Black Collar Crime

Black Collar Crime: Southern Baptist Youth Pastor Rodney Harmon Convicted of Sex Abuse Crimes

rodney harmon 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.

Rodney Harmon, Jr., the former youth pastor at Bayside Community Church in Pocomoke City, Maryland, was convicted last week on three counts of sexually abusing a minor. In January, ABC-47 reported:

According to charging documents obtained by 47 ABC Harmon allegedly preyed on at least 7 teenage boys from January of 2018 to July of 2018 through his work as a youth group leader for Bayside Community Church in Pocomoke City.

With at least three victims Harmon promised the teenage boys they could make money for shooting videos of themselves masturbating if they sent them to him. However, none of the victims ever received payment.

One of the victims, only identified as Juvenile 2, seemed to be the most involved with Harmon. According to charging documents Hardmon sodomized him with an adult toy at least once and performed oral sex on the 15-year-old several times at Harmon’s House in the car to and from a mission trip and at a house the 15-year-old was dog sitting at.

A November 2018 news story at Lancaster Online reported:

Rodney O. Harmon Jr., 33, of Stockton, Maryland, was youth director for Bayside Community Church in Pocomoke City, Maryland, when he accompanied a church group to the Colerain Township retreat center, where the alleged abuse happened, the Lancaster County District Attorney said.

The alleged victims, ages 14 and 15, were part of the Maryland church group that attended the retreat between Aug. 1 and 4.

State police filed 12 charged against Harmon, eight of which are felonies, including statutory sexual assault and involuntary deviate sexual intercourse. Harmon is awaiting arraignment on the charges.

Harmon is already in prison at the Worcester County Jail awaiting a hearing on charges there for making and distributing pornographic videos, and other sex acts involving four people, including three minors, according to charging documents.

Harmon has not yet been sentenced, but could face up to 70 years in prison.

Bayside Community Church is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention.

Charging documents posted here.

SBC President J.D. Greear Gives Recommendations For Addressing Sexual Abuse Scandal

jd greear

J.D. Greear, president of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) and pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, gave an address today to the Convention’s executive committee that set forth ten recommendations to address the current sexual abuse scandal. The Biblical Reporter summarized Greear’s recommendations as follows:

  •  A call to “repent for decades of inaction;”
  • The announcement of a series of 12 training videos called, “Becoming a Church that Cares Well for the Abused;”
  • The announcement that all six Southern Baptist seminaries, officers of the Southern Baptist Conference of Associational Leaders and all Baptist state conventions have adopted three respective “Statement of Principles on Abuse” documents;
  • A call for Southern Baptist churches, associations, conventions and entities to take immediate action to review policies and procedures relating to abuse;
  • A call for the SBC Executive Committee to make background checks a minimum requirement for Southern Baptist committees and trustee boards;
  • A call for Southern Baptists to review local church ordination practices to ensure proper vetting;
  • A call for state conventions and LifeWay to identify questions related to abuse that can be added to the Annual Church Profile;The announcement of programming at the SBC annual meeting that will address abuse among Southern Baptists, including a time of lament and an event hosted by the ERLC;
  • The announcement that the Sexual Abuse Presidential Study Group is evaluating the possibility of creating a database of offenders, but Greear acknowledged the development of such a resource is “complicated” and “will take time to evaluate;”
  • A statement that the study group “strongly believes” the governing documents of the SBC should be reviewed and amended regarding the definition of a cooperating church, so that churches demonstrating “wanton disregard for sexual abuse … are not in good fellowship with this convention.”

Greear said, “We need to regard any exposure, any shining of light on abuse, as our friend, even if it makes us ask some uncomfortable questions about ourselves, publicly. Our job is to love and serve people, especially those who have suffered abuse. Our job is not to protect our reputation.” Nice words. Let’s see if these words become actions. I have my doubts. I just looked at the SBC website. Not one mention of the sexual abuse scandal. So far, it is business as usual.

Enough? Smoke and mirrors? Same old shit, new day? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section.

Why Southern Baptist and IFB Churches Will Never Fix Their Sex Abuse Problem

jd greear

J.D. Greear, current president of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) said:

Having an SBC database places pastors in an investigative role that we do not have the expertise or objectivity to fill. Managing the database alone poses significant problems. In fact, pushing for any kind of ‘internal investigation’ from a church level has proven to be one of the main problems in cases of abuse within the church.

We best protect by leaving investigation to people qualified to fulfill that role. The most effective thing we can do right now is educate pastors about the problem and the resources to deal with it and hold them accountable for doing so. [Since this quote, Greear has been calling for training videos, but still no database.]

