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.
Pastor James “Ronnie” Messer Charged With Rape
James “Ronnie” Messer, pastor of Crossway Worship Center in Morristown, Tennessee, was arrested and charged with aggravated statutory rape and sexual battery by an authority figure.
The girl’s sister reportedly told police the 17-year-old girl rode with the pastor to the Crossway Worship Center, after their plans to go swimming in the Hartford area were derailed by swift and muddy water.
The pastor reportedly led the girl through the Worship Center’s rear entrance to a room across from the men’s restroom where he raped her.
The pastor told police he thought the assault against the underage girl was consensual, according to the report.
The good pastor thought the assault was consensual. Since when is having sex with minor church girls who are under your authority EVER consensual?
Southern Baptist Missionary Mark Aderholt Charged With Sexual Assault
Mark Aderholt, a former employee of the South Carolina Baptist Convention and International Mission Board missionary, has been charged with sexually assaulting a seventeen-year-old girl.
Aderholt, 46, was arrested July 3 in South Carolina and booked into the Tarrant County, Texas, jail July 9 on charges of sexual assault of a child under 17, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported. He was released today (July 10) on bond.
The IMB told Baptist Press today (July 16) it learned in 2007 of allegations Aderholt had a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old in 1996-97 while he was a 25-year-old student at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He served with the board from 2000-08.
The IMB conducted an internal investigation in 2007, and the matter was set to go before the board of trustees, “which, at that time, was the only group with the authority to terminate a member of our missionary personnel,” IMB spokesperson Julie McGowan said in written comments. But Aderholt resigned on his own “before the Board could vote on the recommendation from the investigative team that included both men and women.
The IMB’s 2007 investigation, including two days of interviews with the alleged victim, led an IMB team to conclude at the time that Aderholt “engaged in an inappropriate sexual relationship” with a teen in 1996-1997, that the victim “suffered as a result” and that Aderholt “was not truthful” with the IMB “about the full extent of the relationship,” according to correspondence to Miller from IMB general counsel Derek Gaubatz published July 13 by the Star-Telegram.
The Southern Baptist International Mission Board investigated, concluded the allegations were credible, and did what all good Southern Baptist church leaders do: NOTHING! In fact, Aderholt continued to be a missionary and work in several capacities for the SBC until he was finally outed over his alleged crime.
Imam Ahmed Raza Murders Boy With an Iron Rod
Imam Ahmed Raza allegedly beat a young student of his to death with an iron rod. The Express Tribune reports:
A minor boy died after being subjected to physical torture by an imam at a mosque in Shalimar on Tuesday.
Police identified the victim as Abdul Ahad, who would go to the mosque where he was taught by the imam of the mosque, Ahmed Raza.
Reportedly, a few days ago Raza had beaten the child with an iron rod. When the child returned home, his condition deteriorated. His family admitted him to Kot Khwaja Saeed Hospital from where doctors shifted him to Lahore Mayo Hospital.
However, despite medical intervention, Ahad succumbed to his injuries. A police team transferred his body to the morgue for an autopsy. They also collected forensic evidence and recorded eye witness statements.
After the incident, the accused fled the area. The victim’s family lodged a complaint against the imam. Police apprehended Raza from Gujranwala and are investigating the matter further.
Pastor Brian Kenyon Jr. Accused of Video Voyeurism
Brian Kenyon Jr, pastor of Deltona Church of Christ in Deltona, Florida, was arrested and charged with video voyeurism after a congregant reported Kenyon Jr. took a photo up her dress.
The victim said she was meeting with Kenyon in his office, along with his children, and he asked her to put his youngest child into a car seat. The victim said that when she bent over, she felt skin against her leg, turned around and found Kenyon bent over directly behind her.
Deputies said the victim noticed Kenyon was holding his cellphone and it had a red light on.
Deputies say when the woman and members of the church confronted him about it he called it a misunderstanding and said he had “pornography problem.”
When they confronted the pastor about it again 11 days later, deputies say the pastor had some sort of spiritual awakening and confessed to the act saying a “dark moment” came over him.
They say he claimed to delete the photo. He was promptly dismissed from the church.
Church Secretary Kathryn Goff Steals $20,000 From Beverly Hills Community Church
Kathryn Goff, the secretary for Beverly Hills Community Church in Beverly Hills, Florida was arrested and charged with stealing $20,000 from the church. The Citrus County Chronicle reports:
Between June 2017 and April 2018, Goff, a paid employee and not a member of the church, allegedly addressed 38 checks to herself from the church’s bank account, totaling $19,426.59.
