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Tag: Child Abuse

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Juan Gomez Convicted of Sexual Battery

pastor juan gomez

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.”

Black Collar Crime: Presbyterian Pastor Walter Chuquimia Charged With Sexual Battery

walter chuquimia

Walter Chuquimia, pastor of Beth-El Farmworker Ministry in Wimauma, Florida was arrested yesterday and charged with three counts of sexual battery. Chuquimia allegedly sexually abused a girl for six years, beginning when the girl was eleven years old.  Fox-13 reports:

Walter Chuquimia, 59, was arrested by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office after detectives said they found Chuquimia raped a 17-year-old on April 24, 2017.

During their investigation, detectives found the suspect has sexually battered the victim several times dating back to 2011.

HCSO said Chuquimia was the pastor at Beth-El Farmworker Ministry, Inc. during part of this time. Detectives said Chuquimia admitted to several of the offenses and was arrested and booked on April 24, 2017.

He was charged with three counts of sexual battery.

Detectives have not identified other victims, however, anyone with information concerning Chuquimia is asked to call the sheriff’s office at 813-247-8200.

According to Beth-El Farmworker Ministry, Inc.’s Facebook page, the church’s focus is giving assistance to farm workers and their extended family members through worship with the Hispanic community.

Chuquimia’s bio on Beth-El Farmworker Ministry’s website states:

Rev. Walter F. Chuquimia is a native of Bolivia, South America, and is a child born in a non-Catholic household.  His grandfather was a descendant of the Inca Empire and the first Bolivian native ordained onto the ministry.   Pastor Walter has two brothers and a sister graduated from Theological Seminaries in the United States. He remains in touch with his mother, brothers and a sister living in his native Bolivia.   In Bolivia he had earned a Bachelor’s degree in Education, and though in rural area elementary schools.   Walter attended Universidad Adventista de Centroamerica (Central American Adventist University) in Alajuela, Costa Rica. He worked as Bible Teacher and Literature Evangelist in several Central American Countries. In the United States he graduated from McCormick theological Seminary with Mater of Divinity Degree.  Walter was ordained in 1996 at his hometown church, Valley Presbyterian Church, Scottsdale, Arizona, Grand Canyon Presbytery.

Walter played professional soccer for Alajuela Football Club, Costa Rica.  In United States encouraged by elders of his first congregation he had learn to play golf and racquetball, his daily routine includes outdoor walking or biking.   Walter has an excellent command of the English and Spanish language, an effective public speaker and skilled translator from English to Spanish and vice versa. He is sensitive and respectful of the long-standing traditions of the church and community; open enough to a dialogue that can invigorate our worship and service to the Lord. Formal education received in South America, Central America, Puerto Rico and in the United States of America.

Walter is married to Lorraine, raising together a daughter and son, and is also a very proud father of Kelly Adelina Chuquimia (Arizona) and Sally Maria Chuquima  (Pennsylvania), whose mother is also a pastor.

Rev. Walter Chuquimia is the pastor of the worshiping community at Beth-El Mission.

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Tim Omotoso Accused of Sexual Molesting Young Women

tim omotoso

Tim Omotoso, pastor of multi-branch Jesus Dominion International Church in Durban, South Africa, has been accused of sexually molesting young women. As of the writing of this post, Omotoso has not been arrested or charged with any crime.[Please see updates below.] He remains under investigation.  The Herald Live reports:

A young Port Elizabeth woman has claimed she is among a group of victims allegedly molested by a popular Durban pastor who is being investigated by the Hawks for suspected sex crimes.

Social media has been abuzz with the claims against the widely celebrated pastor in the wake of a TV feature in which the allegations were made by a number of women who have had contact with him during his ministerial work.

The 25-year-old Port Elizabeth woman alleges she was molested at the age of 14 during an incident in Durban. She alleges she was summoned into an office where the pastor rubbed himself against her.

While police are not looking for the 58-year-old pastor as yet, the Hawks say they have been investigating a number of alleged sexual violence cases against him for months now.

The news comes in the wake of a special television feature on the pastor recently.

