Mennonite Abuse Prevention (MAP) List
A resource for the healing and prevention of sexual violence among Anabaptist Mennonites.
Skip straight to our periodically updated list of publicly accused Mennonite clergy and church workers.
A church leader (young or old) who sexually victimizes anyone (child or adult) should never be in a position of power again. Boz Tchividjian
Were you sexually violated by someone in an Anabaptist Mennonite community of faith?
Maybe it happened a long time ago and you have never told anyone.
Maybe it happened to someone in your family and you carry their pain.
Maybe you are currently being abused by someone or love someone who is being harmed.
Maybe the only evidence you have is your own experience.
We believe you
It's not your fault
You are not alone
Our email at firstname.lastname@example.org is confidential. You may also write to us anonymously or by name at MAP List, P.O. Box 1768, Harrisonburg, VA 22803. Your name and contact information will not be shared without your permission.
We welcome additional documentation and information on suspected, known or admitted Mennonite church worker perpetrators, both ordained and lay. Your identity as our source will remain confidential.
What is the MAP list?
The Mennonite Abuse Prevention (MAP) List aims to post publicly available and previously circulated documents relevant to the sexual abuse crisis among Anabaptist Mennonites.
It was launched in April of 2016 by a small group of volunteers made up of Mennonite-related survivors and their loved ones. The MAP List hopes to document cases of those clergy and church workers who have ever been convicted, sanctioned, dismissed, or sued as a result of abuse.
The MAP List can include any Anabaptist Mennonite related church worker, paid or volunteer, lay or ordained, living or dead, including teachers, coaches, and medical or mental health professionals who have served in our communities.
The MAP List is offered for nonprofit educational purposes only in the interest of public health and safety. We pass along and collect in one location the knowledge that is already on record from other credible sources (e.g. court documents, media articles, conference documents). We post documents in their entirety, and do not edit the content except to protect the identities of victims, witnesses and whistleblowers. We have so far prioritized the posting of those offenders from our master file who are living, over those who are deceased. You can help us move the task along more quickly by finding and sending us documentation on any cases you know about or by emailing us with any corrections or omissions you see.
The MAP List is proud to be associated with SNAP, the Survivors Network of Those Abused By Priests, although SNAP does not control or take responsibility for the content of our website. Even though “priests” is in its title, SNAPnetwork.org is open to all religious and nonreligious survivors and their allies, inside or outside a community of faith. Thus, in 2015 an Anabaptist Mennonite chapter of SNAP (SNAP Mennonite) was established. The MAP List was born out of that initiative.
Why a MAP List?
Our primary goal is to further the accountability of Anabaptist Mennonite church and institutional officials through the posting of a public record. The sexual abuse crisis has lived in deep secrecy among Anabaptist Mennonites for generations, minimized and covered over with a cozy blanket of piety, peace theology, and good works. Much continues to go unsaid. The crisis continues to live on in our families, congregations, conferences, service agencies and institutions. Until Anabaptist Mennonites speak out publicly and collectively about sexual and domestic violence in our past as well as our present, it will continue to happen.
The U.S. Department of Justice defines sexual assault as “any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient.” Rape is “the penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without explicit consent. Sexual consent is “freely given, enthusiastic, specific, informed and reversible…Silence is not consent.”
Anyone can be a victim — no matter their gender, sexual orientation, or age. But certain groups of people are more likely than others to experience sexual assault in their lives. Women, LGBT identified people, people with developmental disabilities, and women of color are more likely to experience sexual assault over the course of their lifetimes.
By law, children (defined ages vary according to jurisdiction) are not considered capable of giving consent for sexual contact or behavior. Unfortunately predators are well aware that if they can begin to groom their target as a child, one day when that target comes into young adulthood, a technical “consent” for sexual contact will likely become possible. These abusive scenarios, in which adult victims have earlier been groomed for sex as children, will not likely gain a conviction in court; but they are deeply damaging, especially when the perpetrator is ordained by the church as a “servant of God.”
The urgency of prevention
We believe a sexualized encounter of any kind and at any age with someone who holds authority over one’s well being and care, regardless of perceived consent, and especially within a religious environment, poses a serious risk of significant long-term harm.
The life of a child, a teenager or an adult of any gender can be forever altered by an experience of abuse. Perpetrators of that abuse can also be a child, a teenager, or an adult of any gender. They are often loved and respected members of our communities. Their power often protects them. They can be partnered, married, single or divorced. They can groom and abuse hundreds of targeted victims in a lifetime. If sexual harassment or assault occurs one time, there is risk of it occurring again. Unlike an accidental injury to the physical body, sexual abuse causes an emotional and spiritual wounding that becomes extremely difficult to diagnose and treat.
A 20 second sexual assault can alter a life forever.
It can take years, decades, or a lifetime to make the connections and process the insidious impact of abuse on one’s life. The damage and pain from the event(s) ripple out beyond the victim and perpetrator to their families, friends, congregations, colleagues, significant others, denominations and entire communities. Sexual and domestic violence are extremely costly to the public health.
Those survivors of abuse who took their own lives are the true victims. Those of us who have lived long enough to call ourselves survivors feel humbled, grateful, and extremely fortunate. We want to help others heal and prevent further abuse from happening.
Here’s a sampling of what has already happened since the MAP List began publicly posting identities of credibly accused offenders:
- A young Mennonite woman sees the man who abused her on the MAP List, realizes for the first time that she was not the only one he harmed, and gains the courage to contact us, breaking silence for the first time.
