Tom Aswell, in a post titled, Seven former residents of New Bethany Home for Girls make emotional return to Arcadia to file charges of sexual assault, had this to say to Mack Ford and the New Bethany Home for Girls:
The decades-long controversy surrounding New Bethany Home for Girls in Bienville Parish was renewed last Friday, Dec. 6 when seven former residents of the home returned to Arcadia so that two of the women could file formal charges of sexual assault against the now-defunct home’s owner, Rev. Mack Ford…
…Although only two of the six who flew in from North Carolina, Nevada, Florida and Texas, claimed to been sexually abused while living at the home, the others said they were there to lend moral support to the two, one of whom is said to be terminally ill with an inoperable brain tumor.
Sheriff John Ballance, who had his own experience with the home during his career as a state trooper some 30 years ago, met with the women, took the statements of the two claiming sexual abuse, and promised to do everything possible to resolve the matter.
An earlier statement of one of the alleged victims was turned over to state police in Bossier City in October, Ballance said.
In September, Ballance told Louisiana Voice he had picked up a runaway from the home decades ago when he was a state trooper. Instructed by the sheriff’s department to return her to the facility, he said he refused to force her to go back because of her claims of abuse.
Allegations about beatings, handcuffing and other forms of punishment of girls at the home first came to light when the Baton Rouge Advocate began an investigation of the home in 1974. Editors, however, quickly killed the investigation before any stories could be written and the issue lay dormant until the late 1980s when the Louisiana Department of Health and Human Resources began looking into abuse allegations. In 1988, the state raided the unlicensed home located south of Arcadia on LA. 9 and removed 29 girls from the facility…
…There were claims of girls at New Bethany having to clean toilets with their bare hands, being locked in isolation with only a bucket for a toilet, girls being handcuffed to their beds and being made to stand all day with no restroom breaks, beatings with wooden dowels, PVC pipe, paddles, belts and limbs…
…The claims of physical abuse and rape are not new to the Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) Church with which New Bethany and Ford are affiliated.
The First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana, received a great deal of notoriety over the sexual trysts two of its ministers had with female church members over a period of several years. Their misconduct was subsequently repeated at other churches where they ministered.
And when their behavior was revealed, it was the women victims who were required to stand before the congregation and apologize and ask forgiveness for tempting the men, who invariably went unpunished and indeed, continued to receive near idol status from the congregation.
Likewise, group homes where abuse has been documented tend to receive devout support from area churches. Instead of asking those who run the homes to explain their behavior, their accusers are routinely treated as pariahs while the accused are welcomed as heroes at church rallies on their behalf.
Adherents to IFB dogma, for example, discourage intermarriage or even any contact with those of other religious beliefs, distrust government, favor home schooling, and believe that spankings should commence as early as 15 months of age…
Please read Aswell’s entire post. It is quite informative.
I appreciate Tom Aswell bringing the heinous past of Mack Ford and New Bethany back into the public spotlight. The only way to eradicate these kind of homes and the influence men like Lester Roloff, Jack Hyles, and Mack Ford have over IFB churches (even from the grave) is to shine the light on their vile, dark secrets.
HT: Teresa Frye for making me aware of Aswell’s article.