Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Markus McDowell pleaded guilty


It is with great pleasure that I make this post. Youth pastor Markus McDowell took responsibility for the heinous act of molesting young girls under his care.

A former Camarillo youth minister, Markus "Mark" Holland McDowell, will be sentenced on Oct. 14 after he pleaded guilty Monday to two counts of molesting a minor victim and two counts of digital penetration, said prosecutor Gilbert Romero.

McDowell, 48, could get as many as four years behind bars when he is sentenced, Romero said.

"I was looking forward to trying the case, but I think Mr. McDowell decided to take responsibility," Romero said.

Source: Man pleads guilty to molestation : Local News : Ventura County Star

I've posted on McDowell twice:

I've met the man. Plus, since his arrest, I've corresponded with several of his victims, a couple of professors who worked with him, and others who had interacted with him at various times in his life. I'm personally involved in this case. My bias is showing. I was planning to attend his trial. But I am happy the bastard took a plea.

McDowell has brought shame to my alma mater, Pepperdine University. Worse yet, he damaged a couple of nice young women in ways that will take years to heal. He is the very definition of Christian Hypocrisy. Four years in prison is not fare punishment for the crimes he has committed. Unless they put him in with the general population.


Anonymous said...

I am very saddened to hear it confirmed that Markus committed these acts.

I'll pray that those victimized in this case can move forward and have peace in their lives now.

Anonymous said...

Not only should you pray for those that were victimized, you should be thanking them for being brave enough to come forward and try to keep this from ever happening again, protecting future victims. He will perpetrate again.Who knows, he may have come after your daughter.

It is my hope that people will be watching more carfully and not be deceived by his very crafted lies.

Anonymous said...

Saddened? That's it? You should feel outraged that he had you convinced that he wasn't capable of these kinds of atrocities. This is exactly why they're called predators. They blend in with their scenery and have folks like you who are easily duped to hide behind who will defend them even when presented with evidence and multiple eye witnesses.

I can't see how the victims could have any interest in condolences from those who flat out called them liars in the first place.

Congrats, you've contributed to the problem. I hope your attitude doesn't keep any other abused children in your life from coming forward.

Anonymous said...

Uh thanks for telling me how to feel. I never once called the girls liars but withheld my judgment because I didn't know the facts of the case.

Also before you get too self-righteous there is a very real problem of young people using the law to seek revenge in the worst possible way. Usually the facts in those cases get found out but by then the media has moved on. That's why its terrible to jump to a conclusion either way unless you know for certain the facts behind a case.

Mojoey said...

I would dispute your assertion regarding young people using the law for revenge. The facts to not support your assertion. I've tracked over 300 cases so far, only 2 have been retracted because the victim lied.

The fact is, in clergy abuse cases, the victims are actually victims and the pastors are monsters.

In this case - McDowell needs to suffer for the pain he caused his victims. But I've felt that since I first heard the accusations. You see, by now I believe the victim until proven otherwise.

Anonymous said...

As a victim (who has not yet commented but who has read posts on this matter regularly and who is grateful for people like mojoey), to the third post (marked 9:27pm) I say that you are absolutely right. At this point, condolences are too late. At this point, the perpetrator has been the victor for far too many years because men like the one who made the first comment were far too willing to be content with the story of the predator without giving ear to the story of the prey. It is men like him who allow the victims to multiply.

No, I don't want your condolences and I certainly do not want your prayers. You are part of the problem. And you have the audacity to put the Creator on your side. Implicit in your comment, anonymous at 4:37pm, is that you stand in the right, that God would withhold judgment and feed victims to the predator while the California court system played out its game. I, for one, want nothing to do with your god who treats my life--or anyone else's--like a toy.

May you also know that peace does not come "now." The mere submission of a guilty plea to 4 of 10 felony counts does not bring peace. NOW the hard work of healing, of working through the meaning and experience of abuse, manipulation, and the corruption of God's name merely BEGINS. The abuse gets to be relived again and again--though hopefully with less and less trauma--for the rest of our lives. This, anonymous, is NOT peace.

Anonymous from 9:27pm said...

