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

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Center

We received the phone call to set up the date for our child to be interviewed by the specialist. In Kitsap county a child that has been sexually victimized never has to talk to an actual sheriff detective. They are instead interviewed by someone with specialized training in this area. Eric and I took our child to this appointment. We knew ahead of time that we were not going to be allowed in the interview room. This was a huge deal to me. This rule, although I understand why it is in place, almost caused me not to proceed in officially reporting the crime. The child enters a room with the specialist and is audio and video recorded by a stranger.

Meanwhile, Eric and I sat in a small room where there were few toys, a chalk board, a small kids table, and a specially built play-toy in the corner. The room was depressing, the building was run down and full of clutter in the hallway. Everything about the place felt yucky. And this was where we were at to get help. Any victim of sexual abuse in the
Kitsap area had to come to this particular building to start the legal process. The appearance of the building did not bring on emotions of confidence or importance. Quite the opposite!

When you have a child that has been victimized they are given an advocate that is suppose to explain the process to you and help you make contacts that you might need to make. Our advocate was nice enough but right off when we briefly told her what we knew about our case at that time, the advocate stated that no charges would probably be filed because of the limited information. This was discouraging to say the least.

The detective involved in our case had made a similar statement. He had said although this guy (Patrick) was clearly a predator he didn't have much to go on and not to expect charges to be filed by the prosecutor. It was very frustrating to hear this from the people that were supposed to be on the side of justice. Clearly a crime had been committed. Why was it so hard to bring about justice?  They live the life of injustice day in and day out. Many, many cases similar to ours don't get prosecuted and that is both unjust and scary to me!

The Process

The process is necessary. If we didn't suffer through the process then the true nature of Patrick wouldn't have been uncovered! As slow and painfully frustrating as the process was, I am so glad we stayed the course. We now know for certain what happened to our child. We also know that we are not crazy and that Patrick is clearly a danger to society and children in particular.

Did we see justice in the process? NO.

Was the system played by the Rojas family? YES.

Is it over? NO.

Francis Edward Rojas AKA Eddie could still be located, turned in, and prosecuted on felony charges which could also lead to his daughters being finally questioned . All the state needs is one confirmation that the information gathered from Patrick himself is real from an actual victim and the state would be able to press additional charges on Patrick for the other minor victims he referred to in his psycho-sexual evaluation. This could lead to some real justice. This is bigger than us.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

First Court Apperance

One of the things that the prosecutor did well was remain sensitive to the fact that seeing Patrick for the first time since our original meeting was going to be very emotional. The prosecutor invited us to enter the courtroom with her. The room was not how you would imagine it to be. When we entered the door, we were a few feet away from the middle row of pews (best way to describe them). We entered from the side,the pews ended at the wall. There was enough room for six people to comfortably sit in a row and there were about six rows. Facing us was a jury box, a desk for the attorneys, a bench along the wall and the judge's desk.

It was uncomfortably small. Patrick's father, Eddie Rojas, and Patrick's brothers, Jairus, Benjamin, and David, were sitting in the back row. Patrick was in the front. We were in the middle. We were so close I could have whispered to Patrick and he would have heard me. He sat stoic. I wanted to yell at him. I just sat. I remember feeling weak.

Prior to this court date Patrick's attorney entered a plea of "not guilty." This was a change of plea hearing. It was at this time, when Patrick was to enter a plea of guilty. This is when he was ordered to take the sexual-psycho evaluation along with some other temporary conditions.

When it was all over we continued to sit in the room because we didn't want to interact with Patrick or his family. We were waiting for an "all clear" before we left. As we sat, stunned, numb, in disbelief that we were in the company of all these wife beaters and drunk drivers, Patrick's attorney appeared and approached us. He wanted to know if we were still going to attend church at PHF. I knew immediately why he was asking. He knew we hadn't been attending, but hadn't officially left the church. One of the court conditions was that Patrick couldn't attend the same church we were attending. Mind you, this was well before we had even considered really leaving the church. I looked at the attorney and said, "We aren't sure." He went on to elaborate that if we weren't going to attend then Patrick would be able to attend the church. Like I cared! I said, "I know what you are getting at and we don't know what we are doing!" The attorney slithered away. Later we found out that the prosecutor specifically told Patrick's attorney not to talk to us. This was only the start.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

What Is Important

Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.

Ambrose Redmoon

It is more important to stand for something than to live a convenient life.
Is it fun? No.

Is it easy? No.
Is it the right thing to do? Yes.
Can you make a difference? Hopefully.

One thing I regret is letting Patrick stay the night at my house. I also regret that I didn't immediately tell everyone at the church the information I knew from the psycho-sexual evaluation in June. Eddie and Kathy would have been exposed. I believe maybe then that they would not have had the same support in hiding from and avoiding the authorities. I would hope that most of the people that ended up writing letters of support for Patrick would not have.

I had a letter drafted and ready to send to the church congregation but was strongly discouraged from sending it out for two reasons. One reason was that we could have been "sued for slander" and another was that we could have been hindering the case. The state really didn't have any idea that the Rojas family would run and that Patrick would be supported in keeping secret additional victims. The state underestimated Patrick and Eddie Rojas.

We kept quiet because we didn't want to hinder the case.

