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Category: Black Collar Crime

Black Collar Crime: Jane Doe Files Civil Suit Against Temple Baptist Church and Pastor Mike Holloway

pastor mike holloway

Please read previous posts on this scandal: Black Collar Crime: Woman Claims Evangelical Pastor Mike Holloway Knew She Had Been Sexually Abused and Did Nothing and Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Mike Holloway Denies He Knew Anything About Woman’s Sex Abuse Claim, Black Collar Crime: Another Victim Comes Forward in Temple Baptist Church of Kokomo Sex Abuse Scandal, Black Collar Crime: The Temple Baptist Church of Kokomo Sex Abuse Scandal Continues, Black Collar Crime: Alleged Victim Count Up to Ten in Temple Baptist Church of Kokomo Sexual Abuse Scandal, and Black Collar Crime: The Cover-up Continues at Temple Baptist Church in Kokomo, Indiana.

Today, The Kokomo Perspective released another episode in their ongoing coverage of the Temple Baptist Church sex scandal. Devin Zimmerman writes:

A lawsuit filed by a local woman claims she was sexually abused by a member of Temple Baptist Church and that she was placed under the care of this individual by the church’s pastor even after his tendencies were made known to the church leadership.

The Howard County resident, going as Jane Doe, leveled a civil suit against Temple Baptist Church, Pastor Mike Holloway, and Donald Croddy and his wife, Elfriede, seeking damages for alleged child abuse she endured at the age of 5.

Doe claims Holloway, as the pastor of Temple Baptist Church, suggested she stay with Croddy on the weekends in the early ‘90s, during which time she allegedly was sexually assaulted by Croddy. The plaintiff in the case claims the living situation was suggested even after the pastor knew about Croddy sexually abusing his own daughter.

he suit hit Howard County Superior Court 2 last week, and in it the suit cites Croddy’s alleged abuse of his adoptive daughter, named D.P. in the suit, as a catalyst for the claim.

According to the suit, Croddy began molesting his daughter in or around 1977. Then, in 1989, the Indiana Department of Public Welfare investigated a molestation accusation concerning Croddy, during which time he was investigated and he “admitted to the allegations and stated that he had fondled his daughter approximately 10 years ago, but nothing has occurred since.” Even though the abuse was substantiated, criminal charges weren’t brought against Croddy.

Then in 1991, ahead of her wedding, D.P. told her fiancée of her abuse, which resulted in a confrontation between the fiancée and Croddy. The suit claims that “at the invitation of Holloway, D.P., her fiancée and Croddy met to discuss the issue and Holloway was advised by D.P. of the molestation by Croddy, which Croddy admitted to.”

In her suit, Doe claims to have begun attending Temple Baptist Church via its bus ministry, where church agents drove a bus throughout the community to pick up children and adults to transport them to the church. The suit claims “children were often enticed to get on the bus with candy.”

While attending Temple Baptist Church, Doe claims to have been coerced into attending the church’s school, Temple Christian School, and also participating in as many church and school events as possible. But due to Doe’s circumstances, attendance was difficult.

Because of this difficulty, the suit claims that in 1992 Holloway and Croddy visited with Doe and her family, at which time Holloway suggested the young girl begin to spend weekends at Croddy’s home so she could attend more church and school events.

It’s during this period Doe claims to have been sexually abused by Croddy.

….

As part of the suit, Doe claims Temple Baptist Church is “vicariously liable … for any and all negligence that may be attributable to the Defendant, Mike Holloway.” Croddy’s wife, Elfriede, also is named in the suit, where it claims she had “knowledge of Donald Croddy’s pedophilia and failed to take actions to protect” Doe.

In response to the suit, Temple Baptist Church’s leadership issued the following statement:

“We believe it is inappropriate for either party to comment specifically on pending litigation. However, Temple Baptist Church plans a vigorous defense of these misguided claims. As always, we remain committed to our faith and the Bible-based principles that guide us every day. As such, we sympathize with all those involved and continue to pray that the truth will prevail.”

You can read the rest of the article here.

Temple Baptist Church Abuse Survivors Facebook Page

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Daniel Little Charged With Multiple Sex Crimes Against Children

pastor daniel little

Daniel Little, pastor of Yadkin College Baptist Church in Lexington, North Carolina has been charged with numerous sex crimes against children.

The Dispatch reports:

A 40-year old former pastor charged with sexual abuse of a 10-year-old girl has been additionally charged with multiple counts of sexual abuse and rape involving the 10-year-old and three additional children, all under the age of 12 years old.

Daniel Gene Little, 40, of 1563 Jerusalem Road, has been charged with 13 counts of felony sexual offense with a child, 11 counts felony child abuse by committing a sexual act, two counts of felony rape of a child, two counts felony incest with a child younger than 13 and indecent liberties with a child.’

Little is the former pastor of Yadkin College Baptist Church in Lexington. In May, he was charged with felony first-degree sex offense sexually assaulting a female juvenile under the age of 17.

At that time, Little was placed in the Davidson County Detention Center under a $150,000 secured bond. Since then, Little had posted bond and was out awaiting trial.

According to information provided by the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office, on Sept. 5 the sheriff’s office was contacted by the Davidson County Department of Social Services and made aware that three additional juveniles, two males and one female, had come forward and alleged that they were also sexually assaulted by Little.

The three juveniles attended a forensic interview at The Dragonfly House Children’s Advocacy Center where they disclosed being repeatedly sexually assaulted by Little between the years of 2010 and 2015.