Hearing victims out can hardly be labeled jumping to conclusions. But that is beside the point. After the trial, after the guilty plea, I'd go to the point of including after a fourth victim joined the ranks much later in the investigation, being saddened at confirmation that all these things were perpetrated is not a normal human response. It is the response of a fool, a lamb, a sucker, a stool.

There is no peace where there is no justice. There is no end to the fight against not only the sexual, but religious abuse executed by the clergy, ever, for any of their victims, beyond death.

Your prayers fall on the ears of the most deaf and mercy-bereft god.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry that my initial emotional reaction of sadness was unacceptable to you.

I'll admit in the time that's passed I've had spurts when I became very angry, I know how Markus gained my trust, and to think how he abused that trust is downright sickening.

To the victim who posted in this thread (all the victims actually), thank you for coming forward and exposing this man for what he is, even though it has caused you to have to relive this trauma.

Mojoey -- you may choose to believe all accusations but I was very close to someone who was falsely accused and it has permanently installed skepticism in me.

Anonymous said...

sorry this paragraph should read:

I'll admit in the time that's passed I've had spurts when I became very angry, I know how Markus gained my trust, and to think how he abused that trust that others had gained in him is downright sickening.

Anonymous said...

I've never heard of anyone ever being falsely accused of child abuse. Markus was an aquaintence of mine, but when I heard what he was accused of, I knew it was true from that moment. I am never surprised anymore... people are capable of the worst things. We like to think that all bad guys look bad... but look at Ted Bundy, a good looking guy who seemed normal, but no one knew the monster that lurked underneath. The same is true here.

Also, if you thought that there was a chance that he might be innocent, then why did they recover child porn on his computer? Tough to argue with that. As a pastor, these stupid guys make my job ten times harder. What makes it even harder is people who too easily trust them.

My prayers are with the victims.

Sal said...

To "saddened":

As a victim of these type of crimes myself, I can tell you that it was not the coming forward that forced them to relive that trauma, it was living with the trauma that forced them to relive it. Over and over and over again, for the rest of their lives.

Anonymous said...

I have watched this site and read the comments for a while. I don't know where to begin.... I am so angered by the slander created on this site regarding Mark McDowell. Frankly, I do not know how you can comment on anything without seeing the official police report or speaking to Mark himself. You have made so many harsh judgements based solely on heresey and no evidence.

I would like to shed light on the other side of the story...
Let me begin by saying that the primary girl (woman) involved in this case reported to the police that she was at least 17 at the time of any "abuse", and may I also add that she and Mark had an affair for the next 13 years that followed. Granted, the affair was wrong for both parties but I don't see how we can call someone a victim with such knowledge. (Did I miss this point in one of the earlier blogs??) I find it very hard to believe that she was abused. She knew exactly what she was doing! A 17 year old knows plenty about sexual relationships especially not to engage in one with a married man. Let me remind you that none of the girls accused Mark of rape--each accusation was stated to be consentual. I am disturbed that this primary woman (who has a masters in theology) would make such accusations.

It is my own opinion (which apparently is the premise of this blogsite) that when she turned 30, saw her friends getting married and starting families, it hit her that the love of her life was married and had a family he had no intention of leaving. I think she was bitter. I think she was angry. I think she wanted to hurt him b/c she was hurting. I pity her for getting herself into that situation. Then along came a guy whom she began to date and possibly marry. She wanted to be "pure" for him and find a way to minimize her role in the affair. She started calling around, drumming up other "victims". Unfortunately, she found some. What she found was a couple of girls who probably thought they were special for having had the attention of a man they respected or had a crush on. So much time had passed and they possibly hadn't thought of him in years, but now they didn't feel so special, believing there were others. And here we are years later bringing up past consentual mistakes and turning so many people's lives upside down.

Now I have never asked Mark the truth b/c I honestly do not want to know. Unfortunately, I do have a lot more understanding of our "justice" system and let me just say that when one pleas guilty they likely are not (or not completely). I believe there are earthly consequences for our actions but I also know that God will not burden us more than we can bear. No matter the sentence, Mark is not a broken man. He is a child of God.

