Black Collar Crime

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.

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Cordell Jenkins Accused of Sex Trafficking Children

cordell jenkins

Toledo, Ohio pastor Cordell Jenkins was arrested today and accused of “knowingly recruiting, enticing, harboring, and transporting people they knew were younger than 18 years old to engage in commercial sex acts.” Jenkins, the pastor of Abundant Life Ministries in Toledo, is also the husband of Lucas County Administrator Laura Lloyd-Jenkins. The Toledo Blade reports:

The Rev. Cordell Jenkins, 46, and Anthony Haynes, 37, were taken into custody early today at their Toledo residences without incident, according to the FBI.

Both Mr. Jenkins and Mr. Haynes are accused of knowingly recruiting, enticing, harboring, and transporting people they knew were younger than 18 years old to engage in commercial sex acts, federal officials said.

Reverend Jenkins is the founder and pastor for Abundant Life Ministries, 5025 Glendale Ave., according to the church’s website. The church website lists Lucas County Administrator Laura Lloyd-Jenkins as Mr. Jenkins’ wife. A Lucas County official confirmed today Mr. Jenkins is married to Ms. Lloyd-Jenkins.

Mr. Jenkins is also being charged with sexual exploitation of children while Mr. Haynes is being charged with obstruction of justice. Both men have their initial appearance in U.S. District Court today.

“We have charged two individuals, but not with any affiliation with the church,” said FBI spokesperson Vicki Anderson.

….

Ms. Anderson said the FBI received information a few weeks ago regarding allegations of the sexual misconduct involving minors and began an investigation. The crimes are alleged to have occurred over a few years, she said.

Ms. Anderson said she could not provide the victims’ ages or where they were from. Law enforcement officials arrested the two men about 9 a.m. at their residences.

Star Academy of Toledo, a kindergarten through 8th grade public charter school, shares a space with the church. The school was not placed on lock down, but bus pick up was moved from the east side of the building to the west side, where police vehicles were located.

“As a parent, I would be concerned, but all of my babies here in school are safe,” said principal Vincent Riccardi. “None of the staff in the church have anything to do with our kids. We don’t do programs with them. We have no affiliation with Abundant Life Church, other than we happen to share the building, but they’re not in our area.”

Ms. Lloyd-Jenkins is listed as the secretary on the board of trustees for Lucas County Children Services, according to the child protection agency website.

Ms. Lloyd-Jenkins has been on approved leave from her county administrator position since Wednesday to attend to a health-related family matter in California, said County Commissioner President Pete Gerken.

According to Jenkins’ bio on the church’s website: (link no longer active)

Pastor Cordell Arkee Jenkins is man of vision, purpose and prayer. His mission in ministry is to make strong the weak, to mend the broken and to heal the wounded. He is committed to preaching the Gospel to every ethnicity and every nation-to tell a dying world about Jesus.

Pastor Jenkins is the founder and pastor of Abundant Life Ministries in Toledo, Ohio. On October 10, 2010 Abundant Life Ministries held their inaugural service as a new ministry in the Kingdom of God. From that date to the present, the Lord has shown himself faithful to the congregants of the ministry and also to the city at large.

Born in Cleveland, Ohio and raised by his faithful parents Bishop Chorrethers and Pastor Stephanie A. Jenkins, Pastor Jenkins received visions as a child of how Christ wanted him to serve in ministry. Constantly surrounded by harvest workers he learned the importance of obedience to the voice of God.

After completing his education in the Cleveland Public School System, Pastor Jenkins journeyed to Salisbury, North Carolina to attend Livingstone College majoring in Political Science. During this time period in August 1994, he accepted this call to preach the Gospel.

Before founding Abundant Life Ministries, Pastor Jenkins pastored for over 15 years at several churches in the A.M.E. Zion Church in South Carolina, Oakland, California and Toledo, Ohio.

