Disclaimer: The information presented and opinions expressed are solely our own. 
Teens for Christ

The following document (added below) was anonymously obtained and is pertinent to our project. We believe that The Calhouns are attempting to start a sister cult in Lima, OH with The Suttons. This is a dangerous combination and we are grateful for this whistleblower’s courage and strength. If you have questions or a story you may email us by clicking the button below.

Image by Sammie Chaffin

Disclaimer: The information presented and opinions expressed are solely our own.

 

TRIGGER WARNING: Molestation & Sexual Abuse

We have redacted the names of victims for their safety.

 

To Whom It May Concern,

This letter is being written with a heavy heart, but these words, no matter how hard they will be to hear, cannot be left unsaid. The timing of this letter comes shortly after Tyler Sutton molested REDACTED in June 2022. What we allow to stay in the dark, Satan has access to. The purpose of this letter is to uncover what has been hidden for so long, and to finally shine the light on the abuse endured by so many.

I spent 14 years as a part of the Teens For Christ ministry, from 2006-2020, attending and serving in many different fashions. I was a student and intern for 8 years and a volunteer/staff person for 6 years after that, including the Texas chapter. I have been to the center of the ministry, the heart of the core team, and considered myself (and by Buck and Kristin Sutton) one of their inner circle. In those years, I grew in so many areas, including my walk with the Lord and knowledge of ministry. I met some of my closest friends during that time and still consider a couple of them my closest friends to this day. However, due to being in the inner circle of the ministry, I also saw and experienced things that would horrify and disgust any person who considers themselves a Christian.

 

To be clear, I was neck-deep, passionately involved with TFC. I spent, what felt like, every minute at the office, at chapters, Saturday night prayer, summer camps, community events, and fundraising banquets. I was fully bought in because I believe in the mission and vision of the ministry. I believe God did call Buck and Kristin to start a teen ministry, to turn teenagers into fully committed followers of Jesus Christ. I believe they love God and have devoted their lives to the ministry. But, I also believe they have gone years allowing sin and abuse to slowly creep into the ministry, under their noses, and have done very little, if nothing, to stop it from happening. In this letter, I am going to be painfully specific and I cannot and will not refrain from naming those who have been accused, time and time again of sexual, mental, emotional, and spiritual abuse.

I have gotten permission from several young men and women to share their stories, however, omitting their names for privacy. Those whose names are not omitted, gave me permission to use their names.

Below are a few examples that have been witnessed and shared by not only the few whose stories are in this letter, but hundreds of students over the years.

  1. Buck would frequently call teenage girls into his office and ask them to rate themselves on a scale of 1 to 10 – based on how they viewed themselves physically, spiritually, and emotionally. Afterwards, he would ask young men, even some interns and staff members who were adults, to come in and rate that teenage girl on a scale from 1 to 10 based on their own opinions. This is emotional abuse – damaging the psyche and emotions of these young girls, especially when these men would rate the girl lower than she would have rated herself.

  2. Buck would choose a teenager/intern to “dissect”. These meetings, called dissections, would put one person on the spot within a group of peers and they would talk about this teen in 3rd person. These meetings were often held at Buck’s home or in his office. Buck would lead the dissections by asking the group several questions. For example, what the group thought their potential was, their weaknesses, trauma and struggles – the goal being to make the teen/intern aware of what others thought, to open their eyes to their own blind spots. Teenagers, whose brains and emotions are still in development and are highly sensitive. There would be noresolve, no further healing or action taken after those meetings from what was said. Thoughts and feelings just left on the table.

  3. Men in the ministry would groom young girls in high school and consider them for dating and

    relationships, using their authority and leadership to draw these girls in.

  4. Buck would receive shoulder massages from the young women in the ministry, both students

    and interns. Though physical touch was/is Buck’s love language, it is inappropriate to allow a young girl to massage his shoulders, whether in his office or in a group setting.

  5. I firmly believe the downward spiral of the ministry started when Tyler Sutton was elevated to a staff and leadership position in the ministry. As he was Buck and Kristin’s son, I understand they saw the potential in his leadership abilities and talents. They traded integrity, strong moral character, and a Biblical lifestyle with Tyler’s ability to recruit for the ministry, run Converge, and be the next one to shoulder the ministry’s responsibilities. Talent over godliness. All while being put in a position of authority, Tyler was oftentimes drunk behind the scenes. I saw firsthand Tyler drunk on several occasions and have heard countless stories of men and women who were in the presence of Tyler while he was drunk.

