The Baptist General Conference of Canada sicced THEIR attorney on me for daring to ask THEM why THEY allowed Selmer B. Hanson, a self-confessed pedophile to pastor THEIR churches. Apparently, you aren't even allowed to ask them in private email exchanges why they allow this. And knowingly allowed this, according to the pedophile pastor himself, who claims that he has been operating in ministry with full-disclosure to those he is responsible to.
Full disclosure of my own: I have been keeping my eye on Selmer Hanson for years since learning that he abused several missionary kids in the Philippines prior to coming to Prairie Bible Institute (PBI). I am a survivor of ten years of sexual abuse at the hands of my own father, the most painful of those years being at PBI. Later, I went back to Prairie and sat under the teaching of Selmer Hanson. He was one of my favorite teachers. I feel disgusted and duped!
Selmer Hanson abused at least ten missionary kids in the Philippines from 1970-1974 that their mission, OMF - Overseas Missionary Fellowship is aware of. He then went to Prairie Bible Institute in 1975 apparently without them having knowledge of what he had done in the Philippines. Hanson eventually became a Vice President at PBI and the missionary kids grew up and began to confront their mission about the abuse. OMF confronted Selmer at PBI and he admitted to the abuse but was not fired. Selmer continued to work for years at PBI under two different presidents. It was not until 1990 when one of the mothers of the abused threatened to bring in the media that Selmer was forced to resign. He apologized to the student body for "being unfaithful to his wife"! This left the impression that he had had an affair, not that he had sexually abused children!
Selmer went on to pastor a series of churches and has been involved in ministries that have given him access to children. I have voiced my concerns again and again. The answer, according to the Baptist General Conference of Canada is to simply have him "resign" only to have him spring up somewhere else. I find this is totally unacceptable. Here is my latest effort to get this pedophile out of pastoring churches and the refusal of the Baptist General Conference of Canada to answer my questions and concerns. And this is what caused them to sic their lawyer on me. I wrote to Dr. Ed Stuckey, the Interim Executive Director of the Baptist General Conference of Canada.
On 12/8/14, 4:17 PM, "Linda Fossen" wrote:
Dear Dr. Stuckey,
I contacted Jamey McDonald who referred me back to you. This is regarding Selmer Hanson who is currently pastoring The Journey of Christ Church in Edmonton, AB, which is one of your Baptist General Conference (BGC) churches.
I am an abuse survivor who spent eight years trying to get Prairie Bible Institute to help and acknowledge the hundred victims of abuse who contacted me to tell me their stories. I was well acquainted with Selmer, as he was one of my teachers while I was at the school. During my time of advocating for my fellow survivors, I found out that Selmer Hanson had abused several missionary kids in the Philippines prior to coming to Prairie. As far as I know, PBI did not know about this abuse when they hired him but they did cover up for him when these MKs grew up and started to confront the school. It was not until one of the mothers of a victim threatened to expose this to the media that PBI finally asked Selmer to resign. They did not cut ties with him, however. He was immediately given a job traveling as Area Rep for the school, in which he was promoting the school and staying in people’s homes!
Because the abuse took place in the Philippines, there was no prosecution of these cases.
Since then, Selmer has continued to lie his way from one job to the next by concealing his abusive past. He pastored at the Ellerslie Road Baptist Church in Edmonton, AB – another BGC church. He left there to take a job as Vice President at Canadian Baptist Seminary – also affiliated with the BGC. It was then that I contacted Jamey McDonald and informed him about Selmer’s past. Not surprisingly, Jamey did not know anything about Selmer’s past because once again, Selmer has lied by omission about this. He was fired from his position. I am thankful I made the call because the job would have required that Selmer recruit for the school and stay in people’s homes. I thought this was the end of it as far as the BGC was concerned and that I did not need to ever worry about Selmer being involved in your organization again. Was I ever wrong!
