Monday, December 8, 2014

Social Media Exchange in Church Molestation Case Shows the Absurd Trust Some Church People Have in Pastors

Last week I wrote an article about two pastors -  Don and Gina Haislett, pastors of Life Church in Odessa, Texas - were arrested in Texas for failure to comply with state law which requires sexual abuse to be reported to authorities within 48 hours. Failure of pastors and church leaders to report sexual abuse by their ministers to the police is an ongoing problem that I've covered multiple times on this blog over the past 7+ years.

At left is the perpetrator, Angel de Los Santos.

A social media exchange between Gina Haislett and her Christian friends and presumably church members shows why gullible church members make it so hard to hold abuse non-reporters accountable for their failure to act. I've pasted this exchange at the end of this article. This exchange was on Gina Haislett's Facebook account two days after the Haislett's were arrested.

First, a summary of reported events:

According to news reports, including this one that includes a timeline of events, the Haisletts became aware of  "inappropriate" text messages between their youth worker Angel De Los Santos on July 30. On July 31st, the Haisletts began contacting parents. The next day, according to the Odessa American story:
"On Aug. 1 the Haisletts dismissed De Los Santos after they conducted their investigation and De Los Santos reportedly acknowledged the sexual assault."
So if this news report is accurate, De Lost Santos confessed to some sort of sexual assault to the Haisletts on August 1st.

The OA story then says in their timeline:
"Gina Haislett arraigned [sic] to speak with Kristina Robles [perpetrator's wife], De Los Santos and several juveniles from church."
So here is Gina Haislett apparently conducting her own investigation, talking to the perpetrator, his wife, and several juveniles. This is more than 48 hours after she learned of the allegations.

It gets much worse for Gina Haislett. According to the OA, police were not notified until August 28th when the mother of the victim called the police. So apparently the Haislett's missed the 48 hour deadline, and let more than 4 weeks go by.

It gets even worse for Gina Haislett. The perp's wife texted Gina on September 8th to let her know the police were on the way to interview her. Gina responds back via text telling the perp's wife not to lie, but to "..not volunteer any information."  Unbelievable.

Then this line from the OA story:
"LeSeuer [of the Odessa Police Department] said none of the other alleged victims, who were reportedly receiving text messages from De Los Santos, have contacted police but police are encouraging anyone with information to come forward."
This is why the police do NOT want people doing their own investigations. Why are no more victims coming forward? Does it have anything to do with Gina Haislett's investigation on August 5th? Who knows what Gina told them. If Gina was not encouraging the perp's wife to be completely transparent with police, what was she telling the victims?

But the actions of the Haisletts are not the point of this article. Instead, I want to focus on the "Christian" response to the Haisletts via social media.

Now, to be fair, the Haisletts may have a defense. Maybe they'll plead guilty. But judging from Gina Haislett's post on Facebook last week she is proclaiming her innocence.

Gina Taylor HaislettYesterday at 5:15pm · Odessa, TX ·    I don't care what the court documents say, it's not the truth. We have integrity and did exactly what we knew to do. I SOOO wish that I could respond to the news media, but cannot comment on the investigation. I also ask all of our friends to please refrain from commenting on the news reports. God will vindicate us. Please just pray that the REAL TRUTH will prevail.— with Don Haislett.
So Gina claims her innocence. The court documents lie, she says. That is fine. She has a right to a defense. Her lawyer may challenge the time line or the information gathered by the police that led to her arrest, or something else we don't know that would justify the Haislett's failure to contact the Odessa Police Department. All defendants deserve a presumption of innocence in a court of law.

But now to the responses to Gina's Facebook post. Some are just expressions of support. But some are just plain nuts, based on the facts as we know them now.

Notice the first to post was Kristina Robles, the wife of the perpetrator. She said "We love you guys. #TeamHaislett".  Go Team!!!

