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Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Jeffrey Zizz Charged With Sex Crimes Against His Children

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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.

Jeffrey Zizz, former pastor of Calvary Chapel in North Thurston, Washington, stands accused of first-degree incest, first-degree rape of a child, first-degree child molestation, second-degree rape of a child, second-degree child molestation, third degree-rape of a child, two counts of third-degree child molestation and second-degree attempted rape. Zizz’s alleged victims are his children.

The Olympian reports:

Jeffrey Kian Zizz, a military veteran, turned himself in to Lacey Police on Oct. 21 and vaguely confessed to “sexual misconduct” in his home, according to court documents. He pleaded not guilty to nine specific crimes during his arraignment on Tuesday, Nov. 2. The nine counts include: first-degree incest, first-degree rape of a child, first-degree child molestation, second-degree rape of a child, second-degree child molestation, third degree-rape of a child, two counts of third-degree child molestation and second-degree attempted rape.

On Oct. 22, Thurston County Superior Court Judge John Skinner found probable cause for six of the nine crimes Zizz’s was ultimately charged with and set bail at $250,000. A pretrial services screening of Zizz did not find any prior criminal convictions. Zizz became pastor at Calvary Chapel North Thurston in June 2019, according to a church Facebook post. The church holds services at Northwest Christian Academy in Lacey.

Law enforcement were told church pastors and elders “were aware of the allegations and as a result he is no longer a pastor,” according to court documents. In a statement, current Pastor Sam Christensen at Calvary Chapel North Thurston acknowledged Zizz’s was an employee and confirmed he is no longer affiliated with the church. “We were deeply grieved upon hearing of this news and we seek and pray for healing for the family,” Christensen said. “We are available to law authorities if they have questions, but since the issues involved do not appear to involve the church, and since there is an ongoing investigation, we have no further comment to make.” The alleged crimes described in court documents only involve his children and make no mention of other potential victims. A probable cause statement from the perspective of law enforcement described the events leading up to Zizz’s arrest.

Zizz’s attorney contacted a Lacey police officer on Oct. 12. During the meeting, the attorney told the officer that Zizz wished to turn himself in for numerous sexual assaults he committed “over the years” involving his children. The attorney also informed the officer that Zizz admitted to attempting to sexually assault one of his children while intoxicated a week prior, according to the statement. The incident reportedly prompted Zizz to confess to his attorney. In the days after the meeting, the statement says law enforcement interviewed Zizz’s wife and children about the alleged assaults. The children confirmed graphic details during those interviews, per the statement. On Oct. 21, the statement says Zizz turned himself in at the Lacey Police Department and explained there was “sexual misconduct” in his home involving his children. He reportedly said he wanted his children to tell the truth and believed they would, per the statement.

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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.

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7 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Karuna Gal

    😧 And just when I think there will never be a “Black Collar Crime” story that would be more shocking than the previous ones…I am proved wrong again. ☹️

    • Avatar
      Bruce Gerencser

      I’m sitting on 200 or so stories I haven’t gotten to. And then there’s the stories that don’t show up in my Google Alerts. And yet, some preachers still complain that I’m overstating the severity of the problem. Really? Catholics ain’t got nothing over Evangelicals when it comes to child abuse and sexual misconduct. 🤬🤬

    • Avatar
      Matilda

      Dave, that triggers a memory of reading about the Willis family who had a TV show like the Duggars. The good x-tian dad is in prison for raping his 3 daughters. Asked why none of them discussed it with one another, one girl said they didn’t have the words. Theirs was the only family they knew and they’d been brainwashed into believing everyone outside their cult was sinful and satanic. Therefore she thought they must be getting off lightly, heathen teens in heathen homes must suffer far worse than they did.

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