Gray Matters

We had no GRACE! (Gray Matters, Part One)

GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in Christian Environment), which was founded by current Liberty University law professor, ‘Boz’ Tchividjian, has responded to a question I wrote at their facebook group asking where was GRACE during the Bob Gray saga.  GRACE is currently conducting an internal investigation into the handling of sexual abuse on the campus of Bob Jones University.

GRACE was founded in 2003, according to their webpage, and, considering the close ties Jerry Falwell had with Bob Gray, I wanted to know if GRACE had been involved.  After all, Boz was  the attorney for the Child Advocacy Center in Daytona Beach, Florida and he was a Speaker at the Florida Conference on Child Abuse .  Between the Liberty connections and the Florida connections, and considering that Bob Gray was news in the state of Florida and IFB circles (although Falwell had defected to the Southern Baptist Convention without actually admitting it), I would imagine that he might have ‘heard about it’ even if he may, or may not, have been involved with Falwell.

This is how I worded it:

GRACE was founded in 2003 and I see ‘Boz’ Tchividjian is currently law professor at Liberty University.  What was GRACE or Boz doing during the Bob Gray scandal between 2006 until Gray’s death in 2007?  Was GRACE or Boz involved in this saga at all?

Considering that Falwell came to Trinity Baptist Church with the message we would look at this scandal (which was over 30 years in the making) as a ‘bump in the road’, does Boz have any criticism about the comments by the founder of his law university? Since Boz still professor, and to my knowledge Liberty does not offer tenure, is he allowed to share his opinions on this matter?

Even though the Bob Gray case is in the past, I am concerned when an organization devoted to confront and respond to abuse is allied with an organization that has a history of going soft on these matters. Even today, the current pastor has given a ‘shout out’ to Pastor G of the biker church ROC. Pastor G seems to having nothing but warm praise for currently imprisoned IFB pastor, Jack Schaap. And Pastor Falwell has great things to say about Pastor G. Any comments? See article for videos of this.

Here’s the answer:

It’s not a surprise that GRACE would have no knowledge of Bob Gray.  After all, when interviewed by ABC’s First Coast News, nearly half the congregation members of Trinity Baptist Church also had amnesia! They didn’t know who Bob Gray was and he pastored their church for over 30 years!  I guess if a tree falls in the forest and Facebook doesn’t capture it, it never happened?

It is for that reason, it is time to stroll through memory lane.  Walk with me! Talk with me!  We shall reconstruct the story of Bob Gray (using 20/20 hindsight! always the best!) to show his relation to Jerry Falwell, Liberty University, and an equally interesting and colorful cast of characters.

bobgrayGRAY MATTERS, PART ONE:

Bob Gray achieved national prominence in 1956 when he  appeared in LIFE magazine preaching against Elvis Presley. If you buy the TIME/LIFE book ELVIS: A LIFE IN PICTURES, you will see a two page spread of Gray holding a poster of Elvis in one hand, and a bible in the other.

The caption quotes Gray saying that Elvis Presley has achieved a ‘new low in spiritual degeneracy’.

A few might disagree.  Bob Gray’s earliest recorded victim dates back to 1949.  Mary Lou Hall remembered him approaching her while she waited in a car.  Gray had returned from Germany. He allegedly covered the Nuremberg trials for the military newspaper, Stars and Stripes.

Bob Gray was an assistant pastor for a church in Hampton, Florida, when he grabbed the nine year old’s breast.

The young graduate from Stetson University became pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida. Trinity was a Southern Baptist church, but Gray pulled the church out of the Southern Baptist Convention. He helped establish bylaws giving him absolute power over church affairs.

Congregation members were powerless to vote on anything, and they liked it like that.

Bob Gray appeared in The Grim Reaper. This Christian film about the torments of Hell was directed by Ron Ormond, a contemporary of Ed Wood. Ron Ormond, in fact, loaned Ed Wood music for his exploitation classic, Jailbait. Ormond was responsible for steamy drive in classics like Mesa of Lost Women, Please Don’t Touch Me and Untamed Mistress.

The Ormond organization made a number of films featuring Bob Gray. Joseph and His Brothers is the most notable film. Bob Gray is shown reading the story, about a man framed for a sex crime, to his children.

