Black Collar Crime

Black Collar Crime: Baptist Student Pastor Christopher Keys Fakes Kidnapping to Cover-Up Hiring a Prostitute

pastor christopher keys

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.

Christopher Keys, a student pastor at Wesleyan Drive Baptist Church in Macon, Georgia and a former teacher at Tattnall Square Academy, stands accused of faking his kidnapping to cover-up hiring a male prostitute.

The Daily Mail reports:

A Georgia Christian school teacher has been charged for solicitation of sodomy after local authorities looked into a robbery and kidnapping that was spawned from a rumor ‘circulating around Facebook.’ 

The Bibb County Sheriff’s Office arrested 56-year-old Christopher Keys and are investigating the robbery that he initially reported on May 19. 

They shared in a Thursday press release that the office had received an inquiry about a rumored ‘carjacking and kidnapping’ that took place on Wednesday at the CVS Pharmacy on 1600 block of Forest Hill Drive. 

….

According to an incident report, deputies met with Keys at the Regency Inn & Suites for calls about an armed robbery. 

Keys claimed that he had been in the motel when he heard a knock at his door. Once he opened the door, two masked men robbed him of his wallet, house, truck and work keys, and a cell phone. One of the men was armed, Keys told deputies. 

He told authorities that he was able to get his cell phone back only after a stranger retrieved it from a nearby Walmart parking lot. 

Keys explained to deputies that he was supposed to meet a man in his hotel room, having responded to an ad on Craigslist. 

An investigation revealed that Keys had been frequently visiting the hotel since January. 

….

Towleroad adds:

Key subsequently told an acquaintance that he had been kidnapped in his truck at a nearby CVS, forced to drive to the motel, and robbed. After a woman posted Keys’ story about the kidnapping and robbery on Facebook (above), it was shared hundreds of times, prompting WMAZ-TV to look into the rumor.

As it turns out, Keys met with police at the hotel after the robbery, telling a sheriff’s deputy that “he liked to play around and was married to a woman,” the station reports. In an interview with the deputy, Keys even revealed his plan to tell his family that he was kidnapped at the CVS. Two days later, he was arrested and charged with solicitation of sodomy, a misdemeanor. (Although the U.S. Supreme Court struck down sodomy laws in 2003, Georgia’s solicitation of sodomy statute has been upheld.)

….

Keys recently worked as a teacher at Tattnall Square Academy, where he taught upper-school Bible, worked with the chapel band, and served as coordinator for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, according to his now-deleted bio (above).

“I am a people person and love to teach young people the truths of the Bible,” he wrote in the bio.

“I have been married for 20 years to my wife Jennie. I am a graduate of FPD and Mercer University and Southwestern Seminary. I am currently the student pastor at Wesleyan Drive Baptist Church in Macon and I’ve been in student ministry for 28 years.”

….

Keys also once worked as a bailiff for the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office, which arrested him. Sheriff’s investigators are still searching for the robbery suspects, who made off with Keys’ wallet, cell phone, and keys — although his phone reportedly was recovered in the parking lot of a nearby Walmart.

Bruce Gerencser, 62, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 41 years. He and his wife have six grown children and twelve 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. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

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Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Youth Pastor Ryan Crawford Convicted of Producing Child Pornography

child image on first baptist church website
Picture of children on First Baptist Church’s Youth Page. I wonder if this is what Pastor Crawford’s photos looked like.

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 2017, Ryan Crawford, assistant pastor, choir director, Sunday school director, and youth/teens director at First Baptist Church in Pineville, Missouri, was accused of having “illicit and inappropriate photographs of a young female on his cell phone.”

KOAM-7 reported at the time:

A 32-year-old Youth Pastor Pineville, Missouri, man is arrested after a report to the local police department alleging he had illicit and inappropriate photographs of a young female on his cell phone. Initially, the investigation of Ryan Crawford was conducted jointly by the Pineville Police Department and the McDonald County Sheriff’s Office.

The children were referred to the Children’s Center in Joplin, MO, and subsequent to those interviews, Crawford was interviewed by the investigator of the McDonald County Prosecutor’s office. During that interview, Crawford made statements that were corroborative of the allegations against him.