Never wanting to be idle in his work for the Kingdom and community, Pastor Jenkins has been involved with several organizations including several chapters of the NAACP, Brothers United for Change Advisory Board, Single Parent’s Harvest, the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance, the Black Methodist Fellowship and served for Toledo Public schools as a Linkage coordinator. He currently resides on the board of directors for the Toledo Urban Federal Credit Union.

Pastor Jenkins and Abundant Life Ministries are active members of Perfecting Fellowship International of a sisterhood of churches presided over by Bishop-Elect Marvin L. Winans. This fellowship of churches are both stateside and abroad that encompasses congregations from various states including New York, Texas, Florida, Alabama, London and South Africa; all of which meet annually for church growth, leadership training, community outreach and convocations packed with teaching, preaching and worship.

Pastor Jenkins is happily married to First Lady Laura C. Lloyd-Jenkins. He and his wife desire to be living examples of Christ’s love in the church and in the community. His personal motto is “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13.

According to ABC-13, Jenkins’ partner in crime Anthony Haynes is also a pastor.

Update

WTOL-11 reports:

A Toledo church that was formerly lead by a pastor charged with sex trafficking and sexual exploitation of children has a new name.

The former pastor, Cordell Jenkins was arrested in April.

Abundant Life Ministries on Glendale Rd. in Toledo is now Perfecting Toledo.

Bishop Marvin Winans of Detroit will oversee the church, while maintaining his congregation in Detroit.

The new service time is at 8 a.m.

The church is also looking to downsize and move into a smaller location for financial reasons.

Jenkins and another pastor, Anthony Haynes, were indicted on federal charges of sex crimes with a teen.

Black Collar Crime: Baptist Pastor Convicted of Forgery Ordered to Pay $100K Restitution

pastor willie tiller

Willie Tiller, former pastor of First Baptist Church in Ardmore, Oklahoma is serving a ten-year prison sentence for forging checks totaling $108,800. Today, Tiller was ordered pay restitution to the daycare associated with the church he once pastored. The Daily Ardmoreite reports:

A former Ardmore preacher convicted in November of 10-counts of second-degree forgery was back in Carter County District Court Wednesday. This time Willie Tiller appeared before District judge Dennis Morris concerning restitution of the $108,800 he took from a daycare center associated with the local church he pastored.

District Attorney Craig Ladd presented evidence concerning the total amount of the 10 checks Tiller was convicted of forging from the First Touch Learning Center. Out of that amount, the daycare has recovered $5,000 from an insurance claim, which could not be considered part of the amount owed the victim (daycare center). The judge was told Tiller and his attorney, Lori Combs, had reached an agreement with the district attorney’s office to repay $98,800.

Morris accepted the agreement, telling Tiller he will have 30 days upon his release from prison to negotiate an acceptable repayment plan.

The former pastor of the First Baptist Church, located at 16 E St. NE, is serving a 10 year prison term. It was the sentence the jurors, who returned the 10 guilty verdicts against him, recommended. Morris, who
presided over the trial, formally sentenced Tiller in December. At the time the minster apologized to the court for his actions that led to his conviction. Morris told Tiller during sentencing he would be returned to his courtroom at a later date on the issue of restitution.

Link to original news story about Tiller’s crimes

Link to story about Tiller’s conviction

 

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Lonny Remmers Sentenced to One Year in Federal Prison

pastor lonny remmers

On October 7, 2014, Lonny Remmers, pastor of Heart of Worship Community Church in Corona, California was sentenced to two years in state prison for “assaulting the 13-year-old son of a church member.” The Press Enterprise reported:

Corona pastor Lonny Remmers, head of the Heart of Worship Community Church, faced an audience of one Friday as he fought to stay out of prison for assaulting the 13-year-old son of a church member.

Remmers, 56, told Superior Court Judge Richard T. Fields how he had mended marriages in his approximately 20-member church and broken children free from years of abuse.

In explaining why he grabbed a pair of pliers and pinched the boy’s nipple during a Bible study – a punishment for the boy raping his sister – Remmers conceded that “I wish I had thought different in the moment to pick a different route.”

