Menu Close

Tag: Sexual Misconduct

Black Collar Crime: Baptist Youth Pastor Anthony Gualtieri Accused of Sexual Misconduct With a 14-Year-Old Girl

anthony gualtieri

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.

Anthony Rismo Gualtieri, a former youth pastor at Faith Baptist Church in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and lead pastor of First Baptist Church in Jeffersonville, Indiana stands accused of sexual misconduct with a 14-year-old girl.

WANE-15 reports:

A former youth pastor at Faith Baptist Church in Fort Wayne has been accused of having a multi-year sexual relationship with a 14-year-old girl.

Anthony Rismo Gualtieri, 48, faces three counts of sexual misconduct with a minor (level 4 Felony), one count of sexual misconduct with a minor but committed by a person at least 21 years old (level 5 Felony), and one count of child seduction (level 5 Felony).

According to a probable cause affidavit, the girl told police that Gualtieri, 48, told her he had “deep feelings for her” before their relationship turned physical. The girl said that between February 2015 and February 2019, she and Gualtieri had nearly 100 sexual encounters – roughly 20 taking place in Allen County, the affidavit said.

Gualtieri allegedly told the girl “not to tell anyone about the relationship or he would hurt himself,” according to the affidavit.

The pair would meet up at a hotel room that Gualtieri would rent, at his house, or at the church before he was transferred to Jeffersonville, the affidavit said. After Gualtieri moved, they would meet at several different locations, the girl said.

Police spoke with Pastor Joseph Marden from Faith Baptist Church, who worked with Gualtieri while he was there from 2012 to 2018. Pastor Marden said the girl told him about being raped. When he called Gualtieri, he admitted to being in a sexual relationship with the girl but said it did not begin until she was 17-years-old, according to court documents.

Gualtieri reportedly told Pastor Marden that he was in love with the girl, the affidavit said.

The girl’s sister told police that the girl admitted to being in a sexual relationship with an older man in 2018, the affidavit said.

Police later spoke with another witness who was with Pastor Marden when he called Gualtieri. She said that Gualtieri told them to not tell anyone and made suicidal threats if they did. According to court documents, the witness had recorded part of the phone call and gave it to police. Investigators said the recording shows Gualtieri making suicidal threats and saying “the age of consent is 14 to 16.” He said he was going to turn himself in to police and said it was not about sex, it was an emotional connection.

In July, the girl gave officers five pairs of ladies panties that she said Gualtieri gave to her during the course of their relationship, court documents show.

Faith Baptist released the following statement:

On behalf of the Faith Baptist Church family, congregants, staff, and members, the leadership of Faith Baptist Church of Fort Wayne are praying for accountability, healing, and justice in light of the recent arrest of Anthony Gualtieri, who served as the Church’s youth pastor from 2012 to 2018. Faith Baptist Church takes the allegations against Mr. Gualtieri very seriously, and leadership will fully cooperate with law enforcement in connection with all investigations. Faith Baptist Church will continue its mission to gather, grow, and serve its community during this time; to provide an environment that fosters values of family, friendship, spiritual growth, compassion, and tradition; and to pray for all of those impacted by these circumstances.

Gualtieri ‘s First Baptist bio page states:

Pastor Tony joined First Baptist Church of Jeffersonville in February of 2018. Prior to accepting the call to be the Lead Pastor at FBC, Tony served in full time student ministry for over 13 years at Baptist churches in both Ohio and Indiana. He received his undergraduate degree from Liberty University and his master’s degree from Wesley Seminary which is part of Indiana Wesleyan University.

Pastor Tony is passionate about the Gospel and he loves finding ways of showing the lost how Jesus can be a real – relevant – and relational part of their lives.

Tony is married to *****, who is a licensed educator. They have two daughters, ***** & *****, as well as a their little dog Charlie. Pastor and his family enjoy meeting new people, hanging out together, cooking, and listening to all types of music.

Tony has shared that “my goal for FBC Jeff is to lead them into a new season of ministry where we take seriously Jesus’ command to minister to our ‘Jerusalem’ which is the 47130 zip code. My desire is to see lives transformed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ as we seek to meet people where they are and lead them to the cross.”

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 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.

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

Questions: Are There Any Famous Evangelical Pastors Who Have Not Fallen Into “Sin”?

questions

I put out the call to readers, asking them for questions they would like me to answer. If you have a question, please leave it here or email me. All questions will be answered in the order in which they are received.

Tammy asked:

Are there any famous/successful pastors who have not had affairs, committed crimes, been guilty of fraud, etc? 

They’ve fallen one after another like dominoes . . . 

