Wednesday, February 26, 2020

RC Sproul Jr's Steven Sitler Pedophile Coverup

RC Sproul Jr's Steven Sitler Pedophile Cover Up

Google "Steven Sitler" and you'll find the tale of years of harm inflicted on a small Idaho community by a serial pedophile and his pastor. Even for those who've followed the Steven Sitler scandal closely, what they don't realize is they've only heard half the story. It actually gets worse. 

Part 1:
Those already familiar with Doug Wilson's role in the Steven Sitler pedophilia coverup scandal may wish to skip to Part 2, below. 

The little college town of Moscow, Idaho (pop. 25,146) features prominently in the Steven Sitler story. This isn't because pedophiles are rare in Moscow, or anywhere else for that matter. Child molesters exist in virtually every community. In Moscow alone there are 47 registered sex offenders, the majority of which are child molesters. Idaho State quantifies that as 1 in every 544 residents. With only one exception they've received very little local attention from bloggers and community activists. Steven Sitler, however, has received a great deal of that. This isn't because Sitler's crimes began and ended exclusively in Moscow. Nor is the spotlight on Sitler due only to the large number of children he molested. Other pedophiles in Idaho have committed the same or sometimes even worse (experts say the term "serial pedophile" is redundant).   

Steven Sitler began his criminal career molesting children in his home town of Colville, Washington. After graduating from high school in May 2003 he relocated briefly to Virginia where he molested more children. Only later did Sitler move to Moscow, Idaho where he was ultimately caught, arrested, tried, and criminally convicted. It isn't because of Sitler's arrest there that the town of Moscow, Idaho is so tightly coupled to the name "Steven Sitler." Rather, the reason is almost entirely because of Steven Sitler's pastor, Douglas Wilson. Apart from Doug Wilson's meddling and interference in the Steven Sitler affair, and his self-justifications for doing so, it's unlikely the Steven Sitler case ever would have blown up into the acrimonious scandal it became. Wilson's meddling continued for years.

From the earliest days of his pastoral career Doug Wilson earned a reputation in Moscow of having a demeanor quite opposite that of "pastoral." Wilson is known to his neighbors in Moscow as being smug, arrogant, bombastic, snarky, autocratic, unaccountable, egotistical,  and abrasive. Many in Moscow, and especially former "Kirk" members, refer to Christ Church as a cult and Douglas Wilson a cult leader. Like so many other cult leaders Wilson uses scripture as a weapon to assail anyone who dares challenge him. That includes fellow believers as well as unbelievers. From his pulpit and publications Wilson frequently targets his "enemies" with imprecatory Psalms and imprecatory prayers. He's dubbed this weaponized use of scripture "serrated edge theology." By it he's stumbled many believers and pushed away many unbelievers in disgust, from the Christian faith altogether.

This isn't to say, however, that Doug Wilson is unpastoral to all. As it concerns pedophiles Wilson has a reputation for, in his own words, covering up sin. "I am a pastor. And I cover up sin for a living." Given the magnitude of scandal Doug Wilson created in his mollycoddling of Steven Sitler he's well earned his reputation as Moscow's Most Hated Man. Ironic, isn't it, that a pastor would be even more disdained by a community than a serial pedophile? By his years-long advocacy and active support of Steven Silter, (not to mention his support of the convicted child molester, Jamin Wight) Doug Wilson has forever destroyed his own reputation.

After enrolling in Wilson's New Saint Andrews College, Steven Sitler arrived in Moscow, Idaho in late August 2003. He also began attending Wilson's Christ Church. As is the case for a number of NSA students Sitler was boarded with a Christ Church family. He wasted no time preying on Christ Church children, beginning with the children of the family he was boarded with.

Wilson's church, and the confederation he founded (CREC), attracts many Quiverfull families. This could make "The Kirk" an attractive target for child predators. Sitler ingratiated himself with multiple Kirk families. He sought ways of being alone with small children such as offering to babysit. Sitler's modus operandi was to target boys and girls 2-12 years of age. Sitler posted many photos on his web site of small children. In fact his web site was comprised of practically nothing but photos of small children. It's for good reason that some who saw Sitler's web site commented that it had the appearance of a "pedophile trophy site."

On March 5, 2005 the father of the family where Sitler was boarded discovered that Sitler had been in bed with one of his children. Sitler initially denied any wrongdoing, claiming he had only been "praying" for her. In reality he'd been preying on her. Upon further investigation the father determined Sitler had molested several of his own children, as well as several other children who'd been guests in his home. The father notified Sitler's parents, as well as Doug Wilson. The father filed a police report and Detective Margaret Lehmbecker also documented her interview with the father (TRIGGER WARNING: graphic descriptions of child molestation. All names have been redacted).

Wilson was notified that Sitler had molested multiple children, but he was in the dark about how long it'd been going on and with how many children he'd molested. Rather than letting the criminal justice system do their job unimpeded Wilson interposed himself under the guise of "counseling" Sitler. Sitler made confessions to Wilson and Wilson determined to interpret these confessions as "repentance." Wilson also decided that Sitler must be telling him the truth, that he was holding nothing back and making full disclosure, and that his memory was reliable. Wilson's only discipline of Sitler was to suspend him from The Lord's Table (communion) and to expel him from NSA. Sitler was free to continue attending church. The only statement made at the time was Sitler had been expelled "for a gross violation of the student code of conduct." Thus began Wilson's coverup, but it didn't end there.

