An arrest in New Hampshire has revealed a shocking story of a 15-year-old girl who was raped and impregnated by a leading church member at the Trinity Baptist Church in 1997. She was allegedly forced by the church to stand before the congregation and apologize before being taken out of state — and out of the reach of police investigating the rape.
The pastor of the church, Chuck Phelps, reported the rape to state youth officials, but the police were never able to track down the victim. She has now come forward at age 28 and stated that she was taken to another church member’s home in Colorado, home schooled and not allowed to contact outsiders. After she went to police, Ernest Willis, 51, was arrested.
What is not clear is if police tried to interview church leaders and whether they failed to disclose information on her whereabouts. Moreover, it is not clear how the church treated Willis, a well-known member of the church, after the rape was revealed.
As a young girl, the victim often worked as a babysitter for Willis. She told the police she would often stay the night if he got home late. She says that she was repeatedly raped on different occasion by Willis. He allegedly not only brought her a pregnancy test but, when it proved positive, asked if she wanted him to arrange an abortion out of state. She also claims that Willis offered to punch her in the stomach to try to cause a miscarriage.
Willis has been charged with four felonies – two counts of rape and two counts of having sex with a minor.
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