The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.
In October 2018, I wrote a post detailing the resignation of John Schouten, pastor of Vineyard Grace Fellowship (VGF) in Newark (Heath), Ohio His congregation found out that he had a sex crime in his past. While neither Schouten or VGF is willing to name the crime, an email sent to congregants stated Schouten did something that was “wrong, evil, and illegal.” The use of the word “illegal” narrows the field to: rape, sex with a minor, sexual assault of a minor, and a handful of other underage sex crimes. According to the Newark Advocate, since the incident occurred 30 years ago, the statute of limitations has passed.
Yesterday, the Newark Advocate published a story detailing exactly what it was that Schouten did:
The former pastor of VGF Church stepped down from the church he founded because about 30 years ago he had a relationship with a minor while he was a teacher.
John Schouten admitted to the relationship when confronted by church elders after the church received an email about the relationship during the summer, according to Advocate media partner 10TV.
Two people reached out to The Advocate corroborating the story.
While a teacher with Liberty Christian Academy in Pataskala during in the 1980s, Schouten had a relationship with a female teenage student. The two had a child together, according to 10TV.
You can read my original post here.
Previously, Schouten told congregants that he had committed “rebellious and sinful actions” in the past. He never admitted that what he actually did was commit a felony for which he should have went to prison. The good pastor waited until the statute of limitations expired before coming clean about his past criminal behavior.