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Category: Black Collar Crime

Black Collar Crime: IFB Bus Director Larry Winn Accused of Sexual Assault

larry winn

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.

Last week, I posted a story about Steven Winn, a youth worker at Open Door Baptist Church in Mesquite, Texas, being arrested and charged with sexually assaulting a church girl. This week, Larry Winn, Steven’s father, has been arrested on sexual assault charges. The elder Winn was the bus director at Open Door, an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) congregation.

Domingo Ramirez, Jr, a reporter for the Star-Telegram, writes:

A Mesquite church staff member accused of an inappropriate sexual relationship with an underage congregant may have additional victims, police say.

Larry Winn, 65, of Dallas, who coordinated a bus ministry for members of Open Door Baptist Church who needed a ride to and from worship, is accused of sexually assaulting a teenage girl. He was arrested Thursday.

“Due to Winn’s level of access to children, investigators believe there may be additional victims,” police Lt. Brian Parrish said in a news release.

Days before Larry Winn was arrested, his son Steven Aaron Winn, 33, also a church volunteer, was arrested on a charge of sexually assaulting a different teenage girl at the church.

Larry Winn was arrested Thursday after police received a tip. He was free Tuesday after posting $25,000 bail.

While being interviewed by police, the girl made an outcry of sexual assault that authorities say occurred three years ago when she was 16.

Larry Winn has been on the church staff for several years, police said.

Steven Aaron Winn, of Crandall, worked with church youths, and he became the subject of an investigation Feb. 18, also based on a tip.

….

In 2011, Open Door’s then-pastor Matt Jarrell was arrested and accused of raping a woman near Charleston, W.Va. Jarrell was later found hanging in his jail cell and could not be revived

….

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Worship Leader Ronnie Gorton Accused of Sexual Assault

ronnie gorton

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.

Ronnie Gorton, worship leader (some reports say Gorton is the lead pastor) at Awakening Church in Atoka, Tennessee, stands accused of sexually assaulting several teenage boys.

The Covington Leader reports:

On Monday, former Awakening Church worship leader Ronnie Gorton was indicted on 47 counts of sexually assaulting teenagers.

Last month, Gorton, 39, was accused of sexually assaulting at least two minors. He was indicted for incidents involving three, however.

The nearly four dozen charges included five counts of aggravated sexual battery, 17 counts of sexual battery by an authority figure, two counts of continuous sexual abuse of a child (Child Protection Act), 16 counts of statutory rape by an authority figure, two counts of exploitation of a minor by electronic means, two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, two counts of purchasing alcohol for a child and one count of rape.

Tipton County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Billy Daugherty said one of the victim’s ages at the time of the abuse was the aggravating factor in the first set of sexual battery charges.

“The nature of these charges clearly indicate the victims, at some point, were under the age of 13. The age of consent in Tennessee is 18,” he said.

….

In a 2014 interview, Gorton said:

I’d be completely lost without him [Jesus] man. Just knowing some of the things that I have dealt with in my life and some of the struggles I deal with, I can imagine the type of hell that I’d be living in today without Him. So it’s only by His grace by His mercy why I’m here today.

My title, pastor means nothing. I’m human, I’m a man. I struggle like everybody else and there’s no way I could overcome these struggles and be victorious in some of these areas of my life without Him. It’s only by the grace of God that we’re able to have this conversation today.

Local Memphis reports:

A local minister indicted on 47 counts of rape and sex assault with two boys is now out on bond.

Ronnie Gorton’s bond was reduced to $100,000 on Friday.

The senior pastor of the now closed Awakening Church in Munford made bond on Friday and was released Saturday under the condition he wear an ankle monitor.

….

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Ed Espinosa Arrested in Prostitution Sting

ed espinosa

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.

Ed Espinosa, the community outreach pastor at Antioch Community Church in Waco, Texas, was arrested in December during a McLennan County Sheriff’s Office prostitution sting.

