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Black Collar Crime: Methodist Pastor Jody Sambrick Pleads Guilty to Child Porn Charges

pastor jody sambrick

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.

Jody Sambrick, pastor of Hopeland United Methodist Church in Lititz, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty this week to child pornography charges and was sentenced to 1-2 years in prison.

Lancaster Online reports:

A West Lampeter Township man and former church pastor pleaded guilty this week to possessing child pornography in 2018, West Lampeter Township police announced Tuesday.

Jody Sambrick, 61, was sentenced to one to two years in prison plus eight years of probation upon his release, police said in a news release.

Sambrick, a former pastor at Hopeland United Methodist Church in Clay Township, will also be required to register as a sex offender for 25 years, provide a DNA sample and must undergo evaluation by a Sex Offender Assessment Board, among other conditions, said Sean McBryan, a spokesperson for the Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office.

Judge Merrill Spahn accepted Sambrick’s negotiated plea on three counts of child pornography, two counts of criminal use of a communication facility and one count of disseminating photos of child sex acts and ordered the sentence Monday, according to court records.

….

Police and the DA’s Computer Crimes Task Force searched Sambrick’s residence in the 1700 block of Pioneer Road in September 2018, uncovering numerous images and videos depicting child pornography on computers and other electronics, according to the news release.

Sambrick was also previously an assistant tennis coach at Millersville University and started a coffee roasting business in 2013, according to previous reporting.

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Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 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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3 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Karuna Gal

    On and on this sordid parade of sexual depravity goes. 🙁😳😢 I wonder if there have been any studies that show what percentage of clergy/church volunteers commit this type of crime. I’d also like to know how that percentage compares to the general population’s. Larger? Smaller? Anyone know?

    • Avatar
      Astreja

      Getting accurate statistics might be a problem. We’d have to determine the total number of people convicted of these crimes, and sort them by occupation, and then find out the total number of people working in those particular fields in order to derive typical percentages in these occupations..

      Going just by news stories could easily be creating a skewed picture, because people who violated fiduciary responsibilities (clergy, teachers, coaches, Scouting leaders) would be more likely to hit the front page.

      When it gets right down to it, though, if someone purports to speak for A Real, Genuine, 100% Authentic God™ and then commits one of these ghastly crimes, either their Real, Genuine 100% Authentic God™ doesn’t give a shit about the people being abused, or can’t do anything about it due to a severe case of nonexistence.

    • Avatar
      Paul

      Speaking as a pastor, most denominations openly admit that there is no way to accurately know that answer. In leadership meetings, we wonder it ourselves. There are over 300,000 churches in the U.S. alone, so from an actuary standpoint it isn’t a question of “if” but “when” something happens, and that is a scary prospect for any organization – not just churches.

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Bruce Gerencser