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Tag: United Pentecostal Church

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Youth Pastor Glen Uselmann Accused of Sexual Assault

sexual assault

Glen Uselmann, formerly a youth pastor at Calvary Gospel Church in Madison, Wisconsin, stands accused of repeatedly sexually assaulting a church girl. Uselmann later married his victim. Calvary Gospel is affiliated with the United Pentecostal Church International.

The Cap Times reports:

Glen Uselmann, of Columbus, is charged with second degree sexual assault of a child and sexual assault of a child under 13, according to a criminal complaint from Madison Police filed in Dane County court on July 15. Uselmann’s initial appearance in court is scheduled for Aug. 6. 

The charges come after a Cap Times story in August 2019 detailed how men at Calvary Gospel Church in Madison, a United Pentecostal International congregation, allegedly groomed and molested girls at the church, who were often pressured to later marry their abusers.

Rebecca Martin Byrd was one of those women and agreed to speak with a Cap Times reporter and be named in this story. She married Uselmann following years of abuse, starting when she was 12, she said. They divorced in 2006. Seeing charges filed in her case has been validating, she said.

“I lost my childhood… when you suffer abuse for years and years it’s almost like you don’t realize what is happening,” she said. “You get so accustomed to being treated that way and so accustomed to having no control in your life. In a way you suppress your own needs and your own feelings. When someone said, ‘Yes, this was wrong,’ that is very validating for me.”

….

Byrd was one of 13 people the Cap Times interviewed for its 2019 story, four of whom said they were sexually assaulted and manipulated as children attending Calvary Gospel Church in the late 1980s and 1990s. Nine others, including parents, siblings of alleged victims, members who witnessed sexual misbehavior and one pastor who was in leadership at the time of many allegations, corroborated the abuse.

Byrd filed a report with Madison police last August hoping the case would fall within the state’s statute of limitations for sex crimes against children, but she wasn’t sure, she said. The Madison Police Department said Monday that the investigation is still open and could not comment on it. 

….

The criminal complaint outlines several interviews conducted by Madison Police Detective Bradley Ware over the last 11 months. It includes a statement from the church’s current bishop, John W. Grant, identified by his title and the initials “JWG” in the report. Grant led Calvary Gospel Church for 47 years. His son Roy Grant now leads the congregation. 

According to the complaint, Ware asked Grant if Uselmann ever admitted to his sexual relationship with Byrd when she was a minor. Grant said Uselmann admitted they had had sex but “made it sound like it was only one time.” 

….

Byrd said she hopes the case sheds light on the church institution that enabled the abuse and helps others come forward to report it. 

“I feel like this case isn’t just about this one man,” she said. “This case to me is about an institution that was corrupt and was abusive and belittling to women. I hope this case blows open the doors to a lot of other situations that went on in that group that shouldn’t have gone on.”

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.

Bruce Gerencser, 63, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 42 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen awesome grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

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Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Warren Welch Accused of Having Sex with an Inmate

pastor warren welch

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.

Warren Welch, an Evangelical pastor with Native American Ministries & Evangelism — a ministry of the United Pentecostal Church, Int’l — stands accused of having sex with a South Dakota Women’s Prison inmate while she was out on work release. Welch was a corrections officer at the prison.

The Capital Journal reports:

Warren Welch, a former prison guard and evangelical pastor, allegedly had sex with an inmate while working in the state Women’s Prison in Pierre and provided her with contraband in return.

Welch, 62, was a pastor for years in South Dakota, including in Pierre, with an evangelical denomination. He focused on ministering to Native Americans in South Dakota and other states, according to church publications.

He is a member of the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe, according to the church’s publications.

….

State Circuit Court Judge Bridget Mayer told Welch on Tuesday he’s facing up to eight years in prison on four felony counts handed down by a grand jury on May 26.

Two counts allege he had prohibited sexual acts with an inmate on four dates — Dec. 9, 2018, April 9, 2019, May 16, 2019 and July 16, 2019. Two counts allege he provided the woman with “unauthorized” articles, identified in other court documents as including cellphones and cash.

