It's been way too long since I posted here.
I've been experiencing a significant amount of upheaval in my personal life, and haven't been able to make By Thy Words the priority I wish it could be. But things are evening out, and I plan that soon I will be able to have a more regular update schedule.
I still have a few more posts to do on Dear Princess, but I thought I would like to do a Babylon Bee-style article on an actual news event, namely the Jeriah Mast sentencing.
As I read the news reports, I could not believe the gall of those who showed up to support him. (I have no issues with people being there for the family, and even to support him in doing the right thing. (Although, I am not saying that Jeriah Mast is set on doing the right thing.) But letters for leniency? Pastors waxing eloquent about the incredible changes in his life in the past five months, so much so that he has gone from being a serial predator to a safe person for the community. (You're kidding, right?)
Anyway, I am using this article as my basis, and adding extra "facts" and commentary to give a "more accurate picture*" of the proceedings.
"Jeriah Mast, the former international ministry worker convicted of sexually abusing two boys in Holmes County and accused of similar abuse in Haiti, was sentenced on Tuesday to nine years in prison.
Judge Robert D. Rinfret issued the sentence in front of a packed courtroom, telling the crowd, “I’ve never had anything like this. Never.”
As the case continued, it became clear that he did not mean that in a good way.
During the hearing, Mast apologized to his victims and said he takes full responsibility for his actions.
“I feel awful about the things I’ve done. I have wept much and continue to pray with deep remorse for the hurt I have caused," Mast said, almost as sincerely as if he were not reading from a script.
"I will never stop asking God to bring healing to the victims and also to my own family, who have been so hurt by my past life.”
Mast’s pastor, Dwayne Stoltzfus, also spoke on his behalf.
“Your honor," Stoltzfus told the judge, "I have never seen such a complete and thorough confession. It was even more complete and thorough than the last time Mr. Mast confessed to this sort of thing. As a pastor, I have heard a great many half-hearted confessions in my time, so I know a real one when I hear it."
"Jeriah has wept for hours over his crimes. He continues to have great remorse and regret for the pain he has caused others. We can tell that he is remorseful because he says he's sorry and he cried. What more can anyone ask, your honor?” he finished emphatically.
The judge failed to find his line of reasoning convincing. According to anonymous insiders, the judge spend the morning before the hearing listening to the 1997 Shania Twain hit, "That Don't Impress Me Much." "So, you're a pastor? That don't impress me much," the judge was heard to say during a brief recess.
Mast’s attorney also argued in Mast's favor, stating that Mast is not a danger to the community, despite the fact that he has just spent the last six or so years compulsively molesting children.
“Some day, Jeriah is going to be facing judgement from God. He knows that,” Johnson told the judge. “Today, he’s going to be facing judgement from you, and he knows that, as well.” The lawyer went on to state that the Pope was Catholic, that Jeriah knew that, too, and was about to mention that Jeriah also was aware that bears pooped in the woods, when the judge asked him to move on.
As part of Mast’s sentence, he will have to register as a Tier II sex offender every 180 days for the next 25 years. When Mast is released from prison, he will spend a mandatory five years on probation. Since everyone has assured us that he is safe in the community, these precautions seem unnecessary, but that is the legal system we live under.
Mast faces similar sexual abuse accusations in Haiti, where until May, he worked for Christian Aid Ministries.
In May, after years of routinely molesting dozens of children, Mr. Mast had a sudden and dramatic change of heart. By an absolutely astonishing coincidence, this change of heart took place the exact same week that a pastor in Haiti exposed his crimes. Unable to deal with his burning, accusing conscience a moment longer, Jeriah Mast packed up his family in the dead of the night, and fled Haiti to the US, knowing that his first order of business must be to return to Holmes County and make right his transgressions from so long ago.
Sources close to Mr. Mast assure us that he wanted to take care of the crimes in the order they occurred, and that he intends to return to Haiti at his earliest convenience to make the same restitution there.
*Anything in this version of events should be considered satirical, unless you read it in another news source. I shouldn't have to say that, but lawsuits, people.