Andrew Jackson, youth pastor for The Victory Tabernacle of Hot Springs United Pentecostal Church in Hot Springs, Arkansas was convicted Thursday of rape. Jackson could face up to eighty years in prison for his crimes. Steven Mross with the Hot Springs Sentinel Recorder reports:
A former youth pastor accused of raping two teenage girls in 2014 in Hot Springs was convicted Thursday after a four-day trial in Garland County Circuit Court and could face up to 80 years in prison.
Andrew Lee Jackson, 31, who lists a White Hall address, was found guilty of two felony counts of rape, with the eight-man, four-woman jury recommending a sentence of 40 years on each count. Jackson, who was taken into custody after the verdict and is being held on zero bond, is scheduled to be formally sentenced April 11. Judge Marcia Hearnsberger will decide at the sentencing hearing whether to run the sentences concurrently or consecutively.
The jury deliberated for about 90 minutes before finding Jackson guilty and less than 30 minutes to recommend the sentence. Lawrence noted Hearnsberger did not instruct the jury to decide on consecutive or concurrent and would be making the decision herself.
Jackson was originally charged with 13 counts of rape, with 10 involving one victim, who was 16 at the time, and three involving the younger victim, who was 13 at the time, one for each incident of rape, but Lawrence said they amended it to two counts, one for each victim, before the trial since each count is punishable by up to life in prison.
The jury heard three days of testimony beginning Monday, including testimony from both victims, Garland County sheriff’s investigators, the girls’ therapist, Jackson, his wife, and his pastor from childhood during the guilt phase.
Lawrence said they also presented cellphone evidence involving text messages sent between Jackson and the two victims that corroborated the victims’ allegations, and she noted that she felt it was a significant factor in the jury’s decision.
They also presented witnesses who “saw various things” which also corroborated the victim’s story, including one who “walked in” on Jackson and the 16-year-old “under the covers” and another who testified about being involved in a three-way phone call with Jackson and one victim.
She said the victims, who each went through three years of counseling and therapy, were both “able to take the stand and talk about what happened to them,” and it was clear the jury believed them.
While the charge involving the 13-year-old was based solely on her age at the time, Lawrence said she used a different approach with the 16-year-old, arguing Jackson was essentially her guardian because she was living with Jackson and his wife at the time the rapes occurred.
“Even though he wasn’t her parent or foster parent, he still qualified as her guardian because she had moved in with him and his wife,” she said, noting that under the law he was then guilty of rape if the victim was younger than 18 years old.
She told investigators she would often spend the night at the Jackson home, sleeping in the living room with Jackson and his wife on a sectional sofa separated into three pieces. She said at one point Jackson told her he “felt like a monster” for what he had done, although she was uncertain what all happened during the encounter because she was asleep.
She said she knew she and Jackson first had sexual relations about a week before the start of school in August on the sectional in the living room while his wife was asleep on the other section.
Jackson was arrested on Dec. 22, 2014, and charged with three counts of rape.
The victim’s sister, 16, was interviewed at that time about any possible sexual contact she had with Jackson, but initially denied anything had happened between them.
The sisters shared a cellphone and had both communicated with Jackson on the phone. In reviewing text messages from the phone, investigators felt confident the 16-year-old was also a victim of sexual abuse.
On Sept. 21, 2016, the sister was interviewed again at Cooper-Anthony and disclosed she had sexual intercourse with Jackson “at least 10 times,” beginning in August 2014 and continuing through October 2014.
She stated the rapes occurred in a bedroom at Jackson’s home and the first time he had covered her mouth while he raped her. She punched him at one point during the rape trying to get him off her. She said Jackson threatened her, telling her if she told anyone he would burn up her family’s house with her and her family inside.
She said Jackson continued to have sex with her almost weekly for nearly three months and that she was scared what he might do if she told anyone.
When questioned, Jackson confirmed he and his wife would sleep in the living room on the sofa sections, but denied the victim’s accusations and insisted his only relationship with her was that of youth pastor.
Wright noted that in mid-December 2014, he viewed “inappropriate text messages” extracted from the victim’s phone, which indicated Jackson had “much more than a youth pastor relationship” with the victim.
In the texts, Jackson made such comments as “I love you so much” and “I missed you this weekend terribly” and “I’m sorry I can’t be with you.”
Fourteen months ago, Jacob Malone, pastor of Calvary Fellowship in Downington, Pennsylvania was arrested and charged with raping and impregnating a teenager who lived with his family. Since his arrest, Malone has remained in jail awaiting trial. On Wednesday, Malone appeared in court expecting the judge to approve his plea deal. Instead, Judge Jacqueline Cody rejected the plea, saying, “Given the facts of this case, I’m not going to accept this plea.”
