Correspondence with Christ Community Chapel (2014-2019)

Numerous individuals have approached Christ Community Chapel pastors and staff privately to express concerns about the abuse allegations at Sankey and request an investigation into their merits.

The responses – or lack thereof – have been troubling and cast doubt on the investigation that the church claims is being done. According to Joe Coffey, this review was initiated in September 2018 and is being done by church member Suzanne Lewis-Johnson.

Some important issues:

  • Individuals who attempted to approach the church or related Christian organizations asking for a more even-handed approach were swiftly shut down. As of this writing, Suzanne Lewis-Johnson has not contacted a number of individuals who expressed concerns to Christ Community Chapel over the past five years.

  • Stacey DiNardo, Joe Coffey, and others told multiple individuals that an “independent investigation” was being done by a “team” where only one person was “loosely” affiliated with the church. This turned out to be false. The review is being done by Suzanne Lewis-Johnson alone, and she is both a church member and director of a nonprofit with financial and other ties to the church. RAHAB appears to have removed the list of partners on its website, but both Christ Community Chapel and the Sankey Family Foundation were included as of March 15, 2019.

  • When queried, Suzanne Lewis-Johnson has explicitly said that the scope of her review is limited to “historical information related to the response to the allegations at Sankey.” She has said Tom Randall’s alleged problematic behavior with underage girls is out of scope. She has said interviewing the alleged victims is out of scope.

The following correspondence has been trimmed for brevity and to remove identifying information.

Jan 2014–Initial requests to consider both sides squashed

On Jan 16, 2014 – two days after Tom Randall’s arrest – a church attendee wrote to her cell group (Bible study) asking for both sides to be considered and suggesting that Joe Coffey talk to Joe Mauk. She wrote:

… When Tom only comes to the Philippines once a year it is hard to know what is really going on. I think that it would be in the church’s best interest to hear BOTH sides of the story and not merely taking the word of the administrator of the institution. … I am not the Judge nor jury, but believe it would be prudent for Pastor Joe to hear both sides of the story. … If sexual abuse did occur in the institution, I know that our church would want to know about it and would not tolerate this in any fashion. We really need to at least hear both sides of the story. I just hope Tom, with his admiration for his good friend - the administrator, is not blind sighted.

The next day, after speaking privately to Joe Coffey, the group leader wrote to the group member and the rest of the group asking the individual to stop sending updates to the group. The email said that the leader had met with Joe Coffey privately and was “convinced” of Coffey’s “determination to let the truth take this dilemma wherever it leads”.

This was after Coffey’s Jan 14 blog post calling Joe Mauk a “friend gone bad”. The Akron Beacon Journal would later report that Coffey said he “has been operating on information that he received from Randall, who is a close personal friend. He said he understands that there are two sides to every story but that he trusts Randall.”

In 2015, this individual was asked to leave her cell group.

As of this writing, she has not been contacted by Suzanne Lewis-Johnson’s investigation.

Jun-Jul 2014–Hostile reactions from Joe Coffey and Tom Randall

In June and July of 2014, another local churchgoer met with both Joe Coffey and Tom Randall regarding the abuse allegations. She described the interactions in an email sent in October 2014:

My counselor’s pastor, Joe [Coffey], would not acknowledge charges and said things such as, “that happened along time ago…they are adults now…you know how orphans can be,” and other comments lacking empathy. I even spoke the charges into the air and he set them away to the corner of his desk. At one point, he turned his chair away from me and would only look at my counselor saying, “she has her mind made up!” Then saying to my counselor, “you know Tom’s problems,” which she said later to me she was not aware. I said I was finished and Joe asked what would I do with the documents and what if I was wrong about all of this. I said I did not know, but I would humble myself before God either way. We left and I said to my counselor -“since when is shoving a penis in someone’s mouth not rape?” She said she never had a reason to mistrust or question her pastor’s character before.