Now Eddie is on the run with key witnesses. And the additional information attached to our case is protected under a plea agreement, I feel the case has already been hindered and not by us. As far as the possibility of slander charges go--lets' just say we no longer have anything worth suing for.

As one of my good friends would say, "Bring it on!" This is where the above quote by Ambrose Redmoon speaks to me. Please be on the look out for Eddie Rojas and his family. And please be aware of what Patrick looks like. Because it is more important to spread the word to protect other possible victims then it is to live an easy and convenient life.


The sister of some family friends is a lawyer in another state. Our friends contacted her and started asking her questions about some things that were happening in our case. She offered to talk with me and to answer any questions I might have.

When you are a victim of a crime, the state takes the case over. You really don't have a say as to how they proceed in the matter. We were in no position to hire an attorney to get advice on some of the different questions that we had. This women spent countless hours reviewing case law, helping us draft letters to the authorities, reminding me what mattered and encouraging me. This is a women I had never met, but she helped me personally on this case and spoke life into me. At times, she helped me have the strength to go the next mile. She helped because she knew this was an issue that all to often isn't taken seriously. She lives clear across the country, yet God allowed our paths to cross.

This is another picture of how God took care of us.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Your Church

What would your church do? Have you ever asked? Do you know if there are any known sexual predators currently attending your church?

I sense that many people would be uncomfortable thinking about asking such questions.
If you have been following this blog at all I strongly encourage you to make an appointment with your pastor and ask them questions about this subject matter. If the pastor has knowledge of a sexual predator in your midst and especially if you have children, wouldn't you want to know? What are the safeguards set in place to protect innocent children and families from being groomed and victimized? Does your pastor believe every form of sexual abuse should be reported? Are you aware that if the abuser is five years older than the victim, the abuser would be considered a pedophile. What is the church's protocol if someone presents possible child sexual abuse to the church leadership? If it is not to call the police, then you should educate the pastor and have the policy immediately changed or leave the church immediately. This should be a huge red flag.
The link to the "Darkness to Light" website is a great resource to help educate your church leadership and congregation. I strongly recommend the use of this resource to help educate your friends, family, and church family. Remember: awareness is the best prevention! I cannot stress this enough. This is something you can do that will help shine light on such a dark issue. So many people are uncomfortable talking about this subject and that is where the enemy gains power. One of the things I like so much about Darkness to Light is the fact that it is designed to specifically educate adults so the children can hopefully stay innocent and just be children.

What can you do to help our family? Educate everyone around you by asking them to check out Darkness to Light. Every adult that has a greater awareness of this epidemic could help save a child from being abused.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

My Mom

My mother became a Christian while we were attending this church and then started attending with us. It's interesting to me, now that I think about the fact that she was personally involved with the Rojas family and both of the elders' families. My mom did laundry for the Cameron family who at the time had 10 children. She regularly went over to the Barrueto household to help them organize, and my mom really loved the Rojas children and would try and bless them in different ways. My mom felt loved and very comfortable attending this church and became personally attached to many of the families. This was significant, because my mom was normally kind of a recluse and typically only fellowshiped with her family.

Not unlike many of the adults, my mom didn't want to believe that the worst was possible in what was going on. For many months, my mom continued to fellowship with the church. This was certainly a strain on our relationship. At the time, my mom didn't understand the raw emotions inside of me.

I can remember my mom and stepfather coming over to my house and talking to me about my anger. It was during this conversation that I finally revealed to my mom that I too was a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. She was devastated. My mom is an avid reader and did some reading on the subject matter to try and understand more. She felt bad that I never told her.

In June when we received the devastating news from Patrick's psycho-sexual evaluation, I called my mom and stepfather over so I could tell them the news.This was shocking! Unbelievable! But my mom never questioned my word. My mom attended the church less and less,but like so many others didn't want to lose the fellowship.

My mom and stepfather played a key roll in the release of information at the August 20th Heads of Household meeting where the elders finally revealed that they did indeed know the details of Patrick's crime all along. Although my mother wasn't really welcomed at the meeting,she showed up with the express mission of making sure everyone in attendance knew that Eddie and Kathy knew of Patrick's pedophile behavior prior to the crime against our child and that Patrick had additional victims and other sexual deviant behaviors. No one knew until this meeting that the elders also were privy to incriminating information that they withheld.

The ripple effect extended to my mother. She has yet to attend another church. I am grateful that she does still have faith and still loves God.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Father Protects

My child was violated, under my own roof, while I was in the house. I am the father, my child’s protector…how could this have happened ?

This is one of those crimes that “happen to other families.” You see it on TV or hear about it from someone and you feel terrible for the family victimized. For most, that feeling leaves just as quickly as it came, because you are not the family. We are. I am. I am the father who all too often reminds himself that it did happen. I was unaware. The fact that I was unaware didn’t help then and it still doesn’t. In fact, for me, it makes it worse.

I was completely deceived by one of the most unexpected people…my pastor’s own son. I understand now that it was textbook grooming that was accomplished over a long period of time. My entire household was played and all it took was one instance of allowing my guard down due to (false) loyalty and trust to become a victim. It was shocking when I realized what had taken place and that this was now our reality. Life changed forever that day.

