The Prairie Bible Institute Survivor Fund Project – Jim Crites explains

I mentioned in my last post I had contacted Jim Crites, the gentlemen who posted The Survivor Fund Project announcement for Prairie Bible Institute on Facebook. For background on this particular announcement, see the post below. For further background on Prairie Bible Institute, just click the hyper-linked tag at the bottom which reads Posted in Prairie Bible Institute, or use the internal search engine on the right sidebar.

This is his response.

1) Who is administering the fund and when was it established?

The fund came about because a group of alumni proposed the idea to the Prairie leadership team in late November. It was approved in mid-December; the details were just worked out last week. The fund will be administered by a group of alumni who care about the hurting and wanted to find practical ways to help. It is by design an alumni-driven and alumni-administered plan. We are aware that some survivors will not feel comfortable sharing their stories to current Prairie staff members, so the hope is that a group which is at arm’s-length from Prairie will be seen as safer.

2) How was the fund set up? In other words what consultation process did you and your colleagues engage in? ie: who participated in the set up of this funding group? Faculty, administration, abuse survivors, administration, legal team, Centre Street staff, mental health professionals, etc?

We brainstormed the idea with a number of people, including alumni, former Prairie staff kids, abuse survivors, people in helping professions and ministries before proposing it to the PBI leadership. As to the legal question, the funds will be handled according to the requirements of Revenue Canada. We did not consult with Centre Street Church because they were not named as a 3rd party “listening” organization at the time; that took place after the fund was approved.

3) The announcement states that funds will be dispersed on a case by case basis for counselling, travel costs and other resources. In your consultation process what ‘other resources’ does your team anticipate funding? In other words what does ‘other resources’ mean to your project team?

We have so far suggested that ‘other resources’ could include books, DVDs, workshops, and seminars. However, this list is not set in stone, as we are prepared come up with other creative resources to help a survivor on his/her journey.

4) What did your team determine is the definition of abuse survivor? ie: what types of abuse fit your funding criteria for abused and injured?

The intent is to use the funds to help survivors of sexual and physical abuse, and physical abuse which could be considered severe enough to be a breach of Canadian law. Getting the strap in Grade 4, for example, would not likely qualify, even though we might concur that it was unfair punishment! The abuse must have been perpetrated in the context of Prairie life by someone connected to Prairie, such as a current staff member or current student.

5) The announcement states that interested parties applying for funding are to ‘share their stories’ with volunteer alumni, Dr. Mollering and the RCMP. What is the basis of the decision by your team for an applicant to share their story with PBI/Centre Street/RCMP/unknown alumni etc., if the funding is being distributed by PBI?

First, it’s important to be clear that the funding is not being distributed by PBI. PBI will give us access to the monies donated and we will submit expense receipts back to PBI for proper accounting and auditing purposes. PBI will not be given the identities of the survivors unless the survivor so chooses.

Secondly, the decision was made by the Prairie leadership to publicly name three primary options to whom abuse survivors could choose to tell their story. These three options were announced by Mark Maxwell in his December alumni newsletter, and included Centre Street Church, OR this alumni group with this email address, OR the RCMP. The Survivor fund announcement which I posted this week on Facebook simply repeated those options for anyone who might be unaware of them. Perhaps we could have worded this more clearly, but the intent was that survivors contact ONE of the 3 options, not all three! The only thing changed (added) by this week’s announcement on FB was the availability of funds.

b) What did your team determine were the necessary qualifications for the volunteer alumni who are to receive these stories?

 The only qualifications are to love people, have a heart to help the wounded, and understand Prairie’s sub-culture. A number of us are abuse survivors, and I expect all of us have had to work through issues related to legalism (though we didn’t conduct a survey about that!). Our role is to simply listen to stories as fellow Prairie staff kids and alumni. It is not to provide professional therapy or legal advice, though we are likely to direct survivors to those resources as we listen to their stories. In short, this is really about relationship, much like we would offer to a friend in crisis. There are at least 20 people available to listen to stories, and from them, 2-3 people who will handle the distribution of funds. We have already had a number of people come to us and receive real hearing and understanding, and are moving forward in their healing journey. We are not into pat answers and the easy “forgive and forget” theology. And survivors are welcome to share their story even if they don’t happen to need funding.

 c) How is an applicant to communicate with the alumni? ie: phone, email, face to face?

The best way is to start is by sending an email to this address. (prairiealums (at) gmail (dot) com. Once a relationship established, the parties involved are free to decide for themselves how they want to communicate. So far, we have used Facebook, Skype, email, telephone, and personal visits.

 d) Who sees these applications/applicant in the vetting process? ie: Alumni/staff/Centre Street Church staff, legal team, etc?

There is no application process. If you want to talk, simply contact us. We will try to find out where you are in your healing journey, and then determine if some financial assistance would help you make additional progress. The conversations are confidential; it’s your story to tell, not ours. The Prairie leadership has made it very clear that they do not want to know the identification of survivors unless a survivor chooses to tell. This, of course, within the bounds of Canadian law as it relates to any current criminal activity.

e) Where is PBI posting the names and qualifications of staff/alumni/outside parties who are privy to the information (story) an applicant submits?

There is no intent on PBI’s part to post this information anywhere. It is confidential between the survivor and the listener who is walking with that survivor. Nor is this a highly-structured, officious program with lots of hoops. We are simply lay volunteers who want to help our fellow staff kids and alumni find healing

 f) What information do you require from an applicant in their story? ie: Has your team compiled a list of questions for the applicant?

