Having a mentor from the Big Brothers Big Sisters program is supposed to be an educational, uplifting experience. Ohio native April Defibaugh certainly thought it would help her 11-year-old autistic son. And everything was fine until her son’s mentor took him to get baptized (apropos of nothing) and held him underneath the water (to his surprise), causing her son to have recurring nightmares.
She’s since filed a police report calling for criminal charges against everyone involved.
“They held my son under water. It wasn’t like they sprinkled water on his head, it was like full immersion. He kicked, he screamed and told them beforehand that he was afraid. Every day since then he’s had nightmares, the same recurring dream, about being baptized over and over like he’s drowning,” says Defibaugh.
Now she wants assault and child endangering charges filed against the Morning Star Friends Church in Chardon, the pastor, the big brother and the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization itself.
The officer who filed the report told her it’s unlikely any of the criminal charges would stick since there was no physical harm. That said, it’s appalling that these people might get away with forcing Christianity upon a child who wasn’t asking for it. It’s the result of a mindset that thinks you’re helping people by foisting your beliefs on them — something that would undoubtedly be controversial if any other religion were involved. (Can you imagine Todd Starnes‘ reaction if a Big Brother took the autistic child of a Christian mother to a Satanic Black Mass ceremony?)
This isn’t over yet. The next steps depend on what happens with that police report. We’ll keep you updated.