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Tag: Child Pornography

Black Collar Crime: ELCA Pastor Steven Tibbetts Charged with Distributing Child Pornography

steven tibbetts

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 Tibbetts, pastor of Resurrection Lutheran Church in Godfrey, Illinois, stands accused of distributing child pornography.

KMOV-4 reports:

Steven P. Tibbetts, 61, served as the head pastor at Resurrection Lutheran Church in Godfrey.

….

Prosecutors say the investigation of Tibbetts began in August 2019 when the blogging and social network site, Tumblr, provided a cyber tip line report about one of its user accounts to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The account was searched by law enforcement and allegedly found to contain images and videos of nude minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct.

According to the complaint, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children also received a tip from Twitter in February 2020 that one of its users had uploaded two images of suspected child pornography.

Investigators were allegedly able to trace the Tumblr and Twitter accounts back to Tibbetts’ home, where a federal search warrant was executed on June 18. A search of Tibbetts’ computer allegedly revealed the presence of additional child pornography images and videos. Agents then arrested Tibbetts at his home.

Bruce Gerencser, 63, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 42 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen awesome 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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Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Stephen Morris Charged with Six Additional Sex Crimes

pastor stephen morris

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.

In 2019, Stephen Morris, pastor of Oliver’s Grove Baptist Church in Four Oaks, North Carolina,  was accused of raping a thirteen-year-old girl. (The church has no web presence.)

ABC-11 reported at the time:

The Johnston County Sheriff’s Office arrested 61-year-old Reverend Stephen Morris last Friday on 10 felony counts, including five counts of statutory rape and five counts of taking indecent liberties with a child.

According to court documents, Morris is accused of statutory rape with a 13-year-old between June 2013 and June 2014.

….

Detectives say the victim is now 19 years old and reported what happened to police last month.

Because the incident involves a juvenile victim, authorities would not disclose how the victim and suspect knew one another.

Morris remains in the Johnston County jail under a $2.5 million bond.

Morris later was accused of additional sex crimes involving two underage girls, along with new charges related to the thirteen-year-old victim.

The Johnston County Report said:

The former pastor of a Four Oaks church charged in July with engaging in sexual acts with a juvenile has now been charged with crimes against two more underage victims.

Reverend Stephen Arthur Morris was the pastor at Oliver’s Grove Baptist Church on Highway 301 South of Four Oaks when he was originally arrested on July 5th, 2019. He resigned the same day from his role at the church. He posted bail July 26th, 2019 when his bond was lowered to $250,000 and was confined to house arrest at his residence on Parkertown Road. Morris is now back behind bars.

Today (Wednesday), Rev. Morris was served with additional warrants involving the original victim plus two additional victims who have now come forward.

Morris was indicted Oct. 7th by a Johnston County Grand Jury on 12 new charges, that’s in addition to 14 charges he already faces.

Eight of the 12 new charges are for additional incidents in 2013 and 2014 involving the first victim. Those new charges include additional counts of statutory rape and taking indecent liberties with a minor for sexual acts with the female victim, who was 13 at the time of the alleged offenses.

After the arrest of Rev. Morris was reported by the media in July, JoCoReport has learned two additional victims came forward reporting incidents to the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office. Those incidents occurred in 2008. Rev. Morris is accused of soliciting nude photos of the two young girls who were 9 and 11 at the time.

In what can only be described as a wicked, vile “gift” that keeps on giving, in late May 2020, Morris was accused, yet again, of additional sex crimes.

The News&Observer reports:

A Johnston County pastor already in jail on sexual assault charges was charged Friday with six counts of second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor, the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office said.

In June 2019, an 18-year-old woman reported that Stephen Arthur Morris, her pastor at Oliver’s Grove Baptist Church in Four Oaks, began sexually assaulting her when she was 13, the Sheriff’s Office stated in a news release.

In July 2019, Morris was arrested and charged with statutory rape or sex offense with a person who was 13 years old, the arrest warrant states. Morris was also charged with taking indecent liberties with the same person when she was under the age of 16. Morris’s court indictments state the alleged offenses occurred between June 2013 and June 2014.

Two more females came forward in October 2019, accusing Morris of attempting to exploit them when they were under the age of 16 in 2008, court records state. Morris was indicted in October 2019 on charges of attempted first-degree sexual exploitation of a minor and solicitation of another to commit first-degree exploitation of a minor.

The indictment states Morris “unlawfully, willingly and feloniously did entice, induce, order and command to engage in sexual activity for the purpose of producing material containing a visual representation depicting this activity, the defendant knowing the character and content of the intended material.”

….

Arrest warrants from Friday’s charges state Morris “unlawfully, willfully and feloniously did duplicate material containing the visual representation of a minor, an unknown minor approximately 10-12 years of age, engaged in sexual activity, consisting of posing nude, displaying the genital area.”

Bruce Gerencser, 63, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 42 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen awesome 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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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: Evangelical Pastor Jerry Zweitzig Pleads Guilty to Child Porn Charges

pastor jerry zweitzig

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.

Jerry Zweitzig, pastor of Horsham Bible Church — a now-defunct independent congregation –in Horsham, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty several weeks ago to charges of manufacturing and attempted manufacturing of child pornography. In a previous case, Zweitzig was charged with five counts of manufacturing and attempted manufacturing of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography. He later pleaded guilty to these charges. He will be sentenced on both cases in September.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports:

A retired pastor from Hatboro has pleaded guilty to sexually abusing an infant, marking the second time he has admitted abusing a child since October.

Jerry Zweitzig, 71, who had been a pastor at the now-closed Horsham Bible Church until his 2016 retirement, pleaded guilty to charges of manufacturing and attempted manufacturing of child pornography.

