HENNING, Ill. (WCIA)– One woman is reflecting on a painful past. Now she hopes justice will be served for the Henning Pastor she says sexually abused her for years.
Last week Gary Arivett was arrested and is facing three counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a family member under the age of 18. He has since been released after posting a $100,000 dollar bail.
The survivor says Arivett has been a pastor at Shiloh Apostolic Church in Henning for nearly 30 years. For her privacy, she does not want to be named, but says she and her sisters were abused for years.
“I would like him to not have access to children anymore in any capacity,” said the survivor.
She says the abuse first started for her at age 11, her younger sister was 6 years old.
“I just tried to move forward with my life and that point we hadn’t heard of anybody else having issues and so I kinda was hoping that deep down maybe he got over his sickness and maybe it was just us children, maybe it was us,” said the survivor.
But when she heard Arivett was arrested she wanted to stand in solidarity with the other survivors.
“There’s no telling how many are out there, and there is no telling how many little children in the church right now that don’t know what he is doing is wrong,” said the survivor.
That’s why Erin Morris started digging into this case.
“I was protected here as a child by all of the people that I grew up with and I want to continue to do that,” said Morris.
Morris says she heard the news about Arivett on social media and wanted to know more about the situation.
“So I made a small Facebook post and people started reaching out to me then with their stories,” said Morris.
She says a victim messaged her and shared her story. Now, Morris wants more answers for the community she feels protective of.
“I think it’s been happening longer than anybody really knows in this town and I think it’s been covered up for many many years,” said Morris.
The survivor hopes the justice system will prevail.
“The fact that he is a pastor in a leadership position with access to as many young children with very trusting parents who aren’t aware of the monster they are allowing near there children, it needed to be public, it needs to get out there, they need to know,” said the survivor.
We did reach out to Arivett for a comment. Over the phone he said:
“First of all, the charges are unfounded. I was not forced out of the pastors position, I left on my own.”
His next court appearance is scheduled in August.