Tag Archive: Black Collar Crime

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Dan Broxterman Charged with Rape

Dan Broxterman, the former pastor of FUN CHURCH (now closed)  in Hamilton, Ohio, was indicted recently on ten counts of rape. One alleged victim was under the age of thirteen. Local 12-News reports:

A Butler County grand jury indicted Dan Broxterman, 56, on Aug. 8. According to the indictment, the rapes occurred from 2014 through July 2019. Broxterman was a pastor and the lead singer of a tribute band. He also faces charges of gross sexual imposition and disseminating matter harmful to juveniles.

Tammy Mercer attended one of Broxterman’s churches from 2010 until 2013. She believes many people were fooled by him. But, she said she became suspicious after learning he was ordained by paying $50 online. She also said she found out he was allowing teenagers to sleep over at the church and engage in sexual activity.

According to Local 12-News, Broxterman served time for gross sexual imposition in 1990 and 1994.

fun church

Broxterman previously pastored Tree of Life Church (now closed) in Hamilton, Ohio. A church listing website had this to say about Tree of Life and its pastor:

We have church in the Hamilton Family Fun Center and always have a reason to laugh. Pastor Dan makes sure of that! The kids love us because of our 222 CLUB. The music is powerful and energetic. Come worship with us! Turning Hamilton Downside Up From The Outside In!

“Kids love us”, and our pastor loves kids too. He’s a pedophile who pays close attention to church children.  Praise Jesus!

According to Linkedin, Broxterman is the business development manager for Ohio Valley Insurance and Financial Group in Fairfield, Ohio. I suspect he is not doing much “developing” since he is sitting in jail with a $1 million bond.

dan broxterman 2

Broxterman is the lead singer for PUSH — a DIO tribute band.  Broxterman’s Twitter account mentions he is the lead singer for a called Holy Diver.

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Kyle Harrison Accused of Absconding with $50,000

pastor kyle harrison

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.

In 2017, Kyle Harrison, pastor of Harvest Church in Starke, Florida, was accused of misrepresenting himself as a licensed contractor. Harrison later pleaded guilty and was ordered to repay the victim $26,009.25 he took from her as payment for the work he never completed. Harrison was fired from his job with Harvest Church and now lives in Orlando, Florida.

Last week, Mike and Charlene Oliver accused Harrison of not returning a $50,000 investment loan. News 4-JAX reports:

A Starke couple turns to the I-TEAM after they say their trusted pastor failed to pay them back after loaning him thousands of dollars.

….

At the time of the loan, Harrison was the senior pastor at Harvest Church in Starke. Mike and Charlene Oliver trusted him so much, Mike agreed to loan Harrison $50,000 as an investment into Harrison’s business, Transformation Ministries

As a member of Harvest Church, Mike had turned to Harrison for spiritual guidance when Mike was diagnosed at age 40 with lung disease. He was given just three to five years to live and wanted his family to benefit from the investment if he died.

“I wanted to have money come back for my family in case something happened, and I was no longer here,” Mike explained.

The only cure was a lung transplant, but because of Mike’s deteriorating medical condition, he says two hospitals had already denied enrolling him as an organ recipient.

“He was the pastor, so why wouldn’t you trust the pastor,” said Mike.

“He made us feel like he genuinely loved us,” said Charlene.

….

Mike says he was forced to take medical retirement as a Corrections Officer, and Transformation Ministries — which employed ex-offenders as car mechanics — appeared to be a viable business.

“We had a whole bunch of business,” said Mike, who spent time working at the shop himself.

The Olivers drew up a lengthy contract, which has Kyle Harrison’s signature. It detailed a monthly payment plan of $488 and included a list of collateral that would become the Olivers’ property if Harrison failed to repay the loan.

“At first he paid us,” said Mike.

But that didn’t last. The Olivers said the monthly payments became more inconsistent.

“He’s the pastor, so we were like, ‘We will give you a little more time,'” Mike said he told Harrison.

….

The Olivers now say they believe Harrison took advantage of Mike’s medical condition and never thought he would have to pay back the money because Mike was so sick.

….

They said they have not heard from Harrison in more than a year and said Harrison’s phone has been disconnected.

