My three brothers who were closest to me in age were attending college back in Indiana at the time, but my parents pulled them out of college when we joined ATI. I was in awe as I listened to the man whom I had been told was responsible for me being alive tell my parents that he wanted me to come to Headquarters. The youngest of seven children, a preacher’s daughter? I fussed so much about wanting to be outside that I became one of the first girls to work on the landscape crew. He pushed me to take a job near him, inside, but I wouldn’t.
One of my brothers went straight to the IBLP Headquarters in Oak Brook, Illinois, to help with landscaping. What did I have to offer him, this man whom my mother almost worshiped and my father would preach about in his sermons? By mid-August I was at IBLP Headquarters by his request. My parents had told Bill about my attitude, about the boy I was seeing, and about how immoral we were for simply kissing. He knew what my father had done to me, but he called me into repentance for my own sins without confronting my father or addressing his sin.
They said that I was wrong—Bill would never hug a girl, and that I shouldn’t make claims that weren’t true. A short time after that meeting, I was walking home alone when a car pulled up beside me. He told me that what happened between us needed to stay between us.
I was never to tell anyone else because it was our little secret—was that clear? Bill would have me accompany him in his car to the airport, and be there to pick him up when he got back from trips.
My father was so deep into Gothard’s teachings, and he preached them so much, that his church board had issues with it. He blamed this on the board not being willing to grow. My parents portrayed me to Bill as a sexual, rebellious teen who needed help—but I had only kissed a boy. Bill told them he would give me intensive counseling. I was a temptation to men; Bill Gothard told me that I had tempted my own father.
I have my own theory of why he was forced out, though. He had been forced out of churches in California and New Jersey for taking indecent liberties with young girls. My father’s sexual abuse of me didn’t start until we moved to a pastorate in New Jersey, when I was seven years old and got my own room. Bill would call me into his office for “counseling and teaching.” I was open about my relationship with my boyfriend. I loved to be barefooted, and he would always comment on the shades of polish on my toes. He wanted all the details of my past sexual experiences. I craved Bill’s attention but felt guilty about the increasing touches he gave me.
I am a preacher’s daughter, the youngest of seven children.
My parents became involved in the seminars in the early 1970s, and at that time they were done with having kids.
We left that church when I was 13 years old, and we moved to Virginia when I was 15. He asked me a lot about how much I had let my boyfriend touch me, how we kissed— it went on and on. I wanted a relationship with a man that was like a relationship with a father.
He seemed to get pleasure from pulling every detail out of me. Bill Gothard gave me that feeling of being worth something.
She was so upset that she reported it to one of the staff leaders.
Next thing I knew, I was called into a disciplinary meeting with a couple of senior staff members and Bill, and they confronted me about my claims.