WOONSOCKET – When the 17-year-old girl told her mother – let’s call the mom Theresa – that she wanted to join a church in Uxbridge, Mass., she thought it might signal a positive turn in the life of the emotionally troubled teen.
It was the beginning of a nightmare.
Shortly after joining in early September, Theresa’s daughter suddenly began spending more time at the Church of the End Times than she did at home. Often she would spend the night at the homes of the church’s leaders, Dennis and David Stanley, brothers and co-pastors who live near the church, just over the North Smithfield line.
She says her daughter has told her that groups of young women and teens routinely spend the night with her at the home of one Stanley brother or the other. A student at Beacon Charter School, Theresa’s daughter has come home with sexy lingerie allegedly purchased for her by the Stanley brothers, and they put her on some sort of herbal pill, supposedly to improve her health, says Theresa.
“All this started maybe three or four months ago, Wednesdays and Saturdays at first, after a service,” Theresa says. “She would leave the house at 5 p.m. and wouldn’t get out until 1 or 1:30 in the morning. She said she was spending the night at a friend’s house. Sometimes she wouldn’t come home until 7 in the morning, change clothes and go to school.”
Or at least that’s where Theresa thought her daughter was going.
About a month ago, Theresa sent her daughter a text message saying she needed to pick up her little brothers. “She said, ‘I can’t. I’m in Uxbridge and I can’t keep coming back and forth. I’m at the church. It’s God’s will that I stay here.’ I said, ‘Wait a minute.’ I called the school and found out she had attended just three days of classes, total, since the beginning of the year. All of this stuff that she said about going to school was a big lie.”
Theresa’s daughter has since confided that she had been spending most of her time at either David or Dennis Stanley’s home, often in the company of eight or nine other teenaged girls and young women.
Theresa thinks her daughter has been brainwashed by “a cult” – a word even some ex-members of the church and relatives of the Stanleys use to describe The Church of the End Times. Beth Stanley, who recently separated from her husband, Dennis, has also publicly allegedly that he is having sex with young women he brings in to his home, a charge he denies.
“It’s extremely troubling,” says Theresa. “You think: church. You think your kid’s not doing anything wrong, she’s going to church. Then you find out all this stuff is going on.”
Perhaps the most troubling thing about Theresa’s story is that it doesn’t appear to be unique, which is a key reason police in two states are taking a hard look at the Stanleys and their unusual house of worship, located in an industrial park off the Old Quaker Highway, or Route 146A.
Read more in our print edition.