- The Anabaptist Mennonite leaders of Evana Network check the MAP List regularly and contact SNAP Mennonite to be assured those persons seeking ordination or employment within their network have not shown up on our radar, helping to better ensure the safety of those they serve.
- A group of survivors and allies who discover one another through the MAP List not only find mutual support but work together to find out where the man who harmed them is now living or working and strategize appropriate ways to warn others who may be at risk. Even though the assaults happened decades ago, one of the survivors files a police report for the first time and a record of “alleged sexual assault” now exists on the perpetrator should anyone else inquire.
- A young woman tells the leaders of her non-denominational church about her husband’s abusive behavior. They recommend she see the ‘Christian counselor’ to whom they “send all of their domestic violence cases.” The counselor asks her to meet with him alone, at no cost. The woman gets creepy feelings at the meeting, looks his name up on the internet, and discovers him to be posted as an offender on The MAP List and practicing without an Oregon license. She gives us a call for support, files a police report, writes to the Oregon licensing board, and contacts the church leaders who are still recommending him to victims of domestic violence. At the woman’s request, we also make a courtesy call to the church leaders. They tell us they are certain he “has been redeemed’’ and that his ‘sin’ might make him an “even better counselor.” Additional direct actions are still possible.
Here’s what has continued to happen across generations of Mennonite communities when the identities of accused offenders are protected in a secret file under a veil of silence:
- the accused perpetrator is free to continue hiding in plain sight, abusing in the same or another community of unaware potential victims
- the accused is less likely to seek effective rehabilitation
- the accuser is punished for reporting, abandoned to suffer isolation, blame and character assassination waged by the perpetrator or others who were thought to be trusted friends
- additional victims, witnesses and whistleblowers who are in hiding but carefully listening and watching, are chased back into the shadows
- any additional victims in the community abused by the same person never learn what was reported to church officials and continue to believe they were the only ones targeted
- a fuller truth is never known
- public safety remains at risk
- prevention and protection policies touted by church officials become mere window dressings to improve public image
- Our desire is to discover the full truth. We believe it is the truth that ultimately sets us free and stops the violence.
- Our goal is to make it safer for others who have been harmed to come forward and to offer them support in doing so if and when it becomes their desire.
- Because of the strong research on the myth of false allegations now available, we believe the reports of victims. Our confidence is built upon substantial empirical (not anecdotal) evidence that indicates a 92-98% likelihood that persons reporting are telling the truth. Read more of that research here and here. Children especially have been found to minimize rather than exaggerate when reporting their experience. Law enforcement professionals and trained forensic sex crime interviewers and investigators are the only ones equipped to filter out the falsehoods. Such a high-stakes judgement must not be made by untrained clerics and lay persons. A group of citizens would not assume they were equipped to investigate an armed robbery.
- Because church workers hold positions of power over others who rely on them for their emotional wellbeing and spiritual care, and because any sexual abuse of that power can cause great harm, we believe church workers’ sexual conduct should not be suspect in any way or they must be removed from leadership.
- We have found it is best for victims, witnesses and whistleblowers who have seen, suspected, or suffered something to report first to outside, independent, agencies or civil authorities, and not to church insiders. A local crisis center, a civil attorney with experience in advocating for victims of sexual abuse, a sex crimes unit of local law enforcement, a therapist with special training in sexual violence, or an independent survivor network like SNAP are among the best independent reporting options. If a child is involved, child protective services or law enforcement must be contacted immediately. If you would like support and guidance in doing so, a counselor at the 24-hour national Child Help Line can help you.
- We do not advise reporting to church insiders. Sexual boundary crossings by church workers are potential crimes to be reported, not sins to be forgiven or conflicts to be mediated. The church insider you chose to tell may be a close associate with the person who harmed you. If they receive a paycheck from the church or are under contract to the church, serious conflicts of interest come into play. You may become, in their eyes, a potential adversary in a legal battle requiring them to hire their own legal counsel. That legal counsel is usually hired to protect the institution’s best interests, not yours. In our experience the needs of the victim, witness or whistleblower do not remain a priority when a church insider or employee is the first to receive a disclosure.
- The MAP List offers only one small but effective strategy of “emergency management” within a crisis that is complex, systemic, and intersectional. There is not one right way to work at ending sexual violence. Most of all it requires listening carefully to what many survivors in different circumstances from varying backgrounds are saying about their unique lives and experiences, then doing what we are called to do day by day from our own corners. We are committed to listening.
- The ACE science (Adverse Childhood Experiences), published in the ‘90s but still relatively unknown, is a powerful framework for building a comprehensive approach to ending sexual violence.
- We have found that confidential, anonymous, peer support can help survivors and their loved ones heal. SNAP is a network of more than 21,000 survivors and their loved ones in 79 countries around the world. Find a SNAP support group near you or call the SNAP Helpline at 1-800-SNAP-HEALS. Contact SNAP Mennonite leaders directly who facilitate monthly meetings in Harrisonburg, Virginia and Lansdale, Pennsylvania for more information.
- Except for a professional web developer, the work of the MAP List continues to rely entirely on the generosity of private donors and volunteers to keep it growing, up to date, relevant, and reliable. We are dependent on volunteer researchers, correspondents, document gatherers, and remote website assistants. Will you help us?
Repentant, looking for help?
If you believe you have broken the law and are truly repentant, you will voluntarily submit yourself to civil authorities and find others to support you in doing so.