For those of you who I’ve not been in contact with for quite some time, this is Sheri. (My maiden name is VanDermyden.) I have been thinking about sending this email and what/how much to share for quite some time….. as in the last several months & in just the last two weeks it’s really been coming together exactly what to share & why. For some of you who know my story there will be a “few” less surprises, but I’m sure there’s a lot of people out there who do not know and will find this shocking, surprising, appalling, disgusting or just plain too much information. For those that fall into the last category, I will simply say buyer beware before buying into this “religion” and their deceit, lies and sweeping under the rug.
Before I begin MY story, I will say that I’m not the first in MY family or extended family that has been sexually abused by a “worker” in this religion and the first situation was PRIOR to what happened to me. All the more disturbing!! When my family lived in Visalia & I was 13 years old, (a “worker”) *** returned to our home to “rest”. He did anything but that as he was up late at night coming into my room to sexually abuse me. He had previously been in our “field” so my family was familiar with him & because he was a “worker” he was “trusted”.
Refer back to the first sentence of this paragraph! (There is a very strong doctrine in this religion to blindly trust the “workers”. Don’t EVER challenge or question them!) He lived with us several months & the sexual abuse to me started within days of him coming to our home. He was 28 years old at the time, remember I was 13!! The sexual abuse was almost daily & not only would he come to my room at night, (literally in the room right next to my parents), he would have me go to his room, he would take me to deliver loads of cotton (he worked for Dad while he was “resting”) to the cotton gin & have his way with me there too….. in the hay barn, anywhere, anytime. As long as he thought the coast was clear, he was getting his hands in my pants & making sure mine were in his!! This lasted several months & no one ever knew or suspected what was going on …..Or so I thought!
Three years later mom came to me & asked me what had happened with ***. I told her the whole story & they got help for me straight away with counseling. To Mom & Dad’s credit they never questioned my word…. the intuition of parents! They had seen changes in me in those three years & there were challenges with me that they couldn’t understand.
I could not even begin to imagine how to explain to my parents at the age of 13 why I was lashing out at my family and so difficult to be around when *** who molested me for months, would call our home & invite myself and my family to his wedding with (female name deleted). There was a lot of manipulation that he inflicted upon me for months after he left our home. Here’s the lyrics to the song he used to sing to me…
She’ll only come out at night
The lean and hungry type
Nothing is new, I’ve seen her here before
Watching and waiting
Ooh, she’s sitting with you but her eyes are on the door
So many have paid to see what you think you’re getting for free
The woman is wild, a she-cat tamed by the purr of a Jaguar
Money’s the matter
If you’re in it for love you ain’t gonna get too far
Oh-oh, here she comes
Watch out boy she’ll chew you up
Oh-oh, here she comes
She’s a maneater
I wouldn’t if I were you
I know what she can do
She’s deadly man, and she could really rip your world apart
Mind over matter
Ooh, the beauty is there but a beast is in the heart
This was song was sung to a 13-year-old girl who still had purple and orange butterflies on her underwear. That was me! A 13-year-old INNOCENT girl! Are kids safe in your home at night or during the day??? I sure wasn’t thanks to ***, I was not the first in my family not safe from this vileness.
Remember that ***? Remember when that song would come on the radio when you had me in your bedroom? What a vile and disgusting piece of flesh you are! Remember all the weird manipulations, mind games and lies that we would get married as soon as I was old enough? Another mind game to keep me quiet so you could keep getting your sick pleasures. Remember telling me repeatedly not to tell my parents or brothers about what was going on until I was older? Guess what????? I’m older and word is getting out!!!
When I was 17 & lived back in Visalia, Mom & I went to the District Attorney’s office to talk about opening a case & pressing charges. At that age, I chose not to go into a courtroom full of strangers & tell them of the horrible things above that he had done to me. Interestingly, *** (abuser’s wife’s name) called my Mom & begged her not to have charges pressed as it would really be hard on *** (her daughter). She pleaded with my Mom to just please let things be…*** would have God to answer to someday.
Do I need to mention that he has kids? It has always been my hope and prayer that they have been safe from his sexual perversions. I don’t think that the sexual abuse that *** inflicted upon me started or stopped with me. Rarely does a perpetrator have only one victim. How many other victims of his are out there? How many other “workers” victims are out there????? We will never know as it goes unreported not only to the authorities but to the people in the religion that the sexual abusers mingle with them on a weekly basis.