Tammy, along with her husband Jim, has been my friend for years. When Polly and I walked away from Christianity in 2008, Tammy and Jim walked the path with us, providing love, kindness, and support.

I suspect there’s a bit of sarcasm in Tammy’s question. That said, rarely does a day go by without me receiving a Google Alert about this or that preacher committing a crime — usually sex crimes. In 2017, I started the Black Collar Crime Series. This series primarily focuses on crimes perpetrated by Evangelical preachers. As of this date, I have published 800+ articles. I also have 200+ stories that I have not yet posted.

While most Evangelical preachers, famous or not, do not commit crimes, thanks to the Internet, we now know that Evangelicalism has a huge problem with sexual assault, rape, and other predatory behaviors perpetrated by pastors, evangelists, youth directors, missionaries, deacons, worship leaders, parachurch leaders, college professors, and other church leaders. When I first started the Black Collar Crime Series, Evangelicals told me that predatory preachers were just a few bad apples. Four years later, it’s evident that there are more than just a few bad apples in the proverbial apple barrel. We now know Evangelicalism’s sex scandals are every bit as pervasive as those found in Roman Catholicism.

Are Evangelical churches “safe”? Maybe. If I were a member of or visiting an Evangelical church, I wouldn’t let my children out of my sight. I would NEVER allow my teen children to attend youth-focused classes or ministries. If the Black Collar Crimes Series has taught me anything, it is this: predators hide in plain sight. The same goes for seeing a pastor for counseling. I wouldn’t recommend ever being alone with a pastor. Sadly, way too many pastors “prey’ on vulnerable church members, using their positions of authority to engage in sex with “consenting” adults (which is illegal in most states, but rarely prosecuted).

I know some Evangelical preachers will be butthurt over me painting with such a broad brush. I also know most preachers are decent, thoughtful, caring people. However, there’s an awful stink coming from the apple barrel, and little is being done to eliminate the smell. Everywhere we look, we see coverups. The largest Protestant denomination in the United States, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), has an alarming sexual abuse problem. What has the SBC done to address this problem? Nothing outside of referring the “problem” to a board for study.

Most clergy sex crimes go unreported; thus, we can’t know the percentage of Evangelical preachers committing crimes. Famous, big-name, megachurch pastors surround themselves with handlers. It is common for megachurches to have security forces. In addition, pastors have personal handlers/assistants. Often, when church members report misconduct by their pastors, these handlers make the “problems” go away. Brave is the person willing to go public about their pastor’s misconduct. Such people often have their lives ruined by the defenders of predatory preachers. That’s why when people contact me and share stories of abuse, I believe them.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 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.

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Edward Williams Accused of Having Romantic Relationship with Teen Girl

pastor edward williams

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.

Edward Williams, pastor of Jesus People Full of Faith Ministries in Pembroke Pines, Florida, stands accused of having a romantic relationship with a seventeen-year-old girl. Williams was also a teacher and football coach at Hialeah-Miami Lakes Senior High School.

Channel 10 reports:

A high school football coach is under arrest after being accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a student.

Detectives said that 44-year-old Edward Malachi Williams of Miramar was romantically involved with a 17-year-old girl at Hialeah-Miami Lakes Senior High School.

According to a police report, the victim told investigators that the two were not sexually active but were waiting for her to turn 18 before going public as a couple. One of the texts she showed police from Williams said: “Baby, give me one chance, baby, baby, baby, give me one chance. I can’t believe I lost my girl. Please what if we make love one last time, it won’t be the last time, but for awhile.”

Miami-Dade Schools Police officers said that they went to the home of the 17-year-old after receiving information through an anonymous source.

They said the girl stated that although they had not been sexually intimate, they are “in love, have held hands, and kissed.” Police said both the victim and Williams denied engaging in sex.

….

Williams was located at the school on Wednesday, according to investigators, and brought to Miami-Dade Public Schools Police Department headquarters for questioning, where he was subsequently arrested.

He was released from jail late Wednesday and walked out covering his head with a shirt. He did not speak to anyone.

According to Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Williams had been employed with the district from 1999 to 2017. He returned to the district in June of 2020. School officials said he had no history of disciplinary actions. Williams has been fired, according to the district.

….

He is facing a second-degree felony charge, Offenses Against Students By Authority Figures.

Williams’ church bio states:

Edward is committed to sharing the good news of Jesus Christ, so when the call came for ministry, it was no hard decision. Edward’s desire to see people live their lives to the fullest in Christ made the call and commitment to Pastor in the South Florida area an easy one. Edward’s strong belief is God has blessed us to be a blessing to others.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 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.

