April 7th 2022
April 7th 2022
Safeguarding our Students
Hillcrest School believes that our students are gifts from God and should be valued as such. We hold the responsibility of safeguarding these precious gifts, our children, as a sacred and solemn trust.
The heartbreaking truth is that throughout time children have suffered harm and abuse at the hands of those entrusted to protect and nurture them at school or in a hostel. It was no different at Hillcrest. April 2021 a former administrator stated on social media that between 1980 - 1984 he molested 2 students at HIllcrest. Since that public statement we have received additional reports of abuse, inappropriate behavior and grooming behavior by adults toward children. Alumni have bravely come forward to bear witness to what they experienced or what they saw at school or in the hostels. Hillcrest acknowledges that abuse was experienced by some of our Alumni. It is our responsibility to nurture student development, mind, body and soul and, as possible, keep our students safe. Hillcrest understands that we have, at times, fallen short of living up to and fulfilling our responsibilities. We regret the pain and suffering experienced by some of our Alumni and their families.
If you have experienced or witnessed harm or abuse at Hillcrest School, no matter how long ago it happened, we invite you to share your experience with us at email@example.com. This is a confidential email monitored by Hillcrest’s Student Protection Officer.
McDowell Confession Update
James McDowell’s confession in April 2021 opened the door for former students to come forward with their accounts and testimonies of physical, sexual, spiritual and racial abuse during their time at Hillcrest School. The accounts of abuse are wide ranging and often blatant, barely concealed acts of cruelty, violence and sexual exploitation.
It is unbelievable that such flagrant abuse of power and position continued unchecked. We have heard accounts of mission personnel engaged in grooming, bullying, and racism, violent outbursts of temper, using the name of God as a tool of oppression and condemnation, inappropriate communication, sexualized touching and outright sexual activity with children.
McDowell’s abusive behavior is only one instance of these violations against our children. We seek to hear from all former students who were harmed or abused in any way, by any one, during their time at Hillcrest. We invite you to give your testimony by:
1. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org (a dedicated email address)
2. Fill out the abuse reporting form,(http://bit.ly/3Y1t38c)
3. Arrange a time to speak with us directly.
Please share your testimony with us. James McDowell’s mission is the EMCC - Evangelical Missionary Church of Canada based in Ontario. The mission was formed through a 1993 merger of the Evangelical Church of Canada and the Missionary Church of Canada.
In April 2021, McDowell posted his confession on Hillcrest Baby– a private Facebook site. Immediately, Hillcrest reported to EMCC. McDowell also reported his abusive actions to his mission board. In the meantime, Hillcrest reported to the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) in Nigeria and in Kenya. EMCC reported McDowell’s confession to the Ontario police as well as to McDowell’s places of employment in Ontario. Hillcrest reported to the Plateau State police and also met with the Plateau State Police Commissioner. These reports occurred between April 15 and June 10, 2021. Since that time, we continue to contact EMCC regarding their actions. Initially we had no knowledge of any specific victims of McDowell’s– other than his confession. As individuals contacted us we compiled written records of their experiences and pressed EMCC to reach out to these victims. We continue to communicate with EMCC.
EMCC hired Dalene Friesen, a third party investigator/consultant to listen to all of McDowell’s, and others, victims. She can be contacted at: email@example.com. We encourage anyone who may be hesitant to come forward to take the brave step of giving your testimony of any abuse or harm you experienced during your time at Hillcrest.
We stand firmly behind all alumni who have been so grievously violated by the abusive actions of adults entrusted to care and nurture them.
Anne Lucasse, Superintendent