While the Olivers said they know they probably won’t get their money back, they reached out to the I-TEAM because they want to warn anyone else who might come in contact with Harrison.

“He has the gift of gab,” said Charlene.

“He is not what he pretends to be. He’ll make you feel like everything he’s doing is Godly and, ‘I’m trying to help you,’ and that’s not the case.” Mike added. “I don’t want nobody else to be hurt by him or anyone else. I want people to be careful, be careful.”

Sadly, some congregants learn the hard way that pastors can be grifters, and just because they are charming and charismatic doesn’t mean they won’t fleece you if given the opportunity.

Transformation Ministries is now closed. It is highly unlikely that the Olivers will see their $50,000 again. Giving money to God and his representatives on earth is always risky business.

Kyle Harrison’s testimony:

During the foundational stage of our church, Harvest Christian Fellowship in 1998, I was seeking the voice of the Father concerning His plan and purpose for this ministry. My personal testimony concerning drug abuse is not that impressive compared to some. In the mid 80’s like many other high school students I drank, smoked pot, and experimented with powder cocaine. But by the time I graduated from high school I had given all that up, at the time I thought I gave it up for a girl, who six months latter became my wonderful wife. But soon after that I realized it was all in the plan of God.

In 1999 while praying on a park bench at 2 am, at a time where I felt that I was in desperate need of a word form God, the Spirit of God led me to Matthew’s gospel. There I saw the Jesus made the statement that basically said, if the multitude had not made the choice to follow Christ they would not have had a physical need. God began to show me that there was going to be people in our future that were going to make the decision to follow Christ, and because of that choice they were going to have needs that typical church ministry could not meet. So from that moment on my spirit was open to any opportunity that would bring that word into fruition.    Not long after Transformation Ministries was born.

As the years have rolled on we have done many  things wrong, and many right. All the while trying to hear the voice of the Lord. The need for this type of skill training ministry is undeniable, and as we look into the future, we see the need getting greater and greater.

Prior to becoming pastor of Harvest Church, Harrison was a worship leader. A 2001 Charisma article mentions Harrison:

Members of the ethnically diverse fellowship [Potter’s House] describe [Vaughn] McLaughlin as a spiritual father who has gone out on a limb to lead them. Kyle Harrison, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Starke, Florida, was a worship leader when he met McLaughlin. Now he is pastoring the only multiethnic congregation within three counties of his church.

Harrison, who is white, says McLaughlin has mentored him and even paid his debts. “This man who I call my bishop, if it weren’t improper, I’d call him father,” Harrison says.

And he [McLaughlin] “even paid my debts.” Warning, Will Robinson, Warning!

Black Collar Crime: IFB Preacher Cameron Giovanelli Charged with 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.

In May 2018, I wrote a post about the sexual assault allegations made against Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) preacher and college president Cameron Giovanelli. (Please see Black Collar Crime: IFB Preacher Cameron Giovanelli Accused of Sexual Assault)  Giovanelli resigned from Golden State Baptist College and did what disgraced IFB preachers often do: moved across the country, joined up with one of his preacher buddies, and continued on in the ministry as if nothing happened.

In May 2019, I received word that Giovanelli was in Florida working as the associate pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida. Giovanelli planned on helping Immanuel Baptist’s pastor, Greg Neal, start a new unaccredited IFB secondary institution called North Florida Baptist College. Neal, himself, was caught up in a sex scandal in 2011 when he was accused of video voyeurism. You can read more about Neal’s brush with the law here and here. Neal, unfortunately, escaped prosecution. (Please see Black Collar Crime: Pastor Cameron Giovanelli Resurrects From the Dead, Found in Florida)

cameron giovanelli charges

Earlier this week, Giovanelli was charged by Baltimore, Maryland County police with sexual abuse of a minor and several other sex crimes. If convicted, Giovanelli faces up to thirty-six years in prison. (Case Information)

WBAL-11 reports:

Police charging documents claim Giovanelli initially tried to teach her how to kiss which turned into a daily encounter and eventually sexual assault. Police say an associate pastor at the church became suspicious. The associate said he confronted Giovanelli and told him to stop and the associate got an email later that night from Giovanelli thanking him.

