Black Collar Crime

Black Collar Crime: Catholic Priest Marcin Nurek Cops a Feel and Tells Teen Girl, ‘You’re Sexy’

marcin nurek

Marcin Nurek, a newly-minted priest that was to scheduled to become the parochial vicar at St. Catherine of Siena Church in Mountain Lakes, New Jersey, was charged with “endangering the welfare of a child – whose age was listed as being at least 13 but younger than 16 – and criminal sexual contact.”

The Daily Record reports:

A newly-ordained priest has been charged with putting his hand under a teenager’s skirt in Boonton, touching her buttocks and telling her “You’re sexy,” according to court records.

The Rev. Marcin A. Nurek, 37, was ordained a priest on July 1 and was supposed to start a post as parochial vicar this month at St. Catherine of Siena Church in Mountain Lakes. That assignment will not take place and Nurek has been placed on administrative leave and cannot function as a priest, said Richard Sokerka, director of communications for the Diocese of Paterson.

The alleged incident occurred in the town of Boonton last Thursday, when Nurek put his hand under the girl’s skirt and touched her buttocks over her underwear.  Court records did not state where the incident allegedly occurred but said the teen was upset but not injured.

Nurek was charged with endangering the welfare of a child – whose age was listed as being at least 13 but younger than 16 – and criminal sexual contact. Via a closed-circuit television link between the Morris County jail and Superior Court, Nurek appeared on Friday for an initial review before Judge Ira Cohen.

Morris County Assistant Prosecutor Meg Rodriguez said the state has filed a motion to detain Nurek in the county jail until the charges are resolved. A detention hearing has been scheduled for Wednesday.

Nurek, an immigrant of Poland, was assisted during the hearing by a Polish interpreter. Nurek’s status as a priest was not mentioned at the hearing but other court records and documents confirmed his ordination.

According to The Beacon, the weekly newspaper of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Paterson, Nurek was ordained in 2016 as a transitional deacon, the final step before the call to the Sacrament of Holy Orders – the priesthood – in 2017. On July 1, Diocese of Paterson Bishop Arthur Serratelli ordained Nurek to the priesthood along with others.

The Diocese issued a statement, saying it is saddened by the incident and is cooperating fully with the Prosecutor’s Office. It also said that Nurek had completed all training related to proper conduct with children.

“The Diocese of Paterson was informed of the arrest of Rev. Marcin Nurek at approximately 8:45 p.m. on Thursday, August 3, 2017, at which time the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office was immediately notified. Since then, the Diocese has cooperated fully with the Prosecutor’s Office in its investigation,” the statement said.

“In addition, Rev. Nurek was immediately placed on administrative leave, his faculties were revoked and his assignment as parochial vicar at St. Catherine of Siena Church, Mountain Lakes, was concluded,” the statement said. (Revocation of faculties means that Nurek cannot function as a priest).

“Rev. Nurek arrived in the United States from Poland in March of 2015. He was just recently ordained to the priesthood on July 1, 2017. He was scheduled to begin his assignment at St. Catherine of Siena in August 2017. His international criminal history background check was completed on Oct. 17, 2014 and was clear. He completed the Diocese’s Protecting God’s Children educational program on April 9, 2015 and he signed the Diocesan Code of Pastoral Conduct on March 9, 2015,” the statement said.

….

Black Collar Crime: Baptist Pastor Roscoe Cooper, III Charged with DUI

roscoe cooper iii

Roscoe Cooper, III, pastor of Rising Mount Zion Baptist Church in Richmond, Virginia, was charged yesterday with DUI.

CBS-6 reports:

A prominent pastor and vice chair of the Henrico County School Board was arrested for driving under the influence early Saturday morning.

Virginia State Police arrested 43-year-old Roscoe Cooper III around 1 a.m. on I-64 west of the Gaskins Road exit in the West End.

Cooper was charged with driving under the influence.

However, state police have not yet released the details surrounding Cooper’s arrest.

Cooper, who is the school board’s vice chair and represents the Fairfield District, is well known in the Richmond metro area.

He comes from a line of family clergy members and is the pastor of Rising Mt. Zion Baptist Church in eastern Henrico County.

Close friends and clergy members are asking the public not to rush to judgment.

“We are put on a high pedestal and sometimes people cannot accept that we all have issues,” Sharon Broaddus, a family friend, said. “They expect the pastor to be perfect with no problems. What the church and the Christians should do now is rally around Pastor Cooper.”

….

Here’s Cooper’s Jesus-worthy bio from the Rising Mount Zion’s website:

Dr. Roscoe D. Cooper, III, a third-generation of spiritually powerful preachers, is a twice scholar graduate of Virginia Union University in Richmond, Virginia from which he earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Religion and Philosophy and a Master of Divinity Degree from the esteem Samuel Dewitt Proctor School of Theology, graduating Cum Laude. Additionally, he sought to show himself approved, completing post-graduate study at the Chicago Theological Seminary, and in 2013, received a Doctor of Divinity Degree from Richmond Theological Seminary.

​​Richmond born, reared and educated, his achievements and recognitions are noteworthy throughout the state, country and world in which he has readily and successfully combined his evangelistic duties with the concerns and needs of the community.  He is the recipient of numerous honors and rewards as an Outstanding Education Orator, a Prolific Communicator and Leader, Minister of the Year for four consecutive years, and a keynote speaker at the National Baptist Congress of Christian Education of the National Baptist Convention USA.  Additionally, he has been honored and recognized by the Richmond NAACP, served as a community representative to the Congressional Black Caucus Discussions in Washington, D. C., a productive President of the Baptist Ministers Conference of Richmond and Vicinity, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Capital Area Health Network, is a member of the Religious Advisory Committee of Virginia Senator Mark Warner, an invited participant in the Educational Seminar in Israel, and the elected Henrico County School Board Representative for the Fairfield District.