….

Speaking about the alleged incident that occurred when she was a teenager, the Port Elizabeth woman said: “There was talk among the girls regarding ‘the rod of Moses’, but I did not know what it meant.

“But one day I innocently remarked during music rehearsals that I also wanted this rod of Moses.

“Immediately, he [the pastor] summoned me to his office.”

The woman claimed she had been asked there if she wanted the “rod of Moses” and she responded that she no longer did.

“He [the pastor] came closer to me, saying it was nice,” she said.

“He hugged me and rubbed [against] me with his lower body … I felt very uncomfortable and began to sob.”

The woman said the pastor had asked her what she wanted from God and she had replied that she needed to be blessed.

She alleged that he had handed her R1 000, which she refused, but he had insisted that she take the money and give it to a relative.

The woman claimed that the pastor targeted females, particularly from disadvantaged backgrounds, to whom he promised a better life.

She said the majority of his alleged victims were attracted to his church because of the “miracles” he claimed to perform.

“He loves girls from disadvantaged backgrounds. He creates a ploy to be a father figure to them,” she said.

She claimed the pastor would preach a sermon about sex and would ask “me to stand up, saying look how beautiful I look”.

When a reporter visited the ministry’s Port Elizabeth church yesterday, a number of people were inside, praying.

Most of the congregants refused to speak, except one woman who had joined the church in 2002.

Asked about the allegations, she said: “We can’t speak about what the pastor is accused of. It is not up to us to judge.”

Another congregant, when asked for the pastor’s cellphone number, said: “You can’t call him. He is a man of God.”

But she said the allegations made in the TV feature were rubbish.

“Where is the evidence? They must show us the evidence.”

She said the claims were orchestrated by other pastors within the church who wanted to oust the pastor at the centre of the allegations.

….

Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities chairwoman Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xaluva said churches were supposed to be a safe space.

“We have a serious problem of rape culture in this country and if it is happening in church, we have a much bigger problem.”

She said the commission had finalised its report into the commercialisation of religion and abuse of people’s belief systems.

“We will brief parliament on the report over two days in June,” Mkhwanazi-Xaluva said.

“We need a peer review mechanism to put an end to this.

“When pastors do something wrong, they can be held accountable and removed from the register.”

She said among their recommendations was the vetting of pastors and traditional healers.

“Right now, we could have a pastor with a sexual violence background leading a church, or a Sunday school teacher who just wants access to children.”

According to Omotoso’s website:

Tim Omotoso Global Outreach (T.O.G.O) is an Apostolic and Prophetic ministry designed under Trinitarian auspices to propagate the gospel of Jesus Christ to this generation with signs following. As result of Tim Omotoso’s obedience to the high calling of God, the ministry has been able to transform the lives of countless people around the globe. Through global crusades, ministrations, Church services and TV ministry, the unadulterated Word of God is preached to all. T.O.G.O is a ministry of great wisdom, revelation, power, prayer and praise without compromise. It is the umbrella to the church arm, of Jesus Dominion International (JDI); Youth Empowerment Project and Help the Helpless. T.O.G.O not only believes in winning billions of souls into the kingdom of God, but also challenges believers to rise up as Sons of God and utilize the authority and divine power given to them through Christ Jesus.

Tim Omotoso is a Prophet and as part of his unique call he holds meetings entitled “Holy Ghost Clinic” these “clinics” are live counselling sessions which reveal the mysteries that hold keys to the success of individuals. The root causes of issues and problems are also diagnosed. These meetings are an exposition of the wiles of the enemy in the life of believers. People have been healed, restored, delivered and received solutions in meetings such as “Holy Ghost Clinic,” “House of Jacob,” and many more. Tim Omotoso is the founder of ADBN (Ancient of Day Broadcasting Network) and has written a Prayer Bonanza book which contains powerful and targeted prayer points, he also writes daily devotionals annually. His television broadcast is entitled “Just as I am.” He is happily married to Taiwo and they are blessed with three Children, Victoria, John and Victor.

