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O.L. of Guadalupe Pro-Life at 29 Main St., Jersey City, NJ 07309 US - Non-Catholic Clergy Abuse & Crimes

Non-Catholic Clergy Abuse & Crimes

Click on the links for further info.

Non-Catholic Pastor/Minister Abuse Cases July 2012

Non Catholic Pastor/Minister Abuse Cases in December 2010

Couple turn selves in on molestation charges

LEBANON, OH  - A Warren County couple who ran a local ministry turned themselves into sheriff's deputies Tuesday and were jailed without bail on charges that they molested a 17-year-old boy.  Jeff and Alice Kilburn, 45, are scheduled for arraignment today in Warren County Common Pleas Court.  A grand jury charged them each with sexual imposition and child endangering in indictments released on Monday.  They are accused of having sex with the teen at Clark's Homeplace, the couple's South Lebanon ministry where Jeff Kilburn performed regularly with his Wildgrass bluegrass band.  The ministry shut down in July and the Kilburns moved to Massie Township. Jeff Kilburn says he is now pastor of Believer's Ministeries, which meets at the Caesar's Creek Pioneer Village Meeting House.  Jeff Kilburn told The Enquirer that he and his wife deny the allegations against them.

Lake County youth minister accused of sexually assaulting teen  Ye must be born again

A Lake County church youth minister was in jail Tuesday, accused of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl from his youth group, Lake County sheriff’s officials reported.   Christopher Andrew Puryear, 23, of Kelseyville was arrested on suspicion of committing lewd and lascivious acts with a child, forced oral copulation with a child, criminal threats and annoying a child under 18. He was booked into the Lake County Jail in lieu of $250,000 bail. In a statement, Sheriff’s Capt. James Bauman said the arrest resulted from an alleged assault involving the girl at a Finley church in late November.

Sheriff’s deputies launched their investigation Friday night after two church leaders from the Gateway Ministries church reported that Puryear was having inappropriate relations with at least one youth group teen, Bauman said.  The church leaders indicated Puryear had been spending a great deal of time with teen girls in the youth group, as well as sending them text messages.  During the investigation, deputies learned of the alleged assault Nov. 25 at a church function. Puryear reportedly asked the 14-year-old girl outside to talk and then started physical and sexual advances toward her, Bauman said.  The youth minister stopped when interrupted by someone coming outside the church, Bauman said.  Officers interviewed the girl Saturday and arrested Puryear on Saturday night at the church.  Detectives are seeking any other possible victims.  Gateway Ministries in Finley was formerly known as Big Valley Community Church.  

Ye must be born again

Assistant pastor of Riverside church suspected of lewd acts with child  12-22-09

Riverside police have arrested the assistant pastor of an evangelical church on suspicion of having sex with a child.   The Rev. Anthony Tyrone McComb was arrested Dec. 16 and arraigned Monday on a charge of committing lewd and lascivious acts with a child under 14.  McComb is being held at the Larry D. Smith Correctional Facility in Banning. Bail has been set at $1 million.  McComb is an assistant pastor at the New Jerusalem Christian Center in Riverside. The district attorney's office said the charges are not related to his work at the church.  In 2007, McComb published a book, "Dating With Purpose."

Pastor arrested over defilement

A pastor in Tororo district is in police custody for allegedly defiling a 14-year-old primary school pupil.   The arrest of Ezra Wekesa of Apostles of God Church brings to three the number of pastors arrested in Tororo in connection to child defilement this year alone. The two other pastors are on remand at Morukatipe Government Prison.   Mr Aggrey Isabirye, the acting Tororo District Police Commander, says Pastor Wekesa was arrested on Saturday by local council officials in West Budama Sub-County.

“The girl claims that the pastor waylaid her when she went out of the church auditorium during an all-night prayer session on Friday,” Mr Isabirye said. A medical exam by Tororo police station proved forced penetration of the girl.  The Tororo district police department records an average of four defilement cases every week. Defilement, which is the sexual abuse or exploitation of a child under-18 years, is the most common crime against children in Uganda.


Warren County minister/commissioner's relative indicted for sex offense on child

The Warren County Grand Jury today handed down indictments against a South Lebanon youth minister and his wife for allegedly sexually abusing a 16 year old boy.   [See the indictments here].  Jeff and Alice Kilburn are charged with Sexual Imposition, a third degree misdemeanor, and Endangering Children, a second degree felony.  The Kilburns are alleged to have sexually abused a 16 year old boy in July at the Clark HomePlace on McKinley Street in South Lebanon.  Both offenses pending against the couple are sexually oriented offenses that carry with them mandatory registration requirements such as the inability to live near a school and online notification.  The second degree felony charges carry a potential prison sentence of up to 8 years. 

Kilburn was known for inviting youth to parties at the location, where he performed in a bluegrass band and was known for preaching to teenagers.  Sure to make the case even more newsworthy, however, is Jeff Kilburn's relationship to Warren County Commissioner Mike Kilburn.  Commissioner Kilburn, a staunch conservative, has accounced that he will attempt to unseat Congresswoman Jean Schmidt in 2010.  How his campaign will be affected by a sexually oriented offense against a relative is unclear.

No charges yet in November's violent encounter between Greek Orthodox priest and Marine

TAMPA, FL — A Greek Orthodox priest beaten last month in a parking garage would waive prosecution if the Marine reservist arrested in the incident admits there was nothing sexual about the encounter, the priest's attorney said.   "If he is willing to admit the truth — that there were no sexual overtones — then we would ask the State Attorney's Office to not proceed with formal charges," said attorney Jerry Theophilopoulos. who represents Father Alexios Marakis. "He would also have to apologize for his actions against Father Alexios."  But Jeff Brown, attorney for suspect Jasen Bruce, said his client "will not lie" to avoid charges. Bruce, 28, was accused of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon after a tire iron attack on the priest.

Marakis, 29, who speaks little English, had recently arrived to Tarpon Springs to complete graduate school work but got lost Nov. 9 in Tampa, he told authorities. He said he followed several cars into a garage at the Seaport Channelside condominium, spotted Bruce and asked for help.  But, by Bruce's account, the priest made a verbal sexual advance and grabbed Bruce's genitals. In an attempt to defend himself, he grabbed a tire iron from his trunk, called 911 and chased Marakis.  Marakis required stitches to his head.  Brown said the events of that evening happened just as his client described them.

"He, like most Marines, understands honor and telling the truth, and if doing so means he gets charged criminally and has to defend himself in a court of law, then so be it," Brown said.  Attorney Theophilopoulos questioned that stance.   "If Jasen Bruce is so-called innocent, according to his attorney, then how can his attorney explain contacting me via phone the day after the press conference asking me what they can do to make this case go away," Theophilopoulos said.  Attorney Brown responded, "I called Jerry 'T' to discuss the case and tell him that we were prepared to prove his client is gay and that he sexually grabbed my client and that perhaps it was in the church's best interest to make this case go away."

Theophilopoulos vehemently dismisses the accusation of a sexual advance.  "The priest is a man who forgives and forgets but if he is called, the law requires him to cooperate and he will cooperate fully," Theophilopoulos said.  It's unclear how much influence the priest's wishes would have on prosecutors, who have not filed formal charges against Bruce.  Michael Sinacore, felony bureau chief for the Hillsborough State Attorney's Office, declined to comment.  "The case is still under review, and there is no timetable," Sinacore said.

River Church pastor Shane Montgomery arrested in teen sex case

The pastor of The River Church in Little Rock was arrested Thursday for allegedly having sex with a 15-year-old boy.   Police say Thursday afternoon they issued a search warrant for Montgomery's home.  According to police, Montgomery confessed sometime later to meeting the boy on the Internet and having a sexual encounter.  "We did do a search warrant at his house, and we did recover a computer that will be part of the investigation," says Lt. Terry Hastings.  Montgomery reportedly told police everything was consensual.

"After an interview of both people, we did charge him with sexual assault in the fourth degree," Hastings says.  Church leaders released the following statement Friday afternoon, saying they are deeply concerned for the boy and his family, and they are prepared to offer professional counseling to help them cope.  "We intend to fully cooperate with the investigation by the police as it proceeds. Again, we express our deep sense of remorse for the situation and our commitment to assist in the help and healing process that is needed. We have nothing more to add to this statement at this time."  Montgomery resigned his post Friday as pastor of the church.  In 2009, Montgomery also provided financial advice through several guest appearances on Today's THV.  He was released on bond late Thursday night. The investigation is ongoing.

Prison chaplain pleads to public lewdness  December 21, 2009

BOLTON -- An Albany county pastor who also served as a chaplain at a local prison has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge for having sexual contact with a man at a Northway rest area last year.   Joseph A. Loux Jr., 64, of Hannacroix, pleaded guilty earlier this month to public lewdness, a misdemeanor, for a June 8, 2008 incident at the Northway rest stop off the southbound lanes south of Exit 24. He was fined $500 and paid a $165 surcharge, according to Bolton Town Court.  He had indicated earlier this year that he planned to take the case to trial, but opted instead to plead guilty as the case headed for a trial.

Loux was the chaplain at Washington Correctional Facility at the time of his arrest, a paid position that had a salary of $59,128 a year. He was suspended without pay after his arrest.  Linda Foglia, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Correctional Services, said Loux resigned his chaplain position effective Nov. 1.  Loux told police that he was pastor of a small congregational church in Ravena, but efforts to reach officials with the church have been unsuccessful since his arrest.  Loux and Eugene F. Barnaby, 35, of Thurman were arrested the morning after a state trooper saw them having sexual contact in woods at the rest area. Barnaby pleaded guilty last year and was fined the same amount as Loux.  Loux's lawyer, Frederick Rench, could not be reached for comment Monday.  Each could have faced a year in Warren County Jail on the charge.

Former Plaquemines pastor denied release on bond  December 21, 2009

BELLE CHASSE, La. -- A judge has denied a bond request from a former Plaquemines Parish pastor who wanted to be released from prison so that he could secure funding to pay back his legal fees.

Judge Joy Lobrano denied Martin Denesse's request at a bond hearing Monday. Denesse, the former pastor of Grace Harbor Ministries, wanted to be released for the 90 days before his sentencing so that he could sell his assets, said Plaquemines Parish District Attorney Charles Ballay.

Ballay said Lobrano felt Denesse could secure the funding while stil in custody.

Police arrested Denesse and his daughter in January, when they found crack cocaine and several pounds of marijuana in his car. Denesse pleaded guilty to drug charges earlier this month.

Denesse is also under fire after failing to deliver FEMA trailers for more than 175 people who had paid him $2,200 payments, as they believed they were paying for insurance for the free trailers. Grace Harbor Ministries officials said the money allocated for the trailers is now gone.

Child Abuse in Orthodox Brooklyn: Chipping Away at a Wall of Silence    Mon, Dec 21, 2009

In Brooklyn’s ultra-orthodox Jewish neighborhoods, the rabbinical leadership’s muted response to a wave of sexual abuse allegations has come under increasing scrutiny.   The problem of sexual abuse by rabbis and yeshiva teachers against children has garnered much media attention in the last year. Twenty-six alleged molesters were arrested–8 of them convicted–throughout orthodox Brooklyn in the last year. Hundreds more children have been molested, mainly in Borough Park, according to reports in The New York Times, The Jewish Star, and The Jewish Week.  But many of the parents of those children–fearful of offending the powers that be and the possibility of being ostracized from a notoriously insular community–are not reporting these crimes to the police. They are keeping quiet because a Jewish law, Mesirah, states that a Jew cannot report a fellow Jew to the secular authorities. This law has been cited repeatedly by ultra-orthodox rabbis who do not want victims to report instances of sexual abuse to the police, but rather only to the rabbinical courts, called the Beth Din.  

“It is the mentality of a community that is at stake,” said Rabbi Yosef Blau, the Mashglach Ruchani, or spiritual supervisor, at Yeshiva University. Blau has spoken out against what he sees as an improper interpretation of Jewish law, but noted, “The community is not going to shift on a dime.”  The ultra-orthodox world is facing a powerful and authoritative silence, and it remains unclear when–and exactly how–the pendulum will swing. The 26 arrests in the past year stand in dramatic contrast to earlier years when the average was a mere two per year. The recent culmination of several decades-old child molestation cases helped to pave the way for this shift. In November 2007, Rabbi Avrohom Mondrowitz of Chicago was arrested in Israel pending extradition orders to the U.S., 24 years after having fled the U.S. in order to evade charges of child molestation in Borough Park. Mondrowitz, who was indicted on four counts of sodomy and eight counts of sexual abuse in the first-degree, still awaits extradition and has not been tried.

Mondrowitz moved to Borough Park in the late 1970s, where he worked as a rabbi and child psychologist, in addition to working as a consultant for the influential Jewish non-profit, Ohel Children’s Home & Family Services. Up until 1984, when he fled to Israel, Mondrowitz allegedly molested dozens of young boys in the neighborhood, according to the indictment handed down by a Brooklyn grand jury. As a footnote, Blau notes that Mondrowitz “pretended to have many degrees” in psychology but was not formally trained. In all the time he was living in Brooklyn “nobody checked to see if his degrees were real,” Blau said.  Another landmark case that came to a head recently was that of Rabbi Yehuda Kolko, a teacher at the prestigious Yeshiva-Mesivta Torah Temimah in Brooklyn, who was arrested in December 2006 on charges of child sexual abuse. David Framowitz attended the school in the early 1970s, when it was called Torah Vodaath. He came forward in 2003, claiming to have been one of Kolko’s first victims. Framowitz filed a civil suit against the school, ultimately forcing Kolko to resign his post at the yeshiva. A wave of additional accusations followed, leading to Kolko’s arrest.

