Tag Archives: sexual abuse

Comment Of The Day: The Pastor’s Confession

There was a lively and contentious debate on Megachurch Pastor Andy Savage’s 20-year-old encounter with a 17-year-old girl. There were several extensive comments, and I may yet post one from the pro-Andy camp to balance this one, by johnburger2013.

Here is his Comment of the Day on The Pastor’s Confession

There are at least 3 creeps in this story:

A. Megachurch minister Andy Savage. This incident as revealed by Jules Woodson clearly demonstrates that Savage knew what he had done to Woodson was, at the very least wrong and immoral. He has a crisis of conscience and seeks absolution from the Lord God Almighty. Good for him. I suspect that God would have said, “Hey, jerk. Apologize to her, make it right, and never, ever use my name in vain. Go away.” He told her not to discuss it with anyone. Nice guy, that. Nothing in the story reveals that he tried to make amends to her; on the contrary, everything points to him trying to cover up what he did to her.

I would not even rate his statement as an apology, though. Note the buzz words:

1. “As a college student”: Hey! I was young and impetuous, and my hormones got the best of me.

2. “On staff at a church in Texas”: I was nobody important at the church, just a young buck hauling stuff for the church way over there in Texas.

3. “More than 20 years ago” : It was a long time ago. The winds of history have clouded my memory. Don’t judge my sexual assault of a 17 year old girl by today’s standards; things were different back then! Come on!

4. “I regretfully had a sexual incident”: I forgave myself, and you know what the Good Book says about sin, repentance and forgiveness. The Lord has forgiven me, so you should, too.

5. “With a female high school senior in the church.” She was a senior and not some under-aged school girl. Besides, she was like an adult.

6. “Until now, I did not know there was unfinished business with Jules”? Unfinished business? What does that mean? Unrequited love? A bad date you need to make right? Does the good pastor mean, “I thought we forgave and forgot; I guess not.”

7. “Jules, I am deeply sorry for my actions 20 years ago.” There he goes with the 20 years ago stuff again. Why don’t we just move on. Remember: he did not say this to her on the phone or in person but on a NATIONALLY televised prayer/worship service. He tried to pull a Jimmy Swaggart or a James and Tammy Baker. (Que: Sound of bombs dropping and whistling right before detonation.) So, let me get this straight. He assaults a 17 year old, tells her to keep it quiet, and then 20 years later, he further humiliates her on national television about some unfinished business. What a jerk. Continue reading

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Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 1/11/2018: “Clean-Up On Ethics Aisle 10!” Edition

Good morning…

1 “And the survey says…! The results of the polls in yesterday’s 1/10 warm-up (so far) are..

  • Chris Christie is the leader in the “most hubris” poll, with 38.53% of the vote, but its pretty close. I’m pretty sure “All of them” would be leading if I had included it.

(I voted for Steve Bannon.)

  • 50% voted that journalist interviewers should be trained to recognize and flag invalid rationalizations.

A solid second was the choice, “They couldn’t do it objectively,” at 43%

  • By a 2-1 ratio over either of the other choices, over 50% believe that Plan E, the 25th Amendment removal plot, should be thoroughly discredited but the news media won’t let it go.

2. I also worry about Bobby DarinYesterday’s lament about declining cultural literacy and how movie artists that we should remember for our society’s enlightenment, perspective and inspiration are increasingly falling into a dark memory hole is relevant to a current development on Broadway: “The Bobby Darin Story” will kick off the new “Lyrics” season from January. 20 to 22, with rising star Jonathan Groff as Darin. Bobby Darin, one of my favorite performers and an unusually versatile and eclectic one, died before he was 40 and just barely hangs on in the culture now, thanks to his classic recording of “Mack the Knife.” (Also this month, the jukebox musical about Darin, “Dream Lover,” opened in Sydney.) Everything about Darin has been unlucky, his bad fortune culminating in the weird 2004 biopic that starred Kevin Spacey as Bobby. The movie was a bomb, and Spacey’s ugly fall guarantees that the film will be seen  by future generations about as often as Annette in”Muscle Beach Party.” As the Cary Grant post noted, sometimes all it takes is a vivid reference to rescue a lost life of note.

