Tag Archive: Black Collar Crime

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Youth Worker Joseph Potts Accused of Sex Crimes

joseph potts

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.

Joseph Potts, a volunteer youth worker at Jubilee Fellowship Church in Littleton, Colorado stands accused of sexually assaulting two teen boys.

Fox-31 reports that “Potts is being held in the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office Detention Facility without bond.”

 

Black Collar Crime: Catholic Priest Kenneth Lewis Facing Child Sexual Abuse Charges

kenneth lewis

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.

Kenneth Lewis, a Catholic priest, is facing child sexual abuse charges stemming from an allegation that he sexually assaulted a thirteen-year-old boy while on trip. Lewis has been accused numerous times over the years of sexual abuse, but due to the statute of limitations, he was never prosecuted. Astoundingly, in 1995, after yet another round of sexual abuse allegations,  Lewis was allowed to continue in the ministry once he received “treatment.” According to Chicago Sun Times, Catholic officials ordered Lewis not to be alone with children. This is akin to a sugar addict working in a candy store being told not eat the merchandise.  The crimes Lewis is now accused of were allegedly committed in 2001. It seems, then, that whatever “treatment” Lewis received did not cure him of his predilection towards sexually abusing children.

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Matthew Everly Charged with Physically Harming His Infant Daughter

matthew everly

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.

Matthew Everly, an associate pastor of worship arts with Eastview Church in Normal, Illinois, stands accused of causing physical harm to his two-month-old daughter. The infant’s injuries include a broken arm and two broken legs. Everly’s attorney Scott Kording stated:

Matt Everly is a wonderful and talented young man. The filing of these serious allegations visits great difficulty upon him and his family. In response, we ask that judgment be reserved until all the facts are known. He is innocent of these charges.

Everly’s church bio page states (from archive.org):

Ever since a short term missions trip to NYC in 2009 I have felt called to Worship Ministry. I have always loved music and have been passionate about seeing the Church give their lives in worship to our King. I have lived in Bloomington/Normal my whole life and in 2013 I began volunteering with the high school ministry. Shortly after I was asked to be on staff part time while finishing my Worship Ministry degree from Lincoln Christian University. Two years later and I have finished my degree moved to the Associate Worship Pastor position have and married my best friend Emily. God has been and is always incredibly faithful when we leave it up to His plan. On a free day you will find Emily and I hiking through Starved Rock State Park or hanging out with good friends. We are incredilbly [sic] blessed by the staff, leadership, and congregation at Eastview. We are thankful to be here!

While Mike Baker, the pastor of Eastview Church, refused to confirm whether Everly is still employed with the church, his name has been scrubbed from the church’s website.

Black Collar Crime: Australian Catholic Bishop Philip Wilson Covered Up Child Sexual Abuse

archbishop philip wilson

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

Last week, Philip Wilson, the Archbishop of Adelaide, was found guilty of covering up child sexual abuse. He will be sentenced on June 19, 2018. Wilson pleaded not guilty, but the judge found the evidence against him compelling. After his conviction, Wilson stated, “I am obviously disappointed at the decision published today. I will now have to consider the reasons and consult closely with my lawyers to determine the next steps.”

The charges against Wilson hail from his days as a young priest. Several children came to Wilson will allegations of sexual abuse by Catholic priest James Fletcher. Wilson did nothing. Fletcher would continue to abuse children for decades until he was arrested and  convicted of nine counts of child sexual abuse in December 2004. Fletcher died in prison in 2006.

Frank Brennan, an Australian Jesuit priest, human rights lawyer and academic, stated:

I would think that the mind of Pope Francis at this stage would be that if there be a conviction of a bishop in relation to a failure to disclose abuse in circumstances where the state thought that was criminal activity, then I would think the mind of the pope would be that that doesn’t measure up in church terms either and that therefore it would be impossible for someone to remain in the job as a bishop.

There’s no doubt that Archbishop Wilson in recent years … has been one of the good guys. He has been one of the bishops in the Catholic Church who have been trying to clean things up

But this relates to when he was a young priest. Even someone like him who later got it back in those years was so confined by our culture that it would seem there was no disclosure.

