By | January 19, 2012 50 Comments

When clergy are abusers

Editor’s note: The following list was compiled by Carolyn Waterstradt, who holds a masters degree in theology and will graduate with masters degree in social work in April 2012. Carolyn owns Inner Quest Healing, where she works with survivors of clergy sexual abuse. This partial list of grooming techniques was compiled from her research with 18 women who were abused by a member of the clergy. Her book, “Fighting the Good Fight: Healing and Advocacy after Clergy Sexual Assault,” is a compilation of this research and will be available in spring 2012. 

This article refers to spiritual concepts. Please read Lovefraud’s statement on Spiritual Recovery.

10 Grooming Techniques Commonly Used in Clergy Sexual Abuse of Adults

By Carolyn Waterstradt, M.A., MSW Candidate

Whenever members of the clergy cross sexual boundaries with someone who attends his congregation, it is considered a boundary violation. In fact, some US states consider such behavior to be a form of criminal sexual assault. The reason the clergyperson is always at fault in such a relationship is because he holds all the power in the relationship rendering it impossible for the other person to truly give consent.

When this type of boundary violation takes place, a period of grooming often precedes it. During the grooming period the clergyperson chooses a vulnerable victim and works closely with her, gradually wearing down her boundaries in anticipation of sexually assaulting her. Grooming often begins with small boundary violations that gradually progress.

Violations include:

  • Inviting the victim to do special things alone with him such as attending a seminar.
  • Sharing confidential information about other members of the community or about his wife.
  • Accidently brushing up against the victim.
  • Scheduling counseling sessions when no one is around.
  • Touching the victim in a counseling session.
  • Expressing love for the victim. Usually this is first said in the context of brotherly, agape, courtly, or spiritual love.
  • Saying things like, “No one has ever understood me like you do.” or “God sent you to me.”
  • Making an obscene gesture or remark.
  • Asking for details regarding a victim’s marriage, especially if the victim is not being seen for marriage counseling.
  • Asking for information about the victim’s sex life or giving her material that is sexual in nature. Clergy are not trained to ask such questions.

There are other grooming techniques. What ones can you think of?

© 2012 Inner Quest Healing

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Ox Drover

Good list, I would add though that the clergy who are guilty of this are not always “He” and the victims are not always “she,” so I would put a comment in the article or the list that the “he” and “she” are not always a man abusing a woman, there are many cases of clergy abuser where the abuser is a she and the victims she, or vice versa. (See Female Offenders Blog)

I would also add to the list of grooming techniques, that contact outside of the religious organization alone with the victim, going to their house when they were alone, or inviting them to the abusers house when no one else is home, or meeting them at a motel/hotel or a private meal with the potential victim.

Having recently had a case where a clergyman I knew was arrested for pedophilia, though we have no evidence he abused anyone in the congregation, and his two daughters deny being abused, I was very upset at the way the congregation tried to “hush up” the events…because, of course “it would bring shame on the church.” NO!!! It would bring shame on the MAN where it belongs.

I went to his court hearing. No one else from the church was there.


A couple of years back I read an autobiography by an indigenous Australian woman who was taken from her birth family during a dark period of our national history (not so very long ago) when it was considered “better” for native children to be fostered into white “Christian” families or put into institutions/”children’s homes”.

I was riled up enough about the horrendous politics of the time that would wrench little ones from the arms of their wailing families but to learn of this poor lady’s sexual molestation by a “nun” at the “children’s home” she was placed at, boiled my blood. I cried and cried about the awful things that happened to her; yet she was able to somehow make it through those hard times and eventually come out on the other side of her experiences well enough to write a book about it. Inspiring stuff but deeply, deeply sad.

How many others were there? How many did not make it out? How many suicided or drank themselves to death or wound up in mental institutions because of the double whammy of traumatic forcible separation from their kin and then their abuse by the figures entrusted with their subsequent care?

Makes me cry big tears 🙁

Ox Drover

Have you read about the kiddies who were in the Irish orphanages and were sexually and otherwise abused by both the Nuns and the Priests? For decades.

But you know, for so long, children were considered chattel, and parents and others felt an “ownership” in children.

But abuse of anyone of any age by grooming or manipulation by a clergyman or woman should be a felony not just “adultery” —because like when a prisoner has sex with a jailer, it should be prosecuted as a felony because the jailer has oversight of that person. The same with TEACHERS, PREACHERS, or anyone who is “over” the person who is victimized.

Aussie girl, the same was done here to the Native American children who were sent to boarding schools where their language was beaten out of them, and they were “Americanized” so this is not an unusual thing, but a fairly common way to treat native peoples.


It’s so very wrong; what ignorant twits these people in charge of countries and cultures can be!

Turns my guts at a really deep level. I can not abide racism and the behaviours of racial superiority in any way, shape or form.

One of the things that disppaointed and disturbed me with Superspath – after we were already in a relationship, he began to “disagree” with me on racial issues; during the “courtship” phase, he had pretended to be amenable to my passionate views on social justice; but once that mask was off, the racial hatred there was scarey stuff.

(BTW, in case anyone is wondering, just wanted to clarify: I don’t call him Superspath because he is/was worse than any of your spaths; I call him that because of the two spaths in a row that I married, he was the most destructive for me and the longer relationshit by far.

Last night I was sorting/culling paperwork and I came across letters etc. from the time period of spath 1 (1995). Had not looked at any of it for years and only ever kept it in case I needed “evidence” for any reason; didn’t know about spaths back then, LF didn’t exist either, yet instinct told me to do that. Anyhow, reading back over things last night, I got all PTSD-y and hyperventilate-y. I had completely forgotten the gas-lighting that went down with him! I now think that given sufficient time with me, he would have done just as much damage to me as Superspath did. Creepy stuff)

Ox Drover


If you think you might need this stuff, box it up and put it in storage, if you are SURE you do not need it, burn it, but whatever you do, do NOT READ IT…..Last year when I had to go through all the letters my son wrote to me and to the Trojan Horse, it made me nervous as a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. My anxiety went through the roof, my PTSD kicked back into high gear.

Do not put yourself through that trauma….I have the box of letters in the barn, I have a couple of copies of the 100+ page report we made to the parole board, etc. but I am not going to read them until I absolutely have to do so.

So if you do not HAVE TO READ these things, just box e’m up or burn them! (((hugs))))


Ox –

That’s exactly why I was going through them – to see what I could burn and what I should keep “just in case”.

Don’t worry, the stuff that I kept on spath 1 all fits into one of those plastic sleeves that go into a file. Short relationshit, not that much to report but what there is, is pretty damning. If ever I had my doubts before that he was a spath too, they are now forever removed! I had clean forgotten the gas-lighting, the crazy-making and the profile-building (of me, as a nutcase) he carefully constructed before the discard.

(And the PTSD-y stuff only lasted as long as I was culling – now that it’s all filed away or burned, I’m fine again) xx


I do of course think it’s valuable to alert people to tactics that may be used to seduce them into an unwanted sexual relationship.

Unfortunately, this article alienated me for so many separate reasons that I decided the most constructive course was to rewrite it as I would prefer to have seen it.


10 Seduction Tactics Commonly Used in Clergy Sexual Exploitation of Adults

Men and women acting in the capacity of “spiritual leaders” are human like anybody else. However, occupying such a position inevitably imbues the spiritual leader with a unique form of power over his or her followers. Regrettably, there are some leaders who abuse this power for illegitimate purposes, which can include seducing, even pressuring their followers into unwanted sexual relationships.

Needless to say, this is a special danger when the person in question occupies a formal position of leadership, and is accorded “authority” by a religious community of some kind. For convenience I have used the term “cleric” to refer to such a person. A “cleric” may be a minister, pastor, rabbi, imam, priest (of any religion, including pagan religions), or a leader or official in any kind of “cult.” Likewise I have used the term “follower” to refer to any member of the religious community that a cleric may target for sexual exploitation.

However, it should be remembered that a person does not have to occupy a formal position of leadership in a religion to present a possible risk of sexual exploitation to others. One private citizen for instance claimed to be a “man of God who had a special mission to abused women.” The danger lies in the unwarranted trust anyone may place in such a person on grounds of religious faith. This can put the follower in a position of dependency that’s open to exploitation in sexual as well as other ways.

