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Dozens of Children Abused at Evangelical Commune, Adult Survivors Allege

Jesus People USA, Evangelical Covenant Church named in lawsuit. New film details claims of chronic abuse.
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Dozens of individuals raised in Chicago's Jesus People USA Christian community (JPUSA) are alleging that commune members sexually abused them as children, while leaders covered up the abuse for years.

The allegations are contained in a 90-minute ...

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Displaying 1–8 of 8 comments

James Prague

March 06, 2014  3:10pm

An interesting documentary for ultra low budget type stuff. I think the director would have done well to not lead so many of these conversations. It makes it feel much less genuine. I have what I feel is a healthy amount of skepticism...and when people step forward with vague memories looking for money it seems a little ridiculous. Also charging for the movie is a bad idea. I know it costs a lot to make them but really if the point was just to raise awareness and or seek healing like he says really it should be free and posted everywhere. I am sure there a shreds of truth in there...but honestly you can tell right away the people who are making it up and the people that have a real story. I was expecting much more, and much worse accusations. About 38% of all children are estimated to be sexually abused...this is a society problem not a church problem.

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Rick Dalbey

March 03, 2014  1:22pm

Seems like communes, whether Christian or any other ideology, are prone to abuse. Perhaps God designed us to live in nuclear or extended families. Communes are artificial structures. The only ones that seem to work fairly well have been the Israeli Kibbutz. Wonder why that is?

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Charles Mangum

March 03, 2014  9:47am

What I more concerned about is that this is a problem which is occuring in all denominations. I think it is time for the Church as a whole to start seeking God's face.

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James Cowles

March 01, 2014  12:37pm

Between this, the ongoing pedophilia crisis in the Catholic Church, and allegations about Bill Gothard, one can only wish that conservative Christians, both Catholic & Protestant, would read & take to heart what Freud said about "the return of the repressed". Merely repressing sexuality & pretending it doesn't exist doesn't get rid of it. You merely abdicate control & thereby ensure that it returns to bite you in ways you have chosen to render yourself unaware of & therefore cannot anticipate & deal with. But, of course, that is what Christians have been doing with sexuality for the last 2000 years, so the practice isn't likely to chance a week from this Tuesday.

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Judy Jones

March 01, 2014  12:17pm

This well done documentary is an awakening to how people in power use god to sexually prey upon kids and those who are vulnerable. Our hearts ache for the many victims who were sexually abused within the Jesus People USA community. This is not an unfamiliar story, and thankfully the secrets are beginning to be exposed. It takes a lot of courage to come forward about being sexually abused and this is not an easy thing to do, but it is extremely rare that a child predator has only one victim. Some have many. So let's hope that anyone who may have knowledge or may have been harmed by anyone in the JPUSA commune, will find the courage to speak up, get help and report your abuse to law enforcement, no matter how long ago it happened. Keep in mind your silence only hurts, and by speaking up there is a chance for healing, exposing the truth, and therefore protecting others. Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director, snapjudy@gmail.com

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Chris Smith

March 01, 2014  1:01am

Watched the documentary tonight, and wrote a reflection: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slowchurch/2014/03/01/jpusa-a-t ragic-history-of-sexual-abuse/ What a sad, sad story!

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CAREY BRUCE WOMACK

February 28, 2014  1:06pm

Debra, I said that it was my "hope" that the extent of such abuse was less, though I had no particular knowledge of the situation, simply because I hoped that fewer young people had been violated and/or traumatized. Of course, one is too many, and the scars and ripples that emanate from any abuse victim are long-lasting and destructive. I also hate to see those that represent the Lord fail Him (including myself, in all the ways that I do) and besmirch His wonderful name. Thankfully, God is able to overcome evil and offer redemption and restoration to anyone, even those who have been victims or victimizers in His name. May God work powerfully in this ugly situation to ultimately bring healing and glory to His name.

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CAREY BRUCE WOMACK

February 28, 2014  11:16am

Like many, I have been on the receiving end of many spiritual blessings from our brothers and sisters at JPUSA. So this news comes as heart-wrenching and disappointing. However, it is not necessarily surprising, in that we all continue to fall short of God's glory and the enemy particularly targets those who have been used by Jesus. The lifestyle chosen by those who are part of JPUSA is a very challenging one, one which undoubtedly has many plusses and minuses for those endeavoring to follow Christ. One weakness may be the possibility of something like this occurring. My hope is that the pervasiveness of these allegations and especially their cover-up by those in leadership has been greatly exaggerated. Of course, I have no idea. May we pray the truth would come to God's light, that righteousness & renewal will come for those in and outside of JPUSA, and especially that any and all victims will receive grace & healing. May God cause Himself to be glorified when all is said & done.

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