Imagine my horror, to Google and see that once again Selmer is pastoring another church – again a BGC church!!!! This one called, “The Journey of Christ Church” in Edmonton, AB. I looked at their Facebook page and was horrified to see that there were pictures of Selmer and Sharon going on family camping trips with Filipino members of the congregation. There were young children and they were camping out in tents! I was just disgusted beyond belief!!! I have attached some pictures for you to see for yourself. Here is the link to their Facebook page
What is wrong with the BGC? Have you not learned from the information that I gave you that Selmer should never be in any leadership position in any church setting ever? Have you not learned that he should never be around children? Are you that ignorant that you honestly believe that this man who has abused several MKs in the Philippines just suddenly stopped the minute he set foot on Canadian soil? Do you not realize that because Selmer confessed to Jamey McDonald that he did, in fact, molest kids in the Philippines that you are now opening yourselves up to enormous lawsuits by KNOWINGLY keeping him?
I want some answers from your organization and I want a straight answer. I looked at the faces of these precious Filipino children and saw such naivety. These are vulnerable people and these children are sitting ducks. Can’t you see that?
I am in the business of exposing abuse wherever I see it. I expose organizations that continue to shuffle abusers from place to place without any accountability. Is it time for me to publicly expose the BGC as such an organization? From my standpoint, it appears that things have gone seriously awry at the BGC that you have completely disregarded my warning that resulted in the firing of Selmer only to reinstate him in another one of their affiliated churches! Don’t bother to remove the website and Facebook pages – I have already made copies of the proof I need.
It would not be a good idea to ignore me. This is not going away. I am not going to take no for an answer. We are going to get to the bottom of this. And we are going to do it ASAP. This is not acceptable and I cannot and will not stand by when I know there are vulnerable children in harm’s way.
Until every voice is heard,
Linda M. Fossen
The response I got back from Dr. Ed Stuckey:
On 12/8/14, 6:26 PM, "Ed Stuckey" wrote:
I did receive your note expressing concerns regarding Selmer Hanson serving with one of our churches.
Be aware that his role is a very limited one at the church, only involving Sunday speaking as an interim.
You also need to be aware that each of our churches are autonomous entities and do their own hiring.
If you give me contact information, I would be happy to talk with you further at a time of mutual convenience.
I responded back to Dr. Stuckey
On 12/9/14, 2:53 PM, "Linda Fossen" wrote:
Given the past track record I have had with the Baptist General Conference of Canada, I prefer to keep everything in writing. There will be no phone calls. Your response was not only appalling, it was disgusting! Don’t tell me what I need to be aware of!
So you are telling me that you think it is completely acceptable to have a serial pedophile as pastor as long as “his role is a very limited one”? On what scripture do you base your decision that a pedophile is fit to pastor a church, speak at a church or have anything to do with being in a leadership position at at church? Not to mention, on what planet do you think that you have the power to protect children from this “serial pedophile pastor serving in a very limited role”? It is absolutely unbiblical and totally ludicrous that you are allowing Selmer Hanson to be in any position in your organization. It is reckless and utter nonsense! I am sure that Selmer’s victims would be so relieved to know that the predator who preyed on them is now serving as pastor but only in “a very limited way.” What a slap in the face of every child Selmer ever abused!
The Journey with Christ’s own website lists him as “Pastor Selmer Hanson – Interim Pastor”. There is no other pastoral staff listed. A church doesn’t run by itself. It is safe to assume that Selmer has been pastoring this church. See for yourself: http://www.thejourneywithchristchurch.com/about/ Then the BGCA on their own website lists Selmer as pastor of The Journey with Christ Church, again with no other pastoral staff. See for yourself: http://www.bgcalberta.ca/page74/churches.html#sectionA_answer_26.
I don’t believe for a second that he is “only speaking on Sunday”. There is proof that this is a complete lie on the churches’ own Facebook page where you see Selmer on a camping trip with Filipino families. We are talking about vulnerable people and their vulnerable children! This is despicable!
Do you even understand what a pedophile is? Do you understand what they do to little children? Do you understand the mindset that makes them the creeps that they are? Do you understand the danger they pose? Do you understand the long-term effects of abuse on a child?
So you don’t want to take any responsibility for this and you dismiss me by saying that the churches are “autonomous entities and do their own hiring.” Fine, but that is still going to reflect badly on you when I expose that a pedophile is preaching at your churches and that you, Dr. Stuckey, knows about it and obviously don’t care enough about it to do anything. I frankly find your response to me to be very telling. In light of all of the abuse scandals that have plagued so many religious organizations, your response is irresponsible and certainly out of touch! Shame on you for not caring enough about these vulnerable children to protect them. You are part of the problem and will be just as responsible as Selmer if he touches one of these little ones and forever damages them.