Calling the circumstances “way too serious,” a Chester County judge Wednesday rejected a plea deal that would have imposed a two-year jail term on a former pastor accused of raping and impregnating an 18-year-old who considered him a surrogate father.
Jacob Matthew Malone, 34, had been a pastor at Calvary Fellowship, a nondenominational church in Downingtown, when he gave the teen alcohol and had sexual intercourse with her while she was intoxicated, he admitted. Sexual contact, which also included touching and kissing, occurred almost daily during the teen’s senior year in high school. The teen, who met Malone at age 12 when he was her youth pastor in Arizona, did not have a father in her life, and Malone invited her to stay with him and his wife in their home in West Whiteland Township. She helped look after Malone’s three children.
In March 2016, the young woman gave birth to Malone’s daughter, whom she called “a sweet, beautiful, and intelligent little girl,” in a statement she read at the Chester County Justice Center on Wednesday. Now 20 and living in Arizona, she addressed “Jake” and said he took advantage of her “mentally, physically, spiritually.”
She recounted regular occurrences before school and before Malone left for work at the church, “as I lay in bed not moving hoping you would get the message that I didn’t want it.”
She said she wanted more than a two-year sentence for Malone, whom she said she had thought was a “godly man,” but “you were something else when no one was watching.”
The girl had told police Malone began to sexually assault her in the fall of 2014.
Under terms of the rejected agreement, Malone would have pleaded guilty to corruption of minors, institutional sexual assault and endangering the welfare of children.
When the judge asked District Attorney Emily Provencher why the plea did not include the more serious rape charges, she said there was a question as to whether the commonwealth could prove the absence of consent.
On Wednesday, Malone, wearing shackles, bowed and shook his head while the woman read her statement before he addressed the courtroom. He did not say he forced himself on her, but he said he had made “mistakes” and should be held responsible for the sexual contact.
Malone resigned in November 2015 after church leaders confronted him about the teen’s pregnancy and he admitted he had impregnated her. He had worked at the church for about 18 months.
In January 2016, police in West Whiteland Township asked for help locating Malone, who they believed fled to avoid arrest. When he returned to the United States from Ecuador, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers arrested him on Jan. 18, 2016, at Newark Liberty International Airport.
It was unclear whether plea negotiations would continue or the case would proceed to trial.
Previously, I reported that Malone planned to admit raping the girl. Evidently, the good pastor had a change of heart.
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.
Larry Holley, pastor of Abundant Life Ministries in Flint, Michigan, stands accused of defrauding people out of millions in a sketchy investment scheme. The Washington Post reports: (link no longer active)
Federal regulators are accusing a pastor in Michigan of fraud, saying he used the Bible to persuade retirees and laid-off auto workers to invest more than $6 million with him.
The Securities and Exchange Commission says the Rev. Larry Holley and his Treasure Enterprise LLC owe 43 Michigan investors about $2 million. The government believes Holley also owes investors in 13 other states.
He has not been criminally charged.
The government said Thursday that Holley promised risk-free returns from real estate. He is pastor of Abundant Life Ministries in Flint, Michigan. A Detroit federal judge has frozen his assets.
The government says he told investors that he was more credible than a banker because he prayed for their children.
Jeffrey Goss, principal of the Christian Education Alliance — “a unique education ministry to home school families in the Tulsa metro area” — in Tulsa, Oklahoma was arrested Tuesday on child pornography charges. Tulsa World reports:
Jeffrey Richard Goss, 56, is accused of using a video conference chat room to share and view sexually explicit pictures and videos of underage boys and girls, according to a complaint filed in Tulsa federal court Wednesday.
Court documents state that Goss is a principal at a Tulsa school, but they don’t specify which one. Goss’ Linkedin profile states that he is a principal at Christian Education Alliance, 840 W. 81st St.
Christian Education Alliance is a “unique education ministry to home school families in the Tulsa metro area” for grades one through 12, according to its website.
The allegations against Goss were discovered during an undercover operation by Homeland Security investigators in 2015, according to the court documents.
On Tuesday, law enforcement investigators served a search warrant at Goss’s south Tulsa home.
While being interviewed, Goss told investigators that he used the chat room at least five or six times since November 2015 with the intent to view child pornography, according to the complaint. He said he accessed the materials from the school where he works in an effort to hide it from his spouse, the document says.
Unitarian pastor Ron Robinson was arrested on a federal warrant alleging he received and/or distributed child pornography. Robinson is the director of A Third Place Community Foundation in Turley, Oklahoma.
Ronald Eugene Robinson, 62, director of A Third Place Community Foundation, was arrested at his Turley home on complaints of distribution or receipt of child pornography and possession of and access with intent to view child pornography, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court in Tulsa.