His first pastorate was at the Long Branch Baptist Church in Woodford, Virginia where he honorably and diligently served for three years.  In 2003, he was called to the historical Rising Mount Zion Baptist Church – Hartman Street, Henrico County as Pastor.  Since his arrival at Rising Mount Zion Baptist Church, the church has continuously embraced a direction of spiritual growth, and has revolutionized, strengthened, and excelled in every aspect of its existence under his leadership.  Pastor Cooper has more than quadrupled the membership, birthed several new ministries, and executed a comprehensive short and long term building and renovation plan, resulting in the funding and construction of phase 1 of a multi-million dollar sanctuary and administrative wing within his first ten years, refurbished the interior and exterior of the old buildings and the surrounding grounds to absolute condition and beauty.

He is a devoted family man who is a called  servant of God who is focused and inspired by the promises of God, unchained by the cross, intentionally lives his creeds, treads the path of excellence, credibly inhabits his sermons, and unashamedly proclaims the Word of God each time he stands.  Consistently, he nurtures the spirits, minds and hearts of his congregants with the powerful and unadulterated Word of God that encourages everyone to seek first the Kingdom of God, walk in His Way, take up the cup of salvation, and thank and glorify God for all things.

In spite of the indelible manifestation of God’s favor on this branch of Zion and its people, and the teaching and preaching of the Good News Gospel, he remains and encourages others to remain humble,   study and witness the Word of God, and purposely relish the challenge to dare to make a difference!   It is evident that he is spiritually anointed, socially engaged, and academically prepared for the task at hand—to teach and preach the Good News Gospel, bring souls to Christ and soundly lead the flock that God has given him.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports:

A Henrico County School Board member accused of driving under the influence early Saturday is also facing a charge of refusing to take a breath test to determine the alcohol content in his blood, according to court documents.

….

The DUI is a misdemeanor. The breath-test charge is a civil violation that accuses Cooper, 43, of “unreasonably” refusing to provide a breath sample, according to court records.

According to Sgt. Steve Vick with Virginia State Police, Cooper was stopped just before 1 a.m. on Saturday on westbound Interstate 64 just west of the Gaskins Road exit.

….

Cooper, who is the pastor at Rising Mount Zion Baptist Church in Henrico, has other driving-related charges pending in Henrico General District Court. There’s a pair of charges from June 30 that accuse him of driving 43 mph in a 25 mph zone and of driving without a license, according to court records. Cooper also faces a charge of driving 38 mph in a 25 mph zone on July 19.

Update

Channel 6 reports:

Cooper was arrested after a state trooper reported seeing a car on I-64 west driving in two lanes.

The trooper stopped the suspect, Cooper, and said he smelled like alcohol.

According to the arrest documents, Cooper admitted to having two drinks.

The arresting trooper said Cooper seemed nervous, was fumbling around and could not find his wallet or license.

Records show Cooper blew a point 0.10 on the breathalyzer test at the scene, so he was charged with drinking and driving, handcuffed and taken to jail. The legal limit in Virginia is 0.08.

According to the arresting docs, he was given another breathalyzer test, but barely blew on the tube three times, ending with a deficient sample. As a result, he was charged with refusing to take a test.

When asked if he had considered resigning from the school board, Cooper was defiant Thursday evening.

“I’m not convicted of anything. What am I resigning for?” Cooper asked. “I’ve still got a job to do and I’m excited about this year. There are great possibilities and potentials.”

….

A November 15, 2017 Channel Six story reports:

Pastor and Henrico School Board member Roscoe Cooper III received a six-month suspended jail sentence after he was found guilty of driving while intoxicated. Cooper’s driver’s license has been suspended for a year.

Cooper was arrested in August after a Virginia State Trooper reported seeing Cooper’s car driving in two lanes along Interstate 64 west in Henrico’s West End. The trooper stopped Cooper and reported the Rising Mt. Zion Baptist Church pastor smelled of alcohol.

….

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Gilbert Deya Deported to Face Child-Trafficking Charges

gilbert deya

Gilbert Deya, a British/Kenyan Evangelical pastor, was deported to Kenya to face child-trafficking charges.

The BBC reports:

The UK has extradited a self-styled Kenyan pastor, who claimed he created miraculous pregnancies, to Kenya to face child-trafficking charges.

Gilbert Deya’s extradition came after he failed in his decade-long legal battle to remain in the UK.

He denied charges of stealing five children between 1999 and 2004 when he appeared in court in Nairobi.

Concerns were first raised about the conduct of Mr Deya, who ran a church in London, in a BBC investigation in 2004.

Infertile or post-menopausal women who attended the Gilbert Deya Ministries church in Peckham, south-east London, were told they could have “miracle” babies.

But the babies were always “delivered” in backstreet clinics in Nairobi, Kenya’s capital.

Mr Deya later moved to Scotland, and was arrested in Edinburgh in 2006 under an international arrest warrant issued by Kenya.

His Gilbert Deya Ministries is being investigated by the UK Charity Commission for alleged mismanagement.

“Our statutory inquiry into Gilbert Deya Ministries is ongoing. We are currently considering the implication of Gilbert Deya’s extradition on our investigation,” the commission said in a statement.

  • A former stonemason who moved to London from Kenya in the mid-90s
  • Set up the Gilbert Deya Ministries as a registered charity, with African and Asian branches
  • Known for his blend of charismatic, performance-style preaching
  • Had income of £652,800 ($858,000) for the financial year ending December 2015
  • Spent £609,300
  • Described by UK Labour MP David Lammy as a “modern-day snake-oil salesman”
  • Says he was consecrated as an Archbishop by a US evangelist in 1992

When the BBC asked Mr Deya during its 2014 investigation how he explained the births of children with DNA different to that of their alleged parents, the 65-year-old Mr Deya said: “The miracle babies which are happening in our ministry are beyond human imagination.

“It is not something I can say I can explain because they are of God and things of God cannot be explained by a human being.”

Kenya’s police spokesman Charles Owino told the BBC that Mr Deya had arrived in Nairobi aboard a Kenya Airways flight following his extradition.

Mr Deya had opposed his extradition, saying he feared being tortured and sentenced to death.

In 2007, his wife, Mary, was sentenced to two years in prison in Kenya after being convicted of stealing a baby.

In 2011, she was sentenced to three years in jail after being convicted of stealing another child.

