Sunday, January 23, 2011

Dr. Graham's Mini-Autobiography (opinion by Rebecca A. Reier)

Note these words by John Graham [1]: “She walked faithfully beside me on this journey from the construction business in Texas, to a seminary in Indiana, to pastoring three small and oftentimes difficult, churches in Ohio. Then when I grew disillusioned with the traditional pastorate, she encouraged me to move into the street where the needs of the people we met were overwhelming most of the time. Yet through it all, she stuck with me amidst all of the criticism, financial emergencies, disappointment and setback, and even the legal battles that always accompany radical ministry.”

Note the words that are reflective of the doom and gloom brought upon our city as a result of his current “radical ministry” (difficult churches, disillusioned with traditional pastorates, criticism, legal battles). Do the ministers and the religious members of our community truly support a contract that will not provide appropriate support systems such as mental health therapists, psychiatrists, parole officers and law enforcement? If not, then how can they possibly give lip-service to Graham’s contract that cannot even begin to provide the mental health, substance abuse services, and law enforcement supervision that sex offenders require? Are the ministers prepared to provide for the future victims of recidivism that is known to occur [2] when sex offenders are clustered in an environment bereft of the very services they need? At the June 2010 Conference of the National Institute of Justice, Alisa Klein, MS, Public Policy Consultant, Association for the Treatment of Sex Abusers, Beaverton, Ore. stated, “These kinds of stressors (i.e. the lack of mental health and substance abuse services, jobs etc) on sex offenders’ lives are shown to actually raise their risk for recidivating”. [3]

We must hold the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections (that neither rehabilitates nor corrects) accountable for the consequences of irresponsible dumping of sex offenders in large numbers into communities lacking psychiatric and law enforcement professionals necessary to deal with their superimposed drug addictions and psychoses.

Rebecca A. Reier (footonotes are below the jump)

[1] Citizen Circle: A mentoring model for rehabilitating ex-felons in Darke County Ohio March 9, 2009

[2] SOCIAL DISORGANIZATION AND REGISTERED SEX OFFENDERS: AN EXPLORATORY SPATIAL ANALYSIS. Geetha Suresh University of Louisville Elizabeth Ehrhardt Mustaine University of Central Florida Richard Tewksbury University of Louisville George E. Higgins University of Louisville 2010

As socially disorganized neighborhoods (those with high poverty, low income, high unemployment, and more vacant housing) receive increasing numbers of RSOs it is likely that the social capital and overall desirability of such neighborhoods will only continue to deteriorate. This suggests that when RSOs are relegated in high concentrations in socially disorganized neighborhoods these neighborhoods are likely to remain or become yet more socially undesirable to residents, and increasingly house only those who are there not by choice but only by forced circumstance. Such communities can be expected to continue to physically deteriorate, and subsequently attract or tolerate increasing crime rates and social pariahs (Gault and Silver, 2008; O’Shea, 2006; Sampson and Radenbush, 1999; Wilson and Kelling, 1982). This suggests that social processes which have the effect of relegating RSOs to disadvantaged and undesirable communities will only serve to drive those neighborhoods deeper into social problems.

[3] Panel discussion: June 2010 Conference for the National Institute of Justice. “We know that sex offenders returning to communities who are publicly notified upon suffer from loss of jobs and unemployment, employment instability. They suffer often from harassment and physical assault. They have chronic difficulties finding places to live, finding jobs, and they are frequently forced to the outskirts of communities into increasingly rural areas where they're not going to be able t o access the kind of specialized supervision and services that they may need to not re-offend. These kinds of stressors on sex offenders’' lives are shown to actually raise their risk for recidivating. We know from the general criminogenic literature and we know from the sex offender-specific research that when sex offenders have stable jobs, housing, social bonds to the community in which they live and they are able to continue their family relationships, they are going to be less likely to re-offend. So, certainly for policymakers, we need to be thinking about those kinds of questions, you know, what are the unintended consequences, what are the collateral consequences of the decisions we're making, especially when they're not based on the research that we're seeing.”


  1. A big thank you coming from a very close neighbor of Graham and his homes. Thanks for all of your research. I cannot believe the support from the local clergy, including my own. It's one thing to support it, but it's a different story to live beside it. The Good Samaritan homes are unorganized and completely out of hand. Thanks again.