Reports state that Little engaged in a sexual acts including, anal, vaginal and oral sex, with two male children, between the ages of 11 and 4, and two female children, between the ages of 4 and 12.

Little was taken before the Davidson County magistrate and given a $6.5 million secured bond and a court date of Oct. 23.

Black Collar Crime: Catholic Priest Daniel McCormack Still Considered a Violent Sex Offender, Refused Release

daniel mccormack

Last week, Judge Dennis Porter ruled that convicted sex offender and Catholic priest Daniel McCormack is still a sexually violent person and should not be released from Illinois Department of Human Services SVP Treatment and Detention Facility in Rushville, Illinois.

Chicago-5 reported:

Daniel McCormack, a former priest convicted of molesting children in his Chicago parish, was deemed to still be a sexually violent person by a Cook County judge and will be held indefinitely.

The decision came down on Friday afternoon from Judge Dennis Porter, and means that McCormack will remain at the Illinois Department of Human Services SVP Treatment and Detention Facility in Rushville, IL.

“Daniel McCormack has a history of repeated sexual abuse against children that was especially heinous given his status as a priest,” Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said. “I appreciate Judge Porter’s decision that prevents Daniel McCormack from potentially harming other children.”

McCormack will remain in the facility until at least Nov. 27 when a dispositional hearing will take place.

McCormack has been held in mental health facilities since 2009, when he was released from prison after serving a five-year sentence for sexually abusing five boys while he was serving as a pastor at St. Agatha’s Church, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.

McCormack, who has been accused of abusing dozens of young boys in civil lawsuits, was seeking to be released from a facility dedicated to housing and treating sexually violent offenders.

Raymond Wood, an expert on statistical evaluations on the likelihood that sex offenders will repeat their crimes, testified Thursday that “actuarial models” suggested that McCormack would be a “minimal risk” to abuse children if he were released from the facility.

“My wife complains that I’ll say as I read [files] ‘This is a really bad guy,’” Wood said. “But as a professional, I want to be engaging in the best professional standard that I can.”

Wood took the stand a day after a psychiatrist had testified for the prosecution, stating that McCormack was likely to victimize other children if released without court-ordered supervision, citing a long history of McCormack groping younger men and boys dating back to before his ordination and continuing even after he was arrested in 2005.

Assistant Attorney General Joelle Marasco questioned whether Wood had factored in the large number of victims, and the fact the priest continued to molest multiple boys even though he’d been confronted by parents, then arrested, and told by supervisors that he was not to have contact with children or even continue his work as a teacher and basketball coach.

Wood was the third person to evaluate McCormack’s risk factors for harming more children, though the ex-priest has refused to answer questions citing pending civil and criminal cases against him, leaving his evaluators with only reports from Chicago Police investigations and an internal review by the Chicago archdiocese.

Before he was charged criminally, McCormack was sent by the church to a mental hospital for sex offenders in Maryland, where he denied being sexually attracted to children.

….

 

 

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Paul Burress Accused of Inappropriately Touching Women

paul burress

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.

Paul Burress, senior pastor at Victory Church in Rochester, New York and operator of Fight Church, stands accused of forcibly touching two women.

Steve Orr, a reporter for Democrat & Chronicle, writes:

Paul Burress, a charismatic, in-your-face pastor who gained fame for operating a fight club in his Henrietta house of worship, has been accused of forcibly touching two women.

Burress was for years a pastor at Victory Church, a large nondenominational Christian church. The Victory website does not list Burress as being among its leadership team, and the telephone went unanswered there Monday morning.

Burress, 43, is a mixed-martial arts fighter as well as a minister, and received a great deal of publicity when he was featured in Fight Church, a 2014 documentary.

On Friday morning, however, he was arrested by Monroe County sheriff’s deputies on two counts of forcible touching, according to Sheriff’s Office spokesman Cpl. John Helfer. Helfer verified the person arrested was the minister noted for his “Fight Church” activities.

The charges arose from separate incidents in February, Helfer said. The complainants are adult females.

The offense in question, a misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail, is defined in the state penal law as forcibly touching “the sexual or other intimate parts of another person.”

….

The Henrietta pastor has been dogged by accusations of sexual misconduct for several years. Several blogs and news websites featured such claims three years ago, when Burress came to public attention because of his fighting-in-church approach.

But none of those accusations were proved and there is no record of any previous arrest.

Tina Wright, a former member of Victory Church who asserts she has a long personal history with Burress, said she had spoken to one of the women who filed charges.

Wright, who now lives in South Carolina, said she encouraged that woman and others who may have been harmed by the minister to come forward.

“I know beyond the shadow of a doubt there are more victims. There’s a lot of us here,” Wright said. “We need to end the silence so we can stop the cycle of abuse, especially in the church.”

Asked her reaction to reports of his arrest, Wright said, “I’m still in shock, to be honest. I’m relieved that the voices of the victims are finally being heard and they’ll have the opportunity to tell their stories.”

Video Link

In May 2014, Raw Story reported:

A former member claims “Fight Church” pastor Paul Burress abused his power and tried to entice others into the swinger lifestyle, the Christian Post reported Tuesday.

The pastor’s Victory Church was featured in a new documentary about the hundreds of American churches that attract new members and build their communities around mixed martial arts fights between “fight ministry” religious leaders.

Burress defended the fights, which he said were “not hateful or destructive,” but instead taught participants to “control our most violent impulses through strength, discipline and perseverance — none of which are at odds with Christianity.”

But the Bloody Elbow blog reported that an unidentified former member told the leadership team at Victory Church that Burress had tried to entice him into a sexual relationship with the pastor’s wife.