The Latah County Sheriff's office made many attempts at interviewing the parents of child victims they'd positively identified. Their investigative efforts were hampered when confronted with the fortress psyche of a sociological cult. It was apparent Wilson was using the confessions he extracted from Sitler to make contact with parents of victim children and dissuade them from cooperating with the Sheriff's office. Wilson informed victim families Sitler would deny his earlier confessions and take the case to trial. Wilson conveyed that Sitler's defense attorney, Dean Wullenwaber (who was also NSA's attorney), would compel any child victims to take the stand in court and subject them to harsh cross-examination. In Wilson's words this would "re-victimize the victims." The fact is any child victims would not have been subjected to such intimidation tactics in court or anywhere else. Wilson well knew it but, as a direct result of his "Let's protect the victims" campaign, no parent, other than the father who originally reported Sitler, cooperated with the Sheriff's investigation. Phone calls to victim parents were never returned, letters were never answered, and interviews could never be conducted. Under Doug Wilson's duplicitous leadership Christ Church circled the wagons. Wilson used the victims as human shields, all under the guise of "protecting them." In reality Wilson was only protecting himself and the child molester.

It was determined that Sitler had been molesting children at Christ Church for some 18 months. But Wilson delayed for another eight months before notifying his congregation. When Wilson did ultimately notify his church he diminished the magnitude of Sitler's offenses by equating his crimes of child molestation and child rape to breaking the 7th commandment, "You shall not commit adultery."

A morally responsible pastor would not delay in notifying his congregation. A morally responsible pastor would immediately call an emergency congregation meeting, passed out pictures of the pedophile, and given guidance, "Show this picture to your children and ask them, 'Have you ever been alone with this man?' If the answer is yes then you'll have to ask some difficult questions about inappropriate touching. But we'll be here for you. We'll get your kids the support and professional counseling they need." Wilson did none of that. He delayed 8 months, giving opportunity for memories to fade, leaving many to surmise that's exactly what he wanted. Even with his delayed announcement he offered no suggestions to his congregants in what to do for their children. Wilson's inexcusable 8 month delay only further confirmed that he'd circled the wagons and engaged in a cover up. 

As part of a criminal plea bargain Sitler was required to write letters of apology to the parents of every child he'd ever molested (or at least the ones he could remember molesting and that he personally defined as "inappropriate touching"). Sitler wrote dozens of letters, perhaps as many as 100, to parents in Idaho, Washington and Virginia. In some letters he had to confess to molesting more than just one child per family. On September 25, 2005 Sitler avoided going to trial by pleading guilty to one count of "Lewd Conduct with a minor under sixteen years of age." On October 12, 2005 Judge John Stegner handed down a sentence that "defendant be committed to the custody of the Idaho State Board of Correction for a period of LIFE. Pursuant to Idaho Code 19-2513, the defendant shall serve a minimum period of confinement of not less than FIVE (5) YEARS."

Wilson interposed himself again and pleaded with Judge John Stegner for leniency. Wilson claimed that Sitler was repentant -- a changed man.

"I would urge that the civil penalties applied would be measured and limited. I have a good hope that Steven has genuinely repented, and that he will continue to deal with this to become a productive and contributing member of society."

Stegner subsequently obliged Wilson, suspended Sitler's sentence, and placed Sitler on probation. Sitler served only 20 months in jail.

But even during that brief year and a half incarceration Sitler was treated far better than many other criminals who'd been convicted of far less heinous crimes. Rather than serving time in the state penitentiary Sitler was remanded to the Latah County Jail, or what some Moscow residents call "The Latah Hilton." Sitler was also routinely let out of jail, driving himself around unsupervised to various appointments, such as "sex offender counseling," all with the active encouragement of Wilson. Even while Sitler was serving his jail sentence the residents of Moscow were on constant alert, never knowing when Sitler might be released, having to keep a vigilant eye out for their children. Now that Sitler is no longer incarcerated it's even worse for them.

Sitler's release from jail hasn't ended Doug Wilson's meddling. Wilson continues using Sitler as one of his principal causes for "covering sin." Wilson's sin covering has significantly diminished the quality of life for Moscow residents. The hostility they hold for Doug Wilson is palpable. He was already disliked as it was, but his meddling in the Steven Sitler case made him a pariah.

Were it not for Doug Wilson Steven Sitler would be where he belongs -- in the Idaho State Penitentiary locked up for the rest of his life. Contrary to Doug Wilson's flawed theology of forgiveness, Steven Sitler's sins have not been "covered," and certainly not from what comes by way of contrition, repentance and reconciliation with his victims and their parents. The only thing Wilson covered up are the just consequences for Sitler's sins -- the lengthy prison sentence his horrific crimes warrant.

Here the story gets even worse. 

Part 2
There is an additional "pastor" who helped ensure that the victims of this church-attending child predator would never receive the justice they deserve. That "pastor" is RC Sproul Jr. Some will find it odd that Doug Wilson received all the attention in the Steven Sitler pedophilia scandal while RC Sproul Jr largely escaped attention. As we unpack this story it will become apparent why it was necessary for us to hold back on telling this dreadful story... until now. 

