Black Collar Crime

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Tim Omotoso Accused of Sexual Molesting Young Women

tim omotoso

Tim Omotoso, pastor of multi-branch Jesus Dominion International Church in Durban, South Africa, has been accused of sexually molesting young women. As of the writing of this post, Omotoso has not been arrested or charged with any crime.[Please see updates below.] He remains under investigation.  The Herald Live reports:

A young Port Elizabeth woman has claimed she is among a group of victims allegedly molested by a popular Durban pastor who is being investigated by the Hawks for suspected sex crimes.

Social media has been abuzz with the claims against the widely celebrated pastor in the wake of a TV feature in which the allegations were made by a number of women who have had contact with him during his ministerial work.

The 25-year-old Port Elizabeth woman alleges she was molested at the age of 14 during an incident in Durban. She alleges she was summoned into an office where the pastor rubbed himself against her.

While police are not looking for the 58-year-old pastor as yet, the Hawks say they have been investigating a number of alleged sexual violence cases against him for months now.

The news comes in the wake of a special television feature on the pastor recently.

….

Speaking about the alleged incident that occurred when she was a teenager, the Port Elizabeth woman said: “There was talk among the girls regarding ‘the rod of Moses’, but I did not know what it meant.

“But one day I innocently remarked during music rehearsals that I also wanted this rod of Moses.

“Immediately, he [the pastor] summoned me to his office.”

The woman claimed she had been asked there if she wanted the “rod of Moses” and she responded that she no longer did.

“He [the pastor] came closer to me, saying it was nice,” she said.

“He hugged me and rubbed [against] me with his lower body … I felt very uncomfortable and began to sob.”

The woman said the pastor had asked her what she wanted from God and she had replied that she needed to be blessed.

She alleged that he had handed her R1 000, which she refused, but he had insisted that she take the money and give it to a relative.

The woman claimed that the pastor targeted females, particularly from disadvantaged backgrounds, to whom he promised a better life.

She said the majority of his alleged victims were attracted to his church because of the “miracles” he claimed to perform.

“He loves girls from disadvantaged backgrounds. He creates a ploy to be a father figure to them,” she said.

She claimed the pastor would preach a sermon about sex and would ask “me to stand up, saying look how beautiful I look”.

When a reporter visited the ministry’s Port Elizabeth church yesterday, a number of people were inside, praying.

Most of the congregants refused to speak, except one woman who had joined the church in 2002.

Asked about the allegations, she said: “We can’t speak about what the pastor is accused of. It is not up to us to judge.”

Another congregant, when asked for the pastor’s cellphone number, said: “You can’t call him. He is a man of God.”

But she said the allegations made in the TV feature were rubbish.

“Where is the evidence? They must show us the evidence.”

She said the claims were orchestrated by other pastors within the church who wanted to oust the pastor at the centre of the allegations.

….

Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities chairwoman Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xaluva said churches were supposed to be a safe space.

“We have a serious problem of rape culture in this country and if it is happening in church, we have a much bigger problem.”

She said the commission had finalised its report into the commercialisation of religion and abuse of people’s belief systems.

“We will brief parliament on the report over two days in June,” Mkhwanazi-Xaluva said.

“We need a peer review mechanism to put an end to this.

“When pastors do something wrong, they can be held accountable and removed from the register.”

She said among their recommendations was the vetting of pastors and traditional healers.

“Right now, we could have a pastor with a sexual violence background leading a church, or a Sunday school teacher who just wants access to children.”

According to Omotoso’s website:

Tim Omotoso Global Outreach (T.O.G.O) is an Apostolic and Prophetic ministry designed under Trinitarian auspices to propagate the gospel of Jesus Christ to this generation with signs following. As result of Tim Omotoso’s obedience to the high calling of God, the ministry has been able to transform the lives of countless people around the globe. Through global crusades, ministrations, Church services and TV ministry, the unadulterated Word of God is preached to all. T.O.G.O is a ministry of great wisdom, revelation, power, prayer and praise without compromise. It is the umbrella to the church arm, of Jesus Dominion International (JDI); Youth Empowerment Project and Help the Helpless. T.O.G.O not only believes in winning billions of souls into the kingdom of God, but also challenges believers to rise up as Sons of God and utilize the authority and divine power given to them through Christ Jesus.

Tim Omotoso is a Prophet and as part of his unique call he holds meetings entitled “Holy Ghost Clinic” these “clinics” are live counselling sessions which reveal the mysteries that hold keys to the success of individuals. The root causes of issues and problems are also diagnosed. These meetings are an exposition of the wiles of the enemy in the life of believers. People have been healed, restored, delivered and received solutions in meetings such as “Holy Ghost Clinic,” “House of Jacob,” and many more. Tim Omotoso is the founder of ADBN (Ancient of Day Broadcasting Network) and has written a Prayer Bonanza book which contains powerful and targeted prayer points, he also writes daily devotionals annually. His television broadcast is entitled “Just as I am.” He is happily married to Taiwo and they are blessed with three Children, Victoria, John and Victor.

Update

Sunday World reports: (link no longer active)

Controversial Nigerian pastor Tim Omotoso has hired prominent Port Elizabeth defence attorney Alwyn Griebenow to represent him in the face of allegations that he sexually molested young girls at his home in Umhlanga‚ Durban.

Griebenow confirmed that he was Omotoso’s attorney and that he and defence advocate Terry Price will be meeting with the Hawks on Thursday afternoon in Port Elizabeth. The Hawks are investigating the allegations against Omotoso.

Omotoso‚ of the Jesus Dominion International Church in Durban‚ is accused of molesting more than 30 young girls on the pretext of rescuing them from drugs.

The Nigerian evangelist came under scrutiny after his church featured on current affairs programme Special Assignment on Sunday. The programme spoke to women who claimed that they were lured into performing sexual favours for the pastor.

Update #2

The Herald Live reports:

Nigerian pastor Timothy Omotoso was arrested by the Hawks Human Trafficking unit in Port Elizabeth on Thursday on a charge of alleged human trafficking‚ the elite police unit confirmed.

Omotoso was arrested shortly after arriving at the Port Elizabeth international airport by the Hawks and members of the South African Police Service’s Tactical Response Team (TRT) this afternoon [20/04/17].

“The 58-year-old pastor allegedly trafficked young women and girls from various branches of his church to a house in uMhlanga‚ Kwazulu-Natal‚ where he allegedly exploited them sexually‚” Hawks spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Netshiunda said.

Update #3

Video Link

Update #4

The City Press reports:

Hundreds of worshippers from Jesus Domination International church, where Timothy Omotoso is the head pastor and prophet, filled the Port Elizabeth Magistrates’ Court on Friday.

They came in support of Omotoso, who was nabbed dramatically by the Hawks with a heavy contingent of the Tactical Response Team (TRT unit), shortly after he landed at the local airport with his three escorts on Thursday afternoon.

He has been accused of sexually abusing women who worked at the churches he managed in South Africa.

….

Omotoso’s supporters came wearing purple-banded gold medals around their necks, holding placards with messages of support for him.

