Tag Archive: Black Collar Crime

Wash, Rinse, Dry and Repeat: What Happens When Jesus Doesn’t Fix What Ails You

blood of jesusJesus told his disciples in John 15:5, without me, ye can do nothing, and in Matthew 19:26, Jesus said with men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible. The Apostle Paul told Athenian idolaters that one true God was he who gives to all men not only life and breath, but all things (Acts 17). In his New Testament writings, Paul, the founder of Christianity, advances the notion that God is the sovereign of the universe and that everything that happens is according to his purpose and plan. Paul cautions Christians about trying to live life in their strength, that doing so will end in failure. He wrote in Philippians 4:13, I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. The negative inference is clear, I can’t do anything without Christ, echoing Jesus’s words in John 15, without me, ye can do nothing.

Evangelicals believe that humans are inherently broken, born with a sin nature, and at variance with the Christian God. According to Evangelicals, everyone, from fertilized eggs in the womb to infants and from children to centenarians, is predisposed to sin — sin being the transgression of the law of God in thought, word, and deed. Countless human behaviors, especially those of a sexual nature, are, according to the Bible — an ancient religious text supposedly written by the Christian God —  are violations of God’s law. Unbelievers — people who have not asked Jesus to save them from their sins — are told that God hates sin and those who do it, and the only way to gain God’s favor is to prostrate oneself before the thrice holy God and confess that you are a worthless worm deserving of eternal punishment in hell; that the only person who can save you from your sin is Jesus. If you humble yourself before God, begging him for deliverance from your sin, God will forgive you of your sins. Once you have sufficiently humbled yourself before God and he has saved you, God, in the form of a spirit, takes up residence in your “heart.”

Once people have been saved, they are instructed to rely on God to lead and direct their lives. Their “sin natures” haven’t been eradicated, so Christians must rely on the Holy Spirit to guide them through a world bent on destroying them. Evangelicals are frequently reminded by their pastors of about the importance of studying the Bible, praying, and faithfully attending church. Yet, despite all of these things, Evangelicals continue to sin, often at levels equaling or exceeding that of the unwashed, uncircumcised Philistines of the world.

Even those who are called men of God — people who supposedly have a close relationship with God — are not immune from sinning. These preachers of righteousness and holiness often commit the very sins they thunder against each and every Lord’s Day. And as the Black Collar Crime series reveals, preachers can and do rape, steal, molest children, and murder. Just last week, two Toledo area Evangelical pastors were arrested for grooming and trafficking a teenage girl. One pastor would frequently have sex with the girl in his church office, giving her $100-$300 to keep her mouth shut. According to WTOL-11, the thing that likely did the good pastors in was the one pastor’s request that the girl bring a friend so they could have a threesome. While defenders of all things Evangelical will say that while such reports are disturbing, most pastors don’t do such things; certainly they would be right, but what is never addressed is the how and why these things happen. If God is who Evangelicals say he is and the Holy Spirit lives inside believers, why is there so much sinning going on among Christians and their leaders? Why does rarely a day go by without one or more Evangelical preachers appearing in the news for some sort of sexual crime?  And these are just the ones caught with their pants down!

Evangelicals practice what I call wash, rinse, dry, and repeat. These followers of Jesus are commanded to daily confess their sin. I John 1:8-10 states:

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

Weekly, daily, and hourly Evangelicals plead with their sin-forgiving God to wash their “hearts” clean. Without any proof besides feelings of relief or words found in an ancient religious text, Evangelicals believe that sincere prayers of repentance are met with God’s forgiveness. With their sins forgiven, Evangelicals return to a world awash in sin, promising God that they will not succumb to temptation and the snares of Satan, Yet, moments or hours later, Evangelicals find themselves yet again in need of confessing their sins and seeking forgiveness from God. It is for this reason that Independent Fundamentalist Baptist luminary John R. Rice encouraged Christians to “keep your sin lists short.” Rice suggested that when Christians become aware they have sinned they should immediately stop and confess the sin and seek forgiveness. Since Evangelicals sin in thought, word, and deed, following Rice’s admonition would require them to continuously pray. If only the Bible had something to say about this. Oh wait, it does! 1 Thessalonians 5:17 states, praying without ceasing.

Recently, a person I know well was arrested for DUI and sentenced to ninety days in jail as a repeat offender. This man has had numerous arrests for a variety of crimes. Father to numerous children with several women, this man has spent much of his life battling drug addiction. Having had and lost countless well-paying jobs and having ruined his relationship with his family, this man likely will be homeless when he is released from jail. His life, a tragedy to behold, is a screaming example of the failure of Jesus to fix what ails the human race.