In some respects the ramifications of RC Sproul Jr's Steven Sitler scandal are even more disturbing than Wilson's. The primary difference is Wilson interposed himself as a meddling busybody and "covered up the sins" of Sitler's crimes. Sproul on the other hand "covered up" everything. But credit should also be given where it is due -- as it concerns damage control Sproul was far more shrewd in how he managed his Steven Sitler debacle than did Wilson (not that we mean that as a complement). 

In early June 2003 Steven Sitler moved to Virginia to "study" at the Highlands Study Center (later renamed Highlands Ministries). As we've exposed previously HSC was a six-figure fundraising boondoggle to line RC Jr's pockets (and pay for his brewery) at the expense of naive donors. The money poured in year after year, largely due to his name, or rather his father's name.

The "study center" was RC Jr's office in his basement. The occasional "student" was boarded in a bedroom in that same basement. Several of RC Jr's children had bedrooms in the basement as well. This made his children tempting and easy prey for the pedophile(s) that RC Jr welcomed into his home. Never did RC Jr bother to vet his "students." Had he done so he would have discovered that Steven Sitler was under church discipline for molesting children in his home church of Colville, Washington.

While "studying" at HSC Sitler attended Sproul's St. Peter Presbyterian Church. Like Christ Church, St. Peter is comprised of mostly homeschool families, many of which are large "Quiverfull" families. Little boys and girls were abundant and easily accessible. Sitler ingratiated himself with St. Peter families, offering to watch their children. Sitler remained from early June until August 2003. He then moved to Moscow, Idaho to be a student at New Saint Andrews College.

In spring 2005 Sproul was notified by the Latah County Idaho Prosecutor that children under Sproul's charge had been molested by Sitler in the summer of 2003. As a requirement of Sitler's plea deal in Idaho, RC Sproul Jr had already received a personal letter of apology from Sitler, naming which of Sproul's children Sitler had molested. The implication was made even more clear by the repeated attempts of the Latah County Prosecutor to contact Sproul that Sitler hadn't just molested Sproul's children. Very likely Silter had also molested other St. Peter children. The Latah County Prosecutor attempted on multiple occasions to contact RC Jr and inform him, both in writing and via phone messages, that he could bring criminal charges against Sitler in Virginia. Sitler's plea deal was only binding in Idaho and had no bearing on crimes he'd committed in other states. The Prosecutor even conveyed that he'd assist in Sitler's extradition to Virginia, should Sproul press criminal charges. Much to the dismay of the Latah County Prosecutor Sproul never responded to any of the Prosecutor's communiques.

By October 2005 things were heating up at St. Peter Presbyterian Church. Allegations of spiritual abuse, identity theft, tax fraud, financial malfeasance, theft of church funds, drunkenness, church keggers, plying young children with hard liquor, duplicity, and much more, began piling up against RC Sproul Jr and his session of elders. In November formal written charges were submitted to Presbytery against RC Sproul Jr by St. Peter member Peter Kershaw. Word of those charges quickly spread to multiple former St. Peter members. A number in turn requested to submit their own charges, which they did. As evidence and testimony of RC Jr's abuses mounted against he and his session RC Jr pleaded to avoid an impending ecclesiastical trial by offering to Presbytery a letter of confession and repentance. Based on their plea of "guilty" RC Sproul Jr, Laurence Windham, Wayne Hays, and Jay Barfield were defrocked on January 26, 2006 from the ministry by the Westminster Presbytery of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, General Assembly (RPCGA) by Declaratory Judgement

Even weeks prior to Sproul's defrocking Doug Wilson and his CREC had rolled out the red carpet to RC Jr. After conducting a sham "investigation" in which they interviewed not a single witness, Wilson and the CREC declared that Sproul, though defrocked from the ministry, "is recognized as ordained in the CREC." Only in Douglas Wilson's Alternate Universe would such a thing ever be possible.

In May 2006 it was brought to Kershaw's attention that Sitler had for several months in 2003 been a "student" at Highlands Study Center and attended St. Peter Presbyterian Church where he'd molested Sproul's children and, in all probability, other children in his church. Kershaw was also informed that Sproul well knew of it but had done nothing about it. Kershaw immediately began making attempts at contacting Sproul to explain Sproul's moral and legal obligations, including Sproul's obligation to inform all St. Peter church families, current and former, who'd been attending during June-August 2003. Sproul failed to respond. On June 30, 2006 *Kershaw mailed a letter to Sproul. In it he explained that if Sproul continued evading his legal and moral obligations Kershaw would have no option but to inform St. Peter families directly himself. Again Sproul didn't respond. However, Kershaw did receive a brief reply from *CREC Pastor Randy Booth. Much like Doug Wilson RC Sproul Jr had circled the wagons. 