Just as shocking for me were the immediate reactions from the elders of my church leadership, who couldn’t understand why I was unwilling to fellowship with the Rojas family. I was insulted and completely disrespected by Jim and Dave on multiple occasions only to find that all their actions were based on one falsehood after another. And the most hypocritical irony of them all was that the entire time they held the truth in their hearts while they were attempting to manipulate mine with lies.

One of the most appalling aspects of this whole process has been the lies. The lying, right to my face, by fellow fathers! One being the man I answered to and served as my pastor and the two idolizing (him) elders, who in meeting after meeting withheld the whole truth. They were continuously deceiving us and the authorities every step along the way until their agenda was met: Keep and protect the pedophile from being held accountable.

I view all the lies and deceit as one drawn-out act. The pastor’s son committed a crime and they all joined hands only to fall together. They are all fallen in God’s eyes and answering to Him is the justice that I know will occur.

I just shake my head, knowing the end result of how our church “leadership” dealt with this. The elders who were involved from day one are carrying on. Even though they blatantly lied to protect a pedophile, they are in the same church building, with some of the original families who still attend for their own convoluted reasoning. Whatever.

I can vividly picture the moment that the CPS representative asked Eddie where his wife and daughters were. It was in the Kitsap courtroom where Kathy and the girls had attended previous court sessions, but not this last one. Eddie skirted the question and simply asked for a few days of time before anyone tried to contact them. Later we realized this was actually a request for a head start in order for Eddie to take his wife and girls into hiding.

A father protects. Are you supporting a father who is protecting his pedophile son NOT his innocent daughters?

I am left walking away with my head held high and my fist held even higher. My heart is hardened at any given moment when I focus on the injustice, but it holds onto the hope of seeing justice served.

Monday, May 18, 2009

How Are We Doing? (Me - part 2)

I used drugs when I was very young. I was promiscuous. I had a nervous breakdown when I was pregnant with my second child, my daughter. I had no idea until now that all these behaviors are textbook for someone who doesn't tell or receive the proper help for childhood sexual abuse. I had been to a counselor a few other times in life, but had never revealed the sexual abuse even to those people. This was really the first time I was willing to talk about this to anyone other than my husband and a few close friends. I decided to talk about it to hopefully help my child.

I started working on the issues and the baggage that I still carried from the abuse. But when we received the news from the prosecutor that additional abuse had occurred towards our child by Patrick and that his parents Eddie and Kathy Rojas had previous knowledge of his pedophile behavior, I had to shut down. My counselor said, "It was what I needed to do in order to protect myself." It was all I could do not to lose it. I needed all my energy to help my family.

I haven't yet been able to revisit the subject other than right here, on this blog. Money for the counselor is always a factor and knowing what I am walking into emotionally holds me back. Maybe someday? I have been on three different anti-depressants and I think we have found the one that will help me. With the move and the anti-depressant I am feeling much better. I feel alive. I have hope for a better future. I can fathom attending a church again someday.

I do still think about this everyday. I am trying to accept that this is my life. I think that because of my past and because I am an adult and understand all of the ramifications with everything involved this has devastated me the most in the here and now. I am hoping that God will bring awareness and healing via our story and our experience. If one child can be spared the devastation of childhood sexual abuse from me speaking out, then it will have made all of this a little more bearable.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

How Are We Doing? (Me - part 1)

I have already talked a lot about my emotional state in other posts. I remember being shocked and confused. I constantly thought to myself, "This can't be happening." I would tell myself this, but in my gut I knew it was bad. I remember feeling physically nauseous and weak in my stomach. Whenever I would be driving alone, I would sob. On occassion, it would be so bad I would need to pull over. I sobbed a few times late at night when I was by myself at home. Otherwise, I felt like a robot going through the motions of life. If you would ask me how I was, I usually would just look at you or say, "Medium." Medium was a good day. That usually meant I hadn't cried and I had been able to do something beyond just surviving, such as show up at our homeschool co-op, do school with my middle children, make necessary phone calls, or make it to an appointment. Anyone that was in my life at the time that required me to carry the relationship just fell away. I even lost contact with some family members. There were a few people that regularly contacted me. I was not actively reaching out to anyone at the time.

It was really hard for me to make all the calls in regards to our case. Eric handled the calls at first, but then it required me to get involved. When we finally entered counseling, this took up chunks of time and this was very emotional. At first, it was just two of us in counseling and then it was clear we needed to add another child. Soon after we found someone that Eric was able to counsel with.

I remember saying, "I hate!" I used to look at people and smile when I was in public. Now every male person was a potential abuser. I did not want to smile at a pedophile. So, I would give blank looks or avoid eye contact.

Of course my past abuse was brought to the forefront of my mind. There were some eerie similarities. I was about the same age. It was my caregiver's husband (someone that was trusted by our family). It happened at night and my memory of it has always been very dreamlike. I remembered running into him over the years and the fear that I felt when I saw him.

When I was somewhat older and not in his wife's care anymore, he had driven by me when I was walking home one afternoon and stopped and offered me a ride home. I didn't know how to say no. I got into his truck. He took me home and saw that my mom wasn't home, he asked to see the inside of our house and to wait for my mom. I can still see him today, sitting in the chair in the corner. I was on the couch, just wishing he would leave. After some time, he finally left. It was dark now and I pretended to go to bed. I turned off the lights. I turned the TV down to a whisper and lied right in front of it. I remember feeling scared.