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

The Wayne Aarum Saga: Evangelical Woman Defends and Justifies Aarum’s Predatory Behavior

pastor wayne arrum

Last month, Wayne Aarum, a former senior high minister at The Chapel at Crosspoint in Getzville, New York, current pastor of First Baptist Church in Arcade, New York, and the operator of Circle C Ranch youth camp in Delevan, New York, was accused of sexually assaulting at least twenty-one girls in the 1990s.

According to a report released by Ministry Safe, Aarum engaged in the following illicit activities:

stroking legs (outside clothing and on bare skin)

-stroking genital area- outside clothing

-touching vaginal area- outside clothing (in shorts or jeans)

-touching, rubbing and stroking breasts, outside clothing

-stroking labia, outside clothing

-stroking from hips to breasts, clothed, on the side of the body

-touching legs and knees

-hand placed on upper thigh

-pressing penis into back of girl (hugging from behind)

-rubbing penis repeatedly in a girl’s presence

-extended hug of a partially dressed girl

Other alleged inappropriate behaviors are mentioned in the report.

You can read my first post on Wayne Aarum here.

Aarum denies the allegations against him and continues to operate the Circle C Ranch. Daryl Dekalb, a Circle C board director, says that Aarum is a True Christian®. Dekalb stated:

He totally denies any wrongdoing whatsoever. Wayne has ministered to thousands and thousands of kids over the years, and we never heard anything from anybody.

This is why we’re suspicious of these charges. We’ve seen nothing, heard nothing, and they’re operating from an anonymous standpoint with everybody, and we believe they have an agenda … to take over the ranch.

Uh, twenty-one women have leveled accusations against Aarum. So much for “we never heard anything from anybody.” And the same women are behind a conspiracy to take over Circle C Ranch. Sure . . .

Previously, Dekalb — a true defender of women (that’s sarcasm, by the way) — said:

There is absolutely no credibility to any of these things. I worked in the ministry, my wife and I have worked in this ministry, all of those same years that they’re talking about. We never saw anything even approaching this.

It’s all lightweight stuff they’re bringing up anyway. It’s common for women as they get along in life…to see how their lives are not going well and when they sit down, like with a social worker…and they start hearing stuff from a social worker that says to them, ‘Well, have you ever had something in your life where maybe this is set off, the condition that you’re in now?’ I mean, none of these women had any complaints at all until they were contacted by this group and suggestions were made to them.

Earlier this month, The Buffalo News reported:

The longtime director of a Christian youth camp in Delevan is refusing to step down despite complaints that he inappropriately touched young women and girls at the camp and when he was a youth pastor in the 1990s at one of the area’s largest churches.

The Chapel in Amherst said it cut ties with the Circle C Ranch following an internal investigation by a Texas lawyer that found Wayne Aarum had engaged in a “pattern of inappropriate behaviors,” such as stroking the legs and touching the clothed breasts and genital areas of young women and teenage girls.

Attorney Kimberlee Norris said she interviewed 21 women who alleged “inappropriate touch” by Aarum. Some of the allegations date back to 1990s, when Aarum ran a ministry program for high school students at the Chapel. Other inappropriate behaviors allegedly occurred during his time as Circle C Ranch director, since 2000, although none of the complaints related to behavior within the past five years. 

Aarum, 54, denied the allegations and has refused to step down as camp president. He has the backing of the camp’s board of trustees, which released a response to Norris’ report stating that “there is no substantial evidence supporting” the claims.

Norris also wrote to the New York State Office of Children and Family Services with a list of dozens of inappropriate actions alleged against Aarum, including entering cabins without knocking or announcing himself, while girls were changing clothes; meeting alone with girls in his office after lights out; whispering intimate statements to girls, such as “I love you” and “You are so beautiful”; and giving back massages that included rubbing of girls’ buttocks.

“Girls, now women, who participated in the investigation said that the behaviors became so normalized that they assumed others, including parents and ministry leaders, knew and approved,” Norris wrote in her letter to the state office.

….

Officials at the Chapel said they were first made aware in 2019 of allegations about Aarum’s inappropriate behavior at the camp and took that information to the Circle C Ranch board, according to a statement provided to The News and posted on the Chapel’s website.

Chapel leaders learned a few months later about additional allegations of inappropriate behavior by Aarum during his time as a church staff member from 1991 to 2000. They spoke to Aarum, who denied any wrongdoing, according to the Chapel’s statement.

The church hired Norris last October to investigate. Norris runs MinistrySafe, which provides training and screening to prevent child sex abuse in churches, camps, youth sports and other settings.

