Letter to the Editor
Date: Wed, 7 Dec 2005 14:11:32 -0500
To: Brian Karjala
Subject: Tom Papania and Focus on the Family
I first came across your website about a year or so ago, and I was going to email you about a couple of details but I never got around to it. I just went to it again, and I just would like to hopefully clarify a few things.
1) I am a long-term employee of Focus and I was there when the Mafia to Ministry tape was first aired. It was supposed to be re-aired in early February 1997 but it was pulled a couple of weeks before that. I guess that was when some info came out that some parts of the testimony may not have been accurate. Bottom line is, Focus pulled it as soon as they found out (from someone - likely a listener) that it wasn't entirely accurate. There may have been a delay while they researched the accusation, which would have taken some time. Nevertheless, the broadcast was never re-aired and Focus stopped offering it.
2) There are likely legal reasons why Focus can't come out and blatantly say that Tom Papania's alleged testimony is a hoax. Only the lawyers could comfirm that. I'm not privy to that information.
3) The tape was a "Hitchcock" tape - in other words Focus received it from outside of the ministry. It was apparently handed to Mike Trout at an event by a police officer who was sitting beside him. Granted, Focus (although they did do some checks on the facts which they do for all potential outside broadcasts) missed the boat on this one. This was probably not the first time and likely not the last. Checking out every detail about everything can take months if not years.
4) There are no further details given to constituents about the Mafia to Ministry tape than you have already received. Most of the staff won't even know that much, especially on the phone. Letters on that subject would be passed on to the Correspondence department who would give a more complete answer.
5) FYI - Ryan Dobson information - Dr. Dobson obviously has his own reason for not wanted to talk about Ryan's divorce. It is a very sensitive subject for the whole family. Again, the staff on the phones do not have any information about this, probably most don't even know that he has been previously married. You can write to Focus if you have a question and they will pass it on to the Correspondence department. I will save you the time and give you the answer. Ryan Dobson was divorced from Cezanne in 2001. Ryan was totally opposed to the dissolution of the marriage and there were no biblical grounds to justify it (No adultery involved.) Ryan has just recently remarried.
By the way, just because I work at Focus on the Family doesn't mean that I agree with everything that goes on here (probably no employee agrees 100%). Nevertheless, I have a very high regard for Dr. Dobson and this ministry.
God Bless You
Hope this clears a few things up for you.
Date: Fri, 9 Dec 2005 16:59:01 -0400
From: Brian Karjala
Subject: Re: Tom Papania and Focus on the Family
Hi Andy. Thanks for writing. You're one of the very few Focus employees in recent years who has taken the time to contact me.
Goodness gracious. I think I'm the one who may need to offer clarification to YOU!
I'm not certain you've read any of my writings very carefully. For one thing, when I walked out of my job as a Constituent Response Representative on Sept. 9, 1997, Focus on the Family was still offering the "From Mafia To Ministry" Tom Papania tape to the public.
It would have been nice if the Focus "top" leaders would have alerted me and the rest of the employees (as well as the public) back in at least Feb. of '97 about the problems they had with doubts concerning Papania's testimony. Funny how they like to keep secrets.
Do you know who it was who alerted Focus officials about a problem with Tom's testimony shortly after the Dec. '96 radio broadcasts? It was a minister named Frank Catania, who knew something about Tom's true background. From what I've read, Frank suffered dearly for the stand he took for the truth. He was badmouthed and blacklisted by many people and organizations.
Why does Tom Papania's attorney (D. Kent Shelton - perfect lawyer name), who threatened a lawsuit against me in Jan. '05, have a link on his website to the Focus on the Family website? Why would this attorney promote an organization (Focus) that has expressed doubt about his client?!
Even today why doesn't any of the Focus websites post a warning about Tom Papania?
What in the world is really going on?
If Ryan Dobson wants to be a public leader at a FAMILY ministry why is he allowed to keep issues like his marriage, divorce, and re-marriage a secret? Clearly, he has learned much from his father (about secrecy).
There is much more I could write. But I think this covers the main points. Please write again.
I never heard back from "Andy". "He" only gave me "his" first name and wrote from an anonymous e-mail address (few will use their real names when disseminating disinformation). This person, if truly a long-term Focus employee, knows full well that the Focus Papania tape was offered to the public for quite some time after it aired on nationwide radio in 1996. (Did this person lie to me to try to protect Dobson's reputation?) I am certain that the tape was promoted into at least late 1999 before finally being discontinued: evidence (this old e-mail to Rocky Scarfone gives us a fixed approximation).
Well, apparently this individual believes that it's perfectly acceptable for the "top brass" at Focus on the Family to trample on the truth and screw over individuals like myself if it means saving themselves from potential lawsuits. So much for Dobson's teachings on responsibility and accountability. But Dobson's followers continue to blindly follow him right off the cliff. Their idolatry of this man is repulsive.
As for Mike Trout, former co-host of Jim Dobson's radio program... he gives the introduction and closing remarks on the Focus on the Family "From Mafia To Ministry" Tom Papania tape originally broadcasted over radio stations in Dec. of '96. Some years later Trout resigned from his VP position at Focus after he was lured and swallowed up by an extra-marital affair which he publicly confessed to.
Expect more scandals to come...
"What we've got here is a failure to communicate!" (Cool Hand Luke)
Update: In response to web pages like this one Focus on the Family has been forced to address the Ryan Dobson divorce:
"You'll be interested to know that the Dobsons have addressed this situation openly in response to any inquiries that are made. That said, it might be helpful to explain that Ryan and his former wife, Cezanne, divorced in the summer of 2001. Obviously, we must not invade the young people's privacy except to say that Ryan was completely opposed to the dissolution of the marriage and that the biblical grounds that have permitted him to remarry are consistent with the scriptural understanding of abandonment."
Many people coming to this website think the Dobson divorce is the big story. It does highlight the secrecy of the Dobsons and raises questions about Ryan's behavior but it's actually a minor issue compared with the Tom Papania story. (Some have speculated that Cezanne may be a black woman and wonder why there was never a public photo posted of her. Ryan has posted photos of his second wife, Laura.)
The bigger story is that Focus on the Family's most popular selling radio broadcast in its history is fraudulent along with the subsequent ongoing cover-up. Papania continues to exploit people and harass those who expose his fraud. And if Focus on the Family is responsible for recruiting the lawyer now representing Papania in an attempt to silence me then we are dealing with a callous evil that the public needs to know about. (In the past Papania has stated in his newsletters that the lawyer, a Dobson supporter, sought him out to freely represent him for the purpose of eliminating websites like this one.)