Tag Archive: Child Abuse

Why Do Pastors Defend and Support Criminals?

god of second chances

As I wade through the neck-deep filth in the Evangelical gutter gathering information for the Black Collar Crime series, one common event shows up in story after story: that when these criminals are on trial or they are being sentenced for their crimes, their pastors are on hand to let everyone know that the predator pastor was a good person who did a bad thing. Often, these testifying pastors tell judges and juries that the criminal’s good works outweigh any bad that he might have done; that molesting and raping children or sexually assaulting church members is somehow atoned for by the church member’s or ex-pastor’s good works. These so-called men of God even go so far as to ask the courts to grant the convicted offender probation, promising that the child molester/rapist has turned over a new leaf and has crossed-his-heart-hoped-to-die promised that he will never, ever rape, molest, look at child porn, or take sexual advantage of woman. Why do pastors seem so willing to be character references for criminals?

First, when a church member or colleague in the ministry is accused and convicted of a sex crime, it makes the church and pastor look bad. Churches and their pastors supposedly set the moral standard for their communities. Yet, here’s a fine, upstanding congregant or pastor behaving in ways that make a mockery of Christian morality. So the testifying pastor, by putting a good word in for the criminal, hopes to remediate his church’s reputation. Unfortunately, by testifying, what he really says to the community is that he believes there should be a separate standard of punishment for Christian church members and pastors.

Second, many pastors believe “sinning” church members and pastors deserve a second chance. If Jesus forgave them, shouldn’t everyone else? Think of all the good Child Molester Bob or Rapist Jack could do in the community if they were given probation. Why, they could travel from church to church telling how God delivered them from sexual deviancy. Isn’t God wonderful? Bob says. I stand before you today as a humbled man forgiven by God. I am so grateful that my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ gave me another opportunity to serve him! Later that night, Bob slips into his car and drives the streets looking for another child to molest. God will forgive him, he thinks. Isn’t God awesome?

Testifying pastors seem to forget that our justice system is expected to mete out punishment to those convicted of crimes. Why all the pleas for understanding and forgiveness? These same pastors will preach thundering sermons about God’s judgment of sinners and their impending doom in hell, yet when it comes to criminal church members and pastors, it is expected that they be treated as if their crimes were insignificant or worthy of special treatment.

Forgiveness is up to the victims and not the courts. Courts are supposed to weigh facts and evidence and render appropriate judgment. Testifying pastors are callous and tone deaf when they ask courts to grant convicted congregants and pastors probation or community service. Should not the victims be their primary concern? Yet, in case after case, pastors re-victimize victims by their unwavering love, compassion, and support for rapists, child molesters, and those who use their positions of power to take advantage of others.

Third, some testifying pastors don’t believe the crime was as bad as prosecutors made it out to be. Yes, Youth Pastor Jim was thirty and in a position of authority, but come on, the girl was sixteen, Why, she was a-l-m-o-s-t an adult. I wonder if pastors who think this way would do so if it was THEIR daughter Youth Pastor Jim had sex with in his church office? I doubt it.

Fourth, some testifying pastors simply refuse to live in the real world. Surely, there must be some other explanation for Suzie accusing Deacon Joe of molesting her. Deacon Joe is a fine family man, the pastor says. I’ve known his family for forty years. I assure you that Deacon Bob could never, ever — I mean NEVER — molest his daughter. (Deep down he believes Suzie is possessed by a demon.) Even after the judge says GUILTY! some pastors refuse to believe the truth staring them in the face; that they didn’t know this or that pastor or church members as well as they thought they did.

Child molesters and sexual abusers can hide their behavior for decades. It is often only when children become adults that they have the courage to speak about what their father, pastor, youth pastor, deacon, teacher, or Sunday school teacher did to them. Testifying pastors wonder, why didn’t they come forward sooner? It sure looks like they did so for the money.  Evidently, such pastors expect children to act like adults, refusing to see that when an authority figure has power over someone, a victim often becomes incapacitated by fear or loss of love from family and church. It’s not that they don’t want to report what has happened to them — they can’t. And often, when victims DO speak up, what happens? They aren’t believed or they are accused of being culpable for what happened to them. This is especially the case with churches on the right-wing fringe of the Evangelicalism. More than one girl has been forced to stand before her church and “confess” her sins.  Imagine being raped by a church leader, only to be forced to apologize for being such an easy target for the rapist.

I have some advice I would like to give to testifying pastors. SHUT THE HELL UP! Don’t testify. Don’t be a character reference. Don’t talk up the abuser’s good works and family. Instead, support the victims and their families. Help them find professional care for their psychological scars. Let the criminal face the just consequences of his behavior. Surely you have not forgotten that the Bible says that a man reaps what he sows. There will be plenty of time for you to minister to your convicted church member or colleague in the ministry. In open court is not the time. Are you listening, pastors?

Black Collar Crime: Hyles-Anderson College Teacher Joe Combs Sentenced for Raping His Daughter

joe combsIn March 2000, Joe Combs and his wife Evangeline were tried and convicted on numerous criminals charged related to their ritual abuse and rape of their adopted daughter. Joe Combs was the pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Bristol, Tennessee. He previously had been a trusted member of First Baptist Church in Hammond, Indiana and a teacher at Hyles-Anderson College.

The Combses case was brought to memory recently when police arrested “David Turpin and Louise Turpin earlier this month in Riverside County, California, on charges of torture, child abuse, dependent adult abuse and false imprisonment.”

Dalena Mathews and Robert Sorrell, reporters for the Bristol Herald Courier had this to say:

Sullivan County District Attorney General Barry Staubus said news of the Turpin case brought back memories of a case he prosecuted in 2000.
“I immediately remembered the Combs trial and started comparing it to what’s happening in [the Turpin] case,” Staubus said in a recent interview with the Bristol Herald Courier.

“The difference is that in the Combs case, it centered on the sadistic, brutal treatment of Esther Combs.”

….

In November 1998, Bristol Tennessee Police arrested Joseph D. Combs, pastor of the now-defunct Emmanuel Baptist Church on Weaver Pike, and his wife, Evangeline Combs, on charges that they brutalized, Esther, a girl they were raising as their daughter.

The couple and their children were living in the church parsonage at the time the abuse took place.

Grand jury indictments against the couple were the culmination of a multi-jurisdictional investigation that began in February 1997, according to Blaine Wade, who now serves as Bristol Tennessee’s police chief.

