The Fixer

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“Her face was ghostly white… There was nothing left to her.”

“Her face was ghostly white… There was nothing left to her.”[i]

When Jeannie Marie picked up her daughter Roxy from New Beginnings Girls Academy, her daughter was a shadow of her former self. Three months at the academy destroyed her. She endured food deprivation, medical neglect, and severe emotional and physical abuse. Despite urinary tract infections and menstrual complications from a recent gang rape, she was routinely denied toilet paper and sanitary pads, locked in isolation cells, and forced to say she was “the daughter of the devil.”[ii] In desperation, the 17-year old attempted suicide.[iii]

Roxy is not a unique case. Many girls at New Beginnings attempted suicide, hoping that a trip to the hospital would allow them to escape the horrors of the academy.[iv]

New Beginnings Girls Academy is a part of a massive, complicated network of homes for “troubled children.” The homes date back to the 1970’s, when an Independent Fundamental Baptist preacher by the name of Lester Roloff had the idea to create homes to reform children considered sinful or wayward by their parents. Roloff described such children as “parent-hating, Satan-worshiping, dope-taking immoral boys and girls.”[v] Often times the children sent were, like Roxy, “troubled” simply because they were victims of child abuse.[vi]

Abuse allegations have plagued the homes since their beginnings. A plethora of lawsuits were successfully brought against them. Yet the homes keep popping up: closed in one state then re-opened in a less regulated state. The regulatory terrain of this network is, for the most part, just like that of homeschooling: intentionally unregulated.

That unregulated network owes its continuing existence to one man in particular: David C. Gibbs III.

David C. Gibbs III’s career for the Christian Law Association began in 1993.

David C. Gibbs III’s career for the Christian Law Association began in 1993.

Since 2014, Gibbs III has appeared to many in the Christian homeschooling movement as a champion for abuse survivors. He became the attorney for Lourdes Torres in her sexual assault lawsuit against Vision Forum’s disgraced founder Doug Phillips.[vii] When five brave women decided to sue IBLP and ATI’s founder Bill Gothard for sexual assault as well, Gibbs III was there, filing the lawsuit.[viii] The lawsuit against IBLP and Gothard has now grown to include eighteen plaintiffs.[ix]

Through his National Center for Life and Liberty (NCLL), Gibbs III has positioned himself as an advocate for the abused as well as an individual sensitive and empathetic to those injured by Christian fundamentalism. As Gibbs III told HA’s Ryan Stollar in January of this year, “I vehemently oppose child abuse and those that cover it up with a passion, and I believe that organizations that emotionally, psychologically, physically, or sexually abuse children should be prosecuted and shut down.” Now that he has become one of the primary business partners of the Great Homeschool Conventions, the largest for-profit homeschool convention company in the United States, Gibbs III’s platform and reach is spreading.[x]

Yet some have questioned this positive image of Gibbs III. Despite his current advocacy for survivors, he spent decades doing the exact opposite: serving as a fixer for abusers and defending leaders who spread Christian fundamentalism. Through his work and leadership with his father David C. Gibbs Jr.’s organization, the Christian Law Association (CLA), Gibbs III built a career out of defending accused child abusers. And as recently as last year, Gibbs presented sermons at churches arguing that not only parents, but schools, churches, and even complete strangers have a “fundamental right” to child corporal punishment—which he referred to as “child-beating.”[xi]

This discrepancy has raised concerns. Gibbs III’s current NCLL website makes no mention of his involvement with the CLA, including the fact that he was their general counsel. In his interview with HA blog partner Julie Anne Smith on May 26, 2014, he completely separated his father and the CLA’s work from his own work, making it seem that he was not involved with the former.[xii] However, when pressed on this matter, Gibbs III told HA, “I worked with my father and did legal work for CLA from 1993-2012.”

The discrepancies do not end there. Gibbs III indicated to Smith that he was happily married. However, public records show that his wife filed divorce papers against him later that year. The divorce was finalized in July 2015. Furthermore, Gibbs III indicated to Smith that he was never involved in any domestic disputes. However, public records show a dispute in 2013 between him and Texas Child Protective Services.

The Roloff Homes

To better understand Gibbs III’s story, we need to go back to 1956, when fiery fundamentalist Lester Roloff founded his first home for troubled individuals, the City of Refuge Home for Men, in Lee County, Texas.[xiii] Over the next two decades, Roloff founded a slew of other homes, including the Lighthouse Home for Young Men in 1958[xiv], the Rebekah Home for Girls[xv] and the Anchor Home for Boys in 1967[xvi], and the Bethesda Home for Girls in 1968.[xvii] He also founded the People’s Baptist Church in 1969[xviii], to which he passed ownership of the homes in order to make them “church-based”—and thus garnering of religious legal protections. Beginning in 1972, the CLA represented the Roloff homes, with Gibbs Jr. at the helm.[xix]

The founder of many “troubled children” homes, Lester Roloff operated under the principle, “Better a pink bottom than a black soul!”

