My Email Exchange With The Pastor Who Defends My Rapist



Last September, I wrote this blog post in response to a resurgence of publicity on two sexual abuse scandals that took place at Christ Church in Moscow, Idaho. Eleven days later, Doug Wilson, the pastor of Christ Church, emailed me and asked if I would be willing to meet with him. Over the next eight days we emailed back and forth. Doug made multiple attempts to intimidate me into no longer speaking publicly about my abuse and subsequent shaming. 

In an effort to continue exposing a dangerous epidemic in our communities and churches, I'd like to share that email exchange publicly now. 

(You'll notice that in one email I mention that I won't publish a document Doug sent me. A short time later a nearly identical document was published online as Doug's response to another blogger's post, and as such I feel comfortable posting it here.)



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Sept 21st 2015

Dear Natalie,

Greetings. I was writing to ask if you would be willing to get together with me for a visit. If not, I am writing to ask you for permission to write further (with more detail than this). I wanted to ask for your blessing beforehand because the last thing I want is for you to feel attacked. I do have some sincere questions for you. 

Cordially in Christ,
Douglas Wilson


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Sep 21st 2015


Hi Doug,

Thanks for the email. I'm not opposed to meeting but may I ask to
first have your question(s) in writing so I can feel prepared, should
we end up meeting?

Thanks,
Natalie



~



Sep 21st 2015

Natalie,

Sure thing. I will put them together (shouldn't be very long) and send them on to you this evening.



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Sep 21st 2015

Doug,

Thank you.



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Sep 21st 2015

Natalie,

Thank you for being willing to interact, and here are my questions. I do ask them in all sincerity.

1. Did your mom hurt you or wrong you in some way that makes you want to get back at her like this? Is there something we don't know?

2. Are you aware that my central reason for not talking publicly about all this has been to protect your mom from accusations of parental negligence? Do you know that I cannot explain what the elders and I did back then without also explaining how foolish the whole secret courtship idea was? And do you realize that this means the more you blog publicly about it, and the more your followers demand explanations from me, the more you are using your mom as a human shield?

3. I have not posted an extended statement on why I wrote the letter that you posted yesterday, but I have written it. If I sent it to you, would you be willing to read it?



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Sep 22nd 2015

Hi Doug.

I would be willing to read the letter.



~



Sep 22nd 2015

Natalie,

Thank you. It is attached. If you see anything in it that you believe is demonstrably false, please let me know. And I would appreciate it if you didn't publish it.

(the attachment read as follows)


Those who were following the ruckus of a couple weeks ago know that the situation with Steven Sitler soon blended into the situation with Jamin Wight and Natalie Rose. Because most of the info was public in the former situation I was able to talk about that more freely, but I refused to talk about everything I knew in the latter situation. This is because there was no way to talk about what I knew without spreading the hurt. I knew what I did because of my work as a pastor in the situation, and I wanted to keep my standing commitment to be discrete with any such information.

But now Natalie Rose, the underage victim in this situation, has posted the letter that I wrote to the officer investigating the case. In thinking about it, I had misremembered the recipient of the letter (I had thought from this distance that I had written it to the judge), but I did know the general contents of the letter. And I did know what had actually happened, and this is what I have been refusing to talk about. I don't know why Natalie posted the letter, but she now has, and so if you have a need to, you may read it.

As my letter makes plain, Jamin was guilty of sexual behavior with a girl who was below the age of consent. She was underage. Our letter acknowledged fully that Jamin was guilty of criminal behavior, and we wanted him to pay the penalty for that criminal behavior, which was a species of statutory rape. The question before the court was what kind of criminal behavior it was, not whether it was criminal, and we instructed Jamin that he needed to take responsibilty for what he had done. But what he had done was very different from subsequent reconstructions that Natalie has been periodically posting.

In short, his crime was not in the same category as Steven Sitler's crimes at all. Steven's behavior was with young children and was simply predatory. Jamin's crime was that of engaging in consensual sexual behavior with an underage girl. 

So -- Jamin was in a romantic relationship with a young girl, her parents knew of the relationship and encouraged it, her parents permitted a certain measure of physical affection to exist between them (e.g. hand-holding), Natalie was a beautiful and striking young woman, and at the time was about eight inches taller than Jamin was. Her parents believed that she was mature enough to be in that relationship, and the standards they set for the relationship would have been reasonable if she had in fact been as mature as she seemed to them.

