Monday, November 22, 2010

SIA Organization planning Convention in 2012 for survivors of abusive schools.

SIA Organization (Survivors of Institutional Abuse) will host a convention in 2012 for survivors of unlicensed girls and boys homes. The time and place will be announced in early 2011 but it is expected to take place in early 2012 in Southern California.

Los Angeles, being the media capital that it is, is a prime place for survivors of many homes and unlicensed schools to come together and have their story heard. It will also be healing and empowering to meet others that will validate what survivors have been through collectively.

The inspiration for this convention is rooted in the successful reunions that have been held by survivors of other reform schools across the country. Survivors of Victory Christian Academy held their reunion in August 21, 2010 where a tree was planted on the property that once housed VCA in memory of Carey Dunn, and other victims, who have died as a result of abuse or injury incurred at unlicensed and abusive youth facilities. Survivors of New Bethany, which was closed following an investigation into the death of Guy Richardson, held their reunion around the same time.

A video posted of the VCA reunion drew interest from survivors of other homes, including New Bethany, Hephzibah House, New Horizons, and the Victory Girls Home in Florida (no relation to VCA in Ramona). The dedication and enthusiasm of survivors to get the word out on the abuse still happening in many of these facilities has inspired us to work together.

We have done a lot on our own but more can be accomplished if we work together.

If you are a survivor and would like to be involved in the planning of this convention, please visit sia-now.org or contact: sia.jodi@gmail.com.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Reactions for 'They Didn't Forget'



visit http://media.causes.com/930916 to read more comments about this video.

There are a few people who keep checking this blog but, by and large, all the action has switched to facebook. Partially because you can't get kicked off! Also, I like the idea that other people, unrelated to churches or this issue, can casually notice that a friend has been a victim, or survivor, and learns more about the issue of abuse by religious officials than if they visited a niche website.

I don't even give the YouTube address much business beyond embedding it on blogs and profiles. There are more comments about 'They Didn't Forget' at facebook's causes than YouTube.

Here's a sampling:

"This makes me so angry. I hope all these victims find closure one day. I am sure their PTSD will always haunt them. Torture and emotional rape...all in the name of God." Dwayne D.

"I'd like to revisit my reform school behind the controls of a monster bulldozer. Unfortunately, it's located in the Dominican Republic. Good work, Dwayne." Julia Scheeres


"What happened in this school was very disturbing and has shaped the character of so many. I pray that we can transform the pain and trauma into the strength of who we really are inside, courageous women full of compassion and peace."
Christa Munsell Baschung

There are other comments as well, including one heartfelt comment from a survivor of New Bethany's boy's homes.

Causes asks the question, 'What does this video mean to you?'. So, I answered it!

"This video matters to me because of the reactions. It shows there are others who have been affected and not just a hobby horse of one or two individuals. This is an issue that does affect people throughout the country.

If this is truly a billion dollar industry there must be rising groundswell of people, feeling unrecognized because of the lack of church, media, and government concerns, that grow more and more everyday. Of course, they can't take action because of attitudes that, in some cases, were literally beaten into them. Little things like saying 'you're wrong' or the reality that you have to find a political solution since church leaders, and even some children's advocates, aren't going to do anything about because they're afraid of appearing anti-religious. This means we have to take the human wreckage and literally put it in the face of those who would rather not comment. That's what this short video does.

HR911, which would have regulated these homes on a national level, appears dead in the Senate. If you look at who voted against it, it was predominately along party lines. Democrats tended to vote for regulation while most republicans voted against it. And yet, even victims of homes are shy about addressing that twist in the plot because no one wants to be called a 'liberal'---not even liberals want to be called liberals it seems!

Then there's the 'Movie of the Week' syndrome. People shy about telling their stories because they're either afraid of retribution or fear that putting their story in public would rob them of their opportunity of selling their story. Huh? Before the story can be sold, it first has to break press and become a topic of national debate. Seriously, I've met more than one like that.

The Victory story alone requires the story of six people to get a thorough understanding of how the homes came about, how they closed, and how Palmer, no longer running homes, probably because of the vigilance of survivors, now finds himself working as an escort taking teens from their parents to the various homes.

The most disturbing part is how many I've met who have confirmed a suspicion of mine. That some who were sent to the home had already been abused, or molested, by family members or church officials. One of the victims in the Bob Gray scandal revealed, in her deposition, that after she became pregnant (not by Gray) she was immediately sent off to Lester Roloff's Bethesda Home and her boyfriend shipped off to Jerry Falwell's complex in Lynchberg, VA.

It's like a throwback to the days when rich people would send their problem children far away so they'd stop being an embarrassment to their families. Some of these places are a veritable 'house of secrets' and I'm surprised more child advocates aren't looking into the abuses reported from these homes.

In the long run, it will probably be a long run. . .

As the number of people grow who aren't afraid to tell their story in public, perhaps we will see a gradual turn not just against these places but for some type of regulation.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Survivors of Institutional Abuse launch a movement.

Survivors of Victory Christian Academy, an unlicensed girls home that
operated in Ramona, California, until it was closed because of abusive
practices in 1992, held a reunion on school property on August 21,
2010.

Video of the reunion premiered last week on YouTube and
received praise from JESUS LAND author, Julia Scheeres. Scheeres,
whose memoir chronicled her time at a teen behavioral modification
center in the Dominican Republic, wrote, on her facebook profile, "I
would like to revisit my reform school behind the controls of a monster
bulldozer."

Survivors of New Bethany and Hephzibah House also expressed solidarity
with the VCA women and are planning their reunions as well.

