Tag Archive: Sexual Abuse

Black Collar Crime: United Methodist Youth Volunteer John Blaylock Accused of Sexual Abuse

john blaylock

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 Blaylock, a youth volunteer at a Methodist church in Universal City, Texas, stands accused of  sexually molesting a thirteen-year-old girl. Fox-29 reports that Blaylock told the girl’s mother he planned to give her daughter tennis lessons. Instead, Blaylock allegedly took the girl to Crescent Bend Nature Park and sexually assaulted her. The girl provided investigators a description of a mole near Blaylock’s genitalia.

Black Collar Crime: Baptist Youth Pastor Christopher Stutts Facing More Sexual Abuse Charges

christopher stutts

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.

Christopher Stutts was the youth pastor at Westwood Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama when he allegedly sexually molested several minor children. According to the Tuscaloosa News, Stutts is being held in the Tuscaloosa County Jail with bond set at $120,000.  This is Stutts’ second arrest on sexual abuse charges.

According to Steve Potts, pastor of Westwood Baptist:

The people you think would never do something like that — may be responsible for things that may be shocking…He [Stutts] was just a very pleasant person, Very friendly. Not over the top. Seemed to have a heart to care for the kids…We saw no hint of this.

Up to this point, we have no indication of any accusations connected with his ministry here at the church. But, we want people to know if they know of anything, to immediately report it to law enforcement and to the church and we stand ready to help with anything.

His wife, from what she told me, was totally caught off guard by this. And they have two small children

I previously wrote about Stutts here.

Black Collar Crime: District Attorney Says Evangelist Acton Bowen is a ‘Danger to Every Child in This Community’

acton bowen

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 read Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Evangelist Acton Bowen Arrested on Child Sex Charges and Black Collar Crime: Why Did Young Boys Need to be Protected from Evangelist Acton Bowen? and Black Collar Crime: Evangelist Acton Bowen Accused of Additional Sex Crimes for further information about Acton Bowen.)

Law enforcement has broadened its investigation of Evangelical evangelist Acton Bowen, saying that it is likely that there are other victims in multiple jurisdictions. AL.com reports:

Evangelist Acton Bowen, currently facing sex abuse charges in connection with five teenage boys in two counties, is being investigated in three other jurisdictions.

That’s according to an Etowah County prosecutor, who said in court today that additional charges could come against Bowen as early as this week. Deputy District Attorney Carol Griffith, arguing why Bowen’s $500,000 bail should not be reduced or changed, said Bowen is being investigated by the FBI and in Orange Beach, as well as in Florida and Colorado.

“The true extent of these crimes is not yet known,” Griffith said. “Under the guise of leading children to the Lord, he was abusing them and leaving them more lost than ever before.”

District Attorney Jody Willoughby was even more forceful in arguing before Presiding District Judge David Kimberley.

“Acton Bowen is a danger to every child in this community,” he said. “The only place he remains not a danger is in the Etowah County Detention Center.”

….

 

 

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Douglas Rivera Pleads Not Guilty on Sexual Assault Charges

pastor douglas rivera

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.

(You can read my previous post about Douglas Rivera here.)

Yesterday, Douglas Rivera, pastor of God’s Gypsy Christian Church in Glendale, California, pleaded not guilty to committing a lewd act against an eleven-year-old Chinese girl.  Rivera insists he is innocent, saying “I did not do nothing wrong. I was at the wrong place at the wrong time.”  An NBC-4 report states that Rivera exposed himself to two minor girls and inappropriately touched one of them. Video evidence puts Rivera at the scene of the alleged crimes. NBC-4 reports:

Prosecutors say Rivera drove to the Vanllee Hotel and Suites, at 1211 E. Garvey St., and parked his truck in front of a room where two young girls were staying on Feb. 7. Prosecutors allege he exposed himself to the girls before entering the hotel room and inappropriately touching one of them.

The girls had opened the door, believing it was their chaperone, according to police.

Authorities released surveillance video and still shots of the suspect, which they said resulted in numerous calls from people who are part of or associated with God’s Gypsy Christian Church. The callers said they believed the man was Rivera, who subsequently proclaimed his innocence in a video shot before he surrendered on Feb. 11 to Covina police, tearfully asking people to keep him in prayer.

Rivera’s bail has been set at $1.1 million.

Black Collar Crime: Evangelist Acton Bowen Accused of Additional Sex Crimes

acton bowen

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 read Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Evangelist Acton Bowen Arrested on Child Sex Charges and Black Collar Crime: Why Did Young Boys Need to be Protected from Evangelist Acton Bowen? for further information about Acton Bowen.)

Evangelical Evangelist and youth conference speaker Acton Bowen, an avid supporter of pussy-grabber-in-chief Donald Trump, finds himself, yet again, facing accusations of sex crimes. Bowen is now accused of sexually assaulting four additional minors. ABC reports that Bowen had a three-year sexual relationship with a teen girl. Last week, Bowen’s wife of two years filed for divorce, saying she “fears for her immediate safety from (her husband) and any third parties that may attempt to contact (her husband) as a result of the crimes for which he has been alleged to have committed.” The judge agreed, granting Bowen’s wife a temporary retraining order, giving her sole access to their home.

Bowen’s latest brush with the law finds him accused of sexual abuse, sodomy, and enticing a child. According to ABC-33, Etowah County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Natalie Barton said, when asked if she believed there were more victims, “Absolutely. We do believe that there are more victims out there. Some of them may choose to come forward on their own.”

Bowen and his supporters continue to say that all the allegations are false. What was once a smoldering camp fire is now a blazing wildfire.

Black Collar Crime: Presbyterian Youth Pastor Andrew Dickson Accused of Sex Crimes

pastor andrew dickson

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.

Andrew Dickson, the youth pastor for Central Presbyterian Church in Clayton, Missouri, was arrested yesterday and charged with two counts of statutory sodomy.  The Saint Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Dickson admitted fondling and having oral sex with a minor.

Dickson was immediately fired from the church and his name has been scrubbed from the church’s website.  According to an archived copy of Central Presbyterian’s website, Dickson’s official title was director, student ministry.  The church is an Evangelical congregation affiliated with Evangelical Presbyterian Churches.

Black Collar Crime: Why Did Young Boys Need to be Protected from Evangelist Acton Bowen?

acton bowen

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.

I previously posted a story about the arrest of Evangelical evangelist Acton Bowen’s arrest on sex crime charges. You can read that story here. Bowen, of course, denied doing what he is accused of, and his father made a strong he-didn’t-do-it defense of his son. However, two days after Bowen’s arrest, his wife filed for divorce, stating that she “fears for her immediate safety from (her husband) and any third parties that may attempt to contact (her husband) as a result of the crimes for which he has been alleged to have committed.”

Last Friday, two of Bowen’s ministry board members, Trenton Garmon and Josh Dodd, resigned.

Al.com reports that Bowen was required by his board to install the Covenant Eyes porn-blocking software on his computer. Why? That’s a rhetorical question, by the way. A daily report was sent to his accountability partner. No mention is made of how board members ensured Bowen was not accessing pornography on other devices.

What stood out in the AL.com report is the following statement by Garmon:

We requested that he never be alone with any female other than his wife. And we requested that he never be alone with a male minor which I considered to be someone under 16 years old. I was told that these minimums were being followed. Yet, in light of the allegation, it appears that the Guardian Policy was not always honored. This is not to imply criminal guilt by any means, yet our policy was not abided by. As you may be aware he has publicly denied the criminal allegations.

Why did Bowen’s board specifically require him to never be alone with boys under the age of sixteen and never be alone with females regardless of their age, other than his wife?

I suspect I am not alone in my suspicion that Bowen has unseemly behavior in his past. Garmon admits that the evangelist did not abide by the minimums of what the board called the “Guardian Policy,” and that this behavior may not have been criminal. This leads me to believe that perhaps Bowen had an affair or some sort of sexual relationship with someone other than his wife.

Note

The Stranger website details several other interesting tidbits about Evangelist Acton Bowen.  The one I found most interesting was the gift Bowen gave his wife for their wedding anniversary:

acton bowen anniversary gift to wife

Nothing says I LOVE YOU like an AR-15.

 

 

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Evangelist Acton Bowen Arrested on Child Sex Charges

acton bowen

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.

Acton Bowen, a noted Evangelical evangelist, conference speaker, and friend of Donald Trump, was arrested Tuesday on child sexual abuse charges.

AL.com reports:

A well-known Alabama evangelist, public speaker and author was arrested in Hoover Tuesday on child sex charges.

Paul Edward Acton Bowen, a 37-year-old Gadsden native who now lives in Etowah County’s Southside community, was taken into custody by Hoover police about 12:35 p.m. The founder of Acton Bowen Outreach Ministries is charged with second-degree sodomy, enticing a child to enter a vehicle or house for immoral purposes, and second-degree sex abuse. The victim was a young male, but police did not release his age except to say he is over 12 and under 16.

Hoover police Capt. Gregg Rector said the department’s Special Victim’s Unit first launched an investigation three weeks ago. The Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office issued the warrants on Monday.

“This is certainly one of the more disturbing cases that we’ve investigated in quite some time,” Rector said. “Mr. Bowen is in a highly-respected position of influence and he is trusted by many. We believe he betrayed that trust in the worst kind of way.”

Bowen was taken into custody in Pelham and transported to the Hoover City Jail. He was moved to the Jefferson County Jail where he was released early Wednesday on $90,300 bond.

Rector said the victim in this case is an underage family acquaintance, “He is currently doing well and has been in a safe environment since police were first notified,” Rector said.

….

Bowen is president and founder of Acton Bowen Outreach. His bio says he served for 12 years in a local church, led a citywide student Bible study in Gadsden and was also the host of xlroads TV, a worldwide broadcast viewed weekly by millions of teens and adults in every city in America and over 170 countries around the world.

The website says Bowen is a cohost of Top3 on the JuceTV Network in New York City.

“Everyone associated with JuceTV was shocked and disheartened to hear of the egregious allegations made against Acton Brown this week. Our prayers go out to those who may have been hurt and victimized,” a JuceTV spokesperson said in a statement to AL.com. “Mr. Brown made four appearances on JuceTV, an affiliate of TBN, the most recent last summer, but there are no on-going ties.”

The outreach website described Bowen as a regular contributor on Fox News as a correspondent on faith and religion. However, network officials say Bowen has never been employed or paid by Fox News.

It goes on to say he speaks up to 20 times a month at churches, disciple-now weekends, citywide crusades, camps, conferences, school assemblies and leadership seminars – giving him a live platform in front of more than 350,000 people.

acton bowen donald trump

Today, Bowen responded to his arrest, saying that he is completely innocent of all charges:

I have not done what I am accused of and have not acted inappropriately in any way. My family and I trust the legal system and the people who are entrusted with the duty of protection each of our rights. I believe the truth will stand and I will be vindicated of this false accusation. We ask that each of you keep everyone involved in this process in your prayers.

AL.com reports:

In his first public statement, Bowen said he wanted to say “thank you” to the countless number of people who have prayed for his family. “My wife, Ashley, and I along with our incredible family are so grateful for your prayers,” he said.

“I’m also thankful for the countless calls of support from those who have walked a lot of life with me and know me best,” he said. “Your steadfast, unshakable support gives me strength. For almost 20 years (since I was 18) my life has been committed to serving Jesus by serving people.”

“When this accusation was made known to me I was hurt, confused, and heartbroken,” he said. “Prior to the arrest only one side of the story was heard.”

….

