Well, I’ve put off writing this post for weeks. Honestly, it seems silly to dignify the accusations by refuting them here, but I guess the rumors have spread far enough that I should address it, especially for people who might be new here.
As you may remember, in the fall, Teen Mania commissioned a lawyer, who then comissioned a private investigator to investigate me. This investigator called my friends and harassed them in a pathetic attempt to dig up dirt on me. Since they were unable to find something true to smear me with, they have resorted to lies instead.
For many months now, Heath Stoner has been telling people (including the entire intern class and people who call to ask about the truth in my blog) that I serve alcohol to underage minors. This is patently untrue and actually quite laughable.
This story first originated in Heath’s first interrogation of Hannah (you may remember she was routinely interrogated after he discovered her friendship with me.) This was the same interrogation in which she was forced to call me and cancel her plane ticket go back home (read about it here). Exasperated at the continued questioning and pressure, and after a full day of isolation in an office supervised by HA personnel, Hannah felt the need to make something up in order to satisfy Heath and get him off her back. So she told him that I gave her alcohol.
Of course, this wasn’t true, but at that point, I don’t blame her for trying to do whatever she could to get out of the situation. There is a reason there are proper procedures for legally admissible interrogations – its easy to manipulate someone into saying things that aren’t true when you know the right techniques.
So, just a few days later on September 16th, 2010, Hannah sent this email to Heath Stoner and Dave Hasz:
To Heath Stoner, David Hasz, et al,
I have at no time been offered any alcoholic drink from anybody related to the Recovering Alumni movement after it was discovered that I was slightly underage. I have not consumed alcohol since I began involvement with Teen Mania and at no time has any alcoholic beverage been given to me. Any statement or implication from you or the Teen Mania Ministry that I was/ I have is patently false. Any prior statements that I may have made otherwise were under coercion of the Teen Mania leadership. I am not being forced to send this AT ALL
Well, far be it from Teen Mania to let a little thing like the truth stand in their way. Even after receiving this note from Hannah, and even after confronting me to my face about it in which I told them their facts were incorrect, THEY CONTINUE to spread this untrue rumor about me in an attempt to undermine my credibility and steer the focus away from the wrongs they are committing.
And now, I’m not sure if its just the rumor mill at work or if Teen Mania purposely enlarged the lie, but the current rumor is that I lure interns off campus and give them drugs and alcohol so that they will be dismissed.
When I heard this, my first thought was, couldn’t they come up with a more believable lie? I’m sure it wouldn’t be hard to come up with some sin that I might actually commit – but drug use? Are you kidding me? I wouldn’t even have the first clue where to get drugs, much less how to smoke them….This is just so stupid that its absurdly preposterous. And I’ve never even finished an entire alcholic beverage on my own – I don’t like the taste! I have a few hard lemonades in the fridge for when we have company. Thats pretty much the extent of my alcholic “lifestyle.”
But again, Teen Mania doesn’t let the truth get in the way of their plans.
I don’t know which is more absurd – thinking that I dole out illegal substances or that I want interns to get dismissed. I’m against nearly the entire “dismissal” system because I think it tells interns that they are rejected by God. This fallout from that abhorrent message is the chief reason I am motivated to tell interns that they are loved by God, not rejected!
So yeah, the whole thing is absurd, and of course its not backed up by facts – because there are none.
So what is the bottom line?
1) Teen Mania has zero facts to base their allegations on. Only one coerced testimony which was later retracted. (And if they really believe I give drugs to kids, why didn’t they report me to the police?)
2) Why does Teen Mania lie and attempt to smear my reputation? BECAUSE THEY ARE AFRAID. They do not want people finding out the truth and avoiding the Honor Academy. They need the money and the free labor. If it dries up, Teen Mania will cease to exist.
3) EVEN IF everything they said was true – how does that change the fact that they have abused people?? It doesn’t. No matter what sins I may commit – they are the ones that are still abusing people.
Even if my credibility were impaired by such an offense, you cannot deny the countless voices testifying here and elsewhere. Literally dozens of other interns have shared their stories both in blog posts and in the comments. Just read the “true stories” category on the right sidebar to see for yourself.
Of course my first reaction to all of this was anger, but now that I’ve had time to reflect I believe this is actually a very good sign. If this community was not effective in sharing the truth about Teen Mania, they would not bother lying about me.
So, for those of you that are long time readers and fellow recovering alumni, don’t let this get you down or angry. Let it encourage you to keep speaking out and sharing your story. The truth cannot be silenced.