The Grim Reaper features Bob Gray leading a character to Christ who, ironically enough, is played by Cecil Scaiffe. Cecil Scaiffe did PR at Sun Records. It was his job to keep the peace whenever rockers like Jerry Lee Lewis got out of hand. Scaiffe was at Sun Records during the heyday of Elvis.

Jerry Falwell and Bob Gray were close friends. Gray was instrumental in helping Falwell establish the Moral Majority. Specifically, he helped Jerry get a foothold in North Florida.

The church was originally on McDuff Avenue, but the facilities became so crowded it became known as the ‘Sardine Church’.  Property was found on the westside of Jacksonville at 800 Hammond Boulevard.  Now that the church was out of the Southern Baptist Convention, and the bylaws gave him power, it was now time for the final step: isolation.

Wally Beebe designed the sound proof office.

Wally Bebe, the associate pastor, was called upon to create a novel design for Bob Gray’s office.  One that had two doors, so a guest could leave in private without walking through the lobby, and a sound proof office.

“I put a much thicker carpet pad in Dr. Gray’s office so people would immediately sense when they walked into his office that something was different. They were now in the presence of the PASTOR.” Wally Bebe, Bob Gray’s first associate pastor, wrote in his book The Second Man.

“My office had no such carpet. I made the walls of his office soundproof so there would be privacy for him.  You do that by filling the concrete block walls with fine sand.”

It was his job, Bebe added, to, “Think of things that will help the pastor.”

TO BE CONTINUED.  (next time, bring popcorn!)

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9 thoughts on “We had no GRACE! (Gray Matters, Part One)

  1. When Boz was sex-crimes prosecutor in Florida was the Bob Gray case in his jurisdiction? Was Boz the sex-crimes prosecutor assigned to the case?

    Do you have any idea how many hours an assistant sex-crimes prosecutor puts in a week just focusing on the cases he has been assigned?

    Boz is a grandson of Billy Grahman. He wasn’t IFB and the IFB had no love in their black hearts for Boz’s grandfather..

    I find it quite reasonable why Boz may have never heard of the Gray case.

    I was IFB back when the Gray case was taking place. I barely heard of the Gray case and certainly didn’t understand its details at the time.

    I have a few words say tho’ about Boz and the other member of his team, the GRACE lead investigator I have had nothing but positive responses from as I have told my accounts.

    I was very leery of Boz and GRACE. For a lot of reasons. I had grown up and been abused by Christians. ALL of my abusers were Christians. . Allow me to explain, Less than 4 months before my first phone conversation with GRACE’s lead investigator A IFB pastor claimed to want to hear from sexual abuse survivors because the man he allowed be the Head of his church’s Children’s church had been accused once again, of sexually abusing little girls. I say once again—because this man is a convicted sex offender. I had grown up in this church. I called the pastor who told me he would like to speak with me further. Against my better judgement, I agreed to meet with this pastor in his church office. The last time I had darkened the door of this church was in September of 1995. When I arrived I didn’t get to complete one sentence before the pastor interrupted me. The pastor interrupted me to ask what church I’m a member of. I told him I attend _____ (non-IFB church) but am not a member. The pastor wanted to know how often I attended ____church which the answer is, “Not too often.” The pastor’s response was (I’m paraphrasing) “You attend such and such Baptist Church while you attend such and such Baptist Church which is pastored by my good friend so and so. You need meet with my good friend, Pastor so and so for Biblical counseling for at least 6 months then come back and tell me you’re account.” I understood, that pastors message was crystal clear, In his mind, MY story isn’t credible since I no longer believed as he did and chose not to attend any go IFB church.

    I didn’t hold much hope this GRACE thing would be any different. However, I did have my account which fit within the parameters of the current GRACE investigation into Bob Jones University.

    I filled out the GRACE confidential survey. I didn’t hold much hope I would even be contacted by GRACE.

    I was that jaded.

    Weeks went by, and I was thinking yeah…GRACE their full of poop, just like all the others….when I received a lengthy very courteous reply via private message from Boz on Facebook concerning something I had posted on Truth-Seeking Graduates of Bob Jones University.

    I responded to his question.