“[Thanks] for saving his life and saving his ministry …. He thought God sent him to stop him from doing something,” said Giovanelli in police charging documents.

An investigation was opened in May 2018 when the victim reported the abuse to police. The completed investigation was submitted to the office of the state’s attorney, at which time the decision was made to charge Giovanelli.

An arrest warrant was obtained and served on Monday. Giovanelli voluntarily turned himself in to police Tuesday. He was released on his own recognizance at an initial bail hearing under the condition that he have no contact with any minor.

Based on information provided by the victim, police believe it is likely there are additional victims who were abused by Giovanelli during his time as pastor at the church [Calvary Baptist Church in Dundalk, Maryland] and school located in the 7300 block of Manchester Road.

 

Black Collar Crime: Church of Christ Preacher Charles Andrews Arrested on Child Porn Charges

pastor charles andrews

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.

Charles Andrews, pastor of Osprey Church of Christ in Osprey, Florida, stands accused of possession of child pornography. In yet another case of churches not vetting their ministers, news reports state that Andrews is a registered sex offender who was convicted in 2006 in Alabama of second-degree sexual abuse.  It took me all of sixty-seconds to find this:

charles andrews registered sex offenderThere’s no excuse for churches NOT doing their due diligence regarding potential or current pastors.  Shame on Osprey Church of Christ for giving a registered sex offender access to their church and its children.  Just remember, while he was preaching Jesus on Sunday morning, after church he was allegedly looking at photos of children being sexually abused. What say ye, members of Osprey Church of Christ?

Channel 8 News reports:

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reported Charles Andrews to the Sarasota County Sherif’s Office after learning he had downloaded approximately 70 images of child pornography using two different e-mail accounts, the latter agency said.

According to the release, Andrews is a minister at Osprey Church of Christ, 406 Pennsylvania Avenue. He is also a registered sex offender who was convicted in 2006 in Alabama of second-degree sexual abuse.

Investigators say Andrews shared six images of child pornography a total of 70 times. He also shared “non-illegal images of child erotica” using both accounts.

Investigators traced the IP address that Andrews allegedly used to download the images to his home in Englewood. There, they confiscated a computer, external hard drive and other digital storage devices.

Deputies say they discovered more than 500 images of child pornography, including at least 50 depicting sexual battery of a child.

“We usually charge about forty counts at a time for possession, possession of child pornography,” said Kaitlyn Perez, a spokeswoman for the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office. “In this case, Mr. Andrews’ database of child pornography was so specifically heinous … it really elevated the crime. Of those five hundred images, at least fifty of them depicted sexual battery on a child.”

Andrews was arrested Tuesday for 500 felony counts of Possession of Child Pornography and three counts of Failure to Meet the Registration Requirements of a Sex Offender.

Black Collar Crime: IFB Pastor Richard Micks Second Rape Trial Declared a Mistrial

richard mick

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.

(Previous posts about Richard Mick: Black Collar Crime: IFB Preacher Richard Mick has Rape Conviction Overturned and Black Collar Crime: IFB Pastor Richard Mick Faces New Trial, Out on Bond and Black Collar Crime: IFB Pastor Richard Mick on Trial Again for Rape)

Earlier this week, Richard Mick, the former pastor of Lighthouse Baptist Church in Sandusky, Ohio — an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) congregation — was on trial again, facing 12 felony accounts for crimes allegedly committed against three children. Mick was previously convicted on these charges and sentenced to life in prison. During his trial, his attorney, K. Ronald Bailey, refused to participate in Mick’s defense. An Ohio appeals court, citing ineffective counsel, overturned Mick’s conviction and ordered a new trial. Surprisingly, K. Ronald Bailey is still Mick’s attorney.

Today, Erie County Common Pleas Court Judge Tygh Tone declared a mistrial, saying evidence withheld from the defense the prosecution could hurt Mick’s right to due process.

The Sandusky Register reports:

On Thursday, following two full days of testimony, including from all three victims, the trial came to an abrupt halt.

Defense attorney Meredith O’Brien made a mistrial motion in the morning after speaking to a Sandusky police detective who was about to be called as a defense witness. The detective provided the defense copies of police reports related to the investigation.

