Tuesday, June 4, 2013

An Interview With Jaime Prater, Filmmaker Raised At JPUSA, Alleged Sexual Abuse Within

Jaime (right) with his brother
Uptown Update first heard from Jaime Prater back in 2009 telling us about a documentary he was putting together called Born, the recollections of several people who were raised in a Christian intentional community here in Uptown, Jesus People USA ("JPUSA").  We ran a blurb about it, and didn't hear anything more from him until March of this year.

The documentary had changed, and was now called No Place To Call Home: Growing Up In A Religious Commune.  The focus was now Jaime's own history, in which he claims to have been sexually abused as a child while at JPUSA, and then ostracized.  The film includes interviews with Jaime's family, as well as with others with similar claims of child sexual abuse.

We ran, at Jaime's request, a link to his Kickstarter page so he could get funding to complete the documentary:  he was looking for $6,000 to finish the editing process and to travel to interviews.  Two days later, he asked us to take down the link to his page, and we complied.

He achieved his Kickstarter goal, and actually exceeded it by $775.  He's been adding to the page (under the "updates" tab) with excerpts from the interviews he's done and some of his reflections.  It's powerful stuff.  [Warning:  If you visit the page, some of the interviews may be trauma triggers for abuse victims.  People speak with raw emotions and graphic details about their claims of child sexual abuse.]

We've kept in touch and asked Jaime if he would be willing to do an email interview to talk about what's going on with the documentary, and he agreed.  The interview is below.  Except for formatting, we haven't changed anything.  We make no claims one way or the other as to the veracity of Jaime's claims; we leave you to judge his story as told in his own words.

Q.  Some biographical information:  When did your family move in with JPUSA and how old were you?  How long did you and they stay there?  When did you leave?  Did your family stay after you left?
A.  My family moved into Jpusa in 1978. I was two years old. My family and I stayed until August of 1999. My parents, and my sister (who was born there) moved out six months earlier.  Moving out was never easy. I was attending Columbia College (one of the only people at the time allowed to) and eventually, I moved out with my older brother who had left Jpusa in 1988. (Here's a link for a 1983 documentary done by [WTTW's] Image Union on Jpusa:  http://mediaburn.org/video/image-union-episode-618/)

Q.  When did the sexual abuse you say you experienced begin?  How old were you?
A.  The sexual abuse started when I was 10, that would be in 1986. I was 10 years old.

Q.  Did you report the alleged sexual abuse to anyone at the time?  Did you tell your parents?  What response did you receive from people you told, if you told anyone?
A.  I reported the abuse to a 'mentor' of sorts. He said he would investigate. The man I accused denied it. I persisted. They asked him again. He continued to deny it. Nothing happened. He remained in my bedroom. It was Jpusa practice to put single men and women in children's rooms. No background checks were ever performed.

Q.  Were you aware of anyone else who said they were experiencing sexual abuse while you were at JPUSA?  If not, how did you become aware that you weren't the only one who said he was being allegedly abused?
A.  At the time, I had no idea anyone else was experiencing anything similar. Of course now, I realize it was RAMPANT. Allegedly unreported, swept under the rug, etc... When I began to realize that I wasn't the only one who had been sexually abused, I was an adult, and talking about my experiences with others I had grown up with.

Q.  Was it just one person who was allegedly sexually abusing kids at JPUSA or more than one?  What were the ages and genders of the person or people allegedly doing the abusing?  How about their alleged victims?
A.  There were allegedly multiple adults, male and female, preying upon the kids at Jpusa. Statistically, in terms of kids who grew up contacted. Of the 70 (out of 140) who responded, 50 PERCENT were molested by an adult living in the commune. (I will include the statistics in a follow-up email.) The victims were also both male and female.  [UU Note:  The statistics Jaime refers to can be found on his Kickstarter page as Update #5.]

Q.  The interviews on the clips that you have filmed are just horrifying.  With allegations like a four-year-old allegedly being penetrated by a 22-year-old, why do you think nothing was said at the time?  I think the average person would have to question how allegations this horrendous and widespread were kept secret for so long.
Jaime Prater.  Both photos used in this post were provided by,
and used with the permission of, Jaime Prater.
A.  In my opinion, allegedly nothing was being done because it would have put Jpusa in the spotlight. Child sexual abuse was widespread, and if it had come out Jpusa would have been in jeopardy of losing everything. Ergo, all of it was dealt in-house. "In-house" meant, children were isolated from others. Often times the accused abuser was left alone.  I was taken out of Jpusa's home school and isolated for 3.5 years, until the age of 16.5 I could not go anywhere unsupervised. Not in the hallway, downstairs, nowhere but my bedroom or parent's room.

Q. What do you think your documentary will accomplish?
A.  I hope the documentary will draw larger media attention to the dangers of cults, which I am alleging that Jpusa is structurally. Also, and more importantly, I want justice for what myself and so many of my Jpusa brothers and sisters experienced while growing up. Justice to me is: number one, removal of the core leadership council not just from power, but from the building; [and] number two, to continue to shine a light on these practices that seem to haunt religious and corporate institutions. Many of the people I've interviewed for this project are not in good places in their lives. I believe a component to justice is ensuring a better life for those of us who are survivors of the trauma we lived through. A civil case is in the works at this moment to do just that.

Q.  If all your hopes came true for the documentary, what would happen?

A.  My hopes for the documentary is some kind of distribution so that anyone, anywhere in the world will be able to watch it and learn. Right now, I'm still wrapping up my interview process, and I will begin the editing process for a July end date, hopefully.

Q.  Now that the documentary is fully funded through Kickstarter, what are your plans for completing it and by what means do you want to release it?