….

The charges stem from Zweitzig’s admitted sexual abuse of an infant and his videotaping of that abuse. Investigators found the video, which was created in 2010, while preparing for Zweitzig’s sentencing hearing in a separate child sexual abuse and exploitation case, U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain’s office said in a statement.

In the first case, Zweitzig was charged in May 2019 with five counts of manufacturing and attempted manufacturing of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography.

Prosecutors say he sexually abused a girl, beginning when she was 5 years old and continuing until she was 11 and photographed and videotaped that abuse. He also had an extensive collection of child pornography involving thousands of other children, they said.

In October 2019, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported:

A 71-year-old former pastor from Montgomery County pleaded guilty Monday to forcing a girl to pose for sexually explicit photos and videos, and amassing more than 10,000 images of child pornography.

Appearing in federal court in Philadelphia, Jerry William Zweitzig of Hatboro withdrew his not-guilty plea and admitted to manufacturing and possessing child pornography. “I plead guilty to all six counts against me,” Zweitzig told U.S. District Judge Wendy Beetlestone.

….

The victim, born in 2003, first reported the abuse to her parents in 2014, shortly before they moved from Pennsylvania. Investigators later found a video, 13 minutes long, in which Zweitzig is seen telling the girl that he would miss her, that she could do anything with him sexually but he would never force her, and that she shouldn’t tell anyone about what they did together.

He told her he had taken explicit photos of her when she was 9 and said he wanted to take more. As Zweitzig removed his clothes and began touching himself in front of her, the child fled the room. She locked herself in the bathroom and called her parents to tell them about the abuse, Gibson said.

Her father went to the police, but for reasons that are not clear, no charges were filed against Zweitzig. After the family moved from Pennsylvania, Zweitzig sent the girl letters, including pages from his journal about her.

In 2018, she gave investigators a more detailed report about the abuse, which she said lasted from 2009 to 2014. Authorities searched Zweitzig’s home and arrested him in December 2018.

Homeland Security Investigations agents found pornographic images and videos from 2013 and 2014 featuring the girl. They also found thousands of images of children downloaded on computers, flash drives, hard drives, and digital cameras.

Bruce Gerencser, 63, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 42 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen awesome 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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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: Evangelical Youth Pastor Ryan Crawford Convicted of Producing Child Pornography

child image on first baptist church website
Picture of children on First Baptist Church’s Youth Page. I wonder if this is what Pastor Crawford’s photos looked like.

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.

In 2017, Ryan Crawford, assistant pastor, choir director, Sunday school director, and youth/teens director at First Baptist Church in Pineville, Missouri, was accused of having “illicit and inappropriate photographs of a young female on his cell phone.”

KOAM-7 reported at the time:

A 32-year-old Youth Pastor Pineville, Missouri, man is arrested after a report to the local police department alleging he had illicit and inappropriate photographs of a young female on his cell phone. Initially, the investigation of Ryan Crawford was conducted jointly by the Pineville Police Department and the McDonald County Sheriff’s Office.

The children were referred to the Children’s Center in Joplin, MO, and subsequent to those interviews, Crawford was interviewed by the investigator of the McDonald County Prosecutor’s office. During that interview, Crawford made statements that were corroborative of the allegations against him.

Prosecutor Bill Dobbs initially filed charges of child molestation in the first degree, a class A felony, and sexual misconduct in the first degree, a class E felony. However, based upon additional allegations, the initial complaint has been amended to reflect an additional four (4) counts of child molestation in the first degree, bringing the total number of felony counts to six. These acts allegedly occurred in Crawford’s home.

….

A January 30, 2018 Joplin Globe report stated:

A Pineville man waived a preliminary hearing Monday on child molestation charges and was ordered bound over for trial.

Ryan D. Crawford, 32, waived the hearing in McDonald County Circuit Court on five counts of first-degree child molestation and a single count of sexual misconduct with a child. Associate Judge John LePage set Crawford’s initial appearance in a trial division of the court for Feb. 26.

The defendant was arrested on the charges in December following an investigation by Pineville police and the McDonald County Sheriff’s Department of a report that he had illicit photographs of a minor on his cellphone.

A probable-cause affidavit states that Crawford had told of having “had a porn problem” and that he had been “watching” porn on his cellphone. The McDonald County prosecutor later indicated in a news release that an unspecified number of suspected child victims were interviewed at the Children’s Center in Joplin before an interview of the defendant in December when he allegedly admitted having touched a child younger than 14 inappropriately while she was sleeping.

The affidavit states that the defendant further acknowledged that his addiction to pornography and related misconduct with children had been “going on for a long time.”

….

Yesterday, Crawford was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison without parole. On September 16, 2019, Crawford pleaded guilty to one count of producing child pornography.

KY-3 reports:

Crawford admitted that he had touched the 9-year-old victim’s genitals with his hands, and that he had photographed her genitals with his cell phone while she was sleeping. Investigators located sexually explicit images of the child victim on Crawford’s cell phone.

Bruce Gerencser, 63, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 42 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen awesome 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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Follow Bruce on Facebook and Twitter.

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: Evangelical Pastor Loren Copp Sentenced on Sex Crime Charges

loren copp

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.

The following story will leave you shaking your head, wondering how the pastor in question was able to do what he did.

In April 2017,  Loren Copp, an Evangelical pastor, owner of DoJo Pizza, and all-round con-artist was arrested on charges of producing child pornography. The River Front Times reported at the time:

Loren Copp, the Dojo Pizza owner targeted in a long-running criminal investigation, was arrested Thursday afternoon on charges of producing child pornography.

