Man accused

Man accused in alleged sex abuse at bible college speaks out

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Michael Platt_op
By ,Calgary Sun
First posted: | Updated:
Chuck Phelps
Chuck Phelps, the man accused in sex abuse allegations at Prairie Bible Institute near Three Hills, Alberta.
And that’s where RCMP should focus any investigation into claims of rampant molestation at the Prairie Bible Institute, says the family of a man accused of molesting his own daughter 35 years ago.
“A long time ago she distanced herself from the family, about the same time she met her husband, who was in prison,” said Kathy Teeter, sister to the woman claiming sexual abuse at the Three Hills school.
“It’s absolutely because of him.”
On February 25, 1976, Gary Bruce Fossen walked through his parent’s Minnesota home with a shotgun, killing his sister, mother and finally his father, who died from a blast to the throat.
Convicted after his fabricated story of armed intruders fell apart, Fossen ended up serving 20 years for the slaughter — and he left prison a married man.
His wife is Linda Fossen, the alleged victim in a brewing sexual abuse scandal surrounding the Prairie Bible Institute, 130 km northeast of Calgary.
In a book published three years ago, Out of the Miry Clay, Fossen claims her father brutally molested and abused her over four decades ago, stopping when she turned 12.
RCMP are looking into the claims, which allegedly took place while Fossen attended a grade school linked with the Prairie Bible Institute, and her father, Chuck Phelps, was a student at the religious college.
“He would take me out of my bedroom to his office where he was studying for his Bible school classes,” Fossen told the Sun on Saturday.
“He had his Bible open, he always had it open, and he would regularly remind me that it was my duty to do what he asked me to do because the Bible said it was a commandment from God.”
It was Phelps who introduced his daughter to her killer husband after he finished his courses and the family returned home to the U.S.
Ask him now, and the 82-year-old will likely tell you it was the biggest mistake of his life. Fossen’s sister certainly says so.
“My dad used to do jail ministry, and he met Gary,” said Teeter.
“Gary started calling the house and Linda was the one who was always answering the phone.”
Teeter says her family, including her mom Fran and three other siblings, stand behind Phelps as the innocent victim of an outrageous lie concocted by a manipulative murderer.
She says her sister, who also claims to have contacts with dozens of other Prairie Bible Institute victims, is under the spell of the convict who wooed her by phone.
If true, she says the emotional devastation described by Fossen would have been obvious.
“My sister and I were very, very close growing up — as close as twins — and I never saw any of that, not a sign,” said Teeter.
“She’s told me now I’m no longer her sister.”
Teeter was at her parents’ home when reached by the Sun, and she says having the allegations brought up again as front-page news in Canada will devastate them.
“For my dad, it’s excruciating,” said Teeter.
“He’s had open heart surgery and he said, ‘I thought that was the most painful thing in my life, but it was nothing compared to this.’”
Since Fossen published her book, Teeter says her parents have never been the same.
“I hate to have it all come again. My parents have been through so much already,” she said.
“They’re both extremely hurt. It’s aged them.”
The Prairie Bible Institute has acknowledged the controversy on its website, posting a letter stating there are “many” allegations stretching back several decades.
As the RCMP decide whether to open an investigation, Phelps himself says there’s no truth to any of it.
“I haven’t read the book, but I know what’s in it,” said Phelps.
“I can tell you there’s not one speck of truth in any part of that, whatsoever. Never.”
He, like Kathy, blames the murderer who charmed his daughter from a prison cell.
“It’s because of the guy she married, and I think they wanted me to help him get out of prison for what he did and I wouldn’t,” said Phelps.
“I think she’s been brainwashed and listened to him, and come up with all this stuff.”
michael.platt@sunmedia.ca

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×Sure an interesting twist.  Unfortunately now, their will be questions regarding her credibility when her judgment seems to be lacking marrying a convicted murderer, who is to remain locked up for another 18years. And just a day ago, so many were so quick to condemn all of religion and demanding that all religions be abolished before they knew the whole story. Odd, you don't hear a peep from them today! Just goes to show you who are being narrow minded, intolerant and judgmental!   And as mentioned before, there is more sexual abuse going on in almost any organization where children are involved, like sports and schools, then in churches.  Are they suggesting we shut all those down as well??   To not demand the same, would be hypocritical.   Put the blame where it's due, on those that are committing these evil acts, and don't blame entire organizations.  It just demonstrates your own narrow minded thinking.  And I wish they would stop publishing peoples names until they are convicted, as many are getting tried and convicted, and having their lives destroyed in public opinion, before they are even found guilty in court. Hopefully the truth will come out, and those that are guilty, whether it be her or the accused, will be held accountable for their actions!
    • Canadarealistic SuperLogic a year ago