The founder of many “troubled children” homes, Lester Roloff operated under the principle, “Better a pink bottom than a black soul!”

The CLA began defending the homes at a convenient time, as it was only a year later when the homes were first charged with abuse. Parents visiting the Rebekah Home for Girls in 1973 were horrified when they witnessed staff members whipping a young girl. Local authorities in Texas launched an investigation. This culminated in the Texas legislature hearing testimonies from sixteen girls who alleged they were whipped with leather straps, beaten with paddles, handcuffed to drainpipes, and locked in isolation cells.[xx] Roloff openly admitted these actions, infamously declaring during the court hearing, “Better a pink bottom than a black soul!”[xxi] The revelations led the Texas State Legislature to pass the Child Care Licensing Act, which required the state to license all child-care facilities.[xxii]

Throughout the 1970’s and 80’s, child abuse and corruption continued to plague the Rebekah Home and other homes created or inspired by Roloff. Homes repeatedly shut down and popped up in other states to avoid licensing or prosecution. The most significant lawsuit came in 1982, when Morris Dees, the famous civil rights lawyer and founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center, helped multiple women bring a lawsuit against the Bethesda Home for Girls (and another home created by Bethesda directors Bob and Betty Wills, Reclamation Ranch) for physical abuse, torture, and food deprivation.[xxiii] The lawsuit demanded that Bob Wills and other staffers stop spanking pregnant girls.[xxiv] Gibbs Jr. defended the Bethesda Home and Reclamation Ranch.[xxv] The last year of Roloff’s involvement was 1982, as he died in a plane crash in November. His longtime associate Wiley Cameron took over the network.

In 1993, only a few years after the Rebekah and Anchor Homes were closed for a second time due to abuse, Gibbs III joined his father as an attorney for the Christian Law Association.[xxvi] Meanwhile, a string of more grievous incidents occurred: A seventeen-year-old girl, Carrie Louise Nutt, was emotionally and physically abused and forced by staffers to strip at Mountain Park Baptist Academy, run by Bob and Betty Wills.[xxvii] A murder also took place.[xxviii]

Through his work and leadership with his father David C. Gibbs Jr.’s organization, the Christian Law Association (CLA), Gibbs III built a career out of defending accused child abusers.

In the midst of this, with the hope that deregulating faith-based programs would increase their efficacy, then-Texas governor George W. Bush pushed for a legislative package that would allow church-run child-care institutions to opt out of state licensing.[xxix] This was an exemption to the requirement established in 1975 by the Child Care Licensing Act because of child abuse at the Roloff homes. The primary witness to speak in favor of the bill before the House Human Services Committee was Gibbs III, who was employed by the CLA at the time.[xxx]

in 1982, Morris Dees of the Southern Poverty Law Center helped multiple women bring a lawsuit against the Bethseda Home for Girls and Reclamation Ranch.

in 1982, Morris Dees of the Southern Poverty Law Center helped multiple women bring a lawsuit against the Bethseda Home for Girls and Reclamation Ranch.

According to the American Bar Association Journal, Gibbs III intentionally misled the committee to give the impression he was not connected to the Roloff Homes through the CLA.[xxxi] However, he denounced this depiction to HA, saying that his appearance during the hearing was not on behalf of the Roloff Homes. He said, “I appeared in Texas as general counsel to a number of churches for the Gibbs Law Firm,” adding that his statements during the trial were “focused on the faith-based community helping meet community needs under an alternative accreditation model that met and exceeded state minimum standards.”

Regardless of whom he represented, Gibbs III’s efforts on behalf of the legislation paid off. The legislation passed, allowing the troubled children’s network to return to Texas, once again without state supervision or licensing. When asked during this time about the three-decades-long history of abuses in the industry, Gibbs III described it as “a glitch alleged with one ministry.”[xxxii] When HA asked Gibbs if he still stands by that description today, he spoke affirmatively, saying, “I do not believe if you have one bad actor that you throw everyone in jail. “

The abuse continued. In 1997, a sixteen-year-old homeschooled boy named Aaron Anderson was physically abused and beaten at the Anchor Home, resulting in broken ribs.[xxxiii] In 1998, sixteen-year-old DeAnne Dawsey was forced into solitary confinement at the Rebekah Home, where she had a nervous breakdown. Faye Cameron (Wiley Cameron’s wife) and three male guards pinned DeAnne to the ground, bound her with duct tape, and kicked her in the ribs. They then neglected to provide her with medical attention.[xxxiv] Child Protection Services investigated and banned Faye Cameron from ever again working with children in the State of Texas.[xxxv]

When asked by the ABA Journal in 2001 about the 3-decades-long history of abuses at the Roloff Homes, David C. Gibbs III described the history as “a glitch alleged with one ministry.”