In 2008, The Jewish Week reported that prosecutors at the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office allegedly “talked the families of the victims into not pursuing further action after a plea bargain was negotiated.” Kolko, who made no admission of sexual abuse, pleaded guilty to two lesser counts of child endangerment. He was sentenced to three years’ probation, with no jail time. The DA’s office declined to comment for this article.  Some victims, meanwhile, say they are thwarted in their quest for justice. Mark Weiss, 43, currently lives in an orthodox Jewish neighborhood in New Jersey. He grew up in Chicago where he first met Rabbi Mondrowitz, who was a family friend. In 1980, his father, a respected yeshiva teacher, sent Weiss, then 13, to Borough Park to spend a week with Mondrowitz in order to refocus the boy on Judaism. Weiss found Mondrowitz to be “very charming,” though he explains that it became “complicated at night when it was time to go to bed.” While Weiss says it is now clear to him that Mondrowitz sexually molested him, he had not fully understood what was happening at the time. Then, when he was 18, he had an encounter with Mondrowitz in a Chicago synagogue. “It hit me like a ton of bricks, what had happened,” Weiss said of the sighting. After this revelation, he told his parents about the abuse.

But, despite his parents’ disappointment, he says, they were reluctant to accuse such a respected member of the community. This was the case with many of Mondrowtiz’s victims in the Jewish community who were loath to challenge the rabbinical establishment, Blau explained. But, as a self-declared psychologist in Borough Park, Mondrowitz had also interacted with other children in the neighborhood, including the sizable population of Italian-Americans that used to reside there. “The Italian kids would go to the police [if molested],” Blau said, “the Jewish kids would not.”   Guided by a fundamental interpretation of the law of Mesirah, orthodox Jews fear the consequences of speaking out. “Many feel that if anyone knows their kids were abused, then they won’t be accepted to good yeshivas and won’t obtain a good marriage partner,” said Vicki Polin, executive director of The Awareness Center, Inc., an advocacy group for victims of sexual abuse in Baltimore. “People have, in the past, been chased out of the community,” she said.

Rabbi Nuchem Rosenberg is one example of a person who was ostracized for speaking out, in orthodox Williamsburg. In 2007, he set up a phone hot-line for abuse victims so that they could call in for counseling and support. When he tried to educate other rabbis in the neighborhood about sexual abuse, he says, he was essentially ex-communicated. That same year, many prominent rabbis throughout Brooklyn signed a rabbinical decree urging the members of the orthodox community not to associate with Rosenberg, according to Der Blatt, a Yiddish-language weekly newspaper based in Williamsburg. Rosenberg has said that he received death threats, and was allegedly wounded in the forehead by what may have been either a rock or a bullet.  “I am paying a high price for speaking out,” Rosenberg said. “But, I was able to do it because I was working in a different industry and I had no political pressure” from the rabbinical establishment. He also works as an accountant in Manhattan.

Sympathy for Rosenberg within Brooklyn’s orthodox community has been limited. Rabbi Aharon Fried, a professor at Stern College and resident of Borough Park, said of Rosenberg, “a person who calls himself a victim becomes a hero,” adding that in his view, the child molestation issue “has been over-reported.” In attempting to explain this mentality, Blau notes that, “Rosenberg is a traitor to the community in their eyes, while the guy who abused people was just a bad guy.”  As a result, it takes years–even decades–for some people to be able to come forward and share their stories of abuse. Pinny Taub says he was molested in 1990.  He only shared his story over a year ago, to advocates for abuse prevention, as increasing numbers of victims began going public. He grew up in Williamsburg and attended a yeshiva in Borough Park. When Taub was 15, he says, a teacher at his yeshiva befriended him and took the teenager under his wing.  “He was a dream rebbe teacher, he was my buddy,” Taub said. The teacher would take Taub to his house during school hours and let him smoke cigarettes, play on the computer, and talk about sex. It was during one of these midday outings that Taub says he first heard the phrase, “Just give me two minutes,” as his teacher attempted to grab Taub’s crotch.

He would hear this phrase repeatedly over the next year, he said. During these incidents, the teacher would become physically violent as he tried to pin Taub down. The first time this occurred the teenage boy’s pants were ripped apart and he was left with choke marks around his neck. He was furious. Yet, despite his anger he continued to return, again and again, to his mentor and friend. “After a day, I would go back to him because I was lost,” Taub recalled.  Today Taub, who has a wife and three children, is an outspoken advocate for sexually abused children. His former teacher, he says, still lives in Borough Park. While Taub and the teacher have not spoken in almost two decades, the sight of his old mentor continues to invoke a deep and unresolved anger. In August, Taub ran into him at a wedding.  Before the teacher could even enter the wedding venue, Taub dragged him outside and began to beat him. Taub knocked him to the ground, kicking and cursing at the elderly man, he says, while other bystanders looked on. “People said that he deserved it, that he should be kicked out” of the community, Taub said.  But he remains frustrated because, he says, the community has done nothing to remove the former teacher and many others like him.

Nonetheless, advocates like Taub and Weiss continue to push back, encouraging victims of sexual abuse to go to the police.  Bloggers, including the “Unorthodox Jew” (UOJ) and “Failed Messiah,” have been instrumental on this front. Paul Mendolwitz, the UOJ blogger who has tried to protect himself by keeping his identity secret on his blog, was the first to break the Kolko case. Since then, he has remained a constant critic of those in the community unwilling to speak out against abuse. “The blogs were very, very helpful,” said Rabbi Mark Dratch, the founder of an advocacy group called J-Safe, who believes that the community is being forced to “open up.”  In 2006, Mendolwitz also broke Rabbi Asher Lipner’s story on his blog. Lipner, a Flatbush-based mental health professional and advocate for sexually abused children, says he was molested as a teenager by a rabbi at the Ner Israel Rabbinical College in Baltimore. Lipner had kept his story a secret for two decades. “I was afraid of being shamed, shaming my family, being disbelieved and having no support,” he said.  Even at the time that Lipner’s story was revealed, he says, he was still nervous about backlash from within the orthodox world.  Today, he says, he fights to erase the stigma of speaking out about issues of sexual abuse in the orthodox community, noting, “the potential damage is not nearly as bad as people think because of the taboo.”

Lipner is also among those who are critical of Ohel, the Borough Park-based Jewish children’s welfare organization, where he worked as a psychologist in the adolescent department and then in the outpatient clinic until last year. Advocates have accused Ohel of failing to encourage victims of abuse to report their cases to the secular authorities. For some, Ohel has remained too loyal to the rabbinical establishment.  The blogger, Mendolwitz, says that Mondrowtiz – the rabbi being held in an Israeli prison–worked intimately with Ohel.  Blau corroborates this claim, noting that Mondrowitz “served as a consultant” for Ohel for many years.

“Ohel knew he was a sex offender,” Mendolwitz argued further. “They can’t claim they didn’t know.”  Additionally, Weiss, the victim from Chicago, claimed that the ultra-orthodox rabbinical leadership refers a lot of child patients to Ohel and as a result, “Ohel looks at the larger institutional structures before the victim.”  Ohel is also a partner in the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office’s new sexual awareness program, Kol Tzedek, an arrangement that concerns some advocates despite the number of recent prosecutions. Jonah Bruno, a spokesman for the DA’s office, could not be reached for comment.  

Ohel’s communications director, Derek Saker, who declined to speak in person, requested an e-mailed list of detailed questions from the Ink. This list included questions that asked Ohel to respond to accusations that the organization does not actively encourage victims of abuse to report these crimes to the police; how the organization teaches children to interpret the law of Mesirah; to address the organization’s relationship with the rabbinical leadership of Brooklyn’s ultra-orthodox community; and to respond to accusations that claim the organization was aware Mondrowitz was a sexual offender while he was working in conjunction with Ohel. Saker– who sent back what he termed an “advertorial” citing Ohel’s commitment to fighting sexual abuse in the orthodox community–responded directly to only one question. “To the best of our knowledge, Avrohom Mondrowitz was never employed by Ohel,” he wrote.

Dratch, meanwhile, is critical of Borough Park’s assemblyman, Dov Hikind.  Hikind has been an outspoken critic of sexual abuse in the neighborhood, and has been instrumental in providing support for victims in the community that want to share their stories. Yet, critics, like Dratch, believe he has not been forceful enough in encouraging these victims to report the crimes to the police. “By making it a public issue he has done a good job,” Dratch said. Yet, he continued, “Hikind has also perpetrated the cover-up, which is very harmful.”  Hikind counters that he tells victims they have “an option” to go to the police, but he emphasizes that it is a “personal choice” to do so, rather than an obligation.  He also has deep reservations about providing the names of victims to the DA’s office because he is afraid of alienating others who might come forward, who would not want their stories to be made public. (In a later interview, Hikind retracted these comments, insisting, “We encourage people to go the police, but most have already made up their minds.”) Others assert that he does not provide the names to the DA’s office so as not to undermine the rabbinical establishment, about which he is notably uncritical.  “I want to believe the rabbinical authorities just didn’t know and understand this problem,” Hikind said.

Sexual Molestation in Jewish Orthodox community  A Haredi Town Confronts Abuse From The Inside

On the night before Yom Kippur in September, Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman stood before his Orthodox congregation, in a room crowded with men wearing black hats and women wearing sheitels, and moderated a panel discussion among five Orthodox Jews who said they had been the victims of sexual abuse at the hands of other Orthodox Jews. The rabbi regularly uses his pulpit to preach against the evils of sexual molestation.  On another recent day Michael Lesher, an Orthodox lawyer and author, welcomed four young Orthodox Jews into his home, two men and two women, who told him their stories of sexual molestations committed by Orthodox Jews. For more than a decade he has served as the legal “advocate” for sexual abuse victims and as  “their voice,” since first handling a custody case that involved a sexually abused child.

Also not long ago, Brochie Neugarten, an Orthodox mother who works as a purchasing manager, described to a friend her plan to establish an organization that will offer financial support to victims of sexual abuse in the community. Neugarten became an activist a few years ago, after someone she knows became the target of a molester.  The efforts by Rabbi Eisenman, Lesher and Neugarten, rare steps against sexual abuse in a religious community, took place within a few blocks of each other in Passaic, a middle-class suburb with a growing haredi community 10 miles west of Manhattan in northern New Jersey.   Following more than a decade of sensational accusations of rapes and molestations committed by members — often leaders — of Orthodox Jewry, and increasing criticism of the Orthodox community’s leadership for ignoring or attempting to cover up the accusations, Passaic is slowly and quietly building a reputation as an exception.

The work of several members of Passaic’s Jewish community, which has taken on a haredi, “yeshivishe” and “chasidishe” character in recent years, has established Passaic as a place that is taking a stand against sexual predators and the people who protect them. And it’s a place where abuse victims are urged to take their allegations to the police and not simply rely on rabbis to handle the cases inside the community.   In addition to Rabbi Eisenman, who coordinated the event at his shul, as well as Lesher and Neugarten, Passaic is also the home of Mitch Morrison, a magazine editor who has lobbied rabbis in his area to openly discuss the topic, and Marc Stern, an attorney who has served as a pro bono advisor to local rabbis about the legal ramifications of sexual abuse accusations.  The grass-roots advocates sometimes work independently, sometimes together.

Twice within the past few years, several pulpit rabbis in Passaic, Rabbi Eisenman among them, announced in shul when men accused of being sexual molesters had moved into the community. One, Stefan Colmer, left Passaic soon thereafter, likely because of the public exposure, Passaic residents say, and is now in jail having been convicted of eight counts of criminal sexual act in the second degree; the other, Mitchell Levinton, pleaded guilty to child endangerment last month and faces a five-year prison term.  The pair of disgraced molesters who had lived there played a role in energizing Passaic’s Jewish community, residents say.  To an outsider, Passaic’s Orthodox community — which features a wide variety of synagogues and Shabbat-only shtiebels [minyan sites], a strip of kosher restaurants along Main Avenue and notices posted around town about upcoming Torah lectures and chesed projects — seems like any other.

But, Morrison wrote last month on the FailedMessiah.com blog, Passaic “is unlike many Orthodox communities in New York and New Jersey. It is neither Modern Orthodox nor Chassidish.” It has, Morrison wrote, a demographic distinction that may explain why its Orthodox community is responding to the sexual abuse issue more aggressively than others. “It is, per capita, home to one of the largest populations of baalei teshuva and is among the fastest growing religious Jewish communities in the country.”   “The people who came out” to the Ahavas Israel program “were largely from the [baal teshuvah] community,” says Lesley Schofield, a member of the congregation who attended the panel discussion. Baalei teshuvah, people from non-religious backgrounds who turned as adults to lives of traditional Judaism, have “a lesser fear of dealing with controversial things” than many “frum from birth” (the so-called FFBs) Orthodox Jews do, Schofield says. Because their family members are outside the community, they are less fearful of harming relatives’ marriage prospects, a motivation that keeps many Orthodox people from drawing attention to themselves or speaking out on controversial matters.

Rabbi Eisenman says he put the program together on short notice — he intentionally scheduled it during the High Holy Days, for the greatest spiritual impact — and proceeded when other local rabbis dropped out. The other rabbis reportedly expressed concern about what the panelists might say, including giving names of molesters who have not been formally accused, indicted or convicted. “It’s just easier to do it alone,” Rabbi Eisenman says.  He did not tell the panelists what to say or what not to say; such limitations, he explains, would limit the emotional impact of their words.  “It opened him up to criticism ... some felt it was irresponsible for him to allow people to have an open mic,” Morrison says.  In his FailedMessiah post on the Ahavas Israel program, Morrison called Rabbi Eisenman “a maverick rabbi.”  “He’s very much an independent person,” Morrison says. “Rabbi Eisenman is an emotional person. Passaic is a passionate community. In a lot of [other Orthodox communities] there’s an intellectual response that’s devoid of passion.”

“Do I want to shake things up? For sure,” Rabbi Eisenman says. “Is there a side of me that is anti-establishment? Yes. I don’t have any stage fright. I love the stage.”  For two and a half hours, Schofield and the other members of the audience heard the abuse victims describe their experiences and the often-unsupportive reaction they got from family and friends. The program, she says, “was an eye opener. There was hardly a dry eye in the room.”  Activists caution, however, that the Orthodox community’s forthright stance against sexual abuse, epitomized by Rabbi Eisenman’s panel discussion and by calls for alleged victims to go to the police with their allegations, is not embraced by all of Passaic’s Orthodox Jews, rabbis or laity, or everyone in the wider haredi community.  “I think parents are talking to their kids a little more” about prudent safety measures, Neugarten says. But she adds, “I don’t think [the children] are safer here, because there are still 5,000 people who didn’t come” to the Ahavas Israel program. “It’s just a beginning.”