  1. Drinking six packs of Redd’s Apple Ale in one sitting at his parents house while they were out of town.

  2. Going to J’s American Pub to drink a large long island iced tea and 10 shots. 

    • I was with Tyler and drank the same amount, but I was fully honest with Buck,Kristin, and Paul the very next day because of the conviction of God. When I arrived at the Sutton’s home to tell Buck and Kristin about what had happened the night before, Tyler greeted me at the door with a smile and insisted we walk to his house (down the street) together. Once we got there, I told him that getting drunk with him was the worst decision I had made and that I was going to come clean to his mom and dad. He laughed and told me that I was overreacting and that I shouldn’t tell his parents. I insisted I was going to regardless. He spoke with them before I had a chance to and his side of the story claimed he wasn’t drunk at all and I was the only one that was drunk that night. We were both pulled from chapter for 2 weeks as a disciplinary action. Several interns were staying in Tyler’s home that night and witnessed both of us coming into the home, stumbling, and very drunk, not just me.

  3. Driving out of town to Cincinnati to visit his cousin in order to get drunk.

  4. Drinking with other interns to the point they blacked out at their home.

  5. Going on a senior trip (Carnival cruise), drinking and smoking until the fumes stuck to him

    and followed him around.

  6. Waiting around after Allen East chapter to take home all of the alcohol in the fridge at the

    house in Harrod where I was staying. Audrey had moved in previously and brought that alcohol with her, and gave him permission to take it. As the house in Harrod was a parsonage, owned by Harrod Christian Church, I did not feel alcohol should be in the home.

 

I am in no way saying that Christians who drink are right or wrong. That is not the argument or point I am trying to make. Tyler was in a position of leadership and authority, over teenagers, in a ministry and consumed alcohol, to the point of becoming drunk, on countless occasions. His parents and employers, Buck and Kristin, were made aware of Tyler’s alcohol problem and still allowed him to be in a position of authority in the ministry.

 

*Disclaimer – the stories below may be graphic and hard to read.

Unfortunately, excessive drinking wasn’t Tyler’s only issue. Over the course of his time in ministry, he has sexually harassed and molested several young men and women.

 

Story #1
**This first woman gave me permission to use her name.

Tyler’s relationship with REDACTED hadn’t always been abusive. Growing up together, she adored him and loved being around him. He was talented, funny, loved God, and they would consider each other best friends for years. After Tyler entered the YMI internship, REDACTED started to see certain aspects of his personality change. She was led to believe, by Tyler and his family, that there was a high probability that they would end up married, though his feelings toward her would start to shift. Early on, she found out he was emotionally and physically involved with another young woman. REDACTED confronted him on several occasions, but he would never admit it or be honest about this other woman, though the evidence was obvious. From that point on, his actions toward her became extremely abusive. There were several occasions where she would find evidence on his phone of his blatant lies to her about this other woman. REDACTED was visiting Tyler and Buck and Kristin’s home, where he still lived at the time. She confronted him about what she had found on his phone regarding this other woman and he became very physical with her to get his phone back. After causing her pain, he told REDACTED that his parents were out in the living room and that she was going to walk out of the house and act completely normal. He told her to smile like nothing had happened. One time, he threw her against a wall and choked her in order to get his phone back from her. Out of fear and panic, she started crying as she couldn’t breathe. He let her go, and there was a sudden shift in his face and posture. He hugged her, patted her head, and said it was okay in a calm and soothing voice. Another time, he tackled her to the ground and wrapped a blanket around her head and body and squeezed her as tightly as he could so she would let go of his phone. He would threaten REDACTED, telling her that if she told anyone about the things he did, he would ruin her life. This emotional manipulation and gaslighting happened all the time. She would confront him on the things he was doing and he would turn it around on her, justify it, or act like it didn’t happen.

Tyler would push boundaries and see what he could get away with. The stories below are examples of the sexual perversion that went on behind the scenes.

  1. Tyler invited REDACTED over to watch a movie. When she got there, he had pornography playing on the TV. REDACTED made it clear she did not want to be there or watch that. He told her she wasn’t being fun and made her sit on the couch next to him while he masturbated to the pornography on the TV.

  2. Tyler would tell REDACTED that, if she wanted, he could easily get one of their other male friends to have a threesome with them and would bring this up on several occasions.

  3. Tyler would pressure REDACTED to have sex and brought condoms with him, with the intent of doing so. He told her that even if they never got married, he would want to know that he had sex with her before anyone else. He also said that even if they were married to different people, he would still cheat on his wife with her.