Police began investigating when Esther, then 19, was taken to Bristol Regional Medical Center for treatment after she attempted to commit suicide.
Hospital staff discovered that her body was covered in layers of scar tissue. It was revealed during the trial that she had more than 400 scars.
The case went to trial more than a year later in March 2000. Lawyers questioned 121 jurors over six days before agreeing on the 12-member jury. The 12 jurors selected for the case included five retirees, a nurse, a press room manager, a bread salesman, a fast food restaurant manager and several Eastman employees. The group also included two church deacons and a Sunday school teacher.

….

Subpoenaed witnesses for the defense included two Michigan lawyers who represented Esther in a civil action against the Combses and against the Indiana adoption agency that placed her with the family.

Esther led a tortured life behind the locked doors of a Bristol church, enduring rapes, beatings and burnings at the hands of the people who should have protected her, Staubus said in his opening statement.

“Inside this locked, closed fellowship hall, there were sinister things going on,” Staubus said.

The couple systematically beat and abused the girl with baseball bats, wood burners, pliers, pieces of tin and metal whips, the prosecutor said.
“Mrs. Combs found out about [the abuse], and she blamed Esther and she viciously abused her,” Staubus told the jury.

Along with physical abuse and rape came other forms of cruelty, Staubus said. Esther was starved, denied an education and medical treatment and was “separated out to be the family servant,” the prosecutor said. “You will hear and see evidence of lies, betrayed trust, assaults, injuries, brutality, molestation and even torture.”

Defense attorneys, Spivey and Joe Harrison, said Esther had an ulterior motive. “She has filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit, and has received compensation for stories she has told to news agencies and newspaper people,” Spivey said.

Spivey said the most important evidence would come from the girl’s five brothers and sisters, who would testify she was a “disturbed young woman who inflicted injuries on herself.”

The jury was shown 58 photographs, which were taken by Richmond on the day the young woman was admitted to the hospital. The photographs showed red, whip-like marks covering the young woman’s back, raised scars on her buttocks and near her genitals, and other scars on her forehead, chin, neck, wrists, arms, breasts and legs.

When the detective tried to uncover the cause of the disfiguring marks on the young woman’s body, she was met by silence, Richmond said.

“Joe Combs told me he did not know she had scars and that he had never seen the scars before,” Richmond said. “He said she was very clumsy and she fell down a lot on the pavement.”

Esther took the stand on the 12th day of the trial, where a standing-room only crowd filled the courtroom. Joseph and Evangeline Combs showed little reaction to the testimony and rarely looked at Esther Combs while she was speaking.

“My earliest memory is of being tied to the high chair and thrown down the stairs by Mrs. Combs,” Esther testified, drawing gasps from the crowd of courtroom spectators.

She testified that the abuse continued for the next two decades as she detailed numerous incidents of abuse by Joseph and Evangeline Combs.

So many people wanted to observe the trial, Judge Beck set up a lottery system to determine which members of the public would get seats for the court session. He said he would not let spectators stand in the courtroom, but on certain days, some were allowed to do so.

A number of witnesses testified on behalf of the defense that the Combs children were “normal, happy children.”

The couple’s other children denied the allegations against their parents.

The former pastor adamantly denied allegations that he raped, tortured or enslaved Esther.

“I love her. I thought she loved me,” Joseph Combs said. “I’m bewildered by all of this. I can’t get my mind around it. It doesn’t make sense.”
Combs took the stand, but his wife did not.

After deliberating for just four hours, the jury delivered a guilty verdict. Joseph and Evangeline Combs were found guilty of especially aggravated kidnapping. Joseph Combs was also convicted of aggravated rape, aggravated assault, aggravated perjury and seven counts of rape. Evangeline Combs was also convicted of four counts of aggravated child abuse. The trial ultimately lasted 31 days, one of the longest in Sullivan County history.

On April 26, 2000, Joseph Combs was sentenced to 114 years behind bars. He later died in prison. Evangeline Combs received a 65-year sentence.

….

What follows is a video from the trial. Warning! This video is graphic:

Video Link

In 1998, The Chicago Times reported:

The fundamentalist Baptist minister charged with kidnapping, raping and torturing a girl he took from a Porter County children’s home was once a respected Bible teacher at Hyles Anderson College in St. John Township.

When the Rev. Joseph and Evangeline Combs allegedly illegally adopted a 4-month old girl from the Baptist Children’s Home and Family Ministries in Kouts, he was “probably the foremost Bible instructor at Hyles Anderson,” said Jerry Kaifetz, a former student at the school and now an ordained minister. The family settled in a comfortable ranch home along a cul du sac in northwest Merrillville, where neighbors say the children were polite, well behaved and said they were not allowed to talk to adults unless their parents were present.

….

Joyce McGowan, a neighbor of the Combs family when they lived in Merrillville, said the Combses often tried to talk McGowan and her husband into accompanying them to Sunday services at First Baptist Church in Hammond. The Combs children were not allowed to exchange even small talk with McGowan, she said. McGowan also said she recalled the Combses often commenting how often their adoptive daughter seemed to be ill. “She was the one we didn’t see too often,” McGowan said. “She was small at that time, I think she couldn’t have been but 9 or 10 when they moved away. When we did see her, she had the saddest little face you ever saw.”

Prosecutors in Tennessee said the girl lived a hellish existence with her adoptive parents, being tortured and sexually abused as she was brainwashed into believing she was being raised to be the family’s slave because it was “God’s will.” The alleged abuse was discovered when the woman, who turns 21 on Monday, was hospitalized after a suicide attempt last year. Federal court records show the Combses were given the little girl in March 1978 by the operators of the Baptist Children’s Home. The adoption process was never completed. In a lawsuit filed Friday in federal court in Hammond, lawyers for the woman said their client was systematically tortured by the Combses, never allowed to attend school and not told she was adopted or that a judge never awarded custody of her to the Combses. The lawyers are suing the Combses for their alleged abuse and the Baptist Children’s Home for negligence. The lawsuit does not specify the damages being sought.

….

Kaifetz said Combs left the area, probably in 1985, during a controversy over his sale of Bible study books at the college. He has had no contact with Combs since then, but did see an advertisement for his ministry several years ago in a religious publication.

The Rev. Jack Hyles, the pastor of the First Baptist Church and chancellor of Hyles Anderson College, could not be reached for comment Saturday. Beverly Hyles, his wife, said neither one of them has had any contact with the Combses since they left the area, taking 40 or so Hyles Anderson students with them to start their Tennessee church. “He has called us several times,” Hyles said. “We have not returned any of his calls.”