Fields was only partly impressed, however, and sentenced Remmers to two years in state prison, the maximum allowed under a plea deal Remmers had agreed to. Fields rejected a request from defense attorney Peter Scalisi to allow Remmers to turn himself in at a later date, and the gray-haired pastor was bound in chains on the spot.

“I recognize the gentleman has done great things,” Fields told Remmers’ supporters and detractors in the courtroom.

But Fields noted other aspects of the punishment that occurred in March 2012 after the boy’s mother brought him to Remmers to be disciplined. Co-defendants Darryll D. Jeter Jr. and Nicholas Craig, who previously had pleaded guilty to inflicting corporal injury on a minor, had taken the boy known in court records as John Doe to the desert near Barstow, forced him to dig a mock grave, threw dirt on him and told the boy that his answers to questions would determine whether he lived or died. The boy was then taken to a group home, where he was stripped, zip tied to a chair and Maced, according to court records. The boy was then taken to the Bible study.

“The ultimate consequence of that was unimaginable to me,” Fields said. “That is not an acceptable form of punishment to me, plain and simple. That’s more than a minor misjudgment that I simply cannot ignore.”

Scalisi had urged Fields to grant probation. He said Remmers was remorseful and has helped many people in his ministry.

Friday’s hearing in Riverside provided a stunning conclusion to a case that Fields described as “very unique in many, many ways.”

For one, people who had avoided speaking out during the case that began in March 2012 decided to speak publicly Friday, and they didn’t leave anything out as they tried to persuade Fields to give Remmers probation instead of prison.

The victim in the case and his mother – she moved in with Remmers after his arrest on charges that originally included kidnapping – spoke on the pastor’s behalf Friday.

The boy, now 16, said Remmers “is the best father I have ever known. He means the world to me. He doesn’t deserve any of this. He’s done more to help me in my life than anyone else I’ve ever known. I love this man.”

The boy’s mother, who is not being identified because it could identify the boy, spoke next. She said Remmers pleaded guilty so the boy wouldn’t have to testify about molesting his younger sister. But then she told the court what her son did to her daughter.

She said the incident should have been taken care of in “the family” and not involved police. Remmers taught her son that when it comes to rape, “No means no.”

She claimed that the plea deal was made because of a lack of evidence. Fields interrupted her, reminding her that Remmers voluntarily pleaded guilty.

Yesterday, Remmers appeared in U.S. District Court and was sentenced to one year in prison for wire fraud. The Press Enterprise reports:

Corona Pastor Lonny Remmers was sentenced to a year and a day in federal custody Tuesday, April 4, in connection with an Ohio wire-fraud case.

In Toledo, U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey L. Helmick also sentenced Remmers, 59, to three years’ supervised probation and ordered him to pay $95,000 restitution. Remmers was sentenced on a felony charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud; two felony counts of wire fraud were dismissed. Two other counts of wire fraud were dismissed when Remmers pleaded guilty in August.

Twenty-four Remmers supporters submitted letters to the court, vouching for his character.

Remmers, Robert Milam and Mark O. Wittenmyer were accused of soliciting $2 million from an Ohio developer as seed money for an investment fund but instead using the money for their own purposes. Milam was sentenced to 14 months in prison in January. Wittenmyer is scheduled to be sentenced April 18.

Remmers is head of the Heart of Worship Community Church, which has about two dozen members, many of them recovering drug addicts or others who sought refuge with Remmers from their troubled lives.

Astoundingly, Remmers’ church continues to stand behind their man.

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Loren Copp Arrested on Child Pornography Charges

loren copp

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.

The following story will leave you shaking your head, wondering how the pastor in question was able to do what he did.

Last April, Loren Copp, an Evangelical pastor, owner of DoJo Pizza, and all-round con-artist was arrested on charges of producing child pornography. The River Front Times reported:

Loren Copp, the Dojo Pizza owner targeted in a long-running criminal investigation, was arrested Thursday afternoon on charges of producing child pornography.

