Tag Archive: Pastor Thomas Griffin

Black Collar Crime: IFB Pastor Thomas Griffin Leaves His Wife’s Alleged Crimes in the Lord’s Hands

shannon griffin

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.

(Please see Black Collar Crime: IFB School Teacher Shannon Griffin Charged with Sexual Assault)

Yesterday, I posted a story about alleged sexual crimes of Shannon Griffin, an IFB pastor’s wife and a kindergarten teacher at Jordan Baptist School in Burbank, Illinois. Today, the Chicago Tribune reported an alleged conversation between Shannon Griffin’s husband, Thomas, and a church member by the name of Mike Mollo:

Parents at the school said they sent their children to the private school because they trusted the Griffins. Now they are feeling betrayed.

“He said, ‘Dad, you got to see this,’” parent Mike Mollo said. “He pulls his phone out, and it’s a bunch of pornographic videos of her doing things to herself.”

Mollo’s two children went to the school, and his family belonged to the church.

“The second I saw that video, the very next day, I pulled my kids out of that school, and we stopped going to church there immediately,” he said.

He said explicit images of Griffin began circulating among students. Photos were provided to CBS 2 by an adult.

Mollo said he went to police and confronted his pastor, Griffin’s husband.

“I called the pastor, and I said to him, ‘You better get in front of this.’ I said, ‘All these kids are passing videos around of your wife.’ And he said, ‘It’s not my wife. It’s not her. We’re just going to pray about it. Let the lord take care of us,’” Mollo said.

Mollo said he feels beyond betrayed by what happened.

“You pay that kind of money to send your kids to a school to where you can trust these people, and they go and do this?” he said. “Betrayed is an understatement. Violated, betrayed, angry. There’s no words to describe what I was feeling.”

Note carefully Thomas Griffin’s response to Mollo:  “It’s not my wife. It’s not her. We’re just going to pray about it. Let the Lord take care of us.”

First, Pastor Griffin lied. He and his wife have been married for twenty-eight years. I am sure, by now, he knows what his wife looks like naked, and otherwise.

Second, clergy in the state of Illinois are mandated reporters, as are school teachers. Pastor Griffin was legally obligated to immediately report his wife to law enforcement. So were any school officials who heard rumors or knew about Shannon Griffin’s sexual misconduct. Sometimes, doing the right thing is hard, but Pastor Griffin had a duty to protect church and school children from his wife’s predatory behavior.

Third, it is absurd that Pastor Griffin, instead of doing what was legally and morally required of him, wanted to pray about the matter and leave it in the Lord’s hands. This is exactly what more than a few IFB preachers are known for: covering up criminal behavior. Griffin is a graduate of the late Jack Hyles’ college, Hyles-Anderson College. I can’t help but see a connection between Pastor Griffin’s response and the pernicious teachings of Hyles.

Pastor Griffin just wants to put his wife’s misconduct in the Lord’s hands. Sadly, Jesus has never, ever called law enforcement to report one of his children. Instead, he forgives their “sin” and wipes their slate clean. This is why sexual abuse allegations CANNOT be left in the hands of pastors and churches to investigate and control. In IFB churches, in particular, protecting the testimony of the church is far more important than protecting and caring for those who have been victimized by pastors and congregants alike. Cover-ups abound.

Fourth, how is it that Pastor Griffin has not, at the very least, been suspended or put on leave? His comments reveal that he does not have the best interests of the church and the school at heart. (And at some level, I understand his desire to protect his wife and their three children.) According to several news reports, Shannon Griffin was doing at least some of the things she is accused of for six years! Six years! Jordan Baptist Church is not a huge church, attendance-wise, and the school only had a hundred or so students. I find it hard to believe that no one heard any rumors about Mrs. Griffin’s alleged criminal behavior over the past six years.

It will be interesting to see how this story plays out. The overwhelming majority of Black Collar Crimes series stories feature male perpetrators. When it comes to female wrongdoers, there’s often a double standard. An adult male teacher has sex with a teenage student and it’s rape. Let a female teacher do the same with a teen boy, and it is considered every boys’ wet dream.

Black Collar Crime: IFB School Teacher Shannon Griffin Charged with Sexual Assault

shannon griffin

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.

