Tag Archive: Chauncey Walker

Black Collar Crime: So Many Crimes, So Little Time Issue

black collar crime

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.

jeannette jives nealy

Pastor Jeannette Jives-Nealy Convicted of Money Laundering

Jeannette Jives-Nealy, pastor of Kingdom Dominion Worldwide Ministries in Memphis, Tennessee, was accused of stealing $162,000 in government funds meant for feeding poor and hungry children. Last Friday, Jives-Nealy, was convicted of money laundering.  According to the Lexington Herald Leader, Jives-Nealy has a checkered past which includes a four-year stint in prison for bilking the State of Florida out of $200,000.

joshua clemons

Evangelical Youth Pastor Joshua Clemons Pleads Guilty to Sex Crimes

Earlier this year, Joshua Clemons, youth pastor at Crossroads Community Church in Parker, Colorado was accused of sexually assaulting a teen church girl. You can read my previous post on Clemons here.  Monday, Clemons pleaded guilty to “one count of sexual exploitation of a child — video/20+ items and one count of attempted sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust – victim age 15-18.”

Denver-7 reports:

Clemons, who worked as a pastor at the Parker church from 2006 through September 2015, had been accused of having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl who had long been in his program.

The relationship carried on as the girl went to college at Colorado State University before ending toward the end of last year, when the alleged victim said Clemons began to show up at her new church and she threatened to get a restraining order, according to police documents.

Clemons is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 21 at 3 p.m. He faces between three and nine years in prison, according to sentencing guidelines for class 4 and 5 felonies.

norman abernathy

Baptist Youth Pastor Norman Abernathy Accused of Sexually Assaulting Two Church Girls

Norman Clay Abernathy, former youth pastor at Langston Baptist Church in Conway, South Carolina, is charged with two counts of third degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor and three counts of second degree assault and battery. According to CB-Sumpter, Abernathy sexually assaulted two church girls at his home. The girls were visiting Abernathy’s daughter when the alleged assaults occurred.

According to the church’s pastor, Hampton Drum:

He came highly recommended. We do extensive background checks on all those who come to us. He did voluntary work all the way up to June of this year when he resigned for personal reasons. We now know those personal reasons are the accusations that came up.

What is an “extensive” background check? And how would such a check reveal past criminal sexual behavior? As churches are learning, background checks are not a cure-all for clergy and staff sexual misconduct.

pastor harry thomas

Evangelical Pastor Harry Thomas Withdraws Guilty Plea, Fears He Will Die in Prison

Harry Thomas, pastor of Come Alive Church in Medford, New Jersey and the founder of Creation Concerts (Festivals), was accused last year of sexually assaulting  four minors over a sixteen-year period. You can read my previous post about Thomas here.  In February, Thomas pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting several children.

The National Post reports that Thomas, facing twenty-years in prison, was supposed to be sentenced on Friday. Instead, Thomas withdrew his guilty plea.

chauncey walker

Evangelical Youth Pastor Chauncey Walker Pleads Guilty to Having Sex With Church Girl

Earlier this year, Chauncey Walker, youth pastor at Word of Life Ministries in Wichita, Kansas, was accused of having sex with a teen church girl. You can read my previous post on Walker here.  Friday, Walker pleaded guilty to having sex with a fifteen-year-old church girl.

The Wichita Eagle reports:

“She was 15 when it started, and it progressed from there,” the former youth pastor says on the recording, which was recorded by a relative of the girl without Walker’s knowledge. Under Kansas law, only one party needs to consent to recording a conversation.

After he had sex with the girl, she said he made her promise that if anyone asked, she was to say that it was her idea, according to an affidavit filed by a sheriff’s detective.

“Things with Walker started right after her 15th birthday,” she told a detective working the case. He “took her out for ice cream and flirted with her.” About a week later, he came to her parents’ house to see her. She said Walker was a close friend of her parents. She said she and Walker ended up in her bedroom and kissed for a while.

They later had sex at Ground Zero, the church’s youth building, in Walker’s car in the country, at his house and in different hotels, according to the girl’s account in the affidavit.

Once the allegations surfaced, Walker conceded, he wasn’t honest at first about her age “because, I’ll just be honest — I didn’t want to go to jail,” he said in the recording.

If Sedgwick County District Judge David Kaufman agrees to the terms of the plea deal, Walker will be sentenced to 95 months, or nearly 8 years.

ronnie gorton

Evangelical Worship Leader Ronnie Gorton Indicted on Additional Sex Crime Charges

In March 2018, Evangelical worship leader Ronnie Gorton was indicted on numerous sex crime charges. Gorton was employed by Awakening Church in Atoka, Tennessee. On July 10, 2018, Gorton was indicted on forty-four more sex crime charges. The Leader reports:

According to court documents, the new charges allege Gorton abused another teenaged victim from November 2014 until February 2018, when the initial accusation was made.

The 44-count indictment includes: rape of a child, 19 counts of statutory rape by an authority figure, 19 counts of sexual battery by an authority figure and five counts of violating the Child Protection Act, which is continuous sexual abuse of a child.

todd shane tomko

Evangelical Pastor Todd Tomko Pleads Guilty to Sex Crimes

Last year, Todd “Rhino” Tomko, a disgraced U.S. Marine colonel and pastor of Parkview Church in Quincy, Illinois, was charged with “three counts of indecent liberties with a child, three counts of aggravated sexual battery and one count of cruelty.” You can read my previous post on Tomko here.  Tomko later pleaded guilty, and on July 10, 2018, he was sentenced to eighteen-months in prison for his crimes.