The woman’s lawsuit says she faces huge medical bills as the result of her alleged mistreatment. Among the injuries the Combses are alleged to have inflicted upon the woman were broken bones, dislocated joints, severe and repeated lacerations and trauma and damage to the nervous system and vascular systems. She is being cared for in Michigan by a foster family and has met both of her birth parents since her suicide attempt, said Gregg Herman, one of her lawyers.

Jennifer Talirico, another former neighbor of the Combses, said she was horrified to learn of the charges pending against the Combses. “They kept to themselves, they certainly weren’t the type to have neighbors over or anything like that,” Talirico said. “But God, I wish I knew what was going on in that house.”

The Pastor as Gatekeeper and Why Evangelical Churches Continue to be Rocked with Scandals

gatekeeperAs the Black Collar Crime series makes clear, Evangelical churches have just as big a problem with sexual abuse, rape, sexual assault, and sexual misconduct as Catholic churches do. Thanks to the internet and an increasing awareness of sexual abuse, people are now more willing to speak out, and if warranted, report their assaults to law enforcement. Some victims are turning to civil courts to extract justice from their abusers and those who facilitated a climate where sexual predators could prey with impunity. Churches and their leaders are learning that it is quite expensive to ignore or cover-up allegations of sexual impropriety.

I am convinced that we have yet to see the full depth and breadth of criminal conduct that has gone on behind the closed doors of countless Evangelical churches. As I think about the fifty years I spent in the Christian church, including twenty-five years pastoring Evangelical churches in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan, I am increasingly grieved over how little churches and pastors did to address allegations of sexual misconduct. Victims were routinely disbelieved or accused of lying. Why Deacon Bob would never do such a thing, Sally. Why are you lying? Sometimes, victims were believed but told to forgive their abusers. Jesus forgave you, Sally. Shouldn’t you forgive Pastor Billy Bob? Other times, predators were run out the church, and told never to come back. He’s gone now, Sally. It is time to move on. That what Jesus would want you to do. What rarely, if ever, happened was the arrest and prosecution of offending pastors, evangelists, missionaries, deacons, worship leaders, Sunday school teachers, and congregants.

I can only remember one instance where a predator was accused, arrested, and convicted of his crime, and this only happened after he was caught a second time sexually assaulting a teen boy.  Even then, after “justice” was served, he joined up with a new Evangelical church and is “faithfully” serving Jesus. As a pastor, I regularly attended pastor’s conferences and meetings. It was not uncommon to hear whispers and stories about this or that pastor being accused of sexual misconduct. I would hear stories about pastor so-and-so abruptly leaving his church, only to find out later that he was caught at a motel with a church teenager or was fucking the choir director’s wife. One pastor was having sex with his secretary in his church office every Saturday while devoted members were out knocking on doors, inviting people to come to church and hear their “godly” on-fire pastor preach.  He was run out of the church, but later surfaced, as Jack Hyles’ son David did, in another community busily “serving’ Jesus.

Years ago, a concerned congregant told me that an unmarried man who had been attending our church was inviting young boys to spend the weekend with him on his farm. I investigated the issue and concluded that the man was probably a pedophile. What did I do? I ran the guy out of the church. I angrily told him that I knew exactly what he was. I also called the pastor of another Evangelical church the man attended and told him about the allegations. He agreed that the man, who is now dead, was likely a pedophile. Both of us thought we had done our duty by protecting church children from a predator. However, neither of us reported it to law enforcement, knowing that doing so would embroil our churches in controversy and harm the reputation and “testimony” of our respective churches. I now know that I did not do all I could have and should have done.

There were other instances of allegations of sexual misconduct or physical abuse, where I reported matters to the appropriate authorities. Later in my ministerial career, a man confessed to me that he had viciously murdered his girlfriend. I immediately called the police, who I knew were looking for him, and he was arrested. The man is now serving a life sentence in an Ohio penitentiary. Early in my ministerial career, my father-in-law, with whom I worked with as assistant pastor, came to me and told me that a congregant had confessed to shaking his infant baby to death. At the time, the cause of death had been attributed to SIDS. I told my father-in-law that he should immediately report the crime to the police. He did, and the man was arrested and convicted of manslaughter.

child sexual abuseThe common thread running through the anecdotal stories above and current allegations/crimes is that often pastors serve as gatekeepers for their respective churches. Congregants are encouraged to bring ALL reports of sexual misconduct or other criminal behavior to their pastor. It is up to the pastor, then, to decide whether the authorities should be called. Keep in mind, pastors are not lawyers, nor do they have investigatory skills as law enforcement professionals do. Unfortunately, pastors are often treated as a jack-of-all-trades. Most Evangelical pastors are not qualified to provide competent, professional counseling to congregants, yet, countless congregants are counseled by pastors who know little more than to quote Bible verses. Pastors are often considered vast repositories of wisdom and advice. Few congregants ponder whether their trust is misplaced. When pastors hear of accusations that could tear their church asunder, their natural inclination is to protect their churches’ reputations, thinking that in doing so they are protecting God.

Pastors wrongly think that they and their churches are indispensable parts of their local communities. Why, if scandal rocked the church, it would ruin our “testimony,” pastors think. There are souls to be saved and chicken dinners to be served. And just like that, pastor rationalize keeping wraps on all sorts of sexual misconduct, including the sexual and physical abuse of children. Where, oh where, are pastors who are willing to sacrifice everything to stand along-side of victims of abuse? Is it not better for a church to close its doors than for it to silently stand silently by while sexual crime goes unpunished. No pastor, deacon, Sunday school teacher, or congregant should be above the law. Yes, making allegations public can and will cause harm to churches and the families of abusers. But, the only way to stamp out sexual abuse in churches is for people in the know to be willing to report allegations to law enforcement and child protective services.

It is time for churches to take the gate keys away from pastors and other church leaders. It is time for congregants to be instructed to take their allegations to law enforcement and let them determine whether crimes have been committed. The duties of pastors are simple: preach, teach, and eat chicken dinner at potlucks. When pastors hear whispers of sexual misconduct that could be criminal in nature, they should not pass Go, nor should they collect $200. These men of God should IMMEDIATELY pick up the phone and call law enforcement (and if a police officer attends the church, he should NOT be the person to whom the alleged crimes are reported). Pastors shouldn’t investigate, call a board meeting, accuse the perpetrator, or pray about it. All of these things can wait until law enforcement has been contacted. The only people who matter are the victims. Yes, an allegation doesn’t equal guilt, but it not up to pastors and other church leaders to determine guilt; that’s for police and prosecutors to do.