The “workers” and the “head workers” have repetitively not reported the sexual abuse by workers & are in the midst of strife over that at the moment here in CA with authorities. Go ahead & ask Dale Schultz and Ed Alexander next time you see them face to face how it’s going with their reporting sexual abuse or lack thereof to the authorities.
Let this also be understood, I do not believe that ALL workers have ill intent or are as horrific as ***. I do believe that there are good and decent “workers” out there.
As far as workers knowing about what happened to me, they do. Here’s the names of a few that I KNOW are aware of it and a few that I vaguely remember hearing that they knew about it. Karen Bone, Dick Middleton, Richard Wulf, Harold Hilton, Virginia Richmond, Virginia Boyd and I would HOPE several more!
Dick Middleton and Harold Hilton (I believe I have the correct names as it was years ago but I know, as do Mom, Dad and *** that there were two “elder” workers present) brought *** to my Mom and Dad’s house about 5 years after he molested me to “apologize” for what he had done. Mom and Dad, Dick, Harold and I were all in the same room as *** made his apology to my parents & I. The only thing he was really sorry about was being caught and that it was out in the open with a FEW of the workers. I hope this gets to Boise Idaho people in that church so that they are aware that *** is a child molester. If this helps just one other victim of his , then this will be worth it.
As in any religion or organization there is child sexual abuse. The REAL ISSUE is how the church or organization deals with it. The way THIS religion deals with it is to NOT talk or tell about it! To the best of my knowledge, NO ONE in Idaho or in any other state, including the “friends” there know that *** is a child molester. Keep in mind that this is someone who once was a “worker”, now a dad, and needless to say has had other kids from this religion in his home.
How many of them have been victims simply because no one has ever been told the TRUTH about who & what this person is by the “trusted” leaders of this church? It begs the question who are the leaders of this church protecting??? The innocent ones or the “image” of the “Truth”? It is my hope that this gets to at least one more victim of *** & that even now the truth is out in the open that he is a child molester.
Thanks to the day & age that we live in, the truth about who he is & what he’s done will get around faster than ever….. Thanks to the Internet & FaceBook.
Being sexually abused by a “worker” is the reason that I initially left the religion. I have since been labeled many things (and quite frankly I really don’t give a rip!) because I have gone away from the “Truth”. That’s ONE of the official “unofficial” names of this religion. In the last few years I have researched this “religion/cult” on the Internet & there’s some REALLY good information available. I STRONGLY ENCOURAGE ANYONE WHO IS CURRENTLY INVOLVED OR IS THINKING ABOUT GETTING INVOLVED TO REALLY CHECK IT OUT! Seriously, BUYER BEWARE!
This thing they call the “Truth” is not as it appears & there’s a lot of information available that will give additional perspectives. God gave us a brain to question things with and a heart to have faith with. Use both!!!
Here’s some websites that have provided some eye opening answers and how the religion really works.
Telling The Truth
Research and Information Services
My story is just one of MANY but the fact of the matter is that there are many perspectives on this religion and many TRUTHS that you will never be told about while you’re involved in it. I know after being indoctrinated by it for 17 years as a kid and being told this is the ONLY way to get to heaven, that this is a guilt driven church made up of man’s rules. The “man” being William Irvine, who is documented in creating this religion. Per the documentation, he started the religion in 1897 in Ireland. Check it out for yourself. I suggest researching it for unbiased answers as it’s quite hard to get clear, straightforward, honest answers from someone submersed in the religion. That’s speaking from experience!!!
By the way, where in the bible does it say it’s okay to go see a play but not go to a movie???? Where does it say to watch movies, YouTube or TV shows on the Internet but don’t have a TV???? Just a few of their “hidden rules”! Why do the workers take money but not pay taxes? I know in my home we pay taxes on our income! Why is giving money to their church a hush-hush thing when it’s a Biblical principle to tithe with a joyous heart??? Why does this church not believe in helping the needy and downtrodden? Why do they not teach about serving others less fortunate? Which is another biblical principle!
When my cousin came home from open heart surgery and had to move his family where were the “friends” to help??? Isn’t it what the bible to teaches to love and help each other? Why does this church teach that the only way to get to heaven is through this “religion” and that ALL other churches are “false religions”? Do you really think that God would create such a wonderful Universe & send everyone to hell that doesn’t talk to a “worker”?