….

An unidentified woman inside the court said they believed that Omotoso’s exposé was an inside job.

“The people who are responsible for this are unruly members of the church that do not want to be changed by the man of God,” she said.

“If Omotoso was a sexual offender, why didn’t he sleep with the multitudes of international prostitutes that have been coming in and out of his church?” she said.

She said all the prophets across the world were fasting for Omotoso.

“God will show them wonders, the blood is at work.”

….

A member of the Hawks discreetly confirmed to City Press that Omotoso was not planning to hand himself over on Thursday.

“We found him in possession of return air tickets for four people,” said the member.

“It is clear that he had no intention of handing himself over as we were expecting him to.”

Netshiunda also confirmed that if they had not applied their own instincts and ambushed Omotoso, he would have slipped away.

“We were misled into believing that his flight was delayed,” said Netshiunda.

“When we reached the airport his flight was on schedule and he attempted to escape, but only ended up in the toilet, where we found him locked in the cubicle,” he said.

….

His Port Elizabeth lawyer is Alwyn Griebenow, who also represents Christopher Panayiotou – who has been charged with the murder and conspiracy to murder his wife, Jayde, two years ago.

An application for bail was made by Griebenow on behalf of his client, who was remanded until May 3, when an official bail application will be formally heard in Court 22.

The state, represented by Zelda Swanepoel, stated that more evidence was to be compiled from the different provinces where Omotoso is alleged to have committed the alleged crimes.

The remand was met with deep sighs of disappointment and sobs from his supporters.

“Daddy! We love you Daddy,” sobbed the worshippers, as Omotoso was led out of court by the TRT unit.

 

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Christopher Hogge Pleads Guilty to Nineteen Child Porn Charges

christopher hogge

Christopher Hogge, pastor of Battery Park Baptist Church in Battery Park, Virginia pleaded guilty last week to nineteen child pornography counts. News 3 reports:

Christopher Alan Hogge has pleaded guilty to the 19 child pornography charges he faced.

Hogge, the Pastor of Battery Park Baptist Church and Director of Franklin Social Services was arrested in May of 2016 on eight child pornography charges. Additional charges were filed against him in July. He entered a guilty plea on April 12.

For 15 of the charges, Hogge was sentenced to five years behind bars with five years suspended. On four of the charges he was sentenced to tens years with five years suspended. He will serve those five years sentences consecutively, at the Western Tidewater Regional Jail.

According to court documents, pictures of children in sexual positions were found on Hogge’s Twitter account. The IP address for the account was traced back to Hogge’s home, which is connected to the church, where Hogge served as a Pastor. Though, that’s not the only place Hogge allegedly viewed and distributed child pornography.

During an interview with Detectives, Hogge reportedly admitted to using the printer at Franklin Social Services to print more than 200 images of male child pornography five years ago. He kept those pictures at his desk there, according to court documents.

In August 2016, Wavy.com reported:

Christopher Alan Hogge was granted bond Thursday in court; but will stay in jail for another week.

Hogge is a pastor and former director of Franklin Social Services. He was arrested in May on child pornography charges.

“There is a child somewhere who has been violated,” says Lieutenant Tommy Potter with the Isle of Wight Sheriff’s Office.

In the case of Hogge deputies say there are thousands of victims. He was arrested after deputies got a tip and searched his home and office for computers and other devices.

Deputies say they found more than 2,600 photos of naked children and children having sex.

“As we all know, once something is on the internet it doesn’t go away,” Potter adds. “It is always there. These kids aren’t just victimized one time, they are victimized over and over again.”

Deputies say they found 53 videos on one computer. There were also photos of kids in bondage. 10 On Your Side was told Hogge would search terms like ‘young boys taking showers’, ‘hidden camera naked boys’ and ‘passed out’.

“Mr. Hogge spent a lengthy amount of time going through pictures, cataloging pictures and searching for different pictures to download,” Potter says.

Hogge is now facing 19 counts of child porn. Deputies say he would use Twitter to collect and distribute pictures. He has almost 5,000 followers.

“Even we don’t have per say a victim here in Isle of Wight County it is not a victim-less crime,” Potter adds.

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Steven Waller Charged With Sexual Battery of a Minor

steven waller

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.

Steven Waller, pastor of Dover First Church of the Nazarene in Dover, Tennessee, was charged today with “aggravated sexual battery involving a minor.” Fox-17 Nashville reports:

The Stewart County Sheriff’s Office said a man was charged after having sexual contact with a girl while she was sleeping.

Steven Waller, 51, is charged with aggravated sexual battery involving a minor. Waller is a pastor at the Dover First Church of the Nazarene.

Investigators said Waller admitted during an interview to having sexual contact with a girl under the age of 18 while she was sleeping. The day of the interview he was charged with aggravated sexual battery and bond was set at $75,000.

Waller’s bond was reduced to $60,000 during an appearance in General Sessions Court with conditions that he gets no new charges before his trial and that he has no contact with children under the age of 18, including the victim.

Dover Nazarene Facebook page

Black Collar Crime: Norfolk City Treasurer Anthony Burfoot Wrongly Convicted — Just Like Jesus

anthony burfoot

Yesterday, a Federal Court judge sentenced Norfolk, Virginia city treasurer Anthony Burfoot — an Evangelical Christian —  to six years in prison for public corruption and perjury. Burfoot attended Mount Gilead Baptist Church, pastored by Shelton MurphyThe Virginian-Pilot reports:

The reckoning for Anthony Burfoot came on the day after Easter, which was also the seventh day of Passover.

Given the season, perhaps it should have been no surprise to hear Norfolk’s convicted city treasurer compared to Jesus – and, by implication at least, a federal judge compared to Pontius Pilate.

The religious references were hardly subtle as Burfoot sat in a packed federal courtroom Monday to be sentenced for his public corruption and perjury convictions.

Among a half-dozen character witnesses was Burfoot’s pastor, Shelton Murphy, who said he believes in his congregant’s innocence and compared him to wrongly convicted biblical figures.

“Many of the saints in the Scriptures, they have been found guilty even when they weren’t,” said Murphy, pastor of Norfolk’s Mount Gilead Missionary Baptist Church.

He added that he found it ironic the sentencing came the day after Easter, which celebrates the resurrection of Jesus on the third day after his crucifixion.

“Jesus was found guilty, and he was not guilty,” Murphy said from the witness stand.

U.S. District Judge Henry Morgan, the apparent Pilate of this metaphor, did not reply.

An hour or so later, after more witnesses and legal arguments, Burfoot’s lawyer, Andrew Sacks, closed his remarks with more religious imagery.

Sacks said he couldn’t remember praying as much for a client in 36 years as an attorney.

He noted the symbolism of the week’s religious holidays – Passover, which celebrates the Israelites’ liberation from Egypt, and Easter with its message of rebirth – and implored the judge to give Burfoot a chance at a rebirth.

In his remarks, Morgan didn’t respond to the religious entreaties. But whatever the motivation, he did heed the call for mercy.