The following Sunday, I went to this church where Tom Randall would be speaking and waited to talk with him. I went to him as a brother asking him to repent for the sake of holiness and unity in the Body of Christ. He did not like this - wanted the documents - demanded I stay there in the front pew until he gathered a group of men to “settle this once and for all.” When he left, I realized I did not have to subject myself to him and proceeded to go out the front doors. Tom pushed the doors open and came after me grabbing my arm. I said if he touched me again, I’m calling the police. A man came out asking if everything was okay and I said if Tom touched me again I was calling the police and that I wanted to leave. Tom leaned into me as the man walked me to my car. The man asked Tom to leave me alone and go inside. I left but with the sinking feeling that just one person stood up to this pastor and his out of control behaviors and the sober thought that this is where my counselor has intimate friendships.

Disturbed, this person told her own pastor about her experience.

I told my pastor about the encounter with Tom Randall and he asked that my counselor, Tom, he and I meet together since what Tom did to me was unacceptable. The meeting was denied and Joe Coffey met with my pastor without my counselor or my knowledge. My pastor contacted me for a meeting and interrogated me as to where I got my information and would not hear another word or read a document against Tom Randall or Joe Coffey. And then alluded to the fact that I was abused and previously in false teachings which caused my mistrust of Joe and Tom. But that it was kind of my counselor to meet with Joe and I.

Aug 2014–Local pastor misinformed… by whom?

When this person sent her pastor an update on the case in August 2014, he wrote back defending Randall. He asserted that Randall had been acquitted of all charges, including charges of negligence. Regarding the ongoing criminal case, he wrote:

Also, the trial ongoing is for 2 counts. Tito on trial for “oral sex” and Jake for kissing a girl “non-romantically” years ago. I will pray for justice to be done in these trials. Yes, for sure! The process is on for them.

Compare what the pastor wrote to the documented charges against Toto and Jake Luchavez. The pastor had been badly misinformed. The question is: by whom? This pastor joined the pastoral staff at Christ Community Chapel a few months later in late 2014.

Aug 2016–Local anti-trafficking ministry RAHAB says conflict of interest

In 2015, this individual contacted the founder and former director of RAHAB ministries, a local nonprofit fighting human trafficking. In 2016, she texted the founder with a request for action:

… I know in my heart the congregants at CCC would, in great compassion, if they knew the truth of all of this, would desire to come to the aid of the victims-want to see justice for the perpetrators (there are still two pedophiles at large in the Philippines ). They would offer forgiveness to their pastors, yet not without consequences, and cover all in love- as we are ALL broken- no partiality. Are you willing to be a buffer in this? To stand up for what is right? To be a voice for the victims still awaiting this drawn out court process because of the defense receiving outside funding? If so, meeting this evening at {Redacted}. Pastor Jim Colledge will be made aware of the meeting today via my pastor, {Redacted}, from The Chapel. Want to affirm my heart and motives in this? Contact my counselor {Redacted} or my mentor {Redacted}.

She received the following response:

Hi {Redacted}. As I know you are passionate about this case. It is the position of Rahab and myself to not get involved with taking sides. I would ask that you refrain from volunteering at Rahab ministry until this matter has been resolved. We see this as a conflict of interest and chose to keep these circumstances separate.

In December 2018, this individual attempted to schedule a meeting with Suzanne Lewis-Johnson, the new director of RAHAB, to find out if the matter was considered “resolved”. At the time, CCC had not yet announced that Lewis-Johnson was in charge of their investigation. In January 2019, she was asked for a summary of her objectives so that she could be connected to the right people for scheduling. She wrote back with a summary of her interactions with the previous director and others. She never received a response.

As of this writing, this individual has not been contacted by Suzanne Lewis-Johnson’s investigation.

Jul 2018–CCC claims situation is “completely handled”

In 2018, Stacey DiNardo, then Director of Communications at Christ Community Chapel, communicated with several individuals who were concerned about Sankey.

One individual spoke to DiNardo and wrote to her with follow-up concerns and questions for Tom and Karen Randall. DiNardo wrote to her on July 9, 2018, refusing to forward the questions for answers in writing and asking the individual to meet with the Randalls in person. She wrote:

We 100% believe that the situation in the Philippines is completely handled. Extensive truth-seeking, justice, and much care has been poured into the situation. The only thing we can do at this point is help in bringing you peace of mind - there is no further investigation possible as you would learn in sitting with Karen and Tom.