“The membership was advised that the independent investigation credibly confirmed a pattern of inappropriate interaction with young women involved in The Chapel’s student ministry in the late 90s and also uncovered ongoing inappropriate interaction with young women not associated with The Chapel who had been involved in the previously referenced local youth camp over the last two decades,” The Chapel said in its statement.

Chelsea Carnahan, 28, recounted how Aarum would stroke her back and hair, hold her hand and touch her legs during one-on-one counseling sessions and talks when she was a Pioneer High School student from 2006 to 2010. She also attended First Baptist Church of Arcade, where Aarum is pastor, and volunteered at the Circle C Ranch in the winter.

“He’d get uncomfortably close to my face, and I remember thinking as a teenager about the tension of him being so close to my face, like is he trying to kiss me?” said Carnahan, who now lives near Tampa and works in a restaurant. “I remember a lot of hugs lasting a little too long.”

Sometimes he would grab her from behind and pull his pelvis tight to her body, she said. Carnahan described Aarum’s actions as “grooming” and “sexual predation.” She also accused Aarum of inflicting what she termed “religious trauma” on her.

Carnahan said she was not among the 21 unidentified women cited in the investigative report. She said she reported her complaints to Camardo after Aarum’s denials were posted online at the camp website.

Aarum and his supporters have maintained that he is unable to properly address claims being brought against him because he doesn’t know who has made them. But Carnahan said she has made clear on social media who she is and what she alleges Aarum did.

“I’m not anonymous,” she said. “I don’t want anyone else to have to go through what I went through. I don’t want any more children to be affected. I don’t want any more children to come through his camp.”

According to Circle C’s board of directors, this story is just a case of these women (and people like me) “misunderstanding” Aarum the True Christian’s behavior; that Aarum has a deep, Jesus-fueled love for teen girls, and his actions were just Aarum showing affection for these women, many of whom were “troubled.”

The Buffalo News reports:

In its response to Norris’ report, the Circle C Ranch board suggests that the volume of complaints against Aarum was related to the work he did, often with troubled teenagers. But the allegations are from a small percentage of the young people Aarum has worked with over the years.

“Wayne’s work prevents teenage suicides, avoids teen pregnancies, postpones too-young marriages, helps confront bullying at school, teaches how to respond appropriately to parents and authority figures, how to survive peer pressure, and how to defend their faith in a kind, positive way,” the board said. “It is very difficult to do this kind of work successfully from across the room. That always raises the risk that someone will find the teacher to be too close for comfort. Speaking the truth to a difficult situation can be met with hostility, fear, and a wide variety of other responses.”

The board’s own investigative report also suggested that the unidentified women cited in Norris’ report may have misinterpreted Aarum’s gestures of good will because of a “common type of trauma in their past … that makes them ultra-sensitive to certain kinds of verbal Bible teaching or certain physical actions such as hugs that are entirely appropriate and not at all offensive to other women in the same circumstances.”

According to Randy Fancher, a former trustee of the Circle C Ranch, the Ranch’s board has known about Aarum’s inappropriate sexual behavior for years.

The Buffalo News reports:

At one point in the meeting, Randy Fancher, a former trustee of the Circle C Ranch, said the camp’s board hired an attorney more than a year ago to investigate an allegation against Wayne Aarum. The attorney advised that Aarum step down as president and camp director, but the board didn’t follow through on that advice, said Fancher, who no longer is on the camp’s board.

Fancher said the camp had documented instances in which other camp leaders had approached Aarum about his actions.

“There was documentation of people going to Wayne and saying, ‘Hey listen, like, we love you, but you need to be careful of this.’ And this started 20 years ago,” said Fancher. “I, myself, personally 20 years ago sat down with Mr. Wes (Wayne Aarum’s father) and said, ‘I love Wayne with all my heart, but I saw him interact in a way that was just inappropriate.’ ”

Fancher said he also has heard firsthand accounts from women “who are truly victims.”

Kudos to Buffalo News reporter Jay Tokasz for his fine reporting on this story.

Now that I have laid the background for the sexual misconduct allegations against Wayne Aarum, I want to address a comment left today by an eighty-year-old female defender of Aarum. Here’s what she had to say:

I went to the Chapel when Wayne was active there. When either he or his brother entered the building it was like Elvis had entered. The girls flocked around them. Did they hug him, did they kiss him, did they stand too close, maybe. Did he hug, kiss and get too close, maybe. Most people do when they hug!! But as a mother and as I remember it, I sure didn’t see any of these girls back away or push him away. .

