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Black Collar Crime: Former Evangelical Youth Pastor Roshad Thomas Charged with Sexually Molesting Children

roshad thomas

Roshad Thomas, former youth pastor at Calvary Chapel in Tallahassee, Florida and founder of Crosswild Ministries, (link no longer active) has been arrested for sexually molesting children.

WTXL-27 reports:

A former youth pastor has been arrested for sex acts with children.

The Leon County Sheriff’s Office arrested 41-year-old Roshad Thomas on six counts of sex offense against a child.

On July 11, special victims unit detectives spoke to a victim who said Thomas had fondled the victim about 10 years ago when the victim was 13 years old.

As detectives investigated, they found four more victims.

Deputies say each one described sexual encounters with Thomas from 2007-2014. Thomas voluntarily spoke to detectives Monday.

After the interview, he was taken to jail.

According to his LinkedIn page, Thomas was the director of student programs at Live the Life and co-author of Champions, a curriculum for teenage boys.

He is also the founder of realife Inc. and CRosSwild Ministries.(link no longer active)

Prior to that, Thomas served as a high school guidance counselor, community activist, and youth pastor at Calvary Chapel Tallahassee.

The Tallahassee Democrat adds:

A Tallahassee youth counselor who worked at Maclay School as a life management teacher has been arrested in connection with molesting children.

Roshad Thomas, a 41-year-old former director of student programs at Live the Life and Maclay life management, was arrested by the Leon County Sheriff’s Office Monday on six counts of child fondling.

Court documents detailing the incidents have not yet been filed, but Thomas’ name appeared in Tuesday’s Leon County Jail booking report. He is being held at the jail without bond and appeared before a judge Tuesday morning.

LCSO detectives say a victim came forward to say Thomas had fondled him or her about 10 years ago at age 13. Four others came forward during the investigation, according to an LCSO news release. The victims described sexual encounters with Thomas between 2007 and 2014.

After Thomas voluntarily spoke with investigators Monday, he was arrested.

A statement from Maclay’s Director of Communications Kim McWilliams confirmed Thomas was contracted to teach three life management classes in the upper school but that none of the allegations surrounding his arrest involve Maclay students.

“Earlier today, it was brought to our attention that Roshad Thomas, a former member of the Maclay School faculty, who taught Life Management in the Upper School during the 2016-2017 school year, was arrested for alleged sexual misconduct committed prior to 2015,” McWilliams wrote. “Mr. Thomas also worked with several of our sports teams and Middle School Life Management classes. After speaking with the authorities, the allegations do not involve any students from Maclay.”

Emails obtained by the Tallahassee Democrat between parents and Maclay’s Headmaster James Milford that indicate Thomas was hired in 2016 as the lead of a program for character education.

Parents express concern with the contracted “Get Real” program’s connection to Live the Life’s faith-based messaging and teachings. The optional “risky sexual behavior” reduction program was directed at seventh and eighth-grade students and described as secular without mention of faith or religion.

“Get Real training is a highly successful skills course approved by the federal government which teaches students how, why and when to exercise self-control and how to develop healthy relationships,” an email detailing the program to parents said.

McWilliams said Thomas used the “Get Real” curricula along with others in his teaching.

….

Thomas hasn’t worked at the Tallahassee offices of Live the Life since January 2016, said Zac Funari, an executive assistant to the organization’s Founding President Richard Albertson. Funari said the organization was in the middle of reemploying Thomas for a South Florida position but those talks have stopped.

Albertson in a statement said Thomas worked fr Live the Life, along with other organizations, around the time of the incidents but the organization has not been contacted by law enforcement leading him to believe the allegations did not involve children in the program.

“Live the Life was one of a number of agencies that Roshad was associated with during part of the time frame that the incidents allegedly took place,” Alberrtson wrote. “We have not been contacted by the sheriff’s department, any of the victims, or any of the families of the victims, which leads us to believe that all of the incidents occurred outside of Roshad’s involvement with our organization. And if we are contacted by the authorities, we will cooperate in any way possible. If these allegations are true, our primary concern is for the students whose lives have been turned upside down because of the faith and trust they gave innocently to an adult in a position of power and great influence.”

