Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Statement in support of the child sex abuse victim in the Greg Kelley case

Our hearts go out to the child who bravely came forward and testified that Greg Kelley abused him. It's always difficult for victims to come forward, fearing they will not be believed, especially when the abuse is perpetrated by someone the child trusts and respects. As Greg himself testified, he wanted the children to know him well and look up to him as a role model instead of as a big stranger. According to Greg’s own words, the children high-five’d him when they saw him, and wrestled with him. Children as young as six months can recognize faces, even similar ones, therefore we believe the child, who felt comfortable enough with Kelley to high-five and wrestle with him, when he identified Greg Kelley by name as his abuser. What people seem to have forgotten, or maybe don’t understand, is that child testimony is evidence, and many times the only evidence in crimes such as this. Failure to accept the only credible evidence is not only a failure of the system, but to the child victim himself.

Holding rallies, posting misleading information on social media, and trampling the courthouse lawn in front of news cameras on behalf of a convicted child sex offender, endangers kids by causing those who see, suspect, and suffer child sex crimes to fear speaking up. Those who believe Kelley is innocent should visit him, pray for him, write to him, and help his family. But they should do so in ways that respect the child victim and his family, and do not advocate forgoing judicial process, or scare or intimidate other victims of abuse into staying silent. By mounting public displays of support for a convicted predator who accepted a sentencing deal for 25 years in prison, waiving his right to appeal, these individuals are rubbing even more salt into the already deep and still fresh wounds of abuse victims. By attempting to destroy respect and faith in our law enforcement and legal system, fewer people will be willing to speak up, making it more difficult for police, prosecutors and employers to catch and oust child molesters. This is why we speak up on behalf of innocent child victims whose voices go unheard or ignored.

Adults must learn to accept a disturbing truth: child molesters don't have forked tongues or devil’s tails or horns on their heads. They are usually not "creepy" people who give us "the willies" or seem socially inept. They are usually charming, charismatic, and outgoing. That is often how they are able to gain the trust of children and adults. So we must overcome the dangerous temptation to believe an accused sex offender is innocent just because he's likable or talented or devout. Discrediting child victims, as the Greg Kelley supporters continue to do, accusing the victim of being confused as well as untruthful, and publicly supporting convicted predators is a dangerous path to follow.

We pray that the judicial system will be swift and just,and that this case will finally be closed so that the families affected from every side can move forward and begin to heal from the new wounds that re-opening this case has created.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Davey Blackburn to speak at young girls retreat featuring session on guns

You can't make this up.

When we arrived at the Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis (after turning an 8-hour drive into a 7-hour one), we took the elevator up to the Neurocritical Care unit. My dad was the first person I saw when I stepped out of the elevator into the lobby. I caught his eyes as I began walking to him and we embraced, tears once again breaking the barrier of my eyelids and flowing freely down my face.

“Where’s Davey?” I asked my dad, after he and Tessa greeted each other with hugs.

“He’s around here somewhere. He needed some fresh air after being in the room by Amanda’s side all day. Oh, here he comes.”

I looked down the hallway and saw my big brother approaching, his eyes red and glassy, his hair disheveled. That was the longest hug we’d ever shared. A memory from over 7 years before came bursting to the surface of my consciousness of embracing my brother at his wedding, when he had pledged to love, honor and cherish Amanda Grace Byars until death do them part. More tears ran freely. I didn’t even know what to say as we stood in the lobby embracing. “I’m so sorry,” was all I could manage before uncontrolled sobbing threatened to arise from deep within my diaphragm.

We pulled away from each other and he and Tessa also shared a hug.

“Thank you both for coming,” he said to us wiping tears from his face and sniffling. “Do you want to come see her?”

“If we’re allowed, yes,” I replied, and Tessa voiced her agreement with a soft, “Yeah.”

“Yeah, you’re allowed. Um, just to give you an update,” he said as he, Tessa and I started walking down the corridor to the room,  “I don’t know how much you know already, but the prognosis is not good at all. Without God performing a miracle,” he seemed to ever so subtly swallowed a sob, “the doctors say she’s likely not going to make it.” Reality check; I was tempted to pinch myself. I wanted to wake up from this nightmare. “I know God is able, but at present the reality is grim.” He said this with such confidence and grief. His eyes were watering a little, but he was holding himself together remarkably well.

“Yeah, we’ve been getting updates from Mom all day,” I said. We passed through some double doors to enter the Neurocritical Care unit.

“Okay, that’s good,” he replied.

“How’s the baby?”

“The baby still has a heartbeat, incredibly. We don’t know if it’s a girl or boy yet. We were supposed to find out in about 3 weeks.” He slowed his pace a little. “Hey, look, just to give you a heads up, she took quite a beating. Don’t be startled when you see her.”