Tulsa Christian home school alliance principal Jeffrey Richard Goss, 56, was arrested Wednesday on similar allegations in connection with the same investigation, though the cases aren’t connected, according to a news release from the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office.
Federal investigators reportedly found both men using an online video conference chatroom that allows users to both broadcast video of themselves and watch video of others.
On Nov. 10, 2015, investigators in the chatroom observed various videos of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Federal agents noted someone with the username “Ed” making comments about raping and hurting the children, according to court documents.
Later, the man showed video of his face. Investigators described him as in his 60s with gray hair and a gray beard. Investigators used the IP address associated with “Ed” to find his account holder information, which led them to Robinson, court documents state.
Federal authorities and the Sheriff’s Office began working together on the investigation last September and arrested Robinson after serving a search warrant at two homes Thursday, according to a news release.
Agents arrested Robinson and took electronic devices from one of the homes, located in the 7000 block of North Cincinnati Avenue. They also served a warrant at a home in the 500 block of East 63rd Street North and discovered a man and two minor children staying in “unsanitary conditions,” the release states.
Law enforcement referred the children to the Department of Human Services for a welfare check, the news release states. After his arrest, Robinson reportedly told investigators he had received child pornography on multiple occasions. He also said he fantasizes about raping and hurting children, the news release states.
Dale and Kaylee Graham, Robinson’s neighbors, had this to say about the good pastor’s arrest:
Dale: It’s very surprising. It’s shocking knowing that we lived there for so long and that there was a potential for somebody to hurt my child that’s been there since she was two. Kids go in there and they had a special station inside that church for kids to go in and color, and he had a whole bunch of kids in there, and that’s even more scary. “It floored me. I was like, what. I mean he’s done a lot of great things, and I know Bonnie is his wife, and Bonnie’s done a lot of great things, you know. It’s shocking. It hurts.
Kaylee: Me and his wife got along really well. I used to say hi to him from across the gate but I never really talked to him that much. He just seemed like a nice guy. I didn’t really think that he would do anything like that,
A pastor of a Baptist church in Old East Dallas has been indicted on a charge of misappropriating over $300,000 of his church’s money.
A grand jury indicted the Rev. Wade C. Davis on a theft charge on March 22, according to court documents.
The 65-year-old pastor of Munger Avenue Baptist Church turned himself in to Dallas police, WFAA-TV (Channel 8) reported. He posted a $10,000 personal recognizance bond Tuesday.
Davis, who was hired as the church’s senior pastor in 1999, is also accused in a lawsuit of misappropriating church funds beginning in 2012 and continuing through February 2016.
When the church’s board began reviewing its bank accounts, it learned that Davis made numerous withdrawals and charges for personal expenses and without any oversight from the church, according to a lawsuit brought in March 2016.
Davis also attempted to sell property owned by the church without any approval from the board, according to the suit.
The investigation found that numerous purchases had been made on the church’s only debit card, which was in Davis’ possession, the suit stated.
In all, Davis is accused of wrongfully withdrawing about $400,000 from the church’s accounts.
“I mean, just to think that the man of God could possibly have done something this heinous to his members,” Richard Greagor, who said he’s speaking on behalf of the church’s deacons and trustees, told KXAS-TV (NBC5).
Greagor said that some members feel there’s a “cloud of suspicion” around the church.
“Two-thirds of the church decided that they no longer want to be here, so for the past year we’ve been worshipping at Black and Clark Funeral Home in Oak Cliff,” Greagor told the station.
As of today, Davis is still listed as the church’s pastor on its website. Some reports say the good pastor misappropriated upwards of $500,000.
High end shopping sprees, personal car payments and unexplained hotel room rentals.
They are among the allegations made against Dallas Pastor Wade Davis, who’s accused of funneling half a million dollars in church money to his own pocket.
Lifelong church member Erica Williams said the locks were changed on the doors to Munger Avenue Baptist Church when members began wondering why the 123-year-old house of worship was running out of money.
“It was broke, the church was just flat broke,” said member Richard Greagor, who examined finances inside the historically black church last year and says what he found was unimaginable.
“There were liquor purchases an in-town hotel stays and shopping spree at Neiman Marcus and Cadillac repairs it was disheartening,” said Greagor.
Greagor and authorities accuse Pastor Davis of funneling as much as $500,000 to a personal account from a church annuity fund he wasn’t supposed to have access to.
“I think he has lost his way I think it one point he may been a man of God,” said Erica Williams.
But a year before his arrest, Davis, who was hired in 1998, denied the allegations in a letter to the congregation saying, “I am not guilty of committing any crime. I have not broken any laws,” wrote W.C. Davis, Senior Pastor.
Members said the pastor then moved into the church and changed the locks to drive away his critics who have been meeting for months at a funeral home while Davis was still preaching here last Sunday to a handful of loyal supporters.