A.  I will say, Kickstarter was a priceless resource to be able to raise funds...I was a bit naive in terms of costs involved in completing a film of this scale.  I probably should have tried to raise double that amount. I'm on the right course however. I work full time so I work on the documentary and fly across the country on my days off, and vacation time.  In terms of releasing...HBO would be a fantastic outlet for this kind of thing...or PBS, so it could be more widely seen. Netflix streaming is also something that's quite doable.

Q.  Do you feel like saying why you asked UU to take down the link to your Kickstarter page after two days?
A.  I requested Uptown Update to take down the Kickstarter page as I was feeling some internal heat that the film's association with UU meant that I wanted to destroy Jpusa. Having spoken with UU about how they feel about Jpusa, I am at a point where I am comfortable with this interview.  From what I've been told, the people at Jpusa believe that UU wants Jpusa to close its doors. I want to be unequivocal... I in no way, shape or form wish to see Jpusa taken down, with the exception of the core leadership, most of whom are related by blood or marriage, are self-elected and have been in their positions of all power since the early '70s.

Q.  Are you angry about your alleged abuse?  At whom?
A.  I am not angry about my abuse, despite the fact that the man I accused has never confessed to it. My anger was always towards the people who persuaded my parents that shuttering me away from society was the best course of action. The leadership also recommended that my parents send me away, but they refused. The isolation did far more damage in my life, than anything else..the effects of which I continue to deal with today.

Q.  Would you like to see people punished for committing or not stopping the alleged abuse you experienced?  How and whom?
A.  The court of public opinion is punishment enough. Jpusa is officially Jesus People USA Evangelical Covenant Church.  My hope would be for the Covenant Church to take action and remove those responsible for an environment that fostered ongoing child sexual abuse.

Q.  Are any of the people responsible for the alleged abuse or the alleged non-response to it still at JPUSA?  How many?
A.  There is only one that I know of, who was allegedly accused, confessed, but never prosecuted. This person resides as a full member of Jpusa at this very moment.

Q.  This is a really controversial subject that you're addressing in your film.  Are you afraid that you, or people interviewed in it, might be harassed or discredited?
A.  I am not afraid. Again, in the court of public opinion, you start to try and discredit survivors of child sexual abuse, you will be crucified for it. There is nothing to fear. I do live about 3 miles from Jpusa, and I've questioned my physical safety from time to time, but ultimately, I believe I am doing what's right.

Q.  Are you surprised how many people opened up to you and were willing to be filmed for the documentary?
A.  I am SHOCKED at the outpouring of stories that came about after posting a rough edit in a private Facebook group. I couldn't believe the caliber of story, and the darkest and deepest of pain that would be revealed. I've been talking about child sexual abuse non-stop since March of this year.  I'm almost out of the right words to articulate the horror that I've chronicled.

Q.  Are you surprised at the reaction that you've gotten, just from the Kickstarter campaign and the clips you've put online?  Readers have sent us several articles from the religious press [such as "Jesus People Conflict: The Next Generation" in Midwest Christian Outreach] about your documentary and it hasn't even been released yet.
A.  I am not surprised as much as I am comforted by the outpouring of support. This is the unabashed truth, and it's taken a good while to start marching through this forest.

Q.  What is your advice for people who have been, or still may be being, abused by someone in a religious situation?
A.  My advice for those who have been, or may still be going through sexual abuse...seek help. If your parents or your church aren't taking you seriously, then tell your teacher, your principal, your school nurse. Never stop telling the truth, never let your voice be silenced by the ignorance and fear of others.

Q.  Have you been in touch with SNAP or do you feel your situation is different since you weren't raised in a Catholic setting?
A.  I have not been in touch with SNAP at the present moment.

Q.  When will the film be released?

A.  I am hoping to be done with the film in July of this year. In terms of release, I need a distributor, which I do not have at the time of this writing.

Q.  Is there anything else you'd like people who read this to know?
A.  I want everyone to know that I do this because I feel like I must. I've kept my story close to my heart for so many years of my life. When I first talked about it, no one believed me. I am doing this project to be a vehicle for those who had no voice. Now they can speak, we can speak as one.

Addendum:  Jaime later contacted us to add:  "Jpusa's roots almost mirror the film The Village by M. Night Shyamalan. When I try and describe the life there, that's my go-to film so people can understand. People just don't understand what living in a commune/cult is like. They don't get the appeal, etc."


  1. Wow.

    Jaime - your work is courageous, tenacious and you have a beautiful aesthetic. This story is personal, but I look forward to seeing what comes next.

    :) Hugs.

  2. I hope DCFS gets hold of this then all the victims sue the hell out of everyone over there that let this happened and bankrupt it. To think this organization is in our neighborhood and RUNNING HOMELESS SHELTERS...I ask the authorities that read this... What is happening to THOSE children who are already vulnerable and voiceless? A much larger investigation is in order...

  3. I'm waiting for the expose on Catholic Church abuse in Uptown to run.....

  4. I've been following this since the "kickstarter" blurb appeared and disappeared on UU. It's been interesting watching Jaime's updates and the various other commentary out there on the internet.

    I particularly recommend the Midwest Christian page that UU linked to.

    More than a few former JPUSAers comment there including at least one who seemed fairly high up in the bureaucracy of the group.

    To Jaime Prater all I will say is two things.

    First, channel the spirit of the recently deceased Father Andrew Greeley. He was ostracized for bringing the sex abuse crisis in the Catholic Church into public focus. Many of his fellow priests, the Catholic hierarchy and many Catholic laypeople attacked him. He was right and is being eulogized as a hero of a sort. They were wrong and should be ashamed.

    Second, Saint Maximilian Kolbe had a quote that he tried to live his life by before he died in a Nazi Death camp:

    "No one in the world can change truth. What we can do and should do is seek it and serve it when it is found."

