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Tag: Sexual Assault

Black Collar Crime: Southern Baptist Youth Pastor Jarrett Booker Accused of Sexual Abuse, Kills Himself

jarrett booker

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.

Jarrett Booker, pastor of worship and youth ministry at Nashua Baptist Church in Nashua, New Hampshire, was accused of sexually assaulting several minors. Nashua Baptist, affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, fired Booker. Two days later he killed himself.

The Messenger reports:

A New Hampshire youth pastor killed himself two days after he was fired amidst a police investigation into “credible allegations” of child sexual abuse against him, according to members of his church.

Jarrett Booker, 37, who served as pastor of Worship and Youth Ministry at Nashua Baptist Church for nearly a decade, took his own life on Nov. 27 “refusing to face the consequences of his actions,” church elders and deacons said in a lengthy statement on the congregation’s website last week.

“Nashua Baptist Church unequivocally condemns all forms of abuse. It is evil and our God hates it,” the church leaders said. “We are committed to transparency and to supporting the healing process for victims.

“We have been, and will continue to, fully cooperate with law enforcement in this investigation and had encouraged Jarrett to do the same.”

A Facebook profile for Booker says he was previously the youth pastor at Childrey Baptist Church in Nathalie, Virginia.

A request for comment was not immediately returned from that church to The Messenger on Tuesday.

Officials at Nashua Baptist Church said that on Nov. 22, they became aware that Booker was the subject of a “criminal investigation concerning credible allegations of sexual abuse against minors.”

Church leaders opened an internal review “which revealed further evidence of misconduct,” and Booker was fired on Nov. 25, the statement said.

To preserve the integrity of the police probe, congregants were initially only told on Nov. 26 that Booker was the subject of an investigation and that the church had decided to fire him, officials said.

Booker died from suicide the next day, according to the church.

“This event has added immeasurably to the complexity and pain of the situation,” the church officials said, adding that congregants were later informed of the allegations against Booker on Nov. 29, after his death.

Spokesmen for police departments in both Nashua and neighboring Hollis confirmed to The Messenger on Tuesday that Booker was under investigation for allegations of child sex assault at the time of his death, but said they were unable to comment further.

In his Facebook profile, Booker described himself as “just an unfaithful and unholy sinner changed by a faithful and Holy God.”

Nashua Baptist released a statement, which you can read here.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen 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.

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Update: Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor William Oswald Sentenced to 40 Years in Prison for Sexually Abusing Children

william oswald

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

In 2019, William Oswald, the former pastor of Dunn’s Chapel Church in West Columbia, South Carolina, was accused of sexually assaulting two minors numerous times over the space of ten years.

WBTV-3 reported:

A former pastor of Dunn’s Chapel Church in South Congaree is charged with 12 counts of criminal sexual conduct with a child, after two victims came forward last week.

William Oswald, 56, was denied bond on Wednesday morning and remains jailed at the Lexington County Detention Center ahead of his next court appearance in May.

According to investigators, two victims allege the sexual abuse took place between 1996 and 2001 at Dunn’s Chapel Church, where Oswald was a pastor. According to the incident report, the victims described in graphic detail the alleged sexual assaults, each stating they were assaulted more than a one hundred times during the time period. The victims said the alleged abuse began when they were around the age of eight and continued until their early teens.

he two victims were inside the courtroom Wednesday morning during Oswald’s bond hearing. One said she feels empowered by stepping forward and reporting the alleged abuse.
“I just finally feel safe because he’s not going to be able to touch me again or get out,” she said. “Over the years he just always manipulates the situation so no matter how many boundaries you try to put up he ends up getting back in and he can’t do that anymore, I hope.”
The victim said she knows of other victims that have yet to come forward. South Congaree Police said there are likely other victims in different jurisdictions.

….

“I know of several already, some that are still too afraid to speak,” she said.

She said she wanted to speak in hopes of encouraging other victims to step forward.

