Black Collar Crime

Black Collar Crime: Methodist Youth Pastor Clinton Brackett Pleads Guilty to Sexual Assault

clinton brackett

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 October 2017, Clinton Brackett, Director of Student Ministries at First United Methodist Church in Lindale, Texas, was accused of sexual assault. Prior to his employment at First United Methodist, Brackett spent five years working for First Baptist Church in Ballinger, Texas.

The Tyler Morning Telegraph reported at the time:

The Director of Student Ministries at First United Methodist Church in Lindale has been arrested for sexual assault.

Clinton Brackett, 32, of Lindale was arrested Thursday on a warrant out of Runnels County and taken to the Smith County Jail.

The arrest was the result of information obtained from a Texas Highway Patrol trooper’s traffic stop in Runnels County, according to a statement from the Texas Department of Public Safety.

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First United Methodist Senior Pastor Rick Ivey released a statement saying Clinton Brackett, an employee at the church was arrested Thursday for charges of sexual assault that happened in Runnels County.

Ivey said the incident did not happen at FUMC Lindale or in the Lindale community.

“Clint Bracket’s employment with our church has been terminated,” Ivey said.

Brackett’s social media page indicates he was previously employed as the First Baptist Church in Ballinger. In a social medial post on Dec. 6, 2015, Brackett wrote that he accepted the position of Student Minister at the First United Methodist Church in Lindale and would be leaving the church in Ballinger after four and half years as a minister and member of the First Baptist Church family.

Brackett was held on a $100,000 bond which he posted on Thursday, according to Smith County Judicial records.

Yesterday, Brackett pleaded guilty to child sexual assault and was sentenced to eight years in prison.

Black Collar Crime: Catholic Priest Robert DeLand Jr. Sentenced to Prison for Sex Crimes

robert deland jr

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

In March 2018, Robert DeLand Jr. a Catholic priest in the Saginaw, Michigan area and one time pastor of St. Agnes Church in Freeland, Michigan, was accused of sexually assaulting children.

Michael Kransz, a reporter for Michigan Live, wrote at the time:

Investigators say nearly half a dozen people have come forward with stories of alleged sexual abuse, attempted or otherwise, at the hands of a Mid-Michigan priest charged this week with sexual assault.

Some of the new allegations against the Rev. Robert DeLand Jr., 71, date back nearly three decades, and all of them involve people who were minors at the time and accessed through DeLand’s role as a priest, said Tittabawassee Township Detective Brian Berg.

Apart from one female, most of the alleged victims are male, Berg said.

“We want to encourage these victims to know that we’re going to hear them, we’re going to listen and we’re going to leave no stone unturned,” Berg said. “No one is going to stand alone in this anymore.”

In addition to victim statements, Berg said police are receiving “dozens and dozens” of tips about the Freeland pastor since his arrest Sunday night, Feb. 25, at his Saginaw Township condominium on Mallard Cove.

“We’re trying to get our hands around the enormity of it and put it into some kind of logical order,” the detective said.

Saginaw Township Police Chief Donald Pussehl said his office has since received five calls regarding DeLand’s “questionable behavior” in the past.

“Throughout the years, some of the things he would do with young boys, such as inviting them to his home, was somewhat strange,” Pussehl said, relaying the callers’ concerns.

Chris Pham, a spokesperson for the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw, said the diocese is unaware of any past accusations against DeLand.

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DeLand’s arrest, and subsequent charges of sexual assault, came after Tittabawassee and Saginaw townships finished their months-long investigations into allegations of sex crimes involving alcohol, drugs and underage boys.

Separate cases, similar situations

Although the cases were separate, one involving a 21-year-old man and another a 17-year-old male, they were similar in DeLand’s alleged predatory tactics, said Saginaw County Assistant Prosecutor Mark Gaertner.

“There was a number of grooming techniques that were used to befriend the victim, to prey on the victim’s weaknesses and to lure the victim to the residence on Mallard Cove,” Gaertner said Monday. “That was quite similar to the same techniques used in the case where he was arrested last night.”

That incident involved the 17-year-old victim.

The alleged criminal acts involve attempted or actual, unwanted sexual contact.

DeLand, known to some as “Father Bob,” held a variety of positions at numerous parishes and Catholic schools in the Saginaw and Bay City areas since he was ordained in 1973, according to Pham.

DeLand’s tenure at St. Agnes in Freeland began in July 2011. Before that, Pham said, he served as pastor at St. James Parish in Bay City from July 2005 until July 2011. During that time, he was chaplain of All Saints High School.