My husband and I used to laugh and he would often joke and say, “what does that guy have that I don’t?) I would remind him youth and he is single!! As for myself, no offense to the girls and I hope I am wrong and I am not condemning them, they were young and naive but, I never heard him ooh and ah about the girls, he was their leader so naturally he would befriend them. I have never been to Circle C Ranch but i have never heard anything bad about it. My son was familiar with it and thought it was a great place. Circle C Ranch has probably done more for the youth that attended there than most other places. I think as an older women what you have here are a bunch of younger women who are remembering their youth as they get older (we all do that! The would of, should of, could of makes us laugh or haunt us), and, with all the hype in the world today and all the hype about suing for sexual misconduct some might be misconstruing what really happened.

As for Bruce, the article sounds like you really aren’t an atheist, but you are trying to make us all believe you are. God bless you my friend. I feel sorry for you, you are missing out on the good life.

PS: I am going to be 80 years old this year, so I have seen just about everything

Yes, she really did say these things. Yes, she really did defend Aarum’s abhorrent behavior, saying — much like Elvis back in his womanizing days — the girls didn’t back away or push him away, so they must have been okay with it. I have seen this same argument used numerous times by predatory preachers and their defenders. Sure, Pastor Billy had sex with a church teen, but she came on to him or didn’t turn away from his advances. Instead of Pastor Billy being the adult in the room, an authority figure who has a moral and legal obligation to care for and protect others, he is viewed as just another hapless, helpless horn dog. If the victim didn’t want to be sexually harassed, abused, or raped, she should have done a better job protecting her virtue. In other words, IT IS ALWAYS THE WOMAN’S FAULT!

Years ago, the subject of sexual abuse came up in a discussion my wife and I were having with an older family member, a pastor’s wife who spent her entire life in Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) churches. Instead of agreeing with us about the seriousness of sexual abuse, the woman said, “well, that’s just what boys do.” Polly and I were stunned by her words. According to the Bible, older women are to teach the younger church women. What, exactly, are these older followers of Jesus teaching their charges? That sexual harassment and abuse are just a part of life; that unwanted sexual attention from preachers, deacons, Sunday school teachers, choir directors, and Christian school principals is an expected part of life; that these grown-ass men are just horny teenager at heart; that the best thing girls and women can do is hide their bodies from the leering gazes of men? (Please see Beware of Deacon Bob.)

I have been writing about Evangelicalism’s sexual abuse scandal for almost thirteen years. The Black Collar Crime series now numbers over 800 stories about sexual misconduct by (mostly) Evangelical “men of God.” It should be clear to anyone who is paying attention that Evangelicalism has a huge sexual misconduct problem. Throw in the consensual sexual affairs Evangelical preachers have with church members (often women who are barely “legal”) who are not their wives, and it is clear, at least to me, that this not just a problem of a “few bad apples.”

The commenter mentioned above concludes her comment with this:

As for Bruce, the article sounds like you really aren’t an atheist, but you are trying to make us all believe you are. God bless you my friend. I feel sorry for you, you are missing out on the good life.

Normally, I would give Grandma the “Bruce Treatment,” but I won’t do so today. I don’t want to detract from the focus of this post: Wayne Aarum’s alleged predatory behavior. I will say this: I am indeed an atheist. However, if I weren’t, I sure as hell wouldn’t trust my children and grandchildren with this woman. I sure as hell wouldn’t send them to Circle C Ranch. And I sure as hell wouldn’t trust the board members of Circle C to protect and care for them. If this is the best that God/Jesus/Holy Spirit can do, no thanks.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 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.

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

IFB Preacher David Hyles’ Latest Sex Scandal

david hyles at monument for his dad
David Hyles, at a Memorial Marker to His Dad. I think the Phallic Design is Fitting.

David Hyles, the son of the late Jack Hyles, pastor of First Baptist Church in Hammond, Indiana, finds himself yet again embroiled in a sex scandal. I have written about Hyles many times:

Yesterday, Preacher Boys Docs and Stop Pastoral Abuse reported that David Hyles allegedly was carrying on sexually with a young woman online.

Eric Skwarczynski wrote:

On Sunday, October 11, 2020, Jonathan Grisham Burchfield of Stop Pastoral Abuse received messages from a woman in her young twenties, who alleged an online relationship with the now 67 year old David Hyles.

He would contact her from a variety of accounts, using aliases like David Jaxson and David Miller.

He made claims that his wife had passed away. This information is not true. 

When reading the messages, Hyles acts as you would expect – some messages referencing meetings he was preparing to speak at, while others are purely sexual in nature.

“I will shut my door and we can masturbate together… hehehehe,” David wrote. 

Her response, “And there’s allowed there at your office?”

David’s personality shines through yet again, “I am the boss.” “I can do what I want.”