HR911, which was due to be discussed in the Senate this year but
appears dead, would regulate homes like Victory Christian Academy,
Hephzibah House, and New Bethany.

Jodi Hobbs, the woman responsible for organizing the reunion, has
formed the non profit organization, Survivors of Institutional Abuse,
which aims to unite victims of the different homes for healing and
empowerment.

Carey Dunn, a fifteen year old girl, was killed on VCA property in
1998. Heather Tierney, who was locked in a small closet called 'the
Get Right Room', recalls hearing helicopters on the day Carey was
crushed by a stack of plywood while doing construction on the home.
"I thought they were hear to rescue me." she remembers.

The women planted a tree in memory of Carey Dunn, and others who
suffered abuse, or death, at homes like Victory Christian Academy.

View 'They Didn't Forget':

Facebook: 'They Didn't Forget' at facebook causes.

YouTube: 'They Didn't Forget' at YouTube.

Survivors of Institutional Abuse: sia-now.org.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

They Didn't Forget




What is really interesting about my latest video is, within a few short days of the girls of Victory going to their reunion, five survivors of New Bethany also visited their place of incarceration. The women of Hephzibah House also joined together to file complaints. It's like the beginning of a growing movement.

SIA, the organization I am now part of, encourages survivors of teen residential facilities, no matter what form they take (children's homes, foster care, gay to straight centers), to have reunions. Virtual or otherwise.

Just being together and sharing experiences is therapeutic. In time, as the numbers grow, public attention will be drawn to the crimes occurring at these places.

Carey Dunn, a girl incarcerated at VCA, was killed after a stack of wood fell on her. Carey's death at VCA was swept under the rug. The women of VCA refused to let her death go unnoticed and planted a tree in her memory on the grounds of the home. They share the tree with survivors from other homes who experienced abuse.

The original proprietor of VCA set up shop in Florida after he was forbidden from working with children in the state of California. He now operates an escort business designed to shuttle young victims from their home to the teen gulags. The home he operated in Florida was accredited by the Florida Association of Child Caring Agencies. That's the same organization responsible for accrediting Camp Tracey in North Florida which also experienced allegations of abuse.

Never forget: one of the survivors in the Bob Gray case was SENT to a Lester Roloff home after she became pregnant. It's a toss up as to how many girls and boys sent to these places really need this type of treatment. During the Victory reunion, I only spoke with one person who admitted to being so far gone on drugs that she allows that the detox experienced was necessary.

Most were sent because of basic teenage behavior that clashes with fundamentalist values. Dark makeup, questioning beliefs, changing musical tastes, or worse: talking about molestation and abuse experienced in their homes and churches.

There were two I met at the VCA reunion who fit the latter category. There are others. Believe me, homes like VCA, New Bethany, and Hephzibah House are where the secrets, and skeletons in the closet, are kept.

FACCCA: List of places accredited by FACCA.
SIA ORGANIZATION: sia-now.org.
WOMEN OF HEPHZIBAH HOUSE: FOX 28 News Report.
WOMEN OF NEW BETHANY: See pictures from their reunion on the facebook page.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Pentagon declines to investigate its own.

Article: Pentagon Declined to Investigate Hundreds of Purchases of Child Pornography.

Sometimes I think it's too easy taking potshots at fundamentalist preachers, although I do understand there is a strong fundamental Christian viewpoint dominant in the military.

If you accuse a pastor you will get supporters on your side. If you accuse a high ranking military official, or even a police officer, not too many people will stand by you! Not in public, anyway. So, stick to rock stars and preachers if you want to vent.

If you're really so gung ho, go for the people who can deprive you of life, liberty and justice! Now that takes bravery.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

a tree was planted in Ramona






The image above is a portion of between 15-20 women, each a resident of the former girls home, Victory Christian Academy (Ramona, CA). They are holding hands and having a moment of silence for those who are no longer with us. Some died horrible deaths via domestic violence. Another was killed on the premises of Victory Christian Academy.

I almost bailed on them. I'm so glad they talked me into going down there!

If you'd like to see those pictures from the Victory Christian Academy reunion held last in Ramona, CA, click here:

Fundamentalist Girls Home Reunions!

You must be a member of facebook to see these photos.

The comments from survivors of other abusive homes have been quite moving.

That little tree planting could be the start of a movement as other girls/boys home survivors begin returning to the places of their incarceration. Why? To get the closure denied them by friends, family, or, for that matter, the local authorities.

Excerpts:

"Thanks, Dwayne! MUCH has happened because of this!"

"I have tears, and they are good tears!"

Notice in the picture our tree is planted right next to the fence. The current pastor helped us dig a hole to plant it. He was told about what the women experienced. Perhaps things are changing for the better?

Visit this post to read about the place formerly known as Victory Christian Academy:

Testimonies of Victory.

This event was sponsored by the Survivors of Institutional Abuse. Otherwise known as the SIA Organization.

Visit: sia-now.org

Thursday, August 5, 2010

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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Is this really a good idea?

Article: Gov. Bobby Jindal signs bills allowing guns in church.
Considering all the lawsuits about child molestation and abuse, do we really want people going to church with their guns?

I can easily imagine one law abiding citizen getting carried away with shouting his amen's then and getting so caught up 'in the spirit' before he pulls out his gun and shoots it for added effect.

Launch Event postponed.

Launch Event postponed until a later date.

For more info:

Launch Event postponed.

Friday, June 25, 2010

not advocating graves should be violated, just sayin'

Article: Vatican 'Outraged' Over Police Raid Of Archbishops' Graves In Sex Abuse Probe.