 The intent is that this is an informal relationship, like supporting a hurting friend through a crisis. There are no requirements to talking; the survivor is free to tell their story as they wish. We have no list of questions, as we are not a counseling centre with intake forms. We are simply there to listen and care, and if people so desire, make recommendations for helpful resources.

6) Was Dr. Mollering (Centre Street Church) consulted as to the nature of the project process and the use of her name in the announcement?

We informed her via email on December 16th after PBI announced that Centre Street Church would be involved in listening to survivor stories. It was a simple “heads up” to the possibility that there could be some collaboration between CSC and this alumni group in helping survivors. Her name was listed in this week’s FB announcement as one of the options for survivors to choose from, in the same way that Mark Maxwell’s December alumni letter did.

 7) Were the RCMP contacted and asked to provide survivors with your group information and announcement on this offer of financial assistance for survivors?

 No, they weren’t. The intent of listing the RCMP was to reiterate the options available to survivors, not to connect them to the way the funds will be distributed. Hindsight is a wonderful thing…it appears that the way we worded the FB announcement inadvertently created some confusion in this regard! What we wanted to communicate is that 1) survivors had options, and 2) that some criteria are in place for survivors to receive funding, as expected by the donor base and within Revenue Canada’s guidelines. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused.

Thanks for your time, I look forward to your response.

You are very welcome.  I hope this explanation was helpful, but if there are still some things we can clarify, please don’t hesitate to write again.  We want it known that our greatest desire is for healing for the survivors and justice for those who caused the abuse.  We are honored to be part of the solution whenever a survivor so chooses.

The Survivor Fund Project announcement:

Update: The Survivor Fund Project members have identified themselves as John Kepler (PHS ’71, PBC ’75), Jim Crites (PHS ’78, PBC ’82), Mim Carlson Phibbs (PHS ’59, PBC ’63), Brenda Boytim Morrison (PHS ’74, PBC ’78), and Priscilla Virts Johnson (PHS ’72).

Update: It was noted elsewhere online I did not highlight the education of the team.  That is correct, I did not know their educational backgrounds.  Jim Crites has a counselling degree (Masters) from Providence Seminary in Manitoba, and John Kepler received a Masters in Pastoral Counselling in the U.S. Another unnamed Survivor Fund Project member is completing a Masters in counselling.

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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119 Responses to The Prairie Bible Institute Survivor Fund Project – Jim Crites explains

  1. I have many questions because Catherine Darnell and me were not included at all in the distribution of the information of this alumni healing team. I continue to have major concerns that we are being shut out of the process. The announcement was posted on the Friends of PBI Facebook group of which many of us have been banned. It was not reposted on an open site until I called Jim Crites on it and even then he did not respond to my personal email – not a very good way to instill trust by the alumni who purport to be so caring of the survivors. There continues to be a real disconnect with the survivors that Catherine and I represent.

    My initial questions are:
    1. Who are the people on the alumni healing team?
    2. What documentation is in place so that when this is all done we have a means to identify the failures of the school to protect children and what needs to change to ensure that this never happens again?
    3. How will the perps be publicly identified and held accountable for what they have done?
    4. When will an open Facebook group be started that will bring together all the survivors and not ban certain ones from participating? As long as the alumni healing team uses the closed Friends of PBI group for making announcements, then the perception is still there that the rabid alumni who hate the survivors Catherine and I represent are still controlling the process.
    5. The perception is that this alumni healing team is much more interested in saving face for the school then in truly helping survivors. What steps are you taking with all the survivors to ensure that everyone feels that they are welcomed to the process?
    6. Why does PBI still not acknowledge Carmen Wesley who came forward in a Global TV interview? Mark Maxwell has not responded to over 6 emails from her and her mother. How can the school say they are being honest and open when they do not even acknowledge a survivor who has publicly come forward and has sent numerous emails to the President of the school – this was back when Mark Maxwell insisted he had an open-door policy? Why does the open door not apply to Carmen? Why is her correspondence not acknowledged?
    7. If Prairie chose Centre Street Church as the third party, why did the announcement of the alumni healing teams not come from them? Either they are a true third party who is responsible to distribute information to everyone or they are not. The way I read it the third-party is not being a true third party because Prairie continues to try to control the process using Jim Crites and others to facilitate this process. If we have a true third-party in place (which is questionable because in order for a third-party to be a third-party, parties one and two have to agree on them). We have not been given that opportunity. What seems to be happening is that nothing has really changed – Mark Maxwell is still doing damage control for the school but has thrown a bone to the survivors I represent in the form of a pseudo-third party who has been no authority by PBI to do anything. This is a completely flawed solution because basically all we have is a therapist who I am confident is a good one but who has not been given the mandate to investigate the abuse and report on the results of it to the public so that PBI can be held accountable to make the necessary changes to ensure this never happens again.

    This all appears to be a white-wash job to me and I feel we are no closer to anything that even resembles what we requested when we demanded the school hire GRACE.

  2. Bene Diction says:

    Hi Linda:

    I’ve asked Jim Crites (PBI Survivor Fund Project) to monitor this Q&A post, and I’ve suggested that if he is comfortable with this open forum, that he extend the courtesy to readers to respond to their questions.

  3. MEC says:

    ‘The fund will be administered by a group of alumni who care about the hurting and wanted to find practical ways to help. It is by design an alumni-driven and alumni-administered plan. We are aware that some survivors will not feel comfortable sharing their stories to current Prairie staff members, so the hope is that a group which is at arm’s-length from Prairie will be seen as safer.”