As secretary, she was allowed to write checks, but not sign them. An investigation by Citrus County Sheriff’s Office detectives determined that she would write checks with realistic amounts and record their payees in church logs as utility or service companies. Then she would take the checks to the bank and fill in her name as payee, writing in the memo line that it was for extra duties that the church never asked her to do.
Evangelical Youth Leader Kenneth Scott Marshall Indicted on Child Sex Crime Charges
Kenneth Scott Marshall, a volunteer youth leader at Cornerstone Fellowship Church in Cobbs Creek, Virginia has been indicted on child sex crime charges.
The Mathews County Sheriff’s Office found out about the accusation in June. Deputies said it involved a 15-year-old boy and Kenneth Scott Marshall, 36. Marshall worked with young people at Cornerstone Fellowship Church. During the course of the investigation, deputies conducted several interviews and collected evidence that they found supported the allegations.
Prosecutors presented evidence to a grand jury on July 16 which led to two indictments against Marshall. The indictments were for Aggravated Sexual Battery of a Minor through the Use of Mental Incapacity or Physical Helplessness and Forcible Sodomy of a Minor through the Use of Mental Incapacity or Physical Helplessness.
The church released the following statement:
Scott Marshall was a volunteer working with the youth at the church. Upon learning of the allegations in June, which did not occur at the church, he was immediately removed from his volunteer position and from any contact with our youth pending the outcome of the sheriff’s investigation.
Evangelical Pastor Fernando Hernandez Accused of Sexual Abuse
According to the documents filed, an investigation began November 23, 2016 when the Brownwood Police Department was advised of a possible sexual assault. During a subsequent interview, the child told investigators Hernandez put his hand down her pants and touched her genitals. The child stated “this happened every time she went to Hernandez’s home,” according to the report. Hernandez also allegedly told the child not to tell anyone or he would go to prison.
On July 18, 2018 another child made an outcry of abuse. In the affidavit, the child reportedly told investigators Hernandez assaulted her by touch and exposed himself, asking the child to touch his genitals. The child’s mother told investigators she had “always wondered why (Child Victim #2) acted strange towards Hernandez.”
The affidavits also report testimony with a member of Hernandez’s family who said they do not leave children alone with Fernando due to past allegations of sexual abuse.
Based on the aforementioned news report, it sounds like Hernandez has a history of putting his hands where they don’t belong. Yet, despite knowing this, people continue to attend his church and consider him a man of God. Nobody’s perfect, right?
In 1990 Fernando began working in the community of Plainview and Brownwood Texas. He worked with the schools in these communities in doing assembly presentations and also offering an after school program he developed called “It’s A Challenge!” He began to reach out to many students and changed many of their lives with these assemblies and programs. He showed the students that they had a greater purpose than getting involved in drugs, gangs and violence, that they too could dream a better life for themselves.
In 1991 and 1992, Dr. Hernandez was awarded “The Volunteer Award” for the outstanding service of his assemblies and “It’s A Challenge” programs that literally helped hundreds of students transition from middle school to high school and caused the high drop out rate to decrease in those areas. By 1994 Fernando was helping thousands of BISD students weekly in his volunteer service and “It’s A Challenge” program.
Fernando began to get national recognition for his positive student programs. In 1998, encouraged by his family, friends and other prominent people within the community, Fernando exposed his life’s story worldwide. In 2001, Fernando and his student life changing programs were featured in HOME LIFE a prominent family magazine publication.
Today, Both Fernando and Lorena went back to school to obtain their Masters and Doctorate in Christian Theology. Thet continue to personally help countless thousands of people by sharing their story of poverty to triumph. They help students by sharing with them about making right choices and giving them inspiration to hope and dream for their lives. They talk about choices and consequences. They challenge students in a powerful, thought provoking way. They deliver a powerful message to students to never give up, to reach their destiny, to stay in school, to go to college, to get a degree and to make their dreams come true! Their message resonates with the students to stay away from drugs, alcohol and violence, to respect others, to respect teachers, principals and the authorities. Their message is not just a slogan or token cliche but a powerful dream which is guaranteed to burn in the hearts of young people to truly “fight to do what’s right!”
I wonder if that “fight to do what’s right” includes fighting to keep your hands out of the pants of children?