Included in those reports was a March 2019 Sandusky report detailing the detective’s interview with a relative of one victim, who already testified. That report was not given to defense attorneys by the prosecution during the evidence discovery process, O’Brien said.

During the interview, the relative provided information that was apparently inconsistent with the victim’s testimony in the trial. Tone said he also read the report, and said it details “more serious accusations than what the defendant was charged with.” Mick was indicted across two cases, merged into one for trial, in 2014 and 2016.

O’Brien argued that if the defense had that police report prior to the trial, it would have changed their entire strategy.

“Every witness would have been questioned differently,” O’Brien said. “This entire trial is now infected.”

Assistant Erie County prosecutor Paulette Lilly did not deny that the report wasn’t provided to the defense but argued the report shouldn’t be grounds for a mistrial as the allegations of one victim don’t affect those of the other two victims.

“The report is not an interview with a victim,” she said. “It’s the recollection of (the relative’s) conversation with (the victim) three years earlier. It’s not a statement of (the victim’s.)”

After hearing arguments from both sides, Tone decided that the incident hurt Mick’s right to due process and ruled a mistrial. He said they will eventually set a pretrial hearing to discuss details of the new trial.

Currently, Mick is out on bond. Hopefully, the third time is a charm, and once the iron jail doors finally clang shut on the “good” pastor, they will remain shut.

Previous Sandusky Register article about the trial.

Black Collar Crime: Former IFB Principal Laverne Fox Charged with Sex Crimes

busted

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.

(Previous posts about Faith Baptist Church in Wildomar, California and its pastor Bruce Goddard: Black Collar Crime: IFB Youth Pastor Malo Victor Monteiro Accused of Sexual Abuse, Black Collar Crime: IFB Youth Pastor Victor Monteiro Pleads Not Guilty to Sex Crimes, Black Collar Crime: IFB Youth Pastor Malo “Victor” Monteiro Sentenced to Five Years in Prison, and Pastor Bruce Goddard and His Bait and Switch Tactics)

Former Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) Christian school principal Laverne Fox was arrested on July 1, 2019, in Erie, Pennsylvania.  Fox faces extradition to California, where he will face two counts of lewd acts with a child and two other sexual misconduct charges.

Fox was the principal at the private school operated by Faith Baptist Church in Wildomar, California.  The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports:

After his [Laverne Fox] accuser, Kathy Durbin, told pastor Bruce Goddard in 1992 about the sexual abuse and grooming she faced over a span of two years by Fox, Goddard moved Fox to First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana.

….

Durbin told the Star-Telegram that Fox began grooming her for sex at a young age. In public Facebook posts, she wrote how she thought she had a father-daughter type relationship with Fox.

She realized later that was part of the grooming, she wrote. Fox began having sex with her when she was 15.

During the 1992 conversation with Goddard, Durbin said she dramatically told him that Fox and her had kissed so he would know something more was happening. She was disturbed and confused by the encounters.

Durbin was later forced to attend counseling and write an apology to Fox’s wife.

 

Black Collar Crime: Methodist Pastor Kirbyjon Caldwell’s Co-Defendant Pleads Guilty to Fraud

kirbyjon caldwell

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.

In March 2018, Kirbyjon Caldwell, pastor of Windsor Village United Methodist Church in Houston, Texas, was indicted and charged with “conspiracy to commit wire fraud, six counts of wire fraud, one count of conspiring to commit money laundering and three counts of money laundering.”

KTBS-3 reports:

A Shreveport financial planner and the pastor of a Houston, Texas, megachurch are accused of bilking investors of more than $1 million.

Thursday, a federal grand jury returned a 13-count indictment against Gregory Alan Smith, 55, of Shreveport and Kirbyjon H. Caldwell, 64, of Houston.

Smith is the owner of Greg Smith Financial Group. Caldwell is pastor of Windsor Village United Methodist Church, a 16,000-member megachurch in Houston. He was an unofficial advisor to former presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

Smith and Caldwell are charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, six counts of wire fraud, one count of conspiring to commit money laundering and three counts of money laundering.

According to the indictment, Smith used his influence and status as the operator and manager of Smith Financial Group in Shreveport, and Caldwell used his influence and status as pastor at his church to lure investors to pay more than $1 million to invest in Historical Chinese bonds.

