A far-right Christian group with extensive ties to Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett has allegedly been allowing children to be sexually abused over the years and reportedly refused to punish the adults accused of committing the crimes.
The Washington Post reports that the group, known as “People of Praise,” is a offshoot of the “Christian movement of the early 1970s, which adopted practices described in the New Testament of the Bible, including speaking in tongues, the use of prophecy and faith healing.”
But all of their claims of piety hid a darker secret which came to light when Katie Logan called the Eden Prairie, Minnesota Police Department to report a crime:
“Her high school physics teacher had sexually assaulted her two decades earlier, she said. She was 17 and had just graduated from a school run by a small Christian group called People of Praise. He was 35 at the time, a widely admired teacher and girls’ basketball coach who lived in a People of Praise home for celibate men.”
Logan also told the dean of the school she attended of the abuse. The dean believed Logan and relayed her complaint to another official at the school.
But nothing happened, according to the Post, and the teacher remained as a staff member at the school:
“Dave Beskar remained at Trinity School at River Ridge until 2011, when he was hired to lead a charter school in Arizona. In 2015, he returned to the Minneapolis area to become headmaster of another Christian school. Beskar denies that any inappropriate sexual activity took place.”
Logan, who is now 37, says despite her warnings, People of Praise swept her complaint under the rug:
Members of a Facebook support group, “PoP Survivors” also allege they were abused by staffers at schools run by the religious organization:
“The Post interviewed nine people in the Facebook group — all but one of them women — who said they were sexually abused as children, as well as anotherman who says he was physically abused. In four of those cases, the people said the alleged abuse was reported to community leaders.”
Justice Barrett, it turns out, was raised in a People of Praise community in Louisiana and remains active in the South Bend, Indiana, branch of the group.
Though her involvement in the group never came up during her Supreme Court confirmation, Barrett was asked about her religious beliefs when she was nominated to the federal appeals court. She said then:
Men are in control of the decisions made inside People of Praise. The group is led by an all-male board of governors and husbands usually make all the decisions for their wives and children. Wives are not permitted to “take over” for the husbands when it comes to decision making.
Despite the allegations against members of the group, Craig Lent, chairman of the religious group’s board of governors, issued a statement which reads:
However, Lent refused to answer any written questions from the Post.