armchair cultural observation since 1995

New documentary alleges abuse at Jesus People USA

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A new documentary by former Jesus People USA resident Jaime Prater alleges that there were numerous cases of sexual abuse at the Uptown Chicago commune that went unreported by leaders of the Evangelical Covenant Church community. Prater, who plans to release his film No Place to Call Home: Growing Up In An American Cult this month, said a third of the nearly 200 former members of the community he contacted alleged that they had been abused by an adult or teenager during their time there.

One victim interviewed in the documentary called the Chelsea building where members of the community live, “a tower of hell.” Founded during the Jesus Movement of the ’70s, the community serves the poor in urban Chicago and was known for the Christian rock festival called Cornerstone it organized annually in Bushnell, Illinois. The festival ended after its 29th year last year and the land was recently sold. I spent a summer living at the community in 2000 as an intern for their magazine and volunteered at the festival.

DNAInfo Chicago has more on the story >>

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