These bonds were issued by the former Republic of China prior to losing power to the communist government in 1949. They are not recognized by China’s current government and have no investment value.

Smith and Caldwell promised high rates of return, sometimes three to 15 times the value of the investments, according to the indictme.

Federal authorities allege Smith and Caldwell used investors’ money to pay personal loans, credit card balances, mortgages, vehicle purchases and other personal expenses.

….

The Houston Chronicle adds:

A prominent Houston pastor and spiritual adviser to President George W. Bush has been indicted on federal charges he sold more than more than $1 million in worthless Chinese bonds to elderly and vulnerable investors, according to federal authorities.

Kirbyjon H. Caldwell, 64, and Shreveport financial planner Gregory Alan Smith, 55, were indicted Thursday on 13 charges accusing them of wire fraud and money laundering, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Louisiana said in a Thursday statement.

Caldwell is accused of using his position as the senior pastor of the Windsor Village United Methodist Church to lure more than $1 million in investments into historic Chinese bonds that are not recognized by the Chinese government. He and Smith told investors they could see returns as high as 15 times their initial investment, prosecutors said.

The indictment accuses the men of cheating 29 investors between April 2013 and August 2014 of nearly $3.5 million for what were described as “mere collectible memoribilia.”

….

Caldwell, a Houston native, developed a friendship with George W. Bush when he was governor of Texas, and he offered the benediction to Bush’s 2001 inauguration as president. He also performed the wedding for Bush’s daughter, Jenna, in Crawford in Central Texas.

Caldwell co-authored a 1999 book, The Gospel of Good Success. His work is credited with helping create the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives under Bush.

….

Yesterday, Caldwell’s co-conspirator, Gregory Alan Smith, pleaded guilty to wire fraud.

Click 2 Houston reports:

The man who is a co-defendant with Houston Pastor Kirbyjon Caldwell in a case accusing them of defrauding investors of millions of dollars pleaded guilty Tuesday to wire fraud.

Gregory Alan Smith is a Shreveport, Louisiana, investment advisor. Caldwell is senior pastor at Windsor Village United Methodist Church in Houston.

The pair told investors that the historical Chinese bonds, which reportedly have been in default since 1939 and aren’t recognized by the current Chinese government, could provide exorbitant, risk-free returns on their investments and that the bonds would be sold by Caldwell to a third party or redeemed by the Chinese government, court documents state.

The indictment states Smith recruited the victims through his connections to prospective investors, telling them he was an investment advisor and had personally invested hundreds of thousands in the deal.

Caldwell then told investors to wire the money to a bank account controlled by his attorney or an account of a limited liability company of which he is a member, the indictment reads. Caldwell is accused of then transferring the money to his personal account, the personal account of Smith or a Mexican business associate.

Caldwell and Smith promised investors they would be paid and offered a wide range of excuses for why they were not seeing returns, according to court documents.

Caldwell, 64, received $760,000, which he used for personal expenses, including mortgage payments, the indictment claims.

Caldwell’s limited liability company also received $1 million, of which $175,000 was transferred to Caldwell, according to the indictment.

Smith received $1 million of investor funds, which he used for luxury vehicles, the indictment claimed.

None of the investors received any money back, according to the court documents.

Smith faces five to seven years in prison, a $1 million fine, restitution, forfeiture and five years of supervised release.

Caldwell continues to insist that he is innocent. His trial is scheduled to begin on December 2, 2019.

 

Black Collar Crime: IFB Pastor Richard Mick on Trial Again for Rape

richard mick

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.

(Previous posts about Richard Mick: Black Collar Crime: IFB Preacher Richard Mick has Rape Conviction Overturned and Black Collar Crime: IFB Pastor Richard Mick Faces New Trial, Out on Bond)

Richard Mick, the former pastor of Lighthouse Baptist Church in Sandusky, Ohio — an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) congregation — is on trial again, facing 12 felony accounts for crimes allegedly committed against three children. Mick was previously convicted on these charges and sentenced to life in prison. During his trial, his attorney, K. Ronald Bailey, refused to participate in Mick’s defense. An Ohio appeals court, citing ineffective counsel, overturned Mick’s conviction and ordered a new trial. Surprisingly, K. Ronald Bailey is still Mick’s attorney.

