Menu Close

Tag: New Beginnings Ministry Warsaw

Black Collar Crime: Ohio Evangelical Pastor William Dunfee Found Guilty for His Part in January 6 Insurrection

pastor william dunfee

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.

William Dunfee, pastor of New Beginnings Ministry in Warsaw, Ohio, was found guilty of participating in the January 6 insurrection.

The Columbus Dispatch reports:

An Ohio pastor has been found guilty of criminal charges in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia for his actions in connection with the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

William Dunfee, 58, of Frazeysburg, Muskingum County, was found guilty Monday of two felony charges of obstruction of an official proceeding or aiding and abetting a civil disorder, and a misdemeanor charge of entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s office in Washington.

Dunfee, who was not charged with entering the Capitol building during the failed attempt by President Trump supporters to stop the certification of President Joe Biden’s election victory, is scheduled to be sentenced on May 24.

The pastor of the New Beginnings Ministry in Warsaw, Coshocton County, Dunfee was arrested in October 2022 and accused by federal prosecutors of twice pushing a metal barricade against Capitol Police officers and using a bullhorn to rally the crowd, based on video evidence entered into court evidence.

“The election has been stolen right out from underneath our noses and it is time for the American people to rise up. Rise up. Rise up,” Dunfee is accused of saying over a bullhorn. “Today is the day in which it is that these elected officials realize that we are no longer playing games. That we are not sheeple.”

Prior to traveling to Washington for the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection, the Department of Justice alleges in court records that Dunfee tried to fire up members of his congregation to make the trip. Dunfee is accused of posting a video on Dec. 27, 2020, telling his congregation: “The government, the tyrants, the socialists, the Marxists, the progressives, the RINOs (Republicans In Name Only), they fear you. And they should. Our problem is we haven’t given them any reason to fear us.”

A criminal complaint contained in court records states that a tip to federal authorities helped lead to the arrest of Dunfee, who while at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, was wearing a baseball cap with the name and logo of the company he co-owns, Cross Builders, LLC in Coshocton.

Years ago, Dunfee was known for his pickets of area adult entertainment businesses — especially The FoxHole, a local strip club. The owner and the strippers at The FoxHole returned the pickets in kind — except for the fact that the strippers picketed topless on Sundays in front of Dunfee’s church. 🙂

The New York Times reported at the time:

To shield churchgoers from the topless protesters, curtains are hung around the parking lot of New Beginnings Ministries. The pastor, Wiliam R. Dunfee, said families including children have been entering through a back door.

Still, the pastor vowed to go on with his vigils at a strip club that led to its dancers picketing at his church.

“I have no intention of looking away from evil,” said Mr. Dunfee, who has read the Bible aloud and buttonholed patrons outside the strip club, the Foxhole, for nearly nine years.

He said he has talked husbands into returning home to their wives and attracted out-of-state supporters to what he calls his “ministry” outside the Foxhole — though he has not succeeded in closing it down.

The pastor has both fans and critics here in east central Ohio, a nub of the Bible Belt where Amish schoolgirls play baseball in long dresses, but many people believe a lawful business should be free from churchgoers pestering clients and employees, sometimes loudly, until midnight on weekends.

“Interrupting people and whatever, there’s really no call for it,” said Paul Wilson, a trustee of New Castle Township (population: 450), where the club is located, nine miles up the road from Mr. Dunfee’s flock. “As far as the church goes, they ought to go back to where they came from and stay there.”

Mr. Dunfee said he was acting on behalf of “victims” of the Foxhole, who in his view, include the “lost souls” who gyrate around the dance poles, the wives of men who by ogling the dancers are breaking their wedding vows, and even aborted babies that might result from “the enticement of irresponsible sex.”

But in this long-running standoff, the lines are not always where they appear to be. Mr. Dunfee is an admitted adulterer who was forced to resign from a church he had led. The strip club’s owner, Thomas George, called the pastor hypocritical for “telling me my place is breaking up marriages.”

“It has been outright harassment going on nine years,” said Mr. George, whose club is a windowless boxcar of a building with peeling plywood sides. “I decided to show them, you don’t want it behind closed doors? We’ll bring it right out in the open and see how you like it.”

And so half a dozen topless dancers with hand-lettered signs began showing up at Mr. Dunfee’s church on Sunday mornings last month. The pastor acknowledged that they cannot be arrested since courts have interpreted indecency laws to mean that female breasts are not genitalia and can be bared in public.

County officials are at wit’s end. The sheriff, the county prosecutor and the law director for the City of Coshocton, the seat of Coshocton County, sent a letter to the pastor and club owner this month asking them to cease and desist.


At a protest outside the club on Sept. 5, Mr. Dunfee was accused of trespassing too close to the Foxhole and was arrested. In response, the pastor filed an assault complaint against Mr. George, accusing him of shoving him from his parking lot.

Mr. Skelton, who prosecutes misdemeanors, declined to pursue charges against either man.

The pastor has drawn supporters to his Friday night vigils from Illinois, Iowa and North Carolina. He wrote to Mr. Skelton demanding an apology “to all the gentle Christians” who have been trampled on by overzealous law enforcement.

In an interview at his church, which has grown steadily since he founded it in 2001, most recently adding a 250-seat sanctuary, Mr. Dunfee said, “There’s never going to be a compromise.”

“We have taken a proactive approach to dealing with evil in our community,” said the pastor, who has also demonstrated at gay pride parades in Columbus. He cited the biblical responsibility of pastors “to be the watchmen on the wall” in defense of families and community.


But Mr. Dunfee denied that his long crusade connected to his own history of infidelity. In 2000, he resigned as pastor of Black Run Church of God in Frazeysburg, Ohio, because of a relationship outside his marriage, the pastor acknowledged.

“It was a form of adultery,” he said, one which brought him “a great deal of shame.” He said he had he repented and asked forgiveness from many people, including his wife of 31 years, Connie. “I have received forgiveness,” Mr. Dunfee added. “Because of my past, I’m more capable to help other men.”

Mr. George, who founded the Foxhole in 1999, was not so forgiving. He said the church’s vigils, which he said sometimes featured Mr. Dunfee on a bullhorn, “have run my business into the ground.” He has sought two legal injunctions to keep the pastor 100 feet from his building. Both were denied. He said he has no more money to waste on lawyers. So he has been fighting back creatively, including a radio ad that invited listeners to visit the Foxhole to see why it is the pastor’s “favorite weekend hangout.”

The idea of a topless protest at the church came after the club’s dancers, while confronting church members outside the club, removed their tops and saw that it upset Mr. Dunfee’s supporters.

Robin Kimbrough, one of Mr. George’s longtime employees, defended her line of work. “Morally that is my decision to make,” said Ms. Kimbrough, who started as a dancer and now manages Mr. George’s club in Zanesville, which has also been protested. “It is my burden to God to bear,” she said. “I’m aware of what I do. My husband and I have eight children together. It happens to work for our family.”

Even though the topless protests have not dissuaded Mr. Dunfee to stand down, Mr. George said the controversy has at least reminded people he was still in business. On Tuesday, he hung new blue siding on his club, whose sign is faded and whose concrete steps are crumbling. He acknowledged that Mr. Dunfee’s moral certainty would likely outlast the stamina of his dancers to march at the church. “I imagine he’ll go on with it,” he said. “I’ll go away at some point. It’s going to get cold.”

Truly an example of “tit for tat.” 🙂

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen 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.

Connect with me on social media:

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Bruce Gerencser