The man said Burress asked him to perform a sensual back rub on his wife, Jill Burress, who had removed her shirt and bra, while at the couple’s home twice in 2009.

“Paul made sure that my hand made contact with the side of a breast by moving it there with his own hand,” the man said. “Paul also made sure that I touched her bare bottom.”

The man, who said he was 21 years old and single at the time, said Burress also showed him nude photos of his wife and a video of the couple having sex.

“This weighed on me for years, until I couldn’t take it anymore and eventually left Victory because of it,” the man said. “A person should be able to trust his pastor. I could not. 1 Cor 4:2 says it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy.”

The man said Burress made sexual advances in 2012 to two female church members in their 20s at his home, where they were going to have their “backs worked on.”

He said the pastor later tried to seduce one of them at a coffee shop after confessing he had been a swinger while previously married to another woman.

“The girls were asked to remove their shirts and bras because the straps got in the way,” the man said. “They both left Victory, and won’t return, because they were frightened and disturbed by the sexual advances of the pastor.”

A former exchange student who was 16 years old when she stayed with Burress and his family in 2009 also sent a letter to church leadership last year, claiming the pastor had molested her.

Victory Church’s executive pastor sent church leaders an email the following day characterizing the woman’s claims as “the latest vindictive email attack against” Burress and the church.

“The timing is suspect as she hasn’t said a word for all these years until these other people started up,” said Al Ogden, who also serves as the church’s director of counseling. “And last year when she came to visit she came back to Victory. So it apparently didn’t bother her much then.”

Ogden also said in the email that her claims may have been coached because they so closely resembled other allegations against Burress, and the official questioned where the woman had gotten the deacon’s email list.

The man said he was concerned about the apparent pattern in the pastor’s life, noting that Burress had been a swinger while married in Missouri and then divorced after an affair with another woman at his Fusion church in Rochester.

….

Update:

USA Today reports that Burress has been charged with additional counts of forcible touching:

Two more forcible-touching charges were filed Friday against Paul Burress, the New York pastor known for running a fight club in his church.

The two new charges involve an adult female who said Burress touched her in a sexual way in one incident this year and another one in 2016, said Corporal John Helfer, spokesman for the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.

Two other women made similar accusations against Burress last week.

….

You can read court documents related to Burress’ case here.

A March 15, 2018 report states that Burress pleased guilty and received probation. WHAM reports:

A former Henrietta pastor has pleaded guilty to sexual abuse. Paul Burress pleaded guilty to one count of sexual abuse in the third degree. Burress will be sentenced to one year of probation. No-contact orders of protection were filed for all the complainants in the case. Three women accused Burress of sexual abuse. The incidents took place at different times in a hot tub at Burress’ house. Burress was a pastor at Victory Baptist Church in Henrietta until last June.

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Black Collar Crime: Pastor Micah Dexter Convicted of Forgery

pastor micah dexter

Micah Dexter, pastor of The Salem Church in Syracuse, New York, was convicted of forgery and sentenced to 1-3 years in prison.

Douglass Dowty, a reporter for Syracuse.com, writes:

A Syracuse minister gave a sermon-length plea for mercy today after being found guilty of forging documents to steal a South Side house.

The Rev. Micah Dexter cast blame on the mayor, police chief and the assistant prosecutor for what amounted to a political witch hunt.

He suggested that his unfair treatment showed “why this country is divided between Hillary and Donald Trump.”

He even claimed that state Supreme Court Justice John Brunetti reneged on a promise not to send him to state prison.

When Dexter was done, Brunetti said that the monetary and non-monetary damage that Dexter did by stealing a man’s house “is almost incalculable.”

The judge said he wished he could order Dexter to pay restitution, too.

“There is more fraud in this case than I have ever seen,” Brunetti said.

The judge said that he never made the promise that Dexter claimed. And he said that Dexter continued his fraud in court today.

With that, the judge sent Dexter to prison for 1 to 3 years. Dexter, who was free on bail and came to court in a suit, was handcuffed and led away.

Dexter was convicted of forging a signature page of a deed that gave him the property from its rightful owner, James Greene, of South Carolina.

Greene had grown up in the residence, prosecutor Lindsey Luczka said today.

Dexter’s actions caused a four-year ordeal for Greene. His house was finally returned to him recently, she said.

Luczka noted that Dexter, even after being convicted, was back in another court over a dispute involving another house he lived in. He claimed to own that one, too, she said.

Dexter clearly hadn’t learned his lesson, she said.

A probation department report concluded that Dexter “has a confusing relationship with the truth.” The report noted that Dexter presents himself as a religious and civil rights leader, “but he doesn’t live that way,” according to an excerpt read in court.

Ultimately, probation said, Dexter was “not a candidate for rehabilitation” and should be incarcerated.

Dexter has refused to accept responsibility and claimed his conviction would be overturned on appeal, Luczka added, from the report.

This was “calculated theivery, not a momentary lack of judgment,” she said, noting that Dexter had been accused of a similar scam in Florida.

Dexter’s lawyer, Graeme Spicer, objected to the characterization that Dexter was taking advantage of his religious role for personal gain.

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Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor-in-Training Matthew Phelps Accused of Murdering His Wife

matthew and lauren phelps

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

Matthew Phelps, an Evangelical pastor-in-training at Clear Creek Baptist Bible College in Pineville,Kentucky, stands accused of murdering his wife.

People.com reports:

A 28-year-old North Carolina man is facing a murder charge after allegedly stabbing his wife in bed — but the newlywed claims he doesn’t remember carrying out the alleged crime because he might have done it in his sleep, PEOPLE confirms.

