Black Collar Crime

Black Collar Crime: Catholic Priest Douglas Haefner Accused of Stealing $500,000 From Church

douglas haefner

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.

Douglas Haefner, pastor of St. Matthias Church in Somerset, New Jersey, stands accused of stealing $500,000 from the church he faithfully pastored for twenty-seven years.

Bishop James F. Checchio said of the matter:

(Haefner) came to see me in my office, and he said, ‘I need help I’ve been sick. My physical but also emotional problems that I’ve been struggling with are feeding off each other. Some of my emotional problems have led to compulsive behavior on my part, and the compulsive behavior cost money I borrowed money from the parish.

In a letter to the 3,250 families on the roll at St Mathias, Checchio wrote:

It is with sadness that I must inform you that Father’s resignation coincides with serious questions and concerns that recently have been raised regarding the handling of parish finances. Father came to me about his own health problems and these financial issues in recent weeks and has expressed his sorrow for his actions and for letting us all down.

Astoundingl,  the finances at St. Mathias have not been audited since 2009. According to church law, St. Mathias should have had an active priest-appointed financial council that met at least quarterly to review the church’s budget and prepare its annual report. The financial council hasn’t been active in years. This left the fox in the hen house — Father Haefner — with the duty to prepare the church’s annual financial reports. What could go wrong, right?

The allegations against Heaefner are being investigated by local law enforcement.

An attorney for Haefner, Matthew Adams, released the following statement on behalf of his client:

To know Father Doug is to know a caring man who has spent decades ministering to parishioners from all walks of life, including during times of extreme peril. Father Doug has indeed stepped back from his public ministry to address serious health issues. It is quite unfortunate that, as he steps out of the public, some have used the opportunity to violate the confidentiality that, as a matter of law, attaches to those health-related issues. With respect to the allegations being leveled against him, Father Doug enjoys the same constitutional presumption of innocence as any other citizen.

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Youth Pastor Daniel Goodloe Charged With Rape

daniel goodloe

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.

Daniel Goodloe, a youth pastor at the West Nashville Dream Center in Nashville, Tennessee, has been arrested and charged with five counts of rape by an authority figure. Goodloe was also one of the stars on A&E’s Undercover High — a show featuring adults posing as high school students.

The West Nashville Dream Center is a ministry of Crosspoint Church, pastored by Kevin Queen.

The Dream Center released the following statement:

We are deeply saddened by the circumstances surrounding the arrest of Daniel Goodloe, a former part-time employee at the West Nashville Dream Center. Goodloe has not been employed nor associated with the center since he left the program in April 2018.

The mission of the West Nashville Dream Center is to protect and empower those in our community living in distress. Anything that compromises the young people in our care is of the utmost concern to us. Our top priority is to provide a safe environment for our students, volunteers and staff. We have a zero-tolerance policy for harmful behavior, and require our employees and volunteers to undergo thorough training on appropriate interactions with students.

Our prayers are with all who have been negatively impacted by this situation, especially the student and her family.

Queen released a video statement about Goodloe’s arrest. You can view it here.

Black Collar Crime: Lutheran Pastor Bryan Engfer Accused of Theft

pastor bryan engfer

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.

Bryan Engfer, former pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, stands accused of embezzling more than $13,000 from the church’s “Pastor’s Discretionary Fund.”  According to WISC-3, Engfer used the pilfered funds to purchase a car and to pay for a country club membership. The money was supposed to used for helping people in need. Evidently, Engfer was “needy.”

Engfer faces up to six years in prison if convicted.

Black Collar Crime: Baptist Pastor Stephen Brown Accused of Voyeurism

voyeurism

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.

Stephen Brown, pastor of Seven Lakes Baptist Church in Stanwood, Washington and a teacher at Arlington Christian School in Arlington, Washington, stands accused of voyeurism. A USB drive allegedly belonging to Brown was found in Arlington Christian’s parking lot. The drive contained up-skirt videos of several of Brown’s students. According to KIRO-7 News, there are hundreds of videos that investigators are going through, hoping to identify other victims.  Brown’s bond was set at $100,000.

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical John Longaker Continues to Pastor After Sex Crime Conviction

john longaker

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.

My friends at The Wartburg Watch have written several posts about Evangelical Pastor John Longaker’s sordid past; his conviction and prison sentence for having an illicit sexual relationship with a minor girl, Kelly Haines, while he was a teacher at Faith Baptist Academy in Sellersville, Pennsylvania. You can read the original 1997 news report here.  Today, Longaker is pastor of Fellowship Bible Church in Bomoseen, Vermont.

The Wartburg Watch contacted Longaker, informing him that they intended to publish a story about his past.  WW provided a summary of their conversation with Longaker:

He claimed that he was innocent of the charges. His lawyer told him to pled guilty so that he would get *only probation.* He appeared to say that his lawyer is to blame for his prison term.

