Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Pope's Top 3, now waiting for the remaining 7 from Letterman.

The headline sounds like a lazy David Letterman moment.

Top Three Reasons Why The Vatican is Not Liable for Abuse.


They're basically the same reasons given why Trinity Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida isn't liable for Bob Gray's crimes against children.

1) Pope is head of state therefore has immunity from prosecution.

2) American bishops were not employees of Vatican at the time.

3) 1962 report that mandated that bishops not report sex abuse cases to police doesn't count since the priest could have reported the crimes if they wanted to.

Same thing, different names, with the Trinity case:

1) Pastors, especially those in Florida, have confidentiality laws working in their favor. That's sort of a 'social' immunity.

2) Messer and current company, barring, of course, Lenny Willinger, the associate pastor, were not in positions of authority when the crimes were committed (not an employee at the time).

3) The 'smoking gun', in this case, would be an audio tape of Gray admitting he french kissed a minor. In those days, it was only a misdemeanor, not a federal offense, for an adult in the 1970s to french kiss a minor. Besides, that tape was released after Bob Gray died.

Same circus different clowns. Although, if the USA declared a war on child abuse just like it declared a war on drugs, it might be theoretically possible to treat Pope Benedict like Manuel Noriega. Funny thing is, I don't see ANY President, Democrat or Republican, who would be willing to take the heat for holding the Pope and the Vatican accountable for their actions.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Mayoral Candidate of Lancaster makes dealing with Sex Predators part of his key agenda.

Arnold Rodio, the primary challenger of Lancaster Baptist Church favorite, Rex Parris, puts dealing with sex predators close to the top of his primary agenda.

#1, bringing higher paying jobs to Lancaster. #2, water conservation (they are in the desert). #3, sex predators.

Glad to see he's acknowledging this problem exists. For a while, I thought I was imagining things.

From arnoldrodio.com:

The number of sex offenders in Lancaster has
increased despite the current Mayor promising fewer.
I will implement a plan for pocket parks in
neighborhoods to help keep our kids safe from these predators.

I will partner with law enforcement, non-profit
organizations, schools, and private citizens to establish
proactive crime-prevention and youth intervention programs.

Other excerpts from his page. Tell me if this doesn't sound like business as usual at most fundamentalist colleges:

It is apparent that an ominous and threatening chill hangs over City Hall. Citizens who have concerns, want to exercise their right to address elected officials, disagree with or desire to make input into the government process, have been inconvenienced, marginalized, ignored or verbally abused.

Never before in the history of Lancaster has a citizen been issued a ticket and ordered to appear in court for making comments during a public session. After conducting private meetings to “investigate” allegations of improper conduct against an appointed commissioner, another council member and a community group, the mayor orchestrated public “trials” against them from the dais. When serious complaints are made against the mayor, citizens are called names and his council majority supports bringing a law-suit against those who speak out, to be paid for by the city!

It appears deals are struck, minds are made up and often motions are made before citizens are given an opportunity to speak. Brown Act and Fair Political Practices violations have occurred. Meetings take place at the Mayor’s business office and his private residence, leaving some council members purposely uninformed. Individuals who do not live in Lancaster are appointed to Lancaster commissions, including those who have a business or work relationship with the Mayor.

This is an indictment of the past two years and must be brought to a stop.

Concerning the recent comments by Parris about 'growing a Christian community' and Councilwoman Sherry Marquez comments:

My concern is that the irresponsible comments of Mayor Parris and Councilwoman Marquez have created the impression that we are a community of small-minded religious bigots, which is just not true. Our economic recovery will come through investment and the negative publicity brought by this controversy will only have the effect of driving investors away from our community. This is especially true of investors who have beliefs that are not in harmony with the Mayor and Councilwoman Marquez. Ask yourself this question: Would you invest money in a community that labels you a baby killer? Would you invest in a community whose leaders believe that unless you believe as they do you are not a Christian?

Mayor Parris has generated controversy and lawsuits since the moment he was elected. Almost his first act was a violation of the Brown Act. I do not think our city can survive politically or financially, another two years of Rex Parris, especially if he continues promoting his religious sectarian agenda which he has already said numerous times that he plans to do. Our city needs businesses and jobs, not bickering.

The election will be on April 13th. Will keep you posted.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Lester Roloff 'Freedom's Last Call'.