    There was a movie that came out around 2006 called "Deliver Us From Evil" on the sex abuse crisis in the Catholic church. The most horrible thing about it was that the worst person in the documentary wasn't the main pedophile priest, but the now Cardinal and Monsignor who enabled and tried to hide the pedophile.

    The hero of the movie was a roving Catholic priest who had been ostracized by many of his fellow priests and the hierarchy. He made it his life's mission to minister to the victim's of sexual abuse and try to stop continued abuse.

    I hate to channel Dante, but if there's a hell there might be more than a few "enablers" roasting while those they ostracized are sitting in heaven drinking Guinness and listening to the heavenly choir sing "Wild Thing".

  5. Thank you UU for publishing this, and all of your work.

    J M Prater

  6. Thanks Jamie and UU for talking about this. Perhaps one of the saddest things that happened to many who left JPUSA was that a few years ago an ex-JPUSA forum was hijacked by a few still inside the JPUSA cult and a few sympathetic ex-JPUSA's. The result was that MANY of the worst stories by ex-JPUSA's ( including other stories of rape, sexual molestation of children and death by medical neglect ) are now "buried" in a site that no one has access to, all because an individual sympathetic to the cult ( and compassionless to those damaged by the cult) took over as moderator.

  7. The Chicago FBI office number is 312-421-6700.

    Moderator -

    Due to the nature of this topic, can it be brought back to the top of the blog from time to time?



  8. Someone is deleting comments I'm making on Topix/Chicago under the "Sex Crimes at Chicago Cult: JPUSA" thread. Trott perhaps?
    Can others post there?


  9. I am one of the victims of sexual abuse that grew up at jpusa. That being said..... Don't use this film as an excuse to talk about the homeless shelters. The homeless shelters jpusa runs are the best thing they do. I am also in the documentary . - tabitha trott

  10. Ms. Trott, I am glad to see you are speaking out and I am truly sorry for the hell you went through But I think it would be a huge travesty, criminal and intellectually dishonest to not investigate what might be happening/has happened at the JPUSA homeless shelters. If such horrific things were happening to those that had a home under the JPUSA supervision, I shudder to think what may have happened to the innocent children that were the most vulnerable in the homeless shelters they ran.

  11. Good point Uptown Superhero.
    Several years ago, on an ex-JPUSA forum that was destroyed by pro-JPUSA's, someone posted about an elderly man who was raped in the senior center. The crime was taken care of "in house" - as are most JPUSA crimes.
    The Feds need to investigate EVERYTHING that JPUSA does.

  12. I agree with Tabitha about the shelter I have nothing but good memories of my time as a kid at cco nothing happen to me or my family while we lived their.I also was a member of jpusa when I left the shelter at 17 years old. I didn't think of it as a cult but all my friends and family did it wasn't till I was told to leave that I started to learn about jpusa and all the rumors.

  13. Thankyou Shaun .... I also worked at the shelter for a long time. There's only at handful of people from jpusa working there..... They hire other people from outside the commune to work there too. Don't use this as a reason to try to shut down homeless shelters so the newcomers can gentrify the neighborhood and get rid of the homeless. Thankyou,

    Tabitha trott

  14. No one said anything about shutting it down. I said it should be investigated. If nothing happened why would ANYONE have an issue with that?

  15. The names of the Jesus
    People USA Pastors are:

    Tom Cameron
    John Herrin
    Tina Herrin
    Ron Brown
    Neil Taylor
    Victor Williams
    Glen Kaiser

  16. Here is some more info and a link to another site:

    The recent police investigation was spurred in the spring

    "a number of people are reporting they believe there is abuse based on past history."

    police "will investigate any further allegations" about abuse at the commune


  17. Forgot to mention this link covering history of JPUSA
    and forum of ex-members of JPUSA.


  18. Here's a link to video's of the criminals/pastors that CONTROL the rest of the people in the CULT of JPUSA:


  19. More and more citizens in the Uptown and neighboring Chicago
    neighborhoods such as Buena Park, Andersonville, Lakeview, Albany Park, and Edgewater are becoming aware of and conscience
    stricken by the news of 69 or more children being molested and then isolated. This awareness compounded with the facility at 920 W. Wilson Avenue already being a place where kids and adults were living in a state of continually being violently battered with no action every done to the perpetrators shows the people of Chicago at large that there is something more here than just simple cover ups and turning ones' attention away from overt criminal activity for years.

    What are the reasons JPUSA leaders who have committed acts of
    battery and obstruction of justice when those molested reported their abuse and were told to not call the police through religious intimidations?

    Could it be that Mayor Emmanual an the family that runs the CCO
    shelter have ties going way back? Chris Ramsey and Sandy Ramsey's son describes how Chris and Rham used to sit on the porch when they were growing up in Andersonville and drink beers (even at that time the beer Rham drank had to be politically correct) Does the mayor have so much power that
    he can tell the Chicago police force to back off of an investigation that should have taken place years ago?

    Does anyone know the names of the molesters who used to live at Jesus People USA? - one reported to still be living there.

    Now that JPUSA has just sold its land in Bushnell Illinois getting a reported 2 million dollars for it, is JPUSA going to compensate those molested who have been thrown out of the commune as those who couldn't take living the Christian lifestyle (including being molested)?

    Seth's testimony point's out that it was known by the group that molestations were happening but nothing was done - it was allowed.

    Are there families who are XJPUSA's who know who the molesters are and where they are now?

    JPUSA continues in its state of no accountability to its own members most of whom do not know about the molestations because their emails, mail, web browsing, comings and going are all monitored by the JPUSA installation.

    There is no outside accountability of the group either since
    the Evangelical Covenant Church is only a puppet accountability. Nor record has been made anywhere of any
    decision of JPUSA being overided by the Evangelical Covenant Church.

    Have women come forward who were told to have abortions if they wanted to stay in the commune since they were previously told they could not have kids?

