So when Bob Jones University in South Carolina abruptly stopped an investigation into how the university was handling sexual abuse reports, that definitely raises some major red flags for me.
Well, after two weeks of intense criticism for ending the investigation without explanation as it neared completion, the school has said it will allow the investigation to resume.
After the school suddenly ended the investigation, several of those who had been interviewed by investigators went public with stories that officials at Bob Jones University called them liars and sinners when they reported abuse. Some even accused school officials of telling them not to report the abuse because turning in someone from their religious community, such as a parent or pastor, would harm Jesus and the church.
According to the report from the New York Times:
“Most of the accounts involved abuse that occurred when the students were children. But some people did say they were abused as students at the university or its affiliated grade school, Bob Jones Academy.”
It’s hard to even know where to go with this. If this kind of sexual abuse is as rampant as it seems to have been, and the school is found to have been trying to hide it from being made public, I say shut the school down.
But they obviously have something to hide if they shut down the original investigation just as it was starting to come to its conclusion. Only after some of these horrific charges were made public did the school finally agree to let Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment, or G.R.A.C.E. (the company it contracted to conduct the investigation) continue its investigation.
Catherine Harris, one of the most vocal critics of Bob Jones University, said, “I’m really relieved, but I expected it to be back on, because I knew we weren’t going away, even if that’s what Bob Jones expected.” Harris alleges that she was abused by clergy members as a child. When she went to university officials in the 90’s to talk about her abuse she was told not to go to the police.
To give you a little insight to what kind of university Bob Jones is, popular music is not allowed on campus, nor are televisions. For students and employees, homosexuality, extramarital sex, pornography, and alcohol are all grounds for dismissal.
Yup, real “progressive.”
But going back to my original point. If the school had nothing to hide, they wouldn’t have decided to put a sudden end to the investigation to start with. It’s clear they fear what the final report into these sexual abuse allegations will eventually tell. But once public outcry, and the victims’ stories, began to flood the public airwaves – the school had no choice but to allow G.R.A.C.E. to continue its investigation.
I just hope when all is said and done those responsible for this sexual abuse, and the subsequent efforts to cover it up, are all finally brought to justice.