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Category: Black Collar Crime

Black Collar Crime: Southern Baptist Pastor Joey Krol Charged With Sexually Grooming Teenager

pastor joey krol

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 “Joey” Krol, pastor of Rochester First Baptist Church in Rochester, Illinois, and operations manager and an on-air host for Christian radio station WLUJ, stands accused of sexually grooming a fifteen-year-old girl through Snapchat. Krol also pastored Galilee Baptist Church in Decatur, Illinois. Based on various news stories, Krol was the pastor of Galilee Baptist when the grooming took place. According to a statement on Galilee’s website, Krol left the church in June 2021.

The Herald & Review reports:

The former pastor of a Decatur church grabbed his phone and tried to wipe it of evidence he had been sending sexual messages and images to a 15-year-old girl when he realized the police were knocking on his door, a sworn affidavit said.

“Prior to answering the door, (Joseph M. Krol) is seen grabbing his cell phone and manipulating the buttons while standing in the kitchen area,” said Sgt. Roger Pope with the Macon County Sheriff’s Office.

“Deputies immediately located his phone, but (he) had factory reset the phone in an attempt to wipe all of the data.”

But the affidavit said it was already too late for the 36-year-old, who now pastors a church in Rochester, and was arrested Friday morning at an address in Dawson.

Pope said the family of the girl, who lives in Oreana, had previously turned over her phone to deputies. Evidence on the phone showed Krol had played sexually suggestive games with her and wanted nude photos.

“(She) allowed me to take over her Snapchat account and act as her while conversing with Krol,” said Pope in the affidavit. “During our conversations, Krol requested photos of (the girl) in her underwear. Unsolicited, he sent her Snapchat a video (showing the outline of his genitalia). He also asked her sexually explicit questions about … her fantasies to include her interest in older men.”

Pope said Krol tried to be careful and, believing he was speaking to the girl, would ask her to pan the room with her phone camera so that he could be sure no one else was present. He would then send her sexually explicit content.

Krol was booked on a preliminary charge of grooming, which is the offense of attempting to seduce, solicit, lure or entice a child to commit a sex act.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

You can contact Bruce via email, Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Rick Iglesias Sentenced to Nine Years in Prison for Sexual Assault

pastor rick iglesias

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

In July 2019, Rick Diego Iglesias, the former senior pastor of Pleasant Valley Church in Winona, Minnesota, was charged with three counts of first-degree criminal sexual assault, including heightened charges because the good pastor held a position of authority over the victim.

The Winona Post reported at the time:

In late July, Winona Police Department investigators interviewed the alleged victim, who reported that he or she was repeatedly abused and raped over roughly three years, from 2010 to 2012, according to the criminal complaint.

Iglesias served as the senior pastor at Winona’s Pleasant Valley Church from 1994 to 2014 and more recently worked as a pastor in Mars, Penn. In a statement, Pleasant Valley Church Senior Pastor Chad Ellenburg called the news “devastating.” He wrote, “We are heartbroken for [Iglesias’] wife, Nancy, and son, Brennan, as we cannot imagine the pain and devastation they are experiencing at this time. We are also hurting for the victim, but thankful that they had the courage to come forward. We are praying for them as well as anyone who might be affected here at Pleasant Valley or in this community.”

“We are also deeply grieved that our former pastor, by his actions and deception, failed to faithfully represent Jesus Christ and his Gospel,” Ellenburg continued. “We have done, and will continue to do, everything we can to fully cooperate with the authorities. We will also continue to support and pray for the family, the victim, and those who will carry the responsibility of pursuing justice in this situation.”

In 2007, Iglesias was interviewed by Trevin Wax for a The Gospel Coalition article. TGC has removed the article from their site, but I was able to find a cached copy of the interview. Here’s an excerpt:

I began by asking Rick about his spiritual background and his call to ministry. Rick grew up in a family environment that took seriously the commands of God. Though his family was Roman Catholic, Rick believes his early family life equipped him for future service in the way that “God was honored, prayer was valued, the church was central and service to others was modeled.” Rick’s religious upbringing shaped his values and experiences.

Rick came to saving faith in Christ during his freshman year in college through the ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ. During those years in college, Rick was discipled by other Christians and through his experiences he received a “greater vision for God’s purpose in the world and my part in that.”