ABC-25 reports:

The Antioch Communications Director said in a press release that a former senior Antioch pastor was arrested Thursday for patronizing an illicit massage parlor.

Ed Espinosa was arrested by the McLennan County Sheriff’s Office.

Espinosa was the former Community Outreach Pastor at Antioch and local business owner.

Espinosa was immediately suspended from his position at Antioch on Dec. 7, 2017, after disclosing to his supervisor, and turned in his resignation on Dec. 19, 2017.

The women working at the massage parlors were victims of human trafficking.

They were made to live and work in unsafe and unsanitary conditions at the massage parlors, were kept under constant surveillance, and were made to provide commercial sex for customers.

Espinosa was on staff with Antioch’s Community Outreach Ministry for eight years.

Throughout his employment at Antioch, Espinosa passed multiple routine background checks and was never accused of misconduct toward women.

“Ed’s conduct was not only inappropriate but directly against our values and policy as a church and as the people of God. We continue to be committed to helping heal whatever is broken, whether on behalf of the victim or the victimizer, we believe restoration is still possible through Jesus Christ,” said Jimmy Seibert, Senior Pastor of Antioch Community Church.

UnBound, the anti-human trafficking ministry of Antioch, was involved in the sting of the illicit massage parlors where this crime occurred, providing assistance to the victims involved.

“While we are grieved for the pain of the Espinosa family and all the families impacted by this crime, we also know the pain and abuse that has been suffered by the victims involved. We will not tolerate this type of behavior at Antioch Community Church or in McLennan County,” said Susan Peters.

Black Collar Crime: Catholic Priest Robert DeLand, Jr. Accused of Sexually Assaulting Children

robert deland jr

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

Robert DeLand Jr. a Catholic priest in the Saginaw, Michigan area, stands accused of sexually assaulting children.

Michael Kransz, a reporter for Michigan Live, writes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

….

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

Separate cases, similar situations

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

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

That incident involved the 17-year-old victim.

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

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

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

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

….

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

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

Pussehl said the pair became acquainted through secular circumstances.

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

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

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

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

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

….

On March 12, 2018, The Detroit News reported:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Black Collar Crime: Pastor Othonier Altruz’s Claim of Unjust Punishment Rejected by Appeals Court

othonier altruz

Convicted rapist Pastor Othonier Altruz says his sentence is unjust and based on lies by the thirteen-year-old victim. The appeals courts rejected Altruz’s appeal.

Penn Live reports:

Pennsylvania pastor convicted of raping a teenage parishioner when she skipped school will stay in prison after an appeals court rejected his claim that his punishment is “harsh and excessive.”

Othonier Altruz’s argument that his 7 3/4 – to 16-yeat jail term is unjust is based on nothing more than “bald allegations,” Judge John L. Musmanno found in the Superior Court panel’s opinion.

Investigators said the 56-year-old Altruz encountered the 13-year-old Delaware County girl when she walked by his car after deciding to cut class. She recognized Altruz as her pastor and accepted his offer of a ride. She later told police that Altruz took her to a motel, ripped off her clothes, pushed her onto a bed and raped her.

The girl provided several versions of how she was assaulted. Musmanno cited a filing by County Judge Gregory M. Mallon, noted the girl initially said nothing to her parents about being raped. The girl later claimed she was abducted by a stranger, then said Altruz raped her in his car, and finally told investigators the attack occurred at a motel, Mallon wrote.

Police said Altruz agreed to come with officers to their station for questioning when they arrived at his home, but then he fled out the back door. An employee testified that she saw about  Altruz leave the motel with a young woman on the day of the rape, investigators said.

Musmanno also rejected Altruz’s contention that Mannon should have declared a mistrial when the girl testified she had tried to commit suicide by cutting her wrists with scissors right before Altruz’s trial.

The prosecution told Altruz’s lawyer about the incident immediately. Musmanno agreed with Mannon’s opinion that the information about the suicide attempt didn’t alter the outcome of Altruz’s trial.

