Here’s the Perfect Example of Doug Wilson Minimizing Steven Sitler’s Abuse

By R.L. Stollar, HA Community Coordinator

Content warning: descriptions of child sexual abuse and abuse minimization.

In one of his many, many self-defensive blog posts, Doug Wilson provides us the perfect example of how he has minimized (and continues to minimize) the child sexual abuse perpetrated by Steven Sitler, the homeschool alumnus who attended Wilson’s New Saint Andrews College. The blog post is titled, “The Only Kind of Gospel There Is”, and was published Thursday, September 10, 2015. Wilson writes,

The twittermob has been circulating numerous untruths, among them that Steven Sitler is a child rapist. He was actually convicted of one count of Lewd Conduct with a Minor under 16 years of age (Idaho Code 18-1508).

Yes, of all the actually important and relevant aspects of the current dialogue about child molesters Steven Sitler and Jamin C. Wight, Wilson chooses to focus on this. The fact that Steven Sitler was not convicted of “Child Rape” but rather “Lewd Conduct With a Minor,” the implication of which is, of course, that “Lewd Conduct” is somehow less egregious. Thus these evil twittermobs are the real abusers, falsely accusing poor Sitler of something he never did.

Well, yes, Steven Sitler was never convicted of Child Rape. Yes, Sitler was convicted of Lewd Conduct With a Minor. And yes, in Idaho, those two charges are distinct (though advocacy groups and other states like Washington State consider them the same). But let’s look at the Idaho statute Wilson cites to determine what Lewd Conduct with a Minor actually is. This is from Idaho Code 18-1508:

LEWD CONDUCT WITH MINOR CHILD UNDER SIXTEEN. Any person who shall commit any lewd or lascivious act or acts upon or with the body or any part or member thereof of a minor child under the age of sixteen (16) years, including but not limited to, genital-genital contact, oral-genital contact, anal-genital contact, oral-anal contact, manual-anal contact, or manual-genital contact, whether between persons of the same or opposite sex, or who shall involve such minor child in any act of bestiality or sado-masochism as defined in section 18-1507, Idaho Code, when any of such acts are done with the intent of arousing, appealing to, or gratifying the lust or passions or sexual desires of such person, such minor child, or third party, shall be guilty of a felony and shall be imprisoned in the state prison for a term of not more than life.

Wilson wants us to believe, in other words, that Steven Sitler isn’t as bad as a rapist. No, all Sitler did was force a young child to engage in all sorts of other sex acts that are… “better”? “Less bad”?

And we do not have to guess as to what Sitler actually did. Because the father of one of Sitler’s abuse victims did tell the Idaho court what Sitler did to his child. This is a September 7, 2005 letter written by a victim’s family to Idaho Judge Stegner. ** Content warning for explicit description of child sexual abuse. ** Click the image to enlarge:


In other words, Steven Sitler lured a 2 year old child into an isolated area and forced that toddler to perform oral sex on him.

And somehow this is important to Wilson to clarify… why? Why is it only important to Wilson that he wins these little semantic games with people bringing sincere and heartfelt concerns to him regarding his and his church’s actions? So he wins on this technicality. So what? What does Doug Wilson want? Does he want us to give him a round of applause for having the courage to say what no one else did: that poor Steven Sitler is falsely accused? That Sitler never raped a child? That Sitler instead only forced a 2 year old to perform oral sex on him? That somehow that’s a relief? That somehow that makes Wilson a courageous champion of truth?

If Wilson actually cares about the God he claims to love, he should set aside his pride and his desire to play games of technicality. Because at the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter to anyone except the Idaho court system whether Sitler “raped” a child or “forced oral sex” on a child. You know why? Because both are egregious cases of child abuse, for God’s sake!

I’d like to conclude with an excerpt from Mike Sloan and Beth Hart’s important article, “Doug Wilson’s Failure to Safeguard Children,” which I highly recommend you read here. Sloan and Hart write,

Where are the voices of the leaders of Reformed churches and Reformed networks who can gain a hearing from Doug Wilson and influence thousands of other pastors in their denominations and circles of influence? Where are the voices from The Gospel Coalition? Crossway, why are you giving a voice to a man who will not use his voice for voiceless? Who is asking Wilson, “Where is your grieving heart for this baby and the other victims? What child protection training are you putting in place or experts are you consulting so this does not happen again?”

Where indeed.


