Was there ever an ‘a-ha!’ moment prior to the arrest of Bob Gray in 2006? That question was posed on the Fighting Fundamentalist Forum after his first incarceration. Actually, there were several ‘a-ha!’moments that were hidden in plain sight thanks to the magic of ‘group think’ and Southern hospitality.
One of the earliest, and most obvious, moments occurred at practically every service. Whenever visitors were welcomed, children rushed to the podium and smothered Bob Gray in hugs. Never saw this happen in any other church! A few of these children would later reveal some of the kisses became pretty sloppy. It seems the ‘french kissing’ was saved for the sound proof office.
Those revelations wouldn’t happen until after his arrest and subsequent on-line/off-line discussions, but the few who did speak out were generally met with stony silence. One of the victims asked her parents, “If you love me, why don’t you stick your tongue in my mouth?” Even after the child explained this happened in the privacy of Gray’s office, and the parents spoke with Trinity officials, nothing was done. While some of the public kisses might have been sloppy, it does not look as if Gray actually attempted anything in public (unless you consider the account which happened in the baptistery). Read more about the BG victims at Conservative Babylon.
The second ‘a-ha!’ moment would have to be Bob Gray announcing that he was leaving for Germany. He actually admitted there were accusations against him. Word games came into play! He mentioned some of the things he was accused of, but then said, “Only one of them is true.” He then added, “I am guilty of an offense but it was neither sexual nor immoral.”
What offense, that is neither sexual nor immoral, would make you leave the country? No one questioned Gray. In fact, people applauded him!
My ‘a-ha’ moment concerned an event that happened around the same time frame, but is not widely reported. It concerned the resignation of TCA’s principal, Leroy Robertson. I tended to look at him the way the kids in The Breakfast Club looked at their principal, Richard Vernon. As someone who always stood in the way of something you wanted to do. In my case with Robertson, those two things were: a) getting permission to have a prayer meeting, and b) getting out of physical education during my senior year.
The prayer meeting was a result of noticing symptoms that, most likely, resulted from people whose parents were wealthy contributors to Trinity or those who had something on Bob Gray (or anyone else, for that matter) and were able to get preferential treatment for their children. It was a situation where a basketball player could moon somebody during an away game, but let another student be seen going to a movie or caught smoking, and they might get disciplined or expelled.
Ron Reilly, our youth leader, would preach about other Christian schools that experienced revival. We wanted to experience revival! Why should all these great things happen at other Christian schools? It was during a youth group trip to Bob Jones University when I picked up a booklet by Jack Chick called ‘Why No Revival?‘ This was before Jack Chick’s tracts got banned at BJU.
The key to revival was prayer. So we wanted to start a prayer meeting, held by students, that would take place during lunch. Robertson was against the idea. He thought we wanted a place to goof off. Reilly, on the other hand, went to bat for us and we eventually got the prayer meeting. A whole week was devoted to Reilly preaching a revival and, when it was announced there would be a prayer meeting, an impressive amount of students went forward to rededicate their lives to Christ.
A wrench got thrown into the works on the first day of the prayer meeting. The various football heroes/class presidents stepped up as heads. No one objected, but their preferential treatment was the very reason for starting the prayer meeting! I might have been the only one who was offended when they wanted to elect officers (prayer meeting captain, etc), like this was a glee club. I was against that from the start.
In the end, prayer meetings proved boring and the only people who showed up were the hardcore few. That was fine with me! No prayer meeting captains or presidents. Just students praying for revival. Even Bob Gray made a mention of our efforts during one of his sermons. After I graduated, I would occasionally come back and was always pleased to hear that, even after being away from Trinity Christian Academy for years, they still conducted lunchtime prayer meetings. Eventually, they stopped but who knows what they’re doing now?
My second confrontation with Robertson occurred when I wanted to get out of physical education class. While there were two people who consistently harassed me at TCA, I never experienced anything along the lines of getting beat up at BJU’s RK Johnson dormitory. Nevertheless, I experienced the basic shame of being naked with the other guys in the shower and for some reason it made me nervous. When I look back, I can’t think of any violent reason to have wanted out of physical education. Robertson didn’t want to make an exception, but after my stepdad threatened to pull me out of TCA, I managed to get study hall instead of PE.
It was during the early 90’s when I submitted an unpublished typescript to Robert Sumner of The Biblical Evangelist. It was a velo-bound manuscript about life at Trinity. Sumner actually reviewed it in The Biblical Evangelist.
A person from Trinity, who saw Sumner’s review, contacted me. He obviously thought I knew about the accusations against Gray and put it in my book! I had not done so. The conversation drifted to the resignation of Robertson, which was in the book, and this brought out the statement: ‘Leroy Robertson is spreading stories about Bob Gray that are so vile I can’t even repeat them’.
I can’t overemphasize the importance of that statement! Leroy Robertson might have been the first whistleblower at Trinity. Two people told me about the accusations against Gray and that he left for Germany. I listened, but it was the comment against Leroy Robertson that caused my brain to kick in with, “Gray really did it!”
Leroy Robertson would be accused of skimming money to the tune of nearly a million from the collection plate.
“Was there any change to his lifestyle?” I asked. “Was he driving around in fancy new cars? Going on long vacations?” The answer was ‘no’. It was suggested the money was for health related matters. That didn’t work for me because, after dealing with hospitals and doctors myself, I realized you can’t spend over a certain amount (or deposit it in a bank) without giving an account of where that money came from. In spite of the gaps in logic, people just needed their scapegoats!
Leroy Robertson died around the time of Gray’s arrest. He is not able to give his side of the story.
I know very little about Leroy Robertson. Jerry Falwell gave him a ‘shout out’ (as we would call it today) at the Miracle Night service. I don’t believe Roberson went to Liberty. Regarding the missing monies, I originally thought it might have gone to pay off victims. Obviously not the victims I have been in contact with! Where did the money go? What else was happening beneath the surface? Who knows? Trinity forgave Leroy Robertson so, move along! Nothing to see here!
I hoped information would have come out during the trial of Bob Gray, or even the civil cases against Trinity. Didn’t happen. Bob Gray fell the day before his trial and died not long after the accident.