Belgian police officials raided the graves of archbishops to see if incriminating documents, related to child abuse scandals of the Catholic Church, had been placed in the caskets. Archbishop Andre-Joseph Leonard, Belgium's current archbishop, is quoted in the below article, as condemning the search of the cathedral, saying that is stuff for "crime novels and 'The Da Vinci Code."

SNAP, the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, approved of the raid, and urged police and prosecutors to use their full powers to gain access to church records.

Now, ya'll wanna hear something that'll make some people mad? And yet, after the reading this article, seems very appropriate?

When I went to Jacksonville for the public awareness meeting regarding clergy's abuse of children back in 2008, I was intrigued by accounts of the funeral of Bob Gray. Accounts had parents of victims holding pictures of their children, at the age they were during the abuse, sitting on the front row. Apparently, people also wrote notes of closure and placed them in the coffin.

I speculated in this blog (article now removed) whether or not 'other items', not just notes from victims and their parents, might have also been placed in the casket.

Now we read that Belgian police kinda had the same idea about their religious leaders and subsequently raided the graves of archbishops?

I'm not suggesting any graves be violated, just sayin' stranger things have happened.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Survivors of Institutional Abuse - Unite! 7/9/2010

July 9, 2010 Launch Event for Survivors of Institutional Abuse (Culver City, CA)

In the early nineties, I met a former resident of a girl’s home called ‘Victory Christian Academy’. It was located in Ramona, California. This was a place where parents sent their children when they felt that normal methods would not instill the values they could not.

The abuse these girls endured was unbelievable. Parents were encouraged to lie in order to get their daughters to the facility.

“We’re looking at property. . .going on a vacation. . .we’d like you come!”

. . .any number of excuses to get them into the car.

VCA, surrounded by a ten foot electronic fence capable of knocking back a grown man, destroyed many lives. Some girls reported getting tackled by the staff upon first arrival. If the girls disobeyed rules they were forced to spend DAYS IN A SMALL CLOSET, dubbed ‘the get right room’.

One girl, who was a vegetarian, was not only forced to eat meat, but when she threw up, the proprietor forced the food back into their mouth, complete with vomit intact. Girls were physically restrained even though they were not a threat to themselves and others.

The abuses of this home have been documented by another former resident, Michele Ulriksen, in her book, Reform At Victory.

It was the dark side of ‘faith based rehabilitation’.

I introduced the victim I met to a cable access producer in Huntington Beach, CA.

We arranged an interview. The producer had the foresight to send this video to the Department of Children’s Services. Within a few months, this school was raided by the authorities and eventually shut down in 1991.

This was the first time I actually experienced the power a few people can have when they exercise their first amendment rights.

A few months ago, I was contacted by Jodi Hobbs, a survivor of Victory Christian Academy. She became aware of my role in shutting the school down via the internet. Jodi, along with three other survivors, has formed the Survivors of Institutional Abuse (SIA Organization) and invited me to be a board member.

I was more than happy to accept and pleased to say we are having our first fund raiser on July 9, 2010.

The Launch Event will feature the premier of our PSA, directed by Steven Kimbrough (CEO President KMGI-TV & Black Kilt Films, Inc.), who recently returned from the Cannes Film Festival promoting the Cannes 24 Hour Film Challenge.

We will also screen ‘Over the GW’, a hard hitting motion picture which exposes the abuses which have been occurring at teen behavior modification centers. The facility profiled in ‘Over the GW’, interestingly, was not a faith based center. It was secular and accepted Medicaid funding before it was closed. Yet, their methods of ‘rehabilitation’ were just as abusive as those endured by the residents of VCA.

‘Over the GW’ was referenced in a Congressional Hearing on
"Child Abuse and Deceptive Marketing by Residential Programs for Teens." See a clip from that Congressional Hearing, plus a preview of 'Over the GW', below this article.

Teen behavior modification centers, which includes everything from wilderness camps to gay to straight therapy centers to unlicensed 'ministries' is a billion dollar industry. It is not centered around rehabilitating teens who have been abused, or addicted to drugs, or toxic behavior, but, instead, offers last minute 'solutions' for parents whose children are simply embracing different values.

The mere fact that teenagers are choosing different viewpoints than their parents when it comes to sexuality, music and entertainment, matters of dress, politics, or, in more serious cases, experiencing sexual abuse in the home, or possessing knowledge of sexual abuse, is used as a rationale to send children to these teen gulags.

Julia Scheeres, author of JESUS LAND, a first person account of life in one of these homes, describes these places as, ’dumping grounds for the problem children of rich evangelicals’.

Victims of the teen behavioral modification industry are finally coming out and finding each other through the internet. One of the positive results of this has been the passage of HR911.

HR911 mandates that all homes and boarding schools must be licensed, and staff trained in spotting abuse, and reporting abuse. HR911 has passed the House and is heading for the Senate. But even if it does pass, and we believe that it will, something must still be done concerning the human wreckage produced by some of these unlicensed institutions.

Victims of these abusive schools and homes must learn how to get their self esteem back. Often in the face of years of negative reinforcement. Our goal is to provide life coaching, public awareness seminars, and providing resources for education, employment, and other services necessary for restoring the quality of life.

The teen behavioral modification industry is a billion dollar business that has crippled the self esteem of many children and adults. It took over a billion dollars to destroy those lives. It might taken even more to restore them. We need your help.

Please visit our website to learn more about our organization. If you’re in the Culver City, CA area on July 9th, please join us at the Bluebird CafĂ© at 7PM for ‘Over the GW’ and the premier of our first Public Service Announcement.