When asked by the ABA Journal in 2001 about the 3-decades-long history of abuses at the Roloff Homes, David C. Gibbs III described the history as “a glitch alleged with one ministry.”

Once again it was Gibbs III who defended the child abusers. He served as Faye Cameron’s attorney and diminished the seriousness of the charges. He praised her, saying she “served faithfully in that ministry in excess of thirty years.”[xxxvi] When first asked by HA about his representation of Cameron, Gibbs III denied any memory of the account, saying, “I do not recall representing Mrs. Cameron.” After HA provided him with evidence showing his involvement, he stated, “The details escape me.” However, when asked if he stands today by his comments back then regarding Cameron, Gibbs III said, “She did faithfully work there for 30 years.” HA reached out to the Texas Child Protective Services for comment, but they did not respond.

The abuse continued. In 2000, two teenagers, eighteen-year-old Justin Simons and seventeen-year-old Aaron James Cavallin, were physically abused[xxxvii] and urinated on by Lighthouse supervisors.[xxxviii] As a result, four Roloff staffers were arrested[xxxix] and Allen Smith, one of the Lighthouse supervisors, was convicted for unlawful restraint and prohibited from ever again working with youth.[xl] Wiley Cameron was arrested for failing to turn over records to the sheriff.[xli]

Yet again, Gibbs III defended the child abusers. As attorney for the CLA, he said People’s Baptist Church was conducting an internal investigation. He determined the abuse allegations were “highly exaggerated” and consequently defended Lighthouse and their discipline practices, saying they were not “overly harsh.”[xlii] When HA first asked about this investigation, Gibbs III denied knowledge of it, saying, “I have no recollection of any internal investigation at People’s Baptist Church.” After HA provided him with evidence showing his comments at the time, Gibbs III changed course and said he still believes the investigation discerned the allegations were exaggerated.

As recently as 2012, on his own organization NCLL’s website, David C. Gibbs III proudly declared his “twenty years of faithful service with the Christian Law Association.”

As recently as 2012, on his own organization NCLL’s website, David C. Gibbs III proudly declared his “twenty years of faithful service with the Christian Law Association.”

The next year found Gibbs III as the general counsel for the CLA.[xliii] As general counsel, he was directly involved in advocacy to roll back state oversight and licensing of youth homes through Religious Freedom Restoration Acts.[xliv] Through his involvement, homes established privacy policies requiring parents to relinquish parental rights and agree to not let child welfare workers interview their children.[xlv]

Gibbs III’s career as an advocate for child abusers is not limited to the troubled children industry.

The abuse continued. From 2001 to 2005, fifteen-year-old Brittany Campbell was psychologically and physically abused at the Rebekah Home (which was renamed New Beginnings Girls Academy in 2001).[xlvi] Michael Quinn, who attended the Anchor Home for Boys from 2002 to 2004, alleged verbal and physical abuse.[xlvii] In 2002, more than two-dozen former residents of Mountain Park Baptist Boarding Academy alleged experiences of abuse.[xlviii] Seventeen-year-old Jordan Blair filed a lawsuit against Mountain Park, accusing the school of abuse and imprisonment.[xlix] He eventually lost his imprisonment complaint because the judge determined that “his parents had a right to keep him there against his will.”[l]

Once again, Gibbs III provided a defense. After Mountain Park Baptist Boarding Academy was accused of abuse, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch interviewed him. He defended the homes, saying, “The media tend to fixate on a few unfortunate incidents.”[li] Furthermore, he specifically defended the right of parents to send children (like Jordan Blair) against their will to youth homes.[lii] When asked by HA if he still believes parents have the right to make such decisions, Gibbs III evaded, saying, “Parents cannot legally send children to a place that is abusive” (emphasis added).

Top: In the CLA’s 2011 990 form filed with the IRS, the Florida branch of David C. Gibbs III’s personal law firm, Gibbs Law Firm, is listed as an independent contractor for the CLA and the recipient of nearly $2.5 million from the CLA. Bottom: In the CLA’s 2012 990 form filed with the IRS, the Texas branch of David C. Gibbs III’s personal law firm, Gibbs Law Firm, is listed as an independent contractor for the CLA and the recipient of over $1.5 million from the CLA.

Top: In the CLA’s 2011 990 form filed with the IRS, the Florida branch of David C. Gibbs III’s personal law firm, Gibbs Law Firm, is listed as an independent contractor for the CLA and the recipient of nearly $2.5 million from the CLA.
Bottom: In the CLA’s 2012 990 form filed with the IRS, the Texas branch of David C. Gibbs III’s personal law firm, Gibbs Law Firm, is listed as an independent contractor for the CLA and the recipient of over $1.5 million from the CLA.