Matthew Phelps, of Raleigh, called police distraught early Friday morning, declaring that his wife, Lauren, was dead on their bedroom floor covered in blood.

“I had a dream and then I turned on the lights and she’s dead on the floor,” he says in a 911 call obtained by PEOPLE. “I have blood all over me and there’s a bloody knife on the bed and I think I did it. I can’t believe this.”

He told the dispatcher through tears that his wife wasn’t breathing and that he was afraid to get close to her — “I’m so scared,” he said.

Phelps is charged with murder and is being held at Wake County Detention Center without bail, a jail spokesperson tells PEOPLE. As police work to determine the circumstances around Lauren’s death, Phelps suggested during the 911 call that cold medicine he took the night before might have led to his alleged actions.

I took more medicine than I should have,” he said. “I took Coricidin Cough and Cold because I know it can make you feel good. A lot of times I can’t sleep at night. So, I took some.”

He added: “Oh my God. She didn’t deserve this.”

Phelps and Lauren had been married for less than a year, ABC News reports. Both of their apparent Facebook pages are filled with wedding photos of the young couple along with pictures that show their shared love for Star Wars.

Phelps’ account shows that he studied missions and evangelism at Clear Creek Baptist Bible College. Lauren was a Sunday school teacher and Phelps was studying to be a pastor, a friend told ABC.

….

Matthew Phelps has been married before. In 2011, Phelps married Lana Bowlin:

Lana Bowlin of Mount Vernon announces the engagement of her daughter, Marlanda Brooke Bowlin, to Matthew James Phelps, son of Melodye and Jason Campbell and grandson of Amel and Teresa Hardcastle of Bowling Green.

Brooke is also the daughter of the late Marvin Bowlin. She is a graduate of Clear Creek Baptist Bible College and is a member of Calvary Baptist Church.
Matthew is a graduate of Clear Creek Baptist Bible College and is a member of Calvary Baptist Church.

The wedding will be at 2 p.m. Aug. 6, 2011, at Calvary Baptist Church, with a reception afterward at the church.

Update

In an October 18, 2017 report for The Morning Call, Thomas McDonald wrote:

Lauren Nicole Hugelmaier Phelps was the victim of 123 stab wounds and cuts last month during a frenzied attack in the bedroom of her home, according to an autopsy report made public Tuesday. Her husband, who faces murder charges, contends he took too much cold medicine before falling asleep, then awoke to find his wife’s bloody body.

State pathologists documented 44 cuts and stabs, some more than 4 inches deep, about her head and neck during the attack, according to the autopsy report. Those were part of a total 123 stabs and cuts all over her body that were thought to have been made with a kitchen knife, the autopsy said.

Matthew James Phelps, 29, is charged with first-degree murder and is currently being held in the Wake County jail without benefit of bail. Phelps called 911 just before 1:10 a.m. on Sept. 1 and described to a dispatcher that he had awakened to the bloody scene.

Emergency workers arrived at the couple’s townhouse in northwest Raleigh and found Lauren Phelps, 29, in a fetal position on the bedroom floor, according to the autopsy report. She was rushed to WakeMed and died in the emergency department at 1:43 a.m., according to the autopsy report.

In addition to the wounds to her head and neck, pathologists found 13 stab wounds and 11 cuts about her torso, 16 slashes and one stab wound on her right arm, along with 35 cuts and three stab wounds on her left arm. A stab wound on the left side of her neck completely severed her left jugular vein and her left common carotid artery, which supplies the head and neck with blood. Her body was covered with smeared blood, according to the autopsy report.

The state examiners surmised that the wound patterns were consistent with a single-edged blade, according to the autopsy report. Toxicologists did not detect alcohol in the woman’s body, nor did she have any pre-existing natural disease.

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Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Charles Woodall Convicted of Sexually Molesting Boys He Met Through Church

charles woodall

In 2015, Charles Woodall was arrested and charged with molesting three boys he met through his work at Northway Church in Macon, Georgia. Last Friday, Woodall was convicted of his crimes.

Amy Leigh Womack, a reporter for The Telegraph, reports:

Jurors deliberated for about two hours before finding former GBI agent Charles Woodall guilty of molesting three boys he met through his work at Macon’s Northway Church.

Woodall, who was taken into custody after the verdict was announced, was found guilty of six counts of child molestation, five counts of enticing a child for indecent purposes and one count of violating his oath as an agent. He will be sentenced at a later date.

District Attorney David Cooke said Woodall “abused the trust of two of our most sacred institutions, the church and the badge. Now he will have to answer for his crimes thanks to the courage of his victims who came forward to hold him accountable.”

Testimony in Woodall’s trial began Tuesday in Bibb County Superior Court.

The 36-year-old testified Thursday, calmly denying all the allegations against him. He said he didn’t know why the boys — whom he’d met during stints as a volunteer and other times as an employee of the Zebulon Road church — would make such serious allegations against him.

In her closing argument to jurors, prosecutor Nancy Scott Malcor recounted statements of 11 men — who were teenagers at the time of the alleged inappropriate contact with Woodall in Georgia and Tennessee — and reminded jurors of their “eerily similar stories.”

“Their stories are the same because the defendant is a pervert who hasn’t changed his playbook in 15 years,” she said. “These men are telling the truth. They have nothing to gain by lying. … They’re saying these things because they’re true.”

Allegations against Woodall date from 2005 to 2014.

Woodall testified he got a job at a Knoxville, Tennessee, church after dropping out of college following his freshman year.