Accordingly, *Kershaw sent a letter on July 12, 2006 to every St. Peter family he could identify that had been members of St. Peter Presbyterian Church during the summer of 2003, and whose children fell within Sitler's M.O. (boys and girls 2-12). Kershaw's letter sent shock waves through St. Peter church. Multiple families had already left St. Peter in the aftermath of the defrocking. Kershaw's disclosures about Sitler resulted in even more families leaving. As was RC Jr's custom to punish anyone who left without his permission, Sproul excommunicated them and ordered everyone to shun them in retaliation. "There are only three ways to leave St. Peter Presbyterian Church. You can be excommunicated, or you can die, or you can leave if the Session approves your transfer." It's for good reason St. Peter Presbyterian Church is known in SW Virginia as "The Hotel California of churches." You can check in any time you want, but you can never leave. This "Christian Mafia" form of spiritual abuse had been one of the more significant charges that resulted in Sproul's defrocking in the first place.

We quote here this instructive statement Mr. Kershaw directed to those St. Peter Presbyterian Church members who received his letter:

"Another problem that victim children suffer from is if they come to later understand that their parents haven’t done everything possible on their behalf to guard them and to punish the perpetrator. Anger and resentment against parents is the inevitable result. Most acts of child molestation go unreported. Many acts of predation go unreported even when the perpetrator is caught in the act. It’s not uncommon that parents don’t press criminal charges, motivated by desires to keep the details a secret. Parents often think that by not reporting it to the authorities they’re 'protecting the child' from additional shame and embarrassment. While their intentions may be good, not reporting often has devastating results later in life for the child. At some point they’ll come to understand that their parents did little or nothing to see that the pedophile was punished for his crimes, thereby giving the pedophile more opportunities to prey on other children. Such children carry the double-burden of having been molested, and feeling betrayed by parents who didn’t care enough about their child to punish the perpetrator. Please don’t make that mistake. If you discover that any of your children were Sitler’s victims take it to the authorities."
RC Jr was himself one of those parents who took no action against Steven Sitler, criminal or otherwise, though he was still well within Virginia's statute of limitations to do so. He also had the full support of the Latah County Prosecutor's office to have Sitler extradited. As head pastor of St. Peter Presbyterian Church he was legally obligated to notify both his congregants and the police. But he did nothing. His own children were forced to suffer in silence.  We can't help but think they must feel deeply betrayed by a father who valued them so little that he refused to seek justice on their behalf. 

The obvious question is why? There had to be a reason why RC Sproul Jr evaded pressing criminal charges against Steven Sitler. There also had to be a reason why he refused to notify his church members of the likelihood that some of their children had been molested. Why did RC Jr also evade the Latah County Prosecutor, refusing to take his calls and ignoring his correspondence? Some might say it was because RC Jr feared the loss of his reputation should it be exposed that he'd failed in protecting his children and church members. Yes, he certainly did fail in this, and he failed miserably so. However, we believe the real reason goes well beyond mere concern for loss of reputation. We believe the answer comes by way of analyzing Doug Wilson's motivations in his advocacy for Steven Sitler. 

In addition to running interference for Steven Sitler Doug Wilson supported another Christ Church sex offender, Jamin Wight. Both men were committing sex crimes in Wilson's church over the same time frame. There are similarities in Wilson's support of the two, but it's also obvious that Wilson's defense of Sitler was more aggressive. There is also a significant difference in the magnitude of their respective crimes. Sitler is known to have molested dozens of 2-12 year old boys and girls. Jamin Wight molested one 14 year old girl. One would expect Wilson's support for Steven Sitler to have been less robust than what he expended for Jamin Wight; but the opposite is the case. Why? It appears to come down to an issue of family wealth and influence, something Steven Sitler had a great deal of and Jamin Wight had none.

It's known that Steven Sitler comes from a very wealthy family. The Sitlers had also been benefactors to New Saint Andrews College. Some in Moscow speculate the reason Doug Wilson was proactive in defending Sitler is he may have solicited and received a substantial payoff for his "counseling" services. If that were true then it wouldn't be unreasonable to believe that Doug Wilson also arranged a payoff for RC Sproul Jr for his cooperation, i.e. to buy his silence. Those of us who know RC Jr well know him to be a greedy, duplicitous, unscrupulous man. Would RC Jr accept a bribe, even if it meant selling out his own children? Yes, and we have no doubt about it. 

Just as the extent of Sitler's predations at Christ Church weren't limited to the one family who caught and reported Sitler, it's improbable his predations at St. Peter were limited to just the Sproul household. Doug Wilson managed to intimidate any subsequent reporting and cooperation with law enforcement, even though it was known based on Sitler's own confessions there were many other victims. We believe it likely that RC Jr followed Doug Wilson's narrative of "Don't re-victimize the victims," effectively using St. Peter's child victims as human shields to protect their pastor's reputation. This is classic cult behavior.

Whether or not RC Sproul Jr accepted a bribe he sent a message loud and clear to his children that, at the very least, his personal reputation comes before anything else, including them. He sent exactly the same message to St. Peter Presbyterian Church, thereby proving he's anything but a spiritual shepherd. Shepherds protect sheep from wolves. Sproul welcomed a wolf into their midst to ravage their most vulnerable, the lambs. Once he found out about it he refused to pursue justice on their behalf. Like the cowardly "hireling" Jesus spoke of (John 10:12-13), RC Sproul Jr ran away.

