from Albatross - Thursday, October 10, 2002
accessed 2140 times
Facts: ~Family writings encouraged and promoted adult-child/ adult-minor sex.
~Family leadership engaged in and permitted others, over whom they had control,
to engage in illegal sexual acts with children/minors.
~Despite the official Family policy of banning adult/minor sexual relationships,
(Liberty or stumbling block. 1986) Family leadership often tried to shift the
onus of avoiding sexual contact on the young teens. (Flirty little teens beware.
~Despite TF’s stated policies, victims continued to suffer at the hands
of insensitive or outrighty indifferent shepherds when seeking help with the abuse
~TF, on the instruction of Karen Zerby, began an intense program of
re-indoctrination. As a result of the “Victor” programs and camps, pre-teens and
teens were subjected to both mental and physical torture in order to force them to
conform to TF’s ideal of a “revolutionary disciple.” (“And freedom for all”
By Jules. http://www.movingon.org/article.asp?sID=1&Cat=9&ID=806 )
~As a consequence of TF’s unbalanced and erratic policies on education, many
former Family young people have found that the meager education they
received in the Family has created large obstacles to their smooth transition into
society at large
These are just a few of the many areas in which The Family has systematicaly
violated our human rights. The approved and organized abuse of children is a
crime. The Family’s policy shift that banned adult-child sex, should not be
applauded as a good deed, but rather recognized for what it was; a defensive
effort, -too little and too late- to clean a mess of their own making and to protect themselves from legal attacks.
Their reluctance to truly embrace the notion that ANY sexual contact with children is wrong is clearly demonstrated in the Summit Jewels 93, in which Zerby writes that there is nothing wrong with a “little sweet and loving fondling of a child, and anyone who had experienced that in the past was not abused.” This came after the TF had published the statement in which they say that they are opposed to any and all sexual adult-child sexual interaction.
PAST LEGAL ACTIONS AGAINST THE FAMILY:
I do not intend to use this article to dissect the past legal actions against TF, however, in light of the fact that we are in the throes of a new and comprehensive
effort to bring TF to justice for past abuse, I feel it important to briefly delineate the differences between past cases and our current effort.
The various legal struggles of the early nineties, and specifically the UK custody case, served to force TF to make substantial changes in their treatment of their children. In that regards, they did have some positive effects. While there are questions and disagreements as to the specifics of every case, it seems to be generally agreed upon that if an attack on TF was to follow the pattern(s) of any or all of the previous court cases, it would have very little support and probably accomplish very little. I for one would not be interested in attaching my name to such an effort. I remain a firm believer in the notion that indiscriminate raids that remove children forcibly from their parents are ill advised as a response to current issues of TF children’s welfare. I also believe that “trying” TF on a narrow legal issue such as the UK custody case, while possibly of good publicity value, would be ineffective as a tool to address the host of PAST abuses that we suffered.
We would do better to look to the current cases involving the Catholic Church for a general idea of where our case could find itself. Natural there would be some clear differences, namely the fact that the CC never condoned or promoted the abuse of children in their published doctrine as TF did. We do see that despite the fact that many Catholic clergy around the US are being arrested and tried for their crimes, there is no wholesale move to raid and remove children from any Catholic organizations or institutions where they are being cared for.
The Family in the coming months may try to prey on our dislike for the raids and their effects, and in so doing attempt to blunt any effort to seek justice. I believe however that this would be wasted energy, as there will be no repeat of Argentina, France, Australia, or the UK.
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE?
Firstly, every individual who raped, molested, or fondled a child should not feel safe. Every individual who coerced, forced, and otherwise pressured an underage teenager to have sexual contact with them should not feel safe. Those adults who had consensual sex with a minor at a time and in a place where it was illegal, should not feel safe. Any leader, who through his/her position of authority was able to procure sex or sexual contact with a minor or child, should not feel safe.
Any adult who tortured or otherwise physically abused a child/minor should not feel safe. The above list obviously spans the spectrum and the rape of a child is naturally regarded differently in law than consensual sex with a 17 year old.
However, the point is that the individuals who committed these acts, whether they are now in or out of TF, should not be comfortable in their having escaped thus far. We may not be able to get all of them, but there will certainly be those who are called to answer for their crimes.
Secondly, TF leadership, as the organization that provided the opportunity, the environment, the doctrine, the cover-ups, the defense, the encouragement, the instructions, the pictures, and everything else that brought on the above mentioned list of abuses, must, and hopefully will, be held responsible. The Catholic Church is paying the price to the tune of almost a billion dollars, for simply allowing the abusive priests to continue working near children, or for failing to do anything about the abuses. So much more will TF leadership be held responsible. It boils down to this: Zerby, Kelly, and other Family leadership must answer for the abuses. Kelly/Peter Amsterdam has as much as admitted to Justice Ward that the Family/Berg bear a responsibility for the past abuses. Zerby and Kelly are inextricably linked to the writings that began this sordid chapter in TF history. Now is the time to make them pay for those abuses. Admitting and promising to prevent future abuses may have seemed the prudent thing to do in the UK custody case, however in light of the current climate with respect to the abuse of children by religious organizations, it seems downright myopic and stupid.
It bears noting that in all this I have not called for the mass removal of TF’s children.
The outline of a comprehensive case against TF remains in the developmental stage. But the goal of this effort simply stated, is to provide a vehicle by which those who are interested in attaching their name and their story to an effort to seek justice from TF leadership and from those individuals who were active participants in the abuses, may do so. There is strength in numbers. TF will find it difficult to refute the shear weight of all the accounts of abuses we suffered at their hands. When we have reached the stage where we are ready to open the case up to everyone who wishes to be a part, we will provide the details here and elsewhere.
I conclude by saying that that the inexorable move towards justice marches on.
Time has a way of catching up with the abusers. I believe that time has come.
And I am fully convinced that only a careful, deliberate, organized, reasoned and comprehensive effort will have an effect. As we work towards that end,the exact means and the possible end-product of such an effort remains somewhat of an open question. However, I have come to believe that we have a realist shot at it.
If you have questions on the direction and philosophical underpinning of this effort, or if you want to contribute your story at this stage, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org I will do my best to respond quickly.