The Sandusky Register reported today:

The trial for Castalia resident Richard Mick, 58, who previously served as the pastor of Lighthouse Baptist Church, entered its first day of testimony Tuesday in Erie County common pleas court under Judge Tygh Tone. He faces 12 felony charges — two counts of rape and 10 counts of gross sexual imposition — for crimes allegedly committed against three children.

The first victim to testify, a woman, said that on separate occasions, Mick forced her to perform oral sex on him and raped her. All of the alleged crimes occurred in or near the church, at its former location on Milan Road.

She testified the sexual misconduct occurred between 1999 and 2002, when she was younger than 8 years old. She testified she felt Mick was an authority figure over her, and told a person, not related to her, about the alleged abuse years before police became involved, but nothing was done.

“I believe I went to (Mick’s) office to ask about salvation,” she testified, in regards to the alleged oral sex incident. “He, in a way, said that if I would do that I would be forgiven for my sins.”

The woman’s former therapist also testified, stating he diagnosed her with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Another victim, a man, testified that Mick inappropriately touched him when he was about 10 years old. The man testified Mick told him he was looking for rashes after he’d urinated himself.

The alleged sexual conduct involving the man occurred at the church’s current Cleveland Road location.

 

Black Collar Crime: Southern Baptist Youth Pastor Christopher “Cody” Stutts Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison

christopher stutts

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.

In February 2018, Christopher “Cody” Stutts, youth pastor at Westwood Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, was accused of sexually abusing a child younger than twelve.

The Tuscaloosa News reported at the time:

A former youth pastor for a Birmingham church is accused of sexually assaulting a teenager.

Christopher Cody Stutts, 36, was charged with sexual abuse of a child younger than 12 and second-degree sodomy. Members of the Tuscaloosa Violent Crimes Unit responded to a home in the 12000 block of Mulligan Drive Friday on a sexual assault call. A 14-year-old girl reported that Stutts had assaulted her on Friday and had been for the last three years.

Stutts remained in the Tuscaloosa County Jail Wednesday with bond set at $40,000.

He was fired from his position as a part-time youth pastor at Westwood Baptist Church in Birmingham.

In April 2018, Stutts was arrested again on additional sex crime charges.

Yesterday, Stuttz pleaded guilty to “one count of sexually abusing a child younger than 12.” He was sentenced to twenty years in prison for his crimes.

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Raymond Vliet Accused of Conning Elderly Congregants

pastor raymond vliet

Raymond Vliet, pastor of Old Beth-el General Baptist Church in Flushing, Michigan, (no web presence) stands accused of bilking an elderly parishioner out of tens of thousands of dollars. Authorities believe there could be more victims.  WNEM-5 reports:

Vliet, pastor of Old Beth-el general Baptist Church in Mt. Morris Township, faces charges of embezzling $20,000 to $50,000 from a vulnerable adult and committing a financial transaction without consent.

Sheriff Robert Pickell said the investigation started after a loan officer noticed something suspicious. Pickell said that happened when Vliet, who had power of attorney for a 91-year-old parishioner and his wife, went to a credit union to get a loan for a pontoon.

“The pastor convinced the victim’s wife before she died to sign over the modular home in the name of the church and it’s Beth-el general Baptist Church. And she did that because she was so taken in by the pastor. He was doing God’s work,” Pickell said.

The loan officer denied the loan request, and while researching, found Vliet also had power of attorney for other members of the church, Pickell said. That’s when she called the Elder Abuse Task Force.

Pickell said when the credit union turned down the loan, the pastor went to another place and did secure a loan. He also got a loan for another vehicle when he learned the 91-year-old man’s vehicle couldn’t pull the pontoon.

When a welfare check was done at the victim’s house, Pickell said officials noticed some things that just weren’t right.

Sheriff Pickell said, “That’s a pastor that should go to hell.” And all God’s people and atheists too said AMEN!

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Howard Geck Arrested for Failing to Report Child Abuse

dexter hensley

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.