Desperate women, some past the menopause and others who were infertile, were convinced that being prayed for by Mr Deya and travelling to Kenya would result in a child.

….

According to Wikipedia:

Deya was born in the morning of 2 February 1952 in Juja, Kiambu County, outside of Nairobi and was the eleventh child in a family of fifteen children. He belongs to Luo tribe ans his name “Juma” means Sunday, which is the day he was born. His father, Samuel Oyanda Deya was a sisal plantations worker from Bondo working in Juja. His parents were never meant to be a couple because his mother, Monica Nono Deya, declined the arranged marriage with his father.

He attended primary school but the school preacher dropped out because of bullying and poverty. He started preaching Jinja, Kampala, in Uganda, where he beat up a woman for hitting the children of his sister and worked there as a porter.

He married his 14 year-old wife, Mary Anyango, when he was at 21 on 27 December 1958. They gave birth to fifteen children in total. He started the “Salvation of Jesus Christ Church” in 1976.

He was ordained by the United Evangelical Church of Kenya and styles himself “Archbishop”. He was an evangelist in Kenya in the late 1980s to early 1990s, but moved to the UK, establishing Gilbert Deya Ministries in 1997. The ministry now has churches in Liverpool, London, Birmingham, Nottingham, Luton, Reading, and Manchester, Sheffield and in 2006 acquired a building and planning permission in Leeds. The church claims to be “the fastest growing Ministry in the UK and worldwide”

The Gilbert Deya Ministries claim that Deya’s powers allow him to be able to cause infertile women to become pregnant. Mr Deya claims that “through the power of prayer and the Lord Jesus” he has helped sterile women give birth. In the UK, one woman is claimed to have had three children in less than a year. The women travelled to Kenya in order to “give birth”.

Deya’s wife, Eddah (also known as Mary Deya), was arrested during November 2004 in Nairobi and charged with stealing children. Ten children, none of whom had any genetic connection to the Deya family, were found at Mr Deya’s House. Twenty babies have been placed in foster care in Kenya after DNA tests showed they had no connection to their alleged mothers. Rose Atieno Kiserem, a former pastor with Deya’s ministry was jailed along with Mrs Deya. Upon her release from jail, Kiserem confessed that the ‘miracle babies’ were “a hoax created by the Deyas and their accomplices to deceive me and other God-fearing people.”

Deya has a warrant out for his arrest in Kenya for the trafficking of babies out of the country. The Kenyan police have alleged that the ministry is a baby-snatching ring, and they have petitioned for his extradition from the UK. Mr Deya is seeking political asylum from his base in Glasgow. He was arrested by police at Edinburgh Sheriff Court in 2006.

In November 2004 the High Court in the UK ruled that a ‘miracle baby’ in London was the victim of child trafficking, and that the supposed miracle displayed was a ruse in order to generate funds from a “deceived congregation”. Mr Justice Ryder ruled that in order to maintain the illusion of a genuine birth, the child’s ‘mother’ was seriously assaulted “and a live child who had been born to another family was presented to her as her child.” He also ruled that “[the baby’s] birth as described was a falsehood not a miracle.”

On 13 December 2006, Mr Deya was arrested in London by the Metropolitan Police. A police spokesman said Gilbert Deya was detained under an arrest warrant issued by Kenyan authorities, who had charged him with child abduction and trafficking. He was ordered by a court on 8 November 2007, to be extradited from the UK to Kenya to face five counts of child stealing.

Deya appealed against extradition on the grounds that he might face torture in Kenya, but in late 2008 his case was rejected by the High Court and leave to appeal to the House of Lords was refused. It was reported in April 2010 that Deya was still in England and that David Lammy, Deya’s MP, had enquired of the government why he had not yet been extradited. Lammy was concerned that justice was being denied to several of his constituents who were victims of the trafficked babies fraud. The Home Office responded that it was still considering representations from Deya’s solicitors that sending him to Kenya would breach his human rights.

In September 2011, news reports indicated that all avenues of appeal had been exhausted and Deya would now be extradited to Kenya.

In December 2011, a court in Kenya cleared Mary Deya of obtaining registration for five children irregularly.

The London Evening Standard reported on 21 October 2016 that Deya had applied for a judicial review of the decision to extradite him.

On 12 July 2017, Premier Christian Media reported that the High Court had refused Deya’s application for a judicial review and that he would be extradited.

On 3rd August, 2017, Deya was extradited from the UK to Kenya to face child trafficking charges. He was immediately arraigned in court force child trafficking offences.

 

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Guillermo Quintanilla Accused of Sexually Assaulting Young Girls

guillermo quintanilla

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.

Guillermo Quintanilla, pastor of El Shadai Church of God (which rented space in Reformation Lutheran Church’s building) in Canal Winchester, Ohio, has been charged with “rape, sexual battery and two counts of gross sexual imposition.”

Cleveland.com reports:

The pastor of a church near Columbus is being held in jail on a $1 million bond after being accused of sexually assaulting three young girls, reports say.

Guillermo Quintanilla, 47, pastor at El Shadai Church of God in Canal Winchester, is charged with rape, sexual battery and two counts of gross sexual imposition, all felonies, according to 10tv.com.

Court documents show a mother told investigators that Quintanilla assaulted her daughter a few times per week over four years, beginning when her daughter was 8 years old, WSYX Channel 6 reports.

Two other victims came forward with accusations against Quintanilla after police began investigating, with one being abused beginning at age 6, reports say.

Quintanilla is accused of pushing one of the victims to the floor of his office in an attempt to keep her from telling anyone about the assaults. He reportedly hit her in the face several times, threatened to rape her, and to kill her and her mother, according to WCMH Channel 4.

The pastor denied assaulting the girls but told police if he touched the girls’ private parts, it was by accident, WCMH reports.

A September 5, 2018 Columbus Dispatch report states:

A Columbus pastor has been sentenced to eight years in prison for sexually abusing three preteen girls at his East Side church.

Guillermo Quintanilla, 48, entered an Alford plea in Franklin County Common Pleas Court on Tuesday to three counts of gross sexual imposition.