And therein lies the reason Southern Baptist, Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB), and other “independent” denominations/churches will NEVER fix their sex abuse problem. Greear SHOULD be calling for the immediate establishment of database that lists every pastor, deacon, Sunday school teacher, youth pastor, choir director, children’s church pastor, evangelist, and congregant who has been accused of, arrested for, convicted of, or imprisoned for a sex crime, using their position of authority to sexually manipulate a woman, or any other crime that makes them unfit to be a church leader (or a Christian, for that matter). Instead, he hides behind the notion that pastors/churches are unqualified to “investigate” such claims. And I agree. All allegations of sexual misconduct or criminal behavior should be immediately reported to law enforcement, and not to the pastor or other church leaders. This does not, however, negate the necessity of having a database. If someone has been accused of a crime, his or her name should go in the database — especially if he or she is accused of a sex crime. Then, if the accused decides to move on to a new church, at the very least the new congregation will know that person has been accused of criminal behavior. Leave it to the prospective new church to investigate past allegations — you know, by talking to leaders in the former church, law enforcement, doing a comprehensive background check and, the simplest of all things to do, DO A DAMN GOOGLE SEARCH ON THE PERSON! One the reasons I maintain the Black Collar Crimes series is to create a database of sorts of religious leaders who have been accused or found guilty of sex crimes, theft, and even murder. By publicizing these stories, I hope to keep cockroaches from scurrying away in the dark of night to new digs; that is if church leaders bother to search the internet.

Just because someone isn’t prosecuted doesn’t mean he or she is innocent. I can point to numerous preachers who were accused for decades of criminal behavior and even investigated by law enforcement, yet they escaped prosecution. What a database does is show conscientious church leaders that there may be a problem with this or that prospective pastor; that where there is smoke, there may be fire.

I realize that IFB churches and autonomous Evangelical churches might find it harder to have such a database. However, those churches are able to cooperate on all sorts of other issues, so appealing to their independent ecclesiology doesn’t fly with me. To preachers and church leaders I says this: doing nothing, and then blaming it on your theology, is an abdication of your responsibility to love, care, and protect your flock; especially the least of these — children. You owe it to your congregations to make sure there aren’t pedophiles, perverts, child molesters, and rapists in your midst. And you owe it to other churches to warn them when these same people move on to new hunting grounds.

The right path forward is clear, but I seriously doubt that SBC, IFB, and other Alphabet Denominations® will do much of anything to cleanse their temples of criminals. There are souls to save, empires to build, and ministries to protect, so there’s no time for “suffering the little children.” (Matthew 19:14)

About Bruce Gerencser

Bruce Gerencser, 61, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 40 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.

Bruce is a local photography business owner, operating Defiance County Photo out of his home. If you live in Northwest Ohio and would like to hire Bruce, please email him.

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 Lorenzo Washington Accused of Sexually Assaulting Teenager

pastor lorenzo washington

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.

Lorenzo Washington, pastor of Mt. Hill Missionary Baptist Church (also known as Mt. Hill Fellowship Community Church) in Aiken, South Carolina (and formerly the pastor of Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Grambling and St John’s Baptist Church in Newberry), stands accused of sexually assaulting a teen girl at a public school sporting event.

GoUpstate.com reports:

A pastor who has served several churches in South Carolina, including one in Spartanburg County, has been accused of sexually assaulting a Dorman High School student at an athletic event on the school’s campus.

The Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office arrested Lorenzo Renard Washington, 48, of Lexington, and charged him with third-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor and second-degree attempted sexual assault with a minor.

On Jan. 22, a Dorman student told school officials that a member of the booster club sexually assaulted her in a concession stand on campus, according to a statement from Lt. Kevin Bobo. The alleged attack occurred at a sporting event after normal school hours.

In an incident report, a Sheriff’s Office investigator wrote that Washington inappropriately touched the victim over her clothes and that he kissed her on her neck and mouth.

The school contacted law enforcement, and Washington was placed on trespass notice from all school events while the investigation was conducted, Bobo stated.

On Monday, a Sheriff’s Office investigator approached Washington, who denied the allegations, Bobo stated. Washington then canceled an appointment for a second interview.

Washington’s church bio page says:

Rev. Lorenzo R. Washington is the Senior Pastor of the Mt. Hill Missionary Baptist Church located in Montmorenci, SC. He is a proud native of Strawberry, SC and now resides in Lexington, SC with his beautiful wife the former, Jennifer L Jefferson of Beech Island, SC. He is the son of Mary Jane Washington and the late Primus Washington, and is the fifth child of six children. Rev. Washington is a proud husband, devoted father, former marine, and grandfather.