What we wanted the court to know was simply this: it is simply not possible to have it both ways. If you are pressing charges of child abuse, you are saying that Jamin failed to respect the fact that Natalie was a child. But this was the same failure that he shared with her parents, who thought she was a remarkably mature young woman. That fact ought to be recognized on all sides. Jamin was brought into the house in order to make Natalie the object of his romantic intentions, and to do so more conveniently. He certainly abused that trust sinfully and grotesquely. He abused it in criminal ways, and the time he spent in prison for it was no miscarriage of justice. However, the time he has spent on the Internet, characterized as a pedophile, by people who were entirely ignorant of the facts of the case, and whose only interest in it was finding a rock to throw at me, is the very definition of injustice.  

I don't want to make any rash promises, and so I won't. No telling what the intermob might starting yelling for later on, and another set of answers might become necessary. The mob is ever hungry for new victims, and doesn't really care about the old ones. But please trust me on this one -- and I believe the request for trust is fully vindicated by this old letter of mine. The sooner this controversy is done, the better it will be for certain individuals who have better things to do than relive the worst time of their lives. 

Two last things. If I were to make a list of the parishioners whose sins and failings have caused me the most pastoral headaches, Jamin would certainly be in the top three. But I will say this on his behalf. Though Jamin has been in possession of this entire set of facts through various Internet dust-ups (demonstrable facts which enabled him to show that his crimes did not include pedophilia), he has shown more respect for the feelings of others than have all the so-called "victim advocates" in all our comment threads put together.

Also, this letter now published provides an entirely different context for Peter Leithart's recent Facebook apology, which was widely misconstrued by those who read it. The issue there was not whether Jamin's story or Natalie's story was more correct, but whether Peter felt he had done reasonable due diligence in the credence he gave to Jamin. But quite apart from what Peter had personally thought or checked on, the churches had the full story.

Up to her publication of this letter, Natalie's account has been dangerously incomplete and misleading. We were letting it go for the sake of others. It is much closer to the full story now.


~


Sep 22nd 2015

Hi Doug,

Thank you for sending that. I won't publish it. May I see the
documentation/proof to go along with those accusations?


~



Sep 22nd 2015

Doug,

I would also like to add, that what you describe in that document is
not by any stretch a fair account of the situation surrounding my
sexual abuse, and the problems with it go straight to the heart of the
problem with how the church handled it.

-Natalie



~



Sep 22nd 2015

Natalie,

Thank you, and I understand. 

I am at presbytery right now, so it might be a day or so before I get the documentation you requested.



~



Sep 27th 2015

Natalie,

I am sorry I haven't been able to answer your question more promptly. You asked me what sort of documentation there was for the account I sent to you, and I am in the midst of assembling it and looking it over. I hope to have an outline of that to you in the next day or so.

Before sending you that information, I wanted to touch on a few other things so that you could be assured of what I am not doing. Heather has told me about her meeting with you, and I wanted to start off by clearing out some apparent obstacles or misunderstanding between us.

One was my use of the word consensual in the account I sent to  you in order to describe a relationship that took place before you were legally able to give consent. I wanted to let you know that I am in full agreement with that legal threshold, and I do believe that in that sense your relationship was not consensual. 

Second, in my letter to the investigating officer, I said that Jamin was not a sexual predator. What I meant by that phrase at the time was that Jamin was not a pedophile, the kind of sex offender that Steven Sitler was. But I do want you to know that there is an important sense in which I believe that he -- simply by virtue of his sex and age, compared to your age -- was in fact a predator. He was responsible to be the responsible one, and he simply wasn't.

And last, I wanted to say something about how you felt shortly before you left our church. Heather told me that you felt isolated and alone during that time, and I am very sorry for that. Around that time, my recollection is that we were in conflict with your dad about a number of things, and that in light of his desire to keep us away from you, I didn't want to get an already tangled situation more tangled. But in retrospect, despite the complications of the situation, I should have figured out a way to get pastoral reassurance and help to you, and I would like to seek your forgiveness for not doing so. Please forgive me for that.

I should have the information on the documentation to you soon.


