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Facebook Comments to Kari Benton’s Open Letter To Steve Wingfield

(Recorded here for “posterity”.)


  • Doug Lay Thank you Kari. March 20 at 10:09pm · 23
  • Steve Lata So sad that you had to write this Kari, but I applaud your courage. This has needed saying for a long time. March 20 at 10:32pm · 24

  • Melissa Harris This saddens me. A church is suppose to be a safe haven for people. March 20 at 10:38pm · 6

  • Nicoya Benton Rohter
    Amen. March 20 at 11:48pm · 5

  • Tammie Derks Emanuel
    “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” (Edmund Burke) Kari, thank you for doing something. March 21 at 12:01am · 23

  • Wendy Lovelace
    I am glad you are brave enough to write this out. It is very hard to figure out what the fine line between appropriate touching & inappropriate touching is & who can get away with what. I am not trying to start rumors or gossip by saying this. But I have learned that hugging someone upset if looked at the wrong way can be inappropriate touch. Sounds crazy right but with the right words to prove it it can be. I am not asking what was done to the boy so don’t answer. I just hope it was an actual call. I had an issue w/ Caleb & another student for a while at the elementary school & wish I had gone into the situation further. I wrote the principal a strongly worded letter. But sometimes you just have to put it out there. I was already out of the church when that new intern came so I did not know him. I had my other reasons for leaving. But it’s not about me. I just get cautious when people talk about inappropriate touching in such a sensitive world. I am not trying to call anyone’s bluff by any means. But Titus said in his blog he saw no signs. Plus it makes it hard for people to hang alone now. Churches should be safe for people. I’m sorry you all had to go through that. Thanks for sharing. March 21 at 12:51am

  • Pam Oney Maynard
    Kari, you are very brave. You mentioned just one of several reason why Steve should not be the senior minister. What really saddens me is that the elders allow him to get away with so many things. The elders are to protect the flock and they have failed miserably. Thank you for loving God and His kingdom enough for saying what has needed to be publicly said for a long long time. Love you, my friend. March 21 at 2:42am · 9

  • Heather Beckner
    I have absolutely no idea the situation but I do know this….I know Kari Benton This was not written frivolously. This was well prayed about long before ever written. My friend, you are brave. You have stood up for those who, for whatever reason, felt they couldn’t. I applaud you. I hope this encourages others to stand up for what is right. Love you more than ever before, I am so honored to call you my friend. March 21 at 8:02am ·

  • Keith Kepley
    Wendy Lovelace … un-informed doubt and hedging against the fear of “over-reacting” are not virtues. Multiple counts of statutory sodomy would count as inappropriate touching, correct? Justice for these boys will depend on people trading the more comfortable un-informed doubt in for a much less comfortable engagement. Thank you for engaging on this thread, and please engage further with confidence … knowing that there is plenty of clarity about that “fine line” in this case. Let us not stay inside for fear of fog, when in fact the sky is clear and the sun is shining. March 21 at 10:32am

  • Wendy Lovelace
    I’m not saying any one is guilty or not in the church case. But I’m just saying some things do get carried away. It seems there need to be more set rules on behaviors of preachers & interns as these situations happen from time to time. No church is perfect only Jesus is perfect. I’m not making excuses for anyone. Wrong is wrong & the Lord will handle things in His timing. Thank you Keith Kepley for your response. Much appreciated.
    March 21 at 2:29pm

  • Barb Kruse
    Why this letter now? It seems there were several people that suspected a problem, but no one reported it? March 21 at 8:58pm

  • Kari Benton
    Barb Kruse that’s a fair question. My answer to why now would be that I only learned a few months ago that this adult went to Steve with their concerns of abuse back in 2012- which to clarify is not related to the two victims Brandon has been charged with abusing. We were living in Texas at that point- so we were not informed. Until Brandon plead guilty on Jan 26 Titus was set to be a witness for the prosecution- so I didn’t want to discuss anything publicly that would jeopardize his testimony as a witness. But now that a guilty plea has happened Titus and one other person sent their own private letters to Steve and all the elders at the beginning of March asking that these 2012 allegations be discussed and for Steve to explain why he did not properly address them at the time or since then. There was no reply for three weeks- and then a letter was sent in return from the elders and Steve that in summary said they would not discuss any of those details with Titus or the other person and that the church was focused on moving forward. That’s the short answer for why this letter now. March 21 at 9:18pm

  • Barb Kruse
    Thank you Kari. My heart hurts as I’m sure does yours. No one will win in this situation. God protect your flock and those that will watch as all of this is discussed. Satan will not have the last word. Jesus has already done the work that was needed. Please Lord take this entire situation, your bride the church and let your glory shine brightly so that others will be drawn to you, not repelled by the actions we are dealing with. In Jesus name I pray and praise you. March 21 at 9:22pm

  • Kari Benton
    I pray for the same Barb Kruse. This is messy and hard and affects so many people, which is why truth and transparency are so important. March 21 at 9:26pm

