Harriet’s Place has received information that Zionist pandering by Anglican Bishop Suhail Dawani has led to the persecution of former Bishop Riah Abu El Assal and according to our sources, Assal isn’t going to take it anymore. It appears there’s been a multitude of hasbara efforts to discredit him and bleed the church and school in Jerusalem dry. We understand that the presiding Bishop, Dawani has gotten into bed with the Zionists including the American Episcopal church leader, Bishop Kathleen Jefferts Schori, and guess who she’s pals with? None other than our old friend, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.
Oh what a web we weave…..watch this space!
PRESS RELEASE FROM THE OFFICE OF BISHOP RIAH ABU EL ASSAL, (Ret.)
The seven year long attack by Bishop Suhail Dawani and the Diocesan Council of the Anglican Diocese of Jerusalem on Bishop Riah Abu El Assal and his family culminated on June 25, 2015 with a Supreme Court decision exonerating Bishop Riah of all allegations made against him.
The expenses for several legal charges filed against Bishop Riah were borne by the Diocese with the approval of Bishop Dawani. Given the prosecutorial nature of the charges made, in the interest of justice and restitution, these expenses must to be recovered by the Diocese from Bishop Dawani, personally, since the legal campaign was nothing more than a personal vendetta against Bishop Riah. The best interests of the Diocese were not served, and as a result, the Anglican Diocese of Jerusalem has suffered an untold loss of esteem and dignity within the Church and beyond. This reprehensible and concerted effort to harass, humiliate, and persecute Bishop Riah must be investigated, and proper measures taken to ensure that the misuse of Church funds and power is never used in such a personally corrupt and malevolent way again. The hundreds of thousands of dollars carelessly spent on groundless allegations in legal and court fees must be repaid to the Church.
In addition to recovering lost Diocesan funds, an investigation is imperative into other incidences of harassment and persecution by Bishop Dawani who abused his church authority, in the unconscionable mistreatment of a former Bishop who has served the Church for over 43 years faithfully, and without reserve, as Bishop Riah has.
An agreement was reached and signed by Bishop Dawani and the four Provincial Bishops in February 2007, paving the way for Bishop Dawani’s installment, whereby no legal actions would be taken and that Bishop Riah’s family would not be targeted in any way. This agreement was ignored by Bishop Dawani.
In an act of harassment and persecution, at Bishop Dawani’s installation, to which Bishop Riah was personally invited to pass the Bishop’s Staff to his successor, Bishop Dawani, Bishop Riah arrived and found that, his portrait had been removed from those of other former Bishops hanging from the walls of the “Bishops’ Lounge”. When asked, Bishop Suhail denied he knew anything about it. Lay Canon Sami Habiby found it in the office where Bishop Dawani was dressing. He asked Bishop Riah to forgive Bishop Dawani’s lie and the slight, which he did.
On April 8, 2007, Bishop Riah was to preside over the Easter sunrise service by invitation of the Church in Amman, which he did at his own expense. Instead of being joined in prayer by Bishop Dawani, he found out that the Jordan mobile he used and had committed to pay for, had been disconnected, on Maunday Thursday, at Bishop Dawani’s demand, and that the church driver had been instructed not to render any service to Bishop Riah, who had asked him to bring his vestments, required for the service, from the Diocesan office in Amman. Bishop Dawani was still not yet the Diocesan Bishop at this time.
In September of 2007, mediation was offered by His Grace Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, by His Beatitude Michael Sabbah, (then Roman Catholic Patriarch of Jerusalem), by the Head of the Lutheran Federation, Bishop Munib Younan, the Head of the Druze community in Israel, Sheikh Mowafaq Tareef, and by the administrator of the White Mosque in Nazareth, Sheikh Atef Fahoum as well as by others. These overtures were rejected by Bishop Dawani without regard for the judicial power of the Church and the provisions made by the Central Synod regarding Provincial Tribunals. This disregard for church protocols shows that Bishop Dawani is unfit for office and should be removed.