I feel like I jumped into the Hot Tub Time Machine, but instead of popping out at a swingin' ski resort, wound up at one of Lester Roloff's home for girls and boys circa 1976.

Lester Roloff was an icon at my former church, Trinity Baptist in Jacksonville, Florida. He visited about two or three times a year. Bible conference and whenever he happened to be in Florida. He would take the girls and boys to the downtown juice bar for a drink. Roloff also played against our top basketball players and, more often than not, won.

Michael Palmer, the fellow referenced in the posts regarding Victory Home for Girls, is a big admirer of the late Lester Roloff.

This movie, which is seen in seven parts on You Tube, was produced by Roloff. Naturally, it is uncritical of his work, but it does give a historical framework for how the current crop of homes (Victory, Hephzibah House, etc) came to be.

Roloff was not one to give detailed answers to accusers. I remember one service that was entirely in song. He might introduce a subject and make you think he was going to say something valid, then he'd suddenly lapse into song and stay that way for the entire service.

He was quoted on 60 Minutes as saying his discipline left no 'lasting marks' on the girls.

Part One shows us the layout of Roloff's Texas spread. He talks about turning himself in at the jail and discusses his diet.

This diet would eventually be abused by his followers and admirers resulting in malnutrition.

Part Two gives us a glimpse into Accelerated Christian Education. He was a big advocate for ACE. Probably their best salesman.

Part Three showcases the Bethesda Home in Mississippi. Mississippi is described as the most 'progressive' state in the union because they have not tried to regulate the Roloff Homes. The Bethesda Home is where one of the victims in the Bob Gray scandal was sent after it was discovered she was pregnant.

Part Four shows us the Lighthouse boy's home. Black students are shown eating watermelon. I'll leave it to you to decide if that is intentional, or unintentional, racial stereotyping. There are white boys as well. Roloff mentions 'accidents' at the home that 'the enemy' is using as an excuse to close them down. No mention of what exactly those accidents were.

A 'prayer to the flag' mourns the USA. I believe this is happening in Lynchburg, Virginia, home of the late Jerry Falwell's Liberty University.

There's also a bicentennial reference.

We see the Peaceful Valley Home for Senior Citizens. That's probably the only home that avoided scandal.

Part Five opens with Lester Roloff landing his plane on a field in Georgia. He's visiting the City of Refuge, a rehabilitation farm for alcoholics and drug abusers. Their problem is not 'addiction', it's 'sin'. No newspapers or television sets! The home originally belonged to the woman who designed the Texas flag.

Part Six has the narrator aghast that the state wants his homes licensed. Various scenes from rallies supporting Roloff are shown. We see him at the Corpus Christi jail. The girls seem to magically march behind him on cue without being prompted. Everybody starts singing and the news media doesn't seem to know what to make of it. He walks to his jail cell singing 'Oh, how I love Jesus'. He walks into the jail cell and the doors close on him.

Part Seven talks about his time in jail and how the USA is becoming like a communist country. The movie ends with Roloff's successor bringing us up to date with the fact that Roloff is dead but his homes are still operating.

NOTE: A website is given: www.roloffhomes.org, but it is now a non-working link. Roloff.org, which is not shown on the video, does work.

for more info:


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

"When You Gonna Wake Up?" by Bob Dylan

Warned About Abuse, Vatican Failed to Defrock Priest.

I hate to sound so cavalier about it, but whatchagonnadoaboutit?

George W. Bush signed a document that keeps the Vatican safe from the lawsuits of American victims. That was mentioned in the movie 'Deliver Us From Evil'.

I don't think Obama has time, nor the inclination, to worry about this. So, looks like we're all stuck being a vast OMG society. "Oh, my God! The pope covered up for child molesters! What are we gonna do now?"

That can apply to the Baptist scandals, the Brooklyn Synagogue scandal, the Presbyterian church scandals, and other scandals I'm not thinking of.

The Catholic Church survived the inquisitions, prostitution scandal, being silent during the holocaust, a recent Vatican official claiming there are demons in Rome, so with all that, I believe the child abuse scandals will rank as nothing more than a historical blip.

Jerry Falwell said that the trials of Trinity, the Baptist church that inspired this blog, would amount to nothing more than a 'bump in the road'. In Catholic terms, Pope Benedict's troubles will barely amount to a 'mud puddle', let alone a bump.

All I can do is just bask in the Bob Dylan song 'When you gonna wake up?'.

