RUTHERFORDTON — John Huddle, author of the book “Locked In” the story of his long-term experience as a member of Word of Faith Fellowship (WoFF), held a press conference speaking for a group of ex-members on Thursday calling for the resignation of John Carroll, director of the RC Department of Social Services (RCDSS). Carroll held the same position as when he signed the WoFF/RCDSS agreement on June 21, 2005.
This group is also calling for a judicial review of the Stipulation for a Compromise Settlement and Order Thereon filed June 21, 2005 in the United States District Court for the Western Division of North Carolina Asheville Division pertaining to Case File No. 1:03CV298. This case began with a lawsuit against RCDSS and John Carroll personally in 2003.stips for 2005 compromise with Annex A B C
Huddle read the following Open Letter to:
- Governor Roy Cooper,
- Attorney General Josh Stein,
- US District Attorney Andrew Murray,
- John Carroll,
- District Attorney 29A Ted Bell, and
- RC Sheriff Chris Francis.
The press conference was called just after the Associated Press released their article revealing that:
Word of Faith Fellowship’s leaders and members have used positions of authority, intimidation or deception to bring children into the church’s folds or keep them from leaving — often at Whaley’s behest, according to dozens of interviews and hundreds of pages of court records, police reports and social services documents obtained by the AP.
These adoptions and family break-ups revealed in the AP published videos occurred while Huddle was inside WOFF. Huddle said they were fed the sanitized version of this whole process and believed these children needed to be “in the will of God.”
“Several of us helped make Laura and Jim Bridge’s house ready for the inspection from social services. The thought that these children were being swept into an abusive environment never crossed my mind- then. Now I know how information managed and hindered us from seeing the larger picture. We only knew what we were told,” Huddle writes in his blog.
The children of this lawsuit are now all of legal age and many of them state that they were not protected by RCDSS during their childhood. The Stipulation for a Compromise Settlement and Order specifically states that blasting cannot constitute abuse or neglect.
#14- Plaintiffs maintain that their religious practices of strong or blasting prayer, or discipleship, as practiced by WFF and WFF members, cannot constitute abuse or neglect within the meaning of the laws and the Constitution of the State of North Carolina, or the Constitution of the United States. Plaintiffs maintain and preserve their position that any child protection services conducted by RCDSS or any agency working with or on behalf of RCDSS based in whole or in part on WFF practices of strong blasting prayer or discipleship would be in violation of WFF’s and its members’ constitutional and statutory rights, including any such investigations pursuant to, and consistent with, the Terms of this Settlement Agreement.
In response to the allegations included in this article and the conclusions of the AP
a lawyer for Whaley, Noell Tin, disputed the AP’s conclusions.
“The notion that church members separate children from their parents at Ms. Whaley’s urging is preposterous,” he said. “The idea that a thriving and diverse church like the Word of Faith Fellowship functions in this manner is an insult to its members.” Noell P. Tin: bio here.