‘I’m pregnant’: Teenage ‘rape victim’ forced to stand before congregation and confess HER ‘sin’ while ‘attacker’ watched

Tina Anderson was only 15-years-old when she was forced to stand in front of her entire church to confess her ‘sin’ – that she had become pregnant. What she was not allowed to tell the congregation was that the pregnancy was allegedly the result of being raped by a church deacon, who was sat in the church. She claimed the pastor of her New Hampshire church told her she was lucky not to have been born during Old Testament times when she would have been stoned to death. Miss Anderson said she was terrified when she was forced to confess to the church after telling her pastor about the rape. ‘I was completely in shock, but too scared to go and tell anyone because I thought I would get blamed for what happened,’ she told 20/20. ‘I truly believed that it was my fault.’ The first assault allegedly happened during a driving lesson, aged 14, when she says the church elder, Ernest Willis, pulled her into the back of the car and raped her. She said the second assault occurred when the man, who was twice her age, turned up at her home. ‘He locked the door behind him and pushed me over to the couch. I had a dress on and he pulled it off. I pushed my hands against his shoulders and said ‘No,’ but he didn’t stop,’ she said. Miss Anderson told 20/20 that when she discovered that she was pregnant, she confided in Willis who offered to pay for an abortion. When she rejected his offer, she said: ‘He asked me if I wanted him to punch me in the stomach as hard as he could to try to cause a miscarriage. I told him, “No, leave me alone”.’ Her mother went to the pastor of the Independent Fundamental Baptist Church (IFB). Miss Anderson was told to confess in front of the church and sent thousands of miles away to Colorado to live with another IFB family. In March 1998, she gave birth to a baby girl. Adoption records show that her alleged rapist admitted he was the father. After keeping her secret for 13 years, Miss Anderson, who now has three more children and lives with her husband in Arizona, was contacted by police in February 2010 and agreed to press charges. Ernest Willis is awaiting trial, charged with two counts of rape. Chuck Phelps, who was pastor of the church at the time, said Ms Anderson voluntarily stood in front of the church. Mr Phelps, now a pastor at another IFB church, said that there was no church cover-up and that he had immediately reported the accusations to authorities within hours of learning about the accusations. He said: ‘The police never contacted me further about the reports or about the welfare or whereabouts of Tina Dooley Anderson.’ The 20/20 report also reported the story of Rachel Griffith, another IFB church member, who claims she was abused from the age of five. She told ABC News that she was sexually abused by both her adopted father, who was an IFB deacon and Sunday school teacher, and a church pastor. She told the programme that after her father abused her that ‘He’d pray and say forgive us for this sin.’ ((09 APR 2011))





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