RCMP won’t yet open inquiry at Prairie Bible Institute

Activist alleges 80+ cases of sexual abuse

The RCMP told CBC News on Sunday that they can’t investigate sexual abuse allegations at Prairie Bible Institute, a private college in Alberta, unless more alleged victims come forward to police.

Linda Fossen, a 53-year-old former student, was the first to make allegations of widespread abuse. On her personal website, the U.S. resident asks visitors to sign a petition for the “80+ survivors of Prairie Institute” and lists six stories from Jane and John Does who were allegedly victims of sexual abuse at the hands of men connected with PBI. No alleged victims are named.

Fossen wrote that she uncovered the abuse after releasing her book Straight from the Donkey’s Mouth, which is about her own abuse at the hands of her father and while studying at PBI. The book is available for free. Her newest book, Out of the Miry Clay: Freedom from Childhood Sexual Abuse, is available for $8.00 online. Fossen also runs the abuse-related charity, I am Whole, Inc.

On her site, Fossen has posted a series of e-mails recently that she wrote to or received from PBI President Mark Maxwell. She repeatedly demands that PBI hire Godly Response to Abuse in Christian Environments (G.R.A.C.E.), a Virginia-based non-profit, to investigate her allegations.

Maxwell informed her on Oct. 31 that “the board recognizes the seriousness of the allegations and desires to seek the truth in order to achieve healing and reconciliation. The board appoints Linda Brinks to work with Mark to accomplish these goals and to take appropriate action as required.”

Fossen wasn’t pleased with Brinks’ appointment. “You say you want to vigorously investigate the allegations of abuse but then you choose a registered nurse?  Give me a break!,” she wrote Nov. 1.

In that same letter she says: “This is going to cost you some real cash money… I advise you that hiring GRACE is immensely more cost-effective for Prairie than a legal settlement from a court of law would be. There is no way around this… Either you pay now or you pay later but you will pay.”

Fossen continued to send fervent letters to Maxwell, including one on Nov. 11. “The game is over, Mark. There is no more time for you to try to stop the truth from coming out,” she wrote. “Like Penn State University has found, there is a day of reckoning,” she added, referring to alleged cover-up of sexual abuse by football coach Jerry Sandusky.

Maxwell wrote in a statement posted online Sunday that “as we work our way through this difficult issue, my goal as President is to deal with this in an open and accessible manner.”

Prairie Bible Insistute, located in Three Hills, Alta., has about 300 students.