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Youth Pastor Chauncey Walker Accused of Having Sex with Church Teen

chauncey walker

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.

Chauncey Walker, youth pastor at Word of Life Ministries in Wichita, Kansas, stands accused of having sex with a teen church girl. Based on the following news story, it also seems that the church’s pastor Robert Rotola Sr. did not report the crimes when he learned of them. The alleged crime is bad enough, but, as Rotola’s words show, some pastors are only interested in protecting their church’s name. He will get a chance to defend his words in court. The victim has sued Word of Life Ministries, Pastor Rotola Sr. and his son Robert Rotola Jr, seeking damages in excess of $575,000.

The Wichita Eagle reports:

A former Wichita youth pastor — in jail and facing trial on sex-crime charges involving a 15-year-old church member — admitted during a recorded phone conversation to having sex with her.

“She was 15 when it started, and it progressed from there,” former Word of Life youth pastor Chauncey Walker says in the recording. He had sex with the girl the first time at Ground Zero, the Word of Life youth facility, he said. According to the charges, it happened about five years ago.

Once the allegations surfaced, he conceded, he wasn’t honest at first about her age “because, I’ll just be honest — I didn’t want to go to jail.”

An adult relative of the teen recorded his conversation with Walker on Aug. 9 or Aug. 10 and reported it to police before Walker’s arrest in August, says an attorney representing the alleged victim. The attorney provided The Eagle with the recordings and identified the voices.

….

In a separate phone conversation around the same time, also before the arrest, the alleged victim told the senior pastor at Word of Life Church, Robert Rotola Sr., that she was offended because she felt he was protecting Walker.

In the recording with the alleged victim, Rotola Sr. denied he was taking Walker’s side, adding: “Yeah, it’s a scumbag move (a youth pastor having sex with a girl), and people can’t be in the ministry that do that,” he said. “But he removed himself before (inaudible) a chance to do that. I don’t know what else to do.”

Rotola Sr. told her that if her relative reported it to police, he wanted a “heads-up” so he could alert his staff and be prepared for media questions. The alleged victim said several times during the conversation that she was not going to report it.

Neither Walker nor Rotola Sr. knew that the conversations were being recorded. Under Kansas law, only one party needs to consent to recording a conversation.

The senior pastor never conveyed a desire to report the allegations, and “the only involvement he had was try to cover it up,” says Jonathan McConnell, an attorney for the alleged victim.

The attorney for Word of Life Ministries, Ross Hollander, gave this statement Friday: “My clients prefer to plead the details of their case to a jury rather than to the media. They acknowledge that the lawsuit alleges tragic conduct. They place their faith in the legal process where they can present their side of the case.” In a court document, they have denied allegations that they are at fault.

The alleged victim is suing Word of Life Ministries and Schools Inc., Rotola Sr. and his son, church school administrator Robert Rotola Jr.

She is seeking damages of more than $575,000.

The alleged victim and her family attended the church; at one point, she went to Life Preparatory Academy, a school run by Word of Life.

….

The court document laying out the allegations in the lawsuit says that after a woman who was hosting foreign exchange students reported that an exchange student at the Word of Life school received inappropriate text messages from Walker, Rotola Jr. said he would “take care of the situation.” When the host mother later found journal entries by the student about inappropriate relations with Walker and showed the journal to Rotola Jr. and Rotola Sr., the older Rotola took the journal and removed the foreign exchange student from the home, the lawsuit says.

Rotola Sr. “threatened to remove the host mother’s other foreign exchange student if (she) continued to push the matter,” it says.

Word of Life lists several campuses and a main address at 3811 N. Meridian. It employed Walker as youth pastor at Ground Zero, where he led activities for young teens, the lawsuit says. He also served as the girls soccer coach at the Word of Life school.

The recording of Walker is part of the criminal case against him, McConnell said. Walker, 48, has remained in jail since August after being charged with aggravated indecent liberties and two counts of criminal sodomy. He faces a trial on April 9.

….

According to the church’s website, its vision is:

Word of Life Church has embarked on a unique journey. We have experienced several church mergers enabling us to combine efforts, join facilities, and adopt one vision to become much more powerful together than apart. Two are better than one; and multiple campuses all joining their parts together make for one strong and effective part!

By combining talents and callings, we are advancing the ministry of Christ more quickly. Partnering to do outreach and missions has produced major results for the Kingdom! Our missions plan, entitled “Vision 2020”, launched in 2006, has now seen over 3,050,000 people become followers of Christ around the world. Vision 2020’s goal is to win 20 million.

“Walking out our Christianity with others” is a much higher paradigm than “Going it alone”. We are sharing LIFE with the lost and doing so in harmony, unity, and strength .

We are one church with multiple campuses. All of our 140+ campuses have made a covenant to see the mission of Vision 2020 come to pass. Word of Life is serving many individuals and families with a highly acclaimed Counseling Center, Preschool & Childcare, Elementary & Secondary School, and Bible Institute. Our weekly church services include dynamic worship, teaching and small groups. The kids love children’s church! We also have weekly services for teens, young adults and more.

It is our honor to serve the Lord Jesus in the city of Wichita as Senior Pastors of Word of Life Church Wichita since 1989.

Pastor Rob and Debbie Rotola