The Survivor Fund Project – Prairie Bible Institute speaks for RCMP and independent third party. Again.

Despite a mixed promise by Prairie Bible Institute for appropriate third-party help for abuse survivors who came forward last year, it appears PBI is confused about 3rd party responsibility. The latest confusion comes an announcement of a PBI initiated project  The announcement was posted on two PBI alumni Facebook pages last night. One Facebook page, Friends of PBI,  which is populated by PBI staff and alumni has been closed to abuse survivors and the other, Prairie Bible College Alumni and Current Students,  is an open group for alumni and students. This is the announcement:

Abuse survivors who had been asking for Prairie to hire an independent 3rd party investigative group out of the US (G.R.A.C.E) were not notified  by PBI and Jim Crites.
Why not? This failure to communicate has become a sorry habit.

The Survivor Fund Project announcement was not posted at the third-party (Centre Street Church in Calgary) website, twitter feed, or Facebook page, there is no pr from Prairie Bible Institute, nor is this announcement posted at their main website or secondary Facebook pages.

One one hand Prairie Bible Institute is doing exactly what the administration has publicly telegraphed  they were going to do since the first day the institution went public about allegations of abuse at the 90-year-old school in Three Hills Alberta. With the first announcement in November, PBI announced that administrators had reported allegations of abuse to the RCMP Three Hills detachment.  The RCMP also publicly corrected PBI administration on the use of the term ‘reported’, since PBI merely photocopied Facebook pages from We Were Prairie School kids, the central group of abuse survivors who have been asking for help from PBI for some time. The story that former staff kids and students who were physically, sexually, emotionally, spiritually and mentally abused while in Three Hills was picked up by media globally. PBI made it clear that requests by abuse survivors would not be met. (ie: a clear policy statement and the hiring of G.R.A.C.E.)

Now RCMP have had to communicate again, after the muddled message the Prairie Bible Institute Survivor Fund Project put out last night.  Constable Mark McDonald RCMP Calgary General Investigations Section:

To be perfectly clear. The RCMP as an organization along with myself as an investigator have absolutely nothing to do with any attempts by the Prairie Bible Institute, its Alumni or the Centre Street Church to raise funds for victims connected to Prairie Bible Institute.  Our message has always been and continues to be that if someone, somewhere has been the victim of a crime or has information relating to a crime whether or not it is directly or indirectly related to the Prairie Bible Institute we want to speak with them, hear their story and investigate the offence to the best of our ability.  My personal message to those your represent is exactly the same as it was in my last message to you.  I am willing to speak with anyone who has a story to tell.  I have not and will not turn anyone who comes forward away.

I would also like to make it perfectly clear that the information we obtain during our investigation has not and will not be shared with other parties involved in this investigation.  We are here only to collect information not pass it around.

I hope this clears up the misinterpretation of the information on this post.  If you or any of the victim’s you are in contact with have further questions, as always, I am available.

Mark MacDonald

Did Jim Crites and PBI administration intend to convey that any abuse survivor seeking financial assistance would have to go through a three-step process where ‘sharing their stories’ involves among other things, a substantial risk of ongoing abuse by alumni loyal to PBI?  Obviously the RCMP weren’t informed they were assumed to be working with the Survivor Fund Project.

Was PBI expecting the RCMP to tell any abuse survivor who has the courage to report that PBI will only disburse funds if the Project criteria are met? That is how the announcement reads whether that was the intent of Jim Crites and PBI or not.

This muddled and incomplete announcement begs the question about the second group named;  Centre Street Church and team leader Dr. Mollering. Were church staff consulted about the process abuse survivors are being requested to go through in this Survivor Fund Project? I honestly don’t think any professional would or could ethically condone the conditions Crites and PBI demand.  I think last nights announcement publicly shows a lack of respect for the chosen 3rd party by PBI.

We don’t know who was consulted for this project (abuse survivors, mental health professionals, the church, etc)  Dr. Miriam Mollering  is away the next ten days, just as she was when PBI President Mark Maxwell made the announcement Centre Street Church was chosen as ‘an independent third-party’. The third party announcement was sent out by newsletter to PBI alumni  just prior to Christmas. President Mark Maxwell:

2) Independent Third Party: We have been in contact with Centre Street Church in Calgary, a prominent Canadian church with professional counselors on staff. This church is not conflicted by virtue of any relationship with Prairie. Centre Street offers a safe and secure place for injured people to be heard and given professional advice on steps to move forward, including directing individuals to the appropriate authorities, referring them for additional counselling or bringing them to the appropriate parties at Prairie. The contact person at the church is Dr. Miriam Mollering.

The  ongoing request by abuse survivors for an investigation is not going to happen.

Centre Street Church is not equipped to make recommendations on policy, nor will they. The Church as a governing body which entered into a contract with PBI has been stone cold silent, and it is astonishing that a church which claims to have professional counselors on site would permit PBI to make this or any other announcement on their behalf with no transparency and high demands toward those who have been harmed. Centre Street Church has been unwilling to be publicly clear about their role, acquiescing to the legal and administration team at PBI.
Silence is not always golden.