At first he worked with the church’s afters-school program and then began volunteering with the youth group.

In 2005, he moved to Macon and began a summer internship working with youth at Northway Church, formerly known as Vineville North Baptist Church, Woodall testified.

At the end of the internship, he was hired as an assistant to the student pastor, a position he held until going back to college in 2007, with hopes of one day becoming a federal law enforcement officer.

In December 2011, Woodall was hired by the GBI as a crime scene specialist and was working as a field agent at the time of his 2015 arrest. The GBI assisted in Woodall’s prosecution.

Charles Cox, Woodall’s lawyer, said the actions of the men who accused his client of impropriety don’t match their words.

“Their words say Mr. Woodall is guilty. Their behavior says he’s innocent,” Cox said in his closing argument. “Actions speak louder than words.”

Cox said the men sought out a relationship with Woodall after the alleged inappropriate conduct supposedly occurred.

He said there’s no computer or credit card evidence that supports allegations Woodall purchased pornography he was accused of showing the men when they were teens.

There’s also no evidence he bought a sex toy he’s accused of providing to the boys, Cox said.

In a November 25, 2015 article, Womack reported:

The investigation of a former GBI agent charged with molesting three boys has revealed other alleged victims in Georgia and Tennessee, as well as an allegation in Dallas, Texas.

Bill Bodrey, assistant special agent in charge of the GBI’s Perry office, testified during a hearing Wednesday that 34-year-old Charles Woodall also was investigated in 2014, but insufficient evidence was found to prosecute.

Since authorities launched a new investigation about two months ago, allegations brought forward by others have corroborated the account that the boy in the 2014 case described, he said.

….

He is charged with nine counts of child molestation, six counts of enticing a child for indecent purposes, one count of electronically furnishing obscene material to minors, and violating his oath of office.

The charges stem from allegations that he molested three boys between September 2005 and February 2014.

Woodall, who became a GBI agent in December 2011, resigned in lieu of termination last month during the investigation.

He’d been assigned to the GBI’s Milledgeville field office, but he had interned at the Perry office before being hired as an agent.

When speaking with the GBI, one of the boys said he’d met Woodall at Northway Church on Zebulon Road in north Macon, Bodrey testified.

Woodall was a small group leader and mentor for the church’s youth and played in a church band, Bodrey said.

The boy told agents that his sexual contact with Woodall began when he was 13 or 14 years old, after the boy had confessed that he was addicted to pornography, Bodrey said.

Woodall offered to help the boy. Between 2009 and 2014, he drove the boy from his home to Woodall’s home or from church to Woodall’s home, where Woodall provided a sex toy and pornography to the boy, and touched the boy’s genitals, Bodrey testified.

Later, after the boy turned 16 and Woodall had left his position at the church to become a GBI agent, Woodall and the boy met at a motel room, where Woodall again provided pornography and a sex toy, and touched the boy’s genitals, Bodrey said.

Agent Jason Shoudel testified that Woodall provided pornography and a sex toy for two other boys, whom he drove individually from their home north of Macon to his home in Macon, where he coached them on how to pleasure themselves.

“He called it being his accountability partner with the church,” Shoudel said.

Between 2005 and 2007, one of the boys alleges that he had contact with Woodall once or twice a month, beginning when he was 12 or 13.

Years later, when the boy was 16 or 17, Woodall took the boy to a location outside Bibb County and gave him alcohol, Shoudel said.

Another boy alleges that he had contact with Woodall at least a dozen times between 2009 and 2011 when he was between 14 and 15, the agent testified.

At some point, Woodall took him to a motel room near the Mall of Georgia, north of Atlanta, where he gave him alcohol and touched his genitals, Shoudel said.

….

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Peter Leon Convicted of Assault

pastor peter leon

Peter Leon, pastor of Wells Branch Baptist Church (also known as Trinity Coastal Community Church) in Wells, Maine and owner of Leon’s International Tennis Center, was convicted last week of assault against a minor. Leon is a 1984 graduate of New England Bible College — an unaccredited Evangelical institution.

Donna Buttarazzi, a reporter for Sea Coast Online, reports:

A former high school tennis coach and current pastor of Wells Branch Baptist Church (also known as Trinity Coastal Community Church) was found guilty by a jury in York County Superior Court Thursday of an assault against a 15-year-old girl that took place at a Sanford McDonald’s in October 2016.

Peter W. Leon of Wells was charged with assault against a minor, a Class D misdemeanor, for touching the girl’s back and allegedly making sexual comments to the Sanford girl at the restaurant last fall. The two did not know each other prior to the incident.

Leon was sentenced Friday afternoon to 60 days in jail and a mandatory $300 fine. Judge Deborah Cashman suspended all 60 days, meaning Leon will not serve any jail time as long as he meets all sentencing requirements. Cashman ordered Leon to participate in counseling, including formal training on sexual harassment, and ordered that he have no contact with the victim or her family.

The trial began Thursday morning and ran all day, with closing arguments from both attorneys beginning around 3 p.m. The jury deliberated for roughly two hours before reaching a verdict just before 6 p.m.

The jury found Leon guilty of offensive physical contact which is defined under Maine law as “knowingly intending bodily contact or unlawful touching done in such a manner as would reasonably be expected to violate the person or dignity of the victim.”

Prosecuting attorney Susan Pope said she was pleased with Cashman’s sentencing.

“I’m pleased with the sentence. I think the judge got it right,” Pope said following the sentencing.