Bishop Dawani set into motion several retaliatory and discriminatory actions against Bishop Riah’s family, who were highly qualified employees of the church school. These included firing his daughter, a US college graduate with honors, with a highly successful history as a fundraiser, claiming she was a former secretary of the Bishop’s, when in fact she was employed by the school. Another act of retaliation targeted Bishop Riah’s son, also a highly educated and qualified professional, who was summarily dismissed. He had revived a dying school as Director for 16 years, increasing the number of pupils from 149 pupils and 11 staff, to 1710 pupils with 142 staff members, resulting in receiving the Israeli Ministry of Education’s highest accolades. Under his Directorship, the school had a balanced budget, but since his sacking, the school now has a significant debt of about $4 million USD. An investigation must be launched to determine the causes, as well as the reasons for the high turnover in employees especially within the school and Diocesan Finance Departments.
Bishop Riah’s wife was also harassed. On one occasion she was viciously attacked after being invited by the Diocesan Finance Department to pick up long overdue stipend cheques on December 4, 2008. These cheques had been deliberately withheld to inconvenience Bishop Riah and his family. On June 22, 2011, both Bishop Riah and his wife were invited to pick up documents from the Diocese they had formally requested, and were accosted while trying to enter the Cathedral for prayer, in Jerusalem. In another suspicious incident, a family car was vandalized.
Minister for Labor, Dr. Ahmad Majdalani, after an in-depth and careful examination, found that Bishop Dawani, and the then Committee he chaired, had improperly and illegally transferred Bishop Riah’s apartment to a third party. Other issues of malfeasance include charging the school for Bishop Dawani’s daughter’s mobile phone expense, personal enrichment via other miscellaneous stipends, and registering Ramallah Housing Society land in his own name, all against Diocesan regulations, which was only corrected by an order of the Palestinian court. Ramallah Housing Society funds of $60,000 USD were withheld by Bishop Dawani and only released after a press article exposed the controversy, creating yet another scandal for the church and school while under Bishop Dawani’s leadership.
In the interest of the integrity and reputation of the Diocese, the conduct of Bishop Dawani, must now be investigated thoroughly and professionally with proper restitution pursued vigorously and expediently. His misuse and abuse of ecclesiastical authority must be addressed and resolved urgently. The people of the Anglican Diocese of Jerusalem deserve better of their Bishop, or they deserve another Bishop.
Either Mark Woods is terribly naive or his loyalty to a failed cabal of porkie pie tellers got the best of him. I don’t think it was naivete’. Mark has shown a proclivity for things that don’t quite ring true and that border on gossip and fantasy in his body of work for ‘Christian Today’. We happen to agree with a reader who posted a comment on a previous post that it’s possible Mark Woods “would be happier writing in a tabloid setting”. Harriet’s Place can advise him that when doing an expose’, it’s not always a brilliant move to only talk to the losers of a power struggle. History is written by the victors, and Mark falls far short of the mark in his effort to carry on the losing and former trustees’ vendetta against Patrick Sookhdeo and Barnabas Fund.
Harriet’s Place has been conducting its own investigation and will publish more of our findings when all information (not just one sided) is in.
Andrew Carey, son of former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord George Carey is Barnabas Fund’s PR executive and has issued this statement:
Barnabas Fund response to articles in ‘Christian Today”
Four articles have appeared in a web publication Christian Today written by the site’s contributing editor, the Rev. Mark Woods. The articles are one-sided and hostile attacks on Dr Patrick Sookhdeo, and the Barnabas Aid.
The articles are extraordinary for their biased and selective nature. In the first three articles there is no balance and nothing positive is said at all about the diverse range of work of the Barnabas Aid in serving the persecuted Church. And they have nothing good to say about Dr Patrick Sookhdeo, the founder of the Barnabas Aid, who has devoted his life to giving aid and support to persecuted Christians. There is some faint praise in the fourth article amid much condemnation.
The one-sidedness of the attacks contradict Christian Today’s own mission statement: “We aim to be objective and fair in our reporting, rather than sensationalist or polarising.”