“At this point,” Morrison says, “[the movement to confront such abuse] has not necessarily spread outside of Passaic.”  In fact, Agudath Israel, the umbrella organization for the haredi community in the United States, has given mixed signals when it comes to combating abuse in the Orthodox community. The group’s executive vice president, David Zwiebel, told The New York Times recently, “A broad consensus has emerged in the last few years that many of these issues are beyond the ability of the community to handle internally.”  But, he added, that prosecutors should recognize “religious sensitivities” in pressing their cases and should seek alternatives to prison. “The district attorney should be careful not to be seen as making a power grab from rabbinic authority,” Zwiebel told The Times.

Rabbi Eisenman, who ranks as “one of the most prominent rabbis in Passaic,” has a following “of probably 20 to 25 percent” of the community, Morrison says. In Orthodox circles that don’t read newspapers, don’t watch TV, don’t surf the Internet, many simply haven’t heard about the Ahavas Israel program, Morrison continues. And many of those who do know, “feel that the issue should be handled privately.”  Neither of Passaic’s major day schools, Yeshiva Ketana or the Hillel School, offers a formal sexual abuse prevention curriculum for students or faculty, Morrison says.  Requests by The Jewish Week for comments on this issue from several pulpit rabbis in Passaic and from the heads of the two day schools were not returned.

Rabbi Eisenman’s Ahavas Israel has grown from about 40 Shabbat-observant families to about 250 since he became spiritual leader 14 years ago, after it changed from Conservative to Orthodox. He has drawn veiled criticism, but no outright attacks, for unilaterally sponsoring the program, members of Passaic’s Orthodox community say.  “No one [openly] condemns him for what he did,” says psychologist Mordechai Rindenow, who attended the panel discussion. “I don’t see anyone speaking against him. I just don’t see [other rabbis] siding with him.”  Without the vocal support of other Passaic rabbis, Rabbi Eisenman is “somewhat doing this in a vacuum,” Rindenow says.  “Absolutely, it’s not a revolution,” says Asher Lipner, a psychologist and abuse victim who took part in the Ahavas Israel program. “It’s a matter of time” before other communities, other rabbis follow the Passaic example, he says.

Lipner says he has received calls from members of two area Orthodox communities — from lay leaders, not rabbis — who want to run similar programs with abuse victims. “In other communities it will start with members of the community” asking their rabbis, ‘Why aren’t you doing this?’”  In Passaic, “certainly, the shul is behind him,” says Howard Penner, Ahavas Israel president.  Rabbi Eisenman, 50, was ordained at the Modern Orthodox flagship institution, Yeshiva University. But since then he has taken on the outward trappings (a full, reddish-gray beard and long black coat) and the practices (his children attend right-wing schools) of the haredi faction. Which make his actions on combating sexual abuse all the more rare.

“What he did is significant,” says Rabbi Yosef Blau, masgiach ruchani, or spiritual guidance counselor, at Yeshiva University’s rabbinical school, who has become an outspoken advocate for abuse victims. “It demonstrates that the community now understands the problem.”  Marc Stern, acting co-executive director of the American Jewish Congress, says a ruling some 20 years ago by Rabbi Meir Stern (no relation), rosh yeshiva of the town’s Yeshiva Gedola (a post-high school institution of Talmudic learning), that an autopsy was permitted after a child in the community died and a contagious disease was suspected, set a tone for the primacy of children’s physical and emotional safety.  "The community has grown up with that assumption ... that within the bounds of halacha, we will do everything that is possible to protect the interests of children,” Stern says. “Other communities don’t have that.”  Community-wide outrage at the possibility of children being molested was evident in the size of the crowd at the Ahavas Israel program, an estimated 300 to 400 men and women, sitting separately, Neugarten says. “We expected 40 people to show up. We were in shock.”

“It wasn’t just from our shul,” says Daniel Pollack, a professor of social work who belongs to Ahavas Israel.  Lipner, a therapist who counsels other abuse victims, calls the event “historic.”  It was, he says, the first time Orthodox victims of sexual abuse were invited to describe their experiences in a haredi congregation; the first time a haredi rabbi himself was the impetus behind such a program; the first time parents in a right-wing Orthodox community were publicly advised to go the police or district attorneys, instead of just consulting with rabbis, when a child is abused.  Most of the panelists went public with their stories for the first time that night.

“For the first time, survivors of abuse were asked, ‘Please come. We want to hear your experience,’” Lipner says. “This was a huge step forward.” Past programs in the New York area or out of town, sponsored by synagogues or politicians, drew smaller crowds, featured mental health professionals instead of victims themselves, and avoided mention of bringing in police or district attorneys, he says.  “It was an amazing experience,” says Sarah, a 16-year-old girl from the New York area who spoke at the program, under a pseudonym, about being raped by a friend of her family from the time she was 7 until three years ago. After the program, she says, many members of the audience stayed to talk with the panelists past 2 a.m., offering hugs and Shabbat invitations. “They acknowledged our pain.”  “I’m used to hearing, ‘It can’t happen in the [Orthodox] Jewish community,’” Sarah says.

According to most mental health experts, the incidence of sexual abuse in Orthodox circles is comparable to the rate in wider society, but most leaders of the community have denied the problem and discouraged victims from taking their complaints to secular authorities. Lipner says he has heard of abuse victims and relatives being threatened with physical abuse, public embarrassment, loss of business, summons to a beit din and exclusion from the community if they go to the police.  The reasons for Orthodox reticence to publicly confront abusers vary: publicizing molestations committed by persons identified as Orthodox Jews, some rabbinic leaders have ruled, would blacken the image of Orthodox Judaism and lessen respect for rabbis; it is against Jewish law to go outside the structure of a beit din, or rabbinic court; it is immodest to discuss sexual matters in public.

“The current trend in Judaism toward hagiography has made matters worse, where it is considered unconscionable to even mention a person’s failings on the grounds that it is gossip and contrary to Jewish l aw, even if Jewish law itself requires such matters to be placed in the open to avoid repetition,” Rabbi Jeremy Rosen writes in the preface to the recently published “Tempest in the Temple: Jewish Communities and Child Sex Scandals” (Brandeis University Press), edited by sociologist Amy Neustein.  Rabbis’ unwillingness to publicly condemn Orthodox pedophiles is contrary to Jewish tradition, says Rabbi Eisenman. The oft-cited prohibition against mesira, or turning in a Jew to non-Jewish authorities, “doesn’t apply if there is no comparable [law enforcement] system in the beit din system,” he says; a beit din can’t arrest or imprison an offender. Therefore, the rabbi says, “there is no prohibition against going to the police.”

During the panel discussion, a recording of which is available on the FailedMessiah.com site, Rabbi Eisenman acknowledged that he, like other Passaic rabbis who have taken a less-public position on the sexual abuse issue, was “brought into this kicking and screaming.” Alerted to the problem by members of the Orthodox community who came to him for counseling, he conducted further research, he says, and realized the extent of abuse committed against and by Orthodox Jews.  He declared at the program that other, unnamed pulpit rabbis in the community, declined to co-sponsor the panel discussion, and he urged the audience to eschew giving charitable donations to the Ger chasidic sect, which has fought extradition from Israel of a molester who is a member of the group.  The program, Passaic activists say, gave their work the imprimatur of a major rabbi who has the status of a rav, a communal leader. Morrison calls himself part of “bunch of yechidim,” individuals working on behalf of abuse victims. “Now we have a springboard.”

So are children in Passaic’s Orthodox community safer because of the activists’ work?  “Yes, 100 percent,” Lipner says. In Passaic, he says, a child making an accusation of abuse will be believed, and the perpetrator will be confronted. Because of attention focused on the subject, parents there say they are more protective of their children.  “If you’re a child abuser,” says Marc Stern “you don’t want to live in Passaic. There’s no refuge here.”
As a therapist, Lipner says he frequently deals with Orthodox Jews who were sexually abused and state they do not feel understood or accepted in Orthodox communities. “Now I can say, ‘Move to Passaic.’”

Link: [
link to www.thejewishweek.com]   Jewish Rabbi's caught molesting little boys

DC Area Orthodox Synagogue Issues Policy On Sex Offenders

YU holds discussion on homosexuality

A Jacksonville church pastor has been arrested for allegedly hitting his ex-wife during an argument outside St. Luke's Baptist Church.  Dec 18, 2009

Jacksonville, AK -- A Jacksonville church pastor has been arrested for allegedly hitting his ex-wife during an argument outside St. Luke's Baptist Church.  According to a Jacksonville Police Department report, it happened Tuesday night, after the woman arrived to pick-up the couple's 10-year-old daughter in a custody exchange.  Officers were called to the church at 8205 Highway 161 shortly after six o'clock, where they found a large crowd gathered.  After interviewing Shannon Alexander, 37, and her former husband Eric Alexander, 35, police say both admitted to a loud argument. The woman also told officers that Mr. Alexander hit her and she scratched him to defend herself.  Mr. Alexander was arrested at the scene and charged with domestic battery.

Rev. Stuart Zak, former pastor of Fond du Lac's Good Shepherd Lutheran, repays church  December 18, 2009

FOND DU LAC, WI — A former pastor of a Fond du Lac church has paid back the $10,000 he is accused of stealing from holiday offerings, according to a statement from Good Shepherd Lutheran Church.  The Rev. Stuart Zak, 55, resigned from Good Shepherd Lutheran Church on Nov. 30 after he confessed to stealing money over a period of 10 years, a church official said.  "Over the past two weeks, Mr. Zak has made restitution to the congregation in the amount of $10,000," said the Rev. Brett Naumann. "We believe this amount fully restores the amount taken.

"As we have stated, Good Shepherd has been blessed by Mr. Zak's ministry, and we pray that this turn of events will reinforce the message of forgiveness as we look forward to celebrating Christ's birth. We know that Mr. Zak is forgiven and our prayers are with him on any civil actions that he may face."  Fond du Lac Police Department Major Kevin Lemke said Detective Lee Mikulec is aware Zak has reimbursed the church. "When Detective Mikulec gets the report finished, we are still going to forward it to the district attorney's office," Lemke said.

Self-described pastor guilty of sex assault a 2nd time  Friday, December 18, 2009

The self-described pastor of a defunct Montreal church has been found guilty of sexually assaulting a teenage girl.  Daniel Cormier, 58, was convicted of the crime in a Montreal courtroom on Friday.  He's already serving a five-year sentence, handed down last January, for sexually assaulting a 10-year-old girl he had claimed as his bride after a ceremony at his Downtown Church.  The victim at the centre of the latest trial was a parishioner and volunteer at the facility.  Cormier was accused of sexually exploiting the girl between 1993 and 1995 when she was 16 and 17 years old.

She told the court she was naive and had no sexual experience before meeting Cormier at his so-called church. Eventually they ended up together at a religious retreat in the Laurentians, with her sleeping in his bed.  Cormier tried to tell the judge it was the teenager who tried to seduce him, but the judge ruled it was actually Cormier who was responsible — that he was the one in a position of trust.  Crown lawyer Anne Gauvin said Cormier was, in effect, blaming his victim and that people like him often find themselves in charge of children or young girls who may be vulnerable.  Cormier will return to court on Feb. 1 for sentencing arguments.

Pastor arrested last month on molestation charges

Tracey & Mountain House, CA - The 43-year-old pastor of a Tracy church has been bailed out of jail after he was booked last month on charges that he molested two girls several years ago.  Reuben Lydell Mitchell of the Koinenia Christ Community Church was arrested Sept. 22 after a woman on Aug. 30 called police to report alleged abuse that took place years back.  Then now-20-year-old woman told Tracy police that four years ago, when she was 16, Mitchell molested her in a car while driving to Tracy from Oakdale, according to the police blotter. She also told police that she thought another girl was also being molested, but that neither the girl’s parents nor her parents knew of it, the blotter shows.

The woman apparently attended Sacramento State University in August, where campus police took a report from the woman, said Tracy police Sgt. Tony Sheneman.   Police say the alleged molestation took place in the past, Sheneman said, and found no evidence that the pastor had recently molested a girl.  Mitchell was booked into the San Joaquin County Jail in French Camp on suspicion of lewd and lascivious behavior with a girl under 14, of the same charge with a girl of an “unspecified age,” both felonies, and a misdemeanor charge of annoying or molesting a child under 18.

Mitchell posted the $150,000 bail on the same day as his arrest and was released from jail, court records show. The pastor made a court appearance on Oct. 1 but entered no plea. His attorney is Timothy Rein of Livermore, who could be reached for comment.  Mitchell is due back in court on Oct. 29 in Manteca.  The Koinenia Church has had an agreement with the Tracy Unified School District since March of 2008 to meet at the Jacobson Elementary School every Sunday, said district spokeswoman Jessica Cardoza.  The agreement with the district runs through next June and will be unaffected by the arrest, she said.

Judge authorizes sale of Blanco monastery  12/19/2009

San Antonio, TX -- For sale: 105-acre hilltop parcel southwest of town with great views for $785,500. Includes former monastery notorious for sexual abuse and phony weeping icon.  With the criminal cases resolved concerning the former Christ of the Hills Monastery, a judge on Friday authorized its sale, with the proceeds mainly to benefit a former novice monk who was molested there in the 1990s.  The novice, James B. Wright Jr., later won a $1 million judgment against Ecumenical Monks Inc., the owner.  “It's about as good an ending to a bad situation as he could have hoped for,” lawyer Mark Long said of his client after the hearing in Johnson City.   “When we started this, our intent was to see the monastery sold,” Long said. “It's finally on the block.”

State District Judge Dan Mills' order also calls for the Blanco County Sheriff's Department to get $250,000 from the sale for the cost of investigating the religious enclave founded in 1981 by the late Samuel A. Greene Jr.   The monastery gained national attention in 1985 over claims a picture of the Virgin Mary cried tears of myrrh, drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors and more than $1 million in donations.   On Friday, the main chapel looked much as it did on July 25, 2006, when authorities swarmed in to arrest Greene and others, seize the icon and shut the monastery down.  The site went on the market three weeks ago, said Realtor Bill Hultquist of Spring Branch, who reports getting daily inquiries.