In May 2019, Dexter Hensley, a member of Jasper Apostolic United Pentecostal Church in Jasper, Indiana, was arrested and charged with inappropriately touching minor children, ages 5-9. The Dubois County Free Press reported at the time:

Dexter Hensley, 61, is charged with allegedly touching children inappropriately. The incidents allegedly occurred at the Jasper Apostolic Church — the Jasper Christian Academy is also located at that address –sometime between 2012 and 2015. The victims were between 5 and 9 years old at the time of the incidents.

Hensley was arrested Monday; his home address in the court documents was listed as the church’s address on Hillside Drive in Jasper.

Court documents indicated Pastor Howard Geck at Jasper Apostolic Church found out about the alleged actions after they occurred.

An investigation into Hensley was opened while police were investigating a different allegation. During a forensic interview, the victim revealed incidents that had occurred at the church five to six years ago involving Hensley.

The victim also told police that about two years ago she had learned about incidents involving her sisters and had taken those concerns to her guardian. Court documents indicated the guardian reported the victim’s allegations to Geck at the church and was told that the issue had been taken care of.

Police spoke with the guardian, who stated the issue had been reported to the pastor, according to court documents.

Today’s news brings a not-so-shocking story about Howard Geck, pastor of Jasper Apostolic. Authorities allege that Geck was told about Hensley’s abhorrent behavior and did nothing. By Indiana law, “anyone who has reason to believe a child has been abused must report it to law enforcement or DCS.”  Geck allegedly kept Hensley’s crimes to himself, and now he finds himself facing a class B misdemeanor — failure to report.

Channel 14 News reports:

Jasper Police say they learned Pastor Howard Geck was made aware of the allegations two-years ago, but failed to report them to authorities.

Geck was charged this week with failure to make a report, which is a class B misdemeanor. By Indiana law, anyone who has reason to believe a child has been abused must report it to law enforcement or DCS.

“The law requires that any individual, anyone, it’s not confined to teachers or pastors or doctors,” explains Dubois County Deputy Prosecutor Stephanie Smith. “It is any adult that has a reasonable suspicion that there’s been some kind of abuse. Whether it’s physical abuse, or sexual abuse, or neglect of a child needs to report it.”

The Dubois County Prosecutors Office is currently offering an amnesty program. From now until the end of July, anyone who has previously failed to report, regardless of how long ago the abuse may have happened, can do so without being charged.

I have long argued that one of the firsts steps authorities should take in combatting child abuse is to arrest AND prosecute clergymen who failed to report allegations of abuse. When preachers face the likelihood of criminal prosecution, jail time, and loss of reputation, maybe, just maybe, they will do the right thing. It is unlikely that the good pastor will spend any time in the pokey, but perhaps the Dubois County prosecutor’s shot across the bow is enough to put fear into the hearts of local preachers. I have no doubt that Geck is not the only preacher sitting on allegations and confessions of sexual misconduct.  It’s time to air the dirty laundry in Dubois County, Indiana.

Black Collar Crime: IFB Pastor Jon Jenkins Moves to New Church After Decades of Controversy

jon jenkins

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.

Earlier this month, I published a Black Collar Crime story about David Beckner, a school teacher at Gaylord Grace Baptist Christian School in Gaylord, Michigan. Beckner stands accused of sexually abusing a female student. Gaylord Grace Baptist Christian School is owned and operated by Grace Baptist Church — an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) congregation. (Please see Grace Baptist College, Gaylord, Michigan: Rules and Regulations)

In May, Jon Jenkins, pastor, CEO, and head bwana of Grace Baptist, celebrated his thirty-third anniversary at the church.  And now, two months later, Jenkins has exited stage right, moving on to become the new pastor of Fellowship Baptist Church in Clayton, North Carolina (formerly pastored by Charles Ennis for fifty-one years).

The Gaylord Herald Times reports that Jenkins leaves behind a trail of scandals and controversies:

In a previous Herald Times story, Jenkins commented on instances of abuse or alleged abuse involving former teachers. Jenkins said he had reported two of the school’s former teachers to police for sexual abuse of students years ago.
Jenkins said he reported former teacher Aaron Willand to Michigan State Police, and later, another former teacher to the Otsego County Sheriff’s Department.