Cordially in Christ, 
Douglas Wilson



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Sep 28th 2015

Natalie,

Here is my belated response on your question about documentation. Basically, we have our file in the church office on the situation, which contains things like Jamin's letters of confession, our communications with your father beyond what you posted, etc. We also have the official court transcript of everything related to Jamin's case and trial, and which contains some significant and relevant information that you are leaving out of your public account. And last, we have access to the love letters/journals that you wrote that the court reviewed and then sealed.

We are not interested in hurting anybody, particularly you. I am simply letting you know why I am confident of the essential truthfulness of the account I sent you earlier, and why I know that the account you are giving online is misleading and false. This is why I would return to my first question -- if you succeed in dragging all this out into public view, it will only hurt your mother. Why are you trying to do this to her? 

As result of a plea bargain, a jury trial for Jamin was avoided, along with a lot of embarrassment for everybody. Part of that agreement meant burying the story, along with a bunch of the evidence. The reason I have been so concerned about your public airing of your perspective on it is that it is not really possible to dig up just half the story. The rest of it is going to want to come up too. One of the official court documents says about some of the sealed evidence, that "those documents contain highly intimate and potentially embarrassing facts or statements, the publication of which would be highly objectionable to reasonable persons" (5/10/06). The reasonable persons who wanted this sealed back then were you and your family. That was reasonable then, and it is reasonable now.

If you are intent on having the case retried, only this time in the court of public opinion, I would strongly advise against it. It will not help you achieve your goals, it will hurt your mother, and it will eventually result in vindicating the approach the church decided to take. But if you decide to do that, the choice is entirely up to you. However, an honest approach would be to post the entire transcript of all relevant material online. This would include the whole court transcript, along with all the material that is currently under seal. At least one previous attempt has been made to unseal that record, and has failed, but I believe that if you were the one to make the request, it would likely be granted. I am not asking you to do this. I am asking you not to. But asking you not to also includes asking you to stop posting accusations against others that can only be answered in the light of the sealed documents.

I am afraid you are being used and manipulated by others. I am afraid you have no idea of the ramifications of what you are doing.

There is a mountain of relevant material that you are leaving out. For example, do you have a copy of the letter we sent to your father two weeks after the one you posted? The letter is dated September 15, 2005. This is the letter that said, "We simply want to make sure that Natalie is protected by you in the coming months." "What we are doing is exhorting you to make protection of Natalie your highest priority in the months to come, because we are convinced that she will need it." This is the same letter where we said that we had "no problem with [Jamin's] prosecution."

If you have that letter, I think it would be a sign of your good faith and commitment to the truth if you were to post it as well. Would you do that for me?

Cordially in Christ,
Douglas Wilson



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Sep 29th, 2015

Dear Doug,

Thank you for reply. I have a few things to say in response.

First, it is deeply concerning to me that you continue attempting to
bring attention back the the abuse itself and the details surrounding
it ("secret courtship", parental foolishness, my physical appearance
and maturity level, etc.) The relevant and pressing issue at hand is
the church's failure to properly handle the situation, which includes
but is not limited to: Writing letters to the court of law and an
officer of the law downplaying Jamin's actions, failing to reach out
to me or minister to me in the appropriate and needed ways, placing
disproportionate blame on my father and therefore taking blame away
from the criminal, and denying me sacraments because, in my
traumatized state, I was uncomfortable agreeing to meet with a panel
of men to discuss my reasons for pulling away from the church. Your
insistence on deflecting attention to the abuse itself and away from
the matter at hand is telling, to say the least.

Furthermore, I find your use of veiled threats, intimidation,
borderline extortion, and essentially using my mother as a hostage to
be highly inappropriate. I have maintained close contact and
communication with my mother throughout the last several weeks and she
has voiced to me that she is fully supportive of the action I am
taking.

I would strongly encourage you to publish the post you sent to me last
week. I have nothing to hide and will gladly and willingly address any
questions posed to me by the public. I have already prepared a
response, should you decide to publish your post.

And finally, because of the intimidating and fear-mongering nature of
your correspondence to me, I am hereby asking that you never contact
me again. Should you decide to do so, I will seek legal counsel
immediately and any further communications will be made through an
attorney.

Thank you.

Sincerely,
Natalie Greenfield



~



Sep 29th, 2015

Natalie,

All right. I will respect that boundary. From this point on we will only communicate directly if you wish it.