According to an April 13, 2018 ABC-33 report, Acton’s wife has filed for divorce:

New developments have emerged in the case of a youth minister arrested in Hoover for sex crimes involving a child.

Acton Bowen’s wife, Ashley Nabors Bowen, filed for divorce and claimed that she feared for her safety from him.

An Etowah County judge Friday granted her immediate temporary exclusive possession of their home in Southside while restraining him and her from any contact or behavior intended to harass, threaten or intimidate the other.

The 29-year-old filed to end her two-year marriage just after the founder of Acton Bowen Outreach Ministries was taken into custody Wednesday by Hoover police on charges of sexual abuse, sodomy and enticing a child.

….

Black Collar Crime: Catholic Diocese of Erie Releases List of Priests Who Have Been Accused of Sex Crimes

lawrence persico

Bishop Lawrence Persico

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.

Today, the Catholic Diocese of Erie released a list of fifty-one priests and laypeople who have been credibly accused of sex crimes.

GoErie.com reports:

Bishop Lawrence Persico likened the event to ending a kind of darkness.

In a stunning break from years of Catholic Diocese of Erie policy, Persico on Friday released the names of priests and laypeople credibly accused of sexually abusing minors or engaging in improper behavior with minors since 1944. (scroll down for the list of names.)

“When everything is shrouded in cloud, everybody becomes suspicious,” Persico said. “Now that we have turned on the light it should be somewhat of a relief.”

He apologized to the victims on behalf of the diocese and said the release of the list is meant to help victims by letting them know “they are not alone.” He encouraged more victims to come forward.

“We are willing to listen to them and accompany them as we search for the truth,” Persico said.

The cases on the list span from 1944 to the present and the list is made up of a total of 51 people — 34 priests, 21 of whom are dead, and 17 laypeople, two of whom are dead. Persico said the statute of limitations had expired in all the cases except three more recent cases in which criminal investigations are active.

Those on the list include the late Erie Catholic Bishop Alfred M. Watson, who died at 80 in 1990 and who the diocese said had been credibly accused of failing to stop abuse that was “credibly reported to him.” Persico said someone was abused because Watson, who served as bishop from 1969 to 1982, failed to act on the abuse allegation.

Also on the list is William P. Garvey, the former president of then-Mercyhurst College, who died at 81 in August. The diocese said its investigation showed Garvey had been credibly accused of abusing minors when he was a youth basketball coach at St. John the Baptist School in the 1960s and 1970s. The Erie Times-News first reported the allegations against Garvey in 2004, but Garvey called them “patently untrue” and Mercyhurst disputed them, citing “a lack of solid evidence.”

Persico’s release of the 51 names is unusual for Roman Catholic dioceses in the United States, most of which have kept such names secret. And the release of the names is unusual because the list includes laypeople and not just clergy.

“If we’re going to protect children, it is not just priests, but it is laypeople, too,” Persico said. “Why would I just put (in) priests if we know people who have not protected children?”

He said the release of the names, which he announced during a news conference at St. Mark Catholic Center, is also meant to help the community and the church, accused of covering up for abusive priests since the clergy sex-abuse scandal exploded nationwide in 2002. The Erie diocese on March 21 said it intended to release the names of accused priests soon. The diocese released that statement a day after the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo released the names of 42 accused priests, 24 of whom are dead.

The Erie diocese’s disclosures also come as a statewide investigative grand jury is in the final stages of its review of how the Erie diocese and five other Catholic dioceses statewide handled allegations of clerical sexual abuse. The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office is running the probes, which started in 2016.

The grand jury’s term is expected to end by April 30, with its report to be finished soon after. The report will be public and is expected to name abusive priests, based on previous grand jury reports on other Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania. A year ago, the attorney general’s office released a highly critical 147-page grand jury report on the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown.

Persico said he “probably” would have released the names of the accused priests and laypeople if the grand jury had not been meeting. [bullshit] He said he expects the grand jury report will include the names of more victims. The Erie diocese has cooperated with the investigation, which has included a review of diocesan records.