    Has the money stolen from the State of Illinois been returned since JPUSA has considered itself a shelter when it was not a shelter thus stealing food from the ILLINOIS Food Depository. Money that should have gone to people who were really homeless?

    Does the Uptown community know that JPUSA pastor Tom Cameron is a licenced lawyer and that all JPUSA descisions including those that were illegal were known by him and the commune?

    Do rimes happening years ago mean that they are not crimes anymore? Or are the molesters and batterers still accountable for their crimes in the past right now?

  20. http://twitpic.com/photos/RahmEmanuel?page=7
    Mayor Emmanuel
    the tenth photo down at Cornerstone Community Outreach
    runned by Jesus People USA Commune

    Who are Chicago's most vulnerable, those who stay at
    the shelter or those 69 children
    who have been sexually molested
    inside of Jesus People USA?

    1. News about the JPUSA cult and its abuses
      are spreading to more neighborhoods including
      River North, the suburb of Evanston, and Bronzeville.
      The Black community is concerned about whether or not
      the molestations were primarily against blacks or against
      all ethnicities and what the percentages are in relation to ethnicity.

      The two people named in the Kickstarter new Intro to the DVD - live in the Bessemer, Ironwood area of Upper Peninsula Michigan. They are planning on moving to the JPUSA installation on Wilson Avenue when they retire. Their names are Starr and Paul Kolsar. They ran the farm in Missouri where the beatings and molestations of multiple members occurred.

  21. I think the video has some terrible mistakes to bring to light. Maybe it would be better to hear more from the folks in the video rather than the last couple posters who are anonymous as well as bat-shit crazy. To any innocent bystanders, I lived at the joint for many years and support the quest for open discussion of this. But many of the comments on here are ridiculous. The Mayor (who I couldn't care less about) stuff is silly. The racist insinuations are way off. And I worked with Paul Kolesar for years. He was a gentle and honorable fellow from everything I know of him. And I have heard no reports of him being directly complicit in any of this. If you are going to bring the unhinged crazy into all of this, please post under your name we can get you your meds on time. Thanks. Love, Andrew Mandell

  22. That fist sentence is poorly written. It was meant to say that the documentary brings up some serious problems from the recent past. Apologies.

  23. whomever u are posting as unknown please understand that you are not helping, your comments are ridiculous and inflamatory, and poorly communicated. I am also in this doc.Please censor yourself and only speak about what u actually know.

  24. I would like to reiterate Andrews comment and state that many of the claims that Anonymous makes are factually wrong and misguided. However much I appreciate fervor, those kinds of incendiary and arbitrary comments only derail and corrupt the truth, they do not assist it.

    Jaime M Prater

  25. Anonymous, whomever they/he/she is, is not just misguided, many of his/her assumptions are factually inaccurate. They do not speak for me, or the supporters of the film.

    Jaime M Prater

  26. Thanks Andrew, my sentiments exactly. Unknown needs to come out of the shadows if he/she wants any credibility. These claims are outlandish to say the least and are not worthy of serious consideration.

  27. Unkown???
    you posted: "Chris Ramsey and Sandy Ramsey's son describes how Chris and Rham used to sit on the porch when they were growing up in Andersonville and drink beers (even at that time the beer Rham drank had to be politically correct)"
    Your information is flawed.
    They didn't grow up in Andersonville.
    I lived with Chris from the mid 1970's until 2000 in Uptown and I can tell you that he does did not drink beer.
    Let me be blunt.
    You don't know what you are talking about.
    There are plenty of legitimate concerns that people are voicing regarding JPUSA, but it does not help anyone's cause to post things which simply are not true.
    A wise man once told me, "If you don't know what you're doing, Stop it!"

  28. Okay, everyone take a breath.

    This is not open season, pro or anti-JPUSA. It's about Jaime Prater's documentary and the clips that he's put on his Kickstarter page previewing that documentary. It's about his personal experience growing up in JPUSA and those of the people he interviewed.

    I think if we keep comments to that narrow focus, rather than about JPUSA as an entity, we should be fine.

  29. I would like to formally make a few distinctions in terms of how I am proceeding as a filmmaker vs. some of the postings by Unknown and others.

    1. I love Jpusa. I always will. What I'm doing comes from the deepest sense of love and connection to a place that will ALWAYS be my childhood home.

    2. If comments are posted that are wildly inaccurate or alarming, you can rest assured, they aren't coming from me, or any of my supporters.

    3. I use my name. My supporters use their names. There is nothing to hide.

    4. There are people that will take the controversy surrounding my film and they will try and use it for their own devices and means. It's unfortunate, I want to try and stop it as much as I can, but I will not be able to.

    5. Any kind of malicious or mean spirited comments made towards ANYONE living at Jpusa are not cool with me. I'm involved in a project that's about bringing truth to light, I am not interested in assassinating anyone's character personally.

    6. It is obvious that I have strong opinions and beliefs when it comes to my experience at Jpusa as a child and a young adult, but my love for ALL of those people in those walls trumps my opinion of some of their practices in the past and present. Any attitudes expressed that aren't showing compassion or the truth in love ARE NOT representing me, or my film.

    Jaime M Prater

  30. At dinner in JAPUSA two days ago.........

    Seth Mount's testimony is said to be invalid because
    Seth was kicked out of JPUSA for molestations.......

    Sveah Johnson's testimony is said to be of no account
    because she herself admitted that she can't remember

    Jaime Prater couldn't even find a lawyer to press
    charges against the Counsel. (We are sure this is not
    true since Jaime Prater loves JPUSA but this is the
    hatred being shown to him at JPUSA now.)

    Former members of JPUSA that were in sins themselves were kicked out and are now angry at JPUSA so they are wrong
    for coming against JPUSA.