    How is a group that is “alumni-driven and alumni-administered” even remotely to be seen as being ‘at arm’s length? Are you guys crazy or just ignorant- meaning completely uneducated in what’s going on here?

    In your point 4 you left out emotional and spiritual abuse which are just as, if not more serious than the abuse you’ve listed. Actually they are involved in the physical and sexual abuse experienced by the survivors but ignored by you, Prairie.
    And while perhaps giving the strap to a grade 4 student isn’t something you consider abuse- but how about hitting a child’s hands with a ruler til they bleed and he/she can no longer hold a pencil, then berating him/her for not working? Is that abuse to you people?

    Re #5- Once again you’ve proven that you have no clue about third party objectivity or safety for the survivors. There is nothing to this point in this article that I can see that would guarantee safety for the victims. You really think they are going to come forward and talk to the very group where the abuse occurred in the first place? Do some research. You people have no clue.
    The rest of the answers in question 5 are enough to make a victim vomit- not one recognition that abuse survival requires professional care. People with a ‘heart to help’ are absolutely not qualified to even hear the stories much less enter into the discussion. Seriously.

    You were offered a professional group, well qualified to deal with these survivors yet you throw out that “A number of us are abuse survivors, and I expect all of us have had to work through issues related to legalism” indicating that you have no idea of the ramifications for the survivors’ lives. The abuse at Prairie has destroyed lives, including those who committed suicide because of that abuse and you say ‘we are all abuse survivors”? HOW ABSOLUTELY INSULTING!!!!
    No wonder people have no confidence in the Prairie machine!

    Having read Linda’s response- I hope you read it again and ACT ACCORDINGLY- so far the Prairie machine has absolutely NOT addressed any of the issues that the survivors have raised.

    From reading the above, and statements like, “Hindsight is a wonderful thing…” the Prairie machine is trying to sound like a folksy, completely non-confrontational, warm fuzzy group just waiting with bated breath to welcome the survivors into their big group hug. Balderdash!

    PEOPLE’S LIVES were for all intents and purposes DESTROYED! When 30 or 40 years later people are still crippled by their abuse experienced at Prairie, what in the world makes you think that telling their story to some ‘interested listeners’ is going to do anything of any lasting impact? Have you not bothered to read the research and material out there on the impact of abuse on children and adults?

    IT CHANGES THE LITERAL SHAPE AND FUNCTION OF THEIR BRAINS!!!
    Look them up yourselves: http://scholar.google.ca/scholar?q=child+abuse+brain+changes&hl=en&as_sdt=0&as_vis=1&oi=scholart

    I mean seriously, this abuse has affected the quality of life for close to 100 people who’ve been able to overcome their fear and come forward. Then how many more are still too terrified to do so- and given the Prairie antics, with good reason.

    You can’t even be bothered to address Carmen Wesley’s rape so why would people even think to discuss their abuse with you people?

    Not only is this an entirely unprofessional response to the reported abuses whether individual or as held in confidence by Linda and Catherine but it is sinful that a group purporting to be followers of Christ treat their own brothers and sisters with such insensitivity in the least and cruelty at most.

    Makes me ashamed to call myself a Christian when people can look at Prairie and then at me and ask what is the difference.

    If you’re TRULY actually interested in the pain and suffering of the victims and willing to participate in their healing then get off your duffs, get GRACE or some other professional group of equal caliber in and do as you are told by those who know how to minister healing to victims of Christian abuse.

    Otherwise admit that Prairie is far more important than the victims and lets get the lawsuit started.

    This is ridiculous and has made Prairie a laughingstock in the eyes of the world watching how they handle the abuse of their own family.

  4. Donna Newkirk Lane says:

    Dear Prairie Bible Institute,

    I no longer love you. I no longer respect you. I no longer hold you in high esteem. I no longer consider you a Christian Institution. You are a fraud and you are evil.

  5. If I were one of the survivors that you are saying you want to help, I see nothing that you have given me to build my trust in you or your organization on. It sounds like MEC says in his comment that you are more interested in protecting the school. If I were one of those survivors who was abused by those in places of power over the children in this school, I wouldn’t even considered telling you my story. Trust is earned.

    Your cutting Linda Fossen and Catherine Darnell out of the process is another reason that I wouldn’t trust you. I know about the integrity of both of them. I don’t see yours in evidence at all with all of your anonymity and secrecy of your own words in this article.

    The way this article is written, your view point gives no responsibility to anyone for the abuse or for how the money is to be distributed to help survivors to heal. As you, yourself said, none of the people in your group are therapists, counselors, doctors, experts in child abuse, etc., who might actually know how to help a survivor. You make your group appear to be do-gooders who have no clue as to what these survivors really need. It isn’t a pat on the head by some well-meaning but clueless entity. Just saying you want to help doesn’t make you the right person for the job of helping survivors heal. Where are the experts who should be on your panel to decide who really needs financial help from your fund? As a person who might want to contribute to your fund, you don’t inspire my trust either.

  6. Diana Stooshnov says:

    I would never share details, the story, information, feelings, or anything about any abuse to someone who I do not know, have not vetted, and have some feeling with how the information is going to used and who all is going to see it. How do I know if this person is still not an abuser. I would recommend that you get professional advise, because what you are proposing is so silly it is laughable. This is such a serious thing, to think I would send an email to someone, who I have been told I cannot know who it is…is in my mind outrageous. Unconscionable on my opinion.

  7. I am confused by the response in #4. You were asked, “What did your team determine is the definition of abuse survivor? ie: what types of abuse fit your funding criteria for abused and injured?”