Prosecutor Bill Dobbs initially filed charges of child molestation in the first degree, a class A felony, and sexual misconduct in the first degree, a class E felony. However, based upon additional allegations, the initial complaint has been amended to reflect an additional four (4) counts of child molestation in the first degree, bringing the total number of felony counts to six. These acts allegedly occurred in Crawford’s home.

….

A January 30, 2018 Joplin Globe report stated:

A Pineville man waived a preliminary hearing Monday on child molestation charges and was ordered bound over for trial.

Ryan D. Crawford, 32, waived the hearing in McDonald County Circuit Court on five counts of first-degree child molestation and a single count of sexual misconduct with a child. Associate Judge John LePage set Crawford’s initial appearance in a trial division of the court for Feb. 26.

The defendant was arrested on the charges in December following an investigation by Pineville police and the McDonald County Sheriff’s Department of a report that he had illicit photographs of a minor on his cellphone.

A probable-cause affidavit states that Crawford had told of having “had a porn problem” and that he had been “watching” porn on his cellphone. The McDonald County prosecutor later indicated in a news release that an unspecified number of suspected child victims were interviewed at the Children’s Center in Joplin before an interview of the defendant in December when he allegedly admitted having touched a child younger than 14 inappropriately while she was sleeping.

The affidavit states that the defendant further acknowledged that his addiction to pornography and related misconduct with children had been “going on for a long time.”

….

Yesterday, Crawford was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison without parole. On September 16, 2019, Crawford pleaded guilty to one count of producing child pornography.

KY-3 reports:

Crawford admitted that he had touched the 9-year-old victim’s genitals with his hands, and that he had photographed her genitals with his cell phone while she was sleeping. Investigators located sexually explicit images of the child victim on Crawford’s cell phone.

Bruce Gerencser, 62, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 41 years. He and his wife have six grown children and twelve 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. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

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Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Roy Shoop Accused of Sexual Assault

pastor roy shoop

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.

Roy Shoop, pastor of Cowboy Gatherin’ Church (currently, their Facebook has been set to private) in Inola, Oklahoma, stands accused of sexually molesting three girls under the age of sixteen who were either working on his farm or taking horse riding lessons from him.

Channel 6 reports:

Rogers County deputies arrested an Inola pastor after he was accused of molesting three girls under the age of 16.

“It should be sickening to hear this from anyone who would commit those acts on children. They were placed in a position where they should have been able to trust a man. It takes it to another level to see this from a man who stands on a pulpit and leads a church,” Rogers County Sheriff Scott Walton said.

Deputies said they arrested Roy Shoop on May 20 at his house after they said he molested three girls that were either working on his farm or taking horse riding lessons from him.

Documents said a 12-year-old girl came forward in January to say Shoop sexually assaulted her. Deputies said that girl was receiving horse riding lessons from Shoop.

Documents also showed two other girls, ages 13 and 15, came forward with sexual assault accusations. The documents said the 15-year-old was sexually assaulted four times.

Shoop denies the charges leveled against him.

Channel 8 reports:

In his own words Roy Shoop is an innocent man.

“I can assure you I have done nothing inappropriate with these young ladies or in any manner,” said Pastor Roy Shoop.

The Inola pastor and well known figure in the community is facing sexual assault accusations involving three girls; accusations he says are false.

“All I can do is just continue to pray and to seek the Lord and follow him in this manner and that means praying for the young ladies as well,” said Shoop.

….

“I am heartbroken that these accusations could be made against him. My Dad is a man of God; my mentor,” said Daughter Shanelle Gray.

Through this week’s arrest Shoop has had his family behind him, especially his daughter Shanell Gray.

“He has raised up a church that serves the Lord fearlessly and we just pray that these accusations get stopped,” said Gray.

….

In the meantime Shoop’s family is staying by his side.

“He’s my daddy there’s no greater character of a man who would lay down his life for his friends and his family,” said Gray.

Rogers County Sheriff Scott Walton says it’s possible more allegations could surface.

The Tulsa World reports:

One victim told authorities that Shoop would inappropriately touch her while he was instructing her on horse riding and while she was at his Inola, Oklahoma, residence, according to the affidavit.