“There’s hope and it’s okay to speak and even if it takes you a while and years to feel safe and be separated enough it’s okay to speak, you can feel safe again,” she said.

Four years later, Oswald was convicted and sentenced to forty years in prison.

The Lexington Ledger reports:

William “Bill” Oswald, the former pastor at Dunn’s Chapel in South Congaree, has been sentenced to 40 years in prison after being convicted of sexually assaulting two minors over a period that exceeded 10 years. According to testimony from the now grown women, there were hundreds of instances when these assaults occurred.

While at Dunns, Oswald was active in the community. He was the volunteer chaplain at the fire station in the town and was raising his family in the parsonage on the church grounds. These assaults happened during the period from 1996 to 2001 when Oswald was at Dunns.

His crimes went undetected for many years. The victims only told their stories after becoming adults. South Congaree Police Chief Josh Shumpert and other members of his department investigated the crime. Because of his age, Oswald, who is now 62 years old, will most likely spend the rest of his natural life in prison.

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Bus Driver Ulises Moreno Pleads Guilty to Sexual Assault

Ulises Moreno

In 2017, Ulises Moreno, a bus driver for Decatur Assembly of God in Decatur, Arkansas, was accused of repeatedly raping a church girl.

THV-11 reported:

A man who works as a van driver for the Decatur Assembly of God has been accused of raping a young girl several times over the past two years, according to CBS affiliate KFSM.

On Wednesday, police arrested 30-year-old Ulises Moreno in connection to the rape charges.

The girl, who is younger than 15, told authorities that Moreno raped her so much “that she had lost count of all the instances.”

She said that the most recent attacks happened during March and April. During the alleged incident in April, Moreno was driving the van where he molested her while he was still driving. She said he stopped the van to rape her.

Moreno has denied touching the girl “inappropriately” and claimed he didn’t know why she would say that.

According to the affidavit, the church’s pastor, Kirk Anderson, said that Moreno drove one of the vans every week.

In 2018, Moreno pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a thirteen-year-old girl. Astoundingly, he was sentenced to ten years probation — no prison time.

Channel 5 reported:

A former church van driver received 10 years probation for sexually abusing a 13-year-old girl after reaching a plea deal with prosecutors.

Ulises Moreno, 31, of Decatur pleaded guilty July 31 in Benton County Circuit Court to second-degree sexual assault.

As part of his probation, Moreno is barred from any contact with the girl or other minors, excluding his children. He’ll also have to register as a sex offender and pay more than $1,000 fines and court fees.

Moreno faces up to 20 years in prison if he violates his probation.

He initially faced a rape charge, but pleaded guilty to the lesser felony of sexual assault — a resolution the family supported, according to Nathan Smith, Benton County prosecutor.

Moreno was arrested in November 2017 after the girl told police Moreno raped her several times in the spring.

The girl said Moreno molested her while he was a volunteer van driver for Decatur Assembly of God. She said he would molest her while he was driving and stop the van to rape her, according to court documents.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen 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.

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Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Melquisedec Chan Pleads Guilty to Sexually Assault

melquisedec chan

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

In 2018, Melquisedec Chan, pastor of Vida Abundante Church in Alton, Texas, and a medical doctor in Mexico, was accused of sedating women and then sexually assaulting them. Chan is a surgeon in Mexico, but is not licensed to practice medicine in Texas. Chan was charged with “aggravated sexual assault and practicing medicine without a license.”

Chan has finally had his day in court. Chan admitted to charges he sexually assaulted two female parishioners.

The website for KURV AM Radio from Mission, Texas, reports:

A former church pastor in Alton has admitted to charges he sexually assaulted two female parishioners. 58-year-old Melquisedec Chan entered a plea of guilty shortly after a jury had been selected for his trial that was to have begun today.

Chan pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated sexual assault and two counts of practicing medicine without a license. The charges stem from 9-year-old accusations by two women that Chan had sedated them, then sexually assaulted them.