“A beating? She was beat up, too? How bad?” I asked, the horror of this event growing more and more evident as gaps in my understanding continued to be filled in.

“Bad,” came his simple reply as we approached her room. I could see her through the sliding glass doors, lying there on the hospital bed, intubated, face and neck swollen. I wouldn’t have known it was her had I not been led by my brother and seen my mom, my Aunt Diane, and Aunt Esther in the room with her.

As we entered the room, I got a better look at my usually warm, charming, jovial, sister-in-law who now lay unresponsive, all but lifeless, in that hospital bed. To my shame, and only for a brief moment, what I saw made my blood boil with rage. The top of Amanda’s head was completely wrapped in bandages, her face and neck were badly bruised and swollen, other scrapes and abrasions could be seen on her face neck and arms, one eyelid was bright purple, at least 3 or 4 top front teeth were missing, and her left arm was swollen and lacerated from near her elbow where the other bullet had entered to her shoulder where it was lodged. Who would do something like this? Especially to this sweet, kind, joyful blonde-haired 28-year-old girl who had been like a sister to me for the last 10 years?

Thursday, February 2, 2017

A Serendipitous Murder

This is a follow up to my posts on the murder of Amanda Blackburn. Davey Blackburn's "Nothing is Wasted Serendipity" branding campaign is in full swing.

My Davey Blackburn posts to date in order:

"It's such a conundrum" - Davey Blackburn when asked about justice for Amanda Blackburn

Pastor Davey Blackburn likens people who question him to Pharisees that killed Jesus

February 23, 2017, Peter Hyatt will be a guest on "Crime Wire" live broadcast, and will be taking your calls and questions at 9am to 1030AM EST.
Amanda Blackburn was a victim of a sexual homicide in which arrests have been made. 

Questions, however, remain in one of the most bizarre 'solved' murder cases of recent years. 

Peter Hyatt will share analysis of the case, including deception detection techniques, and what this may mean for justice.  
Blackburn Discussion: Timeline of Events Surrounding the Homicide of Amanda Blackburn and her Unborn Child
On February 1, 2016, less than 3 months after the murder of his wife, Resonate Church pastor Davey Blackburn formed the business titled NIW Serendipity LLC in Indianapolis. NIW stands for Nothing is Wasted, Davey's go-to mission statement since the immediate days after Amanda's murder. On November 13, 2015, one day after she was pronounced dead, someone at Newspring Church registered the domain Nothing is Wasted for Davey. He live tweeted that exact hashtag during her funeral. The day after she was shot, Davey started a fundraiser for himself while Amanda was dying in the hospital.

Davey's 1,776 square foot home where Amanda was murdered was listed for sale on February 22, 2016. It sold for $145,000 on April 22, 2016. Before his old home sold, Davey purchased a new home under his business name NIW Serendipity LLC on March 2, 2016. Davey lives there along with his best friends, Resonate Church worship pastor Derek Barrett and his wife Ashley Barrett. Davey's new home is 5,186 square feet with 5 bedrooms and 4 1/2 baths. Zillow estimates the home at $455,688. He has a pool now to host parties. Resonate Church still meets in a middle school in Indianapolis with about 150-200 people in attendance.

He's moving on up and finished his book, Nothing is Wasted. He recently traveled and spoke to Dave Ramsey's staff in Nashville, Tennessee and at MOPS in Denver, Colorado.

Davey had his business name Nothing is Wasted engraved on Amanda's headstone.

No one's life should ever be cheapened and reduced to a hashtag.

A photo posted by Davey Blackburn (@daveyblackburn) on

The gun sermon, Worship as a Weapon, is the message Davey preached 2 days before Amanda was murdered, execution style, with 3 gunshots from behind, including one to the back of her head. She was also found to have scratches on her face and a tooth knocked out. It was uploaded to the Resonate Church website on November 19, 2015, just 4 days after Amanda's funeral.

full message

Friday, January 27, 2017

The cult in the woods of East Texas: Church of Wells

The Church of Wells

The Younger Years of the Church Elders
Ringnald and Morris graduated from Baylor in 2008. Without the structure and demands of college, their religious fervor intensified. They traveled and preached on the street for two years before amassing a handful of followers and moving their tiny church to Arlington. In 2012, they moved the group for financial reasons to Wells, a town of 792 people located between Lufkin and Jacksonville, where their fervent evangelism has not found a warm welcome, particularly after the death of Baby Faith in May 2012 and the arrival of Catherine Grove from Arkansas in July 2013. Grove, 27, left for Wells without a word to her family about her plans, and her parents have been trying without success over the last eight months to see their daughter outside of the presence of the church’s elders, as Morris, Ringnald, and Gardner now refer to themselves.
Exposing the Church of Wells 