One of the biblical requirements for being a pastor is, "He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect. For if anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God's church?" (1 Timothy 3:4-5) It should surprise no one that RC Sproul Jr managed his church in very much the same manner as he managed his family -- autocratically, abusively, neglectfully, and with reckless disregard for anyone's spiritual, emotional and physical safety and well being. Sproul has always put his personal interests ahead of everyone else's.

Year after year RC Sproul Jr has heaped scandal upon scandal, consistently proving he's unfit for any form of Christian ministry. Yet this has in no way dissuaded him from scheming his way back into ministry, making merchandise off his moral failures and the alleged "forgiveness" of his scandalous sins (sans any evidence of repentance, and much evidence to the contrary). This he uses as justification for his self-restoration and self-appointment back into ministry. He's even given himself the titles "Pastor" and "Rev." It's all too obvious RC Sproul Jr is taking his cues from his new best friend, fellow defrocked Presbyterian and unrepentant serial adulterer Tullian Tchividjian. Tullian also wrote the Foreward for Sproul's latest book (a book that Sproul's adult children actively boycott). Carl Trueman targeted these two men in a recent podcast:
"We’ve had a couple of these recently -- high profile guys who've been caught in pretty catastrophic sin, and then have used their sin, they've parlayed that into their Great Restoration Narrative. They’re now available for public speaking. I want to say to those guys: sit down, shut up, and go away. Get yourself a proper job, pay taxes; we don’t want to hear from you again. Be a good member of your local church. Serve on the toilet cleaning roster or something. We don’t want you as a public speaker, and we don’t want you parlaying your adultery or your drunkenness or whatever into the greatest comeback since the resurrection. We don’t want that. We don’t need that. And you call into question by doing that the genuineness of your repentance, because it doesn’t seem that you understand quite how far you fell... I absolutely believe in grace. But I do not believe that restoration to fellowship is the same as restoration to office or authority. They’re two distinct things. They’re distinct in Scripture. They’re distinct in the church today. Yes, the adulterer, the murderer, can be restored to fellowship in the church. But whether the adulterer should ever stand in a pulpit, or stand in any position of de facto teaching authority, is an entirely different question."

Carl Trueman, Mortification of Spin podcast, June 19, 2019 (@ 23:02)

Though Carl Trueman doesn't specifically mention the names RC Sproul Jr and Tullian Tchividjian, it's obvious that's who he's targeting. We fully agree with Carl Trueman that RC Jr (and Tullian) need to sit down, shut up, and go away. We believe there is no greater evidence of RC Sproul Jr's biblical disqualification from being a shepherd and from Christian ministry in general than his cover up of pedophile Steven Sitler's crimes.

RC Sproul Jr has a lot of explaining to do to his children, and the children of St. Peter Presbyterian Church, for his cover up of the dastardly crimes committed against them. Though on a smaller scale, there is little difference between Sproul's coverup and the Roman Catholic church's pedophile coverups. Based on his conduct at Christ Church it's not unreasonable to assume Douglas Wilson played the part of Catholic Bishop with RC Sproul Jr, colluding to ensure Steven Sitler would never receive the punishment his crimes warranted.

RC Sproul Jr's inexcusable conduct meant that a serial pedophile was effectively let off the hook for his crimes committed in Virginia. Had Sproul sought justice Sitler would very likely be locked up in the Virginia State Penitentiary to this day. Had that happened it would have also served toward bringing some closure to victim families in Idaho, as well. To see Sitler escape justice not just once but twice must be a very bitter pill for every victim and the victims' parents to swallow. As it is every one of those Christ Church families, as well as St. Peter families, feels deeply betrayed and cheated. Worst of all they were betrayed by their own "shepherds."

St. Peter children, and RC Jr's own children too, are now adults. It's reasonable to assume that few of them have any genuine sense of closure about what happened to them as children. Were RC Sproul Jr to come forward and make a full confession and ask for forgiveness, it might help considerably in the healing of the victims.  

Lastly, some may be curious as to why we found it necessary to hold back for so long on going public with this story. Make no mistake, it was a difficult decision. The reason is we didn't want to expose any of RC Jr's children as being victims of Steven Silter, at least not until such time as they went public themselves. One of them recently did go public. In doing so it untied our hands. Even still, we're doing our best to maintain discretion by not naming that person, their age, or even their gender. 

Our prayers for healing are with the Sproul children, as well as all victims of Steven Sitler.

Supporting Documents and Sources: 

Analyzing Douglas Wilson’s Handling of the Steven Sitler and Jamin Wight Cases  
Steven Sitler Archive
Doug Wilson Archive
*Letters made available courtesy of Peter Kershaw.



Banyan said...

I knew some things about Sitler's involvement with Sproul but I hadn't realized it was quite this bad. I agree with you that in some ways it's even worse than the things Wilson did. As horrible a man as Wilson is at least in Wilson's case it didn't involve his own children. I can't even imagine what Sproul's children must think of him. Betrayal impacts us at such a deep level. Betrayal on that particular level is the worst of the worst.

Praying for the Sproul children's healing and recovery. Also praying RC Jr suffers the full consequences he's due for selling out his children and the children of his church.

Intrepid said...