Refer to the beginning of this email about the character and integrity of some of the workers and the leadership in the religion!! “They” refer to all other religions as “false religions” even if they ARE Bible-based churches. They look down on religions that meet in buildings. Then why in the world is convention held in a building? What is the difference except that it’s another one of their “unsaid and not to be challenged rules”. Again, after being subjected to this religion for the entire time I lived in my parents’ home, this was & is the messages that were & are currently taught. Think about it!!!!!!
I must ask you who told me that the church was NOT founded by William Irvine, have YOU ever REALLY researched it yourself on the Internet where there is so much info readily available???? (You know who you are!) Or have you just listened to what others in that religion told you & just followed blindly instead of finding out for yourself???? Don’t question the “workers” and lose position with them right? I thought it was about worshiping God, NOT the WORKERS as is done in that religion. What “they” say goes doesn’t it?! No questions asked if you want to remain in their favor.
All this being said, don’t take my word for it! Check it out for yourselves if you’re brave enough to. I realize that for many of you this may be scary. What may be scarier is knowing that your daughters or sons may be being molested right NOW by a “worker” in your home. Please parents above all else protect the innocence of your kids! You would not let any other stranger come into your home & sleep in the room next to your son or daughter would you?
We all make decisions. I encourage you to not make them on a guilt-driven basis (which is what this religion encourages) but to look at the FACTS and perspectives of others who have gotten out of the forest so they can see the trees.
For some this may really tick you off, but that’s okay! There’s been a LOT of things that have really ticked me off too! BUT, for those of you who feel this might help even one other person come forward about what’s happened to them or just to share the TRUTH please feel free to do so.
PLEASE forward this email to all who you know came in contact or may have come in contact with *** in the last 30 years!.
To you who are “friends” with *** on FB that were already aware that he molested me, do not EVER contact me or my immediate family again.
This was a long time coming…….
July 19, 2010
May 4, 2023 UPDATE:
More of my story…by Sheri (VanDermyden) Autrey
Being sexually molested (especially by a person in power/authority figure) is a terrible tragedy. Being a survivor of a system that historically protects the predators is just as bad if NOT WORSE!
I am not sharing to tear anything of God or that which is good down. I’m a Christian and have seen God’s hands at work in miraculous ways throughout my life. There is zero doubt in my mind that God has brought this all to light in his own timing.
I’m sharing simply because I’ve been asked to. What was the cause and effect of the second time I was victimized…
Being a victim of molestation has a well known life-long impact as do many other tragedies. Some of you may have previously read my story that I’m now expanding upon. My tragedy did not stop when the molestation stopped. In 1986, the second dose of victimization commenced. It was the year I told my parents what had happened, the year I talked to the Tulare County DA’s office, the year Steve Rohs came with Workers to our home to apologize for molesting me, and the year I asked the Workers to go to EVERY home Steve Rohs had ever stayed at as a Worker and ask if their children had been harmed by him.
That was NEVER done nor did I EVER get answers to my questioning as to why it was not being done. I felt and WAS unheard. The pleadings of a young girl trying to help and protect others fell upon the deaf ears of Workers. It definitely left me feeling that even though I was the victim, I didn’t matter. Steve’s life was unharmed and unchanged. Yet I, who was innocent of wrong doing, was cast aside. No one took a stand for me. It is VERY harmful when survivors voices are silenced. I was made to feel like what happened to me didn’t matter.
As a result, I went on to endure a very abusive 10 year marriage. It was a marriage riddled with physical, mental and emotional abuse. That is not an uncommon path for a survivor of child sexual abuse. By the Grace of God, when I got a divorce I also left the cycle of abuse. However it was thousands of dollars spent on years of counseling, broken relationships, many tears, and a LOT of hard work to get to where I was in 2010.
Not ONCE did I receive any support or financial compensation for the cost of professional help. I have spent thousands and thousands of dollars on counseling and countless hours in therapy over the years. Not one time was financial support offered to me from the Workers, let alone an acknowledgment that had it created a hardship on my life. I have, however, been accused of being bitter and angry. At times I have been! Why WOULDN’T someone be bitter and angry after how I’ve been treated? I am NOT the person who has committed the crimes! I’m the innocent one!! I’M the one that should have the support and protection. NOT the pedophile!
