Tag Archive: Sexual Abuse

Black Collar Crime: Highpoint Church Gives Chris Conlee a Standing Ovation

wtf

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 week, I wrote a post titled, Black Collar Crime: Dominoes Continue to Fall Over Andy Savage Scandal. I detailed the fall out from Andy Savage’s admission that he sexually assaulted a church girl twenty years ago. Savage, a pastor at Highpoint Church in Memphis, Tennessee, received a standing ovation from congregants after he oh-so-humbly admitted the “sexual incident” twenty years before. Savage later resigned after public outrage over his tone-deafness and lack of true repentance and sorrow.

Yesterday, Savage’s fellow pastor Chris Conlee (who resigned last week) had an oh-so-touching parting moment with his church. Afterward, Conlee received a STANDING ovation, thus proving that the entire Highpoint congregation is deaf and blind, oblivious to how such crass behavior appears to outsiders. It’s evident that Highpoint and its leaders do not take sexual abuse seriously. Had they done so, they would have never hired Savage — the church new about the sexual abuse allegation when they hired him — and after hiring him anyway, the church should have fired Conlee for giving Savage cover. Instead, both men received ovations. Yes, both Savage and Conlee are gone, but there’s no sign from Highpoint that they understand their own culpability in this sordid story of sexual abuse and cover-up.

Here’s one thing I know for sure: Savage and Conlee will resurface somewhere, ready to shear more sheep on their road to personal fame and glory.

Why Southern Baptists Aren’t Serious About Sexual Abuse

just kiddingThe Southern Baptist Convention recently held its annual meeting in Dallas, Texas. Thanks to numerous allegations of sexual misconduct against Baptist luminaries such as Paul Pressler and Andy Savage, and Paige Patterson’s indifference towards victims of sexual abuse, SBC leaders and messengers came to Dallas prepared to admit that they had shown crass indifference towards women and sexual abuse. With great humility and repentance, they offered up and passed resolutions that called on Southern Baptist pastors to keep their dicks in their pants and demanded SBC churches and colleges pay attention to sexual abuse allegations from congregants and students — mainly women. Wearing sackcloth and ashes, Southern Baptists promised to do better by treating women with respect, recognizing that they play an important part in the lives of SBC churches. And then, quicker than a blink of an eye, Southern Baptists showed everyone who is paying attention that they are not serious about sexual misconduct by pastors and congregants alike. Southern Baptists proved yet again that they can talk a good line, but when it comes to implementing procedures and practices to put an end to the sexual abuse stench rising up from their midst, messengers can’t be bothered with acting morally and ethically. In other words, after days of meetings, the SBC remains a good old boys club in which women are treated as second-class citizens.

One resolution reminded convention attendees that the SBC is committed to complementarianism; that women are weaker vessels whom God commands to submit to their husbands. Women remain barred from church leadership positions, including the office of pastor. As far as the SBC is concerned, it’s still 1950, and women, by God, should know their place! Southern Baptists can try to spin this any way they want, but the fact remains that women are considered inferior, in need of male protection, and it has to be this way because, well, God said so.

Messengers were asked to create a denomination-level, nationwide database of pastors, evangelists, missionaries, deacons, Sunday school teachers, worship leaders, and people with positions of authority who have been accused of sexual misconduct, including rape, sexual assault, and child abuse. This database would allow churches to investigate prospective pastors and church leaders before hiring them. This seems like a no-brainer to me, yet people such as Christa Brown have been demanding such a database for over a decade, without success. What possible reason could Southern Baptist leaders give for their inaction? At the Dallas meeting, church leaders professed their commitment to putting an end to pastor sexual misconduct, sexual abuse, and domestic violence, yet when it came time to pass a resolution to establish this database, messengers punted it to a committee, delaying for another year any serious denominational action on sexual abuse.