  4. He would coerce REDACTED into oral sex, though she didn’t want to. She was fearful of his reaction if she said no.

  5. He would send her pictures of his penis and videos of him masturbating.

6. REDACTED agreed to go see American Sniper with him. When they got to the movies, he had switched it, without telling her, so they would be seeing 50 Shades of Grey. A movie rated R for its “strong sexual content including dialogue, some unusual behavior, and graphic nudity.”

REDACTED went on to marry REDACTED. While pregnant with their first child, Tyler approached her at church, where they were prepping for worship at TFC’s Bootcamp. While Tyler’s wife was in the room, he told REDACTED that he could tell her chest had gotten bigger due to the pregnancy. He told her that, he of course, would know because he had seen her nude on many occasions. Tyler sought to minimize his victims by lying about their experience and then humiliate them behind the scenes by joking about what had happened or making light of what he had done. REDACTED met with Tyler and his parents on many, many occasions. She would tell them about the mind games he would play and the manipulation. They would say Buck acted similarly when he was Tyler’s age. She would tell them, vaguely, that sexual things had happened between the two of them, but was afraid to be fully honest because Tyler vowed to ruin her life if she had told them anything else.

 

Story #2

This next story is about a young man who was molested by Tyler when he was a minor. Tyler was his assigned “mentor” for him as he was a student in the ministry. This young man confided in Tyler that he had been struggling with pornography and homosexual thoughts. Some time after that, he was invited by Tyler to visit Liberty University with him and a couple of his siblings and his cousin. Tyler had forgotten all of his sleeping gear at home and asked this young man if he could share his sleeping bag on an air mattress with him. Tyler had a history of sharing sleeping bags and beds with his male friends on TFC retreats when they were students, so this request did not seem out of the ordinary. In the middle of the night, he woke up to Tyler grinding on his back side and touching him all over his body, including his genitalia. He felt paralyzed and pretended to be asleep until Tyler had finished. Afterwards, he ran outside and called his parents, who booked him a flight home for that day. His parents confronted Tyler on the matter, and Tyler even cried to the young man’s mother apologizing for what had happened. though, Buck and Kristin, told people Tyler had a sleeping disorder and that what had happened wasn’t intentional.

**He is not the only man who was molested by Tyler as a minor. Tyler sexually abused REDACTED starting in high school and throughout the years.

Story #3

This story is my own. While on staff with Teens For Christ, on several different occasions, Tyler would send me pictures via Snapchat of himself standing in front of his mirror naked. He would often say, “I like being naked” and “I’m confident in my body”. On one occasion, he sent a video of himself masturbating. He would then ask me the next day what I thought about what I had seen. I added my story so the pattern would be clear. Though I was not sexually assaulted like the young men and women in the other stories, Tyler has a clear history of sexual perversion and pushing the limits, crossing the line. Pam Rollan encouraged me, for my own freedom and healing, to tell Kristin about what had happened. In July of 2020, I was as honest as I am here.

Tyler wasn’t the only man in leadership at TFC that has a history of emotional, verbal, and sexual abuse.

 

*Disclaimer – the stories below may be graphic and hard to read.

Matt Dungan has a history of dating women who are much younger than he is. Two of the women, whose stories are below, were each 19 years old when Matt dated them. He was 27 and 29 at the time.

 