You think I am being overly dramatic? Hardly! If you knew the pain that a child goes through after abuse, and especially when the abuse occurs in the name of God and religion, you would get off your sanctimonious, religious high horse and do something. But you don’t care. I will therefore have to go to the church in question myself and raise my concerns there. And when my concerns are dismissed in Edmonton, then I will go to the media and we will tell the story and see how it plays out with the public arena. Just a heads up - I don’t think the public will be much impressed with your pedophile rehabilitation plan.
Until every voice is heard,
Linda M. Fossen
On 12/10/14, 1:58 PM, "Ed Stuckey” wrote:
To: Linda Fossen
Re: Selmer Hanson
Thank you for communicating your concerns regarding Selmer Hanson serving in one of our churches. We do take the issue of sexual abuse very seriously, not only in the evil of its perpetration, but also in the life-long pain which it causes. Accordingly, we wanted you to know that Mr. Hanson has resigned from his role in the Journey with Christ Church where he was serving as interim. We hope that his decision will bring rest to at least your immediate concerns. You may contact me if you have further questions.
He also cc'd Roger Helland, District Executive Coach, Baptist General Conference of Alberta (BGCA), and Bob Shepansky, Associate District Coach of BGCA
On 12/11/14, 1:10 PM, "Linda Fossen" wrote:
This isn’t even a little bit over – not by a long shot! I have seen Selmer “resign” before only to reappear in another format with the Baptist General Conference of Canada. Your system is completely broken and I am not going to “rest” (I know what you really meant Dr. Stuckey was “give it a rest”) until you fix it!
First of all, I take huge offense to your statement that “we do take the issue of sexual abuse very seriously, not only in the evil of its perpetration, but also in the life-long pain which it causes.” NO YOU DON’T!! This is the response that I got from you Dr. Stuckey:
I did receive your note expressing concerns regarding Selmer Hanson serving with one of our churches. Be aware that his role is a very limited one at the church, only involving Sunday speaking as an interim. You also need to be aware that each of our churches are autonomous entities and do their own hiring. If you give me contact information, I would be happy to talk with you further at a time of mutual convenience.
Seriously? Does this sound like the response from someone who takes the issue of sexual abuse seriously? I was certainly underwhelmed by your response Dr. Stuckey! There was nothing in this response that indicated that you “take the issue of sexual abuse very seriously, not only in the evil of its perpetration, but also in the life-long pain which it causes”. You completely blew me off and wanted to make excuses for Selmer. You said that I had to be aware that “his role is a very limited one at the church, only involving Sunday speaking as an interim.” I don’t care if the man only preached once a year to a congregation of three people. You are putting him in a position of authority and trust where there is a perception that the Baptist General Conference of Canada considers him a godly man. New people coming to the church have no idea about the abuse he has perpetrated on innocent children and by your organization giving your seal of approval you are letting the public know that Selmer is a person to be trusted. How dare you perpetrate this fraud on the public! How dare you try to con people into thinking that this man is safe to go camping with children when you KNOW he is a pedophile! No, you don’t take the issue of sexual abuse very seriously. If you did, you wouldn’t have shuffled him around after he got fired from Canadian Baptist Seminary. If you took the issue of sexual abuse seriously, you would have fired him and kept him fired.
But none of this surprises me. You seem to have a “good old boy network” that is very much alive and well at the Baptist General Conference of Canada. I see that you Dr. Stuckey used to pastor at Ellerslie Road Baptist Church – the same church Selmer used to pastor. I see that you, Dr. Stuckey teach at Canadian Baptist Seminary – the same place where Selmer got fired. I see that Bob Shepansky graduated from Prairie Bible College and would have been there the same time as Selmer Hanson. Am I seeing a pattern here? No wonder why you just dismissed me and sent me on my way, Dr. Stuckey – you are all friends with Selmer and wanted me to leave the man alone. Well I am not going to leave him alone because he keeps reappearing in positions he has no business being in. I am not going to sit back and just wring my hands and hope someone else does something to protect the children for me. I know the danger Selmer poses and it is my responsibility stop him from hurting another child. This has nothing to do with revenge; this is just standing up for what is right. It is not right for a pedophile to pastor a church, take kids camping or work with immigrant families. He needs to stay away from those kind of positions for the rest of his life. Period. End of story.