"When You Gonna Wake Up ?"*

God don't make promises that He don't keep
You got some big dreams baby, but in order to dream you gotta still be asleep.

When you gonna wake up, when you gonna wake up
When you gonna wake up strengthen the things that remain ?

Counterfeited philosophies have polluted all of your thoughts
Karl Marx has got ya by the throat, Henry Kissinger's got you tied up in knots.

When you gonna wake up, when you gonna wake up
When you gonna wake up strengthen the things that remain ?

You got innocent men in jail, your insane asylums are filled
You got unrighteous doctors dealing drugs that'll never cure your ills.

When you gonna wake up, when you gonna wake up
When you gonna wake up strengthen the things that remain ?

You got men who can't hold their peace and woman who can't control their tongues
The rich seduce the poor and the old are seduced by the young.

When you gonna wake up, when you gonna wake up
When you gonna wake up strengthen the things that remain ?

Adulterers in churches and pornography in the schools
You got gangsters in power and lawbreakers making rules.

When you gonna wake up, when you gonna wake up
When you gonna wake up strengthen the things that remain ?

Spiritual advisors and gurus to guide your every move
Instant inner peace and every step you take has got to be approved.

When you gonna wake up, when you gonna wake up
When you gonna wake up strengthen the things that remain ?

Do you ever wonder just what God requires ?
You think He's just an errand boy to satisfy your wandering desires.

When you gonna wake up, when you gonna wake up
When you gonna wake up and strengthen the things that remain ?

You can't take it with you and you know that it's too worthless to be sold
They tell you, 'Time is money' as if your life was worth its weight in gold.

When you gonna wake up, when you gonna wake up
When you gonna wake up and strengthen the things that remain ?

There's a man up on a cross and He's been crucified for you
Believe in His power that's about all you got to do.

When you gonna wake up, when you gonna wake up
When you gonna wake up and strengthen the things that remain ?

*These are the lyrics from the album 'Slow Train Coming'. I think Dylan takes a few liberties with his own song. He always has the habit of doing that. Well, he is the singer/songwriter, so he has that right. I just wish I could understand the new lyrics! lol!

The most applicable lyric for this blog would have to be:

'Adulterers in churches and pornography in the schools
You got gangsters in power and lawbreakers making rules.'

I just loved that album back when I was a Senior at Trinity Christian Academy (1980). I played those songs over and over again!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

My name is Sharlene Davis.

My name is Sharlene Davis-Curnow VCA 1988-1992.

Let’s start from the beginning; my mother married a man when I was 10, when they married he point blank told me "I already raised 3 kids of my own I don't want to do it again".

I was 13 years old when my parents had heard of this "boarding school" for girls from some of their friends at church.

At this point in my life I was mouthy and failing in school but I had not yet done drugs ect.. the worst I had done at that time was to sneak out and toilet paper a friend's house. My mother's husband was very verbally abusive, she told me she was sending me there to save me from a horrible life with him. According to my mother divorce was not an option that she wanted to do again in her life.

I went shopping with my mother for new clothes that would be suitable for the school as I was still under the impression that it was your typical boarding school that you would see in the movies.

When we pulled up the dirt road to the school I was ok until I saw the what seemed to be a 50 foot tall chain-link fence with barbed wire on the top and a very large gate that automatically opened for us to drive through.

We were met in the entry by the staff along with a couple of other girls. They allowed me to say my good byes to my mother, it was a very tearful one as up until I was 10 it was just me and my mother. She was my life.

They whisked me back to this institutional like bathroom filled with a horrible sterile smell, told me to get undressed, take a shower and wash with lice soap. I was a basket case. I had been on anti-depressants and I was told I would no longer need them so they just abruptly took me off my medication (I found out as an adult this could have caused seizures along with other adverse side effects).

I was put on buddy and did not like the girl I was paired up with nor did I like anyone there as I was your typical teenager who did not like being told what to do. I also had a pretty severe issue with lying. It seemed I would lie before I could even think about the truth.

These behaviors led to some horrible events in my life. I was placed in the GR(get right room).This room had plywood walls, industrial office carpet, 1 small light in the ceiling, and an industrial lock with a peep hole on the outside of the door. I was in there for several days on several occasions. My food was brought to me and I was allowed only to leave the room to take a shower. When I was not in GR I was sitting in the corner writing sentences all day and was not even allowed to go to school while in the corner. I wrote lines in the corner, ate in the corner, and the only time I was allowed to come out was when it was time for chapel or bed.