Following the criminal accusations, DeLand was placed on administrative leave, according to a diocese statement.

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Saginaw Township’s investigation began after a 21-year-old man reported in August that DeLand made unwanted, sexual advances on him while the pair were together at the pastor’s Mallard Cove condominium.

“Because of alcohol use, it did go further than what the victim had ever thought it would go,” Pussehl said.

Pussehl said the pair became acquainted through secular circumstances.

In November, parents of a 17-year-old male doing court-ordered community service with DeLand voiced concerns about the pastor’s behavior to Tittabawasee Township police.

“His parents were very concerned that he was grooming their son and touching him inappropriately and buying things for him and spending a tremendous amount of time with him,” Berg said.

Some of the alleged instances took place at the condominium, and others in DeLand’s residence in the church rectory, Berg said.

Berg took those concerns to the Saginaw County Prosecutor’s Office, where he learned of the Saginaw Township investigation. The 17-year-old agreed to help investigators by going undercover, ultimately leading to DeLands arrest.

DeLand was charged with attempted second-degree criminal sexual conduct and gross indecency between males in the Saginaw Township case. Both are five-year felonies.

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On March 12, 2018, The Detroit News reported:

A teen is suing a Saginaw-area priest, accusing him of “grooming” the high school student with gifts and invitations to his condo, leading to inappropriate contact including back rubs, groping and suggestions to view gay porn.

The Rev. Robert DeLand was charged last month with criminal sexual conduct following accusations from two males, ages 17 and 21. Police say they have received other complaints since his arrest.

The 71-year-old priest is on administrative leave from St. Agnes in Freeland, where he has had been pastor since July 2011, the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw reported. The suit also names the diocese and its leader, Bishop Joseph Cistone, claiming steps weren’t taken to stop the cleric or look into allegations about DeLand’s conduct.

DeLand allowed the 17-year-old he met last year to perform community service at the church that the youth was ordered to complete over six months, according to the lawsuit filed Monday in U.S. District Court.

When the youth returned to school that fall, the pastor was a volunteer “greeter” there, participated in school events and “engaged in a systematic pattern of ‘grooming’ behavior …, targeting the minor child, gaining his trust and/or providing him with gifts and favors,” attorney Todd J. Weglarz wrote.

Over time, DeLand took the student out of class to talk; bought him an expensive “vape” machine; invited the teen to his home to smoke; and “made inappropriate physical contact … during the school day, including back rubs, hugs and groping of the buttocks,” the court filing read. The priest also allegedly paid for his therapy to help deal with a friend’s suicide, texted or called him up to 17-20 times a day, then encouraged the student “to view large quantities of gay pornography,” according to the document.

DeLand invited the teen to his Saginaw Township condo last month to “party,” but that day, the cleric touched him “inappropriately, groping and fondling his crotch and buttocks, feet and toes,” the suit asserts.

The priest was charged Feb. 26 with one count each of second-degree criminal sexual conduct and gross indecency between male persons. He also was charged with one count of attempted second-degree criminal sexual conduct/personal injury for an incident involving a 21-year-old, 70th District Court records show.

DeLand, who has been ordered by the court during the Feb. 26 hearing to wear an electronic tether and have no contact with anyone under age 21, could not be reached Monday.

His attorney and diocese representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The lawsuit, which seeks at least $75,000 in damages, contends DeLand abused his position while Catholic Diocese of Saginaw leaders failed to properly investigate allegations he abused the teen as well as others, “which created a climate whereby boundary violations and inappropriate sexual misconduct directed towards children and were permitted, condoned and encouraged,” Weglarz said.

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Earlier today, DeLand entered a no contest plea on charges of criminal sexual conduct in the second degree, gross indecency between males, and imitation of a controlled substance manufacture and distribution. DeLand was sentenced to 2-15 years in prison, and 5 years probation.

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Jose Aboytes Pleads Guilty to Sexually Assaulting a Child

pastor jose aboytes

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 March 2017, Jose Aboytes, assistant pastor of Palabra Miel Hispanic Church in Decatur, Illinois was charged with “seven felony counts for allegedly repeatedly sexually assaulting and abusing a girl younger than 13 during a period of seven months.”

The Herald & Review reported at the time:

Jose Luis Aboytes, a former pastor of a church on the city’s east side, was charged Thursday in Macon County Circuit Court with seven felony counts for allegedly repeatedly sexually assaulting and abusing a girl younger than 13 during a period of seven months.

