Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Former Regent assistant dean, wife guilty of child sex abuse

Former Regent assistant dean, wife guilty of child sex abuse
Filed in General U.S. News on Sep.03, 2009
Anytime an adult betrays the trust of a child with abuse it is a tragedy. It’s an even greater tragedy when the trust is betrayed by people who are portrayed as good Christians who host a shelter called Hope Haven. I can’t imagine how traumatic and emotionally shattering it must be to a child to find themselves in what is supposed to be a Godly place of safety and hope that turns out to be a place of sexual abuse and horror.
The two abusers used Bible verses to justify the sexual abuse. Will the children have to deal with feelings of being betrayed not only by what should have been trustworthy adults but of God as well?
Not only was Stephen McPherson a houseparent at the Hope Haven shelter but he was the assistant dean of the Regent University of Law…a distinctly Christian law school. Too often, religion has been a hiding place for pedophiles and too often the church has been deafening silent on the issue of pedophiles within the ranks of churches. It’s time to have the discussion as to what can be done to prevent pedophiles from flying under the radar within the Christian community. It’s our responsibility to ensure that any child who walks into a church or a Christian ministry is safe from sexual predators.
A former assistant dean at Regent University’s law school and his wife pleaded guilty today in Virginia Beach Circuit Court to child sex abuse charges.
Stephen Lee McPherson, 40, and Melina Ann McPherson, 37, both of Chesapeake, entered plea agreements during separate hearings today to charges of taking indecent liberties.
The charges stemmed from incidents between 1996 and 2000, when the McPhersons served as house parents for three sisters at Hope Haven Children’s Home on North Landing Road. Hope Haven is a Christian-based shelter run by Union Mission Ministries, which was directed by Stephen McPherson’s grandfather, the late Rev. Ted Bashford.
Court records show Stephen McPherson repeatedly molested two of the sisters under his supervision and manipulated them by citing Bible verses that he said justified the abuse. Melina McPherson engaged in sexual acts with the third sister, cited Bible verses to justify her actions and told the victim that “they had a special relationship,” according to court records.

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