But he faces a civil lawsuit from those longtime members who want to drive him from the pulpit so they can return.
“My personal goal is that we get back in this church by Easter this year,” said Williams.
If convicted he could face between 5 to 99 years in prison.
Christians suing Christians. I vaguely remember the Apostle Paul condemning such behavior in I Corinthians 6:1-8:
Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints? Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life? If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church. I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren? But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers. Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded? Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren.
Why is it that many Evangelical Christians have a hard time believing that pastors, evangelists, parachurch leaders, Christian university presidents, and other notable Christian leaders commit crimes such as sexual assault, rape, child abuse, murder, and fraud or otherwise engage in behaviors deemed by faithful Christians to be sinful? Every time I write a post about a pastor or some other Christian leader committing crime or behaving in ways that make them out to be hypocrites, I end up getting comments and emails from people objecting to my publicizing the story. Often, these objectors leave comments that suggest that they have some sort of inside knowledge about the matter, and once the “truth” comes out the accused will be vindicated. Other objectors will take the “they are innocent until proven guilty” approach, subtly suggesting that these kinds of stories should not be publicized until there has been a trial and a conviction. With righteous indignation they attack me, the messenger, for daring to publish anything about the stories, warning me that God is going to get me for causing harm to his servants and his church. And when the trials are over and convictions are handed down, do these same people return to this site with heads humbly held low, confessing that they did not know these men and women as well as they thought they did? Of course not. If anything, they will demand forgiveness for the offender. After all, we are all sinners in need of forgiveness, right?
Last year, I remember a number of people getting upset with me over my publicizing on Facebook their pastor’s criminal behavior. He didn’t do it!. I KNOW this man! I’ve been friends with him for 20 years! He led me to Jesus! It’s just the word of a confused teenager against the word of an honorable, devoted man of God. It was interesting to watch all these outraged people disappear once multiple girls came forward from several churches and said that this pastor had taken sexual advantage of them. Why is it these church members had a hard time believing that their pastor committed felony sexual crimes?
When Jack Schaap was accused of carrying on a sexual affair with a teenage girl he was counseling, scores of outraged members and supporters of First Baptist Church in Hammond Indiana came to this blog and declared Schaap’s innocence. These are the same people who, to this day, believe that Schaap’s father-in-law, Jack Hyles, never carried on with his secretary, and these same people, while not condoning David Hyles’ heinous crimes, demand that he be given favorable treatment since God has forgiven him. Who are we to condemn, if God has forgiven him, they said. He that is without sin let him cast the first stone! Judge not!
Bob Gray, the one-time pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Jacksonville Florida, was accused of sexually molesting young children. Countless Gray supporters said that their pastor could never do such a thing, yet we now know that it is likely he had been a sexual predator for most of the fifty years he spent in the ministry. How is it possible that a pastor who was considered by many, including myself, to be a Holy Ghost-filled man of God, could, for decades, sexually harm children, yet no one know about it (or at least was willing to report it)?
Last week, Justin White, pastor of First Christian Church in Columbus, Indiana was arrested on felony charges of insurance fraud and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Come to find out, White was a heroin addict. I found myself asking, how is it possible that a man could preach three times a week and lead a large church while on heroin? Those must have been some pretty awesome and inspiring sermons. Did church leaders know that White had a heroin problem? It seems likely that they did. In 2015, White went out of state for thirty-two days to a rehab center, returning clean to a none-the-wiser church congregation. If news reports are to be believed, White’s recovery was short-lived, resulting in him committing insurance fraud to pay a $11,000 debt he owed to a drug dealer. Despite the evidence and White’s subsequent resignation, there are congregants who believe that their pastor is innocent of all charges. Why do these church members, and others like them, have such a hard time believing that the man who stands in the pulpit on Sunday can be someone other than who he says he is?
These same people have no problem believing that non-Christians commit all sorts of crimes. When newspapers report the crimes of unbelievers these followers of Jesus shake their heads and say, if they only put their faith and trust in Jesus all things would become new for them. In their minds, Jesus is an antidote for bad and criminal behavior. And, to be honest, he often is, or least the idea of Jesus is an antidote for behavior deemed sinful or unlawful. Countless alcoholics and drug addicts clean up after having a come to Jesus moment. While I could write much about why this is so, the fact remains that in some instances having some sort of conversion experience leads people to change their ways. If Jesus really is the antidote for sin and the answer for what ails us, why then do so many Christians fall (or run) into behaviors that are considered sinful or criminal? Why is there no difference behavior-wise between nonbelievers and believers?