He commenced his preaching ministry under the tutorage of Rev. Dr. Terry Anthony King, overseer of Rock of Ages Baptist Church located in Greenville, SC, in October 2000. While under the leadership of Pastor King, he was licensed as an Associate Minister. Rev. Washington was the leading Armor Bearer for Pastor King and also the Young Adult Minister’s Counsel. In 2008, he was ordained by Rev. Terry L. Brown at the Center Rabun Baptist Church, Gray Court, SC.

Rev. Washington is the former pastor of the Mt. Zion Baptist Church, Grambling, SC and St. John Baptist Church located in Newberry, SC. While serving within the various capacities, he served as secretary of the Spartanburg County Baptist Association, member of the Ordination Counsel, clergy liaison with the Newberry Police Department  for  the Wildlife Youth Program, and an active member of both local and state level Baptist associations. He also holds certification in the Old and New Testament and Biblical Studies from Empowerment Christian Studies.

In his spare time, Rev. Washington loves spending time with his family and laughing about the joys that this life continues to bring. He is a die hard Pittsburg Steelers and Clemson Tigers No. 1 Fan Club Member. Rev. Washington also serves on the Dorman High School Executive Booster Club Board and is responsible for mentoring young athletes while serving as the girl’s basketball representative in Roebuck, SC.

Rev. Washington’s focus scripture is Matthew 6:33, “but seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

Washington’s LinkedIn profile

Washington’s Facebook profile

Black Collar Crime: 90-Year-Old Evangelical Man Accused of Sex Crime

sebastian solis

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.

Sebastian Solis, a member of Soldiers of the Cross of Christ Church (Soldados De La Crus De Cristo) in Pasadena, Texas stands accused of touching a girl under a table — grabbing her buttocks. Oddly, a church member caught the assault on video, reporting it to — no not the police, silly boy — to their pastor and the girl’s father. Fortunately, the father reported the matter to the police. According to the police, the man touched the girl at least ten times, all at the church.

ABC-13 reports:

Court documents indicate the video shows the defendant sitting at a table, grabbing the buttocks of the girl, who was wearing a dress. Court records also show he allegedly moved his hands along her thigh and approached her crotch area.

The investigation, which began in November showed the defendant allegedly touched the girl at least 10 times, all taking place at the church on Austin Street.

Solis turned himself in this week. He is currently being held on a $10,000 bond. If he posts bond, he will have a protective order in place, and cannot contact the victim.

Clergy Sex Crimes: The Stunning Number of Black Collar Crime Reports

black collar crime

It should be clear to everyone by now that Evangelicalism has a huge problem with sexual abuse and sexual misconduct. Hopefully, the Black Collar Crime series has forever shut the mouths of those who self-righteously claim that Evangelicals don’t have the same sort of sexual abuse problem as the Catholics do. I hope, anyway — but way too many Christian zealots are oblivious to their flies being unzipped. Bob Gray, Sr, the retired pastor of Longview Baptist Temple in Longview, Texas, loved to rail against the Catholics over their sexual abuse scandal. Gray, Sr, blindly believed that Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) churches didn’t have such problems. Evidently, in the mind of Gray, Sr, IFB doctrine is a condom of sorts that protects preachers, evangelists, missionaries, youth pastors, and deacons from committing sex crimes. Of course, we now know that the condom has a hole in it, and IFB leaders are just as likely to molest children, assault teenagers, and sexually manipulate congregants as are Roman Catholic priests. Gray, Sr, knows this, but he ignores it, choosing instead to protect serial adulterer David Hyles and fellate a blow-up doll of accused adulterer Jack Hyles. Countless sex scandals have rocked the Hyles wing of the IFB church movement, yet little is said publicly by men such as Gray, Sr. Wouldn’t it be great if IFB newspaper The Sword of the Lord ran a regular Black Collar Crime column? You know, calling sin, sin, as IFB preachers are wont to do. It should be thoroughly embarrassing to Evangelicals that an atheist’s blog and the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s monthly newsletter do more good in this regard than The Sword of the LordChristianity Today, and CHARISMA Magazine combined.

Recently, Marja asked:

Thank you for your diligence with this [Black Collar Crime] series. You have collected so many examples of black collar crime it’s stunning. Did you have any inkling of this while you were a pastor? Do you think there is something uniquely Christian about this, as it were, or do you think this is a dynamic that is prominent in any community in which you have strong patriarchalism tied to imperatives of religious obedience?

