Instead of informing the family, Diana says, the pastor phoned ABWE headquarters in Pennsylvania.
ABWE sent a vague notice to the churches that sponsored Ketcham's missionary work, stating that he'd been let go for "immoral conduct"--a phrase that most read as adultery.
They remember being alone with Ketcham at the ABWE hospital or in his home and waking up in the morning feeling hazy and nauseated, unable to recall what happened the night before.
But ABWE offered only to help pay for victims' counseling.
It soon became clear, however, that ABWE was not enthusiastic about being investigated.
Three weeks later, ABWE fired GRACE, alleging that the investigation was "fatally flawed" and "would not find the truth." For survivors and their families, this was devastating news; it meant, under the terms of its contract with the mission, that GRACE'S report could not be released.
ABWE claimed that the missionary kids' testimony was tainted by their exposure to one another; that the investigators weren't using the evidentiary standards of a courtroom and had not recorded the interviews; and that eight interviewees had complained that GRACE had asked leading questions and excluded positive recollections about ABWE from their interview summaries.
The investigators recorded some testimonies, but not all, because they allowed interviewees to ask that they not be tape-recorded for fear of reprisal from ABWE. There were no court-grade transcripts because hiring court reporters would be exorbitantly expensive, and the mission had balked at paying even a fraction of previous transcription costs.
ABWE replaced GRACE with Professional Investigators International (Pii), which said it was conducting not an investigation but "research" into the Bangladesh hospital where Ketcham had worked.
The company's website emphasizes that "the client suggests the scope of work initially." In a brief statement responding to questions from the Prospect, Pii CEO Linda Davis characterized its work for ABWE and New Tribes as "totally independent investigations following investigative procedures, very thorough in nature." Beyond that, she had no comment.
In a section for frequently asked questions on its website, ABWE promises that in its "desire for transparency," it "intends to publicly release the unedited report, when it is completed." The Bangladesh missionary kids are dubious.