Thursday, June 11, 2015

Child Abuse, Statute of Limitations, and John Perry

Buzz Feed news reporters Andrew Kaczynski and Ilan Ben-Meir published a story yesterday entitled Co-Author of Mike Huckabee Books Was Accused of Child Molestation in Two Legal Cases.  Using public documents, including court papers and police reports, the reporters revealed affidavits alleging child sexual abuse against Nashville author John Perry, a co-author and/or contributor to books authored by famous evangelicals, including Mike Huckabee, John MacArthur, and Richard Land. A Nashville police spokesman, responding to queries from Buzz Feed, said: "The alleged sexual battery was reported to have occurred when the victim was between the ages of 11 and 14."

Then the Nashville police spokesman Don Aaron elaborated:
"As a result of the investigation, the allegations of sexual battery were sustained, but it was determined that the statue of limitations had tolled, barring prosecution."
It is Don Aaron's next statement that startled me:
"The victim was age 18 when she first disclosed the allegations to non-law enforcement and said at that time she did not want the matter reported to the Tennessee Department of Children's Services or the police."  
Read that again: "The victim was 18 when she first disclosed the allegations to non-law enforcement."

I spoke to the victim over a year ago. She read an article that I wrote and reached out to me via email. Later we spoke by phone. Like all victims of child abuse, she has been traumatized. She does not wish to be re-victimized by her story going public. I explained to her that it was my desire to protect her identity, but the reason there are mandatory reporting laws is because child abuse is a crime against society.

The victim initially reported her abuse to non-law enforcement in the summer of 2007. She was going into her senior year of high school. Her abuser was repeatedly confronted by church authorities, and finally, allegedly confessed to his crimes. John Perry was then allowed to resign from his position as an officer of Covenant Presbyterian in Nashville in July of 2008.

The Buzz Feed article reports that the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department "launched an investigation in 2012 and found the allegations against Perry were sustained" -- now let this next sentence sink in -- "but it was determined that the statute of limitations had tolled, barring prosecution."

In 2012 the Metropolitan Police Department "launched its investigation."
In 2007 the victim first disclosed her abuse to non-law enforcement.

5 years.

5 years after the abuse was first reported.

In those five years a teenage girl crosses the threshold of adulthood to turn 21-years-of-age. It's like having the fire alarm triggered after the house has burned down. It's like posting a warning sign on a washed out bridge after the car has been swept down the river. It's like city officials sounding the tornado alarm after the town has been blown away.

And here is what seems even more bizarre about this John Perry story. The person who reported the child abuse to the police in 2012--in order that the police could "launch their investigation"-- was a man named Austin Davis. There's an axiom in dysfunctional families and covenant relationships that those who report the problem often become the problem.

I'm sure, like all police departments, the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department depends on city attorneys for legal counsel, and will on occasion consult with their specialized police attorneys. There are a few questions that reporters, bloggers, and advocates for victims of child sexual abuse should be asking.
(1). The Tennessee Code of Law indicates that the statute of limitations for sexual battery of a minor which occurs between July 1, 1997 - June 2006 is when the victim reaches the age of 21. When the police spokesman says "the statute of limitations had tolled," was that date of limitation the summer of 2007 when the abuse was first reported? No? Okay, then was it the summer of 2008 when the alleged child abuser was allowed to quietly resign his position at the church with no explanation? No? Okay, was it 2010 when Covenant Presbyterian ex-communicated John Perry for ""...committing heinous and repetitive sin against his family"? No? Okay, was it 2012 when the police "launched their investigation"? When did the statute of limitations run out? If it is possible to withhold information from police until the statute of limitations runs out, and the alleged perpetrator cannot be prosecuted, it seems that might be incentive for friends and loved ones to cover, hide and suppress any allegations of child sexual battery? That's why we have mandatory reporting laws. I don't pretend to know the answers, I just have some good questions that should be asked.
(2). If some of the "non-law enforcement" were church officials to whom the victim reported her abuse when she turned eighteen, it seems a legitimate and fair question to ask if those church officials sensed any obligation to file a mandatory report to the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department and the Tennessee Department of Children's Services in either 2007 or 2008 when they were first informed of the abuse by the victim. It does seem as if Covenant church officials knew of the child abuse when John Perry was allowed to quietly resign in 2008 and then "ex-communicated" in 2010 for "...committing heinous and repetitive sin against his family (without) evidence of repentance" (Source: Covenant church minutes). However, to be fair, reporters need to ask this question to Covenant Presbyterian officials: "When did you first find out about the alleged child abuse?"
(3). Finally, child abuse seems to be an epidemic in our country. While we all have empathy for the victim, the bigger question that needs to be asked is simply this: "Has everyone in Nashville, Tennessee, from the police, judges, church officials, lawyers, and civic leaders taken the proper steps in following all state and federal laws in regards to allegations of child sexual battery?" 
It's definitely time to do the right thing.