Now  unnamed, unqualified, unknown volunteer alumni  are working directly with the PBI and stating they will work with abuse survivors.  I can fully understand why any abuse survivor would be hesitant to step forward and ask Dr. Mollering and her team for help.  Centre Street Church permitting PBI to do their talking has cast a shadow of doubt over their role. I have empathy for Dr. Mollering and her team, I am not prepared to accept a professional would condone the demands of PBI toward those who have been harmed. I think there has been an ongoing lack of respect for abuse survivors and qualified professionals who are willing to help.

To be fair, this Survivor Fund Project announcement is addressed to several groups. First and foremost the announcement is directed at alumni who are willing to donate financially and who want their tax receipt.  It is addressed to abuse survivors President Mark Maxwell claims came to him to share their stories. We don’t know how many people have approached him, what type of contact they had with him, or what they have said their needs are, let alone what PBI thinks their needs are. The next group is abuse survivors who have told  their pastor or another trusted  person, what happened to them during their time at PBI. To date, I’ve found one minister who has been willing to publicly acknowledge survivors have confided in him.  I think he runs a risk of being shut out and shunned by PBI, but that is a risk he has publicly been willing to take. The final group is the group of about 150 communicating with each other on the Facebook group We Were Prairie School Kids. Most abuse survivors are hanging back, having been part of the PBI environment, they are understandably unwilling to trust ‘volunteer alumni’  with their stories. What checks and balances are in place? Who reads these stories and make decisions? I’ve written Mr. Crites and asked the basic questions any abuse survivor needs to ask. If he choses to respond I’ll am more than willing to make his response public. I find this Survivor Fund announcement well intentioned, poorly executed, communicated badly, and frankly an indication of evangelical ignorance of what abuse survivors have been through and are going through. Hopefully answers will be forthcoming.

I fail to understand why PBI alumni and administration are not being transparent about their project, process, agenda and their qualifications around trust and safety. What staff sees these pre-requisite stories? What alumni?  Who is supposedly willing to provide transportation and to where? Why are survivors being told they are expected to show up at PBI for ‘reconciliation?’

In rejecting G.R.A.C.E. as an investigative group, PBI is following a model which is not only proven to be seriously flawed for abuse cases, but is taught at the Institute.

CH 625 Interpersonal Com. and Conflict
Management
Textbook: Ken Sande The Peacemaker A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict  3rd edition

This post is turning into a rant. Google Ken Sande and Peacemaker Ministries. Ministers have gone public acknowledging that his model does not serve members of their congregations who have been abused. Yet PBI clings to Sandes methods.

I’m going to end with an email to PBI by an administrator of We Were Prairie School kids. I personally think Linda is spitting into the wind, PBI has willfully chosen not to communicate and I openly admire the willingness of the group to keep trying to open channels. I hope I’m proven wrong.  I think one reason PBI has clammed up is the feeling of threat that exists at Three Hills.  The process which abuse survivors go through in disclosure and reporting is a rocky and emotional one involving grief, relief, hope, anger, depression despair and other untidy ‘un-Christian’ emotions which sheltered bible school administrators students, staff and alumni recoil and react to. When, despite protestations, loyalty to an institution takes priority, it is all to easy to dismiss the wounded as ‘other.’  As has been the case of other institutions dealing with reports of abuse, marginalizing, defensiveness and withdrawal are the default response to those tasked with protecting ‘their’ institution. This polarizing is a strange and sad thing to witness. Those who have been abused and those who administer an environment where abuse took place, are products of the same environment, culture and teachings. The refusal and inability to communicate seems to be merely a confirmation of how dysfunctional the culture at PBI has been, and continues to be. Linda Fossen:

I would like to share my story with PBI as would about 90+ other abuse survivors that have been completely ignored by the announcement that was made by Jim Crites on the Friends of PBI Facebook group.

Until this announcement was brought to my attention, I did not even know that this email address existed or which alumni we were to contact.  The reason being that once again the survivors I represent were not included.  I am not sure if we are supposed to wait to find out in the media or through word of mouth.  The lack of communication can be very confusing sometimes.

I am not sure why Mark Maxwell would tell the media that he is being open and honest about the abuse scandal when he has not even told us about this email address, how to reach the alumni team or the fund that is in place to bring survivors to PBI.  Is this because we don’t count or because he doesn’t care about us?  I would really like to know the answer.

A response would be greatly appreciated but also very shocking as well as I have found that my correspondence tends to go into a black hole somewhere.  I am going to copy Mark Maxwell on this so that I can assured that if my email is not responded to that it was because he deliberately made sure of it.  The media would appreciate that information as well so that the true picture can be reported in the news and not just the one that Mark Maxwell wants to portray.

