Pat Hendrix is the independent coordinator who will administer investigations into past child abuse in New Tribes Mission. Here is an introductory statement from Ms. Hendrix.
As we worked through the recent Presbyterian Church (USA) investigations, I have cried with victims as I heard their stories, rejoiced when justice was done, and celebrated when a victim felt she had received her wings to fly again.
I worked for the headquarters of the PCUSA for the past 10 years, and for the past seven years served as the Sexual Misconduct Ombudsperson for the PCUSA.
This position focused on mission personnel and their families. I received and investigated allegations of abuse in the mission field. I developed a reporting protocol and abuse prevention training presentations for adults and children, in addition to providing pastoral care for mission personnel.
Hearing the accounts of what happened made me wonder where the commandment, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” fit in with this behavior. It made me question how we as Christians can do things like this to each other. Yet my faith in God remains strong.
I have participated in the Child Abuse Investigation Training course put on by the Child Safety Protection Network, and attended a number of abuse training sessions put on by other groups. I helped proof the pilot program called “Praesidium” (praesidiuminc.com) and have conducted several of their training sessions.
(The Child Safety Protection Network includes professional counselors, law-enforcement-trained investigators, psychologists and others representing more than 40 mission agencies and church-affiliated groups. The network makes it possible for the organizations to help each other with policies, training, resources, awareness and investigation.)
In the seven years I have been helping investigate child abuse, we completed two investigations in the PCUSA. The first took 1½ years, and the second one took six years. These were lengthy investigations because of the magnitude of each one, covering multiple countries over a span of many years.
Each of the upcoming investigations of past abuse in NTM will focus on a single individual, location or country, as appropriate. The investigations will be handled professionally using recognized investigative processes. We are currently seeking out qualified, experienced investigators, and investigations will begin when the teams are in place.
I have a masters degree in divinity from Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary and an undergraduate degree in business administration. I have two sisters, two nieces, one nephew, six great nieces and nephews, and four great-great nieces and nephews.
I cannot say I am looking forward to working through the investigations ahead of us, but I am looking forward to helping victims be heard, seeing justice done, and celebrating with those who are recovering from abuse.
To make a report regarding an historical incident of child abuse, please contact Pat Hendrix, the coordinator of historical investigations: