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Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Wayne Aarum Accused of Sexual Misconduct

pastor wayne arrum

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.

Wayne Aarum, a former senior high minister at The Chapel at Crosspoint in Getzville, New York, current pastor of First Baptist Church in Arcade, New York, and the operator of Circle C Ranch youth camp in Delevan, New York, stands accused of sexually assaulting at least twenty-one girls in the 1990s.

According to a report released by Ministry Safe, Aarum engaged in the following illicit activities:

-stroking legs (outside clothing and on bare skin)

-stroking genital area- outside clothing

-touching vaginal area- outside clothing (in shorts or jeans)

-touching, rubbing and stroking breasts, outside clothing

-stroking labia, outside clothing

-stroking from hips to breasts, clothed, on the side of the body

-touching legs and knees

-hand placed on upper thigh

-pressing penis into back of girl (hugging from behind)

-rubbing penis repeatedly in a girl’s presence

-extended hug of a partially dressed girl”

Other alleged inappropriate behaviors are mentioned in the report.

7-WKBW reports:

The report stated that 27 people came forward to corroborate some of the alleged behaviors, including “hand rubbing inside of thigh…failing to honor preference NOT to be touched” and “meeting 1/1 with girls late into the night.”

Leaders at The Chapel said they, through MinistrySafe, also reported the allegations to law enforcement.

The Chapel at Crosspoint released a statement, which you can read here.

Aarum denies the accusations leveled against him. When asked if he had ever touched anyone inappropriately, Aarum replied:

No. I have zero recollection of that. I can honestly say no.

Aarum added:

“I still don’t know, although they [the church and the victims] have accused me and pretty much condemned me, I don’t know what I’m accused of. We’ve asked for any information they can give us . . . they’ve given us nothing.

In classic “stand by your man” fashion, Daryl DeKalb, a board member at Circle C Ranch, said the accusations against Aarum were bogus:

There is absolutely no credibility to any of these things. I worked in the ministry, my wife and I have worked in this ministry, all of those same years that they’re talking about. We never saw anything even approaching this.

It’s all lightweight stuff they’re bringing up anyway. It’s common for women as they get along in life…to see how their lives are not going well and when they sit down, like with a social worker…and they start hearing stuff from a social worker that says to them, ‘Well, have you ever had something in your life where maybe this is set off, the condition that you’re in now?’ I mean, none of these women had any complaints at all until they were contacted by this group and suggestions were made to them.

According to DeKalb, putting your hands on the genitals and breasts of teen girls is “lightweight stuff.” Makes one wonder what kind of man DeKalb really is. Instead of, at the very least, withholding judgment until the alleged crimes have been investigated, DeKalb says he didn’t see the crimes happen, so he’s sure Aarum is innocent of all charges; that the accusations are just a smokescreen meant to cover up an attempt to take over the camp.

Several news reports say that Aarum may not face criminal persecution for his alleged crimes due to the statute of limitations running out.

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Bruce Gerencser, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 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.

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

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21 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Patricia Poczciwinski

    Hello Mr Gerencer,

    Your like was First on the safari search engine about Wayne Aarum.
    But that’s not why I’m writing.
    I perused your “about me” page and couldn’t find an answer to my question:
    Why did you abandon Christ and become an atheist?

  2. Avatar
    J.doe

    Not a doubt in my mind this guy did everything he is being accused of and I’m sure we will here much more to come.its a shame it took this long.

  3. Avatar
    Yulya Sevelova

    Just nuts, isn’t it ?? These people have no respect for the kids, who seemed stuck with them. If you’re sent to a rehab ranch, there aren’t many options. Why do these guys keep doing this over and over ? Don’t they fear that they could anger God ?

  4. Avatar
    James Lynch

    Interesting the amount of information that you didn’t include in your hit piece. You are clearly biased by your hate and given tour standard of proof advocated for here you should be calling for the resignations of both Biden and Cuomo. Why did you leave out the fact that MinistrySafe never interviewed Aarum? Aarum asked to meet with the board at The Chapel on three separate occasions and The Chapel declined. Why did you leave that out? Why did you leave out the fact that several of the accusers chose to interact with Aarum later in their lives? If he abused them as you claim, it seems odd they would willingly choose to let him back in their lives. Do your homework next time before publishing misinformation and just regurgitating other people’s work.

    • Avatar
      Bruce Gerencser

      Finally a defender of Aarum, a man willing to say all these women are lying. sigh I’m surprised it took this long for someone like you to show up.

      The Black Collar Crime series relies on public news stories for its information. If you have verifiable public information that contradicts anything in this post, please provide a link. If Aarum wants to write a post disputing the information in this article, I will gladly publish it.

      I would add that your statements reflect you know very little about sexual abuse, especially that which is perpetrated by clergy. Maybe some of the abuse victims on this site will educate you on your uninformed beliefs.

  5. Avatar
    Sage

    Hi James. I will begin by pointing that you are the are very good projecting your own personal shortcomings onto others. Christians are regularly accusing others of the very thing they themselves are doing. In this case, it’s accusation of bias and leaving out details.

    So, why are you such a vocal defender of this scum? What relationship with him are you leaving out? Does your expectation for full disclosure apply to yourself?

    As for your reference to Cuomo or Biden, I think I can safely say that no one here worships either of these men. I know many fundamentalists worshiped Trump and believed he could do no wrong, but we are not worshipers of Cuomo or Biden. As far as I am concerned, Cuomo should resign based on the number of accusers. If there were a large number of accusers of Biden I would say the same. Sexual assault is sexual assault. All should be held accountable where accusations are many and valid.

    By the way, you comment about these politicians is another example of projecting your bias onto others.

    Also, neither of these men are accused of abusing teen girls. Even Trump, with all of his issues, doesn’t get that disgusting.

    “ Why did you leave out the fact that MinistrySafe never interviewed Aarum?” The independent investigators found 21 credible victims (not accusers) and 27 corroborating witnesses. Those statements stand alone, regardless of any denial of the abuser. In any case, a good lawyer would tell Aarum to keep his mouth shut and speak to no one. Anyway, we already heard his proclamations of innocence. No doubt he would also blame the victims.

    “Aarum asked to meet with the board…” I read the report, it was very clear and very damning. Perhaps the board saw no reason to talk to him. Whatever that case, it doesn’t change the fact that he is accused of assaulting 21 girls, and is expected to have assaulted more that are afraid to speak up.

    “ Why did you leave out the fact that several of the accusers chose to interact with Aarum later in their lives?” Wow, are you really using the “attack the victim” trope?? It’s very common for victims to interact with assaulter when the assaulter has power over them and the victims feel helpless. He is reported to focus on emotionally fragile teens. They were already struggling, and would not be able to face the accusations that would inevitably come if they spoke up. The report even makes this clear. Your argument here is exactly what they fear. And to be clear, I think you are an arrogant, cold hearted, self serving, biased asshole for attacking the victims. Who the hell are you to denigrate young women who are the victims of assault, and who took great personal risk to speak up?? For this hateful spiel I give you a double fuck you.

    Do your homework next time before spewing pointless drivel and bashing victims.

  6. Avatar
    Carol Deahn

    I went to the Chapel when Wayne was active there. When either he or his brother entered the building it was like Elvis had entered. The girls flocked around them. Did they hug him, did they kiss him, did they stand too close, maybe. Did he hug, kiss and get too close, maybe. Most people do when they hug!! But as a mother and as I remember it, I sure didn’t see any of these girls back away or push him away. .

    My husband and I used to laugh and he would often joke and say, “what does that guy have that I don’t?) I would remind him youth and he is single!! As for myself, no offense to the girls and I hope I am wrong and I am not condemning them, they were young and naive but, I never heard him ooh and ah about the girls, he was their leader so naturally he would befriend them. I have never been to Circle C Ranch but i have never heard anything bad about it. My son was familiar with it and thought it was a great place. Circle C Ranch has probably done more for the youth that attended there than most other places. I think as an older women what you have here are a bunch of younger women who are remembering their youth as they get older (we all do that! The would of, should of, could of makes us laugh or haunt us), and, with all the hype in the world today and all the hype about suing for sexual misconduct some might be misconstruing what really happened.

    As for Bruce, the article sounds like you really aren’t an atheist, but you are trying to make us all believe you are. God bless you my friend. I feel sorry for you, you are missing out on the good life.

    PS: I am going to be 80 years old this year, so I have seen just about everything

  7. Avatar
    Carol Deahn

    In reply to the answer to my comment I wrote you about Wayne Aarum. I didn’t say it was always the women’s fault I said I hoped what they were saying wasn’t true. We all remember things that have happened to us in the past differently, especially as time goes by. We want to laugh, cry, change, forgive or forget!! As things get told over and over the message is very seldom the same, it gets better or worse.

    Did you personally know Wayne? Did you ever talk to him personally before you wrote your article? Have you ever hugged a woman and felt she was a little too close for comfort? Has she ever felt that you were a little too close for comfort? Did you feel she was moving parts of her body or was your imagination running away with you or was it you moving? Was it your fault that this happened? Could you have handled it differently? Did you rush to judgement?

    Some proof of the pudding is where in this article Wayne is referred to as Wayne Dekalb instead of as Wayne Aarum. Now if people who don’t know these are two separate people, some will think both are convicted. And, no I do not approve of men doing terrible things to women as I don’t approve of women doing terrible things to men.

    • Avatar
      Bruce Gerencser

      In other words, you stand by your abhorrent words.

      You said a lot more than you hoped the accusations aren’t true, as any objective reader will see.

      21 women . . .

      21 women . . .

      21 women . . .

  8. Avatar
    Carol Deahn

    The girls, Wayne and his family, the DeKalb’s, all others that are involved in this mess and especially you, my friend are in my prayers. Thank you for allowing me the privilege of voicing my opinion.

    • Avatar
      Astreja

      Carol, did it ever occur to you that the word “friend” should only be used in cases where the feeling is mutual, rather than being imposed on someone without their explicit consent? That’s really, really tacky.

    • Avatar
      Sage

      Carol, this is simply disgusting. Your defense of this man is supporting sexual assault. Why would this awful man deserve any prayer when he denies the reality that he is a serial assaulter of young women, with reports going back many years. He is deserving of nothing. The DeKalbs are just as bad. They knew about the problems and ignored them. They are supporting a man who sexually assaults girls, and actively bringing more victims before him. They should also be held accountable.

      And don’t waste time praying for the victim. They don’t need prayer, they need you to either hold this vile man accountable or just shut up and go away. They have dealt with a lifetime of pain and will continue to live in that pain. Your support and prayers for this scum only make it worse for them. They bravely spoke up about the worst experience in their life, and you reject them by saying they are not remembering things correctly. You support a snake while disregarding the people he hurts.

      In my experiences, people who suffer sexual assault remember is very well and very clearly. It is not something you forget or that you pray away. You are the perfect example of why victims of assault do not speak up. They know you will support the fake godly man, no matter what.

      So, just to be clear Carol, you disgust me. You are the worst kind of person, You denigrate dozens of victims and praise the man who attacked them. You try to make him the victim, even after dozens of victims and witnesses have exposed his assaults. You are just as bad as he this vile man.

  9. Avatar
    Carol Deahn

    My reason for using “friend” was to let you know that I hold no ill will against you even though we don’t agree. Sorry if I offended you, but, at least I am brave enough to use my real name.

    • Avatar
      Bruce Gerencser

      Friend is a word that is often used injudiciously by Christians. Same with the word love. I actually have very few friends. Scores of acquaintances, but few friends. If I had a dollar for every time a Christian wanted to befriend me, why I’d have a nice pile of money. My friendship is earned, and it takes years to gain. That said, I suspect you were using the word in a colloquial sense.

      As far as using one’s real name, people have different reasons for using pseudonyms on the Internet. I’ve always used my real name, but 13 years of vile, nasty, violent abuse from Evangelicals has, at times, made me question the wisdom of doing so. Death threats will do that to you.

    • Avatar
      Astreja

      Carol (if that’s indeed -your- real name, and not a real-sounding pseudonym), this has nothing to do with courage and everything to do with separating my personal life from my professional one. It’s done out of consideration for my employer and several groups where I’ve held an executive position, so that they don’t have to waste time dealing with ludicrous e-mails that have nothing whatsoever to do with their core business.

      Your not-pology is rejected. Your libel has been noted and will not be forgiven under any circumstances, as I do not forgive people who tell lies about me. And yes, I hold substantial ill will against you.

      May you lose your faith and never regain it.

  10. Avatar
    William

    People absolutely have to be careful about using their real name online, because some of the worst attacks come from Christians. You see they believe God tells them it’s OK to absolutely cross boundaries of decency in their pursuit of what they call evil behaviour, whether that’s done by Christians or non Christians. I mean we’re lucky right? God used to stone us, what’s a little bit of psychological abuse in contrast to that, as far as Christians are concerned? Trying to ruin someone’s life over a simple disagreement in a free society about something that in most cases, has absolutely nothing to do with their lives, is ‘tough love’, so take your medicine sonny.

    Of course if it’s abuse against women it’s even worse, because in the eyes of a fundamentalist, all unsaved women (and most saved women), are automatically ‘jezebels’, so now that they’re subhuman, your abuse according to you is not only righteous, but for their own good. That’s psychotic.

    Why would someone want to become saved? Because the abuse inflicted by Christians is even worse on a saved person. Like an abusive predator, you no longer have to pretend to be nice to them, now you’ve got your claws into them in the dysfunctional relationship of the local church. Wear this, believe that, do this, don’t do that, remove all dignity and thinking ability, just think and do what your Pastors, elders and men tell you to do, or you’re out on your own.

  11. Avatar
    Person who left these ministries

    There is a pattern that all of you don’t know about with these ministries.First the chapel has a history of issues dating back to the early eighties when the associate was molesting young boys in the youth group. The church board met with that pastor who was quickly removed and it was all hush hush. This associate pastor would travel with the youth groups on trips for ministry concerts by the youth group and molest these boys and ruin their lives. One youth group member who he did this to turned him in on one of those tours. And the accused assistant pastor provided the names of all the boys over the years whose lives he ruined to the church board Guess who was on the staff of those youth groups at the time…Darryl Dekalb. When that associate pastor was removed, the dekalbs dissapeared. Now he’s on staff at circle c ranch? Makes you wonder. The chapel has new leadership and has since the late pastor Andrews died in 1999 and it looks like they are on top of the investigation. I am sure there are stipulations on privacy during investigations. If you watch the video of Wayne Aarum claiming innocence and stupidity on denying allegations, any sociological expert will say that his body actions, and speech are shallow and not emphatic,

    These are patterns that constantly repeat. Large ministry leaders fail like this due to pride and power and thinking they are immune. You place handsome men into situations working with hundreds of teens a week both in church Andrews camp settings, something is bound to happen even if there is some level of accountability. Loyalty to a man in settings like this verses policy accountability will always lead down the wrong path, and these issues will occur.

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Bruce Gerencser