The Internet has fundamentally and forever changed how the public hears of and responds to allegations of sexual abuse, sexual assault, sexual harassment, and other sex-related crimes. The same can be said for offending pastors, evangelists, missionaries, professors, and traveling singers. Before the Internet, a preacher could commit all sorts of crimes, and, if not caught red-handed or reported to the police, he could escape punishment. Why? First, many parishioners simply refused to believe that THEIR pastor could ever do such things! This kind of thinking remains a problem to this day. I have posted more than a few stories about offending pastors that have attracted people heaven-bent on protecting their pastor. They will demand I take the post down, saying their pastor couldn’t have committed the crimes he is accused of. I try to remind them of the fact that, according to the Bible, King David was a “man after God’s own heart,” yet he had a sexual affair with Bathsheba and later had her husband murdered. Rarely does this work — these preacher-worshipers refuse to see the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

Second, before the Internet, a God-loving, sin-hating predator could quietly leave one church and move on to fresh hunting grounds. His old church was glad he was gone, end of story. A good example of this is the sordid story of David Hyles. David was the youth pastor at First Baptist Church in Hammond, Indiana. His father, Jack, was the pastor. At the time, First Baptist was the largest church in the United States. David was accused of having sex with teen girls and adult members. When his behavior reached a level where it could not be ignored, David was shipped off by his father to Garland, Texas to pastor Miller Road Baptist Church. The elder Hyles said nothing to people at Miller Road — a church he himself once pastored — leaving them in the dark about his son’s sexual proclivities. And, as sure as the sun comes up in the morning, David Hyles returned to his predatory ways, fucking his way through the church.

Third, IFB preachers/church leaders were taught to protect their church’s “testimony” at all costs. “There are souls in need of saving,” the thinking went. “If people find out about what our pastor/deacon/youth pastor/bus driver/school principal did, why they might not want to come to our church!” I know of countless scandals that were swept under the rug, all in the name of protecting the church’s reputation. Victims were often disbelieved and, far too often, blamed for what happened to them. Sometimes, church leaders would withhold from congregants allegations against their pastors. I know of one church which has had three sex scandals over the past twenty-five years, yet the pastor and church board have never given congregants a full accounting of what happened. The pastor, from the pulpit, encouraged people to “trust” him, that he was taking care of matters. This resulted, of course, in one man committing crimes TWICE at the same church over the course of two decades. So much for taking care of things.  Fortunately, the second offense landed the offender in prison.

Fourth, it was hard to get to local law enforcement and prosecutors to take seriously allegations of criminal sexual misconduct against clergymen. Pastors were often viewed as pillars of their communities, men of virtue, character, and moral integrity. Sadly, some legal authorities who should have known better, believed that clergymen were above the fray; that it was impossible for such “godly” men to commit such crimes. Case in point is the late Mack Ford. Ford operated IFB boys’ and girls’ homes — detention centers — in Louisiana. He was repeatedly accused of criminal behavior, yet he astoundingly escaped prosecution. (Please see Sexual Abuse in the Name of God: New Bethany Home for Girls.) Countless children were harmed by Ford and people employed by him, yet local authorities refused to investigate or prosecute.

These four things, and others, provided cover for clergy sexual misconduct — and other crimes too. Over the years, I would hear whispers about this preacher or that preacher, or hear that Pastor so-and-so suddenly resigned from his church in Ohio and moved in the night to Florida. Such men were accused of everything from molesting children to running off with their secretary, yet I know of only two men who were arrested, prosecuted, and served time in prison for criminal behavior. Sadly, far too many offending preachers had a “Get Out of Jail Free” card.

While I don’t think such behaviors are uniquely a “Christian” problem, I believe that certain Evangelical beliefs and practices make such things more likely. First, Evangelicals are known for preaching against sex — any and all sex except for married, one man/one woman, monogamous, missionary-position sex. Puritanical views on sex breed sexual dysfunction and deviancy. It has been my observation that the louder some preachers preach against certain sexual sins, the more likely it is that they are doing the very things they preach against. One such preacher I know spent years having sex with his secretary every Saturday in his office. Bus workers would gather on Saturdays to visit their routes and canvass for new riders. After everyone left the building, the pastor and his lover would hit the carpet. Imagine this! Prior to having adulterous sex, this pastor would lead workers in prayer and give them a short devotional from the Bible. And then on Sundays, he would rain Holy Hell down on the heads of congregants, warning them that God hates sexual sin. (All pastors are hypocrites, but this man took the cake.)

bob gray jacksonville

Bob Gray, pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida, still clutching his King James Bible as he leaves jail