I find this all so tragic but also intriguing. I've followed Doug Wilson's pedophile scandals. I'm disgusted to the point of it making me physical ill. I was aware Sitler had been in Sproul's church but didn't know the timing or details. I also knew Wilson and Sproul are very close and that Wilson cleaned Sproul's dirty laundry when he'd been defrocked. Something I do find surprising is from Mr. Kershaw's letter to Sproul:

"Mrs. Smith is aware that Sitler was a “student” at the Highlands Study Center, and resident in your home, in June 2003. According to Gary, Mrs. Smith is of the opinion, based upon her read of the case file, that you had caught Sitler with one of your children, but that you didn’t inform the authorities. Rather, she believes that all you did was throw Sitler out and that you were aware that he would subsequently be headed for Moscow, and that you didn’t inform anyone there either."

If this is true it means RC Sproul Jr knowingly witnessed a pedophile molest his children. Rather than call the police he just threw Sitler out of the house. He also failed to contact his friend Doug Wilson to warn him a pedophile was on his way to his church. I knew RC personally and learned he was completely untrustworthy in everything. But still, this just blows my mind! It doesn't surprise me that RC would've betrayed his own children. So why should I be surprised if he betrayed Doug Wilson? I guess I still am though. Do you have any insights on this?

RC 2.0 said...

@Intrepid, Sproul refused to respond to Mr. Kershaw on that or anything else related to Sitler, nor would he give an accounting to anyone else either. So we don't have much we can add other than what we know of his morals and character. Do we personally believe that Sproul could have been so grossly irresponsible that he wouldn't notify Wilson that a serial pedophile he had just thrown out of his home was on his way to Wilson's church? We do. Would he be capable of pleading ignorance and claiming he had been unaware when it had happened in 2003? We do.

Ellie Andersen said...

Can you consider changing some details here?
I'm disappointed you published that Sproul Jr's children were victims. That's not your story to tell.
I speak out against Wilson and others, but I think you crossed the line pointing to victims that haven't chosen to be public. While you weren't specific about which kids, it wouldn't be hard to guess.

If you want to be for victims, remove that please. You can say Sproul Jr knew some of the victims and leave it at that.

You don't need to publish my comment, just hoping you'll see it.

RC 2.0 said...

@Ellie Anderson, thanks for your concerns. Because of the harm done to the victims this is a very sensitive subject. We know this not in just a clinical sense. We know it because of personal experience. Victims of sexual abuse often require years before they can adequately process what happened to them, and it may take years more before they're ready to talk about it. They almost always carry a great deal of shame and it should be up to them when and how, if ever, they choose to go public. The only reason we hadn't moved forward years ago with this story is over these very concerns. Had none of the Sproul children ever gone public we never would have published this story. That all changed when one of the adult Sproul children went pubic via social media and stated they were one of Sitler's victims. We could have included a screenshot of that disclosure but elected not to. Nor did we name that victim, their age when it happened, or their gender. We won't be making any further disclosures unless that or another victim makes it known they wish to be named here. Our purpose isn't to put attention on specific victims but rather to put the spotlight on RC himself.

Janae said...

"I get disgusted with others because of my keen sense of moral uprightness. People get disgusted with me because they are judgmental, mean spirited, Pharisaical haters." R.C. Sproul Jr.

Chum said...

I appreciate Ellie's concerns. If I didn't know what I know I'd have the same concerns. But not long after you posted your article I saw one of RC Jr's adult kids post a link to this article in a private Facebook group. They wouldn't be drawing attention to it like that if they had a problem with this article.

Ex- St. Pete member said...

I totally agree RC is the perfect example of the "hireling" of the bible. He's the most selfish self-centered narcissistic man I ever knew. He uses everybody including his own family. It's always been all about him. With Denise and the kids it was all about how they could make him look good. He thinks so much of himself he even started his own fan club. I kid you not! He actually called it The RC Sproul Jr Fan Club. Joining was pretty simple. Just give him enough cash, or regular gifts like bottles of booze, or volunteer your services, and you could earn your way in. He'd eventually announce your name from the pulpit that you were the newest member in his fan club. What did membership buy you? He'd agree to talk to you. For more than 20 seconds too. Non members got the cold shoulder. Unless he knew you had a lot of money. Then he'd be nice to you so he could get you in his fan club. He became a pastor not to serve but to be served. Especially his paycheck. RC is the biggest goldbrick preacher I've ever known. He makes faith healing televangelists look like they've got a work ethic. Would RC take a bribe even if it meant selling out his own children? If it were offered I don't think he'd hesitate for a minute.

GNL said...

We were one of the St. Peter families that got Peter Kershaw's letter. It came as a total shock. Initially I was very angry at Mr. Kershaw. He was already unpopular in our church, even hated by some, because he was thought to be the ringleader in getting our four pastors defrocked. So the easiest thing to do was to blame him for everything. But by the time his letter arrived the initial shock of the defrocking had worn off a bit. Some St. Peter families, including ours, were starting to wake up and smell the coffee. We were realizing our pastors may have deserved to be put out of the ministry. Mr. Kershaw's letter is what pushed my own family off the fence. Thankfully Sitler hadn't ever been anywhere near our own kids. I hate to say it but it's likely Sitler did get with other St. Peter kids. Hardly anyone wanted to talk about it other than the families who'd already escaped from St. Peter. It was all very weird. But then we'd never been part of a cult before either. We tried to compare notes with friends but pretty much got the silent treatment. It was obvious RC and Laurence Windham had intimidated St. Peter families into keeping their mouths shut. The only person RC ever cared about is himself. I'll say the same for Laurence Windham. They're both evil.

