Tag Archive: Sexual Assault

Black Collar Crime: Catholic Priest Charles Hanel Accused of Groping Teen Girl

charles hanel

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.

Charles Hanel, pastor of Queen of Apostles Church in Pewaukee, Wisconsin, has been charged with second-degree sexual assault of a child. A thirteen-year-old church girl alleges that Hanel groped her during confession. Queen of the Apostles is a Roman Catholic congregation.

WISN reports:

Hanel’s attorney, Jerome Buting, said his client has never, and would never, do what he is accused of in the criminal complaint. Buting said the one-sided complaint is only part of the story and that they look forward to clearing Hanel’s name and reputation.

“This is a single accusation of an adolescent girl against a priest who has faithfully served the people of this archdiocese for 35 years without a hint of any inappropriate conduct with a minor, let alone a girl whose father is right outside the confessional door,” Buting said.

 

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Orlando Martinez-Chavez Accused of Sexual Assault

orlando martinez chavez

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.

Orlando Martinez-Chavez, pastor of Iglesia Pentecostal Lirio de los Valles church in Jersey City, New Jersey, has been charged with sexually assaulting a ten-year-old church girl.

NJ.com reports:

A Jersey City church pastor has been charged with sexually assaulting a 10-year-old girl church member and fondling a relative — and a source said the pastor has threatened at least one other victim with deportation if she told anyone.

Orlando Martinez-Chavez, 47, was charged on July 27 and he was arrested on July 30, according to a criminal complaint.

….

He faces charges of sexual assault, endangering the welfare of a child, and criminal sexual contact.

Martinez-Chavez’s troubles started a month earlier, according to the source, who requested anonymity for fear of retribution. Martinez-Chavez was removed from his position on June 26 after he was accused of sending graphic pictures and videos to a 32-year-old woman who attended the church, the source said.

The Rev. Joseph Andino, who oversees the Assemblies of God churches in northern New Jersey, could not be reached for comment. An official with the Iglesia Pentecostal Lirio de los Valles church, in the Heights neighborhood, declined to comment.

The 10-year-old victim is now 15, and she told authorities that Martinez-Chavez reached inside her pants and touched her genital area in November 2012, the criminal complaint said. The pastor’s relative also came forward with the allegation that the pastor — who is married and has three girls, ages 4, 10 and 18 — fondled her breasts over her clothing, the complaint said.

Another alleged victim, a 15-year-old girl who says she was sexually assaulted by Martinez-Chavez two years ago, is too traumatized to come forward, the source said. When confronted by the girl’s mother, Martinez-Chavez threatened to have the family, which is undocumented, deported, the source said.

The alleged victim and her family, former congregants, left the church and moved out of state almost immediately, the source said.

Martinez-Chavez had been with the Jersey City Heights storefront church for six or seven years, the source said.

“I think there are a lot more victims,” the source told The Jersey Journal. “They are scared. They were threatened. These people are all illegal immigrants. He targeted them because he knows they are afraid.”

….

 

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor David Croyle Charged With Sexual Assault

david croyle

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, David Croyle, pastor of Family-Life Church in Kittanning, Pennsylvania, was charged with sexually assaulting a fourteen-year-old boy,

Trib Live reports:

Kittanning Council does not have the authority to remove a councilman from office despite charges he engaged in sexual contact with a disabled 14-year-old, Council President Kim Chiesa said Friday.

On Thursday, Council Vice President David John Croyle, 60, was arrested and charged with felony counts of statutory sexual assault, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, unlawful contact with a minor, aggravated indecent assault of a person with a mental disability, corruption of minors and related charges.

Croyle is the editor and publisher of the Kittanning Paper and senior pastor at the Family-Life Church on South Jefferson Street in Kittanning.

….

Representatives of the Family-Life Church, Applewold Council and East Franklin Township Fire Department either refused or did not return requests for comment.

….

Later that year, according to court documents, the victim told police he first met Croyle while filling out an employment application at the Kittanning Paper. The victim told officers the application indicated he was 14 years old. The victim told police he next heard from Croyle through the social media application Grindr. That contact led to an exchange of phone numbers, which eventually led to the victim and Croyle exchanging nude images, according to court documents.

During the summer of 2016, the victim told police, Croyle invited him to his residence on South Jefferson Street. When he arrived, the victim told police, Croyle led him to a bedroom for a sexual encounter. After the encounter, the victim told police, he was instructed to stay silent lest Croyle lose his job.

A second encounter occurred later that summer, the victim told police, and was again told to remain silent about it.

Croyle’s church bio page says:

David J. Croyle is the senior pastor of Family-Life Church, which owns and operates Family-Life TV in Western Pennsylvania. He hosts a regional daily television program “Share” and also an international weekly prayer call-in program called “Family-Life Sunday Night.” Viewers in 30 countries participate via the Internet at www.familylifetv.com. A graduate of Armour Baptist Seminary [unaccredited] located in the state of Washington with a Bachelor’s degree in Bible, he is also a graduate of Carolina Christian University [unaccredited] with a Master of Science degree in Psychology and Counseling. He is certified by the National Christian Counselors Association as a Temperament Therapist and Licensed Pastoral Counselor. He has authored three books.

Croyle’s bio page also states:

He preached his first sermon at the age of 14. He has traveled thousands of miles in ministry and lives to be a blessing to those around him. Meet him this week in person at Family-Life Church or via the Internet!