    Former members are creating lies out of thin air - they want
    JPUSA to be shut down out of spite.

    Former members are acting "LIKE SATAN""""""""

    "This lame assault against JPUSA is a joke,,,,,,
    The statements former members made are ridiculous,,,,,"

    If they were really JPUSA's in the past then they would
    not have left, they would have stuck it out and stayed with us.

  31. (I do not work for Jaime Prater and the actions listed below were not done at his request.)

    About 3 weeks ago I talked to JPUSA leader, Glenn Kaiser on the phone.
    I asked him if the leadership at JPUSA would be issuing a statement in response to the video footage on the net by ex-JPUSA's making claims of sexual molestation at JPUSA.
    His response: "Are any of these people followers of Jesus?"
    I asked him more questions about the molestation issue and talked about the video footage. At no time did he ever acknowledge that molestation occurred, nor did he express ANY sympathy for those who were molested.
    I remained very calm during the conversation, but was amazed at his ability to skirt the issue, and appalled by his lack of emotion.

  32. Mark,

    I have no love for JPUSA or what they stand for. They're a cancer on Uptown and I have little doubt that great psychological damage has been done to generations of children raised in their "friendly tower" and earlier buildings.

    Add in their complete disregard for being good neighbors to the community and I look forward to the day they disappear from Uptown and perhaps exist only in memory and history books. Whatever good they've done, and I'm sure there has been some, is outweighed by the bad.

    That being said your obsession with JPUSA is flat out not healthy for you and is not doing them any harm. I just looked your name up again and I see you believe Jon Trott and JP Paulus are the same individual. Nope. Paulus is a different person who lived in Uptown years ago and like you has his obsessions. Your obsession is JPUSA. JP's obsession is Uptown.

    When your enemies are destroying themselves get out of the way. If what you and "unknown" are saying is true then JPUSA as an organization is in the middle of a crisis and are not responding appropriately. To use a pirate analogy they're bailing water out of a sinking boat and not realizing that the stern of the boat is also on fire and that lawyer pirates are on the horizon and hoisting the Jolly "Billable Hours" Roger.


    Prayer doesn't put out flames.

    As for "unknown" your commentary here has been wacky enough that I almost wonder if you aren't a supporter of JPUSA trying to make Prater and his interviewees look bad. Most likely you're a disgruntled former or perhaps current member of JPUSA, but the other possibility does exist.

    As for JPUSA I will post some suggestions as how they should deal with this "crisis" in my next post. I have full faith that they will ignore me completely because when you call yourselves "The Jesus People" a certain amount of hubris and flat out fantasy necessarily takes over your world.

  33. An Open Letter to my JPUSA neighbors and moral betters--particularly their leadership the council, the gang of four, the four stooges, the unholy quadrumvirate or to quote Jeffrey Lebowksi "whathaveu".

    1. Holy Mother the Church--that would be the Catholic Church--in its more enlightened and forward thinking dioceses has found that apologies, honest and complete open dialogue and general decency has limited the number of lawsuits they faced over their sex abuse crisis and the amount of damages that have been paid. Now that has only happened in a limited number of dioceses. In other dioceses the bishops or cardinals have been obfuscating liars and pricks and in more than a few cases actively obstructed justice.

    2. Look to how Cardinals O'Malley and Wuerl dealt with the sex abuse crisis for good examples. Look to Cardinals Law, Dolan, and Mahoney for bad examples.

    3. Deal with these sex abuse allegations correctly and decently and JPUSA may survive. Deal with it as earlier commenters are suggesting and behold your future's end.

    As ridiculous as it may seem to those of us who doubt the existence of a celestial choir of angels and the rest of that rigoramaholymoley many of the people who claim to have been abused at JPUSA would probably be satisfied with an apology. Couple that with a good evangelical cry and lots of hugging and laughter and JPUSA would likely avoid a good number of lawsuits. Not all, but many lawsuits. Perhaps most. A genuine expression of regret goes a long way.

    Now of course I don't expect my JPUSA moral and intellectual betters to do the things I outlined here. That would be going against their entire raison de'etre. That's reason for being for those of you who aren't 2am pretentious pontificators like me.

    Nope, when you call yourself the "Jesus People" apologies and open dialogue just aren't likely. Think about the ultimate meaning of that name. THE JESUS PEOPLE.

    Almost by definition that makes everyone else the NON- Jesus People. Now couple that with the group being run for decades by a small group of individuals and you can sit back with me, pop some popcorn, and watch the enfolding sage of the not so good ship JPUSA as it struggles on the rocks and shoals of outrageous fortune and is eventually overcome by a tsunami of lawsuits.

    My guess that given the nature of litigation this will be a years or decades long drama. I don't think the JPUSA leadership is capable of apologizing and handling this like the better bishops in the Catholic church have handled it. I could be wrong. The Holy Spirit, for those of you who believe in such things, clearly had an unseen hand in selecting the new Pope and perhaps that unseen hand will work a similar miracle with JPUSA.

    I doubt it though. I suspect the Holy Spirit in on vacation for awhile after pulling that miracle off.

  34. wow......irish pirate....just wow :)....mark please listen to him....we are the luke....jp is darth ..... we have to handle it....because we love them. Btw i am tamzen trott.....jon trott I
    s mY father.