Federal agents took the 47-year-old into custody about 3:45 p.m. outside the Bevo Mill church where he once taught karate, ran a pizza restaurant, operated a school and raised four teenage girls, according to a witness and his attorney.

The federal complaint claims investigators searched “multiple types of digital media” and discovered an image of a minor performing oral sex on Copp and another of Copp having vaginal sex with the girl. The minor, listed as “Jane Doe 1” in the document, identified Copp as the man in the photos, according to the complaint. She says she was about twelve in the first photo and fifteen or sixteen in the second.

Copp was lured on Thursday to the dojo, which had been boarded up since a law enforcement raid in October, by a city building inspector who called to say someone had broken in, Copp’s friend John Albrecht tells the Riverfront Times.

Copp had asked his friend to drive with him, because he worried he was being set up, Albrecht said.

….

Copp was the subject of an RFT feature story in December after a series of federal raids on Dojo Pizza. He was taken into police custody for a couple of days in October on suspicion of child endangerment, but he was released without charges.

He has maintained his innocence, blaming the investigation on a disgruntled former live-in volunteer who he’d ejected from the dojo. Court documents filed in support of the early raids revealed police were investigating accusations of human trafficking, alleging Copp forced the teens to work for free in the pizzeria. He denied the charge. The girls were staying him because their parents were on drugs, imprisoned or otherwise unable to care for them, he said. Two of the girls had lived with him so long, they called him their father, and he considered them his daughters.

Parents, visitors to the dojo and one of the girls interviewed by the RFT supported him.

The charges of production of child pornography are new.

Agents who’d previously raided the dojo, a former church in October and November, had been seen taking evidence boxes and computers from the building.

In interviews, Copp has suggested investigators have been trying to set him up and possibly planted evidence. He noted neighbors claim to have seen men who appeared to be law enforcement officers climb in through a back window before one of the raids.

Twenty-four hours after Copp’s arrest, The River Front Times reported:

Dojo Pizza owner Loren Copp arrived handcuffed and shackled at the ankles on Friday in federal court for his first appearance since his arrest on child pornography charges.

His attorney had dropped him overnight. Some of his strongest supporters have backed away now that the FBI says it has photographic proof he sexually abused a girl over the course of several years, starting with a stomach-churning snapshot of the two of them in a sex act when she was just twelve years old.

Until a series of law enforcement raids in October and November, he’d lived with four teenage girls in a converted church at 4601 Morgan Ford Road in Bevo Mill where he taught karate, established a school and operated a pizzeria.

Federal authorities claim they found the pornographic photos on a computer hard drive seized during one of the raids. Investigators showed the pictures to the girl on Wednesday, and she identified herself and Copp, according to the criminal complaint released on Thursday following his arrest.

Tauna Cowin, whose two oldest daughters lived with Copp most of their lives, says she cried all night after reading the newly revealed allegations.

“If he did do this, I hope he rots in jail,” she told the Riverfront Times. “I’m sorry, but I hope he rots in jail.”

Cowin knew Copp, a former pastor, through her kids’ school and church. When she was losing her home about a decade ago, she sent a son and the two girls to live with him and his wife at the time. The boy eventually moved on, but the girls stayed and began calling Copp “Dad” even though he wasn’t their biological father.

Cowin says the girls previously told her Copp never abused them, but she hadn’t talked to them since his arrest. They have been in foster care since the Dojo Pizza raids last fall.

“I just don’t know how to freakin’ take this,” Cowin said through tears. “It’s hitting me hard. I thought I knew this man, he was my pastor.”

Copp was the subject of an RFT feature story in December and has claimed he was just helping kids whose parents couldn’t take care of them.

Attorney Justin Meehan, a longtime martial artist, had advised Copp for free in the months after the raids. Law enforcement affidavits had described Copp as the target of a “Labor Trafficking and Sexual Abuse” investigation, allegations that the lawyer thought lacked much in the way of support.

He has a policy of not taking on clients who are accused of hurting kids, but a fellow martial artist vouched for Copp, and Meehan eventually agreed to get involved — with the caveat that he’d walk if there was more to it than a weak trafficking case.

Meehan felt “blindsided” Thursday when he learned prosecutors were now pursuing a charge of producing child pornography, he said. True to his word, he has decided to cut ties with Copp.

Copp also owned and operated Ma-ji Ryu Christian Karate Association. City officials seized DoJo Pizza’s building to satisfy a $13,940 tax liability. The building was bought at sheriff’s auction for $35,714.

Copp’s past is filled with accusations of malfeasance and financial misconduct. In 2013, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported:

Bargain hunters snapped up 40 years of Southwest Christian Church’s history last weekend. Tables, chairs — even pots and pans used for countless fellowship meals — were sold off as part of the church’s closure.

Southwest Christian has been wrangling with a tangle of debt tied to a failed $2 million church expansion that congregants helped finance. The project sits unfinished at 1694 Smizer Station Road, near Highway 141.

Now the remaining congregants who haven’t scattered will gather Sunday for one final service at a church some have attended for two generations.

At first glance, it seems like a tragic but familiar tale of a church getting too ambitious, growing faster than it ought.

But Douglas Lay, a former pastor at the church, is among those who tell a different story.

By his account, Southwest Christian historically played it smart, avoiding debt and making do with its aging and modest building.

At least it did until it ran into Loren Copp — a pastor and builder with a history of failed financial dealings.

“He left them up a creek without a paddle,” said Lay, who led the church in the late 1990s. “There are good people there.”

Copp, who became the church’s pastor in 2007, was the pastor when Southwest Christian decided to support the expansion project that would include a Christian high school, even though similar efforts in St. Louis County had failed in recent years. It started out at $1.5 million, then grew to $2 million.

