From The Huffington Post, July 16, 2016:
When Leticia Villarreal, 42, began her prison sentence at McPherson Unit, a women’s facility in Arkansas, she throbbed with anger and pain. She was an undocumented immigrant from Mexico. She didn’t speak English. No one visited, no one called. She deeply missed her children. She was, for the first time in her life, utterly alone.
And then, she found God.
Kenneth Dewitt, a charismatic prison chaplain, welcomed her into the Principles and Applications for Life, or PAL, program ? a religious initiative for inmates that’s based on the teachings of disgraced evangelical fundamentalist Bill Gothard.
Women in the PAL program lived in a separate barracks and dedicated much of their days to study and prayer. It was quieter and cleaner than living with the general population, Villarreal said, an overall improvement in quality of life. And it was rumored among inmates that participating in the program looked good on a record, especially if parole was possible.
According to conversations with former PAL participants, Dewitt would give daily lectures on topics such as personal responsibility, curing impure thoughts and the importance of submitting to authority, both within a family structure, meaning a wife should submit to her husband, and inside the prison where they were all stuck.
Villarreal grew hopeful about life, even though she faced a 40-year sentence for the manufacture, delivery and possession of a controlled substance.
“I began to apply myself to study,” she said. “I knew I needed to change, I just didn’t know how.”
After Villarreal had been in the program a few years, Dewitt invited her to receive individual training, and requested she report to his office at 6 a.m. one Monday. She was excited to be singled out, she said, and eager for advanced instruction.
When she arrived, Villarreal told The Huffington Post, Dewitt said he knew exactly what she needed: to be touched. Intimately. For a few minutes each morning, the guards in the hallway outside Dewitt’s office left to perform an inmate count. The chaplain chose that moment to fondle her breasts and buttocks, she said.
That morning was just the beginning of her nightmare. Read complete article here.