Local prosecutors can help prod pastors and churches along by prosecuting them if they fail to report alleged sexual abuse. Many states consider pastors and church leaders mandatory reporters, who are REQUIRED to immediately report sexual abuse allegations; not investigate and then report, not pray and then report, not get your ducks in a row and then report; not huddle with church board and then report. Throwing a few pastors in jail for not reporting might help other pastors “see the light” concerning sexual abuse.

The days of covering up allegations of sexual abuse are over. Pastors and churches who ignore this, do so at their own peril. From jail time to million-dollar awards, pastors and churches are learning that not only did Jesus take a dim view of those who harm children, so do those of us who believe that children deserve protection from those who dare to prey on them in the name of God.

About Bruce Gerencser

Bruce Gerencser, 60, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 39 years. He and his wife have six grown children and eleven grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

Bruce is a local photography business owner, operating Defiance County Photo out of his home. If you live in Northwest Ohio and would like to hire Bruce, please email him.

Thank you for reading this post. Please share your thoughts in the comment section. If you are a first-time commenter, please read the commenting policy before wowing readers with your words. All first-time comments are moderated. If you would like to contact Bruce directly, please use the contact form to do so.

Donations are always appreciated. Donations on a monthly basis can be made through Patreon. One-time donations can be made through PayPal.

Black Collar Crime: Convicted Child Molester Faithfully Attends Church and is of Good Character, Pastor Says

karl lawrence

This story is about two criminals — a school janitor convicted of statutory sodomy and his pastor who said the man was a Christian with good character. The child molester will serve time in prison, but his partner in crime, his pastor, will continue to serve up religious bullshit without facing any consequences. The man’s pastor is a criminal in the sense that he sells forgiveness from God as a way to reboot your life, no matter what you have done. I have no doubt that this pastor thinks that since Jesus has forgiven the child molester, so should everyone else. Slap him on the wrists, judge. Jesus has forgiven him and he promises to never, never sexually molest children again.

Karl Lawrence, a former school janitor, was convicted last week of two counts of statutory sodomy.

The Springfield News-Leader reports:

A Greene County jury convicted a former janitor at Willard Public Schools of two counts of statutory sodomy last week.

Karl David Lawrence, 51, sexually abused a girl twice in 2012.

During Lawrence’s sentencing hearing, prosecutors said Lawrence abused multiple children over several years.

None of the abuse had any apparent connection to Willard Public Schools, where a district spokeswoman said Lawrence worked from 2006 to 2014.

Lawrence was charged in 2016, four years after the abuse of the girl took place.

According to a probable cause statement filed by Republic police, three girls accused Lawrence of sexually abusing them in Republic and in Florida.

The statement said one girl disclosed that when she was 12 or 13, she was in a garage in Republic when Lawrence came up behind her, put his hand down her pants and touched her genitals.

According to the statement, the girl said Lawrence “stuck his fingers inside me” a different time and she told him to stop.

Lawrence allegedly replied: “Why?”

The girl said Lawrence grabbed her breasts often, according to the statement.

Family of both the victim and Lawrence attended the sentencing hearing Thursday, filling three pews in the courtroom.

Dawn Diel, an assistant Greene County prosecuting attorney, said Lawrence has “fooled his family for all these years.”

The first person to testify at the sentencing was the victim, who prosecutors say is now 18.

“I am scared all the time,” the victim said, her voice breaking. “I have been diagnosed with severe anxiety. I get panic attacks. My mom has tried to help me though it.”

She said she has been put on medication for anxiety.

“When I see headlights behind me, I think they’re following me,” the victim said. “I feel like I’m always going to be scared because of what happened to me.”

Several people took the stand on behalf of Lawrence.

His mother called him “one of the most caring, loving people in the world.”

His wife, who broke down crying multiple times, said they got married in 2013, a year before the allegations surfaced.

“He’s a wonderful husband. He’s a wonderful father,” Lawrence’s wife said. “He provides for us. He takes care of us.”

She started crying.

Lawrence’s pastor testified that Lawrence and his wife are faithful attendants of church and Bible study. The pastor described Lawrence as a “man of good character.”

….

 

“The fact that even his own family and people around him … think he has good character shows his true danger because he has that ability to manipulate and he was able to create such devastation in plain sight,” Chapman said. “Every day that he’s out, children are going to be at risk.”

The jury recommended a sentence of 15 years on both counts of statutory sodomy.

….

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Sunday School Teacher John Ware Charged with Sexual Battery

john ware

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

John Ware, a Sunday School teacher at First Baptist Church of Pine Castle in Orlando, Florida was charged Tuesday with the sexual battery of a child.

WFTV-9 reports:

An Orange County Sunday school teacher faces charges of sexual battery on a child under 12 years old, deputies said.

John Maxwell Ware, 53, who works at First Baptist Church of Pine Castle, was arrested Tuesday, deputies said.

Investigators were notified Monday that Ware abused the child Saturday at a fall festival at the church at 1001 Hoffner Ave. in Orlando.

The child said the child’s legs were tired from setting up for the festival, so Ware asked the child to sit in his car, investigators said.

Ware began driving to the back parking area and tickling the child on the upper thighs and sexually battered the child, investigators said. The child told Ware to stop, but he kept going, investigators said.

Ware denied the sexual battery to the child’s parent and investigators, deputies said.

Ware later admitted it’s possible he may have touched the child.

“It’s possible because the child was squirming (during tickling), but it wasn’t on purpose,” Ware told the parent.

Ware is being held without bail at the Orange County Jail.

It’s unclear if there are more victims, but investigators urge anyone who may have been a victim to come forward.

Ware was arrested in 1997 and pleaded guilty to prostitution or lewdness, according to court documents.

….

Update

In a November 17, 2017 WESH-2 report, it is alleged that Ware might have molested additional victims (Link to video):

A Central Florida Sunday School teacher already charged with molesting a young girl on a church campus may soon face more charges.

John Ware, 53, could face more charges for sex crimes in addition to a charge stemming from a prior investigation of him.

Ware is currently facing one count of sexual battery on a child under age 12, but that list could grow.

Since that time, we have had several victims come forward and they are working with our sex crimes detectives,” Jane Watrel, of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, said.

Deputies said they want more people to look closely at Ware’s mugshot.

Detectives said the alleged new victims told a story similar to that of a young girl who claims she was molested by Ware, a volunteer Sunday School teacher at First Baptist Church Pine Castle.

The girl said Ware gave her a ride to the back parking lot during the Fall Festival on Nov 5.

