Sunday, 27 July 2014

John Dodsworth Esq.(Lowestoft) PBCC respected elder and alleged sodomist

From a good friend (ex. local brother) and someone whom I trust implicitly;

Having just read ..........post, I am prompted to recount something from my own history of when I was in fellowship. A friend of mine (a well-known and prominent brother) came to stay with me in ............and when we were going to bed he asked me into his bedroom for a chat. He then asked me to join him in bed. It may seem strange to some, but in the past he, my brother and I used to get into bed for a chat when he was staying with us or we with him. I did not want to, but he begged and begged me, so I did. After a few minutes he carried out a violent sexual assault on me. I was thunderstruck. I could not believe what he had just done to me. As soon as I could get free I got out and went to my own bed. I could not even tell my wife what had happened. In the morning he said nothing and I said nothing. We went through the ritual of morning reading and prayer and then he left. I tried to believe it had never happened. This was about 40 years ago.

Recently, I opened correspondence with him over something else and it came back to mind.The Jimmy Saville revelations made me tell my brother (in) about it and he went to see him. He flatly denied it. I then told the police about it. I was interviewed by the ..........police and they went to see him too. He again denied it saying he was a father and grandfather. My brother now tells me I am making it all up.

How hard it must be for a child to go through something like this!


  1. 'He again denied it saying he was a father and grandfather'

    Has to be the least convincing defence statement I have ever heard.

    Although I have recently heard about a PBCC member who caused the death of an innocent member of the public by his dangerous driving. The event was witnessed by others, he initially left the scene of the accident, before denying responsibility and is currently serving the last part of his four year jail sentence. He is a father too.

    Without being a father, it would not be possible to abuse your own children.

  2. Two or three weeks ago Paul Butler, the Anglican Bishop of Durham, publicly welcomed the UK government's move to investigate child abuse in institutions. He spoke of the need to be "open" and "honest" about institutional abuse; he said that the Church of England had "more to do" in the field of Safeguarding/Child Protection; he acknowledged the "help" that survivors can give in assisting the church to understand the lifelong effects of child abuse.

    I may have missed it, but I'm not aware that the PBCC has issued a similar public response to the UK government's proposed Inquiry into institutional child abuse.

    I still haven't been able to discover the name and contact details of the person who fulfils Bishop Butler's rôle in the PBCC. Is there a lead person in the UK PBCC in the matter of Safeguarding? To whom in the PBCC can Brethren and non-Brethren people turn to explain about the abuse they have suffered at the hands of Brethren members?

    I'm willing to be corrected about this, but the impression I'm getting at the moment is that the PBCC has pulled down the blinds on these matters and doesn't want to admit the harm done to individuals by abuse of all kinds from within their church.

    Survivors have a lot to teach these Brethren, and it's reasonable to expect the PBCC to respond with the same kind of intelligence, care and concern as Bishop Paul Butler did on behalf of the Church of England.

  3. The Church of England seems to have avoided most of the mistakes made by the Roman Catholic Church, which for many years pursued a policy driven by the wish to protect the reputation of the Church. In the short term this succeeded in protecting the Church’s reputation, but in the longer term it had the opposite effect. In some countries many Roman Catholics deserted the church in droves, not when they learned about the widespread abuse, but when they learned about the attempts to cover it up.

    Most of the reactions I have seen from the Hales Brethren so far have reminded me of the Roman Catholic mistakes, including some very nasty attempts to discredit and silence those who have exposed evidence of abuse, but if there have been more open and honest reactions, similar to those of the Bishop of Durham, then it would be in the long-term interests of the Brethren to make these public. That would engender respect.

  4. Sadly in my experience Joan, the words reasonable and Exclusive Brethren (Plymouth Brethren Christian Church) do not sit easily together. I don't think anyone minds 'reasonable', but time and time again the PBCC prove themselves to be unreasonable.

    I rather facetiously wonder why they haven't changed that scripture they used to love to quote to 'come now let us be unreasonable together'!

  5. Anyone who cares about someone in the PBCC would say to Bruce D Hales and Garth Christie, "Don't adopt a strategy of cover-up. See to it immediately that trained and caring people, women and men, are available to help and listen and learn from survivors of Brethren abuse and mistreatment since the early 1960s."