Until every voice is heard,

Linda M. Fossen

About Bene Diction

Have courage for the great sorrows, And patience for the small ones. And when you have laboriously accomplished your tasks, go to sleep in peace. God is awake.
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60 Responses to The Survivor Fund Project – Prairie Bible Institute speaks for RCMP and independent third party. Again.

  1. Wanda Janz says:

    DEW:

    The one may be suffering from a form of narcassism as everything is all about her and her followers.

    We do not look down our noses at others; we just do not believe we must stand for her abuse aimed at our members. It has been horrific to hear just how many left her for a kinder, more gentler approach and were then abused, threatened with exposure, their families threatened, etc.

    The one believes that we do not like the members of her group when in reality it is only her that most have an issue with… it has been like this from the beginning. No one likes to be told what to do but she makes it perfectly clear on a PBI site that she is a controlling individual.

    Other than that, I think you would enjoy OvercomING very much; we do not tell you what you can and cannot do – we support your growth. If you make a mistake, we do not hold it against you. We let you make your own decisions; even if we do not necessarily agree with them. We’re funny that way.

    I will end this entire discussion about O with this: We do not threaten our members, ever! We do not make decisions for our members, ever! So you can attack me all you people want, but leave the group alone. I thought you were against hurting abuse victims and survivors; don’t keep proving yourselves wrong. Thank you.

  2. dew says:

    Thank you Wanda, I think your O group is the place for me.

  3. MEC says:

    Wanda – my bad- I misread.

  4. MEC says:

    You’re right, Wanda and DEW I misread- I missed the word ‘formerly’…. The interpretation I drew was the only one that explained adequately TO ME, Wanda’s vitriolic offences against the victims and her obsessive defense of PBI.

    I asked some questions on another group- I will repeat them here:
    Supposing 100 people from as far back as 50 years ago came forward having contracted cancer from contaminated materials used in building PBI…. to cut costs even though it was known that these materials were a health hazard.
    1)Wouldn’t PBI NOW be liable still?
    2)Wouldn’t people care about/for the sick and the dying or would they still be levelling charges of ‘trying to tear down PBI’ at the cancer patients?
    3) Would anyone at PBI even care?
    4) Would the leadership at PBI be telling the alumni that these sick people were just lying and trying to destroy PBI?
    5) How is this different other than that the damages are emotional, physical and spiritual and I believe there have been suicides?

    Wanda’s constant belittling of those who are going through such pain as they finally are overcoming their terror of the powers that damaged them so, at PBI is utterly mind-boggling.

    Why Wanda, must you always attack? Even Angelyn who has just joined the discussion you smack up the side of the head- and try to make is sound like she is stupid because you don’t ‘get’ what she said.

    And Dew if you thought I was somehow saying that I thought the Overcomers was related to abuse there was a misunderstanding of what I wrote. I meant that I don’t understand why the Overcomers group seems to need to attack and belittle the group of newly ‘outed’ survivors . In other words, if you’re about overcoming, why wouldn’t you be offering love, support, comfort and encouragement to those you so constantly attack?

    Isn’t the point of overcoming to reach back and help those along the trail to overcome as well?

  5. Wanda Janz says:

    Maribeth: How does saying I don’t understand make someone else look stupid?? You read too much into things, I think. I do not ‘belittle’ those going through pain or newly ‘outed’. I do, however, stand up for those that the one has damaged in her pursuit of ‘justice for all survivors/victims’. Doing damage to abused people is not right. This ‘the ends justify the means’ attitude is what bothers me the most. Always has. And again, for those of you who do not read well: O is not attacking or belittling anyone. Sheesh!

  6. Eileen says:

    Wanda you can paint your rosy picture of your O group as much as you like, but the fact of the matter is that things are not exactly as you would have folks believe are they? There are people you have denied membership in that group. There are people that you have summarily booted out of your group too. Certainly you have questioned loyalty in people. There are also most definitely individuals who have been very intimidated by you. I personally have heard from individuals with respect to every single statement I just made. You know what though, it’s your group and you have the right to run it as you see fit. Having said that, please do not criticize how someone else administers their group. Most especially the We group who has managed to maintain a long term core membership that is quite considerably larger than yours. I suspect that is because they have found a voice through that group, advocating for them to a degree that they have not experienced before; and they don’t even have to believe in God! So Wanda, you do your thing, and let Cathie and Linda do theirs. I think someone commented a long time ago that there are more than enough survivors to go around.

  7. Wanda Janz says:

    I see the ‘attacks’ are something only I am capable of. Oh wait, nope. Eileen has just weighed in. How do you know how many are in O??? It’s a private group. Interesting.

  8. MEC says:

    So very grateful for the private and safe group where we don’t have to be bombarded with such hate unless we choose to come here.
    My choice is to go to bed and leave all this ugliness locked away in my computer.

  9. Bene Diction says:

    This comment thread is closed. – BD

  10. Pingback: Maxwell family members behind Prairie Bible Institute Survivor Fund Project/Healing Team | Bene Diction Blogs On

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