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Tag: Child Abuse

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Bruce Gerencser