“We were going to do this regardless of what the report said,” Persico also said. “This is something I felt has to be done. We have to do all we can to protect children and minors across the diocese.”

“I know people stand firmly on both sides of whether or not releasing the names of these individuals is the right decision,” Persico said. “Some will say that it has taken far too long to publish these names. Others think we shouldn’t do it at all. They say we are not showing mercy.

“As Catholics, we believe the Lord has infinite mercy and absolution for those who are contrite and sincerely seek forgiveness. But that does not mean they are free from the ramifications of their behavior.”

He also said, “there will be some who will say this is not enough.”

One of those people is James Faluszczak, 48. He is a former Roman Catholic priest in the Erie diocese who in March said he was abused as a teenager in Erie in the late 1980s by Monsignor Daniel J. Martin, a former pastor of St. George Church in Millcreek Township who died at 88 in 2006. Faluszczak said the abuse occurred between when he was 16 to 19 years old. Martin’s name is on the list released Friday.

Faluszczak said he is grateful that Persico released the list, but he said he would have liked the bishop to also disclose where the accused priests and laypeople had been at the time of the abuse to help victims get a better idea of the scope of the problem.

“It is a start, but even the bishop acknowledged that more names will be coming,” Faluszczak said. “I think it would have been best to provide a list of where all these priests have served.”

….

You can read the entire story here.

Black Collar Crime: Southern Baptist Leader Paul Pressler Faces Civil Suit Over Sexual Abuse Allegations

paul pressler

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.

Southern Baptist luminary Paul Pressler faces a civil suit alleging that he sexually abused a teenager.

The Baptist News reports:

The attorney representing a man suing former Southern Baptist Convention leader Paul Pressler for alleged sexual abuse has filed the first of what he says will be a series of affidavits corroborating his client’s claims.

An attachment to a motion filed April 3 in the United States District Court for the Second District of Texas Houston Division identifies a married man in his 50s living in New York who says he believes Pressler “had designs” on him when he was a teenager.The witness, a member of a youth group that Pressler led at a Presbyterian church in Houston in the 1970s, said during one weekend retreat at the Pressler Ranch, when he was 16 or 17, Pressler told him there was a shortage of beds and asked if he would mind if they shared a bunk.

He said he recalls “feeling a typical teenage aversion to sleeping beside him,” but did not at the time think the request was unreasonable. During the night, he said, Pressler told him he was cold and rubbed his feet against his under the covers without asking.

The affidavit also says Pressler used to take boys from the youth group to saunas and showers at the Houston Oaks Country Club, typically when no other club members were around. They usually would carpool after Bible study in groups of four to 12, but one night he rode with Pressler and noticed he was the only passenger. He asked who else was going, and Pressler said they were the only two.

He suspected nothing, the affidavit says, until Pressler groped him when they were alone in the steam bath.

“I was absolutely not aroused,” the statement says. “I froze. Shocked, stunned and utterly frightened, I had no idea what to expect next. I was naked and trapped — miles from home — and I needed to be beyond Pressler’s reach.”

“My instincts told me to carry on as though nothing had happened — to end the incident with no further incident. With great difficulty, I talked calmly, while staying alert. We returned to the locker room and dressed. Then Pressler drove me to my car without further incident. I went home and from that moment I have stayed away from him.”

Houston attorney Daniel Shea said in the April 3 motion the allegation is just one of “affidavits and material corroborating witnesses” in preparation and partially completed in the case. Shea said they span a period from as early as 1977-78 to as recently as unwanted sexual advances claimed by a man in 2016. Shea said “other affidavits will follow” and “new corroborators continue to come forward.”

Shea’s motion came in response to a motion for summary judgment filed March 30 by the Southern Baptist Convention, one of a number of organizations and individuals accused in the lawsuit of being co-conspirators. While denying any wrongdoing, the SBC argued that the lawsuit is barred by statute of limitations.

