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Bob Jones University Rewrites Recent History to Avoid Federal Investigation, Part 2

0614_coverIn sum, BJU hired GRACE because the Feds have put colleges “on notice” for their handing of sexual assault. That is the initial fact accidentally revealed in BJU’s revision of the timeline.

What other facts does Bob Jones University fudge? Below I will present each fact that BJU states, and then prove the actual truth about that event. I will add other relevant facts within the timeline to give the context. You may view a google docs version of this timeline here or a PDF document here.

Originally published November 12, 2014

UPDATE: 10 Dec 2014, GRACE announced that its 300-page report on their comprehensive investigation of Bob Jones University will be released at 11:00AM EST on December 11. They include a trigger warning for those reading. BJU, on the other hand and just like they have done for 100 years, minimizes any offense they “may” have caused.

Timeline of Events The following is a timeline of events related to BJU’s proactive initiatives to review its policies and responses regarding abuse and neglect. Future events will include revision of outreach policies, a Spring 2014 Child Safety Workshop, the publication of an ombudsman report, and a number of other initiatives.
The Date Their Statement The Truth
2011 02 04 Gary Weier announces severe cuts in BJU employees and programs.
2011 05 00 Ernie Willis Trial in New Hampshire where prominent BJU pastor and Board member Chuck Phelps testifies. BJU Chancellor Bob Jones III would defend Chuck Phelps’ actions since the forcible rape of a minor was actually “consensual rape.”
2011 07 01 Marshall Franklin is hired as BJU’s Chief Operations Officer.
2011 09 01 Abuse on College Campuses
In the fall of 2011 when the national news seemed filled with reports of the mishandling of sexual abuse, especially on college campuses, Bob Jones University leadership wanted to make certain that BJU’s policies and procedures for handling reports of sexual abuse both comply with every aspect of the law and ensure a loving, scripturally based response to those involved.
A survey of Google news in that time period and other newspaper archives reveals no such news stories. There is one story, however, that explains the date. The Christian Science Monitor reported on Sept 2 that “The Obama administration is holding colleges’ feet to the fire when it comes to how they handle reports of sexual violence and harassment.” This is what is on BJU’s mind, and their timeline reveals the motivation for the GRACE investigation and their maniacal control of the timeline. The Monitor reports that “all colleges are now on notice that they must ensure they’re responding promptly and fairly to reports of sexual misconduct. Federal officials have launched investigations based on information that concerns them about certain campuses.”
2011 09 20 In September, 2011 several of us discovered that BJU’s employee handbook‘s statement on reporting sexual abuse did not comply with South Carolina law. It put “first contact” and investigation in the hands of the BJU employees instead of in the hands of the legal system.
2011 09 22 Several alumni wrote elected officials in the South Carolina and BJU administrators pointing out the lack of compliance.
2011 09 28 On September 28, 2011, Bob Jones University’s Carol Keirstead emailed all the BJU employees with the following statement from Marshall Franklin and Gary Weier, attaching the newly revised, 6-page sexual abuse reporting policy:>>> Communications (Carol Keirstead) 9/28/2011
>>>Faculty and Staff,
Attached is BJU’s revised Sexual Abuse Policy and Procedures. The original policy, including the section on the policy in the 2011-2012 Faculty/Staff Handbook, was written in consultation with legal counsel and met state reporting requirements. Within the last two weeks, some of our constituents pointed out weaknesses in the wording. When we receive input such as this, we evaluate to see what we can learn and/or how we can make something better. We now have clarified this policy so that it not only meets legal requirements but also is a best practices policy. It is important that we verify that each employee has received and read the policy. Please print the two forms at the end of the policy—-Statement of Life Practices and Child Abuse Policy and Procedures Acknowledgment—-complete the forms and send them to the Human Resources office by October 7, 2011.
We suggest you retain a copy of the signed forms as well as a copy of the policy for your records.Marshall Franklin, Executive Vice President for Operations
Gary Weier, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
2011 11 01 On November 1, 2011, Camille Lewis pointed out that the infamous Chuck Phelps, defender of convicted rapist Ernie Willis and punisher of a minor rape victim, had been put back on the Bob Jones University Cooperating Board of Trustees in December 2010. There was some doubling-down about when exactly Chuck had been appointed, but nonetheless by November 4th, Laurie Moody had drafted a petition to get Phelps removed from the BJU Board. 1222 people signed that petition — over twice as many as signed the Please Reconcile petition.
2011 11 05 On November 5, 2011 Jerry Sandusky was arrested on multiple counts of child sex abuse.
2011 11 15 Bob Jones III preached about the Penn State case in Chapel, assuring the “University Family” that Bob Jones University does not sweep such matters under the rug.
2011 11 16 Christopher Peterman started Do Right BJU, a student-led effort to speak up for the victims of sexual abuse at Bob Jones University and to push toward Chuck Phelps’ resignation. Camille Lewis pointed out a Clery violation.
2011 12 01 Lyn Riddle of the Greenville Journal reported that Chuck Phelps had resigned from the Board. December 2 was the semi-annual board meeting.
2011 12 03 BJU announced that it was pursuing SACS accreditation.
2011 12 12 Do Right BJU successfully accomplished the first protest on the campus of Bob Jones University ever. Several alumni joined those very few and very brave students.
2011 12 23 Appointment of External Committee
An external committee consisting of a local medical doctor and at least three people from the community experienced in counseling sexual abuse victims was formed in early 2012. As a result of the review and recommendations by this committee, in the summer of 2012, BJU instituted a new Abuse and Neglect Policy, simplifying the language and clarifying the process for reporting abuse. The committee recommended the University appoint a full-time counselor to work with students who have been abused, and that counselor was put in place. In addition, the committee recommended that the University appoint an independent ombudsman to review past instances in in which it was alleged that the University did not serve a victim well or did not comply with the law in handling reports of abuse in the past.
The statement that BJU instituted a “new Abuse and Neglect Policy” in the summer of 2012 is inaccurate. The initial revision came in September 2011 as admitted by CCO Carol Keirstead’s own email (see above).The date BJU lists in its timeline for this committee formation was the Friday before Christmas break in 2011, but the text accompanying the date describes the committee as forming in “early 2012.” This is a small oversight.BJU has never explicitly named the members of this powerful “external committee.” The listing of the speakers for Jim Berg’s “Sexual Abuse and the Church” conference in November 2012 might be a clue as to the identities of this “external committee,” but this is only a guess.