Also, a community may not necessarily represent itself as a “religion” or even claim to be “spiritual” in any way. There are groups out there for instance that claim to “turn your life around” by one method or another, and some of them are “cults” in all but name. Here again, leaders vested with “authority” in such groups may also use that authority to exploit their followers, including sexually.

The purpose of this article is to list tactics that a cleric (or anyone in an equivalent position) may use to take sexual liberties or induce a follower into an unwanted sexual relationship. There are of course numerous cases where some of these behaviors have formed part of a legitimate courtship between cleric and follower, willingly embraced by both parties—from which many happy marriages have resulted. But that’s not what this article is about. It should also be noted that a follower is not necessarily safe from sexual exploitation or abuse just because the cleric is the same sex. There have been cases of clerics pressuring their followers into unwanted homosexual and lesbian relationships.

What needs special attention is the insidiousness of some of these tactics. While some, such as “making an obscene remark,” are obvious boundary violations, others may be perfectly innocent—or appear “perfectly innocent.” The danger is that the follower may be seduced into accepting an increasing number of what eventually become real boundary violations, until it becomes difficult to say “no,” and sexual exploitation or even outright assault may follow. It’s important to remember that just because clerics are regarded as holding “spiritual authority,” that does not give them any right to violate a follower’s boundaries or do anything the follower may be uncomfortable with, for whatever reason. It’s never too late to say No, or excuse oneself from what has become an uncomfortable situation.

Here are ten tactics reported to have been used by clerics in the course of sexually exploiting their followers. Watch out for them and what they might mean, and don’t let yourself become a victim.

– Inviting a follower to do special things alone with the cleric, such as attending a seminar. There can at times be legitimate reasons to do this, but it can present risks. Apart from what could happen while alone together, a particular danger of this and certain other tactics is that the follower can end up feeling indebted to the cleric for what amounts to “special treatment.” This makes it harder to refuse unwanted demands the cleric may make later. When in doubt, avoid becoming indebted.

– Sharing confidential information about other members of the community or about the cleric’s spouse or partner. This is a definite no-no, being a violation of other people’s privacy apart from anything else. Here again, watch out for “special treatment” that leaves a follower feeling indebted to the cleric for such confidences.

– “Accidentally” brushing up against the follower. Genuine accidents of course do happen. But beware if there seems to be a pattern of these “accidents.”

– Scheduling counseling sessions when no one is around. This by itself may mean nothing, being purely a matter of convenience. But again, watch out if there seems to be a pattern of arranging meetings alone together for no obvious reason, particularly if the cleric seems to be using them to “get close” in ways that feel uncomfortable.

– Touching the follower in a counseling session. This again calls for judgment. Normal gestures such as a reassuring hand on the shoulder may be quite unobjectionable. But any touch at all that leaves the follower feeling uncomfortable can be a “red flag” about the cleric’s intentions.

– Expressing love for the follower. Usually this is first said in the context of brotherly, agape, courtly, or spiritual love, but it’s likely to be the beginning of a slippery slope progressing to other and more questionable forms of “love.” It’s normal for a cleric to affirm that “God” loves you, or that “We” (the entire community) love you. Stating that “I” love you in whatever way is getting too personal for a purely pastoral relationship.

– Saying things like, “No one has ever understood me like you do.” or “God sent you to me.” Saying “God sent you to me” may be acceptable—just—if it’s clear that what the cleric appreciates is some special skill the follower brings to benefit the cleric or the community. But again, the word “me” makes it rather too personal, and statements of that kind can be the thin end of a wedge leading to further inappropriate intimacies like the first example above.

– Making an obscene gesture or remark. That goes without saying. Followers faced with anything of the kind, from a cleric or anyone else, would do well to remember the advice seen in many telephone directories regarding nuisance phone calls: “At the first obscene remark, hang up!” The conversation stops right there. Walking out without a word may be an effective way of asserting one’s boundaries.

– Asking for details regarding a follower’s marriage, especially if the follower is not being seen for marriage counseling. This too calls for judgment. Asking “how things are going” with a spouse may be part of a normal inquiry into a family’s welfare. Or if a cleric has reason to suspect the marriage is troubled, it would only be right to ask if the follower needs help or support of any kind. But beware if the cleric seems to be asking questions that are too detailed, too personal, or otherwise unwanted. The cleric may be “digging” for followers who are dissatisfied with their marriages, hoping to get them to turn inappropriately to the cleric instead for their emotional or sexual needs.

– Asking for information about the follower’s sex life or giving the follower unsolicited material that is sexual in nature. Most clerics are not trained to ask such questions.

These are not the only tactics certain clerics have used to take sexual advantage of their followers. Others can be added.

Ox Drover


Though I actually think the article is pretty good, I think you did improve on it in many ways…as usual your comments are concise, precise and to the point!

Where have you been lately? Been missing your comments.

Ox Drover,
You make a great point, female clergy can abuse and victims are not always female. I chose to use the pronouns he and she however because predominately male clergy are the offenders and adult females are the victims. In my research with 18 survivors, there was a clergywoman who was an abuser so I knew better than to imply only males could abuse and females be victimized. I should have clarified the point you have made. Thank you for drawing attention to my omission.
It is a normal reaction for congregations to “hush up” the abuse. In fact, in all the women I interviewed for my research, each of their congregations responded with some degree of “hushing up.” This tendency to “hush up” revictimizes the victim and can intensify PTSD symptoms. Many victims/survivors I have spoken to say this tendency to “hush up” is worse than the abuse itself.
I believe this “hush up” is not only done so as not to bring shame to the church or to the abusive clergyperson but on a deeper, more personal, painful, and perhaps unconscious level it raises questions of faith that may be too difficult or scary to explore. So it is easier to shut the door to those questions, blame the victim, and go on with the life of the church as though nothing significant has happened.
I am sorry to hear of the clergyman you knew who was arrested for pedophilia. I applaud your efforts for placing the blame where it belongs – with the offender. I also appreciate you adding to the list of grooming techniques. You are right on with your observations. Thank you for commenting.

Rewald, thank you for expanding on my article. I appreciate you giving more substance to the 10 grooming tactics I listed. I am new to blog writing and from what I have read about blogging I was under the impression blog articles needed to be short, about 150 – 450 words.
I do agree with most of what you have written. However, if a single cleric and a follower are interested in forming a romantic relationship, it is recommended that either the follower find a new community to attend or the cleric find a new community to lead. This is standard protocol in many denominations and is done to ensure that no coercion takes place in the developing relationship.
I thank you for responding to my article. You have taught me to shorten my lists in order to add more substance to each listed item.

Ox Drover

Thanks Carolyn, Glad you are on board here…our blogs here range from short (very short) to very long! Some of us are more long winded than others. LOL So feel free to make your posts as long or short as you need to get your point across. Donna is an excellent editor so she may make them into a part 1 and 2 or whatever will fit on the blog. She’s great about that.

The “hush it up” is what drives me MAD! I say “shout it out!” Let the world know that your church or group will NOT tolerate sexual abuse of any kind.

My son D works for the Boy Scouts and he and the other scout leaders are VERY CAREFUL that no one adult is alone with a child. If they need to speak to a child privately there are always other adults within visual range. No showering with the kids.

Charles “Jackie” Walls III who was a guy I knew from a very prominent family was arrested after 20 years with scouts and molesting 1,500 kids—he is doing “life without” for his molestations. But he violated every scout rule there is for safe guarding kids. The BSA has the best “gold standard” for youth protection that there is.

Catching predators though isn’t helped by back ground checks because most are “first offenders” when they get caught…but then they are turned loose back into society.

Clerics are only one class of predators, but they are in all groups of religion and ideologies or ppurposes from ball clubs to rodeo!