Brennan seems to be saying that people shouldn’t be too hard on Wilson. His nondisclosure of the allegations was typical of the times; and that Wilson in recent years has been one of the good guys, someone who tried to hold priests accountable for their criminal behavior. Really? Where’s the evidence for this claim? How many pedophile priests were reported, arrested, and prosecuted for their crimes under his watch? How many other children found deaf ears when they reported being sexually abused?

According to Wikipedia, Wilson did not change his ways as Brennan alleges. In May 2010:

…. Wilson came under scrutiny regarding two incidents relating to sexual abuse in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.

The first of these cases related to the alleged sexual assault of two girls in 1985 by Father Dennis McAlinden, a priest in the diocese. Wilson, the diocese’s vicar general at the time, was sent to speak to parents at the school where the assault was alleged to have taken place. The principal told the media that Wilson’s response was to remove McAlindon from his position and to provide help for him. In fact, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), “McAlinden was … transferred to a remote parish in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. Over the next decade he sexually assaulted five more girls under the age of 10”. In 1995, Wilson was again asked by Bishop Leo Clarke to deal with the case, requesting that he take statements from the alleged victims. Wilson took the statements and returned them to the bishop. The ABC reported that the statements were never provided to police and, instead, Clarke defrocked McAlinden, with the promise “that his ‘good name’ would be protected”. In a statement to ABC in 2010, Wilson said he told Clarke that McAlinden should have been confronted in 1985 and, that as far as he was aware, this had occurred. He denied involvement in McAlinden’s transfer to Western Australia or his defrocking.

Robert Stone, the magistrate who found Wilson guilty, had this to say about the Bishop’s crimes:

The likelihood of two young boys individually telling the accused [Wilson] of acts of sexual misconduct by another priest who the accused knows … are matters I am very confident would be remembered for a very long time. You have to ask why the accused did not do what he himself says he would do now [go to the police] in the same situation. The answer I believe relates to the accused having a sense of knowing what he was hearing was a creditable allegation. In addition, the accused wanted to protect the church and its image.

 

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor David Pugh Pleads Guilty to Sex Crimes

pastor david pugh

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.

David Pugh, the pastor of First Assembly of God in Phillipsburg, Kansas, pleaded guilty to indecent liberties with a child and sexual exploitation of a child. The court sentenced Pugh to thirty-two months in jail. Pugh resigned from First Assembly in May 2017.

Black Collar Crime: IFB Preacher Cameron Giovanelli Accused of Sexual Assault

cameron giovanelli

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.

Cameron Giovanelli, the president of Golden State Baptist College — an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) institution operated by Pastor Jack Trieber and North Valley Baptist Church in Santa Clara, California, stands accused of repeatedly sexually assaulting a church teenager when he was the pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Dundalk, Maryland. As of the writing of this post, no criminal charges have been filed. Giovanelli’s name has been scrubbed from Golden State’s website.

On May 11, 2018, the victim, Sarah Jackson, posted the following on Facebook:

sarah jackson facebook

Stacey Shiflett, the current pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Dundalk, Maryland — the church Giovanellli pastored when he allegedly assaulted Jackson — released the following video:

Video Link

There’s much about this video that irritates the living hell out of me, especially the fact that the pastor “investigated” instead of immediately calling law enforcement. If the allegations against Giovanelli are true, then he sexually assaulted a minor girl while he was in a position of authority over her. This action, in most states, is criminal. I also don’t like the fact that the pastor used the word “consensual” in describing the relationship between Giovanelli and the victim. Again, in most states, the relationship, legally, could not have been consensual. And the general IFB verbiage about ministry, loyalty, and the appeal to authority and personal experience, were, at least to me, unnecessary.  I do give Shiflett credit for one thing: he was willing to publicly call out Cameron Giovanelli, Jack Trieber, and Golden State Baptist College. Kudos for speaking the truth and letting the shit land where it may. Shiflett says in public what many of us have known for years: the IFB church movement tends to cover-up criminal behavior out of fear of damaging their “testimony.”  Here’s to hoping that the light that Shiflett turned on the IFB movement will lead to the exposure of other sexual predators who have been hiding in plain sight for years.