I do KNOW that Mark has repented and confessed to the Lord who is the sole one who can save him and comfort him during these times. I must ask, why are Christians who are reading and responding to these posts passing their own judgements? No wonder the atheists that feed on this stuff believe the way they do. We are so ready to hang our fellow sinners.

I am saddened that you think prison will make a difference. Mark is not a threat. He will not "perpetrate" again. We all make mistakes including the girls involved in this terrible, messed up situation.

Anonymous said...

Consent cannot be given by a minor. Penitent or no, there are earthly consequences for earthly law breaking. He should be a broken man for taking what was not his.

Also, if you "honestly do not want to know", what business do you have condemning anyone?

Anonymous said...

OK, Post numbers 2 and 3, you guys are idiots.

Thinking too much said...

Some thoughts.

It is naive to think that people who claim to be victims are never lying about it.

It is naive to think that people who plead guilty always are, just as it is naive to think that people who plead innocent always are.

It is naive to think you know what happened between two people when they were by themselves and they tell two different stories afterward. Sometimes the people themselves can be confused about what happened because of their perspective. God knows who is lying and it will catch up to them eventually if it hasn't already.

Mojoey said...

thinking too much...

The really great thing about your post is that it is all shit. There is no god, therefor there will be no godly justice. McDowell will get what he deserves and we will all be better for it.

Your comment is the very definition of naive.

Anonymous said...

Just saying waht was said before:


Even if you don't believe any of the victims, do you really want this person around any children you know?

Anonymous said...

I have to disagree with Majoey when it comes to Thinking Too Much's entry. I thought the naive statements were beautifully said. Couldn't have said it better...

In regards the minors not being able to consent. I have a real issue that in CA a 14 y/o can be tried as an adult for MURDER but a 17 y/o can't be held accountable for having sex!!! What a joke! Maybe the "law" doesn't say a 17 y/o can consent but most people I know would disagree.

As for the porn on mark's computer....the dates of the so-called porn were during the time that Mark lived in Europe and had renters in his home. All of these pictures were viewed for less than 3 seconds. This is hardly a sufficient amount of time to be considered a threat to anyone! I would guarantee that we all have this junk on our computers...

God is very real and I am sorry we don't all know Him better.

Mojoey said...

it gets weirder every day. Now we have apologists for an admitted pedophile trying to rationalize McDowell's behavior. Let's look at the facts.

He admitted his guilt.
He abused his position of authority
He took advantage of underage women
He lied

All together - he's a scumbag who deserves hard time.

As to your statement that a 14 year old can be held accountable for an adult crime. I just want to point out how twisted your thinking is. The girls in this case are the victims not the perpetrators. They were taken advantage of by a married pastor who should have known better.

If this is how a Christian thinks - is the any wonder why people turn their backs on religion/god?

Just because you like the man (or are the man), does not mean you turn your back on humanity. The victims demand justice. McDowell must pay.

Anonymous said...

I know that these posts were written awhile ago, but I just read them and feel like I have to respond.
Mark was my youth minister and I felt like he was my friend as well. I respected him and loved his whole family very much. But when I found out about this I knew it was true. Because if you were in my youth group you didn't even need to hear the names to know who the victims were. All the things that you overlooked through the years (because he is a "man of God" or he loves his family so much,blah,blah, blah) suddenly made a lot of sense. Everyone at one point or another suspected things.
Now I know that Mark is a master of lies and deception. He slandered the people that found out about his true character and even pushed them out of the church. As much as I would love to believe that he did not do this to my friends and his family there is just too much evidence that he did (I know things that they did not print in the papers).
Mark has so many victims. The girls he took advantage of (and don't give me this crap that a 13 or 14 year old can have consensual sex. If you have ever worked with this age group you know that is NOT true. Mark was the adult and I don't care if one of his victims stripped naked and threw themselves at him, he was the ADULT and ultimately if that happened he should have removed himself from the situation instead of taking advantage of it!!!!! Sorry for the sidebar) He also hurt everyone that was in his youth group and looked up to him. I can not begin to tell you how much this has affected all of us. Unlike other posters, I don't think it is wrong to be saddened by this. I am saddened everyday that someone that was so important to my young life turned out to be a total creep. I am saddened that I was tricked by him into thinking he was such a stand-up guy. I am saddened that all my wonderful adolescent memories are now ruined. I am saddened that I will never be able to speak to his wife or children again. And most of all I am saddened that people I loved and cared about were damaged by the one person that should have been protecting them. And yes they were victims. That one jackass poster claimed that the girls had crushes on him. It was true we all knew it, and don't you think he did. Of course Mark did! and he used it to his advantage. The law is that a dirty old man should not have sex with minors. . PERIOD. Not, he should not have sex with minors unless they want to, or initiate it, or whatever lame ass excuse he made. He was wrong. End of story and he should spend a long long time in jail because of it. And this comes from someone who loved and respected him. I just don't know how some people can STILL be so blinded by him.
I hope he is sorry, I hope he repents, but I also hope he spends a long time in jail.

