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Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Elias “Solomon” Jothi Shoots Upskirt Videos of Women, Pleads Guilty to Disorderly Conduct

Elias Solomon Jothi

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.

Elias “Solomon” Jothi, pastor of Crystal Lawns Church of the Nazarene in Joliet, Illinois, pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct. Unauthorized video/dissemination through clothes was dismissed as part of Jothi’s plea agreement.

Patch reports:

Several months after being arrested by the Joliet Police Department and subsequently being removed as the pastor of Joliet’s Crystal Lawns Church of the Nazarene congregation, Elias “Solomon” Jothi worked out a plea bargain on Tuesday with the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office of Jim Glasgow, an agreement that does not involve a sentencing.

Last year, the Joliet police had Jothi arrested in connection with several upskirt videos of a young woman shopping at the Target store on Plainfield Road.

“Jothi stated that he had struggled, especially during the summer, with pornography,” Joliet Police Detective Paul Rodriguez noted in one of his 2023 reports. “He stated that on 5-6 occasions during the summer, he used his cell phone to take unauthorized photos up women’s dresses. He advised that he did not remember the locations of these incidents.”

Tuesday’s plea agreement was handled over Zoom by Will County Judge Sherri Hale, that way, Jothi could remain back in India. Over Zoom, Jothi pleaded guilty to count two, disorderly conduct. Count one, unauthorized video/dissemination through clothes, was dismissed as part of Tuesday’s plea agreement, according to the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office.

Because his work visa has been revoked, and he had to leave the United States, or face deportation, the judgment of conviction was entered into the court record, however, Jothi will not be returning to Joliet or the United States to serve a sentence. He did agree to pay fines and court costs, roughly $720, according to prosecutors.

Last year, Joliet Patch reported that the then-26-year-old Jothi was from India, and he came to the United States a few years ago on a student visa.

Jothi served as the Crystal Lawns church pastor since early 2022. Even though Joliet police arrested Jothi and released him on an I-bond in August, the church did not know about Jothi’s arrest until Joliet Patch ran an article on Oct. 6 about Jothi’s prosecution.

Last Sept. 26, Will County State’s Attorney Jim Glasgow charged Jothi with two misdemeanors of unauthorized video/dissemination through clothes and disorderly conduct.

Through a Freedom of Information Act request, Joliet Patch obtained dozens of pages of Joliet police reports surrounding the criminal investigation at the Target store that led to Jothi’s arrest and charges. Joliet police obtained a search warrant for Jothi’s phone and other electronic devices on Aug. 16, a week after the Target store incident.

Some of his keyword searches had the following words or phrases: “have mercy on me a sinner,” “Joliet Patch” and also “the Joliet Police Department” on the day Jothi surrendered to police, Joliet police reports show.

According to Officer Danielle Reilly’s police reports surrounding Jothi’s arrest, Jothi visited the Target store on Plainfield Road during the early evening of Aug. 9. During the 18-minute period he entered the women’s clothing section before exiting the women’s department, Jothi used his Apple iPhone camera application a total of 11 times.

….

“Jothi stated that he has a fixation with an ‘upskirt’ view. Jothi stated that on those other occasions, he would take the videos, exit the store, then delete the videos so that he didn’t raise suspicion or be caught by (name redacted from police report). He stated that he would then go home and masturbate to the memories of the videos.”

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 Comment

  1. Avatar
    Yulya Sevelova

    Jothi is a misogynist, and he never rejected the rampant misogyny that is such a major issue from India.. And Hinduism, like conservative Christianity, is often anti-female. With an attitude like this, he has no business being in ministry. This creates the rapist mentality in those mindsets. In his case, if he’s going to live in a Western country, that outlook has to go !

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