In 2016, Alex Rose, a writer for the Delaware County Daily Times reported:

A 54-year-old Chester pastor was convicted Friday on rape and related charges for the sexual assault of a 13-year-old girl in an Essington hotel room last summer.

The jury deliberated for about four hours before finding Othonier Altruz guilty of rape, statutory sexual assault, sexual assault, aggravated indecent assault, indecent assault, indecent exposure, simple assault, corruption of minors and unlawful contact with a minor.

Altruz, a pastor at a church on the 600 block of East Sixth Street, was arrested June 6 after the victim, now 14, gave police three different versions of events regarding the assault.

The girl first told her parents she skipped school June 1 and was abducted at the SEPTA bus terminal in Chester by an unknown assailant who raped her in a car.

The girl later told Chester Police Officer Robert Jones that she got into a car with Altruz, her pastor of two years, after her mother dropped her off at Chester Community Charter School. That story ended with Altruz driving to the church parking lot and raping the girl in his car.

Jones said he went to speak with Altruz at his home on the 300 block of East 20th Street June 5, but the defendant fled and was not taken into custody until the following day in Media.

The victim told Jones the third and final version of her story after Altruz was arrested, claiming he raped her at a hotel about 10 minutes from her school. Jones said he retrieved credit card receipts from staff at the Red Roof Inn on Route 291 in Essington that same day showing Altruz had rented a room there from June 1 to June 2.

A woman working the front desk at the hotel June 1 testified that she remembered checking Altruz in, but said he was not with anyone. The clerk said she saw him leaving the hotel sometime in the afternoon accompanied by a short young woman with dark hair, but said she did not see the woman’s face.

Dr. June Elcock-Messam, of Media Pediatrics, also testified that she performed a rape kit on the victim June 3, but the girl’s genitals were so swollen and sore that she was unable to perform an interior vaginal swab. There was no significant DNA evidence collected in the investigation, according to a stipulation read to the jury Thursday, but Elcock-Messam said the swelling was consistent with a recent genital trauma.

Defense attorney Kevin Wray pointed to inconsistencies in the victim’s testimony and a lack of DNA evidence in the case during closing arguments, while Assistant District Attorney Christopher Boggs focused on the genital trauma, credit card receipts and Altruz fleeing police.

Boggs added that the girl likely did not want to relive the experience and concocted the two false stories so that she would not have to discuss the assault in detail.

Judge Gregory Mallon revoked bail and set sentencing for April 15 pending a presentence investigation, psychosexual evaluation and state Sexual Offenders Assessment Board evaluation to determine whether Altruz meets the criteria for a sexually violent predator.

Wray indicated he would be filing a motion seeking a mistrial due to the victim’s testimony that she attempted suicide after the rape. He said he would also seek acquittal on four charges based on the age difference between Altruz and the victim, which Wray asserted Boggs failed to properly establish in the course of the trial.

….

 

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Youth Pastor Christopher Stutts Charged with Sodomy of a Child

christopher stutts

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

Christopher “Cody” Stutts, youth pastor at Westwood Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, stands accused of sexually abusing a child younger than twelve.

The Tuscaloosa News reports:

A former youth pastor for a Birmingham church is accused of sexually assaulting a teenager.

Christopher Cody Stutts, 36, was charged with sexual abuse of a child younger than 12 and second-degree sodomy. Members of the Tuscaloosa Violent Crimes Unit responded to a home in the 12000 block of Mulligan Drive Friday on a sexual assault call. A 14-year-old girl reported that Stutts had assaulted her on Friday and had been for the last three years.

Stutts remained in the Tuscaloosa County Jail Wednesday with bond set at $40,000.

He was fired from his position as a part-time youth pastor at Westwood Baptist Church in Birmingham.

Black Collar Crime: Jennifer Roach Tells Story of Sexual Abuse at First Baptist Church in Modesto, California

brad tebbutt

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.

