Ron Williams Says in Secret What He Would Not Say on CNN

As you may recall, neither Don Williams nor Ron Williams
would speak to CNN news reporter Gary Tuchman
on camera or off camera about the allegations of the survivors
of Hephzibah House. But Ron has sent out the
following materials to try to woo his supporters to stay with
him. Click each link to view the PDF. These may take
a moment to open, so please be patient.

1. Letter Sent by Ron Williams

2. Rebuttals posed by Ron Williams

3. One of Ron Williams' "Credible Witnesses"

Comments from Hephzibah House Survivors:

I just hope that everyone who suffered at his hand and mentality is able to become a functioning part of society....he is right when he said if it were just me I wouldn't speak of what happened. This is because I felt so alone though and knowing that I have all of you by my side really helps me to heal. I do hope that he was serious about not paddling anymore; he caused me lifelong issues because of the continuous beatings.
Michelle Leavitt, resident of Hephzibah House 1989-90

Last night I read Ron Williams' rebuttal to the CNN show and to our "allegations" of abuse. I'm still almost at a loss for words because what he wrote was so arrogant. Of course, it was directed to supporting churches (you know, churches that send him money). This was not something that was prepared for the media, which is obvious from reading it.

Of course he is trying to discredit us, as if somehow a person who drinks or dances must by default be a liar. Again, this was in a letter to his monetary supporters. They are fairly likeminded, and he knows he can strike a nerve with them by bringing this up. So, it's not an answer or a rebuttal to the abuse we are speaking's just one of his tactics. He also made sure to mention that one of the girls in our group is a (gasp) Lesbian. Again, as if that somehow discredits her experiences.

When it comes to the spankings, for the past 4 years Ron has DENIED use of corporal punishment. He even had a statement on his website saying that HH does not spank any of the students. He didn't have any disclaimers that stated he USED to spank (now, this was on his public website for the whole world to see)! So, of course there he presented it as NO, WE DON"T SPANK. But in the new letter to his monetary supporters, he tries to play catch up. He says they had to discontinue spanking, and then he blames it on society, the girls, the families, the law, etc. But he doesn't say that he thinks they should not have spanked the girls in that way. His fabulous spokesperson, Lucinda Pennington, went on National TV and admitted that yes, we were spanked in the craziest fashion. Chairs over our heads, multiple people holding us down... the whole world knows that this is not normal. Ron does not address the fact that there were multiple people holding us down. He does talk about some specially designed chair. Really? A specially designed "spanking" chair?
Gabriella Eve Fleury, resident of Hephzibah House 1989-90

Actually what blows my mind is that he actually admits to all the abuse! He just then twists it to try to make him look good. I was held down during that exam I was sobbing and begging them to stop! If he doesn't take defiant girls, then why on the [Hephzibah House] website does it say it's for troubled girls? Wouldn't that be your definition of a defiant girl?
Jennifer Singleton, resident of Hephzibah House 1995-96

I remember specifically, my own experience, that I did not get my work duties done, and I had to drink broth at dinner while everyone else ate a whole chicken! Talk about miserable! Back in my day, it was hard to do our work duties which could be the "regular" duty, and then up to two extra duties after the regular duty, if the girl had a lot of points. Katrina Smith, resident of Hephzibah House 1983-84

He lies so much in both of these documents. I used to respect this man who had a wide vocabulary and charismatic personality. I am a Bible-believing woman who strives to have a relationship with the Lord, and I can be the first to say that I know for a fact that God does not approve of Ron Williams' behavior, lies, and continuous actions. To all 13 of his rebuttals, I can offer a rebuttal of Truth that is supported by over 100 other women who have survived HH. It is shameful to me that Ron Williams' claims Christ and yet, lies continuously regarding his current and past actions. And, just a note to you Ron, as I believe you may have taken up reading our Facebook page since Patti passed, I was at Hephzibah House six years ago and stand with those women. It's not just women from 20 - 30 years ago. Thank you very much. Andri Abercrombie, resident of Hephzibah House 2001 - 2005

I just read Williams rebuttals to our 'allegations.' He is such a liar. For one thing the chairs were regular wooden chairs and yes we were hit like we were grown men. We never got counseling while we were there; at least I never did. We would be told we were evil, rebellious, worthless....etc. I did not hand my clothes to a staff lady through the door either. She was right in the bathroom with me the whole time. I could go on and on but basically he is a liar. And yes we grouped together after we found other survivors. No one would believe just one person saying those things. Many of us have trust issues and low self esteem to this day. We did not make this stuff up. After we found others who had experienced the same things we did, it gave us the strength to finally stand up to the abuse we all endured. It is funny how we all can have so many similar problems and nightmares yet we are all "liars" and made this stuff up? There are decades of girls in our group and we all have had the same hellish experiences. My parents came to get me on my 18th birthday. They admitted to trying to get me before, but the church we went to talked them out of it and Hephzibah House was telling them they'd legally signed me over to them. Angie Guest-Jones, resident of Hephzibah House January 1989 until December 1989

I believe I am the most recent student to have left Hephzibah House on this site [Facebook--Ed.]. I am staunchly for shutting them (HH) down. In answer to a question reguarding if the abuses still continue, a definite YES!