My RGV adds:

He [Chan] was arrested on April 11, 2018.

He was first arrested by Edinburg police after a woman reported that Chan allegedly sedated and sexually assaulted her while following up with her after a surgery.

She told police that Chan, who was the founder and a pastor at Vida Abundante Church in Alton, was also a family doctor. It’s not immediately clear whether Chan is still affiliated with the church.

A day after his arrest, a McAllen woman came forward and told investigators Chan provided “intravenous medication to (her) to help ease the pain of her illness,” following her 2012 diagnosis with a head tumor, according to a probable cause affidavit.

She had alleged that Chan first treated her at the church before “conducting regular house visits around July 2014,” during which he injected her with an unknown medication that made her fall asleep in a short amount of time.

She also alleged Chan groped her while she was sedated and assaulted her with his fingers, according to a probable cause affidavit. She confronted him in February 2015 and he “ceased all contact with her.”

On Monday, a prosecutor told the jury, which will sentence Chan, that he broke all of his oaths, his oaths to practice medicine, to take care of patients, his oath as a pastor and his oath to his wife.

“He used his power for his personal gain,” the prosecutor said. “He would sedate the victims and operated his clinic out of his church.”

The prosecutor said that after the women were sedated, they would wake up and feel strange. 

“It started with greed, it ended with lust,” the prosecutor said.

Carlos A. Garcia, Chan’s defense attorney, said that he grew up in Mexico and that his dad was also a pastor.

Garcia said that following his arrest, Chan admitted what he had done wrong and would tell anyone who would listen, including his wife, his son and the police.

The defense also highlighted Chan’s charitable work, including the founding of an orphanage in Reynosa and feeding the homeless in Reynosa.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen 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.

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Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Youth Pastor Justin Deloney Accused of Robbing and Sexually Assaulting Numerous Women

Justin-Deloney

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.

Justin Deloney, a youth pastor at New Faith Outreach Ministry in Chicago, Illinois, stands accused of robbing five women and sexually assaulting two of them.

The Christian Post reports:

The wife of a longtime Illinois preacher reeled in shock Wednesday as she learned that her husband of 11 years has been accused of robbing five women and sexually assaulting two of them.

Justin Deloney, 36, who leads Faith Outreach Ministry, has been preaching for 19 years and is alleged to have a record of preying on vulnerable women, according to police records cited in a CBS News Chicago report.

Authorities say the pastor was arrested Sunday and charged with a spate of crimes he is alleged to have committed from late June to mid-July.

Prosecutors allege the pastor would first approach his victims with small talk and then try to lure them into his car. If the woman rejected his advances, he would take her purse and speed off.

Among his victims are a 44-year-old woman he approached on June 2, a 58-year-old woman on July 9, and a 45-year-old woman on July 18.

He is also accused of sexually assaulting a 47-year-old woman on June 25, and a 34-year-old woman on July 10.

Police say one of the victims was a homeless woman who accepted a ride from Deloney.  The pastor allegedly “committed an acted of forced oral copulation” on the woman while displaying a knife “for the purpose of sexual arousal.”

In a search of Deloney’s car in their investigation, police report finding IDs and credit cards belonging to the victims.

CBS adds:

A south suburban man is facing charges of robbing five women and sexually assaulting two of them.

Justin Deloney, 36, made his first court appearance on Wednesday. CBS 2’s Marissa Perlman has learned the suspect is also a youth pastor.

We spoke with the suspect’s wife of 11 years, Samantha, outside the courtroom Wednesday afternoon. She said she is shocked to hear the charges against her husband – especially the ones connected to sexual assault.

She said her husband has been a leader in his community for 11 years, and has been a youth pastor for 19 years.

Deloney is promoted on Facebook as a “virtual preacher” with New Faith Outreach Ministry. His history as a youth pastor was brought up in court.

