STOPPING A PREDATOR #StickYourNeckOut #GiraffeHeroes We all know how difficult it is for whistle blowers to challenge their employers on a matter of business ethics. But think of how difficult it is for whistle blowers to challenge their employers on a matter of morality, especially when the employer is a respected minister. That’s what confronted Mary Trainor. She was hired to be the assistant minister in two Massachusetts churches and to provide “pastoral care” to the congregants. Right from the start, Trainor saw there were problems. The 57-year-old senior minister, an admired member of the community, made inappropriate sexual advances toward her; Trainor, a former therapist at a religious retreat, sensed warning signs, and she quietly began collecting more information. At a visit to the minister’s house, she saw him interacting oddly—including more than a hint of sexuality—with the two high school girls who lived in the house; they were refugees from Tibetan camps whom he had “rescued." Trainor then talked with other people from the church; they, too, had misgivings that they couldn’t quite articulate. But Trainor could articulate her misgivings: “I know a sick minister when I see one.” Finally, she confronted him and offered to help him seek treatment; he denied doing anything wrong. In fact, he lectured Trainor about women who complain too much: “He told me it would be a dangerous world if women started to press charges on every attempted rape. He also said that if it weren’t for therapists teaching women how to behave, they’d accept rape as a normal part of life and get on with it.” Trainor urged church officials to investigate, but all the way up the chain of command she was told to ignore the minister’s behavior; furthermore, said the officials, if she didn’t ignore it, her job would be in jeopardy. Trainor didn’t ignore anything—there was a predator at-large and he had to be stopped. With help from a few leaders of the congregation, she continued her own informal investigation. That year, the minister went on another trip out of the US. While he was away, the two Tibetan girls and their older cousin—who had been in his home several years earlier—went to the police and accused him of rape. The police removed the girls from the minister’s home and arrested him when he landed at the Boston airport. He was indicted on 23 counts of rape and on other charges. Far from contrite, he fought back, denying the charges, even claiming that one of the girls was his wife. Out on bail and with Trainor present, he preached a sermon to the children of the congregation entitled, “The Big Bad Wolf and the Three Little Pigs.” He told his young audience that the wolf had to eat the pigs because that was the wolf’s nature. Trainor was being harassed. Her car’s tires were slashed several times, once on the day before she was due in court to testify. She received calls at 3:00 in the morning with only silence on the other end. She was removed from her church duties and forbidden to talk to the congregation. She was slandered in the press. The congregation was split. Some of the church-goers said that what happened behind closed doors was the minister’s business, rape or not. One said that having sex with the minister was akin to the girls’ paying for room and board. The minister was convicted on six charges, including rape. He was sentenced to 2-4 years in prison. Trainor and her main allies left the congregation. She had succeeded in stopping a predator. Update: Reverend Trainor is now pastor to another Episcopal congregation.