The reason then that Evangelicals have a hard time believing their pastors could ever commit the crimes they are accused of is because they think — despite evidence to the contrary — that people are protected from moral and ethical failure by their Christian salvation and the presence of the Holy Spirit living inside them. This is why the Black Collar Crime series is so important. The series is a public reminder of the fact that religion, in and of itself, does not make anyone a better person. It can, and perhaps at times does, but there are countless people who are nonreligious or who are members of religious sects Evangelicals have deemed false who live exemplary lives. Religion is not a prerequisite to goodness. And because Evangelicals refuse to understand this, they find it difficult to accept that the men and women they hold up as pillars of morality and virtue can really be perverts and criminals in disguise.
While we should generally trust people, we should not do so blindly, and therein lies the problem for many Evangelicals. They are taught to obey those that have authority over them. They are reminded that gossip is a sin and that church members should not believe an accusation against an elder (pastor) unless it can be firmly established in the mouth of two or three witnesses. Jack Hyles was fond of saying, if you didn’t see it, it didn’t happen. Countless Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) preachers have used this very line to turn back whispers about their sexual infidelity or criminal behavior. You keep your mouth shut now. If you didn’t see it happen, you have no business talking about it. I’m sure former IFB church members can remember blistering sermons about gossip and about the dangers of speaking badly about the man of God. Remember those boys who mocked the man of God in the Bible? Why, bears came out of the woods and ate them. Best keep your tongue quiet, lest God send bears to eat you. How often do Evangelicals hear sermons about not touching God’s anointed? Mind your own business, church members are told, and let God take care of the preacher. If he is sinning, God will punish him. But here is the problem with this kind of thinking: God doesn’t punish sinning preachers. They just keep on sinning and sinning and sinning. They will keep on molesting little boys and girls, raping teenagers, and sleeping with vulnerable congregants until real flesh-and-blood human beings make them stop.
Think of all the times that church leaders heard rumors or reports about clergy misconduct, yet did nothing. They were more concerned about the testimony of the church than they were the victims. Think of all the times that church leaders heard rumors or reports about clergy misconduct, conducted their own investigations, and once finished, buried the accusations or elicited a promise from offenders that they would never, ever do again that which they were accused of. After all, since Jesus has forgiven them, shouldn’t the church? The short answer to this question is HELL NO! When clergy commit criminal acts that harm other people, they must be held accountable. This is why states have mandatory reporting laws. When church leadership hears of reports of possible criminal sexual misconduct they are required to immediately report these actions to law enforcement. It is not their responsibility to investigate or mete out punishment. We have a legal system that is responsible for investigating crimes and bringing offenders to justice. I wish more churches would be prosecuted for failing to report. If a handful of church deacons or elders had to spend time in jail for not reporting or covering up crimes, perhaps this would put an end to these men and women placing their religious institutions reputations above the welfare of those who have been victimized.
I spent twenty-five years in the ministry. From the time I was fifteen to the age of fifty-one, I was a member of the preacher fraternity. I know what went on behind closed doors. I know about scandals, sexual affairs, fraud, and suspected criminal behavior. I know where the bodies are buried. I know the real story behind Pastor So-and-So’s abrupt call to a new church. I know why certain missionaries had to come home from the field, never to return. I know that preachers are not any different from the people they pastor. Yes, most pastors are good people. Yes, most pastors generally desire to help others. What is also true is that some pastors are lazy and see the ministry as a way to make a quick and easy buck. It is also true that some pastors watch pornography and have sexual affairs with people in and out of their churches. People are people, and the sooner that church members understand this, the better. Stop putting pastors on pedestals. Stop thinking that pastors and their families are in any way better than anyone else. They are not, and I wish that pastors would stand before their congregations on Sundays and be honest about this.
The reason they don’t, of course, is because few congregants want honesty and transparency. Instead, they want pastors who are victorious over sin. They want pastors who are above the fray. They want winners! They want men and women they can look up to as examples of moral purity and virtue. Years ago, I remember admitting in a sermon that I knew what it was to lust after a woman. My objective was to let congregants know that I was just like them, that I was not in any way morally superior to them. After the service a man came up to me and told me that he was upset over my confession. In no uncertain terms, he let me know that he didn’t want to hear about my sins or failures. He wanted a pastor who was a shining example of holiness and righteousness. In other words, he wanted me to be God. Needless to say, this man did not last long in our church. He quickly found out that I was, like the apostle Paul, the chiefest of sinners.
Have you ever attended a church where the pastor, deacon, Sunday school teacher, or some other revered leader in the church was accused of criminal behavior or sexual misconduct? How did the church respond to these accusations? Were some of the members unwilling to believe that the accused could do the things he or she was accused of? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comment section.
A St. Louis church pastor was charged Monday with having sex with a teen younger than 17 at three city motels last year.
Ronald P. Ewing, 59, of the 2500 block of High Ridge Avenue in Jennings, was charged with three counts of statutory rape.