As he began participating in local church ministry and foreign mission trips, Rick began to sense the Lord speaking to him about a calling to full-time ministry. To clarify this call, Rick spent extended times in the Word seeking to discern God’s call on his life. “I recall spending a weekend away during my senior year in college with a pastor friend, and as he prayed over me, he prayed a simple prayer, but one that the Lord used at that point in my life: ‘Rick, be like Jesus! Have compassion on the troubled, helpless crowds that have no Shepherd! Be ashamed to die until you have won a major victory for the unreached of the world.’” God used the encouragement and support of godly men around Rick to clarify his calling. “I’ve always believed that you need a specific call not to be in ministry. God calls us to change the world. I believe He called me through circumstances, the Word, people in my life, and an inner peace that continues to this day,” he says boldly. Though Rick understood that God had called him to the ministry, he had some doubts as to how that would all take place. He served full-time at a church for seven years in a college ministry before going to seminary. His journey to seminary was a leap of faith, for he had no money, time, or desire to devote four years to study. Yet, the Lord spoke through his Word and through the generosity of faithful Christians supplied all his financial needs while in seminary.

“Every time that God has spoken and I have tried to respond with obedience, He has more than met me where I needed Him to be,” he testifies.

Rick has never faced any doubts about being in full-time ministry, although rough leadership meetings or discouraging emails occasionally threaten to steal his focus. During the tough moments of ministry, Rick is sustained by the transformation he sees taking place in his people’s lives. “We have front row seats to the life-transforming acts of God!” he says. Being in ministry is a privilege.

When asked about the necessary character traits that Scripture demands of church leaders, Rick mentions two that encompass many others: a passion for God and a compassion for people. “If you have a passion for God, you will be honest and faithful, and you will love the Word, live out your faith, and develop a whole host of traits that God calls us to exhibit as we walk with Him. If you have compassion for people, you will be compassionate and patient, passionate toward the lost, and a whole host of other traits that we need to model in our relationships with people.” The rubric of “loving God” and “loving people” comes from Jesus himself. Therefore, Rick believes that our character traits will come from this perspective.

Rick’s personal struggle is maintaining an “all-consuming passion for God” every day. Though he prays and spends time in the Word, he finds that a burning passion for God’s presence often eludes him. Rick’s goal is to “be connected to Jesus each and every day, to walk so closely that I hear his heartbeat for the lost, for the least, for the lonely, for those that he places in my path.” Keeping that desire at the forefront of his spiritual life is his deepest struggle.

Rick mentions several ways he protects himself from temptation. He meets with two pastor friends every week for accountability. “I have been meeting with these pastors for over 12 years now, so we are transparent and free to share some of the ugliest aspects of our lives,” he says. He also has safeguards on the computer to ensure that internet pornography does not become a snare. He carries a small card in his wallet that lists all the blessings that come from his ministry and what would happen if he were to fall. “Remember – temptation is an opportunity to do good!” he says.

When asked about temptations that plague other ministers, he lists off character flaws and actions such as selfishness, pride, being an overbearing authority figure, compromising integrity, lack of sexual purity, and lacking balance between ministry and family.

…..

Iglesias resigned from Pleasant Valley Church in 2014. The Winona Post reported at the time:

Although he seems too humble to admit it, Rick Iglesias is the kind of man who cannot walk into a room without a few people rushing over to greet him with a strong handshake or an enthusiastic hug. Iglesias’ magnetism can be attributed to many things, from his friendly demeanor to his ever-present grin, but for many, it is his service as lead pastor of Pleasant Valley Church (PVC) for 20 years that stands out above all. “Our focus is to have a real, strong community presence,” Iglesias said. “[We try to have a] positive impact on the community in many ways.”

After resigning from his position this past fall, Iglesias is still very much active in the Winona community, evidenced from his time spent at Winona Senior High School (WSHS) talking to Spanish classes, as well as the abundance of people who make an effort to stop and thank him for his service over the years. His continued community involvement is not surprising; Iglesias and his wife Nancy have called Winona and PVC home since moving to Southeast Minnesota from suburban Chicago in October of 1994. For the past 20 years they have built a life together that includes their son, Brennan, a senior at WSHS, so it will be a bittersweet moment when Iglesias and his family move sometime after Brennan’s graduation in the spring. “When my wife and I came to Winona, we wanted to get involved in the community,” Iglesias explained. “We want to give back to Winona as much as we can.”

