Duggar Pastor Cops To “Sinful And Ungodly Behavior,” Touching Women’s Feet
Bill Gothard, the founder of the Institute in Basic Life Principles–a Christian homeschooling organization affiliated with the Duggars–is currently being sued by ten women, one of whom has accused him of rape. These accusations have followed Gothard for quite some time, and are the reason he stepped down as the leader of that organization.
Gothard has steadfastly denied allegations of sexual abuse and rape, but has sent an apology letter to his accusers in which he admits to to “ungodly” and “sinful” behavior. The letter, obtained by Radar Online, is part of Illinois court documents in the $500,000 lawsuit.
Let’s break this down, shall we?
“After posting my first statement, I have listened to several reports of individuals I have sinned against and have read statements of many whom I wounded. God has begun to reveal to me the gravity of my words and actions.”
It’s odd that someone who clearly spent most of his life posturing as a beacon of morality, would need an actual revelation from God to understand that sexually abusing women is a poor idea. I feel as though this is something most humans can figure out themselves without requiring divine intervention.
“I have realized how wrong and insensitive I was to only select certain types of young people, especially young women, to serve at Headquarters, often as my personal assistants.”
Well that certainly seems a little vague and weasely. “Certain types” could ostensibly mean anything. It could mean having red hair or O positive blood or a southern accent. I am reasonably sure he is not referring to any of those things, so he may as well come out with what he actually means by that.
“Rather than appreciating people as Jesus did, and bonding their spirits to him, I evaluated them by my criteria and bonded their spirits to me.”
I’m guessing his “criteria” was whether or not he was sexually attracted to them?
“I was very wrong in holding hands, giving hugs and touching their hair or feet. I was also wrong in making statements that caused emotional turmoil and confusion. My guilt is compounded by my hypocrisy of requiring standards for others but not following them myself. All of this can only be described as ungodly and sinful.”
Note how he only admits to touching women inappropriately in somewhat wholesome sounding ways. He refuses to actually admit to the sexual abuse itself, or to even explicitly say that his touching was sexual in nature.
“I have not only sinned against young ladies, but also their parents and husbands by breaking a trust to protect them. Through the years, faithful individuals warned me about my words and actions. I sinned by not following their counsel.”
It’s clear here that Gothard considers these young women to essentially be the property of their parents and husbands. This view of women as property rather than human beings in their own right, is likely what made him able to rationalize his actions in the first place. Also, if a lot of people are telling you that you are being a creep, it usually makes sense to “follow their counsel” rather than wait until ten women sue you for sexual abuse, harassment and rape.
“I have caused great destruction in the lives of many individuals and families. I do not deserve to be forgiven. Therefore, I can only humbly ask that each of you whom I damaged consider granting me the opportunity to confess my sins against you and to ask you to forgive me.”
It’s probably a little hard for women who say they have been sexually abused and raped to hear a confession that essentially amounts to “Sorry I hugged you that one time, it was really, really awful of me to do that fairly innocuous sounding thing to you. I didn’t mean for that casual hug to scar you for life.” That is not a confession. That is bullshit. At the very least, a better start to this would be a more sincere confession.
I hope the truth comes out in court. Sure! It’s possible that Gothard’s sins amount to only handholding, but it’s rather unlikely given the scenario. I don’t think ten women in that kind of religious community would come forward about something like this unless it was very, very serious. There is too much pressure in those communities to keep quiet about such things, and the women themselves are often accused of being sinners for having attracted such attention in the first place. This is something it took a huge amount of courage for these women to do, so best of luck to them in court.