  2. A sex offender is not sorry for what they did, they are only sorry that they got caught. If you wanted to help someone stop smoking you wouldn't put them in an environment where others smoke. The urge to smoke only goes away when you no longer associate with smokers or go to places where the joys of smoking is a subject of conversation.

  3. At the last Greenville Council meeting Jim Morehouse Minister from the East Main Church of Christ read a letter that several members of the Ministerial Association signed. The signed letter stated they were against moving the buffer zone from 1000 ft to 1500 ft. For some odd reason the newspaper nor the video include all the names.
    Since I was out of town and missed the City Council meeting does anyone know all the names who signed the paper and would post the names. Thank you

  4. Dear Greenville City Council Member,

    The following is in response to your present consideration of expanding the "buffer zone" in which former sexual offenders can reside, especially in light of such an ordinance eliminating the ministry of the Good Samaritan Home. While we are certainly in favor of providing a safe environment for children and any other residents, there seems to be no research data that shows expanding a "buffer zone" makes neighborhoods and cities safer. In reality, since former sexual offenders are a part of our community, there is greater safety in allowing some degree of monitoring, like the Good Samaritan Home provides.
    There is certainly a lot of "middle of the road" support for the Good Samaritan Home that feels that trying to help anyone--even an ex-convict--become a productive member of society is simply the right thing to do. As Christians, we are called to be motivated, not by blind fear, but by Christ's love as we reach out and minister even to those who society may think are not worth redeeming. Those who are worth redeeming includes even sexual offenders as surely as it includes each of us.
    We are aware of no adverse effects that the Good Samaritan Home has had in our city and for the long-term welfare of our community this ministry needs to be able to continue on. We would ask that you take no action that would harm this valuable ministry in our community. You will continue to be in our prayers as you serve our residents.
    In Christ's Service,
    The following members of the Greater Greenville Ministerial Association:

    Rev. Douglas J. Klinsing & congregation (Christian & Missionary Alliance Church)

    Rev. James Morehouse & congregation (East Main Church of Christ)

    Rev. Dale Boeger & congregation (First Assembly of God)

    Rev. Joene Herr (of St. Matthew, Ithaca)

    Father White (of St. Mary Catholic Church)

    Ann Kolb (of St. Mary Catholic Church)

    Rev. Hal Robarge

    Rev. Pete Kontra (of Oakland Church of the Brethren)

    Rev. Bob Bitner (of Brethren Retirement Community)

    Rev. Joe Soley (of Hospice, etc.)


    Rev.. Douglas J. Klinsing, President of the GGMA

  5. Wow. I respected some of the people who signed that. I feel differently about them now.

  6. I am shocked at the ministers who support this! This is a serious stance to take. This has certainly put an uneasiness in my thoughts.

    I can't believe they are so "ignorant" of the issue at hand especially if they aren't aware of any adverse effects in the community. They sure don't get around much. There are police men that don't think it is a good situation. It isn't safe to walk the streets at night. Yes, there is fear that is imported and we do not deserve. We are not talking about treatment of people. We are talking about a dumping ground straight from prison.

    Yes, we would accept our own back into our society to work with and try to change. We expect that. These are not just our own people who are coming back from inprisonment to our community. This is a deliberate act of bringing a lot of men who have committed a sexual crimes, not to mention other crimes, into a small community that they did not come from. We need to think very seriously about what is going on.

    People, don't stick your head in the sand. You need to know who lives around you, know who is working in your yard, know who is working on your house, pay attention to who is parked next to you in the parking lots & on the street, pay attention to who is sitting next to you at events, church or the memorial hall. Please, please, please pay attention to your surroundings for your own safety.

  7. Rebecca,

    Not all ministers within Greenville are supportive of the process being used to accomplish one's ends, including John's. Your article generalizes to include all ministers. Note those that signed. They are of the opinion you are responding to.