  35. Response from within JPUSA,
    Jaime Prater is gay so the reason why he couldn't get along at JPUSA was because he had sin in his life and now he is judging, persecuting, JPUSA. He and his friends are encouraging each other against JPUSA and are empowering themselves through persecution.
    Commune Leaders Tom Cameron and Neil Taylor said a soft word of "thanks for your upcoming video" to turn away wrath of those accusing JPUSA. Their statement is found on the DNA article, Rampant Abuse Alleged by Ex-members.....
    In reality, they are incredibly offended by what Xmembers would say about JPUSA since child molesters came to JPUSA with the leaders knowing about it but with the hope and intent of getting such people off of their serious addictions.
    Erik Johnson's testimony does not mean anything since he himself had a personal sexual problem that was so addictive, other members were not allowed to spend time with him playing computer games or other activities.
    People inside JPUSA still have sexual addictions. Those wanting to come to JPUSA to get off such addictions might do so, but there are members who have been at JPUSA for years who have these addictions along with extreme nightmares similar but not exactly like those described by Sveah.
    Members and X-members are both encouraged not to study JPUSA since studying JPUSA shows that these critics are looking for ways to judge the ministry.
    JPUSA members say the city sides with JPUSA and now more permits for funding the new projects at the Wilson building have been approved!
    Rick Ross's site against JPUSA has mysteriously disappeared and now a site -- Rick’s Top Five USA Online Casinos -- comes up in place of testimonies by Prater and others.
    JPUSA's say Ex-members had agendas of their own when coming to JPUSA and their own personal agenda for what the commune was supposed to do for them didn't work out and they found themselves doing what JPUSA wanted them to do for JPUSA. Ex-members didn't get what they wanted and now they are angry and can't get past it. Some x-members wanted to take over the commune and they wanted to be leaders. A grab for power. What are the intentions of the unemployed Prater? Does JPUSA need a quer -born and friends running the place?

  36. The Rick Ross site has been taken off.
    Maybe the most alarming statement was:
    The interviews on the clips that you have filmed are just horrifying. With allegations like a four-year-old allegedly being penetrated by a 22-year-old

  37. culteducation.com is Rick Ross's new domain name.

    His info on JPUSA can also be found at exjpusahelp.com

    Chapters 7 and 8 in "Recovering From Churches that Abuse" ( linked to at the same site ) have comments about and by one of JPUSA's leaders, Glenn Kaiser.

  38. JPUSA members pray that the kickstarter project is not completed. Some send a death wish out to harm those who oppose and expose JPUSA's many illegal actions against its own members. JPUSA's slander X-members to empower their own opinion of and concept of their own infallible ingrown group. More members of JPUSA are finding out about the kickstarter project and have their bubble of group pride broken since the constant policy of the JPUSA has been denial and disregarding "Satan's accusations". More members leave. This includes members who have been at JPUSA for many years. There are more members planning to leave - some based on learning of the multiple cases of child molestations. JPUSA remains "Above the Law".
    Still no accountability to:
    Chicago Police
    Alderman of Uptown
    Evangelical Covenant Church
    The local Body of believers in Chicago who have not confronted
    The people of the city of Chicago have not confronted JPUSA.

  39. Hmmm, I wonder if "Unknown" and "Mark Scheiderer" are the same person....

    How does his crap continue to pass moderation? Allowing him to post discredits UU and is an embarrassment. He's not a former JPUSA, never has been to JPUSA, and has no connections to Uptown. You should be kicking his platform out from under him instead of propping him up on it.

  40. Otto.

    palindrome babee, R U back with JPUSA? Have they requested you return from your upper midwest exile to lead them as pledge chairman or recruitment director? I can see the line in the future history of JPUSA: "and then in their darkest hour, in their moment of greatest need Otto returned to lead them." Then like something out of Monty Python a great heavenly foot will descend from the sky and crush the friendly towers building with the sound of something resembling a whoopee cushion and a laugh track being combined.

    Now "unknown" may actually be Scheiderer, but I don't think so. The writing style is more than a bit different. Scheiderer is clearly unbalanced with his obsession with JPUSA, but "unknown" seems less unbalanced. I'd guess "unknown" is a current or recent member of the sinking ship that is JPUSA.

    It's apparent to anyone paying any attention to the situation that JPUSA is facing a crisis. Call it a crisis of faith if you will or a crisis in leadership, but the result is the same. Turmoil, cats and dogs living together, real end of the world stuff. Also Lake Michigan may be boiling off Wilson Avenue. I need to walk over and take a look.

    In any case why the Holy WTF would UU take your advice to heart? If you had your way UU wouldn't exist and Shiller or one of her slackeys would be aldercritter. Said aldercritter would put no pressure on JPUSA or its various offshoots to clean up their acts and would likely spend a great deal of time at various police stations trying to get gangbangers released. Look up the word "Shiller" and Chicago Magazine for a link to "dat wittle" story.

    If I were running UU I wouldn't publish Scheiderer's comments because he's obsessed, but until proven differently I'd publish "unknown"'s.

    As for you giving UU advice if I were them I would do exactly the opposite of what you suggested. Not because you are wrong or right, but just as a general "in your face....thppppt"

    Where the "Holy Child Sex Abuse Scandal Batman" do you get off telling UU what to do? Did I die and did you become IrishPirate? Hell no.

    Either move back to Uptown and partake in the sinking ship that is JPUSA or stay wherever the hell you are now and say a prayer for your former compatriots. I'd also suggest praying for any former members of JPUSA who suffered emotional, sexual or physical abuse at JPUSA. It's clear that there are many victims out there.

    I suggest you do a bit of reading on Catholic martyr and saint Maximillian Kolbe. He had a little line about truth and no one being able to alter or change it.

  41. This goes out to Jaime Prater and the rest of the JPUSA diaspora fighting the good fight. It's the only version I could find with an evident tambourine. Tambourines and hippies go together like Guinness and drinking songs.

    Now that's clearly not the best "cover" of that song, but it ain't half bad.

    I leave you with something else. Something Springsteen wrote, but another band had to record it to do it justice.

    Do and justice. That seems to be the reason behind the coming documentary.