Some others:
"We got your back. Even more so YHWH knows the truth and He will take care of it." 
Good to know fine Christian people have the Haislett's back and that Yaweh (God) will take care of all this. I think the legal process will take care of this, not "YHWH".
"I stand with you and Gina my prayer is ALL things that are hidden will be revealed and only GOD'S truth will stand... If God be for us WHO can be against us???? Ya'll keep holding your heads up and shoulders back because you are the KINGS kids....."   
" prayer is ALL things that are hidden will be revealed." Oh my. Why didn't Gina and Don want all things revealed BEFORE the police were involved? Now they want all things revealed? But they are the "King's kids", so it will be alright.

And this doozy from Julie Garrrett:
"I don't know either of u..u n ur husband are my brother n sister in Christ..that's all I need to know. That being said u both have my complete support n my prayers! We serve a wonderful n mighty God n u are absolutely right ..He will vindicate u. He doesn't take kindly to His kids being mistreated! God bless u both!"
This person doesn't know the Haislett's, but she assumes the Haisletts will be vindicated by God, because God doesn't like his kids (the Haislett's?) being mistreated. Uh, Julie, God doesn't like youth being abused by child molesters, and I'll go out on a limb that God doesn't like it when pastors don't report molesters in a timely fashion to police.

And then this piece of work from "Eg Thomas":
"You know, satan has a real fight on his hands with this one. Before all is said and done I will be asking that all the devil's servants are exposed. This would serve Odessa well because Heaven's Soldiers will be able to see those serving the evil one and band together against him and his kind. It's time God's Churches come to life (hum, Life) and shake this city in the name of Christ claiming it for the kingdom of God."
I don't know what to say. But Gina and Don did! Gina replied with a "Preach!", and Don replied saying "Amen, EG!!! Come on preach it!!!"

So there you have it, the wacky, wacky world of fundamentalism. The conversation topic on Facebook is how God needs to vindicate the pastors who apparently did not comply with state law in timely reporting of sexual abuse by a youth worker at their church. God needs to defeat Satan, the media, and the Odessa Police Department. But nary a word of concern expressed by these nuts commenting on the Haislett's Facebook account for the real victims, the girls who were sexually molested by the youth worker from the Haislett's church.

I thank God for the Odessa Police Department and the work they did to put the creep behind bars, and who weren't afraid to arrest the Haislett's and charge them with the failure to report.

We'll continue to follow this story.


  1. These people are sad. Evidently they are brainwashed to the point they are incapable of ANY anger that a predator was allowed access to their children for WEEKS before police were made aware of abuse.

  2. Tom I know what you are trying to say but I am not sure if you have the right to list all those names in that post is there the possibility being sued....the members are not on trial may have to censor the names out at least.

  3. I'm not listing names. Showing a Facebook thread. I'm not putting any one on trial here. Sue away.

  4. Watchdog is correct. If this is a public Facebook post, then all comments are public as well. It may be a little different if it were a screenshot of a Facebook exchange that was set to "Friends Only."

  5. These people are following a man not Jesus. They also do not follow or read their Bibles either. Pretty sad state for a congregation. I don't think it will be a "church" much longer.


  6. Message for Watchdog:

    The 2014 SACS Conference will be over by 12:30 p.m. tomorrow (December 9th). The word should be out on whether or not BPC will remain accredited or lose their accreditation.

    This is on the last page of the SACS PDF file:

    *This session will conclude with a business session and a report of accreditation and reaffirmation actions by SACSCOC.

    The statement on the website right now about BPC is from October 2014. Tomorrow, BPC should know whether or not they're accredited. If their accreditation stands, we'll probably have marching bands down Highway 280.

  7. "Gina Taylor Haislett ... I don't care what the court documents say, it's not the truth. We have integrity and did exactly what we knew to do."

    Ever heard of "ignorance of the law is no excuse?

    But, Watchdog, these folks are not fundamentalists; they are charismatics.

  8. Anon 4:18:

    Watchdog and others are correct. A public Facebook page is just that... public. And, never forget, the internet is forever, even if you delete it. Someone or "something" has captured it for posterity.