Sep 2018–CCC claims “independent investigation” team will contact advocates

On Sep 5, 2018, DiNardo followed up to notify the individual that the church had “engaged with investigative services to examine all discoveries and all documents regarding the Sankey orphanage arrests and proceedings”. She asked if the individual would allow the church to make copies of any documents she had found. The individual asked whether the investigation was independent or private and what company was being used.

DiNardo responded that the investigator would contact the individual. She wrote:

Given the concerns we have (and the different concerns you have), I don’t believe it is necessary to give you all the details of the nature of the investigation.

This individual was contacted by Suzanne Lewis-Johnson’s investigation in July 2019.

Later on Sep 5, 2018, Joe Mauk and Miriam Bongolan commented on a Facebook video of Tom Randall preaching at the Hudson campus of Christ Community Chapel. The video appears to have been removed.

Joe Mauk comment Miriam Bongolan comment Miriam Bongolan comment

On Sep 6, 2018, DiNardo reached out to Joe Mauk on Facebook:

Hello Joe - I am on staff at Christ Community Chapel and wanted to message you regarding your comment yesterday. We attempt to not engage in negative social media banter that can cause confusion and division within the body of Christ. Given a few people’s concerns that have recently been expressed, we have engaged with an independent investigation. The investigative team may be reaching out to you for information.

Mauk replied:

Hello Stacey,
I appreciate your concern but your pastor has engaged in hugely negative social media banter against me in the past and shut down every attempt of independent investigation up to this point. Tom Randall and his accomplices have sought to ostracize me from my partners in the body of Christ and have vilely attacked me through SMS networks in the Philippines. However, I will be glad to cooperate with any independent investigation of these matters.

Mauk and his daughter were contacted by Suzanne Lewis-Johnson’s investigation in July 2019.

Oct 2018–CCC says “investigative team” not yet ready to connect

Yet another individual reached out to DiNardo in late October, 2018. DiNardo told her that the church had decided to pursue an independent investigation and that the group was very well qualified. The individual followed up by sending DiNardo a copy of the 2013 DSWD report and noting the red flags in it:

I’m attaching the DSWD report which states at the end there would be a holding in abeyance the license for Sankey. As I mentioned yesterday there were definitely red flags in this report. 2 specific issues I will call to your attention and the attention of the investigators is the fact that Toto was privately counseling the youth and also, he was the Director of the Board, which is a conflict of interest to say the least.

Thank you for your time yesterday. I hope to hear from the investigative team very soon so I can possibly provide further documentation.

DiNardo responded.

Thanks {Redacted} for passing this on. I am passing it on to the team. My contact on the investigative team and I have been playing phone tag today but I will be asking them to contact you when we do touch base – hopefully in the coming day or two.

The investigative team did not reach out. A week later, on Nov 6, 2018, DiNardo wrote again to notify the individual that the “investigative group” was “not yet ready” to connect.

This individual was contacted by Suzanne Lewis-Johnson in March 2019.

Nov 2018–CCC lead pastor Joe Coffey claims a “group” is conducting an “independent investigation”

Another individual wrote to Joe Coffey directly in November 2018. Coffey also claimed that an “independent investigation” was being done by a “group of trained professionals”:

We also have asked a group of trained professionals (men and women trained in human trafficking and law enforcement) to conduct an independent investigation into everything to make sure the DSWD (child services in the Philippines who conducted 2 full investigations and the NBI (the Philippine version of the FBI) didn’t miss anything. If you are really concerned then please sit down with Tom or Karen and talk with them. They have both longed for people who have questions about them and what went on in the Philippines to just ask them and let them tell what they know.

When the individual continued to press, Coffey’s tone became markedly hostile. Full email context here.

Dec 2018–CCC representatives meet with concerned individuals

On Dec 14, 2018, some of the above individuals and others met with Stacey DiNardo, Tom and Karen Randall, and another church representative. At the meeting, DiNardo was asked about the investigation and gave the following responses:

Q: Now, you [DiNardo] told me that there was an outside investigation going on. But I haven’t heard anything. Nobody’s contacted me.

