TRIGGER WARNING: Graphic descriptions of child abuse.
What kind of man enjoys tying a little girl down to the floor and beating her with a bullwhip as he says, “You are fat. You are ugly. You are stupid. You are worthless. Nobody will ever love you”?
What sort of human being—over six feet tall, big and intimidating—will rape his kindergarten-aged granddaughter in the darkness of his barn loft, then hand her to his longtime friend to be raped anally?
What grandfather in the world would host a circle of his friends in the top of his big red barn, where his preschooler grand-baby is forced to give them all oral sex?
What kind of man would slowly torture and slaughter a screaming baby animal in front of his gentle grandchild in the middle of the night, blood dripping from his knife, simply to instill a paralyzing terror into her heart?
How do we even describe what would motivate a flannel-and-suspender sporting “good ol’ boy” from a picture-perfect neighborhood to treat helpless children in such a way—his own grandchildren, no less?
Two words: psychological sadism.
Here we have a man whose soul is so dark, his conscience so utterly cauterized, that he takes pleasure in watching small, innocent people suffer. That man is my father-in-law, Jay Tuhl Bannister.
He and his foul friends were apparently quite entertained by exerting their dominance over my tiny children, forcing them to enact barbaric scenes in the top of that barn. Lust for power and lust for blood characterizes these fiendish humans, like the drunken Roman leaders of old who toasted one another as they sat watching people being butchered down below in the arena. So much blood spilled, human life pouring wastefully onto the ground, for mere amusement. For their viewing pleasure. Such are Tuhl and his posse of predators: Mike Nowakowski, Bryant Conlon, David Lee, Ralph Carder, and the now-dead Jim McNally.
Another member of that group is Tuhl’s “spiritual father” Charles Simpson, co-creator of the Shepherding / Discipleship Movement that sprang up in 1970. This sect trumpeted about “covenant relationships,” which bound people in spiritual servitude to their churchly male “authority,” sometimes for life. They built a lofty pyramid of human power, with Simpson reigning comfortably on the top tier, of course. (Shockingly, this ideology has been found quite useful to many a cult leader since.) His website currently boasts “60 years of ministry” that has “touched more than 100 nations since 1955.”
One particular child abuse session in Tuhl’s barn loft arena (and there were many of these over the years) included a greatly honored visit from Charles Simpson himself. My tender-hearted daughter sat crumpled in the midst of a circle of chairs filled with perverted old and middle-aged men. She saw the revered white-haired “minister” arrive at the top of the barn stairs, and one of the men rise to offer him a seat.
She remembers his sinister smile and cruel laughter (which haunted her dreams for years afterward) as she was handed a machete and told to use it on the child inside the circle with her. The men all guffawed mockingly as she wept and could not do it.
She also remembers Charles Simpson being one of the pedophiles.
All this leads me to wonder . . .
Just how has Brother Charles “touched” so many people for the past sixty years? Somehow I cannot shake the feeling that my children are not the only ones affected by his pernicious habits, no matter how much his ministry claims to help “Stop Human Trafficking.”
What does this say about the “Hidden Treasures” ministry he supports, whose logo includes a small child popping out of a box? So many countries. So many children. So many possibilities. So much money to be made . . . especially if you are a “pastor” who enjoys forcing little children to perform sexual acts on you.
So many questions . . . .
But even all this physical and psychological sadism, this chipping away at the very core of a child’s personhood, was not enough for my daddy-in-law dearest and his diabolical pals. No.
The ultimate triumph of twisted, narcissistic sadists is to leave a lasting mark on the world. They seek to corrupt the hearts and souls of children by training them to become as depraved and wretched as themselves. They revel in the thought of leaving behind a Legacy; of passing the torch of terror to the next generation.
As they torture and teach the children to carry on their malicious work, they issue forth slithering words. “You were born for this. You have no choice; it is in your blood. You are a monster. It is your doom, your destiny. You are bound to this fate, and nothing you do can change it.”
Complete and utter codswallop.
These children do have a choice.
And they are taking your stinking torch, O ye vile men, and hurling it into the mighty waters of Justice.
If you would like to help these children, you can contact the following to let your voice be heard.
- Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring: 804-786-2071; email@example.com
- Virginia Governor Ralph Northam: 804-786-2211
- Alabama Governor Kay Ivey: 334-242-7100
- Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall: 334-242-7300
- Richmond, Virginia FBI: 804-261-1044
- Stafford, Virginia Detective J.G. Wright: 540-658-5210; firstname.lastname@example.org
- William Joseph Bannister: 202-834-9442; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
Please sign the Change.org petition here. This petition includes wording you can use when contacting any of the above.
Our Alabama Family Court case number is DR-2019-500538.
Virginia Family Court case number is JJ053144-01-99.