We had a wood door that wasn't very secure. All of a sudden there was a huge shove on the door. I ran to the door and shoved back and pulled the curtains aside and saw my babysitter's husband. He ran off. I called my mom where she was and she came home as soon as she could. I'm not sure why, but my mom didn't call the police then. The next day, my mom did call the police, but it was too late. They said they couldn't do anything. I believe my mom called the abuser and told him to stay away. But I never told my mom what he had done to me when I occasionally stayed the night at their home,during the time period his wife was my babysitter. This was something I lived with.

My counselor used to explain what living with this kind of knowledge is like: "It's like someone secretly holding an inflated balloon under water. They spend so much energy trying to hold it under, while pretending they aren't. That's what it's like trying to live life as if the sexual abuse didn't happen or didn't matter."

Friday, May 15, 2009

How Are We Doing? (part 4)

My toddler and my baby won't remember anything. But at such formitive ages they had two parents who were only shells of who they had been with the previous four children. I am still really sad about that.

In some ways, the older kids tried to keep the behavior standards with them better than we did as parents. My toddler ended up with a lot of anger issues to deal with. I think he was frustrated often by the lack of boundaries and the inconstancy of his schedule. I think he didn't know what to expect from me from day-to-day. I do see a change in him now, as I have been more available to him emotionally.

I think my baby, who is now the toddler, has fared fairly well. Maybe it was the nursing that kept me connected to her emotionally and helped her feel secure. She was nurtured by everyone in the family. She was the new cute, fun, and lovable baby. She was a pretty happy baby, which I think helped. I consider that Gods' grace. A fussy baby at this point quite possibly would have pushed me over the edge.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

How Are We Doing? (part 3)

My middle children will always remember this time in their lives as a dark time, but don't have a clue as to why right now. What they do know is that Patrick tricked our family and hurt one of their siblings. They know that because of the way the leaders have dealt with it, we needed to leave the church. Because one of these children was a toddler and the other a baby when we started to attend this church, this was the only life they really knew. I am sure this was a very confusing time for them.

The mother they previously knew, literally shut down in many ways. Don't get me wrong. I still got out of bed. I still made sure they were fed and supervised, but in many ways Eric and I were in survival mode. I remember my mom being frustrated with me because I would ignore certain behaviors that previously I would have immediately dealt with and corrected. I literally remember thinking, "in the scheme of my life, that certain behavior doesn't matter." I did not have the mental energy to deal with something silly like the child drinking juice in the living room. Does it really matter anyway? Compared to what was happening I was just happy the child wasn't having a fit or fighting with a sibling. If drinking juice in the living room kept the peace, so be it.

Although, this was what I needed to do to get through this time, it did not come without consequences. My four youngest children are still being re-trained.

Both of the middle children lost friends. One of them in particular lost one really good friend. They were a delight to watch together. Their personalities really complemented each other. This friend's parents chose to write a letter of support for Patrick and as far as I know to this day have continued attending Peninsula Household of Faith under the same elders. We have completely cut our friendship off with this family. Our child has actually cried over the last two years a few times over the loss of this friend. As a parent, it is so painful to experience their grief. This child has had dreams about them being friends again and has yet to make another friend that close.

The other child has had an easier time re-adjusting with friendships. This child already had a good friend outside of the church that they were able to continue to see regularly and has been able to make additional friends since. This child talks about the fact that they miss worship time at church.

TV was something that was viewed on a very limited basis by my children prior to what happened in our family. TV and DVD's were used to occupy much of my children's time during this period of our lives. I still feel guilty about that.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

How Are We Doing? (part 2)

Another child of ours wasn't the direct victim of the molestation, but was used to get to the victim. This child has gone through many emotions at different times. This child has a greater understanding of what happened and what it means than the actual victim. This child has huge trust issues.

Patrick was someone that was mentoring this child. Patrick constantly was talking about God, integrity, respecting your parents, and doing what was right. He even talked to this child about purity and at the same time was literally victimizing our other child. This child fully understands all of that.

Patrick seemed like he was so committed to God and serving Christ. He was a wolf in sheep's clothing. During this time, this particular child became very jaded. As a mother, I'd worked hard to facilitate this child having an innocent childhood that would be free of issues like sexual abuse. It crushed me to see his broken spirit. That is the best way to describe what this betrayal did to this particular child: it broke his spirit.

Our fun-loving child that would interact with anyone, anytime, without hesitation was instantly changed. I would say that, like myself, being around friends is what use to give this child inspiration and would fill this child with joy. Almost all his friends fell away and the few that he still had lived 1/2 hour away and lead completely different lives, which made fellowship difficult at best. This child has battled with emotions and has settled on anger most of the time. This has been hard to live with and love through.

This child is coming out on the other side of anger now, but still has some huge trust issues and is very much against organized church. This child has stopped counseling and returned to counseling a couple of times. This child still believes in God and believes He is the way, the truth and the life, but has a very difficult time having a relationship with Him. My hope for this child is that he develop a couple of really close friends that love God and are as like-minded in their convictions to live out certain Godly principles as this particular child. My hope is that God will allow this child to trust a few individual friends even during a time when he doesn't really trust anyone.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

How Are We Doing? (part 1)

A natural question you might be having is, "How is the victim (survivor, as I like to say) doing now?" I will say right now that our child is doing well, as far as I can tell. We stayed in counseling until the counselor felt our child was stable and we were given specific things to watch for that might require us to return to counseling.