Allowing the case to proceed, the motion said, “would involve discovery regarding documents, events and people spanning 40 years.”

“The attendant costs to SBC, taxpayers and judicial resources constitute an abuse of the civil justice system,” the motion said.

Shea opposed the motion, saying he has not yet had a chance to depose Pressler.

According to legal websites, depositions — the taking of an oral statement of a witness before trial, under oath — are part of the right that all parties in a lawsuit have to “discovery,” a formal investigation to find out more about the case before going to trial.

….

Depositions for Pressler and his wife, Nancy, were initially set for Jan. 16 but were “quashed” — declared legally void — by the defendants. March 13 depositions ordered in state court were intercepted when defendant Second Baptist Church in Houston filed a motion March 12 moving the case to the federal bench.

“The depositions sought will be confrontational,” Shea said. “Either Paul Pressler will admit or deny the abuse, admit or deny the corroborators, or provide some unknown response.”

….

Shea’s client, Gareld Duane Rollins Jr., claims that Pressler assaulted him over the course of 35 years, beginning when he was 14.

Pressler, a former justice on the Texas 14th Court of Appeals, has denied all allegations in the lawsuit. His attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment for this story.

The Texas Tribune adds:

The lawsuit alleges that Paul Pressler, a former justice on the 14th Court of Appeals who served in the Texas state house from 1957–59, sexually assaulted Duane Rollins, his former bible study student, several times per month over a period of years. According to the filing, the abuse started in the late 1970s and continued less frequently after Rollins left Houston for college in 1983.

In a November court filing, Pressler “generally and categorically [denied] each and every allegation” in Rollins’ petition.

The abuse, which consisted of anal penetration, took place in Pressler’s master bedroom study, the suit alleges. According to the lawsuit, Pressler told Rollins he was “special” and that the sexual contact was their God-sanctioned secret.

….

Pressler is a leading figure on the religious right in Texas and was a key player in the “conservative resurgence” of Southern Baptism, a movement in the 1970s and 1980s that aimed to oust liberals and moderates from the church’s organizational structure. Pressler’s wife Nancy, his former law partner Jared Woodfill, Woodfill Law Firm, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President Paige Patterson, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and First Baptist Church of Houston are also named as defendants in the suit.

Rollins seeks damages of over $1 million.

When asked about the suit, Ted Tredennick, Pressler’s attorney, pointed to Rollins’ record, which is peppered with arrests on DUIs and other charges over the last several decades.

“Mr. Rollins is clearly a deeply troubled man, with a track record of multiple felonies and incarceration, and it is the height of irresponsibility that anyone would present such a bizarre and frivolous case — much less report on it,” Tredennick said. He would not give any further comment or respond to specific questions.

Rollins and his lawyer, Daniel Shea, say his past legal troubles stemmed from behavior fueled by alcohol and drug addictions sparked by the childhood sexual abuse. In 1998, Rollins was jailed for 10 years on burglary charges. Pressler advocated for Rollins to receive parole in 2000, when he was first eligible, and then again in 2002. In his 2002 letter to the parole board, Pressler pledged to employ Rollins and be “personally involved in every bit of Duane’s life with supervision and control.”

Woodfill called the accusations against Pressler “absolutely false” and described the lawsuit as “an attempt to extort money.” He also said he plans to file counter charges against Rollins and his lawyer for a “frivolous and harassing lawsuit.”

Shea said Pressler previously settled with Rollins over a 2004 battery charge for an incident in a Dallas hotel room. That settlement is not public, Shea said, but reference is made to such an agreement in recent court filings.

Shea said that though Rollins filed that assault charge more than a decade ago, he had a “suppressed memory” of the sexual abuse until he made an outcry statement to a prison psychologist in November 2015. Harvey Rosenstock, a psychiatrist who has been working with Rollins since August 2016, wrote in a letter included in the suit that Rollins is a “reliable historian for the childhood sexual trauma to which he was repeatedly and chronically subjected.”

….