A: Well, I think I emailed you about that, and that is just that at this point, there’s a lot—so, the stack of things that I know I have received just from all of the lawyers and court documents that we handed over to them was about this tall (signals with hands somewhere between 3 to 8 inches–guess). So, at this point, they are continuing to go through that. And I think I emailed you and said, you know, they just shared with me, they’re like, “You can let them know that we’re just not ready to reach out to them at this point.” But it still is undergo–, you know, it still is taking place, still moving on. And that’s something, I mean, I know I see written, because I have shared that with you, and with {Redacted} maybe as well, is that they feel there’s no need for our– first of all, again, in many regards we don’t feel an obligation to. Our elders, our church, we feel, you know, we want to make sure we do our due diligence.

Q: The third party group you have, are they in any way affiliated with CCC, funded by CCC, supported by CCC?

A: They are not at all funded or supported by CCC. They are independent and they’re still even in the works, some of it is even continuing to develop and grow as far as the actual group. There is a loose association with one individual that even honestly reached out to us that is in correlation with it. But that is why they are continuing to have other individuals as a part of this group that have absolutely zero association.

Q: So my question is, then, what was the reasoning to have any association, when GRACE exists as a completely neutral organization who has been demonstrated to be one of the best in the country? Why did the church pick anyone that was even slightly associated, loosely or otherwise?

A: So again, I don’t feel an obligation to uncover– and we’re doing this for our benefit, not for the benefit of you. Because our elders and feel that, let’s just make sure that there is no rock left unturned in this. There are, as I shared with a couple of you, with GRACE, number one, we do know that the Mauks have reached out to them. Number two, the actual qualifications of the people that I know of that are currently involved in this are actually superior to the qualifications that we researched of the mainly prosecutors that are part of the team at GRACE.

DiNardo’s responses are disturbing in light of the March 2019 revelation that the investigation was being done by a single CCC member, Suzanne Lewis-Johnson. In addition to being a church member, Lewis-Johnson’s nonprofit organization has received financial support from CCC.

GRACE is widely considered the gold standard in church independent investigations.

Jan 2019–CCC founding pastor Jim Colledge accuses questioner of “mistrust”, “disrespect”, and “divisiveness”

One of the individuals who attended the Dec 2018 meeting emailed CCC lead pastor Joe Coffey and founding pastor Jim Colledge afterward. Coffey did not respond. Colledge responded calling the individual to a meeting with the board of elders. In a January 2019 email, he made it clear that any conversation about the alleged abuse was over and the issue now was the individual’s “divisiveness” and “disrespect”:

If I may, I believe you misunderstand the purpose of why the elders are asking to meet with you. It is not the intent of the elders to address anything related to the events and alleged charges that may or may not linger in the Philippines. Our desire is to address your position and understanding of leadership and governance of Christ Community Chapel and your willingness to (abide) by the membership covenant that you affirmed when you became a member of this local church. These concerns of the elder board are quite separate from the past events and present investigation of the Sankey School/Home, World Harvest Ministries, and Tom Randall.

Your demonstration of mistrust and disrespect for the spiritual leadership of Christ Community Chapel is astounding. For some reason, unbeknownst to me, you have determined that you have authority to discern the spiritual health of the local church. This is a dangerous position for anyone to assume. I have been a pastor for nearly forty years and what you are doing I have seen before. The end is always the same. Like others, you will leave the church and settle somewhere else. Eventually you will do the same thing and leave a legacy of harm and divisiveness. I urge you for the sake of the gospel to reverse your decision to meet with members of the elder board of the church.

This individual was contacted by Suzanne Lewis-Johnson’s investigation in March 2019.

Full email context here.

