Already under scrutiny for eventually admitting to a “moral fall” with a 20-year-old in Botswana January 2011, Dr. Samuel Pipim faces more recent allegations, which have bubbled up since late last year. Instead of having consensual sex with the young woman, she claims he raped her. “I deny that,” Pipim said in a telephone interview Tuesday.
Pipim has responded to this, and a number of other allegations in a posting on his website, which can be read here.
Pipim’s alleged victim asked to remain anonymous, but in a telephone interview answered “yes” to the question “Did Samuel Pipim rape you?” You can read her testimony here, which was penned by her counselor Jennifer Schwirzer. The document describes details of the incident.
When asked what motivation the girl could have to lie about being raped, Pipim said, “I may have my own reasons, but at this moment, it’s safe to withhold judgement, because she is in touch with some people, and I know the people, and I can only speculate on their motivation.”
Pipim had many conversations with the alleged victim after he returned home to the U.S., as he kept in touch with her for months afterwards. In one of their recorded phone conversations, Pipim proclaimed his love a number of times. Portions of the transcripts can be viewed here.
Two longtime friends of Pipim, Lynda du Preez and Nicole Parker, have also come forward with concerns. Both have spoken with the alleged victim and du Preez also spoke with numerous leaders in the Botswana Conference, who are aware of the situation. Both friends have written in concern over the issue. Du Preez’s letter was to the church board in Ann Arbor where Pipim intends to be rebaptized this month. You can read the letter here.
Parker’s letter was personal in nature, written directly to Pipim, which you can read here. Parker is unsure how the letter leaked to the public. She said it was written in the context of his self-proclaimed determination to re-launch himself back into ministry in January 2012. Far from a public statement, Parker said it was a personal plea from a friend.
“This letter was a desperate attempt to protect his victim from further traumatization,” she said.
In response to Parker’s letter, Pipim said, “That is her opinion. She may have her own reasons. When people try to psychoanalyze, I find it very unfortunate. When people accuse you of pornography, it’s very offensive really.”
Both du Preez and Parker are concerned Pipim is scheduled to be rebaptized soon by the Ann Arbor SDA Church in Michigan. Du Preez said it is too soon, as she said Pipim has been lying about what happened in Africa. They are also concerned he continues to be involved with young people when he took spiritual and sexual advantage of one.
When Pipim was asked if he thinks it’s appropriate to continue pursuing ministry with young people after he had sex with one, he replied, “When a person fails, can the person rise again from the failure? You have repented of your sin, what can you do for the Lord? I would definitely put up some boundaries.”
There was also mutual concern from friends and leaders that Pipim did not immediately confess his sin, and if it would not have become public knowledge, he might never have confessed it.
Pipim writes on his website “... indeed, I revealed my sin to my wife 5 months after the incident--within 24 hours of the day I got to know that it had become public knowledge (7-10 people). Why didn't I tell her when it happened? Based on my understanding of Scripture and EGW’s ‘Private sins should be privately addressed.’ As far as I knew, our sin had been repented of, confessed, and renounced. There was no need (definitely at that time) to share that information with my wife.”
Pipim continued in ministry with young people for five months until his sin was discovered and he was disfellowshipped.
"Sam Pipim has literally filled books with his version of the story,” said the alleged victim's counselor Jennifer Schwirzer, “but few have heard the quieter voice of the victim. Yet it is through her testimony that we learn the searing horror of clergy sexual misconduct, and are led to say, ‘Not on our watch!’”
Pastor of Samuel Pipim’s church in Ann Arbor Danny Velez could not be reached for comment at the time of publication. Attempts were made via email to contact the chaplain in Botswana who drove the young woman to Pipim’s hotel room, and the Union President in Botswana, but they did not respond. Shane Hilde contributed to this report.