Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church

The Abuser’s Children are Just Property and Hostages

“Brad created an atmosphere of fear. They were obedient to the point that it was unnatural. They called him ‘Dad’— never ‘Daddy.’ Those kids were his possessions. Brad gets whatever he wants. He wanted children and he wanted boys. Those boys were like another Mercedes to him.”

Rule, Ann. Dead by Sunset (pp. 205-206). Simon & Schuster, Inc., Kindle Edition

That quote from Ann Rule’s book is about one of the most wicked abusers you could ever find. A psychopath. I HIGHLY recommend everyone read this book – Dead by Sunset. It is a textbook on abusers and a sober, sober warning about how these snakes deceive and cast their evil spell on victims. Brad Cunningham. He is in the Oregon State Penitentiary serving a life sentence and someday soon (he is 75 now) he is going to begin his eternal death sentence in hell. If you think those words are too harsh, you need an education in evil and Dead by Sunset will provide it.

But notice what Rule says here about Cunningham. It holds true of soooo many abusers. His children were his possessions, just like another Mercedes to him. Property to be owned. And in many cases that appears, IMO, to be how the law views children. Property.

And children are so often hostages held by the abuser. Held hostages to punish the abuser’s victim and to continue to control. “I will take the children from you unless….”.

So don’t ever think that an abuser cares at all about the children. He just uses them to control and punish his victim. And don’t get drawn into the falsehood of thinking that children are always better off with two parents. Nope. Not when one is an abuser.

So read Dead by Sunset. You will learn a lot, and one of those truths you will learn is – “if women and men would just obey God’s Law, if they would only refuse to be drawn into sexual immorality, if they would just say “no,” so MUCH grief and anguish would be avoided. I will write more on this in a later post.

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5 Comments

  1. Pam

    Read the book the other night. Even if our spouse did not go as far as this wicked brad cunningham. The spirit was there and it was only God’s restraint that they did not do worse. The damage is the same in type and only different in degree. Thank you God for deliverance. Our church had a sermon called the “baited trap” about when to flee. It is so good if anyone wants to listen online. Justin Erickson the baited trap from 2/4/23.

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  2. BB

    I’m reading Dead By Sunset as recommend by Pastor Crippen. And yes, he’s absolutely correct that it’s a text book on abusers and on evil. I’m learning SO MUCH from this book. I was married to an abuser for 8 1/2 years. I’ve been free of him now for 6 years. Pastor Crippen’s books and articles literally saved my life. Thank you Pastor for the great work your doing. May God continue to bless you and your ministry.

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  3. Wendy

    I have this book on my audible wish list to read as soon as I receive a new credit. I struggled with the idea that my ex did not have love for his own children. I could rationalize him never loving me. I could see over time that he “loved me” as long as I was useful in uplifting his ego, and catering to him. The minute I had any thought of my own or required anything of him the true colors shined through. With my children, I have memories, pictures, and videos of his interactions with them. At times it seemed genuine and like he enjoyed playing with them, but it was always on his terms and when he felt like it or if he needed to use them to have freedom to do what he wanted. He didn’t invest in them as human beings doing things they enjoyed. He used them like he used me. As long as they idolized him. In the end, when he was done with me, he threatened to take 50% custody. I knew at the time he needed a reaction because I was no longer pursuing him or trying to connect with him. I knew not to react and said, “Well I would hope you would want to spend time with your kids”. I thank God every day for His protection and that I was able to obtain proof of the dangers he posed to my children. He never gained any access to my children without 100% court-ordered supervision (from my understanding this is a rarity in our court system today). After a few years of being supervised, he decided he wanted to terminate his parental rights. With the judge, counselor, and both lawyers in agreement, I accepted that offer in order to protect my children. I never knew or understood the depths of evil that some people will go to, but any man who will terminate their parental rights and walk away from their babies has absolutely no love in their being. Despite this, my kids are doing wonderful! They are well-adjusted, loving, kind, and wise beyond their years. They are my most precious blessings in life. I am so grateful to God for always, always watching over and protecting us.

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    • So glad for you!! Yes, the book will resonate and validate you. You will probably have to put it down for a bit and breathe deeply because you will find yourself living in the shoes of his victims. But what an wducation Ann Rule left us!

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