Update

I received an email from Pastor Shiflett about this post. He clarified his use of the word consensual and shared with me that his investigation was for his own peace of mind since Giovanelli was a friend and the former pastor of Calvary Baptist Church. He made it very clear that if such things happen at his church to a minor, it is immediately reported to law enforcement.  Shiflett, as you can imagine, has received a flood of emails, comments, etc. Most pastors would not do what he did, so he deserves a lot of credit for doing the right thing. That said, it should continue to trouble everyone that way too many pastors are either sexual predators/abusers or they go to great lengths to cover-up misconduct in their churches. Imagine how much better it might be for sexual abuse victims if their pastors not only listened to them but acted morally, ethically, decently, and responsibly on their behalf. Instead, abuse victims are often told to shut-up or are blamed for what happened. It is for this reason, that I continue to post Black Collar Crime stories, regardless of the threats and abuse hurled my way. Why? It’s the right thing to do.  I know this blog has high traffic numbers, and leveraging this traffic to expose alleged sexual abuse seems, at least to me, to be something I can and must do. On this point, I stand with Pastor Shiflett.

Golden State Baptist College released the following statement:

It has come to our attention that allegations of inappropriate conduct have been made against Cameron Giovanelli, a member of our staff. Upon receipt of the notice of the allegations, we immediately placed him on administrative leave of all activities and responsibilities, to conduct a thorough and honest investigation. During the course of that investigation, Cameron Giovanelli tendered his resignation to the ministry and his resignation has been accepted. All responsibilities of any nature whatsoever, were permanently and immediately terminated with receipt of his resignation. There were no allegations of wrongdoing of any nature that involved the ministries of North Valley Baptist Church or Golden State Baptist College. Please keep our ministry, the Giovanelli family and all others involved in your prayers.

Black Collar Crime: Youth Leader Taylor Martin Accused of Attempted Sexual Assault

arrested

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.

Taylor Martin, a youth leader at First-Plymouth Church in Lincoln, Nebraska, stands accused of attempted sexual assault and child abuse. The Lincoln Journal Star reports  Martin allegedly kissed a twelve-year-old boy and asked to perform a sex act on the child. The boy refused, and later told his counselor about the incident.  Martin no longer works for the church. He currently lives in Washington, D.C.

Black Collar Crime: Kenneth Rose Accused of Assaulting Girls in Basement of Milan Friends Church

kenneth rose

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.

Kenneth Rose, a volunteer children’s worker at Milan Friends Church in Milan, Ohio, has been indicted for sexually assaulting two girls in the church’s basement during church functions. The Sandusky Register reports that Rose has been charged with three counts of gross sexual imposition. The assaults allegedly took place on Sundays while the girls’ parents were in others parts of the building.

Black Collar Crime: United Methodist Youth Volunteer John Blaylock Accused of Sexual Abuse

john blaylock

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.

John Blaylock, a youth volunteer at a Methodist church in Universal City, Texas, stands accused of  sexually molesting a thirteen-year-old girl. Fox-29 reports that Blaylock told the girl’s mother he planned to give her daughter tennis lessons. Instead, Blaylock allegedly took the girl to Crescent Bend Nature Park and sexually assaulted her. The girl provided investigators a description of a mole near Blaylock’s genitalia.

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Jack Woodburn Accused of Enticing Teen Girls to Commit Online Sex Acts

jackie jack woodburn

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.

Jackie “Jack” Woodburn, assistant pastor of Colonial Woods Missionary Church in Port Huron, Michigan, stands accused of enticing teen girls to commit online sex acts. Woodburn, now retired, also directed the church’s Christian counseling center. The Detroit News reports that authorities have identified over fifty victims:

Among the more than 50 victims whom authorities identified was a 13-year-old Texas girl who recalled chatting with someone she met online in 2016 using the handle “JD Walker” and claiming to be a teenager, the document said. He requested sexually explicit photos and asked her to perform similar acts on a web camera, she told officials in an interview.