The judge rejected prosecutors’ request for a 15½-year prison sentence, saying Burfoot’s life would be all but over after such a term. Instead he imposed six years and said he hopes Burfoot will be able to contribute to society when he’s free.

13 News Now reports:

Federal prosecutors said the city treasurer accepted money and other forms of compensation from developers while he served on Norfolk City Council. They maintained Burfoot used his influence as a councilman to benefit those developers.

The judge said the bribery scheme in which Burfoot was involved lasted six years, so that was how long Burfoot’s sentence should be. Burfoot also has to forfeit $250,000 to the federal government.

The U.S Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia asked the judge to sentence Burfoot to 17-and-a-half years in prison.

Burfoot’s lawyer, who hoped, ideally, to have the conviction overturned, submitted paperwork asking that the sentence be no more than 24 months.

“When elected officials engage in corruption it erodes public confidence in our democratic system of government,” said Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.  “Burfoot’s well-publicized criminal exploits have eroded public confidence in how their tax dollars are used and managed, and his selfish actions feed the worst perceptions about public employees, of whom the vast majority perform their duties selflessly and admirably. I want to thank the Assistant United States Attorneys and the FBI for their diligence and dedication in pursing this important case.”

Prosecutors said from 2005 through the middle of February 2011, Burfoot solicited items of value including money, car payments, and home appliances from people who had matters before city council. In exchange, Burfoot promised to perform specific official acts as well as other actions on an as-needed basis on their behalf.

The U.S Attorney’s Office said Burfoot had “illicit relationships” with the managers of Tivest Development company as well as developer and local restaurant owner Thomas Arney. Court records showed the managers of Tivest paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to Burfoot and, in exchange, Burfoot voted in favor of city ordinances that provided city-owned land to Tivest for a nominal cost and additional city funds for infrastructure improvements.

At Burfoot’s request, Arney paid $25,000 to the mother of two of Burfoot’s children after Burfoot promised to obtain the necessary votes for Arney to open a gentlemen’s club on Granby Street in Norfolk.

Burfoot also committed perjury by claiming during a federal trial that he never accepted or solicited a thing of value in exchange for performing an official act.

Court records and evidence presented at trial showed that developer and local restaurant owner Ronnie Boone, Sr. provided money, gifts, free access to a beach house, and other items of value to Burfoot. The then councilman performed specific official actions and promised to engage in future official actions to benefit Boone and his business interests.

Black Collar Crime: Woman Claims Evangelical Pastor Mike Holloway Knew She Had Been Sexually Abused and Did Nothing

dawn price

Dawn Price

Temple Baptist Church, an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist Church (IFB) located in Kokomo, Indiana is under scrutiny as authorities investigate claims of physical and sexual abuse by people associated with the church and its school — Temple Christian School.  Mike Holloway is the church’s current pastor. As of the writing of this post, no charges have been filed or arrests made. The Kokomo Perspective began a series of articles this week on Temple Baptist and the allegations against them. Today’s article, which is excerpted below,  features Dawn Price. a women who alleges she was sexually abused years ago while attending Temple Baptist Church:

Through a heartfelt reading of a letter she wrote to her parents at the behest of a counselor, [Dawn] Price detailed her painful childhood while choking back tears. In just under 15 minutes, she described the alleged sexual abuse she claims to have endured at the hands of her father, Donald Croddy, who sources say served in various capacities around children at Temple Baptist Church.

Adopted at the age of 5, and now 45, Price claims her father began grooming her shortly after she and her brother were brought into the Croddy home in Kokomo.

“You made naptime and playing house with daddy normal,” said Price in her video. “You took away my innocence. No child should know about sex or orgasms. You have no idea how you screwed up my sexual development.”

Price alleges the abuse ranged from inappropriate touching to Croddy making her watch him masturbate, until it eventually progressed.

“By the time I was 9 or 10, in the fourth grade, you wanted more,” said Price in her video. “This is when my abuse became full sexual intercourse. Later that night I told mom I was bleeding down there, and I was told it was just my period and was sent to school with a paper bag full of maxi pads. It wasn’t my period, and I stopped bleeding after few days. And it was never mentioned again.”

While she said the sexual abuse at the hands of her father stopped when she was about 12, Price’s video acted as a catalyst, with multiple victims coming forward to claim they were sexually abused by Croddy. More than that, multiple individuals claim Mike Holloway, the pastor of Temple Baptist Church where the Croddys attended church, knew about Price’s abuse and still allowed him to work within the church and around children.

Also, Price went so far as to provide screenshots of texts with her mother, Elfriede, which may be a confession that she knew about her husband’s alleged sexual abuse of Price. In one text, in response to Price saying the church may be liable for any potential victims of her father, Elfriede wrote, “… we have ask forgiveness we don’t bother you why now.” Elfriede also appears to go on to deny Price’s allegations soon after.

As of last week, three women went on the record with the Kokomo Perspective claiming Croddy had sexually abused them in his home. One chose to remain anonymous. Another elected to go by only her first name. Price elected to allow her story to be told with her name attached. All of the alleged victims that went on the record bare certain similarities. They are all beyond the statute of limitations in Indiana for criminal charges to be pressed against Croddy; however, they all wanted their stories told. And, commonly, they’d all kept their childhood experiences largely to themselves, until recently, for reasons ranging from a fear of Croddy to the belief that since he was so active at the church no one would believe them.

“I want it stopped, and I want him held accountable,” said Price. “I don’t want there to be any more victims. That’s my main goal, to make sure there aren’t any more victims. I feel like if I don’t speak out at this point, if there are more victims, then that’s my fault too.”

….

One source of angst for Price is that Holloway, the pastor at Temple Baptist Church, knew about Croddy abusing her.

According to her, on Monday, Aug. 26, 1991, she was traveling around town with her father and her then-fiancé Andrew Thornton. At the time, she was 19. Thornton was 21, and the pair were set to be married in just five days. In the final phase of preparing to move to Thornton’s hometown in Texas after the wedding, the group was in the process of helping Price take care of final arrangements prior to the move, like closing her bank account.

Price claims that as she exited a local credit union, she came upon her father repeatedly striking Thornton. As she said she later found out—and Thornton corroborated the claim in a separate interview—Thornton had confronted Croddy about his alleged abuse of Price.

“Dad said, ‘I don’t approve of this marriage. We’re going to the church, and I’m telling the pastor right now.’ I was like,’Why?’” said Price. “And Andy said, ‘Because I told him I know what he did to you.’”

Not long after, the group located Holloway in Temple Baptist Church for an impromptu meeting, according to Price and Thornton. Price said she told Holloway her father was fighting with her fiancé because she told Thornton about her childhood abuse.

“Holloway looked at me. Then he looked at Andy. And he looked at my dad, and he said, ‘Is it true? Did you do what she’s claiming?’ said Price. “And [Croddy] said, ‘Yes, I did, but that’s in the past.’”

Even though Thornton and Price eventually divorced, with Thornton remaining in Texas and Price eventually settling in Ohio, he corroborated her account of that day’s events in 1991. In his recollection, he even said he believed Holloway already knew about Croddy’s past abuse of his daughter.