Two main arguments are given for their inaction. First, people are demanding that abusers be placed in the database based on allegation alone. Shouldn’t these alleged abusers be treated as innocent until proven guilty? The short answer to this question is hell no. The purpose of tracking allegations is to look for patterns of abuse. Since most abusers and predators go unpunished — often for years — it seems to me that it is unwise and naïve to only track pastors and other church leaders who have been convicted of criminal behavior. I would think churches would want to know if candidates for their open pulpits had been accused previously of sexual misconduct. A single allegation might be dismissed if there is not credible proof, but when a so-called man of God has been accused several times of crimes against women or children (and in a few cases men), at the very least churches should consider the maxim, where there’s smoke, there’s fire. It is highly improbable that a pastor would be accused of similar crimes at several different churches without him being guilty. While women and children can and do make false allegations, such falsities are rare. The reason for this is simple. When women, teenagers, or children make allegations against a church leader, their lives are opened up to scrutiny and criticism. Sadly, Southern Baptist churches, along with their Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) counterparts, are well known for covering up abuse allegations or making victims think they are to blame for what happened to them. Few women would be willing to expose themselves in this way if their allegations were untrue. The Black Color Crime Series focuses on clergy sexual misconduct. Almost five hundred stories have been posted, yet only a handful of the allegations have not been proven true. When a church woman or teenager says, my pastor sexually abused me, it’s a safe bet that she is telling the truth. Playing the innocent-until-proven-guilty game is just another way for the SBC to avoid having to come to terms with their horrible mistreatment of and indifference towards sexual abuse victims.

Second, Southern Baptists opposed to establishing a database argue that because each SBC church is independent and governs itself, the denomination can’t require them to provide data for the database. While this is certainly the case, it is within the power of the denomination to change its ways. Maybe it’s time to change church polity, and demand that if churches want to be members in good standing then they must report all allegations of sexual misconduct to the denomination. If congregations are expected to report membership numbers, attendance, baptisms, and total offerings, surely denominational leaders can demand that they provide the names of church leaders and congregants who have been accused of criminal behavior. I would think that the major insurance companies that provide insurance for SBC churches could demand database participation in order for churches to receive insurance coverage. Besides, the SBC has booted churches out of the denomination for all sorts of reasons — polity be damned — so is within the realm of possibility for the SBC to establish the database in question and discipline and/or excommunicate congregations who refuse to participate.

As it stands now, the Southern Baptist Convention is providing cover for abusers and predators. No one should expect the denomination to change until they stop their silly games and establish a national database. While doing so will not eliminate sexual abuse and predatory behavior in their churches, it will cut down on offending pastors and congregants moving on to new churches during the dark of the night.

I am not optimistic that the SBC will establish such a database. I’ve had a good bit of interaction with Southern Baptist churches, including pastoring an SBC church in Claire, Michigan. In 2005, I candidated at several SBC churches in West Virginia. The level of dysfunction found in these churches far surpasses that which I experienced in non-SBC churches. One church had a family who had fled from another state over allegations of sexual misconduct. The church took this family in without seriously investigating the allegations against them. Church leaders said, Brother and Sister So-and-So are fine, upstanding Christians. They told us the allegations levied against them were just a BIG misunderstanding. This couple was given free access to young, vulnerable congregants. Most SBC churches are quite small, attendance-wise, so when someone volunteers to “help,” church leaders are quick to accept their offers. Sexual predators count on easy access to new victims. They know how to play the church game. They know how to look the part and say the right things. And once they are given freedom to “minister,” these snakes-in-the-grass slither through the church, misusing and abusing vulnerable adults, teenagers, and children.