Aboytes, 58, who is being held in the Macon County Jail on $250,000 bond, is facing one count of predatory criminal sexual assault, punishable by six to 60 years in prison, two counts of criminal sexual assault and four counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse.

The victim told police she attended the Palabra Miel Hispanic Church, 3434 E. Wabash Ave., where Aboytes “began to sexually abuse her in an office in the church” about Sept. 16, 2015, said a request for an arrest warrant by Decatur Police detective Erik Ethell.
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The victim said the abuse “began with Jose touching her leg and progressed to sexual intercourse,” said the court document. The victim said that during choir practice “Jose would call her into his office,” where he would fondle and abuse her. She reported that the abusive conduct occurred during a period of several months. The adolescent girl told police she “took numerous cellphone photographs of her naked body and sent them to Jose’s phone.”

Detectives received more than 10 letters from the girl, in which Aboytes “expressed his love” for the victim, “in addition to knowing her age,” Ethell wrote in the court document. Aboytes “frequently asked (the victim) to destroy the letters after reading them.”

An intellectually disabled teen girl also reported to police that she had been abused by Aboytes, said the warrant request. She said that Aboytes would call her into his office, hug her and fondle her on top of her clothes. She told detectives that “Jose told her not to tell her parents about the conduct.”

Today, Aboytes pleaded guilty to one Class X felony count of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child. The Herald & Review reports:

Aboytes, 60, pleaded guilty Wednesday to one Class X felony count of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child, ending his trial on charges he raped and sexually abused a girl younger than 13 from his congregation.

The sentencing hearing is set for July 11 in Macon County Circuit Court. He faces between six and 60 years in prison, of which he would have to serve at least 85 percent.

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The plea deal came on the third day of what was anticipated to be a four-day trial. As part of the deal, four counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse and two counts of criminal sexual assault were dismissed, according to court records.

Opening the trial Tuesday, [Assistant State’s Attorney] Kurtz described Aboytes, who served as an assistant pastor at the church, as using the friendly nature of the congregation to prey on the child.

Kurtz described a pattern of sexual assault that started with touching and escalated to groping and, after Aboytes had picked up the child once from her home on the pretense of taking her to the park, ended with rape.

She said Aboytes wrote intimate letters to the child and persuaded her to send him erotic pictures of herself — pictures the girl’s parents eventually discovered that prompted them to call police.

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Youth Pastor Brandon Hughes Charged With Sex Crimes

brandon hughes

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.

Brandon Hughes, a youth pastor at First Christian Church in Nacogdoches, Texas, stands accused of exposing his genitals to children and having them do the same.  KTRE-9 reports:

According to the Nacogdoches County Sheriff’s Office, 27-year-old Brandon Hughes turned himself at the Nacogdoches County Jail on April 22.
He was indicted following an investigation conducted by the sheriff’s office. The investigation came after a complaint was made about Hughes, alleging he sending sexual images to minors.

The findings from the investigation were turned over to the district attorney’s office and the case was presented to a grand jury.
The grand jury indicted Hughes on five counts of indecency with a child by exposure, which is a third degree felony.

Hughes was employed as an assistant youth pastor at the First Christian Church of Nacogdoches from Sept. 2015 to June 2018. The church reported he was placed on administrative leave in 2018 following the allegations.

They released a statement on April 24 regarding the Hughes:

Brandon Hughes was employed by First Christian Church as the Assistant Youth Pastor from September 2015 to June 2018. In June 2018, when allegations were first made about Brandon, he was immediately placed on administrative leave. Soon thereafter, Brandon resigned his position. We have been fully cooperating with law enforcement officials from the day allegations were first made. We are saddened and shocked by the allegations made against Brandon. We are praying for everyone involved.

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Youth Leader Jesse Francisco Hernandez Perez Accused of Sex Crimes

jesse francisco hernandez perez

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.

Jesse Francisco Hernandez Perez,  a youth leader at Iglesias de Restauracion in Santa Ana, California stands accused of sexually assaulting two church girls.  CBS-Los Angeles reports:

One of the alleged victims is 11-years-old, police said.

Authorities said Jesse Francisco Hernandez Perez, 22, texted the victim and ordered the girl into a second-floor church bathroom where he sexually assaulted her during church services in March.

He is accused of also sexually assaulting a 14-year-old, also a member of the church.

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Perez has been with the church for about three years.

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Officials said Hernandez Perez is also a youth leader and a member of the church music group.

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The alleged assault in the bathroom was “extremely disturbing,” says Sgt. Anthony Bertagna.