 

Black Collar Crime: So Much Crime, So Little Time Issue

black collar crimes

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.

james ronnie messer

Pastor James “Ronnie” Messer Charged With Rape

James “Ronnie” Messer, pastor of Crossway Worship Center in Morristown, Tennessee, was arrested and charged with aggravated statutory rape and sexual battery by an authority figure.

Knox News reports:

The girl’s sister reportedly told police the 17-year-old girl rode with the pastor to the Crossway Worship Center, after their plans to go swimming in the Hartford area were derailed by swift and muddy water.

The pastor reportedly led the girl through the Worship Center’s rear entrance to a room across from the men’s restroom where he raped her.

The pastor told police he thought the assault against the underage girl was consensual, according to the report.

The good pastor thought the assault was consensual. Since when is having sex with minor church girls who are under your authority EVER consensual?

mark aderholt

Southern Baptist Missionary Mark Aderholt Charged With Sexual Assault

Mark Aderholt, a former employee of the South Carolina Baptist Convention and International Mission Board missionary, has been charged with sexually assaulting a seventeen-year-old girl.

The Baptist Press reports:

Aderholt, 46, was arrested July 3 in South Carolina and booked into the Tarrant County, Texas, jail July 9 on charges of sexual assault of a child under 17, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported. He was released today (July 10) on bond.

The IMB told Baptist Press today (July 16) it learned in 2007 of allegations Aderholt had a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old in 1996-97 while he was a 25-year-old student at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He served with the board from 2000-08.

The IMB conducted an internal investigation in 2007, and the matter was set to go before the board of trustees, “which, at that time, was the only group with the authority to terminate a member of our missionary personnel,” IMB spokesperson Julie McGowan said in written comments. But Aderholt resigned on his own “before the Board could vote on the recommendation from the investigative team that included both men and women.

….

The IMB’s 2007 investigation, including two days of interviews with the alleged victim, led an IMB team to conclude at the time that Aderholt “engaged in an inappropriate sexual relationship” with a teen in 1996-1997, that the victim “suffered as a result” and that Aderholt “was not truthful” with the IMB “about the full extent of the relationship,” according to correspondence to Miller from IMB general counsel Derek Gaubatz published July 13 by the Star-Telegram.

The Southern Baptist International Mission Board investigated, concluded the allegations were credible, and did what all good Southern Baptist church leaders do: NOTHING! In fact, Aderholt continued to be a missionary and work in several capacities for the SBC until he was finally outed over his alleged crime.

Here’s a Star-Telegram feature article by Sarah Smith about Aderholt’s alleged sexual misconduct. Here’s another Sarah Smith article about Aderholt.

Imam Ahmed Raza Murders Boy With an Iron Rod

Imam Ahmed Raza  allegedly beat a young student of his to death with an iron rod. The Express Tribune reports:

A minor boy died after being subjected to physical torture by an imam at a mosque in Shalimar on Tuesday.

Police identified the victim as Abdul Ahad, who would go to the mosque where he was taught by the imam of the mosque, Ahmed Raza.

Reportedly, a few days ago Raza had beaten the child with an iron rod. When the child returned home, his condition deteriorated. His family admitted him to Kot Khwaja Saeed Hospital from where doctors shifted him to Lahore Mayo Hospital.

However, despite medical intervention, Ahad succumbed to his injuries. A police team transferred his body to the morgue for an autopsy. They also collected forensic evidence and recorded eye witness statements.

After the incident, the accused fled the area. The victim’s family lodged a complaint against the imam. Police apprehended Raza from Gujranwala and are investigating the matter further.

brian kenyon jr

Pastor Brian Kenyon Jr. Accused of Video Voyeurism

Brian Kenyon Jr, pastor of Deltona Church of Christ in Deltona, Florida, was arrested and charged with video voyeurism after a congregant reported Kenyon Jr. took a photo up her dress.

WFTV-9 reports:

The victim said she was meeting with Kenyon in his office, along with his children, and he asked her to put his youngest child into a car seat. The victim said that when she bent over, she felt skin against her leg, turned around and found Kenyon bent over directly behind her.

Deputies said the victim noticed Kenyon was holding his cellphone and it had a red light on.

Deputies say when the woman and members of the church confronted him about it he called it a misunderstanding and said he had “pornography problem.”

When they confronted the pastor about it again 11 days later, deputies say the pastor had some sort of spiritual awakening and confessed to the act saying a “dark moment” came over him.

They say he claimed to delete the photo. He was promptly dismissed from the church.

kathryn goff

Church Secretary Kathryn Goff Steals $20,000 From Beverly Hills Community Church

Kathryn Goff, the secretary for Beverly Hills Community Church in Beverly Hills, Florida was arrested and charged with stealing $20,000 from the church.  The Citrus County Chronicle reports:

Between June 2017 and April 2018, Goff, a paid employee and not a member of the church, allegedly addressed 38 checks to herself from the church’s bank account, totaling $19,426.59.

As secretary, she was allowed to write checks, but not sign them. An investigation by Citrus County Sheriff’s Office detectives determined that she would write checks with realistic amounts and record their payees in church logs as utility or service companies. Then she would take the checks to the bank and fill in her name as payee, writing in the memo line that it was for extra duties that the church never asked her to do.

kenneth marshall

Evangelical Youth Leader Kenneth Scott Marshall Indicted on Child Sex Crime Charges

Kenneth Scott Marshall, a volunteer youth leader at Cornerstone Fellowship Church in Cobbs Creek, Virginia has been indicted on child sex crime charges.

