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The Bob Jones Sex Abuse Story

THE “NATIONAL BLACK EYE” WE PREDICTED IS HERE …  By FITSNEWS || Bob Jones University (BJU) – the Upstate, S.C. social conservative school best known for its recently rescinded ban on interracial dating – is back in the national eye after a report has uncovered widespread mistreatment of sexual abuse victims….

THE “NATIONAL BLACK EYE” WE PREDICTED IS HERE … 

By FITSNEWS || Bob Jones University (BJU) – the Upstate, S.C. social conservative school best known for its recently rescinded ban on interracial dating – is back in the national eye after a report has uncovered widespread mistreatment of sexual abuse victims.

According to a 300-page report from a Christian group that was hired, fired and then re-hired by school to study its handling of such cases, the school “responded poorly to many students who disclosed being sexually victimized.”

Specifically, the university is accused of blaming the victims of sexual assault and encouraging them not to report the allegations to law enforcement because doing so would harm their families, their church communities and the university.

“As a result of the school’s flawed responses, many of these students were deeply hurt and experienced further trauma,” the report stated.

Not only that but the school’s approach has likely prevented many abusers from being apprehended and prosecuted for their crimes.

FITS explored allegations about the school’s response to sexual abuse cases in this post more than two years ago.

“Another national black eye is coming,” we predicted at the time.

We were right …

The Bob Jones story is all over the national media, including a feature story in The New York Times that describes in lurid detail the “hurtful, often startling treatment” the school dished out to these victims.

“The criticism of Bob Jones differs from that prompted by the sexual-assault scandals that have erupted at colleges across the country, in that it is not primarily about assaults on or near campus, committed by students or staff members,” the Times report stated.  “Rather, the university has been criticized for penalizing victims who reported incidents or sought treatment, and were told not to go to the police, even when the university had a legal obligation to do so.”

In our April 2012 report, we delved into the story of former BJU board member Chuck Phelps – who was accused in 2011 of helping cover up a 1997 rape involving a prominent member of his congregation.  Specifically, Phelps forced the 15-year-old rape victim, Tina Anderson, to confess her “sin” (the rape resulted in a pregnancy) in front of his congregation.  He then shipped Anderson thousands of miles away and forced her to give up her child for adoption.

Yeah … how “Christian” of him.

As we reported at the time, school officials expelled a student named Chris Peterman who sought to hold them accountable for their conduct – after leaning on him for months in an effort to correct his “poor spiritual health.”

“That I was not a good Christian. I had talked against my authority. I had brought shame on Bob Jones,” Peterman said.

School officials have apologized for their actions.

“On behalf of Bob Jones University, I would like to sincerely and humbly apologize to those who felt they did not receive from us genuine love, compassion, understanding, and support after suffering sexual abuse or assault,” BJU president Steve Pettit told students and faculty this week. “We did not live up to their expectations. We failed to uphold and honor our own core values. We are deeply saddened to hear that we added to their pain and suffering.”

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61 comments

The Colonel December 12, 2014 at 1:12 pm

I was expecting you to have this story up this morning Fits.

I’m at a loss here. The BJU Code of Conduct (http://www.bju.edu/life-faith/student-handbook.pdf) prohibits boys and girls from “matriculating with each other” unless they are in the presence of a chaperon, in fact “…On and off campus, physical contact between unmarried men and women is not allowed..”(page 23 of code) – one wonders how it would be possible for a sexual assault to occur.

I used to eat at a barbeque joint across the street from BJU – these young apparently “pure as the wind driven snow” young men and women would come over from the school always in groups, always in modest attire and always comporting themselves as gentlemen and women. One of my frequent lunch mates was a “high muckity muck” from another university where he taught theology. I can remember commenting that BJU apparently had figured out how to get their students to behave appropriately – he looked across the table at me chuckled at me and said “…if you only knew…”.

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Buz Martin December 12, 2014 at 2:01 pm

If they are serious about that rule you quoted, it’s hard to imagine how any form of dating might be possible — never mind sexual assault. Why don’t these holy rolling cretins understand that an institution in which there is forced celibacy actually attracts people who cannot control their sexual drives. I guess the lesson of the Catholic priests has been lost on them, because they don’t conider them “real Christians.”

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The Colonel December 12, 2014 at 2:09 pm

Peruse the link I provided to the student code of conduct handbook. They’re dead serious. Engaged couples have to have permission to go anywhere together.

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vicupstate December 12, 2014 at 3:09 pm

‘Dating’ at BJU consists of sitting in chairs across from each other in the ‘parlor’ on campus. Going on dates ‘in the city’ are prohibited.