  • BJU alum (’91) and Bible Faculty Member Ken Casillas
  • BJU alum (’67) Bob Crawford
  • BJU alum (’92) local lawyer, and registered agent for many of BJU’s corporations Daniel K. Hicks
  • Greenville County Police Sex Crimes Investigator Sergeant Ty Bracken Miller
  • Self-published expert on abuse, Debi Pryde asserts that divorce is never an option for the believing woman.
  • BJU alum (’93 and ‘96) and former Bible Faculty David Shumate.
  • BJU Alum (’94) and Political Communications Consultant Pamela Snyder
2012 05 25 External Committee Findings Posted
View the findings originally published as a news item on the BJU website.
In this “findings” document, the “external committee” recommends that BJU “will communicate publicly the University’s philosophical position on abuse.” BJU finally publishes this public document on July 6, 2014 (not May 25, 2012).
2012 08 01 Full-time abuse counselor added to staff
As recommended by the external committee, a full-time counselor was added to our counseling staff specifically to work with students who have been abused.
Ms. Colleen Reilly, BJU ‘03, is this featured counselor. One student has offered the notes taken under Ms. Reilly’s counseling. Reilly is neither qualified nor licensed.
2012 08 06 New Abuse and Neglect Policy Posted
A new Abuse and Neglect Policy with clarified wording was posted to BJU intranet. South Carolina’s reporting requirements and reporting and prevention best practices helped shape this document. It is readily accessible to the entire University community via BJU’s intranet.
This new policy document provided to the employees can be viewed here. The paragraph before their “abuse and neglect policy,” however, directly contradicts the values expressed in the reporting policy:“University HarmonyA primary goal for the work environment at BJU is harmony among employees. Constructive criticism is welcome, but destructive criticism hinders the goal of internal harmony. Employees should address issues of concern with the appropriate management and leadership team member. Employees are not to discuss internal matters or share BJU-originated documents with anyone outside BJU. If an employee does not agree with a decision concerning a specific issue, he or she should graciously agree to abide by the decision or, if this is not possible, resign from his or her position with BJU.”
2012 08 17 The Greenville Journal adopted a different tact than its previous “watchdog” approach. They featured Stephen Jones as the new and improved president, rising from the “ashes.” In that article, Stephen Jones describes the Tina Anderson case as “really old news.”
2012 09 00 Intercollegiate Sports begins.
2012 09 28 WSPA’s Chris Cato reported that Bob Jones University had the worst Clery report statistics in the UpstateCarol Keirstead tried to mollify the report by saying that it was just one perpetrator of the nine “forcible sex offenses” on campus. Keirstead “reassures” us, however, that the young man will be allowed to return to campus in January 2013 — a real bonus for all the other alleged sexual assault perpetrators in fundamentalism.
2012 10 01 Chancellor and Board Chairman Bob Jones III alerts the Board of Trustees to the media story as an attack from “the devil” (also available here). He expresses BJU’s desire to protect the identity of the (alleged) perpetrator. He claims the student simply “brushed up against nine female students” and that he spent the night in jail.
2012 11 06 “Sexual Abuse and the Church” Conference
A Bob Jones University Seminary conference to help pastors, church leaders and seminarians recognize, prevent and appropriately respond to sexual abuse and minister to its victims. Special outside speakers included an investigator who advocates for physically and sexually abused children, a licensed attorney, a staff member of the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office, among several others.
The presentations from that Sexual Abuse conference are available here.
2012 11 08 Ombudsman Announced