“Apparently, there are multiple levels to this church,” he said, “and one day a week the men and the women are supposedly separated and he took advantage of that.”

One woman familiar with the church said, “He looks familiar. There’s always a big group here with a lot of kids. And they always do food events, which they give food to people who come here, to the church. And I just hope there are no more victims. I’m praying for the little girl, that she can move on.”

Sex crimes detectives say the 14-year-old alleged victim told them she was assaulted last month during a youth service at Hernandez Perez’ Anaheim home.

Black Collar Crime: Baptist CFO Roy McClendon-Thompson Accused of Embezzlement and Murder

roy mcclendon thompson

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

Roy McClendon-Thompson,  the chief financial officer for Tabernacle Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, was arrested weeks ago and charged with embezzling over $100,000 from the church. McClendon-Thompson was released on a $15,000 bond. On April 8, McClendon-Thompson shot and killed his alleged lover, 45-year-old James Curtis Jones. Later that same day, with police in hot pursuit, McClendon-Thompson crashed into a dump truck. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Black Collar Crime: Mormon Sunday School Teacher Noel Anderson Sentenced to 50 Years in Prison

noel anderson

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 March 2018, I posted a story about Mormon Sunday school teacher Noel Anderson’s arrest on aggravated sexual assault charges. At the time, Anderson admitted molesting ” four children between the ages of two and six over the past seven years.”  Yesterday, Anderson, 23, was sentenced to fifty years in prison without the possibility of parole.

Anderson’s arrest and conviction troubled his fellow church members.  One church member said, “He was an outstanding youth in our church. The gold standard for what you would want your son to grow up to be.” He may have been an “outstanding youth,” but he was also a sexual predator. Faith does not protect children from such people.

I do find myself wondering what, exactly, went wrong with this boy. News reports say that Anderson molested these children for seven years. This means he was 15 when he began preying on children.  While my heart goes out to the victims, I do feel sorry for Anderson. He will be 73 years old before he is released from prison. I wonder, what drove him to molest these children? Was there anything in his past, his upbringing, that was a contributing factor? Were there other victims, children that have not come forward? How did Anderson behave while on mission?

One thing is for certain, child molesters don’t stop harming children until they are caught.  I have no doubt that the victims coming forward saved other children from being preyed upon by Anderson. If they had not spoken up, Anderson would have continued in his predatory ways.  More ruined lives left in the wake of his vile behavior.

Black Collar Crime: Zachary Wachholz Facing Allegations of Inappropriate Behavior With Minors

zachary wachholz

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.

Zachary Wachholz, a middle school/high school ministry volunteer at Community Bible Church in San Antonio, Texas, stands accused of inappropriate behavior with numerous church teens. Ed Newton, pastor of Community Bible, released the following statement:

In recent days, my heart was broken when I was informed that a part-time employee admitted to our executive pastor that the employee had engaged in inappropriate behavior with several minors in our youth ministry. We believe that this was limited to less than 10 victims, but clearly, even one victim is too many.

Our thoughts and prayers are with all involved in this tragedy.

We immediately notified law enforcement authorities, and the detectives limited what we can say at this time due to their ongoing investigation.

However, what I can share is that the acts involving all but one of the reported victims involved inappropriate electronic communication on electronic devices through social media platforms. One victim who was identified in the employee’s confession involved more than electronic communication. But whether it is inappropriate electronic communication or inappropriate physical contact, it is wrong and illegal and will not be tolerated at all!

Our primary concern right now is for all victims and families. They have all been contacted by our pastoral staff for the purpose of coming alongside them with love, support, counseling and prayer. Please pray for them.

The perpetrator has to remain nameless due to the ongoing investigation at this time. But, as I said, this person was a part-time employee. Prior to hiring this person, our church conducted a full background investigation, references were interviewed and numerous interviews of the potential employee were conducted. There was absolutely no reason to believe that this person posed a risk. Let there be no misunderstanding, this part-time employee was immediately fired from our staff upon learning of this information; this person has been issued a trespassing warrant, so as to prevent access onto our campus or attend any CBC related events.

In closing: This is a difficult time for the victims, the families and our church. Our hearts and prayers go out to the victims and their families. We will continue to fully cooperate with the authorities. We are praying and doing our best to provide compassionate support to the victims. Also, we are praying for the perpetrator. We ask to join us in prayer.

Community Bible is an Evangelical multi-campus megachurch.