Mr Woods first published a critical article in August arguing that because Dr Sookhdeo had been convicted he should be silent. Mr Woods has a right to his opinion but he went further than this in urging his readers to donate to other persecuted church charities, giving little or no thought to Barnabas Aid’s quite unique role and how it would impact the suffering of the persecuted church should Barnabas cease to exist.
Barnabas Aid offered an article for publication by Christian Today in reply but were refused. There was a complete unwillingness on the part of the Editor to enter negotiations about a possible response.
At the suggestion of a third party, Patrick Sookhdeo expressed his willingness to meet with Mr Mark Woods off the record as Christian brothers to resolve their differences. But Mr Woods insisted that any meeting had to include an interview for publication. Dr Sookhdeo, after advice from colleagues, felt obliged to decline.
Some weeks later, the Barnabas Aid received a list of questions from Mark Woods. These were a short but wide-ranging list of questions which had every appearance of a ‘fishing expedition’. These questions referred only to a small number of the allegations and claims which Christian Today was later to publish.
Barnabas Aid explained to Mr Woods that it was not possible to reply to his questions immediately because of a forthcoming employment tribunal. It was thought that Christian Today would delay publication until after the tribunal to allow Barnabas Aid the opportunity to fully reply to questions. The Fund’s communications consultant, Andrew Carey, asked Mr Woods and the editor for advance notice of any further publication.
Mr Woods confirmed that he would give notice. But the first article: ‘Patrick Sookhdeo: The untold story of the battle for control of Barnabas’ (29 October 2015) appeared without any other contact in advance from Christian Today to Barnabas Aid.
After the first article was published, Barnabas Aid contacted Mr Woods and Christian Today to inform them that it was not in the public interest to publish such a one-sided account and asked to be given the opportunity to comment before publication on the further articles which were promised. Mr Woods refused us any opportunity to comment and falsely claimed in the follow-up articles that Dr Sookhdeo and Barnabas Aid had declined to comment. We were not given the opportunity to comment on the second, third or fourth articles.
Mr Woods’ articles were even worse than we had feared from previous experience of him. This was a one-sided telling of events with no attempt to balance the picture. The articles have an unrelenting tone of hostility and sensationalism and they include significant errors.
- Christian Today claims that the troubles began in 2012/13 when some of the trustees (now ex-trustees) began to raise concerns about ‘the need for tighter controls on how money was spent’. Mr Woods does not tell his readers that these concerns came from nowhere. They were not raised in any regular meetings of the trustees nor to the financial officers, accountants and auditors of Barnabas Aid. Instead those involved chose to call an emergency meeting of Trustees and focus their concerns about finance solely on Dr Sookhdeo who was not even a signatory on the bank accounts.
- Christian Today claims that some ex-trustee complaints centred around the treatment of a former member of staff, who was made redundant, and Dr Sookhdeo’s management style in general. Sadly, there are times in a financial downturn when redundancies have to be made and there were three in 2012, as Barnabas sought to keep its overheads low. Redundancies are always difficult. All three members of staff were treated properly and according to correct procedures.
- Christian Today claims that other staff ‘came forward’ with complaints about Dr Sookhdeo. It is untrue that they ‘came forward’. The former Chairman of Trustees has admitted that he wrote to and contacted many past members of staff all over the world, actively soliciting written complaints about Dr Sookhdeo. He was only interested in negative comments about Dr Sookhdeo not those which were positive. In fact, the former Chairman later gave Dr Sookhdeo a fulsome written apology for these actions.
- Mr Woods paints a picture in which Dr Sookhdeo, his wife Rosemary, and Projects Director, Caroline Kerslake battled against a majority of trustees (who are now all ex-trustees) who were acting only in the interests of the charity. In fact, the majority trustees were independently contacting the Charity Commission and other third parties to undermine the Barnabas Aid rather than seeking reconciliation. They were encouraged to go to mediation by the Charity Commission.