Garth Stapley, a reporter for the Modesto Bee, details the story of Jennifer (Graves) Roach’s sexual abuse in the 1980s at the hands of Brad Tebbutt, youth pastor at First Baptist Church in Modesto, California. (The church is now called Crosspoint Community Church) Tebbutt was never charged for his crimes, and he is still actively involved in the ministry today at Mike Bickle’s International House of Prayer in Kansas City, Missouri.

The following excerpted story is almost 4,000 words in length. Please take the time to read the entire story.

The 27-year-old married youth pastor in Modesto consoled the troubled girl, whose father had just died. Eventually, he kissed her. Then he fondled her.

She was 14.

Over the next 2 1/2 years, Brad Tebbutt sexually abused Jennifer Graves in his office at First Baptist Church, a prominent Modesto congregation, and in his car. After school, before his wife returned from work, he would have sex with her in his home, she said.

At the end of her junior year at Beyer High School, in 1988, Tebbutt and his wife moved away. A recent publication boasts of his 30-year career as a youth pastor, and he now works in a seniors ministry for the International House of Prayer of Kansas City.

How Tebbutt kept his jobs at churches and religious schools, in Oregon and Missouri, is unknown. Interview requests submitted to several known employers and former employers mostly have gone unanswered.

It’s clear that soon after the abuse ended, First Baptist leaders knew.

A few months after Tebbutt left town, the girl confided in another youth pastor, who told then-high school pastor Marvin Jacobo, who has led a long and distinguished ministry both at the church and at a respected religious nonprofit group in Modesto.

Jacobo recently confirmed that he had called Tebbutt after the girl came forward all those years ago, and said Tebbutt confessed to him. Jacobo then contacted Tebbutt’s wife and his boss at the time, he said.

Tebbutt refused multiple interview requests made via telephone and email, and Jacobo would respond only in writing, sidestepping some questions.

The current lead pastor at First Baptist – which changed to CrossPoint Community Church in 2010 – arrived long after church leaders were rocked in private by this sex scandal, as well as two others where adult volunteers molested several boys, in the 1980s.

Enough boys shared their stories with authorities to convict the two men, although a delay in reporting allowed one to prey on more boys at another church down the road, court documents say.

But Tebbutt’s victim – still a teenager, when she finally came forward – was told to forgive and forget.

Church leaders never informed her mother. They never went to police. They termed it an affair, she said.

“They gave me specific directions to never speak of the events to anyone, because it would damage the reputation of the church, and of Jesus himself,” she said. “The abuse was swept under the rug.”

Two friends from those days who also attended First Baptist, Deborah Jules Vilmur and Jennifer Vanderpol Tracz, recently confirmed that she had confided in them about the abuse not long after it happened.

Jennifer Graves Roach turned 47 on Feb. 25. She lives in the Seattle area with her husband and teenage son. Since those days in Modesto, Roach has been ordained in the Anglican Church, she’s earned college degrees and she now counsels sexual abuse victims, among other clients, in a religious therapy group near her home.

And she’s become a silence breaker.

….

In the late 1970s and early ’80s, First Baptist Church was “my whole world, in a lot of ways,” recalled Roach, who attended Sunday services, midweek youth activities and summer camp. “I loved it. It was a second family to me.”

When her father died in a car accident, her mother had trouble coping with three teen children. Roach often was depressed as well, she said, and thought about harming herself. She brightened when the youth pastor in charge of Beyer High paid her attention. She thought her prayers had been answered when Tebbutt and his wife invited her to stay in their apartment, at first overnight, then indefinitely.

“They saved me from a difficult situation at home,” Roach said. “There was lots of affirmation; ‘You’re a special case,’ he would tell me. ‘You’re the prettiest, the smartest, the funniest’ – things you would tell someone to get them to trust you. I absolutely was groomed for abuse.”