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Christopher Cox Accused of Rape

pastor christopher cox

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

Christopher Cox, pastor of Long Lake Church in Traverse City, Michigan, stands accused of luring two men to his office and raping them after incapacitating them with methamphetamine and GHB.

The Traverse City Record Eagle reports:

Michigan State Police investigators interviewed a 19-year-old man who claimed Cox contacted him March 12 looking for a “drug buddy,” according to court records. Cox promised the man — who was homeless at the time — drugs and women if he came back with Cox to his home, the man claimed.

Cox gave the man meth to smoke and “CBD shots,” making the man “extremely inebriated,” according to a probable cause statement. Cox raped the man numerous times over the course of several hours that night, according to the account.

The accuser said Cox dropped him off at Safe Harbor the following morning, threatening to kill him if he told anyone about the night prior.

Records show the accuser went to Munson Medical Center where a sexual assault exam revealed bruising and redness “consistent with anal trauma.”

Mike McDonald, chairman of Safe Harbor’s executive board, said homeless people are much more likely to be victimized than the average person.

“It’s appalling to me that something like this could happen to anybody under any circumstances, especially by someone who purports to be a minister,” McDonald said.

A second man told troopers that Cox gave him meth sometime in October 2018 at Cox’s office in Traverse City — Moeggenberg did not immediately know the location. Like the account given by the other man, Cox gave the man meth and waited until he was high, drunk and incapacitated before assaulting him, despite the man’s efforts to fight him off, records show.

The man told Michigan State Police troopers that Cox stopped several hours later, claiming he had to get back to his wife and child.

“Based on what I know, I would be surprised if there weren’t more victims,” Moeggenberg said.

A search of Cox’s home and office uncovered items like lubricant, male enhancement pills, a blindfold and nylon webbing police suspect was used for bondage, records show.

They also found lighters, glass pipes, single-use syringes, meth and a substance police believe was GHB, known as the “date rape drug,” according to records. Moeggenberg said investigators also seized electronic devices. MSP’s Computer Crimes Unit searched the devices recovered during the March 18 search and uncovered “additional evidence,” according to a press release.

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Anthony Brooks Indicted on Sexual Abuse Charges

pastor anthony brooks

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.

Anthony Brooks, pastor of Jesus House of Believers Worship Center in Florence, Kentucky, was indicted Friday on five counts of first-degree child sexual abuse.

Brooks’ church bio page states:

Pastor Anthony is the Senior Pastor of JHOB-WC Ministries located in the Cincinnati  OH / Lawrenceburg, IN. area. Pastor Anthony began ministering in the year of 1998 to lost souls in the Jackson,Ms. area.  While ministering in Mississippi, it was the year of 1999 when God gave Pastor Anthony a vision with purpose and passion. That vision is Jesus House Of Believers Ministries inc. (JHOB-WC) for a city and area that he himself had only passed though once.

God used Pastor Anthony behind the scenes to minister the restoring message of God’s love, forgiveness and grace to all man and to lead the lost to salvation though Jesus Christ. Ministering to lost souls remains the passion of Pastor Anthony today.

Shortly after Pastor Anthony began ministering to lost souls in the Jackson Ms. area, God relocated Pastor Anthony to Dallas TX. to serve in the area of inner city outreach, specializing in family & Drug counseling where he still specialize. He is also specializing in intercessory prayer leadership and training, church leadership, pastoral leadership, and church planting.  He also served in many areas of ministry, such as outreach ministry , music ministry and youth ministry just to name a few. The love and passion of ministering to lost souls allowed Pastor Anthony to serve, work and learn from some awesome men of God.  From the year of 1998 to 2014 Pastor Anthony held many leadership positions in ministry while the vision of  JHOB-WC ministry was still his life purpose, passion, and promise. On Feb 9, 2010, God spoke on His promise and vision (for Pastor Anthony to write down the vision) along with a date to birth the ministry of JHOB-WC in the very city where he and his Wife Co- pastor Kimberly Brooks and three kids are ministering this very day…

According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, Brooks was released on a $5,000 cash bond. That’s right $5,000.  The judge who released Brooks on such a low bail ought to ashamed of himself. Nothing says, “we don’t take sexual abuse seriously,” as letting alleged abusers out of jail without making them post substantial bail. I suspect Brooks got the “preacher’s discount.”  Some members of law enforcement and the judiciary have a hard time believing men of God could do such things. However, as the Black Collar Crime series makes clear, clergymen can and do take sexual advantage of children and adults. They should be afforded the same harsh treatment as the rest of us when accused of serious sexual crimes against children. Brooks is certainly innocent until proven guilty, but prosecutors don’t bring such cases before grand juries without credible evidence that a crime has been committed. And if Brooks did indeed commit these crimes, it is certainly possible that this victim was not his first. And that’s why alleged abusers should be given high enough bail to keep them behind bars until law enforcement can see if there are other victims.

