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Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Children’s Pastor James Dryden Arrested on Child Pornography Charges

james dryden

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.

James Dryden, children’s pastor at Stein Highway Church of God in Seaford, Delaware, stands accused of ten counts of child pornography possession.

Delaware Online reports:

A former Seaford children’s pastor has been arrested on 10 felony charges after admitting to possessing and viewing child sexual abuse material, the Delaware Department of Justice said Friday.

James Dryden, 74, was charged last week following an investigation by the state’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, which includes Delaware State Police and the state Justice Department. The investigation began in July 2022 after the task force received cyber tips that Dryden’s IP address had accessed the material, court documents say.

After receiving the tips, law enforcement contacted Dryden at his home and seized his devices. A forensic examination of the items showed he had additional material, the Justice Department said.

According to the Justice Department, Dryden had been a children’s pastor at Stein Highway Church of God in Seaford for more than 20 years. In a Friday morning statement, Pastor Dan Southern defined Dryden as a “volunteer children’s worker.”

Southern added that the 74-year-old hasn’t been working with children at the church for about three years.

Still, “following proper policy, he is immediately suspended from any and all activities at the Stein Highway Church of God, pending investigation and disposition of these charges,” Southern said.

The Department of Justice said though Dryden is not charged with contacting a child − nor are investigators aware of any victims affiliated with the church − investigators are requesting anyone with information to come forward.

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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