My Experience Being Drugged and Raped by Members of a Megachurch in 1991
by RJ in 206 (Seattle).
I was apparently, obviously, raped in 1991 during an all-night church youth group outing which started at Overlake Christian Church (OCC) in Redmond, WA, one that I wasn’t told would be all-night. I say it was apparent and obvious because I was drugged unconscious, but suffered an injury from it, and the memories surrounding that injury make it obvious what happened.
It may be painful to read. But when people don’t want to hear or believe us hurts us victims too, so, read on, please - if you can handle it.
I thought I’d be going home afterwards. I was invited by a friend from school, one whose father had previously given me a porn tape. He made me promise not to tell my parents it was from him. At the time I didn’t understand what a red flag that was. I’ll call that friend Gaston - not his real name.
It began on a Friday night, at OCC with a huge event featuring performances and attended by at least hundreds of kids, in their gigantic arena which seats thousands. We were taken to it from his house in Seatac (~20 miles from Redmond) in two separate passenger vans; one for the kids who already attended the church, the second for us newcomers. Gaston went in the former, I in the latter. Save for one other kid who was also a friend of Gaston from our school, the van was full of strangers, all about our age (11-14). The driver and his partner, apparently our leaders, couldn’t have been older than 22. They were probably closer to 18.
During the performances, us newcomers were ushered out separately and taken in the van to a family recreation center, encouraged to drink soda and play games until late. They’d booked it after hours, and we stayed until at least 1:00 AM. They took us from there back to Burien - near Seatac - to Highline Christian Church (HCC) where more games were played. This is where my memories become foggy. I clearly remember looking at the clock and noticing with surprise that it was past 2:00 AM, which my watch confirmed. The lights were all on, everyone was up and wired on sugar and caffeine, running around. They had us play some game of telephone in a circle, but it was weird - something about having to say something we were ashamed or embarrassed about to the kid sitting next to us.
The last clear memory I have of that evening was being pressured to drink some strange hot beverage they were mixing in a kettle on the stove in the church kitchen.
I also have a very vague memory of waking up and having seen someone’s face, briefly, who as soon as they saw that I was awake, pulled something over my eyes – something like a pillowcase. I was startled when I saw, for the first time ever, a photo of former Pastor Bob Moorehead. The room was dimly lit and I felt very, very groggy – but I swear, that was the face I saw.
In the morning I woke up on a couch in a room on an upstairs floor of the church, the furnished attic. I was disoriented, felt like I was floating. There was nobody in the church as far as I could tell. So, I walked down the stairs - I had to concentrate not to fall - and went outside to where a payphone was across the parking lot.
Before I reached the payphone, some guy who pulled up in a car, blocking my way. He coerced me into accepting a ride home, insisting I help him with directions and that he was going the same way as me. He claimed to have nothing to do with the church - said he was just using their parking lot to turn around, because he was lost. On the ride home, he made what was clearly a thinly veiled, cryptic threat of death if I ever spoke about anything I thought I remembered from the outing to anyone outside the church. He used a circuit diagram as his talking point - but again, insisted he had nothing to do with the church.
The cleverly worded threat that the mysterious, nameless man gave was delivered in the form of a metaphor; their church was like a computer chip, also known as an independent circuit (IC). (He somehow knew I was into computers.) An IC always has a pin that goes directly to the negative voltage path, the ‘ground’. It’s the same as the lower post on an electrical socket, or a lightning rod. He opened his hand, while at a stop light, in that ‘here is the church, here is the steeple…’ thing you learn as a kid. He said the computer chip was like the church, and if I, like an electron, kept whatever ‘I thought I knew or remembered or whatever’ inside the circuit, I’d be fine. But if I went outside the circuit, I’d “…be sent directly to the ground, and you don’t want to go to into the ground”.
When I got home, I discovered that the father of the friend who had recruited me to the event had called my mother the night before, lying to her that I would be spending the night at his house.
I spent the next two nights unable to sleep with the lights off. Like, I had to have all the lights on. Not just the lamp but the ceiling light too. For some reason I also found I could only rest if I was fully clothed, even wearing my shoes, on top of the covers. I was afraid of something unseen in the darkness outside my window. I tried opening it, but the darkness was worse, so I pulled the curtains closed again. I didn’t know why. I also didn’t know why for the following week, every time I went to the bathroom (to defecate) it caused excruciating pain and left me bleeding profusely. The following Monday at school, a teacher demanded that I go see the nurse because he thought I’d been truant - I actually had legitimately been going to the bathroom for over half an hour. The nurse managed to get me to tell her what was going on, physically. She implored me to wait for a ‘counselor with special training’ to come and speak to me, but I refused. I didn’t want to talk about it. I’d been told by that stranger on the ride home that I’d be “put in the ground” if I did, so, I suppose that’s no surprise.
Gaston’s house had been a very popular place - his dad had every popular movie dubbed on VHS, let us all hang out in his basement and watch them. There was talk amongst these friends - the most popular kids in school (Gaston was quarterback of the football team and a straight-A student) all hung out there. Some of them knew about his dad’s porn tapes. There were rooms back in the basement alluded to that were somehow the subject of fear. Gaston slept with a display case full of knives beside his bed, as a nightstand, the sharpest one out on top with a whetstone. He was a quiet kid, nice, absolutely not violent. Nobody ever felt threatened by him. He, however, apparently was afraid of someone. There was also talk of his dad going into his sister’s room late at night.
Later that year, Gaston’s mother divorced his father abruptly and kicked him out of the house. Some parent of another classmate called my mother asking questions, but she never told me why or what about.
The following year, in high school, I noticed he wasn’t around. I asked about him but nobody wanted to talk about him. They just said “fuck that guy”, speculated that he’d gone off to some Christian school, who cares. Somehow he’d gone from top dog to reviled outcast, in the span of a just few months.
Gaston’s dad, Gaston Sr., Phd., and his son Gaston Jr. (again, not their real names), were definitely not working alone.
Dr. Gaston Sr. was an engineer of some sort… a chemical engineer, I believe. At the time, Gaston Jr. said his future plans were to go into medicine.
In 2014 I was in school for electrical engineering, it was during circuits classes that the memories started coming back. I eventually had to change majors to technical writing. Now, I’m a writer, and I’m not going to stop.