Ewing is a pastor and met the 16-year-old through church, charges say. Ewing and the teen had sex last November and December at the Deluxe Motel, 4531 Natural Bridge Avenue; the Vegas Inn at 3607 Hamilton Avenue; and the Days Inn at 2810 North 9th Street.
Charges do not identify the church where Ewing is a pastor and a police spokeswoman would not confirm the name of the church.
The news report does not list Ewing’s church. I found one St. Louis minister named Ronald Ewing, pastor of Zion Temple Baptist Church in St. Louis. I will update this story once it is reported what church Ewing pastors.
A Columbus pastor who claimed his family was robbed of about $11,000 in cash and valuables while he was preaching at church has been arrested on felony charges of insurance fraud and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
Justin K. White, 38, 3255 Sunrise Drive, senior minister at First Christian Church since May 2011 is accused of arranging with a juvenile to stage the Dec. 18 burglary at his Skyview Estates home on the city’s northeast side in order to file an insurance claim for the lost items, court documents in the case state.
White is accused of having the burglary staged to obtain money from his insurance company to pay a drug debt, court documents state. The charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor relates to White being accused of seeking to have a juvenile commit an act that would be a felony if committed by an adult, dealing in a narcotic drug.
White was arrested at 6:45 p.m. Friday at his home by Columbus Police detectives, said Lt. Matt Harris, Columbus Police Department spokesman. The charges were filed late Friday afternoon at the Bartholomew County Courthouse, from where a warrant for White’s arrest was issued soon thereafter.
According to White’s bio on the First Christian website: (link no longer active)
Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always anticipated the Sunday morning worship gathering. There’s something thrilling that takes place when God’s people come together to offer our best to the Lord in praise, in fellowship, and in study. One of the most powerful parts of the worship service is when we open the Scriptures together to hear from God Himself. I feel humbled to stand and deliver messages from the Bible; it’s a role that I don’t take lightly, but am so thankful for the opportunity. By nature, I’m a teacher/preacher. I love the Scriptures, and I desire to help others grow in their understanding of its pages as well. My goal at the end of every sermon is not that the congregation remembers a joke, a story, or a particular phrase; my goal is for us all to come to know Christ in a clearer, fuller way.
One of my favorite word-pictures for the Church is found in 1 Corinthians 12:12 when Paul writes, “The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body…” I believe that Jesus Christ is the head of the church…the rest of us form the body. Out of this teaching, I believe the best way to lead is by serving together as a team. I believe that God has given me the gift to preach and communicate His Word, but that gift is not any more important than any other gift of the Spirit. As every part of the body plays a significant role, so every person in the Church is significant as well.
If you are new to the area or simply new to our church, I’d love to get to know you. I think you’ll find FCC a warm, welcoming place to connect with God and with others. Since arriving in Columbus in May of 2011, my wife, Michelle, and I have been so blessed and encouraged by such a loving and growing group of believers. We have three children–(names removed), and a Yorkie we’ve named Oliver. We love to travel, hike, play sports, eat, and share life with others. We are also die-hard fans for the Colts, Reds, and Indiana Hoosiers!
If there is a way I can help you along your spiritual journey, please don’t hesitate to contact me. We’d love to walk with you!
While Pastor Justin White and his family were at church Sunday, someone burglarized their Columbus home, stealing about $11,000 in valuables.
They also took something special from one of his children, and now children are helping to replace it.
At First Christian Church in Columbus, while Justin White spent Sunday in the sanctuary, thieves were preying on the pastor’s home.
“I was here preaching. We have two services,” Pastor White explained. “Everything was going on as normal and then we went home.”
The family noticed the garage door was open to their home. They soon learned someone broke in and ransacked the place sometime between 8:30 and noon.
“The fact that somebody knew where we were and chose Sunday morning to come in? It’s hard. It’s hard to swallow,” said Pastor White’s wife, Michelle.
“We went in and my son looked up and saw that our tv was gone and he said, ‘we’ve been robbed!’ Then we started walking through the house and we realized they had taken so much,” Pastor White said.
The criminals stole more than $11,000 worth of valuables, electronics, small appliances and jewelry, plus something even more personal from (name removed), the family’s youngest.
“She uses a big plastic bottle as a piggy bank and she said, ‘dad! My money’s gone’,” Pastor White said. “It was all gone except for one quarter. They left one quarter there. The rest was gone.”
The bottle was filled with change that the 7-year-old had saved to buy Christmas gifts, earned through chores over several months.
“As a mom, that’s really hard. She’s heartbroken and that’s when I get angry and frustrated,” Michelle said. “I can handle the stuff that was taken from us, but my kids are hurting and that’s the hardest part.”
But then this family had something amazing happen.
They started receiving bags full of coins, donated from neighbors and church members – not from the adults, but from the children.