Church members helped pitch in on the expansion by buying bonds, using the existing building as collateral.

Today, the project is stalled, mired in mediation with the original developer and lien holders claiming they haven’t been paid.

Copp has since moved on.

….

Church leaders knew that the building project would be a major undertaking. But they believed they had a plan that would both underwrite the expense and satisfy the church’s goal to expand its outreach.

Under the plan, the new Christian high school would lease the expanded church building during the week.

And to help funnel students to the school and broaden the church’s ministry, some members supported an existing K-8 school Copp was involved with in south St. Louis.
Both schools are called Living Faith Christian Academy and are governed independently from the church by Copp’s own nonprofit — Ma Ji Ryu Christian Karate Association. Copp uses his martial arts skills to minister.

In 2011, Copp touted the high school project, saying it would open that fall. He brushed off skeptics, who pointed to other failed school projects in the area.

The schools would be funded by tuition, not church donations.

“This is a school that is going to be run as a business,” he told the Post-Dispatch at the time, adding: “If it doesn’t work, you’ll have a story to write.”

The high school did open. But students could only meet in certain sections of the building because the project was incomplete.

A 2011 St Louis Post-Dispatch story had this to say about Copp’s checkered past:

His [Copp] past, however, is marked with bankruptcy, unpaid bills and allegations of deception and poor management.

Illinois records show he owes nearly $10,000 in child support. When he moved to St. Louis in 2003, lawsuits and unpaid bills from Ohio, Indiana and Illinois followed, nipping at his ankles. Most stemmed from construction projects Copp started and never finished.

Problems continued here at Stocker Construction, which fired him from a residential construction manager position in 2006 for severe losses on projects Copp oversaw, said a representative of the now-defunct company.

A year earlier, a judge approved a negotiated settlement of $203,400 to satisfy a suit brought against Copp by the Illinois attorney general. The sum was said to be a portion of what nine customers were owed.

Copp filed for bankruptcy in St. Louis around that time and has repaid just a token amount.

“If he is so conscientious about a soda, how does he feel about our house and other people’s houses that he walked out on with hefty sums of money?” said Ofelia Nikolova, 54, a party in the lawsuit and a former assistant professor in French at the Southern Illinois University Carbondale. “Tell him to come back and pay me. I’ll take $50,000.”

March 3, 2018, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported:

A former pastor and owner of a St. Louis pizza restaurant and martial arts studio facing federal child sex charges will represent himself at his trial next week.

Loren “Sensei” Copp will have standby counsel, but told U.S. District Judge Audrey Fleissig Monday that he wanted to represent himself.
He faces nine counts in all, including production, attempted production and possession of child pornography and the use of interstate facilities to persuade or coerce a minor to engage in sexual activity.

Copp has pleaded not guilty to the charges. He also provided a list of five alibi witnesses in a court filing that says they will testify that he was not “at the scene of the crime” on specific dates.

That scene, according to prosecutors, was a combination pizza shop, martial arts studio and youth shelter at 4601 Morganford Road that was raided multiple times in the fall of 2015 after claims that Copp was not adequately caring for or paying underage employees.

DoJo Pizza operated as a nonprofit to support free karate classes, its website once said.

Investigators said they found child porn during the searches, and subsequent charges claim Copp sexually abused multiple young girls.

One was between 10 and 13 when Copp first fondled her, prosecutors say in court filings. He later raped her, they say, and she couldn’t accurately count the number of times she was abused. Filings say Copp also made videos of the sex acts, and she witnessed him abusing another resident of the shelter. He had child porn featuring the first teen and another underage girl, and also tried taking photos of two girls undressing, prosecutors say.

Prosecutors have also said they will use statements Copp made to a fellow inmate at the St. Charles County Jail and phone calls and emails from his time behind bars awaiting trial.

….

On April 11, 2018, Copp told the court he is innocent and that there’s an explanation for the child porn on his computer. Copp was later found guilty of eight counts of sex crimes against underage girls.

Yesterday, Copp was sentenced to sixty-five years in federal prison. He previously rejected a plea deal that would have sent him to prison for fifteen years.

KMOV-4 reported:

According to prosecutors, several underage girls lived at Dojo Pizza, which is located on Morganford in the Bevo Mill neighborhood. Copp either had sole custody or care of the girls because their parents were incarcerated or homeless, authorities said. Copp groomed, sexually abused, and raped two young girls who had been in his custody since 2009.

The sexual acts were recorded on a cell phone or video recorder.

Copp allegedly forced the girls to work at the pizza shop and did not pay them appropriately or provide consistent food. He is also accused of threatening to kick the girls out when they didn’t work, which would leave them homeless.

During the trial, evidence of Facebook messages between three girls and a fake account Copp used pretending to be a 13-year-old girl named “Chrissy”. The profile picture on the account was of a young girl. Investigators found that photo on Copp’s computer along with other pornographic images of the three victims that were sent to “Chrissy” Facebook page.

Investigators found conversations that referenced sexual acts that occurred between the three girls. In addition, subscriber information and backup emails used for the “Chrissy” Facebook account, as well as a Yahoo email account, were linked to Copp.

Black Collar Crime: Episcopal Priest Gregory Lisby Charged with Possession of Child Pornography

gregory lisby

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.

Gregory Lisby, a former pastor of Christ Episcopal Church in Ridgewood, New Jersey, stands accused of child pornography possession. Earlier this year, Lisby began working as a kindergarten teacher at Holyoke Public Schools in Massachusetts. Previously, Lisby was a pastor at All Saints Episcopal Church in Worcester, Massachusetts.

