Since the dust has begun to settle around the Tina Anderson Rape trial we have all been able to look at things more closely.
I had mentioned on my blog talk radio interview with Jocelyn Andersen, and Cindy Kunsman that I questioned what Chuck Phelps had actually told the police when he claimed he reported the rape. In most cases in life presentation is key to getting your message across.
Let’s take a portion of his online website for his defense (Chuck Phelps):
I immediately complied with the statutes of the State of New Hampshire by reporting the situation to Officer Jim Cross of the Concord Police Department. I also reported to Erin Dickson of the New Hampshire Division of Children, Youth, and Families.
It was at my recommendation thirteen years ago, that Tina's mother, Mrs. Christine Leaf, also reported this relationship to law enforcement. Even though Tina begged her mother not to report, Mrs. Leaf did report this sexual relationship with Mr. Willis to Lieutenant Gagnon of the Concord Police Department.
The Concord Police never contacted me further about the reports or about the welfare or the whereabouts of Tina Dooley Anderson. They also never contacted Mrs. Leaf for any investigation or additional information. There was certainly no intent to cover up the allegations, or hide this 16 year-old girl. I have always been committed to a police of compliance and partnership with official investigations of any kind.
Unfortunately, what Pastor Chuck Phelps DOESN’T say was he was informed that he must make a report in writing at the time of his phone call.
He called the police and ‘reported’ the rape as a consensual sexual relationship. Basically, he didn’t follow through on all compliance needs to file a report. So his ‘numerous’ reports is not factual. It was more like phone calls to say this happened, and didn’t follow through with the rest of the obligations he was told about.
I was trying to find a word that matches how he seems to be approaching things. He will say things that would seem obvious to most regarding what he means, and yet what he means is something else completely. The best term I could come up with was ‘double entendre’. It ‘is a figure of speech in which a spoken phrase is devised to be understood in either of two ways. Often the first (more obvious) meaning is straightforward, while the second meaning is less so: often risqué or ironic.’
Phelps knew he had to do the ‘report’ in writing, but he never did. That is the type of report he knew the police and investigators had in mind, but figured the layman would never figure that out.
I believe at trial he made the excuse that he never received the paperwork, and yet again we see he never followed up either. Now tell me does that show, ‘committed to a policy of compliance and partnership with official investigations’?
Lieutenant Gagnon did contact Pastor Chuck Phelps after DCYF contacted Gagnon, but it was noted that Phelps never returned his calls. It was mentioned that Chuck Phelps did not report this as a rape, and that term wasn’t even used in the phone call notes to DCYF either.
So TECHNICALLY, Chuck Phelps can say they never contacted him further about the reports – because there was never one filed by him in the first place. Gagnon never contacted Phelps about the welfare or whereabouts of Tina, because he contacted him about ‘other things’ instead. Once again – this is play on words. If the speaker has inserted a double entendre on purpose, then chances are you are under attack of innuendo.
It was also noted that Phelps frustrated the prosecution at trial, because of his NON answers to questions. Laurie Moody that was in the courtroom noted:
For instance, when the prosecutor asked if Linda Phelps asked Tina if she "liked" what Willis did, Chuck cried and said that was so out of character for his loving wife (still not answering the question). When the prosecutor asked if Chuck said Tina was lucky not to live in OT times when people were stoned, Chuck said we're all lucky not to be living in those times (again--not an answer).Most of the time you get responds like:
Once Phelps reported it, the PD should have pursued and investigated it to find out the details. As others have pointed out, there is certainly evidence to conclude that, at the very least, Phelps demonstrated errors in judgment- I am not disputing that. I am observing that those errors should have been overcome much sooner if law enforcement had done their job properly.Which most wouldn’t have an issue with. It acknowledges errors that Phelps himself refuses to acknowledge (at the very least), and makes you wonder WHY the police didn’t go further!
The officer in question has retired, so I am guessing there won't be an official investigation for fault on the PD end. I guess what you're missing is the whole conclusion of the trial testimony itself. The officer had a mom who would not cooperate, insisting that the daughter did not want to be contacted (not true, the daughter would have spoken with the police if the mom had given her contact info) and he said under oath that he responded to the DCYF referral by attempting to contact Chuck Phelps and that Phelps did not return his call. The mom, under oath on the stand, stonewalled the prosecutor to even admit her daughter was 15 for a portion of the summer. She kept insisting she was 16--correcting the prosecutor. It was painful to watch.
A report was not filed with the police. If Chuck made the call as he asserts, he would have been given information for how to file a report. He did not file a report. This was made clear at trial.
Chris Leaf (the mom) kept asserting on the stand that the officer knew where to find her because he had contact with her through her husband's child sexual assault conviction. But she resisted answering prosecution questions, giving combative answers. For instance, when asked if she told the police where her daughter was, her answer was "they didn't ask." It took many, many questions for the prosecutor to get her to reveal that for any question she was asked, she just kept saying her daughter didn't want to talk to police.
As someone that sat through the trial, I would actually say the mother bears the most responsibility for obstruction. That is my opinion after hours and hours of testimony over the course of a week.
Now if you were contacted about a ‘consensual sexual relationship’, and no one is cooperating to finish the investigation? What else were the police suppose to do in this case? They have to shelve it until they can move forward.
From Pastor Phelps Website again:
Tina came before the congregation at Trinity Baptist Church voluntarily with her mother's blessing. She was no coerced in counsel or by any written or expected guidelines of the church. She came before the church in order to seek the congregation's assistance and announce her personal need. The congregation responded very generously and lovingly both at the time and throughout Tina's college training. Tina's mother always expressed gratitude to the Phelps and to the church for how kind everyone had been to Tina and her family during these difficult days.