Hushing it up is what they do. My son is at a catholic boarding school part of which is an Abbey. Following the conviction of a monk at Taunton crown court earlier this month for 5 years for child abuse, his school has been the focus of safeguarding issues. Below is a letter sent to parents, I found the contents extremely worrying. Were it not for the fact that my son is in the middle of his A levels, a non believer and a very vocal individual I would seriously consider removing him. A visiting Cardinal from Rome would not even bless my son …my son was amused! A previous letter asked that we pray for the monks who did these dreadful things, says it all really!

13th January 2012

From the Abbot of Downside
Dom Aidan Bellenger

Dear parents, colleagues and friends,

The letter that follows is about historic safeguarding issues and the present condition of Downside School.

We have received our Ofsted progress report, which is on our website and which is attached to this letter. It is very short and I hope you will read it in its entirety. It concludes that ’robust risk-assessments are in place to ensure the safety of pupils from adults who should not have unsupervised access to children’, and highlights improved security, a greater culture of awareness among staff of safeguarding through extensive training and found, overall, that Downside meets all the required standards of safeguarding. We can be confident that the children with us are safe and able to flourish. We have the right structures in place, but we have to remain constantly vigilant and I recognise that you will help us to do that.

We are also in contact with the Charity Commission, who are advising us on our governance structures. Writing of St Benedict’s, Ealing, Lord Carlile has concluded in his report that a ’more modern form of governance would have rendered it more likely that abuse would have been suspected, detected, rejected and the future secured.’ I want to thank our Governors for what they have done; we owe them an immeasurable debt. We are continuing to develop our governance structures and bringing in new governors to ensure that we are fully accountable to the world outside the monastery and school and that there is no room for accusations of cover-ups.

Media interest has greatly increased since the conviction and subsequent sentencing of Richard White (known at Downside as Fr Nicholas White) last week for child abuse committed when he was working at the school in the late 1980s. This raises questions about what was done during the period between the abuse and Fr Nicholas’s eventual conviction. He received counselling and therapy and conformed entirely with all the restrictions that were imposed on him. However, the standards of supervision and communication with the relevant outside agencies have changed over the years and his case would not be handled in the same way today as it was in the past.

You may have read the articles in The Times on Monday January 9 or in the Daily Telegraph on January 11. Local families may have seen the Points West interview with one of Fr Nicholas’s victims. There is a piece in today’s Times, on which we were not asked to comment, which takes no account of the recent positive Ofsted report. I am writing to The Times to correct the misleading impressions given in the article. There is an article in the Tablet and in the next issue of the Sunday Times on the Catholic Church and safeguarding in a more general context, though we have not been approached directly by the Sunday Times. In these circumstances it is very important that you should feel that Downside is keeping you properly informed.

As part of our response to safeguarding concerns, I made all the monks’ records, stretching back for half a century, available to the police and the diocesan safeguarding office in 2010 as part of a wider review of historic cases and to help ensure that nothing remained unknown and undealt with.

Those investigations are now complete and this letter is to inform the whole Gregorian family of the outcomes. It is not appropriate to name the parties in all cases because that information is not in the public domain and naming them could lead to the identification of victims. However, in a spirit of openness and transparency it is important that what has been investigated is not hidden.

Fr Raphael Appleby has accepted a caution for abuse of a vulnerable person, not a pupil in the school, over a long period in the 1980s. He has expressed profound sorrow for what he has done and has left the Abbey. He will not return.

Father Antony Sutch was subject to a police investigation that concluded without any action being taken. He was subject to an independent investigation and risk assessment which gave no reason why he should not return to ministry from his voluntary suspension.

A monk who left this country many years ago received a formal police caution for the abuse of a pupil during his time at Downside in the 1960s.

Another monk was issued with a police warning. This case does not involve a vulnerable adult or a pupil in the school.

Two other monks have been subject to investigation and, whilst the allegations against them, dating from the early 1990s, were founded, no prosecutions were brought. Both have had restrictions imposed on their ministry in order to protect children and are living in the monastery under supervision approved by the outside agencies. This situation is kept under constant review.

Although not mentioned in recent media reports, there was also the case of Fr Dunstan O’Keeffe who was convicted of possessing indecent images and was subsequently imprisoned and who is no longer a priest or a monk.

We are truly sorry that children and young people have been abused by those whom they should have been able to trust. We are committed to doing everything possible to ensure that such things do not happen again.

Downside Abbey and School have changed from a policy of dealing with safeguarding in house and now have the Clifton Diocese safeguarding office co-ordinating all matters. Any allegations that might arise now will, without exception, be referred to the diocesan safeguarding officers, the LADO (Local Authority Designated Officer for allegations) and to the statutory authorities in line with national safeguarding procedures. Through this approach, along with the major restructuring of school governance, safeguarding decisions will always be made independently of the monastic community.

We must never underestimate the great damage suffered by the victims of abuse. Their bravery in telling their stories has resulted in radical changes in the way safeguarding is approached. Victims of abuse are in our prayers and the sadness we feel for what they have suffered will be with us always.

These unhappy events inevitably cast a long shadow, but your chief concern will of course be the welfare, security and happiness of children currently at Downside. Many steps have been taken to ensure that the Downside portrayed in some parts of the media is a thing of the past.

By any measure it is now a safe, happy and thriving school whose many recent achievements will be built on in 2012 and beyond.

Yours sincerely,

Dom Aidan Bellenger
Abbot of Downside

Ox Drover


“Two other monks have been subject to investigation and, whilst the allegations against them, dating from the early 1990s, were founded, no prosecutions were brought. Both have had restrictions imposed on their ministry in order to protect children and are living in the monastery under supervision approved by the outside agencies. This situation is kept under constant review.”

LIVING IN THE MONASTERY—-restrictions? Meaning they have been caught once and now are being “watched”—they are STILL THERE in effect.


I read an article yesterday about the Boy Scouts of America who now have the GOLD STANDARD of security for kids…no kid is ever alone with ONE volunteer or staff member, and training is done on hiring or volunteering and every 2 years there after.

Parents and scouts are all taught about the safety rules….my son D works for the BSA and the rules are taken very seriously. ANY violation of ANY rule is ONE AND DONE, no second chances of any kind. PERIOD. No “I’m sorrys” and no “forgiveness” allowed. ANY violation and the person is OUT FOREVER from ANY scouting group in the USA.

I’m glad that your child is strong enough and old enough to defend himself….and under the circumstances I understand you leaving him there but I can’t understand why ANY OTHER parent would leave a child there. UNCONSCIONABLE as far as Ii am concerned.

Moving on –

Wow – can you post links to the news accounts of these incidents?


Hi Donna/Oxy

I am too appalled son is called a heretic, he does not care, he sits in the abbey reading Dawkins! He does however respect their faith, attends mass 3 times a week (he has no choice) but thankfully they have given up trying to convert him. He is baptised and was previously at a catholic prep school he does however have his own views on religion. It is a very ‘old fashioned’ establishment, pin stripe trousers, waistcoats for the prefects. My son is now a prefect, over Christmas he informed me that when he was a new pupil at 13 in Powell he was woken one night by a prefect with a claw hammer at his throat ..the prefects no longer sleep in the 3rd form dormitory and no pupil is now allowed to stay overnight in the Abbey surprise there!! It is very Dickens, the younger pupils call my son ‘sir’, even the infirmary ..on approach you walk down a long corridor with photos of former pupils who died in the 1st/2nd and subsequent wars, you have to be very sick indeed to get admitted to the infirmary and get past Matron!!

Links are below, unfortunately the times is only available on line for a fee. The Ofsted report is on their website, Oxy will be shocked to read that none of the nursing staff had been even checked to see if they had a nursing qualification! My son is taught by one monk as he is studying Hebrew, he is taught alone but I have no concerns and the monk is very kind. In the middle of the school is the graveyard where all the monks are buried ..they all live well into their 90s plus, very cushy environment all the cleaning, cooking etc is done by local women from the village! Downside look after their own, old Gregorians as they are known is like one big boys club ..old boys send their children, they enter the same house as daddy and everyone knows the rules! The Ofsted report is on this website.


Repulsive! They escaped prosecution for 20 years! …..protected by the organisation that should have been protecting innocent children. I’m sorry but this really makes me sick! Hanging is too good for them. And all done in the name of the Lord?