The abuse continued. In 2003, at New Beginnings, sixteen-year-old Jamie Lee Schmude was beaten until bruised and forced to urinate on herself.[liii] Two other children at New Beginnings testified they were forced to hold Schmude down while she was beaten.[liv] In 2004, a supervisor at the Anchor Home for Boys (now renamed Anchor Academy), Justin Peterson, sexually assaulted a fifteen-year-old boy.[lv]

In 2005, the Mountain Park Baptist Boarding Academy faced a twenty-count complaint for violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act, assault, battery, false imprisonment, negligence, negligence in providing medical treatment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, conversion, and fraud.[lvi] With Gibbs III as general counsel, the Christian Law Association defended the academy.[lvii]

Tragically, the child abuse continues, even to this day. Roxy’s story, with which this story began, occurred only a few years ago in 2011. Many of these homes continue to exist, renamed or moved to other states where they are exempt from state licensing or oversight.

Trinity Baptist Church

Gibbs III’s career as an advocate for child abusers is not limited to the troubled children industry. Gibbs III told HA that, on behalf of the CLA, he served as an attorney for Chuck Phelps. Phelps is a pastor who repeatedly aided and abetted child abusers at the church he pastored, Trinity Baptist Church. According to several sources, Gibbs III also provided legal assistance to Christine Leaf, a mother who abandoned her daughter after her daughter was raped by a member of Trinity Baptist. However, Gibbs III declined to provide HA with details of his involvement with Leaf, saying, “Whether or not I legally spoke with Mrs. Leaf is confidential under attorney-client privilege.”

In 1997, 15-year-old Tina Anderson was raped and impregnated by a member of Chuck Phelps’ Trinity Baptist Church.

In 1997, 15-year-old Tina Anderson was raped and impregnated by a member of Chuck Phelps’ Trinity Baptist Church. Image: Tina Anderson.

The stories from Trinity Baptist date back to 1994, when seventeen-year-old Cheryl’s stepfather began sexually assaulting her.[lviii] Cheryl’s family attended Trinity Baptist Church, pastored by Chuck Phelps. Cheryl told her mother but her mother did nothing. Cheryl then told her pastor, Phelps, who called the family into his office and told the stepfather he needed “to stop it.” [lix] The stepfather did not stop. He continued to molest Cheryl until she moved to California to live with her uncle two years later. Cheryl was told to “forgive and forget.”[lx] Phelps did not report the abuse.[lxi]

In 1996, Cheryl’s uncle, Robert Sheffield, became aware of Cheryl’s abuse. Sheffield called Chuck Phelps to talk about it. Sheffield was told by Phelps that Cheryl, again, “just needed to forgive and forget.”[lxii]

In a parallel event, beginning in 1996, fourteen-year-old Tina Anderson began babysitting for Ernest Willis, also a member of Phelps’ Trinity Baptist Church.[lxiii] The following year, Willis raped Anderson twice. Months later, Anderson was pregnant. Willis offered to either take her to an abortion clinic or punch her in the stomach to cause a miscarriage.[lxiv]

After telling her mother about the pregnancy, and her mother alerting Phelps, Tina was forced by her pastor to undergo “church discipline.” This involved Tina standing in front of the congregation and apologizing for her “sins.” Tina was told she should be happy she did not live in ancient Israel or she would be stoned. [lxv]

Tina was convinced not to press charges. At the urging of Tina’s mom Christine Leaf (but against Tina’s wishes), Phelps coordinated to have Tina moved across state lines.[lxvi] Phelps had Tina put the child up for adoption.[lxvii] To hide her, Tina was homeschooled and forced to have no contact with children her own age.[lxviii] While Phelps reported the rape to police,[lxix] his and Leaf’s action of moving Tina out of state prevented an investigation.[lxx]

Willis continued to be a member of Trinity Baptist Church “in good standing.” He also continued to have young girls babysit for him.[lxxi]

More than a decade passed. In February 2010, after hearing about similar abuse cases, Tina came forward with her story.[lxxii] Three months later, police arrested Ernest Willis and charged him with four felonies: two counts of rape and two counts of having sex with a minor.[lxxiii]

On May 20, 2016, Judge Kenneth L. Popejoy disqualified Gibbs III from the Bill Gothard sex abuse case, Gretchen Wilkinson v. IBLP.

Top: On behalf of the Christian Law Association, David C. Gibbs III (left) awards Dr. Earl Jessup (front, right) the Jack Hyles Memorial Award at First Baptist Church Hammond in 2010. Bottom: David C. Gibbs III and David C. Gibbs Jr. look on as Jack Hyles’ son-in-law Jack Schaap congratulates Dr. Jessup for the Christian Law Association award. Two years later Schaap pleads guilty for trafficking a girl across state lines and raping her. Despite personal relationships with church leadership, the Christian Law Association is hired by the church to conduct an internal investigation.