In 2010, I realized there were still unresolved issues surrounding how I had been victimized the second time. In being silenced and Workers NOT following through on a simple request that would not only help me, it would have prevented other children from being offered as living sacrifices. The message was loud and clear that it was more important to keep the reputation and the image of The Truth intact than to do what was right by the victim and other innocent children that WOULD be, and WERE harmed.
So, I did what I had control of and wrote my email to Steve and BCC’d it to 800-900 others in the Truth. I do not recall being acknowledged by one single Worker that had received my email. I had to reach out to the few that would speak to me. I got the run around from the Workers after many calls and emails requesting any additional information including details about why Steve left the work, what had they done to protect their community from him and other pedophiles. I got nothing but the run around. Once again I was silenced, shamed and unheard. The message given and received…. What happened to me and was continuing to happen did not matter!
It was a brutal season that followed. To have SO many people aware of what had happened, not just the molestation, but the treatment I received the years following has been very harmful. As a survivor to have spoken up and have nothing done to address handling Child Sex Abuse/Sex Abuse differently was incredibly frustrating. NOTHING was said or done to protect Steve’s children. NOTHING changed even when people were made aware that there was a pedophile in their midst. This is exactly why I will not be silenced!
Between January 2023 and today, May 4, 2023, I have had multiple conversations with Workers and Overseers. I have had two phone conversations with Rob Newman, (California Overseer) three phone conversations with Jeff Thayer,(Minnesota Overseer) 5 phone conversations and one in person meeting with Ed Alexander (Former Overseer of AZ, Worker in CA & OR). Like the conversations I had with the Workers in 2010, I pleaded for any information they had regarding my sexual abuse. This year the pleas were urgent so that I might obtain anything that would assist Law Enforcement.
On March 24th, Lauren Rohs, daughter and victim of Steve Rohs, had a call with Ed Alexander that he “remembered” he had letters regarding my situation with Steve from Eldon Tenniswood and would get them to her. The next day, she received a text from Ed that he could not speak to her anymore. On April 7th, Lauren and Ed had a call about the letters again. It was arranged to meet with Ed in Shasta City, Ca on April 10 to retrieve them. Ed called Lauren the morning of the 11th and said he realized he didn’t have them, as he had given them to Rob Newman four to five years prior. Lauren and I met with Ed as previously planned and he agreed to text Rob to request them.
Rob Newman responded that he was out of state and it would be some time before he could look for the letters. On April 19th, Rob texted Lauren and indicated the letters had been delivered to the Tulare County Sheriff Office with a NEW case number. I had been asking for information and documents such as this for thirteen years. I was not given the courtesy of a phone call, email, or copies of the letters. I learned that Brett Majors was the Worker who delivered the letters to Tulare County after meeting with Rob on April 18th. I contacted Brett on May 1st to request copies of the letters. I called and texted Rob Newman on May 3rd to request copies of the letters. On May 3rd, Brett texted me and informed me the letters were delivered to the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office with no explanation of why they would not provide me with a copy. As a victim of sexual abuse by a Worker, I felt that the VERY LEAST they could do is show me how Eldon Tenniswood had handled it back in 1986. It was my hope the letters would bring a small amount of peace in reading Eldon’s words. However, once again, I, the victim, was not acknowledged, heard, respected or supported. Actions such as these compound the trauma.
Never once since 1986 has there ever even been a whisper or an acknowledgment that these letters even existed. Not in 2010 when I made inquiries, nor in the last several months. Funny how all of a sudden they appeared when the “covering up” is FINALLY getting exposed! Nope, not until last week did they appear. NOT to me so that I could see them. What a huge sense of betrayal that has been sweeping over me. I will shout from the rooftops until those involved and complicit in covering up Child Sex Abuse and Sex Abuse are exposed and held accountable.
After 37 years I still have not given up! I will not be silenced. I will be heard and I will be a voice for those who have lost theirs for now. I will not stop in my efforts for pedophiles to be exposed therefore stopping the offering of children as living sacrifices to these predators. I wish mine was the only story like this…. Sadly there are countless others that have the exact same story!
Hopefully my sharing will help others find their voice.
May 4, 2023