According to the arrest affidavit, the girl said Ware reached his hands into her “blue jean shorts.”

“Several have come forward, but they (detectives) do believe there are more and that is very troubling to us,” Watrel said.

Ware was investigated for an incident involving a child, by the sheriff’s and state attorney’s offices seven years ago.

WESH 2 News has obtained information from local law enforcement that indicates the alleged incident in 2010 happened at the Lake Gloria Shores community. His arrest affidavit and property records show Ware lives there.

….

Beware of Deacon Bob

child abuse 2The following is loosely based on a true story recounted to me by a Baptist pastor’s daughter.

Every church has a Deacon Bob — a Jesus-loving man who loves getting close and personal with children. Deacon Bob is a hugger. He loves intimate physical contact. Deacon Bob goes from person to person, handing out hugs and warm embraces. Everyone loves Deacon Bob. Knowing no boundaries, Deacon Bob embraces everyone. Deacon Bob focuses his “love” on children. Children love Deacon Bob. He is known for always having candy in suit coat pocket.  Sunday after Sunday, church children run to Deacon Bob, begging him to give them candy.

Every night, without fail, Deacon Bob and his wife — both lifelong members of Calvary Baptist Church — had their devotions and prayed together. Afterward, Deacon Bob’s wife retired for the night. Deacon Bob told his wife that he would be to bed soon, but first, he needed to study his Sunday School lesson — Deacon Bob taught the fifth-grade girls. Soon his wife was fast asleep and Deacon Bob sat down in the computer room to study his lesson — a place where he would commune with God undisturbed. Done with studies, Deacon Bob got up from his chair and locked the computer room door. Safe from interruption, Deacon Bob sat down, put on his headphones, and typed in Netscape the internet address for one his favorite child pornography websites. Soon, Deacon Bob began pleasuring himself as he viewed children being sexually molested and violated. Once he was finished, Deacon Bob felt an overwhelming sense of guilt. Oh, Jesus, I am so sorry for what I have done. Please, Lord, forgive me. I claim the promises found in 1 John 1:9, If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Thank you, Lord for forgiving me of my sin. In Jesus name, I pray, Amen.

Night after night, year after year, Deacon Bob repeats this ritual — seeking self-gratification and then asking Jesus to forgive him. Deacon Bob started each morning with prayer, reading that day’s entry in Our Daily Bread, and a silent promise to God that he would never look at child porn again. Deacon’s Bob’s resolve lasted for a day or two, maybe a week, but soon, with deviant passions stirred by church children unaware of who and what he really is, Deacon Bob returned to the internet to seek out images and video sure to satisfy — for a moment — his perverse sexual desires.

Deacon Bob is a sexual predator hiding in plain sight. His church family thinks he’s wonderful — a lover of Jesus and children. He’s just like Jesus, Pastor Billy was heard saying. Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. (Luke 18:16) Deacon Bob just wants to minister to children, sharing with them his love for Jesus. We need more Deacon Bob’s in this church! Clueless to Deacon Bob’s true nature and desires, Pastor Billy and the church “trust” Deacon Bob with their children. Sister Eatmore was overheard saying, Why Deacon Bob sure does love children. I would trust him to take my children anywhere.

The whole church thinks Deacon Bob is their very own Mister Rogers — everyone except Margie Buttermore, that is. Sister Buttermore told her husband one Sunday after church, That Deacon Bob sure is friendly with children. I am worried that he might be a sexual predator or a pedophile. Just today, I saw him give Julia a hug, and as he did his hand slid down to her buttocks. I think he did that on purpose. Brother Buttermore replied, Oh, Margie, Deacon Bob is a fine man. He teaches Sunday School, sings in the choir, and just last year he gave a large donation to the building fund. I would KNOW if Deacon Bob is a pervert. Men KNOW these kinds of things. Deacon Bob is NOT a pedophile. Sister Buttermore said nothing more, but she decided to pay attention to how Deacon Bob physically interacts with children.

Week after week, Sister Buttermore watched Deacon Bob, becoming more certain each week that he was not the kind of man everyone thought he was. One Sunday evening after church. Sister Buttermore decided to talk to Pastor Billy about her concerns. And just like her husband months before, Pastor Billy assured Sister Buttermore that Deacon Bob was a fine, upstanding Christian. Years ago, Pastor Billy told her, we had a man in our church who really was a pedophile. Everyone knew he was a child molester. I ran him off before he could hurt any of our children. Deacon Bob is nothing like this pervert.

Several years later, Deacon Bob took his fifth-grade girl’s Sunday School class out to eat — a reward for winning the Sunday School Perfect Attendance Award. Most families dropped their girls off at the local Chuck E. Cheese. Sister Eatmore had something come up at the last minute, so she called Deacon Bob and asked him if he would pick up Julia for the party. Deacon Bob told Sister Eatmore that he would be glad to pick Julia up and safely return her home after the party. Thanks! Deacon Bob. There’s no one I trust more with our children than you. Deacon Bob replied, no problem, Sister. I love our church’s children. I want to help every child come to know Jesus as their Savior.

Just as planned, Deacon Bob picked up eleven-year-old Julia and took her to the party. On the way home, Deacon Bob told Julia to slide over close to him. With nary a thought, groomed for this very moment, Julia complied. Deacon Bob had been hugging her for years. Everyone loved and trusted him.

Several miles away from Chuck E. Cheese, Deacon Bob takes his right hand and puts it on Julia’s thigh. Julia doesn’t seem to mind. Julia, Deacon Bob said, you know Jesus loves you, and so do I. Julia replied, I know, I love both of you too!

Years later, Julia told her therapist what happened the night Deacon Bob drove her home from the party. Twenty years had passed and Julia had never told anyone about what Deacon Bob had done to her. When Julia graduated from high school, she left home, moving three thousand miles away to San Diego. From time to time, Julia would travel home to visit her parents, but she always planned her visits so she wouldn’t have to go to church. She couldn’t bear to go to church — any church.

One year, Julia returned home for her parents’ wedding anniversary. Calvary Baptist wanted to recognize the Eatmores for being faithfully married for fifty years, so they held a party for Brother and Sister Eatmore. Julia’s mom said, Julia, I hope you will come to church for our anniversary party. Please, honey! I know you don’t like going to Calvary, but won’t you do this for us?

