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I Have a Secret: I Had Sex with My Pastor

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Annette Anderson's journey from secrecy to truth-telling is at the core of best-selling author Gregg Olsen's upcoming book, A Twisted Faith: A Minister's Obsession and the Murder that Destroyed a Church.

Annette and Craig

Guest Blogger Annette Anderson: All my life I've been a secret keeper; one who's been able to keep the confidence of others, a "steel trap," as some have told me. My personal policy of in-my-ear, never-out-of-my-mouth long led me to carry the burdens of others without much consideration. Throughout my childhood, my own mother would use me as her sounding board over late-night dinners, on subject matters that were far over my head. We all crave one who can listen to our problems, and carry our burdens, so I've been told.

Early next year, a new book by Gregg Olsen, A Twisted Faith: A Minister's Obsession and the Murder that Destroyed a Church (St. Martin's Press, April 2010), and a national TV show will reveal my secrets. At least some of them. My husband Craig and I have lived with this secret for a decade now. Without Craig's support, his belief in the importance of telling the truth, I'd never be free.

My story involves a minister named Nick Hacheney and his sick need to control, manipulate, and use women.

When Nick asked me to keep his secrets, I didn't hesitate to agree. It didn't seem difficult; I cared about him, after all. To suspect that my beloved pastor was grooming me as a pawn for his twisted purposes never occurred to me. I trusted him with my own secrets. My faith was simple and pure. I wanted God and all of the goodness that He had to offer me. As my pastor described to me the high esteem God held him in, that he'd been chosen since birth to carry out great plans as an incarnation of King David himself, this only served to solidify my hope that God must love me too, to bring someone so special into my life and that of my family. I soaked up every word, listening, trusting, feeling promising emotion, like a fire being stoked within me.

When Nick likened himself to an angel sent to help me, I'd been prepared to believe. A critical thought barely formed in my mind: "An angel? An actual, real heavenly angel??" I asked. "Shhhhh, don't question me, I can't answer; trust me, trust God," he'd say. "God wants your heart, not your head; just believe." Incredible as it was, this was not difficult for me to accept, as I knew I tended to overanalyze things. Autonomous rationale was never tolerated in our little church, and it had been a struggle of mine that I'd worked hard to overcome. Reckless trust with abandon was held in high regard, as a true faith that was pleasing to God. There was no room for doubt to get where we were going, though I was never sure exactly where that was.

A Twisted Faith

He, of all people, deserves to know the truth, I thought to myself, as I tried in vain to muster up the courage to open my mouth. If my husband knew that I'd had sex with my pastor, he might even understand; after all, he'd been a participant in our self-sacrificial-all-or-nothing church doctrine just as much as I had.

Part of my dilemma was that a mere self-confession wouldn't suffice; I'd have to give Craig enough contextual information to understand the full story. I'd have to tell him about the other women, how they'd been coerced into a sexual relationship with Nick too. Of course I had no idea how many women Nick had manipulated for sex, or that the widowhood that he'd asked me to comfort him through was a result of his own hand. Yet the facts that I knew gave me enough pieces of a terrible puzzle to form some clarity of thought, and to be certain that something extraordinarily perverse had occurred within our church community.

Fear gripped me. I wasn't sure that Craig would actually get it at all. I barely had a grasp on the series of torrid events that caused me to spiral downward, to the point of near suicide myself. I didn't want to risk the tenuous hope that I held for our fresh start in the new town we'd just moved our family to. I wasn't sure that I could survive reliving my nightmare at all; the strength it would require for me to articulate my story taunted me from a distance. A tape still played within my mind: it was Nick's voice telling me how selfish I'd be to burden Craig with our secrets. "I've never believed that a couple should tell each other everything. It's selfish," he'd say. "Besides, this is our special secret, and always will be. It's a good memory, little lamb." The recollection of his words made my stomach turn.

Though I no longer believed Nick's lies, I couldn't be sure that telling the whole truth would serve any real purpose. But it just never felt right to hear Craig's nostalgia, or to accept his gifts and recognition for what a good wife and mom I was, with the secrets that I held. I couldn't live this lie -- and so I opened my mouth. I jumped in and told the truth; told Craig everything. I gave him not only my secrets, but the secrets of others as well. My internal conflict gave way to light where there'd been such darkness. The bond of betrayal was broken, and the consequences were completely out of my grasp. Craig was so mad, so hurt, I wasn't sure we would survive the horrible aftermath. Yet, somehow I knew it was right to tell, and that Craig would find the strength to pull through, just as I had.