  9. I agree that a pastor MUST call authorities upon any report of an incident. From that point they need to listen and follow the authorities guidelines on how to proceed.

    What is often missing in these discussions is the avoidance of taking to task the parents / spouses who do not call the authorities immediately.

    I am in no way saying a pastor who does not report has my support but I do tire of reading how, it seems, that at times, the parents or spouses tell their pastor and then the blame for not reporting falls only on them.

    There is a bigger picture of the abuse going on than just the pastors remaining silent.

  10. Ahhhh, so wonderful to have Jon Estes back commenting after all these years.

  11. ........thought at least you could have pity on the blind and nevertheless have protected privacy.. A man with no discretion and gives though of who else to bring into it in the business of Body correction may end up being more of a wrecking ball and not one who truly seeks to correct foundations. You know 200 miles south of Odessa there have been ISIS members caught. When are you going to blog about that stuff......

  12. Jon L. Estes - it took a number of years for you to lick your wounds and come back after our last discussion where you finally admitted that you were wrong about the tithe. Did you ever share that with your congregation?

    It seems to me that your comments about the pastor contradict your interpretation of Psalm 105:15. Have you changed your position on that doctrine as well?

  13. SACS has taken Brewton-Parker College off of probation. They now have accreditation.

    Think about it. Brewton-Parker now has the SAME accreditation as the University of Georgia and Georgia Tech. If I were a professor at UGA or GT, I would be royally ticked off.

    This is a VERY sad day for education. I've lost all respect for SACS.

    One question:

    Why is Brewton-Parker College NOT HELD to same higher standard as UGA, GT, UT, LSU, etc. ?????


  14. Modern education is officially a joke:

    Who controls decisions like this, the Baptist Mafia?

  15. Aletheia,

    You seem to be really upset that BP won its appeal. I can't help but think it's not because you have any personal stake but because you're obsessed with wanting Ergun Caner to fail and suffer. What's it to you? I don't like caner either but I also would not like to see the degrees of a thousand or so innocent kids be devalued. And this probation never had anything to do with academic standards it was about financial stability, so I'm not sure of the logic behind the comparison to bigger schools.

    Consider weaning yourself off the Caner schadenfreude.

  16. My comments on BPC have nothing to do with Ergun Caner, except the fact that I do not think he's qualified to be president of anything, especially with his fraudulent background. Why would any parent feel comfortable having their child attend BPC?

    BPC, the educational institution, has become a joke over the years. A student who attends that school is NOT receiving a quality education. Have you counted how many professors are left? You really need to study what has happened to that school over the last decade.

    A degree from that school may be transferable to another SACS-accredited institution, but it will not hold the same amount of respect as degrees from state colleges or universities.

    A person who would choose to send their teenager to BPC over Georgia Southern (GSU) - I would question why. Why pay a lot more money for a lot less education?

    BPC was once a very good school, a place to be proud to have a degree from; however, things have changed. It's been a downhill battle since the 90's. This downward motion didn't start with Caner, but he hasn't helped the situation, in my opinion.

    I have a degree from a state college and would never consider going to or sending a teenager to BPC. Ask Bucky Kennedy where his son is attending college.

    It's a sad day because Christianity requires that Christians hold to a higher standard. The idea of higher standards has been firmly tossed out the window not only in the SBC, but in their private schools as well.

    The interest is no longer in education, but in money, power and camp meetings on campus. What will happen when a graduate has to actually encounter the real world? God expects better from us.

  17. I think Jon has a valid point. While many think pastors should be held to a higher standard, and to an extent I agree, I grow increasingly frustrated with parents and others who know of abuse who do not report it and, if the victim is a minor, pursue pressing criminal charges. ANYONE with credible suspicion or knowledge of sexual abuse of anyone has the legal obligation to report it to the proper authorities. Period.


    Keep doing what you are doing dogs but do explain to people why their churches are failing to bring revival in their community......was reminded of your post of a mega church in Plano this morning.


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