“These events took place while (the victim) was staying at the Shoop’s residence where she was being instructed on barrel racing with her new horse her father had purchased from Roy and Diana Shoop,” investigators state in the affidavit.

The other two victims reported similar accounts. Each reported going to Shoop’s residence for horse riding or rodeo-related lessons when the alleged abuse occurred.

One victim reported the abuse occurred in October 2018. Another victim reported the abuse occurred between April 2018 and April 2019, and the third victim reported abuse occurring in January.

Investigators state in the affidavit that the victims were not related to one another.

Deputies arrested Shoop on Wednesday. He was booked into Rogers County jail on the charges and subsequently posted a $300,000 bond.

Bruce Gerencser, 62, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 41 years. He and his wife have six grown children and twelve 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. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

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Thank you for reading this post. Please share your thoughts in the comment section. If you are a first-time commenter, please read the commenting policy before wowing readers with your words. All first-time comments are moderated. If you would like to contact Bruce directly, please use the contact form to do so. Donations are always appreciated. Donations on a monthly basis can be made through Patreon. One-time donations can be made through PayPal.

Black Collar Crime: Baptist Pastor Gary Eaches Accused of Sexual Assault

pastor gary eaches

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.

Gary Eaches, pastor of United Baptist Church (an American Baptist congregation) in Scranton, Pennsylvania stands accused of plying a teenager with alcohol and marijuana and then sexually assaulting her.

WNEP-16 reports:

According to court paperwork, Gary Eaches of Scranton gave a 16-year-old girl alcohol and marijuana and then improperly touched her.

Police say they later responded to Eaches home after he was found depressed and suicidal.

Police say Eaches admitted to the assault and told officers he recently lost his job at United Baptist Church in Scranton.

Gary Eaches is locked up on $50,000 bail and faces assault and other charges.

Eaches’ last posted on Twitter May 3, 2020. Here’s what he tweeted:

christians known for

Based on the aforementioned news report, Pastor Eaches Peaches is now known for sexually assaulting a teen girl. Too bad he wasn’t against such behavior.

Eaches’ name and bio has already been scrubbed from United Baptist’s website. Other Christian websites have also deleted Eaches’ sermon and music videos.

Eaches’ handle on YouTube is “Scandalous Christian.” Eaches mentions on social media that he suffers from addiction and mental illness. As someone who has battled depression most of his adult life, I do wonder whether Eaches should have been a pastor. Knowing the rigors of the ministry, was it really wise to put Eaches in a position where his mental health issues could be exacerbated, and, perhaps, lead to addiction problems? Or were these issues minimized, believing that Jesus was the cure for what ailed Pastor Eaches?

Bruce Gerencser, 62, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 41 years. He and his wife have six grown children and twelve 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. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

Are you on Social Media?

Follow Bruce on Facebook and Twitter.

Thank you for reading this post. Please share your thoughts in the comment section. If you are a first-time commenter, please read the commenting policy before wowing readers with your words. All first-time comments are moderated. If you would like to contact Bruce directly, please use the contact form to do so. Donations are always appreciated. Donations on a monthly basis can be made through Patreon. One-time donations can be made through PayPal.

Black Collar Crime: IFB Pastor Tony Shaw Accused of Sexual Assault

pastor tony shaw

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.

Tony Shaw, pastor of Ruby Valley Baptist Church in Sheridan, Montana, stands accused of sexually assaulting a teen church girl. Ruby Valley is an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) congregation.

The Montana Standard reports:

Authorities say a pastor at Ruby Valley Baptist Church in Sheridan had inappropriate contact with a 14-year-old girl in the basement of the church.

They arrested Tony Aaron Shaw, 55, on a felony complaint of sexual assault on Tuesday and he was taken to the Gallatin County jail, where he later posted $75,000 bond and was released.

Shaw, contacted by telephone, told The Montana Standard on Thursday that the allegation “had to do with how someone perceived something” and was false.

“It was nothing,” he said.

….

According to the complaint, someone performing work at the church witnessed Shaw having inappropriate contact with the girl in the basement of the church. Sheriff’s officials say they had received a prior sexual assault complaint involving Shaw.