Ox Drover

Moving On, I am glad that your son is strong enough to protect himself and to keep himself safe from the pressure toward his belief system to start with and “otherwise” as well. You can congratulate yourself that you have raise a young man with a strong emotional constitution and a good sense of self.

I do think however that this “old boys school” who harbors perverts in their midst, however they are “supervised” and however “sorry” they are, yea REAL SORRY.

I’m with strongwoman, really repulsive, makes me sick. Go ahead and bury them, but don’ t have to wait til they die. YUK! Pedophiles, I hate’em!!!!

Ox Drover

Here;’s a good article about the BSA and their programs of safety for kids.


‘In California, a retired Air Force officer, Jon David Woody, was sentenced in July to 226 years in prison for molesting girls he met through his role as a Big Brothers Big Sisters volunteer. In 2010, a former middle school science teacher in Tulsa, Okla., John Gisler, was sentenced to life in prison for molesting a teenage boy he was mentoring.’

I do love American law, 226 years and a life sentence, here in the UK, its 5 years, he’ll be out in 2 and will no doubt be in an open prison. When he as served his time, he’ll be shuffled off to a monastery, and further protected.

Yes Oxy, my son is a strong character, he was physically abused by the ex spath when he was 11, now he is a young man of 17 and that spath will get his comeuppance. Peodos and child abusing spaths seem to forget that children grow up, and as that brave man did, he went to the police and got the monk convicted; he is now 35. All my son’s paperwork is complete against the spath, he will report him when he is ready, could be next week, 5 years time, makes no difference, unless the spath drops dead and my wishful thinking!



congrats on having a son with a spine.
But please, don’t have too much faith in american law. It’s a hit or miss situation. It all depends on the judge and the jury, spaths do infiltrate both. Check the statute of limitations on crimes. If he waits too long, it could be too late.

We are building an army against spaths, the tide is turning. Every victim will become a soldier. The spaths can’t help themselves, they are creating more soldiers every day.

Lillie’s Redemption by Lydia Waring Meyer is a novel I recently read about clergy sexual abuse. It does a great job capturing the emotions of primary and secondary victims as well as the emotions of those in the church who want to “hush up” the situation. The book fits perfectly with this conversation and I’ve included a link to it in case anyone is interested.

Sherry, you are so right that it is not just clergy who groom and abuse. This behavior can be perpetrated by anyone who is in a position of power. And it seems common when the abuse is reported that the community whether it is a church, workplace, family, whatever tends to blame the victim.

Good luck on your interview this afternoon. May today be the start of a new direction in your life!

sherry winter

It’s not just clergy that GROOM. I had a lead worker that did the same, and continues to. He’s PROTECTED because he’s NOT in management, and thus the union protects his rights to have a “relationship” with who ever he pleases.

It was a WOW moment when I read the following:

The reason the clergyperson is always at fault in such a relationship is because he holds all the power in the relationship rendering it impossible for the other person to truly give consent.

A team lead, “TRAINING” up a new employee, does hold ALL THE POWER in the relationship. I totally avoided this one employee for the longest time because he gave me the creeps, as he did many of the women in my office. However, when he was promoted to LEAD, and started coming to my desk to “TRAIN” me, the grooming began. I have NO recourse because it was consensual. Consensual! Excuse me, I was groomed, and carefully manipulated by someone I would have avoided if I’d had the RIGHT to do so.

I see him continue to use this behavior on certain women in the office. My “crying wolf” has discouraged some of his more obvious behavior, but being more subtle only means it takes him longer. For a man who is willing to take years grooming a one night stand that can be considered a “win”, how long it takes really doesn’t matter, but rather adds to the bonus points for scoring with a hard catch.

I’ve been looking for a job some where else for years now, but when you start crying when the interview panel asks you how you get along with your co-workers… or if you’ve just come from work and a bullying session by your ex,and you say…. “I can get along with any one, I have proof, I work with satans bastard son!” Getting HIRED to a new job is a challenge!

I’ve finally gotten past the CRYING at interviews with the help and practice with a good friend. I still blow other questions at interviews because of the emotional damage of having been GROOMED by someone in authority over me, but I’m hopeful.

I have an interview this afternoon, I would LOVE for every one to send GOOD VIBES! It’s a BIG PROMOTION, but what really matters to me is it’s out of the office where the evil ex is. There is nothing worse then going to work every day, and being accursed by those in authority over you for imagining the abuse you endured. For a while I was hopeful that I could just be promoted so that I wasn’t directly under the evil one’s authority, however every time I would start to be noticed for my work and intelligence, he’d be sure to bully me in plain site where there would be witnesses that he hadn’t done anything wrong. This of course would send me into an tail spin, and put me out of the running for the promotion, since I’d once again IMAGINED an abuse!

My only OUT is to get a job some where else, and having been looking for 5 yrs, it’s discouraging. I have interviewed for demotions to get out, but my level and below there few jobs, and higher levels abound. I am more then qualified, I have 10 times more training and education then those I work with, and I continue to spend my OWN DOLLARS to get training, while those around me don’t, or are FORCED by management so they can do their job properly. However, in this job market, there are LOTS of people with more WORK experience then me… AND it’s hard to sell yourself, when you know that your own BOSS wouldn’t hire you!

PLEASE send good vibes. I’m smart, I’m friendly, I am one awesome programmer! I can program in Java, Cobol, CICS, EZTrive, HTML, VB, and two or three other languages… most the programmers I know can only do two languages at the most! I’m only two classes away from my DBA certificate. I’m a CATCH! But when you’ve been GROOMED, and abused by someone in authority over you, and then had you congregation/workplace turn their back on you and BLAME YOU, it’s really hard to feel good enough about yourself, to sell yourself in an interview.


Pastoral abuse takes many forms!

Years ago I was preyed upon and then sexaully abused by a Pastor….when he saw the abusive marriage I was in and that my then husband had taken me to the ends of the earth (Chile) to “minister” 12-15 hour days all while living in lies,emotional and physical abuse. He was a N and that was before I knew what that was. I just kept praying and loving him…….We met a Pastor there who worked closely with our ministry, and saw all that my husband was doing to me. He told me I could go to him, and he would “councel” me, because no one else saw what was going on but him and how badly I was abused. Then it moved to he was my “best friend” and “brother” and then he said it was like a David and Jonathan relationship from the Bible, that God had given him to me……. I was so burnt out and abused at home that I actually fell for the lie that God had sent him to help me. My spiritual discernment was so low…..then he used me. To get me to give in there was so many words and promises…..then when it was over he said not ONE word. He drove me to a curb and let me out, never saying one word or giving any comfort. The he had some kind of hold on me, i was still being abused at home terribly, actually totllay hated and ignored and I just wanted someone to love me, help me and care for me….. sio I did not fight what I knew was wrong. The sexual stuff got more and more ugly, him mansturbating in the most grotesque way in front of me! For me I was so abused that to be held, even in that way was what I needed…… I wanted escape but didn’t know where to go. He would watch my husband physically abuse me then he would come pick me up to “councel me” and drive me to somewhere, take advantage of me and then drop me back off without saying a word…… How could this happen? Because I had already died inside. I was totally dead. Since then I divorced the husband who was physically abusing me…..after i found child porn,and discovered so much deciet, and realized it was his abuse that caused me to do the very “thing” i would NEVER had done!! …..and then I met a Spath who I entrused everything to……. and when I discovered he was a pedophile on the computer, he used everything I had told him and went to another Pastor to paint me as crazy and as having had an Affair………even though I told him how everything had happened BEFORE we were married. Then he drugged me and when I tried to tell my children what he had done to me, he went to my children and told them I had, had an “affair” with a Pastor…….Many know on here that he then went to a female Pastor and convinced her I was terrible, and all these abusers are fine. She used her title and position as a Pastor to tell my children and the congregation to have nothing to do with me. I am treated as though dead,when I had given my entire life to them and endured the abuse of the first husband because I wanted them to have their Dad.

It all started with the 1st Pastor seeing my vulnerability and preying upon it. The second Pastor without the spiritual discernment and training in Psycopaths believed his drama, tears and lies…..and now……I am all alone in the world……and it is all because of 2 Pastors. Please understand: I take responsibility for my actions and allowing myself to do the very things I would never do. But I went to Pasotrs for help and they used it all against me….