This man was raised in an Evangelical home, attended a private Christian school, and was surrounded by extended family who were preachers of the gospel. His parents lived what is best describe as up-and-down lives, in and out of church as they dealt with familial, marital, and employment problems. Counseled by pastors to GET RIGHT WITH GOD, they would return to the church, often coming to the church altar to confess their sin and renew their commitment to Christ. And for months or years their renewed devotion would give the appearance of a family happily in love with Jesus. And then, as sure as the sun comes up in the morning, Satan and the lusts of the flesh — according to their pastors — would trip them up, causing them to fall headlong into sin. Often they would remain in the pigsty of sin for months or years before one of God’s men convinced them to return to church to do business with God. This endless cycle of sin, confess, repent, forsake, repeat was played out dozens of times over the years, leading to untold psychological and physical harm.

The drug-addict son, following what has been modeled to him by his family, has run from Evangelical church to Evangelical church, hoping to find the forgiveness of sins and victory over his many addictions. At these churches he is met at the door by preachers who promise him that Jesus can fix whatever ails him. GET RIGHT WITH GOD, he is told, by Evangelical family and strangers alike. If he will just confess his sins and seek forgiveness, Jesus will swoop in and give him victory over crack, PCP, meth, alcohol, and his love of sexual immorality. His devoutly Evangelical grandparents continue to pray, encouraging their sinful grandson to get back in church so he can get the help he needs.

This rolling train wreck has been going on for over a decade, with no end in sight. Those closest to him continue to encourage him to cast all his cares on Jesus, telling him that if he will do so, Christ will give him victory over his addictions. No one dares to suggest — I am not within his circle of influence — that Jesus and his deliverance peddlers are the problem; that Evangelical beliefs concerning human nature, sin, and forgiveness are actually hurting this man, not helping him; that the best thing he could do is get as far away as possible from Christian family members and preachers who are trying to “help” him; that the church and Jesus are in a codependent relationship with him, and are in no position to offering lasting help.

Those of us raised in the Evangelical church know well the wash, rinse, dry, and repeat way of living. Frequently reminded of our sins by preachers, evangelists, Evangelical writers, and the Bible, we spent countless hours confessing our sin and seeking God’s forgiveness. The churches we attended would call for special meetings where revivalist preachers would come in and stomp on our feet with old-fashioned hellfire and brimstone preaching. Countless time was spent on our knees crying out to God, pleading for forgiveness and deliverance from sins of commission and omission. Sufficiently revived, off we would go, ready to slay our adversary Satan, tearing down strongholds by and through the mighty power of God.

Over time, worldly complacency would set in, and we would need yet another reviving, another impartation of God’s mighty Spirit. Is it any wonder that many Christians weary of the sin, confess, repent, forsake, repeat process and give up or practice the time-honored Evangelical spiritual discipline of “fake it until you make it”? Spend enough time in Evangelicalism and you will learn expected behaviors, complete with a language code to be used to give the appearance of living life as a Jesus-loving, Satan-hating, sin-forsaking Christian. The Apostle Paul himself approved of this approach when he told the Church at Thessalonica to, abstain from all appearance of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22).

It is evident, at least to me, that Evangelicalism stands in the way of people truly dealing with and overcoming negative behaviors. Over its long history, the Christian church has used fear of judgment and punishment to keep people dependent on God for the forgiveness of behaviors deemed sinful by the church. Over time, the sin lists changed, but one fact remains: Evangelicals cannot find victory over sin in their own strength, and only God can forgive and deliver them. Failure to seek forgiveness results in God chastising (punishing) them for their sin. Want to avoid the punishment of the BDSM-loving God? Evangelicals are told to prostate themselves before God and beg for forgiveness.

Perhaps it is time for Evangelicals to tell God to take a hike. What has he done for them anyway? Instead of granting them victory over sin, he keeps them dependent on him, often allowing temptations that cause them to fail. What we would think of a person who left meth on the nightstand of his guest room while his recovering drug addict friend was staying with him. Yet, this is exactly what God does. He tempts and tries, and even causes people to fail. Why? Because he wants Christians to love him more and seek his forgiveness. In other words, he is the abusive husband who beats his wife so she will love him more. As is often the case in matters of domestic abuse, removal from the immediate circumstance and divorce is often warranted. Perhaps Evangelicals need to tell God See ya later, and turn their attention to finding lasting solutions to issues such as drug addiction. Not only is Jesus not the solution, he is the problem. As long of Evangelicals refuse to see this, they will remain trapped in a constant state of wash, rinse, dry, and repeat.

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Ken Adkins Found Guilty of Sexual Molestation

pastor ken adkins

You can find the original story about Pastor Ken Adkins here.

News 4-Jacksonville reported today that Ken Adkins, pastor of Greater Dimensions Christian Fellowship in Brunswick, Georgia, was found guilty on eight of the eleven charges leveled against him:

After a six-day trial of a Brunswick pastor on sexual molestation charges, a Glynn County jury deliberated less than an hour Monday before finding Ken Atkins guilty of all charges.

Adkins showed little reaction as the judge read the verdicts. He was convicted of two counts of aggravated child molestation, five counts of child molestation and one of enticing a child. He faces up to life in prison on the charges when he is sentenced, which is scheduled for April 25.