Despite the “spectacular view” and running creek, the price is marked down because a buyer must contend with roughly 20 structures, mostly mobile homes still filled with former occupants' belongings.   “You walk into a lot of the buildings and it looks like the people just left yesterday,” Hultquist said.  There's also a small graveyard whose occupants include Greene, widely known in South Texas as a land broker before he donned black robes and became “Father Benedict.”  “I wouldn't consider that a positive,” Hultquist said, noting the cemetery must be kept accessible to visitors.  Another marketing minus is the monastery's sordid history, which will linger even if the structures are razed. “Some people are a little squeamish about that,” he said.

Greene, 63, committed suicide in his trailer there days before a court hearing in 2007, charged with violating his probation for a 2000 indecency conviction. He was also facing new legal exposure after he admitted other misdeeds — and implicated fellow monks — in talks with his probation officer.  In the secretly recorded conversations, authorities say, Greene admitted molestations dating to the 1970s and confirmed suspicions the weeping icon was fake.  Authorities in 2006 brought sex-abuse charges against Greene and his longtime followers; William E. Hughes, Jonathan Hitt, Hugh B. Fallon and Walter P. Christley.  A month after Greene's death, Hughes, aka “Father Vasili,” was convicted at trial of four counts of sexual assault of a child and sentenced to 80 years. That outcome spawned guilty pleas by Christley, aka “Father Pangratios,” to sexual assault of a 16-year-old novice in 1994 and Fallon, aka “Father Tihkon,” to aggravated assault. Both were fined but avoided prison.

And, last February, Hitt admitted to sexual assault of a 16-year-old boy in 1993. His plea deal called for him to serve no additional time in prison beyond the 10-year sentence he was serving for a 1999 indecency conviction.   The order signed Friday was backed by the state, which had filed suit to seize the site after the 2006 raid.  Also on board was Ecumenical Monks Inc., said its attorney, Adam Kobs. “We're glad this is finally resolved and the victim in this matter is being compensated,” he said.

Accused minister released from jail on $350,000 cash bond  12/19/2009

The Norwalk minister jailed on multiple rape-related charges was released Friday night after posting a $350,000 cash bond, according to the New York Department of Corrections.  The department did not give out any other information about the Rev. Phillip Joubert’s release.
Joubert, 48, a pastor at New Light Missionary Baptist Church, is scheduled appear in Queens Criminal Court on Monday, and his attorney said the minister stands by his plea of not guilty.  “The reverend doctor maintains his innocence,” said Joubert’s Queens-based attorney Richard Benson.
It is unclear if Joubert’s release affects his scheduled court appearance on Monday. Joubert was taken into custody Nov. 24 by officers from the 112th Precinct of the New York City Police Department as he arrived at JFK International Airport in Queens after a trip to Israel. He was arrested for multiple charges related to the rape of a child.

The alleged sexual misconduct took place during the summer at Joubert’s home in Queens, N.Y., according to a source close to The Hour who has knowledge of the case. Another minor was in the house but on a different floor at the time the alleged abuse occurred, the source said.
The allegations against Joubert came to light after a report was filed with the Norwalk Police Department about an incident that occurred at his family’s Lexington Avenue home, according to the source.  Joubert had allegedly beaten a minor with his fists and while the child’s mother was consoling the victim, the child told her mother about the sexual abuse, the source said.  A grand jury has yet to indict Joubert, Benson noted. Indictments are handed down once a grand jury judges there is enough evidence against the defendant to go forward with the trial. Benson said the evidence in the case is still in the hands of the Queens District Attorney, and Benson has yet to evaluate the evidence. At Monday’s hearing, he will make formal plans to acquire the evidence and a schedule will be set for future court proceedings in Joubert’s case.

Former Minister Charged With More Child Sex Crimes

Dennis Spangler formerly served as Manheim Township Police Chaplain--December 16, 2009

MANHEIM TOWNSHIP, LANCASTER COUNTY - A man charged with a host of inappropriate contact with a 13 year-old boy inside a Lancaster Airport hangar is now facing more charges in two new cases involving underage boys, and police say there may be more victims.  Dennis Spangler, 64, is being charged with several counts of corruption of minors, indecent assault, and indecent exposure Lancaster District Attorney Craig Stedman announced in a morning press conference.  Stedman and Manheim Township Police are urging others to come forward if they've had inappropriate contact with Spangler.  Spangler formerly served as a Methodist minister at two Lancaster County churches. He was also the Manheim Township Police Chaplain and was an independant flight instructor operating out of Lancaster Airport.  Spangler is currently free on bail.

Minister Charged In Online Sex Sting

VA - An 81-year-old self-proclaimed minister from Mechanicsville will be in court Thursday morning on charges filed after an online sex sting.   According to Louisa County investigators, Irvin Baldwin drove from his Mechanicsville home to Louisa County to allegedly meet a 13-year-old girl for sex. Investigators, posing as the thirteen year old girl, had been chatting with the suspect online for a month.  Baldwin denied that sex was his motive for visiting the "victim," and told investigators he was a minister that teaches Sunday school. Authorities have not determined what church Baldwin is affiliated with, but the suspect does have a degree from a Baptist seminary school in North Carolina.  Baldwin's neighbors reacted to the news Wednesday.  "It's rather shocking," said Bobby Mortimer. We don't know what to think other than that we've gotten to know him. You don't think these type of things would be going on but I guess in the real world they do."


Gay Orthodox Rabbi Comes Out Of The Closet

Israel-rainbow-flag And he still serves as the rabbi of his synagogue.

Flight Instructor Faces New Molestation Charges, Police Seek to ID Boys in Photos    12/16/09

Manheim Township, Pa. - Police in Manheim Township, Lancaster County are hoping to identify several boys depicted in photographs found in a suspected molester's home.  Dennis Spangler, 64, is a former Methodist pastor. He was also a private flight instructor who worked out of the Lancaster Airport. In September, police arrested Spangler on charges he had inappropriate sexual contact with two teenagers.  According to court documents, a 13-year-old boy claimed Spangler molested him while they were "camping out" in an airport hangar. The boy said the contact happened from the fall of 2008 to the spring of 2009.  

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Court documents also state a 15-year-old boy told police in 2007 that Spangler touched him and tried to kiss him during free flying lessons.  Police said Spangler admitted to some of the inappropriate contact.   "There's a method of operation he was developing, of developing the trust of these young boys by using the airport and airplanes to take advantage of them," Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman said.  Police on Tuesday filed more serious charges against Spangler. They said when they searched his home on Richland Drive, they found photographs depicting the 13-year-old partially nude in a sexually explicit pose. Court documents state the "pictures were taken and possessed by the actor for sexual stimulation and/or gratification by the actor."

When the boy was interviewed by police, he admitted that more happened, police said.  Spangler is now charged with involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, indecent assault, and sexual abuse of children.  "It's a complete betrayal of the community and of these children," Stedman said.  Stedman said police also discovered additional photos of other young boys.  He said the photos were not pornographic, but investigators would like to identify the boys.  Stedman is asking parents who believe their child may have had unsupervised contact with Spangler, particularly at the airport, to call police. "When we know his pattern and we have evidence such as that, showing he's having contact with additional children, we'd like to know who those children were and make sure the truth comes out," Stedman said.

There was no answer at Spangler's home on Wednesday afternoon. A phone call to his attorney was not returned.  Stedman said he asked a district judge to jail Spangler on $1 million bail, saying he was both a flight risk and a danger to the community. Instead, the judge granted him bail of $100,000. Spangler was able to post the bail and is now free.  A neighbor, Maria Petropoulos, said she is not fearful of Spangler but is in shock over the allegations. "He walks his dogs all the time, he's always out in the summer taking walks with his wife," she said.  "I would never think something like this would happen."  David Eberly, the director of the Lancaster Airport, also expressed shock. "It was just totally shocking and unexpected for me," he said. "I've known him for years."   Eberly said he hasn't seen Spangler since the first set of charges were filed in September and he can't recall ever seeing him alone with teens. "He was a likable guy, very articulate and friendly," he said.

Pastor facing drug charges; rash of car break-ins  16 December 2009.

47-year-old Davidson resident who pastors churches in North Charleston, S.C., and elsewhere in North and South Carolina was arrested in Charlotte last week on drug charges. Also, police are investigating a series of four car break-ins in the McConnell neighborhood and on Churchill Road overnight Tuesday, Dec. 8, and Wednesday, Dec. 9. Those and other incidents and auto accidents are below, along with a summary of the past week’s traffic enforcement on local streets. 


Bishop Brian David Moore, 47, whose address is listed as Davidson, was arrested by Charlotte Mecklenburg police last Thursday around 1 p.m. at the Red Roof Inn, 3300 Queen City Drive at Billy Graham Parkway, off I-85 in Charlotte.  He was charged with felony drug possession, misdemeanor possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia (a crack pipe). He is free on 3250 bail, according to Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s office records.  News reports said Mr. Moore is pastor of Life Center Cathedral Church in North Charleston, S.C. as well as other churches in North and South Carolina.

He issued a statement following his arrest saying he is cooperating with the investigation and will continue to serve as a pastor while the charges are resolved, according to news reports in Charleston.  See Dec. 15, Charleston Post & Courier, “Pastor still working despite arrest.”  See Dec. 15, live5news.com, news item

River Church pastor Shane Montgomery arrested in teen sex case

The pastor of The River Church in Little Rock was arrested Thursday for allegedly having sex with a 15-year-old boy.  Police say Thursday afternoon they issued a search warrant for Shane Montgomery's home.  According to police, Montgomery confessed sometime later to meeting the boy on the Internet and having a sexual encounter.  "We did do a search warrant at his house, and we did recover a computer that will be part of the investigation," says Lt. Terry Hastings.  Montgomery reportedly told police everything was consensual.

"After an interview of both people, we did charge him with sexual assault in the fourth degree," Hastings says.  Church leaders released the following statement Friday afternoon, saying they are deeply concerned for the boy and his family, and they are prepared to offer professional counseling to help them cope.  "We intend to fully cooperate with the investigation by the police as it proceeds. Again, we express our deep sense of remorse for the situation and our commitment to assist in the help and healing process that is needed. We have nothing more to add to this statement at this time."

Montgomery resigned his post Friday as pastor of the church. In 2009, Montgomery also provided financial advice through several guest appearances on Today's THV.  He was released on bond late Thursday night. The investigation is ongoing.

Church Van Driver Charged With Child Rape

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. - A man is facing charges that he sexually assaulted a pre-teen. Police said the attack happened while 55-year-old Gregory Dougherty was driving a van for a Clarksville church.   The church is located just across the street from Austin Peay State University, and Dougherty has driven buses at Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church for years.   "The allegation was the driver of the bus committed rape," said Jim Knoll with the Clarksville Police Department.  Clarksville police arrested Dougherty this week after a lengthy investigation.

"This gentleman has been a bus driver for the church for some time. So when this came down, like I said, we did a thorough investigation," said Knoll.  The alleged rape happened in March. A Montgomery County Grand Jury indicted Dougherty nine months later.  Police said the day the crime happened the 12-year-old was the only passenger on the bus.  According to reports, Dougherty pulled over to the side of the road and attacked the girl.  Police think Dougherty took advantage of his influence over the girl.

"This is almost an authority figure, even though he's a bus driver. Yes, this is shocking, and a child, this is a grown man that the allegations have been made against," said Knoll.  Police said church leaders have been cooperative in their investigation and that the case if far from over.
"This still has to go to court. I mean we still have to prove our case in court, but there was sufficient information for the indictment to be taken," said Knoll.  Church leaders at Mt. Olive have been cooperating with police, but they did not want to talk with NewsChannel 5.  NewsChannel 5 also stopped by Pastor David Allen's house Wednesday, but he was not available to comment. Allen is also a councilman in Clarksville.  NewsChannel 5 also paid a visit to Gregory Dougherty's house, but no one answered the door.  A judge set Dougherty's bond at $50,000. He remained locked up in the Montgomery County Jail Wednesday night.

Ortiz receives maximum in sexual assault case  12/16/09

Midland MI 48640 -- A Midland pastor was sentenced this morning to the maximum prison term allowable by guidelines for a case of sexual assault. Timothy Allen Ortiz, 44, Midland, stood before Midland County Circuit Court Judge Jonathan E. Lauderbach to be sentenced on the charge, third-degree criminal sexual conduct-incest. Lauderbach levied a prison sentence of 35 months to 15 years with credit for 85 days, and mandated that Ortiz register as a sex offender. Ortiz was arrested Sept. 21 at his home by Midland County Sheriff's deputies after a report that he had sex with a family member.

In court today, officials said that family member was a daughter that Ortiz' family adopted years ago. The victim was 17 years old when the crime occurred. Lauderbach said he received 18 letters from family and friends, characterizing him as "a loving, caring, compassionate man ... A pillar in the community." One suggested Ortiz receive no punishment at all and another stated that Ortiz had told his family the only reason he entered the guilty plea in November was to save his family from the embarrassment.  The judge also referenced Ortiz' statements to a Department of Corrections agent -- that his daughter was the aggressor.

"It's not okay under any circumstances to have sexual intercourse with your daughter," Lauderbach told Ortiz. The judge also addressed the fact that the daughter was adopted as an adolescent, and pointed out she was old enough then to know one family had already given her up. "They're more vulnerable," Lauderbach said of adopted children, adding the adoption does not mitigate what happened but instead makes it worse. "You knocked her down even farther."  Chief Assistant Midland County Prosecutor Erik S.H. Wallen said the victim in the case, who is not being named because Daily News' policy is to not name victims of sexual assault, did not attend the sentencing because of anxiety and fear of Ortiz. Her biological aunt spoke at the sentencing, saying the girl was taken into the Ortiz family nine years ago, then adopted, but now has been shunned by them.   "They are blaming her for this."     Ortiz also briefly spoke.     "I failed my family and my friends," he said. "I'm ashamed."  Ortiz was represented by Midland attorney Scott Isles, who pointed out his client has served his community as a volunteer pastor, and said that fact should be a positive for him instead of a negative. The sentencing was first scheduled for January, but was moved up to this week due to Ortiz' deteriorating health.  Since 2000, Ortiz had served as pastor of the Father's Heart Ministries, 4606 James Savage Road.