The sentence, imposed by Judge Laurel Beatty Blunt, was recommended by prosecuting and defense attorneys as part of a plea agreement. In an Alford plea, a defendant doesn’t admit guilt, but concedes that prosecutors have enough evidence to gain a conviction.

Quintanilla reached the plea agreement as jury selection was about to begin for a trial on the charges. Six other counts of gross sexual imposition, as well as one count each of rape and sexual battery were dismissed as part of the deal.

After he is released from prison, he will be required to register as a sex offender every six months for 25 years.

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Derek Jones Accused of Domestic Violence

busted

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.

Michael “Derek” Jones, pastor of Sold Out Church in Conway, Arkansas, was arrested earlier this month and charged with third-degree domestic battery.

The Log Cabin Democrat reports:

A local preacher was arrested earlier this month on suspicion of domestic battery.

Michael “Derek” Jones, of Conway, was arrested in Mayflower around 2:30 a.m. July 13 on a third-degree domestic battery charge.

Jones is the current lead pastor at the Sold Out Church, located at 701 Polk St. in Conway.

According to the church’s website, Jones has been the lead pastor at the church since January 2014.

The Log Cabin Democrat reached out to Jones for comment via phone on Thursday. However, calls went unanswered by press time.

According to court documents, Jones was ordered to have no contact with the victim following the incident.

Jones currently faces third-degree battery, which is a Class A misdemeanor. However, his case has since been sent to the Faulkner County Prosecutor’s Office for review.

Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Carol Crews confirmed Thursday the prosecutor’s office received Jones’ case file last week and would soon make a determination whether Jones’ charge should be upgraded to a felony.

Jones is set to appear in Mayflower District Court at 8:30 a.m. Aug. 16 for a plea and arraignment hearing regarding the misdemeanor charge.

According to Jones’ bio on his church’s website:

Derek and Amie Jones decided to respond to God’s prompting to start a new church and called a meeting at their house on May 2, 2012. This was the culmination of a long process that had been leading to this point. For years Derek knew he had an anointing in his life to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to lead His people, but instead looked for answers in everything except Christ. He tried to run from that calling into the ministry for a very long time. Finally, after losing a child in October of 2009, he threw his hands up and boldly prayed “Whatever you have for me Lord, I’m ready.”

Derek and Amie served bi-vocationally on staff at ThatChurch.com in Conway, Arkansas, where Derek was ordained. Derek also served as the Director of Men’s Ministries for Homelessness at the Union Rescue Mission in Little Rock for 4 years, but took a leap of faith in January 2014 and became full-time at Sold Out Church as the Lead Pastor

Derek and Amie live in Conway and have a passion and love for their city. They have five children, [names removed] whom they pray in faith will rise up to be the greatest godly men and women of their generation.

Sold Out Church Facebook page.

The comments on the original article are quite interesting, yet predictable:

It’s a shame that both sides of this story is not being shared as to the what and why. Derek Jones is human, he has not placed himself upon a pedestal. He sins as we all do. If you want to know his past, ,just simply ask him and he will share it with you and he will also share his love of Jesus Christ. Pastor Derek has publicly shared his past more than once. As for me and my family we will continue to serve the Lord and continue serving at Sold Out Church. We will continue making Jesus known in a hurting world and develop SOLD OUT followers of Him.

I also am a member of Sold Out Church as is my family and Pastor Derek and his family have been nothing but real. He doesn’t claim to be or portray himself to be perfect..he after all is human. We all sin everyday whether it’s breaking the law, or not being truthful, no one sin is greater than the other. I wish you would have taken the time to give more of the facts instead of making it out to try to damage his character. The fact is he was trying to protect not only others but himself as well. We will continue to support Derek and his family and our church through this.

My family and I consider Pastor Derek Jones as a part of our family. He is human, and, yes he makes mistakes. He will openly tell anyone that there is only one perfect “being” and that is God. He has never even pretended to be perfect and he is as authentic and transparent as they come. He has never wanted to be put on a pedestal, for only one deserves that honor. We will continue to support our Pastor, Michael Derek Jones.

Mathew 7:1-5 1 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

And finally, one comment that suggests there is more to this story:

It is very important to note that this is not the first time that Michael Derek Jones has been in trouble with the law for violence. He has previously served time for a violent offense.

All of the cult like supporters of Michael Derek Jones are basing their opinions on what they were TOLD by MICHAEL DEREK JONES.

The TRUTH will come out in court.

For those of you who are claiming self defense, a normal person, in a reasonable state of mind, should retreat if they feel threatened, especially if they are at a house where they were not invited to.

The medical records and photos of the victims face will provide clear evidence that this was not a case of self defense. It was a violent beating. How does Michael Derek Jone’s face look in the mug shot? Does he look injured?

What is truly sad is that one of the cult like supporters of Michael Derek Jones called DHS and made false accusations against the victim. DHS went to the victim’s house, and after seeing the wounds and swelling on the victim’s face, interviewing the victim’s daughter, and inspecting the home, immediately concluded that the report was unsubstantiated and only a clear attempt to smear the victim. DHS left the victim’s house after only 10 minutes or so. Shame on you.

For the cult like supporter quoting scripture, you left out Matthew chapter 5 verse 39.
“But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.”

The thing that the cult like supporters of this man need to realize, is that he came up with a story to try to make himself not look responsible. When the truth comes out in court, his story will not matter. The facts are what matter.

I do feel sorry for the members of Sold Out Church. You are having to accept some facts that are not easy to accept.

And I feel sorry for the family of Michael Derek Jones.

I hope that all of the truth comes out in court and that justice is served.

In 2014, The Arkansas Online ran a feature story about Jones. Here’s an excerpt of what they had to say:

Derek Jones of Conway said he knew when he was 8 years old that he was called to the ministry, but he went astray for years before accepting the call.

His passion reignited, the now 32-year-old started Sold Out Church about two years ago with approximately 30 people in his living room, and on Mother’s Day, May 11, the church will hold a grand opening in its renovated building at 1015 Lincoln St. in Conway.

