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Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Hollis Vaughn Accused of Sexually Abusing a Child

hollis vaughn

Hollis Vaughn, pastor of El Shaddai World Outreach Church and operator of God’s Awesome Army Ministry — both located at the pastor’s home in Harris County, Texas — stands accused of the “continuous sexual abuse of a child.” (I found no web presence for Vaughn or his home-based ministries.)

The Houston Chronicle reports:

A 67-year-old man who operates two Christian ministries out of his north Harris County home has been charged with sexually abusing a child over several years.


Hollis Albert Vaughn faces a first-degree felony charge of continuous sexual abuse of a child, according to court records. It appears to be the first time he has faced a criminal charge in Harris County.

Vaughn’s defense attorney, Tom Zakes, said in a phone interview that Vaughn had “no inappropriate contact with the child whatsoever.” The lawyer questioned some of the specific allegations in the probable cause affidavit, which is not yet public.

The sheriff’s office said in a news release that Vaughn operates out of his home two church groups, God’s Awesome Army Ministry and El Shaddai World Outreach Church. Public records show he lives in the Willowbrook area, near Veterans Memorial and Bammel North Houston.

He was arrested Thursday after a child told a family member that Vaughn spent years sexually abusing and inappropriately touching the child, according to the sheriff’s office and court records.

On Saturday, a magistrate judge granted a protective order in the case. The child’s age and gender are not known.

Vaughn left the Harris County Jail on Tuesday after posting a $100,000 bond. His next court appearance is scheduled for Aug. 31.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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      I beg you to do more than talk to the ceiling. I guess you are part of a church. Please do all you can to insist proper safeguarding policies are in place and acted on – or otherwise, leave and go somewhere that has rigid child protection policies. Educate yourself, read testimonies of adults who were abused as children. They will all say many decades on that it deeply affected and in some cases completely ruined their lives. 50yrs or more of prayer has helped not one bit.

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        Thank you Matilda. Childhood abuse, especially sexual abuse, leaves deep wounds that can last a lifetime if left untreated by professionals. Abuse subjects a child to a situation that their brain is literally not mature enough to cope with. It usually shatters the child’s trust along with their innocence and can fundamentally change how they develop in the years that follow.

        No amount of prayer will heal them, and can indeed make them worse. With sexual abuse, the part about forgiving the abuser and purity culture in general heaps tremendous amounts of guilt on the victim while destroying their sense of self-esteem; they are now “damaged goods”, if not a Jezebel. Stop praying and start advocating for policies that protect children BEFORE the abuse happens rather than uselessly fretting about the aftermath.

        Sorry for the soapbox, but I know these things by experience.

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    Folks, where did I say action on this issue isn’t needed? In fact, I believe it is commanded by God to do justice to those suffering! (I get that I’m a Christian and that some others here are not. I’m referring to my view here). I follow organizations that advocate for protection of children in church/Christian environments. If you have concrete suggestions, I’m here to listen. Dismissing me for mentioning prayer only proves you think prayer is pointless (fine,you have the right to your opinion) but does NOT prove that I don’t believe in or do specific things re the issue.

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      Bruce Gerencser

      There’s no evidence for prayer ever keeping a child from being raped/sexually abused. Countless children have prayed, oh Lord, please, no! only to have God turn a deaf ear to their cries. So, I hope you’ll forgive those of us who negatively respond when Christians use the most meaningless words in the English language — I’m praying for you — to suggest they our doing something meaningful for sexual abuse victims.

      What have you materially done to lessen child abuse — particularly in Christian churches and ministries? I’m not talking about support groups and other after-the-fact “ministries. Please tell us what you have done to make sure children are not preyed upon by preachers and other church leaders? Point me to the sermons by your church’s leaders excoriating Evangelicalism for its continued cover-up of sexual abuse and other predatory behavior.

      You see, once “I’m praying” is removed from the discussion, the fact remains most Evangelical churches are too busy building their kingdoms on earth to be bothered with sexual abuse and clergy misconduct.

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        Ok. I should have not gotten defensive and should have reiterated the importance or action. No, I have not done much personally. I have submitted your background checks prior to serving as a Sunday School helper (true that they don’t prevent everything, but they matter). I fully support complete transparency and notification of law enforcement if any abuse comes to light. You have motivated me to discuss with my pastor what our church does and what more we can do.

        I have a question, Bruce. A Christian woman at my church was molested as a child. She has a relationship with Christ. If she were to tell you prayer has played a role in her recovery, would you dismiss her as you did in your above comment? For others who are hurting and believe they are waiting for heaven to be completely healed of their emotional wounds from abuse…if prayer mattered to them, would you tell them they were wrong? I can tell you those who are victims of abuse who are atheist/agnostic, I would pray for them privately but respect their space and seek to be their friend in ways that matter to them.

        We both agree abuse is evil. Perhaps we can be civil.

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