“He was aware of it that day for sure, but he was aware of it before that because he basically said, ‘I’ve dealt with Donald on this. It’s been forgiven,’” said Thornton. “He basically said bad things about Dawn as well, like she was a bad kid in high school or whatever, so I’m not going to take her word for any of it. He basically just disregarded what she was saying and went with the person that’s donating money to the church is the way I felt.”

According to both Price and Thornton, Holloway asked Croddy if he would be able to not “cause a scene” at his daughter’s wedding. However, he allegedly told the pastor he wasn’t sure if he wouldn’t. So, the pair claim Holloway canceled the wedding just days ahead of time. As a result, they eloped and moved to Texas together.

Since Price’s video has come out, others have come forward to make various claims about interactions with Holloway that made them believe the pastor was aware of Croddy’s alleged tendencies.

Mary Bell was raising multiple teenagers while attending Temple Baptist Church. According to her, Holloway warned the mother of three that Croddy was a pedophile in either 1997 or 1998 when her children were participating in a church fund raiser.

According to Bell, the children were broken down into groups for the fund raiser, and some were assigned to work at the Croddy household. However, Bell claims she was pulled aside by Holloway at the church and told not to allow her teenage daughters around Croddy.

“They would work with people around the church and their homes, and we chose the Croddys,” said Bell. “All three of my children were teens at the time working for the Croddys outside. When I went back to the church Mike Holloway pulled me away and said that I should not have my children over there at that house because he is being accused of being a pedophile. So, I need to get my children away from him. So I did.”

Others maintain that after the alleged events just prior to Price and Thornton’s wedding in 1991, Croddy was allowed to be around children in various capacities within the church.

Tabitha Dodd, a former fifth-and sixth-grade teacher at Temple Baptist Academy, said she had seen Croddy help around the church day care, playground, and other activities where children were present as recent as 10 years ago.

“He would be at the church in various capacities whenever the preacher needed help. He would do stuff, I can remember, with the fall festival,” said Dodd. “He would do the tractor rides and different things whenever the men would help out in the church … He would do stuff with the day care kids in the back. The day care has a playground in the back of the church.”

….

The Kokomo Perspective attempted to speak with Holloway about the allegation that he knew about Croddy’s alleged sexual abuse of his daughter and still allowed him to work around children. In response, Temple Baptist Church issued the following statement:

“Concerning the allegations that have recently surfaced, we are currently looking into the matter. We have cooperated with and will continue to cooperate with the authorities. We have no further comment at this time.”

Multiple attempts to contact Croddy were unsuccessful.

Price provided a text from her mother, which showed that since her video was released her parents had been kicked out of Temple Baptist Church.

You can read the entire article by Devin Zimmerman here.

Black Collar Crime: Convicted Child Molester Ken Adkins Says He’s Innocent

pastor ken adkins

Please see Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Ken Adkins Turns Down Plea Deal and Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Ken Adkins Found Guilty of Sexual Molestation for further information on Adkins and his crimes.

Last week, News 4-JAX reported that child molester Ken Adkins, pastor of Greater Dimensions Christian Fellowship in Brunswick, Georgia denies committing the crimes for which he was convicted:

Speaking from jail, Brunswick Pastor Ken Adkins said he is still shocked that a jury found him guilty of eight charges connected to the molestation of two teenagers in 2010.

Adkins called News4Jax from the Glynn County Jail late Friday afternoon, saying he feels like he’s in a dream or a nightmare and somebody’s going to wake him up.

As a pastor, as a bishop, I am mad with life and I am angry with God,” Adkins said.

After a six-day trial, the Glynn County jury deliberated for less than an hour Monday before finding Adkins guilty of all charges.

During the phone call, Adkins did express remorse, but not for the crimes a jury said he committed. He maintains that all the other accusations against him are not true.

“I did not molest any children. I did not touch anybody, I didn’t have oral sex with anybody. I didn’t allow anybody to have oral sex with me. I did not do those things,” Adkins said.

He said he is sorry for some inappropriate photos and texts he sent to the female victim in this case, but he said that happened four to six years after the crimes he’s accused of committing.

“Do you feel that there was a hidden agenda here?” News4Jax asked by phone.

Adkins replied, “Yes ma’am. I most certainly (do).”

He believes the guilty verdict was reached based on emotions, not facts, saying he was convicted in part because he’s been so outspoken against the LGBT community, and that the male accuser — who is gay — wanted revenge.

In the conversation, Adkins offered an apology to the LGBT community. After spending time with transgender families last summer for a documentary, he said, he realized he’s gone about presenting his beliefs all wrong and has since apologized for the viral videos and online degradation of gay people.

Perhaps, Adkins said, this is why he’s now facing a life sentence.

“If it’s God’s will that I spend the rest of my life in prison, then I have no choice but to accept that. I don’t believe it is. I did not do it, and I’m going to fight until I have a last breath to gain my freedom once again,” he said.

Adkins also said one sexually explicit photo he sent by text to the male victim centered around questions the teen had about circumcision.

Update #1

Adkins was sentenced to thirty-five years in prison. CBS-47 reports:

Georgia pastor Ken Adkins, convicted earlier this month of allowing teens to have sex while he watched, was sentenced Monday morning to 35 years in prison.

Adkins, 57, will serve life on probation after serving the 35 year sentence.

Prosecutors said Adkins was sexually involved with teenagers he met through church. Allegations of sexual molestation surfaced after one of the teenage boys joined the military.

The state says the young man, now in his 20s, told police he had been molested by Adkins.

“He would let them use his locations his office, his house, his cars, places where they could have sex, where he could watch,” prosecutor Katie Gropper told the jury.

Adkins had been held without bail in a Georgia jail since August 2016. At one point, Adkins solicited $10,000 for his defense from his congregation via a Facebook post.

ken adkins defense fund

 

Black Collar Crime: Sonya Joubert Accused of Fraud, Facing Charges in South Africa

sonya joubert

Sonya Joubert, wife of Francois, a former pastor who is currently employed with Samaritan’s Purse, has been accused of defrauding the company Trudon of $50 million over a period of nine years. The Stuff reports:

Here in New Zealand, Sonya Joubert’s friends and neighbours know her as the friendly wife of a former church pastor.

But South African police have this week revealed they want to extradite her to stand trial for allegedly stealing $50 million from a big telecommunications company, and going on the run.

The nation’s elite police crime-fighting unit, The Hawks, have launched a manhunt for Joubert, 43, who they say is “hiding” in New Zealand.

Joubert’s attorney in Auckland, Chris Patterson, said his client denied any wrongdoing and she would not return to South Africa. “There is no extradition treaty between New Zealand and South Africa,” said Patterson.

JJoubert’s attorney in Auckland, Chris Patterson, said his client denied any wrongdoing and she would not return to South Africa. “There is no extradition treaty between New Zealand and South Africa,” said Patterson.

“The truth is far less spectacular, much more simple,” wrote Joubert. “If you’re really interested in the truth, don’t look at old news stories, ask the right questions: a warrant of arrest for? Fleeing on what grounds?”

