Black Collar Crime: Mennonite Aid Worker Jeriah Mast Accused of Sex Crimes

jeriah mast

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.

Jeriah Mast, a former Mennonite aid worker for Christian Aid Ministries in Berlin, Ohio, stands accused of sexually abusing five minor boys. More charges await him in Haiti.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports:

Jeriah Mast, 37, of Millersburg, Ohio, was indicted Monday by a Holmes County grand jury for offenses that occurred in that county, according to the indictment. Mr. Mast turned himself in to the Holmes County jail on Tuesday evening and is being held on a bond of $250,000 cash surety, according to the jail. He is scheduled for arraignment Wednesday afternoon.

He faces seven felony charges of gross sexual imposition and seven misdemeanor counts of sexual imposition.

He is accused of sexual offenses against five different minors.

he charges of felonies are for alleged offenses against minors under 13, and the charges of misdemeanors are for alleged offenses against minors under 16. The indictment says that the offenses took place between 1999 to 2008.

A Haitian court is seeking Mr. Mast’s return to that country for him to face similar allegations. He left Haiti this spring after allegations arose of his sexually abusing minor boys over a period of years. A Haitian attorney told the Post-Gazette he represents five alleged victims of Mr. Mast.

Christian Aid Ministries of Berlin, Ohio — which is supported by various Mennonite, Amish and related groups — said in an earlier statement it “promptly discharged” Mr. Mast earlier this year when it learned of recent allegations against him in Haiti. He has not yet returned to appear before the Haitian court in the city of Petit-Goave to face the allegations.

Both Christian Aid Ministries and Mr. Mast’s church said he made confessions of sexual offenses.

The ministry placed two of its leading staff members on leave last month after its board learned that they knew as far back as 2013 that Mr. Mast had confessed to “sexual activity with young men that had taken place several years prior,” yet allowed him to remain at work for the ministry until this year.

Did you catch the fact that two Christian Aid Ministries staff members were put on leave for failing to report Mast’s predatory sexual activity with young men? Put on leave? Really? How about firing and excommunicating them for helping to facilitate the ongoing abuse of Haitian children?

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3 Comments

  1. Eric

    Did you ever hear of due process? More consequences may be in order, but let’s not burn them at the stake.

    Reply
    1. Grammar Gramma

      Due process is for court systems. Bruce scours the Internet and posts reports of clergy criminal misconduct. Unless you have evidence that the sexual abuse reported in the piece did not take place, Bruce is entitled to report the news. I am sure he will leave the burning of Mr. Mast at the stake to the victims and their families.

      Reply
  2. Brian Vanderlip

    Eric makes reference to ‘burning at the stake’, a fun activity practiced by Christians in the past to purge the devil from their midst (or, more likely, to show what God’s true love leads to as a logical conclusion.)
    This brings to mind the troubling punishment paradigm, a sick legacy of belief and perhaps particularly Christian belief. Obey the rules or else!
    Eric, I don’t really see any indication of a suggestion from Gerencser that the fires be started. What he suggests as I read it is that the organizations affiliated with Jeriah Mast, make some effort to at least appear that they practice what they preach. Being assigned ‘leave’ does appear to me to ignore the very serious charge that young lives have been damaged and/or destroyed by adult predators. The numbers of charges heap up against the possibility of innocence but sure, ‘due process’ is important. You know what is at least as important that you choose to ignore? Safe-guarding our innocent children: Accused predators must immediately and forcefully removed from their prey at the first hint of misdeeds. I do not agree with pubishment paradigm scenarios but the writer of this blog is free to express his feelings regarding the cuddling of abusers: Jeriah, now, you go home and stay there and be a good boy is not quite a sufficient response. I would prefer to hear that a process has been begun to look at the too frequent incidents of abuse especially of children in organized religion. One might ask why the church proper has not made this a primary activity of their faith and love of God. Why do they buy their way out and continue to harm? Does the church not claim a ‘higher standard’ than even the Law Courts?
    Excommunication is part of the sickness known as the Church, a political assault directed at a believer who has committed unpardonable acts against the the grand delusion called God, or, more specifically against his power-agents, the rich henchmen, the impregnable ‘Vatican’.

    Reply

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