The Southern Baptists are worried — panicked, is a better word — over continued decreasing attendance. While the reasons for their decline are many, one obvious reason is that SBC churches are no longer considered safe havens. I am of the opinion that if parents plan on attending church, they shouldn’t let their children out of their sight. And since many of the sexual abuse scandals revolve around youth pastors and youth workers, parents should not allow their teens to attend youth meetings or entertainment activities. Church leaders can no longer be trusted to do the right thing. Congregants should stop providing their children as sacrificial lambs for predators. Just because a church conducts background checks on its employees and ministry leaders doesn’t mean that there is no risk for abuse. Many churches only conduct a criminal background check one time. This is why a national, denomination-wide database of abuse allegations is so important. The existence of a database forces congregations and their leaders to be accountable for what goes on in their churches. And at the end of the day, accountability is all that matters. Families deserve a safe place to worship their God, and churches who refuse to provide such safety should be outed, ridiculed, and banished. Surely Christians will agree with me when I say that churches who don’t protect the most vulnerable among them don’t deserve continued existence. As far as the Southern Baptist Convention is concerned, the ball is in their court. It will be interesting to see what they do in the coming months to address clergy sexual abuse and sexual misconduct in general. Past experience tells me nothing will be done. Why? Because politics, the culture war, and internecine fighting over Calvinism, women preachers, and LGBT congregants are far more important than protecting the least of these. If Southern Baptists can’t protect church children and teenagers, then perhaps it’s time to put a millstone around said Baptists’ necks and cast them into the sea. Perhaps, then, their floating, rotting, bloated corpses will provide an object lesson to other sects and churches of what happens when church leaders turn a blind eye to abuse.

About Bruce Gerencser

Bruce Gerencser, 61, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 40 years. He and his wife have six grown children and twelve 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.

Bruce is a local photography business owner, operating Defiance County Photo out of his home. If you live in Northwest Ohio and would like to hire Bruce, please email him.

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Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Henry Clarke Admits to Sexually Abusing Boys in the 1960s

black collar crime

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.

Retired Christian and Missionary Alliance pastor Henry Clarke found himself with some explaining to do after it was reported that sexually abused three boys in the 1960s. Clarke admitted his crimes, saying that he abused the boys, but after moving from Ireland to Canada in the 1970s, he has not abused any children.  I assume Clarke was not prosecuted for his crimes, not an uncommon outcome in the 1960s.

The Interior News reports:

Henry Clarke, who served in the Christian and Missionary Alliance church for over 30 years, admitted in interviews with BBC North Ireland and CTV Saskatoon that he had abused three young boys in the late 1960s.

Clarke claims the abuse took place in his home country, and he has not abused any children since immigrating to Canada in the late ‘70s.

He moved to Smithers in 2001 and served at the former Alliance church until 2006, when the district shut the church on Upper Viewmount Road down due to “internal disagreements.”

….

He moved to Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan, where he now lives in retirement.

Documentation of a confession Clarke made to the North Irish authorities in 1985 resurfaced in 2016, and BBC North Ireland tracked him down to his Saskatchewan home in March of the following year.

“They arrived at my door without any warning and handed me a letter and… you know, I had already spoken to the [North Ireland] police in the 1980s, and was quite surprised about the way the thing was handled,” Clarke told The Interior News.

“I mean, I said yes,that I had behaved in such a way. But the [BBC North Ireland] interviewer put his own slant on the whole story. He had suggested that I’d used coming to Canada to run away from everything; that was not true at all.”

….

“I put in over 30 years as a pastor, and I believe that I’d done an honest job. It has been difficult. Certainly there have been those that have been very supportive, and there have been a number of people who have not been supportive. But I belong to a very supportive church here, and the community here has been very supportive.”

“I’m surprised that it’s well over a year now that this is coming up again, you know? I certainly am very sorry that I’ve hurt anybody, but I certainly take responsibility for my behaviour, which is over 50 years ago,” Clarke said.

“I mean, it’s one of those situations in life, if you had it to live over again you’d know better, but … that’s where I’m at, and I’m trying to live my life now the best I can.”

Only Clarke knows whether he has abused children since the initial report of abuse. At the very least, Clarke should have told the churches he pastored about his past, and he should never have been permitted to be around children. What I want to know is this: Did the Christian and Missionary Alliance denomination know of Clarke’s past? If they did, I would love to hear their explanation for allowing him to pastor.

Black Collar Crime: Baptist Pastor Doug Edwards Charged With Sexual Abuse of a Minor

pastor doug edwards

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.