  42. We keep getting comments using this post as a forum on pros and cons of JPUSA. As I asked earlier, please let's keep this to the narrow parameter of this documentary and the clips that Jaime has put on his Kickstarter page. This is not pointed at any of the previous posts, but if you have tried to post and your comment hasn't been put through, it's because of that.

    When the documentary is ready, Jaime will let us know how to see it, either by posting to UU or on his Kickstarter page.

  43. Ok,

    so what you're sayin' CN is that this topic should be limited to discussing the movie and not a back and forth about the glory that is JPUSA?

    So in the future no one should post some link like this, which I ran across today on the Real Clear Religion site.

    Noted and "I hear ya".

  44. No more Seniors Church at JPUSA now that some Seniors in the Friendly Towers Program found out about multiple child molestations at JPUSA. Having Seniors church in a small room would allow there to be discussion about why the molestations were allowed, covered up and why the victims were isolated from each other, isolated into abuse with no chance of coming out of the abuse. Seniors must now go to the regular JPUSA service or somewhere else where they cannot have a voice regarding mismanagement by leaders who are liars.

  45. several current members of JP have started a facebook group that's covertly mocking the former members who endured sexual abuse. they are not making fun of people outright, but it's all in the what they post and how they post it. i call foul on that behavior.

  46. I left JPusa but I can't wait to do a documentary on Jamie Prater. You could not get the guy to leave Jpusa. You think he would want to leave. Thanks for stealing stuff from my room Jamie.

  47. Hey Marty,

    since you left JPUSA why don't you enlighten us on part of the reason you left. I understand your last "tenure" at JPUSA wasn't entirely without controversy. I'll leave it at that and I suggest you do too.

    Making unsubstantiated allegations against Jaime Prater is classless. I know classless. I\m without any class myself. Belch........

    Now from what I've seen of the documentary online it's fairly damning towards JPUSA, the leadership and many members.

    After it comes out you can and should make any valid criticisms you feel are necessary. If Prater's documentary unfairly portrays the alleged child abuse at JPUSA then you should certainly criticize it and him.

    Until then I suggest you wait and watch the documentary. Perhaps you will learn something. Perhaps not.

    In an earlier comment I quoted St Maximillian Kolbe. He died at the hands of the Nazis.

    "No one in the world can change truth. What we can do and should do is seek it and serve it when it is found."

    Let the truth ring out about JPUSA. Both the good, which I suspect has been minimal, and the bad.

    1. I was there I do not have to watch his crap. I already know what he is "Toting." I left because I was doing something else.

    2. Marty,

      don't make me open up a can of internet troll whoop ass on you. I really prefer not to. Now you left Uptown so please leave Uptown related blogs or at least this blog.

      You left JPUSA after what anyone familar with the events would call some "unhappiness". Let's leave it at that. Find something else to obsess about besides UU and Jaime Prater.

      Now no matter what you do here I won't open the aforementioned "can", but really it's best you move on to other things.

      Turn the page on you life or dare I say turn the other cheek!

  48. Attention Jaime Prater.

    Attention Jaime Prater.

    I ran into this the other day and perhaps the general idea is something you should consider.

    "Growing Up in a Religious Commune" lacks something in terms of marketing.

    Since most of us here, not named Marty Phillips or palindrome Otto in exile, want to see your DVD be successful I suggest you consider changing the name of the documentary.

    Here's a suggestion:

    Growing Up in a Vampire Religious Commune with the Dracula People".

    Ok, that whole vampire thing has played out.


    Zombies. "I grew up in a Zombie Religious Commune with the Undead People".

    I mean if you can scare up a photo of Jon Trott from the seventies or early eighties that should scare the bejaysas out of people and garner some great publicity. He sorta looked like a Zombie from the land of bad mullets in the video posted here.

    Ok, perhaps some people who are smarter and more talented than me can make some better suggestions.

    1. Thanks for your input IrishPirate. Feel free to email me privately at Jaimeprater@gmail.com

  49. A lot of Seniors in the Friendly Tower program are going to be leaving. The word about the Kickstarter project has spread from 7th to 8th to 9th and 10th floors in the Chelsea building at 920 W. Wilson.
    7th floor are JPUSA members
    8th floor are JPUSA members and Seniors and the criminally insane.
    9th floor is where the JPUSA offices are along with XJPUSA Seniors and other Seniors
    10th floor is Seniors
    People just don't feel safe in a group that has no internal or external accountability.
    JPUSA leaders are still not accountable to even their own members!

  50. For X JPUSAs who have been abused by Jesus People USA
    the official office to contact is:
    Cook County State's Attorney Office
    69 West Washington St
    Chicago, Illinois 60602

    The web site is

  51. In between Sunday Service and Bible studies long term JPUSA's can get into all kinds of hobbies. Here is a hobby by one member who has been in the commune for over 15 years.

  52. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3220014/ states that the film is to be released Monday, Jan. 27 .

  53. From within jpusa members show 0 love for xmembers who were victims. Jpusas r praying that the film be thwarted and not be shown. Lets see if the film comes out on jan 27 or whether jpusa attacks against it keep pushing the date of release farther and farther to a later date.

  54. http://www.noplacetocallhome.com/ states the film is coming out 2/24 and in the "news" section, mention is made of "the law suit".

  55. I'd suggest that if Jaime is looking for a place to "premiere" his documentary he consider the glorious Patio Theater. Located a convenient walk from Uptown at merely six miles west on Irving Park. The theater is available for rental.


    The next movie they're showing is the classic "Kiss the Blood Off My Hands" next Wednesday. The title seems appropriate considering the content of the documentary.

    Perhaps some current JPUSA members or former member/apologists could show up and disrupt the showing. I could even "pretend" to be a JPUSA member and do it, but I'm not hirsute or smelly enough to pull it off effectively.