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Buz Martin December 12, 2014 at 4:00 pm

Wow ! Even Jesus Himself had more physical contact with women than that.

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Bible Thumper December 12, 2014 at 6:36 pm

And a disreputable woman no less. Jesus was then criticized by religious hypocrites. Luke 7:38 – And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. 39 – Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner.

shifty henry December 12, 2014 at 6:09 pm

What is the penalty for masturbation? Or is that not covered in the rules?

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Bible Thumper December 12, 2014 at 6:11 pm

Scary. See my post above. We share the same train of thought.

shifty henry December 13, 2014 at 12:18 am

A man says to his son, “Son, if you masturbate you’ll go blind.”

The son replied, “I’m over here, Dad.”

Master Bates December 12, 2014 at 7:22 pm

“What is the penalty for masturbation?”

I’ve been getting away with that crime for a long time. If there is a penalty and I’m found out, I’m fucked.

shifty henry December 12, 2014 at 8:35 pm

I’m thinkin’, uh, wouldn’t there be like a statute of limitations on something like that?

The Colonel December 12, 2014 at 9:15 pm

“Statute of limitations” – about six and a half inches…

shifty henry December 13, 2014 at 12:24 am

10+…..very, very good!

shifty henry December 13, 2014 at 1:14 am

My mother grew up on a small farm in North East Alabama. She was the youngest of 10 children. Granddad had added a parlor off of the main room. The parlor was entered by a door (the only entrance) which slid into the wall and the parlor had about five tall windows which looked down the hill and over the trees. This was built as courting room where the young couples (mainly the five girls) could sit with their beaus and “spoon” looking out at the moon over the trees. Every one else in the family would be sitting quietly in the main room in front of the fireplace.
My mother told me that any boy who was allowed by Granddad to sit in the parlor had to have been approved as being of “good stock”. .
That was their courting rules and the only boys who courted there were local farm boys and dedicated church members. The five girls stayed married to their husbands until death did them part.

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The Sympathetic Ear December 13, 2014 at 10:39 pm

That’s an interesting story and I’m glad to hear it worked out for the family. In today’s mostly urban environment I’m not sure how that would be possible with all of our distractions, such as other people and electronic communications.

Bible Thumper December 12, 2014 at 6:06 pm

Their opposition to masturbation doesn’t help either.

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shifty henry December 12, 2014 at 6:27 pm

Three nuns were walking along the street, and one was
describing with her hands the tremendous grapefruit she had seen in Florida. The second nun, also using her hands,
described the huge banana she had seen in Jamaica. The third nun, who was somewhat deaf, asked, “Father who?”

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Tikatu December 12, 2014 at 4:22 pm

Read the report. Yeah, it’s 300 pages long but it’s got some really startling information about people who have been victimized on campus, away from campus, and in their past–and how BJU penalized them, most blatantly by telling them NOT to go to the police. The footnotes are especially enlightening.

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The Colonel December 12, 2014 at 9:14 pm

Curious and curiouser… None of the “sexual abuse” actually occurred at BJU. Why in the Hell they would encourage these young ladies to not report this stuff is unfathomable. Maybe their rules do protect them on campus but they sure as Hell aren’t helping them out in the real world.

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Tikatu December 12, 2014 at 11:26 pm

Actually, several of the cases DID happen on campus. Some (emphasis on “some”) of those are listed in the appendices.

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The Colonel December 12, 2014 at 11:55 pm

I gave up before I got that far.

FastEddy23 December 12, 2014 at 8:20 pm

There Is much more to this story. And this kind of psychological and physical rape, for some reason, always hides under the cloak of “separation” … and the alpha type “master gamers”, the unwitting outsiders (media) and certain covert members of the flocks are occasionally complicit.

One thing about the newest Pope: he has excommunicated more than 800 “fathers” in just the last few months … sex criminals, fur sure.

Perhaps this action will rub off on other larger groups whose “middle management” have troubles keeping their hands to themselves.

This BJU stuff gives All religious congregations a black eye. One wonders where the whistle blowers are, as it is just as sinful to remain silent in the face of real crime.

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sparklecity December 14, 2014 at 4:07 pm

The Bar-B-Que joint across the street from is Little Pigs Bar-B-Que on North Pleasantburg Drive. I used to eat there weekly (if not more).
My old office was about 1 block up the street from Little Pigs on North Pleasantburg.
Back then, locals called the BJU elevated crosswalk over N. Pleasantburg (adjacent to “Little Pigs”) “Stairway to Heaven”

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The Colonel December 14, 2014 at 4:29 pm

I’ve heard the “stairway to heaven” joke. After finally reading the whole Grace report, you have to be impressed with the relatively few cases of abuse reported but astonished at the ineptness off their handling. There is pretty good evidence that the whole issue of “rape” on campus is overblown when compared to society at large.