Visit the official 'Survivors of Institutional Abuse' website and click 'blog' to read more about the event on July 9. 2010:

Survivors of Institutional Abuse website: sia-now.org

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Child Abuse with the Independent Fundamentalist Baptist Movement

Powerful video! Just remember, there are others that didn't get mentioned. Probably because of the length of the song is short, but the list of victims is long.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Testimonies of 'Victory'

My part in the closing of Victory Christian Academy, a girls home that was once located in Ramona, CA, was relatively small.

I introduced a former student to a cable access producer in Huntington Beach, CA. He interviewed her while I did the camera work. Once the video was 'in the can', the producer was far sighted enough to send the video to the California Department of Children's Services.

The home was raided not long after and, within a few months, was closed by the state.

'Brother P', the man who operated the home, simply moved on to Jay, Florida. A former student at that home accused him of rape. He is apparently opening another home, or tried to open another, in Iowa. There was setback after a 16 year old sex offender was found living on premises.

A man who shares the name of the former Victory Christian Academy founder had been the president of The Florida Association of Christian Child Caring Agencies according to this article Research on Tough Love, Christian "Reform Schools", The connection between Palmer and Roloff.

Did 'Brother P' serve as vice president for an organization to accredit his own institution? Who knows?

If you visit the FACCCA site, you will notice, by clicking 'members', that not only is Jay, Florida school still operating, but Camp Tracey, the boy's home that was scandalized by reports of violence and sexual inappropriateness, is also a member of FACCCA.

Victims of girls and boys homes are discovering each other through the internet. It took awhile, but they are coming together and finding their strength.

One of the positive results of waking this sleeping giant is the passage of HR911.

This legislation, already passed the House now headed for the Senate, if passed, will insure a federal mandate that all homes be licensed. That girls and boys home staff must be trained in how to deal with sexual and physical abuse. All abuse must be reported to the proper authorities.

A few victims of the Victory Home offered their testimonies which helped HR911 pass the House. Now, we await the Senate.

Michele Ulriksen, the author of Reform At Victory, has a page on her website detailing testimonies from the former residents of the girls home. After reading their testimonies on Michele's site, I am proud of the role I played in helping to get this home shut down.

Best wishes on the upcoming reunion of the Girl's of Victory Christian Academy.

TESTIMONIES OF VICTORY:

Interviews and Survivor Statements.

ARTICLES OF VICTORY:

Falling Lumber Kills Hesperia Girl at Academy, September 25, 1988.

Private School Raided by State, Local Officials, February 27, 1991.

Religious Reform School, State Clash, March 4, 1991.

NOTE: The second article (Religious Reform School, State Clash) mentions the Orange County television interview that I helped arrange. Although uncredited, it does make feel good every time I read it.

Secrets in the Schoolhouse, Mollye Barrows and Duwayne Escobedo, December 2, 2004.

Anchor Character Training Center, a children’s center, is unlicensed in Iowa, Abigail McWilliam, February 27, 2009.

HR911:

Child Advocates Recommend Senate Review and Revision of HR 911

NOTE: The above PDF concerning HR911 mentions Victory Christian Academy in Ramona, CA.

Official reunion site:

Girls of Victory Christian Academy.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Reunion Planned for 'Girls' of Victory Christian Academy.

Survivors of Victory Christian Academy, the girl's home in Ramona, CA, that was closed down in 1991, and was the subject of Michele Ulriksen's book, Reform at Victory, will be having a reunion on August 20-22 in San Diego, CA, near the location of the former home.

The proprietor of the home simply set up shop in Florida after VCA was closed by state authorities. He was forbidden from working with children in Southern California.

Florida, naturally, greeted him with open arms. A student at the Florida home accused him of rape, and now he's apparently opening another home in Iowa.

Is this a great country or what?

Sarcasm, people!

A tour of the Ramona facilities will be part of the agenda. I was privileged to accompany some of the women on a visit to the former VCA property a few months ago. Perhaps I will write more about that at a later time.

For information regarding the reunion:

Girls of VCA blog.

Official page for the 'Girls of Victory Christian Academy':

Girls of Victory Christian Academy.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Not even Saddam Hussein deserved this. . .

CIA had plan to pose Saddam Hussein - Osama Bin Laden as pedophiles.

Although, perhaps the article I linked to might deserve to be called propaganda in itself.

Check out this quote from a former CIA official:

"Saddam playing with boys would have no resonance in the Middle East -- nobody cares," one former CIA official told Spy Talk. "Trying to mount such a campaign would show a total misunderstanding of the target. We always mistake our own taboos as universal when, in fact, they are just our taboos."

The former CIA official might be right when we consider there are other countries that just don't blink an eye when a 13 year old girl is married off, against her will, to an elderly man.

Against her will? What? Like 13 year old children have rights?

Interesting, even in America, we don't seem to accept the idea of children having rights. I remember the phrase 'children's rights' being quite scorned upon in my Christian school.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

HR 911 - Stopping Child Abuse in Residential Programs for Teens

The text from this post is taken from http://edlabor.house.gov/documents/111/pdf/publications/TeenResProgramFactSheet.pdf

It has been introduced by California 7th District Representative, George Miller, and passed the House.

Don't let the year '2009', featured in the title, get you down!

Activism is about to heat up on this issue. Keep visiting this blog for more info and websites regarding what we can do to make HR911 the law of the land.




Keeping Kids Safe
The Stop Child Abuse in Residential Programs for Teens Act of 2009


Tens of thousands of U.S. teenagers attend private and public residential programs – including therapeutic boarding schools, wilderness camps, boot camps, and behavior modification facilities – that are intended to help them with behavioral, emotional, mental health, or substance abuse problems. Depending on the state in which the program operates, some of these programs are subject to State law or regulation, while others are not. As a result of this loose patchwork of state oversight, children at some the programs have been subject to abuse and neglect with little to no accountability.