Second, Evangelical pastors wield great power — authoritarian and patriarchal in nature — over their congregations. Most churches are pastored by one man. In some Evangelical circles, pastors have total control over their churches, deciding everything from who can/can’t be a member to how the money is spent. (There are, by the way, Biblical proof texts supporting this kind of “rule,” but I’ll leave that to another day.) Suffice it to say that way too many churches are controlled and lorded over by their pastors. Now, this in and of itself doesn’t necessarily lead to criminal behavior, but some authoritarian pastors, drunk with power, do cross moral boundaries and commit crimes. It is not uncommon for Fundamentalist churches to be pastored by narcissistic men or sociopaths. Take for example the other Bob Gray — the former pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida. This Gray molested children and preyed on women for fifty years. His church was one the largest in the United States in the 1970s and 1980s. I considered him to be one the best pulpiteers I ever heard. I loved to hear him preach. (I vividly remember a sermon he preached on being filled with the Holy Spirit.) Gray was not found out and arrested until near the end of his life. He died awaiting trial for sex crimes. Gray ruled his church with a rod of iron. I have no doubt that there were whispers about “Bro. Gray” over the years, yet out of fear or not wanting to cause a scandal, people said nothing. Authoritarianism will do that, silencing people who see and know that their pastors are perverts or abusers.

Thanks to the Internet and to countless victims unwilling to be silenced, it is now much harder for Evangelical preachers to escape punishment for their crimes. With great courage, victimized men and women share their stories, even when the statute of limitations precludes their abusers from being prosecuted. Light dispels darkness, and as long as I am among the living, I intend to write about clergy sexual misconduct, publish first-person stories about clergy abuse, and publish Black Collar Crime posts. The Evangelical sex scandal is in its infancy. I have published over 500 Black Collar Crime stories. This, I am certain, is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

About Bruce Gerencser

Bruce Gerencser, 61, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 40 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.

Bruce is a local photography business owner, operating Defiance County Photo out of his home. If you live in Northwest Ohio and would like to hire Bruce, please email him.

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: Pastor Charles “Tiger” Aguon II Accused of Grooming Teen Boy

charles tiger aguon II

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.

Pastor Charles “Tiger” Aguon II, headmaster/teacher at Kingdom Preparatory School in Auburndale, Florida, stands accused of grooming and sexually molesting a teen boy.

The Ledger reports:

PCSO investigators conducted an emergency forensic interview with the teen, who said Aguon simulated sex with him and touched his penis numerous times, with a specific occurrence in November and another in December.

During a monitored phone call between Aguon and the boy Tuesday, the teen told Aguon he felt uncomfortable and did not like when Aguon kissed and touched him.

Aguon then asked the boy, “Oh, the loving on you?” said Judd, referencing the phone call.

After the teen said he didn’t like it when Aguon touched his private parts, kissed him and bit his lip, Aguon then said, “You know I was only messing with you,” according to the arrest affidavit.

When the teen told Aguon a second time he did not like it, Aguon then said, “I’m sorry.”

Less than two hours later, Aguon was arrested at Kingdom Preparatory School around 1:30 p.m.

Judd said Aguon admitted to detectives that he knew his behavior was inappropriate, and that he should not have engaged in that type of behavior.

Black Collar Crime: Baptist Pastor Doug Edwards Pleads Guilty to Sexual Abuse of a Minor

pastor doug edwards

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.

Last year, Doug Edwards, pastor of First Baptist Church in Ketchikan, Alaska and a recently retired home economics teacher at Ketchikan High School, was arrested and charged with six counts of sexual abuse of a minor.  According to KRBD, Edwards  sexually assaulted a fourteen-year-old church girl. Yesterday, Edwards pleaded guilty to one count of sexual abuse of a minor.

KRBD reports:

A former Ketchikan High School teacher pleaded guilty Wednesday to sexual abuse of a minor through a plea agreement that calls for him to serve six years in jail.

Doug Edwards was charged last spring with six counts of sexual abuse of a minor for groping a then-14-year-old girl’s chest at the school, at his home and at the church where he was a pastor. The plea agreement consolidates those six charges into one Class B felony.

Superior Court Judge William Carey explained what that means to Edwards and others in the courtroom.

“So what this does is consolidate all six into one conviction, however he is basically admitting the conduct in all of them,” Carey said. “And the fact that, even though there is one conviction, it looks like the fact that other acts, multiple acts, are consolidated into this, makes the sex-offender registration requirement lifetime as opposed to 15 years.”

After he’s served his time in prison, Edwards will be required to register as a sex offender, and update that registration every three months for the rest of his life.

The plea agreement called for a sentence of 18 years with 12 suspended. That leaves six to serve, but with “good time,” Edwards could be released after four years.