According to court documents, Welch and the woman said they met at a church in Sioux Falls several years ago and maintained contact. Documents state the woman told an investigator she would have sex with Welch in return for him providing her with items such as cellphones and cash.

The woman was on work release in and near Pierre last year and late in 2018. She said she and Welch would have sex in vehicles and other places while she was out of the prison on work release.

The woman, watching security video with an investigator, said it showed a time last year when Welch, while working as a guard, delivered a cellphone to her in a way that avoided detection, according to court documents.

Welch’s bio states:

Rev. and Mrs. Warren Welch have worked with many of the Native communities in South Dakota and served as pastor for 17 years in Watertown.

Both Warren and his wife **** have served the South Dakota District in various capacities and Bro. Welch has served as a SD District presbyter for over 20 years.

Rev. Welch is a member of the Crow Creek Sioux tribe in central South Dakota.  

Currently based out of Calvary UPC in Pierre, SD, Bro. and Sis. Welch have been working in Native American outreach in the city of Pierre and three Indian reservations in the Pierre area.  Bro. Welch has been blessed to minister in Native American communities throughout the US and Canada. 

Bruce Gerencser, 63, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 42 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen awesome grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

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Follow Bruce on Facebook and Twitter.

Thank you for reading this post. Please share your thoughts in the comment section. If you are a first-time commenter, please read the commenting policy before wowing readers with your words. All first-time comments are moderated. If you would like to contact Bruce directly, please use the contact form to do so. Donations are always appreciated. Donations on a monthly basis can be made through Patreon. One-time donations can be made through PayPal.

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Kenneth Hogue Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

theft cartoon

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

Kenneth Hogue, a longtime United Pentecostal Church pastor and an official with the sect’s regional district office, pleaded guilty last week to embezzling more than $250,000 from the church.

The Missoulian reports:

Kenneth Hogue was charged in U.S. District Court this week with federal wire fraud for siphoning $288,757.94 from the Rocky Mountain District of the United Pentecostal Church from June 2012 until July 18, 2016.

The court filings charging Hogue were accompanied by a plea agreement setting out the terms for his guilty plea. Hogue has agreed to pay the embezzled amount back but nothing more, while Assistant U.S. Attorney Tim Racicot said during the Thursday hearing that the Rocky Mountain District of the Pentecostal church may seek additional restitution.

During the embezzlement scheme — which began in 2012, the same year Hogue was elected to the district’s treasurer post — Hogue’s duties included depositing church offerings into the district’s account and writing checks for church expenses. He was also authorized to pay himself for his services as an official of the district, with the main office located in Wyoming.
“I was authorized to write some checks to myself for insurance and a stipend for my service,” he told U.S. Magistrate Kathleen DeSoto on Thursday. “I wrote checks in addition to that.”

In addition to writing unauthorized checks, Hogue also described using the district’s debit card to withdraw church funds from an ATM.

Racicot said during the hearing that Hogue had also opened a new bank account in the name of the Pentecostal church, without permission, and transferred church funds to that account.

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Howard Geck Arrested for Failing to Report Child Abuse

dexter hensley

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 May 2019, Dexter Hensley, a member of Jasper Apostolic United Pentecostal Church in Jasper, Indiana, was arrested and charged with inappropriately touching minor children, ages 5-9. The Dubois County Free Press reported at the time:

Dexter Hensley, 61, is charged with allegedly touching children inappropriately. The incidents allegedly occurred at the Jasper Apostolic Church — the Jasper Christian Academy is also located at that address –sometime between 2012 and 2015. The victims were between 5 and 9 years old at the time of the incidents.

Hensley was arrested Monday; his home address in the court documents was listed as the church’s address on Hillside Drive in Jasper.

Court documents indicated Pastor Howard Geck at Jasper Apostolic Church found out about the alleged actions after they occurred.

An investigation into Hensley was opened while police were investigating a different allegation. During a forensic interview, the victim revealed incidents that had occurred at the church five to six years ago involving Hensley.

The victim also told police that about two years ago she had learned about incidents involving her sisters and had taken those concerns to her guardian. Court documents indicated the guardian reported the victim’s allegations to Geck at the church and was told that the issue had been taken care of.

