Rachel Geftakys Steepleton: Part of My Story

Leaders involved at this time: Perry Minamede, Dan Notti, Jeff Lehmkuhl, Betty Geftakys, Kirk Cesaretti, Roberto Sanchez

1984-1993  Judy and David


While Perry and elaine Minamede lived with us, David stopped beating Judy for a time. Numerous times, he would still get angry and slap her or grab her hard enough to bruise her before leaving on a drive but he didn't beat her as severely as before.

We moved to San Luis Obispo in the summer of 1986. When we were living in the first house on Augusta, Dan Notti finally acknowledged that David was regularly beating Judy. He spoke with David and told him that he should probably stop doing that.

When I was 13, we moved to the second house on Augusta Street. This is where things began to change, and to grow increasingly horrific until 2000, when Judy left David.

David began to become bolder in his secret life. This was (and probably still is) the life he thinks he has a right to live but will not reveal to anyone. He keeps it secret. David began to drink wine on a regular basis, sometimes getting drunk. He had a TV, which he knew as a Worker he was not to have. Eventually, he received his father's permission to have the TV for "educational purposes," but the rule still stood for everyone else. However we all, especially David, watched it mainly for entertainment. The people who lived downstairs in our home, as many as twelve at one time, were not allowed to watch TV. This hypocrisy left an impression on me as a teenager.

He had a lot of people living in his home, and was monetarily profiting from their "contribution," which is what he insisted rent be called. He began to hide this money from my mother. At the same time he was hiding money, his relationship with Jeff Lehmkuhl began to fall apart. This is also when he began to show signs of feeling threatened by me.

As I got older, it seemed his experiences of physical and psychological abuse from his father George, and also from Betty, especially during his teen years, was causing him trouble. The very fact that I wanted to go places with friends, or date, caused him extreme discomfort and aggravation.

David feared loss of respect or position, not to mention monetary support, as a result of my behavior. David and Judy started to disagree more often about how I should be raised in my young adult years.

Betty and David shared a theory, which they thought was quite wise. It went like this: If they made all of my decisions for me until I was 18, then upon turning 18, I would know how to make the right decisions for myself. Betty has since abandoned that theory, and does not admit she advocated it at this time, let alone experimented with her own granddaughter.

This was when David began once again to beat Judy. He was now much more clever about how he did this. Most of the time he hit her where her clothes would cover the bruises. On one occasion, he beat her to the ground, than turned to walk away saying, "I have to go meet with so and so right now." This showed how he thought what he was doing did not affect him being a servant of God.

1993  My sister witnessed David beating Judy when she received a black eye as a result. He slammed her head against the door and later, the side of her face had a large lump. During the night, the lump drained below her eye, forming a large black eye. At first, Judy made an excuse about her black eye. Later she told me the truth and revealed to me about some of the past abuse. This was when I revealed the incident I remembered from when I was 4.

I told my dad about how I remembered him shoving my mother against a sink when I was 4 and he said, "But I told you I had asked for her forgiveness, right?" I told him that I don't remember him apologizing, but he assured me he did. In Assembly theology, once a person asks for forgiveness, they are off the hook. It now becomes the victim's responsibility to forgive, and they are never to bring up the offense again. Needless to say, this type of thinking opens wide the door to abuse.

Later, the Leading Brothers found out about the event that caused the black eye and wrote David a letter. I read this letter in October of 2000, because Kirk C. showed it to me. It said that David could not act that way and if it happened again it would result in some kind of "action," which was not specified. It was about 3 or 4 sentences long. We never heard a word from Dan Notti, who had threatened action seven years earlier if the beatings continued.

Just as before, David was excused and not made accountable for his repeated offenses. He definitely qualified as a striker, according to the Bible, but since no one was willing to do anything, he continued to function as a spiritual leader.

David stated that he had repented and asked Judy's forgiveness. Judy followed the Assembly teaching on forgiveness and protected David at this time, by not disclosing the past abuse to the leadership. She also stated that she too had repented. She was referring to "repentance" in light of what Betty had repeatedly told her was her "sin." It was her sharp tongue and disrespectful manner that caused David to "stumble" and become violent. At this time, Betty also did not disclose the ongoing abuse to anyone.

The Leading Brothers and their wives were all at the meeting where David was given the letter I mentioned above. Present were: Greg and Marcie Holder (living with us at the time), Jeff and Nancy Lehmkuhl, Kirk and Linda Cesaretti, and Roberto and Jenny Sanchez.

Here is where I have a discrepancy with the leadership's version of events. Judy and I remember things slightly differently then the leadership.

I remember that after that "black eye" event, I was seated at the dinner table with everyone in the house, except David and Judy. After dinner, I found out David had pushed Judy to the floor and was choking her while we all ate below. She scratched his face trying to get him off. It so upset me to learn that I was sitting at dinner while just upstairs David was beating Judy. It especially upset me because first there was the black eye event, and then I had found out about the past abuse and now this. I waited to see what the leadership would do. Of course, nothing happened.

Judy has confirmed my memory of events. She stated that when David gave her the black eye, she didn't fight back at all. However, when he choked her, she did scratch him. Greg Holder knew about this. Soon after this second event, he and Marcie were moved by "the Work" to Spokane, Washington. The leadership's version of events said that the scratched face event happened at the same time as the black eye event. In other word's David only beat my mother once, not twice. Perhaps they were worried that if there were a second time, they would look bad for not doing anything. Either way, David went to the chapter summary and preached that same night with scratches on his face! All he would say to explain his face was, "Sometimes your sin precedes you."


  Rachel's Story: Introduction 1971-1983  Judy and David »
1994-1997  Rachel and David »
1997-2000  Judy and David »
1996-2001  Rachel »
Betty Teaches on Families, and We Finally Leave »
Conclusion, Epilogue and List of Witnesses »


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