(Please see Black Collar Crime: IFB Pastor Thomas Griffin Leaves His Wife’s Alleged Crimes in the Lord’s Hands)

Shannon Griffin, an IFB pastor’s wife and a kindergarten teacher at Jordan Baptist School in Burbank, Illinois, was arrested Monday and charged with sexual assault and solicitation of child pornography. The Chicago Tribune reports:

Shannon Griffin, 49, of Oak Lawn, a teacher at Jordan Baptist School, was taken into custody Monday after a monthslong investigation, according to the sheriff’s office. Investigators allege that Griffin “engaged in sexual conduct” with a male underage student who was enrolled at the school, according to a news release from the sheriff’s office.

Griffin is also charged with sending nude pictures and videos of herself to that minor and another juvenile at the school, both males, and asking the minors to send her images, according to the sheriff’s office.

The alleged conduct began in 2013 and continued until March of this year, police said.

Griffin, who is also charged with distribution of harmful materials and grooming, is expected to appear in bond court on Wednesday.

….

The investigation began in early March when the Burbank Police Department received an anonymous tip, according to Burbank police records obtained through a public records request. The tipster also told police that the school pastor, who is married to Griffin, and the principal were made aware about the inappropriate videos and images, according to the police records.

….

During an interview with detectives, the student said that a female teacher sent images and videos showing a woman “removing her clothing and exposing her breasts and vagina,” according to Burbank police records. The student also gave police a Samsung Galaxy tablet, which he said he used to make copies of the messages, the police records indicate.
Burbank detectives who reviewed the messages noted the images did not show “a visible head or face of the female,” according to Burbank police reports.

Jordan Baptist School is owned and operated by Jordan Baptist Church, an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) congregation. Jordan Baptist is pastored by Thomas Griffin, a graduate of Hyles-Anderson College. Currently, both the church and school websites are down. A cached page says the following about Pastor Griffin:

Thomas Griffin, Pastor of Jordan Baptist Church, Burbank, Illinois, was born in Toledo, Ohio. He is a graduate of Hyles-Anderson College and previously worked for his home church of Lewis Avenue Baptist Church, Temperance, Michigan; and as an Assistant Pastor of Jordan Baptist Church for five years. Pastor Griffin was called to Jordan Baptist Church in 1997. Since becoming pastor, Jordan Baptist Church has seen great advancements both numerically and spiritually. Several new ministries have also been started under his pastoral leadership.

He and his wife Shannon have been married since 1991 and have three daughters: ***, ***, and ***. He loves his church and has a tremendous burden for the Chicago area, and even through busy ministries and growth, Jordan Baptist Church has maintained its close-knit family atmosphere with a passion for serving people.

Griffins’ adult daughters also teach at Jordan Baptist School — an unaccredited institution.

Update, July 3, 2019

The Chicago Tribune reports Shannon Griffin had her first court appearance today. Lori Levin, Griffin’s attorney,  said her client “vehemently denies that it’s her in the photos.”

Cook County Judge John Mahoney ordered Griffin held on a $750,000 bond. He also ordered that she have no contact with the alleged victims in the case or with any minors.

ABC-7 reports:

Police said the inappropriate conduct began in 2013 and continued until March of 2019. Prosecutors said there are two victims. The first is a male student who was between 15 and 17 during the alleged crimes. Prosecutors said Griffin and the student had sex five times, often in her minivan in an industrial park, and a sixth time after he graduated. It was usually in exchange for a bottle of alcohol.

“In 2013, the victim asked the defendant on Snapchat if she would get a bottle. The defendant said, ‘Yes, if we have sex,'” Gruca said.

The second victim was a 16-year-old student who prosecutors said communicated with Griffin over Snapchat several times. The victim started taking screenshots of several pictures and video Griffin allegedly sent him, “One picture depicts the front of the defendant from the neck down in her bra and underwear with a message written across the picture, ‘warm out of the shower missing uuuu,'” Gruca said.

Both victims also told investigators Griffin has a tattoo of an arrow on her left hip. Griffin’s attorney did not answer whether or not Griffin has the tattoo after the judge asked her in court today.

After hearing the details the judge said, “This is a horrible betrayal. It boggles my mind…what a betrayal.”