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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

WELS Pastor Resigns after Threatening Gang Rape of Writer - Email Sent from His Account

WELS Pastor Dave Wendt Facebook Page

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WELS Lutheran pastor resigns after being linked to threatening email



A Lutheran pastor in La Crosse resigned on Tuesday, four days after a vulgar and virulent email threatening to gang rape a Milwaukee bloggerwho criticized police work was sent from his home email address, a spokesman for the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod said.
The Rev. David Wendt of First Evangelical Lutheran Church in La Crosse tendered his resignation to the church council, a day after blogger Claire Van Fossen posted the email on social media.
Synod spokesman Lee Hitter said he did not know whether Wendt admitted sending the email, and efforts to reach Wendt and church President Mick Schwedler were unsuccessful.
Hitter said Wendt told synod President Mark Schroeder earlier in the day that the email address in question was his, but he denied sending the threat.
"Obviously, the email was completely unacceptable," said Hitter.
Van Fossen, a liberal Milwaukee activist and blogger, said she was inundated with emails and telephone calls critical of a blog post in which she declared that police cause more harm than good. Much of the anger was directed at the timing of the post -- one day after State Trooper Trevor Casper , 21, was shot and killed by a bank robber in Fond du Lac.
The email was one of dozens of angry and sometimes vulgar responses that came after Van Fossen wrote onPurple Wisconsin, a collection of independent bloggers hosted on JSOnline, that police departments do "more harm than good" in society and envisioned "a more just, free, and equitable world" where they would not be needed.
"They threaten us with violence and incarceration and target the most oppressed and vulnerable people in our society. By blaming 'crime' and 'criminals' instead of systemic oppression for society's ills, the police exacerbate societal problems, harm citizens, and bar the people from liberation by maintaining the capitalist social order," Van Fossen wrote.
The post and associated comments have been removed from Purple Wisconsin.
"Purple Wisconsin is a site where community ​bloggers contribute to conversations about current issues and debates," said David D. Haynes, Journal Sentinel editorial page editor. "We do not direct or edit them in any fashion​, but make it clear that this should be a safe space for thoughtful debate. Unfortunately, that surely did not happen in this case. When a post, reaction to a post or both don't meet that standard, our only ​option is to take it down.
"Claire and I discussed her post today and I made the decision to take it down. Some of the things people posted about her were vile and hateful. It was disgusting and not at all what we want for this feature."
Van Fossen said she'd been working on the essay for a few weeks and that its publication was in no way timed to the trooper's killing, which she called "an absolute tragedy."
The most extreme response to the post, Van Fossen said, was a screed dated March 27 from Wendt's home email address calling her "the dumbest (expletive) liberal (expletive) I've heard yet."
The email goes on to tell Van Fossen to "Get off the drugs, (expletive), and go check yourself into rehab. ... Or better yet, you're pretty hot. So how about if I come over and rape you with a few of my friends. WHEW! At least I won't have to worry about you calling the police."
Van Fossen traced the Internet Provider address to La Crosse and posted the email on Facebook.
Hitter said Wendt asked the Onalaska Police Department's cyber crimes unit to investigate.
Police Chief Jeff Trotnic said Wendt called his department on Monday and was invited to bring in his computer for analysis. But Trotnic said he had not done so by 5 p.m. Tuesday.
The blogger said she is afraid for her safety. She stood by her assertion that the institution of policing does more harm that good but said she didn't mean to disparage police officers, many of whom she believes are "good people."
"What does it say about our society ... if the thought that we could care about each other enough that we don't need police is so threatening that people threaten violence?" Van Fossen asked.

