Revering Ministers, Failing Children.
Another minister is finally on the precipice of facing justice for a decade of child abuse, and once again we’re witness to a chain of events that reveal the perpetrator was practically handed new victims long after the first accusations arose.
Filing charges late Monday, King County prosecutors contend Timothy L. Dampier sexually assaulted at least three boys and likely molested many more. Dampier, a licensed foster parent, had been employed by at least eight organizations serving children.
As recently as March of this year, Dampier was bringing home young boys who he’d met through his work with the Boys and Girls Club. This continued to occur despite the fact that Dampier had been investigated “on suspicion of inappropriate sexual contact with children” at least four times in the past.
The Boys and Girls Club finally decided to suspend – not fire – Dampier after the most recent investigation began last month. Since then, Dampier has admitted to molesting a number of children, several of whom remain unidentified because he claims to not remember their names.
Where else did this man have access to children? It’s a long list:
Dampier has also been involved in a number of Seattle-area youth programs at the Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church, New Hope Baptist Church, Ruth Dykeman Children’s Center, Ruther Child Center, Samuel House, Union Gospel Mission and Seattle Parks and Recreation.
Four times. Four times Dampier was accused and investigated for sexually abusing children, and still he was given access to more victims. If he hadn’t slipped up and admitted to it this time around, what do you think would have happened?
If it weren’t for one brave young man coming forward to report the abuse he endured as a child, you wouldn’t be reading this, and Dampier would still be molesting children.
When the victim initially contacted a church through which Dampier was employed, they did precisely what you might expect of such an institution: rather than immediately contacting the police, they brought the man into a meeting with his abuser.
According to charging documents, a minister at the Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church arranged a 2010 meeting between Dampier and the man. During the meeting, Stangeland told the court, Dampier admitted to “playful” touching but denied any molestation.
It wasn’t until the following year that the police became involved, and as noted above, Dampier used this time to bring more boys into his home to spend the night.
This is what happens when we bestow undeserved respect and authority on so-called “men of God.”
This is what happens when we allow such a title to distort our judgment.
We hesitate. And the welfare of our children is the price we pay.
When will we learn?