On June 7, 2019, Christ Community Chapel lead pastor Joe Coffey sent an email to church members which contained an update on the review into sexual abuse allegations at Sankey Samaritan children’s home. This review had been announced in a March 2019 email, which said the review had been initiated in September 2018.
Coffey claimed that two orphanage workers had been the subject of a “full investigation” in the Philippines. Coffey didn’t mention that these were not simply low-level orphanage workers – one was Tom Randall’s best friend and the director of the children’s home, and the other was the director’s son, Randall’s godson, and a board member. It’s hard to say what Coffey meant by a “full” investigation; it appears that at least two additional workers named in sworn statements were not investigated, and aside from the sworn statements made immediately after the rescue, we have found no evidence that any further investigation was done by the NBI or any other law enforcement body.
Coffey claimed the review was expected to complete within “the next few weeks.” Coffey wrote, “That process is nearing its conclusion, and we are hopeful that the review will be completed within the next few weeks. The timeline is subject to change based on the availability of information, but upon completion, the findings will be made available to anyone who would like to view them.” As of July 4, 2019, the review has not yet been released.
Coffey called the review “thorough” and said it covers “all documentation and information in connection to the case.” No explanation was given for why numerous witnesses have still not been contacted by Lewis-Johnson.
Coffey claimed CCC takes child protection “very seriously” and said the church has comprehensive child protection policies. The email did not mention the March 27, 2019 allegations that Tom Randall had groomed and molested a teenage girl in the Philippines or what steps, if any, were being taken in response.
From: Joe Coffey <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, Jun 7, 2019 at 1:04 PM
Subject: AOET and CCC Family Update
Dear CCC Family,
In this past weekend’s services, we met Ernest Masaaba from a ministry partner called AIDS Orphan Education Trust (AOET), in addition to learning about AOET’s work. During the service, the option was given for each of you to donate $20 on the spot to help AOET continue to provide education and orphan care to thousands of orphans in Uganda. AOET is on the front lines, fighting for justice and mercy for the most vulnerable. As always, you responded with incredible generosity, going well above and beyond the goal of $10,000 in on-the-spot donations – at the time of this writing, the total is $11,231, with more still coming in. Thank you for being such a generous church, for making Jesus famous, and for caring for orphans around the world.
In that context, we want to take this opportunity to give an update on the status of the review into allegations of abuse at the Sankey Samaritan Orphanage in Lucena City, Philippines. In early 2014, the orphanage was raided by authorities, and CCC staff member Tom Randall was arrested along with two orphanage workers. At the time of the raid, Tom Randall was visiting the orphanage in his role as the Executive Director of World Harvest Ministries, the funding organization for the Sankey Orphanage and other mission work in the Philippines. Tom was never charged in connection to the case and was released. The other two orphanage workers were charged and were the subjects of a full investigation and legal proceeding by the Philippine authorities. Eventually, all charges in connection with the case were dismissed.
CCC’s review into the Sankey Orphanage matter is being led by Suzanne Lewis-Johnson. Suzanne spent ten years as a federal investigator of cases involving human trafficking and child exploitation. She is a member of CCC and the Executive Director of RAHAB Ministries. Independent of any CCC staff member or elder, Suzanne has been conducting a thorough review of all documentation and information in connection to the case. That process is nearing its conclusion, and we are hopeful that the review will be completed within the next few weeks. The timeline is subject to change based on the availability of information, but upon completion, the findings will be made available to anyone who would like to view them.
One reason we initiated the review is our desire to discern how we as a church can best partner with AOET and our other ministry partners that provide care for vulnerable children in various locations around the world. We look forward to learning from the review to work better toward justice and mercy in all our ministries. We take very seriously our responsibility to protect children when they are entrusted to our care and follow best practices to keep children safe. We have comprehensive child protection policies and procedures in place in all of our ministries to children and students and require all CCC staff and any volunteers who work with children and students to submit to a criminal background check and attend training sessions designed to reinforce appropriate boundaries and best practices for child safety. If you have any concerns or want to learn more about our child protection policies and procedures, please contact a member of our leadership team or me.
Finally, CCC has been made aware that a group of local concerned individuals plans to demonstrate at upcoming weekend services, most likely on the side of the road across from CCC’s Hudson Campus. In the event of demonstrations, we ask that you treat demonstrators kindly and drive carefully as you attend.
CCC exists to help people come to know Jesus, grow in him, and serve him daily, and we are so thankful for the role that each of you plays. If you have questions or concerns, we welcome the opportunity for conversation. Please contact Stacey.DiNardo@ccchapel.com.
Seeking to Make Jesus Famous,