    Your response was, “The intent is to use the funds to help survivors of sexual and physical abuse, and physical abuse which could be considered severe enough to be a breach of Canadian law. Getting the strap in Grade 4, for example, would not likely qualify, even though we might concur that it was unfair punishment! The abuse must have been perpetrated in the context of Prairie life by someone connected to Prairie, such as a current staff member or current student.”

    What are you saying? That you will only pay the expenses of the survivors whose perps are currently on staff or a student at PBI? After the fine job that both Dr. O and Mark Maxwell have done in getting rid of people that kind of narrows the scope doesn’t it? This makes no sense at all. Does PBI not have anyone with PR skills who can read over these amateur press releases and announcements that keep coming out and are so confusing!

  8. Cal Thompson says:

    The suggestion that abuse survivors would contact and share their experiences with anonymous ‘friends’ who may or may not have any professional qualifications to deal with traumatic experiences, possibly including the commission of criminal acts is not only irresponsible, it borders on unqualified stupidity. Organizationally Prairie management appears to have spent a considerable amount of time studying the Catholic crisis management model and determined that it is a perfect fit!

  9. Benjamin Chung says:

    Maybe my English is so poor, I cannot understand what I am reading! OMG!

    Would someone use plain English to help me to see how a team of no body (really no physical bodies) can help a legion of survivors? The money initially mentioned by our Jimmie Crites, is almost more a fund raising, and not a help as I thought I read. Now, it is like the Catholic churches, they are willing to shut down local catholic churches, but neglected to sell their lofty and large mansions (except the MA bishop residence, which was sold to pay for the survivors). I would much rather see that the Holy Father do away with some of their own money, and buildings then to ask parishners to fund the entire settlement. We are facing the similar issue with PBI survivors. The school should designate a fund (not much, less than 100,000 for immediate use), and fire the incompetent Mark Maxwell in the handling of this matter, our Mr Maxwell will certainly have this legacy of shutting the school because of his own personal issues and incompetency on this matter. As for Crites, please, for Christ’s sake, just go away and pray!

  10. Katie says:

    This, if not so serious, would be the most pathetic and humourous thing I have ever heard. A survivor of abuse is encouraged to send an email to an unknown “healing team” with connections to the the abuser – heck maybe even the abuser him/herself how would you possibley know? – get a book or CD and “be healed and on their way”. Really? Is this Mr. Crites the most naive man in history? I think Prairie Bible College should be held legally responsible for the great harm done to anyone that is manipulated into going this route. Any and all survivors of institutional abuse at PBC should contact an attorney and proceed from there. The rest of this is just drivel!

  11. BRV says:

    Once again…just another way for PBI to hand the survivors off to someone else without having to be accountable for their past actions, air their dirty laundry or unbury the skeletons.

    The fact that abuse perpetrated by students/staff no longer affiliated with the school isn’t even being addressed is just another slap in the face to those trying to find healing and closure. I’m EXTREMELY disappointed…but quite frankly–not surprised.

    I’m ashamed that PBI management can’t stand up and take responsibility for past wrongs like the men of God they CLAIM to be. They had an opportunity to be an incredible example to the world of God’s love and to be men of true Christian character…but they’ve PISSED it all away.

    Their actions even cause one to wonder…just what ELSE they are hiding? (Maybe a forensic accountant needs to be standing by….)

  12. Bene D says:

    I’m surprised supporters of this PBI Survivor Fund Project aren’t speaking up.
    They are welcome to do so.
    Where are the survivors availing themselves of this initiative?
    They are welcome to speak.

    PBI has admitted in the past month that:

    “During the last few weeks, my wife Elaine and I have heard from several individuals in person, over the phone and by email.” – Mark Maxwell

    “We have already had a number of people come to us and receive real hearing and understanding, and are moving forward in their healing journey.” Jim Crites

    Where are these several and number of people?
    Why are these survivors identified by PBI admin and alumni (in whatever stage of healing they are in) not connecting up with other survivors on Facebook?
    Who or what may be preventing them from doing so?

    “We have a truly amazing group of Alumni around the world. Many of them have offered to help in any way possible. A dozen of them have committed a great deal of time to working with those alumni who have stories of pain and injury.” Mark Maxwell

    “There are at least 20 people available to listen to stories, and from them, 2-3 people who will handle the distribution of funds.” Jim Crites

    Okay. Where are these 12 to 20?
    I wonder if the bigger picture may be getting blurred.

  13. Hank Hamm says:

    Hi again, Bene D, I note that the direct questions you raised in your last post at 10:11 a.m. yesterday still remain unaddressed by Mr. Crites, the alumni group, or anyone from PBI. This is so typical because in the past when they have been confronted with difficult questions they generally resort either to silence or discrediting the questioner. A good example of this can be read in the former PBI director of operations ’27 page whistle blower report’ that was distributed one year ago and again this year on the survivor’s site.

  14. Bene D says:

    Hi Hank:

    Can you provide a link for the 27 page report – I went digging, but this cold I have is freezing my brain.:^)

  15. Hank Hamm says:

    I have the document and I uploaded it to the closed survivor’s site; I don’t have a public website that I can upload to. Any suggestions?

  16. Bene D says:

    Hmm. Three things come to mind.
    Google docs
    email it
    Scribd

    If you want email it, I can upload it to Scribd if you don’t have a Scribd login.
    Scribd is easy to use.

    Thanks Hank, I’m looking forward to reading this. I think it’s important it’s available for anyone who wants to read it.