But prosecutors outlined a laundry list of robberies and criminal sexual assaults – all involving women and some of them at gunpoint.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen 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.

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Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Gerardo Gonzalez Accused of Sexually Groping Several Women During Prayer

gerardo gonzalez

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.

Gerardo Gonzalez, the pastor of an unnamed church in Mission, Texas, stands accused of sexually groping at least four women during prayer services.

Valley Central reports:

A Mission pastor was arrested after allegedly groping several female attendees during one-on-one prayer, court documents revealed.

Gerardo Gonzalez was arrested on four counts of indecent assault by McAllen police and two counts of sexual assault by Mission police, according to Hidalgo County Jail records.

….

On Sept. 5, McAllen police officers spoke with a woman who reported an assault that occurred at a hotel ballroom at the 1900 block of S. 10th Street. The woman said that on Aug. 20, she was attending a weekly church service provided by Gonzalez, who was the pastor, and his wife.

After the service ended, Gonzalez called her to the podium for a “one-on-one prayer,” the affidavit alleges.

“During that time, Pastor Gonzalez stood in front of [the woman] and placed his right hand on her shoulder and his left hand down by her genital area,” the document stated.

She said Gonzalez would move the podium to the side, positioning himself and whoever he is praying with in a way where the podium would block others from seeing the lower portions of their body.

The affidavit stated that at the time of the report, three other female victims had also come forward.

Police spoke with a second woman, who said that on Aug. 9, Gonzalez escorted her up to the stage and also positioned her behind the podium.

“[The woman] stated Pastor Gonzalez placed her hands over his genital area and began to move them up and down,” the affidavit stated. “[The woman] stated she could feel Pastor Gonzalez begin to get an erection.”

Gonzalez then adjusted his pants and went to the restroom, the document stated.

A third woman said that on April 2, she was also called to the podium for a one-on-one prayer. Gonzalez allegedly placed one hand on her neck, grabbed her hand and pulled it toward his genital area.

“[The woman] stated she could feel Pastor Gonzalez continuously pulling her body into his causing her to feel uncomfortable,” the affidavit states.

Police spoke with the fourth woman, who said that on Aug. 9, she was called to the podium for a one-on-one prayer and Gonzalez placed his left hand on the back of her lower head. He then grabbed her hands and moved them towards his genital area, the document states.

“[The woman states she then heard the sound of footsteps and turned to see the Pastor’s wife … approaching them,” the affidavit reads.

He then ended the session without finishing the prayer.

A detective spoke with Gonzalez, who admitted to moving the podium off to the side and standing close to attendees during their one-on-one prayers. He also admitted to placing his hands on their hands, shoulders, head or back of their necks.

Gonzalez said his wife is always present at his side and will place her hand between their bodies if he is praying for a female, the document states.

However, when detectives spoke with his wife, she said she does not place her hand between the pastor and the person he is praying for, nor is she always present by his side. She said at times she is distracted by other attendees and is not always watching him directly.

Gonzalez was arrested by McAllen police on Sept. 7 and his bond was set at $20,000. Records show he was released from jail the following day but then arrested by Mission police on two counts of sexual assault.

Details regarding the two alleged sexual assaults are not immediately known. His bond for the two new charges was set at $400,000 and he remains jailed as of Tuesday.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen 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.

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Black Collar Crime: Christian School Teacher Chrystal Frost Accused of Having Sex with Students

chrystal frost

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.

Chrystal Frost, a teacher at Crenshaw Christian Academy in Luverne, Alabama, stands accused of having sex with two minor students.

Fox News reports:

An Alabama math teacher at a private Christian school is accused of having sex with two teenage boys who had both been her students, according to an arrest warrant obtained by Fox News Digital.

Chrystal Frost, 35, a married mother of three, resigned last month from Crenshaw Christian Academy, known as Home of the Cougars for its football team, after she was allegedly caught exchanging explicit photos with a student on Snapchat.

