Exodus Should Immediately Shut Down Scandalized ‘Ex-Gay’ Group Desert Stream, Says TWO
Truth Wins Out today called on Exodus International to shut down Desert Stream Ministries (DSM) following new revelations of sexual abuse with at least one minor. The admissions were made last week on the blog of DSM’ leader, Andy Comiskey (pictured), who is also the creator of the ex-gay program Living Waters.
“Exodus should swiftly move to shutter Desert Stream Ministries to protect young people from the sordid and tawdry atmosphere revealed by Andy Comiskey,” said Truth Wins Out’ Executive Director Wayne Besen. “Exodus has a history of turning the other cheek when confronted with inappropriate behavior in its affiliates.”
On March 8, Comiskey wrote a blog post entitled “Falling Mercies” where he says DSM had been, “cast out of our home church”, Vineyard Anaheim, as a result of “a darker strain of sin in our own ranks.” He goes onto reveal that this sin was, “a longstanding staff person from Desert Stream had sexually abused at least one teenager who had sought help from us.”
Comiskey alleges that he was a victim of seven-figure blackmail from the relative of one of the abused boys. This led to, “a scourging of our entire ministry through police interrogations, the naked bulb of insurance agents and their lawyers, and Vineyard elders who for good reason wanted to know what was really going on in Desert Stream Ministries.”
As a result of the investigation, Comiskey says DSM was “torn in two” and that “we the righteous became the scum of the earth–not only the defender of victims, but the predators.”
In his post, Comiskey seemed to care little for those harmed by DSM and tried to come across as a victim saying, “News of our tragedy, now official on police and court records, attracted our accusers like vultures: “Do they change homosexuals or create them?'”
Comiskey claims that, “At the end of 3 years, the case was settled. Our insurance covered most of the costs.” He rightfully thanks the media for not covering the story and allowing his ministry to continue. “Not one story was printed about the tragedy,” writes Comiskey. “God spared us. His mercy leveled and sustained DSM.”
“Comiskey is mocking the mainstream media for not serving as the public’ trusted watchdog,” said Besen. “I hope news outlets understand that inaction has allowed this ministry to continue its operations. Given these revelations, it would be an optimum time for the media to investigate this story.”
For reasons possibly related to this scandal, Comiskey moved Desert Stream from Anaheim to Kansas City, Mo., several years ago, where it currently remains in operation.
This is not the first time Desert Stream has been in trouble. In 1998, The Los Angeles Times reported that one family sued Desert Stream alleging that a minister had sexually abused a teenager while the youth was undergoing therapy to turn him heterosexual. Besen’ book, “Anything But Straight”, discusses a newsletter that says:
“At the end of 2000, we faced an unusual number of Desert Stream-related leaders who fell into sexual sin, or who at least demonstrated a colossal lack of wisdom in their social choices…several were placed on different plans of discipline and restoration.”
In February 2008, Truth Wins Out produced a video featuring “ex-gay’ survivor Jaylen Braiden, who claims an Exodus team leader at Desert Stream took him advantage of him.
Comiskey is one of the most influential ex-gay activists and groups use his curriculum, “Living Waters”, across the globe. Comiskey is the author of “” and calls homosexuality “spiritual disfigurement.” His book also indulges in “spiritual warfare”, calling homosexuality satanic.
“Satan delights in homosexual perversion because it not only exists outside of marriage, but it also defiles God’ very image reflected as male and female….Another related source of demonization is the homosexual relationship itself….that attachment and communion are indeed inspired, but the source is demonic.”
So far, Exodus has failed to comment on Desert Stream’ troubles, nor has it moved to either suspend or close down DSM. After stonewalling for more than six months, Exodus finally cut ties with Lansing-based Corduroy Stone last after charges of impropriety were made last year by Patrick McAlvey in a Truth Wins Out video.
“It sends the wrong message when Exodus remains silent on issues of such gravity,” said TWO’ Besen. “We urge Exodus to investigate and take proper action against one of its key ministries so more people are not harmed in the future. We also can’t fathom how Comiskey has kept his job in light of this scandal. It is truly mind boggling.”
Truth Wins Out is a non-profit organization that defends the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community against anti-gay misinformation campaigns, counters the so-called “ex-gay” industry and educates about the lives of LGBT people. Our goal is to help individuals be true to themselves and lead genuine lives of honesty and integrity.