About

Fanda is a town and the name of an NTM (now Ethnos360) boarding school in Senegal, Africa.

Many crimes against children were perpetrated by NTM personnel in Fanda and around the world.

Fanda Eagles was started in 2009 by Kari and Bonnie, two Fanda boarding school alumni who decided it was time to speak up for justice.

Many other NTM alumni from Fanda and other boarding schools around the world have also collectively agreed to speak.

 

May, 2017

New Tribes Mission was founded in 1942. The first missionaries went to Bolivia, S.A. in that same year, taking their children with them. In 1952, NTM opened a boarding school at Tambo, Bolivia, and that is where the first known cases of sexual abuse occurred, reports of high school girls being molested and raped.
Through the decades after that, child abuse occurred in a number of places where NTM missionaries worked, to varying degrees. Some of the things that are now understood to be potentially very damaging to children were common and accepted. Among these would be the normalized practice of placing children as young as five in boarding schools, and corporal punishment that today would be considered brutal. Children were also emotionally abused, bullied, and were frequently manipulated and controlled by what amounted to spiritual abuse.
In addition, there were many cases of sexual abuse of children, which were usually mishandled by mission leaders. We now know of incidents of incest, sexual abuse by school staff or other non-family missionaries, abuse by older children, as well as abuse by nationals. All too often, if sexual abuse was revealed to mission leaders, the response was not something that was helpful and healing to the victim. Families were sent back to their home countries, or offending personnel were re-located, or the abuse was discounted or minimized. It is not surprising that in the NTM environment, much abuse simply went unreported. Some of those cases have only come to light decades later, and many no doubt remain unknown.
Some of the most disturbing situations have involved boarding school staff (often “dorm fathers”) who preyed on the children entrusted to their care, sometimes for an extensive period of time, in most cases victimizing multiple MKs (missionary kids). There were MK school staff members who took corrective punishment to sadistic extremes, thereby causing great physical and emotional harm to their students.
In 2009, several young adults who had been students at NTM’s MK school in Fanda, **Senegal** confronted the leaders at NTM-USA’s headquarters in Sanford, Florida about sexual abuse they had endured at their school. Eventually, NTM agreed to use GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment) to investigate child abuse at the Fanda school. In August, 2010, GRACE released a 67-page report on abuse, and the failed response of NTM to the attempted reporting of that abuse. The report recommended consequences to the abusers and the leaders who failed to respond appropriately. GRACE’s report revealed that 22-27 MKs were sexually abused at Fanda, and more than 35 were physically and emotionally abused. Around ten staff members were named in the report as abusers; four of them were sexual abusers. There were also several mission leaders — in Senegal and in the US — who were named as contributing to the problem because of their poor response. Read the report at the below link.

One of the things that was revealed in the Fanda report was that Scott Ross, who became house counsel for NTM in 2002, “inherited a backlog of some 80 or 90 child abuse allegations worldwide. A breakdown of those allegations are as follows: child abuse in school setting (30 cases); child on child abuse (21 cases); child abuse within family (13 cases); other (19 cases)”. For many who read the Fanda report, this was the first time they comprehended the magnitude of child abuse in the mission. Only a few people at the Sanford headquarters would have been aware of the documents and reports in the files there, never seen by the average member of the organization.

In 2009, MKs from the Fanda school had established a website which they named Fanda Eagles, after their school’s soccer team name.  It was initially envisioned as a means of communication among Fanda alumni, but as awareness of the GRACE investigation began to spread, adult MKs from other fields and other interested people joined the on line discussion in the website’s forums.

MKs from other NTM boarding schools started sharing their stories, and it soon became apparent that Fanda was not the only school where appalling abuse warranted investigation.

In November, 2010, an on line petition with 528 signatures was submitted to NTM. The purpose of the petition was to insist that New Tribes Mission employ an outside agency to conduct additional investigations of child sexual and physical abuse allegations at NTM facilities. NTM refused to use GRACE for any further investigations. Instead, they announced that a woman named Pat Hendrix had been hired by NTM as an “independent coordinator” who would administer investigations into past child abuse in NTM. It was announced that Pat’s independent team would be called IHART: Independent Historical Abuse Review team. Many people had the mistaken impression that IHART was an independent investigative firm. In reality, IHART did not exist until Pat Hendrix, under contract with NTM, created it.
To date, IHART has completed three investigations into abuse at NTM boarding schools. Following is a summary of each.

**East Brazil** – This investigation was begun in May, 2011, and concluded in April, 2014. A final report was not made public, but through information shared by survivors, we know that IHART received reports of abuse at the Vianopolis school dating from 1983 to 1998. IHART identified four sexual abusers and one physical and emotional abuser. Recommendations were made that these abusers, none of whom were still mission members, be retroactively dismissed from the organization. In addition, two mission leaders from East Brazil were named as bearing some responsibility for their “actions and inactions”. MKs and their supporters were very disappointed in the way this investigation was concluded: a lack of public acknowledgement of the pain caused to an unspecified number of abuse victims, and a lack of accountability on the part of the mission. There was no way to verify any follow-through on the mild consequences supposedly given to offenders.