Among the myriad of messages that reflect a long running, deceitful and manipulative relationship are dozens of selfies from David Hyles. Pictures that she would be unlikely to possess unless truly sent by him.

It’s important to recognize that, simultaneously to manipulating this young woman, he was financing himself off of the backs of churches. A true charlatan, using ministries, church members, and every other person in his life as pawns to his advantage.

Is this particular situation illegal? No. But it’s a reflection of his moral character and his uncanny ability to lie without remorse or without consideration of impact it will have on the lives he toys with.

Hyles has evaded culpability and accountability for his decadent behavior for over 40 years. He continues to hide behind the “blood of Jesus,” and says that if Jesus has forgiven him, so should everyone else. I will leave it to Hyles’ victims to forgive him. All I know to do is to make sure that people know what kind of man David Hyles really is. That IFB preachers continue to support Hyles is beyond belief; a reflection of the esteem and worship wrongly given to the Hyles name.

David Hyles may love puppies, but when it comes to women, he is a serial abuser and adulterer. I would not trust him alone in a room with my wife, daughters, or granddaughters. He is, in every way, a bad man, and I will continue to hold this opinion until Hyles comes clean about 40 years of sexual misconduct, including involvement in acts that are criminal.

I’ll leave readers with a screenshot of Hyles’ messages to his latest mark.

david hyles screenshots 2020

Could these messages and photos be fake? Sure, it’s possible. However, when it comes to Hyles, I’m confident that what we see here is another example of the “real” David Hyles.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 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.

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Youth Pastor Ryan Crawford Convicted of Producing Child Pornography

child image on first baptist church website
Picture of children on First Baptist Church’s Youth Page. I wonder if this is what Pastor Crawford’s photos looked like.

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 2017, Ryan Crawford, assistant pastor, choir director, Sunday school director, and youth/teens director at First Baptist Church in Pineville, Missouri, was accused of having “illicit and inappropriate photographs of a young female on his cell phone.”

KOAM-7 reported at the time:

A 32-year-old Youth Pastor Pineville, Missouri, man is arrested after a report to the local police department alleging he had illicit and inappropriate photographs of a young female on his cell phone. Initially, the investigation of Ryan Crawford was conducted jointly by the Pineville Police Department and the McDonald County Sheriff’s Office.

The children were referred to the Children’s Center in Joplin, MO, and subsequent to those interviews, Crawford was interviewed by the investigator of the McDonald County Prosecutor’s office. During that interview, Crawford made statements that were corroborative of the allegations against him.

Prosecutor Bill Dobbs initially filed charges of child molestation in the first degree, a class A felony, and sexual misconduct in the first degree, a class E felony. However, based upon additional allegations, the initial complaint has been amended to reflect an additional four (4) counts of child molestation in the first degree, bringing the total number of felony counts to six. These acts allegedly occurred in Crawford’s home.

….

A January 30, 2018 Joplin Globe report stated:

A Pineville man waived a preliminary hearing Monday on child molestation charges and was ordered bound over for trial.

Ryan D. Crawford, 32, waived the hearing in McDonald County Circuit Court on five counts of first-degree child molestation and a single count of sexual misconduct with a child. Associate Judge John LePage set Crawford’s initial appearance in a trial division of the court for Feb. 26.

The defendant was arrested on the charges in December following an investigation by Pineville police and the McDonald County Sheriff’s Department of a report that he had illicit photographs of a minor on his cellphone.

A probable-cause affidavit states that Crawford had told of having “had a porn problem” and that he had been “watching” porn on his cellphone. The McDonald County prosecutor later indicated in a news release that an unspecified number of suspected child victims were interviewed at the Children’s Center in Joplin before an interview of the defendant in December when he allegedly admitted having touched a child younger than 14 inappropriately while she was sleeping.

The affidavit states that the defendant further acknowledged that his addiction to pornography and related misconduct with children had been “going on for a long time.”

….

Yesterday, Crawford was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison without parole. On September 16, 2019, Crawford pleaded guilty to one count of producing child pornography.

KY-3 reports:

Crawford admitted that he had touched the 9-year-old victim’s genitals with his hands, and that he had photographed her genitals with his cell phone while she was sleeping. Investigators located sexually explicit images of the child victim on Crawford’s cell phone.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 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.