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Philip Grandine Convicted of Manslaughter

philip grandine

Philip Grandine, pastor of Ennerdale Baptist Church in Toronto, Canada, was convicted earlier this month of killing his pregnant wife. Grandine’s first conviction was overturned on a technicality. The CBC reports:

A former Toronto pastor accused of secretly sedating his pregnant wife before she drowned in the bathtub was found guilty of manslaughter Thursday, his second conviction in a case that has spanned more than seven years.

Jurors convicted Philip Grandine Thursday after deliberating for just over a day.

The man, who has been out on bail for more than six years while the case wound its way through the justice system, looked straight ahead as the verdict was read.

Prosecutors alleged Grandine drugged his wife with the anti-anxiety medication lorazepam, better known as Ativan, so she wouldn’t be as vigilant while he continued an affair with her friend.

The Crown alleged he then did not prevent Anna Karissa Grandine from getting in a bath in her incapacitated state one night in October 2011.

Anna Grandine was 20 weeks pregnant when she died. Tests later revealed she had lorazepam in her blood despite never being prescribed the drug.

Defence lawyers had argued Anna Grandine took the medication herself and either slipped in the tub, hitting her head and drowning, or took her own life.

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The Crown alleged Grandine was behind the searches, noting some occurred roughly at the same time as searches for escorts and other sex-related topics. Prosecutors also said lorazepam was not a drug that should be used by pregnant women and Anna Grandine was conscientious about the health of her baby.

The defence argued it was Anna Grandine who looked up lorazepam, suggesting she sought to self-medicate in light of the recent upheaval in her life.

Court heard Philip Grandine stepped down as pastor after it came to light that he was having an affair with a parishioner, who was also his wife’s friend. The congregation, to which Anna Grandine belonged, was also told of the affair, court heard.

Another pastor agreed to give them marriage counselling if Philip Grandine stopped cheating and gave up pornography, conditions the couple accepted, court heard.

But Grandine quickly resumed the affair and over time, his wife became suspicious, even challenging him on the issue in an early October counselling session, court heard.

Then, in mid-October, Anna Grandine suddenly experienced dizziness, fatigue and other symptoms, prompting her husband to take her to hospital, court heard. Her sister said Anna Grandine was afraid; her mother testified the 29-year-old asked her husband if he had given her a pill, which he denied.

Three days later, Anna Grandine drowned in the bathtub. Court heard toxicology tests detected Ativan in her system and then checked the samples taken during her hospital visit, where they also found the drug.

 

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Larry Mullins Found Guilty of Sexual Abuse

pastor larry mullins

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.

Earlier this year, I posted a story about Larry Mullins, pastor of Apostolic Christian Ministries in Nebraska City, Nebraska being arrested and charged with sexually abusing a minor.  On Wednesday, Mullins was found guilty of two counts of first degree sexual assault of a child and six other charges.

The Sandhills Express reports:

In closing arguments, Defense Attorney Robert Schaefer said the 70-year-old Mullins has been afflicted with hip and back problems leading to surgery and said he suffers from long-term troubles in balance and personal mobility.

He said Mullins was physically incapable of performing the acts as alleged by an 11-year-old girl, who was in the courtroom as the verdict was read.

Deputy Otoe County Attorney John Palmtag told the jury that “disability is a weak defense.”

Palmtag: “The claim that he was not able of performing these ‘not rigorous’ sex acts, I think holds no water. The jury should find it holds no water.”

At trial, the prosecution showed a two-hour video of the girl’s interview at the Child Advocacy Center. Palmtag said the girl was truthful in the video, in a deposition with lawyers and on the stand during trial.

Palmtag: “There’s not anyone in her extended family that would tell her to do this stuff, would sit down with her and concoct this incredibly intricate story to take down Larry Mullins. There’s just no reason. There’s no motive.”

Palmtag also offered an explanation for why the girl did not come forward earlier, over the four-year period. She did not alert her parents until March of last year, when she said Mullins hit her after she resisted his attempt to put his hand under her shirt.

Pamtag: “She was confused, she was scared. Larry Mullins was telling her she would be hurt. He was telling her that she would lose her family. He was telling her not tell anyone. He’s a trusted adult.