  17. Hank Hamm says:

    The former director of operations for PBI distributed 30 copies of this document in Three Hills, AB in January 2011 after he resigned from PBI. It seemed to draw very little interest at that time. One year later I reposted it to a closed survivors site. Although the writer is well known to all the staff at PBI I will not disclose his name or current location here because of threats the author has received. Locally referred to as the ‘whistle blower’s report’ it is actually titled:

    (edited – BD)

  18. Bene D says:

    Scribd is sweet. Got it thanks.

    Reading it now – threats? That is something to be taken very seriously.
    I’ll reply to you privately if that’s okay.

  19. Deborah E says:

    Hi BD,

    Thanks for posting this. Especially since this is how we, as survivors, obtain information, through online sources such as FB and wonderful blogs like yours, BD.

    I guess I march to the beat of a different drum, as a survivor, that is. While I do believe that this whole situation was *not* handled very well by PBI (lack of communication to survivors, directly; lack of clarity; lack of professionalism; lack of courtesy, to name a few), I was actually very touched by what was offered, and further articulated in this interview.

    Is it possible that it is fake? Yes, it is possible. Anything is possible. However, from what I am reading in Jim Crites’ answers is that there are some people who do care about the survivors and want to do what they can to help. They may not be very proficient at what they do and may not have the credentials for what they are offering, and it may even seem like a “silly” offer, but, you know what? Even the most “simple” offers, like pictures drawn by little children are endearing and cherished. Why? Because they have heart. Because they express the human heart.

    So, for this, I thank you, Jim Crites, and the PBI alumni. Thank you for expressing your heart, even the imperfect hearts.

    -Deborah E

  20. Shaeleen says:

    Deborah you may very well be the nicest person on the planet and I wish you were my neighbour. However I think you have missed the point. The institution of Prairie needs to accept the responsibility for handling this issue. Letting a variety of other voices speak for them is unprofessional, incompetent, and weak. Where is their spokesperson? Do they have one? I can’t imagine any organization in today’s world that doesn’t have a policy governing allegations of sexual abuse. What is Prairie’s? Do they have one? There are many questions that need to be answered. The caring hearts of the alumni is not one of them.

  21. Hank Hamm says:

    Hi Deborah E, even though I just can’t share your optimism I am just so glad to hear you speaking out.

    And Shaeleen, Deborah E is definitely one of the nicest people on the planet and anyone would be fortunate to have her as a neighbor.

  22. Gryphon says:

    From what I know of this subject, there have been only unproven allegations of isolated abuse at the school. No connection whatsoever has been established between those allegations and the school administration, past or present. Given the occurrence of this type of activity in any society or community, it would be unlikely that there were no abuses committed during the 90 year history of the school. But it is not justified to extrapolate isolated and alleged incidents into a blanket condemnation of the school or the individuals involved with reacting to these allegations. The RCMP is investigating these allegations, and forming conclusions before all the facts are known would be unjustly premature. In that, I hope we all agree.

  23. Bene Diction says:

    Hi Gryphon:

    “But it is not justified to extrapolate isolated and alleged incidents into a blanket condemnation of the school..” Okay, agreed. That message came from Mark Maxwell. It was dutifully reported by media.
    As far as I know also allegations are unproven by law (one area of proving) and most if not all will remain so.
    I don’t completely agree or disagree with you that “forming conclusions before all the facts are known would be unjustly premature…”
    What can’t be argued either is that we don’t know what PBI admin/legal knows. Mark Maxwell, Jim Crites, his Survivor Fund Project members and the Chairman of the Board of PBI publicly acknowledge people were abused while at PBI…

  24. Deborah E says:

    Hank — Thank you sooo much for the kind words! :) hugs, D

    Shaeleen — I actually agree with you on many of your points. I do not find the proposed solution adequate for many of the same reasons that have already been stated. Personally, no matter how well-meaning a fellow staff-kid may be, given the many family relationships and associations that exist within this small community (in comparison to the global community), trust is difficult to cultivate since the survivors do not know who is in what camp or on what fence. While it may seem advantageous to have people who understand the PBI culture (i.e. staff kids), it is a scary environment for the survivor who was adversely affected, to whatever degree, by that culture or within that culture.

    However, if there is even one alumnus or PBI staff kid who is offering their assistance out of a kind heart, misguided as it may or may not be, to that one person or people, I say, “Thank you and may God bless you.”

  25. Shaeleen says:

    Deborah I am sure there are many from PBI and the general public that have kind hearts and yes are appreciated. But don’t be distracted from the bigger picture. PBI must handle this issue! Not the kind hearted supporters or even the understanding survivors which you apparently are. The institution itself must show leadership and handle this issue. Don’t fall prey to the need to sugar coat things for the evil that has been done in the name of God. PBI is counting on the survivors to revert to the “good boys and girls” that they were taught to be and let them off the hook. This is exactly why religion is so dangerous! Those that were brainwashed are seldom free of the brainwashing.

  26. I am thrilled for any survivor who truly gets help regardless of who they choose to help them. I am highly suspicious of any approach that is secretive and not available to all survivors. The reason the members of the alumni healing team have not been announced is because some of the members are people who have tried to insert themselves into the process before and have been flatly rejected by the survivors I represent. Without naming names, I think it should be quite obvious to the survivors who some of these people are. Don’t be misled, this has Mark Maxwell all over it – there is no way that this healing team is not operating without his blessing. It is just another attempt by PBI to insist on each survivor coming forward alone. It is the old “divide and conquer game” and plays right into PBI’s desire to control this process. By controlling the process, they can influence the survivors to reconcile with the school. PBI then can also control the information that gets distributed about the horrible failures of it’s staff and administrators to protect children. They also control which perpetrators get exposed and which ones will continue to be swept under the rug. I am not willing to give my blessing to any process that is not truly independent from PBI and does not make as it’s primary goal to uncover the truth about the abuse, coverup and collusion that has gone on in days past and continues to this very day.

