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Sunday, November 29 2020 @ 06:58 AM CST

Christianity Today: Accept the Lord Jesus Today and Get a 14 Year Old Boy Toy

Whited Sepulchers

Ecclesiastical Trial Reveals Dramatic Testimony of Sexual Abuse
Bishop Bennison's Cover-up of His Brother's Behavior Documented in Victim's Testimony

By David W. Virtue

In dramatic opening testimony on the first day of the ecclesiastical trial of Pennsylvania Bishop Charles E. Bennison, victim Martha Alexis told a hushed court of five bishops, two clergy and two laity that Bishop Bennison stumbled in on his brother John's sexual activity with her, "saw his erection", turned on his heel in the church office and walked away.

The then 14-year-old victim described to the court and some 60 persons at the Marriott Hotel in Philadelphia, how she was repeatedly sexually abused by the Rev. John Bennison, describing his acts as "persistent, intense and frequent" as many as "three or four times a week, for four years."

"He groomed me over time to be his sexual toy. He was very exacting and specific in technique which grew more progressive over time, eventually growing to include everything you can possibly imagine." Alexis, now 50, and the mother of three, said that what occurred in 1973 between herself and Bennison was "unspeakable perversion and too horrific to name."

Alexis said Charles Bennison witnessed two occurrences of his sexual behavior in the summer of 1973. The second occasion occurred when she was 15 (Bennison was married to Margaret Bennison and 25). Charles was the priest of St. Mark's Church in Upland California in the Diocese of Los Angeles.

The witnessed assualts happened on two occasions. The first time was in a Sunday school classroom, said Alexis. "I was mostly undressed. We heard Charles Bennison calling John's name. The door opened and Chuck's reaction was very flustered and surprised. His pale complexion turned to bright red and he was surprised to see me."

She described the room as 10' by 10' with Charles standing only five feet away. "He (then) turned on his heel and left and said nothing. He just opened the door, took a long look and left."

Alexis described the second occasion in more graphic terms. "We were in the church office work room. We could hear Charles Bennison's footsteps. We both panicked. I was disheveled and very breathless. It was pretty clear when he opened the door that John had an erection and Charles must have seen it."

When Episcopal Church attorney Larry White asked how far Bennison was from the door, Alexis said "six feet away. Charles Bennison turned around and walked away."

"Did Charles Bennison do anything to confront John about what was going on," asked attorney White? "Yes," said Alexis, "but John denied anything was going on."

Alexis then described how John took her to his apartment. Alexis said she then grew afraid of Bennison and hoped that Charles Bennison would tell her parents. "I wanted out. I felt it was wrong and I wanted out. I wanted someone to stand up to John Bennison. I wanted someone to help me, as I was now so ashamed.

"There was no doubt in my mind that Charles knew. He saw me there. I hoped he would do something."

Alexis said she tried to break it off, but John was persistent and followed her, picking her up after school in his red Porsche. He finally left her in 1975, when she was 17. John was ordained to the Diaconate in1974 and the priesthood in 1975. "He wore a clerical collar when he picked me up at my school. Someone told my mother that a priest was meeting me at the school."

She said that, from that time on, she could not have a normal relationship with a man. She saw a counselor in 1978 where she described herself as having a lot of emotional stuff, eating disorders, used alcohol to number her feelings and looked for ways to kill herself. "The counselor was emphatic that she talk to her parents for emotional health recovery and to deal with the guilt and shame.

When asked why she didn't tell her parents until 1978, Alexis said, "we didn't talk about sexual matters in the family."

Asked if any confidentiality rule had been demanded by Charles or John Bennison, Alexis said no. She said that from that time forward she felt alienated from Charles Bennison.

She described, in graphic detail, how on one occasion she went out to a Native American tribe for a Vacation Bible School. Charles Bennison was not helpful. "He didn't like teenagers and he drove in a manner that was very frightening. It was dangerous driving."

She said that Charles Bennison never, at any time, asked her if she was okay. "The effects of the sexual abuse left me isolated for many years. I didn't have many friends. John had stolen God from me. He said that what we had was '"God's special gift and God's will.' I wanted to be a virgin when I married. He had 1000 and ten ways to say that I didn't know what I was talking about. I did not know how to have a normal relationship after that with a boy."

Other testimony at the trial included June Alexis, Martha's mother and Andrew "Andy" Alexis her brother, both of whom testified that Charles Bennison knew about the sexual abuse and that he did nothing about it.

Church attorney White said, in his opening statement, that the church took no pleasure or relish in this trial, but that he was clear that Bennison had committed acts unbecoming a member of the clergy and should be deposed under Title IV.5 of the Church canons.

The trial continues tomorrow.

http://www.virtueonline.org

(Fuk those Church Canons! Put him in front of a REAL one and set the fuse!)


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