Top: On behalf of the Christian Law Association, David C. Gibbs III (left) awards Dr. Earl Jessup (front, right) the Jack Hyles Memorial Award at First Baptist Church Hammond in 2010.
Bottom: David C. Gibbs III and David C. Gibbs Jr. look on as Jack Hyles’ son-in-law Jack Schaap congratulates Dr. Jessup for the Christian Law Association award. Two years later Schaap pleads guilty for trafficking a girl across state lines and raping her. Despite personal relationships with church leadership, the Christian Law Association is hired by the church to conduct an internal investigation. Image: YouTube.

The next year, Chuck Phelps issued a statement claiming that Willis’s rape of Anderson was consensual and “an ongoing sexual relationship.”[lxxiv] Phelps defended his allowing Willis to continue to be in the church, saying he “didn’t know that he had impregnated a fifteen-year-old girl” because “it was an accusation made, an accusation is not a conviction.”[lxxv]

It was Gibbs III who served as an attorney to both Chuck Phelps and Christine Leaf (Tina Anderson’s mom) during the trial of Willis.[lxxvi] Gibbs III told HA that, “I attended part of the trial and helped coordinate with government officials so Pastor Phelps could voluntarily come in from out-of-state to testify at trial on behalf of the prosecution.” However, several court witnesses—one of whom spoke directly to HA—contest Gibbs III’s account. According to them, he engaged in strange, manipulative courtroom behavior around Anderson[lxxvii] and tried to argue “pastoral privilege”/”clergy-congregant privilege” to keep Phelps from having to testify against Willis. Judge Larry Shumkler ruled against Gibbs III’s motion.[lxxviii] Willis was convicted of raping and impregnating Tina Anderson.[lxxix]

Inspired by Tina’s bravery, Cheryl—now 34 years old—went public in 2011 with her report of being sexually abused by her stepfather.[lxxx] Phelps attempted to portray her rape as a consensual act. Nonetheless, Gibbs III defended Phelps. He justified Phelps’ actions by saying Cheryl’s family told Phelps that CPS was already involved and the abuse was already reported.[lxxxi]

When HA asked Gibbs III about the Anderson trial, he said, “I am deeply saddened that Tina Anderson was abused by many trusted people in her life.  I admire her and her courage to speak out for victims.”

The Old Schoolhouse

Gibbs III’s advocacy for child abusers continued into 2014. In the spring of 2007, Geoff and Jenefer Igarashi discovered that the then-teenage son of Paul and Gena Suarez, owners of the popular homeschool magazine The Old Schoolhouse, “repeatedly molested” their six-year-old son.[lxxxii] Gena and Jenefer are sisters. Gena and Jenefer’s younger sister, “Megan,” accused the Suarezes of physically abusing their own children as well as physically abusing and sexually harassing her.[lxxxiii]

Roxy (right), whose 3 months at New Beginnings Girls Academy reduced her to a ghost of her former self, continues to struggle to this day.

Roxy (right), whose 3 months at New Beginnings Girls Academy reduced her to a ghost of her former self, continues to struggle to this day. Image: ABC News.

In 2014, Gibbs III approached the Igarashis when they threatened to go public with this history of abuse.  At the time, The Old Schoolhouse was, like Gibbs III, a primary business partner for the Great Homeschool Conventions, and Gibbs III was a columnist for the magazine.[lxxxiv] According to a written report given to HA about the situation, “Gibbs eventually pushed Jenefer and Geoff to sign a mediation agreement he drafted. The agreement declared that the Suarezes agreed to stop ‘shunning’ the Igarashis but on the condition that Jenefer was to cease talking about all the potentially damning information they had. It was also insinuated that they could be sued if they chose to speak up.”[lxxxv] This closely resembled how New Beginnings explicitly prohibited “bringing civil lawsuits against other Christians or the church to resolve personal disputes.”[lxxxvi]

Gothard/IBLP Lawsuit

On May 20, 2016, Judge Kenneth L. Popejoy disqualified Gibbs III from the Bill Gothard sex abuse case, Gretchen Wilkinson v. IBLP. Gothard and IBLP had filed motions the previous February claiming that Gibbs was “playing both sides of the street” in the case. One of the motions contained an affidavit from Roger Blair, who was present when Gibbs first approached Gothard to talk about the abuse allegations. Blair alleged that Gibbs III offered to help Gothard derail the allegations against him. Blair testified that, “Mr. Gibbs spoke as if he were connected to the individuals behind Recovering Grace and had inside knowledge that would be valuable to Bill. I recall Mr. Gibbs saying, ‘I know how to handle it.’ He stated that Bill ‘was wronged’ and that it was unfair that ‘people are trying to destroy your ministry as well as other ministries.’ Mr. Gibbs stated that he read allegations on the Recovering Grace website and he knew that they were false. He said that he knew how to adequately respond to ‘get rid of it.’”[lxxxvii]