Update

Sunday World reports: (link no longer active)

Controversial Nigerian pastor Tim Omotoso has hired prominent Port Elizabeth defence attorney Alwyn Griebenow to represent him in the face of allegations that he sexually molested young girls at his home in Umhlanga‚ Durban.

Griebenow confirmed that he was Omotoso’s attorney and that he and defence advocate Terry Price will be meeting with the Hawks on Thursday afternoon in Port Elizabeth. The Hawks are investigating the allegations against Omotoso.

Omotoso‚ of the Jesus Dominion International Church in Durban‚ is accused of molesting more than 30 young girls on the pretext of rescuing them from drugs.

The Nigerian evangelist came under scrutiny after his church featured on current affairs programme Special Assignment on Sunday. The programme spoke to women who claimed that they were lured into performing sexual favours for the pastor.

Update #2

The Herald Live reports:

Nigerian pastor Timothy Omotoso was arrested by the Hawks Human Trafficking unit in Port Elizabeth on Thursday on a charge of alleged human trafficking‚ the elite police unit confirmed.

Omotoso was arrested shortly after arriving at the Port Elizabeth international airport by the Hawks and members of the South African Police Service’s Tactical Response Team (TRT) this afternoon [20/04/17].

“The 58-year-old pastor allegedly trafficked young women and girls from various branches of his church to a house in uMhlanga‚ Kwazulu-Natal‚ where he allegedly exploited them sexually‚” Hawks spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Netshiunda said.

Update #3

Video Link

Update #4

The City Press reports:

Hundreds of worshippers from Jesus Domination International church, where Timothy Omotoso is the head pastor and prophet, filled the Port Elizabeth Magistrates’ Court on Friday.

They came in support of Omotoso, who was nabbed dramatically by the Hawks with a heavy contingent of the Tactical Response Team (TRT unit), shortly after he landed at the local airport with his three escorts on Thursday afternoon.

He has been accused of sexually abusing women who worked at the churches he managed in South Africa.

….

Omotoso’s supporters came wearing purple-banded gold medals around their necks, holding placards with messages of support for him.

….

An unidentified woman inside the court said they believed that Omotoso’s exposé was an inside job.

“The people who are responsible for this are unruly members of the church that do not want to be changed by the man of God,” she said.

“If Omotoso was a sexual offender, why didn’t he sleep with the multitudes of international prostitutes that have been coming in and out of his church?” she said.

She said all the prophets across the world were fasting for Omotoso.

“God will show them wonders, the blood is at work.”

….

A member of the Hawks discreetly confirmed to City Press that Omotoso was not planning to hand himself over on Thursday.

“We found him in possession of return air tickets for four people,” said the member.

“It is clear that he had no intention of handing himself over as we were expecting him to.”

Netshiunda also confirmed that if they had not applied their own instincts and ambushed Omotoso, he would have slipped away.

“We were misled into believing that his flight was delayed,” said Netshiunda.

“When we reached the airport his flight was on schedule and he attempted to escape, but only ended up in the toilet, where we found him locked in the cubicle,” he said.

….

His Port Elizabeth lawyer is Alwyn Griebenow, who also represents Christopher Panayiotou – who has been charged with the murder and conspiracy to murder his wife, Jayde, two years ago.

An application for bail was made by Griebenow on behalf of his client, who was remanded until May 3, when an official bail application will be formally heard in Court 22.

The state, represented by Zelda Swanepoel, stated that more evidence was to be compiled from the different provinces where Omotoso is alleged to have committed the alleged crimes.

The remand was met with deep sighs of disappointment and sobs from his supporters.

“Daddy! We love you Daddy,” sobbed the worshippers, as Omotoso was led out of court by the TRT unit.

 

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Steven Waller Charged With Sexual Battery of a Minor

steven waller

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.

Steven Waller, pastor of Dover First Church of the Nazarene in Dover, Tennessee, was charged today with “aggravated sexual battery involving a minor.” Fox-17 Nashville reports:

The Stewart County Sheriff’s Office said a man was charged after having sexual contact with a girl while she was sleeping.