      These are the best and most sensible comments I have ever read on this subject.
    • terryvb SuperLogic a year ago

      Perhaps media should be sceptical of claims made by single souces?
      If Platt and the rest of the media had contacted family members and got the other side of the story, they might have at least withheld the identity of the alleged perpetrator.
      If the story of the triple-murdering family killer hubby had been made public, would they have been so quick to plaster Phelps' identity all over their media?
      And why, if Platt knows of the alternative theory would the Sun not delete references to the alleged perpetrator and not published his picture.?
      RCMP competence is not at issue, they have already richly earned their Dudley Dooright label.
      After your mistatement of facts in yesterdays editorial regarding the location of the NDP XL protesters seats in your haste to bash Quebec and this column it seems that the Calgary Sun should look to clean up its professional act before judging others,
      • Marv50 terryvb a year ago

        Please remember that the Sun promotes itself as a "tabloid newspaper". Definition of tabloid, "a newspaper this size concentrating on sensational and lurid news, usually heavily illustrated."  It's not about the truth, it's about the ratings.
  • edncda a year ago

    Innocent until proven guilty? Entitled to your day in court? Forget it. Is there very obviously some question about the real truth?  No matter to the RCMP. They have no obligation to give the woman a lie detector test before destroying the man (probably literally) in the court of public opinion. Their only obligation is to do their jobs. (Btw "members," anything to report on your own sex scandal? Making any progress on investigating yourselves?) 
    And how can the media be allowed to report the man's identity even though he's accused of abusing his own (presumably at the time underaged) daughter?
    How can it be that our so-called justice system is so screwed up that people can be destroyed with no meaningful chance to defend themselves and people like former Justice Minister - now Premier Redford don't even question the obvious injustice?
    Updated: According to the CBC the RCMP has not started an investigation and hasn't identified anyone which means all the information being published must be hearsay from the daughter's website - in which case the man ought to have a damn good case for a libel suit against the media assuming the accusations can't be proved, of course.
  • Donna Kaiyala Carlaw a year ago

    Unfortunately, Linda Fossen has made this all about herself and her vendetta against her father and  PBI.  It should be about things like truth,  justice, protecting children, and doing what is right.  I think that so far, PBI's president, Mark Maxwell and the PBI board get high marks in the doing what is right category. Those making what look every bit like false accusations motivated by God knows what get very low marks, IMO.  How does spreading rumors help those who may really have been hurt in the past, and who need help and healing as well as justice?
    I don't know about the credibility of Calgary's news media, or the competency of the RCMP.  It looks like they are doing what media and police do - investigate and report.  I would think that both groups would be careful not to give too much credibility to unreliable sources.  Unfortunately, media often muddies the waters by their inaccurate or incomplete reporting, and the truth drowns in the muddy waters. Police often lack the resources necessary to make a proper investigation. What is happing today is top priority in the department. What happened decades ago is of less importance to them than the murder, robbery, rape, or violence they may have to deal with today - or even the jay walking and traffic violations.
    That brings me back to President Maxwell and the PBI board who have set up a mechanism for reaching out to anyone who is hurting and wants counseling or help. Let the media and the RCMP investigate and report whatever they need to investigate and report. In the meantime, hurting people need to know where to go to get help, and they need to know that people care about them. PBI is doing just that, making it known that there is help.
    Another thing I would be interested in finding out about the Phelps case is whether or not he has already been tried in American courts and what the results of that may have been.  Does anyone know? If he has not been, that may be the place for Mrs. Fossen to start, since the alleged abuse began there according to her.
    • Avatar
      Guest Donna Kaiyala Carlaw a year ago

      According to her website she did not act until she was injured/lost her job & wrote her book, 30+ years after the fact.  While anything she writes should be taken with a grain of salt, In the states it is now too late to prosecute, she talks about maybe launching a civil suit against his current employer who also of course had no involvement at the time of any alleged abuse.  Unfortunately going forward in this case will depend on one of them changing their story or a third party with direct evidence coming forward.  This is most likely to go nowhere other than a public scandal, tragic no matter what the "truth" is.
  • Mistyblu9 a year ago

