In Jail Charged with Sexual Assault

Yesterday, I visited a former Bible student in jail. Last weekend, he was arrested and charged with aggravated criminal sexual assault and attempted robbery. On Sun night, while on my PC, I heard his name mentioned on the local news. I turned to watch and heard an eyewitness account and the charges against him. I was shocked and stunned. A Google search provided the painful details and allegations. His bail was set at $700,000. I write this to share the emotional turmoil I experienced when I visited him in jail and to pray for him.

If the allegations are true, how could he have done this?” I kept asking myself this question. Of course, I know the obvious answer in my head. The deceitfulness, deceptiveness and the power of sin is very great (Jer 17:9; Gen 6:5). I know it myself. As a man, I know the power of pornography, nudity and sexual temptation (1 Cor 6:18). I know the ever present temptation to lust and the appeal of an attractive woman (Prov 5:20, 6:25). Still, if this is true and if he is a Christian, how could he have done this? How could he have gone so far? These questions weighed heavily upon my heart and soul, as I prayed for him.

Jail, Judgment and Hell. When I went to the jail to visit him, I saw the secure high walls, countless security measures and armed policemen. It was a gloomy, depressing and hellish atmosphere. It made my already heavy heart heavier. Despite prison breaks in movies, the reality and likelihood of breaking out of jail is virtually nil. I felt very sorry that if he is found guilty, he would spend significant time in jail in the prime of his life. It made me think of the finality of hell for those who fall on the wrong side of God’s judgment on the Final Day.

Jail is Temporary, but Hell is Permanent and Forever. Going to the jail just to visit was extremely depressing. There is a strong feel of gloom, doom, wrath and judgment. It is surely a deterrent. As unpleasant as jail is, hell would be infinitely worse. To speculate and contemplate on the finality and eternality of hell was extremely sobering. It is good for my soul. It brought to the forefront of my heart and mind the utmost importance of missions and for reaching the lost and equipping the saved. It prompted me to pray for those I know and love who do not know the assurance of eternal life through Christ.

Brokenness and Sorrow. Most of all, I felt so broken-hearted for him. This is not at all to minimize the unspeakable and inexcusable trauma caused to the woman he allegedly sexually assaulted. She is the victim. He is responsible for that. If found guilty, an adequate judgment needs to be pronounced. But knowing the dysfunctional details of his life through 2 years of Bible study and friendship, I know that he too is a victim. He works out regularly and carries himself with a tough exterior. But seeing him in jail, his toughness was completely gone. He was softened and humbled. For the first time he thanked me for studying the Bible with him, and for being a father figure to him. I pray for him that through this event, Jesus may be the Joy, Treasure and Delight of his heart (Ps 37:4).


  1. Wow Ben, your posts never cease to stun! I am thankful to see your change of heart. 

    Today’s post jars loose yet another suppressed memory of mine. It is amazing to realize how numb my conscience had become. 

    Sometime in 1995 my American shepherd in UBF left the ministry with his wife. There was no reason given; they just disappeared. Then a few years later, he showed up at the center. He was asking for character reference letters, to avoid going to jail for a form of sexual assault.  I was shocked. But still, I wrote the character letter for him. I don’t know if he avoided jail or not. How could the man who taught me the Bible do such a thing? How could my Bible teacher be in jail? Why would no one discuss this event openly with me? In fact, one person tried to hide the whole thing from me. 

    There are only about 3 or 4 people who know about this event. But I hope this gives some insight to ubfriends readers as to why I might be a little angry at UBF from time to time. Hopefully people can begin to understand why I say UBF leaders are steeped in cover-ups and have not dealt with sins in a Christian manner.  

    Out of curiosity, I searched my computer to see if I still have the letter I wrote. Yes, I do. It is dated August 8, 2000. Fortunately, I have a large document store with over 7,500 messages, letters, testimonies, reports, databases, etc. from my time in UBF.