ABC-13 reports:

The Mathews County Sheriff’s Office found out about the accusation in June. Deputies said it involved a 15-year-old boy and Kenneth Scott Marshall, 36. Marshall worked with young people at Cornerstone Fellowship Church. During the course of the investigation, deputies conducted several interviews and collected evidence that they found supported the allegations.

Prosecutors presented evidence to a grand jury on July 16 which led to two indictments against Marshall. The indictments were for Aggravated Sexual Battery of a Minor through the Use of Mental Incapacity or Physical Helplessness and Forcible Sodomy of a Minor through the Use of Mental Incapacity or Physical Helplessness.

The church released the following statement:

Scott Marshall was a volunteer working with the youth at the church. Upon learning of the allegations in June, which did not occur at the church, he was immediately removed from his volunteer position and from any contact with our youth pending the outcome of the sheriff’s investigation.

pastor fernando hernandez

Evangelical Pastor Fernando Hernandez Accused of Sexual Abuse

Fernando Hernandez,  pastor of It’s a Challenge Church in Brownwood, Texas stands accused of repeatedly molesting several young girls.  Brownwood News reports:

According to the documents filed, an investigation began November 23, 2016 when the Brownwood Police Department was advised of a possible sexual assault. During a subsequent interview, the child told investigators Hernandez put his hand down her pants and touched her genitals. The child stated “this happened every time she went to Hernandez’s home,” according to the report. Hernandez also allegedly told the child not to tell anyone or he would go to prison.

On July 18, 2018 another child made an outcry of abuse. In the affidavit, the child reportedly told investigators Hernandez assaulted her by touch and exposed himself, asking the child to touch his genitals. The child’s mother told investigators she had “always wondered why (Child Victim #2) acted strange towards Hernandez.”

The affidavits also report testimony with a member of Hernandez’s family who said they do not leave children alone with Fernando due to past allegations of sexual abuse.

Based on the aforementioned news report, it sounds like Hernandez has a history of putting his hands where they don’t belong. Yet, despite knowing this, people continue to attend his church and consider him a man of God. Nobody’s perfect, right?

According to a page titled Fernando’s Dream, Hernandez is a “doctor.” This page states:

In 1990 Fernando began working in the community of Plainview and Brownwood Texas. He worked with the schools in these communities in doing assembly presentations and also offering an after school program he developed called “It’s A Challenge!” He began to reach out to many students and changed many of their lives with these assemblies and programs. He showed the students that they had a greater purpose than getting involved in drugs, gangs and violence, that they too could dream a better life for themselves.

In 1991 and 1992, Dr. Hernandez was awarded “The Volunteer Award” for the outstanding service of his assemblies and “It’s A Challenge” programs that literally helped hundreds of students transition from middle school to high school and caused the high drop out rate to decrease in those areas. By 1994 Fernando was helping thousands of BISD students weekly in his volunteer service and “It’s A Challenge” program.

Fernando began to get national recognition for his positive student programs. In 1998, encouraged by his family, friends and other prominent people within the community, Fernando exposed his life’s story worldwide. In 2001, Fernando and his student life changing programs were featured in HOME LIFE a prominent family magazine publication.

Today, Both Fernando and Lorena went back to school to obtain their Masters and Doctorate in Christian Theology. Thet continue to personally help countless thousands of people by sharing their story of poverty to triumph. They help students by sharing with them about making right choices and giving them inspiration to hope and dream for their lives. They talk about choices and consequences. They challenge students in a powerful, thought provoking way. They deliver a powerful message to students to never give up, to reach their destiny, to stay in school, to go to college, to get a degree and to make their dreams come true! Their message resonates with the students to stay away from drugs, alcohol and violence, to respect others, to respect teachers, principals and the authorities. Their message is not just a slogan or token cliche but a powerful dream which is guaranteed to burn in the hearts of young people to truly “fight to do what’s right!”

I wonder if that “fight to do what’s right” includes fighting to keep your hands out of the pants of children?

Black Collar Crime: So Many Crimes, So Little Time Issue

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.

jeannette jives nealy

Pastor Jeannette Jives-Nealy Convicted of Money Laundering

Jeannette Jives-Nealy, pastor of Kingdom Dominion Worldwide Ministries in Memphis, Tennessee, was accused of stealing $162,000 in government funds meant for feeding poor and hungry children. Last Friday, Jives-Nealy, was convicted of money laundering.  According to the Lexington Herald Leader, Jives-Nealy has a checkered past which includes a four-year stint in prison for bilking the State of Florida out of $200,000.

joshua clemons

Evangelical Youth Pastor Joshua Clemons Pleads Guilty to Sex Crimes

Earlier this year, Joshua Clemons, youth pastor at Crossroads Community Church in Parker, Colorado was accused of sexually assaulting a teen church girl. You can read my previous post on Clemons here.  Monday, Clemons pleaded guilty to “one count of sexual exploitation of a child — video/20+ items and one count of attempted sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust – victim age 15-18.”

Denver-7 reports:

Clemons, who worked as a pastor at the Parker church from 2006 through September 2015, had been accused of having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl who had long been in his program.

The relationship carried on as the girl went to college at Colorado State University before ending toward the end of last year, when the alleged victim said Clemons began to show up at her new church and she threatened to get a restraining order, according to police documents.

Clemons is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 21 at 3 p.m. He faces between three and nine years in prison, according to sentencing guidelines for class 4 and 5 felonies.

norman abernathy

Baptist Youth Pastor Norman Abernathy Accused of Sexually Assaulting Two Church Girls

Norman Clay Abernathy, former youth pastor at Langston Baptist Church in Conway, South Carolina, is charged with two counts of third degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor and three counts of second degree assault and battery. According to CB-Sumpter, Abernathy sexually assaulted two church girls at his home. The girls were visiting Abernathy’s daughter when the alleged assaults occurred.