In her opening arguments during the trial Thursday Pope said Leon entered the Sanford south McDonald’s at 1439 Main St. around 3:30 p.m. on the afternoon of Oct. 24, 2016 and approached the girl, placed his hand on her back and said, “These jeans are looking pretty good on you, they are nice and tight in all the right places. Trust me, they look good.”

….

Leon pleaded not guilty to the charge. His attorney Amy Fairfield said in court Thursday morning that her client put his hand on the girl’s shoulder and asked her if she was in line.

Leon testified that he wasn’t sure if the girl was in line and he didn’t want to cut in front of her. He denied saying the comments about the girls jeans.

“It was so quick in and out of the restaurant, and I didn’t want to cut the line. I was making a comment and I used the word ‘dungarees,’ and then I said jeans. I didn’t think it was derogatory. I didn’t know how she could get those jeans on at the ankle they were so tight fitted,” Leon said in his testimony Thursday.

The 12-member jury of five men and seven women viewed a surveillance video from the McDonald’s restaurant several times during the trial. In it a man confirmed to be Leon entered the restaurant, approached the girl and appeared to speak to her and touch her on the back or shoulder area. Shortly after the incident the girl can be seen leaving the restaurant and her mother entered and confronted Leon.

The girl’s mother had been waiting in the car while her daughter went in to get food. She received a text and phone call from her daughter while she was waiting.

“I thought she needed more money, so I grabbed my wallet, and I got out of the car to go in. Before I touched the door to the restaurant, she came out crying. She said this man had touched her and talked really dirty to her. I said ‘what man?’ and she pointed to him (Leon).”

Sanford Police officer Sarah Howe testified that the girl’s mother called 911 from the restaurant. Howe said she spoke with the mother who gave her a license plate number of the car Leon left in. Howe also testified that she spoke with the girl following the incident, and she was clearly upset over the phone.

Howe spoke with Leon the day after the incident via telephone and he said he didn’t recall his exact words to the girl.

….

Leon is a former tennis coach for both boys and girls at Wells High School and he coached girls tennis in 2016 at Kennebunk High School for one year. Fairfield said that following his indictment last fall, both schools told Leon he could no longer coach.

In 2001, Leon was charged with witness tampering.

The Sea Coast Online reported at the time:

Leon, who is the current president of the Wells Rotary Club, is not a newcomer to serving in public office. Before moving to Wells, he was the minister at the First Congregational Church of Machias. In 1998 he was elected to the Calais School Committee. Leon was unable to serve the full three-year term due to being recalled in a special recall election in July 1999.

Leon took out nomination papers again in 2001 while under indictment by a grand jury for witness tampering. According to press reports, Leon had been hired by the Calais school system to tutor Michael Poole, a student that had been suspended after criminal charges were filed against him for $30,000 worth of damages to school property.

Leon was charged with witness tampering in 2001 after police taped a conversation he had with an inmate, Justin McVay, that had also been accused of vandalizing the school, articles state. According to the Bangor Daily News, Leon was indicted for attempting to coerce McVay to admit that Poole had nothing to do with the school vandalism.

Leon went to trial in April 2002 and was found not guilty.

Black Collar Crime: Catholic Priest Eugene Katcher Accused of Larceny

eugene katcher

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.

Eugune Katcher, pastor of Resurrection Parish in Canton, Michigan, stands accused of stealing money, wine, and a television from his church.

CBS-Detroit reports:

A Canton priest is facing criminal charges related to stolen money, wine and a television from a church.

The Wayne County Prosecutor’s office charged Father Eugene Katcher, the former pastor of Resurrection Parish in Canton, with larceny on Thursday. He was arraigned at the 35th District Court in Plymouth and faces three counts of larceny in a building.

The Archdiocese of Detroit started an investigation into missing money and other items from the church in the spring and alerted authorities later. Authorities are not releasing how much money he allegedly stole from the church, but it has been determined he stole wine and a television.

The 71-year old priest retired in July, but after he was arrested the archdiocese restricted him from celebrating mass in a church setting. He is also banned from Resurrection Church property.

If convicted on the larceny charges, Katcher faces up to four years in prison.

….

Hometown Life reported on October 27, 2017:

A retired priest charged with stealing from Resurrection Parish in Canton has an opportunity to keep criminal charges off his record, officials say.The Rev. Eugene Katcher, 71, has been placed in a Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office diversion program allowing him to avoid a criminal record if he obeys certain court orders that are not disclosed.

“Father Katcher qualified for the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office diversion program because he had no prior record and was charged with a non-violent offense,” prosecutor’s office spokeswoman Maria Miller confirmed Friday. “According to the law, we cannot comment on any further details.”

Katcher could have faced up to four years in prison if he had been convicted in Wayne County Circuit Court on three counts of larceny involving allegations he stole collection plate money, votive candle donations and church property such as a television and wine.

He served as priest at Resurrection Parish from 2014 until July. Archdiocese of Detroit officials have said Katcher already had planned to retire before his arrest in July.

Under the diversion program, certain first-time offenders can keep their records clear if they have a history of law-abiding behavior and if they are charged with lower-level felony offenses.

….

Black Collar Crime: Michigan Senator Rick Jones Looks to Add Clergy to Sexual Conduct Law

pastor mitch olson

If you are not familiar with this story, please read, Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Mitch Olson Accused of Sexually Assaulting Church Member and Black Collar Crime: Pastor Mitch Olson Slips Out of Criminal Charges.

