Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Serial Pædophile

Today marks the third anniversary of the day when Pastor Douglas Wilson of Christ Church, Moscow, learned that a serial pædophile ravaged the lambs in his charge, for 18 months, during the years 2003–2005, as he prosecuted his war against the Christian church.

In fall 2003, a promising 19-year-old student named Steven Sitler moved to Moscow, Idaho, to attend New Saint Andrews College and to worship at Christ Church. No one knew at the time, however, that Steven Sitler was also a serial pædophile who preyed upon boys and girls, ages 2–12, and who left a trail of victims in at least two other states prior to his arrival in Moscow. The facts of this case are well documented and easy to follow.

As far as we know, Sitler’s history of pædophilia began in his hometown of Colville, Washington, where he attended Emmanuel Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC), and violated several children of the congregation. One public record, which the court has since sealed, explicitly describes his rape of a two-year-old girl in Colville and from this document we conclude that Sitler felt comfortable enough with his crime to commit it even while parents and adults visited each other in adjacent rooms. Furthermore, we know that Sitler kept a photo album on the worldwide web that contained photographs of hundreds of children, including many of his victims. (The authorities did not learn about this photo album until a blogger linked to it about a year after the court sentenced Sitler.) From this photo archive we know that Sitler spent the summer of 2003 at R.C. Sproul Jr.’s Highlands Study Center, where he violated more children. However, public records do not document any of Sitler’s crimes in Virginia because according to the Latah County Prosecutor, none of the victims’ families returned his phone calls. Sitler arrived in Moscow in September 2003 and immediately began assaulting Christ Church children. And on March 11, 2005, the parents of one victim notified Douglas Wilson of their discovery, which is where he took control of the loop.

On March 11, 2005, Wilson advised the victim’s family to retain longtime Christ Church attorney, Gregory Dickison, who was a member of Christ Church (you may recognize him as a contributing editor to Credenda Agenda), to accompany them to report the crime to the authorities. (For the record, Gregory Dickison is an utterly incompetent and unethical attorney; in fact, he recently terminated his law practice to begin a career selling real estate.) Unbelievably, while the victims notified the authorities, Steven Sitler whisked his way back to Colville, WA, where his family retained NSA’s attorney, Dean Wullenwaber, who was also a member of Christ Church. (For the record, Dean Wullenwaber is one of the finest attorneys on the Palouse and certainly one of the most powerful; please see the photograph of him posing with President George Bush.) Sitler remained in Colville until his ultimate incarceration on September 26, 2005.

Steven Sitler began confessing his crimes to Douglas Wilson sometime after March 11, 2005, and before July 2005, when Sitler pled guilty to one count of “Lewd and Lascivious Conduct With a Minor Under the Age of Sixteen.” According to his letter to Judge John Stegner, Wilson had a total of six counseling sessions with Sitler during that five-month window. This fact is critical because we have no way of identifying Sitler’s victims apart from his confessions, which he originally limited to Douglas Wilson. Therefore, read it again: Wilson had only six counseling sessions with the serial pædophile during the time he lived in Colville and the court knows no more about Sitler’s crimes than what he confessed to Wilson. This fact is critical for another reason: We know that Sitler didn’t confess everything to Wilson, such as the existence of his photo archive in cyberspace. Even worse, we know that Wilson didn’t relay all the information he learned from Sitler regarding the extent of his crimes to the OPC elders in Colville, who held Steven Sitler’s church membership. For example, when Sitler confessed to Wilson that he violated children in Virginia, Wilson withheld this fact from the Colville session.

Nevertheless, after six counseling sessions with a serial pædophile, Wilson wrote a glowing letter to the judge informing him that Sitler “was completely open and honest with me.” Unfortunately, we have no way of knowing how Steven Sitler convinced Wilson of his open honesty, just as we have no way of knowing how he persuaded him that he told the complete truth when he identified his victims. To be sure, we don’t know how Wilson could know that Sitler kept no secrets and suffered no memory lapses, but I suspect this was a case of one sociopath outsmarting another. Regardless, Wilson placed such confidence in the serial pædophile’s apparent candor that he freely told the judge of his “good hope that Steven has genuinely repented.” These facts are disturbing enough. But setting them aside, perhaps the most compelling proof of Wilson’s total incompetence to address this awful providence lies in his admission to Judge Stegner that he believed Sitler’s perversion was rooted in “underlying issues of his discontent.” How deep. Wilson solved the vexing problem of serial pædophilia after six visits — it’s all about discontentment.

