Tag Archives: Nancy Bicknell

Female Sexual Predators in Independent Baptist Schools

By Nancy Bicknell

FSPAre we over the shock yet? Sexual abuse in Independent Fundamental Baptist (IFB) schools is being reported by many media outlets in the news and on the internet. Have we picked up our jaws from the floor after seeing Tina Anderson’s case of rape being covered by the mainstream Media? Have we taken a breath since pastor Jack Schaap was convicted of having sex with a minor he was counseling at First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana?

Now let me throw you another question. Is sexual abuse in the IFB School/church just a male crime? Do women in the IFB church, who are taught submission, ever sexually abuse a minor? Despite the fact that the majority of the sexual assaults reported in the IFB church involved male perpetrators, my son was the victim of his female teacher at age 16 at Marantha Baptist Academy in the Maranatha Baptist Bible College System.

In reading Scott’s story, you can see his teacher was aroused by the PRIVILEGED POSITION of grooming Scott into accepting her as a SEX teacher who he felt loved him. This had nothing to do with love and everything to do with the teacher’s sense of power of a naive boy and being the first to take his sexual innocence from him. The public is always more shocked, but perhaps not as outraged, by stories about female-on-male rape because of woman’s perceived nurturing and submissive traditional roles in the IFB and in society in general. In the IFB, women are to be silent in the church and not in a role of teaching men in church. What a thrill Scott’s teacher must have gotten from not only teaching Scott but, teaching a minor about the forbidden fruit of sex.

The control a mature, sexually experienced married woman with a child would have over a teen with growing hormones, would be a significant imbalance of power. The IFB threw the story of Joseph running away from the Pharaohs wife who pursued him sexually, at my son to further shame him. The IFB saw that story as a fair comparison since it was the Pharaohs wife yet, the grooming process in the IFB school by the teacher, took months to prepare her victim for her sexual advances.

The teacher was given more compassion after being caught in a motel room with Scott, than a male offender in the IFB church. However, in many cases of sexual abuse, the offender is never reported by the IFB but given the CHEEP GRACE way out by the IFB leaders. Asking for forgiveness in the presence of an IFB pastor can save the offender years and years in jail.

I think the first reaction was denial. As Jack Hyles, a re-known IFB leader, has reportedly said, “If I did not see it, it did not happen.”‘ This mantra has become the escape hatch for the IFB church facing such sexual scandals. Also, I think the public in general feels that a woman who does such things must be mentally ill where as a male is thought of in society as a “sex offender”. In the IFB church, a male or female sexual offender has simply slipped or fell into sin in the IFB language. If one simply falls, they can then get up and go on in the IFB church as though they have learned about that kind of sexual stumbling and will not stumble again. That’s because women are regarded as submissive, nurturers and mothers. It is harder for the IFB church to imagine a woman usurping sexual power over a young teen. So, as in Scott’s case, they blamed Scott for lusting after his teacher, expelled him and locked him in the church basement for 2 weeks during school hours. IFB leaders also attempted to send him off to Lester Roloff’s abusive boys school and, eventually, just fired Scott’s father from his IFB teaching position and shipped the family away from their sight. The teacher was taken out of the class room but never reported to the police, and eventually, had her MBBC degree grandfathered into MBCC accreditation with the state and was free to get a state teachers license. I do not know how this all turned out for the IFB teacher, except she was never held accountable while Scott suffered for years with low self esteem and did not complete his BA until a couple of years ago.

The good news is that Scott’s children have done very well and one of my grandchildren may be going to get a scholarship to Princeton or Yale. Scott was a beautiful young man and very bright, so lets pray his children who have gone to public school find their way free of predators in the public system despite the fact their father was hoodwinked, blamed and shamed in the IFB schools. The new generations of Bicknell’s are doing just fine.

