If someone asks him, ‘What are these wounds on your body?’ he will answer, ‘The wounds I was given at the house of my friends.’ Zech 13 v 6

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Elders

Picture of Dave Barrueto.

The elders knew details of the full extent in which our child was sexually molested by Patrick!

From the previous post I explained that two days after discovering that our child had been sexually molested the elders had a meeting with Eddie and Patrick Rojas. The elders spent the day (literally) with them and came over to our home that evening.

We had asked a couple in the church to come and be a witness to the meeting (the husband was out of town) but the wife came. The elders, Dave Barrueto and Jim Cameron,basically came to see how we were and told us that they had been in contact with other pastors to get advice and that they had contacted a lawyer to find out their legal liability.

I remember them explaining that because we had reported the crime, they had no legal obligation to report it as well. That since it is in the "states" hands they were not going to talk about the case with us. They wanted to know how they could help us in the process of healing, forgiving, and reconciliation. Our friend that was with us has a background working in sexual assault centers. She directly asked the elders if there was any information that came out of their private meeting that we (the parents of the victim) should know? Any new information at all.

Jim Cameron was at the original meeting and knew exactly what Patrick had admitted to doing to our child in front of Eric and I. The elders looked at each other and said,"no, nothing to add." They reminded us they were going to stay out of the legal stuff.

Approximately 2 1/2weeks after our initial discovery of the abuse and the elders private meeting with Patrick , Jim Cameron, was interviewed by the sheriff detective working on our case. Jim Cameron ends his statement to the sheriff with, "in his opinion Patrick wanted to stay pure, but wanted to know what it felt like to kiss ....... and it was just the wrong place and wrong age."

We received a copy of Jim Cameron's statement well after Patrick's sentencing was over. When I saw that Jim Cameron minimized the crime in his statement and in my opinion, he even lies by omission, I will have to admit my heart filled with hate.

This man along with Eddie and Dave Barrueto knew everything....he knew that we as the victims parents didn't know what had really been done to our child. He and the others in authority allowed the church congregation to believe what happened was "only a kiss" and "just inappropriate affections."

A grown man (22yrs old), goes into a minors (under 12yrs old), bedroom at night and sexually molests them....and his statement is, ".....just the wrong place and wrong age."Who was this elder protecting? Certainly not our child, the victim!

It was not for six more months until we would learn actually what happened to our child. Six months the elders let us believe "it was only a kiss" (which by the way....we never minimized. From day one we considered even a kiss from a 22yr old to be sexual abuse and so does the state of Washington!) Six months! If you remember from an earlier post our child had a "dream like" memory. The memory was very minimal and the elders along with Patrick and his parents knew that. The elders knew they did not need to legally report the crime, so they did not.

The state had no reason to believe nor did they have proof our child had been molested beyond a kiss and groomed by a pedophile. So, they entered a plea agreement to avoid trial (to spare the need for our child to testify.) In an earlier post I outlined his sentencing and the conditions. Not only did these men (Eddie, Dave Barrueto, and Jim Cameron) influence the outcome of the charges filed by their silence but they greatly influenced a congregation to support a seriously dangerous pedophile. Somehow, the elders were able to gain sympathy and support from the congregation for Patrick and his "innocent" parents.

Patrick was able to gather well over 30 letters of support (asking the judge to be merciful) stating that Patrick had such outstanding character, he was an asset to our community, repentant, even statements that had the audacity to boast that Patrick had taken responsibility for his crime.

It appeared that the elders didn't have any real concerns about Patrick being a predator. I believe even knowing all the details of what Patrick actually did to our child, the elders still believe "It was only inappropriate affection."

Early on, it became clear to Eric and I after we had a few interactions with the elders that "something wasn't right." We didn't have a scripture to quote, just our gut feeling (Holy Spirit) to follow. After a series of attempts where we tried to explain to the elders our belief that what in fact happened, was bigger, and more serious than "just inappropriate affection." We were cautioned about gossip, becoming bitter, that is was wrong to listen to "worldly" psychology, and that we needed to get to a place of forgiveness (which in their interpretation meant immediate reconciliation with Patrick and our family) we knew we needed to break from this congregation and it's leadership.

This was the start of our isolation. Some would say the isolation was self inflicted. I would argue we were collateral damage that the leadership was willing to lose in order to save their church. To stand with our family would have meant standing against the Rojas family. Remember the father and mother had something to hide. The elders, idolized Eddie Rojas! The elders were "used" by Eddie Rojas BUT they had an opportunity to tell the truth to us and the authorities BUT they chose to stay silent.

If the elders felt they needed to stay silent out of biblical obligation, then why, within days after Patrick was sentenced (and protected from further charges in our case) did they break "privilege" and tell a room full of church members that they knew detailed information about what he did to our child and that they didn't report it?

Can you believe after that information came to light many families stayed with the church for months? Currently, the church, Peninsula Household of Faith Community Church, in Port Orchard, WA. is still fellowshipping under the authority of the same two elders. They are still supporting Patrick David Rojas.

It has been said that we are the ones that are in sin....we are angry, bitter, and unforgiving....

I reject that! First the abuse from Patrick. Then we were betrayed by our leaders, whom we trusted to do what was right and stand with the victim and their family. They should have called out their brother in Christ to take responsibility for his actions and not hide behind lawyers. They should have preferred the victim over the abuser. They should have mourned with those whom mourned!

They shouldn't have been afraid to educate themselves on the subject of sexual abuse. They should have reported all that they knew of the crime for the benefit of the abuser receiving a proper sentence and more importantly so the victim could receive proper help as soon as possible! (not six months later)



Melissa said...

I agree with the problems you are stating. From a biblical perspective, have these elders ever repented of their sin to to you and your family in a genuine effort to reconcile?

Danielle said...


Dave nor Jim have contacted myself or my husband since my husband communicated that we were leaving the church and didn't want to be contacted by either of them. I know that the Barrueto family still fellowships with the Rojas boys that are in the area and I have heard conflicting reports about the relationship between the Cameron family and the boys. Truthfully, actions would need to precede words for us to seriously consider any form of reconciliation. It would go a long way for Jim to admit that he mislead the detective investigating our case. They could always help us pay off our existing legal bills. BUT neither of those things will ever happen....