Doug Edwards, pastor of First Baptist Church in Ketchikan, Alaska and a recently retired home economics teacher at Ketchikan High School, was arrested and charged with three counts of sexual abuse of a minor.  According to KRBD, Edwards allegedly sexually assaulted a fourteen-year-old church girl. According to police, Edwards has admitted his crimes.  Additionally, KDRB reports that Edwards assaulted the girl in the church basement, at his home, and at school. Edwards was an equal opportunity abuser.

Edwards was released on a $10,000 unsecured bond.

Edwards’ church bio page states:

Born on October 30, 1958, Doug was raised in a military family and was able to live in many places including Morocco and Japan.  He graduated high school in Alabama in 1977 and moved to Anchorage, Alaska in 1978.  In 1995 he received a Master of Divinity Degree from the Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary and has served as a senior pastor since the fall of 1988.

Doug moved to Ketchikan, Alaska in May of 1997 to be the pastor of First Baptist Church, a position in which he is still serving.  He also teaching Culinary Arts in Ketchikan High School.

Doug has been married to his wife **** since 1980 and has three ****, all who are graduates of Ketchikan High School.

Sexual Abuse and the Jack Hyles Rule: If You Didn’t See It, It Didn’t Happen

jack hyles 1973

The late Jack Hyles, pastor of First Baptist Church in Hammond, Indiana, spent decades training Fundamentalist pastors through his annual pastors’ school, Hyles-Anderson College, and country-wide Sword of the Lord conferences. Hyles was a powerful motivator and speaker. In the 1970s and 1980s, I heard Hyles preach many times. I remember coming home from hearing him preach, filled with renewed desire to serve God and build a New Testament Baptist church that would reach thousands of people for Christ. Hyles was the type of preacher who could motivate pastors in such a way that they would be willing to charge the gates of hell with a squirt gun — an empty one at that.

Hyles taught pastors how to handle accusations and conflict in their churches. One line that stood out — I heard Hyles say it several times was If You Didn’t See It, It Didn’t Happen. Hyles often talked about gossip and false allegations, telling pastors that they should teach congregants not to believe such things unless they saw them for themselves. Hyles had Biblical support for his approach:

Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father … Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. For the scripture saith, thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward. Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. (1 Timothy 5:1, 17-19)

Elders (pastors), according to the Apostle Paul, are to be considered worthy of double honor and revered as fathers are. Accusations leveled against pastors were to be rejected unless they could be confirmed by two or three eye-witnesses. Thus, if a woman says the pastor raped her, the church was to reject her allegations unless two or three people saw their pastor rape the woman. In other words, if you didn’t see it, it didn’t happen.

Since most church sex crimes involving pastors, youth directors, missionaries, deacons, church bus drivers, and Sunday school teachers take place in secret without others seeing the abominable behavior, this means, according to Jack Hyles, that allegations of sexual misconduct should be rejected out of hand. No eye witnesses? No crime. Welcome to the Jack Hyles Rule®.

This kind of thinking allowed Hyles and countless pastors trained and influenced by him to ignore criminal behavior within their churches or to excuse their own behavior. When confronted with allegations of sexual assault, Hyles influenced preachers to say, did you see this happen? Were you there? If the accuser said no, then the allegation was rejected out of hand. If the accuser said yes, then he or she would be asked, did anyone else see this happen? If the answer was no, then nothing more was done about the allegation. Thanks to the Jack Hyles Rule®, countless abusers and predators escaped punishment for their crimes, including Jack Hyles’ son David.

Hyles and other like-minded pastors groomed their churches to turn a blind eye to sexual abuse, adultery, and other criminal behavior. Remember, church, if you didn’t see it, it didn’t happen. Throw in sermons about pastoral authority (Hebrews 13:7), not touching men appointed by God to preach his words (Psalm 105:15), and bears eating people who slander pastors (2 Kings 2:23-24), it should come as no surprise, then, that congregants were fearful and hesitant about voicing accusations against their pastor and other church leaders.