“We were disappointed with the verdict, but we respect it ,” said Adkins’ attorney, Kevin Gough. “It’s part of our jury system, but we will be filing a notice of appeal, obviously>

Adkins’ defense on accusations that he molested a teenage boy years ago centered on whether the young man had reached the age of 16 — the age of consent in Georgia — and if he remembered the dates and events correctly.

In her closing argument, Assistant District Attorney Katie Gropper that said Adkins took advantage of the teenager and wanted to take him for everything he had – sex, women and money. She said all the victim wanted out of this trial was to be able to sleep again.

“He put himself in the hot seat where he has been drug through the mud this entire week. And you know what? He did it because he thinks it’s the right thing to do,” Gropper said.

The accuser, who is now 22, told the Georgia Bureau of Investigation last summer that he hadn’t yet turned 15 when Adkins, who was the pastor of his church and became a father figure to him when his grandfather died, began calling and texting him. He said the relationship turned sexual in 2010, when he participated in various acts with his girlfriend and Adkins.

But Gough called into question throughout the trial whether the victim was under 16 at the time and questioned the timeline of the events.

“When children are involved, it seems it’s easier to have a presumption of guilt than innocence, but that’s not the law,” defense attorney Kevin Gough said Monday morning during closing arguments in the trial. “Why now in 2016 does he cry out? Does it really have anything to do with Adkins being a pastor or the homosexual relationship they have?”

Gough told the jury that even if they believe that Adkins is probably guilty but it is not proven, it is their duty to acquit him.

“Where is the evidence that any criminal act took place?” Gough asked the jury. “It may be awkward at public events, church, if you return an innocent verdict, but (be) assured you should not take that into consideration.”

Let me leave readers with the words of Adkins himself, spoken after the Pulse Nightclub massacre:

ken adkins quote

True words, pastor. Now it is time for you to get what you deserve.

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

cordell jenkins

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

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

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

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

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

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

….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Update

WTOL-11 reports:

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

The former pastor, Cordell Jenkins was arrested in April.

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

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

The new service time is at 8 a.m.

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

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

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

pastor willie tiller

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

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

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

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

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

Link to original news story about Tiller’s crimes

Link to story about Tiller’s conviction

 

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

pastor lonny remmers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

loren copp

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

….

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

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

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

The charges of production of child pornography are new.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yesterday, Federal prosecutors additionally charged Copps with:

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

The Southeastern Missourian reports:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copp has since moved on.

….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

….

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

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

new mount zion baptist church

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Update #1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

wisdom kusorgbor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Black Collar Crime: United Methodist Pastor Charged With Sexually Assaulting Five-Year-Old Girl

pastor david akin

Texarkana fire fighter and United Methodist David Akin has been charged with sexually assaulting a five-year-old girl. THV-11 reports:

Texarkana fire captain and pastor has been arrested and charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child.

According to the Bowie County Sheriff’s Office, 49-year-old David Michael Akin turned himself in after a warrant for his arrest was released.

On January 28, deputies responded to reports of a sexual assault of a 5-year-old girl. Her parents said on November 12, 2016 their daughter was being watched by Akin’s daughter as a babysitter.

A week later, the mother of the 5-year-old noticed her daughter had an infection near her vagina. The mother took her daughter to the doctor where it was later found the 5-year-old had contracted gonorrhea.

The mother contacted the Morris County Sheriff’s Office in Texas. Deputies in Morris County closed the case because they couldn’t develop a suspect but had a sexual assault kit as well as an interview with the daughter.

Later in the investigation, the father of the child said she had told him that Akin pulled a blanket over her head and touched her.

Akin, a captain with the Texarkana Arkansas Fire Department, has been put on administrative leave from the fire department. He has been with the department for 23 years.

At the time of the assault. Akin was the pastor of First United Methodist Church in Texarkana,Texas.

Black Collar Crime: Pentecostal Youth Pastor Andrew Jackson Convicted of Rape

pastor andrew jackson

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.”

 

Black Collar Crime: Judge Rejects Calvary Fellowship Pastor Jacob Malone’s Plea Agreement

jacob malone

Other posts about Jacob Malone: Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Jacob Malone Plans to Admit He Raped Church Teenager and Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Jacob Malone Sentenced to 3-6 Years in Prison for Sexual Assault

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.”

Philly News reports:

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.

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Larry Holley Accused of Stealing Millions in Investment Scheme

pastor larry holley

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.

Abundant Life’s Facebook page states:

Distributors of knowledge, wisdom, wealth, & substance throughout the world for the expansion of the Kingdom of God.

Sounds like the good pastor was focused on the wealth part of the church’s mission statement.

A May 22, 2018 ABC-12 report states that Holly and his partner in crime, Patricia Gray, have been indicted on charges of wire and mail fraud, conspiracy and money laundering.