Pastoral abuse takes many forms.


So let me clarify the forms “Pastoral Abuse” I have endured:

!. Married to a man for 28 years who became a Pastor to hide his double-life. Who I discovered after 25 years was a porn addict but for all those years had me loving and serving him, my family and the “church” while I was being physically, emotionally and spiritually abused. I had to walk behind him, he was a totally different person to me in public than in person and would leave for 1-3 nights and just “disappear” while I held down the family and the ministries for Years…..until I discovered it was for a porn addiciton. I covered for him and exhausted myself for my children and totally ignored any needs of my own…believing I was to ‘lay down my life for my firend’

2. That belief brought me to a mission field loving my husband and praying for him but being terribly abused, ignored and hated. Then a Pastor there used what he saw in my vulnerability to emotionally and sexually abuse me. He was a P who saw his opportunity to take advantage of our entire family. He took our ministry, $15,000 dollars, and took advantage fo me as stated above. then……after I divorced the 1st and was healing and forgave myself for all that I had done and taken responsibility for my actions I married……

3. A man who posed himself as called to “minstry” to children when he came into my life. He is a very dangerous P…. i discovered now….. but he posed to be everything godly to me…love bombing me and deceiving me until the wedding night. Then 9 months later I found child pedophile stuff on the computer. He worked an entire year….not holding a job…but working my family, friends and church to believe him and turn against me. so that his mask remains in tact…..

4. …..The P went to a female Pastor and cried to her, and used everything I ever entrusted to the P against me, to convince her that I am not who she believed I was! She was also my best friend!! He drugged me and she called a mtg. where I could not speak or defend myself! There the P used all the above to say it was me all along….. To say the 28 years of abuse from my husband never happened. That the Pastor in Chile’s sexual abuse was my fault! That this man was GODLY and i was crazy,….. and then convinced her to cover my children from me.

#5. My daughter is married to a Pastor…..she continues to minister and together they have a great ministry but have not spoken to me in 2 years, and will not listen to me when I try to tell them what has really happened. My texts and emails blocked since the day I was drugged and the mtg. called with the Pastor and the P.

I think these a 5 FORM OF SPIRITUAL ABUSE….. Do you agree or IS IT me??? I need an honest answer.

I have not stepped into a church in 2 years……I still believe in God, but I find myself angry at him too because His word says He will not let “a weapon formed against you to prosper, and your will refute every tongue that accuses you”. That has not happened. I have finally come to believe God is juging me for MY actions with #2 Pastor even though his was abuse.

….my life reads like a Steven Spielberg movie. Anyone know someone to help me write a book????

So where do I start to heal? Abuse form #1. #2,#3, #4 or #5??????


What you have described is spiritual abuse. Clergy abuse at its core is spiritual abuse.

You have mentioned your desire to heal. How do you imagine your life would look when you picture yourself as healed from this?


you are doing the right thing by not going near a church. The pattern I see is that you are drawn to people in positions of authority in your congregations. The P’s can read this and use this to abuse you.

Begin by looking at your childhood and see what you might uncover there which brought you to P#1.

Ox Drover


Your pain is REAL….I do not doubt that you were abused. I do not doubt that you’re being shunned by your children and others. II do not doubt that that being shunned is extremely painful.

The shunning is nothing that you can do anything about. You can’t make people listen to you.

Can you imagine how Columbus must have felt when he told people that the world was round and he could sail around it but they thought it was flat? Their disbelief didn’t change the truth, or the shape of the world. But he could not change the people’s opinion.

You can’t change the opinions of others who shun you, even unfairly.

The ONLY thing you have power to change is YOURSELF and that is what you must do.

I can’t change the way my egg donor feels or acts or the fact that she is giving money and help to the man who tried to have me (and her) killed. I can’t make her believe the TRUTH.

I caution you to not spend the rest of your life with bitterness in your heart toward these people and to continue to grieve over the fact that your children unfairly will not listen to you or the fact that thye do not understand the pain you were in or that you were abused.

Focus on building a NEW life with good things in it for YOU.

You said that you feel like God is judging you for your own sins, well, GOD is also a forgiving God and a loving father who opens His arms to you like the prodigal son, and covers you with the fine coats, puts a ring on your finger and kills the fatted calf upon your return to his love. You may never be able to recover your children’s companionship, but that doesn’t mean that you, like Job, won’t be able to have the love of children in your life.

Get up and go out and volunteer to read to children at the library, or at a school, get some therapy to help you over come the bitterness in your heart toward all these hateful people. They were hateful people, and God will deal with them. But build up YOUR life in happiness and goodness and moments of joy! Minister to YOURSELF. (((hugs))) and my prayers for you my dear.


do you have a personnel department where you work? is there any way you can see- just ask- if there is a possibility of requesting a “personal incompatibility” status with this person? and see if there is a man in personnel you can deal with; men sometimes can see this type of behavior being used on women whereas women cannot..
i had a similar type of experience in the mid-90’s, when there was no mainstream awareness of this type of personality. i too had overwhelming emotional reactions in all the wrong places, it was just exactly what they go for, too.
i started visualizing God as being my own personal guide there, a little hard to explain probably but i also had one at home (a spath) so i was really spinning..i tried everything… i became overtly hostile without asking permission from anyone. caustic answers to all his pfishing in the office, mocking answers. i basically visualized myself as immune, and sexually superior to him…and began treating him in a somewhat kindly and slightly pitying manner.
we are, fundamentally, whoever we THINK we are, and their main weapon against us is to make us feel/believe that we are helpless. you are not helpless. fix in your mind that you belong to your Own Self and no one else, neither your employer, nor him. ( i myself, envisioned myself as belonging to God..not some preacher or priest or religion, but just to God, owing nothing to any human being but only Him, and kept in mind that good trumps evil – always.)
you are not helpless. you are not his, to play with or to toy with. you belong to yourself, and no one else. you have to learn to delineate your boundaries. and these are about the hardest circumstances in which to do that, but the mere fact that you are aware of his spider’s web is big advantage, even tho i’m sure it does not feel like that at this point…
the one thing i learned, the MOST important thing that i learned there, is that this is NOT a competition for making those around you aware of all this. this is some random other person making you feel like shit, all the time….and all you primarily have to do, is not feel badly. just like that. you have to be happy.
for me, it was this huge epiphany related to something my little old country grandmother told me…”it’s all in how you hold your mouth”; which had never made so much sense as the day i suddenly realized that this evil person was taking away all my joy in life, all my love and happiness, and sucking my life away from me. and in order to “beat” them, all i really had to do was just be happy, despite all their attempts to make me otherwise.
i turned my mouth from “down”, to “up”. and i focussed on the simple fact of “being joyful”.
i sort of put this invisible bubble around my self, pretending– and visualized that as where i actually was, and everyone there as slightly apart from me; and dealt with them as kindly as i could, while maintaining my own function there…but no one was allowed to permeate that “bubble” in my mind.
when they attempted anything to make me unhappy this remoteness helped a great deal, as i was able to see it as their own weakness, needing someone else’s unhappiness to “feed” upon…and this is the primary, bottomline dynamic in these situations, you know; these are extremely weak people feeding upon other people’s emotional energy because they have nothing of their own self to give them strength.
you have strength of your own or you wouldn’t be on this site. you have strength of your own, clearly, because you are attempting to fight him off…and a little of that strength is all you need, in actuality. just a trace– for your own self…because it is yours. it is for your happiness. focus on this: one molecule of light banishes all darkness…
do not indulge in all that “he said, she said” schtuff, that is a big part of that whole trap. smile enigmatically whenever possible and move on… your coding. go to the bathroom when you need an excuse to escape the conversation….if nothing else, knock over your (or their?) coffee, all accidentally…: ) become “mischievous”…with a little smile… do your work– laugh. be happy. in their face. just try this. : ) see how it goes.


Yep Oxy and Skylar I will….. ThanKs for being there. I know I go over and over what has happened, and that all of us on here have gone through the same thing. I am just still trying to make some sense of it all.