There are different stages that someone usually goes through in order to process what has happened to them. The stages are important for true healing. Because of the age of the victim and the complete inability to put any context to what actually happened to them, the stages will likely have big gaps between them. Immediately following the discovery of the crimes, the child was fearful of losing all friends and the fellowship with the church. This is exactly what happened, because of the way the elders handled everything. It didn't have to be that way.

Also, our child dealt with some anxiety and fear issues. The child's limited memory has protected them from a lot right now. Is the memory limited out of protection? It is amazing what the mind can do to help protect oneself. This child does have a hard time expressing real feelings about the situation. This was where the counseling really had an impact. Through everything, I will say that this child held the strongest connection with God. Our child really held tight to some basic scriptures. I didn't respond that way, but was so thankful to see this child really holding onto scripture.

The future is what makes me a little nervous and is the reason why we choose to handle everything in the different ways that we have. We really want to minimize any lasting effects childhood sexual abuse can have on our child.

A counselor will tell you that there are typical trigger points in a survivor's life. For this child, it will likely be when they reach an age where they have true romantic feelings for someone of the opposite sex, when this child gets married, and when this child has their first daughter. The issues at these times could be minor or there could be traumatic memories or strong emotions. Only time will tell. Of course, we pray that the effects will be minimal to nothing, but the reality is that our child will be dealing with this for the rest of their lives. That is where my anger comes from.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Don't Drink The Kool-Aid (part 2)

When we were attending the church, we didn't see things the way we do now. We saw respectful children. We saw families that were together, seemingly happy. We saw people that loved God and wanted to be servants of Christ. We saw families that believed it was possible to raise Christ-centered children. We saw a big, loving family. We saw people that actually put others before themselves and served others with joyful attitudes. We really thought we were in "the" church that had it right. The church preached accountability in love and not compromising the word of God.

Something that was always preached by pastor Eddie was taking responsibility for your actions. Yet when there was a real-life situation, Eddie supported his son by helping him get an attorney to avoid taking responsibility for his crimes. When we received the call from the attorney and realized he was hired by Patrick, I knew something wasn't right. The hiring of an attorney was so contradictory to how I would have expected the Rojas family to handle the situation.

It was also so strange when the leaders would actually get noticeably agitated if someone mentioned that Patrick was possibly a pedophile. These men knew all the details of his crime. His father, Eddie, even knew of other victims. But NO, Patrick was not a pedophile. It was simply inappropriate affections. Isn't it scary to think that these men, Eddie Rojas, Jim Cameron, and Dave Barrueto, believe that a 22-year-old man who has sexually violated six minor children, including a baby, is so trivial as to call it only inappropriate affections. I remember one of the elders making a comment about the fact that the Bible isn't really clear on this issue, which made it hard for them to know biblically what to do.

One thing I have mentioned before, but is worth a second mention, was the fact that the Rojas family didn't miss a beat when all of this happened. The next day after our meeting to the outside world, all was well with the Rojas's. They continued their same daily schedule. At the time, one of the sister's was also tutoring a different child of mine. I remember during the week she called to let me know she would still like to tutor this child if that was okay. I was shocked. No, she couldn't continue tutoring my other child. Her brother had committed a crime against our child and had hired an attorney and no one seemed bothered by that. No way was she going to tutor my child.

The pressure to come to forgiveness and reconciliation was huge! It wasn't true forgiveness without reconciliation, according to Jim Cameron. They spoke about forgiveness, but their actions and countenance communicated something entirely different. They were very concerned that we had become angry and bitter. Hello! Our child was sexually molested. YES, we were angry. The bitterness did come, but not without merit. The betrayal by the leaders and the betrayal by so many in our congregation did cause bitterness to grow. Both emotions are normal, healthy, even biblical. If you disagree, read some psalms.

I believe with all my heart God was angry! Sin comes in if we stay in our anger forever and turn from God. A person would have to be without emotion to endure what our family did and not end up with some negative emotions. When the elder's told us to "trust God," it was as if they really were saying, "IF you were trusting God, you wouldn't be upset. And watch out, because if you are angry, you are in sin. We are to count all things with joy."
I felt crazy. I couldn't go along with what they were insinuating, even if that meant I was in sin. I knew it would be devastating and wrong to put my child and her abuser in the same room and push reconciliation between our families. Thank God that He brought people alongside us that re affirmed that we were not crazy and that we needed to stop drinking the Kool-Aid.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Don't Drink The Kool-Aid (part 1)

It should be obvious from previous posts the disregard of authority that the leadership had. Technically the leaders didn't tell us not to call the police, but they sure didn't suggest we should report that a crime had been committed. By looking at the non-action of the elders and Eddie, I believe they communicated quite well that they didn't believe the police had any right being involved in this matter. Eddie never reported Patrick's previous crimes. Jim and Dave never told the detective the detailed information that they knew and that was crucial to our case. It was stated more than once that biblically Patrick just needed to confess his crimes to them and repent.

