Rachel's Story - Part 4
1994-1997: David Attacks Me
Leaders involved at this time: David Geftakys, Betty Geftakys, Tim geftakys, Ginger Geftakys, Jeff Lehmkuhl, Kirk Cesaretti, Bob Anderson, Mike Duwelling
1994 When I turned 16 David decided that I should have a swat for each thing out of place in my room. My three drawers were not straightened properly, so he told Judy to give me three swats. I tried as hard as I could to keep still, as I was taught long ago, but I couldn't.
Judy didn't want to spank me in the first place because she and David had an agreement that I wouldn't get spankings after age 12. He told her to keep giving me swats until I kept still. She stopped and wouldn't do it. He grabbed the paddle and shoved my head into the bed and began to whack me. My brother started counting swats in the other room about half way through the spanking. He counted 25 swats.
Judy went and called my grandmother and the spanking stopped because she came in and said to David that his Mom wanted to talk to him. Judy comforted me and told me that, "Papa Two (our name for George) beat Papa while he was growing up and that made it hard for Papa."
David eventually came back in and apologized. From the middle of my back to my knees, the tops of my feet, and my hands, and my wrists and forearms were all bruised and sprained.
My cousin Dawn Geftakys saw these bruises at a seminar a short time later. I told her what happened and about the beatings David had received as a child and young man from George, our grandfather. Dawn confided in me that her dad Tim had trouble giving spankings because of the abuse he witnessed his brother receiving as a child and usually left that to Ginger. I didn't tell Tim or Ginger but I find it hard to believe that Dawn did not. In October of 2000 I spoke to Dawn and at that time she stated remembering my bruising.
1995 I graduated from high school and wanted to move out on my own. My mother and I found an apartment for me, and David loaned me the money for the deposit. (I was not allowed to work until I was 18 and then I had to immediately start paying rent, utilities, food, etc. in David's home. This was all due to the "theory" that my grandmother and my father tested in our family.)
Betty, hearing of this, arranged a meeting with the Leading Brothers, my parents and myself. After her input, they told me they didn't think it was "God's will" for me to move out on my own. They persuaded me to "do God's will" and stay in my parent's home. I couldn't stand living there for very long so I moved out about three weeks later while my parents were out of town.
1996 I unwisely became involved with a not-so-nice guy. I was 18. He was 27. By April of 1996, I was having doubts as to my relationship with this older man and wanted out. In April, I ended up moving back into my parent's house. I was really struggling between a sincere desire to serve the Lord and what I thought that entailed. I really wanted to walk with God, but I couldn't bring myself to live the way my parents lived, or be in my grandfather's ministry. This was a very difficult dilemma for me.
My life at home was very hard. Most of the people around me viewed me as a reprobate, out-of-control child, not as a hurting and confused young adult woman. They steered clear of me and were unwilling to talk to me about anything serious. The few conversations people would have with me were along the vein of "how was my repentance coming along." It was clear there was no compassion for my situation or help for me. Later, I was to learn that many people had no idea what I was going through, because it was not discussed.
No one seemed to even care to know what my life was like. I was not allowed to partake in communion, and my activities outside the home were limited. I was allowed to go to school and to work in order to pay David rent, food money, and utilities. I was to supply my own car, insurance, and maintenance. Other than that I was rarely allowed anywhere except to meetings. I was so discouraged and beaten down that I gave up trying to walk with the Lord (the Assembly version) and although I had sincerely tried to break it off with my former boyfriend, I yielded to temptation and contacted him again. About a week later, I left home in order to move in with him.
On Monday, I went into work at the office of one of the saints (Brent T.). Jeff Lehmkuhl, who was the main leader under David in San Luis Obispo, came in for an appointment at the end of the day. He and Brent then persuaded me to go home once again. I decided that I really did want to walk with the Lord and really was going to try. I was also promised some kind of support and help.
When I got home, Jeff and I went to the house and Brent went to park his car. (He lived right next door to my parents at the time.) When I was in the house I asked my dad to forgive me for leaving and he said that I was like a drug addict who couldn't control herself and would go back to my sin. He asked Jeff to call around to inquire about getting shackles. Jeff went to the phone to call. Jeff returned to say he could not find a place that sold shackles and Brent came in. Brent clearly remembers me asking my dad if he was going to shackle me. Brent responded to me with indignation, "Of course not!" But Brent was not in the room when my dad asked Jeff to call about shackles. Since Jeff could not seem to find any shackles, I did not end up being shackled.