A bio for Thomas appeared on the website of John Rosemond, a parenting and family raising psychologist, public speaker, author and syndicated columnist. It was taken down Tuesday (link no longer active) but included the number for the Tallahassee office of Live the Life and a link to the organization’s website.

….

According to Thomas’ bio page:

Roshad Thomas is an accomplished and world-renowned public speaker, counselor, consultant, and mentor for teens and parents of all races and cultures. He has spoken at numerous organizations, seminars, retreats, churches, and events and has an unparalleled ability to quickly connect with his audience whether it is one person or hundreds. His laid back humorous style coupled with his vast experience allows him to address any issue in a way that is comfortable yet informative.

Having been on the front lines as a high school guidance counselor and community activist for almost 10 years, Roshad is extremely knowledgeable about issues that teens and parents deal with on a daily basis and is able to consistently provide practical guidance and solutions on many levels. This has earned him the title of expert in the eyes of many. When he speaks or presents, his passion, love, and excitement are revealed in a way where you not only leave feeling full of wisdom and inspired, but you’ll immediately want to bring him back.

Roshad is the founder of realife inc. and CRosSWILD Ministries. He received his B.S. in Psychology with honors distinction from Florida State University. He continued his graduate education at Florida State University and received his Master’s and Specialist degrees in Counseling and Human Systems, specializing in children and adolescents. He was certified in Guidance counseling for 12 years by Florida Department of Education. Trained personally under worldwide parent guru John Rosemond in parent coaching. He is also one of the few nationally certified Sexual Risk Avoidance Specialist in the state of Florida as certified by the NAEA and has been invited to be featured on the national website parentguru.com.

– Masters and Specialist degree in Counseling from Florida State University

– Certified High School Guidance Counselor from 2000-2012

– Trained personally under parenting expert John Rosemond

– Certified Parent Coach

– Co-Author of Champions Curriculum for Teenage Boys

– 15 years experience working with teens in Tallahassee

– Certified Specialist in Sexual Risk Avoidance

– Certified Get REAL (Relationship Education and Leadership) Training

– Features on National parenting website parentguru.com

Thomas’ LinkedIn profile states: (link no longer active)

Roshad Thomas is an accomplished and world-renowned public speaker, counselor, consultant, and mentor for teens and parents of all races and cultures. He has spoken at numerous organizations, seminars, retreats, churches, and events and has an unparalleled ability to quickly connect with his audience whether it is one person or hundreds. His laid back humorous style coupled with his vast experience allows him to address any issue in a way that is comfortable yet informative.

Having been on the front lines as a high school guidance counselor and community activist for almost 10 years, Roshad is extremely knowledgeable about issues that teens and parents deal with on a daily basis and is able to consistently provide practical guidance and solutions on many levels. This has earned him the title of expert in the eyes of many. When he speaks or presents, his passion, love and excitement are revealed in a way where you not only leave feeling full of wisdom and inspired, you’ll immediately want to bring him back.

Roshad is the Director of Student Programs at Live the Life and founder of CRosSWILD Ministries. He received his B.S. in Psychology with honors distinction from Florida State University. He continued his graduate education at Florida State University and received his Master’s and Specialist degrees in Counseling and Human Systems, specializing in children and adolescents. He was certified in Guidance counseling for 12 years by Florida Department of Education. Trained personally under worldwide parent guru John Rosemond in parent coaching. He is also one of the few nationally certified Sexual Risk Avoidance Specialist in the state of Florida as certified by the NAEA.

To set up an appointment or book him as speaker, call Live the Life at 850-668-3700 or visit www.livethelife.org.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Thomas was a youth pastor at Calvary Chapel in Tallahassee, Florida for almost fourteen years. For seven years, Thomas was the student life director for Live the Life. Live the Life’s website states that their mission is:

Communities will become “divorce-free zones”, where divorces are rarely, if ever, wanted or needed, and where strong marriages are encouraged, nurtured, developed, and maintained. As our dream comes true, more children will grow up in safe, happy, and healthy married families characterized by nurturing parents, permanence and better life outcomes.

Update

The Tallahassee Democrat reports:

As many as 10 men have come forward telling Leon County Sheriff’s Office investigators they, as teens, were fondled by Tallahassee youth counselor and pastor Roshad Thomas.