  56. Here is an article on the LAWSUIT against JPUKA : http://cookcountyrecord.com/news/261638-church-sued-over-alleged-sexual-assaults-at-commune

  57. I came to Chicago fleeing a domestic violence situation from another state...........a state worker from DHS sent me to the Jesus People USA place telling me it was a domestic violence shelter.....it was not........these people did horrific things to me.....they hate Jews.......I was physically assaulted three different times, once as a staff member watched and laughed.....I was threatened continually.....they stole from me continually.......at one point they tried to withhold food from me until I accepted Jesus.......they use all manner of insane militant style brainwashing techniques to break you down.....they are complete insane lunatics......their abuse caused me so much stress I literally had a stroke and I have permanent damage from that.....I am partially deaf now....when I started telling what happened to me there....I was threatened...stalked....and blackmailed.........some of their people still follow me and harass me ........because they are a bunch of lunatics that need to be reigned in. Oh and they are in some instances receiving Federal Recovery Dollars so that is what your tax dollars are paying for.

  58. Pastor and accredited lawyer Tom Cameron leaves Jesus People. As usual when someone leaves a story is made up. His story along with his wife's is that they have to move to Minnesota to take care of relatives. The usual sort of song and dance you hear when someone leaves for more serious reasons. The Camerons go back to the days when the Jesus Bus was going around evangelizing. John Herrin still seen at JPUSA. The JPUSA ministry is praying that lawsuits do not go through and that those filing lawsuits would have a change of heart.

  59. From inside JPUSA, it is almost hard to believe and everyone can't be spoken for but: the Pastors are saying that the DVD is all lies. The Pastors are upset and members don't like that the Pastors are upset. Members want to feel good and be on a spiritual high and thinking about the DVD even for a second is upsetting. Members close their ears and don't want to hear about the DVD. Hard to believe, but from observation no care for Xmembers is shown. Only preservation of the group, and Xmembers are cast as evil. JPUSA sees itself as good. JPUSA is in denial and surges forward with its programs. Everyone's café brought in some good money for JPUSA one member says. It cost 5 dollars to see the Crossing perform and about 50 people from outside of JPUSA came. Even in the midst of the DVD coming out JPUSA prays against the effects of the DVD and that those outside JPUSA will not believe the testimonies of those who came forward.

  60. Crazy prayer. To ask for a change of heart of the abused, yet continue to deny that anything happened to "any" of these kids. Wake up you folks inside JPUSA. This church has a long history of damage control and protection of their entrenched leadership and that must change for JPUSA to move forward past this.

  61. More JPUSA's leave.
    A second law suit is filed by XJPUSA who was abused at JPUSA
    It turns out that lawsuits have been filed against JPUSA since the 1970s.

    The web site with extended audio testimony is:

    Pastor John Herrin still resides safely and confidently at JPUSA.

    Members generally show concern for preservation of JPUSA rather than concern for victims of the failed JPUSA system.

    People from Evangelical Covenant Church are said to not be seen around any more like they once were.

    After members being told for years that JPUSA was under Evangelical Covenant's oversight, all of a sudden Evangelical Covenant distances itself from JPUSA by saying that they are not responsible for what individual EC churches do.

    1. From within its said that the No Place to Call Home" video is an attack of Satan. Giant (400 members strong) JPUSA is not intimidated by lying exmembers who are persecuting it. The group of people seen on the No Place to Call Home facebook page are all nonChristians so they can't pray for and support each other.

      JPUSA still exists in denial that there were or are any problems with its flawless system.

      JPUSA's Lakefront Roofing supply company is doing great.
      Tina Herrin just preached last Sunday's message.
      Things are going great at CCO.
      More people are coming to Christ.

      Things are going so well now surely ex members are all lying and aren't even Christians.

      There is no need to change anything at JPUSA. JPUSA is doing just
      fine now as it has always been doing just fine.

  62. From within the JPUSA dystopia, one member says that JPUSA is going forward like a wounded beast, that is JPUSA sweeps the NPTCHome video under the rug pretending nothing is wrong and then goes ahead with its programs. A moment later it is said by the same member that the video has not really affected things at JPUSA. So there is a duplicity "JPUSA leaders don't know how to deal with people who are excommunicated and lead in general" then that things are business as usual and nothing is wrong (denial). The JPUSA society seems to be like in factions. A little groups gets together here but doesn't interact with another group there and then there are other groupings of people on their own doing their own thing. Maybe the commune will break up into groups that differ about things. Pastor Dawn Herrin seems to be going around with a chip on her shoulder for some reason. Another couple in JPUSA is leaving. Some people at JPUSA have viewed the NPTCHome video on vimeo and said it was well done but seriously powerful against JPUSA. Another member wonders who the pastors were that knew about their own fellow pastor who molested three women and did not report it to the police. The pastors who knew about the crimes and let it go should be considered ACCESSORIES to the crimes since the crimes were allowed and nor reported to the police. The question is which JPUSA pastors knew about the crimes and which did not. Former members who have brought the crimes to light are still considered being "like Satan" since they are slandering the JPUSA ministry. Former members involved are said to not be Christians. Many JPUSA's still pray against those coming forward with lawsuits so that the accusers will give up and not go through with them. Still questions about whether those testifying in the NPTCHome vimeo are lying abound. Xmembers just want JPUSA's money and it is sick.

  63. Victims of abuse can come forward and tell their story about JPUSA at the Chicago Cultural Center downtown Chicago. The web site is:


    Those coming forward will have a 40-minute conversation/interview with an interviewer.

    Cultural Center web site is:


    The cost is free

    Another link to view about this opportunity is:


  64. I was shocked when I saw this. I went to Rez band concerts and subscribed to Cornerstone magazine - both which seemed very connected to spiritual truth. Now everything about Rez Band and Cornerstone is in the toilet. What a huge pile of shit the whole thing was.