It was very hard staying there because I couldn't go anywhere or talk to anyone. Any outside activities ceased to exist. I had to get up at 5:30 every morning to go and work out with my dad at the gym. He said physical discipline would help with spiritual discipline. I was not allowed out of my family's home for any reason rather then meetings or school. Often one of my parents would drive me to school. Despite my sincere attempt to "walk with the Lord," life at home was unbearable and in comparison, anything looked better.
About 2 weeks later, I was baby-sitting for Brent. Even though we had broken up, I called my then ex-boyfriend, from Brent's house. I was very lonely.
David came over to check on me. He snuck up on me. He heard me talking on the phone and had Rebecca come over to take over the babysitting. He then took me home. As we were walking up the path through our front yard I asked my dad to forgive me and he turned around and backhanded me with a closed fist. The Assembly teaching on forgiveness never applied to my father, only to those he sinned against.
I fell to the ground screaming and he grabbed my hair trying to yank me to my feet. He placed his hand over my mouth and continued to try to force me to my feet by pulling up on my hair. I urinated on myself out of fear. He was telling me to shut up and get inside. As we went through the front door, I saw my brother standing there crying. When we got to my room, my dad really laid into me. I had my arms in front of my face so most of the blows landed on the side of my face and my ears.
I ended up suffering some hearing loss in my left ear from the blows from his right hand. My dad was calling me a whore and a bitch and other foul names. I was backing up in fear and hit my dresser. I said, "You're going to kill me." I really thought he was.
That is when he stopped and said, "No, I am not, but someone else will if you keep going the way you are. I will have to identify you on a slab someday." That was on a Thursday. No one was in the house but my brother and he was downstairs. My face was bruised and swollen and I had a cut running down from the corner of my left eye to my hair line.
The next day I went to work and saw Brent T. and Karen N. I told both of them what happened. I don't remember what Brent said but Karen's response was, "Worse things could happen."
On Sunday, Kirk asked me what happened to my face. Because he was with James Aiken at the time, I told him I would let him know if we could speak privately. When I told him what David had done, he responded by asking, "Do you think what he did was right?" I responded, "No. I shouldn't have called behind his back, but two wrongs don't make a right." Kirk said, "OK," and asked me to go home and change my dress because he thought it was too tight.
I never heard anything more from the leadership. I gave up for good because I had not seen any protection for Judy over the years and the hell she was living in and didn't see any hope of protection for myself. Two weeks later, I left in the middle of the night and moved in with my boyfriend.
I filed a restraining order against David. When I went to court, Judy told me that it looked like the Social Services would take David and Rebecca away because of my allegations in the restraining order. I knew that my siblings were Judy's life and joy, so I made an agreement that had the same stipulations as a restraining order with the following exception: If I made contact with my father, for any reason, then the restraining order would end. I wrote up and signed the agreement with Bob Anderson who was acting as David's attorney. This agreement allowed the restraining order to be made permanent without any need for court testimony. This is because the restraining order would be uncontested. Again, I did this so that my brother and sister would not be taken away from my mother. I didn't see my family for 1 year and 6 months.
1996 At this time Brent T. began to talk to Jeff and others about the ongoing abuse he was hearing and witnessing at my family's home. New Year's Eve 1996 Brent discussed the situation with Keith Walker, while staying at his house for a seminar. Although Brent does not remember everything that he said, he is quite clear that he communicated to Keith the following, "There is much more trouble coming from the Geftakys family."
1997 In the summer of 1997, Mike Duwelling approached Brent regarding the strange state of affairs at my parent’s house. At some point in that same time period Brent spoke about the situation with Jeff Lehmkuhl and Mark Miller at a lunch meeting. Then in the summer of 1997 Brent spoke with Tim Geftakys and later with Ginger, who expressed great concern about the situation. Ginger told Brent that she had recently spoken with Judy and that everything was OK.