Alleged embezzler accused of taking millions in FBI custody (with affidavit)  December 16, 2009

ORANGE, CT — Gregory P. Loles, accused of making off with millions of dollars from St. Barbara’s Greek Orthodox Church parishioners and from the church itself, voluntarily surrendered to federal authorities Tuesday and faces mail fraud and wire fraud charges.   According to the church’s attorney and federal court documents released Tuesday, Loles, 50, of Easton allegedly made off with more than $2 million from three parishioners, and likely millions more from the Orange church. Loles, who was in charge of the church’s investments, including managing the building fund and endowment, allegedly used church funds targeted for charitable acts and scholarships to bankroll his private businesses. They included Farnbacher-Loles Motor Sports, a high-performance car racing team based in Danbury, court documents say.

“I don’t believe this is going to give any parishioner any particular satisfaction and pleasure, nor should it,” Greg Stamos, a parishioner and general counsel for the church, said of Loles’ arrest.   Federal officials say the investigation is ongoing, and are urging other victims to come forward.  U.S. Department of Justice spokesman Thomas Carson declined to comment on how much Loles allegedly took from the church through fraud. Carson said all that is known is “several millions” of dollars are gone through fraud, and it appears none of the invested funds remain.  Three church members invested $3.1 million with Loles, but Loles did make some payments to parishioners and the church, so it’s unclear how much money is gone, Carson said. He said the FBI has calculated that Loles stole at least $2 million in investor funds, and likely more.

In a prepared statement, the church’s attorney, Joseph Martini of New Haven, said, “St. Barbara Greek Orthodox Church very much appreciates the speed with which the federal law enforcement authorities responded to, and investigated, the situation involving Gregory Loles.  “While we recognize that this will continue to be a difficult time for everyone concerned, including the church and its parishioners, we are hopeful that the arrest today of Mr. Loles will be the first step in a process that will result in the victims of Mr. Loles’ fraud receiving restitution for their losses,” Martini said.  He also said late Tuesday it’s too early to tell exactly how much money was stolen from the church, as officials are conducting their own forensic accounting, but it’s at least “millions of dollars,” according to statements in federal court Tuesday.

“Of course, we hope that once we determine our losses we, along with any other victim, will receive restitution,” Martini said.  According to federal documents, Loles began embezzling money from the church and individual parishioners in November 2001. Loles admitted to federal agents that he did not invest the funds he received, the arrest warrant affidavit says. Loles admitted none of the funds are left, documents say.  Loles, who operated Apeiron Capital Management, first joined the church in the mid-1990s, and was elected to serve on the board of the church’s Endowment Fund. The fund held a significant amount of the church’s funds, which were used for scholarships and charitable acts.

At some point, the church’s board gave Loles, who was thought of as an expert stock broker, federal documents say, “authority to trade on behalf of the endowment fund.” Loles told the board he was making the church money, and “word spread throughout the church community about Loles’ purported success,” and individual parishioners hoped he would make them money, too, the arrest warrant affidavit says.  Loles told other members of the church he could guarantee a significant return through investing in high-yield bonds in which the principle would be safe, and he promised a 7 percent to 8 percent annual return, the arrest warrant affidavit says.  One parishioner invested $100,000, another $1 million, and a third $2 million. In all three cases, Loles purportedly purchased Knightsbridge Holding ARB bonds, but no such bonds exist, documents say. He used the investment principle to falsely create the appearance of the investment returns that he was representing, the warrant affidavit says. He also created false statements on his computer and sent them to investors.

Loles was interviewed by the FBI Dec. 9 and admitted that none of the investors, including the church, actually held a bond at Knightsbridge Holdings ARB, federal documents say.  Loles also told investigators that investors did not know they were “underwater,” and that there were no individual accounts and no bonds generating the expected and promised returns, the documents say.  Loles appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Holly B. Fitzsimmons in Bridgeport Tuesday and is detained pending a hearing at 3 p.m. Friday in federal court in Bridgeport. If convicted, Loles faces a maximum of 20 years on each count.  Individuals who believe they may be a victim of Loles’ scheme, or anyone with information related to the case, is asked to contact the FBI at 203-777-6311.

Exclusive: The Story Behind The Tropper Scandal

A woman in the process of converting to Judaism told www.FailedMessiah.com a well known and powerful ultra-Orthodox rabbi who supervises conversions worldwide asked her for sexual favors in return for completing her conversion. A woman in the process of converting to Judaism told FailedMessiah.com that a well known and powerful ultra-Orthodox rabbi who supervises conversions worldwide asked her for sexual favors in return for completing her conversion. The woman alleges the rabbi, Leib Tropper, founder of Eternal Jewish Family, arranged sexual encounters between her and and his wife – encounters Tropper watched. She also alleges Tropper asked her to engage in sexual encounters and have phone sex with other men. Unauthenticated video and audio tapes were anonymously sent to Jewish bloggers over the past few days. These tapes appear to support her claims.  Tropper abruptly resigned over the weekend from Eternal Jewish Family, the conversion organization he founded, citing a desire to pursue “a variety of other interests.”
“I have decided to resign my position at the Eternal Jewish Family (EJF) effective December 12, 2009…. As a founder of EJF, I am proud of my role of being an architect of a very dynamic and important movement in our community. I will in the coming months do my utmost to be of service to the Jewish community in any way I can.” The resignation, made in an official EJF press release late Monday, two days after Tropper’s resignation took effect, made no mention of the allegations.

Calls to Tropper’s home were answered by a voicemail system announcing his voicemail box is full. Eternal Jewish Family refused comment, and calls to Yeshvas Kol Yaakov, a yeshiva for returnees to Orthodox Judaism Tropper still heads in Monsey, NY, were not returned. Rabbi Elya Ber Wachtfogel, named yesterday as the new head of EJF’s rabbinic committee, did not return a call left for comment. FailedMessiah.com obtained an exclusive interview with the woman making the allegations, whose name is being withheld due to fear of reprisal. She claims to have made the tapes after Tropper allegedly pressured her to have sex with other men. The woman says she intended for the tapes she made to be played only for leading rabbis involved with EJF. Instead, the tapes were leaked through email and on the Internet. 

Although not the first person to do so, Guma Aguiar, a billionaire former backer of EJF who has been in a long running dispute with Tropper, sent some of those tapes to FailedMessiah.com. Aguiar has long contended that Tropper has embezzled money from EJF, and launched a court case against Tropper in Israel over the summer in an attempt to recoup money he says he personally gave Tropper to distribute to various Israeli charities. It is unclear how Aguiar got the tapes. The woman told FailedMessiah.com Tropper was “holding things over me.” Tropper can be heard on one of the tapes asking the woman to have sex or phone sex with other men, and explaining to the woman that some of the money he sent her is for lawyers, while the rest is for her. He used to tell me, she said, “If you fulfill my needs, I’ll fulfill yours – and you need a conversion.” According to the woman, the motivation for Tropper’s actions was sexual. 

She says Tropper asked her to role play certain sexual scenarios with these men, either capturing the encounter on tape or describing the encounter in detail to him afterward, which she says she refused/. “He likes to see women raped,” she said. While sometimes Tropper suggested men for her to have encounters with, he encouraged her to find men on her own and then report back to him. “He wanted someone who would be very rough.” She says other women were also recruited by Tropper to fulfill these fantasies. One of those other women, she claims, is Tropper’s own wife Leba, who the woman says engaged in a sexual relationship with her as Tropper watched. In one of the audio tapes made available to FailedMessiah.com, the woman refuses sex with other men. As Tropper persists, she tells him that she “just wants everything to stay the same,” and says she “likes what she did with Leba.”

Tropper can also be heard on the tapes saying, “I’m not going to force you to do anything you don’t want to…you own your body, I don’t own your body.”   At one point in the relationship, the woman claims she cried and told Tropper, “This feels like prostitution,” and tried to put an end to Tropper’s sexual demands. She says Tropper defended his actions and continued unabated. Repeated calls for comment to Rabbi Tropper’s home and his yeshiva were not returned. Vicki Polin, the head of The Awareness Center, The International Jewish Coalition Against Sexual Abuse/Assault, noted that adult women are more likely to be victims of clergy sexual abuse than are children. “This is just one of many cases in which a member of the clergy uses their authority to lure in…unsuspecting adult women for their own personal pleasure.” Tropper and Wachtfogel, the new head of Eternal Jewish Family’s rabbinic committee, were both instrumental in arranging the 2005 ban issued by leading ultra-Orthodox rabbis against Rabbi Natan Slifkin. Slifkin, who writes on the interface of Torah and modern science, was labelled a heretic, and his books were banned, in part for suggesting the universe is older than 5770 years.

In 2006, after Israel’s chief rabbis issued demands tightening the conversion process and regulating which Orthodox rabbis would be allowed to supervise conversions, Tropper was able to position EJF as the leading moderator of Orthodox conversions outside of Israel.  In what may be the first documented case of its kind in America, in 2006 Tropper revoked a woman’s conversion months after supervising it because Tropper was told the woman sometimes wore pants. Tropper told the woman she and her child born post-conversion are no longer Jewish and said he had the woman’s file at the Israeli chief rabbinate amended to reflect that, effectively barring her from living in Israel as Jew if she so chose, and effectively revoking her conversion worldwide. Tropper’s actions contributed to the woman’s divorce. She and her child now live as non-Jews.  When asked if she still wanted to convert to Judaism, the woman making the current allegations against Tropper said she does. “Yes, I do. Very much so…somehow I will do it.”* Parts of this post may appear to be similar to the New York Jewish Week's story posted last night. That resemblance exists because I wrote the Jewish Week story. The Jewish Week removed my byline at last minute, because editors said they needed to quote me about Tropper's significance for Orthodox conversions to Judaism.

Tropper 's alleged thefts appear to have disproportionately targeted money earmarked for Religious Zionist rabbis and Sefardic rabbis.

 This is perhaps the best piece of reporting INN has ever done. Here are brief excerpts:

Rabbi Leib Tropper …When asked by Israel National News about the compilation of the aforementioned lists in a recorded telephone call, Rabbi Tropper's American attorney Glenn Waldman says that Rabbi Tropper denies that he and Aguiar "prepared at any time specific lists as to the beneficiaries of the charitable donations." However,in a follow up phone call and subsequent email, Rabbi Tropper himself clarified to Israel National News that he and his attorney have no comment, and that his attorney neither confirmed nor denied any of the questions relating to the compilation of lists of beneficiaries. He explained that since the matter is in litigation, he cannot comment.…

"Tropper lied in the name of the biggest rabbis... They don't even know who he is. Unfortunately, these appointments in Israel to distribute the money by Leib [Tropper], never got there... including hospitals, yeshivas, wedding funds, girls' high schools, research institutes, and rabbi's medical funds."  Aguiar says he has a portfolio of thank you letters that Rabbi Tropper allegedly drafted, signed and forged in the name of great rabbis. "I approached some of them, and they said that they never received the funds and never wrote those letters," he says.…

On the eve of the holiday of Shavuot, an article in the hareidi publication Sha'a Tova praised Guma Aguiar and mentioned his warm relationship with Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach, the oldest son of the late great sage Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach of blessed memory.   A few days later, however, the hareidi-religious newspaper Mevaser published an advertisement in the name of Yaakov Epstein calling "G.", referring to Guma Aguiar, a "questionable character who is married to a woman who underwent a very questionable conversion." The ad stated that Rabbi Auerbach denies any connection to "G."

The hareidi website B'hadrei Hareidim published a statement later that day from sources close to Rabbi Auerbach saying, "The ad is an outright lie. There is no one named Epstein who is close to the rabbi. We don't know such a man, and the ad is completely fabricated."  Aguiar's Israel attorney Eitan Gabay says that he followed the money trail behind the ad and found that it leads to Rabbi Tropper's Eternal Jewish Family organization, which promotes strict standards for Jewish conversions "without compromise.
Read it all here. The First Exposé Of Rabbi Leib Tropper's Conversion Scam. PDF Archive of the INN Exposé: Download Jewish Billionaire Sues Prominent US Rabbi - Jewish World - Israel News - Israel National News

TROPPER: Outreach Rabbi Resigns Amid Cloud Of Scandal,  An influential ultra-Orthodox rabbi who supervises conversions has stepped down abruptly from the organization he founded.  December 15, 2009

Pastor Accused of Raping His Ten-Year-Old Stepdaughter  10 December 2009

A doctor is expected to tell the Khayelitsha Regional Court how an 11-year-old child suffered after allegedly being raped by her stepfather, who is also a pastor, when his trial commences next year January.  The 11-year-old child, who cannot be named to protect her identity, was allegedly raped by her stepfather on June 2 this year, and told not to tell anyone or else he would kill her.  The incident happened when her mother was away for the night.    The girl, who presented testimony in camera with only media present, and via CCTV, said on the night in question her stepfather called her to come share his bedroom.

"I was scared and did not know what was going to happen when he called me into the bedroom. I told him it was painful but he would not listen," said the girl, who was ten-years-old at the time of the alleged incident.  She said despite her stepfather's warning that he would kill her if she told anyone, she could not keep her terrible secret and told a friend at school about it the next day.  However, her friend was also afraid to tell an adult about the incident, but the girl eventually told social workers when they paid a visit to her school six days later.  She said before the alleged rape her relationship with her stepfather was "good".

"He was not assaulting or shouting at me," she said.  Representing himself, the accused asked the court why, if he had raped her with his "big" penis, she had not bled or sustained any injuries.  Presiding magistrate Gaynor De Wee answered that a doctor would present evidence that she suffered internal injury and reminded him that she had only been examined days after the alleged rape.  The accused also asked her if she remembered the day the alleged rape occurred and what clothes he was wearing, to which she replied: "no".  The accused said he had never called her to come to his bedroom on the night in question and had only called her the following morning when he was going to work, when he asked her to close the door of the house properly because it was faulty.  De Wee postponed the case until January 20, 2009.   The man, who was arrested on October 7, remains in custody.