Federal agents took the 47-year-old into custody about 3:45 p.m. outside the Bevo Mill church where he once taught karate, ran a pizza restaurant, operated a school and raised four teenage girls, according to a witness and his attorney.

The federal complaint claims investigators searched “multiple types of digital media” and discovered an image of a minor performing oral sex on Copp and another of Copp having vaginal sex with the girl. The minor, listed as “Jane Doe 1” in the document, identified Copp as the man in the photos, according to the complaint. She says she was about twelve in the first photo and fifteen or sixteen in the second.

Copp was lured on Thursday to the dojo, which had been boarded up since a law enforcement raid in October, by a city building inspector who called to say someone had broken in, Copp’s friend John Albrecht tells the Riverfront Times.

Copp had asked his friend to drive with him, because he worried he was being set up, Albrecht said.

….

Copp was the subject of an RFT feature story in December after a series of federal raids on Dojo Pizza. He was taken into police custody for a couple of days in October on suspicion of child endangerment, but he was released without charges.

He has maintained his innocence, blaming the investigation on a disgruntled former live-in volunteer who he’d ejected from the dojo. Court documents filed in support of the early raids revealed police were investigating accusations of human trafficking, alleging Copp forced the teens to work for free in the pizzeria. He denied the charge. The girls were staying him because their parents were on drugs, imprisoned or otherwise unable to care for them, he said. Two of the girls had lived with him so long, they called him their father, and he considered them his daughters.

Parents, visitors to the dojo and one of the girls interviewed by the RFT supported him.

The charges of production of child pornography are new.

Agents who’d previously raided the dojo, a former church in October and November, had been seen taking evidence boxes and computers from the building.

In interviews, Copp has suggested investigators have been trying to set him up and possibly planted evidence. He noted neighbors claim to have seen men who appeared to be law enforcement officers climb in through a back window before one of the raids.

Twenty-four hours after Copp’s arrest, The River Front Times reported:

Dojo Pizza owner Loren Copp arrived handcuffed and shackled at the ankles on Friday in federal court for his first appearance since his arrest on child pornography charges.

His attorney had dropped him overnight. Some of his strongest supporters have backed away now that the FBI says it has photographic proof he sexually abused a girl over the course of several years, starting with a stomach-churning snapshot of the two of them in a sex act when she was just twelve years old.

Until a series of law enforcement raids in October and November, he’d lived with four teenage girls in a converted church at 4601 Morgan Ford Road in Bevo Mill where he taught karate, established a school and operated a pizzeria.

Federal authorities claim they found the pornographic photos on a computer hard drive seized during one of the raids. Investigators showed the pictures to the girl on Wednesday, and she identified herself and Copp, according to the criminal complaint released on Thursday following his arrest.

Tauna Cowin, whose two oldest daughters lived with Copp most of their lives, says she cried all night after reading the newly revealed allegations.

“If he did do this, I hope he rots in jail,” she told the Riverfront Times. “I’m sorry, but I hope he rots in jail.”

Cowin knew Copp, a former pastor, through her kids’ school and church. When she was losing her home about a decade ago, she sent a son and the two girls to live with him and his wife at the time. The boy eventually moved on, but the girls stayed and began calling Copp “Dad” even though he wasn’t their biological father.

Cowin says the girls previously told her Copp never abused them, but she hadn’t talked to them since his arrest. They have been in foster care since the Dojo Pizza raids last fall.

“I just don’t know how to freakin’ take this,” Cowin said through tears. “It’s hitting me hard. I thought I knew this man, he was my pastor.”

Copp was the subject of an RFT feature story in December and has claimed he was just helping kids whose parents couldn’t take care of them.

Attorney Justin Meehan, a longtime martial artist, had advised Copp for free in the months after the raids. Law enforcement affidavits had described Copp as the target of a “Labor Trafficking and Sexual Abuse” investigation, allegations that the lawyer thought lacked much in the way of support.