According to the church’s pastor, Hampton Drum:

He came highly recommended. We do extensive background checks on all those who come to us. He did voluntary work all the way up to June of this year when he resigned for personal reasons. We now know those personal reasons are the accusations that came up.

What is an “extensive” background check? And how would such a check reveal past criminal sexual behavior? As churches are learning, background checks are not a cure-all for clergy and staff sexual misconduct.

pastor harry thomas

Evangelical Pastor Harry Thomas Withdraws Guilty Plea, Fears He Will Die in Prison

Harry Thomas, pastor of Come Alive Church in Medford, New Jersey and the founder of Creation Concerts (Festivals), was accused last year of sexually assaulting  four minors over a sixteen-year period. You can read my previous post about Thomas here.  In February, Thomas pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting several children.

The National Post reports that Thomas, facing twenty-years in prison, was supposed to be sentenced on Friday. Instead, Thomas withdrew his guilty plea.

chauncey walker

Evangelical Youth Pastor Chauncey Walker Pleads Guilty to Having Sex With Church Girl

Earlier this year, Chauncey Walker, youth pastor at Word of Life Ministries in Wichita, Kansas, was accused of having sex with a teen church girl. You can read my previous post on Walker here.  Friday, Walker pleaded guilty to having sex with a fifteen-year-old church girl.

The Wichita Eagle reports:

“She was 15 when it started, and it progressed from there,” the former youth pastor says on the recording, which was recorded by a relative of the girl without Walker’s knowledge. Under Kansas law, only one party needs to consent to recording a conversation.

After he had sex with the girl, she said he made her promise that if anyone asked, she was to say that it was her idea, according to an affidavit filed by a sheriff’s detective.

“Things with Walker started right after her 15th birthday,” she told a detective working the case. He “took her out for ice cream and flirted with her.” About a week later, he came to her parents’ house to see her. She said Walker was a close friend of her parents. She said she and Walker ended up in her bedroom and kissed for a while.

They later had sex at Ground Zero, the church’s youth building, in Walker’s car in the country, at his house and in different hotels, according to the girl’s account in the affidavit.

Once the allegations surfaced, Walker conceded, he wasn’t honest at first about her age “because, I’ll just be honest — I didn’t want to go to jail,” he said in the recording.

If Sedgwick County District Judge David Kaufman agrees to the terms of the plea deal, Walker will be sentenced to 95 months, or nearly 8 years.

ronnie gorton

Evangelical Worship Leader Ronnie Gorton Indicted on Additional Sex Crime Charges

In March 2018, Evangelical worship leader Ronnie Gorton was indicted on numerous sex crime charges. Gorton was employed by Awakening Church in Atoka, Tennessee. On July 10, 2018, Gorton was indicted on forty-four more sex crime charges. The Leader reports:

According to court documents, the new charges allege Gorton abused another teenaged victim from November 2014 until February 2018, when the initial accusation was made.

The 44-count indictment includes: rape of a child, 19 counts of statutory rape by an authority figure, 19 counts of sexual battery by an authority figure and five counts of violating the Child Protection Act, which is continuous sexual abuse of a child.

todd shane tomko

Evangelical Pastor Todd Tomko Pleads Guilty to Sex Crimes

Last year, Todd “Rhino” Tomko, a disgraced U.S. Marine colonel and pastor of Parkview Church in Quincy, Illinois, was charged with “three counts of indecent liberties with a child, three counts of aggravated sexual battery and one count of cruelty.” You can read my previous post on Tomko here.  Tomko later pleaded guilty, and on July 10, 2018, he was sentenced to eighteen-months in prison for his crimes.

Black Collar Crime: Dominoes Continue to Fall Over Andy Savage Scandal

andy savageThe 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, Andy Savage, a pastor at Highpoint Church in Memphis, Tennessee admitted to the church that he had sexually assaulted a teen girl years ago at Woodlands Parkway Baptist Church in Houston, Texas. Savage called the assault a “sexual incident.” Afterward, the Highpoint congregation gave Savage an ovation for being so open and honest — feel free to puke. And with that, Savage continued to work for Highpoint Church. Sin confessed, onward, upward Buzz Savage. Highpoint, by the way, knew of the sexual assault before hiring Savage. What’s a little sexual assault among friends, right?

Several weeks later, after outrage over Savage’s tone-deafness and lack of true repentance and sorrow, Savage resigned. Jules Woodson, the woman Savage sexually assaulted years ago, reported the assault to pastor Larry Cotton, then pastor of Woodlands Parkway Baptist. Cotton, as Evangelicals are wont to do, did nothing. In February, Cotton, now pastor of The Austin Stone Community Church in Austin, Texas, resigned, admitting that he should have reported Savage’s misconduct to law enforcement authorities. Savage will not be prosecuted for his alleged crimes due to the expiration of the statute of limitations.

Today, another domino fell in the Andy Savage scandal. Chris Conlee, the lead pastor and founder of Highpoint has resigned, saying that it was time for him to pass the baton to someone else.You can read Highpoint’s board’s statement: here. Again, prepare to puke. No mention is made of the Savage scandal.  Instead, the church plans to give Conlee a grand send-off, thanking him for all he has done for Highpoint.