Court documents make clear that the only known victims in this case are those whom Steven Sitler identified and that apart from his confessions, no one knows anything. Court documents make equally clear that Sitler leveraged the court with his intimate knowledge of the victims to plea bargain his charge to one count — “I’ll tell you everything if you only prosecute me for one.” This defense tactic clearly contradicted the “objectivity of the covenant” standard advanced by Wilson in this post regarding a similar serial offender, but it also minimized potential PR damage for NSA and the Kult by insuring no scandalous headlines if the story ever leaked, which appears to be the only objective standard that matters to Wilson. In the end, however, we believe that Sitler confessed to violating 13 to 18 children in 3 different states. The bottom line is that we’ll never know. The court sealed the records. Perhaps Sitler’s attorney put it best in one of his briefs that refers to “the volume of Steven’s offenses over the years.”

On July 7, 2005, roughly five months after his discovery, Steven Sitler stood in court and pleaded guilty to one count of “Lewd and Lascivious Conduct With a Minor Under the Age of Sixteen,” and on September 26, 2005, Judge John Stegner sentenced Steven Sitler to life in prison, which he knocked down to about a two years in jail and lifetime probation. Currently, Steven Sitler lives in Moscow, free on probation.

In November 2005, two months after the court sentenced Steven Sitler, Douglas Wilson decided to communicate some information about a pædophile to some of the Christ Church “heads of households,” which he did via a written statement read by an elder to whomever attended the various parish meetings. In other words, Doug Wilson waited eight months to inform his congregation that a serial pædophile lived among them, and even then he never notified the entire flock — only those who happened to attend the monthly meeting. Moreover, when he finally decided to notify the flock, he never warned anyone about the possibility that unknown predation may have occurred, i.e. there may be other victims. Rather, he framed it to leave the impression that this matter concerned a sex offender returning to the covenant community and not the damage he wrought and the constant danger he posed. Afterwards, when called to account for his dereliction of duty by the general public, Douglas Wilson dismissed his abdication as his enemies’ failed attempt to get handles on him, which probably did little to comfort the kirker parents who learned from a web blog that their pastor never warned them about a serial pædophile. Additionally (and quite obviously), Wilson never notified anyone in the community that a sexual predator preyed among them for 18 months, which is another way of saying that he esteems the locals slightly less than his congregation, but not much.

Wilson’s pastoral response to this crisis was the exact opposite of the elders overseeing Emmanuel Orthodox Presbyterian Church, who kept their congregation apprised of the situation, in writing, from beginning to end. Indeed, they immediately declared Steven Sitler a “wolf in sheep’s clothing”; they banned him from the church property; and they notified the flock of God of his egregious violations of the Seventh Commandment. Furthermore, the OPC session resolved that if Sitler ever returns to Colville, they will purchase a full-page ad in the local paper to publish Sitler’s photograph next to the warning “Convicted Pedophile” (I doubt they know that Sitler’s never leaving Idaho).

Steven Sitler represents the most horrible judgment visited upon the Kult to this date, at least the most horrible that has leaked out. You can be sure that if Wilson had his druthers, no one would know about this providence because of his sinful need for good publicity. He believes his kult is the one true almighty kirk that shall reign for ever and ever, and consequently he has no capacity to reflect upon the fruit his ministry — whether it’s teenagers smoking weed and committing immorality; or young adults getting liquored up and gambling away thousands of dollars; or a sexual predator devouring the lambs of his flock; or another sexual predator (a Greyfriars student) devouring a thirteen year old; or a deadbeat dad (another Greyfriar) defrauding his children and their mothers (plural) of food, shelter, and income. These scandals all took place during the years 1999 to 2005, in a church of about 700 souls, which is counting the hundreds of children in the congregation. These wrecked and damaged lives are the fruit of Douglas Wilson’s ministry, whether he admits it or not, and I intend to blog on each of them as time permits, with the hope of warning others to beware of this sadistic beast and his evil influence.