    Pope Benedict, by all accounts a man 'of godly life and sound learning', found himself overwhelmed by the evidence of ill treatment in the Roman Catholic Church, and also by the Church authorities' attempts to deny the detail and extent of this malpractice. He resigned his office and Pope Francis is now working to effect change and promote healing and care for survivors. Francis has personally met some survivors and is taking the whole matter very seriously.

    Similarly, the Church of England has invited survivors to contact the Bishop of Durham so that help and support can be offered to anyone who has suffered because of the inappropriate or illegal behaviour of clergy or church members.

    These and other churches and institutions aren't waiting for the outcome of the British government's Inquiry into child sexual abuse, they are actively wanting to support survivors and learn from them now.

    If the PBCC is a mainstream church and not a cult, Bruce D Hales and Garth Christie should stop acting to protect their institution. They should urgently initiate and make public ways in which all those affected by Brethren abuse and bad behaviour since the 1960s can be supported and helped.

  6. If the incident (of child molestation) did not happen on Hales' 'watch' - he washes his hands of it and says - 'Go to the police - not our concern'. To my knowledge - he has never spoken to a victim of this kind of abuse after the fact - which is widespread in the Brethren. So much for care- let alone a Christian attitude. It's just another reason I dislike them - not only hypocrites - but not even decent people.

  7. It's known that it can be difficult to identify and deal with a determined paedophile or sexual abuser and, sadly, churches, youth organisations, hospitals, schools and other worthy institutions have often inadvertently sheltered these criminals. Children, young people, women and vulnerable adults have too often been damaged and traumatised by abuse of this kind.

    At last every attempt is being made to prevent this happening. In the local church I attend there are two named safeguarding officers (a woman and a man) who make sure that anyone in the congregation who has any dealings with under 18 year old children and young people and vulnerable adults is properly vetted by the authorities. In the bulletin handed out to every congregant last week I noticed that people were reminded of the importance of this and advised that it's a legal requirement.

    I still haven't been given the names of any PBCC Safeguarding officers and I'm beginning to wonder whether these Brethren are unsure of their responsibilities in this matter. In my worst moments I find myself thinking that they may even be desensitised about how to treat women because of the teaching and behaviour of James Taylor Jnr. Between July 17 and 19 1970 in Preston, UK, he talked freely and publicly about beating women: "He cannot beat his wife but I can beat her. There are plenty of wives I beat, give them a good beating, that is what they need. These sisters need a good beating, then there will be something to them."

    These words are recorded on pages 95-96 of "Readings at Nostrand Avenue and Other Ministry Volume 2".

  8. Joan I share your concern about the lack of a named Safeguarding officer, As you know my research on former members has shown that 27% of my sample of 264 reported child sexual abuse. This was not something i was looking for but it emerged in a trauma questionnaire. Instead of sending me several letters via lawyers attacking my research, why has their named Safeguarding officer not contacted me. I don't know if this percentage would be continue to be this high if I got a larger sample. I also do not know if the current membership of the PBCC would show higher or lower percentages. But the number in my sample should alert them to the possibility that children of current members may be being abused. Perhaps they do not know what their responsibilities are but they were very keen to tell me what mine are - but actually there is nothing I can do as the surveys are anonymous and confidential. I have however alerted the London Met police unit dealing with historical child abuse but without names they cannot act of course.

  9. Joan and Jill - I very much doubt that the EB (PBCC) have such a person as a Safeguarding Officer. I do not think the hierarchy goes to that level. They have "priests" and door keepers, and "scribes" and even unofficial elders.

    Even if a Safeguarding officer was appointed to each local church that person would have no training; and almost certainly would not be a woman; so a girl or woman needing counseling and support would have not find a sympathetic ear.

    That is the sad thing about these people - hoping a problem will just go away if not spoken about.

  10. In the UK, the Association of Chief Police Officers has set up a national body to investigate child abuse in institutions. They call it 'Operation Hydrant' and it will start its work in September. Anybody who has at any time been abused by a person in the Exclusive Brethren/PBCC may contact them.