The daughters of a music professor and founder of a Christian College in Indiana are sharing a shocking truth they recently uncovered about their father.
Don Ogden, who passed away in 2015 at the age of 88, was the founder of the music department at Grace College & Seminary in Winona Lake, Indiana.
As an initial tribute to Ogden after his passing, the private college shared that he was a family man who "loved being a servant of the Lord." Ogden was twice married, had two daughters and a son, as well as seven grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.
He also served in two churches over the course of 42 years before he retired from those leadership positions in 1993. It was at that time some things were coming to light about Ogden's character.
A six-page statement with supporting evidence recently shared with The Christian Post by Ogden’s adult daughters, Diane and Kathleen, said they discovered in February 2021 that, along with his legacy in music, their father left behind an estimated 100 to 200 male victims of his predation. It described how Ogden was a serial sexual predator who had an attraction toward having sex with young boys.
In the letter, his daughters called out leadership at Grace College and the Winona Lake Grace Brethren Church for not coming forward with this evidence or suspected misconduct for fear of disrupting the funding of their operations.
"Our goal is to bring light to the darkness in our culture and in our world, and bring healing and closure to the many, many victims of our father, which experts estimate would number between 100 and 200," says Diane and Kathleen. "Unfortunately, without a public confession of the mishandling of the wrongs done years ago, there is no way to locate and give closure to the victims."
The sisters also mentioned being 'mortified' after finding out this information about their dad.
"Our father used his position, his power, his wit, and persuasion to gain the trust of young men, and later perpetrate crimes against them that would change their lives forever. We realize, looking back, that this was sadly still going on when he was 80 years old."
On March 15, 1993, 66-year-old Ogden was arrested on suspicion of aggravated sodomy in Wichita, Kansas, according to a news report. A 16-year-old boy alleged Ogden kidnapped him from the Hutchinson Mall, then drove him to a vacant area east of the mall and sodomized him.
According to Retired Sgt. Joseph Gimar, who was on the case at the time, during an initial interview the victim confessed to being sexually assaulted by Ogden.
"After questioning Ogden, there were some details in conflict, most importantly the question of this act being consensual," says Gimar to CP. "Upon re-interviewing the youth, he recanted his statement and told me he had fabricated the incident."
The young male was 16 at the time of the incident and because both parties said it was a consensual act, the case was closed and no charges were laid.
In 1994, after Ogden was removed from any leadership roles at the college and his church, he wrote a letter.
"In accordance with what we believe the Bible teaches, I want to share with you, my Christian family, the following: some degree of allurement to the sin related to the charges has troubled me at various times throughout most of my life. I have sinned in this area of my life. That problem did make me vulnerable to the approach which led finally to the exaggerated charges we have been fighting."
It went on to say that he had put all these things away in the past, and the leadership of the church encouraged people to have grace for the couple.
Uncovering More Information
Six years after Ogden's death, a whistleblower came forward and spoke with Ogden's daughters. The person revealed that the alleged predation had been occurring for roughly 40 years.
"[He] had been molesting boys for over four decades," says Diane and Kathleen. "Incidents occurred touring across the country, in people’s homes, our home, malls, youth conferences, and other places."
The sisters prompted the college and the church to run investigations to help uncover the victims of their father. Grace College conducted a private investigation and sent out 900 letters to both members of the music program and alumni of the program that may have had contact with Ogden when they attended the college.
The brief said 11 individuals responded to say "they experienced or witnessed sexual misconduct by Mr. Ogden, with most of the incidents occurring during choir or music group tours."
However, a total of 140 people responded by email or phone to the investigator’s letter or direct outreach, including 19 former students and 18 current and former employees.
"The investigation substantiated claims of sexual harassment and sexual assault perpetrated by Mr. Ogden within the course and scope of his employment at Grace College. The reported incidents occurred between 1960 and 1990, with most incidents occurring in the 1980s. The investigation also revealed that some former employees had knowledge of the misconduct and failed to appropriately respond to the information at the time."
After the investigation was finished, the college made a public statement.
"Grace College leaders believe Mr. Ogden’s abuse was reprehensible. There is no place for sexual misconduct or abuse in any organization, especially a God-honoring institution of higher education. The College has made strides in recent years to implement leading prevention and reporting policies and procedures and will follow the investigator’s guidance following this inquiry."
While Winona Lake Grace Brethren Church has not conducted a third-party investigation into Ogden's time as minister of music, they asked past church members if any assault occurred.
Kip Cone, the current lead pastor, says, "We are not aware of any victims of Don at the church or in relation to his function as a part-time minister of music at the church. I know of nothing that would indicate that the pastors at that time had any such knowledge. After the arrest [in 1993], Don was never again employed by the church."