Previously, you learned about Fellowship Bible Church's Pastor John Longaker. The voice raised to the shouting forefront trying to alarm the church's congregants and prevent further victimization is Kelly Haines. Her story is the main reason that John should not be a pastor in the first place. She has tirelessly stood her ground trying to reason with everyone to make John step down from unqualified leadership.
The following is her interview. You will be presented without another author's intent upon the audience to the victim's vocal intent. All answers are from her own words as the questions were raised to her on the phone and through email. You can now be the judge of what should be done regarding John Longaker and if he meets Biblical qualifications for the position he has taken and for the further positions he puts himself into besides the role of being behind a pulpit. He takes upon a role of counselor to victims of sexual assault and marital infidelity. Should he be there? The discerning result is yours to develop and act upon.
The Interview, November 2018
You were a freshman at Faith Christian Academy in 1992. At this time you were 14. Longaker began taking you alone in his classroom to talk beginning at this time?
How often were these conversations alone?
Two years later the touching began? On the school bus? Flirting between the two of you which at your inexperienced age was thought as mutual?
In our phone conversation you mentioned after certain acts he would tell you that you could do better. Was this in reference to sexual performance? Or was this in reference to life in general?
I understood it to be sexual reference.
Longaker was also affiliated with the church, which was a part of the Christian school. Was he also in a leadership role here such as pastor or deacon? Was this church basically what ran the Christian school?
He taught young singles class, sang in the choir. The church at this time did run the school.
You tried to tell certain staff, but they would only tell him to leave the door open, but he could still continue to have you alone? This is what led to sessions in the classroom in the dark?
I didn’t tell staff. Other staff and people told leadership. He rarely left a door open even after they told him to. Yes, I continued to talk to him alone daily and in dark classrooms back against a wall and closet that was hard to see if you looked in the window.
You later went to a Christian college. You and Longaker's family continued to be together. Were the two of you still active into your age of consent or adulthood?
Once I left for college, his family moved to NH. I spoke with him on the phone and via text, but I was in Florida. When I returned home, I visited his family and things happened while I was visiting. Most of it was emotional, some physical.
Were you jealous when you suspected Longaker was involved with other underage girls? Is this what led to your subsequent breakdown?
Yes, I had always thought I was the “Special One.” I was very jealous. I no longer was able to spend every day with him like before, and I felt like he was just going to move on. After confronting him while visiting I realized that I was being replaced. On my ride home with a friend, I emotionally was devastated because of the long-time relationship we had.
Longaker was convicted but received a lighter sentence in a plea deal. Did this enrage you to harbor vengeance for when he would serve his term and be released?
Despite what has been said, I was devastated that he received jail time. I was told by the DA that he would most likely receive probation. JL was given an opportunity to speak to the judge before sentencing, and, while he mentioned his lack of boundaries with teacher/student, he proceeded to tell the judge it was not forced, I came on to him and seduced him. The judge found that very offensive.
Years later you were married with children and suffered from a disorder which made you paranoid of John's whereabouts. You in no way just wanted to get back at Longaker because of his escape from justice as you perceived it?
I did not perceive it as escaping justice. I felt he served his time. I had grown over the years to see the abuse in a clearer light and understood what happened was wrong.
Now, as a mom of two little girls, I did become paranoid that he was following me and wanted to hurt my girls. It became debilitating at times. Being in public was very upsetting to me. I never wanted “to get back” at him. I wanted the police to reassure me that my girls and I were safe. Ultimately, my paranoid behavior had me believing he was at my door one night when I received and unexpected ring. My husband was working, and I was home alone with my girls. Despite his belief, I had no ill will toward him. I just wanted to make sure my family was safe. Instead of reaching out to those who could help me understand being paranoid, I went to police. I never intentionally meant to lie. I told them my perspective and understanding of the situation. Clearly it was irrational and the officer who arrested me on a false police report had a right to do so. It doesn’t mean I intentionally filed a false police report. I accepted my punishment for the crime. Whether or not it was my mental state or not, I accepted full blame and pleaded guilty. I did not use my mental health as an excuse, even though I clearly was dealing with mental health issues. Many thought that this should be taken into consideration. I was 6 months pregnant and, honestly, I didn’t care to fight. I did wrong and I took responsibility.
In 2015, many years after being charged and serving from filing a false police report, you found out he was pastoring another church. If he is far from you and does not contact you, then why did you search him out? That's pretty difficult right? To search out someone who has nothing to do with you anymore? Why would you try to find him?
The effects of abuse are very deep. Especially in a relationship that lasted many years, and during those years was groomed to love, trust and believe this man. I did Google his name periodically and rarely found information. One day I Googled and found an article about a funeral he officiated, and it stated he was the Pastor of Fellowship Bible Church in Castleton, VT. When I Googled the church name and hit "pastor," I saw that it indeed was him. This concerned me.
At the time I filed the police report he was in manufacturing. I never said anything being that - he deserved to live life. With many years behind me and a clearer understanding of what he did to me, I felt it was very troubling to see he was in a place of leadership with access to girls and counseling. I was also troubled by his lack of a last name on his church website. Was it because he was hiding something? If he truly repented and was living an uncompromised life, then I would have expected he would have told his congregation of his wrong-doings.
You told me you tried to contact people in the church, including leadership, but could only get one person to leave. Why do you think he should step down as pastor?