Thank you.


Anonymous said...

Yes, and as we all know, the Federal Vision is all about being "for the children."

Mark T. said...

I plan on pounding that point into eternity. FV is all about the children in the same way that Molech was about the children. They devour them.

Unknown said...

It is no accident that this group’s actions resemble those of the Italian mafia. They have worked hard to achieve this distinction. In fact, I first heard of this comparison from an Auburn deacon (now an elder) over ten years ago. He stated that he had spent many years in and around Christianity, but had not truly understood it until after the first “Godfather” movie came out. This was a shocking statement at the time; I had never heard a religious leader openly compare Christianity with anything remotely resembling the group that was portrayed in the “Godfather” movie. I asked him what he meant by this. He said that Christians are a family bound together by a common interest, much like the mafia “family.” When you join the family you “sign on” and agree to support “the family” through thick and thin…forever. In return, “the family” takes care of you and all your needs. If you fail to live up to your end of the bargain, then “the family,” he said with a grin, “takes care of you.” Just like they did in the movie. "We'll come after you," he said.

This elder cut his ecclesiastical teeth in the Jesus Movement of the late 60’s and early 70’s, as did others in this group. He took part in many of the excesses commonly associated with this movement. Those in the Jesus Movement were known, in the South at least, for their claims of miraculous healings, miracles, visions and their use of drugs. This elder gained some renown, regionally at least, for his ability to cast out demons. He became so popular as an exorcist and as a speaker on demonic possession and exorcism, that he effectively bridged the gap between the Jesus People (or “Jesus Freaks” as they were sometimes called) and more traditional churches. This was no small feat. Long hair alone would get you shunned in those days at many country churches in the South. Any resemblance to “hippies” might not make you unwelcome, but it would normally preclude you from being given the speaker’s podium and it would certainly cause church leaders and parents to be on guard for the church youth. But this guy was welcome in both coffeehouses and church youth centers alike. He told stories of going to country churches to talk to youth about demonic possession and having the entire youth group break down writhing and groaning and screaming in the middle of his talk. I asked him if he thought this was planned as a joke by the youth. He said, “No. It was real.” He said he could tell the difference between fake and real demonic possession. He said he rolled up his sleeves and waded into the group and began casting out demons with the help of the country preacher. They emerged, hours later, drenched with sweat from their efforts. I asked him if he thought his power was real. He said, “It was real alright.” He said he could feel the power and it was very strong. I asked him if he thought that God gave him this power. He said that he did not think that the power he had came from God. In fact, he said, he knew that it didn’t. I asked why he thought this. He said, “Because of the things I did…afterwards.” He said that he quickly found out that, in addition to casting out demons, he was given power over women that he had never had before or since. His power grew stronger and stronger, he said. He was a young man and he said that after he cast out demons he would usually sleep with one of the young girls present. He said most of these girls “hadn’t never done nothing.” (They were virgins). He has an out-of-wedlock child from this time period. The first time this happened, he waited for God to punish him. He didn’t. He expected his power over demons to be diminished. It was not. It became stronger. This is how, he said, he came to know the true source of the power he held.

As he did more and more of this, his fear grew. He knew that he should be punished and he knew that what he was doing was wrong. But nothing happened. He said he stopped doing the exorcisms, because he became afraid that he would be killed when people found out all that he was doing and in Whose Name he was doing it. The last straw came, he said, when he traveled to a tiny nearby farming community for a private consultation on demons with a wealthy planter’s wife. She was known for her great beauty and he ended up sleeping with her. He said he knew that her husband might have him killed if he ever found out. His career exorcising demons came to an abrupt end because he knew he was playing with fire and his time was running out. He knew exactly when to get out, he said.

This False Shepherd cut his ecclesiastical teeth feeding on the lambs of Christian flocks. He has found a good home in the House of the Federal Re-Visionists. Until late January, he was an Elder in good standing in the Presbyterian Church in America.

