Adrian’s Note: Intelligent Adventist is publishing a full translation of the audio recording by the whistleblower for additional context for our readers. In the article in which we published the whistleblower transcript we said the audio was a “word for word” translation. That was not an accurate characterization. It was a transcription of the “highlights” of the conversation that occurred in the meeting in Niś, on March 2. Pastor Erdeg had transcribed directly from the audio and then he fact-checked the assertions made in the audio. With this updated transcript, the readers can get a full understanding of and context of the conversation. The conversation transcribed now in full still adheres to the essential aspects that Pastor Erdeg had transcribed and fact-checked before. The article has been updated to reflect this new translation.
For the safety of the whistleblower, we are not publishing the audio file.
It has often been reported to us that the leaders keep saying that the previously published transcript was not complete and missing facts and created a distortion. We have therefore chosen to make a completely new translation of the audio available to everyone to read. We believe that this extra context sheds more light on the conversation in the meeting and does not exculpate the union president or those who were in the audio.
Legend or Key:
Dragan (Grujičić): South-East European Union-Conference President
Zoran (Marcikić): Union Departmental Officer
Pastor: Multiple individuals not distinguished by the recording
Dragan: It is very complicated. I am telling you honestly and openly. It is complicated because of the fact that the division does not see it as valid and legitimate reason to convene the executive conference board because, beware, he doesn’t have neither a moral nor a financial problem.
Pastor: Yes, he doesn’t have a problem.
Dragan: The problem is his daughter. And they’re looking at it now, you know, in the Western way. It’s just kind of …
Pastor: Procedurally …
Dragan: Well, yes, procedurally. He did nothing. How can you convene the executive conference board? His daughter did it. He is a father. Now what? However, the problem, people, is that a good number of churches do not want Robert to come to their churches at all. Yesterday I had calls from Sombor, Sivac, Kula. These are churches that do not want Robert to visit them. Then Gospođinci. And, the same in Novi Sad. [Intelligent Adventist Fact-Check]: Pastor Erdeg went to some of those churches and called some of the churches mentioned, they had no objection to him visiting.
Pastor: Uuuuu …man….(bre – no actual translation. It is a Serbian slang)
Dragan: So that’s exactly how … I’m telling you. A Pandora’s box was opened inside the conference. We have remained almost untouched when it comes to the outside world and the relationship towards the church.
Pastor: Yes, I was asked in the church and I told them “we will not have any problems outside. Nobody even remembers what was said. “
Several people at the same time: We won’t.
Pastor: But we will have a problem within the church and that is the problem we have now.
Pastor: Well, it would be best for him to withdraw himself (translators note: resign) and say, brothers …
Dragan: But I will try to have a conversation with him one more time. [Intelligent Adventist Fact Check]: “One more time”, The union president had never spoke to Pastor Erdeg about resigning.]
Pastor: Because if he withdraws himself (translators note: resigns), neither the division will put pressure, nor anyone else.
Zoran: Dragan suggested it to him, but he won’t. [Intelligent Adventist Fact-Check]: At this time, when this meeting was happening, the Union president had not yet spoken to Pastor Erdeg about resigning.]
Pastor: On the other hand, it is not that the news does not exist among the people. Because here is one believer from [the name of the place] who found out only now, and some information is still circulating. And he asked what happened there, and I told him, “Oh, it’s over.”
Pastor: It’s over for us, but it’s not for them.
Pastor: And he says, “Well, don’t get over it so easily.” And what should I do now? He thinks that this is very embarrassing for the church.
Dragan: The worst thing is that the two conferences almost went to war because of that. I mean, it’s a heavy expression, but there is some tension and impatience. When you come to Bosnia, Bosnia is completely on Caleb’s side. Why? Because they know the story that took place in Bosnia. They know what happened there and what it all looked like. But after all, people, you know what? Bajić Aranka and Milan are primarily Anita’s cousins. They were their mentors. They knew what was happening. Intelligent Adventist Fact-Check: Aranka stated in writing in an email that “we were not involved, from the beginning.”]
