RCMP asked to investigate abuse allegations at Prairie Bible Institute

The Prairie Bible Institute and the daughter of a former student have each asked police to investigate allegations of sexual assault at its campus in Three Hills.

The Prairie Bible Institute and the daughter of a former student have each asked police to investigate allegations of sexual assault at its campus in Three Hills.

Civilian Doris Stapleton, a media relations officer with the RCMP in Alberta, said on Saturday that investigators with the Three Hills detachment will speak with college administrators to determine what action should be taken.

Linda Fossen, whose father attended the school’s Bible college during the mid-1960s, said she asked the RCMP last week to investigate what she believes is an endemic and ongoing environment of sexual abuse.

Fossen, 53, has been contacted by scores of former students since the release of Out of the Miry Clay: Freedom from Childhood — her book about how her father started sexually abusing her when she was three years old. The attacks ended nine years later, after she threatened to tell.

The stories Fossen has heard from former students include incidents of both male and female staff abusing children of the same and of the opposite sex as well as stories of sexual harassment and assault involving adult staff.

Students come from all over the world to attend Prairie Bible Institute, said Fossen. Victims stayed silent because they were steeped in a culture that does not tolerate insubordination, she said.

Ironically, boys and girls were kept separate at the schools to shield them from sexual curiousity and because their adult leaders believed sex crimes to be the most heinous of all, said Fossen.

Linda Brinks, a Prairie Bible Institute board member appointed as the contact person for members of the public and for anyone claiming to have been a victim, confirmed on Saturday that its leadership has also asked the RCMP to look into the allegations.

President Mark Maxwell was unavailable for comment on the weekend, but posted a letter addressing the allegations and investigation on the institute’s website, dated Nov. 15.

Maxwell’s letter says the alleged incidents date back “several decades.”

However, college leaders felt it appropriate to respond and to emphasize a commitment to seeking truth and transparency, it says.

Allegations were made public through a Facebook group set up for PBI alumni to discuss sexual abuse.

“We have taken a file containing many of these allegations to the RCMP, discussed the alleged incidents with them and assured them of our full co-operation should further inquiry be necessary,” says Maxwell’s letter.

“The board recognizes the seriousness of any potential allegations and would desire to achieve healing and reconciliation. My goal as President is to deal with this in an open and accessible manner,” his letter says.

The Prairie Bible Institute is no different than other schools of its type, which provide an ideal environment for sexual predators, said Fossen, who also attended its high school and its Bible college.

What the institutions lack is system for and a commitment to watching for signs of sexual abuse and ensuring that the perpetrators are dealt with, she said.

Prairie Bible Institute has been operating in Three Hills since its inception in October of 1922.

It is the umbrella organization for three different colleges: The Prairie Bible College, The Prairie College of Applied Arts & Technology and the Prairie School of Mission Aviation.

Fossen has founded a ministry dedicated to serving sexual abuse victims who are now serving prison sentences in the only Florida women’s prison that has a death row.

She has also written and is distributing free of charge an e-book, Straight From the Donkey’s Mouth: Exposing the Secrets of a Sexual Predator, which she wrote from the writings of a sexual predator.

bkossowan@bprda.wpengine.com

— copyright Red Deer Advocate

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said the 500 deaths from COVID-19 in the province are a tragic milestone. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Alberta hits ‘tragic milestone’ with more COVID-19 deaths

Province up to 500 COVID-19 deaths, adds 1,265 cases

A recent investigation by the RCMP Central Alberta District Crime Reduction Unit led to the arrests of 24 people. (Contributed photo)
24 people arrested following RCMP investigation in central Alberta

Twenty-four people are facing a combined 235 charges following an investigation by… Continue reading

Photo from Town of Sylvan Lake Facebook page
Sylvan Lake communities band together on development plan

Sylvan Lake Intermunicipal Development Plan expected to be approved next spring

Tribe restaurant owner Paul Harris, left, consults with manager Brandon Bouchard about how to proceed under pandemic rules that make it hard for eateries to be profitable. (Contributed photo).
New pandemic rules deemed workable for Red Deer retailers

Stricter COVID-19 reduction measures introduced in lead-up to Christmas

Quentin Lee Strawberry
Man accused in 2019 Red Deer murder will stay behind bars

Quentin Strawberry going to trial next year on second-degree murder charge

Hockey Canada suspends world junior selection camp after positive COVID-19 tests

Hockey Canada suspends world junior selection camp after positive COVID-19 tests

Justice Minister David Lametti responds to a question during question period in the House of Commons Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Liberals to present bill on single-game sports betting

Liberals to present bill on single-game sports betting

Bayern, Man City win to advance to Champions League last-16

Bayern, Man City win to advance to Champions League last-16

FILE - In this March 26, 2006 file photo, former soccer player Diego Maradona smokes a cigar as he watches Argentina's first division soccer match between Boca Juniors and River Plate in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The Argentine soccer great who was among the best players ever and who led his country to the 1986 World Cup title before later struggling with cocaine use and obesity, died from a heart attack on Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020, at his home in Buenos Aires. He was 60. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko, File)
Argentine soccer great Diego Maradona dies at 60

Argentine soccer great Diego Maradona dies at 60

In this July 1, 2020, photo, Salt Lake Tribune data columnist and Utah Jazz beat writer Andy Larsen poses for a photo. Larsen is a sports writer, but with much of that world sidelined during the pandemic he's been digging into coronavirus data and its sobering implications. So when he found himself with a cache of spare change, partially from his childhood piggy bank, he knew plenty of people could use it. (Francisco Kjolseth/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP)
Tweet on spare change generates big money for virus aid

Tweet on spare change generates big money for virus aid

FILE - In this Wednesday, March 18, 2020 file photo, a view of a 'Matterhorn-Express' gondola lift in front of Matterhorn mountain in the Zermatt ski resort, in Zermatt, Switzerland. Restrictions to slow the curve of coronavirus infections have kept ski lifts closed in Italy, France, Germany and Austria, as well as countries further east. But skiers are already heading to mountains in Switzerland, drawing an envious gaze from ski industry and local officials in mountain regions elsewhere on the continent who lost most of last season due to the virus. (Jean-Christophe Bott/Keystone via AP, File)
As season nears, Europe ponders skiing during pandemic

As season nears, Europe ponders skiing during pandemic

FILE - In this Dec. 10, 2015 file photo, actor John Boyega, right, pose with Star Wars characters during the Japan Premiere of their latest film "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" in Tokyo. Boyega stars in Steve McQueen’s “Red White and Blue,” the third film in the director’s anthology of West Indian life in London from the ‘60s through the ’80s. The five-film series will debut Dec. 4. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara, File)
John Boyega isn’t going to ‘take the money and shush’

John Boyega isn’t going to ‘take the money and shush’

The Hockley Motel in Mono, Ont., is shown in this undated handout photo. An Ontario motel that served as a backdrop for the beloved CBC sitcom "Schitt's Creek" is up for sale. The Hockley Motel in Mono, about an hour's drive northwest of Toronto, was listed for $2 million today. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Colliers International
Calling all eccentric millionaires: ‘Schitt’s Creek’ motel up for sale for $2 million

Calling all eccentric millionaires: ‘Schitt’s Creek’ motel up for sale for $2 million

Most Read