Anonymous said...

Who cares .....the headline could have easily read Co-Author of John Macarthur books or co-author of Richard Land books or co-author of of Dr Draper books.

If you left out the Mike Huckabee part you would not look like a shill for Club for Growth.

I know you know Marshall Albritton---dont be tool. Wade

Wade Burleson said...


You may be surprised that more people care than you realize. Particularly if child sexual battery against a minor is never reported to civil authorities as required by law. Also, it's never a bad thing to be a tool. Truth is called "a hammer" (Jeremiah 23:28-30) and it is also compared to "a sword" (Hebrews 4:12).

Anonymous said...

c,mon now know I wasnt talking about the sexual battery .

I was only referring to the attempt by many to associate Mike Huckabee with allegedly bad characters.

Wade Burleson said...


Take your offense up with the two reporters or their editor. I didn't write their headline, nor did I use Huckabee's name in the headline of this post.

I did NOT know you weren't talking about the sexual battery, for I'm not a mind reader. That's the first and only thing that came to my mind when I read your words "Who cares." I immediately thought you meant "who cares" that there was a sexual battery of a minor.

Glad to know you do, and glad to know your tool comment was not associated with sexual battery of a minor. That would backfire on you big time.

Anonymous said...

You really need to get out more in the political world.

But you were the one who used a picture of Mike Huckabees book...didnt need too.

I would encourage to you to rewrite the post without reference to Huckabee by you.

It would take away the distraction that u are a partisan hack, like Club for Growth!

It would make only make your emphasis stronger.

Wade Burleson said...


You are correct, I don't get out in the political world. Thanks for clarifying your concerns are for Huckabee. My concern is the proper way to handle the sexual abuse of minors - has been and always will be. Thanks for the suggestion about a rewrite. Will politely decline.

Anonymous said...

well I think the Gospel is about reconciliation.

In her statement to you, the victim, seem to express the same sentiments as Mr Perry here in his response to the Daily Mail.

Thank you for getting in touch. I haven’t read the article but have heard about it.
I don’t have anything to say for the record, but will tell you that the person behind it has been pursuing a vendetta against his former church for years and this story is one of the means he has used. Having failed there, he has evidently turned his attention elsewhere.
I will also tell you that whatever private difficulties there may have been, the parties involved were reconciled and restored years ago, for which I thank God every day."

Ironically, you seem to be using the law unlawfully in this case.

Anonymous said...

you say" My concern is the proper way to handle the sexual abuse of minors - has been and always will be."

well I just finished reading all 219 comments on the buzzefeed site as of 5:02 on thurs the 11th of june 2015 and not one mentions a thing about your concern and all spew contempt and scorn on Mike Huckabee.
That makes your point a colossal failure of communication.

I fail to see how aligning yourself with pagans makes you a Godly man . In fact I think it is Great Wickedness.

G.W. Hitchcock said...

Don't listen to the made salient, logical points. Keep doing it. You have to ask questions when things don't make sense....and keep asking....and keep asking.

Anonymous said...


Do you think Wade could have made those same points if he redacted the picture and deleted this 1/2 sentence....Huckabee's co-author and/or contributor for at least three books.

Do you not agree that his point would have just as well made?

raswhiting said...

The Huckabee book cover and title are relevant since the title is "Do the Right Thing" and since John Perry is the co-author. Gov. Huckabee needs to respond properly to this and show he has the maturity to handle tough issues. He is better off to have the opportunity to clear up this matter now, in the year before the primaries and the general election. It would become an issue at some time. Also, Huckabee made a bad decision to excuse the Duggar family's sins of child abuse and cover-up. He should change his mind and do the right thing by supporting victims of crimes.

Anonymous said...


Wade clearly said that was not his concern."My concern is the proper way to handle the sexual abuse of minors - has been and always will be."

Anonymous said...


Would I be correct to assume you will be calling John MacArthur also to express your moral outrage

I think your response will be about the same as Wade response to me asking him to take the Mike Huckabee stuff off!

Wade Burleson said...


I changed the picture. Now, let's hope that the premise of the post will be focused upon and not any side issues. Should not adults with knowledge of sexual battery of a minor report their knowledge to civil authorities, including the police and child welfare, regardless of the desires of the victim?

Nicholas said...

Robert and Ian,

It is clear that politics is at the forefront of your minds, and that is why the first thing both of you did is to try to get Wade to remove mention of Huckabee from this article. That is all you care about. Your comments are quite frankly disgusting.

Huckabee is a wicked man. His actions in helping to free convicted murderers who expressed Christian conversion in jail has led to more people being murder by those same individuals:

Huckabee also spoke to Trinity Baptist Church in Jacksonville while aware that it was being investigated for covering up child rape committed by its founder Bob Gray. Huckabee is not qualified to be either a pastor or to hold political office. He needs to be called to repentance. The two of you should be ashamed of yourselves.

Wade, may God bless you. Thank you for writing this post. Don't let men like Robert or Ian sway you in any direction.

Nicholas said...

Here's Christa Brown's post on Huckabee:

Here is SNAP's letter to Huckabee, which he and his campaign disregarded:

Nicholas said...

Well, it looks like Robert Masters is a Doug Wilson supporter:

Everyone should know the following about Wilson:

Anonymous said...

Ian and Robert are the same person: myself.
No intent to deceive just had two desktops open in Ubuntu

I do care about abuse. should be reported to the proper authorities.
I dont know the facts in most of the cases talked about to form a final conclusion.

Most people know me from way back on SBC OUTPOST days
Robert I Masters from the Southern Baptist Geneva

Iam a theonomist and I love Douglas Wilsons writings amongst many in that tribe.
check out DATPOSTMIL on ITUNES for an awesome podcast.

I attend a well known Southern Baptist Church here in Nashville that teaches the Doctrines of Grace.

Lastly my parents were missionaries in West Papua, Indonesia and my dad was killed in 1968 by cannibals but the Gospel has now transformed a whole people group .SDG

So lets all glorify God in all things AMEN

Anonymous said...

Thanks for changing the picture and post to reflect your emphasis which I agree is an important emphasis.

Bob Cleveland said...

The official SBC position is that allegations of abuse are to be reported to the Authorities. I know that, since I offered the amendment at the Convention, that put that wording into Peter Lumpkins' resolution. And it all passed.

I would hope (maybe I'm naive...) that SBC churches are aware of this now, and do not dare try to hide abuse under the guise of "reconciliation". You can reconcile with someone when they're
in jail, too.

Anonymous said...

Covenant presbyterian is not a SBC church

Aussie John said...


The issue has become a major issue in Australia. By the way, I see from the comments section that the drongo is not extinct. We have a bird of that name but use the word otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Covenant presbyterian is not a SBC church

Victorious said...

I think Russell Moore has got it it to the authorities immediately.

Anonymous said...

So, does Rev. Burleson think that Austin's continued e-mailing and showing up at services is helpful?