NorthJersey.com reports:

Gregory Lisby, a former pastor at Christ Church in Ridgewood from 2010 to 2015, was charged by federal officials in Boston last week with possession of child pornography.

….

Lisby, 40, began working as a kindergarten teacher at Holyoke Public Schools in Massachusetts this year, according to a criminal complaint filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Boston. He resigned from his teaching position hours later in a letter that stated: “I was accused of an awful crime that could put our Holyoke children in harm’s way,” the complaint said.

Lisby was suspended last year from his position as rector at All Saints Church in Worcester for “an inappropriate relationship with an adult that did not involve sexual contact,” Bishop Douglas Fisher of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts said in a letter posted on the diocese’s website Friday.

MassLive adds:

Lisby was the rector of All Saints Episcopal Church in Worcester from 2015 to 2018 and listed on his Linkedin page past employment as a substitute teacher in Worcester Public Schools, an instructional aid in Shrewsbury Public Schools and most recently as a teacher assistant at Little Sprouts child care in Natick. Little Sprouts did not return a call Friday seeking to verify his employment status there.

….

FBI agents on Wednesday raided the rectory of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, where Lisby lives with his husband, the churche’s reverend, and the couple’s two daughters. Authorities say they found an iPad that contained more than 150 pornographic images.

According to the search warrant application, the investigation had already uncovered at least 180 images and 15 videos of child pornography in an account believed to be in Lisby’s name. The images showed young boys, ages 8 through 12, having sex.

Black Collar Crime: Church of Christ Preacher Charles Andrews Arrested on Child Porn Charges

pastor charles andrews

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.

Charles Andrews, pastor of Osprey Church of Christ in Osprey, Florida, stands accused of possession of child pornography. In yet another case of churches not vetting their ministers, news reports state that Andrews is a registered sex offender who was convicted in 2006 in Alabama of second-degree sexual abuse.  It took me all of sixty-seconds to find this:

charles andrews registered sex offenderThere’s no excuse for churches NOT doing their due diligence regarding potential or current pastors.  Shame on Osprey Church of Christ for giving a registered sex offender access to their church and its children.  Just remember, while he was preaching Jesus on Sunday morning, after church he was allegedly looking at photos of children being sexually abused. What say ye, members of Osprey Church of Christ?

Channel 8 News reports:

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reported Charles Andrews to the Sarasota County Sherif’s Office after learning he had downloaded approximately 70 images of child pornography using two different e-mail accounts, the latter agency said.

According to the release, Andrews is a minister at Osprey Church of Christ, 406 Pennsylvania Avenue. He is also a registered sex offender who was convicted in 2006 in Alabama of second-degree sexual abuse.

Investigators say Andrews shared six images of child pornography a total of 70 times. He also shared “non-illegal images of child erotica” using both accounts.

Investigators traced the IP address that Andrews allegedly used to download the images to his home in Englewood. There, they confiscated a computer, external hard drive and other digital storage devices.

Deputies say they discovered more than 500 images of child pornography, including at least 50 depicting sexual battery of a child.

“We usually charge about forty counts at a time for possession, possession of child pornography,” said Kaitlyn Perez, a spokeswoman for the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office. “In this case, Mr. Andrews’ database of child pornography was so specifically heinous … it really elevated the crime. Of those five hundred images, at least fifty of them depicted sexual battery on a child.”

Andrews was arrested Tuesday for 500 felony counts of Possession of Child Pornography and three counts of Failure to Meet the Registration Requirements of a Sex Offender.

Black Collar Crime: ‘Biblical Flat Earth Society’ Founder Phillip Stallings Accused of Child Porn Crimes

phillip stallings

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.

Last Friday, Phillip Stallings, a Fundamentalist Calvinist and the founder of the Biblical Flat Earth Society, was arrested and charged with 56 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor. ABC-11 reports:

A Durham man faces 56 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor after officials found him in possession of child pornography.

During a joint investigation by the Durham County Sheriff’s Office and U.S. Department of Homeland Security, officials found 40-year-old Phillip Stephen Stallings downloaded media that involved minors engaging in sexual activities.

He was arrested on Wednesday and charged with 28 counts of second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor and 28 counts of third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor.

He was also served with outstanding warrants for financial card theft and cyberstalking.

Stallings was booked into the Durham County Detention Center.

On Thursday, the judge raised his secured bond to $500,000.

WRAL-5 adds:

Stallings was arrested at his home Wednesday morning by Durham County deputies as part of a U.S. Department of Homeland Security investigation.

“[It’s] part of an investigation across the nation right now for possession of child pornography and creation of child pornography,” Durham County Assistant District Attorney Kendra Montgomery-Blinn said during a brief court hearing Thursday morning. “They had information that Mr. Stallings was sharing his materials on a social media platform.”

Authorities searched his computer and found sexually explicit images, Montgomery-Blinn said. The search is ongoing, and more charges could be filed, she added.

….

A judge raised Stallings’ bond from $341,000 to $500,000 because of the number of charges against him and the nature of the charges. If Stallings posts bond, he is prohibited from any contact with children and from using any computers or other devices that would allow him to collect any photos or videos.

Stallings was convicted of several offenses between 1996 and 2008, including assault on a female, false imprisonment, credit card fraud, theft, assault on an officer and impaired driving, according to state Department of Public Safety records.

According to Stallings’ personal website, he is a “reformed Christian Apologist, Theonomist, Kinist and a former seminary student.” In a March 2016 post, Stallings cryptically wrote:

I have sinned. Even more, I have sinned online regarding my actions towards others in private messages. I have never denied my sin in acting disgracefully online. The sinful and wicked actions I committed are without question a horrible blight upon the name of Christ, the Church, and were harmful to the families and those that are my brothers and sisters in the Lord.