Story #1

REDACTED entered a relationship with Matt when she was 22 years old. She was a virgin, never kissed anyone, or even held hands with a man. She told him she wanted to save her first kiss for her wedding day. For over a decade, she would be emotionally and psychologically abused by him. When they first got together, he would guilt and shame her into doing sexual things that she didn’t want to do. Over the years, he would coerce her to do sexual things, sent her sexually explicit photos and videos of himself and asking her to do the same, and push far beyond the physical boundaries she set. When lines were crossed, he was never the one to come forward and apologize or repent. REDACTED would always be the one to tell leadership about what was going on. He would ask her to cover up the sin and abuse so he could keep his position at TFC, so he could remain in leadership. Matt would confess his addictions and sins to her, admitting he had an addiction to pornography. When she would tell leadership, little was done to help her or Matt. In 2019, Matt texted REDACTED and said he wanted have sex with her in a hotel room, and told her specifically to keep it a secret and not to tell anyone. REDACTED immediately told her mentor/friend and Buck what he had said. Once Buck found out she hadn’t agreed to it and didn’t actually have sex with him, he considered Matt to be free of charge. He compared it to a thief who had the intent to steal money but didn’t. This instance was one of hundreds throughout their decade long relationship. Within the same amount of time, Buck asked REDACTED about Matt’s character and if he should be considered for a position at TFC/Living Hope. Buck told her she knew Matt more than anyone else and he valued her opinion. She highly discouraged Buck from hiring Matt due to the years of sin and character/integrity issues. Buck hired him anyways, with stipulations that he got counseling. Over the years, he would keep REDACTED on an emotional leash. He would date other women, but then cheat on them with her by sending her pictures/videos of himself or flirting with her. He would say he loved her and that she was his soul mate, but then would never commit to her or pursue a godly relationship with her. At one point toward the end of their relationship, they were having a conversation outside of her vehicle. He put his hands down her pants, and caught off guard, she asked him if he had anything to say about their conversation. He said, “doesn’t this show you how I feel?” This clearly shows a twisted, perverted view of love. REDACTED went to her counselor, Pam Rollan, traumatized and paralyzed with shame and guilt. Pam then told Buck and Kristin what had happened and brought it up several more times after that. And over the course of the next few months, in several conversations, Buck and Kristin tried to convince REDACTED that she loved Matt. That they noticed how she looked at him or that she kept coming back to him – that it was proof of her love for him, even though she had confided in them over the years of his continual abuse. In REDACTED’s last conversation with Buck, as her pastor, she told him about the last two years of sin and abuse that had happened between her and Matt. Buck was disheartened to hear what she had to say and the stories that she shared with him. Buck assured her that he believed her but didn’t want her calling, what had happened to her, abuse. REDACTED said she needed to leave Living Hope, and he insisted she stay. When she asked why Matt was allowed to stay in leadership, despite the sin and abuse, Buck said he had to do what was best for Matt. He ended the conversation by saying Matt has a good heart, despite being informed of the many stories of abuse. REDACTED was a member of Living Hope, crying out for help, and all she received was silence from Buck after that.

Story #2

The second woman willing to share her story met Matt while volunteering for the Teens For Christ ministry. She was 19 and he was 27, he was her first boyfriend. Throughout their relationship, he would often tell her that she wasn’t a good or strong enough leader. He was critical and would tear her down, but then text her late at night and ask her to come over for sexual favors. He would teach at TFC chapters about living a godly life and not being entangled with the world, but then text his girlfriend another time saying, “I really want to have sex with you” and telling her how horny he was. The emotional and physical back and forth, depending on the day and how he was feeling, was erratic, unhealthy, and abusive. Even after they broke up, he would message her telling her that he’d made a mistake by leaving her and that if they dated again, he would marry her. Luckily, she was able to cut ties and is actively seeking healing from the abuse.

Story #3

The third woman willing to share her story met Matt while volunteering at Teens For Christ. She was 19 and he was 29 years old. She had no sexual experience with men before meeting and dating Matt. It started off as a long distance dating relationship consisting of texts and phone calls. Flirtatious conversation eventually turned to dirty texts and thoughts and ideas of what they’d do when they were together when Matt began communicating that he wanted her to talk sexually as a way that he needed affection from long distance. Refusal to do so communicated to him that she wasn’t prioritizing his needs and that maybe the relationship needed re-evaluated. She visited Matt in Texas and was told upon arrival that she’d be sleeping at his house in the spare bedroom rather than a friend’s house, which came as a surprise. It didn’t take long for them to become physical and cross a line sexually. They went to a prayer meeting the next day and afterwards she told Matt that she felt convicted and didn’t want to be physical like that going forward. He refused to speak to her for several hours that day and finally confronted her by saying she wasn’t holding up her end of the relationship. Because he had been there for her emotionally, it was only right that she ‘love’ him in the way he needed it too. He insisted she stay in his room for the night, where he went against her conviction, and pressured her physically and verbally until she complied. This was one instance of several. When she was apart from Matt, he would send her pictures of his penis and demanded pictures in return, again saying it was a way for her to show him that she loved him, often causing long verbal fights because she refused. When TFC’s boot camp had started, the students, who had arrived from Texas, were staying at a host home. Everyone was in the basement, including Matt and this young woman. They sat in the back, under a blanket, where he had her give him hand job in a room full of students. She visited Matt again for a second time. After months of Matt pushing boundaries, emotionally manipulating her, and justifying why they did what they did, he was able to coerce further sexually. While penetrating her with his hands, she was crying, telling him it hurt and that she wanted him to stop. He insisted it was her fault because she couldn’t relax and that she needed to bear through the pain. After, she slid off the bed, in the corner of the room, crying. Matt had raped her, going against her wishes to stop.. When they broke up, she went to Buck and told him what had happened. That Matt had abused her and should not be in a position of leadership in the ministry. Buck went and told everything she had said to Matt, who confronted her about it. Matt informed her that no one was listening to her or believed her. She would find out later that Matt had been seeing other women throughout their relationship, which would only add to the abuse endured throughout their relationship. Matt was asked to step down for a while as the leader of the Texas chapters, but was encouraged to be re-instated after only a month or two of being away. I, REDACTED, insisted he take the rest of the year off and get the healing he actually needed. I told him, via text, which I still have, that he needed to get healing after a lifetime of patterns like this one. He did agree to take the rest of the year off, but was then hired by the home office of TFC to join them on their staff in Lima. This young woman endured significant trauma which has impacted her day-to-day life and relationships.