At first, he was friendly as he attempted to convince me he was innocent. He became progressively upset when I questioned his version of events.

He claimed that he and his wife are the real victims, saying that they have suffered every day since the trial. “Not a day doesn’t go by that I don’t think about this.”

He attempted to convince me that Kelly was out for revenge and that he was glad when she was arrested for a *false report.* I asked him if he understood the trauma Kelly suffered at his hands and how that might have caused her to think she was seeing him around her town. He did not answer my question.

He claimed that he was going to make a statement to his church on 10/7/18. I asked him if he would share a copy of that statement and he said he would send it to me. I offered to post it in its entirety. It was no surprise to me that I never received the statement.

I told him that I would be writing about Kelly’s story and would use his name. He wanted me to be sure to mention that he was innocent.

When I asked why he was convicted if he was innocent, he claimed that the DA had it out for teachers in Christian schools.

He claimed that his church members asked him 3 times to be the pastor so he believed that this is what God wanted. I’m a bit unclear as to whether he actually told the church of his incarceration a priori. They know now due to Kelly’s diligence. If he did say something,  I’m sure he declared his innocence and that he merely pled guilty so he wouldn’t go to prison like his lawyer promised… Apparently one woman told Kelly that he went to prison to prevent going through the trauma of the trial.

Here is the most interesting (at least to me) part of our conversation. He asked me if I believed in redemption. At this point, I smiled. I knew the direction that he was going in and I also knew that he didn’t understand how this part of the conversation would lead me to conclusively believe in his guilt.

I told him that, of course, I believe in redemption since I’m a Christian. However, redemption, after appropriate repentance, doesn’t mean that a person should be restored to the pastorate. It simply means he is now restored to being a member in good standing of the church. I reiterated that I do not believe that any pastor or teacher, etc. who abuses a student or has an affair with a member of the church should ever be allowed to be a pastor. He disagreed with me.

I explained that teachers who are now convicted of sexual activity with students go to prison and lose their licenses permanently. Did he feel that churches should have lower standards than public schools? Again, he offered no response to my question.

At this point, he brought up how the apostle Paul was forgiven and went on to be a church leader. This is one of the silliest and most common *gotcha* proof texts that I hear frequently. Do people actually read their Bibles? I told him that Paul persecuted Christians BEFORE he became a Christian and that had he continued that activity after his conversion he would have been booted out!

He claimed that there was nothing in the Bible that proved he could not be a pastor. I, of course, referred him to 1 Timothy 3 which proves my point. He disagreed.

Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task. Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full[a] respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?)  He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap. (NIV)

However, I believe that he made a serious mistake in this discussion. If Longaker didn’t need redemption, why did he ask me if I believed in redemption? Why did he bring up the sins of Paul if he was totally innocent. If I was accused of a crime that I didn’t commit, I would absolutely refuse to discuss a need for redemption. I am now of the opinion that his discussion with me revealed that, deep down, he feels the need for forgiveness for his actions with Kelly. I fully believe that this man is guilty and should not step one foot in the pulpit.

Since, posting the original story, WW has been contacted by two other women who allege that Pastor Longaker sexually took advantage of them.

Articles published by The Wartburg Watch on this subject include:

John Longaker, a Convicted Predator, Is Now a Pastor and His Brave Victim, Kelly Haines, Wants to Know Why

Pastor John Longaker: Another Woman Recounts Her Sexual Encounter and a Third Woman Describes Her Counseling Experience #churchtoo

An Email from a Convicted Predator: Pastor John Longaker and a Challenge for TWW Readers

Today, WW posted an email Pastor Longaker sent them. Here’s the text of the email:

Hi Dee,

I have been doing a lot of thinking and praying about our conversation yesterday. I don’t know your blog at all so I am having a hard time understanding the purpose of your article on me. If you are writing it because you feel that you need to warn people about me then I guess you need to know this: I am pastor of an autonomous non-denominational church of between 80 and 90 attendees.

Since this is not the first time that Kelly has tried to destroy me by contacting different people in my church, there are many people who are aware of my past and have accepted me. They are aware of the charges and they are aware that I pled guilty. I have offered to resign on three separate occasions and my offer was rejected. So, if you want to expose me then after Sunday they all will know in my church anyway.

One of the members who knows was a woman who was sexually abused as a child. Another who knows was raped twice as a young woman. They both love me and trust me. I believe that I have helped both of them very much. One I was able to aid in counselling her out of her bulimia and suicide attempts. She continues to make significant progress.

I understand and respect your view on whether I should be a pastor or not. I talked to my wife about our conversation (incidentally we have been married for 31 years.) She knew Kelly very well.And has stood by me through all of this because she believes that her accusations weren’t true either. She wanted me to tell you again that Kelly was troubled before I ever began counseling her. (Maybe troubled by other sexual encounters?) She said that it’s ultimately up to the church to decide whether I should be their pastor or not and just because you don’t agree with that, does it give you the license to mention me by name? Needless, to say she was very upset that we have to continually live through this nightmare.