  27. Bene Diction says:

    Jim Crites wrote this on Facebook November 26th.
    The Survivor Fund Project was announced by Mark Maxwell in December.
    Again PBI has been very clear who they would communicate with and what steps they would take.

    “I would like to add my voice to the excellent post made by Peter Dunn earlier this week. As a person currently in business, I have for many years sat on the senior management teams of several companies. I understand goals and the secondary issues which can so easily sidetrack us from accomplishing those goals. As a professionally trained counselor (not currently practicing), my primary “goal” in this situation is to see healing provided for survivors of abuse. I believe I share that goal with most of you.
    However, it is my personal and professional opinion that a number of discussions on this site have in fact sidetracked us from achieving that goal rather than moved us toward its fulfillment. Please don’t hear me say that these discussions have NO value. But I believe they have LESS value than the real goal of healing for survivors. They therefore deserve less air time in deference to accomplishing the true goal. By eclipsing this primary goal with secondary issues, I believe we have sidelined the survivors, and jeopardized their hope of healing.
    Here are some of these secondary issues:
    1. Our collective and disparate opinions regarding the degree to which PBI is directly or indirectly culpable. While this may become important to sort through in the coming days, I believe it is still secondary to our primary goal. We are entitled to our opinions on this matter, but at the end of the day, our opinions won’t ultimately help survivors find healing.
    2. Our opinions regarding whether a 3rd party should be engaged, and which one. Again, an important topic, but ultimately not our decision to make, nor does the debate particularly help survivors find healing. Healing can and should be available regardless of Prairie’s decision in this matter.
    3. Our attempts to get a response from the Prairie leadership, be that through this FB site, petitions, letters, etc. While that may have value, may I suggest again that it doesn’t ultimately accomplish the goal of healing for abuse survivors. Many survivors care less about petitions than they do about healing.
    4. Our opinions regarding the personal integrity of any of the parties involved in the debate. Since integrity is largely a matter of the heart, we cannot possibly know with certainty the integrity of others. While we are again entitled to our opinions, debating the issue does not seem to have moved the survivors toward finding healing.
    5. The debate over whether Mark Maxwell should or should not have gone to the RCMP, or who got to the media first. Time spent proving “ourselves to be the victors” is a far less important issue than getting help for the survivors.
    6. The need to be right. We’re entitled to our opinions and our passion regarding this topic. However, when our passion clouds our judgment to the point where being right is more important than anything else, then I suggest that our “rightness” (or need to be perceived as such) sidetracks us from the goal of healing for survivors.
    So should we be silent with regards to the tragic issue of abuse? Absolutely not. Should we care about the abused? Most definitely. Should we seek justice for perpetrators? No question. To fail to do so is a failure to follow one of Jesus’ reasons for coming to this earth – to bring justice to the oppressed. Are the above issues important to our emotions, our personal experiences, and even our egos? Of course they are. Has the approach here accomplished publicity and a valuable increase in our awareness of abuse issues? Probably so. But has it particularly helped the survivors find healing? I am not convinced.
    I understand fully how passionately some of us feel about this issue, and rightly so. I have read the GRACE report regarding the New Tribes Mission abuse story in Fanda, Senegal. More accurately, I should say that I skimmed it, because it is truly so horrific I had to gag my way through it.
    I am also married to an abuse survivor. To the degree that a spouse can, I think I get it.
    Is there not a more helpful way to accomplish our goal? I believe so. My wife believes so, and she has been through the process and come out the other side to a place of healing and hope.
    So if you’re an abuse survivor, please hear me. One of the things I find disconcerting about this FB site is that everyone has been talking about you and around you, rather than TO you. I want to talk TO you (and hopefully not AT you!!).
    You’re the ones who matter most to this conversation. This is your story, not everyone else’s to dissect and carve up before the eyes of a watching world. You’re the ones who have carried the hurts of betrayal, mistrust, and damage to relationships. You may consider yourself to have been sexually or physically abused. Or you may consider that your abuse was of an emotional / spiritual nature, including legalism that we all acknowledge was a real part of Prairie’s past, and that of many other Christian organizations back in the day.
    I want you to know that there are many of us former staff kids out here who care about your story. We care about YOU. We are FOR you. We have been praying for you for months, and in some cases years. It doesn’t matter to us where your abuse happened, or what kind it was.
    I have been privileged to be included in a recent series of emails and telephone calls with some of my fellow staff kids. We want to help you. We want to start by listening to your story. We want to understand your pain and your anger and your journey – even if you feel stuck. When you’re ready, we want to tell you our stories so that you will actually believe that there is hope for you too. If some of you choose to go back to Prairie, to your abuser, or to the legal authorities, we will support that choice and help you through it. We will probably suggest you find a qualified counselor. We want to be safe listeners. We’re not perfect. Some of us have been hurt like you have. Some of us have been hurt in other ways. But we will commit ourselves to confidentiality, and to listen, care, and provide places of help.
    May I ask you to please step aside from the debates on this FB site and consider this invitation? We will be honored to walk with you to a place of hope and healing. We’re still putting together a group of both men and women, but in the meantime, feel free to message me privately to start with, and I will do my best to hook you up with someone of your own gender. November 25, 2011″

  28. Shaeleen says:

    If the Prairie Bible Institute has even an ounce of integrity they will immediately announce a completely independent third party that will honestly investigate these allegations. I for one don’t hold out any hope that such integrity exists in a religious institution. PBI and other similar institutions continue to be about control and money.