Secrets like mine had to be told in order for all of us to move on. I wonder how many women out there hold a secret like mine so deep inside, feeling the fear that I felt. I wonder if any will tell their secrets now.

next: Dr. Michelle on the Cheating Ways of Pro Athletes
112 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous December 4, 2009, 6:47 AM

God is truthful. He does not want us to lie or keep secrets. If someone ever has a question about what is being said, it is smart to read the Bible and ask God for the truth.

chris December 4, 2009, 7:49 AM

This bothers me on a lot of levels. The manipulation of a man of God who holds power over his congression and a woman who is so naive as to believe his lies. I’m sorry that this happened to you but please use this as a lesson. Remember that you made a commitment to your husband and that God wants to you uphold that commitment. He wouldn’t ask you to break that commitment and be with any man that is not your husband.

anonymous  December 4, 2009, 9:35 AM


Anonymous December 4, 2009, 9:41 AM

Religion is not evil…people are evil

anonymous too December 4, 2009, 9:47 AM

I’m really glad you shared your story, Annette. It takes a lot of guts to do the right thing and you’ve handled it with such grace. Hang in there and keep building on the great life you’ve made for you, your husband and children.

Red73 December 4, 2009, 11:40 AM

I read a lot and there is no question that many, many women out there are keeping secrets.

Annette December 4, 2009, 3:02 PM

I appreciate your thoughts and comments.

I agree that my naivete made me vulnerable to this type of exploitation by my former pastor, but on the other hand I was in church, giving my trust to those who professed themselves to be devoted servants of God. It is a terrible reality that predators lurk in such places.

While organizations certainly have their flaws, it is the people that make them either good, or evil.

Anonymous December 4, 2009, 6:02 PM

Was he hot?

gregg olsen December 5, 2009, 1:07 PM

Nope, Nick wasn’t “hot” but he was charismatic and possessed a kind of “I really, really care about you” demeanor that (either real or manufactured) seemed to draw women close. He had intimate relationships with at least four members of his church.

Gregg Olsen,
author, A Twisted Faith

Anonymous December 5, 2009, 3:43 PM

Was he well hung?

anoymous December 8, 2009, 4:01 AM

Although this is a terrible example of what faith should be, I believe the writer shows remorse and has learned that we cannot put our all of our faith in people but we need to put it in God. I think it took her courage to write this and I know God will set her free from guilt. There are many wolves in sheep clothing, God will reveal who is who. May her faith grow and she can learn from this because she was a victim of satan’s plans and coercion.

Pat December 8, 2009, 5:01 AM

I think the two comments “was he hot” “was he well hung” not only did you miss the whole point of the story by your comments we can definatly see where your mind is at. I admire her courage and honesty, but with that should come a lesson, obviously you were struggling with what happened and felt you needed to come forward, you can see you have supporters here and then you have a few who missed the point completely I hope the Pastor learned something, sounds like he has done this in the past, always beware of a wolf in sheeps clothing, God has forgiven, this Pastor needs to be forgotten, move on.

Tony December 8, 2009, 5:56 AM

If her husband was any good in bed she won’t be shacking up with the pastor.
But that applies to husbands who goes else where for service. If his woman was goodd in ebd he won’t be with another HO.

Anonymous December 8, 2009, 6:21 AM

How about the 10 Commandments? didn’t you remember those? Perhaps we should all read them again. They’re just 10, but aren’t they the hardest to keep?
God have mercy on all our souls, especially those pastors, ministers, and priest who are wolves in sheeps clothing.
We need to pray for eachother and not condemn eachother. What a world we live in…and it’s going to get worse.

Tina December 9, 2009, 10:39 AM

What I find ridiculous is the fact that you never took responsiblity for your own actions. You blamed this pastor for everything when you slept with the man. You knew he wasn’t an angel. I get so sick of women blaming the men for starting an affair when it takes two.

Isha December 9, 2009, 6:02 PM

I totally agree with Tina. You have to own up to things that you are responsible for. Even though as a purveyor of the word of God, the pastor did use his authority to coerce and exploit a naive and feeble mind, but my dear Annette, we must remember as true believers of the Word of God, no man is without sin. If the Bible was really instilled in you, you would have never done this. There is never any true secrets because the Lord always knows.
I pray that He provides you with more guidance. Good luck on your life journey and thank you for sharing your story.

“As long as we accept and learn from our mistakes, our lives will become better and trust that the Lord will bring us through.”

Scott December 11, 2009, 2:02 PM

Annette, it took a lot of courage to tell your story here as well as to Craig. What the post does not detail is that Nick Hacheney is serving a Life Sentence in Washington State Prison for the First Degree murder of his wife, Dawn.

susan December 15, 2009, 11:25 PM

None of us are immune to failure. We are all capable of doing things we would never have thought we would do. I have known Annette her whole life, and she is an amazing woman with a compassionate heart. Rather than judging her, I hope we can be motivated by her story to guard ourselves and our loved ones from falling prey to the Evil One…none of us are immune.

anonymous December 16, 2009, 8:32 AM

Bravo, Susan, bravo.

Kristi January 2, 2010, 8:52 PM

How brave of you to come forward and tell your story. I’m sure it was a very difficult, yet liberating thing to do. I admire your honesty with your husband. I pray that this terrible misuse of power and trust by your former pastor has not had a negative effect on your relationship with our Father. Many thanks for sharing your story with us all.

Kristi, Hello…Is This On?

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