Tuesday, November 15, 2011

My Meeting with a Monster

Today is the parole hearing. I could sit here for hours and type my heart out, but I honestly don't want to think about it more than I have to. So instead of talking more about the parole hearing and how I'm feeling about it today, I'm going to continue my story. I wanted to finish it before the parole hearing, but I obviously missed that goal. I will, however, be able to finish telling about my involvement with FBC Benton.

David, Rick, Dennis and I sat in Rick's office. David was allowed to present his "case", which he did in true con man, pedophile style. He asserted that what happened with me was during a "rough patch in his life" (his exact words), and it was something he had moved past. I thought, sitting there in that office, seeing that Rick and Dennis were obviously buying the snake oil David was selling, that I was going to be physically ill. The worst wasn't over yet, though.

I was asked to express to David how what he'd done had continued to affect my life. Rarely at a loss for words, I stumbled and stuttered through a very brief, very benign rundown of how my life sucked because of David. I said an ounce of what I wanted to, and much to my regret now, spoke without an iota of the emotion I was experiencing. When I was finished, David asked for my forgiveness, to which I replied "I hope I can someday, but I can't today". He then asked (in front of Rick and Dennis, mind you) if we could go to lunch sometime and talk. I couldn't respond.

The next thing that happened is something else I added to my list of major regrets. It's one of those times in my life that I should've yelled, screamed, jumped up and down, or thrown a fit, but didn't. Rick presented David and I with his "solution". Rick's big solution was for David to provide him with a list of victims (David's list, according to Rick later, only had around a dozen names), and then call each victim listed and apologize. Or, as Rick put it, "seek to make amends". If he did, he would be allowed to keep his job and control of the youth choir. If he didn't, only then would he be fired. I was asked to agree to this "solution", and sign a paper documenting my agreement. To this day I don't know why I did it. I am not by nature a passive person, or one to keep my mouth shut. But with those three men sitting there, I signed the paper, and I agreed to the "solution".

This basically wrapped up the meeting, which ended feeling like the intention was more to talk me into something, instead of addressing David's victimization. We prayed (of course, right? Who wouldn't want to talk to God with their abuser?), then David asked me to wait a second. I did. He left, went to the copier, and brought back a photocopied devotional about forgiveness, asking me to read it and think about it. While I was screaming at him and fighting the urge to shove it down his throat inside, I simply said "thanks" and walked out. This would be the last time I was in the same room with David Pierce.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Man I hope he rots in he'll for what he did. I went to church there but wasn't his type I guess.I wasnt the good christian boy. So sorry.cayce

Anonymous said...

wow... I'm just at a loss for words, but I wish I could hug you! You may have a few regrets... of things you wish you had thought to say or do at the time. However, you will not know the amazing thing you did by coming forward... even if it took several months for the light to shine on horrible darkness. You saved the purity of countless young men (one I love very much). You are a hero and I hope you will be able to continue your healing and enjoy your future... your marriage and parenting. Those are blessings David can't take away from you now.

Lisa said...

Its hard for me to read crap like this because of the difficult emotions it invokes inside me. I was molested by many different ppl as a child and the anger I feel when reading about the attitude and behaviour of these ignorant adults in your situation is almost too much to handle. I completely understand your inability to even now as an adult speak up, throw a fit, scream and rage at these sick ppl. This is one of the damages your abuser caused. I am 41, a professional, mom and wife and still suffer from the effects of my past abuse. Im sorry you suffered what you did and know there are ppl out there supporting you...

Anonymous said...

Reading your story about that meeting in Rick's office makes my blood boil to bursting. I went to FBC for several decades and it just infuriates me what David did there, as well as the total failure of Rick and Dennis in this. Maybe I'm overly sensitive to it because of the sexual abuse I went through at 12, but I can't decide if Rick and Dennis are both just total fools or if they had other motives (i.e., protect FBC at all costs, no matter how many bodies are on the floor). But it certainly seems like the later.

Bo

Anonymous said...

I grew up in a FBC and went to a Baptist University. I am all too familiar with how frequently Southern Baptist’s in ministry positions put on the fa├žade of being “sinless” while preaching that we are all sinners. These “sinless” people often live double lives –they would never confess major sins, drink or cuss in public – which often seems to lead them to sexual based sins because they are more easily “hidden” from the public eye. I do not know any of the people at the church mentioned in this blog so I’m definitely not accusing but it does make me question some things. Yes, many churches believe that a sin is a sin and that there aren’t degrees to sin (not saying I agree with this) BUT not all sins are CRIMES. David committed not just one crime but numerous crimes and was continuing to commit them. The pastor was way too quick in my opinion to be willing to brush this off as “sin” not to mention handling the situation terribly wrong including manipulating someone who was in shock from abuse (I personally consider that a sin myself), not to mention in front of the abuser. Could it be that David’s “sins” may have hit too close to home for some of the possible “hidden Baptist sins” of the preacher, minus the pedophilia activity? Lust, pornography, etc… Is it possible that the preacher wasn’t willing to “cast the stone” out of guilt or fear that his own “secrets” would come out? Who knows… I hope he reads this. I hope he realizes that because of his lack of actions he left a lot of room for questions regarding his character. The preacher was going to endorse a child molester – he failed to report a crime/criminal and for months failed to protect the children of the church. The preacher owes the victims, their families, and the church the utmost apology. To the preacher and all of those at FBC Benton who have learned to worship the “sinless leaders” in the church –you might want to remind yourselves that Jesus thought very highly of children… And whoever welcomes a little child in my name welcomes me. But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea. Matthew 18:5&6.

Kim Hanig said...

