Compassion or Cover-Up? Teen Victim Claims Rape; Forced Confession in Church


Phelps, now a pastor at another IFB church, says that there was no church cover-up and that he had immediately reported the accusations to authorities. He says the church made many documented calls to the police to report the alleged rape, and that a report was made to the Division of Family and Child Services within 24 hours of learning about the accusations on Oct. 8, 1997.

"A hallmark of my thirty years of ministry has been complying with legal requirements and offering kindness to those seeking spiritual care," he said in a statement to "20/20." "The Concord Police never contacted me further about the reports or about the welfare or whereabouts of Tina Dooley Anderson."

The church's current leader, Pastor Brian Fuller, said that the Concord Police dropped the ball 13 years ago. "Let's go to the police station, where thirteen years ago, somebody unconscionably took the reports, and put 'em away in a filing cabinet, let them gain dust," Fuller said.

"20/20" reached out to the Concord Police, who declined to comment, citing the ongoing nature of the case.

Phelps repeatedly declined on-camera interview requests by "20/20" but in a statement said: "Tragically, Tina was involved in an ongoing sexual relationship with Mr. Willis...Tina lied to her mother and to me about this relationship. Tina begged her mother to protect Ernie and not turn this matter over to police."

"20/20" later caught up with Phelps at the IFB church he now preaches at in Indianapolis. He defended the decision to keep Willis, Anderson's alleged attacker, in the church.

"First, I didn't know that he had impregnated a 15 year-old girl. Remember it was an accusation made, an accusation is not a conviction," he said. "It's not the responsibility of the church to close the doors to people who have real problems and issues, no matter how heinous. So I think you'll find the community historically has always allowed heinous people, under careful guidelines to be part of churches."

Tina Anderson's Life in Colorado

Anderson said she told both Phelps and her mother that she didn't want to go to Colorado and wanted to live with her paternal grandparents in Texas.

"My mother is very much a follower," said Anderson. "She believes she needs to do what [the church] tells her because they are men of God. But I don't think she made the wisest choices."

Anderson was sent to live with a family in Colorado who worshipped in an IFB church where Phelps had been a youth minister. It was, as Phelps has described it, an act of compassion.

According to Anderson, the local pastor in Colorado, Matt Olson, who is now president of Northland International University in Dunbar, Wisc., told her to write a letter to Willis's wife apologizing for her part in what happened. Olson declined to speak to "20/20," saying through his lawyer that his conversations with Anderson remain privileged.

In March, 1998, Anderson gave birth to a baby girl. Adoption records show that her alleged rapist, Ernie Willis, admitted he was the father.

Stepfather Also Allegedly Abuses Girl

Anderson's traumatic journey began at a young age. She said she and her brother were severely beaten by her stepfather, Daniel Leaf. In 1989, Leaf went to prison for nearly a year for child abuse. After Leaf was released, Anderson said the abuse continued. Between ages 9 and 11, Anderson said her step-father sexually molested her and threatened to kill her if she told anyone.

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