Over his tenure as lead pastor Iglesias has helped to shape the lives of people across many demographics, but he admitted to holding a special affinity toward young adults in the community, including college students and those with young families. “We have really strong ministries with youth,” he explained. “We try to make Christianity practical and accessible.” Prior to arriving in Winona, Iglesias worked at a college ministry, and was surprised at the lack of involvement between the church and Winona State University, Saint Mary’s University and Minnesota State College–Southeast Technical. “Here’s a town with three colleges and frankly, there was not a lot going on,” Iglesias remembered thinking. “We need to focus on the next generation.” In the coming years Iglesias, along with fellow PVC administrators and members, focused on how to involve the younger population of Winona, and started initiatives such as ministries aimed at middle school, high school and college students, Monday night contemporary service, and classes to help with money management and other life skills. “I’ve had college students come up to me and tell me ‘PVC has made all the difference [in] my college experience,’” Iglesias said. “There is no success without successors.”

….

In July 2021, Iglesias pleaded guilty to criminal sexual misconduct.

The Winona Post reported at the time:

Former Winona pastor Rick Diego Iglesias pled guilty today to repeatedly sexually abusing a child under 16, but whether he will be sentenced to prison time remains to be seen.

Iglesias, the 66-year-old former pastor of Pleasant Valley Church, was charged in 2019 with three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct after the victim told Winona Police Department investigators they were repeatedly abused from 2010 to 2012. A witness, Iglesias’ former boss at a Pennsylvania church, testified that Iglesias admitted to the crimes. Iglesias was charged with the highest-level sex crimes under Minnesota law because, prosecutors initially alleged, he held “a position of authority” over the victim and the victim was under 16. He pled not guilty earlier this year.

Under a plea deal announced today, the Winona County Attorney’s Office dropped the three original, first-degree charges, and Iglesias pled guilty to a lower but still serious charge of second-degree criminal sexual conduct.

Iglesias admitted he held a “significant relationship” over the victim beyond just being a pastor, and that the victim was under 16 at the time. Iglesias admitted to multiple instances of sexually abusing the minor over an extended period of time.

“Your reason for [pleading guilty] is primarily that you don’t want to put the victim through the trauma of having a trial, is that correct?” defense attorney Kurt Knuesel asked his client. “Yes,” Iglesias testified.

The plea deal leaves Iglesias’ sentence to be determined. The maximum sentence is 25 years in prison, and Leahy said the presumptive sentence in this case would be 7.5-15 years in prison. The three charges that were dropped carried penalties of up to 30 years each.

Knuesel hopes to persuade the court to sentence Iglesias to probation alone, with a stayed sentence hanging over his head if he violates probation. Prosecutor Christina Galewski said she’ll seek prison time.

Yesterday, he was sentenced to nine years in prison.

The Winona Post reports:

A two-year-long criminal case came to an emotional end on Wednesday as Judge Mary Leahy sentenced former Winona pastor Rick Diego Iglesias, 66, to nine years in prison for the crime of second-degree criminal sexual conduct. He pleaded guilty earlier this summer to abusing a child under 16, over whom he had a position of authority, many times between 2010 and 2012. The Winona Police Department and Winona County Attorney’s Office first brought charges in September 2019 after the victim came forward.

Earlier this summer, Leahy kept open the option of probation without prison time, and at Wednesday’s sentencing hearing mental health professionals testified that Iglesias was at low risk of reoffending. However, representing the victim’s wishes, Assistant County Attorney Christina Galewski pushed for the nine-year sentence Leahy ultimately agreed to.

Leahy said Iglesias’ position as a well-respected pastor “provided a mask” that partly enabled his abuse to go unnoticed and his crime hurt the community as well as the victim. She stressed the gravity of his offense. “It didn’t happen just once or twice, but many times over a period of time,” she said. Leahy continued, “You held a position of trust, and you violated that trust.”

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

You can contact Bruce via email, Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Youth Pastor Vincent Stites Convicted of Sexually Assaulting Church Teen

vincent stites

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

In February 2021, Vincent “Vince” Stites, a youth pastor at Friendship Assembly of God in Colorado Springs, Colorado and the owner of Hellscream Entertainment, was charged with sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust.