“Ziploc bags full of coins to be put back in my daughter’s piggy bank,” Pastor White said. “One was anonymous. Another was from a staff member. A mom brought her two preschool daughters over and they had bags full of coins for (name removed). The fact that it comes from a child to a child makes it special.”
“That was the first moment that I cried yesterday when they showed up at our door wanting to give,” Michelle said.
He’s [White] also forgiven the thieves and says they’re always welcome in the house where he works – the house of God.
“There’s another way. You don’t have to live like this,” Pastor White said. “I feel for whoever did this.”
I guess White’s statement, “There’s another way. You don’t have to live like this. I feel for whoever did this.” has taken on a whole new meaning.
However, as Columbus Police detectives looked into the burglary allegation, they determined there were no signs of forced entry at the home. The front door and two other doors on the ground floor were unlocked and undamaged, they said. And the thief or thieves had left untouched wrapped gifts under the family’s Christmas tree.
Officers later learned after obtaining a search warrant that White made a claim for the burglary loss the same day he reported it through the Cincinnati Insurance Co, seeking $11,460.75 in compensation, court documents state.
In an unrelated investigation, Columbus detectives obtained a search warrant for the home of the parents of the juvenile who was involved, who is only identified by initials in the court documents. The juvenile told officers that he had an addiction problem and had just gotten out of rehabilitation, court documents state. After repeatedly denying that he had burglarized White’s house, he told officers, “Justin has a very bad drug problem, too, and he’s been asking me to get him things for him since I was 15 years old on house arrest,” court documents state.
The juvenile said the “things” were drugs, specifically pain pills and heroin, court documents state.
The accused accomplice said he had met White for spiritual counseling when placed on house arrest at age 15 or 16 for possession of marijuana, court documents stated. White would come to the boy’s house at lunch time while both of his parents were at work, court documents state.
On his second visit, White asked if the boy could get him some marijuana for his aunt who had cancer, court documents stated. During the third counseling session, White asked for prescription pain pills; and eventually, White asked the boy to obtain heroin for him, court documents states.
At the time of the burglary, White owed the juvenile about $1,000, and had met with the juvenile in his car at a business parking lot to set up the burglary, court documents state.
White originally wanted the juvenile to do the burglary Dec. 16 while he was in Ohio for his grandmother’s funeral, but the juvenile rejected the idea because of the short notice, court documents states.
On the day of the burglary, the boy went to the White house with another juvenile, a female, who knocked on the door and the two walked in because it was unlocked. A pile of items was where White had told them it would be, court documents said, except for a large television which was also part of the deal White had made with the youth, court documents state.
The boy told detectives his primary way of communicating with White was through Facebook Messenger, with White deleting the messages after they were read, court documents states.
When detectives called White in to tell him that they had recovered some of the family’s property, officers read him his rights and asked him about his relationship with the male juvenile, court records state.
White told detectives that he had been meeting with the boy about drug-related matters — around the same time White had been seeing a doctor for headaches, and was put on hydrocodone, the court records state.
“And, uh, I had that first pill and I wanted the whole bottle,” White told investigators, court records state.
The doctor continued to refill White’s prescription and he told investigators he became addicted, court records state.
White told detectives he met with one of the accused accomplice’s friends, who was a dealer, and White began buying drugs from him, court records said.
“I’m not proud of this now. It was horrible,” he told detectives, court records state.
White admitted to detectives that on a Sunday night, July 27, 2015 he overdosed on heroin and Columbus Police officers administered naloxone, a drug-overdose antidote, which saved his life but resulted in White being sent to treatment at a Hazelden addiction-treatment center in Minnesota for 32 days in August 2015, court documents state.
White told investigators he was clean after the treatment and had been off drugs ever since, court records state.
During the interview, detectives repeatedly questioned White about his interactions with the juvenile boy and specifically about their communication on Facebook. During the interview, White repeatedly denied setting up the burglary and denied he had relapsed on drugs, court records state.
In January, detectives interviewed another juvenile male, who told them that White had messaged him on Facebook when the accused burglary accomplice was incarcerated in a juvenile detention center and had asked the second male juvenile to obtain pain pills for him, court records state.
That juvenile then began regularly selling pain pills to White along with heroin, court documents stated.
The second male juvenile told detectives that when White was on vacation and he needed drugs, White would send him to the his residence with the password to the garage and was told to get certain items to pawn or trade to the drug dealer, court records state. The boy would then drive to where White was vacationing to deliver the drugs, court records state.
Justin K. White, senior minister at First Christian Church in Columbus, has resigned.
First Christian Church elders used Sunday morning services to announce White’s decision — which was submitted during a meeting with elders March 12, and accepted by them the next day.