One thing became clear to me when I was not able to reach the ones I had offended and twas to make a public statement regarding this. This is now offered to those that were hurt and offended by my sinful actions and should serve as a public statement that I have openly acknowledged my sin. I openly confess that my actions were sinful and sincerely would ask for those that were offended by me for their forgiveness. Ultimately, I have sinned against God and I am ashamed of how I have acted towards Him.

While there is little I can do today regarding my past wickedness outside of this public apology, I can admit it was wrong and sincerely ask for forgiveness. I have repented and I need your prayers for me going forward. My life is not over and I wish to only do that which is right now. That is all I can do and hope that for those that have been offended by me, you will read this, forgive me, and seek to pray for me.

….

Stallings doesn’t mention what it was that he was sorry for. I will leave it to readers to make their own conclusions about Stallings’ “sins.”

Black Collar Crime: Southern Baptist Pastor John Ward Arrested on Rape Charges

pastor john ward

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 Ward, pastor of Bellview Baptist Church in Westlake, Louisiana, stands accused of 10 counts of first-degree rape, 40 counts of indecent behavior with a juvenile, and two counts of pornography involving a juvenile.

KFLY reports:

A tip led to an investigation and arrest of a 45-year-old Westlake man on multiple sex crime charges involving juveniles.

An anonymous called contacted the state Dept. of Child & Family Services’ tip line. On June 17, the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office arrested John Michael Ward.

Ward reportedly admitted to detectives he had been molesting an 11-year-old girl since 2017 when she was 9 years old. Ward reportedly also told detectives he videoed the victim while she was nude on two separate occasions, authorities said.

….

District Judge Sharon Wilson set Ward’s bond at $640,000.

Bellview Baptist released the following statement:

Bellview Baptist Church leaders are cooperating fully with the Sheriff’s office in the investigation. The Deacons, in consultation with Carey Baptist Association, unanimously voted to immediately terminate Ward’s employment with the congregation because of his sexual immorality and failure to maintain the high standard of integrity for the office of Pastor outlined in the Bible.

Church leaders immediately met with the victim’s family to minister to them in their grief and to offer to help underwrite the counseling needed to help the child and other members of the household to heal.

The Deacons also offered to continue to provide financial support to the wife of the fired pastor as well as to minister to the spiritual and emotional needs of her and her family.

The Carey Baptist Association and the Louisiana Baptist Convention have connected with church leaders to coordinate various resources that are available to the church in meeting these various commitments.

Bellview Baptist Church leaders request prayer, respect, and privacy as we process this traumatic event.

Black Collar Crime: Pastor Naasón Joaquín García Charged with Human Trafficking and Child Rape

naason joaquin garcia

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.

Naasón Joaquín García, pastor of La Luz del Mundo, a Mexico-based Evangelical church with branches in the U.S. claiming more than one million members, was charged Tuesday with human trafficking, child pornography production, and child rape.  (Church website)

KTLA-5 reports:

García, 50, faces 26 felony counts that range from human trafficking and production of child pornography to rape of a minor. The charges detail allegations involving three girls and one woman between 2015 and 2018 in Los Angeles County.

The fundamentalist Christian church, whose name translates to The Light of the World, was founded in 1926 by García’s grandfather. It has been the subject of child sex abuse allegations for years but authorities in Mexico have never filed criminal charges. It has more than 15,000 churches in 58 countries, according to its website. The church’s followers must adhere to a strict moral code in exchange for the promise of eternal salvation.

García — who was a minister in Los Angeles and other parts of Southern California before becoming the church’s leader — coerced the victims into performing sex acts by telling them that refusing would be going against God, authorities said. He allegedly forced the victims, who were members of the church, to sexually touch themselves and each other. One of his co-defendants also allegedly took nude photographs of the victims and sent the pictures to García.

García told one of the victims and others in 2017, after they had completed a “flirty” dance wearing “as little clothing as possible,” that kings can have mistresses and an apostle of God cannot be judged for his actions, the complaint states.

La Luz del Mundo and Garcia have faced previous allegations of sexual misconduct.

David Correa, a spokesman from the headquarters of La Luz del Mundo in Guadalajara, Jalisco, said in a phone call:

We categorically deny those false accusations. We know him personally and he is an honorable and honest man.

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

black collar crimes

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.

joseph hudson

Joseph Hudson Accused of Sexually Molesting Girl at Evangelical Church Daycare

Joseph Hudson, an employee of Hobart Assembly and Growing Hearts Childcare & Learning Center in Hobart, Indiana, stands accused of sexually molesting a four-year-old girl while working at the daycare.

The Chicago Tribune reports:

Police received a report from a man who said his daughter returned home from day care and said she was stung by a bee on her calf, a probable cause affidavit states. Hudson brought the girl into a classroom, put her on his lap and inappropriately touched her, according to the affidavit.

Hudson “was employed as a cook for the day care and lately they had been short-staffed so (Hudson) helped with the children,” the affidavit states. Hudson “assisted in the youth programs,” and he had “passed all background checks and was cleared to work with the day care,” according to the affidavit.

On the day of the alleged incident, “both teachers had to leave the day care and (Hudson) was the only person available to watch the children,” the affidavit states. Hudson “was the only adult in the day care during lunch,” according to the affidavit.

The father reported the incident to the day care director, who said “she confronted (Husdon) about the allegations and that he denied touching the child,” the affidavit states.

The director notified the church pastor, who contacted Department of Child Services, and Hudson was put on leave while the investigation was completed, according to the affidavit. The pastor informed his supervisor and contacted Department of Child Services, the affidavit states.