The Hawks allege Joubert and her accomplice, Adriaan van Vuuren, defrauded the company Trudon, a subsidiary of the state-owned Telkom, of R500 million ($50m) over a period of nine years.

Sonya and Francois Joubert, who was a pastor for 22 years, are believed to have moved to New Zealand in 2012. The South African authorities had no idea where she was; they said she had fled the country and was in hiding.

Van Vuuren, who was the IT manager for Trudon, allegedly created fraudulent invoices between 2007 and 2016 to pay a fictitious supplier for IT services required by Trudon on behalf of Telkom.

“Trudon transferred funds into Bites Bee Holding and The Corporate Choice’s account owned by Sonya Joubert. Telkom reported a loss of R500 million in total on all transactions made to these two companies,” said Hawks spokesperson Captain Ndivhuwo Mulamu.

Bites Bee Holdings and The Corporate Choice were registered solely in Joubert’s name in South Africa. She has since registered several new companies under her name in New Zealand, one of which is The Corporate Choice Limited.

“Joubert is wanted for a fraud case whereby she allegedly benefited from the monies which were deposited into both her companies,” said Mulamu.

Her office was working closely with Interpol to apprehend Joubert: “A warrant of arrest has been issued for her arrest and the extradition process is underway.”

Immigration New Zealand spokesperson Marc Piercy said the agency’s records showed Joubert was in New Zealand, “but for legal and privacy reasons we can provide no further detail.”

NZ Police refused to comment: “In general Police are not able to respond to requests which seek to establish whether specific individuals are, or have been, under Police investigation”.

Lawyer Chris Patterson said: “Sonya Joubert fervently denies any allegations of wrongdoing on her part. She has been implicated in this matter only because of her association with the company, Bite Bee Holdings CC, through being named as its director.

“At all relevant times she had absolutely no knowledge or reason to suspect that the individual who the South African authorities were investigating and has now deceased had committed any wrongdoing,” he said.

There was no link between The Corporate Choice mentioned by the Hawks and The Corporate Choice, which is registered in Joubert’s name in New Zealand. “Joubert chose the name when she established a company in New Zealand because she liked the name. Had she had any idea or knowledge about what was happening in South Africa she would never have used the same company name.”

Patterson said Joubert was willing to fully co-operate with the South African authorities, but added that she would not be “voluntarily travelling halfway around the world to South Africa” to clear her name in court.

The Hawks had not contacted him or Joubert, who is a New Zealand resident.

However, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice has confirmed that even though there’s no extradition treaty with South Africa, New Zealand’s extradition legislation does not require a bilateral treaty in order to send or receive extradition requests to and from other countries.

Joubert’s alleged accomplice, Adriaan van Vuuren, committed suicide last week in a hotel suite in South Africa, before he was due to hand himself over to the police.

Yesterday, The Stuff reported:

Interpol is allegedly on the verge of issuing an international arrest warrant for Sonya Joubert, 43, who is wanted in South Africa on $50 million fraud charges.

….

A source close to the investigation has confirmed that Joubert could potentiality be arrested within a week now that her whereabouts has been confirmed.

However, Hawks spokesperson Captain Ndivhuwo Mulamu has refused to confirm this saying: “Sonya’s matter is at the most sensitive stage right now.”

“We cannot comment further. Let’s rather give the investigation team a chance to do their work properly without any interferences that might jeopardise the investigation,” said Mulamu.

Patterson also didn’t want to comment any further on the matter.

“Sonya will not be giving any interviews with the New Zealand media until matters with the South African authorities have been resolved,” said Patterson.

Black Collar Crime: IFB Pastor Robert Jaynes Jr. Sentenced on Drug Charges

robert jaynes jr

Robert Jaynes Jr., pastor of Irvington Bible Baptist Church in Irvington, Indiana was sentenced last week to eleven and a half years in prison on charges ” related to the manufacture of more than 10 tons of synthetic drugs”  The Indy Star reports:

Once, pastor Robert Jaynes Jr. was a man of many words, shown in videos giving thundering sermons to his small flock at the fundamentalist Irvington Bible Baptist Church.

But it was different last week in federal court, where Judge Rodney W. Sippel sentenced Jaynes on charges related to the manufacture of more than 10 tons of synthetic drugs.

“If there’s anything you’d like to say, now’s the time,” Sippel said.

Later, Jaynes did chime in to say it was hard to have the country he loves as a courtroom adversary: USA vs. Jaynes, a case in which he pleaded guilty to two charges.

Over three hours at the sentencing hearing, a much deeper portrait than previously known emerged of a pastor who made drugs at a volume the judge called “staggering” while luring several members of his church into the scheme, even putting his mother in jeopardy of arrest.

Jaynes was the first to be sentenced out of 23 people charged in a national conspiracy, an operation that included his wife, brother-in-law, two now-former sheriff’s deputies and an Indianapolis Public Schools teacher.

From April 2011 to October 2013, prosecutors said, Jaynes sold more than 500,000 packages of synthetic marijuana, or “spice,” in a form ready for retail sale. Over a period of nine months in 2013, Jaynes grossed $2.6 million in sales.

The total income, prosecutors said, was higher but couldn’t be quantified easily.

Judge Sippel stressed the impact Jaynes had on victims whose “lives were disrupted, destroyed, altered.”

While not directly linked to Jaynes, synthetic drug use caused a rise in emergency calls to the Indiana Poison Center. Officials at the center told IndyStar that reports involving synthetic cannabinoids spiked in 2011 and 2012, and two deaths in 2014 were attributed to such drugs.

“The quantity here is staggering,” the judge said of Jaynes’ operation, “so that means the number of people who could come tell us that story is incomprehensible.”

Spice, selling under brands such as Pirates’ Booty, is smoked like marijuana and meant to mimic its effects. Its production, however, isn’t usually precise, meaning the amount of the active ingredient in a package can vary wildly.

One of the charges to which Jaynes pleaded guilty involved mislabeling the drugs, typically sold at mom-and-pop gas stations, head shops and tobacco stores. The drugs are sometimes labeled as “potpourri” or as incense.

Jaynes started in the business by packaging synthetic drugs made by Doug Sloan, with whom Jaynes had worked in the mortgage business, and eventually moved into distributing the finished product to retail outlets.

Jaynes’ lawyer said he got involved with synthetic drugs after filing for bankruptcy and as his son was about to undergo open-heart surgery.

Public records show that Jaynes filed for bankruptcy in 2006. He claimed a monthly income that year of just $528 from his work as a pastor and self-employed courier. That was a dramatic drop from the $91,000 he claimed to have earned.

….

Prosecutors portrayed Jaynes as a brazen criminal undeterred by the threat of prosecution, even after police shut down manufacturing facilities operated by Sloan and his brother, Greg Sloan, and others in the St. Louis area in 2012.

“At that point anybody would say, ‘What am I dealing with? What am I doing?’” prosecutor James Delworth said. “But instead he goes the opposite way and he becomes the largest supplier for Greg Sloan. You’ve got this continuation and growth even after law enforcement steps in.”