Fox-21 reported at the time:

Vincent Stites, 49, was arrested Wednesday on charges of sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust. Stites previously acted as a volunteer youth pastor at Friendship Assembly of God Church, according to police. His wife at the time was employed as a children’s minister at the church.

Stites was also a part owner of Hellscream Entertainment, which runs several popular haunted attractions in the Colorado Springs area. According to his LinkedIn page, Stites began that role in January 2009. He stepped down after the arrest, according to Hellscream’s co-owners.

….

According to arrest papers, the victim called police in September to report that she had been sexually assaulted by a person in a position of trust about 15 years prior.

The victim told officers that Stites, who is about 19 years older than her, had sexually assaulted her starting when she was about 14 years old, when she had aged out of a church program she was involved in. Stites was one of the adults in charge of the program, the victim told police.

The victim told police she had known Stites since she was 9, attending the church with her family.

The victim told police Stites first got physical with her around 2005. About seven months later, when she was 15, he manipulated her into having sex with him, according to the victim.

The victim told police Stites took her virginity and told her that she could not tell anybody, because he could lose his children.

The victim told police the sex continued for the next three years, sometimes weekly, sometimes monthly, and then quarterly, until she turned 18 and it stopped.

Police conducted a pretext phone call with Stites in December. During the call, Stites told the victim she was the first person he fell in love with, and acknowledged he thought they were going to get married, according to arrest papers.

“I want to be brutally honest with you,” he said during the call. ” I don’t want to end up in jail.”

Last week, Stites pleaded guilty and was sentenced to ninety days in jail.

The Gazette reported:

Vince Stites, a former volunteer youth pastor and haunted house owner who pleaded guilty to repeatedly sexually assaulting a teenager over 15 years ago, was sentenced to 90 days in prison Thursday.

Stites, who’s already spent 110 days in custody after confessing to the crime, will also have to serve at least 10 years of probation for sex offenders, which means he’ll have to register, and won’t be allowed to use the internet or be around anyone under the age of 18 until his supervisors allow him.

The sentence, harsher than Stites’ attorney hoped for, was handed down by district judge Marla Prudek, who said she’d taken his lack of a criminal record into consideration among other things, but questioned whether Stites, 49, was sincere in his confession or remorse.

Stites’ attorney, Allen Gasper, argued that Stites wasn’t a threat to the community, adding that the sexual assaults had happened almost 16 years before.

….

During Thursday’s hearing, the woman spoke about Stites, telling him and the court that he’d taken advantage of an impressionable teenager, and that she’d carried his secret, along with trauma from his assaults, well into adulthood.

“Every aspect of my life has been affected — my mental health, my job, my marriage,” the woman tearfully said Thursday. “But there could be other girls at risk of falling into his manipulative hands. That’s where I found my strength to call police.”

In a plea deal reached in June, Stites confessed to having an inappropriate sexual relationship with the woman, adding that he’d known how old she was at the time.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

You can contact Bruce via email, Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Jerome Milton Accused of Credit Card Abuse and Property Theft

pastor jerome milton

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.

Jerome Milton, pastor of Open Door Bible Church in Tyler, Texas, stands accused of two counts of credit or debit card abuse against the elderly and one count of property theft between $2,500 and $30,000.

The Tyler Morning Telegraph reports:

Jerome Rocky Milton, 65, of Tyler, was charged Saturday with two counts of credit or debit card abuse against the elderly and one count of property theft between $2,500 and $30,000. He remained Friday in the Smith County Jail since his arrest on bonds totaling $550,000.

Milton is the reverend for Open Door Bible Church in Tyler, and according to the arrest affidavit, Milton was helping take care of an elderly couple at church and had the power of attorney and finances for them.

The Tyler police investigation began when the elderly couple’s son heard two church members say Milton was misusing his parents’ bank cards and getting them to sign blank checks.

According to the affidavit, the investigation showed multiple debit card transactions and ATM withdrawals from the elderly husband’s bank card. The detective said multiple checks were written from the couple’s account to Milton and his personal and church accounts.

He repeatedly used the couple’s money to make personal payments on his own behalf, according to the affidavit.

Bank records and receipts showed the elderly man’s card was used to make a vehicle payment on Milton’s account with an auto repair shop. Records also showed Milton used the man’s card to pay for a loan at a used car business, the affidavit stated.