Building a Fence Around Victims – By Nancy Bicknell

Building a Fence around Victims in the IFB Church to Keep Out Predators

By Nancy Bicknell

What comes first? Caring for the Predator Preachers or, Caring for the People they harmed? Big People Taking Care of Little People is something that sticks with me as a good formula for who needs to be helped. I always want to help the Little People who have been harmed by the Big People. When the wolf got in our chicken coop, I helped the chickens and my dad put up a fence so it would not happen again. When church members praise the Predator Preacher they are putting new victims at risk by opening the door, which says “More Predator Preachers WELCOMED, rather than building a fence around the people that were harmed and those who may be harmed in the future by other Predatory Preachers.
Can these sex offenders be cured or cared for? Theories of using confrontational treatment of sex offenders ordered for child sexual abuse perpetrators is the most common approach. They use group therapy that relies heavily upon punitive and hostile confrontation and a non-systemic blend of psychoanalytic concepts and traditional talking therapy. There is often little or no effort to provide a theoretical base for the program. These procedures are often moralistic and reflect the judgmental emotional response of society rather than an empirically-based healing technique. As you can see there is not anything that we know of for sure that works with pedophilia. However, in dealing with pedophilia, the focus is not on CURING the pedophile; as no one really knows how to do that. The focus is then on CARING for children, to keep them safe in the future by building a fence around the vulnerable among us, by locking up the pedophile and not allowing the continuation of their abuse. Our society currently is set up to keep the weakest, the littlest among us safe. Big People take care of Little People.

How much more so should that statement be true in our churches. Did the IFB church in your life protect the Little Ones or their Pastors who protected the abuser who abused the Little Ones? Shame on those who did not condemn the Pastors who abused or, protected the abuser, and continue to PRAISE them by allowing them to sit in the IFB PEWS and have not cared for the LITTLE ONES who sat in those same pews while being abused! SHAME on those who enable the Predatory Pastors message to continue through their praise, presence or silence.

Those who enable Predatory Preachers by praising them endanger the vulnerable. So the problem in my view is not those who are confronting the Predatory Pastor or Praisers but, what are we doing to keep the message of the pedophile from being praised or promoted and attracting more Predator Pastors? The blood of the child victims in the IFB church, like the blood of the chickens killed, will bring more wolfs to the chicken coop.

Many in the IFB churches are still in some denial believing they can cure the pedophiles by using a loving message and accepting those who praise the rapist —  like Jack Schaap, for example. This Praise of the Predatory Pastor should make us angry and motivate us to action. I would be equally angry at a group that praises Charles Manson and talks against those people who are trying to protect future children. If your family has been victimized by such a killer as Manson, who actually never killed a victim himself that we know of – yet his followers did – what side of the fence would you be on? If there is not a fence that your IFB church has put up, you would be determined by the blood you or yours have sacrificed because of the wolfs killing spree, to quickly put your energy into building a fence.

There is no easy answer. However, I don’t understand why those who are in denial about the danger of Pastor Predator Praising groups or churches have not left those communities to go build fences around the vulnerable. We build those fences by pointing a finger at the danger of praising the perp-pastor groups and churches. I support all of you advocates, survivors and those who support you with efforts that use your personality style to expose the dangers for those vulnerable ones still in the IFB churches like First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana, and their former pastor, Jack Schaap. As leaders in this movement, we must build fences resilient enough to resist future Predator Preachers from getting to our children! I am your cheer leader. You are who you are and that leadership has been helpful to many who see your strong word on that subject. You are a leader and leaders show strength. That is a good thing. I have never seen a predator react to a feather.

Be strong all of you who are building the fences in your life time. Some of you are good yellers, so yell! Others are good writers, so write! Some of you are great listeners, so listen! Some of you draw pictures, so draw pictures! Together we can build a fence, but alone, well. . . alone we are just alone and the IFB will see us as a feather and blow us away.  So get your post hole digger out and help build the fence the best way you know how because God can use your talents to protect His Little Ones if you own your talents and prioritize fence building over caring for the Predatory Pastors.

The IFB tried to teach us as members that the real wolf was our government trying to take away our rights; and so many of us spent so much time looking out for the government as the wolf ready to devoured us that we missed the Wolfs among us in the IFB. As a result, many people got hurt and many, many children were harmed. What a paradox we found ourselves in when we finally saw the IFB wolfs in sheep’s clothing and it was too late. We were hoodwinked. I pray I will see the real wolfs in the future and point the IFB wolfs out to others. Keep up the good fight and I will cheer you on and, draw a picture now again.