Zoran: Aranka often talked to Anita.
Dragan: And those people are on Caleb’s side.
Pastor: Well, yes.
Dragan: And it is not as black and white as they are trying to make it seem. Well, we wouldn’t be reacting like that….
Pastor: I find it a little strange, the behavior of people who know nothing. And people come into potential doubt to doubt you. And you keep saying: “We don’t want to talk, don’t rush …
Dragan: That’s right. Yes!
Zoran: You know what, they judge, and we who were on the church board can’t judge because we have information, both this, and that, and I just have to say “I don’t know her nor him”, and now I have to judge based on a story that is often contradictory, and I am a theologian. I am neither an inspector nor a lawyer, nor a psychologist. And she gradually creates a story. If someone is a pedophile, he is a pedophile from the start. If someone is an abuser, he is an abuser from the start. But not, making a contract and a deal first, “let him be there just don’t let him work and the children like this” … “I will sign that he can work as a pastor”, then she doesn’t want sign and then again…. so something is constantly being created, created, created and created. But wait if he’s a pedophile, …[Intelligent Adventist Fact-Check: “I’m neither an inspector…nor a psychologist”…The Union Grievance committee had a trained psychologist on the board but she complained that they didn’t take her professional opinion to account and she asked for her name to be removed from the final report. “And she gradually created a story”…Anita shared a report from the Social Worker’s office who interviewed within days of her escaping her husband, the Social Worker’s analysis stated that she was a psychological abuse and rape victim. The Social worker found her credible. The psychological abuse and sexual abuse were detailed and they stated that the sexual intercourse was forced. The Union Grievance board had a copy of this early report.]
Pastor: It is a problem if the statements keep changing, so there is definitely a problem. [Intelligent Adventist Fact-Check: The statement didn’t change there was additional evidence that was unearthed. The union was updated on the new evidence.]
Dragan: Since Zoran started this. I didn’t mean to talk about this, but I’ll tell you. Here we are pastors, and I would like this to remain between us, because I don’t think we should talk about such details. So, I was involved in the process from the very beginning. The process started from the moment when her then-husband found out that she had committed adultery with one Dragan from Mostar.
Dragan: So that was the beginning. He wanted to forgive her and somehow renew his marital union, and they contacted our perhaps best marriage counselor, and that is Mihalec.
Several pastors at the same time: The Hungarian.
Dragan: He started marriage counseling with them. I was in contact with Mihalec. He had to end the marriage counseling after a month, because Anita was not fully involved in the process as she should have been. Just to find out later that she was already chatting with her current husband. [Intelligent Adventist Fact-Check: Pastor Robert Erdeg contacted Pastor Mihalec regarding this statement of Anita not being involved in the process. His reply, “Dear Robert, regarding Anita’s case, I have not given any kind of expert report officially or unofficially to the Church.” Anita was not in contact with her now current then-future husband during the marriage therapy.]
Several pastors at the same time: Yes, Trto.
Dragan: So, what happens next? She decides to leave Caleb, comes to Novi Sad and seeks a divorce.
Pastor: Yes …
Dragan: And here I am … that is my fault. I turned out to be naive and, I have no idea, I shouldn’t have done that, but she called me and asked if I could help her so Caleb signs the divorce so she gets the children, and in return, she will sign for him that he can continue working as a pastor. Check this out! It’s a fact! And Caleb agrees, signs it, and the moment comes when I ask her to sign that paper that Caleb is moral, that he has moral integrity, that he can continue, that he is not to blame for what happened. And she tells me “I can’t do that.” I am in contact with End it Now and “she says,” there in that End it Now group, they enlightened me that I was emotionally and mentally abused.” [Intelligent Adventist Fact-Check: There is no End it Now group. She was not “enlightened” by End It Now. She was evaluated by social workers, the police, and psychologists. All of whom reported credible findings regarding her psychological trauma and rape].