Black Collar Crime: Catholic Youth Worker Brian Werth Sentenced to Three Years in Prison for Sexual Abuse

brian werth

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.

Brian Werth, a youth worker at St. Elizabeth’s Catholic Church in Rockville, Maryland, was sentenced yesterday to three years in prison for the sexual abuse of a church teenager.

The Bethesda Magazine reports:

A former youth minister at St. Elizabeth’s Catholic Church in Rockville was sentenced Tuesday to three years in prison for the sexual abuse of a teen parishioner, according to Montgomery County prosecutors.

Brian Patrick Werth, 34, had been arrested in 2016 in connection with the abuse of a then-16-year-old girl, to whom he had sent explicit text messages for two years and had sexual contact with her earlier that year. He was charged with a fourth-degree sex offense, sexual abuse of a minor and second-degree assault.

Judge Karla Smith sentenced Werth to one year for the sex offense charge and two years for the assault charge, according to a State’s Attorney’s Office press release. The two terms will be served consecutively, followed by five years of probation with COMET, a sex offender monitoring program that will include periodic polygraph and psychosexual testing. Werth is also required to register as a sex offender for 15 years.

Smith went beyond state guidelines, which recommend zero to six months for the charges, in the sentencing. Ramón Korionoff, a spokesman for the State’s Attorney’s Office, said the sentence was appropriate.

“It is our hope that this above-the-guidelines sentence will send a strong message that people in position of authority and trust must not abuse that power over the young people they are supposed to be serving,” he said in a statement. “Hopefully, yesterday’s sentence will be the first step in healing for the victim and the church community in this matter.”

….

Werth, who lived in Montgomery Village at the time, had known the victim through the church, and learned that she “adored him,” according to prosecutors. They began texting, and police later discovered he had sent graphic and sexual texts to her since the summer of 2014.

On about May 20, 2016, Werth kissed the teen and had other inappropriate sexual contact with her during a youth event at the church, according to police.

St. Elizabeth’s had fired Werth in 2016 after the pastor received a complaint against him that summer, according to a statement from the Archdiocese of Washington at the time. The pastor contacted the Archdiocese’s Child and Youth Protection Office, which then reported the case to county police.

….

Black Collar Crime: IFB Preacher Robert Ross Accused of Covering Up Child Abuse

robert ross steven winn larry winn

Pastor Robert Ross, Steven Winn, and Larry Winn. The church that preys together stays together.

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 February, I posted a story about Steven Winn’s arrest on sex crime charges. In March, I posted a story about Steve Winn’s father, Larry, being arrested on similar charges. Today, their pastor, Robert Ross, has been arrested on charges that he failed to make a child abuse report. Ross is mandatory reporter, yet he did nothing. I have long argued that pastors — if they know about child abuse or a sex crime and don’t report it — should be arrested and prosecuted for failing to report. As long as there is nu punishment for their crimes, pastors will continue to sweep child abuse and sexual assault allegations under the proverbial rug.

According to the report that follows, Open Door Baptist Church in Mesquite, Texas — an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist institution — has had at least four members accused of sexual abuse in its fifty-year history.

Sarah Smith, a reporter for The Star Telegram, writes:

The pastor of a fundamentalist Baptist church with two members already facing sex abuse charges was arrested Tuesday on charges that he failed to make a required child abuse report.

Robert A. Ross, the pastor of Open Door Baptist Church in Mesquite, is in the Mesquite jail. Bond has been set at $2,500. The police have not yet responded to a request for comment.

Open Door Baptist Church in Mesquite has had four members accused of sexual abuse in its 50-year history. Members and ex-members say a strict culture that reveres church authorities as nearly unquestionable has led to an environment conducive to ongoing abuse.

A tipster reported the most recent allegations to Mesquite police in late February. They involved a father-son pair described as belonging to a family deeply involved in the church.