Why is this so hard for the Baptist General Conference of Canada to understand? It should be a no-brainer! I shouldn’t have to be the one “communicating my concerns about Selmer” to you. These should be YOUR concerns! The fact that you found it perfectly acceptable to allow this man behind your pulpit tells me that you just don’t get it. And you probably won’t get it until you have a judge tell you that you are responsible for a child being abused and you have to fork over a pile of money when you get sued. You are responsible for any child who gets abused if you hire Selmer – whether you knew he was a pedophile or not. When you hire him knowing he is a pedophile, then the courts will likely consider that an aggravating factor in favor of the victim. You cannot hire a pedophile! Ever, ever, ever!!
I know churches love the idea of forgiveness and am all for forgiveness too. God did a wonderful work in my heart when I was brought to the place of forgiveness for my own father who abused me. But forgiveness does not mean we throw away our common sense. Yes, God will forgive Selmer if he repents – absolutely He will. But that doesn’t mean that we should put Selmer in a position of authority and trust where he has access to children. I have talked very candidly to several pedophiles who have asked God to forgive them, who love Jesus and have prayed the prayer of salvation. When I very pointedly ask if I could trust them with a child again, the answer is always the same – they could not be absolutely certain that they would not abuse again. They tell me that any pedophile who tells you otherwise is a liar. The truth is that Selmer is a pedophile. We cannot be absolutely certain that he will not abuse a child again. Anyone who would knowingly trust their children to Selmer’s care is a fool. But for the Baptist General Conference of Canada to allow parents to unknowingly trust children to Selmer’s care is not only abhorrent; it is criminal. By allowing these Filipino families to bring their children on a camping trip with a pedophile the Baptist General Conference of Canada is perpetrating a horrible crime on these precious people who assume that Selmer can be trusted simply because you have given your seal of approval by naming him pastor of the church.
I know you like Selmer, you feel sorry for him and you want to help him. This is not about helping Selmer. This is about protecting children and I see nothing here that indicates to me that the Baptist General Conference of Canada even gets it. Nothing at all. There is no guarantee here that Selmer will not reappear again somewhere else. There is no public statement of apology for allowing a pedophile to serve in the ministry. There is no mention of policies and procedures in place to address the issue of sexual abuse in the Baptist General Conference of Canada. There is no mention of firing Selmer – he is just allowed to resign and save face. There is no mention of what is being done to protect children in your camping programs, youth programs and every aspect of your ministries. Which tells me there is none. You are not prepared for the next Selmer who comes along. The Baptist General Conference of Canada is a pedophile’s dream organization – they love stupid people like you! And you are stupid. You are completely clueless when it comes to abuse, it’s effects on children, their families and on society as a whole. You are completely clueless and being a completely clueless religious organization in today’s day and age it very dangerous.
No, I am not at all pleased with the way this was handled. Selmer being able to quietly resign resolves nothing. Dr. Stuckey was rude and dismissive to me, like I was “the problem”. I am not the problem; the problem is Selmer and what you are going to do with him. I want a public statement on your website apologizing for knowingly employing a pedophile which names Selmer so that people know that he is the one you are talking about. I want it to be written plain and simple, taking full responsibility without making excuses. I want to see you explain to your constituents how you plan on protecting their children in the future. That’s what I want.
Until every voice is heard,
Linda M. Fossen
As expected I did not get a response and sent this back to Dr. Stuckey, Roger Helland and Bob Shepansky
On 12/19/14, 10:02 AM, "Linda Fossen” wrote:
This is precisely the non-response I expected. There is not a single one of you that is willing to be a man and take a stand. Shame on you! Well Ed, Roger and Bob, your non-response is a BIG response and a very telling one. And like I said, this is NOT over.