Guilted into submission, Julia relented. As she entered the church, Julia looked off in the distance, and there was Deacon Bob — in his eighties now — hugging a young girl. Overcome with grief, guilt, and homicidal rage, Julia ran from the building and walked back to her parents’ home. Brother and Sister Eatmore finally came home, and found Julia, with tears streaming down her face, packing her bag. What’s wrong, Julia? Sister Eatmore asked. Julia told her mom what Deacon Bob had done to her when she was eleven. Oh honey, surely you must be mistaken. Deacon Bob loves Jesus and he would never, ever do such a thing. And with that, Julia called Uber for a ride to the airport, never to return to her parents’ home.

Deacon Bob died several years later, leaving behind the testimony of a man who loved Jesus and children until the end.

Did your church have a Deacon Bob? Please share your experiences in the comment section.

About Bruce Gerencser

Bruce Gerencser, 60, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 39 years. He and his wife have six grown children and eleven grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

Bruce is a local photography business owner, operating Defiance County Photo out of his home. If you live in Northwest Ohio and would like to hire Bruce, please email him.

Thank you for reading this post. Please share your thoughts in the comment section. If you are a first-time commenter, please read the commenting policy before wowing readers with your words. All first-time comments are moderated. If you would like to contact Bruce directly, please use the contact form to do so.

Donations are always appreciated. Donations on a monthly basis can be made through Patreon. One-time donations can be made through PayPal.

Black Collar Crime: Baptist Pastor John Yelton Charged With Child Abuse

pastor john yelton

John Yelton, a Baptist pastor and traveling preacher, was arrested earlier this year and charged with child abuse. Yelton did not appear for his court appearance and was on the lam for months until he was apprehended this week in Panama City, Florida.

Earlier this year, a WSOC-9 report stated:

A Charlotte-area pastor is accused of using his work as a preacher to target vulnerable women and abuse them.

Investigative reporter Paul Boyd found seven women who said there’s another side to John Yelton.

YouTube videos of the preacher showed he is very energetic behind the pulpit, and Channel 9 confirmed that he spent time at a church in Gastonia, formerly known as Canaan Land Baptist Church.

Yelton said he’s traveled throughout North Carolina, preaching “the word of God.”

But April Justice and the other women said this preacher is actually a predator.

“It was a nightmare,” Justice said.

Justice said she was approached by Yelton on Facebook a year ago. She said his page had photos showing he was an ordained pastor.

“He says, ‘I’m a pastor,’ and I was, like, OK. And he said, ‘How would you feel like being a pastor’s wife?'” Justice said.

Justice believes he used his preaching background to earn her trust.

“It made me trust him a lot more than it would an average guy,” Justice said.

They married three months later.

“He asked me to marry him at the Bible book store in Hickory,” Justice said.

The wedding in rural North Carolina was picture perfect.

Justice thought Yelton was an answer to her prayers, but three weeks after the wedding,she said his “true colors” started to show.

She said he abused her verbally and physically. A few months later, she said she walked in on him hitting her 9-year-old daughter.

“Hit her. Kicked her. She had bruises on her arms, legs, face and everything,” Justice said.

April called police and said she took these photos of the bruising.

Yelton was arrested and charged with child abuse, false imprisonment and communicating threats.

Justice obtained a protective order and quickly discovered other women through social media who told similar stories about the pastor.

“I thought it was my fault. Until I found out he’d done it to all of them, and then I was, like, wow. This guy’s a monster,’” Justice said.

A Whistleblower 9 investigation connected seven different women to Yelton, including another ex-wife. All of the women said he told them that they would make a great preacher’s wife.

Sarah Hopper said she became involved with Yelton more than a decade ago when she was only 17 years old.

“I was young, and I was stupid,” Hopper said.

They met through the former Canaan Land Baptist Church in Gastonia. She said Yelton was involved with the church’s youth group at the time.

“When you get with him, it’s like the devil’s come out, and you can’t get away,” Hopper said.

She said they moved in together when she turned 18. Yelton is 6 years older.

“As he got drunk, the violence started,” Hopper said.

She said the abuse continued when she became pregnant.

She said she finally left him a few years after giving birth to their daughter and has full custody of the child.

“He’s not a preacher. Preacher’s don’t act like this,” Hopper said.

Boyd tracked Yelton down the day of a child abuse hearing in Catawba County.

He denied using his preaching background to pick up women and take advantage of them.

“God knows I didn’t. That’s the only person I have to answer to is God,” Yelton said.

….

Today, the Panama City News Herald reports:

A former North Carolina pastor on the run from child abuse charges for months has been tracked down in Panama City by his bondsman, according to official reports.

John Yelton, 36, faces charges of child abuse, false imprisonment and communicating threats after his arrest. He is accused of using his position as a North Carolina preacher to target women and then abuse them, officials reported.

Bay County court records also indicate Yelton pleaded no contest in July to a local domestic battery charge and was sentenced to a year of probation.

….

Yelton denied all of the charges but left town shortly after, skipping out on $6,500 bond. After learning of his disappearance, a bail bondsman tracked Yelton to Panama City, where he was working at a local manufacturing job. The bail bondsman took Yelton into custody and transported him back to North Carolina.

Black Collar Crime: Catholic Priest Daniel McCormack Still Considered a Violent Sex Offender, Refused Release

daniel mccormack

Last week, Judge Dennis Porter ruled that convicted sex offender and Catholic priest Daniel McCormack is still a sexually violent person and should not be released from Illinois Department of Human Services SVP Treatment and Detention Facility in Rushville, Illinois.

Chicago-5 reported:

Daniel McCormack, a former priest convicted of molesting children in his Chicago parish, was deemed to still be a sexually violent person by a Cook County judge and will be held indefinitely.

The decision came down on Friday afternoon from Judge Dennis Porter, and means that McCormack will remain at the Illinois Department of Human Services SVP Treatment and Detention Facility in Rushville, IL.

“Daniel McCormack has a history of repeated sexual abuse against children that was especially heinous given his status as a priest,” Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said. “I appreciate Judge Porter’s decision that prevents Daniel McCormack from potentially harming other children.”

McCormack will remain in the facility until at least Nov. 27 when a dispositional hearing will take place.

McCormack has been held in mental health facilities since 2009, when he was released from prison after serving a five-year sentence for sexually abusing five boys while he was serving as a pastor at St. Agatha’s Church, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.

McCormack, who has been accused of abusing dozens of young boys in civil lawsuits, was seeking to be released from a facility dedicated to housing and treating sexually violent offenders.

Raymond Wood, an expert on statistical evaluations on the likelihood that sex offenders will repeat their crimes, testified Thursday that “actuarial models” suggested that McCormack would be a “minimal risk” to abuse children if he were released from the facility.

