Charges dropped, the prosecutor has not much to say to the men falsely accused of impropriety at the Tabernacle Children’s Home. Turns out the prosecutor messed up… listened to lies. How many other people listened to the lies?
From the article:
Arial drops charges in Tabernacle Children’s Home abuse probe
Prosecutor says case lacked sufficient evidence; two men say they forgive accusers
By Eric Connor • Staff writer • March 7, 2010
Three former Tabernacle Children’s Home leaders wrapped in decades-old allegations of abuse no longer face criminal charges after what Greenville County’s chief prosecutor said was a lack of “sufficient evidence” to pursue the case.
Thirteenth Circuit Solicitor Bob Ariail told The Greenville News
that prosecutors dismissed abuse charges against Duane Whittemore, Gregory Lane Jones and Perry Franklin Sims.
In interviews with The News
this week, both Whittemore and Sims maintained their innocence and said they forgive the adults who accused them of abuse while they were orphans housed at the home in the 1970s and 1980s. Jones couldn’t be reached to comment.
“I believe the accusations were monetarily motivated,” Sims said. “By the grace of God, we have been able to forgive the individuals that tried to upset our lives.”
“It was a shock to me,” Whittemore said of his arrest in July 2007, which had followed abuse charges filed earlier against Sims and Jones. “The Lord vindicates truth. He took care of it.”
Probable cause existed when the warrants were issued, Ariail said.
However, he said, “After extensive inquiry and a review of all existing evidence, sufficient evidence to meet our burden of proof ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ at trial was not present. If evidence sufficient to meet this burden of proof is discovered in the future, prosecution may be possible at that time.”
The case involving abuse allegations is no longer active but isn’t closed, Greenville County Sheriff’s Lt. Shea Smith said.
The Rev. Melvin Aiken — pastor of Tabernacle Baptist Church, which has operated the home since 1962 — said the church’s insurance company came to an agreement.
The church’s attorney, Bryan Ramey, said the church itself wouldn’t have agreed to a settlement. He declined further comment.
In December 2006, Jones was charged with two counts of lewd act on a minor in connection with events alleged to have occurred at the home in 1985, Ariail said.
In July 2007, Whittemore, a former director of the home, was charged with three counts of criminal sexual conduct with a minor that were alleged to have happened at the home in 1976, Ariail said.
In December, Sims was charged with two counts of child neglect and one count of child abuse in relation to alleged events in 1985, Ariail said. A warrant alleged that Sims, a former home director, beat children and failed to report abuse.
The investigation began in April 2006 when a local attorney contacted the Sheriff’s Office about a man coming forward about possible sexual abuse, and others then came forward after seeing media reports, police said.
Whittemore is now 68 and serves as a missionary minister at Anchor Baptist Church in Pisgah Forest, N.C.
He told The News
he still receives calls from former orphans thanking him for helping them and catching him up on the latest news of their marriages and children. Whittemore said that records of the charges were expunged.
Sims — who is now 60 and works at a grocery store, teaching Sunday school when he can — told the newspaper that both he and his wife have suffered emotional and professional consequences because of the allegations.
“My wife and I gave our lives to help the children that later became my accusers,” Sims said. “It was very difficult to understand how young people could make false accusations about an individual that was concerned for them — when many of their families were not concerned.”
Greenville News Link is No Longer Accessible
“Tabernacle case falsified”