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Aug 8, 2023

Almost a Week Later, NEAB Remains Silent on Sexual Assault Allegations

Bishop Philip Wright

The National Evangelical Association of Belize is yet to comment on the allegations of sexual abuse against Mervin Budram. We also tried once again to reach out to Budram for comments, but up to news time we did not receive any. We did, however, receive a second press release from Jubilee Ministries in which it sought to clarify a statement made in its first release. On Monday the ministry stated that its internal investigation led to, quote, additional exposures. Today the ministry further explained what it meant.  According to the release, it meant quote, several spiritual principles and Christian values our members are obligated to observe and hold dear had also been breached and warranted disqualification, end quote. The statement went on to say that following Budram’s removal, Rebecca Stirm-Lennan made a police report and she was told that nothing can be done legally as too much time had passed. Jubilee Ministries says it had nothing to hide and it continues to remain open and transparent.  This morning, we heard from Bishop Phillip Wright, the head of the Anglican Church. Bishop Wright made an appearance on Open Your Eyes Morning Show where he gave his thoughts on the damning allegations and what he believes an adequate response from the church should look like.  Here is what he told us.


Bishop Philip Wright

“Every time it happens it grabs the headlines and for good reason, it is the church. You will have people who have their own feeling towards the church, whether positive or negative and they will join the band wagon. So we have been down this road many times, unfortunately and the thing to look for is that the church clearly indicates it has zero tolerance for this kind of behavior, whether it is of the nature that is being alleged or messing with children, you name it. I think we need to note that the church has zero tolerance for that. Secondly though, there is a lot of hurting people in these things and the church as a community that is supposes to advocate healing and restoration must reach out to those who have been, I don’t know if victim is the right word, those who have been harmed by those things. The church also has to hold those accountable, the perpetrators, wherever they come from. Also, something we learnt over the years, you can’t hide these things. The church needs to confront it, come clear with it, admit to its own failures and take steps to correct it and make sure it doesn’t happen again. Having said that, as you and I know, we are working with human nature too and the church is filled with fallen, broken, imperfect beings just like everybody else. I think though it is how we respond and that is where if there is a judgment to be placed, it is to see how the church responds to these things.”

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