One final thought, if after Sunday the church wants to keep me, don’t you think the fact that my name will be on the internet again will damage the church going forward? If they choose not to keep me then your objective will have been met without writing the article. Our church is a loving, growing compassionate church. This blog can only hurt, not help. If your motive is to help, this is not the way to do it.

Even if I did the horrible things that Kelly said I did, I have been forgiven. I served a sentence that was outside the sentencing guidelines. It is not like this has been hidden. I served a public sentence, paid the price, and tried to put the past behind me. I believe that this has made me a better pastor. I have spent 20 years rebuilding my life and my reputation.

I truly appreciate you reaching out to me. Forgive me for using you as a sounding board but I have 20 years of humiliation and frustration pent up. For my own emotional health, I finally had to say something to someone outside of the church. My fear is that my denial of the accusations is just going to stir up the #metoo people all the more. I am already getting emails and phone calls from strangers.

Incidentally, I feel that her tweet was very unfair in addition to being untrue.

Regular readers of the Black Collar Crime series will easily spot the money quote in Longaker’s email: Even if I did the horrible things that Kelly said I did, I have been forgiven.

Even if he did it, Jesus has forgiven him! All praise be to the Lord, right?

blood of jesus

It will be interesting to see if Longaker continues as pastor of Fellowship Bible Church.

Black Collar Crime: IFB Youth Pastor Victor Monteiro Pleads Not Guilty to Sex Crimes

victor monteiro

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.

Malo “Victor” Monteiro, former youth pastor at Faith Baptist Church in Wildomar, California and former assistant pastor at Menifee Baptist Church in Menifee, California, stands accused of sexually abusing numerous children over a twenty year period. On August 16, 2018, Monteiro pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Three women have gone public with allegations that Monteiro sexually molested them while employed as a youth pastor at Faith Baptist Church — an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) institution.

Joe Nelson, a reporter for The Press-Enterprise wrote a feature story detailing the allegations. What follows is an excerpt from his report:

April Avila said she was 14 when her youth pastor at Faith Baptist Church in Wildomar began grooming her for sexual abuse.

It started out as horseplay with Malo “Victor” Monteiro, who was twice the girl’s age. He would throw a playful jab to her arm, teasingly touch or tug at her hair, call her pet names, and often ask her to help with special projects and work.

Then, things got intimate.

Malo “Victor” Monteiro, 45, of Colton was arrested July 27, 2018, on suspicion of sexually assaulting several underage girls, members of his youth group at Faith Baptist Church in Wildomar, from 1999 to 2017.

“What was once a friendly punch to the shoulder became a caressing touch. He would often wrestle me to the ground in response to teasing, his hands ending up in the wrong places. He would splash water on my shirt or push me into a pool or the ocean and then stand and watch as I walked out, laughing and ogling the entire time,” Avila, 32, said in an “open letter” she recently posted on Facebook.

Two other alleged victims of Monteiro, as well as Monteiro’s sister-in-law, Kathy Durbin, also have posted their stories on Facebook. Durbin claims to have been sexually abused in her teens by the church’s former bus director, which was never reported to police, even though church pastor Bruce Goddard and his wife knew about the allegations.

The four women went public with their stories following Monteiro’s July 27 arrest by the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department on suspicion of molesting several teenage girls from the church over an 18-year period, from 1999 to 2017. They said they hope that by coming forward, any others who have endured similar abuse will be encouraged to come forward as well.

….

Less than 10 days before Monteiro’s arrest, one of his alleged victims, Rachel Peach, filed a lawsuit against Faith Baptist Church in Riverside County Superior Court, alleging the church was negligent in allowing the abuse to occur. Peach claims her relationship with Monteiro started in the fall of 2007, when she was 15, and advanced to sexual intercourse in the summer of 2008.

Monteiro, according to the lawsuit, threatened Peach, telling her if anyone found out “it would damage her reputation and he would simply deny it.” She claims the church was aware of other inappropriate sexual relationships between youth pastors and their congregants and should have known Monteiro had been sexually abusing her.

Bruce Goddard, pastor of Faith Baptist Church, did not return repeated telephone calls seeking comment.

Grooming started with texts
Although the Southern California News Group typically does not identify alleged victims of sexual abuse, Avila, Peach and another woman, Lea Ramirez, have come forward publicly with their stories. Ramirez claims she was 14 when she began receiving inappropriate text messages from Monteiro, who is married and has four children.

“I was confused because he was a married man, but flattered that he was thinking about me. He was my youth pastor, after all,” Ramirez said in her Facebook post. She said she never had sexual intercourse with Monteiro, but added that he would make her feel guilty when she refused.