Willand was convicted in Washington state of raping a child and child molestation in 2006. The survivor, now an adult, is also seeking charges in Otsego County for abuse she said also occurred in Michigan. Willand has not been charged in Michigan.
Jenkins said he also reported former teacher David Beckner to the Otsego County Sheriff’s Department in 2011. Eight criminal sexual conduct charges have been officially filed by Otsego County courts against Beckner. The case was bound over to Otsego County’s 46th Circuit Court Thursday.

The sheriff’s department showed no records of Grace Baptist reporting either former teacher to police.
Herald Times’ Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for Michigan State Police reports filed by Grace Baptist show no police reports filed by Grace Baptist with any references to Aaron Willand or David Beckner.

Clark Martin, a former congregation member and volunteer bus driver, was convicted of criminal sexual conduct against a former Grace Baptist student in 2002 and 2003. According to Otsego County court records from that case, Martin had also molested another youth, a 12-year-old boy, in St. Clair County in 1966.

Martin also pleaded guilty in May to criminal sexual conduct charges for allegedly molesting a teen boy in 1991 and 1992.

Former Grace Baptist congregation members Jennifer Mahoney and Matthew Mahoney were convicted in 2013 on felony charges against a 15-year-old girl in Indiana, according to previous coverage by the Tribune Star (Terre Haute, Indiana) newspaper and court documents.

A former Gaylord Teen Spectacular youth conference guest speaker, Jack Schaap, was convicted in 2013 in federal court in Indiana after he transported a 16-year-old girl to his cabin in Northern Michigan for the purpose of having sex with her, according to court documents.

According to previous Herald Times coverage of the Teen Spectacular, Schaap, of Hammond, Indiana, was listed as a visiting guest speaker during the 2011 youth conference, an event that draws hundreds of teens to Gaylord.
Jenkins previously confirmed that each of the above was connected to Grace Baptist as a teacher, through the congregation or as a guest speaker.

….

One former staff member whose daughter was molested by a fellow student previously told the Herald Times she had taken issue with the way Jenkins handled the situation after the abuse occurred off campus.

Sarah Sundelius said Jenkins had not kept the teen offender away from the church and school where her 5-year-old daughter attended and where Sundelius had taught from 2016 to 2018.

Several former Grace Baptist students have also shared their stories about the former teachers who have either been convicted for criminal sexual conduct against minors or are currently facing charges for the same thing.
Several of the victims and alleged victims have also pointed to Jenkins’ role as leader of the church during the time and the requirements to report allegations to police.

While Jenkins has not been accused of sexual misconduct, his lack of leadership and refusal to require background checks for church employees and volunteers until this year certainly has contributed to the sexual misconduct that permeated Grace Baptist and its ministries under his watch. Jenkins’ critics say that he was a heavyhanded authoritarian who ruled Grace Baptist as if it was his own personal kingdom and fiefdom.  I know, I know, typical IFB behavior.

Attorney David Gibbs, long known as a “fixer” for IFB preachers and churches who find themselves facing sexual misconduct allegations, had this to say about Jenkins and his new gig at Fellowship Baptist Church:

His preaching and communication skills are outstanding. His doctrinal positions lined up with our historic Baptist faith. His spirit of compassion for church members and hurting people in the community were exemplary.”
His prior church’s policies and procedures — including the child protection policies and procedures that clearly outline zero-tolerance for child abuse of any kind and require all suspicions of child abuse to be reported to the authorities — were consistent with our church. We believe that if a child is safe anywhere, they should be safe at church.

It is scandalous that Gibbs could say with a straight face “His [Jon Jenkins] prior church’s policies and procedures — including the child protection policies and procedures that clearly outline zero-tolerance for child abuse of any kind and require all suspicions of child abuse to be reported to the authorities — were consistent with our church. We believe that if a child is safe anywhere, they should be safe at church.”

Really? I mean really, Attorney Gibbs? Have you no shame?

Such is life in the IFB church movement. Obfuscation, misdirection, and lies, praise Jesus, three people were saved last Sunday. All that matters is that the soul-saving machinery keeps on turning, regardless of who might be shredded in its gears.

Note

Support group for Gaylord Grace Baptist Church survivors and their supporters, Blind Eye Movement.