According to the elders, women are easily fooled. Women are weak. Women are to obey their husband. The man is the head of the house. The man is the authority. If the man is the head of the household and the woman is in her place then all will fall in line. Truthfully, I struggled with this! Somehow I thought that my struggling with this was sin. In a meeting that I did not attend, the leader of Household of Faith Church, Gregg Harris, actually told one of the men in attendance that he was not to believe his wife.
I have verified this statement with multiple eyewitnesses. There was actually a young man in the meeting that had the guts to stand up and defend this man's wife. This man's wife had seen first hand the sexual psycho evaluation report that Patrick had taken and this man was stating that he knew from his wife that certain information was not gossip, but was fact. The information was dismissed, because none of the men in the room had seen the information with their own two eyes.

One way the leadership tried to control was by what information was shared. Most of the information that was divulged was in the way of "Heads of Households" meetings. Only the men were to attend. The elders would share information and it was up to that man to relay to his wife what information he saw fit. I know for a fact that many men didn't share much of the information with their wives. A woman could have attended the meeting, but it would have been frowned upon. Women are considered too "emotional."

Also, the leaders directed the women and children not to discuss in any way what was happening, not even in their own family. If the child or wife had questions they were to go to the husband and if he couldn't answer the question he was to talk with the elders. Any discussion outside of this model was considered gossip and a sin. It was also stated that this matter was between the Rojas family and the Schneider family and it would be wrong to take up your "brother's" offense.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Why'd They Stay

I do think that one reason it was hard for so many families to even consider what was really happening was because they didn't want to leave the church. I think most of the families attending this church really believed there was no other church in the nearby area to attend. This was "the" church. The only church that had it all right. Any other church would have too many areas of compromise. I know our family truly felt this way.

The families at this church were too connected and didn't want to part ways. I remember thinking that the families could meet anywhere else, just not under Jim and Dave. Gather, worship God, fellowship anywhere else but there. I felt like the adults didn't want to shake the apple cart. 

It was like no one wanted to see the truth, because then they would have to deal with it. 

These were intelligent men and women who sought the Lord. Maybe this is the unconscious reason why they allowed the leaders to control so much of the information. The fear of doing something that wasn't biblical was so overwhelming it debilitated the congregation from any action at all. They allowed the leaders to dictate what was biblical while they continued on with life.

Friday, May 8, 2009


Wow, as I look back I can't believe I functioned on the outside as well as I did. I was numb on the inside. I had nothing to give, yet I had a child that had been violated, one that was used in the process, two who lost all their friends and the only life that they knew and hadn't a clue as to why, a toddler, and a six-month-old baby. It was because of my children I was able to keep going, to fight the depression, to face what needed to be faced and to deal with what needed to be done. As far away as I felt God was, I can see He cared for me in this time.

It was the friendships outside of the church that beared our burden with us. What is significant about this is although these were long-time friends, we had become somewhat distant over the years. Mainly, because of the church we were with. Our lives were so different now from our friends lives before this church. I slowly but surely distanced myself from previous friends while being a member of this church. Not intentionally, but I did. In this time of great heartache, there was a friend in particular that put my failure as a friend behind her and really stepped up and helped me personally in ways I am still humbled by. This is someone God used to carry me personally through every step of the way. I am very grateful for my dear, sweet friend Deb. We cried together, we swore together, we laughed together, we plotted together and we handed out flyers together. She lifted our family in prayer. She was real, she was steady and she was clearly on our side.

There is another dear women who I doubt realizes how much her kindness meant to both me and one of my children. This women didn't know me, but had heard some of our story and wanted to help in some way. She happened to own horses. She offered (through a mutual friend) to give riding instruction to one of my children as a way to minister to them. I was supposed to call her, I never did. She called me and left a message, I didn't return the call. She was persistent and called again. This time we connected. We set up a time to meet and the relationship began. This person was someone that when she prayed for me in person I felt something. I know she prayed for me regularly. In this time where I couldn't bareley trust my own instincts, God allowed me to trust this women. I was able to have some very real and vulnerable conversations with her. Kathy L., thank you for your sensitivty to the Holy Spirit. Thank your girls for their friendship as well.

My sista from anotha mother, Shana, came into my life as all of this hit. She has been consistent and very sensitive. Shana is someone I feel safe with. Another God thing! I shut down with almost everyone around me and I questioned everyone's motives, but somehow I was able to trust Shana. Shana knew a lot of the players, but wasn't really connected to them. It helped a lot to have her at my side and on my side! Thank you for watching my back! She is something good in all of this.

The Hannula's were also a family that always seemed to know just the right time to contact us. That would be another God thing! They provided much needed fellowship, prayer, encouragement, compassion, and generous gifts at specific times when we really needed to be cared for. It seems to be the type of friendship that comes and goes, but we always know they are there for us and standing in the gap for us. We love you guys! Thank you for caring for us!

I thank God for using these people to minister to me and my family!

Thursday, May 7, 2009


Don't get me wrong...there was one family that regularly went to the mat for us from the church. It cost them a great deal. They were one of two families that started the church, yet they ended up leaving the church as well. They were constantly going to the elders and asking them to find out certain facts but the elders kept everyone at bay by stating they wouldn't do anything until the legal process was complete.

Another young couple with small children left the church because they didn't like how the church was responding to the crime. These two families were labeled "Schneider followers." Not Christ followers. Not moved by the Holy Spirit.

