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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The 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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.
Another woman alleging she was molested by Donald Croddy stepped forward last week. She claims she was encouraged to stay at the Croddy household by Temple Baptist Church Pastor Mike Holloway post 1991.
Jamie, allowing the Perspective to publish her first name, spoke last week after she said she read the account of Dawn Price, who previously alleged she was molested by her father, Donald D. Croddy, at a young age. According to Jamie, now 36 years old and a Kokomo resident, reading Price’s story brought back memories of her own alleged run in with Croddy.
“I saw Don Croddy’s name,” said Jamie. “Everything just kind of hit me. From 1992 to 1994 I was staying at his house on the weekends because the Holloways and (the Croddys) and my mom thought, because I wanted to be a member of the church, they just thought that would be a good way because I would need to be attending church Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday afternoon, and any other time they requested me to be there … The Croddys were generous enough to do it. My mom was OK with it because they were a nice church family.”
According to Jamie, while staying with the Croddys off and on for that two-year period, she was allowed to sleep in a small room on the main floor of the Croddy household. She described details about the room – such as its hardwood floor, off-white color, twin bed, and location within the house – in a manner that matched a separate description by Price. It’s these details that Price said struck her, as the pair had not met prior to last week, while Jamie was making a report at the Kokomo Police Department.
Jamie said that while she was staying with the Croddys, Price’s father made inappropriate advances on her. This, she said, included forced touching.
“He would forcibly hug me. He would like grab me, and hug me, and smoosh my chest into him,” said Jamie. “He would then lower his hand onto my thigh and butt and not let me go.”
Jamie also alleges Croddy would attempt to walk in on her as she changed at their house.
The situation, Jamie claimed, reached a head when she awoke one night with Price’s father allegedly in the twin bed she slept in at the Croddy household on Judson Road.
“He came in there in the middle of the night,” said Jamie. “I wore nightgowns, you know really long ones that had the buttons. I woke up with his hand in my shirt … and I screamed. He told his wife I just had a nightmare.”
It’s at that point, she said, she requested to meet with Holloway. At the time, she said she would have been between the ages of 12 and 14. According to Jamie, she said she told Holloway and his wife about what allegedly was going on at the Croddy household.
“I felt uncomfortable. I talked to Mike Holloway and his wife because you were never allowed to talk with him alone [the Billy Graham rule],” said Jamie. “That was just the rule of church. You weren’t supposed to be with boys alone. Matter of fact, you had to sit a Bible length away in a pew from a boy.
“I told them about some of these things because there were also times (Croddy) would open the door when he knew I was getting undressed. I was pretty much told I wasn’t being a good enough Christian.”
Afterward, Jamie said she never told anyone about her experiences, including her then-single mother. After riding the church’s buses to services since 1985, beginning at the age of 5, Jamie said she stopped attending Temple Baptist Church.
When asked about Jamie’s experience, the leadership of Temple Baptist Church denied the allegation. Because of Jamie’s decision to withhold her last name, the Perspective could not provide a last name to the church because of the nature of her alleged ordeal.
“Without a last name, we cannot provide facts pertaining to a certain member of the church and what interactions this individual may or may not have had with Pastor Holloway,” said Jim Willoughby, an associate pastor at Temple Baptist Church.
“However, the church can state with absolute certainty that Pastor Holloway never encouraged any children to stay at the Croddy home after accusations made by Price in 1991. Additionally, if any church member – child or adult – were to come to the church and claim inappropriate behavior against them, the claim would receive immediate and thorough review by church leadership, including Pastor Holloway. Temple Baptist Church does not and has never tolerated sexual abuse.”
You can read the Devin Zimmerman’s latest in depth article here.
Benjamin Tweedt, a youth leader for Parkview Church in Iowa City, Iowa was arrested yesterday and charged with “one count of sexual abuse third degree, two counts of lascivious acts with a child, three counts of indecent contact with a child, and two counts of lascivious conduct with a minor.”
32-year-old Benjamin Craig Tweedt, of North Liberty is charged with one count of sexual abuse third degree, two counts of lascivious acts with a child, three counts of indecent contact with a child, and two counts of lascivious conduct with a minor.
According to police, it is alleged that Tweedt had multiple one-on-one sessions as a youth church leader with four victims over 10 years. Some of the sessions occurred on church retreats or in victims’ bedrooms. Parkview Church removed Tweedt from their student ministry as soon as they were aware of the situation.
“We’re grieving for the families of the victims that have been involved in this situation” said Doug Schillinger, the lead pastor at Parkview Church.
Schillinger said he wants the truth to be exposed, justice carried out and compassion extended to the victims and their families. Church leaders told the congregation what happened, who was responsible and what they were doing about it. The lead pastor said when he first heard of the abuse, he was shocked because it does not reflect their values or policies at all.
“Again, of the hundreds of volunteers in our school districts, teachers that do it right, that even in spite of good policies there’s one that could go off and it’s very troubling to me” said Schillinger.
Coralville and North Liberty Police have been working together on the case. So far, there’s no evidence to suggest that other people knew the abuse was happening. North Liberty Police Chief Diane Venenga said the victims were very brave to come forward.
In early February we were made aware of incidents that occurred involving a volunteer in the junior high ministries prior to 2012 and immediately contacted state and local authorities. We also notified the church community about the situation. Parkview has cooperated with law enforcement and will continue to do so, and we ask that any questions be directed toward these authorities. Our desire is to see truth exposed, justice executed, and compassion expressed to those who have been impacted. We care deeply for students and families in our community. We ask that you respect the privacy of all who are involved at this time. Thank you.
Juan Gomez, former pastor of Iglesia De Dios (Church of God) in Wimauma, Florida, was convicted today of “sexual battery upon a minor between the ages of 12 and 18 and unlawful sexual activity with a minor.” The Bradenton Herald reports:
A former Wimauma pastor has been found guilty in the 2015 sexual battery of a 17-year-old boy during a hunting trip.
Juan Gomez, 53, was convicted by a jury Thursday afternoon of sexual battery upon a minor between the ages of 12 and 18 and unlawful sexual activity with a minor. The jurors deliberated for just under an hour at the conclusion of a four-day trial.
Gomez, who is facing up to life in prison, will be sentenced on June 16.
The assault first came to light July 21, 2015, after investigators received information Gomez sexually assaulted the boy earlier that month at a hunting ranch in northern Manatee County.
The victim was very thankful on Thursday after the verdict was read, according to Assistant State Attorney Brian Chambers. “The biggest fear that these victims have is that they won’t be believed, and to be believed by this community, for the jury to recognize the heinous act committed upon him while the defendant was entrusted with his care, makes that courageous act of coming forward worthwhile,” Chambers said afterward.
The incident was not isolated, however. The jury heard from another victim who said he was first sexually battered by Gomez in 1990 at a church camp in another county in Florida, and later again during a college visit in Tennessee in 1994.
“He waited for 25 years for justice of that,” Chambers said. “This case is a highlight for what happens, because he wasn’t listened to 25 years ago it only allowed the perpetrator to have another day and another victim.”