On Mr. Aderholt’s Indictment:
It has been a while since I’ve updated what’s been happening with Mr. Aderholt on my site. On December 19, the Tarrant County, Texas, Grand Jury met and indicted Mr. Aderholt on four felony charges: three charges of indecency with a child under 17 and one charge of sexual assault of a child under 17. I do feel the need to clarify the word “assault” here. Never was my abuse violent. He did not rape me, as the name suggests. I’ve never been comfortable with explaining the details publicly, so if you’re inclined to go and look at Texas Penal Code and find out what that means, by all means, it’s a free internet. But one thing I’ve always wanted is transparency and to speak with clarity when it comes to the things I am sure of and disclosure when there is confusion.
His next date is a court date on January 15 where he will enter his plea. We expect it will go all the way to a trial setting. Having to share the details of this trauma publicly gives me a lot of anxiety, but if Mr. Aderholt continues to deny the facts of what happened and maintains his innocence, that’s what will have to happen. I have full confidence in the Tarrant County DA’s office and there already has been so much evidence presented. Not only did the IMB conclude in 2007 that abuse occurred (though they called it an inappropriate relationship and not abuse) after I reported it to authorities in Spring 2018, they conducted a several-months-long investigation that concluded there was enough evidence for his arrest. From his arrest, the DA’s office further gathered evidence and presented it to a grand jury. I was told that because of my age at the time (16) many grand jurors think that’s close enough to 17, which is the age of consent in Texas, so I was given a 50/50 probability for his indictment. When he was indicted for more charges than he was originally arrested for, it was encouraging to know these folks saw the full extent of what happened and realized the gravity of the crime.
On my personal response:
The range of emotions after his indictment are all over the place. I’m happy because the truth is being heard and actionable steps are being taken by the criminal justice system. I’m grieved because of the messages I’ve received from people who know Mr. Aderholt that also range from denial to confirmation; some say it’s something he could never do and others say they weren’t surprised. I cannot imagine what his family is going through and from the day I knew he and his wife married as he told me they would, I hurt for her. I regret not emailing her back in 1997 because maybe all of this could have been prevented. His kids are old enough to understand and the consequences for what he’s done can realistically separate his family for a long time. Knowing the love I have for my daughter and how being away at work stirs in me a longing and a missing like no other, how much uncertainty and anxiety they must be experiencing. I grieve for them the most; I am not the only victim. I pray for them, and Mark, daily. I’ve also felt incredibly supported online and with friends and most family.
On the International Mission Board (IMB)’s response:
The IMB (who knew about the abuse in 2007 and failed to report it) has hired a law firm to conduct an investigation into how they handle misconduct. It seems to be entirely a self-serving action rather than a victim-serving one. They want to keep their “staff and their families safe”” overseas and no mention is made about past victims or the responsibility to protect the very vulnerable with whom they work. Someone from the firm contacted me but it was before the Grand Jury hearing so I wasn’t at liberty to speak with them. I am now, and will keep you posted on those conversations.
On the SBC’s response:
As far as the SBC response, after many emails asking for specific help-help outside of summits and study groups-I received this email back from JD Greear.*
Thanks so much for reaching out. I continue to grieve over all that has happened, to the degree that I find myself unsure what to do or say other than to pray and to do everything in my power to get this right. I do understand what you are saying: committees and study groups by themselves are not enough. And I agree. As you know, my authority as Southern Baptist Convention President is limited, but we must insist churches (and institutions) act in ways that help survivors and deter predators, and do all we can to educate them with the means to do so. That is the purpose of my initiatives in this. My heart’s desire is to do everything I can to explore tangible action steps that can make a difference from this point forward, and that’s what I am doing. I know that this was a big week, and I continue to pray for healing and justice for you. –JDG
I replied with some very specific struggles (a very absent faith and hope and trusting God in a spiritual desert) and specific suggestions: connecting me with some pastors or counseling resources in DFW for instance (it’s been over 3 years since I’ve been to church). Surely his “limited authority” as president of the SBC” can connect me to a few local places for help. I have not heard back and it’s been over two weeks.**
On the reality of it all
I am learning to put no hope into institutional or organizational entities. I will never, ever see the help or receive the support I need from the people who should be and are held accountable for this. Instead, I continue to take refuge in my little family, in school, and at work and knowing that I will be able to serve families of trauma victims so they will not have to live with decades of trauma hiding in their bodies. I apply to upper-level nursing school this summer and I’m so excited.
On the book, Healing Together: A Guide for Helping Sexual Abuse Survivors
Also, with the holidays, moving into a new house, and starting a new job, I haven’t had an iota of time to work on “Healing Together” or to update the Patreon page for that matter.
BUT HERE’S A BIG THING: I have decided to make Healing Together: A Guide for Helping Sexual Abuse Survivors COMPLETELY FREE as an eBook/PDF and make the paperback as inexpensive as I can using Amazon’s Createspace which I used to self publish the reprint of Mad Church Disease, Beating Burnout, and my Advent book.
I don’t want people to think I am capitalizing on my–or anybody else’s–trauma. I don’t want to make money on a book. I don’t want money to get in the way of people finding help and healing. The whole “Christian” publishing industry burned me out so badly with its expectations and that is why I bought back my last book contract. I didn’t want to write, and I had nothing to say to the world through that medium.
If you do pray, please pray for me as I write and that book and hopefully, through Patreon, we can get our very basic costs of doing business (web hosting, design, editing) taken care of. ANY and ALL extra funds will go to help SURVIVORS. PERIOD. All of it. Tim’s and my jobs provide our income. This project is not about padding the Millers’ bank account. I’ll talk more about Patreon next time I write and share how you can contribute to the basic business costs of me self-publishing this book (and how to give more if you want to give to survivor funds).
As always, thank you for your love, prayers, faith, and kind words. They matter. And you matter too.
*&**: I’ve updated this to reflect an email I received this evening after posting this. In my original post, I made a snarky comment that Mr. Greear only emailed me after the Star-Telegram wrote about the absence of communication from the SBC. In my initial response to him, I told him that I found the timing curious but would choose to believe the best. My earlier post did not reflect me “believing the best” and for that I apologize. I was wrong. Since posting this, I received another email from Mr. Greear following up with me on tangible way he is trying to support me/us. I am grateful for his reply.