“We don’t believe the church is a building; we believe we are the church. We’re here for the world,” he said.

The flier for the church uses the saying: “This ain’t your momma’s church.”

Jones said he grew up in North Little Rock, the son of an alcoholic. His parents divorced when he was 2, and his father has since died.

“When I was 12, my godfather passed away,” Jones said. “I turned away, looked for answers” in unhealthy ways. “I ran into trouble. I felt Jesus had betrayed me.”

Things got much worse before they got better.

Jones served in the Air Force in 2001-2002, stationed in North Carolina, but after a drunken fight, he shot two people and went to prison.

“My whole congregation knows about it; I never hide anything,” he said. “I truly believe I’m a testament to what happens when you encounter a holy God,” Jones said.

“I went to a party one night; things went really bad. Me and a guy got into a fight,” Jones said. “He threw a cinder block through my windshield.” Another individual was involved, too, Jones said. “I decided I was going to go back with a gun and make them give me money and make them pay for it.

“I did shoot two people. They did not die; I did not kill them.”

One man was treated and released for a “flesh wound,” Jones said. The other was seriously injured.

Jones said he didn’t immediately become a Christian while in prison. He said he saw people come into prison, “walk in the door and say, ‘Oh, Jesus, save me.’ That wasn’t me.

“Somebody gave me a Bible, and that’s when everything changed.”

Jones was 21 years old. Although he started out in a North Carolina prison, he transferred to Arkansas to do his time — seven years.

….

“I had been clean and sober since 2002. In 2009, that’s when everything really, really changed. I realized I’m not in control.

“I threw up my hands in surrender and said, ‘Lord, you’ve been calling me for years.’ Although this makes no sense, that’s all I can lean on.”

Three days later, Jones said, his best friend called and encouraged him to apply for a job.

“He said, ‘God told me you have to know about it,’” Jones said the friend told him. The friend also had applied for the position.

Jones was working at a plumbing company at the time.

“I knew in my spirit what was taking place,” he said. “I said, ‘I’m afraid if I apply, I’m going to get it.’”

Sure enough, Jones got the job as director of the homeless ministry at Union Rescue Mission in Little Rock.

“It’s been like riding a rocket ship ever since,” Jones said.

About two years ago, he said, he started a church service in his home with around 30 people. It grew like crazy, he said. Today, there are about 100 members of Sold Out Church.

“I have experience dealing with the last, the least and the lost,” he said.

As director, he worked hand in hand with a nine-month “life-recovery” program for people at the mission who had struggled, like he had.

Jones said he was ordained through That Church, which is no longer in Conway, although its Sherwood location is thriving, he said.

“I do have a biblical degree through Andersonville Theological Seminary,” he said, which is an online program. [an unaccredited institution that some haves called a diploma mill.]

It was too hard to be a pastor and work at the mission and “do both excellently,” he said.

He resigned Jan. 3 from his job at the Union Rescue Mission and took a $23,000 pay cut to become a full-time pastor, he said.

“Four weeks after I resigned, I found out my wife was pregnant with our sixth child — Logan is with the Lord — our fifth that’s with us,” he said.

Jones said it was a surprise, albeit a happy one.

Despite the financial impact, Jones said he has no doubt that he’s where God wants him to be.

“It’s stepping out on faith,” he said.

….

“My background, I was baptized Baptist, … but we are not Baptist; we are nondenominational. We’re about Jesus. That’s what we’re about,” he said. “We’re a church, and we represent Jesus Christ, and that’s what we do. On our website, it says it doesn’t matter what your race, religion, sexuality, anything.

“I’m not going to tell anyone sin is OK, but we’re going to love anyone who comes through the door.”

Update

Prosecutors drop felony charges against Jones.

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Hollis Vaughn Accused of Sexually Abusing a Child

hollis vaughn

Hollis Vaughn, pastor of El Shaddai World Outreach Church and operator of God’s Awesome Army Ministry — both located at the pastor’s home in Harris County, Texas — stands accused of the “continuous sexual abuse of a child.” (I found no web presence for Vaughn or his home-based ministries.)

The Houston Chronicle reports:

A 67-year-old man who operates two Christian ministries out of his north Harris County home has been charged with sexually abusing a child over several years.

….

Hollis Albert Vaughn faces a first-degree felony charge of continuous sexual abuse of a child, according to court records. It appears to be the first time he has faced a criminal charge in Harris County.

Vaughn’s defense attorney, Tom Zakes, said in a phone interview that Vaughn had “no inappropriate contact with the child whatsoever.” The lawyer questioned some of the specific allegations in the probable cause affidavit, which is not yet public.

The sheriff’s office said in a news release that Vaughn operates out of his home two church groups, God’s Awesome Army Ministry and El Shaddai World Outreach Church. Public records show he lives in the Willowbrook area, near Veterans Memorial and Bammel North Houston.

He was arrested Thursday after a child told a family member that Vaughn spent years sexually abusing and inappropriately touching the child, according to the sheriff’s office and court records.

On Saturday, a magistrate judge granted a protective order in the case. The child’s age and gender are not known.

Vaughn left the Harris County Jail on Tuesday after posting a $100,000 bond. His next court appearance is scheduled for Aug. 31.

Black Collar Crime: Catholic Priest Scott Kallal Charged With Sex Crimes

scott kallal

Scott Kallal, assistant pastor of Holy Spirit Catholic Church, Overland Park, Kansas and St. Patrick Catholic Church, Kansas City, Kansas, was charged Friday with “two counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child.”

KCTV-5 reports:

Authorities say a Catholic priest charged in Wyandotte County with child sex crimes has been arrested in Maryland.

The Wyandotte County prosecutor’s office announced Tuesday that the Rev. Scott Kallal was charged Friday with two counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child. Online court records show the 35-year-old was arrested Monday in Rockville in Maryland’s Montgomery County.

Prosecutor’s office spokesman Jonathan Carter said he didn’t know whether Kallal had an attorney. No details were provided about the allegations.

The Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas announced last week that Kallal was pulled from public ministry duties after two sources accused him of “boundary violations.” The archdiocese said its preliminary investigation “revealed violations of some of the archdiocese’s safe environment guidelines which all clerics, employees and volunteers are asked to observe when interacting with young people.”

The archdiocese said Kallal’s suspension was announced during Masses at Overland Park’s Holy Spirit Church and St. Patrick Church in Kansas City, Kansas. He served at both.

An initial statement from the archdiocese said Kallal “denies any moral misconduct or malicious intent and has agreed to undergo evaluation and counseling.” In a follow-up statement Tuesday, the archdiocese said that it would continue to “cooperate fully” with law enforcement, and that anyone with information about priests, deacons, employees or volunteers engaging in inappropriate conduct should report their concerns.

Fox-4 adds,  in a report that is quite sympathetic to the Catholic Church and its “rare” sexual abuse/misconduct/rape/sexual assault/pedophilia problems:

….

Parishioners at St. Pat’s and Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Overland Park just learned of the allegations the weekend of July 15-16, when it was announced during mass that Fr. Kallal had been relieved of his duties.

While incidents like this are relatively rare, the church says it remains committed to ensuring no child becomes a victim.

The inside of a Catholic Church is often beautiful, and a place where many find comfort. But allegations and criminal charges against church leaders like Fr. Scott Kallal can tarnish its prestige.

“The church is in the business of saving souls and in spiritual life. They’re experts in spirituality. But they’ve brought in experts now and worked together with them to ensure safety of children is a top priority,” said Carrie Cooper, director of the Office of Child and Youth protection for the Kansas City, Mo. Archdiocese.

Cooper’s job was created out of controversy. Nearly six years ago, the Kansas City, Mo. Archdiocese created the Office of Child and Youth Protection after Fr. Shawn Ratigan was sent to prison for child pornography. There is a similar office in KCK, with which Cooper’s office often works.

Cooper says a lot of good changes have happened in recent years to prevent abuse, and to report it, which includes getting police involved right away.

“The civil authorities are the most important. It is their job to sort those things through and do those investigations. So that’s definitely what we want to happen first,” said Cooper.

There are also more intensive background checks for every school and church employee and volunteer. Those individuals also go through intense trainings on child and sexual abuse. That training is also given to kids in parishes and Catholic schools.

“They’re offered training on what is a safe boundary, what is grooming, what is predatory behavior and what do I do to protect myself as a child,” Cooper said.

If anyone breaks a boundary, kids are asked to tell a trusted adult. And if that adult broke the rules, they should keep telling trusted adults until it is taken seriously.

“The goal of all these efforts really is to make sure children are safe. That’s absolutely the most important thing,” Cooper said.

There’s also an independent review board, composed of non-church members who look at every allegation made against someone within the church. The Kansas City, Mo. diocese also has an ombudsmen — a former prosecutor that looks closely at each case.

As for Fr. Kallal, he was said to be attending counseling before his arrest in Maryland. He will be brought back to Kansas within the next few weeks to answer to the charges here.

….

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Bible Teacher Timothy Myers Busted in Sex Sting

busted

Timothy Myers, a Bible teacher at SonRise Church in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, was arrested last month and charged with “unlawful contact with a minor, aggravated indecent assault, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and criminal use of a communication facility.”

WPXI reports:

A Westmoreland County Bible study teacher is the latest person accused of trying to meet for sex with a person he thought was a teenage boy, police say.

Timothy Michael Myers, 32, of Latrobe, is the third person to be arrested in two days, accused of trying to meet with an undercover agent posing as a 14-year-old boy.

Myers is accused of exchanging sexual messages with the undercover agent, and then showing up to try and meet the person for sex.

Myers volunteered at a Greensburg church where he worked with children and taught a Bible study class within the past month.

He was arrested Wednesday evening after agents said he showed up at a Hempfield Township hotel thinking he was meet with a 14-year-old boy.

Agents were waiting for him when he arrived and, when questioned by investigators, Myers allegedly told them, “I hadn’t made up my mind if I was going to have sex with him, but I was prepared.”

The agent who posed as a boy online said the conversation began on a social networking app.

Myers is not facing charges for anything pertaining to the Bible study class or the church. The church’s pastor said Myers was not on the staff of the church and served only as a volunteer. The pastor said Myers was never left alone with children, and the church works to provide a safe environment for everyone.

The pastor added that Myers’ attendance and volunteerism is no different than anyone else’s at the church, and he is not credentialed or on staff in any capacity.

Police said Myers admitted to what happened and gave them a written statement.

Trib Live adds:

Unity man who had newly purchased condoms when he arrived at a Hempfield hotel, allegedly to have sex with a person he believed was a 14-year-old boy, was raising funds for a church mission trip, according to authorities.

Timothy Michael Myers, 32, who picked up condoms at a Wal-Mart store 10 minutes before he was scheduled to arrive at the meeting location on Wednesday, instead was met by a state Attorney General’s Office agent.

Myers is charged with unlawful contact with a minor, aggravated indecent assault, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and criminal use of a communication facility. He posted $50,000 bond Friday.

Myers had been seeking donations on a GoFundMe page for a mission trip to Peru in July. An establishment there is connected to the Greater Johnstown Christian Fellowship, according to the page. Senior Pastor James Gay said Friday that Myers has no affiliation to the Johnstown church and will not travel on the mission trip.

On the GoFundMe page, Myers asked that donations for the trip be sent to SonRise Church in Unity Township. A message left at a number for the church was not returned Friday afternoon. Pastor Allen Runyon told Tribune-Review news partner WPXI that Myers volunteered with a Bible study group there and was always in the presence of another adult.

The donation page has raised $2,255, with a $2,200 goal.

Investigators said in a criminal complaint that Myers messaged a person he thought was a 14-year-old boy on a popular social networking smartphone application. Police did not name the app.

Myers allegedly solicited the boy for sex acts and arrived at the hotel with two condoms just before 6 p.m., when he was arrested. Police did not name the hotel. They found an opened box of condoms and a receipt for them in his car.

Myers admitted to the communication but told investigators that he hadn’t decided if he would go through with the sex encounter, according to the affidavit.

