John P. Sommer

Mennonite Mission worker to Asia dismissed after admitting to sexual misconduct

In 1992, John Sommer (b. 1946) “admitted to sexual misconduct involving a number of women,” in his role as a long-time worker with the Commission on Overseas Mission (COM) of the General Conference Mennonite Church. The COM dismissed Sommer and recalled him from Japan in November of that year.

In January 1993, The Mennonite reported that:

The dismissal came after a number of women brought statements to COM staff last September and October alleging that they had experienced unwanted sexual advances from Sommer while he was with COM. The alleged advances took place in North America over a period of years until August 1992.

The staff and executive committee of the COM had been made aware of concerns about Sommer earlier in 1992 but apparently took no action because Sommer assured them that “his behavior had been adequately addressed years earlier and was not currently a problem. They were not aware of the extent or seriousness of his actions until further statements were shared in the fall.”

Sommer later worked for Mennonite Mutual Aid (now Everence), a Mennonite-affiliated financial services company in North Newton, Kansas.

Church-related positions

  • Worked for over 22 years in various capacities for the Commission on Overseas Mission, part of General Conference Mennonite Church, including as secretary for Asia and on assignment at the Japan Anabaptist Center in Tokyo, 1970–1992
  • Certified senior advisor for Mennonite Mutual Aid (now Everence), 2001–2014
  • Member at Faith Mennonite Church, Newton, Kansas
  • Member at First Mennonite Church, Newton, Kansas


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