White, who was arrested by Columbus police and charged Friday with two felonies — insurance fraud and contributing to the delinquency of a minor, had planned to tell the congregation during services today of his resignation, and explain what he’s been going through the past two years, said Steve Wiggins, chairman of the church’s elder board.
However, with the events that unfolded Friday — White’s arrest, filing of criminal charges against him, and his jailing — Wiggins made the announcement instead of White, he said.
During services this morning, church leaders explained their decision to wait on announcing White’s resignation until most church members returned to normal routines following the two-week spring break from school, with classes resuming Monday.
Wiggins said White told elders he decided to resign because it would be best for the church and himself, Wiggins said.
A trial date has been set for a former Columbus pastor facing two felonies involving a burglary he is accused of staging at his home.
A plea of not guilty was entered for Justin K. White, 38, 3255 Sunrise Drive, who appeared Thursday in Bartholomew Circuit Court for an initial hearing before Judge Kelly Benjamin.
The judge set White’s jury trial date for 8:30 a.m. Sept. 5, and a pre-trial hearing was set for 9:30 a.m. Aug. 7.
White listened as Benjamin read the charges against him, felony insurance fraud and contributing to the delinquency of a minor, which stem from a burglary White is accused of staging Dec. 18 at his Skyview Estates home.
White is accused of filing an insurance claim for the burglary when he staged it to obtain money to pay a drug debt, court records state. The charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor relates to White begin accused of seeking to have a juvenile commit an act that would be a felony if committed by an adult, dealing in a narcotic drug.
Seven months ago, Ken Adkins, pastor of Greater Dimensions Christian Fellowship in Brunswick, Georgia was arrested and charged with “three counts of child molestation, five counts of aggravated child molestation, two counts of enticing a child for indecent purposes and one count of influencing a witness.” Adkins defense rests not on his innocence, but his contention that the victim was an adult when he sexually took advantage of them. Right victim, wrong year.
Pastor Ken Adkins, who has been in a Glynn County jail for seven months on charges he molested a teenage boy six years ago, turned down a plea deal Friday.
Prosecutors offered Adkins a sentence of five to 30 years if he were to plead guilty to child molestation, but his defense team turned it down. Adkins has said he is innocent of all charges.
Adkins, 56, a pastor of the Greater Dimensions Christian Fellowship, was denied bond in September on child-molestation charges, and indicted by the Glynn County grand jury last month on three counts of child molestation, five counts of aggravated child molestation, two counts of enticing a child for indecent purposes and one count of influencing a witness.
According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, a young man told investigators that Adkins molested him in 2010 when he was a member of Adkins’ church as a boy younger than 16.
Prosecutors said they not only have explicit text messages and photos sent from Adkins phone, they also have a young woman’s testimony in which she makes allegations of sex crimes. The woman, who was in the youth ministry at Adkins’ church at the time, said that Adkins watched her and a teenage boy have sex in a Brunswick hotel several years ago.
The woman says after the incident, Adkins touched her inappropriately.
Adkins’ attorney, Kevin Gough, argued that the alleged incident didn’t take place in 2009, but instead a few years later, when the boy called a victim in the case was an adult.
“The charges set forth in the indictment allege that the crimes took place when he was under the age of 16, so the timeline is very important to this,” Gough said. “He has maintained his innocence, and we look forward to his day in court.”
A judge said he is also taking into consideration the account of a police officer, who interviewed the victim and the young woman and Adkins during his investigation, before he makes a ruling on what evidence will be admissible when the trial begins April 3.
In Georgia, aggravated child abuse is considered a capital crime. While the death penalty is not considered likely, Adkins could face up to life in prison if convicted.
You might remember that Adkins is one of the pastors who said the Pulse Club victims got exactly what they deserved.
James Rankin, a pastor associated with Bellevue Baptist Church in Hurst, Texas has been charged with the possession of child pornography. The Star-Telegram reports:
A Hurst associate pastor faces a child pornography charge after he took his computer to a Best Buy store, according to a Hurst Police Department news release.
Store employees called police about 8:40 p.m. Thursday after finding what appeared to be child pornography on a customer’s computer, according to the news release. After investigating, police arrested and charged the owner of the computer, 78-year-old James Rankin, with possession of child pornography, a third-degree felony. Bond was set at $5,000.
The news release said Rankin is an associate pastor at Bellevue Baptist Church in Hurst, which lists him as a staff member on its website.
James was a retired pastor before being called to his present ministry. He served churches in Tennessee, Fort Worth and Amarillo, Texas. He served as a chaplain in the U.S. Army from 1970 to 1980. He has degrees in Bible, Theology, Counseling, Church Administration and Communication.
He and his wife, Elizabeth, celebrated 50 years of marriage in 2012. They have two children and two grandchildren. They presently live in Hurst.
James is a lifelong ferroequinologist (model railroader).