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

Black Collar Crime: IFB Pastor Jon Jenkins Moves to New Church After Decades of Controversy

jon jenkins

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

Earlier this month, I published a Black Collar Crime story about David Beckner, a school teacher at Gaylord Grace Baptist Christian School in Gaylord, Michigan. Beckner stands accused of sexually abusing a female student. Gaylord Grace Baptist Christian School is owned and operated by Grace Baptist Church — an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) congregation. (Please see Grace Baptist College, Gaylord, Michigan: Rules and Regulations)

In May, Jon Jenkins, pastor, CEO, and head bwana of Grace Baptist, celebrated his thirty-third anniversary at the church.  And now, two months later, Jenkins has exited stage right, moving on to become the new pastor of Fellowship Baptist Church in Clayton, North Carolina (formerly pastored by Charles Ennis for fifty-one years).

The Gaylord Herald Times reports that Jenkins leaves behind a trail of scandals and controversies:

In a previous Herald Times story, Jenkins commented on instances of abuse or alleged abuse involving former teachers. Jenkins said he had reported two of the school’s former teachers to police for sexual abuse of students years ago.
Jenkins said he reported former teacher Aaron Willand to Michigan State Police, and later, another former teacher to the Otsego County Sheriff’s Department.

Willand was convicted in Washington state of raping a child and child molestation in 2006. The survivor, now an adult, is also seeking charges in Otsego County for abuse she said also occurred in Michigan. Willand has not been charged in Michigan.
Jenkins said he also reported former teacher David Beckner to the Otsego County Sheriff’s Department in 2011. Eight criminal sexual conduct charges have been officially filed by Otsego County courts against Beckner. The case was bound over to Otsego County’s 46th Circuit Court Thursday.

The sheriff’s department showed no records of Grace Baptist reporting either former teacher to police.
Herald Times’ Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for Michigan State Police reports filed by Grace Baptist show no police reports filed by Grace Baptist with any references to Aaron Willand or David Beckner.

Clark Martin, a former congregation member and volunteer bus driver, was convicted of criminal sexual conduct against a former Grace Baptist student in 2002 and 2003. According to Otsego County court records from that case, Martin had also molested another youth, a 12-year-old boy, in St. Clair County in 1966.

Martin also pleaded guilty in May to criminal sexual conduct charges for allegedly molesting a teen boy in 1991 and 1992.

Former Grace Baptist congregation members Jennifer Mahoney and Matthew Mahoney were convicted in 2013 on felony charges against a 15-year-old girl in Indiana, according to previous coverage by the Tribune Star (Terre Haute, Indiana) newspaper and court documents.

A former Gaylord Teen Spectacular youth conference guest speaker, Jack Schaap, was convicted in 2013 in federal court in Indiana after he transported a 16-year-old girl to his cabin in Northern Michigan for the purpose of having sex with her, according to court documents.

According to previous Herald Times coverage of the Teen Spectacular, Schaap, of Hammond, Indiana, was listed as a visiting guest speaker during the 2011 youth conference, an event that draws hundreds of teens to Gaylord.
Jenkins previously confirmed that each of the above was connected to Grace Baptist as a teacher, through the congregation or as a guest speaker.

….

One former staff member whose daughter was molested by a fellow student previously told the Herald Times she had taken issue with the way Jenkins handled the situation after the abuse occurred off campus.

Sarah Sundelius said Jenkins had not kept the teen offender away from the church and school where her 5-year-old daughter attended and where Sundelius had taught from 2016 to 2018.

Several former Grace Baptist students have also shared their stories about the former teachers who have either been convicted for criminal sexual conduct against minors or are currently facing charges for the same thing.
Several of the victims and alleged victims have also pointed to Jenkins’ role as leader of the church during the time and the requirements to report allegations to police.

While Jenkins has not been accused of sexual misconduct, his lack of leadership and refusal to require background checks for church employees and volunteers until this year certainly has contributed to the sexual misconduct that permeated Grace Baptist and its ministries under his watch. Jenkins’ critics say that he was a heavyhanded authoritarian who ruled Grace Baptist as if it was his own personal kingdom and fiefdom.  I know, I know, typical IFB behavior.

Attorney David Gibbs, long known as a “fixer” for IFB preachers and churches who find themselves facing sexual misconduct allegations, had this to say about Jenkins and his new gig at Fellowship Baptist Church:

His preaching and communication skills are outstanding. His doctrinal positions lined up with our historic Baptist faith. His spirit of compassion for church members and hurting people in the community were exemplary.”
His prior church’s policies and procedures — including the child protection policies and procedures that clearly outline zero-tolerance for child abuse of any kind and require all suspicions of child abuse to be reported to the authorities — were consistent with our church. We believe that if a child is safe anywhere, they should be safe at church.

It is scandalous that Gibbs could say with a straight face “His [Jon Jenkins] prior church’s policies and procedures — including the child protection policies and procedures that clearly outline zero-tolerance for child abuse of any kind and require all suspicions of child abuse to be reported to the authorities — were consistent with our church. We believe that if a child is safe anywhere, they should be safe at church.”

