Adventist School Employees in Two States Arrested in Sexual Abuse Cases
Updated April 7, 2016: Two Adventist educators in the northwest United States were arrested in the last two weeks in unrelated cases and are being prosecuted for sexual misconduct with students. Donald Mansell, former financial manager and athletic director at Livingstone Adventist Academy in Salem, Oregon, turned himself in to authorities on Thursday (March 24) and was arraigned in court this week. Douglas Allison, principal and teacher for grades 5-8 at Mountain View Christian School in Sequim, Washington, was arrested the following Tuesday evening (March 29). Both arrests were reported on television news.
Mansell has been charged with third degree sexual misconduct from an investigation that dates back to May of 2014. Court documents include accusations that he sexually abused two teenage girls, one in 2010-2011 and one in 2013-2014. The Marion County Sheriff’s investigation report “lists a third girl as a potential victim,” according to KGW television Channel 8, the NBC Affiliate in Portland. Mansell was no longer an employee at the school when he was arrested. He resigned in 2014.
A 16-year-old female student at Livingstone Adventist Academy had a meeting with Mansell in which he “solicited sex from her [and she] started surreptitiously recording audio of the conversation on her iPod, which has subsequently been given to the police,” reported the Statesman-Journal daily newspaper in Salem. A copy of the recording was also given to Carol McLeod, associate superintendent of schools for the Adventist denomination’s Oregon Conference, and Mansell was immediately placed on administrative leave. The conference had no comment for the news media this week.
Allison has been charged with first degree rape of a child, according to KCPQ, Channel 13 in Seattle, a Fox Television station. A 10-year-old girl enrolled at the school told her parents that he was molesting her and an investigation by Clallam County Sheriff’s detectives found an 11-year-old girl, also a student at the school, who made similar allegations, the television news has stated.
Allison is being held on $100,000 bail at the county jail, reported the Associated Press (AP). His wife also teaches at the school, but she is not under investigation, the sheriff’s office stated. Becky Meharry, associate superintendent of schools for the denomination’s Washington Conference told the news media last week that “as soon as we were notified [Mr. Allison] was placed on administrative leave [and] we are cooperating with the police.”
The education director for the denomination’s North Pacific Union Conference “is working in cooperation with … the investigation,” a news release from the Clallam County Sheriff’s office stated. But, the attorney for the North Pacific Union Conference, Andre Wang, told Adventist Today on April 7 that it “is not at all involved with the investigations of either case. The denominational point of contact for these investigations is with the education superintendents of the local conferences.”
The Adventist denomination operates the largest Protestant school system in the world, with 5,332 elementary schools enrolling more than 1.1 million students and 2,296 secondary schools with more than 566,000 students. It also sponsors more than 150 colleges, seminaries and universities around the world.
Livingstone Adventist Academy is a K-12 school with an enrollment of 175 students. It is located on Fruitland Road NE in Salem, the Oregon state capital. The metropolitan area has a population of 160,000 with 12 Adventist churches and an estimated 4,347 adherents, according to the 2010 United States Census of Religion.
Mountain View Christian School is an elementary school located at 255 Medsker Road in Sequim, a small town located on the northern edge of the Olympic Peninsula, a wilderness area west of Seattle, across the Strait of Jean de Fuca from Victoria, British Columbia. Clallam County has three Adventist churches with an estimated 612 adherents.