GNL said...

Ex St. Pete, I totally agree with you about RC's massive ego. I was never invited into the RC Sproul Jr Fan Club. Not that I would've been interested anyway. It was for sycophants only. I couldn't bring myself to do the sucking up necessary to be initiated with the secret handshake. Or maybe he thought I didn't have enough money to make me worth his while. He always had a good nose for sniffing out who had the most money and avoiding those who didn't.

Let's not fail to mention that with membership in the RC fan club you could also buy your very own Dr. RC Sproul Jr Hero Of The Faith Pillow. You could even get Dr. RC Sproul Jr pillow cases, comforters, table cloths, place mats and a mess of other cultish kitsch. Keeping that all on display would make exactly the right impression on RC if he ever accepted an invitation into your home. If that's not proof of RC's narcissism I don't know what is.

Catherine Nash said...

The works of Satan are never made more effective than when they're cloaked in the garb of religious respectability. R.C. Sproul, Jr is no better than the hundreds of Catholic priests and bishops who've covered up rampant child molestation in their midst. If their reward is eternal Hell fire (and it most certainly is) what will be RC Jr's reward?

Alex Mendez said...

I've seen too many parallels between R.C. Sproul Jr and The Jehovah's Witnesses. The more you expose him the more obvious it becomes that Sproul is a JW wannabe. JWs are renowned for their spiritual abuse, constantly holding the threat of excommunication and shunning over the heads of members to dissuade them from ever speaking out against an elder. Their system prevents victims of sex crimes from coming forward, and if they do come forward they're frequently threatened to keep it to themselves while the elder board "investigates" it. But investigations are entirely about damage control. Because of decades of sexual abuse and "internal investigations" that have never gone anywhere the Jehovah's Witnesses are now under intense media and legal scrutiny for protecting thousands of pedophiles. The Watchtower Society a playground for pedophiles and it sounds like that's exactly the kind of cult that Sproul set up too, a playground for pedophiles.

Katie said...

Shortly after RC Sproul Jr's drunk driving arrest he and his 2nd wife Lisa cut off all communication between their minor children and their adult siblings, grandparents, aunts, and uncles. RC Jr and Lisa took away their phones and computers so they couldn't communicate with anyone. Maili Sproul is the youngest of RC Jr's 6 biological children. RC Jr and his late wife Denise also adopted two African American boys, Reilly and Donovan.

Maili Sproul turned 18 on March 20, 2020. Very early in the morning on her birthday she fled the Sproul house in Fort Wayne Indiana. She somehow managed to get to grandma Vesta Sproul in Florida where she's now living. She's in process of recovering from years of verbal and psychological abuse by RC Jr and Lisa Sproul.

Please pray for Maili's recovery. Reilly and Donovan are being physically, verbally and psychologically abused daily. DCS has been called repeatedly but each time they show up at the Sproul home they're refused access. Please keep the boys in your prayers.

Former Highlands Supporter said...

So Sproul is planting a church in Fort Wayne. Could have seen this coming a mile away.

GNL said...

Thanks Former Highlands Supporter for that heads up. Anyone who's known RC Jr for as long as I have can see right through this. He's done it all before. It's just way too obvious to us that RC Jr isn't planting a church at all. He's fund raising under the pretext of church planting. If you want a lesson in how NOT to plant a church this would be it. If you're looking for a great example for how to pull off a religious scam look no further. Any monies Sproul collects aren't going to go into a building construction escrow account. He'll just use the donations to pay himself a salary. It'll wind up in his pocket just like the donations to Highlands Ministries all wound up in his pocket. If he wanted to "plant" a church why tell us of plans to "build a sanctuary" on a piece of land he doesn't even own? That's not how you do church planting. You start out by holding studies and services in your home. The Sproul mansion is quite large and can comfortably accommodate at least 40 people for services. Once you outgrow your home you rent space for church services. But Sproul has been doing studies for over a year from his home, always begging people to come. Has he outgrown his home? Hardly! Not even one single person ever attends his studies. At best he's got a handful of Facebook followers from out of state. He can't even get anyone to come to his home from right there in Fort Wayne. So obviously he's a total failure as a church planter. But even if he eventually could start getting people to come to his big house, why raise money for a building project? How does that make any sense? What would make sense is to rent space for a church. That's a whole lot cheaper. That's exactly what his best buddy Tullian Tchividjian is doing, renting a meeting hall in a hotel. It's an inexpensive way to plant a church that no one has to make any burdensome financial obligations for. Sproul's so-called church planting ploy is nothing but a scam to line his pockets.

Banyan said...

I see y'all haven't posted anything in awhile. Maybe that's a good thing. Most people have lost all interest in Spanky anyway. But please look into how Lisa is trashing the late Denise Sproul on their Facebook. It's really horrific stuff. RC Jr even accuses Denise of "unfaithfulness." I assume you guys actually knew Denise? From what I hear of her it just seems impossible to believe she'd have had an affair. Please consider a new article.

RC 2.0 said...