  • Spanking -- To my knowledge they no longer spank, however this is so they will continue to receive students in my opinion.
  • Mental abuse -- YES YES YES. they substitute mind control for spanking! I suffer to this day from the emotional and mental truama of being separated from society and my family and friends, all the while having my head pounded full of lies about God, my rebellious and sinful nature, and normal things that they made into something twisted and taught to us as truth.
  • Vaginal exam -- [This] did not happen to me, luckily. Again, I believe they realized they would be shut down so that one had to go....Ron Williams is still very interested in who's who in the virginal world of his students, however.
  • Food -- The food sucked most of the time. Imagine eating a bowl full of greasy kettle chips, sitting in a cold room shivering in your dreadful uniform, knowing that was to be your nourishment until supper ocurred at least 5 or 6 hours later. We never got the food we should have recieved, I am sure of it. The only times we really got good food were holidays, Friday nights (sometimes) and whenever a girl recieved treat money. AS THE USUAL, the food was rather poor and not always cooked very well. We did go out to eat twice I think, but the second time we were only allowed the salad bar since we took half the ministry with us as well, and there wasn't enough money to feed everyone the other tempting food.

  • What all else could I say? I have a pack full, thats for sure. but those are answers to some of the most popular debates, reguarding things within the past two or three years, to the best of my knowlege.
    Michelle Guenther Leonard, resident of Hephzibah House January 2, 2009 until May 18, 2010

    I am a survivor of Hephzibah House located in Winona Lake, IN. It has long been my goal, as well as the goal of over one hundred to two hundred other girls, to expose the things we had to endure while in Hephzibah House's care in the hopes of protecting girls currently incarcerated under them who may also be suffering as we did. The duration of our stay was a regulated fifteen months but many, if not most, of us were there for several years thanks to the prompting of the leaders in HH.

    When he is painting a picture of himself, he calls us
    "precious souls" (3rd paragraph) and when he is painting a picture of us he calls us "disgruntled, angry souls" (10th paragraph). Kind of puts him in perspective.

    I also notice that he tries to use the verses Proverbs 16:28 "A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends." and Proverbs 17:9 "He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends" as a means of belittling what we have to say and discredit us. But we could use these same verses to describe what he's doing as well. Oh the double-edged sword he wieldeth. Is he not trying to sow strife with these letters? Is he not trying to cover his transgressions?

    Williams writes,
    "But despite any legal limitations, the accusations are either completely false, or are twisted stories to cause sensation and sympathy" (15th paragraph). Then he concludes the letter with "had Patti and I known what we would be getting into back in 1971 when we started our work, we would have given serious pause to our decision. However, we were convinced the Lord had called us into this unique work, so we used my government retirement money to help launch the work, and soon had wonderful believers and churches partnering with us". Is it my imagination or is he trying to end it by causing sensation and gaining sympathy himself? Mr. Ronald Williams can say what he will about us, but he is using the same tactics and defamation he is accusing us of using. In essence, he is again victimizing the victims.

    Also included in the letter(s) going around are his rebuttals to the allegations we have made all along. These are the tactics we are trying to protect the girls who are still incarcerated there from having to endure.

    Williams writes,
    "special chairs were used to be placed over feet and upper body to prevent thrashing around. These allowed discipline with nothing being struck except the bottom."

    These were common house chairs and NOT specially made for a specific purpose other than to sit on. How were they "special" besides being used as tools of torture and bondage?

    Williams writes, "Strip searches were not our policy. Incoming students went into a private shower, and then handed their clothing over the door to the staff lady who was on the other side of the door".

    Many, including myself, were made to strip down naked in front of their daughter, Heather, who was NOT on the other side of the door, and was around our own age. This was often a traumatic experience for shy girls. This is also a lie on the William's part.

    Girls who did not get a physical exam prior to coming to HH were administered vaginal exams in a large walk-in closet. This was a closet and NOT an "exam room".

    We have been called liars because so many of us have stated that we quit having menstrual cycles soon after arriving at HH. Finally, after all these years, Ron Williams, HIMSELF is admitting in these rebuttals that we did, indeed, cease to have them. We were telling the truth!

    Williams tries to claim that girls were made to wear diapers because they were urinating on the furniture. The furniture was their bed and the reason being was because they weren't allowed to go to the bathroom "as needed" but, rather, at the appointed times. Why could they not use a pad rather than a humiliating diaper?

    Mr. Williams states that we are "preying on desperate parents". Truthfully, we want to get the word out that this place did not "help" us but the truth is many parents and churches now nothing or very little about Hephzibah House. They know only what they hear. Well, hear this: we all went through that place and we are here to tell you it is NOT the place you think it is.

    Withheld meals: This was not done due to "malingering". It was done if you didn't pass a chore which meant they took a piece of paper and fanned the floor of a room meant to house 30 people and if they found even one dust bunny, you failed and had to do it ALL over again...not just pick up the dust bunny. This meant sweeping, scrubbing the floors with a scrub brush and towel on your hands and knees, dusting every table, windowsill or bed, etc. a second time and pray to God they didn't find another dust bunny. You had 45 minutes per chore and usually had 3 chores a day. Some days more. Keep in mind you were not cleaning up after just yourself but for 30 other people.

    Another "tradition" they had was returning your uneaten food to you the next meal. If, for whatever reason, you didn't finish your food you got it back, cold, the next meal.

    One last note. The "atheistic pornographer" was not just some random person who joined our ranks for the fun of it. He was a concerned relative of a girl incarcerated at Hephzibah House. Danetta Kester Fisher, resident of Hephzibah House 1987-1989

    Hat tip to Darrell Dow of Stuff Fundies Like for these documents.--Jeri Massi, Blog on the Way

    Click here for the CNN report on abuse at Hephzibah House.