Sexual encounters went on for 2 1/2 years, she said. “He became my entire emotional support, and I was this vulnerable, depressed, anxious girl who had just lost her dad and couldn’t get along with her mom and had no other options. At that age, I didn’t feel I had other choices, and he took advantage of that.”

Roach wondered why she didn’t become pregnant. After marrying, she didn’t conceive for five years. “Fertility doesn’t come easy to me,” she said.

When Tebbutt left town, she remained silent for six months. Reading Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” in her senior year at Beyer, a dark work about terrible secrets, prompted her to confide in another youth pastor during a youth activity at the former Roller King.

“I knew she was sad a lot. I could tell she was carrying something heavy. So I just asked her what was going on,” said Scott Mills. “I imagine she was at the point of having to tell somebody or implode. You have to get that out somehow.”

Mills later started and pastored his own church in Modesto, Three Rivers Christian Fellowship, for 14 years before leaving in 2013 for a career in marketing.

“Knowing what I do about life and kids and parents and peer influence and hurt and pain and damage, it grieves me greatly,” Mills said. “Not only what happened to her, but that she didn’t feel she had the support she needed. Looking back, I’m pained by the lack of appropriate response.”

….

“They completely and entirely mishandled the situation,” Roach said. “At first, they didn’t believe me. At subsequent meetings they kept asking me if I wanted to take my story back. They asked if I was just doing this for attention.

“At one point they put me in a room with four or five adult men and they asked me to describe with specific words what had happened. And I was a 17-year-old girl.

“They failed to tell my mom. I was a minor and they kept it from my family. They should have reported it to police and they didn’t. They told me never to speak about this again.”

….

A year before Tebbutt left Modesto, Bob Chapman, then 53, pleaded guilty to molesting 13-year-old boys he met at First Baptist.

Chapman, a church organist, was entrusted to hold meetings of groups of boys in his Modesto home, said one of them, Larry Spencer. One time, Chapman hosted a sleepover. The evening discussion was about puberty and masturbation, Spencer said. Then they watched movies and drifted off to sleep.

“I woke up in the middle of the night with him (Chapman) touching me,” Spencer said. “I freaked out. I didn’t know if I should tell anybody, so of course I didn’t. I really can’t tell you why, if it was out of shame or something. How do you tell somebody, ‘Hey, this guy was touching me’?”

Chapman and his family were good friends with and lived close to Spencer’s foster family, he said. Chapman continued molesting him, in the car while giving him rides home from church, and in the swimming pool during youth activities, Spencer said. In all, he was abused maybe 10 times over a couple of years, he said.

One day, Spencer was in the attic installing the top end of a ceiling fan. He peered through the ceiling hole into a room and saw Chapman grab another boy, he said.

“I said, ‘Enough’s enough. This guy’s going to screw somebody else up,’” Spencer said, and the story came out. His foster parents were “mad as hell at me, for exposing it and bringing them some sort of shame,” he said.

“I was not very happy with First Baptist, either,” Spencer said. “They kind of pushed me aside as well. I had been extremely involved, at every activity. After I talked about Bob, I was kind of an outcast.”

Boys in the group were questioned, and Chapman was charged in Stanislaus County Superior Court with abusing Spencer and two others. “We were all saying, ‘Fry him; give him as much time as you can,’” Spencer said. A negotiated deal ended with Chapman pleading guilty to two counts of child molestation in return for a 300-day term in County Jail.

….
About the time of Chapman’s conviction, George Austin, a retired California Highway Patrol officer and Sunday School teacher at First Baptist, was molesting boys as well. Court documents indicate that someone got the idea something was going on.

“When (Austin) became suspected of molest at the First Baptist Church and was sent on his way, he then went to the Orangeburg Baptist Church, where he was a youth leader and where he then molested” two brothers multiple times, said then-prosecutor John Goulart, according to a court transcript. The brothers were 7 and 11, a charging document said.