There were two families that specifically were "ministering" to our family, but with leadership approval. I suspect one of the men in the group was reporting back to the elders about our family and about our spiritual and emotional state. There was a limit to the value of their support because of that two-way street. The men in these families were fairly passive men who really did want to support us, but were also afraid of doing something non-scriptural in their support of our family. They really had faith that the elders would in the end do the right thing. I would say that these men, in all their good intentions, were following the party line.

There were also a couple other families that helped us practically and spiritually. I remember someone saying they were uncomfortable with what was going on, that they believed the elders probably should step down. That they knew things were wrong, but didn't have a scripture to put to it. So, the answer they came up with was to stay with the church. They felt bad for us and wanted to help us, but they were continuing on with the church. Yes, the elders were flawed, but that wasn't a reason to leave, they thought. They believed strongly in the biblical chain of command, so to speak. One of the men believed he could help in changing the church for the better.

All of these families eventually left.

I don't want these families to feel like we didn't appreciate or acknowledge what they DID DO for us. During this time the friendship, the insider information, the practical help was very meaningful. But in the end, like I have said in a previous post, when it really mattered, they continued on under the same leadership.

Once they did leave, we were contacted and it seemed as if they expected us to resume our friendships. I couldn't do it. I was no longer the same person. Everything was different now.

Some things do not heal with time. I have a feeling this is one of those things.

It's not even a matter of forgiveness. It's abstract. It's hard to put into words. Add to it that some of these people still interact with individuals from the main player category. That's the final deal breaker.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Of Course It Matters

It does effect me and others in my family if you have ongoing relationships with these people. I know you fellowship with them. My kids know you have relationships with them. How can you continue in friendship with these families and yet say you want to support our family? Very confusing! It's a passive way to avoid picking a clear side.

I had desperately wished in the past someone would stand up and call what is wrong-wrong. Instead, we once again get represented as angry and bitter. Why, just because your actions effect me, am I considered angry and bitter? Imagine you are having a birthday party. You invite me along with someone who, let's say for the sake of my analogy, wrote a letter on behalf of Patrick and maybe in the last six months has been on Eddie Rojas' or another Rojas' Facebook page, communicating with them. How am I suppose to feel towards this person? What exactly is the Godly response? How is it that these people have no shame? And out of insensitivity or not wanting to stand up for our family you just invite both of us and hope we play nice. So, I have to call ahead and ask who is attending and try and gracefully decline the invitation.
These were the passive ways our family was isolated. The person having the party was able to feel good about themselves because they invited us and it was sad we couldn't attend but the party must go on. Over and over this type of scenario occurred. When you have been hurt by a group of people in the way our family has been, you have to be a glutton for punishment or living in denial to want to purposefully interact in social settings with the main players.

Anyone who wrote a letter in support of Patrick is a main player. Anyone who still attended the church after the meeting where the elders admitted keeping secret the details of Patrick's sexual abuse of our child is a main player. Anyone who is currently in contact with any Rojas family member in any way other than asking the adult ones to turn their father in is a main player. Anyone who is in fellowship with the Cameron family or Barrueto family is a main player. Anyone who is supporting Patrick is a main player. Why would we want to interact with anyone of these people? Boundaries!

Some of the individuals who fall in one or more of the above categories have hurt us deeper than others because of the level of the relationship between our families and children prior to the crime. I could care less about the fact that some of the individuals are no longer in my life. A few sat on the fence and helped us in many ways along the way, but when push came to shove they didn't stand up on our behalf. These relationships have been the hardest to lose.

I am deeply grieved about these friendships, but even with time and therapy I can't get past the disappointment and the fact that they continue to be connected with others in the main player category. I get that these people didn't want to lose their network of friends, but that meant they were willing to lose me as their friend. We were the victims, completely innocent of wrongdoing, and yet we were the ones people wouldn't fight for. They would fight for the elder's and defend their inability to do what was right. Some would even defend Eddie and Kathy and Patrick. Under the circumstances that caused something in me to die. Maybe to protect myself from anymore pain? I do not think I could have survived any more pain. Soul-gripping pain. True heartbreak! This is why we are not friends anymore and why I am sad about it.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

What They Really Wanted

Days later, after the meeting regarding the conference, there was a Men's meeting at someone's house in the church. Eric received a phone call from Dave Barrueto. It started with some small talk and led into Dave asking Eric if he or our eldest son would be attending the meeting. Eric said he hadn't planned on attending the meeting. The elder went on to make some encouraging comments about how great it would be to have him there. The conversation ended.

After the phone conversation Eric pondered going to the meeting but just couldn't muster himself. It was a good thing he didn't go because we found out later that evening that Patrick actually showed up at this meeting to apologize to the men.

In Dave's conversation with Eric, he never mentioned that Patrick would be attending the meeting. No one other than the elders knew Patrick was going to show up at the meeting. What if Eric would have changed his mind and taken our eldest son to the meeting? Why did Dave have to be so passive and sneaky about something so important to us and something we had just agreed upon days earlier? Communication! Remember, look at what they do, not what they say!

I believe it was the very next night that Eric called Jim Cameron and officially said we were leaving the church. Jim's immediate response was,"Could you give that to me in writing?" I wanted to swear again! If they had it in writing that we were not attending the church, then Patrick could attend again. (There was a court order in effect that stated that Patrick couldn't attend the same church as our family.) Remember, Patrick's father was still the pastor of our church. "Eddie hadn't done anything wrong," so biblically he didn't need to step down as pastor, was the thinking.