He has a policy of not taking on clients who are accused of hurting kids, but a fellow martial artist vouched for Copp, and Meehan eventually agreed to get involved — with the caveat that he’d walk if there was more to it than a weak trafficking case.

Meehan felt “blindsided” Thursday when he learned prosecutors were now pursuing a charge of producing child pornography, he said. True to his word, he has decided to cut ties with Copp.

Yesterday, Federal prosecutors additionally charged Copps with:

two charges of using interstate facilities to persuade a minor to engage in sexual activity [and] three counts of transmitting information about a minor with the intent to encourage sexual activity.

The Southeastern Missourian reports:

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported a new indictment accuses Dojo Pizza’s Loren Copp of two charges of using interstate facilities to persuade a minor to engage in sexual activity. It also added three counts of transmitting information about a minor with the intent to encourage sexual activity.

The indictment alleges Copp tried to get two girls to convince an underage girl to expose her breasts online.

Copp already was facing charges of production, attempted production and possession of child pornography.

Copp pleaded not guilty to the original indictment. His attorney wants a judge to throw out evidence obtained or statements made during searches of Copp’s restaurant and home.

Copp also owned and operated Ma-ji Ryu Christian Karate Association. City officials seized DoJo Pizza’s building to satisfy a $13,940 tax liability. The building was bought at sheriff’s auction for $35,714.

Copp’s past is filled with accusations of malfeasance and financial misconduct. In 2013, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported:

Bargain hunters snapped up 40 years of Southwest Christian Church’s history last weekend. Tables, chairs — even pots and pans used for countless fellowship meals — were sold off as part of the church’s closure.

Southwest Christian has been wrangling with a tangle of debt tied to a failed $2 million church expansion that congregants helped finance. The project sits unfinished at 1694 Smizer Station Road, near Highway 141.

Now the remaining congregants who haven’t scattered will gather Sunday for one final service at a church some have attended for two generations.

At first glance, it seems like a tragic but familiar tale of a church getting too ambitious, growing faster than it ought.

But Douglas Lay, a former pastor at the church, is among those who tell a different story.

By his account, Southwest Christian historically played it smart, avoiding debt and making do with its aging and modest building.

At least it did until it ran into Loren Copp — a pastor and builder with a history of failed financial dealings.

“He left them up a creek without a paddle,” said Lay, who led the church in the late 1990s. “There are good people there.”

Copp, who became the church’s pastor in 2007, was the pastor when Southwest Christian decided to support the expansion project that would include a Christian high school, even though similar efforts in St. Louis County had failed in recent years. It started out at $1.5 million, then grew to $2 million.

Church members helped pitch in on the expansion by buying bonds, using the existing building as collateral.

Today, the project is stalled, mired in mediation with the original developer and lien holders claiming they haven’t been paid.

Copp has since moved on.

….

Church leaders knew that the building project would be a major undertaking. But they believed they had a plan that would both underwrite the expense and satisfy the church’s goal to expand its outreach.

Under the plan, the new Christian high school would lease the expanded church building during the week.

And to help funnel students to the school and broaden the church’s ministry, some members supported an existing K-8 school Copp was involved with in south St. Louis.
Both schools are called Living Faith Christian Academy and are governed independently from the church by Copp’s own nonprofit — Ma Ji Ryu Christian Karate Association. Copp uses his martial arts skills to minister.

In 2011, Copp touted the high school project, saying it would open that fall. He brushed off skeptics, who pointed to other failed school projects in the area.

The schools would be funded by tuition, not church donations.

“This is a school that is going to be run as a business,” he told the Post-Dispatch at the time, adding: “If it doesn’t work, you’ll have a story to write.”

The high school did open. But students could only meet in certain sections of the building because the project was incomplete.

A 2011 St Louis Post-Dispatch story had this to say about Copp’s checkered past:

His [Copp] past, however, is marked with bankruptcy, unpaid bills and allegations of deception and poor management.