- Contrary to Christian Today’s account it was Dr Sookhdeo and the minority trustees who from the very beginning offered mediation. The ex-trustees eventually consented to mediation, which took place four months after they had first raised concerns, but only three of them attended.
- Christian Today gives as an example of the ‘polarising ability of Dr Sookhdeo’ that a member of staff who was asked to send out an email from the ex-trustees refused to do so. This involved two members of staff, caught between the two groups of trustees, who begged the majority trustees to be allowed to take legal advice and were refused.
- Christian Today claims that Miss Caroline Kerslake authorised expenditure of around £585,000 on a single project. This is completely untrue. Miss Kerslake has never had any authority to do so. Any such amount was authorised through proper channels which included the main Projects and Disbursements Committee on which two of the ex-trustees sat.
- Christian Today is right that there was a rarely-used, confidential procedure for deciding on funding for ultra-sensitive projects but one trustee was always involved in such decisions. It does not take much imagination to see circumstances under which the utmost conditions of confidentiality would be needed when dealing with the persecuted church.
- The suspicion of some of the ex-trustees about the relationship between three interlinked charities Barnabas Aid, The Barnabas Aid and Servants Fellowship International was wholly unnecessary. Financial reports were presented at board meetings. There was no secrecy about any of the arrangements. The Charity Commission is fully aware of the relationships among the charities of the Barnabas family and they are not of an unusual nature.
- In his description of the February 7 2013 meeting in which Mr Woods says that Dr Sookhdeo launched into a ‘vindictive’ diatribe before walking out, a number of facts are omitted. The agenda, sprung upon Dr Sookhdeo less than two hours before the meeting began, included plans to vote him off. It was unsurprising that the atmosphere was heated. The minority trustees themselves perceived the attacks on them as ‘vindictive’ and left the meeting.
- Christian Today suggests that in signing a new lease in January 2013 the minority trustees acted improperly. There had been a number of leases and each time they were done properly with legal advice.
- The serving of a Notice to Quit was considered to be a necessary precaution given that the ex-trustees appeared to be attempting to split the Barnabas Aid. It was also an attempt to bring matters to a head and hence to achieve a lasting resolution for the long-term good of the Barnabas Aid.
- The partiality of Christian Today in suggesting that this conflict was taking its toll on the ‘health and peace of mind’ of the ex-trustees, entirely ignores the experience of attack and ‘betrayal’ that the minority trustees themselves experienced. Some of the accusations made to Patrick were in extreme and insulting terms. The word ‘incubus’ was even used to describe him at one stage. It was also said that Barnabas Aid could be a ‘Muslim operation with a clever façade’, an accusation particularly hurtful to Dr Sookhdeo. The ex-trustees made no attempt to bring an end to the conflict; it was months before they would allow mediation to take place. They were encouraged to enter into mediation by the Charity Commission and eventually did so.
- Christian Today claims that it was in about May and June 2013 that the ex-trustees came to the conclusion that it was no longer possible for Dr Sookhdeo to continue, but removing him had been their intention from December 2012 or January 2013.
- The claim is made by Christian Today that the ex-trustees were spending large amounts of the charity’s money to defend themselves against Dr Sookhdeo. This is highly misleading. They contacted lawyers to find a way of ousting Dr Sookhdeo.
- The Tomlin Agreement by which the situation was resolved was not undermined by Dr Patrick Sookhdeo. The Interim Board ran for its allotted time and was properly replaced by a new board. Though the Tomlin Agreement purported to prevent Rosemary Sookhdeo and Caroline Kerslake being appointed to the Board neither of them were signatories to that agreement.
- Christian Today claims that Barnabas Aid is suing Wellers the solicitors that acted for the majority Trustees for negligence. This is inaccurate. At this stage no claim has been issued against Wellers.
- On the subject of the second article ‘Patrick Sookhdeo: How Barnabas Aid International handled the sexual assault case” (30 October 2015) and the third article ‘Patrick Sookhdeo: How he intimidated prosecution witnesses in the sexual assault case’ (31 October 2015), Barnabas Aid has already stated that it is impossible for us to respond fully on these subjects at the moment because of an outstanding tribunal hearing.