Add to this the fact that many churches are secretive about sexual misconduct in their midst. Members are expected to trust church leaders, and if nothing is ever said about a matter, it’s because there was a good reason for not saying anything. I can’ tell you how many times I have heard through the grapevine that a pastor or some of other church leader has been accused of inappropriate sexual behavior, yet the powers that be refuse to publicly acknowledge the allegations or inform the church about how the matter is being dealt with. My wife’s parents have attended the same Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) church for over forty years. When asked about what happened to so-and-so after he was accused of rape/sodomy/sexual assault, Polly’s parents tell us, we don’t know. Pastor never told us anything about this matter. He asked us to trust him and not talk about Brother So-and-So’s criminal behavior. So, they didn’t. And as long as good people such as they sit silently in the pews and do not demand full disclosure, sex crimes and illicit affairs will be swept under the rug.

Did your church or pastor promote/use the Jack Hyles Rule®? Please share your thoughts in the comment section.

Are you unfamiliar with Jack Hyles? Please read:

The Legacy of Jack Hyles

The Mesmerizing Appeal of Jack Hyles

The Scandalous Life of Jack Hyles and Why it Still Matters

Jack Hyles Gives Advice on How to Raise a Girl

Jack Hyles Teaches Parents How to Indoctrinate Their Baby

Jack Hyles Tells Unsubmissive Woman to Kill Herself

Jack Hyles Tells Christian Women it is All Up to Them

UPDATED: Serial Adulterer David Hyles Has Been Restored

Serial Adulterer David Hyles Receives a Warm Longview Baptist Temple Welcome

Cindy Schaap, Daughter of Jack Hyles, Divorces Convicted Felon Jack Schaap

What One IFB Apologist Thinks of People Who Claim They Were Abuse (features letters and texts Jack Schaap sent to a minor girl in his church)

Man Arrested on Child Abuse Charges Previously “Flagged” by Vineyard Columbus as Unsuitable to Work With Children

matthew gattonThe 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.

Vineyard Columbus church, located in Columbus, Ohio, finds themselves with some explaining to do after “flagging” Matthew Gatton as unsuitable to work with children, but not reporting their suspicions to police. Gatton, a mental health worker and an academic mentor for Kiddie Academy of Reynoldsburg, was arrested Tuesday on charges of gross sexual imposition. According to a TV-10 news report, Gatton admitted fondling an eleven-year-old boy numerous times. Does anyone think this was Gatton’s first offense? That’s a rhetorical question.

According to Vineyard Columbus, a five franchise megachurch, church leaders became concerned over Gatton — not saying what concerned them — and flagged him in their internal system as “not suitable to work with children.”  The question I have for Vineyard Columbus is this: why didn’t you report your suspicions about Gatton to the police or child protective services? Doing so might have kept Gatton from molesting his current victim. Instead, Vineyard Columbus checked a box and moved one to greater works for Jesus. According to news reports, the church later terminated Gatton as a volunteer, but all this did, if allegations are true, is send Gatton looking for new hunting grounds.

Vineyard Columbus released the following statement:

We take the safety and security of our children very seriously and we have policies and procedures in place to ensure our church is a safe place for young people.

Your actions, Vineyard Columbus, suggest otherwise. Annotating Gatton’s file and dismissing him as a volunteer solved the problem for you, but it did nothing for possible victims who would later come in contact with him. Vineyard Columbus bears some culpability for what Gatton did after leaving the church. To know and say nothing, is, in my opinion, criminal.

And just as I was preparing to publish this post, Channel Ten posted a story alleging Gatton’s molestation of a then seven-year-old male relative. The parents of boy reported Gatton to police, but nothing came of their allegations. Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien said “this was a two-year-old allegation that the police and we were not able to corroborate. Given the burden of proof we have in a criminal case, we didn’t feel we had the ability to go forward.”

Channel 10 reports:

Gatton was an employed by OhioGuidestone as a mental health worker.

“It seemed like Matthew was a godsend, to be honest,” said the mother of that boy.

We’re not identifying them, to protect his anonymity.

“He helped him a lot with anger management, how to deal with regular day to day stuff.”

But this week Westerville Police said Gatton admitted to touching their son’s penis between 20 to 50 times.

“It’s just such a shock and betrayal,” said the boy’s father. “It’s a sucker punch and we’re still reeling from it.”