“He then became very persistent and would say things like, ‘Stop pretending you don’t want it.’ ‘You’re all talk and no game.’ ‘You’re just a tease,’ ” Ramirez said in her Facebook post. She said Monteiro was the reason she left the church when she was 15.

Durbin, Monteiro’s sister-in-law, alleges she was a victim not of Monteiro, but of the church’s former bus director — a man whom she considered a father figure and whose family she often babysat for. He initiated a sexual relationship with her in the early 1990s, when she was 15. He frequently complimented her on her looks, bought her gifts, and was someone Durbin could confide in. Father-daughter-like kisses on the cheek turned into kisses on the lips, and then the two started having sex.

“I didn’t like it. I felt awkward and it was uncomfortable and gross,” said Durbin, 43, who now lives in Montana with her family. “I was emotionally his little girl, and so I let him have what he wanted to keep this father-daughter relationship going. I didn’t realize it at the time, but looking back, it’s very clear that he had groomed me.”

When Goddard learned of the relationship, he did not contact police, but instead moved the bus director, who was never charged with any crime and therefore is not being named, to another church out of state, according to Durbin. She said Goddard’s wife, Tammy Goddard, blamed her for what happened and called her a “homewrecker.”

“She just assumed it was my fault. I just remember sitting there crying and feeling so completely alone. I remember regretting telling Pastor Goddard,” Durbin said in her Facebook post.

She said she and Monteiro both attended the church as teens, and that Monteiro was aware of what happened to Durbin because he was dating her sister, whom he married.

“Victor has used my story and the cover-up of my situation to keep multiple teen girls quiet about what he was doing to them,” Durbin said. “Victor told these girls my story and that nothing happened.”

….

You can read the entire story here.

You can read a previous story about Pastor Bruce Goddard here.

Black Collar Crime: Southern Baptist Pastor Gary Miller Charged With Rape

pastor gary miller

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 Miller, pastor of Sycamore Baptist Church in Springfield, Missouri, stands accused of raping a female church member. Previously, Miller had been investigated on child abuse allegations, but never charged.

According to the Springfield News-Leader:

Officials say a Springfield man accused of using an elaborate scheme to extort and rape a woman was a pastor.

And a former churchgoer says the pastor admitted at least parts of the act to his congregation six years ago.

Gary Miller, 41, was charged Tuesday with forcible rape and forcible sodomy following allegations that he sent “anonymous” threat letters to set up a sexual assault in 2012.

Sherry Clark said Miller was her pastor in 2012 at Sycamore Baptist Church in Springfield.

Clark said one day in 2012, Miller stood in front of the congregation and admitted to having sex with the victim.

Clark said she could not remember if Miller also admitted to other parts of the alleged scheme, like sending the threat letters.

“I was shocked because he’s got kids of his own,” Clark said. “He never seemed like he would be that type of guy.”

Clark said the day of Miller’s admissions was her last at Sycamore Baptist Church, and she assumed that Miller would soon face legal consequences.

Clark said she doesn’t understand why it took six years for charges to be filed in the case.

“Why they are just now opening up a case about it is insane to me,” Clark said.

Public court documents indicate police only recently became aware of the alleged rape scheme while they were investigating other sexual abuse allegations made against Miller.

According to a probable cause statement, a woman told police last week that in August 2012 she got a letter in the mail from an “anonymous” sender that threatened harm against her loved ones if she did not film herself having sex with Miller.

The statement says the woman confided in Miller about the letter, and he suggested they meet in person to discuss what to do.

Miller allegedly told the woman that he did not want to have sex with her, but he felt like they had no choice.

The statement says the woman first pushed Miller away but eventually gave in and had sex with Miller as he used his cellphone to film the encounter.

After the incident, the statement says Miller insisted on tucking the victim into bed and praying with her.

The statement says that last week Miller admitted to writing the letters and carrying out the scheme in a conversation with his wife.

….

Miller faces a possible life sentence if convicted of forcible rape.

Black Collar Crime: So Many Crimes, So Little Time Issue

black collar crimes

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.

joseph hudson

Joseph Hudson Accused of Sexually Molesting Girl at Evangelical Church Daycare

Joseph Hudson, an employee of Hobart Assembly and Growing Hearts Childcare & Learning Center in Hobart, Indiana, stands accused of sexually molesting a four-year-old girl while working at the daycare.

The Chicago Tribune reports:

Police received a report from a man who said his daughter returned home from day care and said she was stung by a bee on her calf, a probable cause affidavit states. Hudson brought the girl into a classroom, put her on his lap and inappropriately touched her, according to the affidavit.

Hudson “was employed as a cook for the day care and lately they had been short-staffed so (Hudson) helped with the children,” the affidavit states. Hudson “assisted in the youth programs,” and he had “passed all background checks and was cleared to work with the day care,” according to the affidavit.