Darin’s own lost life is itself an ethics thought experiment. He knew at a young age that he was not going to live long, because he had an irreparably damaged heart. His response was to be furiously creative and to live life at a mad and reckless pace. The new show’s director says, “He lived a gritty, driven life. He hurt people along the way and people hurt him.” Continue reading

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The Pastor’s Confession

Andy Savage confessing all. Well, not quite all. But the throng ate it up, and that’s what matters, right?

Jules Woodson accused Memphis magachurch minister Andy Savage of sexually assaulting her during a ride home in 1998. She was 17 at the time of the incident, and he was the 22-year-old youth minister at a Houston church. In a blog post on Watch Keep, Woodson described what happened. Savage had offered to drive her home, but took a detour into the woods.

“Suddenly, Andy unzipped his jeans and pulled out his penis. He asked me to suck it. I was scared and embarrassed, but I did it….I did it because I was scared and I was in shock and I didn’t understand what was happening. I remember feeling that this must mean that Andy loved me. He then asked me to unbutton my shirt. I did. He started touching me over my bra and then lifted my bra up and began touching my breasts,” she wrote.

“After what I believe to have been about 5 minutes of this going on, he suddenly stopped, got out of the truck and ran around the back and to my side before falling to his knees. I quickly buttoned my shirt back up and got out of the truck. Now I was terrified and ashamed. I remember him pleading, while he was on his knees with his hands up on his head, ‘Oh my god, oh my god. What have I done? Oh my God, I’m so sorry. You can’t tell anyone Jules, please. You have to take this to the grave with you.’”

Woodson said that she told another pastor at the church, and he told her to follow Savage’s demand and keep quiet.

She said felt compelled to take action in light of the “Me Too” movement, and emailed Savage last month reminding him of the incident.

Last Sunday, a few days after Woodson finally went public, Savage told his throng, “As a college student on staff at a church in Texas more than 20 years ago, I regretfully had a sexual incident with a female high school senior in the church.” The Highpoint Church congregation stood and applauded for 20 seconds, CBS News reported. Continue reading

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From The “Saint’s Excuse” Files:The Catholic Church, Penn State, and Now Choate…What Have We Learned?

Protect the hive. Always protect the hive…

The renowned private boarding school school Choate Rosemary Hall, alma mater of such luminaries as John Dos Passos, Edward Albee, Glenn Close, multiple Kennedys and dozens more of the rich, famous and powerful, , just revealed that at least twelve former teachers had sexually molested, and in one case, raped, students without the crimes being reported to police. The pattern continued over decades. In some cases, teachers were allowed to resign after being confronted with evidence of abuse, and administrators wrote still letters of recommendations for them after they were fired. The predators then went to other schools, sometimes in positions of power and authority.

After the similar institutional conduct revealed by the Catholic Church and Penn State, does anyone believe that this is a rare occurrence in institution, including the most prestigious—and virtuous!—ones? The lesson is that established, powerful, iconic institutions are programmed to protect themselves above others, and regard their own missions and continued vitality more precious than any single individual, even a child.

Revisiting one of the most important of the Ethics Alarms’ 92 rationalizations:

13. The Saint’s Excuse: “It’s for a good cause”

This rationalization has probably caused more death and human suffering than any other. The words “it’s for a good cause” have been used to justify all sorts of lies, scams and mayhem. It is the downfall of the zealot, the true believer, and the passionate advocate that almost any action that supports “the Cause,’ whether it be liberty, religion, charity, or curing a plague, is seen as being justified by the inherent rightness of the ultimate goal. Thus Catholic Bishops protected child-molesting priests to protect the Church, and the American Red Cross used deceptive promotions to swell its blood supplies after the September 11, 2001 attacks. The Saint’s Excuse  allows charities to strong-arm contributors, and advocacy groups to use lies and innuendo to savage ideological opponents. The Saint’s Excuse is that the ends justify the means, because the “saint” has decided that the ends are worth any price—especially when that price will have to be paid by someone else.

Continue reading

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Is Predator Judge Joseph Boeckmann The Most Unethical American Judge Ever?

predator judge

To designate recently resigned Arkansas Cross County District Judge Joseph Boeckmann the most unethical judge ever would require disqualifying the Nazi judges sentenced at Nuremberg, Judge John Hathorne, who played both judge and prosecutor in the Salem witch trials, and probably some others who have escaped my attention. He is nonetheless a 21st Century low, and we can only hope his record for depravity and abuse of power is never exceeded.