Thanks to Pastor Mitch Olson, pastor of Grace Ministry Center in Kimball, Michigan slipping free on criminal charges for inappropriate sexual behavior with a female church member, Michigan Senator Rick Jones is working to add clergy to the sexual assault law so it:

afford [s] children, students of a certain age, patients of medical doctors and clients of mental health professionals, among others, special protection. The law states these victims cannot give consent because of the authority the perpetrator has in the relationship.

Astoundingly, clergy are not considered authority figures under Michigan law.

Nicole Hayden, a reporter for The Times Herald, writes:

Senate bill is being drafted in Lansing to address clergy members and sexual assault laws.

The action is being taken after Sen. Rick Jones, Michigan Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, read a story in the Times Herald detailing a prosecutor’s decision to deny criminal charges against a pastor who put his hands on the breasts, buttocks and genitals of a female member of his church.

“I am angry this could happen and that this pastor could get away and not be charged,” Jones said. “I think that it very inappropriate and in most cases a pastor has just as much power over a person as a teacher or a doctor. I have requested a bill be written by the Legislative Service Bureau to address this situation.”

Pastor Mitch Olson, of Grace Ministry Center in Smiths Creek, was investigated for allegedly sexually assaulting a woman, who was 19 years old at the time, during a religious ceremony.

he prosecutor’s office called Olson’s actions “morally reprehensible,” but concluded no criminal activity took place as the victim consented to the act.

Michigan’s criminal sexual conduct laws afford children, students of a certain age, patients of medical doctors and clients of mental health professionals, among others, special protection. The law states these victims cannot give consent because of the authority the perpetrator has in the relationship.

Jones said he believes the law should be clarified to say that a pastor giving counseling services should be regarded in the same way a therapist or psychologist giving counseling services is.

The victim said she felt happy to learn that a bill would be drafted to protect others from experiencing the same trauma she did.

I feel rewarded and happy that even though justice was not served for me, in the future it will be served for other women,” she said. “I’m happy I was able to protect (others) and made a difference.”

Jones said the bill will take a couple months to write before the bureau introduces the language to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Jones said because he is the chairman of the committee, he will make sure there is a hearing to review the bill.

“I suspect the bill will get a lot of support,” Jones said.

Jones said, as a former police officer of 31 years, he feels legislators should do everything they can to protect victims of sexual assault.

Klint Kesto, Michigan House of Representatives Law and Justice Committee chairman, said he is also reviewing the case involving Olson.

“Overall, non-consensual sexual touching is definitely a crime,” Kesto said. “I don’t know enough about the facts of this case … but I have a call into the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan. They are getting me case law that will hopefully shed light on the issue.”

David Moran, University of Michigan clinical law professor and co-founder of the Michigan Innocence Clinic, said he is less optimistic about the proposed bill.

Moran said he would be surprised if an amendment to the law actually happened.

“Where the lines have been drawn so far makes sense because the law is typically talking about children or prisoners – someone who is under complete control of an authority figure,” Moran said. “Once you start expanding the (special victims) list, it gets hard to draw the lines of who is an authority figure and who is not. You also run the risk of getting into constitutional issues as well, as churches and religion are protected under the First Amendment, so it’s dicey.”

….

Black Collar Crime: Pastor Mitch Olson Slips Out of Criminal Charges

pastor mitch olson

Mitchell “Mitch” Olson, pastor of Grace Ministry Center in Kimball, Michigan, will not face criminal charges over “anointing” a female church member’s breasts, buttocks, and genitals. If you are not familiar with this story, please read, Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Mitch Olson Accused of Sexually Assaulting Church Member.

Nicole Hayden, a reporter for the Times Herald, reports:

A pastor accused of sexually assaulting a young woman will not face prosecution because the woman doesn’t fall under any classes of victims as outlined by state law, officials said Wednesday.

Pastor Mitch Olson, of Grace Ministry Center in Smiths Creek, was being investigated after the 20-year-old woman filed a police report in June alleging that Olson sexually assaulted her while performing a religious act. The Times Herald does not publish names of sexual assault victims. At the start of August, the St. Clair County Sheriff Department submitted the case to the prosecutor for review seeking a criminal sexual conduct charge.

The prosecutor concluded no criminal activity occurred.

“The conduct of suspect Mitchell Olson directed towards 19 year old Victim was morally reprehensible. The Grace Ministry Center head pastor’s conduct appears to be highly questionably and not religious in nature. It also appears to have violated the standards of the church. However, based on the information and law cited above, this conduct despite being immoral is not illegal according to Michigan criminal law. For these reasons we are unable to prosecute this case,” said Senior Assistant Prosecutor Paul Soderberg in the case review released Wednesday morning.

The woman told the Times Herald that she was heartbroken by the decision.

“It’s frustrating to know that it did happen but that Michigan law can’t protect me,” she said. “It’s very frustrating. I think if Michigan law was different he would be prosecuted … it’s frustrating that he can continue to do to other women what he did to me … I have learned through this experience that sexual assault is so minimized and that it’s easier for people to brush it under the rug rather than take action.”

….

The prosecutor’s case review does not argue if Olson committed the alleged acts or not, but states that the allegations are not criminal according to Michigan law.

“In reaching this conclusion, the People thoroughly reviewed the evidence presented in the sheriff department’s criminal investigation. It included the multiple disclosures and statements made by victim, which were consistent and reliable … The review also considered the statements of suspect Olson, who appeared to minimize his actions and while also deflecting away from the issue at stake,” said the prosecutor’s review.

To be a criminal act in Michigan, the victim either had to fall under a special class of victims or there had to be proof beyond a reasonable doubt that there was force or coercion involved in the alleged sexual assault.
The special class of victims includes children under the age of 16, incapacitated victims, family members, students of a certain age, special education students, persons in foster care, clients of mental health professionals, prisoners, and patients of medical doctors, among others.