Public records reveal a long, disturbing trail of red flags in Gatton’s history with children.

Vineyard Columbus church says approximately five years ago, Gatton was a volunteer with their kids’ ministry.

According to a 2016 Columbus Police report, Gatton’s sister in law, an associate at the church, said Gatton “was asked to leave after complaints by parents that he was behaving inappropriately.”

Vineyard says it flagged Gatton in its internal system as unsuitable to work with children, but did not notify police.

Over years, Gatton has worked with kids at the YWCA Columbus, Kiddie Academy of Reynoldsburg, The Columbus Academy summer program.

In 2016, a family member reported him to Columbus Police for allegedly molesting a 7-year-old relative.

Prosecutors said there wasn’t enough evidence to prosecute.

But by this time, Gatton had been working for more than a year as a teaching assistant at Ventures Academy in Delaware County, a program of the Educational Service Center.

His personnel file, a public record, contains repeated warnings and write-ups for “inappropriate behavior with students,” including “allowing a student to sit in (his) lap, allowing a student to put his head in (his) lap” and discussions about private body parts.

In February 2016, Gatton was removed from the classroom and resigned under threat of termination.

That same month, the Educational Service Center reported his misconduct to the Ohio Department of Education.

But it was nearly two years- January of 2018- before the state completed its investigation.

And as of Thursday, his substitute teaching license is still valid.

….

Vineyard Columbus church says it is required by law to report any suspected child abuse or neglect, but “we received no accusations or evidence of abuse relating to Gatton.”

We repeatedly asked them what concerns were serious enough to prompt his termination, but not serious enough to report to police, but they wouldn’t answer.

Black Collar Crime: Evangelist Acton Bowen Accused of Sex Crimes in Florida

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,  Black Collar Crime: Why Did Young Boys Need to be Protected from Evangelist Acton Bowen? Black Collar Crime: Evangelist Acton Bowen Accused of Additional Sex Crimes and Black Collar Crime: District Attorney Says Evangelist Acton Bowen is a ‘Danger to Every Child in This Community’ for further information about Acton Bowen.)

Acton Bowen, an Evangelical evangelist, stands accused of committing sex crimes in Florida. ABC 33/40 reports:

 The list of sexual abuse accusations against evangelist Acton Bowen has crossed state lines. Bowen was charged with lewd or lascivious battery in Bay County, Florida according to the local sheriff’s office.

The charge was filed on May 23rd. According to Florida state law, a person commits lewd or lascivious battery by engaging in sexual activity with a person 12 years of age or older but less than 16 years of age or encouraging, forcing, or enticing any person less than 16 years of age to engage in sexual activity.

….

I suspect that this will not be the last time one of Bowen’s victims comes forward alleging sexual misconduct.

Bowen remains jailed in Florida, unable to post a $1.06 million bond.

Black Collar Crime: Baptist Daycare Director Amanda McKee Accused of Failing to Report Child Sex Crime

amanda mckee

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.

Earlier this year, Benjamin Roberts, a childcare worker at Wylie Baptist Church Child Development Center in Abilene, Texas was arrested on child sex crime and child pornography charges. He has also been charged with the continuous abuse of children.  On Tuesday, an arrest warrant was issued for Amanda McKee, the director of Child Development Center. She is charged with failing to report the alleged crimes committed by Roberts.  Yesterday, McKee turned herself in and was quickly released after posting a $2,000 bond.

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Youth Worker Joseph Potts Accused of Sex Crimes

joseph potts

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 Potts, a volunteer youth worker at Jubilee Fellowship Church in Littleton, Colorado stands accused of sexually assaulting two teen boys.

Fox-31 reports that “Potts is being held in the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office Detention Facility without bond.”

 

Black Collar Crime: Catholic Priest Kenneth Lewis Facing Child Sexual Abuse Charges

kenneth lewis

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.