Identifying Woodburn through his IP address and internet provider, investigators executed a search warrant in February at the 63-year-old’s St. Clair County home. Woodburn said he used the JD name on the website and sought teen girls there, the court filing claims.

One of the two computers that law enforcement seized from his residence revealed at least 70,000 Skype chat messages between “jd windwalker” and others — most appearing to be with minors, including the Texas teen, an FBI special agent wrote.

During an exchange recorded late on April 25, 2016, “jd” ordered the girl to expose and touch herself, the affidavit showed. When a storm cut electricity at Woodburn’s house, she apparently left.

“I’m really bummed out that we lost power….YOU are so very very beautiful and sexy….when you be home tomorrow after you home from school?????” he wrote, according to the message log agents obtained.

….

 

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Church Members Accused of Unemployment Benefits Scheme

jerry gross

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.

Jerry Gross and his son Jason stand accused of bilking the state out of $150,000 in unemployment benefits. The Citizen Times reports that both men are expected to plead guilty to wire fraud charges. The Gross’s are members of Word of Faith Fellowship Church in Spindale, North Carolina. Authorities are investigating other church members in what could be a scheme cooked up by church founder Jane Whaley to “help” congregants continued to pay their mandated tithes.

The Associated Press reports:

Former congregant Randy Fields had told the AP that his construction company faced potential ruin around 2008 because of the cratering economy, so he pleaded with church leaders to reduce the amount of money he was required to tithe every week.

To his shock, Fields said church founder Jane Whaley proposed a plan that would allow him to continue contributing at least 10 percent of his income to the Word of Faith Fellowship while helping his company survive: He would file fraudulent unemployment claims on behalf of his employees. She called it, he said, “God’s plan.”

The unemployment allegations were uncovered as part of the AP’s ongoing investigation into Word of Faith, which has about 750 congregants in rural North Carolina and a total of nearly 2,000 members in its branches in Brazil and Ghana and its affiliations in Sweden, Scotland and other countries.

….

Over the years, church leaders have owned and operated more than two dozen businesses.

Those stories led to investigations in the U.S. and Brazil.

As for the alleged unemployment scheme, interviews with former followers, along with documents reviewed by the AP, indicated at least six companies owned by leaders were involved with filing fraudulent unemployment claims between 2008 and 2013. Most of those businesses’ employees are congregants, the AP found.

The AP reviewed individual checking account records that showed unemployment benefits deposited by the state, along with income tax records summarizing how much money some of the former followers interviewed received annually in such payments.

….

The church, of course, denies all of the allegations, stating that the AP articles are meant to incite hate crimes against Word of Faith Fellowship Church.

Previous Article: Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Brooke Covington Tries to Beat the Gay Out of a Man

Please read WLOS-13 article titled, New Investigation into Abuse at Word of Faith Fellowship

 

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Kenneth Butler Pleads Guilty to Child Sex Trafficking Charges

pastor kenneth butler

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

Last year, three Toledo, Ohio Evangelical pastors were arrested and charged with child sex trafficking. Cordell Jenkins, pastor of Abundant Life Ministries in Toledo, Anthony Haynes, pastor of Greater Life Christian Center in Toledo, and Kenneth Butler, pastor of Kingdom Encounter Family Worship Center in Detroit, all face federal charges that could land them in prison for life. Yesterday, Butler pleaded guilty and was sentenced to seventeen and a half years in prison. It is expected that Haynes and Jenkins will also plead guilty.

Previous articles: Black Collar Crime: Three Toledo, Ohio Evangelical Pastors Indicted on Child Sex Trafficking Charges, Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Cordell Jenkins Accused of Sex Trafficking Children, and Black Collar Crime: Another Toledo Evangelical Pastor, Kenneth Butler, Accused of Sex Trafficking