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Crooner December 12, 2014 at 1:21 pm

Who cares? It’s a private institution that we aren’t funding or forced to attend. Did anyone paying attention think this was beneath BJU?
In my opinion there’s nothing so dangerous as a man (or woman) who thinks he know what God wants.

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snickering December 12, 2014 at 11:23 pm

They also claim to speak for God, the greatest sin of all. BJU and the right wing politicians are just terrorists, like the Taliban.

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Tikatu December 12, 2014 at 11:27 pm

Um, yes, we are funding them–through Pell Grants and Stafford Loans.

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xx December 12, 2014 at 1:26 pm

And it’s not a “government run school”. So much for FITS view that privately operated schools are superior to public schools.

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nitrat December 12, 2014 at 3:27 pm

They didn’t think of that before they posted this, did they?

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xx December 12, 2014 at 3:46 pm

Just look around at the products from the costly private schools. The graduates are no more successful than their public school counterparts. In fact, sometimes the reverse is true.

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The Sympathetic Ear December 12, 2014 at 1:50 pm

My best friend in high school, in our senior year, went into depression when his parents (zealous Baptists) insisted that he go to Bob Jones. He became rebellious almost to the point of running from home. His parents relented and he then spent 8 relaxing years at Carolina! Yes, I was sympathetic.

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RogueElephant December 12, 2014 at 5:22 pm

My mother wanted me to go to BJU after I had finished college. WOW. I joined the Army instead. Best decision I ever made.

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Buz Martin December 12, 2014 at 1:50 pm

Hmmm … don’t talk about it because it will hurt your church and the college. Sounds familiar, huh? For an object lesson on how this dynamic works to keep shit covered up, if you’re on Twitter, see the abusive tweets aimed at FITSNews’ recently-added young conservative Republican columnist Taylor Brown by her fellow members of the GOP (mostly male, many of them in college), for daring to Tweet about the extremely serious issue of rape on college campuses.

YES, there is such a thing as “rape culture” — and it is rampant on many campuses. Who is a big enough idiot to believe that it is any different at a so-called Christian college? Sure, they don’t have binge drinking parties (which just helps the frats, etc., blame it on the booze and those who drink it — especially the young women. That doesn’t mean some of those ardent young “Christians” are not twisted as hell, and hell-bent on rape in one form or another.

Covering up for extreme and criminal misconduct is obviously a requirement for acceptance in certain institutions and political groups these days. https://www.fitsnews.com/2014/12/12/bob-jones-sex-abuse-story/

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Buz Martin December 12, 2014 at 4:03 pm

I’ll vote it up if nobody else will.

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jurisdoc December 12, 2014 at 1:51 pm

At a certain yearly college group gathering, we always made a freshman try to bed a BJU girl. 50% success rate, but always fun to watch them try.

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a face in the crowd December 12, 2014 at 1:58 pm

Pure insanity at that institution. Could not believe that idiot counselor who advised the one young woman to call her rapist and apologize. I hope scientists are collecting the brains of these lunatics, as they need to be studied.

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mamatiger92 December 12, 2014 at 3:23 pm

The 2 most insane people I knew in grad school at Clemson were products of BJU. Kindergarten through undergrad. Heavy drinking, sex, drugs… you name it, these guys were into it. And, boy they told some twisted stories about what goes on at BJU.

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nitrat December 12, 2014 at 3:26 pm

Christian Taliban.

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SCBlues December 13, 2014 at 2:50 am

You never want to leave your kids alone with one of these holier-than-thou types. They are all really fucked up.

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Beachtiger0412 December 12, 2014 at 3:32 pm

Few people have noticed how political Bob Jones University has become lately. Nikki Haley was the guest speaker the the newest president’s investiture. Bob Jones University collectively was very vocally supportive of Nikki Haley and all republican candidates. This more verification that religious, conservative republicans is a myth.

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The Colonel December 12, 2014 at 3:41 pm

It ain’t just “lately” BJU has been a big voice in the ultra conservative wing of the moral majority for years.

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nitrat December 13, 2014 at 9:38 am

decades.

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Smirks December 12, 2014 at 3:55 pm

BJU has a rich history of setting itself as a terrible example for Christianity. It amazes me anyone sends their kids there anymore.

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scotty December 12, 2014 at 3:58 pm

I never cared for the hypocrites. I remember when they applied for a permit to mount machine guns at the front gate. WTF a machine gun is a necessary tool in Gods work or not.