Banyan, you're right that interest in RC Jr has diminished considerably, and yes, in our view that's a good thing. It's also a contributing factor behind why we haven't posted anything for some time. No one really cares about him anymore. However, what you've just brought to our attention may merit an article. We've been looking over his Facebook and, quite frankly, we're appalled and disgusted. Once the nausea diminishes a bit we may feel inclined to post. There's a lot to unpack.

Brad Carson said...

I used to be a fan of Doug Wilson and RCJR. That was a long time ago before they destroyed their reputations. Protecting pedophiles will destroy your reputation faster than anything ever could. It's also cost the Catholic Church billions of dollars in lawsuits. In an earlier comment Alex Mendez mentioned the JW's being a playground for pedophiles. They too have been hit with many millions of dollars in lawsuits. Pedophile cover ups are pretty much guaranteed to happen in autocratic churches and cults because all that matters to the leadership is protecting their own reputations. So they always try and sweep it under the rug. But as we've seen with both Catholic and JW hierarchy quite often the ones protecting the pedophiles are pedos themselves. Pedophiles are incapable of showing sympathy for the victims. I've often wondered if the reason Doug Wilson and RCJR protect pedophiles is because they too are pedophiles. Seems pretty likely. It's either that or, as you've pointed out, the likelihood is extremely high they accepted bribes.

Jennifer said...

@Chum, even though what you saw may have been from a private Facebook group, Darby hasn't made much of an effort at keeping it a secret that she was molested by Steven Sitler. She's talked about it publicly several times. Here's an example.

GiantSquidofReason26 said...

My guess as to why Wilson has gained so much more attention than Sproul is that 1) Wilson has already made himself notorious in so many other ways (book about how slavery wasn't that bad, "the man colonizes," trying to take over his city) and 2) there is already a whole watch blog about him. Sproul Jr is relatively unknown.

Userofusername said...

"Were RC Sproul Jr to come forward and make a full confession and ask for forgiveness, it might help considerably in the healing of the victims." Absolutely! Just look to the example of Peter J. Leithart. Pastor Leithart, along with Doug Wilson, had taken sides in defending the child molester Jamin Wight against Natalie Rose Greenfield, and in much the same way as Wilson had defended Steven Sitler. Only in the case of Jamin Wight, Doug Wilson blamed the victim's father, Gary Greenfield. Wilson divided the Greenfield family. Wilson's malicious actions directly resulted in Gary's wife divorcing him. As a direct result Natalie Rose Greenfield and her mother are alienated to this day. After coming to his senses over the carnage that Wilson was causing, and that he was himself complicit in, Leithart left Trinity Reformed Church in Moscow, ID. As long as he remained at Trinity he was beholden to Doug Wilson. Wilson was anything but pleased with Leithart for repenting to the Greenfields.

Having followed your blog for a long time I know it's completely unrealistic to expect that RC Jr will ever repent to anyone for anything. Still, one can hope and pray.

Banyan said...

Pastor Rev. Dr. RC Sproul Jr, D.Min. has a new article entitled I Won't Tell. In it he takes an obvious swipe at Lori Anne Thompson re: the Ravi Zacharias sex scandal:


Sellers of Silence

What should we think, however, when instead of someone offering to buy the silence of another, someone offers to sell their silence to another? Suppose, for instance, Person A knows that Person B has done something wicked, something that would, if found out, rightly ruin Person B’s reputation, work, future income, marriage, life. Person A knows what Person B did, having shared in the evil deeds. Suppose that Person A is persuaded, having participated with Person B in his shameful acts, that Person B is a menace, a danger to others that should be stopped, and exposed. Suppose Person A, instead of humbly acknowledging her own guilt in the matter, instead of bravely, publicly exposing Person B in order to protect others, offers her silence, at the price of $5,000,000. “Give me the millions,” she says, “and I won’t tell anyone what we’ve done.” A real victim doesn’t throw future victims under the bus by selling her silence for the right price.

It never ceases to amaze me how RC Jr never passes up an opportunity to judge and condemn others as he ignores his own horrific sins. Projection and deflection. Much of what he says in the article applies to his Steven Sitler pedophile coverup scandal in which it's alleged he received a payoff to buy his silence. If he did receive a payoff he most likely had to sign an NDA, which means he can't say anything about the Sitler scandal, one way or the other. The fact that he hasn't said anything about it since it's been exposed only adds weight that what's been reported is accurate.

Connie Anden said...

Darby Stouffer @DarbyStouffer · Nov 1

I am unfriending people on sight who defend those who abused me or protected my abusers.

I do not owe them a friendship. It has taken me a long time to realize this and have the courage to act on it.

Darby uses the plural "those" and "abusers." Who besides Sitler abused Darby? Her father? Seems really strange that Sproul Jr didn't have Sitler arrested when he'd been given every opportunity. No different from the Catholic bishops who cover up for pedo priests. Every time it's discovered the bishops are also pedos. Such evil men make me so angry.

Phred Phideaux said...

It shouldn't really surprise anybody that Doug Wilson would defend pedophiles. Wilson gets his jollies defending the indefensible and he's been doing it a very long time. In 1996 he wrote a book with Steve Wilkins defending slavery, Southern Slavery: As It Was