Boeckmann’s resignation came after the judicial commission informed  his lawyer that it was in the process of recovering as many as 4,500  photographs from the judge’s computer, and that they showed nude male defendants who had appeared before him in court.

“They all depict young men, many naked who are in various poses inside the judge’s home and outside in his yard,” the letter stated. “There are numerous photos of naked young men bending over after an apparent paddling,” the letter reads. “Please accept this as notice to not destroy [or] otherwise dispose of this paddle.”

All right, that last part is funny.

The investigation had commenced after Boeckmann was accused of a conflict of interest, and then stumbled upon allegations  a dozen young men who said they received lighter sentences from the judge in exchange for sexual favors. Nobody expected to find evidence of what appears to be 30 years of his using threats of imprisonment or fines to extort young men for sex. Continue reading

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Ethics Alarms Presents With Sorrow: The Worst Ethics Conflict Of All

Dan Quinn's not a soldier any more because he disobeyed orders...and stopped a man from raping a kid in Afghanistan. War is hell.

Dan Quinn’s not a soldier any more because he disobeyed orders…and stopped a man from raping a kid in Afghanistan. War is hell.

An ethics conflict occurs when two unquestionable ethical values demand opposite results in the same situation.

An impossible ethics conflict is when the typical priorities of duty require the worst outcome.

This is an impossible ethics conflict.

Interviews and court records reveal that the American military command has ordered American soldiers and Marines not to intervene in Afghanistan when they observe Afghan military commanders and soldiers raping boys, even when the abuse occurs on military bases. The local practice is called bacha bazi, (“boy play”).  The  policy aims at avoiding conflict and maintaining good relations with the Afghan police and militia units that the United States has trained to fight the Taliban. It also embodies the theory that the U.S. should not  impose its cultural values on other nations. Pederasty is widely accepted in Afghanistan, and being surrounded by young teenagers, a.k.a. male rape victims, is mark of social status for powerful men.

Imagine how bad the Taliban must be if these are “the good guys.”

Asked via e-mail about this American military policy by the New York Times, the American command spokesman in Afghanistan, Col. Brian Tribus, replied, “Generally, allegations of child sexual abuse by Afghan military or police personnel would be a matter of domestic Afghan criminal law…there would be no express requirement that U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan report it,” with the exception of when rape is being used as a weapon of war.

Well, we certainly can’t have that. The response ducks the ethical issues entirely. Continue reading

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Signature Significance Verdict: Lena Dunham Is An Awful Human Being

 UPDATED!

Yechh.

Yechh.

If her boasting about abusing her little sister in her memoir wasn’t enough, Lena Dunham’s revealed conduct regarding “Barry” in the same tome rings the signature significance bell. No human being with a sufficient amount of decency would do something like this, even once.

In case you have not followed the latest ethics scandal involving the over-praised creator and star of HBO’s “Girls,” what occurred is this:

In one chapter of Dunham’s memoir “Not That Kind of Girl,” the feminist actress describes as factual an episode of sexual assault or rape that she says she experienced while an undergraduate at Oberlin. Her assailant was a well-known campus “Republican,” she says, a conservative whom she refers to as Barry—without the conventional quotes that would indicate a pseudonym.

There was, as it happens,  a real Oberlin college graduate from the same period named Barry, then well-known as a conservative, which then as now, is a species about as common at Oberlin as velociraptors. Besides his name and campus reputation, Barry fit some of the other details given by Dunham, such as wearing cowboy boots and sporting a flamboyant mustache. Now the 28-year-old man (the same age as Dunham)  is being tarred as a rapist, and has been forced to take down his social media accounts. He has hired a lawyer named Aaron Minc, with the help of donations from GoFundMe to help pay his legal fees, and has promised that any money he receives from the suit exceeding legal fees will go to charities assisting survivors of rape and sexual assault.

Dunham has not had the courage or decency to say anything, to or about Barry. But yesterday Random House did, in an extraordinary statement and admission: Continue reading

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