Friday, December 14, 2018

Open Letter: Some Things That Happened While I Was Involved With Grace

The following is an open letter that I, John Pavlick, wrote to a reporter for the Gaylord Herald Times. I was a member of Grace Baptist Church, a student at Grace Baptist Christian School, and a student at Grace Baptist College.


Arielle,

The following is a short summary of things that happened to and around me, personally, while I was a member of Grace Baptist Church, and a student at Grace Baptist Christian School and Grace Baptist College, from 1999 - 2009. I started attending the school in 4th grade at age 8 in 1999, and I attended the college for a semester at age 17 in the fall of 2008.

Others have elaborated in detail on the sexual abuse cases. I will avoid those, apart from my own limited, first-hand experience - as others have done them far more justice than I would ever be able to.

A quick note about me: I was a Good Kid. I spent the better part of a decade planning to be a Baptist gospel preacher. I sang in choir. I didn't lose my virginity until I was 20. I wasn't a troublemaker, or a problem-causer. I was the Bible Verse Memorization Champion, not the kid filling the empty vodka bottles back up with water and hoping that nobody would notice.

In no particular order:
  • In October 2006, I delivered a three-page letter regarding Brianna Stevenson's abusive relationship with David Beckner to the school administration. Nobody would discuss the matter with me further. Nothing was ever done.
  • In September 2008, the Dean of Men at the college called the man whose daughter I would later marry - a man that was a total stranger to him - to tell him that his daughter was "hanging out with a bad seed". (This man has a well-documented history of sleeping with college students. I'm sure you'll hear more about that from others.)
  • In the spring of 2009, I moved downstate to go to college at U of M Dearborn. Later that summer, three of my good friends and my highschool soccer coach were all killed in a freak accident. At the combined funeral, I was told by a deacon that I was "not allowed" to sit with my Christian-school friends - with no explanation given - and ushered to the back.
  • The pastor's children bullied and harassed me for years. Nothing was ever done.
  • Teachers - some of which were also pastors on staff - routinely humiliated and belittled students, myself among them, in front of the class.
  • The school had a bullying / hazing problem for years. Reporting incidents to the administration never fixed or changed anything. I have been punched, kicked, spat on, groped, shoved into tables, and shoved into walls on church property, during school hours, and no corrective action was ever taken.
  • I was kicked out of school and told that I couldn't walk and graduate with my classmates - on the LAST DAY OF MY SENIOR YEAR. My only offense was wearing jeans and a t-shirt, instead of my required school uniform. My parents (who always sided with the administration, against me) drove up to the school and pitched a fit, and I was allowed to walk; but not until after the last day of my highschool career was spent stressed out and miserable.
  • I got groped by other students, often. It just happened. Other students would grab my ass, grab my genitals, and touch my thighs, without my consent. I never reported it, because reporting my problems only ever made them worse.
  • Around 2001-2002 (if memory serves correctly), the church raised a ton of money in donations to build "The Heritage Center" - a gymnasium / community center - as a community-outreach initiative, and to give the Christian school a nice facility for sporting events and practices. Without any input from the donors or church family, the church administration re-appropriated all of the funds raised to start a for-profit "Bible" "College".
If you need anything - if you have questions, if you need clarification, etc - please email me back, or call (XXX) XXX-XXXX.

Thanks,
 John

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