On the day of the alleged incident, “both teachers had to leave the day care and (Hudson) was the only person available to watch the children,” the affidavit states. Hudson “was the only adult in the day care during lunch,” according to the affidavit.

The father reported the incident to the day care director, who said “she confronted (Husdon) about the allegations and that he denied touching the child,” the affidavit states.

The director notified the church pastor, who contacted Department of Child Services, and Hudson was put on leave while the investigation was completed, according to the affidavit. The pastor informed his supervisor and contacted Department of Child Services, the affidavit states.

The church’s pastors met with Hudson Sept. 27 about the reported incident and told Hudson “that he was no longer welcome at the church,” according to the affidavit.

Hudson told the pastors that he was filling in for another person Sept. 25 at the day care “and one of the children was ‘fussing’ so he calmed the child down so she wouldn’t wake the other children, the affidavit states.

Hudson “stayed very quite and it appeared that he wanted to say something,” the affidavit states, and one of the pastors asked Hudson, “What do you want to say that you are not saying?”

“(Hudson) put his head down and said in front of both pastors, ‘I did it,’” the affidavit states. Hudson cried and said “that he didn’t know why he did it,” according to the affidavit.

michael kell

“Pastor” Michael Kell Found Guilty of Tax Fraud

Michael Kell started First Meliorite Church so he could avoid taxes by funneling assets and income through the church. Kell failed to file several annual income tax returns, saying he was a minister under a “vow of poverty.” He was sentence to eighteen months in prison on Tuesday and ordered to pay pay $321,878.40 in restitution.

Patch.com reports:

 Dr. Michael Jon Kell, 68, was sentenced one year, six months in prison on Tuesday. He was also ordered to pay $321,878.40 in restitution to the IRS.

According to prosecutors, Kell developed numerous patented technologies and worked as a consultant, which generated millions of dollars in income over the years. To hide this income, he founded and was the “pastor” of the First Meliorite Church, which he claimed to be a branch of the Universal Life Church.

“Despite earning millions of dollars and living a lavish lifestyle, Dr. Kell failed to file tax returns for several years when he falsely asserted that he was a minister under a vow of poverty,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak.

“Kell thought he could outsmart the IRS and avoid paying his fair share of taxes to the government by hiding his personal wealth behind the doors of a church he created and controlled in an effort to thwart the IRS while living a lavish lifestyle,” said Thomas J. Holloman, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation. “Taxpayer’s who go to these lengths to evade paying their taxes will be investigated to the fullest extent and referred for prosecution to the Department of Justice in hopes of bringing individuals into compliance with the IRS.”

Kell directed his income and assets into bank accounts belonging to the church. He used these accounts to cover all of his personal expenses, including overseas vacations, dining out, high-end clothing purchases, online dating services, and private school tuition for his children. Kell also transferred ownership of his multi-million dollar residence in Vinings several times over the years to various entities he created and controlled, in an effort to protect the property from creditors, including the IRS.

In 2001, Kell was found guilty of Medicaid fraud and tax evasion.

Kell’s bio page states:

Michael Jon Kell, MD PhD has dedicated his professional life to improving physical, mental and spiritual health. His research interests are vast, exploring fields as diverse as quantum physics, artificial kidneys, polymer chemistry, drug addiction, pain management, quantitative urine drug monitoring, longevity medicine, herbal medicine, prayer and spirituality. Dr. Kell teaches, “A wise researcher, firstly, considers the social consequences of succeeding, and secondly, listens to his or her conscience so to guide the final decision.”

Perhaps this is why he and his associates have spent untold hours converting their laboratory  discoveries into commercially viable products which help and do not hurt.  Michael holds 12 U.S. patents (with many associated foreign filings) and has authored ten books many poems and stories,  and over fifty scientific publications. He writes for both scientific and general audiences, presents seminars and workshops and has been interviewed on local and national radio and television.

Michael is the founding director of the Institute For Conscious Evolution and Human Development. The Institute is a modern mystery school sponsored by the original, Esoteric School arising in predynastic Egypt. This School provides pragmatic, dogma-free instruction to persons desiring objective knowledge as to the hows and whys of creation, proven methods for awakening personal awareness and establishing individual atemporal permanence, the nature of the spiritual work of the Saints and Masters and many practical skills. The school’s work efforts are designed for demonstrating how one can become a cosmically-significant individual capable of laboring for the betterment of all life and mind. Dr. Kell is a well-respected medical scientist, psychiatrist, inventor, engineer, poet, storyteller, and free-thinker

jody sambrick

United Methodist Pastor Jody Sambrick Arraigned on Child Porn Charges

Jody Sambrick, pastor of Hopeland United Methodist Church in Lititz, Pennsylvania, was recently arraigned on child pornography charges.