    IF these allegations are true I hope the daughter and any other victims of any perpetrator get their day in court and are vindicated.
    IF they are not true, then I hope the alleged perpetrator IS vindicated. The only way they can put his name and photo in public is if the Victim, being a relative, agrees to waive her privacy.
    In any case I hope the truth is found out and that some technical BS doesnt get a perp  off scot free.  Hopefully this is NOT just to sell her book! I for one will not buy it. and It seems the head of the Bible Institute has said there have been  allegations of sex abuse for many years. Sooo who knows , she could be telling the truth.  If not then she should be in jail herself.
    • Donna Kaiyala Carlaw Mistyblu9 a year ago

      Well, Mistyblu, as far as I understand, there have been some allegations that were taken care of at the time they were made. Others were old rumors that had no substance.  One tragic story circulating was about a girl who had never even been to PBI.  At least one allegation was about  incidents that were reported to the RCMP at the time they allegedly happened.  In that sense they have been around. What the school and the RCMP are trying to find out is if there were cases that went unreported, or under reported that need to be investigated.  If people do not come forward, then what are we supposed to assume?
       It is very possible, even likely that in a school that is almost 100 years old there have been some incidents of abuse.   There is no institution, secular or religious, that can claim to have a perfect record in that area.  Does that make all our institutions unsafe for children?  No, of course not.   Safeguards need to be in place, though.
      In Linda's case, the alleged abuse did not even take place on PBI campus, but rather in the town of 3 Hills in the Phelps home.  She is accusing her father, not anyone who worked at the school.  Well, she's accusing a lot of peole of a lot of things, but only her father of abusing her directly.
      I have read a lot of what has been written about this, and some of it is pretty sketchy.  I find it fascinating for some reason. Maybe it's just because I love the school and also love truth and justice. Maybe I'm just a busy body. People need to find the courage to come forward and report to the RCMP if they were abused. That can't be easy for anyone.  May anyone who was abused find that courage. 
      You are right to say that she may be telling the truth. Her father may be telling the truth.  What cannot be is that both of them are telling the truth.  Someone is not telling the truth. 
      Maybe we should cut the RCMP some slack, since they have to deal with this kind of thing all the time.  I think they do a pretty good job myself. How can they stay sane?
      see more
  • ryley1 a year ago

    According to Linda Fossen's website, after the publication of her book, she was contacted by law enforcement and informed that another victim of her father had come forward. 
    Perhaps Michael Platt will conduct some investigative journalism in order that truth may prevail.
    • Avatar
      Guest ryley1 a year ago

      "According to Linda Fossen's website"  may be the problem though.  Some serious corroboration will be needed in this case.
    • edncda ryley1 a year ago

      Imo, Michael Platt is one of the best reporters in Calgary. Perhaps some of the many other reporters in Alberta could follow his lead. Perhaps Alison Redford could take take a few moment from her anti-drinking crusade and provide some oversight of the RCMP's efforts the next time she's in Alberta.
  • Roger Armbruster a year ago

    This story has the ring of truth!  I would agree that if abuse was going on, that the other sisters would know about it, because while men are not always forthcoming, you can't restrain sisters from talking about confidential things to each other.  The fact that nobody in the family, including the sisters, is agreeing with Linda Fossen, is very telling.
  • Avatar
    Guest a year ago

    sister would "cover up for dad" far to often when anyone involved in religion and has these accusations thrown at them we automatically assume that because they are priests, rabbis, pastors , bishops, the dahli lama , they are inncent,
    just look at all the victims in boston , lookat allthe first nations victims in canada who were abused phsically, sexually amd mentally by the clergy
    family are the first to turn on victims to protect mom or dad. yet time after time when the police are done there investigation we find that the parent/parents are guilty.
    this sick problem does not know any racial, political , religious, financial, or geographic boundries.
    • Donna Kaiyala Carlaw Guest a year ago

      You are correct in saying that a family will often cover up for one another. However, in the cases you mention, all of them were taken to court and were decided there.  We can say that the accusations in those cases  were not just based on rumour or innuendo, since people were taken to court and found guilty.  Crimes were proven to have taken place, and people have had to pay the price for their wrong doing.
      What if Linda were to go to court and a jury didn't buy her story either?  Wouldn't that be a different thing?  Wouldn't that give more weight to the sister's statements?
      In the PBI case, at this point in time, they are trying to get at the truth and are not covering up. 
      I agree with you that this sick problem knows no racial, political, religious, financial, or geographic boundaries.  You are spot on.  I love PBI and the time I spent there was excellent. However, I would not cover up for the school or defend it if they were trying to cover up their past.  Things need to be brought out into the light and dealt with properly. If there is someone who needs to be brought to justice, then so be it.  
      That is true  whether or not the Fossen vs. Phelps case has validity. 
    • Avatar
      Guest Guest a year ago