…..there was nothing left of me when I fell for the lies and spiritual abuse of the “Pastor”. I was in the whole “stockholm syndrome “thing because we had had gangs pull out guns on us and had a machete to my window etc. as we would reach the street children. My husband looked the on the way and did nothing to protect me… was only HIS image he cared about. I was very vulnerable….but now I am the one blamed for it all.

I can see I ALWAYS have been trusting to only listen to the words and ignore the red flags. I was an orphan as I lost my parents by age 5. I have always believed that I could love people and that “love changes anything”. It took 28 years to not believe that and let go of the marriage of 28 years. He ( man of 28 years) actually asked me out for this Thursday…..


Carolyn: While I was in Chile I was asked to speak to 3,000 women and children at a time, encouraging and helping them. When I returned 3 mayors in Chile invited me back in a phone call stating that “there are 70,000 women and children in our districts that need to hear the msg you are sharing, please come back”. Since then my life has unraveled…….with the effects of the P’s. I know who I am,but my life and what others believe about me is destroyed….

If I saw a picture of myself healed it would be to use this to reach as many women and girls as possible to educate them BEFORE the damage of the Psycopath in their lives. I woud also picture myself with someone who was loving as not out to destroy me for his own purposes….

I don;t know if that is picturing myself healed; or dreaming…but that is what I would want to happen. I am a public speaker and God has annointed in the past to reach others. That is why I feel Satan has done everythin ghe can to destroy me and my testimony.


….sorry for all the typos,i can spell! In a hurry on lunch hour 🙂


sexual abuse by anyone is at it’s core spiritual abuse.


Dear Bellaangel, I understand the pain you feel about being rejected by your church and Pastors. When I tried to inform my church that my husband had raped my 3 year old child I was condemned as he had already begun slandering me behind my back long before my child disclosed the awful assaults.
When he managed to find a corrupt lawyer, a psychiatrist, and Judge to aid him in ripping my baby,(his son) out of my arms, he took the child to every church where I had been singing with a small gospel group I used to perform with, and told the congregations a tale of the woe his “crazy” wife had put him through by lying and accusing him of child sex abuse.
I had to endure 7 years of terrible heartaching pain, missing and grieving and worrying about the safety and wellbeing of my little son until his father dumped him on me when it was inconvenient to play “single father with child” anymore.
The worst thing was the “:christians” who would come up to me for years after the loss of my infant and tell me I “should be ashamed for telling such terrible lies about that lovely man”.
One Pastor who did believe me and had discernment of what my ex was really like, was approached by a Pastor of another local church and the man told him “I would not have her in my church if I were you” and other derogatory statements about my suitability as a “christian”.
I was and still am, so grateful to Terry Parker the caring and open hearted Pastor from Rockingham in Western Australia who defended me, to the accusing Pastor, and told him he was “more than happy to have me as a member of his church”.
My son is now 25 years old and strongly tells people that his life of 7 years with his alcoholic, cruel father was hell and full of fear and neglect and often hunger as he was left unfed and alone for long periods as a young child.
He says he cowered in fear when his father threw drunken temper tantrums and smashed doors and furniture intimidating who ever was the current defacto or teenage live in “babysitter”.
My son tells me he often hid under a bed or furniture as he feared for his life.
My son and I, know how convincingly a sociopathic person can lie and appear to be a pious christian person of virtue.
However we have forgiven those misled christians who judged me and condemned me, as we realise they were totally ignorant of the man’s deceptiveness and evil nature.
If he could fool me into marrying him, who am I to judge, or resent others who were deceived by his lies about my character?
We have never blamed GOD for what happened, but we rejoice in His divine mercy and Grace, and answer to prayer, that He caused a woman who briefly lived defacto with my ex, to pressure him to allow my son to know his mother, and that set in motion the event where he ditched my son on me permanently at age 9.
My son was born again at Billy Graham’s son’s crusade in Queensland and has grown into a loving and caring, strong christian, young man, who I am proud of and love very much.
My heart has healed from the pain and grief but it did take a very long time.

sherry winter

Carrirsguns, personel knows about the problem, but can’t do anything about it. On really nice HR lantern has had the misfortune of having to file disipline actions against ME. She said her hands are tied, and that even if she knows someone is lying there is nothing she can do if she can’t prove it. Others won’t turn him in or confess to the complaints the have about him when HR calls them in. The HR lady says just give him rope and let him hang himself after I got a letter of reprimand for calling him a bully after hed bullied me. No can do!


Zoey, hello. Thank you for posting your story here and I have also read your other post on another thread. Gob smacked is an understatement! You are a true survivor…..and your lovely son. You poor darling. What a terrible time you must have been through when he lived with your ex. I am so glad your boy is ok and able to confirm what you suspected about his Father all along. That he was a b*****d.

I truly am grateful that I never had children with my ex. I realise what a lucky
escape I had and stories like yours make me count my blessings that I got off
lightly by comparison
Yours is a salutary tale to those of us who continue to engage, live with and have relationships with these things. Don’t play with fire…’ll get your fingers burnt

Ox Drover

Dear Zoey,

I am soooo Glad to know that your story has a HAPPY ENDING and that your son has not inherited his father’s psychopathic genes!!!! Thank you Jesus!!!!! It makes my day brighter to hear a HAPPY ENDING!

Bellaangel, your message is important and YOU can tell your message. Maybe not yet to 10,000 people in a group, but you can tell your message to one person you meet each day, and tell your message here. Volunteer to work in a DV shelter and tell your message there….get away from the people and organizations that are filled with lies and hate for you, and find another group that is caring and kind. Not all churches or groups are so willing to believe lies.

Picture yourself healed and happy. “Making sense” of why someone would do what they do is not always possible. Above all, work on getting the bitterness out of your heart and soul. Of course you were SPIRITUALLY abused as Carolyn points out.

But you can also SPIRITUALLY HEAL, and I belive in the core of my being that we have to heal mentally, physically, emotionally and SPIRITUALLY….how ever and why ever we were abused. I think that ALL abuse is spiritually abusive as well as mentally, physically and emotionally. EACH of us is a spiritual person, regardless of what our beliefs are, wheter we believe in a Higher Power or not, we are still spiritual and it is important to acknowledge and heal that injury to our spirits.


Zoey: Thank you! Those 7 years must have been [email protected]#$ on earth for you……. I am almost 2 years into it. Where I will be in 5 years I do not know, but how encouraging to see that God did VINDICATE you. I have spoken the same words: If I was decieved enough to MARRY HIM, how can I hold it against others, to not believe me and believe his lies? I TRULY have forgiven. I truly give over the bitterness everyday in prayer….. but the missing of your children is a pain that goes too deep for words when you are a Mom who LOVES her child. You get it, and I rejoice with you!! I truly do!!! I just don’t know how to live in this world of isolation…completely alone which abusers do to control you and feel powerful, they isolate you. He could have taken my life but prefers to get up every morning knowing I am fighting for my very survival ALONE…..and then there is the “shunning” of the neighbors, the not being invited to anything,,,,,,,it goes on and on…. the way HIS abuse has been passed on to others to do FOR HIM.

The Pastor though……. that allowed this …….I “say” I have forgiven…but she was my best friend……and she entertained him,in secret, listening to his lies for months before he put my demise into action. I actually found an email where he had written to someone 6 weeks before anything happened and in it stated that he would be moving back to his home state by end of April!We were married,and in no way did i know anything was even wrong….!! I knew nothing about it!! It clearly showed this was planned and instigated step-by-step by him, and yep! he moved April 25. And my “Pastor” defends him. !?? Forgiven by me, yes. Trusting that God will allow me to refute the damage she has allowed to happen… my hope.

So back to Spiritual Abuse: It can be your the actual sexual predator in a postion of Church Leadership, OR the Pastor can entertain and side with the abuser and actually aid him in his abuse. Ambient Abuse…… Pastors need to be more trained before they are given the power to control a person’s life and the outcome of their life’s work.

I am thankful you have your son back. So far I just see my children becoming harder and harder in their hearts. I am thankful you had a Pastor that stood by your side. I will keep standing.