**Panama** – This investigation was begun in January, 2012, and was concluded with IHART’s public posting of a Summary Report in October, 2016. Several significant changes or shifts occurred between the initiation of this investigation and its conclusion. An investigative company called Professional Investigators International (Pii) was initially appointed by Pat Hendrix to undertake the investigative work. In November 2014, NTM replaced Pat Hendrix with an attorney named Theresa Sidebotham, making her the new coordinator of IHART. It was at this time that it was clarified that IHART was in reality a “process of NTM”, and had never been an independent firm as some had understood. Pii was instructed to send all the information they had gathered to Theresa, and then they were terminated.
Theresa Sidebotham claimed that the investigation and report already finished and submitted by Pii was incomplete, because it failed to reflect leadership culpability. There was a long delay in finishing up the investigation and report, while the MKs and their supporters waited, until the Summary Report was released in late 2016, almost two years after Ms Sidebotham’s takeover of IHART.

The Panama report can be read here.
According to the report, IHART received
allegations of abuse at the Panama MK school from 1977 to 1994. The report defended the separation of children from their parents, and corporal punishment as being acceptable and accepted during that time frame. As to the other allegations and findings, IHART reported that there were 103 credible allegations that were investigated. Pii investigated 57 allegations of physical abuse, 40 allegations of sexual abuse, and 8 separate allegations of emotional abuse. 63 of the allegations rose to the level of “preponderance of the evidence”. Most of those involved severe physical abuse, but five were sexual abuse. Pii found ten people to be offenders. IHART also found nine mission leaders to be culpable to varying degrees.
According to the report, most offenders were no longer members of the organization, but their permanent records were amended to be “dismissed”. An unspecified number were still members, and were reportedly dismissed from the mission. Others were reprimanded. No names of any offenders were revealed. This decision not to name offenders has been defended by Ms Sidebotham, because “the IHART process is not a legal action or part of the criminal justice system”. The failure to expose people who abused children in horrendous ways does not help to bring closure or healing to many abuse survivors, nor does the lack of proof that any of the recommended consequences were ever followed through.

**Bolivia** – IHART opened this investigation at the beginning of 2012, and their Summary Report was posted on their website four years later, in December, 2016. The report can be read here.

The report on abuse at NTM’s boarding school at Tambo, Bolivia follows the same format – and even much of the wording – as the Panama report. The significant facts that can be gleaned from the report include these: child abuse reported to IHART dated from 1952 to 2000. The IHART team interviewed 245 MKs, and received 63 allegations of physical abuse, 50 of emotional abuse, and 73 of sexual abuse. Out of these, the allegations for which the team reached a finding by a “preponderance of the evidence” were 41 of physical abuse, 37 of emotional abuse, and 50 of sexual abuse.
31 individuals were found to have committed some level of misconduct. 11 of those were already deceased at the time of the investigation. 13 alleged offenders were found to have committed sexual abuse. Five NTM leaders were found culpable of failure to protect the safety of children.
As in the case of the Panama offenders, the IHART report failed to name any of those who were found to have abused children at Tambo. And again, there has been no way to follow through to see who was dismissed from NTM, or anyone who had any other consequences.
In addition to the four NTM boarding schools investigated, it is known that several other individual missionaries (or former missionaries) have been investigated. A then-current NTM missionary named Gary Earl was investigated for physical and sexual abuse in **Papua New Guinea**. One of the survivors of his abuse wrote a number of posts on Fanda Eagles, detailing her journey in seeking justice. (See This is My Story about Gary Earl.)
Many instances of child abuse in Papua New Guinea were reported by people who posted on the
Fanda Eagles Forums. These posts can still be read there.
In the **Philippines**, a pedophile “dorm father” went undetected for many years, while abusing at least a dozen children. Some of this abuse reportedly included rape and sodomy. A disturbing interview with this former NTM missionary can be viewed here.

In a September, 2011 update, Pat Hendrix named other schools where abuse had been reported. She wrote that IHART had received NTM’s files on historic child abuse cases in Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Mexico, and Venezuela.

At least three lawsuits were filed in 2011 and 2012 by individual MK abuse survivors, accusing NTM of negligence. Those suits were eventually settled, for unknown amounts of money. Additionally, other MKs received financial settlements from NTM through mediation processes.
NTM has also paid counseling expenses for a significant number of MK abuse survivors who have applied for this financial help. The needs and struggles among NTM’s MK abuse survivors are staggering. In addition to the widespread abuse in boarding school, many MKs suffered abuse at the hands of their own family members or other perpetrators. When unhealthy situations became known by mission leaders, they were not prepared to deal with these situations in appropriate ways, which often exacerbated the pain caused to victims, instead of helping them.
Throughout the world today, there are thousands of adults whose parents were (or still are) missionaries serving in New Tribes Mission (now rebranded as Ethnos360). Many of these MKs carry with them the devastating effects of their childhood. The mission culture taught adults to harshly discipline children, and it also taught them that in order to serve God, they must place their own children in isolated boarding schools staffed by under-qualified or unqualified missionaries who had inadequate preparation, supervision and accountability. Only a fraction of the MK abuse survivors of NTM have participated in the abuse investigations named above. Many refuse to ever trust NTM with the nightmarish stories of their destructive childhoods. Some are no longer living, and of those, some have chosen to end their own lives.