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Peter Alatake Accused of Raping Teen Girl

court gavel

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.

Peter Alatake, pastor of Holy Ghost Mission Church in Owo, Ondo state, Nigeria stands accused of raping a sixteen-year-old epileptic girl.

The Guardian reports:

The General Overseer of the Holy Ghost Mission Church, Pastor Peter Alatake, has been arraigned before an Owo Magistrate court, Ondo State for raping a 16-year old epileptic secondary school student.

The victim was said to have been taken to his church for deliverance but Alatake ended up raping the girl severally. Alatake was alleged to have raped the girl between the 15 and 20th of April, leading to the victim developing complications in her vaginal and anus.

A medical test conducted at Medical Centre, Owo confirmed the complications before the suspect was arrested. Alatake was arraigned on a one count charge of unlawfully having carnal knowledge of a minor, an offence punishable under section 357 of the criminal laws of Ondo state.

….

Presiding Magistrate, Olubumi Dosumu, granted bail in the sum of N500,000 and two sureties in like sum. The sureties, according to Dosumu, must be a general overseer of a reputable church in Owo and a Director in the civil service with national identity card, evidence of one year tax clearance and landed property in the magisterial district.

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Brian Mahiques Accused of Sex Crimes

pastor-brian-mahiques

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.

Brian Mahiques, pastor of Encounter Church in Concord, North Carolina and a teacher at The Daniel Academy of Concord, stands accused of sexually assaulting several minors while working as a youth pastor at The Refuge Church in Concord from 2005-2006.

WBTV-3 reports:

In 2019, investigators received a report from the Cabarrus County Department of Social Services in regards to a sexual assault involving a minor.

The report indicated the victim had told their parents they had been sexually assaulted on numerous occasions from 2005-2006 by Mahiques, who was the youth pastor at The Refuge Church.

During the course of the initial investigation, a second victim came forward and said they too had been sexually assaulted by Mahiques during this time period and was also a part of the youth group at The Refuge Church.

Both victims were under the age of 16 when these incidents occurred and both have specified some of the incidents occurred during youth events and on the property of The Refuge Church.

Mahiques remains in jail under a $1 million bond.

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor John McIntosh Charged with Sexual Abuse of a Minor

Pastor John McIntosh

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.

John McIntosh, pastor of Cedarville Baptist Church in Cedarville, Illinois, stands accused of sexually assaulting a minor.

McIntosh’s church bio page states:

John McIntosh has been our pastor since December of 2018. Serving the Lord at Cedarville Baptist is the joy of Pastor John’s life.  Prior to coming to Cedarville, he has pastored in Iowa, Wisconsin, and Illinois. In addition, he has served on the board of directors of a Crisis Pregnancy Center, has been involved in rescue mission ministries, has been a regular contributor to the “From the Pulpit” section of local newspapers, as well as worked many summers for a Christian camp.  

He has earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at Maranatha Baptist University in Watertown, WI. He also has earned a Master of Arts in Biblical Studies as well as a Master of Divinity from Trinity Theological Seminary in Newburgh, IN. Furthermore, he is an accredited Christian counselor through the American Association of Christian Counselors.  

Prior to coming to Cedarville Baptist, McIntosh pastored Winneshiek Evangelical Free Church in Freeport, Illinois.


Black Collar Crime: United Church of Christ Pastor Scott Nedberg Charged with Felony Theft

pastor scott nedberg

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.

Scott Nedberg, pastor of Warren United Church of Christ in Warren, Indiana, stands accused of felony theft.

WANE-15 reports:

A Huntington County pastor has been arrested on allegations he swindled money from a woman on the promise he could make charges against her son go away.

Scott E. Nedberg, 68, faces a charge of felony Theft in Huntington Circuit Court.

According to a probable cause affidavit, Nedberg – the pastor at Warren United Church of Christ in Warren – told a woman “he could have charges for her son dismissed or receive a reduced sentence for a sum of $8,000.”

The case began when the woman told a local attorney about the claim, and he called Huntington County Prosecutor Amy Richison. The attorney told Richison that after the woman told him the pastor’s claim, he gave her an audio recorder to record a conversation with the pastor.