The Andy Savage scandal is sickening from start to finish. No one, I repeat NO ONE, acted on behalf of the victim. Instead, what we see is cover-your-ass moves and attempts to move on without honestly and fully dealing with Savage’s criminal behavior. And here’s the thing: all of these “men of God” will land somewhere on their feet, ready and willing to WOW new churches. And the beat goes on, one victim at a time.

Black Collar Crime: IFB Sunday School Teacher Jonathan Young Accused of Rape

jonathan young

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.

Jonathan Young, a Sunday school teacher at Firstborn Baptist Church — an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) congregation — in Benson, North Carolina stands accused of raping several church girls.  WRAL-5 reports that Young has been charged with ” six charges of first-degree rape of a child, three charges of statutory rape, two charges of first-degree sexual offense and two charges of indecent liberties with a child.” The charges against Young cover alleged crimes committed between 2004 and 2014.

Several former church members allege church leaders knew about Young’s crimes and covered them up. The church denies doing so. Durwood Young, pastor of Firstborn Baptist, had this to say:

I’m heartbroken by it all because it’s unbelievable. I hate if anyone is hurt on either side but the young man is ruined now. I hate it and I don’t know what else to say about it.

What’s unbelievable is that Pastor Young’s first statement is about being concerned for the “young man” whose life has been “ruined.”  The victims aren’t even mentioned outside of Young “hating [the] hurt on either side.” What is this, a sporting event where you have two opposing teams?

Both the pastor and the perpetrator have the same last name. I was unable to ascertain if they are related.

Updated

A reader with intimate knowledge of this church and the parties involved has told me that Durwood Young is Jonathan Young’s great uncle. This reader also told me that other people in the church have, in the past, been accused of sexual improprieties. If anyone has information regarding these allegations, please contact me.

Black Collar Crime: So Many Crimes, So Little Time Issue

arrested

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’m way behind in every area of my life except eating, so I thought I’d do a Black Collar Crime catch up post. One thing is for sure, Evangelical preachers don’t take a break from committing sex crimes.

Evangelical Pastor John Scheline Pleads Guilty to Attempted Second Rape of a Child

John Scheline, former director of Ignite Youth Mentoring in Richland, Washington and former pastor at  Faith Assembly in Pasco, Washington and  Bozeman Christian Center in Bozeman, Montana pleaded guilty earlier this week to attempted second degree rape of a child.

The Tri-City Herald reports:

Investigators found an advertisement Scheline had placed June 13, 2017, on Craigslist suggesting that a married dad was looking for a young boy, according to court documents.

A detective responded July 5 as a father offering up his 13-year-old son for sex acts. Scheline then discussed in explicit detail what he would do with the boy, documents said.

Scheline went to the designated apartment, but turned and left when “the (undercover) son” answered the door, documents said. He was arrested as he tried to get out of the complex.

In his plea statement, Scheline said he “took a substantial step toward having sexual intercourse” with someone between ages 12 and 14.

Sentencing is scheduled for August if a presentencing report is completed before then.

Deputy Prosecutor Andrew Howell said in the plea statement that he will recommend a mandatory minimum of four years and 11 months, but Scheline is free to argue for less time in prison.

You can read my original post about Scheline here.

Evangelical Pastor Brad Waller Admits to Having Disturbing Foot Fetish

Brad Waller, pastor of Grace Church of the Islands in Savannah, Georgia, stands accused of massaging the feet of adults and minor children during counseling. Several victims believe these massages were sexual in nature.

According to a statement released by the church, Waller admitted his foot fetish:

Grace Church of the Islands placed Brad Waller, then the church’s Senior Pastor, on leave when the governing Session learned of his inappropriate conduct. As Waller ultimately admitted, he abused his role as a Pastor, rubbing the feet of men and male youth in his care. The Session asked for Waller’s resignation. Waller is no longer the Pastor of Grace Church of the Islands, and he is no longer a minister in our denomination. Our congregation has been grieving. We have experienced shock, denial, pain, guilt and anger.

In Christian hope, our goal now is to heal our church. We want to better understand what happened, who was harmed, and how we can help.

Waller should have used water. Then he could have claimed he was washing feet just as Jesus did during his public ministry days.

Evangelical Church Administrator Carlyle Sparrow Receives Slap on Wrist for Inappropriate Sexual Relationship with Teen Girl

Carlyle Sparrow, administrator for Hope Community Church of the Nazarene, (formerly known as Gloryland Nazarene Church) in Carroll, Ohio, pleaded guilty to sexual battery and contributing to unruliness or delinquency of a child. Fairfield County Common Pleas Judge David Trimmer sentenced Sparrow to complete five years of community control and to register as a Tier III sex offender. According to the Lancaster Eagle Gazette, Sparrow had a sexual relationship with a minor church girl. The Eagle-Gazette reports:

About a year and a half into the friendship, the victim said Sparrow expressed romantic feelings for her, even though he was married, and the abuse began. He also became her mentor for her senior project while she attended Fairfield Christian Academy, gaining more access to her and time alone.

“Throughout the abuse, he said to me, ‘If this ever stops, if I ever stop doing what I am doing to you, it is because you stop it. I am unable to control myself. I will keep doing this until you say so. This is all on you,’ she recalled. “He made me believe that it was up to me. I was the one who allowed it. He told me he, ‘was not strong enough to stop himself.’

“Who says that to a kid? He was telling me that a 50-some-year-old married man did not have enough willpower or self-control to keep himself out of a young girl’s panties.”

Linehan said Sparrow only gave four piano lessons to the victim. However, the victim alleges there were more.

In her statement, she explicitly described the abuse. She said Sparrow disrobed her in a church youth room, performed oral sex on a pastor’s desk, groped her in a church prayer room and committed other sex acts in a church parking lot and at Sparrow’s home.