Anonymous said...

Let me remind you that because someone pleas guilty does not mean they are--ask any lawyer. AND Mark did NOT plea guilty to SEX with anyone 13 or 14. Please learn the facts before you post slander.

To the poster who was in the youth group.... I am so sorry that your memories have been jaded. However, you probably learned great things and are a better person because of Mark--regardless of his choices. As a Christian (and assuming you are too), I don't know why you cannot have a relationship with his family. Do you not think it is our job to help them during this time? Don't you think they need love and support. It saddens me that his wife and children have become victims through all of this (yes, I know this is a consequence of Mark's actions but not loving his family is our problem). I would like to know why you believe Mark forced members of the church to leave. Mark himself was asked to leave (not sure this was the right response as he did repent and confess to the church but I can see how his presence would make certain people uncomfortable). Anyway, no matter what we feel about Mark we must remember that none of us is perfect. We all screw up. We are forgiven by God who loves us no matter what. That is so comforting in light of a world that is so ready to condemn.

To majoey.... if a 14 y/o can carry out an act of murder why can't a 17 y/o say no to sex/messing arouond? Sex is everywhere. Kids are now being educated about it in the 4th grade because they start thinking about it so young. I do believe an adult should bear the blame for his or her lack of self control, but I also believe a 17 y/o should shoulder some of it as well. The primary girl (woman) involved carried on her affair until she was 30! She should be asking his wife for forgiveness! Majoey, i am praying for you. God will soften your heart. It's in His hands.

Grammar Nazi said...

You're using an incorrect term. If we're going to try to make a point, let's be sure we're using words correctly. Libel is in print. Slander is spoken. Either way, the information posted must be false in order for either of those words to be used. Additionally, the purpose of the comments with slant against him are not intended to defame him further than his own actions (pleading guilty) already have, thereby making it not libel even if it were false.

Mojoey said...

I think I love the Grammar Nazi.

The Commissioner said...

I actually did ask a lawyer. She unfortunately informed me that you are correct. A guilty plea does not mean that the defendant is guilty. It only means that his/her defense has no real, practical way to prove his/her innocence.
Also, I am left to assume that you are William Jefferson Clinton, 42nd President of the United States, since you want to debate the meaning of the word "sex."
As a Christian (as you clearly claim to be), your definition of the word "sex" should probably not be so... limited. Is "sexual misconduct" sex? YES! That's why it's called SEXual misconduct!
Stop defending pedophiles and grow a damn conscience.

Anonymous said...

To respond to the poster that responded to me. . . Ok just a few things. It seems like you think that there was one victim and that the abuse started at 17. But that is not the case. According to the dates on the police report she was 14. And she was the first not the only victim. There are four (that came forward at least). I agree that people make mistakes, I myself am not even close to perfect. That being said, if he knew this was a area of weakness for him he should have immediately stepped down and removed himself from the situation. He did not do this which leads me to believe that he knew exactly what he was doing and wanted to be in a situation where he was around young girls. This was not an isolated incident. It was a pattern. BIG difference. And you say that Mark repented, but would this have happened if he had not be caught? I am not sure.

Yes, I did learn a lot of things from Mark and I cannot deny that. And in my ways he was a great youth minister (you know besides the pesky problem of him sleeping with under-aged girls). But being a good youth minister is NOT a get out of jail free card. And it is ironic that half the things he was telling us not to do, he was doing. I of course don’t think that he should have been perfect, but his actions were way extreme.