Steven Waller, 51, is charged with aggravated sexual battery involving a minor. Waller is a pastor at the Dover First Church of the Nazarene.

Investigators said Waller admitted during an interview to having sexual contact with a girl under the age of 18 while she was sleeping. The day of the interview he was charged with aggravated sexual battery and bond was set at $75,000.

Waller’s bond was reduced to $60,000 during an appearance in General Sessions Court with conditions that he gets no new charges before his trial and that he has no contact with children under the age of 18, including the victim.

Dover Nazarene Facebook page

Black Collar Crime: Woman Claims Evangelical Pastor Mike Holloway Knew She Had Been Sexually Abused and Did Nothing

dawn price
Dawn Price

Temple Baptist Church, an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist Church (IFB) located in Kokomo, Indiana is under scrutiny as authorities investigate claims of physical and sexual abuse by people associated with the church and its school — Temple Christian School.  Mike Holloway is the church’s current pastor. As of the writing of this post, no charges have been filed or arrests made. The Kokomo Perspective began a series of articles this week on Temple Baptist and the allegations against them. Today’s article, which is excerpted below,  features Dawn Price. a women who alleges she was sexually abused years ago while attending Temple Baptist Church:

Through a heartfelt reading of a letter she wrote to her parents at the behest of a counselor, [Dawn] Price detailed her painful childhood while choking back tears. In just under 15 minutes, she described the alleged sexual abuse she claims to have endured at the hands of her father, Donald Croddy, who sources say served in various capacities around children at Temple Baptist Church.

Adopted at the age of 5, and now 45, Price claims her father began grooming her shortly after she and her brother were brought into the Croddy home in Kokomo.

“You made naptime and playing house with daddy normal,” said Price in her video. “You took away my innocence. No child should know about sex or orgasms. You have no idea how you screwed up my sexual development.”

Price alleges the abuse ranged from inappropriate touching to Croddy making her watch him masturbate, until it eventually progressed.

“By the time I was 9 or 10, in the fourth grade, you wanted more,” said Price in her video. “This is when my abuse became full sexual intercourse. Later that night I told mom I was bleeding down there, and I was told it was just my period and was sent to school with a paper bag full of maxi pads. It wasn’t my period, and I stopped bleeding after few days. And it was never mentioned again.”

While she said the sexual abuse at the hands of her father stopped when she was about 12, Price’s video acted as a catalyst, with multiple victims coming forward to claim they were sexually abused by Croddy. More than that, multiple individuals claim Mike Holloway, the pastor of Temple Baptist Church where the Croddys attended church, knew about Price’s abuse and still allowed him to work within the church and around children.

Also, Price went so far as to provide screenshots of texts with her mother, Elfriede, which may be a confession that she knew about her husband’s alleged sexual abuse of Price. In one text, in response to Price saying the church may be liable for any potential victims of her father, Elfriede wrote, “… we have ask forgiveness we don’t bother you why now.” Elfriede also appears to go on to deny Price’s allegations soon after.

As of last week, three women went on the record with the Kokomo Perspective claiming Croddy had sexually abused them in his home. One chose to remain anonymous. Another elected to go by only her first name. Price elected to allow her story to be told with her name attached. All of the alleged victims that went on the record bare certain similarities. They are all beyond the statute of limitations in Indiana for criminal charges to be pressed against Croddy; however, they all wanted their stories told. And, commonly, they’d all kept their childhood experiences largely to themselves, until recently, for reasons ranging from a fear of Croddy to the belief that since he was so active at the church no one would believe them.

“I want it stopped, and I want him held accountable,” said Price. “I don’t want there to be any more victims. That’s my main goal, to make sure there aren’t any more victims. I feel like if I don’t speak out at this point, if there are more victims, then that’s my fault too.”

….

One source of angst for Price is that Holloway, the pastor at Temple Baptist Church, knew about Croddy abusing her.