“Frost sent an obscene photo and asked that the student send a photo from the abs down,” according to a police report.

The school received an anonymous tip that a 15-year-old student, identified as GT, had a “nude breast photo of the math teacher on his phone,” which he had shared with some classmates.

An administrator confronted Frost, who allegedly “admitted to a different photo she sent to the cheerleaders where she pulled her Nike shorts up high allowing her butt cheeks to show, took the picture and sent it as a joke.”  

Frost resigned Aug. 24, and the next day, the school reported the incident to the Luverne Police Department, which launched an investigation.

A student told police that GT had shown him the breast photo and then dropped a bombshell. He said GT and the teacher had been intimate.

In an Aug. 29 interview, GT admitted that his teacher sent him the lewd photo and then offered him sex. They met on a piece of land owned by his family in Pike County at least four times for the sick trysts.

On another occasion, when he went to feed the dogs as part of his chores, she met him and “performed oral sex on him” in a car. The student said he put an end to the disturbing relationship in early summer.

Police tracked down a second teenager, a 16-year-old student identified as AP, who was Frost’s student the prior school year. Frost allegedly used the same tactics to prey on him.

After he started homeschooling, Frost allegedly sent him a photo of her breasts before asking if he knew a place to have sex, the police report said.

The two met on a farm only once, where they allegedly had oral sex and intercourse. “The teacher made no conversations with him from arrival to ending of the sexual contact,” the report said. After the encounter, Frost allegedly sent two more lascivious photos and then blocked him from Snapchat.

In a police interview, Frost allegedly confessed to the depraved conduct and was arrested. 

She is charged with traveling to meet a child for an unlawful sex act, electronic solicitation of a child, two counts of a school employee engaging in a sex act, and two counts of a school employee distributing obscene material to a student. 

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen 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.

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Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor and Registered Sex Offender Delfino R. O’Day-Figueroa Convicted of Sexual Assault

Delfino-Oday-Figueroa

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.

Delfino R. O’Day-Figueroa, the former pastor of Song Nulife Gospel Oasis in Wausau, Wisconsin, was convicted of sexually assaulting a minor church girl. O’Day-Figueroa was also convicted in 1995 of sexually assaulting children. He was convicted again in 2008 on similar charges. He was a registered sex offender at the time he was pastoring Song Nulife.

The Wausau Pilot & Review reported at the time:

The girl described the man as “Pastor Ray” and said he was a leader at Song Nulife Gospel Oasis, a church that was located on Scott Street in the Landmark Building and held worship services on Saturday mornings for several years. The girl was unaware that the man, identified by police as Delfino R. O’Day-Figueroa, is a lifetime sex offender registrant with a prior felony conviction for assaulting children, and said she believed he was a pastor there until roughly 2019.

The Wisconsin Sex Offender Registry shows O’Day-Figueroa, 53, was convicted in 1995 in Milwaukee County of second-degree sexual assault of a child. Online court records also show a 2008 conviction on fourth-degree sexual assault charges in Marathon County. He is also known by the name Delfino Figueroa.

The alleged victim, now 18, spoke to police in August after O’Day-Figueroa approached her at a store where she works as a clerk. She told investigators that the abuse began in 2014 and continued for several years and began after her father had medical issues and O’Day-Figueroa began coming to her home to help the family. The alleged victim and several of her friends frequently stayed at O’Day-Figueroa’s home, where he lived with a woman he claimed was his wife, court documents state.

The alleged victim’s father told police he stopped the visits after learning from a neighbor that O’Day-Figueroa was a sex offender.

On Nov. 3, prosecutors filed charges of repeated sexual assault of a child against O’Day-Figueroa. He is being charged as a persistent repeater, because he was previously convicted of a serious child sex offense. Because of that factor, O’Day-Figueroa could be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

In July 2023, O’Day Figueroa was convicted of sexual assault and is awaiting sentencing.