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Phillip Buckson Accused of Impregnating Teenager

phillip buckson

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.

Phillip Buckson, pastor of Cleveland Chapel Baptist Church in Spartanburg, South Carolina, stands accused of repeatedly having sex with a minor, beginning at age thirteen, twice getting her pregnant. The pregnancies, according to The Charlotte Observer, were terminated. Buckson has been charged with four counts of second degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor. He is divorced, and father to two young children.

Buckson’s church bio page says:

Pastor Phillip J. Buckson, a native of Gaffney, SC. Born and raised in Gaffney, Pastor Buckson also was converted at the tender age of 9 and he’s been serving God in various capacities.

….

Pastor Buckson was educated in Gaffney for twelve year then furthered his education in Psychology at Spartanburg Methodist College. While attending SMC, Pastor Buckson was a stellar basketball player in which he earned national recognition and is now currently enrolled as a student at The N. J. Brockman School of Theology (Cowpens EXT.) Pastor Buckson serves as one of the coordinators for the Cherokee County School Curriculum Counsel.

Pastor Phillip J. Buckson was licensed to preach the gospel under the tutelage of Pastor C. A. Wallace at the Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church, Gaffney, SC.,

Pastor Buckson served in many capacities. He later joined the Cleveland Chapel Baptist Church where he served as Assistant Minister under the leadership of Rev. Anthony R. Wilson..

In 2011, Pastor Buckson was called to Senior Pastorate Pine Grove Baptist Church, Iva SC.  He was ordained by the Little River Missionary Baptist Association were Pastor Joseph Caldwell is the Moderator.

In 2014 Pastor Buckson founded Phillip J. Buckson Ministries. Ministry that focuses on ministering to the total  person, God is really elevating his ministry.

In November of 2014, Pastor Phillip J. Buckson was called as the Senior Pastor of the Cleveland Chapel Baptist Church, Spartanburg South Carolina.

Pastor Buckson also served as President of The Young Pastors/ Preachers Association for the E &M Baptist convention of South Carolina.

Pastor Buckson has been called to many parts of the state and others states including Georgia, Chicago, North Carolina, Virginia, and Tennessee to preach the word of God.

Pastor Buckson’s motto is “Don’t Despise small beginnings; what God has for you is for you!”

Updates

Buckson has his bond set.

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Strick Strickland Accused of Sex Crimes

pastor strick strickland

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.

Strickjavvar “Strick” Strickland, pastor of Second Baptist Church (church’s website is down) in Kalamazoo, Michigan stands accused of paying teenagers for sex acts.

TV-8 reports:

Reverend Strick Strickland, 36, is pastor at Kalamazoo’s Second Baptist Church on North Rose Street. His wife Jazmonique Strickland, 25, was a paraprofessional at Phoenix High School in Kalamazoo until she resigned last fall, one day before police executed a search warrant at the family’s home.

After a four-month investigation by Michigan State Police, several sources confirmed to Target 8 that detectives found Strickland had paid teenagers to engage in sexual acts at his family’s home on Prairie Avenue in Kalamazoo.

That property is owned by Second Baptist Church, where Strickland has been pastor since 2012.

Of the four alleged victims police have identified, one was 14 years old at the time. All were under 17.

“At this point, with everything we have done, we believe that it occurred over a period of time on more than one occasion,” MSP Detective 1st Lt. Chuck Christensen told Target 8 in an interview Thursday.

Strickland called the allegations against him and his wife “absolutely 100 percent false” when reached by phone Thursday.

“Wow,” Strickland responded when a Target 8 investigator detailed the accusations against him and his wife.

….

The investigation isn’t the pastor’s first negative publicity. In an unrelated case last summer, murder suspect Donnovan Lewis told police he killed his girlfriend Aniya Mack, a Western Michigan University student, over her growing relationship with Strickland, her pastor.

Christensen of MSP said while the investigation is ongoing, detectives have turned over their findings to Kalamazoo County Prosecutor Jeff Getting, who will make a charging decision. Getting declined to comment on the case Thursday.

An August 2018 WWMT-3 news report alleges that Strickland had a sexual relationship Aniya Mack. Mack was later murdered by her boyfriend, Donnovan Lewis. Strickland released the following statement, denying the allegations against him:

All of the things that I am being Accused of are ministry related!

1. Second Baptist under my leadership has helped more than 30 families with transportation barriers Aniya’s situation was no different.

