A co-founder of Reformers Unanimous (RU), the Christian rehabilitation center in Rockford, Illinois, that Josh Duggar checked into following revelation that he had accounts with the adultery website Ashley Madison, is allegedly helping a sexual offender stay overseas on Christian mission to avoid prosecution in the United States.
According to a report by Patheos, Reformers Unanimous, co-founded in 1996 by North Love Baptist Church pastor Paul Kingsbury, as a ministry of the church, is sponsoring Richard DeVall, a missionary serving in Bolivia with the Baptist Pioneer Mission Agency. DeVall was accused of committing sexual assault on the campus of Bob Jones University (BJU) in the 1990s and was expelled from the university.
But DeVall was readmitted after he claimed he had sought forgiveness and reconciled with the victim.
GRACE wrote, in a report released early in 2013, that “the alleged perpetrator [Richard Devall] minimized the extent of his crime, but he admitted to touching her [the victim] inappropriately without her consent while he believed she was sleeping.”
Kingsbury is allegedly providing financial support through his church to DeVall, who has refused to return to the U.S. to face charges of sexual assault after the victim reported to the authorities in 2012, and asked the Baptist Pioneer Mission (BPM) to allow DeVall return to the U.S. to face criminal charges.
BPM refused to grant the victim’s request, saying that DeVall had repented “to the mission board by confessing his offense and writing a letter of apology.”
BPM also refused to grant the request that DeVall be removed from his overseas post “due to potential risks he could pose to others.”
Although DeVall reportedly wrote a letter of apology to the victim asking for forgiveness, he has refused to return to the U.S. to face charges, saying that the matter should be handled by the church “in the Biblical way.”
When the victim asked whether BPM would support her effort to have DeVall return to the U.S. to face charges, the board allegedly responded that they “would use any legal means to protect” him.
According to Patheos, knowledgeable sources said that although Kingsbury has knowledge of the details of the allegations against DeVall, he has continued to provide support to his mission through his church. This, according to Patheos, leads to the reasonable conclusion that Kingsbury is helping to keep DeVall abroad so that he will not face criminal charges in the U.S.
Patheos also reports that Kingsbury had a relationship with Jack Schaap, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Hammond, currently serving a 12 year prison sentence after he was convicted of having sexual relations with an underage parishioner.
First Baptist Church also operates a chapter of Reformers Unanimous, introduced by Schaap.
According to the Chicago Magazine,Schaap was “part of what some call a deeply embedded culture of misogyny and sexual and physical abuse.”
“Kingsbury’s relationship with Schaap—and Schaap’s relationship with Reformer’s Unanimous—raises concerning questions about the culture of Reformers Unanimous,” Patheos adds.
“Reformers Unanimous does not appear to have any licensed counselors on staff…”
Patheos notes that the latest move by Duggar follows a previous pattern. After Duggar was accused of molesting five girls — including his sisters — as a teenager, he was sent to the Institute for Basic Life Principles, a Christian rehab run by the Christian minister Bill Gothard. The rehab relied exclusively on a combination of Bible study and physical labor for religious mentoring and rehabilitation.
But Gothard was finally forced to resign after several women accused him of sexual abuse.
Duggar has been sent to a Christian rehabilitation program that has a history of close association with Gothard’s “institute,” and a history of protecting people accused of sexual misconduct.
As Patheos concludes, “This is a path Josh Duggar has been down before, but it is the only path his parents seem able to envision. Questioning the beliefs and dynamics that lead to abuse is difficult; solving problems with a larger dose of Bible reading is the familiar default.”
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