My Father’s Story – By Nancy Bicknell

come homeI was raised with deep roots.  You learn a lot on a farm about roots when raising crops and about the worms that eat away at those roots. There is nothing more disgusting than a big green tobacco worm that eats the leaves of the tobacco plant—unless it would be the cut worm—that cuts the plant off at the root.  Even after a cut worm has severed the plant it lives awhile before the withering process begins.  That withering process is what I saw happen in my family and now with my parents’ with IFB abuse.

My father was raised by a mother who loved God.  She had 7 sisters and brothers and they lived off the farm lands in Wisconsin. I remember the day a Bible College student walked out into our tobacco fields to sell us a Bible. My father, who I had never seen buy anything, bought the biggest and brightest Red Bible in the bunch. That Bible sat by his chair by the stove and he read it often as I grew up. He never went to church and was fearful of being in a crowd of people. He could not even talk on the phone comfortably. But people respected my father. When my little sister went to a local IFB Baptist church and said she “Found God,” My father watched. When I went forward in the same IFB church after evangelist Jack Hyles preached, my father watched. When Ron Comfort came to evangelize, we got my parents to go to the church. My sister and I cried during the invitation and asked my father to go forward. He did. Dad became active in the IFB church along with my mom. He learned to give his testimony, lead in prayer and, was elected to be a deacon. He stopped smoking, stopped growing tobacco, and he told others what God had done for him.

Then the cut worm struck when my father was asked to vote on expelling an IFB school student for listening to music with a beat. (You see, secretly my father loved the Grand Old Oprey music.)  He felt coerced, as a deacon, into expelling the student, but when he saw children were being hit and were fearful, the cut worm struck and my father left the IFB church. My dad started a new church that met in an empty grocery store and they had about 30 people who followed them from the old IFB church. I understood the loss my parents felt for their beloved church members. I saw the withering process of grief. My mom lost a lot of weight and my father started having heart trouble. Leaving their roots was hard for my parents. Being quiet about abuse in his church was intolerable for them.

I returned to the IFB church, even as my father was standing up for abused children, in spite of the fact that my own son had been abused in an IFB church. Dad was willing to walk away from his IFB church where he had built the steeple and was truly part of that church’s roots because his mom’s country church had closed and merged with that IFB church. I admired his courage to do the work of the cut worm. I was more of a tobacco worm nibbling at the leaves while leaving the plant intact. I had learned through all of my counseling experience that you can only be a victim of a system one time. If you choose to go back you are now a volunteer. I was walking back into the church system where my son, Scott had been abused, because I missed my friends—the sense of a family—was drawing me back.

When my anger over past abuses surfaced Dr. Professor, a church deacon, encouraged me to let it go and to forgive. I was willing to try. I only wanted to move forward. As my husband Larry and I sat in the back pews singing the hymns I ignored the soundtrack from Jaws playing ever so softly in the back of my mind. Even though the warning built to a crescendo in my head…. “dunt…Dunt…Dunt…DUNT…DUNT…DUNT”—I continued to wade  slowly back into the IFB waters.

Sitting in the IFB pew, I was judged for being divorced. Pastors used the pulpit to bash psychology and spanking of children as the primary mode of discipline.  Complete surrender to rejoin the church was the goal of the IFB in order to graft    their abuse victims back to the root. The roots of the IFB belief system were awakened in me but the true roots my father had given me had gotten tangled up in the IFB doctrines.

My father eventually had a heart attack and was put on hospice at home.  He asked to have his Grand Old Oprey and Gaithers music played at his bedside. My husband, Larry a musician who played old Elvis and Beatles music, understood the importance of music in finding some measure of comfort. Larry used his experience to see to it that my father had the music that he loved. My father stayed connected to his family roots as long as he could but his heart continued to fail him. He gave us all instructions as he died.  His sister, Judy, was to be in charge of cleaning the bird poop off his grave stone, Rita was to watch out for Mom, Jo was to continue to be a nurse and me—I was to continue to draw pictures and write books.

He knew we all loved God and that he would see us again in heaven. He chose to die when I left his bedside to shower. He was gone. My sister’s husband, who had also left the IFB pastorate because of the abuse that he saw in the IFB system, preached the funeral. That was the last time he ever got behind an IFB pulpit. My husband played the guitar and we both sang at my father’s funeral—we sang with the 4/4 beat hated by the IFB—we stood with my father and, for my father. My father had found his roots.