Tag Archive: Sexual Abuse

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.

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.