As far as his family goes, I never said I didn’t love them. I do. I just said I can’t speak to his wife because I don’t think she would talk to me. And truth be told, I have not tried because what am I suppose to say? We are choosing to believe two different things about Mark. You have no idea how much I would love to call her and tell her I am sorry she has to go through all of this. There is not a day that goes by that I am not conflicted about this situation. I have had nightmares about this for over two years now. The day I found out it was like Mark had died because obviously the man I knew did not exist. I lost two very important people in my life that day.

As far as members leaving the church because of him. . .I am not going to get into it. I don’t have concrete evidence so therefore would not want to be accused of liable (that was for you Grammar Nazi) . But let’s just say that a lot of things started making sense when this whole thing came out.

I know that you probably don’t want to believe that he could do those things . But it is because of that he was left to perpetrate. Some of those girls told people who chose not to believe them (It is true, I know it is true, so don‘t try to deny that). Elders were told of indiscretions that they chose to ignore because they trusted Mark (and he was related to half them). How many victims need to come forward before you realize who he is??

Anonymous said...

To the 10:12 poster.

We as a church embraced Markus after his confession. We prayed for Markus, his wife and his children. I am saddened by this poster who thinks that people were uncaring for Markus and his family.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what Mark got sentenced to?

Mojoey said...

Sentencing is on the 21st.

Anonymous said...

20 months

Anonymous said...

I was told 32 months.

Anonymous said...

we'll all find out tomorrow...

Anonymous said...

1 year 4 months on one case and 2 years on the second. Terms to be served consecutive and also about 12k in restitution

Anonymous said...

sentence is 3 years, 4 months plus the five years probation sex offenders get, plus he has to register as a sex offender and pay for our therapy.

i have never been so happy to see anyone walked away in cuffs.

thank you to all those that supported us through this.

-posting victim the first

Anonymous said...

As a victim (not Mark's) I can understand why it too so long to come forward. the part about the affair is what I don't understand. There are a lot of nasty things that have been said on this blog. Now that the case is finihed maybe the truth can come out and set everyone free. I heard that there is a lawsuit against the church and it's edler that the victims have filed. Justice is slow and not always served to our desires. Any one who is guilty of sexual crimes against children should never see the outside world again.

Anonymous said...

It's the one year anniversary of his sentencing. Thanks to everyone who supported us, mojoey for calling attention to the subject, and the commenters for keeping us on our toes.

Anonymous said...

I'm a friend of one of the victims and I spent my teenage years in Camarillo. My friend mentioned the anniversery of this guy's sentencing and I felt compelled to search the net for articles on the subject, where I found this one.

Mojoey, you're a class act.

As for many of the so-called Christian commentators, I have one thing to say:

Mr. McDowell was able to get away with what he did because of a very basic flaw in entire idea behind the city of Camarillo -- moving miles away from what you consider evil does not protect you from evil. A church is not a forcefield against evil. Mr. McDowell was granted access to his victims because people assumed that a man who worked for a church couldn't possibly be a villain. Evil is in the heart of every human being regardless of race, color, creed, sexual identity, gender, or geographic location, and only by setting aside your prejudices can you be truly vigilant against it. "Trust, but verify"

Anonymous said...

It's quite astounding how all the pain comes flooding back on a day like today. It is one year after my tormentor was sentenced to prison and yet I feel today that I cannot withstand the trauma that supposedly resides firmly in the past. I also want to thank again those who loved and supported us through the criminal trial. I also thank those who continue to sit with us when we cry, rage, or stare blankly as memories replay themselves in our minds as if they were happening again. YOU have the longer, harder road. And we couldn't make this journey without you.

It is hard to believe that he will likely be among us again come March. I would expect the smear campaign and passionate exclamations of innocence to begin all over again.

Anonymous said...

ummm..... excuse me but how do you know he did it? you dont now do you? you arent him. You dont know if he did it or not so stfu

Mojoey said...

He did it. He's guilty. There is no doubt.

Anonymous said...

what a piece of s@#t , I knew that guy back in the late 80's-early 90's and I actually worked with him. I thought he was a very intelligent and cool guy. very disturbed buy this.