Durbin discusses criminal, civil suits involving Faith Baptist Church

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Kathy Durbin first publicly explained a battle she had been waging within herself over the past 28 years Aug. 1, 2018, in a lengthy Facebook story.

It was a story she hadn’t planned on telling.

“I do not feel strong,” she said. “I do not feel courageous. I do know that I am 100% positive this is what God wants me to do. I know this is going to hurt some people, but that is not my intent. This does not come from a place of vengeance or bitterness. Am I angry? Yes. Do I wish I could get justice? Yes, but I can’t. I am telling my story to pave the way for other women and girls to feel empowered to do the same. I want this kind of behavior to stop and if it occurs to not be covered up.”

She went on to describe, in detail, the story of how she said she was molested all those years ago by her former Faith Baptist Academy Principal Laverne Paul Fox.

She described how she said he groomed her over time. She described her relationship with Fox and his family and how the Rev. Bruce Goddard of Faith Baptist Church, she said, covered up Fox’s crimes.

She said she decided to tell her story in this form because she had been contacted by a victim of Victor Monteiro, a former youth pastor the Wildomar church, who pleaded guilty in 2019 to seven counts of sexual abuse involving three teenagers.

To make matters worse, Monteiro is Durbin’s brother-in-law, and he was dating Durbin’s sister at the time Fox was allegedly molesting her.
“Because of that and because he married my sister, he knew my story and what I’d been through,” Durbin said in her Facebook story. “Victor has used my story and the cover-up of my situation to keep multiple teen girls quiet about what he was doing to them. Victor told these girls my story and that nothing happened to Paul Fox. Pastor Goddard just moved Paul and his family away. It was the teenage girl that stayed and suffered.”

Durbin eventually spoke to investigators, and Fox was subsequently arrested in Erie, Pennsylvania, July 29, 2019, and extradited to Riverside County on charges of lewd acts on a child, oral copulation of a minor and forced sexual penetration of a child under 16 years old.

He pleaded not guilty to those charges Thursday, Jan. 23, with Durbin present in the courtroom, as she had been for several scheduled arraignments, having traveled from her home in Montana.

“I was happy to see a step forward because I feel like the wheels of justice are super slow and sometimes maybe even go reverse,” Durbin said after the court date.

Riverside County Superior Court Judge Stephen Gallon scheduled a felony settlement conference for March 9 at the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta.

Durbin, along with three other victims, has a lawsuit pending against Faith Baptist Church with another settlement conference coming in March.

“I didn’t even want to sue in the first place,” Durbin said in a phone interview. “But if Goddard is just going to continue to lie and keep the same practice so that every child minor that goes to that church is at risk, that’s a problem. So, he needs to be removed, and I think our lawsuits are the only way to do it. He’s not going to step down.”

She said she hadn’t intended to sue the church but saw no other way.

“I grew up there,” Durbin said of the church. “My parents still went there until about a year ago. My whole family was there. My sister-in-law still the church secretary. It was hard to make that decision to sue the church.

“I was given three options,” she said. “Do you want to sue for money? Do you sue have pastor Goddard removed? Do you want to sue for an apology? And my first thought about that was I don’t want God’s money. That’s crazy. I’d be struck down by lightening or something. And if you sue for an apology, it’s not an apology.”

After that initial meeting with her attorney after Monteiro’s guilty plea, she said Goddard called a meeting with members of the congregation to explain what was going on.

“He said, 28 years ago we had a youth pastor have an affair,” Durbin said. “He called it an affair with a teenager in our church, which Fox was not a youth pastor, he was our school principal. He was our bus director. He got up there and just said that he did everything right that law enforcement was contacted, and it’s all on paper. The names have been redacted. If anyone wants to see it, you’re more than welcome to see it. We have nothing to hide. We did everything right, which was all a lie. And so, when I heard about this, I’m thinking, OK, I get being young, being a pastor, being young, making mistakes, not knowing how to handle situations, but that wasn’t reality. The reality was he made the decisions he made to protect his kingdom, to protect his ministry and his career.”

Given the fact that members of Goddard’s family and longtime church members sit in key positions within the church’s hierarchy, Durbin said she realized shortly after Monteiro pleaded guilty, that nothing was going to change after the church issued new policies for the congregation.

“They came out with this whistleblower policy, and they came out with it just after (Monteiro) pleaded guilty and was sentenced,” Durbin said. “It was in December 2018; I just got a copy yesterday actually of the new policy from January 2019 because they made some changes. There’s a statement that says you are not to go to law enforcement, like an authorized law enforcement officer with your case until you have gone to Pastor Goddard with that case.

“Well, that is exactly what I did when I was 17,” she said. “I went to Goddard, I told them what was going on, and he covered it up and went to great lengths to cover it up. I didn’t realize how he had manipulated everyone to cover this up until all this came out. That is when I knew the only thing that was going to change at that church and protect the innocent kids that go there was to sue that church to make it a very public, ugly thing and hoping that pressure, that kind of negative publicity and pressure would cause him to do the right thing.”

Durbin said that after the lawsuit is settled, she and the victims of Monteiro will continue to talk about what happened to them while at Faith Baptist Church.

“Settlements in sexual abuse cases are not confidential and we’re allowed to talk about it, there are no nondisclosure agreements anymore for that,” Durbin said. “And trust me, we will be talking about it. Goddard is really good at getting people to not look at media or read the paper. He does it under the guise of ‘there’s enough negativity in your life that you don’t need to read the paper and go on social media and just look at all the negativity and you just need to focus on God.’

“So, a lot of their church members don’t even have social media, and they don’t get the paper and read it because he prewarns them that there’s going to be stuff in there that’s going to be negative that you shouldn’t read. And it’s insane to me how many people follow him with everything that’s going on. It’s crazy to me.”

Durbin likens involvement in the church to that of a cult. She said Goddard and his teachings isolate the members from their non-believing family and friends.

“You get these people that have no friends outside of church,” she said. “They don’t do any activities outside of church. Most of their family has alienated them because they put church first. So, when it comes time to figure out that something’s wrong at that church and you need to leave, you’re leaving everything. There is nothing in your life but that church, so you to make the decision to leave means you will have no family, you will have no friends, you will have no church. Your kids will lose their friends. I mean you’re really walking away from your entire life.

“It is very much a cult, 100%,” she said.

As for any financial settlement in the lawsuit, Durbin doesn’t think the church will be able to raise the money to pay it.

“The church does not have a mortgage right now,” she said. “They had a big push to pay it off. They had a big mortgage burning ceremony and everybody got a copy of the mortgage that paid so much money toward the mortgage and they all burned these mortgages. Well, in reality, they have to go get a mortgage to settle all these lawsuits, but I don’t think they can do it. (Goddard) had a big push in November to raise money and he was trying to raise $50,000 and he got $25,000, which is still shockingly, a lot of money for one Sunday.”

Even that fundraising effort, Durbin said, wasn’t advertised as going toward lawsuits pending against the church.

“He presents it as the church needs to do this or that or whatever, but people never really know where the money goes,” she said, telling the story about a fundraiser for a new school bus by one of the teachers. “They raised almost $7,500. That money is not going to go buy a new bus. It is going to go to the legal fund that they’re battling. But people still don’t know. They don’t stop and question. It’s shocking to me.”

Jeff Pack can be reached by email at jpack@reedermedia.com.