  29. Zac says:

    What a load of **** Jim Crites! You are so pious I want to just throw up. I am not part of any FB group on this as I am not a PBI survivor but if I were I would want to organize with other survivors. The unmitagated gall you show asking these individuals to “step away” from their source of support!!! Such an obvious tactic to regain control of fragile people. You should be ashamed!!

  30. fjc says:

    Does PBI have such little compassion for the abuse victims that they are not arranging for professional help?? PBI seems content to let untrained, unqualified alumi fulfill this role. Are they that uncareing or are they afraid??

  31. Gryphon says:

    Hi Bene:

    It was mentioned that Mark Maxwell, Jim Crites, his Survivor Fund Project members and the Chairman of the Board of PBI acknowledge people were abused at Prairie. Were the statements an admission of widespread abuse, of the type that others have associated with the Catholic church (as observed in some of the above replies)? Or were they more of a general statement of support and concern for any individuals who could have been abused in the history of the school? Might you be more specific?

  32. Bene D says:

    Hi Gryphon:

    The statements are vague and are referenced elsewhere on BDBO:

    I stand corrected on one. The board chair (Bruce Miller) doesn’t come out and say, abuse survivors, this is his December 16th statement and it is legally worded:

    “On behalf of the Board of Directors of PBI, we wish to express our sincere regrets to any and all who feel they were injured during their time at PBI. Our desire is to help you find true and complete healing. We further affirm our resolve to creating a community that stands firm against abuses of every kind. We believe that many people have encountered God in a life-changing way at Prairie. We are resolved to ensure that we do everything possible to make Prairie a place where this can happen for more and more people in a life-giving atmosphere of transparency and safety.”

    I’d have to do a full media search to see if Maxwell made any references to abuse survivors in interviews other than urging people to go to the RCMP or come see him if they didn’t want to go to police.

    Mark Maxwell, December 16th. The terms used are harmed and injured. I’ve blogged about the reluctance of PBI to use appropriate medical terminology and not just legal or spiritual.

    “During the last few weeks, my wife Elaine and I have heard from several individuals in person, over the phone and by email. They shared with us their personal stories that happened in their homes and in our community. As we listened, we believed these dear ones and their accounts and we deeply regret the pain they have been through. In response, we were overcome with compassion. We have children that we love more than life itself, and the thought of anyone harming them is too much for us. We were also humbled by the stories of incredible redemption and forgiveness, stories of injured people choosing blessing rather than bitterness. We realize that not everyone is at that point. Our hearts go out to you as well.”

    Maxwell used the term ‘abuse survivor’ (singular) in an initial media interview.
    The initial PBI pr November 14th used the term ‘abuse allegations.’
    The initial release also used the phrase ‘abusive conduct by a Prairie staff member’ inviting individuals who may not want to take their information to police, to go talk to Maxwell instead.

    November 19th, the PBI board liason Linda Brinks used the term allegation, the words abused carrying pain, hurtful.’ Global News:

    “Nobody wants to hear that maybe hurtful things happened to anybody at any time, and there’s a sense of grief that there’s people out there maybe carrying pain around and have for a long time,” said Brinks, who has been appointed by the board as a contact person for the public and other potential abuse victims.”

    “The RCMP are the right people to investigate,” she said. “We trust that anyone who is still hurting will get some closure in their life, whether through pressing criminal charges or through dialogue with the school. We hope the investigation will provide answers to questions about who was abused and who was guilty of it.”

    In the same interview:

    “Maxwell said in an interview that he’s not aware of any criminal activity in the school’s history, but he believes the online allegations seem “real enough” to warrant concern about the school’s past. “

    Calgary Herald November 22nd:

    “Maxwell said he has pondered whether students have been sexually abused during the college’s 90-year existence and concluded it’s likely, given the school’s long history and the thousands who have worked and studied there.

    But despite that grim conclusion, Maxwell said Monday he doesn’t believe – as one former student has alleged – that dozens were sexually abused and the crimes covered up by prior administrators.”

    Neither the paper or Maxwell sourced the former students claim.

    PBI has been very clear from the day they did their initial pr and alerted media, that they have difficulty with online accounts, even when the person telling their story puts their name to their account.

    By the time the December PBI statement of intent came out which is the last time PBI spoke publicly, words such as abuse, survivor, abused were dropped from the vocabulary of PBI admin.

    PBI admin language has morphed from ‘real enough’ to:

    ‘people who feel they were injured’
    ‘people may be carrying pain’
    ‘any who feel they were injured’
    ‘stories of injured people’
    ‘stories of injured people choosing blessing’

    That was a good question Gryphon.

    There are only healed people in Crites group and Maxwells group, ergo, no more survivors, no abusers. The ‘widespread’ abuse assumption mime was started by Mark Maxwell and picked up by media.
    His assumption and statement stood without clarification.

    Online survivors who have shared their stories, asked for an investigation and a PBI written policy are defined as bitter and unhealed. (which is why I supposed the Survivor Fund Project has been approved by PBI)

    The Survivor Fund Project spokesperson, Jim Crites states in Question #4 that his team have had a number of people come forward who have received healing: ‘We have already had a number of people come to us and receive real hearing and understanding…”

    Upon closer examination, the December 16h statements aren’t admission are they?
    The Survivor Fund Project isn’t an admission people were abused.