The church leaders finally had what they REALLY wanted: Patrick back. That way, they could pretend that nothing had happened.

We never sent the letter stating we had left the church.

Another Meeting

By this point, Eric and I and two of our children were in therapy. It's a good thing! It was great for both Eric and I to be able to go to someone not connected in any way so that we could sort through our emotions and sort through how we interpreted others actions. Expensive but necessary! This was a vital part of the road to recovery and healing. Recovery from cult-like thinking and healing from all the betrayals.

When we arrived home from the Heritage Home Educators of Washington Conference, we made some phone calls and asked for a meeting with the elders, the Rojas's, and some other couples. We wanted them to see first-hand how we were being treated. (Another weird thing in all of this was that if someone didn't hear or see something first hand, "it wasn't to be fully believed. It was considered gossip.")

This meeting was held at a neutral home. After we left the meeting, Eric and I were almost certain we were done with the church. In no way were they concerned for our victimized child or sensitive to us as the parents. We were glad that the others in the room were able to see the elders and their demeanor and attitudes toward us. They were able to witness Eddie and his tirade about the non biblical therapy Patrick was having to sit through and the Bible study he was responding so well to. The only apology we received was from an oppressed Kathy Rojas who said," If she would have known we were attending the conference they wouldn't have had Patrick attend with their family." I wanted to say,"Whatever, you know we go every year." I was told from a third-party, Kathy knew we were attending . I just looked at her. Eddie quickly redirected the conversation. At that point I had stopped listening.

Everything ended with the basic sentiments that Dave and Jim were doing the "best they could" (this was a regular statement made in defense of the elders) and now finally understood that they needed to be more sensitive and over-communicate with us regarding Patrick. It was specifically mentioned that Patrick wouldn't just show up anywhere we might be. That one of the elders would notify Eric if Patrick would be at a gathering or meeting we would possibly be at. Remember this is a fairly small church and everyone is intertwined with each other. Some in the room felt like it was a positive meeting. As if all the previous passive preferences for Patrick by the elders and Eddie (the pastor) were a huge misunderstanding and it was all cleared up now.

On the other hand, Eric and I had the sense that the elders and the Rojas's didn't get any of it. They didn't want to even consider the fact that Patrick was a predator, even though the Rojas's secretly knew he'd had other victims. They didn't want to admit that he was even a threat, even though the elders knew the full details of what he had done to our child. They found it hard to grasp that we didn't even want to visually see Patrick, even if it was only from across a room full of people. They didn't understand why we couldn't just all gather together and worship God and act as if things were fine, because you know Patrick was repentant so it was all suppose to be good now.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Sometimes It's Appropriate To Swear

Eric and I planned to make a weekend out of the Heritage Home Educators of Washington Conference in 2007, just as we had for several years. We were needing the time away as a couple and I always needed the home schooling encouragement by this time of the year.

This conference happened to be just days after Patrick had plead guilty to "Communication with a minor for immoral purposes" and was also ordered to take a sexual psycho evaluation, with his actual sentencing still pending. 

So when I say the last person in the world I expected to see at this family-oriented conference was Patrick Rojas. I mean he was literally the last person I expected to see. In retrospect, I should have expected him to be there. Up to this point, almost always the opposite of what we expected to happen-happened. Patrick was at the conference with his parents, Eddie and Kathy, and his 12 other siblings.

The Rojas family members were actually guests of Michael Bradrick's, who is on the Heritage Home Educators of Washington board of directors. 

We called Jim and Dave (the elders) of our church and requested that they have Patrick leave the conference--that is was too hard for us to see him. As he didn't have any children he was homeschooling, it seemed reasonable that he leave so we could attend the conference in peace. Jim and Dave communicated to us that this was something out of their sphere as elders. They were willing to communicate our wishes, but they would not tell him that he had to leave.

It took hours for all of this to be relayed and many tears. We requested that Dave notify the leaders of the conference as to Patrick's current legal status. We fully expected them to want Patrick to leave this family event. Patrick was walking around freely amongst unknowing families and children. When Dave called back he said Patrick was indeed going to stay. They felt it was good for him to hear the word of God that was being preached. If we wanted they could help us avoid seeing him by communicating with each other on cell phones as to his location.

Once again they deferred to Patrick. We left devastated.

We asked Dave if they had notified the leaders of the conference. He said that they had and that the leaders of the conference felt they didn't have the right to ask Patrick to leave. "All were welcome to attend." 

Dave Barrueto actually stated that our request for Patrick to leave was "unreasonable."

Over an hour after the last phone conversation, we were driving home from Overlake where the conference was held when we received another call from Dave Barrueto, who said, "Patrick had been thinking and decided to leave the conference so we could attend it." The actual conference only had about two hours left by this point and we were one and a half hours away. All of this originally started with a phone call to Dave at around 7am that morning. Now it was about 3pm. Our response to Dave: "It's too little, too late!"

I have a friend that gave me a card during this time that reads, on the outside:

"Sometimes it's appropriate to swear."!

On the inside, it said, 

"Like now."
Totally *!@#ing appropriate.......This was one of those moments!