Fairfield County Assistant Prosecutor Chris Reamer said Sparrow operates Sparrow Academy of Music and is not employed by Fairfield Christian Academy, but his students had performances there.

Some of the sex acts, Reamer said, were carried out at Hope Community Church of the Nazarene, formerly known as Gloryland Nazarene Church, in Greenfield Township where Sparrow worked as a church administrator. Pastor Kevin Seymour said Sparrow worked at the church for about 30 years until he resigned in 2017. The resignation was unrelated and occurred before the church was aware of any criminal allegations. Reamer said at no time was a sexual allegation reported to or ignored by church officials.

It was one of the victim’s teachers that realized something was wrong and notified authorities in fall 2016. The victim said she was thankful for her school’s involvement, including the administration acting quickly and banning Sparrow from school grounds.

At first, she said she was apprehensive to speak out against Sparrow because he had told her a story of another adult getting in trouble for having a sexual relationship with an underage individual. Knowing the severe implications of telling her story, she said she kept their relationship a secret.

I am familiar both with the church and school, having pastored a Baptist church in nearby Somerset, Ohio.

Evangelical Pastor Mike Ulmer Pleads Guilty to Sexual Battery, Assault, and Two Counts of Attempted Rape

Mike Ulmer, pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Henderson,Tennessee and a volunteer teacher, pleaded guilty Tuesday to sexual battery, assault, and two counts of attempted rape. Bethlehem Baptist is an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) church.

WBBJ reports:

The former Henderson pastor and Chester County High School teaching assistant is accused of tying up and sexually assaulting an 18-year-old at his home in 2017, according to court documents.

Donahoe said Ulmer will serve one year in the Chester County jail and spend 10 years on probation. “He will report, and part of the agreement was that he would be on the sex offender registry,” Donahoe said.

According to the plea agreement, Ulmer also cannot have any contact with witnesses or the victim.

Previous news report on this case.

Evangelical Youth Pastor Courtney Biggs Pleads Guilty to Sex Crime

In 2015, Evangelical youth pastor Courtney Biggs was indicted on federal child pornography charges. At the time of his alleged crimes, Biggs was employed by Mountain Church in Medford, Orgeon.

The Mail Tribune reported:

Biggs, 36, was arrested by Medford police Jan. 15 in connection with an alleged burglary three days prior at Mountain Church, 1 E. Main St., where he had been employed as an administrative and youth pastor. Police said they believe Biggs, who previously had been under investigation for inappropriate text messages he allegedly exchanged with a juvenile congregation member, was attempting to steal computer hard drives from the church.

Police later served a search warrant at Biggs’ Jacksonville home, where investigators from the Southern Oregon High Tech Crimes Task Force said they recovered 28 videos from a hidden camera in the bathroom depicting women and young girls in various states of nudity. County prosecutors then added additional charges of first-degree encouraging child sex abuse, using a child in a display of sexually explicit conduct and private indecency.

Use of a child in a display of a sex act is a Class A felony under state law, carrying a mandatory minimum sentence of 70 months in prison without parole under Measure 11 guidelines. Under federal law, transporting a minor across state lines for a criminal sexual offense carries a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison, while using a minor to produce a visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct carries a minimum sentence of 15 years.

In February, Biggs pleaded guilty to one count of transporting with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity with a minor. According to persecutors, Biggs is facing a fifteen-year sentence. Sentencing is scheduled for August 20, 2018.

Evangelical Pastor Jody Hilliard Sentenced to Seven Years in Prison on Sex Crime Charges

In  January 2018, I wrote a post  that stated: Jody Hilliard, assistant pastor at First Baptist Church in Duncan,Oklahoma and a high school teacher and principal, will stand trial March 21, 2018 for allegedly sexually molesting a ten-year-old girl. Hilliard later pleaded no contest to five counts of lewd or indecent acts to a child under the age of twelve.

On Wednesday, Hilliard was sentenced to seven-years in prison for his crimes.

Michael Terui Sentenced to Twenty-Five Years in Prison for Manufacturing Child Pornography

Michael Terui, an Evangelical pastor’s son, pleaded guilty in December 2017 to manufacturing child pornography and was recently sentenced to twenty-five years in prison for his crimes. According to news reports, Terui used his position an outreach resource at his father’s church to troll for potential victims.

KHON-2 reports:

A Kauai man has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for manufacturing child pornography.

Michael Terui, 38, was also sentenced to a lifetime of supervised release. He will also be required to register as a sex offender.

Terui pled guilty to the offense on December 12, 2017.

According to court documents, Terui repeatedly sexually abused numerous young children, ranging in age from seven to 13 years old, over a period of more than a decade.

Fifteen minor victims have been identified. Terui acted as an outreach resource for his father’s church, which held services in the homes of members of the congregation and offered outreach programs to families that lacked a father figure in the home. Terui would often host “sleepovers” and other gatherings at his home, where he kept video games and movies, which he used to “groom” the children and gain their trust.

Terui engaged in sex acts with the children, often while they were sleeping (or pretending to sleep). Terui recorded his conduct using hidden and handheld digital video cameras. Terui also lured his victims on vacations.

….

At his sentencing, Chief Judge Seabright said that this was the “worst type of breach of trust possible.” In imposing the 25-year sentence, Chief Judge Seabright noted several aggravating factors, including that Terui had groomed the children to gain their trust; taken advantage of his position in the church in order to gain access to the children; and engaged in the egregious sexual abuse over a period of more than 10 years. Chief Judge Seabright also
highlighted that Terui had recorded the abuse of the children in order to use the recordings for his future sexual gratification. Four parents of the minor victims participated in the sentencing.