    However, while I agree in principle for the need of such "activity," I find myself not in agreement with the process currently before the city council. this process does not seek to find a suitable solution to an obvious fact and need. What I have observed is that through rhetoric and process chosen, it has done more to polarize the issue, and many people. What it is not doing is really affective addressing the issue. DJ

  8. I am truly disappointed in the letter from some of the members of the Greater Greenville Ministerial Association. It might prove helpful to others in the Greenville Christian Community if other members of this association spoke out against the continued ministry of Dr. Graham. A questions to those who signed this letter would be "Would any of you support Dr. Graham's mission is he purchased a property next door to you?" A huge adverse effect is property values all over the city. Another adverse effect is the drain on local resources by importing these homeless from all over the state. "For the long-term welfare of the community this mission needs to continue," whose welfare exactly? Dr. Graham's?

    For the good of the long-term welfare of the community, in my opinion, this mission needs to be halted ASAP.

    My prayer is that the Council will vote in support of this ordinance.

  9. Note the phrase “As Christians we are all called to be motivated, not by blind fear, ….” The implications of that phrase are (1) That the zoning law is a religious issue; when indeed it is a secular issue created by the Ohio Dept. of Rehabilitation and Corrections policy of dumping sex offenders known to have psychiatric and drug problems combined with a propensity for dangerous recidivism.(2) The phrase “motivated, not by blind fear” is a propaganda scheme based on insulting the integrity of those who choose to protect the innocent. This is NOT a religious passage but instead a scurrilous tactic launched against those that oppose their view. Even children know that you do not line up with a bully just because he’s had his nose bloodied.
    Author note

  10. "Say what you will about pedaphiles, they always slow down at schools and playgrounds." THE ANNUAL JOKE SHOW, PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION.

  11. I wonder how many of the clergy who signed that letter have taken sex offenders and or child molesters into their personal homes? After all, they expouse how Christian they are surely they have allowed some of these men into their homes. This is a legal and safety issue, NOT a religious issue. Talk is cheap folks. You people who signed that letter need to step up and let us know how many of these so's are currently living with your family? Until then, you need to stick to matters of religion and faith. Just my opinion.

  12. Re: January 23, 2011 8:52 a.m.

    In reading your post, I noticed that you had missed some of the other ministers that had also signed the letter those being:

    Rev. John Person, Pastor First Presbyterian Church

    Rev. Ron Sherck

    Rev. Peter Menke, Pastor, Lutheran

    and more ministers and church people coming to support the GGMA's position every day.

  13. I went to Christian and Missionary Alliance when it was a real church. That was over 15 years ago. The Rev. of CM&A signs "The congreation"-I know many personally that don't agree. Can't wait to tell them all what they are supporting-Disgusting! So THAT right there is a lie-I don't need to listen to him anymore! What's his name- Klinsing? What a joke.

  14. The state needs to cut the program and let them go back to where they came from before they went to prison. Save the state some money and help make our town safer. Their own community has them. Pure & simple.

    This program is totally unreasonable!

  15. I applaud the members of the Greater Greenville Ministerial Association who obeyed their calling to stand with Christ on this issue. You may be sure they each did their homework before publicly weighing in on such an unpopular issue. But Christ does not call us to align with the masses, but rather with that which is right. More of the above naysayers and fearmongers ought to read the Sermon on the Mount.

  16. JANUARY 24 @ 11:50-Right On! It's simple. Just send them back where they came from. You don't have to group them together ANYWHERE. I thought they were expected to live amongst society, not with other pervs (some of which WILL reoffend). We have better things to spend money on and this town is already in trouble.

  17. This is not a religious issue, and I personally don't care what any christian, Jew or any other religion thinks. It's a issue of safety. If they are so comfortable with the animals walking the streets, then lets move them all them all to THEIR neighborhood, and let them attend their churches, maybe they can even 'reform' them in their Sunday schools and leave the rest of our community safe.

  18. There wouldn't be fear if jg, involved the neighborhood. BUT he did not!!!Where's all these mentors? How many hours do they spend daily,weekly, or monthly with these men. Who takes them back to their home towns ( mon. thru fri.) to look for jobs,housing,or a church?Or are mentors, people who give jg money, free labor, materials for his houses? To me mentors work with the men and not just give to jg and pat him on the back.There is no way a husband and wife can monitor five houses with ex-convicts!!

  19. Being a member of the Lutheran Church, I have never supported Graham And never will!!!


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