a person takes pictures of their genitalia and focuses on that aspect it raises concerns. Also Woods knew how the law in Virginia worked and that the statute of limitation would expire after a year. Afterall in Virginia the clock begins ticking from when the crime happened and not when it was discovered. When families finally went to the police the statute of limitations had expired. Virginia’s law is behind the curve in this area and needs to be amended so that alleged predators like Scott Woods do not get off the hook and they can be prosecuted.
Here is the biggest problem as this blog sees it. Technology is changing fast. We have film and recording capabilities today that 5 years ago we did not have. There are new platforms coming out that are shifting. In these changes the law is behind the curve. The New York Times recently had a detailed article about child sexual exploitation images that exist on the internet. And it talked about how organizations like the FBI are struggling to keep up with predators of children because of digital encryption and more. You can read more about that in, “Recommended Read: New York Times Investigation on the Growth of Images of Child Sex Abuse on the Internet.”
If laws do not keep up with changing technology there are going to be a number of ramifications that this blog fears. Some not so clear now, but in time they will be issues on the horizon. If the law does not keep up with predators that leaves children at risk and exposes them to abuse. That is frightening and troubling. What is also concerning is that while predators can walk teenagers who engage in sexting can find themselves facing charges of engaging in child pornography. That is problematic and an issue as well. But there is another problem to raise. If predators walk and the law is not amended that can also lead to tyranny in the course of time. How so? Well we live in a time in which some are embracing illiberal autocratic rule. In the process they are giving up on democracy and embracing authoritarianism. If laws don’t work as intended it can result in societal upheaval and undermine our democracy when people reject the systems in place. That is not good. The road to tyranny can result in injustice also but then undoing the damage can be harder with an autocrat in charge. To sum this closing the concern is that those who are predators are walking away from alleged crimes, while teenagers can face charges of engaging in child pornography and then such injustice over the course of time can undermine our democracy and way of life.