Pastor: Jaooooj [sound/expression equivalent to the phrase “oh, boy”]
Dragan: So there is no story about rape and there is no story about pedophilia in the beginning. And then after some time passed, then she said, “He actually raped me in marriage.” [Intelligent Adventist Fact-Check: The Social Worker’s report documented their analysis of her claim of rape to be credible. Pedophilia evidence was shared with the Union leaders as the children began to open up to therapists].
Pastor: Jaoooooj [sound/expression equivalent to the phrase “oh, boy”]
Dragan (sarcastically): How he raped her, let me not explain it now. [Intelligent Adventist Comment]: While the president sarcastically stated that he didn’t want to go into the description of rape in this meeting, he did hear Anita’s testimony which included the testimony of her rape alone with no woman present. The Conference president in the earlier stages of the grievance process heard Anita’s testimony in graphic detail. Anita was asked to share details of her rape with the Conference president alone with no woman present].
Pastor: Well, that’s totally stupid.
Dragan: And then in the end it came to that he was also a pedophile. So the story was gradually built. And to me … you know now … you have it too, I have to say, it’s pressure. This is a newcomer, a stranger. Many have said to me “kick him out” – you know how people can say that. But you see that his story … he says “I had a problem with pornography, but she also watched pornography. And she admitted it. We watched it to do what we saw.” And he says,” Yes, but that I raped her, if I was a … that’s … like … “The man says,” I didn’t and I didn’t. ” And what actually happened? When we saw that this story was complex, we decided that we as a church could not do anything, and we would accept the court’s decision. That’s where Anita got really mad at us. She kept putting pressure. We get to court. Anita had some evidence that he was what he was, but the judge did not want to accept all the evidence. That’s why she appeared on television. [Intelligent Adventist Fact-Check]: “She also watched it. And she admitted it.” Anita stated that she was forced by her ex-husband to watch porn and recreate those videos in their sexual intercourse. She didn’t watch porn for her own sake.]
Pastor: Hmmm …
Dragan: So the judge said that the evidence was not valid. They were done at the social workers center (CPS) in the presence of one parent, which is not proof. [Intelligent Adventist Fact Check]: No judge ever said that the evidence was not valid. CPS’s evaluation had not yet arrived at the Court at the time of this recording, but even that evaluation was done without either parent present. The children were evaluated alone by CPS.]
Pastor: Jooooj…[sound/expression equivalent to the phrase “oh, boy”]
Dragan: The judge is now looking for special experts who will supervise the children with special cameras, special kinder garden teachers to determine if that really happened. You know, Anita is the kind of person that if you don’t follow the track she established, you are the worst. I experienced that from her when she accuses me of being the same as Caleb, that I may be abusing my wife, etc. …. those are her words addressed to me. Just because I doubted her statement and said, “I don’t like this, Anita, and this is not fair.” And now we’ll see how the court decides. Caleb was strongly protected in Bosnia. He was accepted by some church members; they pay him everything. He no longer works for the church at all. He was accepted by the people and he wants to … [Intelligent Adventist Fact-Check: The judge ordered the standard evaluations that are standard for any child abuse case. Anita never accused the Union president of abusing her, she may have accused him of gaslighting her. Intelligent Adventist is in possession of a phone transcript of the Union president talking with Anita. We will share that transcript in a subsequent post.]
Pastor: And where are the children?
Dragan: With her.
Pastor: I understood that he is going to go to Germany, that he has some relatives there.
Dragan: No, he is staying here. That’s the last information.
Pastor: When such things happens, you immediately recognize what is in someone’s heart by their reactions. People immediately want to trample the church. I think it’s adding fuel to the fire.