Becoming vulnerable to someone else to volunteer, or seek a Pastor to stand with me has me stuck. so, so far it’s me, my Bible, my unending educating myself through books etc. and just getting up everyday and going to work. …AND YOU GUYS MY LOVE FRAUD FRIENDS!!
Thank you again………


Dear Zoey: I just want to ask you…. do you remember when you were in the midst of the 7 years without your child and everyone believing the lies,what specifically did you do? Did you seek out Pastors to share your story with? How did you handle the day-to-day living? How did you deal with the “Christians” shunning you? Any advice would help.

I just want to clarify also the progression of how i fell for the Pasotrs sexual abuse: Above I shared about the Pastor who sexually abused me on the mission field and now I am being accused as having an affair. I have to tell you that my Medical Dr. called my husband in before he took us out of the country and told him I was in burn-out from running 7 ministries in the Church and homeschoolong my children while being physically and emotionally abused by him. He told my husband to take OFF things from my shoulders and asked him “what are you doing putting all this on your wife,take care of her!”. I was put on anti-depressants for burn-out and exhaustion….results? My husband scheduled a 6 month trip out of the country where we would minister 12-15 hours a day. When I begged with him that I could not do it ….he told me to “trust him” that this trip would be different. I sought out a Counselor who told me that since we were leaving, I needed support there so to seek out a Pastor to counsel me/us. When I approached this “Pastor” when we were there for him AND his wife to councel US….he came to my Husband and said he would just councel ME…. that was FINE with my husband. (he didn’t care, as long as he didn’t have to be burdened with any responsibilities of a husband it was fine) ….and finally I told this Pastor UP FRONT I had been sexually abused by 2 other people growing up and that he could NEVER cross that line. I put up my boundry. The rest is history, I was so exhausted and began to believe the lies that he told me that “God wanted him to help me carry the burden,,,,,that he would PROTECT me and CARE for me in a very dangerous place “where we had guns pointed on us etc….. Had my husband listened to all my cries for help it would NEVER have happened! I died emotionally and physically before it did.,…. Then when it did this “Pastor ” told me he would kill himself if I told anyone and would also call me and tell me he had all the symptoms of AIDS
( a typical “P” trying to scare me to death that I had it too)and then he would go to Church and i would have to listen to him preach……… Spiritual Abuse.
Believe it or not…i had healed from all of that and married a new man……
And now,….that man who I discovered is a pedophile…… and when I tried to expose him, he sold the “fact” that I had an AFFAIR on the mission field,and went and told my grown children his rendition of what happened to turn them against me. It worked! They wouldn’t listen to my accusations against this man, they were so hurt that “mom had an affair”…… It was no “affair”!!…it was a last ditch attempt and cry for help that NO ONE would heed. I was not heard and now when I try to tell people what happened I AM STILL NOT HEARD.

Tell me if this isn’t Spiritual Abuse:

I was literally secretively drugged by this P….and brought into a mtg. and now my texts emails blocked and this “Pastor” has said I have ‘COMMITTED THE UNPARDONALBE SIN”.!!!!! I thought Pastors were agents of hope, redemption and restoration……… Do you know how many times I have asked myself why I still live, if I have committed the unpardonable sin why should I continue fighting these lies and loneliness?????????

i have taken too much time up on this post…so sorry……. alot of reliving of events today.


Hi Oxy, it’s nice to hear from you!

As for me, everything’s going fine, thanks, but I haven’t been anywhere special. It’s only that I get busy with some other activity from one day to another, and don’t have the time to post here.

I do read more than I post. As a matter of fact one problem I have is the one I’m mentioning to Carolyn below: that when I write things they often turn out to be long. So sometimes I glance at an article here and feel I’d like to comment on it. But the more I think about it, the more things I think of that I could say. Then I end up telling myself I just don’t have the time to write out everything that’s in my head—so finally I write nothing! I really must practice writing shorter pieces!

All the best!


Hello Carolyn, and thanks for responding!

You’re absolutely right about the value of brevity in blog articles. I have to confess to you that being the opposite—very lengthy at times—is in fact a fault of mine. Often when writing I end up feeling that “this” needs to be said and “that” needs to be said, while “something else” needs “more background” or a “more complete explanation.” The result can be a very long post! My own version of the “seduction tactics” list topped out at 1,266 words, which is more than four times as long as your own!

So this is not about length. I do believe the article could indeed be kept to the length you were suggesting, without any significant loss to its basic intention, which was primarily to list these tactics used by certain rogue clerics and invite others to add to them. I hope my own commentary on them was a helpful addition, but it is an optional one. Tthe chief reason my “version” was longer was that the original article seemed to imply certain things I disagreed with, so I wanted to set out my own views more clearly.

Although the appearance of sexism was one problem I had with the article, other problems were with the appearance of rigidity and extremism. These could be resolved while still keeping the article quite short.

I’ll just discuss three of those issues.

First, I don’t see any reason to criticize the list as it stands if it hadn’t been introduced the way it was. The article classes all of these behaviors as “boundary violations” when that’s by no means true of all of them. Fair enough, some of them (like “sharing confidences”) are clear violations of one kind or another, but others may not be.

One example is “scheduling counseling sessions when no one is around.” Surely when somebody has a counseling session with a minister, they don’t expect a third person to chaperone the meeting itself? That would violate their privacy. Perhaps it means there’s no-one else in the building, but I can visualize scores of occasions where there doesn’t happen to be anyone else around, yet the meeting is perfectly innocent.

This problem would be eliminated with a different introduction to the list. Instead of branding all these behaviors as “boundary violations” in themselves, the article could simply point out that what follows is a list of “tactics” (or “techniques,” or “behaviors”) that have been used by clerics to get inappropriately “close” to someone they’re targeting sexually… or something of the kind.

That problem was compounded by the opening sentences which equated “boundary violations” with something even worse: a “criminal sexual assault”! The underlying fault was the failure to distinguish clearly among three different categories of things the article talks about.

One category is the listed “techniques.” These may (but not necessarily) be “tactics” used by predatory clerics, and may (but again, not necessarily) be “boundary violations” in themselves.

A second category whose existence the article implies is behaviors that do constitute real “boundary violations,” but do not involve sexual activity—such as “sharing confidential information.”

A third category is sexual activity with a cleric. That’s also a “boundary violation,” but unlike other boundary violations it constitutes the real essence of the offense.

The trouble is that the article as written seems to conflate these three categories as if they were all the same. Yet no reasonable person could agree that merely “inviting someone to attend a seminar” constitutes a “criminal sexual assault”! I hope you see what I mean about the “appearance of extremism.”

I’m not suggesting for one moment that the article needs to go into detail about the distinctions among those categories. It only needs to be clear and simple. I think the repeated use of the ill-defined term “boundaries” causes unnecessary confusion. That’s why I’d personally be inclined to start off by talking about something like “sexual exploitation,” a term I think is clear enough to everyone, instead of “crossing sexual boundaries,” which is more vague. Then it’s fine in the middle to mention how clerics may progressively encroach on people’s “boundaries,” followed finally by the list of “techniques” or whatever they’re labeled.

The second issue is my suspicion that you’ve borrowed some of this terminology and discourse from other sources, but it won’t always go over so well with a general audience. Two things especially stuck out like a sore thumb. One was the word “clergypersons.” I’m sure the writers of the King James Bible would have called that word “an abomination before the LORD!” There are far better substitutes. Another is the last sentence of the first paragraph, which reads as if it was lifted straight from Andrea (“All Sex Is Rape”) Dworkin. I’d moderate that claim to make it sound more realistic.

The third issue is that I think the article may be misleading about what is covered. Here’s the impression I was left with at the end of that first paragraph. Suppose a single woman bumps into an attractive young man—possibly at a Christian rally, or even in the grocery store—and discovers he’s the minister in a church not far away. What does she do? If she wants to pursue a friendship, presumably with more in mind, the most natural thing in the world is for her to go to one or more services at his church, and get to talk to him again. Does this mean that the instant she walks through his church door and becomes “someone who attends his congregation,” she goes all weak at the knees and becomes utterly powerless to resist any sexual advance he might make to her? Or that if their relationship does become “intimate,” that makes him guilty of a “criminal sexual assault”?