The Government Accountability Office found thousands of allegations of child abuse and neglect at residential programs for teens since the early 1990s. Tragically, in a number of cases, this abuse and neglect led to the death of a child. To address this urgent problem, the “Stop Child Abuse in Residential Programs for Teens Act of 2009” would:

Keep teens safe with new national standards for residential programs that are focused on teens with behavioral, emotional, or mental health, or substance abuse problem

>Prohibit programs from physically, mentally, or sexually abusing children in their care.
>Prohibit programs from denying children essential water, food, clothing, shelter, or medical care – whether as a form of punishment or for any other reason.
>Require programs to provide children with reasonable access to a telephone and inform children accordingly.
>Require programs to train staff in what constitutes child abuse and neglect and how to report it.
>Require that programs only physically restrain children if it is necessary for their safety or the safety of others, and to do so in a way that is consistent with federal law already applicable in other contexts.
>Require programs to have plans in place to provide emergency medical care.

Increase transparency to help parents make safer choices for their children.

>Require programs to disclose to parents the qualifications, roles, and responsibilities of staff members.
>Require programs to notify parents of substantiated reports of child abuse or violations of health and safety laws.
> Require programs to include a link or web address for the website of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which will carry information on residential programs.

Hold teen residential programs accountable for violating the law.
> Require states to inform the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services of reports of child abuse and neglect at covered programs and require HHS to conduct investigations of such programs to determine if a violation of the national standards has occurred.
>Provide HHS the authority to assess civil penalties up to $50,000 for every violation of the law.

Ask states to step in to protect teens in residential programs

Within three years, states must require all public and private programs to be licensed, meet standards that are at least as stringent as the national standards, and implement a monitoring and enforcement system. The Department of Health and Human Services would continue to inspect programs where a child fatality has occurred or where a pattern of violations has emerged.

House Education and Labor Committee ● February 2009 ● http://edlabor.house.gov

Saturday, April 17, 2010

THE ADVOCATE by Teresa Burrell


Sabre Orin Brown does not have a sexy job. She is a Juvenile Court attorney who has the unthankful job of deciding whether children should be reunited with their parents. If the parents have been wrongfully accused, and she makes the right decision, she is regarded as a hero. If she makes the wrong decision, the results can be fatal and the public outcry can be enormous. If she keeps a child and parent apart, even for the right reason, the parent can become vindictive.

The Advocate, the debut novel by former lawyer, Teresa Burrell, gives a rare insight into the world of a trial attorney. How cases are doled out to the lawyers, with little, or no control, over who their client will be. Sometimes they find themselves representing the most odious people. They must have the inner belief that the prosecution will be working just as hard to convict, as the defense will be when it comes to challenging the accusations.

An overworked, and underfunded system, on both sides, makes idealism rather difficult.

Sabre is given the case of Alexis Murdock, whose father, Gaylord Murdock, comes from a highly esteemed family in Atlanta, Georgia.

The book takes place in San Diego, California, which is interesting considering there's a corrupt cop in the picture. Considering the problems we have been having with police corruption out here in Southern California, I have to wonder if making her corrupt cop over a thousand miles away was a tactical move on Burrell's part?

It is well noted in the book that if a fellow cop accuses another of corruption, that cop will probably become ostracized from his peers if the charges don't pan out. It doesn't seem uncommon for retribution to be sought after against the whistleblower.

This is not an activist novel, though. It is a story of close calls, mistaken identities, and plot twists that, on the surface, seem to come out of nowhere. I have no doubt, though, that Burrell is writing from personal experience. This makes the novel all the more intriguing.

If you're in Southern California, you might find Teresa Burrell signing autographs at various book outlets. If you're elsewhere in the country, and want to get a glance at what life for a Juvenile Attorney must be like, I highly recommend this book.

Click here to order your copy of The Advocate.

Visit Teresa Burrell's website.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Goliath wins.

I love how Rex keeps using the phrase 'child molesters not welcome'.

What he really means is child molesters not welcome unless they have short hair, wear ties, carry bibles, and operate church bus routes!

article: MONGOLS 'TAKE ON' MAYOR R. REX PARRIS!

There were reports of poll workers wearing 'vote Rex' t-shirts while working on the job. Others reported people coming up to them reminding 'em to 'vote right', before flashing Rex's image in the form of a t-shirt, etc. Lancaster Baptist College students (West Coast Baptist College) were seen popping in every hour to check the voter index. Will there be investigations?

We'll keep you posted.

Various lamentations from the facebook page:

Melody Clark Unfortunately, there seem to be that many stupid/blind/sociopathic people in Lancaster. Since agnostics, atheists, pagans, Jews, Muslims and Buddhists (and anyone else I'm leaving out) are no longer citizens in Lancaster, I suggest we all move and show him what happens to his tax base. We're not going to retire here as we'd planned. Not with this bully in office.
4 hours ago · Comment · Like · Report

Andrew Nieto Get this: the polls closed at 8:00. We at QHHS finished up and left at 9:30. I showed up at Rodio's election night party at 10:30 to find it already done and over with. I went directly from there to Rex's party at the new, not-yet-opened restaurant on Lancaster Boulevard to find it was INVITATION ONLY! Then I went directly over to city hall to find it was already closed and locked up.
6 hours ago · Comment · Like · Report

Jon White fixed!
2 hours ago · Report


Get Parris Out of Lancaster. Lancaster wakes up tomorrow, to be spied on, to have it's dogs killed, it's children and poor to be treated like criminals, it's people to be ruled by SOMEONE else's church, it's taxes given to multi millionaires, it's law enforcement to be used as a personl army, and it's private businesses shut down for a photo op!
7 hours ago · Comment · Like