 

Story #4

Though I was never sexually or physically abused by Matt, I wanted to add an example of my own story in here to show a pattern of learned behavior. The summer Matt moved to Texas, he asked me to pray and fast about possibly dating/marrying him. He said “I need my Kristin Sutton” and implied that I could/would be a good fit for that. I told him that he was probably being emotional due to the fact he just left everything behind he knew and would be starting in Texas not knowing really anyone. He confirmed with a second video call that he was serious about what he’d said and asked me to pray/fast about it over the summer. After a month, I visited my sister in Texas, and spent many hours on several different days with Matt. He never said a word about what he had proposed. The last night I saw him, he hugged me and said, “we’ll talk in Ohio”. In Ohio, I confirmed with REDACTED that he had spent the entire summer sending her pictures of his penis and telling her he wanted to be sexual with her. I confronted him about this and told him that I would not be considering his offer. Buck had told me, throughout my years in the internship, that when the first man paid real attention to me, my knees would buckle and I’d crumble for him. Feeling accomplished that this is not what had happened, I told Buck about what had happened with Matt that summer. He said, “well, if he had ACTUALLY pursued you, it would have been a different story”.

Rest N Him Ministries

Pam Rollan is an ordained deliverance minister, under the leadership of Pastor Michael French of Patria Ministries and Pastor Joe Medina of Daily Bread Ministries, both in Birmingham, Alabama.

Pam and Kristin Sutton would pray at Pam’s home on a bi-weekly basis. Kristin said that there was a possibility Matt would be moving to Lima to be on staff with Teens For Christ, and asked Pam if she would be willing to meet with him for healing and deliverance. Kristin sought Pam out to assist in Matt’s healing and deliverance. Pam informed Kristin that healing was not a fast process and could take months, sometimes years. Pam agreed to meet with Matt. One of the women in the stories above met with Pam and Matt, as she was being pursued by Matt at the time. The first two sessions were hopeful, as he was being honest and repenting for certain things he had done to this young woman. Shortly after that, he was caught in a lie, and started to back away from counseling. Pam saw what was happening and informed Kristin that he should be removed from a leadership position until this was dealt with. Kristin assured Pam it was being handled, but Pam saw the situation getting worse. Matt started to counsel with Nathan Branim, and Pam insisted this young woman Matt was pursuing be a part of those meetings so Nathan could hear both sides of the story. Matt cut off Pam and this young woman and lied about what had happened, refusing to speak with her again or make it right. Pam also informed Buck and Kristin that any employee with alcohol addiction should not be in a position of leadership in a ministry or church. Pam stood up for the women who came to her and were abused by TFC. She was not silent about what she had seen and heard, and for that, she was driven out of the community.

You may have read this letter and thought that I am just another one of those ‘traitors’, ‘defectors’, and ‘liars’ who have ‘come against’ the ministry in the past. Some may even say the enemy is the driving force behind this. When I was deeply involved with the ministry, I would think the same things about people who left the ministry and had something negative to say about it. When they would leave and say it’s a cult, I would defend and stand up for the Sutton family as if they were my own. I was so convinced that anyone who came against the ministry had back-slidden and weren’t able to see what God was doing and they were a fool to not want to be a part of it. A couple of years ago, I looked one of the women (whose story is in this letter) and I said, “What if we just said it all? What if we told them everything, all of this?” Back then, we were fearful. Fearful of losing our friends, our community. Fearful of being exiled, chastised, unheard, ignored. But, not anymore. I am angry and I am saddened over all of the abuse that has been endured over the years. I want to be clear, I want to be honest, and I want to be free. I have been counseling with Pam Rollan (Rest N Him Ministries) for two years and have gotten extensive healing and have forgiven – time and time again – Matt, Tyler, Buck, and others in the ministry who have let this abuse go on. I don’t want anyone to ever wonder why I stepped away from the ministry or the community that surrounds TFC and Living Hope. I am choosing to walk in the light, no matter who is with me, and I pray everyone else does the same. I pray that if you’re reading this letter and you’ve got a story to share, that you would share it.

 

In Christ,

REDACTED