When questioned about using the couple’s cards to make his vehicle payments, Milton at first denied the act. When shown the receipt, the detective said Milton could not explain why that happened, the affidavit read.

The document also shows Milton used the couple’s bank cards to withdraw cash between March and July. The cash withdrawals totaled about $3,800.

A detective said Milton could not explain how the withdrawn cash was used for the couple’s benefit. Milton told the officer the elderly man liked to keep cash in his wallet as a reason for the cash withdrawals, the affidavit stated.

During the investigation of the couple’s bank cards, the detective learned Milton was previously the pastor at Greater New Pleasant Hill Baptist Church in Tyler, which was originally Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church.

According to the affidavit, Milton was asked to leave around 2018 by church membership because of “his handling of finances and other suspicious behavior on his part.”

Texas Bank and Trust records for Milton showed he deposited two checks totaling $5,000 written to him this past August from an American State Bank account named Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church. The checks were signed by Martha Roane, the affidavit read.

However, that American State Bank account was closed in 2018. Before Texas Bank and Trust officials were notified, Milton withdrew cash and paid bills with a portion of that $5,000, the affidavit read.

The closed account at Texas Bank and Trust had a negative balance of $2,991.52. When Milton wrote the first check of $3,000, the account balance was $21.29, the document stated.

The detective spoke to Kermit Lane, a current deacon with Greater New Pleasant Hill Baptist Church, who said the church did not write Milton those checks or any checks since he left the church about three years ago. He also said Greater New Pleasant has never had a bank account with American State Bank, according to the police document.

Lane told the detective Roane died earlier this year, and she was Milton’s personal secretary while at the church. At that time, she had no permission to sign any checks written from the church or make any financial decisions for the church, the affidavit stated.

Milton gave the police a document showing church trustees voted to allow him to open bank accounts in the church’s name. The account, which was closed in 2018, had several donation checks written to the church deposited during the year it was open. Several checks were also written from the account and it was used to pay personal expenses like cable bills and house rent, the affidavit stated.

Lane later told the detective Milton’s document allowing him to open the bank account was false, and Milton was only allowed briefly to access a church bank account to assist with payments for a building while he was pastor. A Texas Bank and Trust official told the detective the bank wanted to prosecute Milton, according to the affidavit.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

You can contact Bruce via email, Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

Black Collar Crime: Southern Baptist Pastor David Jones Accused of Drunk Driving and Attempted Murder

arrested

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.

David Jones, pastor of Hilton Oaks Baptist Church in Ferndale, Michigan, stands accused of drunk driving and attempted murder. This is the ninth drunk driving charge against Jones.

ABC-12 reports:

An Oakland County pastor is accused of trying to murder two Arenac County sheriff’s deputies by ramming his car into theirs.

The scary situation happened earlier this week just off I-75 at the Alger exit in Arenac County.

The pastor, who we’ve learned has had eight prior drinking and driving offenses, is in jail tonight facing up to life in prison if convicted.

The deputies were called to a convenience store for a suspicious situation involving a man in a car, but when they got there, they say the man would not cooperate, drove off, smashed into a building, and then into the deputies SUV.

The Arenac County deputies were called to the Forward’s Convenience Store near Alger at around one o’clock Wednesday morning where investigators say 57-year-old David Jones sat in his car.

“Not wanting to cooperate with the deputies who could tell he was intoxicated, refusing to roll down his window, refusing to do anything,” says Arenac County Undersheriff Don McIntyre.

They say Jones then drove off, across the highway, into the parking lot of the store across the street, eventually ramming the backside of the business.

“Struck their building, turned his vehicle towards deputies, accelerated, smashing our patrol car, luckily our deputies were not injured.” says McIntyre.

Deputies had to break the windows on Jones’s car because he still refused to get out after the crash. Jones faces ten charges in all, including attempted murder.

“You turn your vehicle around and intentionally collide with a police vehicle, you are going to be charged with attempted murder on police,” McIntyre says.

Jones has told an attorney that he is a pastor and a website indicates he’s the pastor at the Hilton Oaks Baptist Church in Ferndale.

Court papers indicate he has previously been arrested eight times for drinking and driving offenses, his most recent in August in Oakland County. He is suspected of driving drunk in the Arenac County incident. McIntyre credits his deputies for possibly saving lives.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

You can contact Bruce via email, Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

Bruce Gerencser