At one point I was made to stand all day in the dinning hall with my nose to the pole while the entire school and staff went on with their day as usual. We were made to write the book of James if someone said "oh my gosh". We had huge dorm searches where girls under things would be put on display. If a torn fingernail was found on the floor they would round us all into the dorm until someone would confess and if they didn't we would all pay the consequence. We had to endure an activity called sheep and goats. They would label each girl either a sheep or goat. Goats got nothing but to go back to the dorm and have quiet time while the sheep got to have a party.

I was called a "puke", a "liar" and several other things I have managed to block from my memory. I wrote letters to my mother that never made it to her as I was told I was trying to manipulate her.

I finally got to see my mother after the first 30 days, all I could do was cry. I tried to tell her what was going on but she was being manipulated by the staff with their fake concern, fake smiles, and were so nice to me while she was there.

I finally got smart and "got saved" several times in fact, as that seemed to be the only way I could get a second chance around there.

Life in hell went on and it was pretty much one tumultuous event after another. In 1989 my time was over, my mother took me home and I was enrolled in a Christian high school. I was out for 7 months. I did start to behave worse than before and sneak out of the house more and more. Finally my parents said “hey lets go visit Victory”. Me being so utterly stupid agreed, not that it would have mattered if I opposed. We went on a Sunday I sat through Church service with my parents and immediately after the service we were greeted by the staff at which point we were invited to stay for lunch. Needless to say once the girls left the chapel, the staff and my parents took me into a room and told me I was not leaving. My heart sunk. I remember waking up the next morning crying, thinking Oh my God I am here again.

This time I had learned how to play the game from my previous stay. So no GR or corners for me this time. However one early morning not to long after I had arrived maybe about 2 or 3 months, I was told to get my things together, get dressed, that my mother was on her way to go on a plane with me to Florida. I was actually excited as I hated the walls of the Ramona school.
My mother and I flew to Florida and while on the plane I tried to save a Mormon Man. We got to the airport in Florida and we were greeted by the staff. We were taken to the Jay, Fl school and it was this huge house almost mansion like. It was a totally different world as there were only 3 other girls there besides myself.

We ate at a normal dinning table in the kitchen and got to have seconds. We went to this little church in town ran by Brother Jimmy who seemed to spit saliva every time he preached and they had a horrible choir, the song "Turn the radio on" still is remembered. We did our school work, worked out in the yard, took trips on the tractor, chased snakes around the property and chopped of their heads. Life was what seemed to be better there. Still the indoctrination continued and we were still basically told that women were the lesser of the human species. While there I received a phone call from my mother and she told me that her and my step-father were getting a divorce. "Right On!" I thought as I was under the impression that would mean I was coming home.

Oh how life had another plan entirely for me. My mother who was manipulated by the staff decided that it would be a good idea for her to work at the Ramona school so she packed up all her belongings and moved there. She made 300.00 a month to run the kitchen. The difference between my mother and most of the other staff is she genuinely loved the girls. She thought she was doing what God wanted her to do.

Once my "time" was done in Florida I was put on a plane only to return to Ramona to live. Not as a girl in the school, but, a "staff kid". This was different. I hung out with the owner’s daughter and her husband, was taught how to drive in the staff vehicles, and would sneak into the walk in with my mom in the middle of the night to eat left over 5 layer desert.

After a few months the Ramona school was officially closed by the state of California. My mother and I stayed at the school until the last girl was either transferred to Florida or went home with their parents.

Once closed it was desolate no one was there but my mother and myself. Oh how eerie the place was and so full of residual negative energy. My mother and I packed up our van and drove cross country to the Florida school where she and I lived for the first few months in a 20' travel trailer. I would go to school but would hang out with the girls most of the time.

In 1991 my life took yet another unexpected turn. My mother told me one night that she had received a phone call from my step-father; he was going to be in Louisiana and wanted her to go there to meet him for the weekend. I begged my mother not to go as I knew how utterly manipulative he was, a real womanizer. I told her before she left that I knew if she went that she was going to get back together with him. She assured me this would not happen. So off she went, she came back and told me what I knew was going to happen all along.

She was getting back together with him! I was upset as I never developed a good relationship with him. I never thought for a minute that I would be placed back in the school as a girl in the program. Unfortunately that is what happened. My mother got married at the Florida school; I was then placed back in as a girl in the program while my mother and step-father left to go live their lives. I was told I could leave when I finished high school.