Kenneth Lewis, a Catholic priest, is facing child sexual abuse charges stemming from an allegation that he sexually assaulted a thirteen-year-old boy while on trip. Lewis has been accused numerous times over the years of sexual abuse, but due to the statute of limitations, he was never prosecuted. Astoundingly, in 1995, after yet another round of sexual abuse allegations,  Lewis was allowed to continue in the ministry once he received “treatment.” According to Chicago Sun Times, Catholic officials ordered Lewis not to be alone with children. This is akin to a sugar addict working in a candy store being told not eat the merchandise.  The crimes Lewis is now accused of were allegedly committed in 2001. It seems, then, that whatever “treatment” Lewis received did not cure him of his predilection towards sexually abusing children.

Black Collar Crime: Australian Catholic Bishop Philip Wilson Covered Up Child Sexual Abuse

archbishop philip wilson

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 week, Philip Wilson, the Archbishop of Adelaide, was found guilty of covering up child sexual abuse. He will be sentenced on June 19, 2018. Wilson pleaded not guilty, but the judge found the evidence against him compelling. After his conviction, Wilson stated, “I am obviously disappointed at the decision published today. I will now have to consider the reasons and consult closely with my lawyers to determine the next steps.”

The charges against Wilson hail from his days as a young priest. Several children came to Wilson will allegations of sexual abuse by Catholic priest James Fletcher. Wilson did nothing. Fletcher would continue to abuse children for decades until he was arrested and  convicted of nine counts of child sexual abuse in December 2004. Fletcher died in prison in 2006.

Frank Brennan, an Australian Jesuit priest, human rights lawyer and academic, stated:

I would think that the mind of Pope Francis at this stage would be that if there be a conviction of a bishop in relation to a failure to disclose abuse in circumstances where the state thought that was criminal activity, then I would think the mind of the pope would be that that doesn’t measure up in church terms either and that therefore it would be impossible for someone to remain in the job as a bishop.

There’s no doubt that Archbishop Wilson in recent years … has been one of the good guys. He has been one of the bishops in the Catholic Church who have been trying to clean things up

But this relates to when he was a young priest. Even someone like him who later got it back in those years was so confined by our culture that it would seem there was no disclosure.

Brennan seems to be saying that people shouldn’t be too hard on Wilson. His nondisclosure of the allegations was typical of the times; and that Wilson in recent years has been one of the good guys, someone who tried to hold priests accountable for their criminal behavior. Really? Where’s the evidence for this claim? How many pedophile priests were reported, arrested, and prosecuted for their crimes under his watch? How many other children found deaf ears when they reported being sexually abused?

According to Wikipedia, Wilson did not change his ways as Brennan alleges. In May 2010:

…. Wilson came under scrutiny regarding two incidents relating to sexual abuse in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.

The first of these cases related to the alleged sexual assault of two girls in 1985 by Father Dennis McAlinden, a priest in the diocese. Wilson, the diocese’s vicar general at the time, was sent to speak to parents at the school where the assault was alleged to have taken place. The principal told the media that Wilson’s response was to remove McAlindon from his position and to provide help for him. In fact, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), “McAlinden was … transferred to a remote parish in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. Over the next decade he sexually assaulted five more girls under the age of 10”. In 1995, Wilson was again asked by Bishop Leo Clarke to deal with the case, requesting that he take statements from the alleged victims. Wilson took the statements and returned them to the bishop. The ABC reported that the statements were never provided to police and, instead, Clarke defrocked McAlinden, with the promise “that his ‘good name’ would be protected”. In a statement to ABC in 2010, Wilson said he told Clarke that McAlinden should have been confronted in 1985 and, that as far as he was aware, this had occurred. He denied involvement in McAlinden’s transfer to Western Australia or his defrocking.

Robert Stone, the magistrate who found Wilson guilty, had this to say about the Bishop’s crimes:

The likelihood of two young boys individually telling the accused [Wilson] of acts of sexual misconduct by another priest who the accused knows … are matters I am very confident would be remembered for a very long time. You have to ask why the accused did not do what he himself says he would do now [go to the police] in the same situation. The answer I believe relates to the accused having a sense of knowing what he was hearing was a creditable allegation. In addition, the accused wanted to protect the church and its image.

 

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.