Ryan Ringnald: Women Silence Stripes Subjection : "The Blueness of The Wounds Cleanseth Away Evil"
Transcript of Audio : 
"Silence! Sisters need to LEARN with all subjection. Silence. She is not to usurp authority. She is to learn in silence with all subjection. She is to LEARN: sisters, you gotta LEARN! And 'the blueness of the wound cleanseth away evil, so do stripes the inward parts of the belly'.....speaks about women; women if they would adorn themselves with good works, and they would learn with silence with all subjection.....not usurping men but to be in subjection and he gives the reasons why notwithstanding she shall be saved: IF the woman continues in charity and faith and holiness with sobriety. If you don't you won't be saved. If you don't continue in those things, sisters, women, you will not be saved. Charity -- you gotta keep charity -- Faith with Sobriety, because those things equal Christ. Those things equal abiding in Christ; and if you're not having holiness with sobriety, if you're not having charity, if you're not having faith, then you're not abiding in Christ; and there is no salvation anywhere else. Those things are in Christ. Christ is in those things, and a woman shall be saved. She is not to usurp authority. She is to learn silence with all subjection. She is to LEARN: woman, you got to LEARN. Sisters need to LEARN with all subjection, in silence. She shall be saved through childbearing, bearing her cross if she bears it in Christ. And in Christ when you bear crosses and tribulations, they're not losses: they're for gain. They're sanctification; they're bread for you in Christ. Outside of Christ, crosses and losses and distresses and pain and shame is going to mar you and make you bitter and make you upset and make you angry. But in Christ, if you are abiding in faith and charity, holding to sobriety, sisters, no matter what you go through, it's going to be bread for you. You're going to be more holy. You're going to be more sanctified, and 'the blueness of the wound cleanseth away evil, so do stripes the inward parts of the belly.'"
Sinners in the Hands: WHEN IS A CHURCH A CULT?
A couple of months later, on July 2, Catherine gave all her belongings to Goodwill and disappeared without a word. Her parents had no clue where she had gone. On July 7, their phone rang, just after eleven-thirty at night. “I’m in Wells, Texas, with a group of people who are taking good care of me,” Catherine said. “But I can’t listen to you anymore, I can only listen to my elders. I have to keep my hands over my ears. You’re going to see a lot of bad stuff on the Internet about them, but none of it is true.”
But as Catherine had warned, there were some truly unsettling stories about the church online as well. About a year earlier, in May 2012, a baby born to church members had died while her parents—instead of calling 911 as she struggled to breathe, her tiny body turning blue—prayed that Christ would heal her. If that wasn’t chilling enough, there were the eerie stories about a serial killer named Israel Keyes, who the FBI believes is responsible for at least eleven murders and whose mother and four sisters belong to the church. Keyes himself had no involvement with the Church of Wells, but he had been arrested in March 2012 while in East Texas to attend the wedding of one of his sisters.
Faith Shalom Pursley had been born at home on May 23, delivered by her father inside the family’s apartment. She wouldn’t nurse, and over the next three days Daniel had to feed her breast milk with an eyedropper, according to an investigator’s report. She also had a bluish tint to her hands. Despite this, a doctor was never called. When Faith began to struggle to breathe, the elders gathered some twenty members of the church around her bassinet and prayed over the infant. Other residents of the apartment building recalled hearing chanting coming from the unit. She died around 12:45 p.m. on May 26. For the next fifteen hours, her body was ferried from house to house as members prayed that she might be resurrected. Finally, at 4:06 a.m., Daniel called the authorities to report the death. When deputies arrived they discovered Faith, clad in only a diaper, lying in a blanket-covered bassinet in the corner of her parents’ bedroom. Her tiny body was whisked away to the Dallas County Medical Examiner’s office, where an autopsy determined that her death was caused by pulmonary valve stenosis, a congenital heart condition that is dangerous but treatable. She had lost more than two pounds since birth.

ABC Breaking News | Latest News Videos

ABC Breaking News | Latest News Videos

ABC Breaking News | Latest News Videos

Family fears son was targeted by cult in Downtown Austin

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Evangelist Amy Lambert arrested for driving while impaired in Charlotte, North Carolina

Amy Lambert is the founder of Hope Uprising in Charlotte, North Carolina. She is an evangelist and speaks around the world.


The mission of Hope Uprising is to fuel an uprising of hope one person at a time. We spread hope by using unconventional methods to reach the overlooked, destitute, and forgotten people around the world. We fulfill this through four ways: AwarenessRecoveryInvasion, and Training.
Hope Uprising was formed by former drug addict, Amy Lambert.  Through Amy’s own personal journey of battling, and overcoming addiction, she was inspired to create a movement that would not only reach those without hope, but ignite passion in others to go and do the same.

