KF228-20196J5Y – Clergy Malpractice – Sex Slavery, Trafficking, Keith Raniere Guilty on All Counts – Religious Daycare for Children?

contributed via email by T.J.

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This new case regarding Keith Raniere does not qualify on the same order of magnitude for clergy malpractice as the landmark case, F.G v. MacDonell and its long lineage of clergy malpractice.  

Popular reporting of the Raniere case labels the followers of Keith Raniere as a ‘cult’. This label is melodrama because the label might lead naive readers to assume the Raniere case has no relevance for clergy and full-time caregiving in cases of spiritual care. The Raniere case does not distinguish between cult and religion. The case does not give criteria to know the difference between cult and religion. Anyone who wants extra reading, see one of the best explorations of the confused lines between cult and religion, where cult and religion sometimes merge, by Marci Hamilton, a leading scholar of constitutional law who specializes in church/state issues, see “JUSTICE DENIED: What America Must Do to Protect Its Children” (Cambridge 2008, 2012), who wrote also, “GOD VS. THE GAVEL: Religion and the Rule of Law” (Cambridge 2005, 2007).

In short, the Raniere case puts us back into the territory already identified as the confused boundaries where cult and religion mergeThis case does apply to clergy and to full-time spiritual caregivers. 

The plot of the Raniere case is ancient.  The plot goes back at least to the story of the unnamed woman concubine in Judges 19–20, a woman from Bethlehem who lived with a Levite priest in the hill country of Ephraim.  The woman is raped to death. The priest does nothing to save her.  The rape causes the first bloody civil war between the tribes of God’s people.

Here are a few issues from the case of Keith Raniere that are issues all the way back in history to Judges 19-20.  They are relevant in our work as full-time mentors and students in spiritual service.

For one issue, the case raises old issues about how and when spiritual authority becomes abused by people with authority so that men or women insiders are coerced, threatened, ‘blackmailed’, or by violence put under pressures to have sex with leaders – by forced ‘consent’?  More generally, what is consent? 

For another issue, the case raises age-old questions about whether consent can include consent to be a ‘slave’? This issue of consensual slavery is not trivial. Arguments that people want to be slaves are more common than we think.  Especially in arguments in favor of sex-slavery.  The argument goes that sex and human trafficking victims really want the so called ‘protections’ of their slavery.  These arguments in and out of court today are cloaked under fancy rhetoric about voluntary consent.  Arguments in court, and social policy arguments try and justify many forms of slavery in the U.S.  These arguments go back at least to the shameful era of the Fugitive Slave ActAnd before that – with slavery of all kinds justified by theology preached from pulpits.

For another issue, with questions about sex, sex slavery, and sex trafficking put aside, the Raniere case raises questions about how and when people with authority create obedience ‘slaves’ to spiritual authority for a variety of ‘religious’ purposes and ‘religious’ chores.  Sometimes without the perpetrators like pastors and elders and without the victims (church members) even knowing they are in slavery.  Almost always without religious authorities admitting – almost always with religious authorities denying – that they are creating slaves.  Just joking? just read the Raniere case.

A most troubling issue in the practice by followers of Raniere is that they ran eleven daycare centers for children worldwide.  The existence of children in religious day care may have played a huge role – a far greater role than can be published in popular media because we do not have access to the subjective opinions of the jury – the jury decision includes unpublished juror reasons for judging to convict Raniere on all counts.  Good judges expect impartial juries.  The problem and the great blessing with our system of juries made up of our ordinary peers is that ordinary jurors really are our peers, and they are mothers and fathers too. 

… distributed by email from T.J. to users as 20196J5Y.docx, and 20196J5Y.odt

Published by

T.J. (Jurist)

Training Focus ~ semi-retired judge ~ free to hand pick court cases and devote rest of my time to full-time spiritual mentoring ~ mentoring in spiritual discernment for agency professionals, law enforcement, others in government ~  mentoring few full-time students from churches that send members to court to pray silently during proceedings ~ mentoring former guilty parties coming to Redemption ~ training in full time prayer into judgments ~ judgments to bless Good everywhere ~ judgments to cause catastrophe to evil in “pay every penny” restorative judgments (Luke 12:59, Matthew 5:26) ~ judgments for Tender Mercies never strained in chances to start Life again.  Participating in new legal trend, waves of out of court settlements using private arbitration and private settlement agreements for churches and clergy sued or threatened with lawsuits for malpractice (including botched exorcisms), for failing to refer troubled subjects to counseling as a compliment to valid pastoral care, and for false, immature, and shallow self-promotional claims of faith healing that have made medical conditions worse and sometimes led to death.   Thank God for Mercy, Grace.

8 thoughts on “KF228-20196J5Y – Clergy Malpractice – Sex Slavery, Trafficking, Keith Raniere Guilty on All Counts – Religious Daycare for Children?”

  1. Tejvan Pettinger analyzed differences between “Religions and Cults,” and made a bibliography of them. I agree that the popular press wants sensationalism in branding Raniere as a cult. Did the biblical concubine consent to her sexual slavery? For her publicity, just because she was nailing a priest? Big game. Her sexual slavery to the priest turned into high level slavery to death as she tried to crawl by her painted fingernails to the front door where she died.

  2. T.J., I cannot find the location of your question to me about sharing mission experiences.

    Perhaps this can be done through exploring the psychiatry of demonic possession in Gallagher?

    Much of what happened in missions fits into Gallagher’s book.

    This combination of Gallagher and mission work almost fits with your subject matter here

    We do not know facts and statistics about clergy sexual abuse of children and child slavery to religious authorities. I agree this subject gets sensationalized. It trivializes, commercializes the underlying abuse. Deep State. And dark.

    Testing the interest in exploring Dr. Richard Gallagher’s book.

    If interest exists, and some already does, then perhaps we may work through his book on hidden, non-public back-pages.

    Mutual sharing of our cases on this subject matter is not appropriate in public pages.

  3. Michael (M.D.), I want Gallagher. Some private pages, some public. Not all private. My vote.

  4. Lynette Franco was told by her pastors and elders to forgive and forget an incident in 1986 in which she said she was the victim of child rape by a church member.

    The ‘authority’ of religious office was used in this direction of forgiveness without exploring the possibility of the truth of her story.

    Cardinal McCarrick was finally charged with criminal sexual abuse only a few days ago on July 29 for an incident that went back to 1974.

    Churches have counted on the statute of limitations to protect guilty clergy and their church boards and this defense of the statute of limitations has failed so far in this case.

    The case is not over just because criminal charges are now filed.

    I see an open question whether repeated efforts to cover up any crime by clergy amount to valid reasons as ongoing crimes for extending the statute of limitations?

    And this open question includes the added open question whether a cover up exists because authority is used to push forgiveness instead of pushing for finding out the facts and truth?

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  8. In April 2022, the Wisconsin DOJ reported that it is investigating over 200 allegations of clergy sexual abuse against over 150 clergy across many denominations from most counties in Wisconsin. The time limits for bringing a legal claim for clergy sexual abuse vary state by state and vary also depending on whether the claim is in a civil court, usually for money damages, or is in a criminal court. Some states are revising their time limits to allow for more time to report clergy sexual abuse because of the increase in the courage of victims and parents of victims to report. As T.J. has reported to us in encrypted private email and in offline secure computing messages, many of these civil court claims go to private arbitration for private settlement instead of going to court because the legal expenses of court cases and the protracted publicity over years can and do put churches out of business. Criminal court cases cannot be submitted to private arbitration settlements.

    See here for the civil and criminal law deadlines in your state.

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