Pulaski County preacher facing felony sex charges...

  December 10, 2009


VA -- The Pulaski County Sheriff's Office says this week 73-year-old J.P. Hale was arrested and charged with one count of indecent liberties with a child.   J.P. Hale usually stands behind a pulpit, but this week he was standing in front of a police camera as they snapped mug shots.  The Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office says this week the 73-year-old pastor was arrested and charged with one count of indecent liberties with a child.  It’s a class six felony.   Thursday afternoon we showed up at Hale’s house to talk to the accused religious leader, but he had been advised by his attorney not to talk.
The Pulaski County Sheriff won’t give any details on the alleged crime or when it happened, but Sheriff Jim Davis did say it has nothing to do with Hale’s church, Newbern Church of Jesus.   Come this Sunday no one will be walking through the church doors, a sign has been posted at the Newbern church of Jesus saying closed until further notice.  When I asked Hale which church he ministered at he wouldn’t answer, he just said he had been preaching for 41 years.  The Pulaski County Commonwealth’s Attorney, Mike Fleenor, isn’t prosecuting this case.   He released this statement saying “There was a conflict of interest for the Pulaski County Commonwealth’s Attorney office to prosecute the cases against
Reverend John P. Hale.  On Monday the Circuit Court appointed the Giles County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office to handle the case.  Therefore we have no further comment on the matter,“ Fleenor said.

Meah Shearim - 3 Teens Arrested for 2008 Stabbing Attack on Arab  Dec 08, 2009

Meah Shearim, Israel - Three ultra-Orthodox Jews allegedly have confessed to beating and stabbing a man in Jerusalem because he was Arab one year ago, and then fled the scene, Israeli authorities said.    The suspects, two of whom are minors, were brought before the Jerusalem Magistrates' Court today for a hearing on the remand of their arrest.  Police believe that on December 3, 2008, the teens wearing yarmulkes walked up to an Arab man in Meah Shearim and asked him for the time, in order to ascertain that he was indeed of Arab descent.

When he answered they sprayed pepper spray in his eyes, beat him and stabbed him, and afterwards fled the scene, police suspect.  The victim, 31-year old Hamed Hamed from Shuafat, was taken to the hospital in critical condition, where he died of his wounds. Police immediately announced that the stabbing had been nationalistically motivated and established a special team to investigate.   A day later two teens were arrested and released following questioning. The three youths currently in custody were arrested three weeks ago and the court cleared their case for publication Tuesday, when police demanded the third remand of their arrest.  Officers claim the three suspects, a 22-year-old and two 17-years-olds, have admitted to the charges against them. They are scheduled to be indicted in the coming days.

Pastor Begins Trial For Miami Fraud Charges   December 9, 2009

Miami, FL --  A Miami pastor began his trial this week in an effort to be acquitted of theft and fraud charges. The Reverend Gaston Smith sat with his Miami criminal lawyer as opening statements were presented to the jury. The Miami-Dade County State Attorney's Office has charged Smith with stealing in excess of $10,000.00 in grant money intended to be used to help the citizens of Liberty City, one of Miami's poorest communities. The case is another example of the many public corruption cases that have come to light in recent months in Miami.

Prosecutors allege that Smith committed grand theft by misappropriating "seed" money intended to be used for the benefit of the citizens of Liberty City. Some of the money allegedly went to pay a bar bill in Las Vegas. Smith's Miami criminal defense lawyer argued that Smith got tangled up in the public corruption investigation that led to the recent arrest of another local politician, Michelle Spence-Jones. The defense argued that the case had nothing to do with theft, but was the result of bad book keeping.

The criminal jury trail began after two long years with many individuals expressing their support for Smith. Spence-Jones, once a member of Smith's church, is an essential part of the defense. Smith began the non-profit organization at her request and she arranged a $25,000 county grant for the "Friends of MLK". Smith told prosecutors that Spence-Jones demanded $8,000 in return for the favor. The investigation into Smith's alleged crimes began when with many unexplained withdrawals from the organization's account.

During the pendency of the criminal case against Smith, his Miami criminal attorney offered him as a witness in the case against Spence-Jones. Unwilling to use Smith as a witness, the prosecution pushed for a criminal trial. The basis of the alleged grand theft charge against Smith involves 27 ATM transactions and account charges for rental cars, lodging and airfares. All of the charges were allegedly made with the authorization of the organization.

Although the Miami criminal justice system is swamped with drug trafficking, mortgage fraud

Fugitive Pastor Arrested  Adams Wanted On Child Sex Assault Charges  December 4, 2009

NC  -- A pastor who has been a wanted man for months is now in custody in Gastonia.  Robert Adams was wearing camouflage as he was brought into the Gaston County Police Dept. just after 4 p.m. Friday.   Adams was found in a Lincoln County home late Friday afternoon. Police said they found him thanks to an anonymous tip.   Investigators said Adams sexually assaulted a child.  He was a pastor at the Mount Calvary Tabernacle Church on Camp Rotary Road, but he had not been seen since March, when the allegations were first made. 

Pastor Ted Haggard - "A Heterosexual With Complications"

Evangelical pastor Ted Haggard described Thursday as "fundamentally true" an assertion that he engaged in an inappropriate relationship with a 20-year-old male volunteer in 2006.     The incident occurred when the two men were in bed together, Grant Haas said in a videotaped interview played on CNN's "Larry King Live."  "He pretty much asked me if it was OK if he masturbated in front of me or masturbated in the bed next to me," Haas said. "I told him no, it would make me really uncomfortable. But he grabbed a bottle of lotion and started masturbating."  Haas added, "(Haggard) used to say to me, 'You know what, Grant, you can become a man of God, and you can have a little bit of fun on the side."  Haggard, 52, said the incident was "an indicator of the compulsive behavior" that ruled him at the time. However, he said he has been undergoing therapy during the two years since and "working it out." Video Watch Haggard accuser speak out »

Controversy involving Haggard first erupted in November 2006, when a former prostitute, Mike Jones, said the pastor had paid him for sex over three years and had used methamphetamine in his presence.  Haggard initially admitted in interviews that he received a massage from Jones but denied having sex with him. He also said he bought methamphetamine, but threw it away instead of using it.  The assertions received widespread news coverage and sparked charges of hypocrisy, particularly because Haggard had condemned homosexual sex. Video Watch Haggard address allegations on Oprah »   Haggard is the former president of the National Association of Evangelicals, which claims to represent millions of people in 45,000 congregations nationwide. He was also the head pastor at New Life Church.

In a settlement with New Life, the church and Haggard agreed that he would retain his six-figure salary for a year, leave the Colorado Springs area, receive counseling and not speak publicly about what had happened for one year, according to a church staff member with knowledge of the settlement but who was not authorized to speak on the record.   In the CNN interview, Haggard credited Jones with having helped him by disclosing that information.  "I think he rescued me. I'm very grateful to him," Haggard said. He said he would have lost the support of his wife of 30 years, Gail, and their five children "and been a drug addict" had he not been caught.  "I paid a heavy price. It was stupid," he said.  Haggard likened his struggles with his desires to the struggles faced by dieters who say, "'I'm not going to eat today' and then they eat."

"Many of the charges against me are exaggerated, but it doesn't matter," Haggard told Larry King. "I'm guilty enough of so many things."  He acknowledged that his actions were hypocritical, but said he could not control his urges.   "I felt like God's plan was for sexuality to be in a monogamous, heterosexual marriage," he said. "I wanted that. But at the same time, I had these other things going on."  Haggard said he had thought that focusing on his spiritual life would help, but found that it did not. "It actually made me worse," he said.  Haggard said that, for a time, he lost the ability to read the Scriptures and became suicidal. "I think it was divine intervention that stopped me," he said.  Asked if he has engaged in inappropriate conduct with any other men, Haggard did not give a direct answer, saying only, "I have thoroughly discussed all of my sexual history with my wife and my therapist and, to some degree, the family, and we think that's an appropriate boundary for that."

Asked whether he considers himself bisexual or gay, Haggard said that different therapists have described him in different ways. "The first said, 'You are a heterosexual with homosexual attachments.' I wasn't sure what that meant."  His current therapist, he said, described him as "a heterosexual with complications."  Haggard said he has, at least, another year of therapy ahead of him.  "I think I'm still deeply wounded and scarred and somewhat confused," he said. About other men, he added, "I have thoughts from time to time, but not compelling thoughts."  Nevertheless, he said, "Today, I'm 100 percent satisfied with my relationship with my wife, and I have no compelling things in my life toward others."  He said he initially urged his wife to leave him, but she refused.  "I really do love this man," she told CNN when asked why she did not leave. But it was also her faith that led her to stick with the marriage, she said. "The teaching of Jesus is that we forgive and that we love."

She said the two had "a great sexual relationship in our marriage ... throughout marriage."   Though the news of his unfaithfulness came as a shock, it wasn't completely out of the blue, she said. "I knew that Ted had some struggles in this area, particularly in his thoughts. I never knew that he acted on them."  Marcus Haggard, the couple's 25-year-old son, said he, too, was shocked by the revelations, but was more disturbed to learn that his father had lied. Still, he said the news brought the family closer together.  "He had lived so long on a pedestal," Marcus Haggard said about his famous father. "He seemed practically perfect. There was a sense of relief in the fact that we could connect with our dad."  

Asked if he wants to return to the pulpit, Haggard said, "I think Gail and I both want to tell our story to the degree that it's helpful to other people. I don't know that that would mean a pulpit, but certainly I'd be interested in public speaking."  His appearance Thursday coincided with the debut of an HBO documentary called "The Trial of Ted Haggard."  All About Ted HaggardNew Life Church

Pastor faces 152 counts Charges include torture, sodomy of boys

Andalusia, Alabama -- The former pastor of Grace Christian Fellowship is now facing charges on 152 “atrocious acts” stemming from allegations he sexually abused and tortured young boys while on camping trips. At a press conference Tuesday, Covington County Sheriff Dennis Meeks and the case’s lead investigator Wesley Snodgrass revealed the current scope of the case against 54-year-old Ralph Lee Aaron.  The investigation began last Tuesday after a mother, who had heard rumors of a previous incident involving Aaron, had a “straightforward” conversation with her son. That incident stemmed from a 2005 complaint that occurred while Aaron was serving at Andalusia’s Victory Baptist Church. No charges were filed in the 2005 complaint, which was investigated by the Covington County District Attorney’s office and the Department of Human Resources.

As a result of that conversation, the mother determined her son may have had inappropriate contact with Aaron, and she elected to contact authorities.  “Surprisingly, (the victim) was open and honest, and they discussed it at length before contacting law enforcement,” Snodgrass said. “It was quickly identified as a substantial case.”  When officers arrived at Aaron’s home Tuesday night, they seized numerous items of computer equipment and camera equipment. Snodgrass said they found more than 100 pornographic images Aaron allegedly downloaded from the Internet as well as some images taken of his alleged local victims.

As the investigation continued, it was determined the majority of Aaron’s alleged victims ranged in age from 8 to 12 and were all male. No specific number of victims was released, as the investigation is still ongoing.  Snodgrass said the alleged abuse occurred when Aaron, while acting in his capacity as pastor, took the boys on camping trips to local areas. It is not believed any of these incidents occurred at the church, Snodgrass said.  “We also have some evidence that shows other abuse occurred at Aaron’s residence,” he said. However, there is no evidence that shows Aaron’s family had any knowledge of his actions, he said.  “From all accounts, Mr. Aaron was believed to be a decent man, but he obviously had a secret life,” he said. “He was able to do (these acts) because he befriended (the parents), the children and the church family. That’s how he got into their lives.”

Aaron is now charged with the following:

• 38 counts of production of obscene matter containing visual depiction of a person under 17 involved in obscene acts.

• three counts of dissemination of obscene matter containing visual depiction of persons under 17 involved in obscene acts.

• 97 counts of obscene matter containing visual depiction of persons under 17 involved in obscene acts.

• three counts of sexual torture.

• three counts of first-degree sodomy.

• eight counts of sexual abuse of a child less than 12.

He is currently being held in the Covington County Jail, where he is separated from the general population “for his own safety,” Snodgrass said. His bond is set at $24.2 million.  Aaron could face additional charges as the case continues, Snodgrass said.  “I would say that Mr. Aaron has not been fully cooperative throughout this investigation and, in my opinion, seems completely and entirely unremorseful,” Snodgrass said. “Right now, he’s more concerned about his current situation than he is with anything else or our victims.”

Millionaire rabbi convicted of cocaine possession  25 Nov 2009

A multi-millionaire rabbi who took part in cocaine parties with prostitutes in a flat nicknamed the “synagogue of sin” has been convicted of possessing drugs.  Baruch Chalomish, 54, dipped into his £7 million fortune from property deals to fuel his £1,000-per-week habit with "the best cocaine in town", a court heard.  The Israeli-born cleric, described by a judge as once being an "eminent and leading" member Manchester’s Jewish community, descended into a spiral of addiction after the death of his first wife, Freda, three years ago.  

From alcohol he moved on to hard drugs and soon struck up a partnership with Nasir Abbas, who rented the flat in Manchester city centre where the parties were held, Manchester Crown Court heard.  The pair were arrested following raids in January in which police recovered cocaine and large amounts of cash.  Chalomish, the life president of a Jewish college in Manchester, was cleared of the supply charge but found guilty of possession. He pleaded guilty to a further count of possession earlier.  But Abbas, 54, who was described as the "leading player" in the parties, failed to turn up for the trial and is now on the run.