The church’s pastors met with Hudson Sept. 27 about the reported incident and told Hudson “that he was no longer welcome at the church,” according to the affidavit.

Hudson told the pastors that he was filling in for another person Sept. 25 at the day care “and one of the children was ‘fussing’ so he calmed the child down so she wouldn’t wake the other children, the affidavit states.

Hudson “stayed very quite and it appeared that he wanted to say something,” the affidavit states, and one of the pastors asked Hudson, “What do you want to say that you are not saying?”

“(Hudson) put his head down and said in front of both pastors, ‘I did it,’” the affidavit states. Hudson cried and said “that he didn’t know why he did it,” according to the affidavit.

michael kell

“Pastor” Michael Kell Found Guilty of Tax Fraud

Michael Kell started First Meliorite Church so he could avoid taxes by funneling assets and income through the church. Kell failed to file several annual income tax returns, saying he was a minister under a “vow of poverty.” He was sentence to eighteen months in prison on Tuesday and ordered to pay pay $321,878.40 in restitution.

Patch.com reports:

 Dr. Michael Jon Kell, 68, was sentenced one year, six months in prison on Tuesday. He was also ordered to pay $321,878.40 in restitution to the IRS.

According to prosecutors, Kell developed numerous patented technologies and worked as a consultant, which generated millions of dollars in income over the years. To hide this income, he founded and was the “pastor” of the First Meliorite Church, which he claimed to be a branch of the Universal Life Church.

“Despite earning millions of dollars and living a lavish lifestyle, Dr. Kell failed to file tax returns for several years when he falsely asserted that he was a minister under a vow of poverty,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak.

“Kell thought he could outsmart the IRS and avoid paying his fair share of taxes to the government by hiding his personal wealth behind the doors of a church he created and controlled in an effort to thwart the IRS while living a lavish lifestyle,” said Thomas J. Holloman, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation. “Taxpayer’s who go to these lengths to evade paying their taxes will be investigated to the fullest extent and referred for prosecution to the Department of Justice in hopes of bringing individuals into compliance with the IRS.”

Kell directed his income and assets into bank accounts belonging to the church. He used these accounts to cover all of his personal expenses, including overseas vacations, dining out, high-end clothing purchases, online dating services, and private school tuition for his children. Kell also transferred ownership of his multi-million dollar residence in Vinings several times over the years to various entities he created and controlled, in an effort to protect the property from creditors, including the IRS.

In 2001, Kell was found guilty of Medicaid fraud and tax evasion.

Kell’s bio page states:

Michael Jon Kell, MD PhD has dedicated his professional life to improving physical, mental and spiritual health. His research interests are vast, exploring fields as diverse as quantum physics, artificial kidneys, polymer chemistry, drug addiction, pain management, quantitative urine drug monitoring, longevity medicine, herbal medicine, prayer and spirituality. Dr. Kell teaches, “A wise researcher, firstly, considers the social consequences of succeeding, and secondly, listens to his or her conscience so to guide the final decision.”

Perhaps this is why he and his associates have spent untold hours converting their laboratory  discoveries into commercially viable products which help and do not hurt.  Michael holds 12 U.S. patents (with many associated foreign filings) and has authored ten books many poems and stories,  and over fifty scientific publications. He writes for both scientific and general audiences, presents seminars and workshops and has been interviewed on local and national radio and television.

Michael is the founding director of the Institute For Conscious Evolution and Human Development. The Institute is a modern mystery school sponsored by the original, Esoteric School arising in predynastic Egypt. This School provides pragmatic, dogma-free instruction to persons desiring objective knowledge as to the hows and whys of creation, proven methods for awakening personal awareness and establishing individual atemporal permanence, the nature of the spiritual work of the Saints and Masters and many practical skills. The school’s work efforts are designed for demonstrating how one can become a cosmically-significant individual capable of laboring for the betterment of all life and mind. Dr. Kell is a well-respected medical scientist, psychiatrist, inventor, engineer, poet, storyteller, and free-thinker

jody sambrick

United Methodist Pastor Jody Sambrick Arraigned on Child Porn Charges

Jody Sambrick, pastor of Hopeland United Methodist Church in Lititz, Pennsylvania, was recently arraigned on child pornography charges.

Fox-43 reports:

A 58-year-old Lancaster County man is facing several charges relating to child pornography after police  seized several computers and accessories last month during a search of his home in West Lampeter Township.

Jody Sambrick, of the 1700 block of Pioneer Road, was charged after members of the Lancaster County Digital Forensics Unit found several images and videos depicting child pornography during an examination of the seized items, according to West Lampeter Township Police.

Sambrick turned himself in on October 19 and was arraigned on three counts of child pornography, one count of dissemination of child pornography, and two counts of criminal use of a communication facility before Magisterial District Judge Joshua R. Keller. All the charges are felonies, police say.

Sambrick is a pastor at Hopeland United Methodist Church in Lititz, according to the United Methodist Church’s official website  and the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of the United Methodist Church website, which lists him as pastor at Hopeland and a West District clergy member.

dalton lanphier 

Trinity Life Baptist Church, Garland, Texas Sued For Negligence and Fraud

In 2016, Dalton Lanphier, youth pastor at Trinity Life Baptist Church in Garland, Texas  was sentenced to thirty years in prison on sexual assault charges. The mother of one of his victims has sued the church on behalf of her son, alleging negligence and fraud.

The Dallas News reports:

The mother of a boy who was molested by a former youth pastor of a Garland church is suing the church for negligence and fraud, saying it aided and abetted child abuse, according to court records.

Julia Davis, who now lives in Colorado, claims Trinity Life Baptist Church failed to report sexual abuse by Dalton Lanphier, 23, of Forney, or take any action against him.