This is all so very difficult. I am praying for all of the vicitims, some of which I am sure are friends of my own children. I too am at a loss for words except how very sorry that I am for all of us who put too much trust in any man.

Anonymous said...

I just want to echo what others had said. This whole situation made me sick. I also had attended FBC for years but find it very hard to go there now. I am so very sorry for you and the other boys, you have all been very brave to come forward. Please know how very greatly appreciated you all are. You have saved others from abuse and you should be very proud of yourself. May God richly bless you.

Anonymous said...

How come Rick and or Dennis were not asked to step down? They knew about child abuse and didn't report it?! Didn't FBC ask a former pastor to step down because he wanted to remarry after his wife passed away? I feel they took the law into their own hands by having the "meeting" with David and yourself. How come charges were not brought against Rick and Dennis? They were going to let David keep his job?! I'm sure they wanted to keep it hush hush, to keep all that money rolling into FBC! As soon as Rick was made aware of what happened, he had a responsibility to the church and the children to report it! Bet he would have a different reaction if it was one of his children! I am so disgusted and shocked by the way this was handled!

Anonymous said...

You are one strong, fine man. What you have had to endure is heart-breaking. Many of us would not have the strength of courage that you demonstrate. May the Lord continue to bless you in your journey. I pray that he will open the eyes of those that have been blinded by this con-artist sociopath.

Anonymous said...

I was also sexually abused by a man named David. However, it was my father. Like you, I came forward. I did it when I was 17, and I moved out of the home. With the exception of a handful of close family members, my family turned on me and supported him including the people who came to me in private to inform me of their experiences with my father. He was a "man of God" and of course, he was always there for anyone who ever needed anything. He had a solid image, and he used it to manipulate the entire situation.

When I was 28, a young boy from Benton and FBC stayed the night with us and our young boy who did not attend FBC. The FBC boy asked my son to kiss his penis. I knew something was terribly wrong. I told the FBC boy's mother. I remember initially blaming the father. I knew something had entered this boy's life that should not have. Even with my own abuse and years of dealing with the turmoil, I still felt a lack of control about this boy. It wasn't until the story broke with FBC, that I understood where the abuse came from.

The reason I share this information is that it is very clear that for the most part, people just do not know how to deal with information of sexual abuse. Even myself being past abused, didn't know how to deal with the FBC boy who stayed at our home. I told the mother but now I question if I shouldn't have reported it to some form of legal authority. I do not know Rick or Dennis. Clearly, they were wrong in how they handled it. I just don't want to pass judgement on their intentions. I'm sure they were at a complete loss of how to handle the situation. I just pray that everyone involved has taken measures to prevent it in the future and has learned from the mistakes.

That being said people need to be more educated about sexual abuse, what it is, who to report it to and by all means talking with their children to equip them with information of what is appropriate and inappropriate. To this day, I have never heard a commercial or radio ad or seen a billboard or anything that informs the public about how to handle sexual abuse and it is one of the most devastating things a child will ever go through and the effects of it ripples throughout the rest of their lives. And the predators need to rot in jail.

It took me years to deal with my personal story of abuse and didn't find true complete peace until my father passed away in 2001. I pray you find peace, true complete peace.

Anonymous said...

My deepest prayers and thoughts are with you. It is now November 22, so how did the parole hearing turn out? I hope he never gets out and the pastor should be joining him. What they did to you can never be erased.

Christa Brown said...

I'm thinking about you and hoping you can find a measure of peace in the midst of so much pain. You have stood up and stood strong in ways that many find truly impossible. Incidentally, this posting got picked up today by the Associated Baptist Press.
http://www.abpnews.com/content/view/6956/53/

Brook J said...

I just heard about the blog u created and am so proud of u for putting the truth out there for everyone to see. What u are doing brings strength to others to stand up for what they know to be right, even if it means confronting a minister. Several of the guys that were abused are some very good friends of mine and I find it hard to not be filled with anger everytime I think about David. I remember being in his office one day and him asking for one of these friends to give him a shoulder massage, and David started stroking himself with his thumb. this went on for a good 5-10 minutes and I was really uncomfortable. Later, when I couldn't get that image out of my mind, I considered telling my mom but ended up telling myself that I was mistaken at what I thought I had seen. Thank you for not being silent.
Until light exposes this darkness, there is no healing for the victims of David and those who feel utterly betrayed by many in leadership at FBC. there are those there, still who I will continue to respect for the way they have not brushed this under the rug and are supporting people and families like yours who have chosen to have a voice. Rick will one day
see a need to apologize, or else FBC may never heal or grow. May God bring justice to David, and grace to his family.

Anonymous said...

I find it interesting that during this time of the Penn State and Syracuse failures, that it happens during the time of the Pierce parole. Don’t think for a minute it’s strictly timely circumstances. The Lord is indeed in charge and the more time lapses before Rick, Byrd and White confess to their deeds the more difficulty they and their families will have to incur. Not at the hands of anyone person, it’s bigger than us. The victims will survive and proceed on with their life, but you (3) mentioned above, would not want to live with what you 3 must live with. God will be judge and jury; I cannot imagine the hurt that’s heading your way. Wow, we think we have problems, but nothing compare to the tribulations facing your days ahead.

Anonymous said...

I have been sitting here reading your blog for the last hour. I have no idea who you are but I know I know you. I left Benton right after high school and have known about all of this but not fully. I am sickened by what happened to you and so many other of my friends. I just want to write every explicative right now because that's all I'm feeling. I'm just so sorry and I am grieving for what I didn't know. As a (then) girlfriend of one of the abused, everything comes together. And it is all the same as your story. You are one brave soul.

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