The involvement of Gibbs' law firm in the "outside investigation" of Bill Gothard has been confirmed by the Chicago Sun-Times. "Seth Kraus, of the law firm Gibbs and Associates in Cincinnati, said the firm is conducting a review of the allegations. That review is at the request of its client, the Christian Law Association, which was asked by the institute’s board to do an outside review, Kraus said."
Attorney David Gibbs, Jr. is a longtime friend of Gothard's Institute. Though he has never been a member of the board, he is a popular speaker at ATI conferences. From the IBLP website:
"David Gibbs attended his first Basic Seminar in the early 1970’s. He marveled at what he heard and purposed to apply it to his life. He went on to become a lawyer and founded the Christian Law Association, which serves hundreds of churches without charge. He has become a conference favorite..."Gibbs, whose Christian Law Association has been described as "the Fixers for fundamentalism", gave three sermons at last year's ATI training conference in Nashville and is slated to address this year's conferences, too. He also has a close relationship with fundamentalist Clarence Sexton of Crown College (which shares a board member with IBLP). One does not have to look far to find Gibbs sharing a podium with Sexton, or with Gothard.
Gibbs' firm was also general counsel for Accelerated Christian Education (a.k.a. School of Tomorrow) for over 20 years. According to Johnny Scaramanga at Leaving Fundamentalism, Gibbs served as president of A.C.E. after founder Donald Howard was forced out by scandal. (A.C.E. was the curriculum used at IBLP's Indianapolis Training Center to "homeschool" minors in their care.)
In Federal District Court in 1982, Gibbs represented a Christian reform home taken to court by girls who had been abused and brainwashed there. The home was affiliated with Lester Roloff, another of Gibbs' clients. In 1977, Gibbs represented Lester Roloff against the state of Texas, arguing that Roloff's homes for teens should not be required to comply with the Child Care Licensing Act.
David Gibbs, Jr. is also the attorney for First Baptist Church in Hammond, Indiana. When their pastor Jack Schaap confessed to an illicit relationship with a minor from his church in July 2012, Gibbs was called upon to conduct the internal investigation of Schaap, in cooperation with law enforcement, and gather information to be "appropriately given to authorities". (Schaap plead guilty and is serving a twelve-year sentence.) Schaap's victim told the court in a letter about how he groomed her, "[Schaap] told me to confide in him, to trust him, and he made me feel safe and comfortable around him as a man of God. He preyed on that trust and my vulnerability."
Hmmm, why does that sound familiar?
Now it seems the IBLP board is counting on David Gibbs, Jr. to conduct an "investigation" into the allegations against Bill Gothard. I appreciate that the board is trying to respond, but I wonder how many victims of abuse and/or harassment at IBLP Headquarters would be comfortable sharing their stories with this man?
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