- Christian Today states that Barnabas Aid had misled the public in claiming that its grievance procedure had not upheld any of the allegations against Dr Sookhdeo. Barnabas Aid did not make this claim; we have specifically said that the grievance investigation “did not uphold any of the allegations of sexual harassment.”
- An exhaustive grievance procedure and appeal found against Dr Sookhdeo on three matters: that Dr Sookhdeo discussed with the complainant the introduction of a modesty dress code because international visitors of many cultures regularly visited; secondly he discussed an open door policy to avoid false accusations and provide protection to all members of staff, and thirdly, that there was accidental physical contact which was not of a sexual nature.
- In a third article ‘Patrick Sookhdeo: How he intimidated prosecution witnesses in the sexual assault case’ (31 October 2015), Mr Woods contends that in speaking at a meeting of Barnabas Aid staff and trustees, Dr Sookhdeo was acting against bail conditions that he should have no communication with two prosecution witnesses.
- It was as a result of a meeting with staff of Barnabas Aid, also attended by most of the trustees, that the charge of intimidating a witness was brought. At the meeting, which marked the restoration of Dr Sookhdeo to his position as International Director, there were four speakers. Dr Sookhdeo himself did not want to attend the meeting, let alone speak, but was pressed to do so by the board of Barnabas Aid International.
- It is incorrect that the two members of staff who were to be witnesses for the prosecution were required to attend the meeting. Attendance was voluntary for all staff, and in order to meet conditions of bail one of them had been specifically advised against attending the meeting by one of the senior managers of Barnabas. The other one had been working from home yet came in especially to attend the meeting, at the urging of a friend of hers on the staff. But Dr Sookhdeo was not told of this. He had expected that neither of the two individuals would be in the room. He was mainly looking down when speaking because of his acute embarrassment in the situation and when not speaking he was sitting in a position where he could only see a few other people.
- Christian Today claims that many left the meeting. Only three left and one of these returned. There were 50 or 60 people at the meeting.
- Christian Today claims to know better than us that Dr Sookhdeo’s sentence is in the middle of the sentencing range. We have heard from several lawyers and one judge that this was a light sentence for the two offences.
- In the fourth and, we hope, final article from Mr Woods, ‘Patrick Sookhdeo: How has he survived at Barnabas?’ (2 November 2015), the diatribe against the character of Dr Sookhdeo continues unabated. Mr Woods makes one interesting point in his series of judgements on Dr Sookhdeo: “…his refusal to accept his guilt for the sexual assault is inexcusable.” This beggars belief. Does Mr Woods really believe that it is inexcusable to plead ‘not guilty’?
- The rest of the fourth article seems intended to condemn anyone who will not sit in judgement over Dr Sookhdeo and the Barnabas Aid.
Barnabas Aid and Barnabas Aid International are issuing this statement with a heavy heart. It is only because of the continued attacks by Mr Woods that we have had to resort to putting a statement on our own website. These articles force us into bringing into the public domain details of a situation reflecting very poorly on ex-trustees who went to extraordinary lengths to discredit and try to oust Dr Sookhdeo. In the process they spent large sums of the charity’s money and severely impacted the hardworking staff of the charity. Positively we now have an outstanding Board capable of governing the Barnabas Aid, asking challenging questions of senior leaders and understanding financial matters and complying with charity law as the Barnabas Aid continues to grow. We will be seeking a refund of the money spent on legal fees.
There are some allegations to do with the articles that we cannot respond to fully but it is distressing that in spite of recognising the valuable work of the Barnabas Aid Mr Woods should scatter question marks over aspects of governance, and especially financial accountability in the Fund which have never been the subject of any serious suspicion.
Finally, Mr Woods seems to contend in his final article that the Charity Commission were negligent in not taking up the allegations made by the former trustees. In fact, after the complaints of the ex-trustees there has been an exhaustive process in which we have worked closely with the commission to satisfy all their enquiries and requests. Our accounts are always properly audited and we are meeting the Commission’s request to bring our policies up-to-date. We have put in place annual staff training to ensure that our work-place is a safe place for all.