UPDATE, September 12, 2015, 2 pm PT:

Doug Wilson has issued a clarification on his post. An image and the text of the clarification follow:

Screen Shot 2015-09-12 at 2.00.15 PM

Text is,

Important clarification: When I say above that Steven was convicted of one count, I was not meaning that this was his only offense, and neither was I seeking to minimize the egregiousness of his behavior in those other instances. That is why I argued, just below this, that the father in Texas who killed the molester he walked in on was fully justified. I should have made my meaning more clear than I did, which I could have done by putting the Texas paragraph first, and linking it expressly to Steven’s offenses. My apologies to any friends who missed my meaning here, and who thought I was trying to trim and be cute on Steven’s behalf. Such a misreading would be my responsibility. I believe there was at least one scenario where Steven could have been killed on the spot, and no injustice done.


  • So, I read the statement by Wilson, and I am appalled. He certainly DID bless the marriage, referring to it as “good”! Then he makes ridiculous statements about denying marriage to adulterers & gays. When will these people understand the real world? Children cannot give consent. To apply child sexual assault to two consenting adults in a sexual relationship shows that his brain is addled. He also ignores the reality of the recidivism rate of sexual predators. I worked for over six years in a state prison. I knew these pedophiles. They never took responsibility for what they did. They claimed that the children seduced THEM. It was disgusting. No awareness of what they did, the harm they caused, and no real intent to change. I am stunned beyond belief. Why isn’t the media all over this, like they were with the Catholic Church? Where is the press coverage of this outrage?

    • Doug Wilson is a big fish in a small pond, something of a celebrity in a small town. It just seems like Moscow, Idaho doesn’t give a s*** and would rather sweep its problems under the rug than acknowledge them. One local newspaper article that I’ve seen…nobody discussing this on news websites or in “real life” (other than on homeschool websites such as this.)

  • Thank you, Jemima for the update on CPS investigating Sitler. They need to take out after Doug Wilson also !! He aids and abets child molesters, from what I’ve seen in the articles lately.

    • Maybe enough people have drunk the Kool-Aid that they’re scared to go after Wilson. Can’t remember the numbers off the top of my head, but a significant portion of Moscow’s population is affiliated with Christ Church. As for everyone else? I don’t know…After a shooting in the area, there was concern about keeping Moscow’s image clean and looking pretty. Maybe this falls under the same category, or maybe people really are that apathetic.

  • Why do these types respond to reports of sexual violence by talking about how they should be killed instead of talking about how reduce the number of victims? Or do they think that talking about how it would be okay to kill someone discovered in the act of child molestation is itself a deterrent to criminals? That Wilson is not making an attempt to kill Sitler after the fact implies that he only wants them killed if and when discovered in the process, so…. I guess he’s really saying ‘don’t get caught’? Anyway, he’d do a lot more good by changing the way his church deals with child molesters, and even teaching about consent in his total institution. That he teaches from the pulpit that martial rape is the only legitimate form of sexual activity and is an imperative of marriage doesn’t do anything to prevent warped behaviors.

  • He advocates sexual violence and rape from the pulpit and in his much promoted literature on how to be a real man. Of course some of the men who had no other form of education than Doug Wilson their whole lives will be rapists. This is part of Doug Wilson’s success. This was not a failure. This is what he creates on purpose. Sitler mixed and matched Doug’s promoted rape with Doug’s prompted dehumanization of children. Not a surprise at all that it happened. Should be a wake up call to the world that Doug must no longer be allowed to operate.

    • The man is charismatic and quite masterfully manipulative. He has been able to convince people that all he does, he does to serve God and Saviour! Even withholding information of dangerous people among his congregation is acceptable Christian behavior by Wilson. Was it months? One month or eight? Doug has a line with Jesus that means others need not be informed of danger to themselves and family. Doug has it all in hand and Doug is Jesus’ choice, the authority. What are Wilson’s formal credentials for his work? Oh nevermind…. Too bad for victims. They must be badly churched or deserving of harm. God is in control! The parents of victims have failed their children! If I could be free to tell you the real truth, you would see I am Jesus’ own preacher. Sheesh…

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    The fact that Steven Sitler was not convicted of “Child Rape” but rather “Lewd Conduct With a Minor,” the implication of which is, of course, that “Lewd Conduct” is somehow less egregious.

    Could this have been a case where an original charge was plea bargained down to a lesser charge?

  • I’d heard rumors years ago Steven Sitler had been at RC Jr’s church where he’d molested children. Now it’s been confirmed that he was there even before moving to Wilson’s church. What we didn’t know is RC Jr covered it up and evaded bringing criminal charges against Sitler when he could have. The speculation is he may have received a payoff from the Sitlers to buy his silence. This pedophile scandal is so much worse than I could have imagined.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s