Fox-43 reports:

A 58-year-old Lancaster County man is facing several charges relating to child pornography after police  seized several computers and accessories last month during a search of his home in West Lampeter Township.

Jody Sambrick, of the 1700 block of Pioneer Road, was charged after members of the Lancaster County Digital Forensics Unit found several images and videos depicting child pornography during an examination of the seized items, according to West Lampeter Township Police.

Sambrick turned himself in on October 19 and was arraigned on three counts of child pornography, one count of dissemination of child pornography, and two counts of criminal use of a communication facility before Magisterial District Judge Joshua R. Keller. All the charges are felonies, police say.

Sambrick is a pastor at Hopeland United Methodist Church in Lititz, according to the United Methodist Church’s official website  and the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of the United Methodist Church website, which lists him as pastor at Hopeland and a West District clergy member.

dalton lanphier 

Trinity Life Baptist Church, Garland, Texas Sued For Negligence and Fraud

In 2016, Dalton Lanphier, youth pastor at Trinity Life Baptist Church in Garland, Texas  was sentenced to thirty years in prison on sexual assault charges. The mother of one of his victims has sued the church on behalf of her son, alleging negligence and fraud.

The Dallas News reports:

The mother of a boy who was molested by a former youth pastor of a Garland church is suing the church for negligence and fraud, saying it aided and abetted child abuse, according to court records.

Julia Davis, who now lives in Colorado, claims Trinity Life Baptist Church failed to report sexual abuse by Dalton Lanphier, 23, of Forney, or take any action against him.

….

Davis says in her lawsuit that Lanphier met her son when he was in middle school and abused him while allowing the boy to drive his vehicle.

“Through his position as youth minister, Lanphier came to know and gained access to minors and their families,” the lawsuit says. “Lanphier then used his position to sexually molest, abuse and assault minors.”

The lawsuit said the church “owed a duty to protect children from Lanphier, a sexual predator working as a youth minister.”

Trinity Life Baptist Church could not be reached for comment. An insurance company lawyer who is defending the church in the lawsuit also could not be reached.

The church opened its doors in 1992, according to its website.

Davis filed her lawsuit in Dallas County district court in August, seeking more than $1 million in damages. The church recently filed court papers seeking to move the suit to federal court.

In pukingly Baptist fashion, Lanphier has, through Mike Barber Ministries, seen the “light.” Here is an April 2018 video of Lanphier giving his testimony, one of deliverance and restored relationship with Jesus. As I said, puke, puke, puke, puke. Note that Lanphier never confesses what he actually did.

Video Link

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Gary Ray Accused of Diverting Donations for His Own Use

pastor gary ray

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 Ray, pastor of Restoration Church on Camano Island, Washington stands accused of stealing relief funds meant for disaster victims while he was pastor at Oso Community Chapel.

Stanwood Camano News reports:

At the Oso Community Chapel, following the 2014 mudslide that killed 43 people, Ray is accused of stealing $40,000 in donations for the chapel and affected families. At least $6,000 also was reported taken from Restoration Church Camano, which Ray started and where he worked after being fired in 2014 from the Oso church, according to charging documents.

The investigation started on Camano when the Island County Sheriff’s Office was contacted in August 2017 with concerns of possible theft from the church. Investigators later learned about the Oso loss and an earlier problem with a church in California, according to reports.
Ray admitted he collected money under false pretenses at both local churches and transferred it into his personal bank account with no intention of using the money for the reasons given to donors, according to the investigative reports.

As pastor on Camano, Ray wrote several Meditation columns published in the Stanwood Camano News. In one from January 2015, Ray wrote, “… success should be pursued. … The prevailing view links success with wealth and status.”

Oso Community Chapel released the following statement:

The leadership of Oso Community Chapel understands that there are many questions regarding the recent allegations against former pastor Gary Ray. While the investigation is still ongoing and the impending court procedures are in their infancy, we are not in a position to respond to questions at this point. Oso Chapel always has and continues to operate with integrity and transparency concerning finances, ministry pertaining to mudslide families, and ministerial operations at large. The allegations against Gary Ray are not a reflection on the rest of the leadership during the time of his forced resignation, the current board and pastoral staff, nor the heart of the members of Oso Community Chapel.

We are deeply saddened that this has come about in the midst of the terrible tragedy of March 2014. We are confident that those in the community of Oso have seen the way in which the leadership of Oso Chapel and its members have endeavored to show the love of Christ through relationship and outreach. We are also confident in the strength of the entire community of Oso and in our ability to come together in the midst of a challenge such as this. We continue to pray, as we always do, for God’s love to pour out into every home and heart of all who are impacted by the slide, and now, those impacted by these recent allegations.

While I understand the church wants to be viewed as the victim here, before I am willing to give them a pass, I would like to know what oversight and controls were in place regarding church funds. Far too often, Evangelical pastors are given complete control over church finances and accounts. Churches “trust” that their pastors will be honest and ethical — and most of the time they are. However, I subscribe the the Ronald Reagan school of thought: Trust but Verify.