Plain common sense should tell us it means no such thing; yet that’s what that first paragraph literally seems to be saying. I had to go to a different Web site to get clarification.

Three-quarters of U.S. states, so I’m told, have no criminal statutes covering sexual relations between clergy and adult partners, but those who do usually limit this to behavior occurring “within the confines of the counseling relationship.”

In other words, this is chiefly about clerics who are acting in a similar professional capacity as therapists toward their clients. That puts a different complexion on the whole matter. It’s not about relationships with anyone who might happen to walk through their church door. That makes far more sense.

I hope that helps to clarify some of the concerns I had.


In the comments above, “position of power” and “grooming” is defined as someone in a formal position of power targeting others. When you are dealing with a spath, formal positions of power are not needed to groom. In any abusive relationship, the abuse creates a power differential that was not present (or if present, to a greater degree). In a sense, all sexual activity between “equals” before the start of abuse becomes sexual abuse afterwards because consent can only be present with equals. So a husband would be just as wrong to have sex with his wife (and for the same reasons) in a relationship with persistent domestic violence as the woman’s pastor (or the counselor who is treating her for the abuse’s after effects).

While an abusive pastor (or other professional) is grooming a congregant ( or client) for sex, he also may be grooming others outside of the professional relationship as well. While these outside relationships are not technically professional sexual abuse, and the victims are by definition not in a “position of authority,” people can still be influenced by the fact that a professional is in a “relationship” with them.


Thank you for posting your article. I believe it was written for the survivors of Spiritual abuse and what you expressed was exactly what I experienced. Your list was accurate to my experience. Your writing was concise and to-the-point, and allowed me to look back over my experience and fill-in the details for myself …. having endured spiritual abuse through a Pastor who did groom me, what you wrote and how it was written was VERY helpful to me. You obviously have worked with survivors and understand the tatics that someone in a “pastoral” position uses to throw off your discernment and cause you to not question the “spiritual authority” that you have been taught from a child on,not to do. Each point is accurate to a survivor who has already experienced this….. Thanks again ~

Ox Drover

When any person who is supposed to be a person of responsibility to TEACH or mentor the other person, the person who is the teacher/mentor (pastor, counselor, teacher, military officer, parent–) that person is “one up” to the counseled/client/child and can groom that person for “unhealthy” behaviors, sexual and otherwise. So a Boy Scout leader, Big Brother/Big Sister, tutor, anyone can groom a person over whom they have emotional power and control.


aussiegirl wrote,

“I read an autobiography by an indigenous Australian woman who was taken from her birth family during a dark period of our national history (not so very long ago) when it was considered “better” for native children to be fostered into white “Christian” families or put into institutions/”children’s homes”. I was riled up enough about the horrendous politics of the time that would wrench little ones from the arms of their wailing families but to learn of this poor lady’s sexual molestation by a “nun” at the “children’s home” she was placed at, boiled my blood”

I think I might have written to the woman, years back. Was she one of the “Forgotten Australians”? The woman I wrote to and received correspondence from, was. If anyone’s interested, look up “Forgotten Australians” on the internet. There were/are HUNDREDS, if not THOUSANDS of them. The part about the “dark period” of Australian History, I understood that, too, from the film, “Rabbit Proof Fence”

A very sad thing, indeed. I am glad that what followed were hearings in the Australian government, where hundreds of those abused, addressed the authorities, en masse or with petitions, via a collective grievance, trying to obtain reparation. It wasn’t just Catholic institutions/orphanages that perped, it was also other religious institutions, like the Salvation Army. Worse, when brothers and sisters and whole families were separated..much damage.




moveingon wrote,

“Downside look after their own, old Gregorians as they are known is like one big boys club ..old boys send their children, they enter the same house as daddy and everyone knows the rules!”

Sounds like a misogynists’ haven, to me, much like that one Greek Island reserved for a monastery, ONLY MEN, where no woman is allowed to set foot on it..can’t remember the name of it, I think I read about it in National Geographic, but it was long ago, so am not sure.

Yes..very cushy..with a pristine view of the (I guess Aagean) Sea for a view, all around..probably plenty of chances for skinny dipping with fellow monks, too. LOL



I once met a dock worker, a red-haired Irish man, well in his 40s, who told me, “The Catholic Church is a petri dish for pedophiles.” I did not inquire as to details, but I had a feeling he knew from personal experience.

Another man, a musician I know, raised in the Catholic faith, told me that a nun once boxed his ears when he was a kid. He told me, “When she dies I’m going to pee on her grave site and sing ‘Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head’ “.. and I believe him.



To bellaangel’s question, “So where do I start to heal? Abuse from #1. #2,#3, #4 or #5??????”

I agree with skylar..GO NOWHERE NEAR A CHURCH! If you can, go read the web sites/URLS,, and .. .. suggest you read the articles, if only to get a different perspective. I am not trying to persuade you to become an athiest. I’m certainly not one, but I don’t think of God the way I once did, because of MULTIPLE experiences in my past with..usually FAKE CHRISTIANS, but the last big mistake, with my ex-spath, involved, I think a Jewess who I also think colluded with him (my ex was raised as a Methodist) to do me in..though her Christmas tree was never any prettier than the ones I used to put up each year, when I lived with him, before she did. So, it’s not just ONE phony religion or fake religionists or fake spiritualists, who have impacted my life, in nasty ways, but several, and across more than a 40-year period of my life. I’m done with organized religion. For good.

Know that I believe EACH and EVERY WORD you have written! I know you speak the truth.



Dear Zim, Thank you for your suggestion…and i will definately look into the site your suggested. I have been terribly hurt by many “Christians” but I will always hold dear the relationship I have with the Lord. He is the ONLY one that has been there for me, day or night through all of this.

……as I was driving in this morning to work I was thinking of another situation where a “Christian” used their religion and “wisdom” to judge me. After all had happened,(she saw the work of the Spath…..but then heard through GOSSIP the lies of what the spath brought out from my past to use against me to deflect his mask from being torn-off) I called her…. (NOT KNOWING SHE HAD JOINED IN THE GOSSIP)….and was telling her how a man at one of the properties I manage was stalking me,coming to the office everyday, and how the employees were having to step in and protect me from this person. This man is a diagnosed Schizophrenic and he would see me to pay his rent etc….. I was only relaying the details of the day how 2 co-workers had to get in his face to protect me (….the next week,not anything to do with me or the situation his family had him committed to the hospital to get his meds regulated) HE is the one with a nmental health condition…I only take his rent!
…..Anyways, Do you know the response of this “Christian” and “Friend”? ……..”Well, he was connecting with that broken place in you and you need to see what is broken in YOU that he would come around and his SPIRIT would CONNECT with your SPIRIT and pick out that broken place in YOU”, and I never heard from her again!!!!!!!!!!

…….please understand the man was physically attracted to me, I never had any conversation or anything with him, and he is a diagnosed Schizo were I work….and he is in and out of the hospital CONSTANTLY because of his condition and his inablilty to remain stable on his meds. BUT SOMEHOW ALL OF THAT DID NOT MATTER….. I WAS JUDGED AND FOUND THAT EVEN THOUGH I NEVER EVEN SPOKE WITH THIS PERSON, IT WAS SOMETHING BROKEN IN ME THAT WOULD CAUSE HIM TO STALK ME, SOMEHOW RELATED TO MY PAST……AND I NEVER HEARD FROM HER AGAIN! i tried to call her back, to see if I had really heard her right, and she would not answer my call.

I have never known such judgement since the spath has told his sob stories,lies and deception to friends and family to tun them against me, and to cause the ambient abuse he so loves!! It has been 2 years in April ……and not ONE person from a church I was in for 30 years has driven up my driveway, written a card or called…..not one….to find out the whole truth of what has happened. Ever heard the story of the Good Samaritan? ’cause I have been in the ditch and they all just keep walking past and never even bother to look in my direction…..they just keep walking.

But in all this I still believe in the God of the Bible, because He is Love…and He has not left me.

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