Dr. Jones briefed the Board of Trustees and entered into an agreement with GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment) to begin a comprehensive, independent investigation of any complaints concerning BJU’s response to individuals who reported they had been abused. The stated purpose of the GRACE investigation is to identify instances in which BJU may need to ask forgiveness of those it underserved and to provide recommendations for improving BJU procedures to ensure an appropriate response that complies to S.C. law going forward. The president’s charge was also published on the BJU website.On Jan. 10, 2013, both GRACE and BJU posted a link to a survey on their websites. Individuals who felt they had been underserved when they reported to a BJU representative they had been abused could use the survey to inform GRACE of their complaint. Others could use it to provide information they wanted to communicate to GRACE. In addition to posting the link to the survey on the BJU website, BJU included an article about the GRACE survey in the Winter 2012/2013 issue of BJU Magazine. The article encouraged recipients to access the link on the website to fill out the survey. In addition, BJU sent emails and/or letters to former students, faculty, staff and alumni for whom BJU has contact information informing them of the survey. The survey was to be open until April 30, 2013, although GRACE indicated it would review survey input received after that date.
This same day the Greenville News‘s Ron Barnett remembered the past year’s conflicts in his article announcing GRACE’s appointment.Please note that BJU, too, is still using the weasel word “underserved.”
2012 11 16 Greenville Journal‘s Cindy Landrum reports on G.R.A.C.E.’s investigation, describing the Chuck Phelps resignation as a catalyst.
2012 11 23 Two weeks later, the Journal‘s Cindy Landrum reprints Carol Keirstead’s latest statement, unchecked and unvetted. The first statement is plainly inaccurate:The Penn State University sex abuse scandal prompted Bob Jones University to rewrite its sexual abuse policy and hire an independent ombudsman to review the university’s handling of reports of abuse not connected to the school.I compare all of Carol Keirstead’s mis-statements here.
2012 12 06 Joseph Bartosch is promoted to Chief Branding Officer.
2013 01 00 G.R.A.C.E. investigation begins.
2013 02 07 ABWE fires G.R.A.C.E. after firing its president and saying that they’ve already done everything that needs to be done.
2013 02 08 BJU hires South Carolina GOP darling, Randy Page, has its Public Relations Director.
2013 02 18 BJU Alum Stu Epperson (Salem Communications) buys BJU’s radio station, WMUU.
2013 03 12 Joseph Bartosch plans Gold Rush Daze Faculty Body ending with students chanting, “We Love You, Dr. Stephen.”
2013 03 22 Joseph Bartosch suspended (and then eventually fired) for his prostitution conviction from 1991. Bob Jones III blasts “bloggers who ruin lives.”
2013 09 13 Larry Jackson is appointed to BJU’s CEO.
2013 09 20 Awareness Training Announced
In September of 2013, BJU engaged the services of Ministry Safe.
2013 09 27 Required Training & Certification for Student Outreach Begins
We provided Sexual Abuse Awareness Training to all students involved in Outreach Ministries and in Education, Nursing and Ministerial majors. Training was held on Sept. 27 & 28.
2013 11 06 Stephen Jones initially blogs on Google+ about “lust.”
2013 11 11 Stephen Jones begins a special topics “Homosexuality and the Bible” chapel week.
2013 11 11 Required Training & Certification for Employees and Student Body begins
We provided 19 sexual abuse awareness training sessions for all 3,950 faculty, staff and students and will continue to provide sexual abuse awareness training to all students and employees in subsequent semesters. Training was held Nov. 11-13 and Dec. 3-4.
2013 11 13 Gary Weier goes on the Janet Mefferd show and insists that “BJU is safe for families.”
2013 11 14 Al Jazeera America reports on sexual assault at Bob Jones University.
2013 11 25 BJU announces that it is closing its campus hospital and selling its medical clinic.