In a meeting, the pastor reportedly told the woman for $8,000, he could either make sure the case is “shoved under other cases and never be filed,” or see to it that the woman’s son is sentenced to a rehab facility. The pastor said the $8,000 fee would be paid to the Huntington County Sheriff’s Department, the county prosecutor’s office and the county probation department, who “all get a cut of the money,” the affidavit said.

….

Days later, police worked with the woman and set a meeting time for her to drop off the $2,000 to the pastor at his church. Police gave her $2,000 and put a recording device on her, the affidavit said.

In the church, police listened as the woman handed over the cash and the two talked about the remaining $6,000. After the woman left the church, police converged and arrested Nedberg.

In an interview with investigators, Nedberg said the whole promise was a lie, which he devised because he was in “‘so much debt that he is about to lose everything,” according to the affidavit said. He said he planned to use the $2,000 to pay bills, and said he never intended to keep the remaining $6,000.

Black Collar Crime: Convicted Sex Offender Darrell Gilyard Pastoring Evangelical Church

darrell gilyard

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 2009, Evangelical pastor Darrell Gilyard admitted sexually molesting two children and was sentenced to three years in prison. After his release from prison, Gilyard became the pastor of Christ Missionary Tabernacle Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida. Christ Missionary, at the time, was affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. While I was unable to find out how long Gilyard pastored Christ Missionary, news reports today say the registered sex offender is now the pastor of Mount Ararat Baptist Church in Jacksonville. Shockingly, because Gilyard is not on probation, he is free to work wherever he wants, including churches filled with potential victims.

News 4-Jax reports:

A man who once served time in prison for sex crimes has become the new pastor of Mount Ararat Baptist Church in Jacksonville, and some said they’re concerned that he’s leading the congregation.

The Rev. Darrell Gilyard admitted to molesting two girls and was sentenced to three years in prison in 2009 followed by probation. He’s currently a registered sex offender in the state of Florida.

When he left prison in 2012, Gilyard first began preaching at Christ Missionary Tabernacle Baptist Church, which also made some upset.

After Gilyard became the new lead pastor at Mount Ararat Baptist Church, some people posted their concerns on the church’s Facebook page.

Tiffany Thigpen Kilgannon, who said she was a victim, wrote in short:

…God doesn’t need predators in the pulpit, no matter how great a speaker or the truth of God’s word being spoken…”

She continued, “…Please keep your young girls and ladies safe. It is a painful thing to recover from, give them the gift of safety…”

News4Jax visited Mount Ararat to talk with Rev. Gilyard. A staff member said, “No comment.”

James Andrews, a long time supporter of Gilyard, said he prayed about it, and he trusts the good pastor. When asked if he trusted Gilyard around children, Andrews said, “Yes I would. I wouldn’t have any problems at all trusting Pastor Gilyard around children.”

Gilyard was accused of molesting other children, but he was never arrested.

For the life of me, I cannot understand how men such as James Andrews and the leaders of the two church Gilyard has pastored since his conviction can turn a blind eye to his crimes. Plenty of prospective pastors available, yet the best you could find is a convicted felon and a registered sex offender?

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Youth Pastor Todd Spain, Jr. Accused of Assaulting His Wife

todd spain jr

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 July 2019, Todd Spain, Jr, a youth pastor at Crossroads Church in Pelham, New Hampshire, was accused of coaxing his wife to ledge while they were out hiking and hitting her over the head with a rock. Allegedly, the couple had been arguing over Spain’s admission of an affair.

The Eagle-Tribune reported at the time:

Pelham resident Todd Spain Jr., 26, was indicted in Carroll County Superior Court last month for second-degree assault, according to a court clerk. He is also charged with two misdemeanor counts of domestic violence simple assault, the clerk said.

….

A probable cause affidavit written by Carroll County Sheriff’s Detective Brian King says the assault took place Saturday, July 6.

King said in his report that Spain’s wife, Molly Spain, called police for help from the Boulder Loop Trail in Albany, New Hampshire, at about 3 p.m. She told police that she would be running down the mountain to meet emergency responders.