He was convicted of one count of possession and one count of supply and jailed in his absence for six years.  Chalomish, a father of three, admitted being Abbas’s "best customer" of Abbas – but denied they were in a drugs business.  The court heard how the rabbi met Abbas through an Israeli friend and they would go to parties at apartments around Manchester to snort cocaine alongside "distinguished people" such as surgeons and GPs.  He was arrested on Jan 5 this year after a five-day binge involving drugs and sex with prostitutes.  Police raided a flat rented by Abbas, where they found cocaine was found in the bedroom, on a glass tray and in a bowl, along with rolled up banknotes used for snorting the drug and credit cards used for chopping the drug into lines.

Chalomish’s home in Salford was also searched and police found cocaine along with £15,345 in cash.  Judge Michael Henshell described the case as “extraordinary”.   He told the jury: “You heard facts really outside my experience, dealing with a man who is a leading and eminent member of his own community, who was in possession of drugs and on trial for the serious offence of supply.”  Chalomish was bailed for the preparation of reports before he is sentenced on Dec 17. The judge indicated that he will face a community penalty rather than prison.  Jonathan Goldberg QC, defending, said outside court: "He now hopes the shame and degradation he has suffered will serve as an example to others to shun drugs."

Former Okla. pastor sentenced to 10 years for molestation  Monday, October 26, 2009

JAY, Okla. (ABP) -- A former Southern Baptist pastor in Oklahoma has been sentenced to 10 years in prison after confessing to sexual abuse of a 15-year-old girl who attended his church.    Joshua Spires, 28, now of Odessa, Texas, pleaded guilty Oct. 13 to 10 counts of lewd molestation that occurred while he was senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Jay, Okla.   Delaware County Judge Alicia Littlefield sentenced Spires to a 20-year prison sentence with 10 years suspended on each count to be served concurrently, meaning he would be eligible for parole in 8 1/2 years. If convicted by a jury, he could have been sentenced to up to 200 years in prison -- the full 20 years for each count.

Spires was also fined $10,000 for victim's compensation under a 2005 law providing financial assistance to victims who suffer physical or psychological injury as a result of a criminal act. Media reports said the victim's family was consulted about the plea agreement.  Court documents said Spires sexually assaulted the girl, once a member of his youth group, every Sunday for a year at the church. The acts took place about an hour before services began in the church office.  Both Spires, who was married, and the girl said their relationship was consensual, but Oklahoma law states that a 15-year-old cannot consent to a sexual relationship.

"First Baptist Church of Jay is a loving community of believers seeking to glorify and serve the Lord," according to the church website.

The girl reportedly told police that Spires began to tell her that he loved her when she was in seventh grade and he was her youth pastor. After she broke off the relationship last November to date a high-school student, Spires began calling and sending her text messages threatening to commit suicide if she did not take him back. The victim said Spires' obsession escalated into threats of harm against her and her boyfriend.  Spires, a native Texan who moved to Oklahoma in 2002, told the Tulsa World in August that he was pastor at First Baptist Church for four years until he was asked to leave July 31 after his conduct came to light. 
"My goal is not to disgrace the church and not cause my family or the other family any harm," Spires told the newspaper. "I don't know how the church found out. I wish it had never happened."  Spires added that he was deeply remorseful for hurting his wife and two small children.  The victim and her mother reportedly called police Aug. 3, and Spires was arrested Aug. 25. Spires confessed at the time that he had an "inappropriate, unlawful sexual relationship."  A Southern Baptist Convention database still lists Spires as senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Jay, a 140-member congregation founded in 1917.  A church website also still listed him as pastor as of Oct. 26. 


Bill Donohue, President of the Catholic League, points out the shameful disparity in prosecution of Catholics...


Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on a front-page news story in today’s New York Times on the problem of child sexual abuse:

Reporter Paul Vitello shows the shocking extent of child sexual abuse in Brooklyn’s Orthodox Jewish community. He also details the cover-ups that have long been aided and abetted by law enforcement.  Where have all the church-and-state advocates been all these years when Orthodox rabbis were allowed by the D.A.’s office to settle these cases “internally”? Where have all the professional victims’ groups been in staging protests outside synagogues? Where have all the sue-happy lawyers been seeking to plunder the Orthodox? Where have all the comedians and late-night entertainers been in cracking jokes about rabbis raping kids?

It’s not just Orthodox Jews who have been given a pass: no group has gotten away easier than public school employees. Consider this. Because public school students have only 90 days to file suit, it is already too late to prosecute a teacher—in virtually every state—who molested a minor as recently as last spring. But if the offense took place in a Catholic school, the student has years to file suit. Not only that, molesting teachers are still shuffled from one school district to another; it’s called “passing the trash.”  Orthodox Jews try cases of child rape in rabbinical courts. Imagine if the Catholic Church failed to report abuse cases to the authorities and decided instead to institute its own ecclesial courts? Today’s article quotes a Jewish attorney urging law enforcement to recognize “religious sensitivities” for the guilty by seeking alternatives to prison. Allow a Catholic attorney to advise the same and it’s called corruption.

Last year, 40 minors in this small Jewish community said they were abused. Last year, there were 10 such allegations in the entire Catholic Church in all 50 states. Catholics are fed up with the duplicity. It’s not just Roman Polanski who can rape and run with impunity these days. The politics of child rape is sickening.  [The front page NY Times story referred to is here: Orthodox Jews Rely More on Sex Abuse Prosecution

Faith-healing parents charged in death of infant son  10/09

On the last day of Kent Schaible's life, his parents and pastor intensely prayed over his 32-pound body, which, unbeknown to them, was ravaged by bacterial pneumonia.  When the 2-year-old boy finally died at 9:30 p.m. Jan. 24 inside the family's Northeast Philadelphia home, the pastor called a funeral director to take the boy's remains to the Philadelphia Medical Examiner's Office.  At no time that day, nor in the week-and-a-half prior, did Herbert and Catherine Schaible seek medical treatment for their son despite his sore throat, congestion, liquid bowel movements, sleeplessness and trouble swallowing, Assistant District Attorney Joanne Pescatore said in court yesterday.

"All it would have taken is a simple visit to a doctor for antibiotics or Tylenol, maybe, to keep this child alive," she said during the couple's preliminary hearing.  After the two attorneys representing the Schaibles argued for their innocence, Municipal Judge Patrick Dugan held them for trial on charges of involuntary manslaughter, conspiracy to commit involuntary manslaughter and endangering the welfare of a child.  "When you look at this case, it's obvious that what you have are loving parents who also appear to be misguided," Dugan told the couple. "Your child needed medical care. As parents, that's what your duty is, and that's why you are here in court today."

The Schaibles' case is similar to a growing number around the country in which parents are slapped with criminal charges for turning to religion rather than medical care for sick children who later die.  Herbert Schaible, 41, and Catherine Schaible, 40, of Rhawn Street near Bustleton Avenue, are free on bail and will be arraigned on Oct. 28.

They are members of the First Century Gospel Church, in the Northeast, which believes that the sick can be healed through prayer rather than by medicine, according to statements that the couple gave homicide detectives two days after their son's death.  " 'We prayed to God for victory . . . We were praying that he would be raised up, " Detective Stephen Buckley said yesterday, reading from Herbert Schaible's statement.  Herbert Schaible is a teacher at First Century Gospel Church, said his attorney, Bobby Hoof.  "They believe in faith-healing; that's fine for them," Pescatore said after the hearing. "But this was a two-year-old child."  On Jan. 13 or 14, Kent started showing symptoms of illness that at times improved but generally grew worse until his death on Jan. 24, his parents said in their statements.

" 'He was moody and demanding; you couldn't please him,' " Det. Buckley said, quoting from Catherine Schaible's statement.  Edwin Lieberman, the assistant medical examiner who did Kent's autopsy, said that he had determined the manner of death to be a homicide because the boy could have been saved with basic medical care.  Bacterial pneumonia "is very treatable," he said, but without care he "seriously" doubted if Kent improved at all, as his parents had told detectives.  Francis Carmen, Catherine Schaible's attorney, said that the couple's decision to forgo medical attention was not due to their religion, but because they thought Kent had a cold.

"The commonwealth wants to use [the Schaible's] religious beliefs as a self-fulfilling prophecy that, somehow, because they are different and because they exercise religious beliefs that are not necessarily in line with the majority of us," he said, "that is the cause of them failing to recognize that this child was as ill as he was."  Hoof, on behalf of Herbert Schaible, said that his client did everything in his power to care for his son in the days before he died - feeding him and giving him liquids.  "He cared for his child and thought his child was getting better," Hoof told reporters.  When asked why he did not call a doctor, he said: "He never said that he would not take the child to a doctor in his statement. He never said that."

Man found guilty of negligence in son's home circumcision  October 16, 2009

A Metro Vancouver man who circumcised his four-year-old son at home with a razor blade and used blood coagulant meant for horses has been found guilty of negligence causing bodily harm.  The man, identified in a court ruling on Wednesday as DJW, admitted that in 2007 he circumcised his son, DJ, who was born at 2.5 pounds and couldn't be circumcised at birth.  The man performed the circumcision just a few years after he circumcised himself.  After he did that, his foreskin bled in nine places, doctors sutured it at hospital and his penis became infected. DJW's lawyer, Doug Christie, said, "He learned from that experience to do things differently."

Justice Marion Allan of the Supreme Court of British Columbia in Vancouver ruled Wednesday that the negligence charge was warranted but acquitted DJW on charges of aggravated assault and assault with a weapon. Social workers who found out about the circumcision a day after the procedure reported the incident to child-protection services.  Christie said DJ and his sister live with their mother, and DJW is banned from seeing them. DJW initially claimed a circumcision performed with reasonable care would fall under a religious exemption, Christie said. But he dropped the argument based on the judge's ruling.

"Although we don't agree, the judge found it wasn't with reasonable care," Christie said. Christie said DJW is considering an appeal.  DJW is a former Jehovah's Witness who now follows the Old and New TestaMents of the Bible. Here’s what happened, according to a summary of the case in the judge’s ruling: DJW became interested in circumcision after reading THE books of Richard Hoskins, who advocates circumcision and claims there are Biblical answers to "all of the problems in society, including the number of abortions and homosexuals, and the national debt," judge wrote.  After DJ's birth, DJW heard a radio show on circumcision, transcribed it and decided to circumcise himself. On the Internet, he found "horrible pictures of what could go wrong," which is "inconsistent with his frequently expressed opinion that circumcision is an obvious and simple procedure," the judge noted.

In late 2004 or early 2005, DJW circumcised himself, using a razor, Band-Aids, peroxide, a roll of gauze and a clear plastic ring that he believed would act as an anaesthetic.  After he cut himself, the bleeding wouldn't stop. DJW then called his mother to tell her he was a heretic and would never go back to her church. She told him to call 911 and hung up. He then called 911 and went to the emergency room of a hospital and was sutured. In 2006, DJW began asking doctors about the circumcision of DJ. A few doctors advised against circumcising a four-year-old boy and refused to help DJW.  One doctor that agreed to do it was too expensive, charging $2,000 to $5,000. DJW decided to do it himself. He bought a blood coagulant used for horses because it was cheaper than a $30 coagulant for people. He told DJ that circumcision might hurt a bit but not for long. DJW told his son the procedure would grant him "extra special protection from God" and allow him to eat Passover lamb, ice cream and pick all the movies he wanted for a week. He also said told DJ it would be difficult to stay together as a family if DJ didn't agree to be circumcised.

DJW then gave DJ a teacup of homemade honey wine with eight to 12 percent alcohol. DJW then became stressed before performing the circumcision, so he left his son at home with his wife and went to Canadian Tire and Home Depot to "look at hardware and relax." When he came home, he laid DJ on clean garbage bags on the kitchen floor and put a towel or diaper under him, then cut the foreskin, sometimes with a sawing motion.  DJ shuddered and cried, and DJW's hand slipped. He told DJ to be still for a second cut. He used paper towels and a veterinary blood coagulant meant for horses, and the bleeding decreased. DJ then had to go to Children's Hospital.  A "beehive coating" of ash was removed from his penis and he was properly circumcised by Dr. Afshar.

In court, Afshar called into question DJW's procedure. Among numerous problems: The blades DJW used were neither sharp nor sterile. He said a kitchen cutting board under the boy's penis could have been covered with bacteria from food. And he said the veterinary coagulant was inappropriate and could have led to bleeding, infection and necrosis. Afshar testified that BC law doesn't ban people who have no medical training from performing circumcisions.   To view the court documents click here.

Seminary principal accused of sexually abusing a student  07/10/2009

An LDS seminary principal connected to Highland's Lone Peak High School was arrested Thursday afternoon after an alleged two-month sexual relationship with a student.  Police say Michael Jay Pratt began exchanging text messages with a 16-year-old girl on May 1. Pratt would check her out of school and take her to various locations around the Utah valley for sexual acts, according to Sgt. Matt Higley with the Utah County Sex Crimes Task Force.  The locations included Provo Canyon, Alpine, Highland, Goshen and Eureka, Higley said. Pratt also took the girl into at least one unoccupied home, he said.

Higley said the encounters involved a range of different acts -- "basically everything but full intercourse." The victim told police about the alleged crimes earlier this week, Higley said.  "She gave us some great information concerning the extent and nature of their relationship," he said. "We made contact with [Pratt], he came down and met us at our office, and he was taken into custody at that time."  Investigators are still determining how many times Pratt allegedly rendezvoused with the girl. Higley said it was unclear whether she was one of his seminary students or if Pratt only oversaw her in an administrative role as the principal. 

Pratt was booked into jail on suspicion of three counts of aggravated kidnapping, one count of unlawful sexual conduct with a 16-year-old, one count of aggravated forcible sexual abuse, 10 counts of forcible sodomy, one count of object rape, one count of lewdness, three counts of burglary, one count of criminal trespassing, one count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and 10 counts of enticing a minor.

North Charleston pastor arrested on drug charges in North Carolina  Dec 12, 2009



CHARLOTTE, NC (WCSC) - A Lowcountry pastor is now facing drug charges in North Carolina. 47-year-old Brian Moore was arrested for felony drug possession and misdemeanor possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia near Charlotte, North Carolina on Thursday.  Moore is a pastor at the Life Center Cathedral Church in North Charleston. He also works for several other churches in North and South Carolina.