  • Pam Oney Maynard
    Barb, another note is the legal side. If indeed leadership knew what was suspected and did nothing then leadership could be in trouble with the law. Not reporting possible abuse is illegal. March 21 at 9:29pm

  • Bruce Lynn
    Kari, thank you for your further explanation of the timeline. It certainly helps clarify the timing of your letter for me. I hope others with questions about your motives will have the opportunity to see your additional remarks. March 21 at 9:34pm

  • Bruce Lynn:
    I may have phrased that poorly. I myself never questioned your motives — I just meant that I hope that those who DID will find the explanation they need… March 21 at 9:36pm

  • Bambi Kerr Lynn:
      Many of us have been mandated reporters for years, myself with Special School District, FCCF as Children’s director and my current position with Community Choice Inc as a Personal Care Assistant. Like Pam said, NOT reporting is a legal problem. NOT reporting concern that was brought to attention was NEVER an option in this case. A simple phone call to the number that should have been posted in an easily accessible location, and can even be made with out identifying oneself, if chosen. A simple phone call that might taken less than five minutes to report a concern. So sad. March 22 at 9:58am

  • Mike Singleton
    Kari Benton thank you for being a great example of transparency! I appreciate what you and Titus Benton have done not only for me, but in the community of God! When Titus left I missed him greatly. Titus is a great leader that to this day I hope I can emulate him! March 22 at 11:37am
  • Daniel Stricklan So Bambi Kerr Lynn your saying one who brings concerns to leadership ARE NOT sapposed to be chastised, brow beaten, and told shame on you for even thinking such a thing about such a godly man . How dare you try to tarnish this good mans reputation ? Hmm . Thank you for posting this bamboo . Maybe if people would have known this people would have known how proceed with concerns .
    March 22 at 9:52pm · 1
  • Daniel Stricklan Sorry bambi not bamboo. Dang auto correct .
    March 22 at 9:59pm · 2
  • Bambi Kerr Lynn Dan, those are your words, and I did not say them. I am not speaking with sarcasm. Nor is it my intent to tarnish anyone else’s reputation.. I am supporting protecting children and youth in church ministries. I have supported this for many years. ThSee More
    March 23 at 12:33am · 11
  • Kitty Broz Streiler I am so sorry about this entire deal.
    March 23 at 12:05pm · 4
  • Richard Wolfe I have a serious question: Now that the Elders have been officially notified, would they be required to report this new information? Or I guess the same would go for any Mandated Reporter? Are we required? I’m not sure what the rules are for an incident like this??
    March 24 at 11:24pm
  • Samantha Foltz That’s a great question. Since Brandon was already arrested and pled guilty what would you be reporting? That it wasn’t reported when it should have been? The other case that wasn’t reported?
    March 24 at 11:26pm
  • Richard Wolfe Yes indeed. I have seen other situations where those who failed to report faced serious trouble. It is Clear that those in authority are charged with the responsibilty to investigate & report. It’s Not an option.
    March 24 at 11:31pm · 5
  • Priscilla Lay My heart hurts over this entire situation. I remember working at Starbucks. Brandon would come in with 3-4 teenage boys & pay for all their drinks & to think that I thought he was just being a youth leader & discipling them. I am proud to call you my Christian sister! Much love & respect to your bravery for posting this. XoXo
    April 1 at 9:28pm · 4
  • Dawn Varvil Samantha Foltz the allegations that were reported to Steve do NOT involve the same victims that Brandon pled guilty to sodomizing. This is a very important detail that is getting distorted. No one, to my knowledge, has ever accused him of having foreknowledge of anything regarding those 2 particular victims. There may be more charges forthcoming regarding OTHER victims. THIS is what was reported.
    April 2 at 1:21am · Edited · 6
  • Samantha Foltz Got it makes even more sense then.
    April 2 at 8:51am
  • Jacob Perkins As a professional social worker in the area of child welfare I applaud Kari for her courage to become vocal about a culture and climate at FCCF that may not fully protect children and youth as vulnerable groups. I see several comments on the roles of cSee More
    April 13 at 1:17pm · 9


  • Samantha Foltz where would a church go to, to provide that type of training? Looking for our own church and to be sure we are doing those things
    April 13 at 1:19pm · 1


  • Kari Benton netgrace.org is one resource. Excellent stuff there

    Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment
    April 13 at 1:20pm · 5
  • Richard Wolfe There’s a Great headline: FCCF Pastor Bans Members of His Congregation that Disagree with Him!
    April 13 at 2:07pm · 9
  • Jacob Perkins I will message you Samantha Foltz.
    April 13 at 3:45pm · 1
  • Samantha Foltz Thanks!
    April 13 at 3:45pm
  • Julie Sullivan Zeiter Kati, you are a strong child of God. You have done an honorable thing. Love and Blessings to you😇
    April 14 at 6:09pm
  • Richard Wolfe Wow, that headline is getting worse: FCCF pastor SUES members (and past members too) who disagree with him!! Sickening
    April 16 at 10:54pm
  • Samantha Foltz not just the pastor but the church itself
    April 16 at 10:55pm


Richard Wolfe Yep, that’s right !!
April 16 at 10:58pm