the Hope of Survivors

Innocence Stolen, Trust Betrayed
Innocence Stolen, Trust Betrayed

Innocence Stolen, Trust Betrayed—The Sandy Phillips Kirkham Story

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A Film about Clergy Sexual Abuse

The Hope of Survivors presents Innocence Stolen, Trust Betrayed, written and produced by Steve Nelson.

Innocence Stolen, Trust Betrayed is the story of a young teenage girl whose life was turned upside down by a charismatic youth pastor who took advantage of his position and the trust placed in him to sexually abuse her. Her story is unimaginable and heartbreaking, yet there is hope in the end.

What Viewers Are Saying...

“In this video, Sandy Kirkham tells the story of her innocence, youth, and life in the church being stolen by the youth pastor—eventually senior pastor—she trusted and admired. Sandy describes in detail how he groomed her for abuse, the control he exerted over her life, and the life-long effects of her experience on friends and family. She also explains the healing process that began decades after the abuse that included Matthew 18 confrontation of her abuser. Sandy's message is one of recovery and hope. It can also help others avoid sexual abuse and guide churches in dealing appropriately with abuse if discovered.”—Zeke Swift, Elder, Mariemont Community Church, Cincinnati, Ohio

Innocence Stolen, Trust Betrayed is a powerful and riveting first-hand account of the pain and devastation of pastoral sexual misconduct. Sandy's story of being groomed by her youth pastor, the response of the church she loved, and of the pain she felt 30 years after the abuse, will bring you to tears and fill you with anger. But most importantly, it will give you hope…hope that this tragedy can be overcome. Truly, The Hope of Survivors.”— Susan Randall, M.E. Masters in Education

“Sandy courageously shares her story of 5 years of abuse that started when she was 16. This story captures the raw devastation and long term consequences when a church leader misuses their power to sexually abuse a vulnerable person. The documentary beautifully captures Sandy's amazing resilience to heal and her ability to use her experience to help others. Pastors, church leaders, denominational administrators, and Seminary professors will benefit from hearing this story. Sandy's story exposes the dynamics of clergy sexual misconduct and helps the viewer see ways that sexual misconduct could be prevented. Much can also be learned from the woefully inadequate response from the church in which the abuse occurred. We are reminded there are many survivors just like Sandy who need support to heal and recover and a place to share their stories.”— David K. Pooler, Ph.D., LCSW
Associate Dean for Baccalaureate Studies

“Sandy Kirkham shares her painful but true story of betrayal at the hands of the person she admired most—her pastor. How courageous she is to bring her story forward so we can all know how important the work of The Hope of Survivors really is. …getting this story out is vital and caring for those abused an act of God.”—Martin Doblmeier, Award-winning filmmaker, Journey Films

“The Sandy Phillips Kirkham story—wow! I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen. My heart was in my throat. I wish I could make this required viewing for every pastor, and indeed every parishioner. Each element of the story puts in high relief the age-old dynamics of clergy sexual misconduct. The film achieves much, not the least of which is to validate the work of The Hope of Survivors.”—Jennifer Schwirzer, LPC

The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart...Psalms 34:18