      89joecitizan you wrote "we automatically assume that because they are priests, rabbis, pastors , bishops, the dahli lama , they are inncent".  
      Other than you, who is suggesting this?  Would you rather we assume an accused guilty till proven innocent?  In today's society the clergy are often suspected / accused along with any other occupation.  We should not assume anything based on the occupation.  Most cases involve the teaching profession, that in no way implies we should believe or disbelieve the information of any particular case based on that being the occupation.  Some will be false, some will be true, let the case evidence speak for it's self, this case has some major difficulties and as such no charges have been pursued anywhere, criminally or civilly.
      • Avatar
        Guest Guest a year ago

        was a general statement for this type of crime, what i meant was that because the accused is in the religious field we in society sometimes think that OUR PRIEST would never do that.
        no we do not assume guilty until proven innocent. to many great canadians made the ultimate sacrifice in various wars to defend these rights
        all im sayng is that we as a society will quickly defend those that would NEVER DO THIS because of there posistion.
        • Avatar
          Guest Guest a year ago

          89joecitizan wrote
          "all im sayng is that we as a society will quickly defend those that would NEVER DO THIS because of there posistion."
          Well again your implying that yourself, I have never heard anyone say that.  Your using straw-man fallacy rhetoric.
          Definition:
          A straw man argument is one that misrepresents a position in order to
          make it appear weaker than it actually is, refutes this
          misrepresentation of the position, and then concludes that the real
          position has been refuted. This, of course, is a fallacy, because the
          position that has been claimed to be refuted is different to that which
          has actually been refuted; the real target of the argument is untouched
          by it.
          Here is the real position, which has nothing to do with where he lived or has since worked:
          Let's allow the legal system to work, it may conclude with a charge in which he will be tried,  it may conclude there is no convincing evidence which means we know nothing other than that.
      • Canadarealistic Guest a year ago

        That just makes sense.
    • Canadarealistic Guest a year ago

      Nor athiest boundries.
  • Comment a year ago

    Don't forget that some of these accusations come from so-called recovered lost memories. Good coaching can elicit memories of things that NEVER HAPPENED. I had memories of a grandmother who died suddenly. She was ill for months and we lived far away so as a child I did not get the full story. If you study memory it is very inexact so it wide open to charlatans manipulations. Try to prove where you were 10 years ago ago at 10pm on Wednesday in the winter. Some victims are real but just as many are not.
  • Roger Armbruster a year ago

    Once one unleashes these kind of forces and emotions that are based on subjective experiences that cannot be proven objectively, it will always boil down to a matter of who you will believe.  Frankly, I don't know who to believe.  And it would be wrong for anyone of us to try to be dogmatic when we do not know for sure what we are talking about.
    At the end of the day, there is going to be no resolution to this other than to appeal to divine justice, because we are assuming that both sides here can be reasonable in an atmosphere that is highly charged, filled with accusations, blame-casting and finger-pointing, and the public will believe whatever they want to believe.  At the end of the day, only God knows the whole truth, and none of us are God.  We simply do not know for sure.
    We need to be open to give everybody a voice, but frankly, the kind of venom that I am hearing spued here goes way beyond objectivity, balance and fairness.  People are venting their perspectives through the lense of their own hurt feelings.  What can one say?  I don't think that either Prairie, Chuck Phelps or Linda Fossen are either all good or all bad.  The line between good and evil is a line that is drawn within the hearts of every one of us.  Our priority needs to be to keep our own hearts pure in the process, and to avoid the temptation to become prosecutor, judge and executioner.
    There is only ONE Judge, and He will reveal the secrets of every heart.  Nobody will get away with anything in the end that has not been atoned for.  Therefore, judge nothing before the time, until the hearts of people are clearly revealed and exposed by divine justice.  It is obvious by our comments that you and I make pretty poor judges, and we need to be reminded from time to time that we are not God.
  • Fresno a year ago

    Why  the Canadian Government let Christians open up there own schools in this country is mind blowing, its a Pedophiles  dreams come true to have the power to take advantage of little children and use god as an excuse, This Country is not America, let those Psycho Christians go down there

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