Fred Whaples, a church planter in Concord North Carolina, attended Prairie Bible Institute. (1990/1992) He has issued a warning of intent to sue against Linda Fossen, a spokesperson for the Facebook group We were Prairie bible school kids, where people who allege abuse while at Prairie Bible Institute have gathered.
Whaples bills himself as the lead servant at The Village Church; he also runs a counselling service offering marriage counselling, life coaching, addictions, crisis counselling, family counselling and personal improvement services. The Village Church is affiliated with Church of God, Anderson.
The Facebook group We were Prairie Bible School Kids went private in December after significant verbal assaults by some PBI alumni. The Facebook group was public prior to world wide media attention in November when PBI President Mark Maxwell issued an announcement that he had taken presented allegations of abuse by individuals connected with Prairie Bible Institute to the RCMP. (pages from the Facebook group We were Prairie Bible School Kids were taken by PBI admin to Three Hills RCMP). Whaples had commented at the abuse survivor Facebook group prior to the group going private, and if I remember correctly he was kicked off for being belligerent and argumentative. This is Whaples intent letter to Linda Fossen and the survivors group, dated January 25th:
Here is a breakdown of Florida defamation law from the Citizen Media Law Project.
Whaples spearheaded an online alumni fund-raiser for PBI over Christmas, raising over 4 thousand dollars.
It is believed that Whaples is one of the Survivor Fund Project team members who formed to be listeners to PBI abuse survivors, and there is speculation the money he raised is funding the Survivor Fund Project. I have asked Survivor Fund Project spokesperson Jim Crites if Whaples is one of the approximately 20 member alumni Survivor Fund Project, and I will update or correct the above accordingly when I receive a response. (see update below)
It is also not known if Whaples has notified PBI administration of his intentions, I’ve inquired and if I get a response, I’ll post it.
This is potentially a set back. Following the December alumni letter from PBI President Mark Maxwell outlining the steps PBI was taking, there has been some behind the scenes forward movement between what has been strained communication between PBI admin, survivors and supporters. While PBI is not responsible for the behavior of oppositional alumni, (there are about 16 thousand alumni) PBI has not publicly asked the few who have been publicly upset with the abuse survivors who have ended their silence; to temper their hostility and show some patience and charity.
There were about 160 members of the Facebook group We were Prairie Bible School Kids before the group went private in December; an offshoot public FB page for Prairie Bible Institute Abuse Survivors is available.
Update: *Jim Crites (Survivor Fund Project): Fred Whaples is not a member of the Survivor fund project / healing team. His rundraising project for PBI at Christmas was his own initiative and was completely unrelated to the Survivor Fund. There was no coordination between the two, in case anyone wonders!
Update: I asked Mark Maxwell if Fred Whaples had notified PBI of his intent to sue and if PBI had a statement. Maxwell says, “this has nothing to do with Prairie, so PBI has no statement to make.”
Ruth Maxwell (a relative of PBI President Mark Maxwell) speaking at The Village Church, North Carolina January 2012. Fred Whaples is the pastor. Ms. Maxwell starts speaking 24 minutes in.
Update: I don’t want to sue, I’ll sue, it wasn’t FB stuff, my legal team will need to talk to all the survivors on FB if, if, if; your spokesperson better do mediation or…posted by a friend of Whaples at an open PBI FB group. Looks like the demands haven’t changed from the day the letter of intent was issued.
Update: Linda Fossen thanks Dr. J. Snyder for attempting to mediate, posted on open FB group by someone else because she is banned:
Update: 03/02/12 Linda Fossen responds to the Whaples letter of intent.