Cordially in Christ,


Douglas Wilson

Comments

  1. This: "One was my use of the word consensual in the account I sent to you in order to describe a relationship that took place before you were legally able to give consent. I wanted to let you know that I am in full agreement with that legal threshold, and I do believe that in that sense your relationship was not consensual.


    Second, in my letter to the investigating officer, I said that Jamin was not a sexual predator. What I meant by that phrase at the time was that Jamin was not a pedophile, the kind of sex offender that Steven Sitler was. But I do want you to know that there is an important sense in which I believe that he -- simply by virtue of his sex and age, compared to your age -- was in fact a predator. He was responsible to be the responsible one, and he simply wasn't."

    You can't have it both ways. You can't have a 'consensual relationship' which isn't technically a 'consensual relationship' and you can't have a child predator who isn't technically a predator.

    I'm so sorry you're still dealing with this kind of emotional manipulation and abuse.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Gotta love that he had to have the last word. Heh.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm not sure if the he is a sexual offender, but not a predator or the I will respect your boundary while violating it is worse. I am not from that area or even that region of the country, so I really don't know how influential he is. But I get the impression he isn't nearly as much of a big shot as he would like the us to believe. I'm really sorry you and others have been collateral damage in his quest for power and fame.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for weighing in! Doug Wilson is the pastor of Christ Church in a small town in Northern Idaho. It's not a mega-church by any means but it's a large church for the size of the town. Beyond that, he is a best-selling Christian author and has a pretty sizable online following. His blog merits millions of views every year. I'd love to say that he is a no-name small town pastor but the truth is that he has quite a following of people who look up to him and listen to what he has to say, and they need to open their eyes to the destruction he has wreaked and will continue to wreak.

      Delete
    2. Thank you for clearing that up. You are handling this very well. Especially with the vicious lies being spread about you and your father and the smears on your husband.

      Delete
  4. Reading this made my blood boil, I cannot imagine how you're handling this! I just would lose it. I'm so sorry this is happening to you!

    I reached out recently to a pastor who counseled me when I was in high school and told him how his counseling taught me to blame myself for my parents abuse and I got similar results. Fake/ non apologies! "I was young, I did my best and I always acted in what was your best interest." Pastors seem to be the worst at just owning they fucked up! Excuse my language, but I felt like that was fitting! I just don't understand, I mean if they cared and wanted ppl to have a healthy spiritual life you think they'd care but their actions send ppl running away from the church! So sorry this has happened to you.

    ReplyDelete
  5. "Are you aware that my central reason for not talking publicly about all this has been to protect your mom from accusations of parental negligence?"
    Of course he's had no qualms about accusing your DAD of parental negligence. So the lady protests too much here.

    Do you know that I cannot explain what the elders and I did back then without also explaining how foolish the whole secret courtship idea was?
    What part of you and your father continual NOT A COURTSHIP statements does Doug not understand? Good grief. Apparently he is the one who can't read.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Doug Wilson is about as reasonable as a dog with rabies. I am so sorry you've been put through this, Natalie.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Cordially in Christ,
    Douglas Wilson

    Wow, like saying I hate you, cordially in Christ.... This is quite typical of patriarchal position, of Authority looking lovingly down to where real people live.

    ReplyDelete

  8. Those emails make interesting reading. Based on what he wrote it appears he is saying:

    1) It is not my fault
    2) I was right
    3) You and your father are lying

    It is interesting that he hasn't released any of this 'documentation' that he claims to possess. Maybe it does not exist. Maybe it does, and someone convinced him that releasing it would backfire.

    Everything more I learn about Doug Wilson from his own hand convinces me that the man has severe psychological problems, and needs treatment. I am not a doctor, so this is a lay man's opinion, but he just doesn't act normal. I'd guess narcissist, but that's just a guess. I'm fairly sure he isn't a sociopath, from personal experience (many Sociopaths can learn how to function quite well in society, narcissists can't).

    Thanks for posting this. You and your family have my best wishes.

    Wayne

    ReplyDelete
  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  10. You (hopefully) hear this a lot, but just in case... It's quite remarkable the amount of grace, confidence, and poise you exercise in your letters (and life). You are an inspiration to the survivor community and especially to those who struggle to maintain their faith after such a perspective-shifting experience of abuse.
    Thank you for speaking truth to power.

    ReplyDelete

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