Amy's story of addiction was featured here on CBN.

Amy Lambert was arrested on December 31, 2016 and charged with driving while impaired. In a new post today on Facebook, she shares thoughts on hitting rock bottom. She does not mention her arrest. I posted a comment asking if she is going to tell her followers, but she deleted it after just a few minutes. She also blocked me on Twitter after one tweet with the link to the news about her arrest.

As an evangelist and public figure leading people who are in recovery and fighting addictions, it does not serve them well if she is not being honest with them about her own struggles, and in this case, attempting to hide an arrest. It also concerning if she is not seeking professional help for her struggles and encouraging others to do so as well. Social media posts and scriptures may make people feel connected with her, but that will not suffice when professional intervention is needed.


Monday, December 5, 2016

"Is Covering Up Abuse Authentic Manhood?"- a victim of Rick Trotter from Fellowship Memphis speaks out

J.B. Martinez shared her story here and expressed disappointment that Independent Presbyterian Church in Memphis is hosting a women's luncheon on Tuesday, December 6 with guest speaker John Bryson, lead pastor at Fellowship Memphis.
When allegations of Rick Trotter’s criminal activity at his new place of employment had surfaced back in August of 2016, I was told by another victim that John Bryson and Hamp Holcomb had instructed she and I not to talk to reporters investigating the allegations. They said not to answer the phone when reporters called. They would handle making a statement. This former Fellowship Memphis employee said Holcomb and Bryson wanted to “protect” the victims from the media.
I feel terrible guilt about not going to the police myself, taking their word that it was being handled and that they had actually gone to the authorities when Rick was originally caught by the corrupt and criminally negligent leadership and staff and Fellowship Memphis. I should have been screaming it from the roof tops 5 years ago. I am convinced I could have prevented hundreds or thousands of others from being exploited.
I have written about Fellowship Memphis and Rick Trotter here and here.

I applaud J.B.'s courage in sharing her story and breaking the silence. I proudly stand with her from Texas. I am glad to help support J.B. and other survivors that have reached out to me over the years. I count it a privilege to share their stories and to do what I can to support abuse survivors and help protect kids near and far from me. Protecting kids should be all of our business.

I received an email today from Leah H.. This is her email in its entirety.

Hi Amy,

    I recently came across your blog and social media sites while doing some research. A few things stood out to me, and I wanted to discuss those things with you. It seems like you spend a lot of time at your computer, so I figured emailing you would be best. 

    From what I've gathered through my own experiences so far, imperfect people make up the majority of people in churches. You know why Jesus had to come here in the first place, right? I've never been to, or been a part of, a church where there wasn't a past rape/infidelity scandal. You shouldn't be so surprised when you discover this. People give in to their flesh everyday. I've seen this situation dealt with the right way, and also the wrong way. Unfortunately, many times churches try to cover themselves instead of people, which I don't stand for. It's also clear that you find most of your information on the internet, but you lack information on all the real life conversations, pain, counseling, apologies, and grace that goes on behind closed doors. Yes, you have access to the sex offender lists as well as their victims online, but you don't know these people, their hearts, or their entire stories (on both sides). You seem to think that you're giving a voice to the victims in these situations, but it seems like you need a reminder that you literally have nothing to do with them or their lives, whatsoever. They have family, friends, counselors and mentors that they have walked through these incidents with. These situations are already so painful and it seems like you just want to add fuel to the fire. It's also a little creepy that you live in Texas and you've made a hobby out of making people's lives more difficult in cities that are hours away from you (that again, you have nothing to do with). The women and victims in these situations don't need a random woman on twitter or a blog outing their stories..they need love and counseling and reassurance of their worth. As an advocate for children and families in difficult situations (I also have a degree for it) I'm all about helping people and providing a voice for them in these situations, but it seems to me like you're more into gossip and making their lives harder while thriving on the drama of it all. And on the other side of things, you need to be mindful of the families of the rapists, sex offenders, and men your after. Yes, they need major accountability, but these people have families, and they also have kids on social media since it's 2016. So where you think you're helping the victim, your also providing heartbreaking news to children about their fathers using a really unfortunate platform (twitter), which can be incredibly mentally damaging to them in the long run. You should think twice before you publicly call yourself an advocate for children, and also a protector. What you are doing is far from protection. 

When I first came across your Twitter/blog, I thought you had good intentions and that you were doing something good and helpful. And then I kept reading and it was clear that you potentially had alternative motives, rather than truly caring about the victims in these situations. 

 I truly hope that you will consider every side to every situation the next time you want to publicly share information about a situation that you have absolutely no involvement in. I also hope that when women and victims reach out to you in the future, that you will guide them to resources that will genuinely help them in their healing process, instead of exploiting them on social media.

Thanks for your time,