Mike Burdett screw this, here i come palmdale!
7 hours ago · Report

Get Parris Out of Lancaster. We guess it's a matter of getting the kind of government the people deserve!
7 hours ago · Report

Kristin Sanders does this mean we lost?
7 hours ago · Report

Debbie Holland Makes me very glad I live in Pearblossom instead.
6 hours ago · Report

Matthew Keltner this makes me want to throw up!
6 hours ago · Report

Mike Burdett is there gonna be a recount and an investigation on this?
6 hours ago · Report

Jon White I feel betterthat I live in Palmdale, though it's still to close to Landisatser. If more (Lancaster) residents voted they could make a major change...over 100,000 residents and only a small hand full get their ass out and vote. I guess they enjoy living in bullshit, lies and dictatorship type leadership. Truthfully our plan is to leave the AV all ...
See More
3 hours ago · Report

Kathryn Sanders Yes, Kristin the citizens of Lancaster who know better lost.

I am glad that I live in Palmdale, but Rex has influence here too. Whatever he does in Lancaster affects everyone living in this valley.
about an hour ago · Report

Monday, April 12, 2010

David vs Goliath! April 13th in Lancaster, CA!


This is the most exciting election that I've looked forward to!

No matter how it turns out, it has certainly energized the citizens of Lancaster, CA.

My hat is off to you!

Too bad I can't vote in it! I'll just have to 'watch', via the internet, from the OC border.

Sobering thoughts:

"~ FROM 2008 - 2009 ~
*Lancaster 93534 sex offenders rised from 102 to 120. that's 18% according to the megan's law website. *Also the FBI uniform crime report shows a 300% increase in homicides. *25% more crime than Palmdale, *and a twice the amount of rapes and arson. *Palmdale 93550 adopted sex offender residency restrictions. they went from 100 - 89.


from: Get Parris Out of Lancaster.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Brave Catholics Begin to Flood the Pews of Baptist Churches!

Article: Letter SHOWS Pope Benedict stalled Child Molestation case.

FALLOUT!

CATHOLICS, IN MOMENTARY INSANITY, ARE FILLING BAPTIST CHURCH PEWS! PASTOR FRED FROM LANDOVER BAPTIST EXPLAINS ALL!



I tried to post this comment at You Tube, but it kept coming up in error. They don't like links, so I edited my comment. Here's the whole comment, reproduced here:

uh, the Catholics would do well to view this site before joining any Baptist church: stopbaptistpredators.com.

However, Landover Baptist is probably the safest place for your child, provided he, or she, is over the age of 21!


All that aside, this is a great time for me to gratuitously pull out the FIRST video that ever graced the internet which featured the famed Landover Baptist Church in Freehold, Iowa. Certainly, it's one of my prouder moments since I videotaped and edited it:

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Sex Predators in Lancaster.

Hmmm, this isn't an example of the 'Christian Community' Rex Parris bragged he was growing in Lancaster?

Click the image for the 'big picture'.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

fundamental panicky propaganda



Leave it to Lancaster Baptist Church to stoke the flames of paranoia! To make bad manners on their part, and poor choices by their mayor, and transform it into so-called persecution.

Here's another video to watch where Rex declared war against sex offenders. After watching this, look at the videos below this post. Notice the rate of sex predators has gone up since Rex, who is associated with LBC, became mayor. Most fundamentalist megachurches have been very soft when it comes to dealing with sex predators within their midst.

Rex switched agendas and made war against gangs his top priority. His chief accomplishment? Killing more than 1000 pit bulls in what has been described as a 'dog holocaust'.

All that Islam stuff is just propaganda.



For more info, visit: Get Parris Out of Lancaster.

Things are getting exciting in Lancaster, CA!

I don't know whose gonna win, but every day closer to April 13th seems to bring new excitement.

Today, we have a YouTube and a link to a PR firm.

First, the You Tube:



The church in question is the independent fundamentalist Baptist establishment, Lancaster Baptist Church. The college of my former church, Trinity Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida, is responsible for bestowing an honorary degree on LBC pastor, Paul Chappell. It's interesting that the number of sexual predators in Lancasters is up while the amount of sexual predators in nearby Palmdale decreased.

Click the video to be taken to its YouTube page. That way, you can see the entire image.

Second, this link to a P.R. firm that handled the campaign of Rex Parris. I find it interesting that part of their strategy included 'an army of college student volunteers knocking on doors'. Gee, think they came from Antelope Valley City College? Or. . .from the LBC sponsored West Coast Baptist College? My money's on WCBC!

http://www.englanderpr.com/case-studies/59-r-rex-parris.html.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Citizens of Lancaster taking back their city from Fundamentalist Rule!

This morning, campaign in the form of 'precinct walking' began at McDonalds, in Lancaster, CA. Considering how the FFF mentions that West Coast Baptist College banned Starbucks, at one time, I have to wonder if McDonalds might be next ! lol.

Here's a youtube taken this morning at McDonalds:



Here is a video of the mayoral candidate, Arnold Rodio, talking about sex offenders in Lancaster and the disappointment that current mayor, Rex Parris, who stated he is growing a 'Christian community', hasn't done much about it.

Rex Parris is a good friend of Lancaster Baptist pastor, Paul Chappell. The fact that he may, or may not, be a member of this fundamental Baptist institution, is irrelevant. What is relevant is the careless attitude both church, and Parris supporters, have toward this issue and how it spilled over into the community at large.

Christian School balloting to play role in Lancaster, CA election?