According to her, on Monday, Aug. 26, 1991, she was traveling around town with her father and her then-fiancé Andrew Thornton. At the time, she was 19. Thornton was 21, and the pair were set to be married in just five days. In the final phase of preparing to move to Thornton’s hometown in Texas after the wedding, the group was in the process of helping Price take care of final arrangements prior to the move, like closing her bank account.

Price claims that as she exited a local credit union, she came upon her father repeatedly striking Thornton. As she said she later found out—and Thornton corroborated the claim in a separate interview—Thornton had confronted Croddy about his alleged abuse of Price.

“Dad said, ‘I don’t approve of this marriage. We’re going to the church, and I’m telling the pastor right now.’ I was like,’Why?’” said Price. “And Andy said, ‘Because I told him I know what he did to you.’”

Not long after, the group located Holloway in Temple Baptist Church for an impromptu meeting, according to Price and Thornton. Price said she told Holloway her father was fighting with her fiancé because she told Thornton about her childhood abuse.

“Holloway looked at me. Then he looked at Andy. And he looked at my dad, and he said, ‘Is it true? Did you do what she’s claiming?’ said Price. “And [Croddy] said, ‘Yes, I did, but that’s in the past.’”

Even though Thornton and Price eventually divorced, with Thornton remaining in Texas and Price eventually settling in Ohio, he corroborated her account of that day’s events in 1991. In his recollection, he even said he believed Holloway already knew about Croddy’s past abuse of his daughter.

“He was aware of it that day for sure, but he was aware of it before that because he basically said, ‘I’ve dealt with Donald on this. It’s been forgiven,’” said Thornton. “He basically said bad things about Dawn as well, like she was a bad kid in high school or whatever, so I’m not going to take her word for any of it. He basically just disregarded what she was saying and went with the person that’s donating money to the church is the way I felt.”

According to both Price and Thornton, Holloway asked Croddy if he would be able to not “cause a scene” at his daughter’s wedding. However, he allegedly told the pastor he wasn’t sure if he wouldn’t. So, the pair claim Holloway canceled the wedding just days ahead of time. As a result, they eloped and moved to Texas together.

Since Price’s video has come out, others have come forward to make various claims about interactions with Holloway that made them believe the pastor was aware of Croddy’s alleged tendencies.

Mary Bell was raising multiple teenagers while attending Temple Baptist Church. According to her, Holloway warned the mother of three that Croddy was a pedophile in either 1997 or 1998 when her children were participating in a church fund raiser.

According to Bell, the children were broken down into groups for the fund raiser, and some were assigned to work at the Croddy household. However, Bell claims she was pulled aside by Holloway at the church and told not to allow her teenage daughters around Croddy.

“They would work with people around the church and their homes, and we chose the Croddys,” said Bell. “All three of my children were teens at the time working for the Croddys outside. When I went back to the church Mike Holloway pulled me away and said that I should not have my children over there at that house because he is being accused of being a pedophile. So, I need to get my children away from him. So I did.”

Others maintain that after the alleged events just prior to Price and Thornton’s wedding in 1991, Croddy was allowed to be around children in various capacities within the church.

Tabitha Dodd, a former fifth-and sixth-grade teacher at Temple Baptist Academy, said she had seen Croddy help around the church day care, playground, and other activities where children were present as recent as 10 years ago.

“He would be at the church in various capacities whenever the preacher needed help. He would do stuff, I can remember, with the fall festival,” said Dodd. “He would do the tractor rides and different things whenever the men would help out in the church … He would do stuff with the day care kids in the back. The day care has a playground in the back of the church.”

….

The Kokomo Perspective attempted to speak with Holloway about the allegation that he knew about Croddy’s alleged sexual abuse of his daughter and still allowed him to work around children. In response, Temple Baptist Church issued the following statement:

“Concerning the allegations that have recently surfaced, we are currently looking into the matter. We have cooperated with and will continue to cooperate with the authorities. We have no further comment at this time.”

Multiple attempts to contact Croddy were unsuccessful.

Price provided a text from her mother, which showed that since her video was released her parents had been kicked out of Temple Baptist Church.

You can read the entire article by Devin Zimmerman here.

Bruce Gerencser