From a Harriet’s Place reader on Mark Woods’ article for Christian Today “Five Things Evangelicals Get Wrong About Halloween”
Mark Woods seems to think that introducing our children to symbols of witchcraft and evil is just a bit of harmless fun. He seeks to ‘normalise’ the experience, culturally, and set aside the important scriptural injunctions and warnings. He tells us that “I am fine with witches and ghosts”. This is not the advice I would expect to hear from a Baptist Minister with responsibility for guiding young people in his church and maybe the safeguarding officer ought to look into it?
This exposure of children to symbols of the occult is an exact parallel of the normalisation of violence and killing through computer games which psychologists have now been able to link to acting-out behaviours and the erosion of empathy in young people.
In Galatians 5:19-21 Paul warns that those who engage in such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God. In view of Woods’ intemperate and, to my eyes, vicious articles against Barnabas Fund readers will recall that “hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy” are also listed by Paul as behaviours which will debar inheritance of the Kingdom.
I am led to ask, as I read more and more of Woods’ articles, what on earth is he doing as a contributory editor of ‘Christian‘ Today? Would he not be happier in a Tabloid setting?
After the demise of Harriet’s Place’s beloved Richard Armbach, a sabbatical from the fray was just what Harriet’s doctor prescribed. Harriet’s Place has continued on Facebook, if only to keep her very exquisitely manicured toes in the proverbial waters. It appears that Harriet and her staff can no longer rest on their laurels with the recently revealed vendetta by Mark Woods of Christian Today against Barnabas Fund (and our devoted readers all know how Harriet’s Place loves a good vendetta).
So, without further ado, let’s get on with the task at hand and tell the real story of the Barnabas Fund’s former Trustee’s battle for control and why they really did it.
Just who is Mark Woods?
Let’s begin by asking just who Mark Woods is? Harriet’s Place’s sources reveal that his lackluster journalism career (his tenure at Baptist Times during its demise has left us with many questions) matches his career as a clergyman. What can be said about a man who proudly says on his Twitter page “Happy being a grumpy old man”. Just what kind of ordained minister would be proud of being grumpy, not to mention who would post the photo below, to go along with such an introduction? Do they not teach Warmth and Smiling at Reverend skool? The answer is that such a person is probably not known for playing nice in the sand box to begin with, let alone have deep meaningful connections outside his own fantasy of being the world’s minder. Yes, his body of work on display at Christian Today indicates that “Revd.” Woods has appointed himself the moral compass of Christendom, which Harriet’s Place has an issue with, given his heretical leanings, evidenced in his opinion pieces. And remember, dear reader, Mark Woods offers not true journalism, but rather, his highly (self) esteemed opinion, as a legend in his own mind.
Baptist minister and writer. Contributing editor
@ChristianToday. Happy being a grumpy old man.
But enough about Mark Woods. Harriet is bored already with the subject, given that he’s a man without a life whose penchant for salacious pictures and backroom scuttlebut, instead of serving his fellow man, probably means he’s his own fan club.
What’s in this vendetta for Mark Woods?
So what would be in this vendetta for Mark Woods? The answer is plenty. Attention and the power he derives from slagging off his fellow human beings makes for a psychological profile that belies his title of Reverend. After 2 unsuccessful stints at the Methodist Recorder and Baptist Times, Mark Woods has a lot to gain by attempting a titillating “expose” of Barnabas Fund and Patrick Sookhdeo….redemption. The only problem is, redemption includes finding the truth, and what Mark Woods thinks he’s found is nothing more than the sour grapes of a cabal of power mongers who thought they were going to take over one of the most successful charities in the UK. They thought that much of it, to want to take it over and control it, but to their dismay, they found that Barnabas Fund has a unique purpose, history, and future, and it wasn’t one they could dominate and subvert. Patrick Sookhdeo wouldn’t allow it, so now we have what Mark Woods has titled Patrick Sookhdeo: The untold story of the battle for control of Barnabas when really, it should be titled “Patrick Sookhdeo: The CEO we couldn’t own“. And now we find out that since they couldn’t control it, they want to discredit it. It’s human nature…if you’re bent.