Black Collar Crime: Catholic Priest John Sweeney Accused of Forcing Child to Give Him a Blow Job

john sweeney

John Sweeney, a Roman Catholic priest, stands accused of forcing a ten-year-old boy to give him a blow job.

CT reports:

A now-retired Roman Catholic priest is accused of forcing a 10-year-old Pennsylvania boy to perform oral sex on him after counseling the 4th-grader about misbehaving on a school bus.

The state attorney general’s office said Monday that the Rev. John Thomas Sweeney committed felony involuntary deviate sexual intercourse against the boy at St. Margaret Mary Elementary School in Lower Burrell.

Prosecutors say the alleged assault occurred during the 1991-92 school year, and that the boy was given milk and cookies afterward.

The Greensburg Diocese says the 74-year-old Sweeney was removed as pastor of Holy Family Parish in West Newton in 2016 after church officials learned of the allegation.

Court and diocese officials were unable to identify a defense lawyer for Sweeney. Sweeney made no comment to reporters when he turned himself in.

Sweeney continued in ministry as a priest for approximately 16 years after abusing the victim and was in contact with children on a regular basis.

….

Action News-4 adds:

The alleged assault happened in a conference room next to Sweeney’s office after the fourth-grader was sent to Sweeney for discipline because he had been disruptive on a school bus, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said.

“After Sweeney finished sexually assaulting the 10-year-old boy, Sweeney’s parish secretary brought the boy milk and cookies,” Shapiro said.

The alleged victim now serves in the U.S. Coast Guard. Shapiro commended him for coming forward with his allegation.

“This courageous young man found his voice, and brought that voice before the grand jury. Now our job is to follow through,” Shapiro said.

Citing the ongoing investigation, the diocese declined to comment on Sweeney’s arrest.

In addition to Lower Burrell, Sweeney’s parish assignments between 1970 and 2008 included Holy Family in Latrobe, Blessed Sacrament Cathedral in Greensburg, Saint Hedwig in Smock, Saint Mary in Freeport, Saint James in Apollo and Holy Family in West Newton.

His arrest is part of “a broader investigation into sexual abuse by priests,” said Shapiro, who asked the public for more help to identify alleged abusers and their victims.

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Robbie Conn Stands Accused of Social Security Fraud

busted

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.

William “Robbie” Conn, pastor of Jeffersonville Assembly of God in Jeffersonville, Kentucky, along with his wife Tonya, stand accused of Social Security fraud.

Lex-18 reports:

A federal grand jury indicted a Montgomery County pastor and his wife. Both are accused of committing fraud involving the Social Security Disability Insurance and Medicare programs.

The indictments for William “Robbie” Conn and his wife Tonya came down earlier this month in United States District Court for the the Eastern District of Kentucky in Lexington.

They allege Conn and his wife defrauded the government programs of more than $100,000 over six years.

The court documents said William Conn, a longtime pastor at Jeffersonville Assembly of God, learned he had a heart problem that required surgery in May 2009.

According to the indictment, Conn applied for Social Security Disability, and it was granted.

The indictment alleges the church board then agreed to pay William Conn’s salary to his wife Tonya. In doing so, “William ‘Robbie’ Conn could receive social security benefits, while still receiving a salary from Jeffersonville Assembly of God,” the indictment states.

It goes on to allege Conn continued to receive benefits while working until 2015.

Conn and his wife both face seven counts each with a possible five years of prison time or more for each count.

We reached out to Conn and his wife several different times but never heard back.

Churchgoers said off-camera that they were shocked by the allegations. One said Conn called the accusations “not true” at a service Wednesday night.

….

Black Collar Crime: Bellingham Baptist Church Music Director and Youth Pastor Convicted of Sex Crimes

pastor christopher trent

Last month, Christopher Trent, youth pastor at Bellingham Baptist Church in Bellingham, Washington, was convicted of sexually abusing a church girl.  Bellingham Baptist is an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) church.

Caleb Hutton, a reporter for The Bellingham Times had this to say about Trent’s crimes:

The ex-youth pastor of a Bellingham church grimaced, wept, and struggled to breathe in court Wednesday, as he listened to a teenage girl – standing feet away – describe the lasting harm he caused when he raped her countless times.

Christopher Lee Trent was sentenced to 5 years in prison for sexually abusing the girl, who went to Bellingham Baptist Church on Orleans Street when she was under the age of 16.

Court records describe how he kept the abuse a secret for about 2 years.

Trent, 37, graduatedfrom Heartland Baptist Bible College in Oklahoma, where he met Josh Carter, the future pastor of the Bellingham church.Trent moved across the country with his wife and seven children in June 2013, after Carter asked if he’d be interested in a youth pastor job.

Over the next three years, Trent supervised children at church activities, preached in front of the main congregation at times, and led classes about how adults can prevent child abuse in the church.

Meanwhile, he started driving the girl home from church. She visited his home often, and she came to think of him as a kind of father figure. Over time he started showing affection by giving her “side hugs,” and later hugging her chest-to-chest. In text messages he told the girl he loved her and wanted to kiss her. Eventually he promised to marry her at a gazebo on a beach when she turned 18.

The girl later estimated that over months, he sexually abused her over 100 times – so often she lost count. Months before the abuse came to light, the girl’s mother noticed her phone bill showed hundreds of texts from Trent’s number, sent at 1 or 2 a.m., where he talked about holding and loving the girl. According to a letter the mother wrote to police, she confronted Trent, but he laughed and denied anything inappropriate had happened. She warned him to not touch her daughter, and blocked Trent’s number, but did not contact police.

Trent and the girl switched to texting over private apps on their phones.

Trent’s wife found explicit pictures of the girl on his phone, too, but he convinced her the girl must have sent them by accident and to the wrong person, according to reports summarized in a Department of Corrections investigation.

The head pastor confronted Trent in 2016, because others had noticed he had an oddly close relationship with the girl. Then a member of the church found a letter that fell out of Trent’s Bible, where the girl talked about Trent holding her close. Both Trent and the girl denied that anything sexual had happened between them, when Carter spoke with them.

