Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Attorney Susan Burke On the Child Sexual Abuse Lawsuit Against Sovereign Grace: SGM Church Leaders Told Parents "Not To Call The Police"

Posted by Christine Pack


Attorney Susan Burke
Talk show host Janet Mefferd recently interviewed Susan Burke, the attorney heading up the lawsuit against Sovereign Grace Ministries. The allegations in this lawsuit are that Sovereign Grace Ministries concealed sex abuse allegations in Maryland and Virginia. Sovereign Grace Ministries is headed by popular pastor/author/speaker C.J. Mahaney. Mahaney is currently a member of The Gospel Coalition, and has also been very influential in the Charismatic Calvinists/New Calvinists/Young-Restless-Reformed movement.

During the interview, Susan Burke who filed on behalf of the plaintiffs in this case had this to say about a potential class action suit:
"We have three families, three families have kind of stepped forward and are willing to serve as representative plaintiffs. I've heard from and been in touch with many other victims as well. So we decided that this would be, because of the subject matter and how traumatic it is for people to come forward, we thought that the most protective device here would be a class action. And even just since we've filed, we've had a few more folks reach out to us as well. So, sadly, it's not just the three."
Burke also made the following allegations:
· The Sovereign Grace pastors protected the perpetrators.
· They kept the incidents quiet and did not alert others in the church.
· They used intimidation to enforce the silence.
· It appears they were more concerned about the reputation and the finances of the church.
· They portrayed the civil authorities as untrustworthy.
· They portrayed the pastors as being trustworthy to handle the situation.
· They emphasized homeschooling and created fear and distrust of secular authorities.
· The pastors had little training for their position, either in seminary or otherwise.
· The parents were led to believe that they were the only ones that had had this happen, due to the culture of silence.
· Various blogs helped people to find one another and realize that they were not the only ones who experienced these events.
· These incidents fall well within the statute of limitations.
· More people are coming forward so the class action suit is the most logical way to help those coming forward.
· She emphasized the story of a 3 year old child who was made to meet with and "forgive" her abuser. The poor child was so afraid she hid under a chair.
· The son of a high level church official was involved in some form of predation.
(Thank you to The Wartburg Watch for compiling the above list)

More interviews by Janet Mefferd documenting the progress of the SGM class action lawsuit:
10/18/2012 - Janet Mefferd Interviews Attorney Susan Burke About Lawsuit Against Sovereign Grace Ministries ("I don't know how long evangelicalism can ignore this problem.") 
5/16/13 - Janet Mefferd Interviews Attorney Bill O’Neil Again About the Sovereign Grace Ministries Lawsuit
5/20/13 - Janet Mefferd Interviews Bill O'Neil Regarding Latest Details About the SGM Child Sex Abuse Class Action Lawsuit
6/6/13 - Janet Mefferd Interviews Boz Tchividjian Regarding the Silence of Christian Leaders Over American Evangelicalism's Largest Sexual Scandal to Date
10/7/13 - Janet Mefferd Interviews Boz Tchividjian: Are Evangelical Christians Worse Than Catholics on Sexual Abuse Response? (References the SGM Child Sexual Abuse Scandal)

 Additional Resources 

The Sex-Abuse Scandal That Devastated a Suburban Megachurch (The Washingtonian)

Flagship Churches Prepare To Leave As Lawsuit Charges C.J. Mahaney's Sovereign Grace Ministries With Coveirng Up Child Sex Abuse

Copy of Lawsuit Filed Against Sovereign Grace Ministries