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Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Worship Leader Luis Mendoza Accused of Grooming Minor Church Girl

luis mendoza

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.

Luis Mendoza, a volunteer worship leader at Stoney Church in Washington, Michigan, stands accused of grooming and engaging sexually with a church minor.

Click On Detroit reports:

A man serving as a youth leader at a Macomb County church has been charged with criminal sexual conduct due to alleged sexual contact with a minor who attends his church.

Clinton Township man Luis Mendoza, 29, was arraigned Wednesday, Nov. 15 on multiple counts of criminal sex conduct, the Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office reports. Mendoza — who was a former worship volunteer at Stoney Church in Washington Township, according to the church — is accused of grooming and engaging sexually with a minor.

According to county officials, authorities received a complaint on Sept. 6 from parents stating that a child was “criminally sexually contacted and given marijuana by a youth leader at their church.” Investigators found that Mendoza allegedly groomed the child before engaging in sexual contact, officials said.

Mendoza has been charged with third-degree criminal sexual conduct, fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct, and one count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Third-degree CSC relates to penetration in which force or coercion were used, and fourth-degree CSC relates to unwanted intimate touching.

“Acts of this nature are intolerable, especially by someone in a position of leadership and trust,” said Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham. “I commend this brave young person for coming forward.”

The child’s identity will not be revealed publicly because they are a minor.

Mendoza was given a $250,000 bond, with no 10% option, during his arraignment Wednesday. He was also ordered to not have any contact with anyone under the age of 18 years old, officials said.

The church released the following statement:

“Stoney Church is aware of an incident involving a former worship volunteer and has been in full cooperation with authorities. We first want to offer our prayers and support to the victim and family. We have safeguard mechanisms that were enacted as soon as we were made aware of the allegation and the individual was immediately removed from all church activities. We are in touch with our church community about our continued efforts to provide a safe and caring environment for all to worship, especially our youth. We continue to ask for support and prayer for the victim, family, and all affected by this.”

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 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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  1. Avatar

    You know what seems like a first in this case? The church’s statement asks for prayers for ‘the victim (and) family’. I think all the other reports of these churches’ abusers that I’ve read, ask for prayers for the abuser’s wife, children, the church, oh, and also for the victim. But then, of course this church probably teaches that a quick shriek at the ceiling (aka prayer) and the survivor will be ‘healed’ almost immediately. As fast as a paper cut on a finger heals. And when they suffer decades of mental health problems, PTSD, suicide attempts, relationship and eating disorders etc etc, it’s cos they haven’t enough faith. If I ruled the world, every church which employed/had a volunteer leader found guilty of sexual abuse, would be forced to pay for the survivor to access the very best (secular) therapists for however many decades they need that therapy!

    • Avatar

      Well said only I would not be so generous. Compensatory and punitive damages, yes, but it’s not enough. I propose dismantling any church that enables this to happen. Constitutional protections are not absolute and religion should be no exception. A religious establishment endangering the safety of children should lose any immunity it may have. RICO lawsuits (Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) should be pursued in addition to criminal penalties. Threat of being shut down may be just what is needed. Financial damges punish members that contributed without necessarily correcting anything. I propose capital punishment organizations that damage the public, religious or otherwise.

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