Prosecutors read text messages from 2012 recovered from Greg Sloan’s phone to emphasize just how aggressive Jaynes was.

“Hi Greg. This is Rob,” one text from Jaynes said. “Just wanted to check in and see if you guys needed me yet.  I’m still ready to go. I’m broke and trying to find work. If you needed me to come over there and sell my crew to the guys you work with, I’d be glad to. I’d do whatever you thought necessary in order to get work for me and my guys.”

Being broke seemed a dubious claim, prosecutors said. Tax records from the previous two years showed that Tight 30 Entertainment — the company prosecutors said Jaynes used to launder money — had sales of more than $4.5 million. During that time, Jaynes reported personal taxable income of more than $850,000.

Greg Sloan, who has pleaded guilty, soon found even more work for Jaynes, selling to a man in Oklahoma City later in 2012. Jaynes texted Sloan: “That’s great. I’ll take as much as I can get. Maybe if I prove myself with these guys, your guys might decide to give me a shot, too. I’m ready to roll.”

Greg Sloan replied: “These are my guys. Robert Jaynes, I seriously thank you. You are one of the most gracious and kind men I’ve ever met.”

For protection, Jaynes turned to church members Jason and Teresa Woods, a married couple who at the time served as Hendricks County Sheriff’s deputies.  A criminal investigator for the Internal Revenue Service testified that people in Jaynes’ organization knew Jason and Teresa Woods as “the fixers.”

“If anybody got in trouble, that’s who they were supposed to call, if they got stopped by law enforcement,” the IRS investigator said.

When Jaynes moved his operation from New Ross, Indiana, to a home in New Palestine, Jason Woods provided an escort.

“He was out of uniform, but showed up in his squad car,” the IRS investigator. “He met the truck down the street and followed it on two different occasions that day as an escort behind the vehicle to protect it, so nobody could, possibly, could pull the vehicle over during the transportation of all the synthetic drug products in the back of the vehicle.”

Jason and Teresa Woods were initially arrested in December 2014 on charges in Boone County stemming from an investigation into the spice ring. They were suspended from their law enforcement jobs and later fired.

You can read the Indy Star’s in-depth investigation of Jaynes and his drug empire here.

Black Collar Crime: Hot Check Writing Preacher Running for Mayor of Marlin, Texas

demetrius beachum

Demetrius Beachum, pastor of Ministry of Hope in Marlin and Temple, Texas is running for mayor of Marlin. According to KWTX, Beachum has a history of writing bad checks and failing to pay traffic fines. KWTX reports:

KWTX investigated allegations against Demetrius Beachum, 39, and learned the mayoral candidate and pastor has been arrested at least six times for writing hot checks and not paying traffic tickets in McLennan and Hill counties, according to multiple law enforcement documents and sources.

According to jail records, Beachum was first arrested for theft by check in McLennan County in 1998, then again in 2007, and a third time in 2013.

The 2013 arrest stems from a 2011 theft over $20 and under $500 involving Central Rental and was dismissed on March 4, 2014.

Beachum was arrested for traffic related incidents in 2000 and 2001 in McLennan County, according to jail records.

Beachum was convicted of theft by check of property over $500 and under $1500 in 2011 in Hill County.

For that offense, Beachum was arrested by DPS and Killeen Police on February 19, 2011 and bonded-out the next day, according to Hill County officials.

According to court records, the incident occurred in 2010, and after being convicted on June 8, 2011, Beachum was ordered to pay $680 in restitution to Eagle Disposal Company and a $100 fine to the court.

Originally from Mexia, Beachum currently runs the Ministry of Hope church in Marlin and Temple.

According to the church’s Facebook page Ministry of Hope is:

A church of two locations, Marlin and Temple TX under the leadership of Supt Demetrius Beachum & First Lady Elect Vickie Beachum.

According to the same Facebook page, the story of Ministry of Hope goes like this:

Ministry of H.O.P.E. started in 2007 in Marlin, TX with only a few members. It is continually growing and 2008 was the year the Temple side opened. Our church will be celebrating ten years of blessed ministry. We only hope to go higher in Christ while adding souls to the kingdom! Our acronym H.O.P.E. stands for healing, overcoming, perfecting, and empowering by faith–We will minister! When you come to the H.O.P.E., we want your experience with God to be a life changing one with positive people in a heart felt environment. Welcome!!

The church’s website is not working at the time of this post.

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Corey Butler Considering Plea Deal on Child Pornography Charges

corey butler 4

“Dr.” Corey D. Butler, pastor Jesus is the Way Christian Center, DeKalb, Illinois

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.

I previously wrote about Corey Butler’s arrest. You can read the post here. Please take the time to read the post. I think you will find parts of it quite entertaining.

Corey Butler, pastor of Jesus is the Way Christian Center in DeKalb, Illinois and a former mentor for DeKalb School District 428 is considering a plea deal on child pornography charges. The Daily Chronicle reports:

Corey Butler, 36, pastor at Jesus is the Way Christian Center in DeKalb and a former mentor for DeKalb School District 428, is charged with possessing and disseminating child pornography. He was freed after posting $1,000 bail shortly after his arrest in April 2015.

He appeared in DeKalb County Court on Tuesday morning, where his lawyer, Tom Benno, said his client and the state are working toward a plea deal. Prosecutor Alicia Kaplan said details of the state’s offer would not be revealed unless it is accepted.

Should the case go to trial and Butler be convicted, he could face six to 30 years in prison if convicted of the most serious charge.

“When you’re talking about child pornography in this state, unfortunately the way the laws are codified is very archaic, and there’s very little wiggle room,” Benno said. “So if you get caught looking at one picture, you could get the same sentence as someone who raped a 5-year-old.

“Consequently, a settlement would make sure justice is served.”

At the time of Butler’s arrest, he was mentoring students at DeKalb High School and the district’s middle schools. He has been barred from an involvement with children as a condition of his bond.

Police said officers with the Illinois Crimes against Children Task Force learned child pornography was being distributed from a computer at his address in the 600 block of Kent Road in DeKalb between Feb. 28 and March 2.

In an interview with DeKalb police after his arrest, Butler admitted to possessing the material and letting others view and download it, according to court records, but later denied ever possession or distributing child pornography. He admitted he’d visited an adult porn site and blamed Internet pop-up ads for the child pornography being on his computer.

Amazingly, Butler is still pastoring Jesus is the Way Christian Center. Evidently, congregants don’t have a problem with having a child porn-loving man as their pastor.

Update

A November 1, 2017 report in the Daily Chronicle reports:

As a potential trial nears for a DeKalb pastor facing child pornography charges, his lawyer is trying to keep evidence found on his client’s computer out of the courtroom.

Bob Motta of Aurora-based Motta & Motta LLC filed a motion Wednesday to suppress evidence against Corey Butler, the 36-year-old pastor of Jesus Is The Way Christian Center in DeKalb.

Butler said he’s continued preaching to his congregation since his arrest April 27, 2015, on possession of child pornography and dissemination of child pornography charges. If convicted of the most serious charge, he could face up to 30 years in prison.

