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Alleged CFC sex victim: ‘I don’t have to do that judging’

krause, christian family church, scandal, owatonna
Krause retains her faith in the face of pain
By
Kay Fate, Staff Writer
“It’s the fear of the Lord. I’m more afraid of the Lord than I am of people.”
-Sierra Krause

By nearly all metrics, Sierra Krause beat the odds.

Now 31, Krause alleges she was sexually groomed, then assaulted, while a student at El Shaddai Christian School in Owatonna.

The school was affiliated with Christian Family Church, which Krause also attended with her family.

Though the alleged sexual conduct was reported – and documented in law enforcement reports and court documents – the man she says abused her has never been criminally charged. His wife was a teacher at the school; he was often tasked with leading groups of teenage volunteers.

CFC pastors and other adults in leadership roles blamed her, Krause said, though she was 16 and the man was 34, married and the father of five.

She was asked to limit her church attendance to avoid contact with him, and today says: “I felt like I was getting kicked out of my church, and away from my friends, and away from what should have been putting me back together.”

For the first time ever, Krause came forward to reveal the alleged conduct in a special investigative report that was published in last week’s edition.

The statistics

According to 2019 U.S. Department of Justice data, one in four girls and one in seven boys are sexually abused by the time they are 18 – but it’s estimated that only 14% of child sexual abuse is ever reported to the authorities.

On average, about 70% of those who do come forward delay reporting until adulthood, the data shows.

Among other barriers, children often lack the knowledge needed to recognize sexual abuse; don’t have an adult to whom they can disclose the abuse; and aren’t believed when they try to disclose.

Trauma that results from the abuse; power differentials between the child victim and adult perpetrator; and institutional power dynamics all impact the delay.

A “Christianity Today” study indicated 10% of church attendees under the age of 35 have left a church because sexual abuse – of others – was not taken seriously.

Those numbers evaporate when looking for the number of sexual abuse victims who leave the church.

Faith-filled

That’s what makes Krause such an anomaly.

Not only is her faith intact, but it is also growing. She and her family are in the process of becoming missionaries.

Despite feeling betrayed – not only by CFC church leaders, but by the church members – Krause hasn’t wavered.

“It’s the fear of the Lord,” she said. “I’m more afraid of the Lord than I am of people. Whatever I do here on earth, God is going to judge me. If I don’t fear him, then I’ll think I’m untouchable, just like them.”

Though she no longer attends CFC or any of its affiliated churches, she recently saw an online video of Tim Peterson, the lead pastor there.

“When I saw him saying all these things from the pulpit – asking for an ‘amen’ – it made me angry,” Krause said, “but knowing what the Bible is telling me is true, I know he and Cherrie (Peterson) are going to have to stand before God and be judged.

“I don’t have to do that judging,” she said.

Krause said the Petersons knew about the alleged abuse and did not contact law enforcement. By Minnesota law, members of the clergy are mandated reporters, required to tell law enforcement when told of suspected child abuse of any kind.

“If they want to live in sin, and don’t want to correct it, they’re worse off than people who don’t believe in God or who don’t believe in anything – because they’re Christians, and know what they’re doing is wrong,” she said.

“My faith and my hope cannot be in humans, because they’ll fail me every time.”

Part of her family’s work as missionaries is learning a new language and a new way of life.

Krause looks forward to being the person she once needed in her own life, when all she found was judgment and sadness.

“I’m where I’m supposed to be right now,” she said.

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CFC Sex Scandal

What’s Happened?

 

• Sierra Krause, formerly of Owatonna, has revealed she is the victim of alleged sex abuse by a church leader

• Multiple sources claim CFC pastors were aware of this abuse and others, though they deny them

• Sex abuse information has been reported to Owatonna Police

• Victim now works in mission field, but not connected to CFC

 

 

 

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