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Scooter December 12, 2014 at 9:52 pm

People associated with BJU are the most maligned people in this state. Usually by some of the most prejudiced people in this state. When I lived in Greenville, I did business with a lot of students and other people related to the school. They proved to me to be very upright and honest. Yes, they had their quirks but I will take their kind, any day, over this pc crowd that we have now. Any day.

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Tikatu December 12, 2014 at 11:33 pm

Not always my experience and I went to BJU.

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Bible Thumper December 12, 2014 at 4:41 pm

I read the GRACE report summary (Chapter 2)
http://netgrace.org/wp-content/uploads/Final-Report.pdf

I don’t know why I’m surprised because it usually the same.

Institutions usually try to cover up embarrassing information. BLU took it an extra step and was trying to cover up sexual assaults that occurred before they even became students.

So often cowards take the easiest path. Cover up is so much easier than dealing with police reports, investigations and perpetrators.

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Manray9 December 12, 2014 at 4:58 pm

I have reviewed the report. Buried in the religious mumbo-jumbo are indications of some serious crimes — most prominently the failure of Bob Jones officials to report sexual abuse and assault to law enforcement authorities in accordance with state law. Where are our law enforcement agencies? Why is an organization allowed to hire a private firm to investigate what may be criminal activities? Is it politics? BJU is the Mecca of right-wing Protestant fundamentalism in South Carolina and a critical element in the so-called “Republican base.” You think there’s a connection between political reality and the lack of law enforcement attention to this situation?

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Tikatu December 12, 2014 at 11:32 pm

Solicitor Walt Wilkins is looking into whether or not state laws were broken and if BJU obstructed justice in any way. I hope he finds the ammunition he’s looking for.

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Manray9 December 12, 2014 at 11:57 pm

Betcha nothing happens. Wilkins is a political animal too.

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WWJD December 12, 2014 at 7:35 pm

The lack of empathy or understanding in the posted comments is alarming. The comments represent simple minded criticism fuel by hate and envy. Important mistakes were made, critical misjudgments were plentiful, but the pedestrian views below are vacuous at best.

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Manray9 December 12, 2014 at 11:25 pm

Empathy and understanding for what? The BJU leadership victimizing these people all over again in a cover up to protect themselves and their empire? I would say “vacuous” and “pedestrian” are two words perfectly applicable to BJU. You may want to add “criminal” or “accessory.”

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7 deadly sins December 13, 2014 at 12:10 am

Envy?

lmao!

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Buz Martin December 13, 2014 at 4:50 pm

“Mistakes were made.” How many fucking times have we heard that from the people who made the mistakes or those who are trying to cover the asses of those people?

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Tom December 15, 2014 at 10:02 am

Why do conservatives always think people envy them? Who the heck envys anyone who spent 4 years as Bob Jones?

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Godslayer December 16, 2014 at 1:52 pm

BJU deserves neither empathy nor absolution. No one is envious of these smug, hypocritical, brain-dead Jesus creeps or their Satanic perversion of Christianity.

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Buz Martin December 13, 2014 at 4:49 pm

BJ University. Haw!

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GrandTango December 14, 2014 at 5:10 pm

Hmm…Don’t you secular degenerates typically pounce on the “Let he is who is without sin” or the “Judge not”….admonitions immediately…????…What gives….LMAO…

Seems your preachy advice only applies when you creeps are trying to control Christians and make them adhere to your hateful and immoral lifestyle plan…

You’re Crucifying BJU for doing what you advocate and promote (sin) on a continual basis…

Maybe it’d be a good idea to use the clubs you usually use on Christians…to beat yourselves down…because they are simply acting as you encourage them to…Judging others is what your are always bashing them for…

IOW: OWN IT….Hahahaha…If it is sin, it is yours, completely… (: …Don’t blame BJU for doing yours and the Devil’s bidding…

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Tom December 15, 2014 at 10:10 am

There is a difference between judging and pointing out hypocrisy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yaqdFnjKClE&list=PLzqDJEQc4Ce0vBPCoAK22JPsdCoxSPZP5

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GrandTango December 15, 2014 at 10:14 am

Yeah, Dumb@$$…if you do it you claim it’s “pointing out hypocrisy.”

If the people you HATE actually use reasonable and wise value judgement, you RUSH to attack them for judgmentalism to cover the Bull-$#!t you are always peddling….

You don’t fool anyone except the idiots on your side.

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Sonny December 14, 2014 at 7:03 pm

I’ve known several married BJU men who lead secret lives. The rigid expectations of an upstanding good decent BJU grad is hard to live up to.

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