The Daily Herald adds:

“I believe that all are here for a purpose, and that purpose is to love God and love others,” Ray told The Daily Herald in 2014. “… It is in times like these that character is developed, and by faith, hope is found.”

His salary in Oso had been around $66,000 a year.

Ray started Restoration not long after the slide. The Oso chapel leaders were not on board with the plan, which created tension, according to court papers. There also were questions about his handling of money, though the timeline for that is unclear. He became frustrated when he was not allowed free rein with fundraising, police were told.

Ray was fired from the Oso church in May 2014, after about four years on the job. Many of the details were kept quiet. His bosses there later told investigators they checked with his former church in California, and it also described problems around him and finances.

At Restoration Church Camano, police believe that Ray wrote the bylaws in a way that avoided restrictions on his use of church funds. At that time, Ray reported that he was drawing an annual salary of $30,000, but it wasn’t in writing and others said that didn’t sound accurate.

A Baptist network affiliated with Restoration was sending Ray another $2,500 a month for the new church, deputies were told. He’d passed on the network’s offer to hire a bookkeeping firm. Members of the congregation, meanwhile, said they were told the Baptist network was handling Restoration’s accounts.

Among other allegations, people at Restoration said that Ray took up collections for projects that were not completed. In particular, prosecutors cited $6,000 raised, purportedly for new carpet. References to the money disappeared from the church’s records, and the carpet never showed up, according to court papers.

Some at the Camano church have alleged much greater losses.

Until the criminal investigation came to Oso, church leaders there were unaware of the $40,000 in reportedly diverted checks, prosecutors say. Those funds were in addition to about $350,000 that was donated to victims through the church, distributed and tracked. The chapel was one of several local and regional organizations that received and managed disaster relief efforts.

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Youth Pastor Paxton Singer Charged With Sexual Exploitation

paxton singer

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.

Paxton Singer, a youth pastor for Harvest Bible Chapel in Aurora, Illinois stands accused of sexually exploiting a 16-year-old church boy.

The Chicago Tribune reports:

Singer was charged with misdemeanor sexual exploitation of a child and disorderly conduct, according to court records, which say he “knowingly enticed a person under 17 years of age to remove their clothing for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification of the defendant or the child,” asked the boy about his sexual habits and invited him to spend the weekend with him.

Singer is accused of sending the text messages between October 2016 and August 2017 after first meeting the teen when he attended an event at the church’s campus in Aurora, where Singer worked at the time, according to a news release from the Kane County state’s attorney’s office.

….

A statement from Harvest Bible Chapel said Singer was “involuntarily terminated for cause” on Jan. 7 “related to incidents that required (Department of Children and Family Services) notification,” and that DCFS was alerted the same day.

School and church officials and employees are required by law to alert authorities if they become aware of a claim or abuse against a child.

The church also said that “parents related to (Singer’s) ministry on multiple campuses were also informed by email on January 7, 2018.”

A DCFS official said the charges filed against Singer this week did not result from the January report but from a second report made months later.

“In June of 2018, DCFS received a hotline report and began an investigation involving Paxton Singer for the allegation of sexual exploitation,” Bret Angelos, an attorney for the agency, wrote in an email response to questions from the Tribune. “The DCFS child protection investigation was completed in October 2018, and Paxton Singer was indicated for sexual exploitation.”

Church officials said they made three separate reports in January related to alleged inappropriate actions between Singer and three individuals.

“Three incidents related to the former employee in question were all reported to DCFS during the second and third week of January 2018. Further contact between our staff and DCFS beyond that time period were follow-up related and did not involve any new incidents,” Scott Milholland, Harvest Bible Chapel’s chief operating officer and senior executive pastor, said in an email response to questions from the Tribune.

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor John Schouten Resigns Over Past Sex Crime

pastor john schouten

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 Schouten, pastor of Vineyard Grace Fellowship (VGF) in Newark (Heath), Ohio, recently resigned after it was discovered that Schouten had a sex crime in his past. While neither Schouten or VGF is willing to name the crime, an email sent to congregants stated Schouten did something that was “wrong, evil, and illegal.” The use of the word “illegal” narrows the field to: rape, sex with a minor, sexual assault of a minor, and a handful of other underage sex crimes.  According to the Newark Advocate, since the incident occurred 30 years ago, the statute of limitations has passed.

Much has been made of the fact that the crime in question was committed years ago, before Schouten was a Christian. VGF congregants are split over whether Schouten should stay or go. The former group believes that past sins are under the blood, cast into the sea of God’s forgetfulness. The latter group believes that Schouten’s crime is such that he can no longer be their pastor. Both groups, according to the Newark Advocate, are threatening to leave if they don’t get their way. Currently, VGF has 1,500 members — the largest church in Licking County.