2. We have shared thousands of dollars of resources to help members with rent, utilities, food…

3. The All Expenses Paid trip was a choir trip with 50 other people. This trip was also all expenses paid for all College Students of which there was 6-8 more! Who all shared rooms together. My family wife and kids where with us…

lastly, this is an attempt to discredit the church, the NAACP, and the black leader. However, I’m not running from this story. I am rather trying to be sensitive to the source of your information (A young man I don’t know at all. Who has killed his ex-girlfriend and is declaring himself insane!) his family deserves peace and my response to the propaganda will only disrupt their peace!

Ultimately and finally, I have no control over people’s dreams and feel that it is extremely unfair that I be held accountable for was a person thinks or imagines is happening!

In this particular case we have a young man who has confessed to murder and I’m sure that had I been a white leader here in Kalamazoo that would be no story especially based solely upon the word of a confessed killer and self-proclaimed insane suspect.

Aniya Mack’s memory deserves to be left in tack! Here is a young lady that has already lost her life and future and now she is being denigrated to nothing more than her pastor’s mistress! That’s the biggest injustice of all!

Stickland’s church bio page (a cached copy) says:

Pastor Strick Strickland succeeds Rev. Matthew W. Wright as pastor of Second Baptist Church and was elected January 22, 2012. Strickland has been preaching since age 19, a year after he got saved. He says that although he grew up in the church in Warren Hill, Mississippi, he didn’t really accept Christ until age 18. Apart of what helped him make his decision in the end was seeing his peers struggle on the streets where he grew up. In fact, he mentions that he had strayed away from church for a while. He got into trouble and landed in an alternative school. However, even there he excelled academically and tested in the top 5 percentile of students across the nation. He was in a gang and was labeled “Expected to fail”. Thus, Pastor Strickland’s story is one of how God is still a God of miracles, even today.

When asked how he knew he was called to preach, he replied, “Because it was the last thing I wanted to do”. He says that it was not only that he didn’t want to preach, but it was also that he didn’t relish the lifestyle of a preacher.

Prior to accepting the position as Pastor at Second Baptist Church, Pastor Strickland pastored at Pen Oak Missionary Baptist Church from 2005-2008, then went on to lead Providence Missionary Baptist Church in Collins, Mississippi. Second Baptist Church and the city of Kalamazoo hopes this is the beginning of a long stay at Second Baptist. Prior to accepting the position as Pastor at Second Baptist Church, Pastor Strickland pastored at Pen Oak Missionary Baptist Church from 2005-2008, then went on to lead Providence Missionary Baptist Church in Collins, Mississippi. Second Baptist Church and the city of Kalamazoo hopes this is the beginning of a long stay at Second Baptist.

Pastor Strickland is also a national recording artist and the lead singer for a group called the True Believers. We hope that through his preaching and singing many souls will be won for the Kingdom of God. Since his election at Second Baptist Church, he has been involved in the Spiritual Awakening Services at Mt. Zion Baptist Church, the Jump Start Revival at his church, and spoke on 95.5 FM radio. As a young pastor, this is an example other young people that want to become pastors, ministers, singers or entrepreneurs can learn from.

Pastor Strickland relocated to Michigan, while most of his family lives in Mississippi where he was raised by his grandmother as an only child. His grandmother was a spiritually-oriented woman who helped him with his homework every night. He was in junior high school when he found out that his grandmother could not read or write. The way Strickland learned, however was heeding her advice to “sound out the words”. His mother Ida M. Turner resides in Joliet, Illinois along with his uncle, aunt, and a host of other relatives. Strickland says he is excited to be closer to his mother as he is her only child and she is his biggest fan.

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Ernest Angley Accused of Having Sexual Relations With a Man

ernest angley
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.

Ernest Angley, pastor of Grace Cathedral in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio stands accused of having coercive sexual relations with men, including church employees. According to an old recorded conversation, Angley’s confesses to having sex with an unnamed man. You can listen to it here. It’s six minutes long. Please take the time to listen to the recording. It provides real insight into how some Evangelical pastors and churches operate. It’s disgusting, to say the least.

The Akron Beacon Journal reports:

The person who provided the tape did so for a promise of anonymity. That person felt called to action after reading about an exchange of lawsuits between Angley and another former Grace Cathedral pastor, the Rev. Brock Miller. Miller sued Angley in August, claiming that sexual abuse Angley inflicted upon him has caused permanent damage. Angley has countersued for defamation.

The source believed releasing the tape would show that Angley, who has preached vehemently against the “sin” of homosexuality, has a history of sexual abuse involving his employees.

The assistant minister on the tape is the Rev. Bill Davis, who left the church after learning about Angley’s activities. Although Davis made the original recording, he did not provide the tape and had absolutely nothing to do with initiating this story. In fact, he only reluctantly agreed to talk about the tape after praying about the decision and consulting his wife and his attorneys.