“Still pastoring. Everything is well,” Butler said Wednesday. “My congregation has been there every Sunday for the past two years.”

Motta said he’s confident that once Chief Judge Robbin Stuckert rules on his motion at a Jan. 4 hearing, a trial date will be set that day, as well.

Police said in court records that officers with the Illinois Crimes Against Children Task Force learned that child pornography was being distributed from a computer at Butler’s address in the 600 block of Kent Road in DeKalb between Feb. 28 and March 2, 2015.

The motion says Butler’s computer was removed from the house and analyzed off-site, which the warrant did not authorize.

“As to the computers, the warrant, on its face, only authorized a search of defendant’s residence and to search computers within the residence but not for the unfettered seizure of the computers to engage in further off-site forensic examination of the computers themselves,” the motion reads.

The motion asserts that the state has the burden to show its right to the evidence collected.

Motta said he is not challenging the warrant served, though.

“Not per se,” Motta said. “At this point, the warrant on its face doesn’t seem to be defective.”

It’s the evidence collected he’s trying to suppress.

“Going in, they had an idea, or at least they thought, that they would find certain things on my client’s computer,” Motta said. “Five guys living in the house, there are multiple computers and multiple people with access to his computer. It’s not as clear-cut as the state wants it to seem.”

In an interview with DeKalb police after his arrest, Butler admitted to possessing the material and letting others view and download it, according to court records, but later denied ever possession or distributing child pornography. He admitted he’d visited an adult porn site and blamed Internet pop-up ads for the child pornography being on his computer.

….

Update

On February 21, 2018, the Daily Chronicle reported:

With nearly three years gone by since he was arrested, a DeKalb pastor is set to be tried on child pornography charges in June.

Corey Butler, 36, was arrested April 27, 2015, and charged with possession of child pornography and dissemination of child pornography.

If convicted of the most serious charge, he could face up to 30 years in prison.

The final trial setting is scheduled for June 14, with the trial set to begin June 19. Butler’s lawyer, Bob Motta, said he expects to trial to last four days, although Assistant State’s Attorney Alicia Caplan thought it wouldn’t take that long.

“Maybe three days,” Motta said.

Police said in court records that officers with the Illinois Crimes Against Children Task Force learned that child pornography was being distributed from a computer at Butler’s address in the 600 block of Kent Road in DeKalb between Feb. 28 and March 2, 2015.

In an interview with DeKalb police after his arrest, Butler admitted to possessing the material and letting others view and download it, according to court records, but later denied ever possessing or distributing child pornography. He admitted he’d visited an adult porn site and blamed internet pop-up ads for the child pornography being on his computer.

Motta filed a motion in late October to suppress evidence, claiming that police unlawfully seized and analyzed evidence from Butler’s house, including the computer on which the content was found. The motion said the computer was taken before it was searched and turned over to a third party, which was not detailed in the search warrant.

….

Black Collar Crime: Lutheran Choir Director Erik Akervik Accused of Sexting

Erik Akervik

Erik Akervik, a choir director at Mount Olivet Lutheran Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota and a teacher at Burnsville High School, was accused today of having sexually explicit electronic communication with a Burnsville High student. CBS Minnesota reports:

Burnsville police say 29-year-old Erik Akervik is accused of having sexually explicit electronic communication with the student over the course of several weeks. He’s been at Burnsville High School for four years and is also a choir director at Mount Olivet Lutheran Church.

The pastor of the Minneapolis church is shocked.

Police say the allegations involve one student from the high school not any from this church. The pastor tells WCCO Akervik has been a respected choir director there for six years. He doesn’t understand what has happened, but says right now the safety of the children has to come first.

Akervik has been placed on administrative leave.

“I think many young people would say this is their safe place and we have to safeguard that,” Pastor Dennis Johnson said.

Church and school, two places Pastor Dennis Johnson knows children deserve to feel at ease. Two places 29-year-old Erik Akervik has spent his seven-year career teaching music to dozens of students.

Johnson says no one has ever brought forth allegations of inappropriate behavior against Akervik at Mount Olivet Lutheran Church in south Minneapolis, where he was one of the choir directors for the last six years.

“It is very heartbreaking for this community. The young man involved was very well-liked,” Johnson said.

The Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District reports receiving information about the allegations on Saturday and immediately alerting police. Burnsville police arrested Akervik at the school Monday morning.

“I didn’t think it was able to happen. I thought that only happened in movies and shows,” student Isis Alquicira said.

Students like this sophomore describe the disappointment many are feeling after a sense of safety was violated.

“It felt really strange, really emotional. I got into my fourth period class and my friends was telling me how the whole class was crying because they knew him and they didn’t think he was going to be like that,” Alquirica said.

Update

The Star Tribune reports that other victims have come forward:

A Burnsville High School music teacher charged with having sex with a student and sending explicit Snapchats to another allegedly sent “inappropriate messages” to young members of the Minneapolis church where he worked as a youth choral director, according to an e-mail sent to members.

Wash, Rinse, Dry and Repeat: What Happens When Jesus Doesn’t Fix What Ails You

blood of jesusJesus told his disciples in John 15:5, without me, ye can do nothing, and in Matthew 19:26, Jesus said with men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible. The Apostle Paul told Athenian idolaters that one true God was he who gives to all men not only life and breath, but all things (Acts 17). In his New Testament writings, Paul, the founder of Christianity, advances the notion that God is the sovereign of the universe and that everything that happens is according to his purpose and plan. Paul cautions Christians about trying to live life in their strength, that doing so will end in failure. He wrote in Philippians 4:13, I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. The negative inference is clear, I can’t do anything without Christ, echoing Jesus’s words in John 15, without me, ye can do nothing.

Evangelicals believe that humans are inherently broken, born with a sin nature, and at variance with the Christian God. According to Evangelicals, everyone, from fertilized eggs in the womb to infants and from children to centenarians, is predisposed to sin — sin being the transgression of the law of God in thought, word, and deed. Countless human behaviors, especially those of a sexual nature, are, according to the Bible — an ancient religious text supposedly written by the Christian God —  are violations of God’s law. Unbelievers — people who have not asked Jesus to save them from their sins — are told that God hates sin and those who do it, and the only way to gain God’s favor is to prostrate oneself before the thrice holy God and confess that you are a worthless worm deserving of eternal punishment in hell; that the only person who can save you from your sin is Jesus. If you humble yourself before God, begging him for deliverance from your sin, God will forgive you of your sins. Once you have sufficiently humbled yourself before God and he has saved you, God, in the form of a spirit, takes up residence in your “heart.”

Once people have been saved, they are instructed to rely on God to lead and direct their lives. Their “sin natures” haven’t been eradicated, so Christians must rely on the Holy Spirit to guide them through a world bent on destroying them. Evangelicals are frequently reminded by their pastors of about the importance of studying the Bible, praying, and faithfully attending church. Yet, despite all of these things, Evangelicals continue to sin, often at levels equaling or exceeding that of the unwashed, uncircumcised Philistines of the world.