The Wausau Pilot & review reports:

Delfino R. O’Day-Figueroa was convicted by a jury in July following a three-day trial. Jurors deliberated for about three hours before finding him guilty of repeated sexual assault of the same child, involving at least three violations, according to online court records.

….

O’Day-Figueroa will be sentenced Sept. 5 by Circuit Judge Scott Corbett.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen 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.

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Black Collar Crime: Baptist Youth Pastor Michael Fisher Sentenced to Twenty Seven Months in Prison for Sexual Assault

michael fisher

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.

Michael Fisher, a youth pastor at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Hammonds Plains, Nova Scotia, was tried, convicted, and sentenced to twenty-seven months in prison for sexually assaulting a minor teen girl.

In 2019, CBC reported:

A former youth pastor at a Halifax-area Baptist church has been found guilty of sex charges involving a victim who was 17 at the time of the crimes.

Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice Darlene Jamieson delivered her verdict Monday in the case of Michael Oliver Fisher, who was found guilty of sexual assault and sexual interference.

The victim is 29 now and testified against Fisher, 40, at his trial last month.

The woman told the judge that she considered Fisher to be a mentor and spiritual adviser. The two first met when she was 14.

At that time, Fisher was the youth pastor at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Hammonds Plains, northwest of Halifax.

It wasn’t until she turned 17 that they had a series of sexual encounters from January to July 2008 at his apartment in New Minas and at a house in the Halifax area.

Fisher testified in his own defence and disputed the notion that he was in a position of trust over the girl. He also said she initiated all of the sexual activity.

Jamieson had doubts about Fisher’s testimony.

“I find large portions of Mr. Fisher’s evidence to be inconsistent, implausible and evasive,” the judge said in her decision.

“For example, in relation to questions as to whether he considered himself an adult after two years of college in Bermuda and four years of university in Halifax [when he was age 25], his response was that he wouldn’t classify himself as an adult or as a youth and that he would not use such terminology.”

After the verdict, Crown prosecutor Rick Woodburn said the trial was not a “credibility contest.”

“But when you looked at Mr. Fisher, you found him to be very evasive and not truthful in his answers,” said Woodburn outside court.

“And on the other hand, the complainant was very credible and quite accurate with her memory of the events that took place.”

In November 2020, Fisher was convicted and sentenced to twenty-seven months in prison.

CBC reported at the time:

A former youth pastor at a Halifax-area Baptist church has been sentenced to 27 months in prison for sexual interference involving a 17-year-old girl.

At his trial, the court heard that Michael Oliver Fisher began grooming the girl when she was just 14 and by the time she was 17, contact between the two involved kissing, massages, nudity and eventually sexual assault.

The victim, who is now an adult, testified it was her first sexual experience and she had assumed that the first man she kissed would be the man she would eventually marry. Fisher, 41, is 12 years older than the woman.

The offence occurred in 2008 when Fisher was a youth pastor at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Hammonds Plains, N.S. He was fired from that job and subsequently lost a job as a youth counsellor at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, N.S., when the charges were laid.

Fisher was found guilty last December. The sentencing was delayed almost a year by an accident involving one of the lawyers, an illness and COVID-19.

Prior to his sentencing Tuesday in Nova Scotia Supreme Court, Fisher addressed the judge.

“Everything about my involvement was wrong,” he told Justice Darlene Jamieson. “My choices placed her in a situation she should never have been in.

“I feel ashamed of what I did and how ignorant I was.”

Fisher’s lawyer had suggested that the victim had started the behaviour by kissing him. Jamieson dismissed that idea.

“He cultivated the relationship and used his position to sexually exploit a young person,” the judge said in her sentence. “Her participation simply does not matter.”

The woman testified at Fisher’s trial, but did not return to court for his sentencing. Instead, she had a victim impact statement read into the record by the Crown.

“I felt like the shell of a person whose worth and innocence had been taken,” she wrote. “Michael ensured that I isolated myself by telling me to keep everything with him a secret.”

