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Update: Black Collar Crime: IFB Evangelist Benjamin Garlick Accused of Sex Crimes Against Children, Wife Charged Too


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.

In 2023, Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) evangelist Benjamin Garlick was accused of five counts of Aggravated Rape of a Child, five counts of Aggravated Sexual Battery of a Minor who was under the age of 13, one count of Soliciting Sexual Exploitation of a Minor who was under the age of 13, and one count of Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child. Garlick’s wife, Shaantal, was also charged with one count of Facilitation of Aggravated Rape of a Child and one count of Aggravated Child Abuse/ Endangerment to a child age 8 and younger.

WGNS reported:

An evangelist who calls the Blackman area home is facing a slew of charges that revolve around the rape of a child. Benjamin Garlick was taken into custody under a sealed indictment that was handed down by a Rutherford County Grand Jury.

According to court documents, Garlick was charged with 5-counts of Aggravated Rape of a Child, 5-counts of Aggravated Sexual Battery of a Minor who was under the age of 13, 1-count of Soliciting Sexual Exploitation of a Minor who was under the age of 13, and 1-count of Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child.

Prior to Garlick’s arrest, he led church services in Texas, Tennessee, Florida, Alabama and Arkansas, just to name a few. The suspect spoke Spanish fluently and frequented Spanish speaking congregations, events and organizations. Over the past few years, Garlick amassed thousands of views on YouTube and Facebook as a guest pastor, speaking at a variety of churches both large and small throughout the country.

The 32-year-old child rape suspect is currently behind bars in the Rutherford County Adult Detention Center in Murfreesboro. Garlick is being held under a $750-thousand-dollar bond, according to the Sheriff’s Office. The suspect was taken into custody this past Tuesday on September 12, 2023, which was the same day that his wife Shaantal Garlick was arrested.

The courts show that Shaantal Garlick is facing 1-count of Facilitation of Aggravated Rape of a Child and 1-count of Aggravated Child Abuse / Endangerment to a child age 8 and younger.

Shaantal Garlick, who is free after posting a $75-thousand bond, was in court just one month prior to her arrest. Mrs. Garlick filed for an Order of Protection against Benjamin Garlick last month on August 14, 2023. The order was filed in the Rutherford County Chancery Court under the Honorable Howard W. Wilson.

MPD Public Information Officer Larry Flowers told WGNS News on Tuesday the detective over the investigation says the Garlick case remains active and is ongoing. The crimes that Mr. Garlick is accused of committing date back to February of 2021, but again, the investigation is ongoing.

The Messenger added:

Police told WKRN they don’t know how many total victims there are, where they occurred or how Benjamin Garlick knew them. Police say the rapes allegedly happened on Feb. 13, 2021, and that the case is still under investigation.

The pastor was indicted Sept. 12 and booked into the Rutherford County Adult Detention Center, where he still remains. His was booked into jail and released on a $75,000 bond two days later.

One pastor in Murfreesboro told WKRN that he has known Garlick since he was a child, and called him a father with a “role model” family.

The preacher with the “perfect” family with the “perfect” wife, yet both of them are charged with sex crimes. Hmm . . .

benjamin garlick

The Roys Report added:

According to multiple reports, the couple has ministered as itinerant Christian evangelists with their six children. In recent years, the Garlicks have led church services in multiple states including Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Texas, and their home state of Tennessee. 

Authorities arrested Benjamin Garlick on Sept. 12 at his residence in Blackman, a suburb of Murfreesboro. Garlick remains in custody at Rutherford County Adult Detention Center on a $750,000 bond. 

Shaantal Garlick was also arrested on Sept 12. She bonded out on Sept. 15, paying $75,000 in fees. The charges against both Garlicks stem from actions that were alleged to have occurred on Feb. 13, 2021. 

The Garlicks have been supported in their itinerant ministry by First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana, a flagship church of the Independent Fundamental Baptist movement. As of publication time, the couple was still listed on the church’s website as church-supported missionaries.

Last month, a grand jury indicted the Garlicks on additional charges.

Hoodline reports:

Murfreesboro police are doubling down on their call for potential victims to speak up in the case against a traveling pastor and his wife, both facing serious child rape charges. Benjamin Sean Garlick, 32, a minister known for preaching across the nation, particularly within the Hispanic community, and his wife, Shaantal, 30, are presently entangled in a legal maelstrom following a spate of charges that have come to light surrounding their alleged sexual abuse of minors.

According to WSMV, Benjamin Garlick was slammed with a litany of charges in September but now faces additional ones after a Rutherford County Grand Jury handed down a new indictment in March. The new charges include seven counts of aggravated rape of a child, six counts of aggravated sexual battery, along with two counts each of sexual exploitation of a minor and violation of the child protection act.

His spouse, Shaantal, also faces updated charges. As reported by FOX17, she has been reindicted on two counts each of facilitation of aggravated rape of a child and aggravated child neglect. Shaantal made bond last year but found herself under arrest again last month after the new indictment was served.


Murfreesboro police have been highlighting the urgency for any additional victims to come forward, particularly those from the Hispanic community who may have crossed paths with the Garlicks in their nationwide ministry.

For those potentially affected, the call is not merely an announcement—it is a beacon, a chance to speak, to be heard, and to potentially find a semblance of justice in a situation where power and trust have been so flagrantly exploited. The Garlicks’ travel across this country was not, as it seems, a mission of faith healing and community building, but perhaps one that left behind a darker, indelible mark on the lives of the vulnerable.

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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