My wife and I lived in Newark from September 2004 to July 2005. We attended VGF six or so times. We enjoyed the preaching and the music and found the congregation to be friendly. They were too charismatic for us, so we did not stay.

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Timothy Reddin Pleads Guilty to Sex Crime

timothy reddin

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.

Timothy Reddin, pastor of Turner Street Baptist Church in Springdale, Arkansas, was arrested after he attempted to solicit an undercover agent posing as a 14-year-old boy for sex. Previously, Reddin was convicted on child pornography charges and spent twenty-seven months in prison for his crimes.

Baptist News reports:

A former longtime Southern Baptist preacher whose ministry stalled 18 years ago when he went to prison for possessing child pornography is back in jail, this time for allegedly trying to meet a 14-year-old boy for sex.

Timothy Lee Reddin, 67, was arrested Aug. 3 on a federal warrant for attempted coercion and enticement of a minor. According to arrest documents, Reddin messaged an undercover Homeland Security Investigations agent posing online as an underage male to arrange a meeting for sex.

….

In the past Reddin served Southern Baptist churches in Arkansas and Texas for three decades before pleading guilty in 2000 to possessing at least 10 illegal images, including one depiction of a child under 12.

Two years earlier he reportedly resigned as director of missions for Central Baptist Association in Benton, Arkansas, after two people found child pornography on a computer he used and confronted him over it.

Reddin went to prison for 27 months, after admitting to the sentencing judge that he had a weakness for child pornography but insisting would never actually molest a child. He blamed his porn addiction on sexual abuse he said he suffered at age 10 at the hands of an older boy.

Character witnesses including a fellow pastor argued for leniency, saying they believed Reddin felt remorse and was sincere about wanting to reform.

Fox-24 adds:

The undercover officer said he was on a website on July 27 in an unrelated undercover capacity when he received an unprovoked message from a website user with the profile name “Lee,” according to the affidavit

“Lee” described himself in his profile as a 62-year-old white male, 6’1″, 215 pounds and married. The profile description said, “I just wanna have fun…I like younger guys. But hell, at my age that’s just about everybody! Discreet, intelligent, witty, professional guy. Love to meet new friends. Especially naked ones,” according to the affidavit.

The undercover officer began interacting with Lee after receiving the initial message from him.

Lee began the conversation by saying “I like your hashtag! I’m no fan of our lying Pres.” He then complimented the undercover officer, saying “You are wise beyond your years. :)”

As the conversation went on, Lee said, “Yeah, a good looking 18 yr old will get hit on a lot.” The undercover officer said he wasn’t 18 and that he was on the website while his parents were out of town.

Lee asked the undercover officer for his age. The undercover officer said he was going to turn 15 in November and wanted to be around like-minded guys, to which Lee asked, “Gay I suppose?”

As the conversation continued, Lee asked the undercover officer if he had sex other than masturbation. He then went on to tell the undercover officer that many men on the website will want to have oral sex with him.

Lee later asked the undercover officer what kind of sexual activity he is looking for and what he is ready for. Lee suggested starting with oral sex and to then move onto other types of sex. He also recommended taking it a step at a time, saying “Gay pron will be your friend for a while. :)”

The undercover officer then tells Lee that he’s looking for someone he can trust to be his first. Lee responds, “If I weren’t such an old fart I’d volunteer! Lol.”

After the undercover officer said he doesn’t care about age, Lee said, “I could meet you. No pressure to do anything you decide not to.” (sic)

Lee then said “Here’s what I have to offer” and sent graphic images of male genitalia.

Lee offered to meet the undercover officer the next day for a burger and then go somewhere private so he can “coach” him on oral sex.

The undercover officer told Lee that he felt he could trust him then jokingly asked if he is going to kidnap or kill him.

“Actually, I’m an axe murderer…,” Lee said. He then added, “I’m a gentle guy really. I’m a college teacher and a businessman.”

The undercover officer told Lee he couldn’t meet the next day. He and Lee discussed meeting another time, and Lee gave the undercover officer his phone number after the officer asked how to find Lee on the website at a late time. Lee says, “Text, don’t call. My name’s Lee.”

The undercover officer said Lee contacted him another time and offered to give him pointers on having sex for the first time and offered to assist him with his first sexual experience. Lee then said, “I’ll never tell! I could go to jail!”

Sure sounds like Reddin “reformed,” eh? How about he went right back to his predatory ways,because that’s what sexual predators do. Jesus can’t fix pedophiles, so it is up to the state to make sure the Reddins of the world do NOT have access to children. A mitigating factor was the fact that Reddin was molested as a teen. Sadly, all to often, those preyed upon become predators themselves.

Today, Reddin pleaded guilty to one count of attempted online enticement of a minor. The good pastor faces a minimum of ten years in prison.