Really? I mean really, Attorney Gibbs? Have you no shame?

Such is life in the IFB church movement. Obfuscation, misdirection, and lies, praise Jesus, three people were saved last Sunday. All that matters is that the soul-saving machinery keeps on turning, regardless of who might be shredded in its gears.

Note

Support group for Gaylord Grace Baptist Church survivors and their supporters, Blind Eye Movement.

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Karey Heyward Accused of Sexual Misconduct with a Minor

karey heyward

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.

Karey Heyward, pastor of Eternity Church in North Charleston, South Carolina, stands accused of sexual misconduct with a minor. Heyward, a musician, also goes by the name Pastor Sage.

ABC-4 reports:

According to police reports, the female minor and her mother reported ongoing sexual misconduct to officers on March 20, and said it took place between 2012 and 2015.

She said the suspect touched her in sexually inappropriately ways, engaged in inappropriate conversations about sex, and asked her “what would happen if they did have sex,” reports say.

The Moncks Corner man was released on a $100,000 bond after being charged with 3rd-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor.

Heyward’s Linkedin page lists the following information:

  • Senior Pastor at Eternity Ministries
  • Owner/creative director of Genesis 1 Media, LLC a film, video, music, and publication company
  • Law Enforcement with the Coastal Crisis Chaplaincy
  • Founder of a youth organization known as Radical Revolution Ministries that hosts youth events and founded a youth pastors and leadership alliance known as the Holy City Alliance.
  • Specialties: Licensed Minister,Gospel Rapper, cinematographer/editor/director

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Bobby Blackburn Sought Out Threesome with Minor Girls

pastor bobby blackburn

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.

Bobby Blackburn, pastor of Elevate Church in Prestonburg, Kentucky and owner of Giovanni’s, a pizza joint, stands accused of attempting to entice two minor girls into having a sexual threesome with him.

The Courier-Journal reports:

The Prestonsburg Police Department said in a news release that Bobby J. Blackburn, 26, turned himself in Wednesday without incident and was charged with prohibited use of an electronic communication system to procure a minor to commit a sex act.

….

Prestonsburg police officers obtained a warrant for Blackburn’s arrest May 24, according to an arrest citation, after a girl showed a police sergeant images of an iMessage conversation she had with Blackburn.

n the messages, Blackburn asked the girl, who is a minor, to engage in a “threesome” with him and another female minor, among other sexually explicit requests, according to police.

Both minors were employees of a business that Blackburn manages, according to the arrest citation. The arrest report did not name the business.

On May 25, Blackburn allegedly followed a third female minor to the Prestonsburg Police Department, where she tried to give a statement saying she sent the obscene messages from Blackburn’s phone.

But when police questioned the girl further, she took back her statement and said that Blackburn told her to say it or else she would lose her job, according to the arrest citation.

Officers attempted to collect Blackburn’s phone through a search warrant, but family members said the phone was thrown in a Pike County river, according to police.

Prestonsburg police attempted to arrest Blackburn on a warrant but were unable to locate him until he turned himself in Wednesday, according to the arrest report.

Blackburn was released after posting $5,000 bail. He faces up to five years in prision, if convicted.

In 2016, WYMT interviewed Blackburn about his unapologetically “Christian” pizza restaurant:

A Prestonsburg business owner said he will not apologize for standing by his Christian values.

“God’s been good to us and we just wanted to spread that to everyone that came in here,” BJ Blackburn, co-owner of Giovanni’s of Prestonsburg said.

Blackburn said some customers have complained about the restaurant playing Christian music and putting bible verses on receipts.

Leading Blackburn to send a message to his customers on Facebook, saying they will continue to operate with Christian values.

In less than 24 hours, that post reached thousands of people.

While many people who commented on the post were supporting the business owner, there were some on there who disagreed.

One person said in part, “If I want religion I will go to church.”

Blackburn said it is not about pushing his religion on anyone.

“It’s not one of those things of hey you got to believe like us in order to eat here, we’re not trying to push that on anybody,” Blackburn added.

One couple said they stopped by the pizza shop solely because of what they read.

“I think Christians are persecuted too much around here anymore,” Donna Dutton said. “We are a Christian nation, supposed to be.”

Regardless of the multitude of opinions, in Blackburn’s eyes, God blessed his business.

Blackburn said his stance is not the view of the Giovanni’s Pizza franchise but only their store.

Blackburn and his family took over the pizza shop last March. Since they have also stopped selling alcohol.

 

Bruce Gerencser