When I was placed back in the school I sometimes think that Mrs. P felt sorry for me because she would allow me to go on the weekly all day shopping trips with her and Debbie. I was able to go spend the night at Debbie's house and use the phone when I wanted with in reason.

Through my entire affiliation with the school not only were the girls dictated to by Brother P but the staff was as well, and very closely. New staff would come and if they did not fit the mold they would mysteriously disappear being "called by God to do other things".

I finished my paces early, a year earlier than I should have because I wanted to get out. All I wanted to do was to be with my mother. My mother paid for and reserved my dorm room at Pensacola Christian College as that is where I was to go after high school however, I had different plans. My mother and step-father came for my graduation and they took me cross country to go to their new home in Oregon for the summer until school started. Once we got to the West Coast I told my mother I did not want to go back to Florida. I was finally 18 and they could no longer dictate to me where I was to be.

I enrolled in the local community college in Oregon but all of a sudden I discovered men, drugs and all the things that I had been previously accused of by the school but had not yet ever done.

My life has been very hurtful and challenging. I am now going to be 36 years old. I have had 1 failed marriage and am now on my 2nd. I have a beautiful 14 year old daughter who I have had the privilege to help raise since age 3. My relationship is like no other with her as I learned one thing in that place called VCA and that is, our children are precious gifts not to be thrown away like trash. Life happens and there is no teenager on this earth who is perfect. As long as you keep open communication even if it is something as a parent you don't want to hear, it is the best gift ever. I also have a wonderful son who is 3 he was born with a rare brain defect and is a strong, brave, and intelligent boy. I have my oh so supportive husband of 10 years Al who talks with me and listens to all my horrible stories of my past. He helps me realize that I am not trash, I am a woman who deserves the best life has to offer.

So everyone that is my story, I am a survivor and I am so thankful for the life I have now.

Note from Christian School Confidential: A reunion is being planned for survivors of the Victory Home for Girls. Read this account of the 'first reunion' which occurred last week in Mission Viejo.

Article: First of many.

Sunday, March 7, 2010


The woman responsible for The Girls of Victory web page (see post below) just sent me the following link. The House just passed a bill protecting pupils against violent discipline in private and public schools! Specifically against the violence perpetrated on students at places like Hephzibah House and Victory Home. Let's see if this passes the Senate:

House Votes to Protect Pupils Against Abusive Discipline.

webpage put up for survivors of Victory Home for Girls!

A website has been set up for the survivors of the Victory Home for Girls. That's the home that used to be in Ramona, California, but was closed down on Valentines Day, 1992. Unfortunately, the founder of the home, Michael Palmer, has been operating a string of girls homes at various places around the country. They've usually been closed down, followed by Palmer's denial that he ever had anything to do with the home. Then, he sets up shop somewhere else!

There is talk about a reunion of the survivors. If you went to Victory Home, or any Palmer home, and interested in attending, visit The Girls of Victory Christian Academy.

Articles about Victory Christian Academy:

Reform at Victory - A Survivor's Story.

Survivors statements about the Victory Home.

Excerpt from The Girls of Victory Christian Academy:

Who could know, who could understand, only those who shared that space. Memories of what seemed a lifetime long ago. We will always remember even when we want to forget.

Fun times, scary times, lonely times, angry times, lost times. We cherish those who helped us through. They tried to keep us apart but we remember.

Remembering friendships and the bond we share. We will be forever friends. We will always remember even when we want to forget.

City of Lancaster yanks aid from Watchdog Group

City yanks aid to watchdog group.

This is what you get for criticizing a fundamentalist mayor who wants to 'grow a Christian city'. They can't stand the criticism! So, they yank their funding. The task force has investigated allegations of racism, hate crimes, and was supported by city dollars and contributions from the United Way until the community rose up to question the fundamentalist leanings of their city council.

The task force will still continue. It will be interesting to see if a grass roots movement can thwart the infrastructure of Lancaster Baptist Church during the upcoming election.

Okay, maybe it's a bit egocentric, but if secular groups are afraid to even show movies like The God Who Wasn't There, Bible Madness, and Don't Go In The Church, which are quite mild, you have to wonder if they even have the strength to stand up to fundamentalist bullies.

Good luck, Lancaster! You're going to need it.