Tina Anderson, age 15, was forced to stand up in front of her Baptist congregation and “confess” to her “sin” – she’d had sex with a married man and she was pregnant.
What she wasn’t allowed to tell the group was that the pregnancy was the result of being raped by a church deacon, a man twice her age.
She says her New Hampshire pastor, Chuck Phelps, told her she was lucky not to have been born during Old Testament times when she would have been stoned to death…
Her mother sought help from the pastor and they agreed to send her thousands of miles away to Colorado to live with another Baptist family.
There, she reportedly was homeschooled and barred from seeing others her age until she gave her child up for adoption.
Meanwhile the church deacon of course was reported to the police. Right?
But in February 2010, after keeping her secret for 13 years, Anderson — a 28-year-old mother of three more children who lives in Arizona — was contacted by police and agreed to press charges.
All the years that she lived with the memory of the alleged abuse, she held it tight. “You are told not to talk about it,” according to Anderson, who also accuses the pastor of concealing her whereabouts.
Today, the man charged with rape has been arrested and Concord’s Trinity Baptist Church is at the center of that scandal for allegedly protecting one of its members and perhaps hiding the victim from police scrutiny.
Oh. Well hey, 13 years isn’t such a long time.
Ernest Willis, now 51 and a former church member who lives in Gilford, N.H., is accused of raping Anderson twice — once at Anderson’s home where he showed up when her parents were away and a second time in the backseat of a car when he was teaching her to drive.
In a seven-page statement to police obtained by ABCNews.com, Anderson said Willis offered to take her out of state where abortions for minors are legal, then asked if she wanted him to “punch me in the stomach as hard as he could” to trigger a miscarriage.
Willis was convicted of rape last May. He was sentenced to 15 to 30 years in prison on September 6.