….

In addition to the prison term, Fisher’s name will be placed on the national sex-offender registry for 20 years and his DNA will be recorded in a national data bank.

In 2021, Fisher appealed his conviction.

Saltwire reported at the time:

A former Upper Hammonds Plains pastor is appealing his conviction and sentence for sexually exploiting a member of the church’s youth group.

Michael Oliver Fisher, 42, was found guilty in Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Halifax in December 2019 on charges of sexual exploitation and sexual assault, for engaging in sexual activity with the girl over a five-month period in 2008, before she turned 18.

Justice Darlene Jamieson sentenced the Dartmouth man to 27 months in prison on the sexual exploitation charge last November after staying the other charge.

The judge said Fisher used his position of trust as youth pastor at Emmanuel Baptist Church to build a relationship with the girl starting when she was 15.

“It is clear that Mr. Fisher groomed (her) in order to sexually exploit her,” Jamieson said. “Mr. Fisher, as her youth pastor, youth leader and mentor, was responsible for (her) well-being when she was with him. … He was responsible for leading her on the right path, not on a path to satisfy his own sexual desires.”

Fisher told the court at sentencing that he knew everything about his involvement with the girl was wrong and he was sorry for his actions.

“I know that my choices placed her in a situation that she should never have been in, as someone who was not a grownup,” he said. “They resulted in great pain to her and her family and so many other people over the years, and I regret that she had to deal with that.”

But in his notice of appeal filed in the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal, Fisher threw his trial lawyer, Michelle James, under the bus.

Most of his 14 grounds of appeal allege ineffective representation or, as he calls it, “misrepresentation.”

Fisher claims his lawyer was unprepared for trial and neglected to prepare him for the hearing “despite multiple asks” or call witnesses to rebut Crown evidence.

He criticizes the lawyer’s cross-examination of the complainant and says she neglected to “seriously consider” her motive.

Fisher says the lawyer also didn’t seriously consider his concerns about whether he was fit to take the stand at trial because his father was undergoing amputation at the time, and his concerns about “potential biases of the court.”

He claims the judge placed an “undue burden of proof” on his testimony.

Fisher, who filed his notice of appeal from the Springhill Institution, is asking that his conviction be overturned and a new trial ordered. If the conviction stands, he does not specify how he wants the sentence changed.

A date has yet to be set for the appeal to be heard.

The complainant’s identity is protected by a publication ban. She testified at trial that she met Fisher at the church when she was 14, joined the youth group when she was 15 and began attending its leadership meetings after she turned 17.

She said she had late-night and early-morning video chats and phone calls with Fisher and told the court she trusted him with everything and considered him a gift from God. He began telling her he had feelings for her, loved spending time with her and wanted to hug her.

While cuddling and watching a movie in February 2008, she said she gave Fisher a light kiss on the lips and it was like an explosion happened. She said the relationship quickly progressed to full nudity, sexual touching, oral sex and, by May 2008, intercourse.

Fisher was working part time at the church while attending university. He became a full-time employee in June 2008 after graduating from Acadia Divinity College and was ordained in November 2009.

The church fired Fisher in 2014 after receiving a complaint from the young woman. She went to police in 2016 and Fisher was charged in 2017.

At sentencing, prosecutor Rick Woodburn recommended three years in prison. James requested a conditional sentence of 12 to 15 months.

The judge said a conditional sentence would not provide adequate denunciation and deterrence. “Incarceration is the only suitable way to express society’s condemnation of Mr. Fisher’s conduct,” she said.

She ordered Fisher to register as a sex offender for 20 years and prohibited him from having firearms for 10 years. He also had to provide a DNA sample for a national databank.

The disposition of Fisher’s appeal is unknown.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen 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.

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Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Terry Reed Accused of Raping Two Teen Boys

pastor terry reed

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.

Terry Reed, pastor of Vessels of Christ Ministry in Terrytown, Louisiana, stands accused of raping and sexually molesting two teen boys.