….

The existence of the recording had been rumored for decades and is often cited by former members as the reason Grace Cathedral suffered a significant drop in membership in 1996. Estimates of the number of parishioners who left what was then a megachurch range from 100 to 300. (The church has long declined to release information about the size of its membership.)

It is unknown how many copies of the recording exist, or how many people have heard it. But the Beacon Journal spoke with five people with former ties to the church who said they had listened to it.

….

The person who offered the tape to the Beacon did so because that person read a two-part Beacon Journal series about the Rev. Miller published early last year, then later read about Miller’s lawsuit against Angley. The source believes Miller is telling the truth and thought releasing the tape might help his cause.

In last year’s articles, Miller said he had been sexually abused by Angley on and off for nine years and left the church in 2014 because he just couldn’t take it anymore. At least a dozen times, Miller said, his boss required him to disrobe and masturbate in front of him.

Miller said he grudgingly acceded because, having grown up in the church, he believed Angley was “the man of God” and wouldn’t ask him to do something that wasn’t right.

Starting in 2006, Miller said, Angley would summon him to his home for what he called a “special anointing,” in which Miller would be required to strip and lie on a circular bed while Angley massaged him.

For those of us who have followed Angley for decades, it comes as no surprise that he’s caught up in a homosexual sex scandal. If you are unfamiliar with Angley, here’s a 1980s two-minute interview that will tell you all you need to know about the man and his sexuality.

Video Link

Want more? Here’s a recent one hour video of Ernest Angley in operation, complete with music, preaching, healings and, of course, fund raising.

Video Link

 

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Children’s Pastor Matt Tonne Accused of Sex Crime

matt tonne

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.

Matthew “Matt” Tonne, associate children’s pastor at The Village Church in Flower Mound, Texas, stands accused of indecent contact with a child. The alleged contact took place at the Mt. Lebanon Retreat and Conference Center in Cedar Hill, Texas. The Village Church is pastored by Southern Baptist luminary Matt Chandler.

Baptist Press reports:

Matthew David Tonne, the 35-year-old accused, was dismissed as associate children’s minister from the Southern Baptist megachurch on an unrelated matter in June, senior pastor Matt Chandler said Jan. 24 in video and printed comments at thevillagechurch.net. The alleged crime occurred at the Mt Lebanon Retreat and Conference Center, a Baptist ministry in Cedar Hill, Texas.

“We want to state clearly that there are no persons of interest in this investigation that have access to children at The Village Church,” Chandler said. “We would not let anyone who is under investigation for a crime like this be near any of our children at TVC.”

Tonne, a husband and father of three, had been out of jail since Jan. 9 on $25,000 bond. His original court date of today (Jan. 29), has been rescheduled to Feb. 7, based on documents filed in Dallas County District Court.

The Village Church is making at least one change in its ministry to children, Chandler said in the website comments.

“We have decided to no longer do overnight events with elementary children based on counsel from MinistrySafe,” Chandler said, referencing the ministry founded by attorneys to help churches, camps and ministries protect children from sexual abuse. Additionally, the church has hired a director of care, Summer Vinson Berger, whom Chandler described as a licensed professional counselor skilled in trauma care.

“She is helping us evaluate all of our current practices and will help us further strengthen our ministry here,” Chandler said. “We view physical and emotional safety as a top priority and will continue to pour resources into that area.”

….

No details of the 2012 incident were available, other than a statement about the health of the victim and the victim’s family.

“Earlier this year, the minor came to a place where it was possible to verbalize the memory of what happened for the first time through ongoing therapy. (Cedar Hill Police) Detective (Michael) Hernandez has been investigating the case since that time,” Chandler said. “It took courage and strength for the child and the family to share this information, and we want to support them in any way possible.”

The church has no other reported incidents of abuse at the 2012 camp event, Chandler said.

“We have been working with the family and Detective Hernandez to do all that we can to bring healing and the light of justice to this situation,” he said, “including the decision to make this investigation public now.”

Parents and children at The Village Church have no need to fear for their safety from sexual predators at church events, Chandler said.

“We are committed to doing all that we can to protect our children,” he said.

Pastor Chandler might want to pay attention to the news (or this website). Parents have EVERYTHING to fear when it comes to entrusting Evangelical churches with their children. Sexual predators are deeply embedded within Evangelical congregations. Thoughtful, protective parents ought not to let their children out of their sight. Chandler can’t know for sure if there are other predators lurking in the shadows of the Village Church. Is his “word” good enough?

You can read the church’s press release here.