    There are no more no abuse survivors, abusers, allegations. No survivors, no perpetrators, no crimes of person or law or God’s law.

    The Mark Maxwell ‘several individuals’ are neutralized into stories of blessing instead of bitterness.
    What survivors? There are just healed blessings.

    Anyone who has told their story online has been nuked. No one has names, they are just stories or healed blessings. No Carman, no Catherine, no Linda, Elaine, Deborah…

  33. Bene Diction says:

    fjc:

    PBI says the professional help is a team at Centre Street Church, headed by Dr. Miriam Mollering who has a Ph D in Christian counselling. She is a member of a Christian Counselling association. No one knows who this team is or what their qualifications are. No one knows what professional services (additional counselling) Centre Street Church is able to refer to and what the conditions of contract are with PBI.

    Mark Maxwell, alumni letter, December 16th:

    “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.”

    PBI defined the church’s 3rd party role a month ago, Centre Street has made no public statement.

  34. Don says:

    Linda,

    I would like to ask you a number of questions regarding the accusations you have made against Prairie Bible Institute. I think you need to be accountable to the accusations you have made, as you are asking Prairie to do. Are you willing to be completely accountable? Are you willing to post your responses to my questions in public? I’m not scared of the truth, are you?

  35. Bene D says:

    Knock yourself out Don.

    First define accusation, then have at it.
    If Linda doesn’t want to respond, she is under no more obligation that Jim Crites is.

    Here is the site policy.

  36. Shea says:

    I’m all for truth Don and Benne as long as no names of victims are brought up by either party. There is a valid reason why the names of sexual assault victims are never released by the press. Please don’t violate that on this site.

  37. Bene Diction says:

    Hi Shea: I can’t name a victim or abuse survivor who has not given their name.

    If an abuse survivor publicly says, I’m Alex and my dad abused me, am I violating Alex?
    By nature of writing what occurred as Jane Doe or John Doe – I don’t know who they are, so I can’t name them.
    Even if I did know, why in the world would I be disrespectful and violate their wish?

    Who do you believe has been named here at BDBO who has not publicly put their name to their testimony?
    Please let me know immediately so I can remedy this breach of confidence.
    Is you see Don do this, please speak up immediately and I’ll edit the persons name out of his comments.

  38. Shea says:

    I have no problem with victims identifying themselves. I was just cautioning both Don and Linda to be careful. Sometimes in the “heat of battle” both sides can be impulsive and blurt out things that maybe should not be said. Especially if there is the possibility of future court actions. Victims or those accused should of course be free to speak for themselves.

  39. Bene Diction says:

    Hi Shea:

    Ah, okay. Excellent advice. Agreed.

  40. Shea says:

    Just realized I typed “Don and Bene” when I meant “Don and Linda”

  41. Bene D says:

    Shea:

    No worries.:^)

    ““There is one thing that is common to every individual, relationship, team, family, organization, nation, economy and civilization throughout the world – one thing which, if removed, will destroy the most powerful government, the most successful business, the most thriving economy, the most influential leadership, the greatest friendship, the strongest character, the deepest love…. That one thing is trust.” Stephen M.R. Covey

  42. BRV says:

    @ Shae…you don’t need to caution Linda Fossen about anything…she has been in the trenches in this fight for a VERY LONG TIME. She has been trying to communicate with the powers that be at Prairie for years and has been ignored and ridiculed for FAR too long. Linda has been a tireless advocate for the survivors and has never broken their trust. Don, on the other hand, may need the caution, as he is the one demanding specifics on a public forum…

  43. BRV says:

    sorry, spelled it wrong. *Shea

  44. Don, I have never been afraid of the truth and I am not going to start now. I am game to answer any question you have. It would be nice to have the courtesy to know who you are, if you are not afraid of the truth, can I have your full name please?

    Let the questions begin…

  45. Katie says:

    Where did Jim Crites go?

  46. Bene D says:

    He never showed up.

  47. BRV says:

    I also would like to echo Deborah E’s sentiment…I think that anyone willing and wanting to help support survivors is wonderful and beautiful…and I truly think that there are many alumni that have their heart in the right place. However, Prairie management is definitely shirking their responsibility to the survivors in this situation. It’s very disheartening and sad.
    And even sadder…is that fact, that because of their inability to publicly acknowledge past wrongs… no policy changes are going to be implemented to try to ensure that abuses don’t occur in the future; no policies are going to be implemented that create a safe, secure, and consistent procedure by which abuse victims can report those abuses; and no policies will be implemented regarding how staff/students accused of or proven to be guilty of abuse should be handled or punished.
    There will continue to be NO ACCOUNTABILITY!!! I’m sorry, but NO entity, Christian or otherwise, should be above the LAW!! When a crime is committed..there should be clear, concise policies in place that outline exactly what actions should be taken by everyone involved….from the president right on down to the janitor. (and this is not meant to demean janitors at all…God knows their jobs are usually more necessary and important than most of those in management anyway!!)

  48. Shea says:

    Very well said BRV!!

  49. ZMT says:

    Don??? Jim??? Did the rapture happen???

  50. TheLordB says:

    I would like to point out to all the doubters out there. Since I am now invisible I can make as many accusations as I possibly can. I volunteer that I heard from Don or Jim or Gagoles, that many in the Jim’s group are very much part of the administration! Maybe the school funded them and paid on the side to make a few extra bucks! Now come and catch me, especially like Don, you don’t know who I am. Let the truth be known, that I am a gourd, thanks.

    Make mama into papa! Turn mama into a mambear! Amen! Amen!

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