“My wife complains that I’ll say as I read [files] ‘This is a really bad guy,’” Wood said. “But as a professional, I want to be engaging in the best professional standard that I can.”

Wood took the stand a day after a psychiatrist had testified for the prosecution, stating that McCormack was likely to victimize other children if released without court-ordered supervision, citing a long history of McCormack groping younger men and boys dating back to before his ordination and continuing even after he was arrested in 2005.

Assistant Attorney General Joelle Marasco questioned whether Wood had factored in the large number of victims, and the fact the priest continued to molest multiple boys even though he’d been confronted by parents, then arrested, and told by supervisors that he was not to have contact with children or even continue his work as a teacher and basketball coach.

Wood was the third person to evaluate McCormack’s risk factors for harming more children, though the ex-priest has refused to answer questions citing pending civil and criminal cases against him, leaving his evaluators with only reports from Chicago Police investigations and an internal review by the Chicago archdiocese.

Before he was charged criminally, McCormack was sent by the church to a mental hospital for sex offenders in Maryland, where he denied being sexually attracted to children.

….

 

 

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Rose Amadasun Gets Probation for Beating Church Children With a Belt and Wires

rose amadasun

Rose Amadasun, pastor of Shine Forth Evangelistic Ministry (no web presence) in London, England, received probation for beating church children with a belt and wires.

The Croydon Guardian reports:

A South Norwood pastor who would blindfold children before hitting them with belts and wires has avoided jail.

Rose Amadasun, 49, of Beauchamp Road, was sentenced to 16 months’ imprisonment, suspended for 18 months at Croydon Crown Court on August 9.

She had admitted five counts of child cruelty at a previous hearing.

On Saturday, August 2, 2015 police were called by the manager of South Norwood Leisure Centre stating that two members of the public had informed her they had witnessed the female leader of a church group hitting children with a belt.

Officers spoke to the members of the public who stated they had seen a group of children being assaulted by a woman with a belt and shouting “Jesus” as she did so.

An investigation by detectives from the Child Abuse and Sexual Offences Command revealed that Amadasun had been abusing children she came into contact with through her work for a number of years.

As well as blindfolding the children and beating them, she was found to also shake them when they made a noise and force them to fast for a number of days at a time.

….

Detective Constable Giles Weeden, the investigating officer, said: “This was a complex enquiry that was often met with resistance as the congregation closed ranks to protect their religious leader.

…..

Black Collar Crime: Catholic Priest Felix Colosimo and Syracuse Diocese Sued Over Sexual Abuse Claims

felix colosimo

Greg Mason, a reporter for the Observer-Dispatch, writes:

A former Utica-area priest and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse each are facing a $25 million lawsuit from a man who claims the priest sexually abused him as a child.

The lawsuit, filed Friday in federal court in Connecticut by California man Matthew Strzepak, accuses former priest Felix Colosimo of molesting Strzepak from 1987 to 1990. Strzepak was between 12 to 15 years old when the acts reportedly were committed, according to the lawsuit.

In a statement Friday, the diocese revealed it had stripped Colosimo, who was retired by then, of his priestly duties in 2014 when it found Strzepak’s accusation credible. The diocese stated the Oneida County District Attorney’s Office was informed of the allegation.

Colosimo served locally in the past at St. Peter’s Church in North Utica, St. Leo’s Church in Holland Patent, St. Anthony of Padua Church in East Utica and Our Lady of the Rosary in New Hartford. Now age 78, Colosimo said he retired as a priest at Our Lady of the Rosary three years ago for reasons unrelated to the abuse allegations, according to a Syracuse.com report.

When reached Saturday, Colosimo declined to comment in detail about the allegations against him.

“Again, same what I said from the very beginning, it’s not true,” he said. “The allegations are false.”

Strzepak told Syracuse.com that the abuse began in 1978 or 1979 when he was 4 years old, but New York state’s statute of limitations expired for those claims.

….

Strzepak told Syracuse.com that most of the abuse occurred in the rectory of St. Leo’s Church in Holland Patent, while some occurred at St. Peter’s Church. According to the report, Colosimo threatened Strzepak with violence if he told anyone.

The lawsuit indicates the abuse occurred in various locations in the Northeast, including Connecticut.

Colosimo raped the 12-year-old Strzepak in Connecticut in the fall of 1987, according to the lawsuit. Strzepak alleges the abuse continued until 1990, while he claims another individual — called John Doe in the court papers — also was sexually abused.

This abuse often would occur with Strzepak and Doe at the same time, with many interactions videotaped, according to the lawsuit. Doe is stated to have committed suicide sometime thereafter.

In his lawsuit, Strzepak claims he suffered serious and permanent injuries, both physical and emotional, that were exacerbated “by lack of timely treatment.” He stated this includes panic attacks, emotional distress, anxiety, frustration, disassociation, post-traumatic stress disorder and permanent psychological scarring.

In addition to the $25 million being sought from both Colosimo and the diocese, Strzepak is seeking special damages for medical expenses, past and future lost wages and other costs, according to the lawsuit.

Strzepak submitted his allegations to the diocese in writing in 2013, noting that the allegations were found credible a year later, according to the lawsuit.

In March 2016, the diocese reportedly agreed to pay for six counseling sessions for Strzepak in return for all of the treatment notes and records from his counselor. Whereas the lawsuit states counseling notes are used for insight by the diocese regarding potential legal liabilities, Strzepak indicated in the court papers that he also submitted a video recording — one depicting him and Doe shirtless — to the diocese in 2014, but the diocese has not turned over the video to law enforcement and the video’s whereabouts are unknown.

….

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Church Daycare Worker Charged With Abuse

ashleigh guin

Ashleigh Guin, a worker at a daycare (Bethel Wee Care) operated by Bethel Baptist Church in Odenville, Alabama, was arrested last Wednesday and charged with abusing a child.

WIAT-42 reports:

A worker at a church daycare in Moody is charged with abusing a child, according to police.

The incident occurred May 3 at Bethel Baptist Church.

Ashleigh Brooke Guin, 25, was arrested by Moody Police Wednesday morning. Investigators said the 3-year-old girl’s mother called police after she saw bruises and scratches on her daughter.

Investigators looked at the child’s injuries and surveillance video from the church.

After discussions with the district attorney’s office, a warrant was issued for Guin’s arrest. Parents at the day care said a note was sent home Wednesday.

….

Moody Police told CBS 42 they received the video from the child’s family. Some parents wondered if the church would have even reported the incident to investigators.

