About two years ago, I posted a link to a transcript of a meeting held with Bob Jones III where a woman asks him some questions about his support of Chuck Phelps and his actions in not pursuing justice for Tina Anderson after her rape by Ernie Willis.
The audio from that meeting has now been released. Suffice it to say that BJIII does himself no favors by either the tone and content of his responses.
Justice has finally found rapist Ernie Willis.
The AP story says in part:
A New Hampshire man convicted of raping and impregnating a 15-year-old church member more than a decade ago was sentenced Tuesday to 15 to 30 years in prison.
Ernest Willis of Gilford, 52, robbed the girl of her childhood, the judge said in sentencing Willis, who had admitted to having sex with the teenager in 1997, who also babysat his children, but he claimed it was consensual.
Tuesday, the now-29-year-old victim listened to the sentencing via telephone from her Arizona home. During the proceeding, he read a statement apologizing to her, his family and the church.
Unfortunately, it appears that justice for Chuck Phelps and others at Trinity Baptist may be delayed yet a little while longer.
The mills of God grind slowly, yet they grind exceeding small.
After a decade of justice delayed for Tina Anderson, her rapist, Ernie Willis, has been found guilty on all four counts of rape brought against him. Finally, there is not only vindication for Tina and her supporters but also encouragement for other victims who have suffered under the hands of abusers who have taken a cowardly refuge behind a corrupt religious system. Bravo, Tina. Bravo.
I’m sure that we’ll hear much in the coming days from fundamentalists who seek to spin this story and question the facts. They’ll either be forced to do so or left to admit that their own system harbored a rapist for years and did not help his victim to find justice. Prepare yourselves to see character assassination and mudslinging on an epic scale.
But whatever they do to malign and tear down this verdict, they cannot change the facts. They cannot change the truth not matter what tales their cowardice compels them to concoct.
My heartfelt thanks goes out to Tina Anderson for being willing to face down her attacker and those who defended him. Thank you, Tina, from the bottom of my heart. This world is a better place with brave people like you in it.
Here’s an interesting tidbit from the ABC 7 News about the ongoing trial of Ernie Willis for the rape of Tina Anderson.
Smukler [the judge in the Willis case] has yet to rule on whether Phelps must testify about admissions Willis made to him about the alleged assaults. Willis’ lawyers claim that they are privileged. Coull argued that Phelps had a lawyer present during the conversations and that undermines any privilege between a member of the clergy and a congregant
This is interesting on a couple of levels.
1. It means that Willis did talk to Phelps about his crimes AND had his lawyer present while he did so.
2. It means that Phelps is not voluntarily forthcoming about this conversation and the lawyers are trying to keep him from having to testify about what Willis told him.
3. The lawyers are invoking a religious privilege that is normally reserved for confessions made in the Roman Catholic church. So is Phelps tacitly agreeing that Willis was making a Roman-style confession to him…with his lawyer present?
The longer this case goes the more Phelps appears to not only be ignorant and impotent as a pastor but also to be plain evil. If you want the truth to come out, why not just take the stand, Chuck? Why not just tell the prosecution that you’ll make a clean breast of it and that there’s no such thing as a clergy/congregant privilege in an Independent Fundamental Baptist Church?
Someone needs to be asking these questions…