This week's death of a prominent persecution ministry leader is now being described as a possible suicide in the wake of a molestation investigation by local police.
Tom White, executive director of The Voice of the Martyrs (VOM), was found dead Wednesday morning in a warehouse at the ministry's headquarters in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, according to Tulsa CBS affiliate News on 6. Court records indicate that Bartlesville police were investigating a molestation allegation against White, according to News on 6.
VOM responded to the allegations Friday afternoon with this statement:
April 20, 2012 The Voice of the Martyrs statement concerning the death of Tom White:
The events of the last week are tragic. On Wednesday we learned that Tom White, VOM's executive director, had died.
Allegations were made to authorities this week that Tom had inappropriate contact with a young girl. Rather than face those allegations, and all of the resulting fallout for his family and this ministry and himself, Tom appears to have chosen to take his own life.
None of those in leadership at VOM, including our board of directors, were aware of these allegations at the time of Tom's death.
There is no doubt that Tom cared about his wife, his children and his grandchildren. And there's no doubt that he cared about VOM.
We are deeply saddened by these events. Our hearts are broken.
However, the work that God has called VOM to do is bigger than any one of us. There are persecuted Christians who need our help. The legal process will go forward, and we will continue serving with our persecuted brothers and sisters.
We appreciate the many who are praying for our work, and we encourage you to join us in praying for Tom's family during this difficult time.
A letter from ...