About Annysa Johnson
Annysa Johnson is an award-winning reporter covering faith and spirituality in southeastern Wisconsin.
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A Wisconsin blogger said this week that she received rape threats — possibly from a pastor — after she wrote a column describing how the world could be a better place without law enforcement as it is implemented today.
“Whether we call them because of a dispute between neighbors or a robbery, a shooting or sexual violence, the police rarely meet our needs,” Claire Van Fossen wrote on the Journal Sentinel’s The Collective blog last week. “Rather than serve as advocates for true justice, they use their nearly limitless power to reinforce the oppressive status quo. They threaten us with violence and incarceration and target the most oppressed and vulnerable people in our society.”
“By targeting low-income individuals and people of color, the police maintain a racial and economic system of social stratification that is profitable and beneficial only for the ruling class,” she asserted. “And unlike basically every other institution in our country, they do this while safely insulated from competition, market feedback, the price mechanism, and the profit-loss system.”
According to Van Fossen, “mediation, dialogue, and reconciliation” provide superior conflict resolution to traditional policing.
“Whatever our chosen alternatives to calling the police, we all deserve a conflict-resolution and crisis management process that is democratic, accountable, transparent, and over which our communities have the ultimate control,” she concluded. “Our humanity, our justice, and our freedom depend on it.”
In a tweet on Monday, Van Fossen posted an email from someone named “Dave Wendt” who expressed opposition to her column with violent rape rhetoric.
“OMG, you have to be the dumbest f*cking liberal c*nt I’ve heard yet,” the email said. “Get off the drugs bitch, and go check yourself into rehab. LOL.”
“Or better yet, you’re pretty hot,” the letter continued. “So how about if I come over and rape you with a few of my friends. WHEW! At least I won’t have to worry about you calling the police.”
Through a little sleuthing, several Twitter users speculated that the author of the email may have been Pastor David Wendt of the First Evangelical Lutheran Church in La Crosse, Wisconsin. His Facebook page features the pro-law enforcement slogan “police lives matter,” support for gun rights, and frequent criticism of President Barack Obama. Church records obtained by Raw Story also showed that his wife’s name matched a name on the email address that targeted Van Fossen.
“[It] always amazes me how bold men will be when they make rape threats with their actual name,” Wisconsin resident Stephanie Pistachio observed in a Twitter message.
Calls to Wendt’s church were not returned by the time of publication.
Update (3:45 p.m. ET): Claire Van Fossen told Raw Story that Wendt confirmed that the email came from his account, but she said that the pastor denied that he was the one who sent it.
Update (4:45 p.m. ET): Onalaska Police Chief Jeff Trotnic told the La Crosse Tribune that Wendt had reported to officers on Monday that he had not sent the email, although it was sent from his account. Trotnic said that Wendt was instructed to bring his computer to the police station. A police report had not been made available by Tuesday afternoon.
“We are concerned for the pastor and the congregation,” First Evangelical congregation President Mick Schwedler explained to the La Cross Tribune on Tuesday. “It was my responsibility as president to ask him if he did it, and he said no.”
The paper also reported that the Journal Sentinel planned to take down Van Fossen’s blog post.
Update (7:20 p.m. ET): First Lutheran congregation President Mick Schwedler confirmed to the La Crosse Tribune that Wendt had resigned as pastor of the church on Tuesday.
Schwedler, however, would not say if that meant Wendt had admitted sending the email.
“This is a personnel matter for the congregation to deal with,” Schwedler said. “That’s all I can tell you.”
GJ - Threatening gang rape is not a congregational matter. It is a legal matter. WELS covered up a murder in Milwaukee and tried their best in Phoenix. District President Ed Werning molesting girls in his congregation? WELS "never knew" until he was arrested and sent to the Big House.

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http://justinspoliticalcorner.tumblr.com/post/115143627142/police-lives-matter-pastor-accused-of-rape#.VRwfUPnF-So

Police lives matter’ pastor accused of rape threats: ‘You have to be the dumbest f-cking liberal c—’ [TW: Death Threats, Sexism, Hate Speech, Misogyny, Rape Culture]


A Wisconsin blogger said this week that she received rape threats — possibly from a pastor — after she wrote a column describing how the world could be a better place without law enforcement as it is implemented today.

“Whether we call them because of a dispute between neighbors or a robbery, a shooting or sexual violence, the police rarely meet our needs,” Claire Van Fossen wrote on the Journal Sentinel’s The Collective blog last week. “Rather than serve as advocates for true justice, they use their nearly limitless power to reinforce the oppressive status quo. They threaten us with violence and incarceration and target the most oppressed and vulnerable people in our society.”

“By targeting low-income individuals and people of color, the police maintain a racial and economic system of social stratification that is profitable and beneficial only for the ruling class,” she asserted. “And unlike basically every other institution in our country, they do this while safely insulated from competition, market feedback, the price mechanism, and the profit-loss system.”

According to Van Fossen, “mediation, dialogue, and reconciliation” provide superior conflict resolution to traditional policing.

“Whatever our chosen alternatives to calling the police, we all deserve a conflict-resolution and crisis management process that is democratic, accountable, transparent, and over which our communities have the ultimate control,” she concluded. “Our humanity, our justice, and our freedom depend on it.”

In a tweet on Monday, Van Fossen posted an email from someone named “Dave Wendt” who expressed opposition to her column with violent rape rhetoric.

“OMG, you have to be the dumbest f*cking liberal c*nt I’ve heard yet,” the email said.“Get off the drugs bitch, and go check yourself into rehab. LOL.”

“Or better yet, you’re pretty hot,” the letter continued. “So how about if I come over and rape you with a few of my friends. WHEW! At least I won’t have to worry about you calling the police.”

Through a little sleuthing, several Twitter users speculated that the author of the email may have been Pastor David Wendt of the First Evangelical Lutheran Church in La Crosse, Wisconsin. His Facebook page features the pro-law enforcement slogan “police lives matter,” support for gun rights, and frequent criticism of President Barack Obama. Church records obtained by Raw Story also showed that his wife’s name matched a name on the email address that targeted Van Fossen.

“[It] always amazes me how bold men will be when they make rape threats with their actual name,” Wisconsin resident Stephanie Pistachio observed in a Twitter message.

Calls to Wendt’s church were not returned by the time of publication.