At Trinity Christian Academy in Jax, Fl, it was a common practice for students to write letters to congressmen concerning various bills that would tax the schools. Those who did not want to write the letters could do an assignment from the textbook that would involve a long essay. All voluntary of course!

Considering the letter was pre-written for students on the board, what do you think most Christian high schoolers would do?

I thought of that while reading this blog posted by Matt Keitner at blogav.org, which I reproduced below. His blog was deleted at one page. I don't think it will be deleted at blogav, but just to err on the safe side, I will publish his blog here as a community service.

You might be interested in some of the replies to his post. The infamous Fighting Fundamentalist Forum is referenced in one of the replies. I can't seem to post an exact link to the blog, so if you want to read the replies, here's what you have to do:

Go to blogav.com.
Click 'The Antelope Valley Political Scene'.
Then, click 'Rumor: Did Parris & Chappell stuff the ballot box?'

Note to citizens of Lancaster, CA:

Don't underestimate the power of Lancaster Baptist, and its various schools, to overpower the election. It wouldn't surprise me if that institution didn't follow in the footsteps of TCA and engage in creative forms of electioneering. There is a relationship between TCA and LBC when you consider TCA is part of the same ministry, Trinity Baptist College, that deferred an honorary degree on Paul Chappell. Keep an eye out for funny business!

Matt's Post:

Rumor: Did Parris & Chappell stuff the ballot box?
by Matt_Keltner » April 1st, 2010, 9:19 pm

(Note: the following is a post that I put up in my blog section of Intheav.com that was promptly deleted, not even a full 24 hours later. I posed it as a question in a public forum. It is a question that I would ask Rex and Paul to their faces had I been able to attend a campaign meeting or debate. I posted it hoping that someone could clarify if this rumor was indeed true, or simply a rumor?)

RUMOR: Parris & Chappell stuffing the ballot boxes?

It was brought to my attention, from someone I would call a relatively reliable source, that (someone in authority in Lancaster city government) and (someone in authority) at Lancaster Baptist Church have been “stuffing ballot boxes” with absentee ballots ahead of the city election.

The absentee ballots in question were supposedly filled out by the college students at West Coast Baptist College — 200 or so, to be exact.

What is scandalous about this is that it is also being reported that many of the so-called West Coast Baptist “students” named in these absentee ballots have matriculated on to other places and can’t even be considered residents of Lancaster any longer.

Is this verifiable? Can the County of Los Angeles Registrars Office investigate and confirm this? Or someone else in a position of authority over elections? If this turns out to be true, it is sleazy at best. At worst, election tampering is a federal offence and (someone in authority in Lancaster city government) and (someone in authority at Lancaster Baptist Church) should both be brought in front of a federal magistrate if they did, indeed, resort to these tactics?

(Just before this was deleted, someone under the moniker of "AV Observer" threatened that I would be taken to court and sued by both Rex Parris and Paul Chappell for "defaming Rex's pastor". Since Paul Chappell was named "Citizen of the Year" by the city of Lancaster, he is viewed as a leading official in the so-called "War on Gangs" and his sermons are broadcast weekly via radio, I believe this qualifies him as a public figurehead and revokes him from immunity to criticism, just as Pope Benedict is not immune to public criticism regarding the ongoing scandals in the Catholic Church. Since we live in Lancaster and it happens to be election season, one way to stifle a legitimate question would be to threaten legal reprise for such an inquiry...However, apparently they didn't count on me consulting an attorney who notified me that if they, in any way, come after me, I will cross-complain against them in court for malicious prosecution and violating my First Amendment rights and they will be forced to pay my attorney fees. )

END OF MATT'S POST

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.

Hint:

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:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lester_Roloff

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

ALERT! BILL PROTECTING PUPILS AGAINST VIOLENT DISCIPLINE PASSES IN HOUSE!

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.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Ayn Rand and 'secular fundamentalism'.

I have always maintained, even during the days I worked for a Humanist organization, that 'secular fundamentalism' is a legitimate term. Not in the sense that Christian fundamentalists, like Pat Robertson, refer to it.

When a Christian fundamentalist uses the term 'secular fundamentalist', they are generally referring to any Atheist who decides to come out of the closet. Why is it okay for a Christian to suddenly force Jesus into a conversation that doesn't really have anything to do with Jesus, and still come across as 'fair minded'? Yet, let an Atheist mention his skepticism, and that mere mention categorizes him, or her, as a 'secular fundamentalist'?

No, just coming out with the fact that you are a skeptic, or Atheist, does not make you a secular fundamentalist.

Fundamentalism is an attitude, not a canon of beliefs.

A secular fundamentalist, in my view, is absolute regarding issues of right and wrong to the point of being a jerk. When called upon to defend their 'jerky-ness', can't seem to produce one rational argument that makes sense for their viewpoint. All they can do is throw insults at you. Just like some Christian fundamentalists I've known!

The recent books and articles coming out about Ayn Rand's fascination with child killer, William Hickman, provide enough evidence to illustrate what I'm talking about whenever I use the term 'secular fundamentalist'.

I will admit to having been both a religious and secular fundamentalist. Either alternative made life unbearable for whoever happened to be around me. That does make me feel bad. However, I know I'm not the only one who has been addicted to acting like a jerk then grabbing theology, or philosophy, to justify it.

Any 'cure' for this problem must begin with recognition that it is a problem. The following excerpts from Murray Rothbard's The Sociology of the Ayn Rand Cult (written in 1972) illustrate what I'm talking about.

I must say, every time I hear, or read, someone use the phrase 'ideas matter', I interpret that as code for 'please ignore how my real life doesn't match with my professed ideals'. Or, to put it more succinctly: 'please ignore my hypocrisy!'.