  2. Darren Gruett

    Reading this I am reminded of the words of C.S. Lewis: We must never imagine that our own unaided efforts can be relied on to carry us even through the next twenty-four hours as “decent” people. If He does not support us, not one of us is safe from some gross sin.

    • Thanks, Darren, Dave, Amen. Only God who began a good work in us will and can bring it to completion (Phil 1:6). Only God can sustain us and keep us safe to the end!

    • Excellent, Darren. I would also agree with John Piper’s statement I heard at his Future Grace seminar: Once we believe the gospel, we then wake up every morning as a Pharisee. Every day we need to repent of our self-reliance and depend on the grace of God. Even if we do not commit huge, terrible sins after believing, we are no better off than those who do. Christian life, then, becomes a stream of living in the good news of God’s grace, and only that stream will carry us to the end (that’s all para-phrased, of course!)

    • Darren Gruett

      Great statement, Brian. It is so easy to categorize our sins, and so we feel superior to those who are “worse” than us and inferior to those who are “better.” The fact is, we are all standing at the foot of the cross, side by side, shoulder to shoulder; and only He is up there making atonement for us.

  3. Thanks, guys, for your lively and refreshing “gospeling” comments. Without casting aspersions on my friend, he may have cooled off or become lukewarm in his walk with Jesus, if he is a Christian. The fact that he thanked me revealed to me that God had spoken to him. I have a sense that he “knows” that he fell off the narrow path and allowed himself to become the devil’s prey. All of this is of course entirely subjective and speculative.
    That said, I believe that he is fully responsible for the state that he is in. I pray that he sees that and knows that from his heart. If he was falling away from Christ, what happened may have been the best thing that happened to him, for it shows that God has not “given him over” to his rebellion.
    As well stated, surely none of us are “better than him.” My constant thought in my heart ever since I heard and read what happened is this: “There but for the grace of God go I.”

  4. Thank you, Ben, for this post.
    I don’t know if this off-topic or not, but these days Chuck Colson, whose life changed in prison and who established Prison Ministries, is passing due to illness. There is a facebook page on that already

  5. Thanks, Timothy. I’ve been reading and following that Colson has deteriorated for the worse since his surgery and is critically ill and unlikely to recover. Thank God for his prison ministries.

  6. When I was reading about Pontius Pilate the other day I was struck by his diplomacy, willingness to listen to both sides and his perceptiveness (he knew Jesus was innocent.) He was a nice guy, likeable and just trying to please everyone. But he will go down in history forever as the one who made made Jesus suffer. His name is in the Apostles’ Creed, “[Jesus] suffered under Pontius Pilate.” Every time a believer reads that creed, Pilate is remembered and not in a good light.

    It reminded me of the proverb, “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.” Pilate’s good intentions and well-meanings words didn’t save him. There is no middle ground in the spiritual battle, either you are for Jesus or against him. Like Darren’s Lewis quote we can’t even survive the next 24 hours without Jesus. We must explicitly and intentionally call on him. The Bible constantly says, “Watch out,” “Be on guard.” 

    But a positive point is as you wrote Dr. Ben, “Jail is temporary, but Hell is Permanent and Forever.” Your friend is in jail now, but the important thing is that his soul will not be in Hell for eternity. He is still alive and there still is hope.

  7. David Bychkov

    Recently I found one of my childhood/youth friends became a Christian. I contacted him and had brief talk. And I have had some kind of complex feelings. Thing is that he was not a good man. Far from it. I know well that he made quite a few evil deeds. He also hurted me and my close friends. I was really amazen to find that he became a Christian and even rehabilation center director.  Though 2 things bothered me. 1 is that it was extremely hard for me to believe that he has really changed. I knew him very well. 2 is that once I contacted him I probably waited something like appologise for what he has done. And I did not feel that he really regrets. Better to say I was not really saticfied with his expression of regrets about his evil life. And yes both things is really to God. Do I really believe that God and only God is one who changes people heart, no matter if they just bad or really bad? And I can not express this well, but this desire to be saticfied with someones repentence is also something wrong. Not sure how to say :)