Illinois records show he owes nearly $10,000 in child support. When he moved to St. Louis in 2003, lawsuits and unpaid bills from Ohio, Indiana and Illinois followed, nipping at his ankles. Most stemmed from construction projects Copp started and never finished.

Problems continued here at Stocker Construction, which fired him from a residential construction manager position in 2006 for severe losses on projects Copp oversaw, said a representative of the now-defunct company.

A year earlier, a judge approved a negotiated settlement of $203,400 to satisfy a suit brought against Copp by the Illinois attorney general. The sum was said to be a portion of what nine customers were owed.

Copp filed for bankruptcy in St. Louis around that time and has repaid just a token amount.

“If he is so conscientious about a soda, how does he feel about our house and other people’s houses that he walked out on with hefty sums of money?” said Ofelia Nikolova, 54, a party in the lawsuit and a former assistant professor in French at the Southern Illinois University Carbondale. “Tell him to come back and pay me. I’ll take $50,000.”

A March 3, 2018 St. Louis Post-Dispatch story reports:

A former pastor and owner of a St. Louis pizza restaurant and martial arts studio facing federal child sex charges will represent himself at his trial next week.

Loren “Sensei” Copp will have standby counsel, but told U.S. District Judge Audrey Fleissig Monday that he wanted to represent himself.
He faces nine counts in all, including production, attempted production and possession of child pornography and the use of interstate facilities to persuade or coerce a minor to engage in sexual activity.

Copp has pleaded not guilty to the charges. He also provided a list of five alibi witnesses in a court filing that says they will testify that he was not “at the scene of the crime” on specific dates.

That scene, according to prosecutors, was a combination pizza shop, martial arts studio and youth shelter at 4601 Morganford Road that was raided multiple times in the fall of 2015 after claims that Copp was not adequately caring for or paying underage employees.

DoJo Pizza operated as a nonprofit to support free karate classes, its website once said.

Investigators said they found child porn during the searches, and subsequent charges claim Copp sexually abused multiple young girls.

One was between 10 and 13 when Copp first fondled her, prosecutors say in court filings. He later raped her, they say, and she couldn’t accurately count the number of times she was abused. Filings say Copp also made videos of the sex acts, and she witnessed him abusing another resident of the shelter. He had child porn featuring the first teen and another underage girl, and also tried taking photos of two girls undressing, prosecutors say.

Prosecutors have also said they will use statements Copp made to a fellow inmate at the St. Charles County Jail and phone calls and emails from his time behind bars awaiting trial.

….

On April 111, 2018, Copp told the court he is innocent and that there’s an explanation for the child porn on his computer.

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor James Love Charged with Sexually Assaulting Six-Year-Old Girl

new mount zion baptist church

Last June, James Love, pastor of New Mount Zion Baptist Church in Brooklyn, was arrested and charged with sexually assaulting a six-year-old girl. The New York Post reported:

James Love, 45, was arrested Friday at 10 p.m. and slapped with criminal charges for sexually abusing the girl at an apartment in Woodside, according to a criminal complaint.

Police sources said Love, who told cops he was a pastor at New Mount Zion Baptist Church in Manhattan, assaulted the girl “on several occasions.”

The church didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment, so his status couldn’t be confirmed.

The girl’s mother told cops that Love exposed himself to the girl, placed his genitals in her hands and rubbed her privates over her clothes between March and June, according to the criminal complaint.

Yesterday was was the first day of Love’s trial. The New York Post reports:

A 7-year-old girl bravely testified in Queens court Tuesday against a Manhattan pastor on trial for sexually abusing her.

The child told jurors that James Love, formerly a minister at New Mount Zion Baptist Church in Harlem, had fondled her several times when she was just 6-years-old between March and June of 2016.

Love’s wife ran a daycare out of the couple’s Woodside, Queens, apartment where she watched the victim and seven other children.