Goulart, now on Modesto City Hall’s legal team, doesn’t remember specifics. “Most likely, it would have been the parents of victims who would have told me that the First Baptist Church discovered the molests, (dismissed) Austin and allowed him to move on to another church where he was in a position to commit more molests,” Goulart said in a recent email.

Austin had taken boys on trips to his former patrol office, to Santa Cruz, to Great America, and camping in the mountains. “These boys were looking up to this man as a father figure, a youth leader, a retired CHP officer, someone they trusted,” Goulart said in the transcript. “He put himself in a position where he could molest the boys.”

Court documents suggest Austin had about 10 victims in all. One spoke when he was sentenced for 12 counts of child molestation, including oral copulation.

“It’s a lot to live with, knowing you’re molested,” the young man said, according to a transcript. “It’s a hell of a lot. He was like a father figure to me. For a long time there I called him ‘Dad,’ even though he was molesting me. He was still the only father figure I ever had in my life.

“He left a very damaging scar. I just wanted to say that I feel he has damaged all of our lives, and I trust you to decide. Amen.”

The judge gave Austin a 28-year sentence. Now 80, he lives in a care home for the elderly in Modesto.

….

In his recent letter to The Bee, Jacobo, now executive director of City Ministry Network in Modesto, said he didn’t go to Modesto police about Tebbutt 30 years ago because Roach “did not want to press charges. We wanted to honor her wishes in that and begin her process of healing.”

Like teachers, child care workers and others, clergy are mandated reporters, required to tell law enforcement when they come across or suspect abuse. But clergy weren’t added to the list of occupations, now 46 long, until 1997, eight years after Roach exposed Tebbutt to church leaders.

At the time, Roach accepted Tebbutt’s “direct apology,” Jacobo said, and “seemed satisfied with the process and the results. I feel like we did everything we knew to do in addressing it. If she now feels this was insufficient, then we sincerely apologize.”

Roach called that “a ‘sorry-she-got-her-feelings-hurt’ apology.”

It’s true that church leaders scripted an arranged meeting a few years after the abuse ended, where Tebbutt said he was sorry and she was pressured to accept the apology, she said.

The fallout for Tebbutt, if any, is unclear.

“There were no allegations of sexual misconduct against Brad that we were aware of at the time he was hired,” said Randy Shaw, field director with the Christian and Missionary Alliance Northwest in Oregon, where Tebbutt worked from 1999 to 2004.

At some point, Tebbutt went through an “18-month repentance and restoration process” with a psychologist, according to a note recently sent to Roach from his church in Missouri, Forerunner Christian Fellowship. He “continues to express deep sadness and sorrow over his actions,” wrote Dale Anderson, the church’s director of pastoral support.

Tebbutt’s other known employers over the years, having been informed of Roach’s story, failed to respond to multiple requests for information. They include Horizon Community Church and Horizon Christian School, near Portland, where he was a chaplain and teacher, and the International House of Prayer of Kansas City, where Tebbutt now works; a spokesman referred The Bee’s sister company, The Kansas City Star, to IHOPKC’s media policy, which reads: “We will not give out sensitive information.”

A few months ago, the publishing arm of MorningStar Ministries released a DVD of a conference featuring several presenters, including Tebbutt, called “Motivated by Love.” The company’s founder and executive director, Rick Joyner, declined to comment.

Tebbutt’s latest position is director of the Simeon Internship, a three-month training program for people 50 and older at the International House of Prayer of Kansas City. Multiple calls to his office went unanswered; in an email, Tebbutt asked if he should submit a statement, then went silent for three weeks.

Tebbutt did reach out to Roach in 2005 with a lengthy letter, apparently as an exercise in repentance; it arrived in an envelope bearing the name of a Christian therapy group in Oregon. The Bee obtained a copy.

“Let me state clearly that regardless of how this has been treated in the past, I understand that I sexually abused you,” one part reads. “There are hurts that you should have never experienced, and they were not yours to own. I grieve over this.”

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You can read the entire story here.