Mar 2019–Christ Community Chapel announces internal review by member

On Mar 8, 2019, Dee Parsons of The Wartburg Watch published a series of emails between a church member, senior pastor Joe Coffey, and elder Jim Colledge. Parsons wrote:

However, I’ve been told that some believe that one of the directors of Rahab Ministries, Suzanne Lewis-Johnson, a former FBI agent, is conducting the inquiry. If this is true, she is not doing it for the FBI. Also, she cannot be independent since her ministry receives funds from CCC and the Sankey Family Foundation. This would be a conflict of interest and any investigation would not be considered independent. Apparently, the offices of Rehab are closed on Fridays so I left a message for Ms. Lewis-Johnson to call me.

On Mar 12, 2019, Joe Coffey sent an internal email to members informing them of Lewis-Johnson’s investigation, now called a “review”. The statement began:

In September 2018, Christ Community Chapel’s leadership team and board of elders initiated a review into the 2013 allegations of abuse at Sankey Samaritan Orphanage in Lucena City, Philippines in addition to the organizational response to the allegations.

Lewis-Johnson published a statement on CCC’s website defending her objectivity and saying that she was the only person CCC could find who was qualified to conduct the investigation:

After I left the FBI, Christ Community Chapel asked me to review the church’s response to allegations of abuse at Sankey Samaritan Orphanage in the Philippines.

I rejected that role as a distraction from what I’d been called to do at RAHAB.

I recommended CCC entrust the work to a different former law enforcement officer and attempted to identify one with the following qualifications … When neither CCC nor I were able to identify an available former law enforcement officer who met the criteria, I reluctantly committed to review records on a volunteer basis. … That bias or blindness is inevitable is false. … Despite CCC’s knowledge of what could be perceived as my having bias against them, I’ve been asked to finish this review. As a result, absent identification of a willing former law enforcement officer meeting the identified criteria, I will stay the course until completion.

Mar-Apr 2019–Lewis-Johnson clarifies investigation scope

After Lewis-Johnson made her public statement on CCC’s website, she reached out to some of the above concerned individuals asking them to send her any documents or records they had. Other individuals reached out directly to her. Based on this correspondence, summarized below, it appears that:

  • Her review does not appear to include interviews with the alleged victims.
  • Her review does not appear to include the allegations of inappropriate behavior by Tom Randall.
  • Her review does not appear to include some of the individuals who brought concerns to the church between 2014 and 2019.
  • Her review might not include this website or other information published on the Internet.
  • Her review might not include relevant internal email correspondence by CCC staff.

Mar 2019–Claims GRACE is not qualified, asks for records of CCC leadership lies

In March 2019, Lewis-Johnson reached out to one of the above concerned individuals requesting documents, records, and names and contact information:

I am reviewing records related to Sankey Samaritan Orphanage in the Philippines and understand you may have relevant information. Even where I’ve received affidavits, documents and court records from another source, I welcome duplicative submission to ensure no pieces or pages are overlooked. I would be grateful for any relevant information you may be able to provide. In addition, I would welcome names and contact information for those in a position to provide context, once records have been aggregated.

The individual responded by reminding Lewis-Johnson that CCC had been asked for five years to conduct an independent investigation, and that GRACE would have been an ideal candidate. She said that after the record of CCC leadership response so far, it “would be absolutely unwise to relinquish trust to any individual who is linked to the church.” She closed by requesting a thorough investigation:

We would like to see a larger team involved with this that can interview all of the concerned parties and investigate. The documents will tell you a lot but it is also the real witnesses who will be able to give the true picture.

Lewis-Johnson responded and said:

I understand the scope of my role is different than what you’re requesting, but, as you’ve noted, it’s also more than there has been.

I believe there may be openness to someone else conducting a fuller investigation if that is predicated by what is documented in the review. That means the more information that I can acquire the better. …

Identification of a former law enforcement officer, either at GRACE or somewhere else, who has extensive experience with child exploitation matters and who is a believer could also be significant. It did not appear that GRACE met the identified criteria, but please let me know if that has changed. I will continue to pray that the Lord reveal anyone else He may be calling to take the baton either now or in another phase–whether they meet the criteria or not.

You mentioned that CCC leadership lied in regard to this matter and that it is on record. Is that record information I can obtain from you, or would that need to come from another source?

It’s unclear what Lewis-Johnson is asking for. GRACE investigations do include people with extensive experience with child exploitation matters, former law enforcement officers, and Christian believers. Records of CCC leadership’s false statements can also be found with a simple Google search.