I received an email from Selmer in which he indicated that he has resigned from all ministry positions in order to care for his dying son. While I am truly sorry for what his family is going through during this difficult time, this changes nothing as far as the victims are concerned. This changes nothing as far as why the Baptist General Conference of Canada and Alberta thought it was acceptable to hire a pedophile and allow him access to children. This changes nothing as far as the terse response I got from Dr. Stuckey when I made contact with him and questioned him about Selmer. He gave the impression that this was “none of my business”. It is my business and it should be the business of anyone who cares about children.
So don’t think that by not responding that you are gotten rid of me. You will not hear less from me but more from me – just not in the format that you would prefer I am certain of it. I am through with these private emails. You have shown your true colors - you are just part of the “good old boys club” that will protect your friend Selmer at all costs. Again shame on you!
Instead of responding to my concerns, the Baptist General Conference of Canada sicced their attorney on me. It should be noted that he is also has been attorney for Prairie Bible Institute for many years and I have had my run-ins with him before. He is a Selmer’s very close personal friend and has tried before to intimidate me when I have tried to hold Selmer accountable. Hence, my lack of respect for the man.
On 1/9/15, 1:05 PM, "Stephen C. Snyder" wrote:
Please see attached correspondence.
On 1/9/15, 7:05 PM, "Linda Fossen" wrote:
Seriously Steve, your email made me laugh out loud! I was wondering when I would hear from you. Seems every time Selmer gets in a jam, you come to his rescue. And you certainly didn’t let me down. Your email could not have come at a better time – perfect timing!
First of all, if you are going to “play lawyer” with me you have act like a real lawyer. Real lawyers don’t send emails – they send real letters on fancy bond paper with their real signatures in real ink. Then they put a stamp on it and take it to the post office. They don’t send emails. But I humored you and read your attachment anyway. Okay, so you read my correspondence to Dr. Ed Stuckey and his ridiculous responses. Goody, goody for you! No big surprise Dr. Ed Stuckey doesn’t want to answer my questions so he runs to you and you “play lawyer” and tell me the matter with Selmer is now closed.
Selmer resigned only because of the pressure that was put on The Journey with Christ Church by Pastor Jason Hemsley of Australia and the pressure that was put on the Baptist General Conference of Canada by me. None of our concerns were addressed. Selmer was once again allowed to quietly resign. This is totally unacceptable. Just because you, or Dr. Ed Stuckey or anyone else says it is over, doesn’t mean it is over.
You can’t muzzle me Barrister Stephen C. Snyder. I have every right to ask questions and get to the bottom of this and I don’t need to ask your permission or go through you!
I am in contact with several of Selmer’s victims. They found me – I didn’t find them. I spent over eight years trying to find them and couldn’t. Ironically, they were able to find me because of the firestorm that ensued on Facebook over me bringing up the fact that Selmer had molested MKs in the Philippines that prominently linked our names together. How glad I am I took that stand, as unpopular as it was and as much viciousness as I had to take from his supporters.
If you think you can intimidate me, you are sadly mistaken.
Linda M. Fossen
So there you have it folks...all transparent and out in the open. This is precisely what the Baptist General Conference of Canada did not want you to see. This is why they sicced their lawyer on me.
My final word to you Barrister Stephen C. Snyder. You have absolutely no jurisdiction to stop me from speaking up about this matter. You practice law in Canada, not in the US. Your letter is nothing but a bully's attempt to intimidate me and I will not be intimidated. If you want to try to file a court order to stop me, then go march down to your local courthouse and talk to a judge about how you want a woman in the United States to stop talking about why the Baptist General Conference of Canada is allowing a pedophile who has confessed to molesting children in the Philippines to pastor in their churches. Lots of luck with that! It is plain to see that it is a waste of time to talk to Dr. Stuckey and company, so I am more than happy to make this public in the hopes that someone in the Baptist General Conference of Canada will see it and be as outraged as I am.
In the meantime, if you are a parishioner in the Baptist General Conference of Canada, please pay attention to this. If your leadership could be this lax with one pedophile, they certainly could be doing the same with another. Parents, if Selmer Hanson had access to your children, you need to have a talk with them and ask them if there was any inappropriate touching. If so, please contact your local RCMP office. There is no statute of limitations on child sexual abuse in Canada.