    Boz responded once again to let me know he and his GRACE team had reviewed my confidential survey. Boz went on to ask when would be a good time for his lead investigator to contact me by phone.

    I gave my phone number and the best times I could be reached.

    He responded, he would have his lead investigator contact me the next day at this number, and during the times I had provided.

    I only half-expecting to hear from his investigator. I wasn’t expecting to for the investigator to listen to what I said. I wasn’t expecting to not ask ONE question about my current faith,,,,or lack of to be more honest.

    This is the first time, I wasn’t questioned about how many times I’ve been in church before they heard me out.

    This was the first time *anyone* from a Christian organization listened actively and asked questions about the perpetrator(s) without making the perp out to the be the victim and me the sexual assault and abuse out to be the perpetrator since the perps were Christians.

    This is the very first time I have ever had a Christian group listen to me and tell me they believed me.

    I’ve had a few more phone conversations with the GRACE investigator and we have shared many more emails.

    GRACE just completed its first round of face-to-face interviews the first week of April in regards to its current investigation into Bob Jones University. It is my understanding GRACE is conducting its second round of face-to-face interviews beginning Monday, April 15th. I will not post the city these interviews are taking place because it may not be a good idea because some of the BJU-loyalists have been outright nasty. I was’t in this first group, and I’m not in this group starting this coming Monday. My own face-to-face interview is, however, scheduled with GRACE within the next few months.

    Every single person who was interviewed during this first round and has shared their experiences with the GRACE team with me, have all said the same thing.

    They are competent, caring, kind, and want the truth to be revealed in this investigation. They’re not trying to cover for BJU or in anyway minimize BJU’s or anyone associated with BJU’s culpability.

    One of those interviewed during the first round attended Bob Jones Academy. She was sent to a Roloff girls home. She’s now in her later 40’s. BJA administrators and her IFB pastor (BJU board member) had “suggested” she be sent to this Roloff home after she told people her father had sexually abused her for years. She was 15 when she wast sent to this Roloff home. She said she told the GRACE team about her abuse at the Roloff home. She told me she expected the woman leading (who is a prosecutor, btw) to shut her down because GRACE isn’t investigating Roloff, but that didn’t happen. She said they asked good pertinent questions about all of her account when needed including her stay at the Roloff girls home.

    As a former prosecutor with investigators and a current prosecutor on his staff, Boz keeps the things he’s involved in pretty close his chest. GRACE doesn’t publish on its website, blog, or on facebook the names of survivors he or members of his team helps or cases its involved in or any details concerning how they help survivors for obvious reasons. I know of survivors who have been personally accompanied to police departments to report crimes by GRACE team members. GRACE team has assisted a survivor get restraining orders to protect this survivor. All of this and more are *recent* ways GRACE has survivors. GRACE is currently investigating BJU, but they also do a lot behind the scenes to help survivors.

    Here’s my two cents for what its worth about GRACE from someone who has had personal contact with GRACE. If you’re looking for GRACE or Boz or his GRACE team members to toot own horns on the internet, you’ll be looking for a long time. Slamming the GRACE team on the net may just discourage someone from contacting the GRACE team which may be the one Christian organization out there that possess the knowledge, the legal and law enforcement contacts and power that is truly willing to listen and to help survivors navigate the system with both newer and some old cases.

  2. It’s not a slam but, based on so many defaults in the past by other advocates, I do believe we have an obligation to speak out when things are not right. Boz isn’t about to defend himself, I know that. And I’m glad he’s getting in touch with the victims. If this proves right, then great! Maybe this is finally when the tide turns. However, I’m totally unrepentant with this post. Victims do have a reason to be cautious. Especially when their advocates are close to institutions that haven’t exactly been their biggest supporters (that is, until the main stream media exposed them because of internet activism).

    It’s obvious something needed to be done. Just like Democrats need to keep Obama in line, victims, if they are to become survivors, must do whatever it takes to make sure they will never be fooled again.

    • I agree. You of all people know, Dwayne how badly I’ve been burned by certain self-proclaimed advocates.

      GRACE has quite a few investigation under its belt before the BJU investigation being a reality was even a figment in anyone’s wildest imagination. There are people from prior GRACE investigations currently sitting in prison.