From: The Sociology of the Ayn Rand Cult.

Tell me how Ayn Rand's 'disciples' were any different from Christian fundamentalists. This sounds like me as a Trinity student defending Star Wars because of 'the force':

Personal enjoyment, indeed, was also frowned upon in the movement and denounced as hedonistic "whim-worship." In particular, nothing could be enjoyed for its own sake – every activity had to serve some indirect, "rational" function. Thus, food was not to be savored, but only eaten joylessly as a necessary means of one’s survival; sex was not to be enjoyed for its own sake, but only to be engaged in grimly as a reflection and reaffirmation of one’s "highest values"; painting or movies only to be enjoyed if one could find "rational values" in doing so. All of these values were not simply to be discovered quietly by each person – the heresy of "subjectivism" – but had to be proven to the rest of the cult. In practice, as will be seen further below, the only safe aesthetic or romantic "values" or objects for the member were those explicitly sanctioned by Ayn Rand or other top disciples.

Those who attended Bob Jones University, or familiar with Peter Ruckman's Pensacola Bible Institute, might identify with the next passage. You might remember people asking (regarding Ruckman), 'what is Doc's position on divorce, movies, women in pants, etc?'. Or, with BJU, there was a list of businesses not to visit. Why? Sometimes it was quite murky, like a particular florist shop.

Same with Rand and her secular disciples:

Thus, one time a leading Randian attorney was giving a speech on Randian political theory. During the question period, he was caught short by being asked how he could reconcile Rand’s support for the compulsory subpoena power with the Randian political axiom of non-initiation of force. He hemmed and hawed, and then said that he had to think about this – a code phrase for hurriedly checking with Rand and the other leaders on the proper answer.

Part of the continuing need to check with headquarters came from the fact that Rand, though considered infallible by her disciples, changed her mind a great deal, particularly on concrete personalities or institutions. The fundamental line change on Branden is a glaring example, as well as the line change on other formerly high-ranking Randians who were expelled from the movement. But far more frequent if less important were changes of position on show business folk whom Rand might have met. Thus, the "line" on such people as Johnny Carson or Mike Wallace (prominent TV personalities) changed rapidly – largely because of Rand’s discovering various heresies and alleged betrayals on their part.


Bob Jones University was known for having little 'trials' for those suspected of heresy on campus. Ayn Rand and her disciples were also known for that:

We have already mentioned the excommunications and "purges" in the Randian movement. Often, the excommunications – especially of important Randians – proceeded in a ritual manner. The errant member was peremptorily ordered to appear at a "trial" to hear charges against him. If he refused to appear – as he would if he had any shred of self-respect left – then the trial would continue in absentia, with all the members present taking turns in denouncing the expelled member, reading charges against him (again in a manner eerily reminiscent of 1984). When his inevitable conviction was sealed, someone – generally his closest friend – wrote the excommunicate, a bitter, febrile, and portentous letter, damning the apostate forevermore and excluding him forever from the Elysian fields of reason and reality. Having his closest friend take the leading part in the heresy proceeding was of course important as a way of forcing the friend to demonstrate his own loyalty to Rand, thereby clearing himself of any lingering taint by association. It is reported that when Branden was expelled, one of his closest former friends in New York sent him a letter proclaiming that the only moral thing he could do at that point was to commit suicide – a strange position for an allegedly pro-life, pro-individual-purpose philosophy to take.

I have heard more than one account of people nearly starving themselves into malnutrition by following Lester Roloff's strange dietary laws. Well, Christian fundamentalists aren't the only ones with strange views of health that they use their beliefs to justify. Consider Ayn Rand's view of smoking and how that affected her followers:

The all-encompassing nature of the Randian line may be illustrated by an incident that occurred to a friend of mine who once asked a leading Randian if he disagreed with the movement’s position on any conceivable subject. After several minutes of hard thought, the Randian replied: "Well, I can’t quite understand their position on smoking." Astonished that the Rand cult had any position on smoking, my friend pressed on: "They have a position on smoking? What is it?" The Randian replied that smoking, according to the cult, was a moral obligation. In my own experience, a top Randian once asked me rather sharply, "How is it that you don’t smoke?" When I replied that I had discovered early that I was allergic to smoke, the Randian was mollified: "Oh, that’s OK, then." The official justification for making smoking a moral obligation was a sentence in Atlas where the heroine refers to a lit cigarette as symbolizing a fire in the mind, the fire of creative ideas. (One would think that simply holding up a lit match could do just as readily for this symbolic function.)

Now that I think about it, there's probably not really a contradiction between Ayn Rand's view of life and that of Christian fundamentalists. Both profess allegiance to a higher form of 'reason'.

Rand's form was Objectivism. Christian fundamentalists tended to flock around Francis Shaeffer, or any teacher of their choice who threw around scripture verses like 'come now and let us reason together'. Ultimately, individual thinking was stifled in both extremes.

Reason really was not celebrated as much as strict obedience to rules, teachers, preachers, and revered writers. If you went to movies, or read novels, or did anything that might be interpreted as 'fun', it was expected to explain why this appealed to you. Just merely enjoying something was not enough. Even sex within marriage had to be interpreted as 'worship' when not used for procreation.

What Ayn Rand provided for religious fundamentalists was the idea that even if your rejected the bible, you still had to accept certain absolutist views of right and wrong that were in line with right wing politicos.

Most of those views were generally opposed to holding leadership accountable for any wrongs enacted against their members. In fact, any wrongs perpetuated on the followers by their leaders were ultimately the fault of the followers.

No wonder some of Rand's biggest fans can be found amongst fundamentalist Christian leaders and followers!