Who are Mark Woods’ sources?
You see, the former trustees of Barnabas Fund wanted control. They had no idea what they were going to do with Barnabas Fund when they got control of it, because none of them had the connections nor temperament to deal with the intricacies of the work, being the wannabes they are, but they were going to give it their best shot at taking it over, come hell or high water. What they got was the hell they didn’t bargain for. Having none of the clearances that Patrick Sookhdeo has, nor knowledge of what exactly to do with Barnabas Fund’s substantial donations, they launched their takeover bid and failed. Patrick Sookhdeo wasn’t going to just lie down and let a bunch of misguided misanthropes take his life’s work from him, and had you been challenged by the likes of them, you would have fought tooth and nail to prevent it too. His work at Barnabas Fund is a reflection of his faith journey, a journey that has been long and hard for a Muslim born convert to Christianity from Guyana, who has faced more adversity over it than most of the former trustees will ever know in their life times, combined. I’d like to remind you that Dr. Sookhdeo and his wife are both suffering from serious or life threatening illnesses and have been, since before this travesty began. And these people knew it.
Let’s talk about the sexual assault conviction, shall we?
So for Mark Woods to keep his pretense as a viable journalist, he had to come up with something big and that something came to him by way of Patrick’s conviction for sexual assault. This made Mark Woods salivate at that thought of breaking the story to the world, but the problem is, he doesn’t bother to put the facts of the conviction forward so he intentionally leaves it to our imaginations, and you all know what happens when that’s done. The reality is, Patrick Sookhdeo found his office full of sexually charged women to the point where he had to do something about it. The office blather was too juicy, the employees’ fashion choices were more befitting a gentlemen’s club, and the excessive hugging that went on left him no choice but to put an end to it. But what Patrick didn’t know what this: the former trustees had already poisoned the well and the offending employees had taken notes. It was a perfect storm, and Dr. Revd. Patrick Sookhdeo was having none of it. One former trustee (of the non-psycho variety) tells us that while one employee was checking her cleavage daily at work for just the right “plump”, Patrick Sookhdeo was trying to revamp the dress code, and a few office policies such as implementing an “open door” policy so that he wasn’t held captive by one of these Mata Haris in his office anymore, because there was a residual scent in the air of racism, conspiracy and betrayal, left by the former trustees.
Her hugs had gone from uncomfortable to entirely inappropriate and in delivering one of her usual, Patrick’s hand brushed her breast. BAM! We have a “victim”. There was the opportunity she’d been waiting for. Already angry that her immodesty had been mentioned and her job proficiency was questionable, and with full knowledge of the former trustees’ agenda (one of which she still calls friend), she had him. It didn’t come out in court that she had tried to cultivate more than an office friendship with him…mostly because he’s a gentleman and Harriet’s Place had to pry it from someone Patrick used to call friend. It also didn’t come out in court that one of these women was severely mentally ill and a mere BOO! in her direction sent her into a hand washing marathon that ultimately led to her opting to stay home. Mr. Bean could have been intimidating to that one. Given that Patrick Sookhdeo doesn’t suffer fools gladly, and the highly tense and intense nature of his rescue work behind battleground lines, he doesn’t have time for hand holding and baby talk to a bunch of hormonal co-dependent women. It’s interesting that there are other women we’ve talked to that didn’t find offense in Patrick’s management style and needed no special care. It’s also interesting that our investigation has turned up that some equally distressing language used by the former trustees took place, but Mr. Woods fails to mention that. I hear it would have made a sailor blush. Based on our interviews, we have to wonder about the balance of Mr. Woods’ article.