      I think the main difference here is Boz and GRACE aren’t self-proclaimed anythings…They’re true professionals from the fields of psychology, to law to investigation and advocacy. They don’t toot their own horns, they just do. Big difference from what what I’ve experienced so far in my nearly 50 years.

      • True. And that’s what’s motivating these posts. I’m going to re-tell the Bob Gray story on this page in the next few months. I’ll be taking my time, going through material I posted on the internet as well as material that didn’t make it during the first round. I can see most Facebook survivors not knowing who Bob Gray is or what he was all about. That makes sense.

        If GRACE or Boz is unaware of Gray, or Falwell’s ‘bump in the road’, and other Liberty/Trinity related matters, that’s a concern. Some pretty serious information has gone by the wayside. I’m going to do my part to remedy that on this page.

  3. If I could humbly say to both of you, I appreciate your efforts to be gracious to one another. It’s so refreshing and a change from some of the heated dialogue we find ourselves in from time to time.

    What I have to consider in my own head with regard to Dwayne’s questions, is exactly what CAN Mr. Tchividjian publicly discuss? Just how much public speaking regarding the graymatters (I LOVE that, Dwayne!) could he do without compromising something? And I’m not referring to anything involving Liberty University. Perhaps there is a legal or investigative reason he declines from giving any public opinion about whatever knowledge he has about the REAL relationship between Gray and Falwell.

    Dwayne, you know how much I love to bring up that good ol’ boys club you shined a light on for me a couple years ago. With Falwell, Roloff, and some of the other televangelists at the time…….where an apparent multi-million dollar cash deal fell through, and the guy who allegedly threatened to go to the authorities and proclaimed “people are going to go to jail” ends up pureed under a piece of farming equipment.

    Who is to say that Bob Gray’s disgusting and evil compulsions, and the METHODS used to conceal and/or make light of what was happening at his church might be under the spotlight since the same brainwashing, mind-control tactics used there are pretty much shared and utilized by a huge group of sociopaths? Who knows what’s really going on and what’s being looked at right now?

    Maybe I’m reaching a little, I don’t know. But I do think that the FB response you got was a reasonable, well though-out and polite one. I have also heard nothing about Boz Tchividjian’s correspondence with people who have or are going to interview with GRACE as being anything less than respectful and compassionate.

    Let me add, however, that once the GRACE investigation is concluded, depending on the outcome, it could very well be the tipping point in creating the PERFECT scenario to address not only the scandal with Bob Gray, but a great many more. And a hard look be taken at EXACTLY what these churches and institutions do to be able to get away with these things and protect criminals. Once that is fully understood, then they can all be cut off at the knees and beaten at their own game.

  4. I’m taking my time, but I’m not waiting until the GRACE investigation is complete before writing anything. There always seems to be some excuse to be quiet and not share opinions.

    All these are reasons that have been given to me since 2007 as to why I should not write on topics I deem relevant:

    Movie deal, can’t say anything or deal might fall through.

    Article: can’t say anything or article might not be published. Although, after article is published keep noticing there’s not info in it that can’t be gotten from someplace else.

    Trials: be quiet until trial is over, although sometimes the trial may never be over and they won’t speak. If the victim signs an agreement, they can’t speak. Not falling for that one again!

    GRACE investigation? Regarding all the posts about how noble an investigator is creates an interesting trigger as I remember that Jerry Falwell, Bob Gray, Jack Hyles, and more, have also had the same adjectives describing them. In the end, it’s only the actions that define us. And while I have heard info that does make GRACE look good, I have to look at the sum conclusion of their work. The interview segment of their investigation is almost done and I have encouraged people to speak with them (although strongly suggesting they bring a witness or advocate with them).

    Silence is silence no matter how noble it might sound. Strategic silence, yes. However, Mother Jones aside, I’m not going to remain silent so some journalist can get a scoop.

    • “The interview segment of their investigation is almost done.”
      That is incorrect. The interview segment of their investigation has just commenced.
      The first week of April was only the first round of GRACE face-to-face interviews.
      Face-to-face interviews are going to go on for months until they’re completed.

      The confidential survey segment of the GRACE investigation is what is going to draw to a close April 30th. http://netgrace.org/investigation/bob-jones-university/

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