….

Davis says in her lawsuit that Lanphier met her son when he was in middle school and abused him while allowing the boy to drive his vehicle.

“Through his position as youth minister, Lanphier came to know and gained access to minors and their families,” the lawsuit says. “Lanphier then used his position to sexually molest, abuse and assault minors.”

The lawsuit said the church “owed a duty to protect children from Lanphier, a sexual predator working as a youth minister.”

Trinity Life Baptist Church could not be reached for comment. An insurance company lawyer who is defending the church in the lawsuit also could not be reached.

The church opened its doors in 1992, according to its website.

Davis filed her lawsuit in Dallas County district court in August, seeking more than $1 million in damages. The church recently filed court papers seeking to move the suit to federal court.

In pukingly Baptist fashion, Lanphier has, through Mike Barber Ministries, seen the “light.” Here is an April 2018 video of Lanphier giving his testimony, one of deliverance and restored relationship with Jesus. As I said, puke, puke, puke, puke. Note that Lanphier never confesses what he actually did.

Video Link

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Timothy Reddin Pleads Guilty to Sex Crime

timothy reddin

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.

Timothy Reddin, pastor of Turner Street Baptist Church in Springdale, Arkansas, was arrested after he attempted to solicit an undercover agent posing as a 14-year-old boy for sex. Previously, Reddin was convicted on child pornography charges and spent twenty-seven months in prison for his crimes.

Baptist News reports:

A former longtime Southern Baptist preacher whose ministry stalled 18 years ago when he went to prison for possessing child pornography is back in jail, this time for allegedly trying to meet a 14-year-old boy for sex.

Timothy Lee Reddin, 67, was arrested Aug. 3 on a federal warrant for attempted coercion and enticement of a minor. According to arrest documents, Reddin messaged an undercover Homeland Security Investigations agent posing online as an underage male to arrange a meeting for sex.

….

In the past Reddin served Southern Baptist churches in Arkansas and Texas for three decades before pleading guilty in 2000 to possessing at least 10 illegal images, including one depiction of a child under 12.

Two years earlier he reportedly resigned as director of missions for Central Baptist Association in Benton, Arkansas, after two people found child pornography on a computer he used and confronted him over it.

Reddin went to prison for 27 months, after admitting to the sentencing judge that he had a weakness for child pornography but insisting would never actually molest a child. He blamed his porn addiction on sexual abuse he said he suffered at age 10 at the hands of an older boy.

Character witnesses including a fellow pastor argued for leniency, saying they believed Reddin felt remorse and was sincere about wanting to reform.

Fox-24 adds:

The undercover officer said he was on a website on July 27 in an unrelated undercover capacity when he received an unprovoked message from a website user with the profile name “Lee,” according to the affidavit

“Lee” described himself in his profile as a 62-year-old white male, 6’1″, 215 pounds and married. The profile description said, “I just wanna have fun…I like younger guys. But hell, at my age that’s just about everybody! Discreet, intelligent, witty, professional guy. Love to meet new friends. Especially naked ones,” according to the affidavit.

The undercover officer began interacting with Lee after receiving the initial message from him.

Lee began the conversation by saying “I like your hashtag! I’m no fan of our lying Pres.” He then complimented the undercover officer, saying “You are wise beyond your years. :)”

As the conversation went on, Lee said, “Yeah, a good looking 18 yr old will get hit on a lot.” The undercover officer said he wasn’t 18 and that he was on the website while his parents were out of town.

Lee asked the undercover officer for his age. The undercover officer said he was going to turn 15 in November and wanted to be around like-minded guys, to which Lee asked, “Gay I suppose?”

As the conversation continued, Lee asked the undercover officer if he had sex other than masturbation. He then went on to tell the undercover officer that many men on the website will want to have oral sex with him.

Lee later asked the undercover officer what kind of sexual activity he is looking for and what he is ready for. Lee suggested starting with oral sex and to then move onto other types of sex. He also recommended taking it a step at a time, saying “Gay pron will be your friend for a while. :)”

The undercover officer then tells Lee that he’s looking for someone he can trust to be his first. Lee responds, “If I weren’t such an old fart I’d volunteer! Lol.”

After the undercover officer said he doesn’t care about age, Lee said, “I could meet you. No pressure to do anything you decide not to.” (sic)

Lee then said “Here’s what I have to offer” and sent graphic images of male genitalia.

Lee offered to meet the undercover officer the next day for a burger and then go somewhere private so he can “coach” him on oral sex.

The undercover officer told Lee that he felt he could trust him then jokingly asked if he is going to kidnap or kill him.

“Actually, I’m an axe murderer…,” Lee said. He then added, “I’m a gentle guy really. I’m a college teacher and a businessman.”

The undercover officer told Lee he couldn’t meet the next day. He and Lee discussed meeting another time, and Lee gave the undercover officer his phone number after the officer asked how to find Lee on the website at a late time. Lee says, “Text, don’t call. My name’s Lee.”

The undercover officer said Lee contacted him another time and offered to give him pointers on having sex for the first time and offered to assist him with his first sexual experience. Lee then said, “I’ll never tell! I could go to jail!”

Sure sounds like Reddin “reformed,” eh? How about he went right back to his predatory ways,because that’s what sexual predators do. Jesus can’t fix pedophiles, so it is up to the state to make sure the Reddins of the world do NOT have access to children. A mitigating factor was the fact that Reddin was molested as a teen. Sadly, all to often, those preyed upon become predators themselves.

Today, Reddin pleaded guilty to one count of attempted online enticement of a minor. The good pastor faces a minimum of ten years in prison.