Thomas, who already is facing six counts of child fondling, was charged with an additional five counts of lewd and lascivious acts or exhibitionism with children on Tuesday.

After the 41-year-old was first arrested on July 17, LCSO investigators learned more about how he used his position to gain access to young boys. Five others came forward to say they too were victims.

One man, who was 12 at the time of the incident, said his parents asked Thomas to counsel him during their divorce. The first time he was “groped,” the now adult victim told investigators, was when his parents dropped him off at a Walmart parking lot and he left with Thomas.

From that encounter in 2009, according to court records, he was fondled by Thomas as many as 10 times.

The victim said after he turned 15, Thomas called to say, “I hope you understand I love you and anything I might have done to you was purely out of godly love,” according to court records.

The other four victims leveling accusations against Thomas, who at one point worked as a counselor at various churches in Tallahassee and as a life management teacher at Maclay School, said they were groped while spending time at his home.

The victims ranged in age from 11 to 15, according to court records. The reported incidents date back to 2007.

Each told LCSO investigators Thomas would grab their genitals in a joking manner and would create a feeling of trust between them. One said Thomas told him he had been approached about being too playful when he touched the boys and indicated he would stop if asked.

….

 

Preaching the Anti-Abortion Gospel

preaching anti abortion gospel lexington kentucky (8)

Our recent vacation found Polly and me in downtown Lexington, Kentucky. We were amazed (and disheartened) by how many downtown churches there were — mainly Baptist — and the seemingly ubiquitous  homeless and panhandlers. I told Polly, “look at all these big, fancy, rich churches, yet hungry, out-of-work, homeless people abound. So much for taking care of and ministering to the least of these.”

While poking around — one of our favorite pastimes — we came upon a rolling advertisement for the anti-abortion gospel. I say anti-abortion and not pro-life because most Evangelical “pro-lifers” are not actually pro-life. These zealots are pro-unborn, but once babies are out of the womb, these preachers of the anti-abortion gospel are quite callous and indifferent to virtually everything that materially affects the babies – and indeed, the lives of their fellow humans. A perfect example of this is the recent Congressional battle over healthcare. The “pro-life,” God’s Only Party Republicans have made it clear that the only lives that matter are theirs and those of the unborn. Until Republicans start truly caring about we who have successfully exited our mother’s wombs, they are not really “pro-life.” As long as Republicans want to take away our healthcare, cut food stamps and other poverty reducing programs, do away with Social Security, do away with the minimum wage, increase Defense spending, and support the never-ending war against terrorism, they most certainly are NOT pro-life.

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Check out the Defy Tyrants website. The site is operated by Matt Trewhella, pastor of Mercy Seat Christian Church in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Trewhella, father of eleven children, calls himself a missionary to the pre-born. Trewhella’s church bio page states:

Pastor Trewhella has been a passionate leader and laborer within the body of Christ since his conversion at age 17 in the inner city of Detroit. His integrity and innovative leadership within the pro-life movement [and now within the abolitionist movement] have inspired a generation to “love their neighbor as themselves”.

Though much maligned in the liberal media for his effective pro-life work, Pastor Trewhella’s reputation as a man of principle and great courage shine brightly to a generation so desperately in need of godly leadership. He and his wife Clara live in the Milwaukee, WI area. They have eleven children.

The driver of the rolling anti-abortion advertisement is also a missionary to the pre-born.

Black Collar Crime: Youth Pastor Ellis Simmons Accused of Sexually Assaulting Two Girls

ellis simmons

Ellis Simmons, former youth pastor of St. Mark African Methodist Episcopal Church and Calvary Baptist Church in Duluth, Minnesota, has been charged with “two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct.” Simmons previously served five years in prison for sexually abusing other girls.

The Duluth News Tribune reports:

A former youth pastor who recently served five years in Illinois prison for sexually abusing several young girls is now facing similar charges stemming from a stint in Duluth more than a decade ago.

Ellis William Simmons, 38, is accused of assaulting two girls between 1999 and 2005, when he was living and working in Duluth. The girls were 11 and 14 years old at the time of the reported incidents.

Simmons was formally charged last month with two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct. If convicted, the most-serious charges each carry a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.