The church’s pastor, Dr. Josh Burnham told CBS 42 that he could not make any comments. Burnham added that parents have been kept updated about the situation and that the church continues to cooperate with investigators.

….

CBS 42 sent a reporter to Guin’s house for her side of the story. A man at the door said he would have to discuss the request with a lawyer.

Parents and Police told CBS 42 that Guin had been fired, but the church’s pastor said he could not make any comments.

Guin is out of jail on bond.

WBRC reports:

A woman was arrested after video shows a daycare worker apparently grabbing a child by the arm and slinging her back down to the floor.

Her parents took a picture of the child’s arms showing bruises and marks. It all allegedly happened at a daycare housed in Bethel Baptist Church in Moody.

Video obtained by WBRC also shows the minutes leading up to the main incident, where the same daycare worker apparently led the child back to another part of the room by the arm. The girl appears to grab at it afterward.

“My clients assumed that the daycare facility that they put their children in would do no harm,” said Ezra Jordan, who represents the child’s family in any potential civil matters stemming from the encounter.  “My client will leave no stone unturned and they will do whatever it takes to make sure this happens to no other child.”

Police later arrested Ashleigh Brook Guin and charged her with willful abuse of a child. She’s since been released on a $2,500 bond.

Guin was unable to be reached for comment and it’s unclear if she has an attorney.

The video obtained by WBRC later shows the caregiver apparently saying something to a colleague. That woman then walks over to check on the girl.

According to a police report, the other woman in the video told officers Guin asked her to “look at the child’s arm.”  She also stated that it appeared to her, Guin grabbed the child with “more force than was necessary.”

….

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Torace Weaver Murders Foster Son, Thinks He is the Victim

pastor torace weaver

Last Friday, Torace Weaver, pastor of King of Glory Ministries Church in Dayton, Ohio, was sentenced to eighteen years to life for the murder of his two-year-old foster son.

WHIO-7 reports:

A Dayton pastor and his wife were ordered to prison Friday for the murder and abuse of their 2-year-old foster son, Stanley Thomas III, who died Nov. 18, 2015.

Torace Weaver, 38, was sentenced to 18 years to life for the murder and endangerment of Thomas. He was awarded with 253 days of jail-time credit.

Shureka Weaver, 40, was sentenced to three years in prison for child endangerment. She earned 18 days of jail-time credit.

Both were found guilty last month by a Montgomery County Common Pleas Court jury. A packed courtroom gallery watched Friday’s hearing.

Reading from the pre-sentence investigation report, Judge Mary Katherine Huffman said: “When asked about the victim’s family, Mr. Weaver said, ‘I am the victim,’ ” the judge said. “That is very disturbing to me, sir, that you categorize yourself as a victim in this matter.”

Huffman said the stories Torace Weaver told to police on video were “preposterous” and at no time did they explain the 20 separate blows to Stanley’s head of the serious burns to the boy’s arm and backside.

“This incident wasn’t intentional,” Torace Weaver said, apologizing to his church, family, Dayton police and Montgomery County Children Services. “Looking back up on the burns, yes, I should have taken him to the hospital. … And I’m just saying I’m sorry.”

Prosecutors said the foster child suffered a fractured skull, bruises, scars and burns. Initially, Weaver told police the boy fell off a table. Later, he said they had been playing “Superman” when the 2-year-old slipped and hit his head against a concrete wall.

….

“The case itself was heart-wrenching. It was a very difficult case,” said Anthony VanNoy, Torace Weaver’s attorney. “Your dealing with the most fragile of life — a 2-year-old child — and a person who has helped so many people in his capacity as a pastor.”

King of Glory’s website still lists Weaver as their pastor. His bio is as follows:

Pastor Torace Weaver was born October 19, 1978 in Hattiesburg, MS to Tonnie and Brenda Floyd. He is the only son lovingly surounded by four sisters. Of 40 grandchildren, he is the oldest grandchil of Mother Lizzie (Weaver) Hall.
At the age of five (5), Pastor Weaver was saved and filled with the Holy Ghost. At that time, he was a member of New Life Apostolic Church, in Hattiesburg. His move for the Lord drew his mother and sisters to church. He displayed the ability to lead others to Christ as just a small child.
In 1984, Pastor Weaver became a member of Magee Temple COGIC, also in Hattiesburg. While there, he received teaching and training for ministry under the auspices of the late Superintendent A.R. Magee. He was also a member of the praise team, choir and usher board. Pastor Weaver has always has a love for serving in the church.

Pastor Weaver, in 1997, moved to Dayton, Oh. As a member of Mt. Zion COGIC, he was under the leadership of Supt. Carl B. Norton. He served a choir director, praise team leader and youth pastor while attending Deliverance Temple Ministries inc., where Apostle Shelia Morrow served as pastor. He was an humble servant and also served on the usher and missions boards.
On February 21, 2008, God allowed Pastor Weaver to birth King of Glory Ministries Inc. For several months, Pastor Weaver and his daughter would be the only two in the building having church service as if there were hundreds of others members there in attendance with them. With a substantial membership today, Pastor Weaver continues to open the doors for Sunday morning worship, as well as Thursday evening services. He believes in living by faith and preached to empty chairs believing God would bring the people and He has done just that with room for many more.

Pastor Weaver was ordained an Elder and Pastor on February 8, 2009. King of Glory COGIC Ministries is one of many churches in the Cornerstone District, (Superintendent Louis Bradford). The district serves as proud members of the Ohio Northwest Jurisdiction under the leadership of Bishop Clifford L. Kimbrough Jr., Prelate. Pastor Weaver now serves as Chairman of the Cornerstone District.

An anointed man of God, Pastor Weaver’s mission is to win souls to Christ, set the captive free from the clinches of hell, to mend broken hearts and to help individuals become delivered from oppression. He strives to continue the healing ministry of Jesus Christ. In six years of ministry, Pastor Weaver happily leads over 200 members. He knows who made it all possible and of this, he says, “To God be the Glory.

Pastor Weaver attended Dayton Job Corp. and Sinclair Community College. He studied nursing and has been at Kettering Medical hospital serving as a Orthopedic Tech for the past 15 years. He is married to his first love, Shureka (NaTisha) Johnson-Weaver. He is the father of two children, Gabriella Weaver and his son, Torace Weaver Jr. (T.J.).

His expectation for his family, church and community is to grow higher and delve deeper in the Lord.

I suspect Weaver’s “expectations” have dramatically changed since he was found guilty and sentenced to eighteen years to life in prison.