Nola.com reports:

A pastor and registered sex offender pleaded not guilty Friday to raping and molesting two teenage boys that authorities say he preyed on through the church he operated out of his Terrytown home, according to Jefferson Parish court records. 

Terry Reed, 63, was charged Thursday with two counts of third-degree rape and four counts of molestation of a juvenile. 

Investigators allege Reed coerced the teens, telling them that sexual activity with him would provide them with the “covering of Jesus” and “help them become a man,” according to the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office. 

The first victim, now 19, contacted the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office in June and revealed that Reed had been sexually abusing him since he was about 16, according to court records. They met through Reed’s church, Vessels of Christ Ministry, authorities said.

The alleged rapes occurred between 2020 and 2023, with other sexual interactions reported as far back 2019, according to authorities. 

A second alleged victim, a now-29-year-old man, came forward after Reed’s arrest on June 29, the Sheriff’s Office said. He, too, reported sexual abuse at Reed’s hands between 2010 and 2011, when he was about 15, according to authorities. 

Reed is accused of fondling the second victim, showering naked with the teen and other sexual activity, court records said. 

In a similar case, Reed pleaded guilty to molestation of a juvenile and indecent behavior with a juvenile in 2017, Jefferson Parish court records said. He was sentenced to five years of active probation after he admitted to inappropriately touching and sleeping naked with a 15-year-old boy. 

Reed completed his probation for that conviction in 2022 but must register as a sex offender for the rest of his life, authorities said. 

The 2017 case, however, wasn’t the first time Reed faced allegations of inappropriate behavior with a minor. In 1997, he was convicted of indecent behavior with a male juvenile and was sentenced to five years of probation, Jefferson Parish court records said. 

Reed is a frequent flyer when it comes to sexual abuse allegations and convictions.

In 2014, Nola.com reported:

A Terrytown pastor convicted and later pardoned of sexually abusing a teenage boy 17 years ago has been arrested, again, on similar charges. The Rev. Terry Reed, 54, of 503 Marlin Court, was booked Saturday (Dec. 13) with indecent behavior with a juvenile and sexual battery, according to a Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office arrest report.

Reed is accused of abusing a 15-year-old boy whom he had taken in, according to the report. Reed slept naked with the teen and had inappropriate contact with him. The teen told investigators he was also forced to shower with Reed and wash the pastor, the report said.

In the initial sentence order, the judge barred him from any contact with minors, though it appears Reed later tried to appeal that portion of the sentence. Reed was also prohibited from participating in any programs with his church, including counseling.

Reed received an automatic first offender pardon in December 2002 after completing his probation, court records said.

Authorities were called to Reed’s Marlin Court home on June 30, 2002, to investigate the bizarre deaths of his adopted son, Christian Reed, 13, and a cousin, Jamichael Spencer, 12. A relative discovered the fully-clothed boys submerged in a hot tub inside the house.

The Jefferson Parish coroner’s office determined the boys died of electrocution complicated by elevated body temperatures and blunt force trauma, Chief Death Investigator Mark Bone said. A defective electrical extension cord that powered a nearby radio or television was stapled to the hot tub.

The boys’ bodies bore the signs of beatings, including older bruises and fresh welts on their arms, legs and buttocks. An 18-year-old woman who was described as their caretaker admitted whipping the boys as punishment.

Though the coroner’s office decided on a cause of death, investigators never made a determination on whether the boys’ deaths were accidental or homicides, according to Bone.

The Sheriff’s Office closed the investigation into their deaths, but continued to look into the disciplinary beatings the boys received, according to a report published by The Times-Picayune in 2002.

Reed was never a suspect in either investigation, said Col. John Fortunato, spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office. The department did arrest an unidentified woman in the physical abuse case. It’s not clear if it was the woman who had admitted whipping the boys.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen 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.

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You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Bruce Gerencser