What Chuck Phelps did was actually lie to his church. Willis was to ask forgiveness for his adultery. It was not to be presented as Tina being the woman/child in question. Tina was to ask forgiveness for placing herself in a compromising position, and how she is now with child. It was not be presented as Willis’s child. They were told they were to totally different set of circumstances, and yet they were not.
I remember reading that it was noted that Tina’s child isn’t something they could hide. What they did their darnest to hide? The father of the baby. They also mentioned this would stop gossip, etc. Well it seems Tina isn’t so much the target of that, but now it seems the ones that have issues with ‘gossip’ is now Chuck Phelps and Chris Leaf. Its not ‘gossip’ though, but people struggling to figure out what the truth actually is due to loads of ‘bad decisions’ they both made.
Other witnesses did as well, but one of them said he thought of it as a "confession" session because no one was voted off church membership during that meeting. On the witness stand, Chuck referred to it as a chance to show compassion--neither discipline or confession. Given that the note Tina was helped to write by a church leader at the time, included terms such as asking forgiveness from God and the church, I don't think anyone really believed that the purpose of the meeting was to offer compassion since a child was obviously going to be born.
If she was helped to write this? She was expected to read it. Her pastor expected it, and her mother expected it. Cindy Kunsman has an article written about the bounded choice
In other words, neither the charismatic leader nor others in the group need to be present to tell a follower what to do; rather, having internalized the lessons and adapted her outlook, the loyal and true believer knows precisely what she needs to do to stay in the good graces of the all-knowing and all powerful leader. The true believer need only ‘imagine’ what actions to take, knowing full well that she will act within the bounds of the cult reality, for in a sense her self has merged with the leader and the group.
What Chuck Phelps didn’t mention in his paper, but was brought up in court was that church members did start asking questions.
Chuck testified that he did what he did because:
1. he believed Ernie
2. he thought Ernie's family was more at risk from fallout than Tina
*there is at least one other reason that came out in discovery but did not end up getting made public at trial. It could have been a part of a rebuttal witness testimony but was deemed not needed for the case by the prosecution. Two witnesses that confronted Chuck Phelps after the church discipline/confession/compassion session both said they were told that Tina was young and would be able to get over it. Ernie had a family that needed to be protected. This does not meet the legal or moral standard of malice.
Based only on the testimony at trial I can also say that the accusation that Chuck did what he did out of ignorance is also without merit. Chuck simply believed he was doing the best thing. He knew he was supposed to file a written report and he did not do it.
What seemed sad to me as well is they claimed people were to offer her assistance, etc. They were stopped from contacting Tina, and that includes her aunt at the time. How they could offer Tina anything when they were not allowed to contact her? Again it seems like a play on words.
I guess they could have BEFORE she left for Colorado, but couldn’t after she left. So technically they had the chance. What you see over and over again is no one (Phelps/Leaf/Willis) is willing to give the full and complete story. I mean MOST would believe they could contact her after she left for Colorado as well. I mean we have the big song and dance about how this compassion session was needed for Tina right?
Their actions clearly show what type of compassion she needed. TRUTH wasn’t in the equation, because that might hurt more than one person involved.
What Chuck Phelps and Chris Leaf (Tina’s mother) made a big deal of during trial – and even prior to that – is that Tina never said the word, ‘rape’. When they were asked directly if they asked her if she was raped? They both said they never did directly ask Tina. It didn’t matter that all the signs were there I guess.
Its sad that ‘responsible’ adults approach Willis, and he mentions that he is the aggressor – said it happened twice – but claims it was ‘consensual’ – and they believe him because he has a family to protect, and Tina is young and will move past it.
Does that NOT sound like motive to ‘cover up’ things when they made the choice NOT to ask a traumatized child if she were raped? Think about it! They couldn’t ask! If they did? It may stop their plan on how to move forward with plans on how they felt was best to handle this. Tina can move past it, and we must save Ernie’s family.
So lets see in short we have:
- Phelps saying he filed numerous reports, and the police didn’t follow up. In trial we find that Phelps needed to do this in writing, and never did follow through to make sure this was done. Since Gagnon called we don’t know if we would have asked any of the questions Phelps claims he never got asked, because he never returned the call.
- Phelps claims he cooperates with official investigations, and yet the courts had issues with him even answering questions.
- Phelps presents the circumstances of Tina’s pregnancy in a deceptive manner, and has a church official help her write a letter to read in front of the church to ask for compassion and support.
- Church members aren’t able to get in touch with Tina after Phelps/Leaf make the decision to move her to Colorado. They then tell the church members that ‘caught on’ to what was happening that her rapist had more to lose, and she will be able to move past it.
- Phelps and Leaf whine and complain that Tina never said it was rape, and yet when placed against the wall for a bit of truth? They admit they ‘never asked’ either.
- So in conclusion, it seems that Phelps and Leaf decided it was a good idea to place Tina under the bus. Trinity Church under the bus. IBF’s name under the bus. They both decided to twist what happened, what things meant, and how things truly went down …. and then whine and complain on the stand how they are being THROWN under the BUS! Hmm. Sounds like these awesome adults are forced to grow up and face some grown up consequences! How about we stop the “WAHHH FEST”, and put our big boy pants on! YOU SCREWED UP – Admit it for goodness sakes!
If they were truly ‘independent’? They wouldn’t have an issue ‘independently’ admitting Phelps covered it up, and threw a child under the bus for the sake of a rapist’s family. What he claims – and what came out in trial doesn’t match the reality.
So many have spoken about how people need to hush regarding what happened to Tina Anderson. If we can’t hush we will besmirch the name of Christ. You can’t besmirch the name of Jesus with this type of circumstance. Jesus had nothing to do with it. Phelps besmirched his position, and the kool-aid drinkers besmirch their place of worship – as well as themselves if they can’t see it for what it is.
Its just another play on words…..
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