Gibbs III vociferously denied the allegations of misconduct, saying they were “a desperate attempt to attack the law firm that is publicly and legally holding [Gothard] accountable for years of child abuse.”[lxxxviii] But Judge Popejoy ruled against him. The judge declared that, “There is clearly a clouded, convoluted and inappropriate set of interactions that attorney Gibbs had among the entire set of circumstances and parties pertaining to the litigation.” As a result, the judge ruled, “It is completely and utterly inappropriate for attorney Gibbs to continue as legal counsel for the plaintiffs.”[lxxxix]

*****

For years, David C. Gibbs III and his organizations pulled in millions of dollars[xc] while advocating on behalf of child abusers. When HA asked Gibbs if he stands today by his advocacy on behalf of the troubled children industry, he deflected, saying, “I am not perfect by any stretch but I do try to be principled.” While he added that he “do[es] not support the culture of the 1970’s that lacked transparency, abused, and covered up abuse,” he had no comment on his own decades-long role in creating that culture.

That culture directly enabled the troubled children industry to advance and thrive, shattering countless of children’s lives in its wake. The individuals whose childhoods were destroyed can never get them back. Their adulthoods are often similarly devastated. Roxy, whose three months at New Beginnings reduced her to a ghost of her former self, continues to struggle. She suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. Despite counseling, Roxy is “doing terrible,” her mom says. “She has no self-worth.”[xci]

Her mom also worries for all the other young girls subjected to New Beginnings: “Many of these little girls will be terribly challenged to remember who God is after this experience.”[xcii]

Citations

[i] Susan Donaldson James, “Biblical Reform School Discipline: Tough Love or Abuse?,” ABC News, April 12, 2011, link, accessed on December 10, 2015.

[ii] Ibid.

[iii] Kathryn Joyce, “Horror Stories From Tough-Love Teen Homes,” Mother Jones, July/August 2011, link, accessed on December 10, 2015.

[iv] Ibid.

[v] Pamela Colloff, “Remember the Christian Alamo,” Texas Monthly, December 2001, link, accessed on December 10, 2015.

[vi] James.

[vii] Chelsea Schilling, “Christian Giant Sued For ‘Using Nanny as Sex Object,’” WorldNetDaily, April 15, 2014, link, accessed on December 17, 2015.

[viii] William McCleery, “IBLP sued for its handling of alleged abuse and harassment,” WORLD Magazine, October 27, 2015, link, accessed on December 17, 2015.

[ix] Ryan Stollar, “’Desperate Attempt’: David C. Gibbs III Fires Back Against Bill Gothard, IBLP,” Homeschoolers Anonymous, link, accessed on May 5, 2016.

[x] Great Homeschool Conventions, “Sponsor: National Center for Life and Liberty,” link, accessed on December 17, 2015.

[xi] See, for example, David C. Gibbs III’s sermon on August 23, 2015 at Metropolitan Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas, “Acts 4:29,” link, accessed on May 5, 2016.

[xii] Julie Anne Smith, “Which ‘Attorney David Gibbs’ Leads the Lawsuit of Lourdes Torres-Manteufel vs Douglas Phillips – the Father, or the Son?,” Spiritual Sounding Board, May 26, 2014, link, accessed on December 17, 2015.

[xiii] John Gibeaut, “Welcome to Hell,” ABA Journal, August 2001, p. 47.

[xiv] Roloff Evangelistic Enterprises, Inc., “About Our Ministry,” link, accessed on December 10, 2015.

[xv] Colloff.

[xvi] Maurice Chammah, “Tough Love or Abuse? Inside the Anchor Home for Boys,” Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, June 30, 2014, link, accessed on December 10, 2015.

[xvii] Mike Pare, “Authorities Ponder Course of Action; Status Unknown on Religious Colony,” Rome News-Tribune, October 3, 1980.

[xviii] Mike Pare, “Roloff would ‘delight’ in testing church issue,” Rome News-Tribune, October 31, 1980.

[xix] Colloff.

[xx] Ibid.

[xxi] Joyce.

[xxii] Colloff.

[xxiii] Reginald Stuart, “Home’s Ex-Inmates Tell of Beatings,” New York Times, March 5, 1982, link, accessed on December 9, 2015.

[xxiv] Kim Bell, “Insiders Tell of Boarding School Past and Present; Slaying in Missouri Follows Some Troubles in Mississippi,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, March 31, 1996, link, accessed on December 10, 2015.

[xxv] Ibid.

[xxvi] Great Homeschool Conventions, “Attorney David Gibbs,” link, accessed on May 6, 2016.

[xxvii] [xxvii] John Chadwick, “An abusive ordeal at boarding school fuels a haunting play,” Rutgers Focus, May 27, 2009, link, accessed on December 10, 2015.