An April 6, 2018 Modesto Bee story states:

A former youth minister at a prominent Modesto church accused of sexually abusing a then-teen girl three decades ago is the target of an upcoming independent investigation.

GRACE, or Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment, led by a grandson of the late Billy Graham, will conduct the probe of Brad Tebbutt, who now works for a religious organization in Missouri, GRACE confirmed to The Modesto Bee late Thursday.

The alleged victim in Modesto, Jennifer Graves Roach, now 47, said she will cooperate with the investigation.

“You don’t get better than that,” Roach said of GRACE’s “impeccable credentials.” She said, “I trust them, and (a third-party investigation) is what I’ve been pushing for.”

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The Kansas City Star, a sister paper to The Modesto Bee in the McClatchy company, also received confirmation Friday morning from the International House of Prayer of Kansas City. That group had placed Tebbutt on leave March 1 after a February Bee report that included a Modesto clergyman saying Tebbutt had confessed to him about the abuse.

Tebbutt worked for Modesto’s First Baptist Church when he sexually abused Roach for about 2 1/2 years starting when she was 14, shortly after losing her father in a car accident, she told The Bee. He was 27 and married.

IHOPKC cited “inconsistencies between the parties’ accounts of what took place 30 years ago” in an email to the Kansas City newspaper. Tebbutt will remain on leave, IHOPKC said.

First Baptist, which changed to CrossPoint Community Church in 2010, did not refer the girl’s report to authorities and Tebbutt went on to a 30-year career in youth ministry elsewhere before being hired to lead a seniors internship program in Kansas City.

The investigation by GRACE, a nonprofit based in Virginia, will stretch from Tebbutt’s ministry with First Baptist in Modesto to subsequent years with Horizon Christian High School near Portland, Ore., as well as his time with IHOPKC, said GRACE’s Basyle “Boz” Tchividjian, in an email.

“Due to the fact that this is an ongoing investigation, we cannot make any further statements at this time,” Tchividjian said. He is a former child abuse prosecutor and grandson of Graham, the nation’s most well-known Christian evangelist who died in February at age 99. Tchividjian also is a professor at Liberty University School of Law.

Roach said, “The idea that potentially other victims could be found and receive some help is immensely satisfying.” She now is an Anglican minister and therapist near Seattle who counsels victims of sexual abuse, among other clients, and she is married and has a teenage son.

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Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Phillip “Flip” Benham Accused of Threatening Woman at a Clinic

flip-benham

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.

Flip Benham, a virulent anti-abortion preacher, was arrested for threatening a volunteer at a Charlotte, North Carolina woman’s clinic.

WSOC-9 reports:

Concord pastor Phillip “Flip” Benham was arrested for threatening a volunteer at a Charlotte woman’s clinic.

The pastor, who holds rallies with dozens of people throughout the week, especially at woman’s clinics that provide abortions, told Channel 9 the arrest was “bogus.”

A volunteer at A Preferred Woman’s Health Clinic on Latrobe Drive in Charlotte claims the pastor threatened her life during one of his rallies.

The clinic’s director told Channel 9 in a statement that they are scared by the group’s “pattern of violence.”

The volunteer said Benham approached her and “menacingly” and “repeatedly” told her, “You are dead,” and was fearing the threat would be carried out.

“There has never has been one convicted act of violence there at all. I’ve been there 17 years,” Benham said.

Benham claims he did not threaten the clinic volunteer, but rather said she was “dead in her sins.”

He said he was referring to the Christian principles that don’t align with abortion.

Benham told Channel 9’s Stephanie Tinoco that he has worked to stand up for unborn children and has been arrested dozens of time.

He said he will gladly sit in a cell for the cause. He said he lost count how many times he’s been arrested.

“We care about choice. We know that God has called all of us to make a choice. And only we have that choice. We want to help them,” Benham said.

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Benham said he wants women to know if they’re willing, his crew is willing to help them get through an unwanted pregnancy and choose life.

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