Anonymous said...

I heard about this Steven Sitler pedophile story over a year ago and I'm still just as horrified reading about it today. Time doesn't make it any less horrifying. After reading your account of things Mark, I'm now even more horrified. This is a bad way to have to start my day.

"From this photo archive we know that Sitler spent the summer of 2003 at R. C. Sproul Jr.’s Highlands Study Center, where he violated more children." I hadn't heard about Steven Sitler molesting children in R. C. Sproul Jr's church. That's awful!

That makes at least three churches that Sitler molested children in! From what you say, and from what I'd already read, the church in Colville WA didn't cover anything up. The pastor immediately told everyone in the church about it. No hush hush about it. He did the morally responsible thing. He acted like a shepherd. But Doug Wilson engaged in a coverup for a long time, and when Wilson's coverup was exposed, his own church members covered for Wilson. What's wrong with those people? Are they zombies or something?

So none of the victims' families at St. Peter Presbyterian have pressed charges against Sitler? "However, public records do not document any of Sitler’s crimes in Virginia because according to the Latah County Prosecutor, none of the victims’ families returned his phone calls." What's going on with those people!!! Are they covering up for Sproul? If that's what they're doing those parents must love Sproul a lot more than they love their own children. Something's got to be terribly wrong about that church. Has R. C. Sproul Jr. been organizing a major coverup of this child molesting in his Bristol VA church? That's what it sounds like to me.

You say all this is God's judgment on Doug Wilson. So do you think that maybe the same is true about Sproul too?

Any way you look at it, it's so tragic. Just heartbreaking. I feel so sorry for those children. Where were the shepherds to protect the sheep? Why are the shepherds, and maybe even some of the parents, covering up for a child molester? It's just sick! Sick! SICK!

Anonymous said...

Wesley, thanks for helping to ruin my day even more than Mark just did! After reading your description of the morally bankrupt sleezy southern exorcist I couldn't help but think that you're probably talking about Steve Wilkins? I know I ought to be surprised, but I'm not. Nothing these federal vision types do surprises me anymore.

Mark T. said...

Hi Nora,

Like you, I was positively sickened when I learned about Sitler. In fact, I was physically ill for a week. The discovery made many others in Moscow ill as well. It is a horrifying story that has no good news. The Lord Jesus did not refer to “millstones” casually. If Sitler is in Christ, I rejoice for his soul but his spiritual condition does not remove the awfulness of his crimes nor the terrible affect he has had on others.

To my knowledge, Steven Sitler limited his Virginian crimes to one family, which was the same family that did not return the Latah County Prosecutor’s phone calls. I presume the scenario involves lots of money, though I have no evidence to support this presumption other than my knowledge of the victims’ father’s greed and my corresponding knowledge of Sitler’s parent’s extraordinary wealth. In short, I’m saying that I believe Sitler’s parents paid off the family of victims in Virginia to keep quiet, so that they could limit the scope of the scandal. This scenario is consistent with Wilson’s desire to conceal the catastrophe.

Bottom line, however, is that every one of these people is sick, as you say. Any person with their head on tight would have burned that evil, malevolent cult down to the ground the moment they learned that Wilson concealed this critical information from them. It turned out, however, that they were no different than the OT pagans who made their children to pass through the fire. And Wilson loves to have it so.

Thanks for checking in.

Anonymous said...

My friend Nora showed me this. This has wrecked the day for me and Nora both. I already know I'll have trouble sleeping tonite.

Nora and me talked about the Sitler crimes back when we first found out. Just like for you Mark we were so shocked by Doug Wilson's part that it made us physically ill. Before that we both liked Doug Wilson because of his books on family. What a hypocrite.

I'm so shocked to find out about R.C. Sproul Jrs connection to this. Not really surprised, but still shocked. Sproul wrote a good book or two on the family too. Just another hypocrite.

Nora said, "What's going on with those people!!! Are they covering up for Sproul?" Like I told Nora, it's too obvious that no one but Sproul is covering for Sproul. Those Highlands Study Center students are boarded in Sproul's home. Sproul made his own children easy targets for perverts.