“She stated that she and Todd got into an argument after he admitted to having an affair,” King’s report states. “When she turned to leave the mountain, she was struck in the back of the head with a rock. She said that she fell to the ground, and that Todd fell on top of her.”

According to the affidavit, “She said that she had to kick and punch him to get him off of her. She suffered apparent minor injuries. She was transported to Memorial Hospital in Conway, New Hampshire.”

At the hospital, she told police she was “in fear of her life,” according to the affidavit.

The affidavit states Spain kept insisting that his wife go with him to the edge of one of the cliffs along the trail.

According to the affidavit, the victim said, “I thought he was going to push me off the edge and kill me.”

She also told police Spain kept putting his arm around her neck and asking what she would do if he choked her, but he never actually did.

Spain’s suggestion to go on a hike was odd from the get-go, according to the affidavit.

“Todd is not active, and has never wanted to hike or do anything outside in the past,” King reported the wife saying.

The victim was granted an emergency restraining order, according to the document.

King wrote that Spain admitted to police that he hit his wife in the head with the rock and gave written and audio statements to that effect.

Spain’s father, Todd, Sr is the pastor of Crossroads Church. (Nepotism is common in Evangelical churches.) After his arrest, Todd, Jr. resigned or was fired from his position at the church. His father denies that there is any connection between his son’s alleged crime and employment termination.

Yesterday, the Eagle-Tribune reported:

Todd Spain Jr., a former youth minister at Crossroads Church indicted for assaulting his wife, avoided a jury trial scheduled to start last week as his attorney and a prosecutor explore settlement options.

Deputy Carroll County Attorney Steven Briden filed paperwork on Feb. 19, the day before trial was set to begin, to inform a judge that both parties would like to participate in a settlement conference.

Briden explained that settlement conferences are frequently “a useful tool in trying to find a resolution to a case without having to put everyone through the difficulties of a trial.”

Briden, Spain Jr. and his attorney Kirsten Wilson will meet with retired Judge Peter Fauver, who will evaluate the case and try to see if a plea resolution can be found without going to trial.

They are scheduled to meet March 4, according to court documents. If a decision is not made that day, a trial will begin soon after.

After Spain, Jr. was arrested, former leaders at Crossroads accused him of sending their daughter sexually explicit texts in 2013.

The Eagle-Tribune reported at the time:

News of the arrest incited memories of a 2013 situation involving Spain Jr., who was 19 at the time, and a 14-year-old girl who regularly attended a Crossroads youth group.

According to Michele and Ken Woonton, the girl’s parents, their daughter received sexual text messages from Spain Jr. when she was a minor. She responded, they said, but quickly became uncomfortable and brought the messages to the attention of church staff.

The Woontons said they were told by Spain Sr. that his son’s behavior was the result of a pornography addiction. He was sent to a family member’s house in the South “to heal” for several weeks, the family recalls.

The couple said they were disturbed when Spain Jr. came home to Pelham and his dad, the pastor, had the idea to appoint his son to lead middle and high school-aged kids in the youth ministry.

The Woontons went to police about the text messages, they said, but were told no crime had been committed.

At the family’s request, police would have gone to talk to Spain Jr., they said. But the family declined.

Pelham police Chief Joseph Roark said there is no record of the call and there are no other complaints involving Spain Jr.

Two other couples in leadership positions at the time have confirmed the Woonton’s account of what happened six years ago, including how the Spain family kept it concealed from the general church population and went against all of their wishes to keep Spain Jr. away from kids.

Several attempts to contact the Spains or anyone at Crossroads Church have been unsuccessful.

“Our coming forward is about transparency,” Ken Woonton said. “This is not about a church. This is not about religion. It’s about leadership. There are going to be members of that congregation that want to defend it. But we want to empower them to question their leadership about whether they’re protecting their children.”

At the time of the February 2013 incident with his daughter, Ken Woonton was a church trustee. His family was involved at Crossroads since its inception in 2001.

“When Todd Jr. came home and his father approached my husband about making him a youth leader, that was the beginning of the end for us,” said Michelle Woonton. “It was insane.”