It’s not lost on us here at Harriet’s Place that while convicted of sexual assault, which came out in court as a boob bump, Mr. Woods continues to try to infer that Dr. Sookhdeo should be shunned, castigated, and humiliated as a sexual predator just as much as the rapist on the dark street corner who has stalked his victim, should be. This is where Woods shows his pathology and true intent. He’s joined a group of former trustees and former employees with the sole purpose of taking Dr. Revd. Patrick Sookhdeo down. He’s accepted partial and inaccurate information as gospel, and has fallen for the old fallacy that everything that happens in court is the truth. Any prosecutor or defense attorney can tell you that court is like an orchestrated performance with the better performer being the winner. Many of us here at Harriet’s Place are either former litigators or associates of litigators, and whether in the US or UK, it’s still a dog and pony show, regardless of how one feels about the sanctity of our respective legal institutions and their verdicts. Given the demographics of Patrick’s jury, it’s no wonder that the convergence of a poor defence and a victim-conscious jury rendered him guilty. But please, Mr. Woods, spare me the histrionics. Patrick Sookdheo poses no more a threat to another female or the public than I do, given that his battle with bladder cancer and its treatment makes him not the least bit interested in the extramarital hijinks his alleged “victim” pursued. As a matter of fact, his alleged “victim” fits the psychological profile of a litigious money seeker and if I were a betting woman, I’d bet she’s sued before or wanted to. We wonder how much she’s asking for from Barnabas Fund? We bet it’s a bundle. That mentality is intimidating to any employer and the mistake on BF’s part, is in hiring her (and her cleavage) in the first place.
Intimidating, bullying, threats, and polarising.
Speaking of intimidating, Mr. Woods uses it freely when describing Patrick Sookhdeo along with “bullying, threats, and polarising”. What’s interesting is the only people using those terms are the very people who have either been a failure to perform at their job, a former trustee who wanted control or a minion of theirs, or someone who spent more time shopping for 4 inch stilettos than at her computer. We suspect that Mark Woods only asked for complaints or did he cast a wider net for interviews as a real journalist would? Polarising is an interesting characterisation, given that Dr. Sookhdeo founded Barnabas Fund; its work is highly confidential and often based on rare intelligence being smuggled out of areas of conflict, and the utmost trust in his staff, Executive, and Trustees is required so that lives and valuable intelligence aren’t lost due to loose lips or people with hidden agendas. In war and intelligence, you’re either with him or against him. There’s no room for idiots or divisiveness, which the former trustees embodied, in both cases.
Follow the money!
Here at Harriet’s Place, we have a credo we live and investigate by. “Follow the money” has served us well over the years and another interesting point to make about the former trustees is that their gripes are all about the money and how it was spent. Harriet’s Place has been watching this case develop from the beginning and since Barnabas Fund is an organisation of over 20 years duration, it’s fascinating how a bunch of new trustees would immediately home in on the money…and how the apparatuses that have been in place for those 20 years to allocate what money goes where and how, were suddenly in question. Harriet’s Place investigators have had the corporate structure map, procedures, and policies of Barnabas Fund for some time now (HT to DF), and even a grade schooler can see what the former trustees have obviously missed, and that Mark Woods is so hell bent on casting public aspersions on BF’s viability as a charity, hoping to draw the attention of the Charity Commission to do his dirty work for him, that we now wonder how he gets by in life. With constant legal advice, audits, and compliance requirements, Barnabas Fund doesn’t fart without asking someone in authority for permission. To accuse Caroline Kerslake of unauthorised spending is ludicrous, if you know Caroline, or as in our case, we know someone who does. The lady doesn’t rub her pocket change together without considering the consequences, let alone spend 585,000 without her committee’s signed and sealed consent.
It’s just too bad that Mr. Woods has chosen to go this route, but when pathology is involved, one doesn’t often have a choice and we here at Harriet’s Place, feel his pain.
Mr. Woods has promised us more to come and we can’t wait, because we, too, can name and shame, if need be. Keep the hot tips coming, folks…this is getting interesting. There’s a lot more to talk about and you all know how Harriet likes to tell all. Watch this space.
As it is with Mr. Woods, Barnabas Fund has not responded to our request for an interview…but we won’t be deterred.