Your thinking on this Mark is spot on. If Sproul is a greedy man he'd be glad to take a bribe to not prosecute the man that molested his children. Even if he didn't accept a bribe, how could he let Sitler get away with those wicked crimes? Either way it just sends bad messages to his children. "Don't count on daddy to protect you kids." God deliver those poor children from such a selfish father. I can't even imagine what his wife must think of him.

If anyone molested my children I know my husband would do the right thing. It might not even involve calling the police. It may not be very Christian of me to say this but a pervert like Sitler would be lucky to even still be alive. We're very protective about our children though, so I don't see how anyone would be able to be alone with any of our precious ones in the first place.

I admire your bravery in exposing all this Mark. It needs to be done though. Don't let anybody intimidate you. Our family will be praying for you.

Mark T. said...

The Sitler tragedy is not going away. It’s clear that when Judge Stegner granted Wilson’s plea to go easy on the pedophile, Wilson had no idea that he just strung a millstone around his neck. Pedophiles are bad PR. Even worse, they re-offend. Sitler will re-offend as witnessed by his actions last year when he was arrested for voyeuring. We were all shocked that Stegner didn’t throw him away for life on that one, because it demonstrated his lack of self-control. Pedophiles cannot monitor themselves and they cannot stop themselves. Sitler will attack more children and the only question that remains is how many will he defile before he gets caught. Statistics say it can go into the hundreds. One of my attorneys says Sitler will start killing his victims and leaving them on the outskirts of a reservation. I note these facts to spotlight that millstone around Wilson’s neck. It’s gotta be mighty heavy and it’s only going to get worse.

Anonymous said...

Mark, knowing so many things about Doug Wilson as you do, maybe you could comment on a thought that came to my mind this morning.

The way you've described Doug Wilson in your articles it sounds like you're describing a man who's a control freak. Am I correct about that? One of the easiest ways for a control freak to control people is have some dirt on them that they'd worry about it being leaked to the public.

Could it be that Doug Wilson was responsible for arranging the bribe for R.C. Sproul Jr. with the wealthy Sitler family to keep his mouth shut about Steven Sitler molesting his children?

Could there be any better way of gaining total control over someone than to get them to take a bribe? From what I've heard it happens to politicians and judges quite often. The smart ones would never take a bribe. They'd know it comes at too high a price.

From what little I've seen with Sproul, he doesn't strike me as a very smart man. He'd probably be just dumb enough, and as you say, just greedy enough, to take a bribe. I wonder how R.C. Sproul Jr. must feel now, knowing that he'll always be under the thumb of Doug Wilson? That must be an awful burden to bear, not to mention all the guilt he must carry for selling out his own family. On the other hand, maybe he just doesn't have a conscience at all.

Mark T. said...

Hi Brenda,

First, I have not and I will not confirm or deny the names of any victims or their families, which is to say that I am not confirming your suspicion.

Second, I have absolutely no evidence to suggest that anyone participated in any kind of bribery vis-à-vis Sitler.

Third, Wilson is absolutely a control freak and he will stop at nothing to gain leverage over anyone — including arranging a bribe. So given the theory that money changed hands, yes, I believe Wilson would arrange a bribe and use it to leverage both families forever. He would have total control of the Sitlers as well as the parties in Virginia.

Again, while we have no evidence to support this theory, it is consistent with Wilson’s nature and with the way this scandal played out. And as long as I’m on it, I suspect that Wilson skimmed some money from the Sitler’s as well. What other reason would he plead with the judge to go soft on Sitler? If he did take money, however, it would have had to have been in the form of a donation to keep himself insulated.

Any way you cut it, this thing stinks.

Thanks for stopping by.

Jenny said...

Thank you or telling us. I've never been so disappointed in a human being in my entire life. And what a waste: I have one of his wife's few truly great books, am getting his son's book, and can tell his daughters are intelligent, but those daughters (and the wife, who is sometimes truly cool inspite of her doctrinal errors) are both affected by the foolish goat in their midst. This matter is beyond sickening.