March 22, 2020
Attn: Pastor Brandon Watts
Brooklyn, NY 11216
Dear Pastor Watts:
I write to thank you. I also wish to thank your family and the Epiphany church staff for sharing the word of God with us, even during these difficult times. I have tuned in online since the NYC lockdown, and I have been blessed and strengthened in Christ with each sermon streamed.
My name is Theresa. I was introduced to your church in 2019 by one of your congregant’s that I was then dating. Prior to attending Epiphany, Times Square Church had been my family’s church from the time that I was five years old. I was looking for a new home church when I visited Epiphany (mostly, this had to do with the approach that a church will take on sexual sin or sexual misconduct within that church body; it’s difficult for me to remain in any environment where multiple women or children are or have been sexual prey). Today, I am still searching for my home church – a place where myself and other women can attend without the credible concern that sexual predators are comfortable in that church body.
In addition to sharing my gratitude for all that Epiphany has done for me and for the community, I also need to share some information which may be difficult to read and digest initially, but which may help the church in the long run.
I no longer attend Epiphany because I was raped by the congregant that introduced me to your church: Terrance Willis. I met Terrance through Time Square Church, and Terrance then introduced me to Epiphany (my understanding is that Terrance used to attend a sister Epiphany church near or around Strasburg, Pennsylvania, and later began attending the Brooklyn church when he relocated to NYC).
I have made Time Square Church aware of this situation, and I have also filed an official report with the Bronx District Attorney’s office. I now share this information with you, because I care deeply for the physical and spiritual safety and well-being of all women. I also share this information with you because I have spent most of my life fighting sexual predation – and I can’t do that effectively if I hide the fact that I have also been victimized by sexual predators – many times without redress, aid, or any support from the communities that I have been part of. I know how difficult it is, for black women in particular, to share sexual injuries with an often times biased and uncaring U.S. judicial system.
My hope and prayer is that you would use this information to protect the women at Epiphany as God leads you and your leadership team. (I don’t mind sharing that when I came forward to Times Square Church, the way the leadership team responded made me regret the trust I placed in them. Still, I trust God will see me through whatever comes next.)
Who am I? I am a Christian woman of color. I serve God unashamedly – and it has cost me… (Still, praise God!)
I am the woman who appeared on Channel ABC7’s 11pm news on Wednesday, March 4th: https://abc7ny.com/woman-speaks-out-after-man-indecently-exposed-himself-outside-building/5986469/
I am the pro se plaintiff in Bailey v. New York Law School et al, Case no. 16-CV-04283. October 2014, I was assaulted by a white male predator on New York Law School’s campus. I sought aid from everyone, including my law school, my fellow law students, the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, offices of the Manhattan District Attorney and Mayor de Blasio, the legal grievance committee (which governs the conduct of lawyers), Time’s Up, the New York City Bar Association, several law firms, and the NYPD. I received no human help or intervention. So, I know what it means to fight a good fight and to live on your knees, praying to God, because no one else is able or willing. I will continue to pray relentlessly for all of us, and for Epiphany church.
I pray that God continues to lead and guide you, and to keep your family safe.