The parent of one victim told Terui that he was a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” and accused him of “hiding behind the ministry.”

Evangelical Children’s Church Worker John Carter Convicted of Sexual Assault

John Carter, a former children’s church worker at Harmony Hills Baptist Church in Lufkin, Texas, and an employee of several local Texas school districts and a private academy, was found guilty earlier this week of sexually assaulting a ten-year-old girl. In 2015, Carter pleaded guilty in an unrelated case to “attempting possession of child pornography and attempting an improper relationship between an educator and a student.” He received probation.

Black Collar Crime: Christian Counselor Daniel Staats Pleads Guilty to Sexual Assault

daniel staats

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.

Daniel Staats, a Christian counselor at Helping the Hurting and fill-in pastor in Dalton, Georgia, pleaded guilty today to sexually assaulting a female client. The Times Free Press reports that Statts fondled a client’s breast, exposed himself, and received oral sex during a July 2017 visit.

Numerous women have accused Staats of inappropriate behavior, but the police do not consider his behavior criminal. Creepy, yes. Criminal, no.  Staats was given a twenty year sentence, with eighteen years suspended. Staats is no longer permitted to work as a counselor.

Staats should never have been a counselor to begin with. Because Staats was a Christian counselor, neither licensure or state oversight was required. Thus, other victims have no path by which to report Staats behavior. I guess they could take their allegations to the Lord in prayer or leave their burdens at the altar. I am sure most reader will agree, church counseling ministries and counselors should be required to operate under the same laws and regulations as secular counselors. Jesus should not be grounds for exemption from government regulation.

Victims of Daniel Staat have set up a web page detailing Staat’s crimes and inappropriate behavior.

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Allen Lehmann Avoids Jail Time for Sexual Assault

allen lehmann

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.

Allen Lehmann, pastor of Trinity Chapel Assembly of God in Louisville, Kentucky, entered an Alford Plea on sexual assault charges. The plea agreement recommends a suspended sentence and probation. According to the Courier Journal:

A former Louisville pastor has accepted a plea deal on multiple sex offenses stemming from the abuse of three young sisters.

Prosecutors alleged Allen Lehmann, 80, abused the girls over the course of a decade when they visited his Louisville home. At the time, Lehmann worked as a pastor at Trinity Chapel Assembly of God church.

Lehmann entered an Alford plea, which allows defendants to maintain their innocence while acknowledging prosecutors may have sufficient evidence for a jury to convict.

He will be sentenced on five of the 17 counts against him, including sexual abuse and third-degree rape and sodomy.

….

The case was originally scheduled for a jury trial Tuesday, the second attempt to try the former pastor.

Lehmann faced trial in July 2017, but on the second day of testimony, the judge declared a mistrial at the request of defense attorneys after concerns one of the sisters may have revealed inadmissible information to jurors while on the witness stand.

Willett had previously ruled that prosecutors were not allowed to introduce at trial evidence of other allegations of sexual abuse by Lehmann.

Prosecutors interrupted the witness during her testimony, fearing where she was heading, but the damage was done.

…..

Based on my understanding of news reports, Lehmann has previously faced accusations of sexual assault. If this is true, it troubles me that Lehmann will serve no jail time for his latest crimes. In Lehmann’s first trial, prosecutors wanted to admit into evidence a letter in which Lehmann admitted to abusing children all the way back to 1957! The judge for the first trial refused to permit prosecutors to use the letter. WKLY reports:

Prosecutors said a Louisville pastor once wrote a letter admitting to sexually abusing children, and now they want to use that letter in court.

Allen Lehmann faces charges of sodomy and sexual abuse. The alleged incidents took place between 1993 and 2000.

The 76-year-old Lehmann was a substitute teacher in Valparaiso, Indiana, when the charges were filed last year. He was also a minister at an Assembly of God Church in Louisville.

Lehman’s defense attorney said the letter doesn’t involve the cases in which he is charged, and that it can’t be used as evidence against him.

Prosecutors said it shows how Lehman preyed on children.

What this does do is give context to who the defendant is, and why we are here today,” Courtney Straw said. “He wrote this himself, confessed to these other crimes, and ends the letter begging for the church to let him continue to minister because, ‘Here, I confessed, I’ve absolved myself, I’ve told you just enough to try to keep my license.'”

Prosecutors said the letter, dated March 8, 2011, was handwritten by Lehmann.

The letter said “during the approximate time frame of 1970 to 1978, (he) sexually molested” the victims.

He also said “during the late winter of 1957, (he) sexually molested” another victim.
Lehmann is on trial for abuses police said occurred in the 1990s.

Lehmann’s attorney never attacks the letter’s authenticity but said his client has never been charged in any other sexual abuse case.

….

According to court records, Assembly of God officials investigated abuse allegations against Lehmann in the 1960s and 1980s. It is astounding, then, that Lehmann was permitted to remain in the ministry; permitted to continue sexually assaulting children all the way into the 2000s.

First trial story, First trial story

Black Collar Crime: Focus Church and Pastor Garry Mitchell Shun the Victims and Embrace the Abuser

clarence willie white

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.