Mar 2019–Declines to interview victims

Lewis-Johnson wrote to another individual in March 2019 with the same records request:

I am reviewing records related to Sankey Samaritan Orphanage in the Philippines and understand you may have relevant information. Even where I’ve received affidavits, documents and court records from another source, I welcome duplicative submission to ensure no pieces or pages are overlooked. I would be grateful for any relevant information you may be able to provide. In addition, I would welcome names and contact information for those in a position to provide context, once records have been aggregated.

The individual responded reiterating the need for an unbiased outside investigation that could give the alleged victims a fair hearing:

The thing that matters is the stories of the children who came forward. You know how much courage it takes to do so. These children, now young adults, deserve a process that assures them of a fair hearing. You are Joe Coffey’s friend and a member of CCC. How can the children possibly be assured of a fair hearing with you? How can they be sure their stories are safe, when Joe Coffey and thus Tom Randall will have access to the information you receive?

What’s needed is an unbiased investigation by an outside group with training in child sexual abuse. If, as the church believes, everything is above board, a fair third party will find that also. The magnitude of this situation and all the information and peoole involved are going to require a strong team, not one person. I implore you to go back to the church, even if it means a threat to donations from CCC or the Sankey Foundation, and indicate that a true independent investigation is required.

Johnson replied:

There may be some confusion about my role. Survivors who want to speak should have a voice, but my role is not to scrutinize the children.

I continue to hope the Lord will call another former law enforcement officer (or, better yet a team of them, as you said) who is a believer and experienced in investigating child exploitation matters. I would happily defer to such a group, if the Lord would reveal them. If you identify anyone who meets the criteria, I will endorse that path to CCC.

CCC has explicitly rejected GRACE as a possible investigator, even though a GRACE investigative team meets all of the posted requirements.

Mar 2019–Declines to review allegations of Tom Randall molestation

Dee Parsons of The Wartburg Watch reached out to Lewis-Johnson with a link to her article interviewing two women who alleged inappropriate behavior toward them by Tom Randall when they were minors. Her reporting also included comments from a man who observed Tom Randall in the Philippines with an adolescent girl in what he called a “provocative” and “inappropriate” position.

Lewis-Johnson responded indicating this information was out of scope for her investigation. Instead she recommended that Parsons bring the allegations to the church and any appropriate law enforcement authorities. Regarding her own role, she said:

The scope of my review was of historical information related to the response to the allegations at Sankey.

It’s unknown whether or not Lewis-Johnson forwarded the information to the appropriate church staff member.

Mar 2019–Declines to review Joe Coffey emails

Another individual wrote to Lewis-Johnson regarding The Wartburg Watch’s publication of emails by church staff including Joe Coffey and Jim Colledge showing a hostile and abusive attitude toward a member who tried to bring up concerns about the alleged victims:

I trust you are including in your review the emails of Joe Coffey and Jim College regarding their conduct in the Sankey matter. They were published on The Wartburg Watch, but you should be able to verify them on your end as well. I hope you are also reviewing any other emails by church staff relating to Sankey.

Johnson responded with a short note asking for the emails to be sent directly to her:

If you have the referenced emails, please provide them directly to me via this email to ensure I have all relevant content. Are these your personal communications you’re referencing?

The individual responded:

I have no doubt you are able to pull all email threads containing the terms “Tom Randall” or “Sankey” from the CCC mail server. This will allow you to collect all relevant material and be sure of its authenticity. I doubt the published correspondence is the only one of its kind.

Lewis-Johnson did not respond. It seems her investigation does not include a systematic review of church correspondence about Sankey.

Apr 2019–Declines to review

Lewis-Johnson was also sent this website directly for her review. She responded indicating she does not consider websites valid sources:

Hi {Redacted}, thank you for your continued prayers. I’m just seeing this and have not reviewed the website. Websites are not typically considered first-hand verifiable sources without direct authentication from the source. But I think you’re telling me you can authenticate anything on that site as provided by you? Are you saying all of the information you have is posted there?