While the attention of the media, abuse survivors and others were on the trial of Ernie Willis for the rape and resultant pregnancy of Tina Anderson when she was 15, there was a sleight of hand going on. While others were focusing on what was increasingly becoming known of the actions of Tina’s pastor, Chuck Phelps who made her stand before her congregation and apologize for putting herself in a compromising situation and getting raped, the cooperating board at Bob Jones University had quietly pulled a dirty trick. While others were riveted on the fact that a 15 year old, under the direction of her pastor, the girls mother, sent her daughter to Colorado to live with friends of Pastor Phelps where she was home-schooled while the rapist paid for the plane ticket to Colorado, another move was in progress. Tina Anderson’s story continued to gain momentum in the media and on April 8, 2011 Elizabeth Vargus correspondent with ABC News 20/20 aired “Shattered Faith.” Pastor Phelps told a 20/20 producer that Tina had an ongoing dating relationship with a married man that had turned sexual in nature.
The next day or so, her former Pastor Chuck Phelps went live with a website stating Tina was untruthful. Fundamentalist Pastors and laymen on Sharper Iron and elsewhere portrayed her as a little Lolita whose wily ways hooked an innocent man into her grasp. Pastor Phelps spoke to many pastors and individuals all over the country telling them that Tina was not being truthful and that she was pressing on with criminal charges against Ernie Willis to get money.
Never mind that criminal proceedings don’t pay a dime to the victim. Any civil judgement would be a separate issue. At the time, Tina nor her husband had not filed any documents to do so. It is not known now whether the Anderson’s have done so, although it is certainly within their legal rights if they chose to.
Leaders in the IFB traveled and met every other month or so in different cities to “pray with Chuck Phelps.”
While this was going on, another magic trick was in progress in the Bob Jones University boardroom.
Then the trial rolled around. David Gibbs, III who represented both Phelps and Tina’s mother Christine Leaf lost a last minute legal “hail Mary” ploy to keep Phelps’ copious notes out of being read into the record by trying to claim, “clergy-congregant privilege.” The judge recognized that privilege belonged to the victim not the perpetrator. Furthermore any privilege that had applied died when Phelps spoke about it to all those third parties and anyone with access to the inter-web.
It was soon revealed that Tina had told the truth and Phelps had been more than dishonest from Phelps own sworn testimony in a court of law. Willis was convicted and sentenced on five counts. Because the statute of limitations is short for failure to report in New Hampshire, state prosecutors are unable to charge him. It is a long-shot that federal charges could be brought against Phelps under the Mann Act. It appears unlikely that federal authorities will be pursuing this route at this point.
Phelps left the Bob Jones University board in 2007 after he accepted the offer to become President of Maranatha Baptist Bible College. Phelps time at Maranatha was short, he was asked to leave May 2009.
Everyone’s attention was on the 20/20 report, the upcoming trial and then the trial testimony of Christine Leaf, Chuck Phelps, Ernie Willis and others. After Willis was found guilty our attention turned to sentencing of Willis. Tina was vindicated. Phelps, however never apologized, he never removed his website, nor the lies he told. Phelps even tried to take credit for Willis being convicted.
While all this was occurring elsewhere, Chuck Phelps was quietly put back on the 2011 Cooperating Board of Bob Jones Universityalong with others such as Ian Paisley, Jerry Svinsky and John Vaughn. Chuck Phelps is on the board with the current Vice-President of Operations, Marshall Franklin. Since the current president Dr. Stephen Jones is on medical leave it is widely known that Mr. Franklin oversee’s the day-to-day duties of President Stephen Jones. Mr. Franklin has been a long-term trusted friend of the Jones family, especially Stephen Jones. Chuck Phelps’ name is right there as plain as day between Evangelist Stephen Pettit of the Pettit Evangelistic Ministries and Fundamental Church Planter Robert Packer.
2011 Bob Jones University Cooperating Board Members listed in BJU Catalog Page 254
Chuck Phelps was on the board when 20/20 aired. Chuck Phelps was on the board when Brian Fuller, who has openly stated that Phelps was his mentor, denied there was a network in the IFB. Either Brian Fuller is a huge patsy, or he is as deceptive as the rest.
Dr. Bob Jones, III was present when the American Council of Christian Churches passed its resolution on abuse at the ACCC Annual meeting October 19-21, 2011. Immediately upon finding this out this afternoon, Chuckles called a pastor who was present and claims he voted for the resolution to be passed and asked him if he knew about this. The pastor said he did, but then remarked,
“We disagree on whether Chuck did anything wrong.”
Phelps spent months lying to many people’s faces, he set up a website to commit libel against a victim of rape, verbally slandered the victim all over the country, lied to the media, both lied to and about the police. Apparently this kind of behavior is ok for a Cooperating Board member of Bob Jones University. It’s apparently fine for a board member to do so, but a student would be expelled for much less.
This same man quickly added,
“Chuck didn’t do anything to hurt Ms. Anderson.”
No one has the right to say what she feels or not feel other than Tina. No one has the right to tell people how Tina should feel toward those who did hurt her. However doing so is typical fundamentalist trope. Leaders are adapt at telling others how they should feel about things, even how long a person should grieve, etc. Chuckles did remind this that man even Phelps has acknowledged his actions were hurtful during his testimony.
This is a perfect example of why many of us feel free to challenge your “genuineness.” Every time you are given a chance to prove yourselves, you once again prove that you are less than sincere. You have once again proven you are deceptive.
“Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” John 8:44
Hat Tip Dr. Camille K. Lewis, PHD.
11-27-2012 CLARIFICATION …
The blog first found out Phelps was reinstated around November 1, 2011. His reinstatement dates back to 2010 and was reportedly kept “quiet” intentionally, presumably based on the upcoming trial that convited Tina’s rapist. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused regarding the timeline.
Editorial Board of the Blog