Spain, Jr graduated in 2011 from nearby Blackhawk Christian School in Fort Wayne, Indiana. His Facebook page lists him taking college classes at Boston Baptist College, Baptist Bible College, and Louisiana Baptist University — all Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) institutions.

On September 11, 2019, Crossroads Church released the following statement:

There was an article in a local paper about a youth minister of this church. We cannot comment on the personal and legal issues involving Todd Spain Jr. and his wife. We can state that Todd Spain Jr. is no longer employed by the church for reasons other than the legal charges mentioned in the article. His employment ended on Monday July 8th. Unfortunately, we cannot provide details of confidential employment issues. Crossroads remains committed to providing spiritual guidance to all of its members and we pray for the wellness of those involved in this situation.

This is the first and last statement released by the church.

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Logan Wesley III Accused of Sex Crimes

pastor logan wesley iii

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.

Logan Wesley III, an Evangelical pastor in Texarkana, Texas, was arrested in November 2019 on a charge of continuous sexual abuse of a child under 14.  The Texarkana Gazette reported at the time:

Logan Wesley III was taken into custody last month by Texarkana, Texas, police on a charge of continuous sexual abuse of a child under 14. The offense is punishable by 25 to 99 years or life in prison and there is no parole from any sentence imposed.

Wesley, 56, allegedly began molesting the girl when she was 12 and continued to sexually abuse her for many years. The alleged victim, who is now 38, reported the alleged abuse to investigators in mid-November. The alleged victim reported that she was not believed when she made outcries about the abuse as a child because of Wesley’s status as a pastor.

The woman reported that she provided a recording of a phone call between her and Wesley to investigators. Wesley allegedly confessed to and apologized for the abuse on the call.

After his arrest, Wesley III was released on a $100,000 bond. Today, the good pastor found himself in court again facing additional sexual assault charges. The Texarkana Gazette reports:

Logan Wesley III, 56, was arrested in November on a single felony charge involving one alleged victim. Earlier this month, a Bowie County grand jury returned three indictments involving three different girls which list a total of 18 felony counts.

Following his arrest in November, Logan posted a $100,000 bond. Bail on Wesley’s current charges totals $1.25 million.

….

At a hearing Monday morning, Texarkana lawyer Josh Potter asked 202nd District Judge John Tidwell to lower the total to $100,000 and release Wesley on his existing bond.

“What I’ve decided to do, I’m going to leave the bonds where they are but I’m not going to make you wait for trial until Aug. 24,” Tidwell said. “I’m going to move your trial up to May 4.”

First Assistant District Attorney Kelley Crisp said she has identified 13 alleged victims of sexual abuse by Wesley “on both sides of the state line” whom she might call as witnesses at Wesley’s trial in May. Crisp said the 13 alleged victims include the three named in the Bowie County indictments and 10 others who allege they suffered sexual abuse by Wesley in other jurisdictions.

The court must conduct hearings outside the presence of the jury regarding any alleged victim she wishes to call as a witness in a trial concerning a different alleged victim. The court will determine if the potential testimony is admissible before it can be heard by a jury. Because of the number of such alleged victim witnesses in Wesley’s case, Crisp suggested scheduling those hearings in advance of the trial.

Wesley allegedly used his status as pastor of a Texarkana, Ark., church to sexually abuse young girls.

Wesley is charged with three counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child under 14, three counts of sexual assault of a child under 17 and one count of indecency with a child by sexual contact involving a single alleged victim.

Charges involving a second alleged victim include two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child under 14 and five counts of sexual assault of a child under 17. Charges involving a third alleged victim include a single count of sexual assault of a child under 17 and three counts of indecency with a child by sexual contact.

Wesley faces five to 99 years or life in prison if found guilty of aggravated sexual assault of a child under 14. Sexual assault of a child under 17 and indecency with a child by sexual contact are both punishable by two to 20 years in prison.

Wesley’s Twitter account describes him this way:

Pastor, Father, Husband and Friend, Chosen to Empower men and women with the uncompromising Word of God…….If God can’t do it, IT CAN’T BE DONE!!

Wesley neglected to add “alleged pedophile.” Based on Wesley’s statement about God, I assume we can conclude that God was behind his sexual molestation of numerous girls.

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