Even those who are called men of God — people who supposedly have a close relationship with God — are not immune from sinning. These preachers of righteousness and holiness often commit the very sins they thunder against each and every Lord’s Day. And as the Black Collar Crime series reveals, preachers can and do rape, steal, molest children, and murder. Just last week, two Toledo area Evangelical pastors were arrested for grooming and trafficking a teenage girl. One pastor would frequently have sex with the girl in his church office, giving her $100-$300 to keep her mouth shut. According to WTOL-11, the thing that likely did the good pastors in was the one pastor’s request that the girl bring a friend so they could have a threesome. While defenders of all things Evangelical will say that while such reports are disturbing, most pastors don’t do such things; certainly they would be right, but what is never addressed is the how and why these things happen. If God is who Evangelicals say he is and the Holy Spirit lives inside believers, why is there so much sinning going on among Christians and their leaders? Why does rarely a day go by without one or more Evangelical preachers appearing in the news for some sort of sexual crime?  And these are just the ones caught with their pants down!

Evangelicals practice what I call wash, rinse, dry, and repeat. These followers of Jesus are commanded to daily confess their sin. I John 1:8-10 states:

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

Weekly, daily, and hourly Evangelicals plead with their sin-forgiving God to wash their “hearts” clean. Without any proof besides feelings of relief or words found in an ancient religious text, Evangelicals believe that sincere prayers of repentance are met with God’s forgiveness. With their sins forgiven, Evangelicals return to a world awash in sin, promising God that they will not succumb to temptation and the snares of Satan, Yet, moments or hours later, Evangelicals find themselves yet again in need of confessing their sins and seeking forgiveness from God. It is for this reason that Independent Fundamentalist Baptist luminary John R. Rice encouraged Christians to “keep your sin lists short.” Rice suggested that when Christians become aware they have sinned they should immediately stop and confess the sin and seek forgiveness. Since Evangelicals sin in thought, word, and deed, following Rice’s admonition would require them to continuously pray. If only the Bible had something to say about this. Oh wait, it does! 1 Thessalonians 5:17 states, praying without ceasing.

Recently, a person I know well was arrested for DUI and sentenced to ninety days in jail as a repeat offender. This man has had numerous arrests for a variety of crimes. Father to numerous children with several women, this man has spent much of his life battling drug addiction. Having had and lost countless well-paying jobs and having ruined his relationship with his family, this man likely will be homeless when he is released from jail. His life, a tragedy to behold, is a screaming example of the failure of Jesus to fix what ails the human race.

This man was raised in an Evangelical home, attended a private Christian school, and was surrounded by extended family who were preachers of the gospel. His parents lived what is best describe as up-and-down lives, in and out of church as they dealt with familial, marital, and employment problems. Counseled by pastors to GET RIGHT WITH GOD, they would return to the church, often coming to the church altar to confess their sin and renew their commitment to Christ. And for months or years their renewed devotion would give the appearance of a family happily in love with Jesus. And then, as sure as the sun comes up in the morning, Satan and the lusts of the flesh — according to their pastors — would trip them up, causing them to fall headlong into sin. Often they would remain in the pigsty of sin for months or years before one of God’s men convinced them to return to church to do business with God. This endless cycle of sin, confess, repent, forsake, repeat was played out dozens of times over the years, leading to untold psychological and physical harm.

The drug-addict son, following what has been modeled to him by his family, has run from Evangelical church to Evangelical church, hoping to find the forgiveness of sins and victory over his many addictions. At these churches he is met at the door by preachers who promise him that Jesus can fix whatever ails him. GET RIGHT WITH GOD, he is told, by Evangelical family and strangers alike. If he will just confess his sins and seek forgiveness, Jesus will swoop in and give him victory over crack, PCP, meth, alcohol, and his love of sexual immorality. His devoutly Evangelical grandparents continue to pray, encouraging their sinful grandson to get back in church so he can get the help he needs.

This rolling train wreck has been going on for over a decade, with no end in sight. Those closest to him continue to encourage him to cast all his cares on Jesus, telling him that if he will do so, Christ will give him victory over his addictions. No one dares to suggest — I am not within his circle of influence — that Jesus and his deliverance peddlers are the problem; that Evangelical beliefs concerning human nature, sin, and forgiveness are actually hurting this man, not helping him; that the best thing he could do is get as far away as possible from Christian family members and preachers who are trying to “help” him; that the church and Jesus are in a codependent relationship with him, and are in no position to offering lasting help.

Those of us raised in the Evangelical church know well the wash, rinse, dry, and repeat way of living. Frequently reminded of our sins by preachers, evangelists, Evangelical writers, and the Bible, we spent countless hours confessing our sin and seeking God’s forgiveness. The churches we attended would call for special meetings where revivalist preachers would come in and stomp on our feet with old-fashioned hellfire and brimstone preaching. Countless time was spent on our knees crying out to God, pleading for forgiveness and deliverance from sins of commission and omission. Sufficiently revived, off we would go, ready to slay our adversary Satan, tearing down strongholds by and through the mighty power of God.

Over time, worldly complacency would set in, and we would need yet another reviving, another impartation of God’s mighty Spirit. Is it any wonder that many Christians weary of the sin, confess, repent, forsake, repeat process and give up or practice the time-honored Evangelical spiritual discipline of “fake it until you make it”? Spend enough time in Evangelicalism and you will learn expected behaviors, complete with a language code to be used to give the appearance of living life as a Jesus-loving, Satan-hating, sin-forsaking Christian. The Apostle Paul himself approved of this approach when he told the Church at Thessalonica to, abstain from all appearance of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22).

It is evident, at least to me, that Evangelicalism stands in the way of people truly dealing with and overcoming negative behaviors. Over its long history, the Christian church has used fear of judgment and punishment to keep people dependent on God for the forgiveness of behaviors deemed sinful by the church. Over time, the sin lists changed, but one fact remains: Evangelicals cannot find victory over sin in their own strength, and only God can forgive and deliver them. Failure to seek forgiveness results in God chastising (punishing) them for their sin. Want to avoid the punishment of the BDSM-loving God? Evangelicals are told to prostate themselves before God and beg for forgiveness.

Perhaps it is time for Evangelicals to tell God to take a hike. What has he done for them anyway? Instead of granting them victory over sin, he keeps them dependent on him, often allowing temptations that cause them to fail. What we would think of a person who left meth on the nightstand of his guest room while his recovering drug addict friend was staying with him. Yet, this is exactly what God does. He tempts and tries, and even causes people to fail. Why? Because he wants Christians to love him more and seek his forgiveness. In other words, he is the abusive husband who beats his wife so she will love him more. As is often the case in matters of domestic abuse, removal from the immediate circumstance and divorce is often warranted. Perhaps Evangelicals need to tell God See ya later, and turn their attention to finding lasting solutions to issues such as drug addiction. Not only is Jesus not the solution, he is the problem. As long of Evangelicals refuse to see this, they will remain trapped in a constant state of wash, rinse, dry, and repeat.