“In contrast, there currently are no laws in Michigan that specifically list or protect members of a religious organization as ‘status’ victims against sexual contact by religious leaders, authorities, or pastors, etc,” according to the prosecutor’s review.

But while Olson may have manipulated the victim to consent to his touches, the actions were deemed consensual and not criminal by the prosecutor as there was no force, violence or threat of injury.

“It should be noted that a knowing consent to the touching is a valid defense to this (criminal sexual conduct) charge,” said the prosecutor’s case review.

David Moran, University of Michigan clinical law professor and co-founder of the Michigan Innocence Clinic, said consent is generally a fair defense to all criminal sexual assault charges.

If a victim knows the sexual conduct is happening, even if they are tricked into it, it’s hard to criminalize the action, Moran said.

“If a guy at the bar says I am a second cousin of (the president) and can get you a job in the government if you sleep with me, but it turns out he actually is not related, is that rape?” Moran said. “It’s very hard to draw the line between the different types of lies people use to get sex … everyone can agree it is unethical for a pastor to take advantage of a member of his flock, but it’s hard to draw the line if it’s criminal … It is innocence in a legal sense.”

Moran said often times sexual harassment lawsuits in civil court are available in cases where it is impossible to charge someone with a criminal sexual conduct charge.

….

Grace Ministry Center board members Gordon Farnsworth, Joseph Forth, Dave Frazier, and Lewis Hurley declined to comment for the story. We could not reach board members Caremy Snellenberger, Bev Wilson, Tim Holcomb or Hannah Herr. Some of the board members have since resigned, according to the police report. Former Assistant Pastor Justin Mcburney declined to comment and has since resigned from his position.

You can read all of Hayden’s excellent article here.

 

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Eric Garland Charged with Prescription Fraud

pastor eric garland

Eric Garland, family pastor at Denman Avenue Baptist Church in Lufkin, Texas, was arrested Monday and charged with prescription fraud. (Garland has already been scrubbed from the church’s website.)

Gary Bass, a reporter for KTRE, writes:

Officers with the Lufkin Police Department arrested Denman Avenue Baptist Church’s family pastor Monday in connection to allegations that he committed prescription fraud to obtain pain medication normally used for dogs. [This statement is incorrect. Tramadol is normally prescribed to humans.]

Eric Thomas Garland, 30, of Lufkin, was booked in to the Angelina County Jail on a third-degree felony prescription fraud charge. He was released later Monday after he posted a bail amount of $5,000.

The Denman Avenue Baptist Church web site lists Garland as the church’s family pastor.

“Eric Garland was placed on administrative leave by the Personnel Committee immediately upon learning of his prescription drug addiction,” a statement from the church said. “At this time, Eric has been relieved of all pastoral duties and responsibilities and is now facing the consequences of this addiction.”

….

According to the arrest affidavit, Garland obtained a canine pain medication called Tramadol through “misrepresentation, fraud, forgery, deception, or subterfuge.”

A Lufkin PD detective was contacted by a local veterinarian who wanted to speak to someone about a possible prescription fraud on May 31. When the LPD detective spoke to the veterinarian, the vet told him that he has prescribed 210 tablets of Tramadol to Garland since March.

The vet also told the Lufkin PD detective that Garland told him the medication was for a chocolate Labrador retriever named Bayla because the dog had back leg pain, the affidavit stated.

The veterinarian told the detective he first saw Garland on March 17 and that he prescribed him 30 Tramadol tablets, 30 Rimadyl, and two Bravecto, the affidavit stated. Then, on March 20, Garland allegedly called the veterinary clinic on March 20 and said that he had lost the Tramadol, so the vet prescribed 30 more Tramadol tablets.

According to the affidavit, the vet told the Lufkin PD detective that Garland came back on April 6 and April 18 and was prescribed 30 more Tramadol tablets each time. When Garland came back to the veterinary clinic on May 17, he got a prescription for 60 Tramadol tablets, the affidavit stated.

The veterinarian told the LPD detective that on May 31, he spoke to a veterinarian at the Lone Star Veterinary Clinic. During their conversation, a vet there brought up the fact that Garland had been to his clinic numerous times recently.

After that, the veterinarian contacted vets at Pineywoods Veterinary and the West Loop Animal Clinic. The vets he spoke to at those clinics also said that Garland had been by numerous times to get Tramadol prescriptions, the affidavit stated.

…..

On May 31, the Lufkin PD detective sent a request to the Commissioned Online Prescription System for Garland’s prescription history from June 2016 to May of 2017 and found that Garland was prescribed about 1,037 Tramadol tablets between June 1, 2016, and June 6, 2017.

“Prescription drug addiction is a national epidemic,” the statement from Denman Avenue Baptist Church said. “The church is made up of all walks of people and as we have been reminded is not isolated from addictions or other unwise circumstances ordinary people face day to day. The church family at Denman is here to provide the love and support that can only be found through faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to all people in our community.”

Note:

I wonder if Garland was taking other drugs too. The reason I wonder is that 1,037 Trampoline over a thirteen month period comes out to about eighty tablets a month. I am on long-term pain management and Tramadol is part of my treatment. In that same thirteen month period I took 1,560 tablets, four per day. If the Tramadol was all that Garland was taking, he might have become dependent, but I doubt addicted — unless he was binge using. I suspect the bigger issue is HOW and where he was obtaining the Tramadol.