The 46-year-old minister was making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for his son when the young girl, wearing her school uniform, went into the kitchen to get a glass of water.

“He touched me,” she said at the first day of Love’s trial in Queens Supreme Court. She told him to stop, but he persisted then led her into a bedroom, pushed himself against her and tried to kiss her.

“It was kind of disgusting,” she said as Love, wearing a tan suit, sat at the defendant’s table with his hands clasping his walking cane.

It wasn’t the first time Love had put moves on the child. On another occasion, he opened his zipper and told her to touch him, she said.

Assistant District Attorney Jacqueline Rizk told jurors in opening statements that the girl finally told her mother “in between muffled sobs” what had happened, which led to Love’s arrest.

Defense lawyer Todd Spodek insisted that the girl made the story up because her account kept changing.

He questioned how Love could have pulled off the alleged crimes when there were two other adults and seven children in the apartment.

Further, even after Love’s arrest, two parents continued to entrust their children in his wife’s care because they didn’t believe the allegations, he argued.

“Children can lie for a number of reasons,” he said.

Love is charged with one count of sex abuse and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child. If convicted, he faces up to seven years in prison.

Other victims came forward, but he’s only charged with crimes relating to the young girl, according to a source.

Update #1

Love was found guilty and sentenced to seven years in prison. The New York Post reports:

A ​former church ​pastor recently convicted of molesting a six-year-old girl was sentenced to seven years in prison Monday, the Queens District Attorney announced.

James Love was found guilty of sexually assaulting the young child, who was a ward at his wife’s Woodlawn day care, earlier this month.

Love, the former pastor of New Mount Zion Baptist Church in Harlem, sexually assaulted t​​he little girl numerous times over the period of a year from June 2015 to June 2016, prosecutors said.

The now-seven-year-old bravely testified against Love during the ten-day trial.

The 46-year-old ​fallen man of God must also register as a sex offender.

“The victim’s mother dropped off the youngster at a trusted babysitter’s home, she had every expectation that her daughter would be cared for and protected,” Queens DA Richard Brown said in a statement. “Instead the husband of the sitter took advantage of the girl’s proximity and repeatedly violated her for his own sexual gratification.”

Defense attorney Todd Spodek called his client’s conviction “a perfect example of the uphill battle victims of false allegations of sexual abuse face at trial, and ultimately at sentencing.”

Black Collar Crime: Pastor Wisdom Kusorgbor Charged With Sexually Assaulting Three-Year-Old Girl

wisdom kusorgbor

Wisdom Kusorgbor, pastor of Soldiers of the Cross Ministries at Korle-Gonno, Ghana, has been charged with sexually assaulting a three-year-old girl. Peace FM reports:

A 24-year old pastor who is accused of “fingering” a three year old girl and using his penis to “brush” her vagina, on Wednesday appeared before a Circuit Court in Accra.

Wisdom Kusorgbor, the Head Pastor of Soldiers of the Cross Ministries at Korle-Gonno, charged with indecent assault pleaded not guilty.

The court presided over by Mrs. Marian Affoh admitted Kusorgbor to bail in the sum of GHC 8,000 with three sureties to reappear on April 11 for trial to commence.

Prosecuting Detective Inspector Kofi Atimbire said the complainant, a businesswoman resides at Santana at Chorkor in Accra with the victim who is her daughter while the accused also resides at Korle Gonno.

Detective Inspector Atimbire said the accused person’s mother and the complainant are co-tenants.

According to prosecution Kusorgbor has therefore been visiting his mother and whenever he visits he gives his mobile phone to the victim to watch cartoons.

On December 28, last year, the prosecutor said at about 6:00pm the accused person visited his mother but on reaching there his mother had gone to town.

Prosecution said Kusorgbor, however, carried the victim into his mother room to watch the cartoons on his laptop. Whiles watching the cartoon, accused person inserted his finger and used his penis to “brush” the victim’s vagina.
According to prosecution the accused person did not penetrate the victim’s vagina.