2013 12 04 Stephen Jones initially blogs that “marriage isn’t the answer to a habit of lusting.”
2013 12 13 BJU Board of Trustees requires Stephen Jones to resign citing “health issues.” His medical leave will begin 6 months in the future.
2014 01 24 Stephen Jones and Larry Jackson terminated the GRACE contract.
2014 01 27 Termination of contract
BJU provided GRACE a letter terminating the contract and requesting a meeting to renew discussion of areas of concern. This culminated in face-to-face meetings February 18-19 in Lynchburg, Va. to jointly determine if there was a way to resolve differences and move forward to complete the project.
GRACE receives the letter from BJU dated 1/24/2014 terminating the contract.
2014 02 06 GRACE announces that BJU terminated the contract on January 24.
2014 02 11 New York Times reports on BJU’s firing GRACE.
2014 02 18-19 This is the date BJU claims it met with GRACE in Lynchburg.
2014 02 20 Gary Weier and Marshall Franklin conduct a BJU Faculty-Staff Meeting in which Gary announces that he and Stephen Jones are about to leave for China “within an hour” after the meeting. Korean churches report the next Sunday, however, that Stephen is actually at their churches. The Faculty-Staff meeting minutes are changed to reflect that fact.
2014 02 25 Reinstatement of contract After face-to-face meetings February 18-19 discussing BJU’s concerns, BJU provided GRACE a letter reinstating the contract and looks forward to completing the project.
2014 02 26 New York Times reports on BJU’s re-hiring GRACE.
2014 02 26 BJU PR Director Randy Page calls whistle-blowers’ employers to intimidate them into silence.
2014 03 07 Marshall Franklin explains the “confusion” over BJU’s firing and re-hiring GRACE to BJU employees.
2014 05 05 American Prospect reports on the “next sex abuse scandal” at Bob Jones University. Randy Page refuses to make an official statement.
2014 05 09 Steve Pettit becomes the fifth President of Bob Jones University.
2014 06 00 Steve Pettit announces that GRACE will finish its investigation by August 31st. GRACE frames it as follows:
“Assuming that no unanticipated interruptions occur, the GRACE Team currently expects to complete and release the Final Report no later than August 31st.”
2014 06 26 BJU publishes this timeline of events and then moved the information to this URL.
2014 07 06 BJU finally adds additional reports promised on May 25, 2012.
2014 08 13 GRACE delays final report until December.
2014 10 02 BJU submits their 14,000-page SACS application.
2014 10 24 GRACE announces report will be delivered to BJU near the end of November and will be released to the public in the middle of December.
2014 12 10 BJU offers its apologies to the mere 40 victims who “may” have been offended by their insensitivity. GRACE announces that the report will be released on December 11 and includes a trigger warning for its readers.
Bob Jones University Rewrites Recent History to Avoid Federal Investigation, Part 2

4 thoughts on “Bob Jones University Rewrites Recent History to Avoid Federal Investigation, Part 2

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  • December 19, 2014 at 12:36 pm
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    If the conspiratorial route were to be taken here, one could postulate this is an exit strategy from the family business for III & Gen4. Gen4 resigns for health reasons and will lead a quite, genteel life as an antique curator. The Third will be the recipient of GRACE-recommended “personnel action” and will fall on the proverbial sword, departing the family business to insure it’s continued ministerial longevity. in this route, all real equity is assumed to have also exited the business with the family (into a fund at a bank with an accompanying board membership).

    After a four-generation, 80+ year run, the family exits the business at the end of the profit cycle. The two surviving generations will be seen in order as a martyr and tragically infirmed.

    • December 19, 2014 at 1:58 pm
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      That’s a good theory.

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