Chuck Phelps: A Story We’ve Been Avoiding All Year Because It Makes Us So Angry

Chuck PhelpsWhat can we say about Chuck Phelps without using many four-letter words? Not much, so we’ll let the story speak for itself.

In 1997, Tina Anderson, a 15-year-old member of Trinity Baptist Church, an Independent Fundamental Baptist (IFB) church, in Concord, New Hampshire, was allegedly raped, twice, by 38-year-old church deacon Ernest Willis. Her pastor, Chuck Phelps, reported the incident to police, but authorities could never move forward with the case because Anderson disappeared; she was sent the Colorado home of a deacon of another IFB church (Tri-City Baptist), where she was homeschooled and restricted in her contact with the outside world.

In February, 2010, Anderson, now 28, re-emerged and the case was on again. Police arrested Willis, now 51, and charged him with two counts of rape and two counts of sexually abusing a minor.

In recounting the past, Anderson stated that Willis raped her once in his car, and once at her home. And then she realized she was pregnant. She told Willis, who, she says, offered to take her across state lines for an abortion, or punch her in the stomach to cause a miscarriage. She said no to both “offers.”

Eventually, she told her mother about the pregnancy, and finally word reached Pastor Chuck Phelps, who decided the girl would need to be “church discplined” by standing in front of the congregation and apologizing for her sin — getting pregnant out of wedlock — and to write a letter to Willis’ wife asking for forgiveness. Which she did.

According to another church member, this was not an uncommon practice at Trinity Baptist.

Anderson also told police: “He [Phelps] told me that I should be happy that I didn’t live in Old Testament times because I would have been stoned.”

In Colorado, Tina gave birth, and was forced to give the baby up for adoption, allegedly through the machinations of Chuck Phelps.

As for Phelps, he moved on, becoming president of Maranatha Baptist Bible College in Watertown, Wisconsin, in 2007. He is currently senior pastor at Colonial Hills Baptist Church (“a family of caring Christians”) in Indianapolis, and “serves on many advisory boards including those of Baptist World Mission, Central Africa Baptist College (Zambia), Fundamental Baptist Fellowship International, Gospel Fellowship Association, and the Wilds Christian Camping Association.”

Last we heard, Phelps was under investigation for obstruction of justice, because police could never locate the victim — and it was, allegedly, through Phelps, that Anderson was whisked out of the state.

Also, according to Tina Anderson’s brother, Phelps may have reported the rape, but he supposedly told police the victim was nearly an adult, not a 15-year-old girl.

Of, course, Phelps says “there was no attempt to cover up the alleged rape,” and that “it was Anderson’s mother who decided to move her to Colorado, while his role consisted of helping find a family for her to live with.”

Christa Brown, of course, has much more.

See also the Tina Anderson Foundation (which we are not endorsing, nor suggesting you donate to — we don’t endorse anyone or anything — it’s just another piece of the story).

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Posted Wednesday, December 29, 2010 | Permalink | Trackback

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