Police arrested Steven Winn, 33, who volunteered with Open Door’s youth ministry, and charged him with three counts of sexual assault of a child on Feb. 22. Larry Winn, his father and the church’s 65-year-old bus minister, was arrested a few days later and charged with sexual assault of a child. The cases involve different victims.

In 2011, the church’s then-pastor, Matt Jarrell, committed suicide in a West Virginia jail cell, where he was being held on rape charges. He had a history of sexual assault arrests, at least one of which was known to the church’s assistant pastor, per news reports at the time.

Back in 1988, Donald Lewis — another bus minister — pleaded guilty to aggravated sexual assault of a child. He died while on probation. One of Lewis’ victims claims that the church’s pastor, Sylvester Matthews, knew of the abuse before his arrest.

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Steven Winn is accused of having a 14-month sexual relationship with a minor that began when the girl was 15 and a student at the church’s school, Mesquite Bible Academy. Winn volunteered with the church’s youth ministry.

Several congregants said they were long concerned about what they say looked like an obviously inappropriate relationship between a 33-year-old man in power and a teenager.

One former member put it like this: “Anyone with two eyes and an Instagram account could have seen that things didn’t look right.”

The girl, who is still a minor and isn’t being identified by the Star-Telegram, posted pictures of herself and Winn on her page, which the Star-Telegram reviewed. The two sat close — much closer than Open Door usually allows even dating couples —and were spending an excessive amount of time together, said the former member.

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“I talked to her a couple times on my phone,” another member said. “I was like ‘Hey, you shouldn’t be calling this guy your daddy, he’s just some guy at church.’ And she’s like, ‘You know, it’s none of your business.’ ”

He said he discussed it with friends but ultimately chose not to bring it up to anyone else.

“When you’re in the church, you believe that the pastors are the authorities,” he said. “They know what’s going on. So you would just automatically figure, it’s probably not right that they’re doing that, but I don’t think there’s anything super wrong going on, you know?”

The girl did not respond to a request for comment. The girl’s mother, reached by phone, declined to comment.

After Steven Winn’s arrest, Ross, the pastor, called a members’ meeting, longtime member Austin Guthrie said. Ross gave no details beyond the charges and said that Steven Winn had turned himself into police.

Lt. Brian Parrish, the Mesquite Police Department’s public relations officer, said Steven Winn and his father voluntarily surrendered to police. However, he said, Steven Winn did not come forward and confess of his own accord. Police received a tip on Feb. 18 — four days before Winn’s arrest. The tipster did not know the extent of the assaults, but was concerned about the relationship.

The same tipster who contacted police about Steven Winn spoke to police about Larry Winn, the bus minister for Open Door, in charge of the fleet of school buses painted with the church logo that shepherds children to and from services. When police contacted the alleged victim, she told them that Larry Winn had assaulted her three years ago, when she was 16.

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The accusations against Larry Winn are similar to those in a case involving Sherry May Sims in the 1980s.

Sims is 46 now, but when she was 12, an Open Door bus minister raped her. The assaults went on for four years, from 1984 to 1988, she said.

Donald Lewis was the bus driver. Lori Clark, who attended Open Door at the time, remembered Lewis as heavyset and graying, always in a suit. Kids nicknamed him the “Candy Man” for the brown paper bag of hard candy he carried.

A different victim, also a minor female, reported Lewis to the Mesquite police in 1988. When the news about Lewis broke, Sims’ parents asked her if anything happened. She said she told them the truth. On May 18, 1988, Sims told her story to the Mesquite police. Later, she told it to a grand jury.

She said she never thought to report it herself.

“He was an authority figure and you didn’t say anything bad about authority figures,” Sims said.

Donald Lewis pleaded guilty. He died while on probation in 1994.

When Sims told her parents what happened, her father met with the pastor, Matthews. Her father, who died last year, told Sims that Matthews said there had been other allegations made to him prior to Lewis’ arrest. Nothing was done.

Matthews is still employed at Open Door. He serves as a senior pastor and a math teacher at Open Door’s school.

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