A friend of mine, who was also groomed by JL, did her own search and found a woman that still went to church there. I never asked her to leave. My friend provided her with information, and she did her own thorough investigation into the allegations. She did not believe us at first. She did, however, diligently seek truth and confronted JL.
I believe there is a host of reasons. First, the Bible clearly talks about the position of a Pastor. He lacks many of the obligations set up by God to be a Pastor.
Second, I am concerned greatly about his response to his actual guilty plea and conviction of the crimes against me. With all the documented information and depositions of Pastors who he admitted the relationship to, he continues to downplay and pretty much blame his lawyer for his sentence. When you read his comments in an email to The Wartburg Watch he denies any wrong doing. “If I did the horrible things that Kelly says I did” is a good example among other remarks.
Third, when asked to provide a statement to his church about his previous crime, again, he downplayed the actual crime. He told his congregation he did not serve parole (which he did) and can also be corroborated by the story written by Christy after my story was released and she came forward with an identical story as mine. She talks about his parole officer coming to his place of business. A man who is truly remorseful, sees the damage he has done, repents of his sin in a biblical manner would definitely conduct himself in a more humble way. No blaming, no lying, no secrets!
When he was employed in manufacturing did you try to stop his employment there? Would you have gotten him fired from any other job like that if you could?
Never! I believe he has an obligation to provide for his family and to get a job that does not put him in leadership over vulnerable people. He deserves to move on in life. He doesn’t deserve to be free of the consequences that happened because of his crime. If he is biblically repentant the Church should restore him to the body. But we don’t turn a blind eye from his past actions, and we most certainly do not put him in a place to hurt another person. Grace is given, forgiveness is given, but consequences are also part of the equation here on earth.
Your brother surprisingly went to prison for doing what Longaker did to you. Was he given a lighter sentence or did he get the full extent of the law despite being like Longaker?
Ironically JL was also a good friend of my brother. My brother was convicted of the same crime and was prosecuted and sentenced to the full extent of the law. His sentence was much longer.
What have you told your brother in response to him being in employment or leadership like Longaker? What would you do if he did anyway?
My brother knows that if I ever find out he is in leadership over any underage girls from now until he dies, I will be the first one at the police station.
If Longaker stepped down as pastor would you have a problem with him being in attendance at this or another church? Would you follow him there?
Stepping down as Pastor would be the proper and Godly thing to do. Like I said, if he is truly repentant and has made restitution, then, yes, by all means he should be restored to the body. But again, he should be monitored and should not be free to take any type of teaching or leadership position. There are many other things he can do.
Even though Longaker clearly has been convicted of a crime with minor women, he is still allowed to be a leader with other young victims. How have church members and leaders treated you even when you showed them concrete evidence?
I have been told that “I am the predator and he is the prey.” “I’m trying to destroy this mans life” & “I’m trying to destroy the church” are some of the comments in emails. I have not heard a word from anyone in leadership as to asking my side of the story. They have listened to his dialogue and failed to do their homework in finding out truth.
Do you believe Longaker is truly redeemed? If not, what do you believe is happening and why?
I am not God, nor do I want to be God. This is an issue between God and JL. All I can say is that the Bible says, “by their fruits you should know them.” My hope is that the church would see they are doing him no favors by protecting him and cheapening grace. He has his life here on Earth to make things right. My hope is that before he stands before God, he has taken care of the matter.
Why do you want more coverage on this matter?
This is a resounding issue in many denominations. Men in power have abused their position, and churches sweep it under the carpet or turn their eyes away from the seriousness of this. People, in general, need to be warned. They need to understand that just because they have Pastor in their name doesn’t make them safe. Jesus warns us about wolves in sheep's clothing. I will continue to educate, listen and learn more about this subject. I am now an advocate. I want others to use their voices.
You and Dee have received backlash from congregants and other leaders? Do you believe this is Longaker posing as this to silence you? Why?
Yes, I do believe JL is either the writer or knows who the writer is. I’m not completely sure of his motives, but it will not work. I have found my voice, and I plan to use it. I do not want other girls to have to go through the pain and heartache I have gone through.
Do you believe there is a problem in the church of not listening to victims and covering up incidents? How do you think we can begin to stop it?
This is a big problem! We need to educate ourselves, bring in ministries like GRACE, stop sending people to under-qualified pastors. Maybe even consider having trauma counselors on staff. We need to expose predators, and we need to hold all denominations accountable. There is much work to be done!
Do you love the church still? Do you feel betrayed? Do you have trust in clergy? Why?
I must admit that my feelings about the church have changed a lot in the past few months. I believe there are good people, but I’m feeling more and more vulnerable at church as a whole.
I feel betrayed, in a sense, that I have documented proof of my claims and that JL’s church did not care or try to seek the truth in all of this. I feel they were only acknowledging his side of the story. They say that Dee is one sided in her dialogue about this, but, the fact is, she at least reached out to John, and I know of one other that reached out to an elder. I have never been contacted or given a chance to share my heart about the matter. These people have heard a one-sided narrative and have failed to hear my thoughts and heart in the matter.
I believe there are good clergy out there. I will never put my life or my families life in the hands of a Pastor again. Even the good ones disappoint because they don’t have the proper tools needed to help hurting and broken victims. There has been many misconceptions about pastors and their ability to handle trauma or even handle information around trauma/abuse. I find a lot of Pastors to be narcissistic in general. We need more humble men who can admit they are not qualified. This doesn’t free the pastors from being compassionate and helping congregants but, we need to have more Pastors evaluating their roles and humbly making changes.
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