While the incidents were reported to police in the early 2000s, St. Louis County prosecutor Jon Holets said the victims only recently came forward with the alleged perpetrator’s name and other information that made charges possible.

“It still bothered them, and they realized what he had done in Illinois,” Holets said Monday. “It was their desire to continue coming forward (that led to charges).”

Simmons served as a pastor to the alleged victims and a babysitter for the family of at least one of the girls, according to a criminal complaint. The charging document indicates that one victim reported two incidents that occurred when she was 11 years old; the other reported an incident when she was 14.

Both alleged victims told police that they were sleeping when they awoke to sexual contact from Simmons, according to the charges. The contact allegedly included penetration.

Simmons served as a pastor at St. Mark African Methodist Episcopal Church and Calvary Baptist Church in Duluth, while also attending the College of St. Scholastica and the University of Minnesota Duluth, according to News Tribune articles from the time.

….

The decision by the alleged victims to provide additional information came around the same time Simmons was being released from prison in Illinois.

He was arrested in January 2012 and charged with sexually abusing three girls ranging in age from 7 to 10, according to a report in the Rockford (Ill.) Register Star. Simmons at the time was working at a juvenile detention center; authorities said the abuse was not related to his employment, but the victims were known to him.

Records indicate that Simmons was released from prison in December after serving nearly five years of a seven-year sentence. He was re-arrested in California after a warrant was issued in the Duluth case on June 19.

Simmons made an initial appearance in State District Court in Duluth last week. His bail was set at $300,000, and he remained in the St. Louis County Jail on Monday.

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: “Intimacy” With God is the Cure for Homosexual Lust by Deon Howard

deon howard

I know what it’s like to lead a song service and put down the mic, only to indulge in homosexual acts hours after the conclusion of a worship service. I know what it’s like to be bogged down with shame—maintaining a closeted, secret life with no intentions of reaching out for help because of the fear of being condemned by others in the church. I know what it’s like to want to do right, but wrong keeps knocking on the door. But I also know what’s it’s like to be transformed by the power of God’s Spirit. Yes, I know what it’s like to experience total victory over homosexuality and pornography.

People continually ask me for advice for overcoming sexual immorality, mostly in terms of homosexuality. In my initial article “What This Pastor Told a Homosexual Man Who Wanted to Leave His Church,” I suggested that grace through faith (Eph. 2:8) was the gateway to freedom. You can view my initial article here. In addition to trusting and believing God for freedom, I do believe there are certain safeguards that must be in place to guard against sexual immorality, but no method or formula outweighs the power behind intimacy with Jesus.

….

When you become intimate with God, you become engulfed by His nature, so much so that temptation is likened to an ant that manages to crawl on your body, and you just gently wipe it off with hardly any effort because you have no desire for it. Basically, when tempted, I didn’t have to pray tongues and war in the heavenlies because my relationship with Father God had become priority. I was too busy being in an intimate relationship with God. I was too busy abiding in Him: “Remain in Me, as I also remain in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it remains in the vine, neither can you, unless you remain in Me” (John 15:4).

— Deon Howard, CHARISMA News, The John 15 Key to Leaving Same-Sex Lust in Your Past, July 9, 2017

The Sounds of Fundamentalism: “Hell’s Bells: The Dangers of Rock and Roll Music”

hells bells

This is the one hundred and fifty-sixth installment in The Sounds of Fundamentalism series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a video clip that shows the crazy, cantankerous, or contradictory side of Evangelical Christianity, please send me an email with the name or link to the video. Please do not leave suggestions in the comment section.  Let’s have some fun!

Today’s Sound of Fundamentalism is a video clip of the 1989 Evangelical film, “Hell’s Bells: The Dangers of Rock and Roll Music.”

Wikipedia describes the film this way:

The film examines the relationship of rock music to sex, violence, suicide, drug use, rebellion, miscegenation, the occult, and other activities considered immoral by biblical theology. The film portrays various lyrics and visual imagery in rock music and rock stars as evidence that it is satanic or anti-Christian. It also alleges that perceived hidden messages and satanic backmasking exist in several examples of popular songs and music culture. The music in the documentary is music produced prior to the 1990s.

Video Link

Video Link

Bruce Gerencser