56 Responses to About

  1. AJ Kelley says:

    Hello all; Through the late 80s, early 90s I was in training with NTM with short stint in PNG. While at Bible college in the UK my family and I were friends with 2 Fanda alumni young women. One in particular had a deep sadness about her which we were never able to understand. I now have an idea of where that came from? That same sadness was evident in the lives of other MKs we had the privileged to break bread with through our time in NTM.
    I have just finished the GRACE report. I am disturbed, saddened and deeply grieved. Through our time in NTM we had no idea of any of the atrocities committed. I will wrestle with this new knowledge with a heavy heart for the lives damaged and innocence robbed.
    I would love to know how our friends from Bible College in UK, Matlock Bath have fared? Could someone from admin contact me please?

  2. Debra Barney says:

    @Chris Horgan
    Chris,

    Can you please contact me @ the above e-mail?

    dbarney2011@hotmail.com This is important.

  3. Bemused says:

    Chris Horgan :I read this blog and know it is all true.
    It was my experience too.
    I left ntm in January 1992. Even today the shame I feel at allowing myself to be part of an organisation that is as controlling and abusive as ntm is haunts me.
    I was told the ntm leadership were the holy spirit in my life, amongst many other things.
    I was part of the leadership and a committee member in Australia. After I left I found as many people who suffered under ntm when I was a part of it, whether they were still members or not, and asked their forgiveness for my actions.
    I know of people that have ended their lives, and some that have tried. I know of people who are so damaged by their experience they cannot speak of it. I know of people who cannot return to their faith.
    This is not a christian experience.
    c.

    Hi Chris,

    Thank you for your honesty. I was a kid when you entered NTM, and remember you as the good sort who taught us how to light fires safely in the bush (maybe that explains my arsonist tendencies, just joking). Then we ended up on the same “field”, where the nightmare really began.

    You had the courage to step out when the penny dropped. Wish my father had had the same courage, but then there was a good reason why that never happened. He liked being a big fish in a small pond, it suited his “humble” ego. So he carries on to this day, exploiting others, abusing them if they don’t see things his way and humiliating anyone who gets in his way. I ask myself regularly how someone committed to “opening the eyes of others to the truth”, somehow had his eyes so firmly closed to what was going on around him? Or did he have them closed, did this natural born survivor bought up in the school of hard knocks with a clever mind know exactly what was going on and for his own reasons decided to stay within the environment that was destroying those he pretended he actually cared for?
    For your honesty you have my respect and I am confident the respect of many other MKs.
    If you read this, would like to make contact. I’m contactable through the personal messages.

  4. Debbie says:

    I was an MK and grew up at boarding school. For the last five years I have been plodding through a process of healing, step by step, which has been addressing my issues of abandonment. My emotions were dysfunctional, my anxiety was out of control, my loneliness was always there even when I was surrounded by people, I never felt equal to my peers, I had a lot of anxiety when I had to discipline my kids, I was overprotective of them, I lacked emotional intimacy with my husband…it felt like post traumatic stress, like scabs had been ripped off, revealing carefully hidden sores that I began to clean out. I was still wearing a “coat” in the summer which I had put on in the “winter” at the boarding school and it was hampering my relationships and joy. I read the book Changes that Heal and it changed my life. It helped my find the underlying issues that were causing all the symptoms in my life. As I became aware of them, my eyes were opened to the fact that my perceptions were distorted by coping mechanisms from the past. It taught me how bonding (we went to boarding school from first grade on…), boundaries, separation of good and bad, and growing into adulthood with internal permission to disagree…had “gone into hiding” when I was young and I delayed my development in these areas because it wasn’t safe. Now it was not too late at the age of 49 to bring these areas of development into the light and to nurture each area until they came out of hiding and bloomed to maturity. They are not mature yet, but I have come far enough to experience the light at the end of the tunnel. For those sexually abused, The Wounded Heart has spoken profoundly (another book). I would be glad to engage anyone in discussion of how each area of completion or maturity effects our day to day life.

  5. More Than Disgusted says:

    I am a parent of MKs, abused as an adult miss.
    My heart goes out to all the MKs and that’s why I keep reading here.
    Maybe we can help? Maybe we can be a part of the healing process? Maybe we can STOP THIS!

  6. Anne says:

    Thank you for your kind words. That was the first time I’ve ever expressed myself via the computer. I am so sorry for what you all had to endure. There was no safe place for you to fall. Even telling the people that loved you most (your parents) was a no no. I trained with some of your abusers and am sure I know at least one of those that were abused. There is something so special about children and all children I come across I try to leave a little bit of love with. When I was in Training I was accused twice of being gay because of my affection with children. How ridiculous to be accused of this because I formed a group once a week with kids. Meanwhile their were young lives being ripped apart in the Mk dorms and no one was observant or caring enough to stop it. I’m so very sorry for all that you had to endure. Thank you for your virtual hug. Right back at you.

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