Safe Passage Foundation was recently contacted by several abuse survivors who were dismayed to learn that the man who sexually assaulted them when they were children would be touring the United States and raising money (including on Kickstarter) to produce a new album.
On behalf of these survivors, and in consideration of the extensively documented abuse Jeremy Spencer has been credibly accused of, Safe Passage Foundation created a petition calling for the cancellation of this tour and fundraiser.
Warning: The remainder of this article contains graphic descriptions of child abuse and may be disturbing for some readers.
More than 300 people signed the petition and a number of people contacted the organizers and supporters of the tour to ask them to take a stand against child abuse. A few days later, we were pleased to learn that both the tour and the Kickstarter fundraiser had been cancelled. While we don’t yet know if our petition and calls to the venues had anything to do with the cancellation of the tour and the fundraiser (a report by the Long Beach Press-Telegram indicated the tour was cancelled due to “unspecified health reasons”), we would like to think that the organizers and supporters of the tour heeded our call to take a stand against child abuse.
Jeremy Spencer was a founding member of Fleetwood Mac and in 1971 left the band to join the Children of God (now known as The Family International) where systemic sexual abuse of minors took place. For nearly 43 years, Jeremy Spencer has been a loyal member of a religious cult founded and run by child molesters. During that time, he has fully committed himself and his artistic talents to benefit and support an organization that has consistently demonstrated a callous disregard for the basic human rights of children. His abuse of children and participation in the production and distribution of child pornography has been well documented. More information about Jeremy Spencer can he found on the Jeremy Spencer page at xFamily.org, a collaboratively edited encyclopedia about The Family International/Children of God cult.
Former Safe Passage Foundation director Celeste Jones had this to say about Spencer:
I find it shameful that after all these years Jeremy Spencer has still not apologized to myself or to the other children he sexually abused while part of the Children of God nor has he renounced them. I would not support his efforts financially to send a clear message to those who think that they have evaded the law that crimes against innocent children will not be condoned or tolerated.
— Celeste Jones, co-author of “Not Without My Sister” (Harper-Collins, 2007)
We also asked Davida Kelley, another survivor of horrific child abuse by Jeremy Spencer, for her memories of him and she emailed us this heartbreaking statement about one of her first experiences with Spencer:
I was 7 years old when I met Jeremy Spencer in the secluded compound in Manila… My first memories with ‘Uncle Dada Jeremy’ (as we were told to refer to him) were the disturbing ‘music sessions’ I was made to take with him where he taught me to play guitar chords and harmonize to melodies that he re-created from old Elvis and Beatles songs (which he said HE wrote!). Being forced into submission and punishment for any contrary attitude was a typical scenario constantly enforced on us young people and any other person who dared to question or defy the “believe, obey and cooperate as told” law which The Family always strictly enforced and this whole time Jeremy Spencer was always making sure to remind me that I was “a pathetic, disgusting and stupid child and I would never be a singer or musician and I had absolutely no talent and would never become to much of anything ever! When I eventually did exceptionally well at a certain music session with him after I was then “rewarded” by getting to have sex with him in some special one on one “love up time” to ‘reward’ me for being a cooperative music student in his class that day! … I was taken to a secluded room.. where I was forced to perform oral sex in which I would gag on his penis until I vomited in my mouth and almost suffocated then I had to sit on his genitals and grind on them and improvise penetration until he had another orgasm and lie there while he violated me with his tongue and fingers. Now this was only one of the first of many countless incidents… He also used to love to beat my baby sisters; mostly my youngest who was a 2 year old at the time until she couldn’t walk and was black and blue. I counted him beating her almost senseless 10 times repeatedly as a 2 year old toddler while she screamed and screamed as he locked himself in a bathroom with her and then he came out smacking and licking his lips with the pleasure he had just experienced from beating a child too young for him to sexually molest all because she “deserved” that for “pouting” before his beating because she had a “bad attitude” and asked for a hug from me!
We know it is very difficult for abuse survivors to speak publicly about such traumatic experiences and we commend Davida and Celeste for their courage in doing so.
As one of the signers of the petition noted: ” no person should have to see their oppressor being celebrated.” Speaking out and taking a stand against child abuse is important because it helps remove the stigma and shame some survivors experience to where it belongs: with the abusers who violated their basic human rights. Getting the public to take a stand against child abuse and stop supporting a celebrity child abuser who has so far escaped justice may seem like a small victory but it is a victory nonetheless.