Police spoke with the guardian, who stated the issue had been reported to the pastor, according to court documents.

Today’s news brings a not-so-shocking story about Howard Geck, pastor of Jasper Apostolic. Authorities allege that Geck was told about Hensley’s abhorrent behavior and did nothing. By Indiana law, “anyone who has reason to believe a child has been abused must report it to law enforcement or DCS.”  Geck allegedly kept Hensley’s crimes to himself, and now he finds himself facing a class B misdemeanor — failure to report.

Channel 14 News reports:

Jasper Police say they learned Pastor Howard Geck was made aware of the allegations two-years ago, but failed to report them to authorities.

Geck was charged this week with failure to make a report, which is a class B misdemeanor. By Indiana law, anyone who has reason to believe a child has been abused must report it to law enforcement or DCS.

“The law requires that any individual, anyone, it’s not confined to teachers or pastors or doctors,” explains Dubois County Deputy Prosecutor Stephanie Smith. “It is any adult that has a reasonable suspicion that there’s been some kind of abuse. Whether it’s physical abuse, or sexual abuse, or neglect of a child needs to report it.”

The Dubois County Prosecutors Office is currently offering an amnesty program. From now until the end of July, anyone who has previously failed to report, regardless of how long ago the abuse may have happened, can do so without being charged.

I have long argued that one of the firsts steps authorities should take in combatting child abuse is to arrest AND prosecute clergymen who failed to report allegations of abuse. When preachers face the likelihood of criminal prosecution, jail time, and loss of reputation, maybe, just maybe, they will do the right thing. It is unlikely that the good pastor will spend any time in the pokey, but perhaps the Dubois County prosecutor’s shot across the bow is enough to put fear into the hearts of local preachers. I have no doubt that Geck is not the only preacher sitting on allegations and confessions of sexual misconduct.  It’s time to air the dirty laundry in Dubois County, Indiana.

On the Road Looking for God’s True Church

As Polly and I travel the roads of Northwest Ohio and Southeast Indiana, we are always on the lookout for God’s True Church®. Here are a few of the churches we stumbled upon in recent weeks.

mennonite sign

mennonite sign

30 minutes west of our home is a large Amish community — Cuba, Grabill, and Harlan, Indiana. In amoungst the Amish live Mennonites. On both Amish and Mennonite properties, it is not uncommon to find signs like the ones above. We know that this particular family is Mennonite because they have a power line running to their home.

church on fire

church on fire

The Church on Fire, Fort Wayne, Indiana, Joe Gutierrez, pastor. The Church on Fire, is affiliated with the United Pentecostal Church International. United Pentecostal churches are also called oneness or Jesus-only churches because of their denial of Trinitarian theology.

As with many sects, United Pentecostals believe that their peculiar beliefs are TRUTH — not just any truth, but THE TRUTH. For a person to be born again the United Pentecostal way,  he or she must:

  • Repent, turning away from sin and towards God
  • Be baptized by immersion in the name of Jesus for the remission of sins
  • Speak in tongues-the outward demonstration that shows a person has been filled with the Holy Ghost

I did not know that Jesus was running for office this year. I wonder what these Jesus voters — code for we vote Republican — are going to do come November when their choice for President is either Bernie Sanders/Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. If The Church on Fire really votes Jesus, how could they ever vote for the thrice-married, skirt-chasing, heathen Donald Trump?

I previously shared the following photographs of The Church on Fire:

church on fire fort wayne

church on fire fort wayne

church on fire fort wayne 2015-2

Come Get Your Miracle at The Church on Fire

Several weeks ago, Polly and I were in Fort Wayne to attend a baseball game. Polly made a wrong turn and we ended up driving by The Church on Fire, a United Pentecostal church. United Pentecostal churches are also called oneness churches because of their denial of Trinitarian theology. Here’s a few photographs of the church’s sign and its unique roadside prayer box.

church on fire fort wayne 2015-3

church on fire fort wayne 2015-1

church on fire fort wayne 2015-2