Trent was fired. His family was given a month to move out of a church parsonage. No report was made to police until a couple of weeks later, on July 11, 2016, when another church member told police Trent was fired for an inappropriate relationship with a girl. As detectives started to investigate, the girl revealed Trent had been sexually abusing her, at the church, in the car behind the church, and in their homes.

Much later the girl told authorities the abuse was even worse than she had first reported: Trent called her his “sex slave,” and forced her to endure sex acts that left her bleeding and in pain for days. He would monitor her conversations with boys and, at times, told her not to eat. She feared he would kill her, if it would keep his secret from getting out.

….

Trent pleaded guilty in March to four counts of third-degree child rape. He had no prior criminal record. No other charges of sexual abuse emerged. He told authorities that, a decade before his arrest, he worked with special needs kids in Franklin Township on the outskirts of Indianapolis, in his home state of Indiana.

….

[Judge] Montoya-Lewis said she found it extraordinarily frustrating that, in her reading of the law, she could not hand down more prison time [five years]. She reiterated to the girl and her family that the crime was not their fault: It was Trent’s alone. She turned to Trent, and told him his behavior had been “insidious and terrifying.”

“You cannot hide behind the concept of sin, as you have represented to the court. These were poor choices,” Montoya-Lewis said. “They were your choices, over years. You had every opportunity, every day, to stop what you were doing to this child, and you chose to continue.

“It is not in the court’s authority or ability to hand out forgiveness,” Montoya-Lewis continued. “But I listened to what happened to (the girl), and I read about her experiences, and your response to that. And it is unforgivable.”

paul bane

Yesterday, Bellingham Baptist music director Paul Bane was sentenced to five years in prison for sexually molesting a church girl.

Hutton reports:

A former music director at Bellingham Baptist Church must serve time in prison for molesting a girl for years, a Superior Court judge has ruled.

Judge Raquel Montoya-Lewis sentenced Paul Michael Bane to 5 years in prison, the same amount of time she handed the church’s youth pastor, Christopher Trent, a month ago in a separate case of long-term sex abuse of a different girl.

Bane, 57, arrived at the Bellingham police station one morning in October 2015 to confess he had been sexually touching a girl for about 8 years, according to court records. At that point police had not spoken with the girl, who was living in the Midwest, but Bane told police the girl’s story, whatever it might be, could be trusted.

According to his report, Bane became a kind of father figure to the girl when she was younger. The sexual abuse began around the time the victim turned 12 years old. Bane would kiss her, sexually touch her, and later, started tying her with a clothesline during sex acts.

When she went to college years later, she revealed the abuse to a counselor, who encouraged the girl to report the matter to police. For about 1 ½ months, she told Bane she had been considering coming forward. Bane confessed to his pastor, Josh Carter, who told Bane he needed to turn himself in. He did and told police he’d thought of moving across the country to be near the victim.

Police called her at her Bible college. She was, at first, reluctant to help in the case. The young woman had other things going on in her life, and she still cared about Bane, she reported. About a month later, she decided to go to police, because she did not want the same thing to happen to another girl. In an interview with a detective in a Oklahoma, she described in graphic detail how Bane abused her as often as twice a week, or daily, through her teenage years.

An investigator with the Department of Corrections noted that in the police interview the young woman didn’t know basic sexual terms, or basic things about female anatomy. She seemed sheltered, and appeared Bane had groomed her for sexual abuse. He treated her with affection he did not show other children. He would buy her gifts, candy, or food. After Bane abused her, he would apologize.

In the victim’s version, the abuse mostly stopped after 4 ½ years, though there were two more instances of sexual contact when she was a young adult.

Police booked Bane into jail in December 2015. He was released without being required to post bond. He remained out of jail until May, when he pleaded guilty to second-degree child molestation and two counts of third-degree child molestation.

….

A public defender, Darrin Hall, described Bane as “somebody who does not connect with adults,” but for whatever reason, he found he connected with the girl. Bane’s actions look and feel predatory, but in reality, Hall said, they seem to be rooted in his immaturity. Bane will undergo sex offender treatment while serving time in prison.

[Judge] Montoya-Lewis admonished Bane for statements he made during the investigation, when he claimed his “relationship” with the victim was consensual, and when he brushed aside criticism from people who were concerned about how he acted around her.

“It is inconceivable to me,” Montoya-Lewis said, her voice halting, “that you could suggest to this victim that her compliance was something that God wanted.”

Black Collar Crime: Javyon George-Boatman Accused of Sex Crimes

busted

Javyon George-Boatman, who may or may not have been a youth worker at Family Christian Center in Munster, Indiana, was arrested Wednesday and charged with  “three counts of sexual misconduct with a minor.”

Times reporters Steve Garrison and Lauren Cross had this to say about George-Boatman’s arrest:

A 22-year-old man who previously attended Family Christian Center in Munster is accused of having sex at the church with a 14-year-old girl.
Javyon M. George-Boatman was charged Wednesday in Lake Criminal Court with three counts of sexual misconduct with a minor, according to court records.
Court records listed George-Boatman as a youth leader at the church, but John Ponder, the pastor of Christian Education and Pastoral Care, told The Times on Thursday that George-Boatman is not a youth leader, nor did he serve the church in any official capacity.

The church barred George-Boatman from accessing church property immediately after learning of the allegations, Ponder said.

The girl told police in an interview June 26 that she first met the defendant during music practice at Family Christian Center, according to a probable cause affidavit.
She said George-Boatman kissed her on Palm Sunday at the church, and the physical contact escalated until she agreed to have sex with him in a church closet on April 23, the affidavit states.

She said they had sex at least 10 more times at the church between April 23 and June 7, the affidavit states.

The church’s pastor, Steve Munsey, did not respond to a request for comment.

Ponder said the victim confided in a church elder, who encouraged the girl to tell her father. The female elder supported the girl’s decision and volunteered to accompany her, Ponder said. The father then contacted police, Ponder said.

“We’re very fastidious about such things. We find this abhorrent, immoral and against the law and totally intolerable,” Ponder said, noting the church conducts background checks before anyone can serve in an official capacity.

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