Garry Mitchell is the pastor of Focus Church in Lewisburg, Kentucky. In April, a grand jury indicted associate pastor and bus driver Clarence “Willie” White  on charges of sexual assault. The victims were children White picked up for church with Focus Church’s van.  Since then, three more alleged victims have come forward. You would think having six allegations leveled against a congregant would cause a church and its pastor to distance themselves from the alleged abuser, especially considering that he previously was convicted in 1980 of third-degree rape. Not Mitchell and the folks at Focus Church. They are resolutely standing behind their man.

Mitchell appeared as a character witness for White, asking that his bond be reduced from a $10,000 cash bond to a surety bond which required no outlay of cash. The judge rejected the bail reduction request.

When Logan Circuit Judge Tyler Gill asked Mitchell:

You understand exactly what the allegations are and you’re confident to put him right back into that same position and drive the bus and be associate pastor pastoring 15- and 16-year-old girls? You’re okay with that?

Mitchell replied,”Yes, we have no issue with him.”

When asked whether congregants felt safe around White, Mitchell replied:

Yes, and the women of our church. He has proven to be a Godly man or I wouldn’t be standing here saying these things and I wouldn’t be putting my reputation on the line.

When asked about White’s previous conviction on rape, Mitchell replied, “It wasn’t until I was here in court the last time and heard the brevity of the conviction 40 years ago.”

When asked about whether the victims would be allowed to return to church, Mitchell told the judge that one of the victims had tried to return to church several times, and he asked her to stay away due to the allegations she made against White.  Mitchell stated, “We asked them until things were worked out not to be involved with us.”

The News-Democrat & Leader reports:

White’s wife bailed him out of the Logan County Detention Center May 18.

Soon after the ND&L spoke with the three additional alleged victims found on Facebook, the newspaper contacted Mitchell via email to inform him of the new information and to ask if he and the church had changed their stance on White, which Mitchell detailed in court.

Mitchell released a statement to the ND&L on behalf of the church’s leadership team and also posted that statement on the Focus Church Facebook page.

Mitchell asked the ND&L to publish the statement in its entirety and “not to change it in any way that includes editing and or deletions without an agreement between (the NDL) and our church leadership first. If you agree, then you will publish this written statement separate from any other articles relating to this issue.”

The ND&L explained to White through email there were a few claims within the official statement that were not mentioned at the bond hearing and appeared to be contradictory. One included the church asking White to step down from any contact with the children and youth ministry, removing him from any leadership role he had with the church children and youth six months before the case came out to the public. This was never brought up at the hearing and questioning by the judge.

Mitchell said the church leadership team had decided they no longer wished for the statement to be printed by the ND&L and wished to listen to the scripture “stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.”

….

Focus Church released the following statement. As you will see, their cover our ass press release contradicts what was said in court:

“Let me begin by saying we made a mistake that you would understand our intentions as a community of faith at Focus Church concerning our stand with Clarence White. We need your help to see and understand our decision to support someone accused of such a terrible thing.

“At the time Lead Pastor Garry appeared in court on behalf of Clarence White. Our ministry had already been dealing with the accusations close to six months. During that period of time, we had implemented safeguards for those who attended each week. We ask Clarence to step down from any contact with the children and youth ministry, removing him from any leadership role he had with our children and youth. After the accusations he was removed from all activities related to children and youth including if he was to be a substitute van driver with his wife.

“Our next course of action was to immediately follow up by asking parents, children and youth if there was any behavior that was a threat to their well being. The answer we got was an absolute ‘no.’ Even though we got that answer we continued to monitor the activity of our children and youth ministry.

“Our church defines itself as ‘a church without walls.’ It is not our nature to ban anyone who desires to attend our services and ministries, nor have we ever placed a banned on anyone. Our desire is to offer Jesus, His salvation, healing and deliverance. We offer an open door policy and we open our hearts to anyone who seeks Jesus and a new life in God.

“Lets make this clear, we did NOT use any money given in our church for ministries to be use to bail anyone out of jail including Clarence White. We understand the true purpose of tithes and offerings they are intended for the building the Kingdom of God.

“Since Clarence posted bail FOCUS church leadership, Clarence and his lawyer have agreed that he would not return to FOCUS church, or any activity or event until the matter of the accusations would be settled once and for all.

“Our decision as a church to support Clarence White was decided on the basis that no proven evidence had been given to justify the accusations. These accusations had not been proven at the time of Pastor Garry’s courtroom appearance. Believing everyone should be treated without judgement we stand with him until proven guilty. If he is proven guilty, then we fully expect judgement and accountability. But like anyone else we will be redemptive and offer forgiveness of God in Jesus name to any person.”

Last month, the Kentucky New Era reported:

A Logan County Grand Jury indicted Willie White, 60, on April 27 for subjecting a 16-year old to sexual contact when he allegedly placed his hand in her back pocket and touched her buttocks for sexual gratification between November and December of 2017.

The jury also indicted White during the same time period for subjecting two more victims to sexual contact. One when he allegedly touched a 15-year-old’s vagina for sexual gratification and another when he allegedly touched the buttocks of a 12-year-old for sexual gratification.

This is one of those stories that just blow me away. I hope, if and when White is convicted, that the victims sue Mitchell and Focus Church. Mitchell and his fellow church members are oblivious to what they should be doing, so perhaps losing everything will help them see the error of their ways. Of course, White could be innocent too, but I doubt it. The previous rape conviction and multiple current allegations tell me that White is a man that shouldn’t be around children — ever.

When asked about reducing White’s bail, the judge replied, “You’ve got all those people at the church, I’ll let them post that bond. Go for it. I have some serious questions about judgment here, but it’s not my judgment I’m worried about.”

Yep. And people wonder why sex abuse victims are hesitant to come forward.

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.

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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.