[xxviii] Matthew Franck, “Reform schools find a haven here,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, November 17, 2002, link, accessed on December 10, 2015.

[xxix] Colloff.

[xxx] Ibid.

[xxxi] Gibeaut, p. 47-48.

[xxxii] Ibid.

[xxxiii] Chammah.

[xxxiv] Colloff.

[xxxv] Ibid.

[xxxvi] Dan Parker, “State forever bans Roloff home leader’s wife from working at facility; Faye Cameron, who was girls’ dorm mother, drops appeal of allegations,” Corpus Christi Caller Times, April 28, 2000, link, accessed on December 10, 2015.

[xxxvii] Hanna Rosin, “Two Arrested in Texas Child Abuse Case,” Washington Post, April 11, 2000, link, accessed on December 10, 2015.

[xxxviii] Dan Parker, “Youths find structure at church homes; Lawyer calls some allegations of abuse ‘highly exaggerated’,” Corpus Christi Caller Times, April 16, 2000, link, accessed on December 10, 2015.

[xxxix] Gibeaut, p. 45.

[xl] Guy H. Lawrence, “Former Roloff supervisor gets probation; Unlawful restraint conviction also carries fine, public service,” Corpus Christi Caller Times, June 11, 2014, link, accessed on December 10, 2015.

[xli] Rosin.

[xlii] Parker, “Youths find.”

[xliii] Pam Belluck, “Many States Ceding Regulations to Church Groups,” New York Times, July 27, 2001, link, accessed on December 10, 2015.

[xliv] Belluck.

[xlv] Gibeaut, p. 48.

[xlvi] James.

[xlvii] Chammah.

[xlviii] Franck, “Reform schools.”

[xlix] Matthew Franck, “Suit Says Mountain Park Religious School Uses Barbaric Discipline; Founder Calls Ex-Student’s Allegations Ridiculous,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, July 9, 2002, link, accessed on December 10, 2015.

[l] Associated Press, “Federal Judge rules for Baptist boarding school in Missouri,” Nevada Daily Mail, April 9, 2004.

[li] Franck, “Schools hail.”

[lii] Franck, “Reform schools.”

[liii] Alexandra Zayas, “Religious exemption at some Florida children’s homes shields prying eyes,” Tampa Bay Times, October 26, 2012, link, accessed on December 10, 2015.

[liv] Zayas.

[lv] Associated Press, “School worker accused of assault,” Billings Gazette, July 9, 2004, link, accessed on December 10, 2015.

[lvi] Jamie Kaufmann WOODS, et al., Plaintiffs, v. Bob WILLS, et al., Defendants, United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Southeastern Division, November 18, 2005.

[lvii] Woods vs. Wills.

[lviii] Maddie Hanna, “New sex case tied to church congregation: Woman says she was molested,” Concord Monitor, June 10, 2011, link, accessed on December 9, 2015.

[lix] Ibid.

[lx] Ibid.

[lxi] Associated Press, “2nd woman says pastor ignored assault,” Boston Globe, June 10, 2011, link, accessed on December 9, 2015.

[lxii] Hanna, June 10.

[lxiii] Trent Spiner, “Police: girl raped, then relocated,” Concord Monitor, May 25, 2010, link, accessed on December 9, 2015.

[lxiv] Spiner.

[lxv] Ibid.

[lxvi] Ibid.

[lxvii] Lynne Tuohy, Associated Press, “Ernest Willis, Convicted Of Raping 15-Year-Old Church Member, Won’t Get New Trial,” Huffington Post, August 21, 2013, link, accessed on December 9, 2015.

[lxviii] Spiner.

[lxix] Ibid.

[lxx] Maddie Hanna, “Pastor fires back in new abuse case; Ex-Trinity leader says police knew,” Concord Monitor, June 11, 2011, link, accessed on December 9, 2015.

[lxxi] Alan B. Goldberg, Gail Deutsch, Susan James, Sean Dooley, “Compassion or Cover-Up? Teen Victim Claims Rape; Forced Confession in Church,” ABC News, April 8, 2011, link, accessed on December 9, 2015.

[lxxii] Spiner.

[lxxiii] Ibid.

[lxxiv] Goldberg, Deutsch, James, Dooley.

[lxxv] Ibid.

[lxxvi] Chuckles Travels, “Under the Wheels of the Chuck Phelps Bus,” May 25, 2011, link, accessed on December 9, 2015.

[lxxvii] Amy Coveno, “Trial of Ernest Willis Continues,” WMUR 9 ABC, May 24, 2011, link, accessed on December 9, 2015.

[lxxviii] Ibid. Also, Chuckles Travels, “Ernie Willis Sentenced~Chuck Phelps Lies Again,” September 13, 2011, link, accessed on December 9, 2015.

[lxxix] Tuohy.

[lxxx] Hanna, June 10.