Zoran: It wouldn’t be such a big problem if the church members in the churches wouldn’t “chew” on it. Let it go, live your life. We have a union, we have church districts. Have confidence. I guess we’re not stupid?! It turns out that some individual appears who thinks that we are all stupid and that we are no good, and that he will now shed light on everything and take everything on the road. There are a lot of problems, there is a lot of pressure and then you need to stay motivated and push forward and say “this is the remnant church, let’s go. That’s it”. And what I keep telling Dragan: My biggest burden people is… I go to Kisac. There are 28 non Adventists in front of me. Robert takes care of that Kisac. And I know he’s coming while being under pressure and he’s in trouble. And he needs to do the sermon instead of me, and the Holy Spirit needs to preach through him to lead those people, and he probably only came out of respect for those people. But the question is how much power does he have inside of himself. And look, 28 non Adventists came to you from the world where you have 3 church members. And this is all happening. And that is a burden for me. And I can’t hang out every Friday in Kisac. Do you know what that is? It’s not two or three people. [Anita’s Comment: My father when he stands in front of those people, there is no pressure. He can’t wait for those moments to come. Those people give him strength and energize him. He has sixty people attending. If it were hard for him to speak he wouldn’t have to, he could ask the Novi Sad pastors to speak instead.]
Pastor: Why does she do what she does? Because when you look at it, they are divorced. Everyone has their own life. She has the children. She got married. ie she remarried. And now why do you start a story about all that, if it doesn’t exist …
Pastor: Not just revenge, but so he doesn’t have access to the children at all.
Pastor: Well, that’s likely.
Pastor: No, she is probably afraid … there is a law that if he gets the children, he can smuggle them, and then they will never return. [Intelligent Adventist Comment]: [It is chilling to hear a pastor speculate about the ex-husband kidnapping the children “so they will never return.”]
Zoran: Dragan told Caleb: “If it is proven that you are a pedophile – are you aware of how pedophiles are treated in prison in Serbia?” They don’t come out alive.
Dragan: A friend was accused of pedophilia by her daughter-in-law, and he went to prison in Sremska Mitrovica. I went to visit him, and they let me go in because I am a pastor. He begged me like this: “Pastor, do whatever it takes to get me out of here. I’m going to die here. ”And then he tells me that the police allowed the inmates to take a broom, cut off the handle, and stuffed it into his, you know where. The next time I went, he was dead.
Zoran: And Dragan tells this to Caleb that and he says “I am not guilty. If I have to die, I will die, but I will be with my children.” So that’s where you see an attitude. Now, we listen to all this as human beings. Only God knows what is true, and that is why it is best for the court to make a decision.
Dragan: Yes, I don’t know what the mistake is. I presented this in the division (TED) as well. I had a half-hour presentation in front of all the presidents and officials when I was there a month ago. The division knew about this from the beginning. And they say the same thing: “The best thing you could do is leave it to the court to make a decision.” Because who among us is a court expert who can determine rape and pedophilia? [Intelligent Adventist Comment: “The division knew about this from the beginning.” In this revealing audio transcript, the union president tied the conference, the union, and the division in this matter. It is eye-opening to see how involved TED has been in this case, and yet, according to our sources close to the TED, they are stating that it is a “local matter” and are refusing to intervene].
Pastor – sarcastically: Marko Lukić
Dragan: Yes. On the other hand, you know what they say in the division (TED). That we treated Caleb unjustly. Because he can now sue us for firing him before the trial is over. And there is a problem now. I told that to Bozidar in Bosnia and he said “no, no, he won’t.” You never know if he won’t…Will…. If he gets …
Pastor: Then he will seek compensation.
Pastor: That happened two or three times in Bosnia.
Dragan: We had a man who was so accused, the church kicked him out, he went to court, and it was established that he was innocent. The court ruled that he should return, that he should be compensated for damages and that the church has no right to fire him.
Pastor: Okay, but it’s fair for him to step back until the trial is over.
Pastor: Or some form of suspension.
Pastor: Okay, but then you have to give him money.
Dragan: Yes, we had to give him compensation and we had to sign a certain type of contract, and nothing was done about it.
Zoran: Lecic also worked while the trial was going on. So you are not guilty until you are proven guilty.
Legend or Key:
Dragan (Grujičić): South-East European Union-Conference President
Zoran (Marcikić): Union Departmental Officer
Pastor: Multiple individuals not distinguished by the recording