[lxxxi] Ibid.

[lxxxii] Hännah Ettinger and R.L. Stollar, “When Homeschool Leaders Looked Away: The Old Schoolhouse Cover-Up,” Homeschoolers Anonymous, October 8, 2014, link, accessed on December 10, 2015.

[lxxxiii] Ibid.

[lxxxiv] Ibid.

[lxxxv] Ibid.

[lxxxvi] James.

[lxxxvii] Ryan Stollar, Homeschoolers Anonymous, “Bill Gothard and IBLP File Motions to Disqualify David C. Gibbs III,” February 20, 2016, link, accessed on May 23, 2016.

[lxxxviii] Ryan Stollar, Homeschoolers Anonymous, “’Desperate Attempt’: David C. Gibbs III Fires Back Against Bill Gothard, IBLP,” February 20, 2016, link, accessed on May 23, 2016.

[lxxxix] Ryan Stollar, Homeschoolers Anonymous, “Lead Attorney for Plaintiffs Disqualified from Bill Gothard Sex Abuse Case,” May 23, 2016, link, accessed on May 23, 2016.

[xc] In 2002, the CLA drew nearly $3 million in donations. See David Karp, “Schindlers’ attorney is used to tough cases,” St. Petersburg Times, March 31, 2005, link, accessed on December 10, 2015. The most recent numbers for the CLA show that it received more than $3 million in 2013. See Guidestar, “Christian Law Association,” link, accessed on December 18, 2015. Similarly, the National Center for Life and Liberty received more than $1.2 million in 2013. See GuideStar, “National Center for Life and Liberty,” link, accessed on December 18, 2015.

[xci] Ibid.

[xcii] Ibid.

14 comments

  • Gibbs III is a liar and a fraud. He still deserves his title as ‘The Fixer’. He has always sided with abusers and continues to show his affection for sick fundamentalism and the abuse it inspires to this day. Thank you HA for doing such an amazing job in putting this together. I hope that he loses his license to practice law and hopefully put an end to his ‘fixing’ days.

  • Thank you for organizing all of this information. It contained little new information for me — having grown up in that culture — but the money trail makes it so clear he’s his father’s son. I was actually hoping that he had repented — reversed direction because he’d realized just how wrong he & his father had been, but it absolutely sounds like he’s just gone undercover.

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    So it looks like Gibbs’ dismissal means “The Fix WAS In” instead of “The Fix Is In”.

    So now what?
    Besides Got Hard’s Return to IBLP in Triumph, Long Trumpets blowing before Him?

  • This guy is an opportunist of questionable loyalties. Best he is no longer going to represent these victims. I hope they get new, competent, uncompromised counsel immediately.

  • I hope that people from every state file with their state bar association so he gets permanently disbarred, putting an end to his ‘fixing’ days.

  • Ryan, this is an outstanding piece of research and journalism. I’ve been trying to collate the story of the Troubled Teen material into one place on my blog for some time, along with the Gibbs involvement, but I think this is the most definitive account I’ve seen anywhere. Thanks for your dedication.

  • This made me so shiver and shake so much I couldn’t read it all … You are so good to keep on going and get all this information together. I hope this goes far and helps so many eyes be opened.

  • I knew of David Gibbs III involvement in the Suarez/Igarashi situation so I was surprised to hear he was representing the victims of Bill Gothard. I knew something was fishy. Now it all makes sense. Thank you, RL, for this article.

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    The founder of many “troubled children” homes, Lester Roloff operated under the principle, “Better a pink bottom than a black soul!”

    “So what if I rack him ’til he die? For I shall have Saved his Soul.”
    — “The Inquisitor”, Mark Twain’s Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court

  • This is a man without a soul.

  • I had my doubt’s about Gibbs from day one (RE- The case against Gothard). I thought he was in an ego match with Daddy.

    In the court transcripts he states that allowing Gothard back as head of the IBLP would give resolution to the victims.

    A million red flags popped up.

    What person with half a brain would think putting a RAPIST and sexual predator back in the position that allowed him to commit his crimes for YEARS, would give any resolution to the victims?

    After reading this…
    I truly believe that he was in this to try and stop any true actions against the IBLP and Gothard from ever happening.
    He wasn’t working both sides. His goal was for one side and that certainly did not include justice for the victims.

    He needs to be disbarred.

    • It sounds like Gibbs may have taken on abuse survivor’s cases so that he could actually infiltrate and sabotage their cases while APPEARING to assist. I never heard of this guy until the story appeared in HA recently. Yes he most definitely should be disbarred ! How does one go about launching enough complaints and to whom ?

  • This is the first I’ve read about Gibbs’ divorce. Was that information gleaned from online sources? If so, can you post a link?

  • Pingback: Our Top 21 Most Viewed Posts of 2016 | Homeschoolers Anonymous

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