Police in the Queen City say they followed Moore after he left a motel with a man who was banned from the property. Officers say they found drug paraphernalia in the car's console. After finding the Ecstasy, the pastor reportedly told officers he had some Marijuana in his motel room.  According to the Mecklenburg County, North Carolina Sheriff's Office web site Moore posted $3,250 in bond for three total charges.

Moore said his lawyer asked him not to talk about the charges, but he released a written statement. It said in part, "Although the wheels of justice often move slowly, I have full faith that this incident will ultimately be resolved favorably. Until such time, I will continue to serve as pastor of Live Ministries and will continue to be a good husband and father to my wife and children."  Moore also said he has fully cooperated with police.

Bishop Brian Moore Arrested

Bishop Brian Moore is in news but for all the wrong reasons. At the Life Center Cathedral Church, Bishop Brian Moore is a pastor and according to reports, he has been arrested by police on Thursday. The question raise in our minds is that, what would be the reason behind his arrest? Don’t worry, we have the answer on this question.  On Thursday, Bishop Brian Moore was arrested near Charlotte, North Carolina, for possession of drug paraphernalia and felony possession of marijuana. Shocked?? Even i was shocked when i listen to it but its true and the police arrested the pastor for the same charges.

Among celebrities and personalities that belong to showbiz, such cases are common but Bishop Brian Moore is a man that involved in god’s work, so how can he do that.  The reports also said that poor bishop was released from jail after a bond for about $3000 plus dollars was posted. According to some sources, the exact amount posted to release Brian Moore was $3,250.   Bishop Brian Moore reportedly works for a number of other churches in North and South Carolina as well.

Youth pastor is charged  12/13/09

BETHEL, OH - A local youth pastor has been charged with one count of sexual battery, and several more charges could be brought at an upcoming Clermont County Grand Jury hearing.  Christopher Evans, 38, of Pitzer Road south of Bethel has allegedly engaged in inappropriate contact with a 15-year-old girl on multiple occasions beginning in July. Evans is married and was the youth pastor for Saltair Church of Christ, which is on state Route 222 between Bethel and Felicity. Clermont County Sheriff A. J. "Tim" Rodenberg said Evans may have children.

"A sexual relationship began with a female teenager in mid-July and continued until authorities were notified." said Rick W. Combs, Chief Deputy.  The alleged encounters were brought to light by a secondary source on Monday, Dec. 7, according to Rodenberg. Evans, who has lived in the area since at least 2007, was arrested Wednesday, Dec. 9 and as of Thursday remained incarcerated in Clermont County Jail.  "It's very unusual that an investigation like this would be resolved so quickly," Rodenberg said. "To his credit, the subject did not resist or impede the investigation in anyway. He came to us for questioning."

The name of the victim has not been released. Officers cited her age and the nature of the allegations.  "There is no indication at this time that any of this took place at the church, or during church activities," Combs said. "All information at this point indicates that the conduct took place at the subject's home on Pitzer Road. No other victims have been identified or are known to us at this time."  Rodenberg said that while there is no indication that there were other victims that possibility has not yet been ruled out. Anyone with information about any additional victims is asked to call the Sheriff's Department at (513) 732-7500.

Mechanicsville, VA,  Man Arrested for Soliciting Sex from a Minor.  Louisa Co. Deputies say 81-year-old man thought he was meeting a 13-year old.   December 8, 2009

LOUISA COUNTY - MECHANICSVILLE - The Louisa County Sheriff's Office says it has arrested an 81-year-old Mechanicsville man who tried to meet a 13-year old for sex.  Irvin Blair Baldwin has been charged with three counts of soliciting a child under the age of 15 for sex over the Internet.
At a court hearing Thursday morning, a judge ordered him held without bond for now. He's being held at the Central Regional Jail.

Prosecutors tell CBS 6 Baldwin had threatened suicide if released.   Investigators say Baldwin spent three months chatting on the Internet with a person he thought was 13, turns out, he was talking to a detective who was posing as a minor. Prosecutors revealed that the communication was of a graphic sexual nature, and Baldwin send instructions to the detective how to delete chat logs to avoid being detected.  According to investigators Baldwin was arrested after he drove to Louisa County to meet the young person.  Detectives say Baldwin told them he was a minister, but they haven't yet found any specific church he has ties to. Records confirm Baldwin does have a bachelor's degree in divinity. Neighbors also say he did missionary work abroad.  There will be another bond hearing Monday.

Music minister charged with rape of girl, 16, Pastor cites forgiveness, lets accused remain in his job, 11/29/09

The music minister of a local Church of God in Christ congregation remains in his post after being charged with statutory rape involving a 16-year-old choir member.   Dwayne "DJ" Wilson, 25, who works at Greater St. Mark Church in Southwest Memphis, was arrested Nov. 17.  The denomination has had a no-tolerance policy toward sexual misconduct since 1992, and COGIC members adopted additional policies earlier this month after Atlanta pastor, blogger and former member DL Foster started reportcogicabuse.com — a Web site that lists about 30 COGIC clergy accused or convicted of sexual abuse.

Ronald Rolfe, pastor of Greater St. Mark, said Saturday that he allowed Wilson to remain in his role at the church to foster forgiveness in church members.  "The word of God teaches us to forgive and to pray," said Rolfe. "The best thing I can do as a clergyman is to extend God's hands of forgiveness."   COGIC leadership declined comment through spokeswoman Deidre Malone until they had more information about the case.  According to the girl's father, Wilson first became involved with the girl in February when she was 15 and singing in the choir.

"There's so much sexual misconduct going on in COGIC right now, and he's right in the middle of it," the girl's father said. "It's out of control."  The Commercial Appeal does not identify alleged victims of sexual assault. In order to protect the young woman, her father will not be named.  He said he and his wife found a man in their daughter's bed at about 1:45 a.m. on Nov. 17. The man fled but was arrested soon after by police. Officers found his keys in the bedroom and Wilson lying on the floor of a Toyota parked down the block, according to the police affidavit.

The teenager told officers that she had sent Wilson a text message earlier that evening inviting him to sneak into the house, the report stated.  Wilson is free on $30,000 bond. A reporter was unable to reach him Saturday night.  Pastor Rolfe said Wilson made "poor choices," but that it wasn't his place to condemn.  But the girl's father said that Rolfe, as the "shepherd of the flock," had a duty to protect church members and remove Wilson from his position.   "The Bible does teach us to forgive," he said, "but when you break the law of the land, you have a debt to pay."  Several church members, including choir member Ollie Fisher, said they felt "betrayed" and were considering leaving the church because of Wilson's actions and Rolfe's response.  "I want to be sure that no other children will be taken advantage of," Fisher said. "I don't want to be going back to that church."

How Medical Marijuana Prosecutions Have Gutted Freedom of Religion  12-8-09

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (SEND2PRESS NEWSWIRE) — Pastor Craig Rubin and his Temple 420 have existed for 40 days and are one of the most famous religious institutions in the world. The Temple operated for 38 days in 2006 before the pastor was arrested and told by an LAPD officer, “The Judeo-Christian religion is not real and is not protected by the law.” He received permission from a judge to reopen and obtained a new license in 2009 from the City of Angels, and after 2 days of operation Rubin was arrested again. What is his crime, “possession and sales of marijuana?”

That is right: Rubin, after playing the owner of a medical marijuana club on the show Weeds, decided with his wife to open a real-life cannabis dispensary along with hundreds of other people in the City of Angels. However, Rubin continues to be arrested for it while others don’t and it could be religious discrimination, Rubin says.

“Religion is just another way dope dealers try to get around the law to make a profit. I think they are frauds and are corrupt and should be pursued by those in positions of authority,” District Attorney of Los Angeles, Steve Cooley, has been quoted as saying.

The District Attorney is actually pursuing Rubin aggressively, it seems. So much so that the family is now homeless as the City of Los Angeles seized the money Rubin’s wife had earned from her job at a law firm in the San Fernando Valley. Rubin was enjoying his day off at his wife’s store when the place was raided without a search warrant and the Rubin family once again had their life savings seized prior to a conviction.

Rubin was originally arrested for child abuse, but the judge dropped those charges. In Rubin’s Demur he provided the court with documents showing that LAPD falsified evidence against the pastor. LAPD officers claimed a young boy the pastor was caring for that day was in the cannabis shop when in actuality both the pastor and the young boy never entered the cannabis shop that day, but were arrested in Rubin’s wife’s store. Rubin is now being charged with allegedly selling one gram of marijuana to an undercover officer, Cecil Mallard, who came into his church dispensary as a qualified cannabis patient and assigned Temple 420 as his primary caregiver.

The City is once again claiming the money Rubin’s wife earned is “drug money” and therefore they have the right to take the family’s money. This is the same excuse the City used four years ago. Ever since the money was seized, within the first weeks of the seizure, the City has offered to refund a percentage of the money without a hearing, but the Rubin family has refused as the money had come from the refinancing of their house and not from drugs.

The City would prefer to settle the matter rather than take it to court, says Rubin. However the Rubin family is demanding a day in court; and right as the matter was finally about to be adjudicated, Rubin is arrested again and his life savings seized again. Rubin was initially told by City officials that his money could be held for ten to fifteen years without a trial, as the money was arrested, according the City and the money has no habeas corpus rights, “I guess money is just Federal Reserve script that can be seized at any time. The Los Angeles City and County Attorneys have decided to overrule the U.S. Constitution and are deciding which religious establishments are legal and which are not,” claims Rubin. “I think they should be thrown in jail for not respecting the U.S. Constitution and stealing people’s money like thieves.”

When Rubin says regarding the first trial, “The judge even said I could not quote from the Bible.” Rubin first opened Temple 420 in 2006 and was convicted in what can be described as a Third World “kangaroo court” where Judge Strobell prohibited Rubin from mentioning medical marijuana as well as the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights. “It was shocking to me that the Constitution and Bill of Rights could be banned from a U.S. Court of Law, but the judge said mentioning them would confuse the jury as to the law,” and Rubin’s claim is supported by the record.

Rubin was convicted in that case, but says if he were allowed to show the evidence of the Officer Tracey Fields-Black allegedly perjuring herself in court, then he would have won the case. Rubin was not allowed to show the jury photos that the officer could look at while she was on the stand. She then testified to as to what she saw or didn’t see in the photo, but the photos weren’t allowed to be shown to the jury. Rubin claims if the jury saw the photos they would know she lied, but the judge prohibited it.

America has no idea how the court system works, “I just pray for a fair trial this time.” Rubin thinks he may actually get a fair trial this time because, “The world is different than it was in 2006 when I was one of the first cannabis clubs in the city. I think this is purely politically retaliation on behalf of the City Attorney’s office.” Rubin has been a vocal advocate on behalf of ending cannabis prohibition and is a regular at local meetings where he challenges the officials who work for the City Attorney’s Office and their interpretation of the law.

Rubin’s video evidence taken from his surveillance cameras was kept out of court in his first trial because Rubin didn’t qualify as a video expert according to the court. Rubin’s videos were seen for the first time on KABC who is covering the former candidate for mayor’s trial.

Video Link: (KABC-TV Los Angeles)
abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=news/local/los_angeles&id=7137520 .

In the video, officers can be seen in full riot gear kicking down the door of Rubin’s sanctuary and arresting the pastor at his house of worship. Rubin went to marijuana legal groups for help who refused to get involved because it was a church and to religious defense organizations like the American Center for Law and Justice that would normally defend religious people, but they refused on the grounds they didn’t want to help a “drug cult.”

Rubin teachings focus on the Ten Commandments and the testimony of Jesus Christ saying, “If it is not in the Bible I don’t teach it.” His ministry is reaching out to people who use cannabis for medical reasons. “I know people may not like what we do, but they don’t realize if they don’t stand up for us and for our right to be a religious organization than everyone’s rights are diminished.”

At the time of Rubin’s arrest Temple 420 was a California registered Religious Corporation and yet the organization was afforded none of the rights or protections of a religious establishment. In the first case it was an LAPD officer who decided they were not a “real religion.” In this instance, Rubin’s arrest of October 22, 2009; it is the City and District Attorneys who are deciding that a religious establishment is not protected under the U.S. Constitution. You may or may not agree that medical marijuana is a good thing, but in both cases Rubin was running a permitted and licensed church facility and is being singled out for prosecution because of his religious convictions.

More information: profiles.send2press.com/Craig_X_Rubin.shtml .

Delray Beach pastor charged with domestic battery on wife

— The pastor of a historic Delray Beach church has been arrested on charges of domestic battery, according to records.  Howard Barr, 39, pastor of St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church, 46 S.W. 10th Ave., was booked late Monday, jail records show.  A jail official said that Barr was released on his own recognizance shortly before 10 tonight. He was to have no contact with his wife, Joyce, upon his release, an official said.  Associate Minister Justin Thomas confirmed Barr was arrested but had no other details and could not comment.  According to a Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office report, deputies were called around 9:25 p.m. Monday to Barr's home in the Lake Charleston neighborhood west of Lake Worth.

Joyce Barr had called 911 to say her husband had assaulted her, the report said. Arriving deputies found Howard Barr in the street, the report said.  The deputy said Barr and his wife were arguing when she came home that evening, and as she tried to get out of her Lincoln Navigator, he blocked her exit.  Joyce Barr said that as she tried to walk past her husband, he pushed her against the vehicle. She said she ran past him into the street, shouting, "get away from me and don't touch me."  After speaking to Howard Barr, his wife and their son, deputies arrested Barr, the report said. Barr also is president of Little Zion Temple, with locations in Lake Worth and Delray Beach, records show. According to St. Paul Missionary Baptist's Web page, the congregation started with prayer meetings at a Boca Raton home and became St. Paul two years later.

The church moved to Delray Beach in 1942. Barr became the church's sixth official pastor in July 2007. The Barrs are Delray Beach natives and the parents of three, according to the church's Web page. Staff researcher Niels Heimeriks and staff writer Julius Whigham II contributed to this report.

LES Minister Charged with Raping Girl    Dec . 7, 2009

NY - A Baptist church youth minister was charged with raping and sexually abusing a 14-year-old girl who had attended at his Lower East Side church, authorities said Friday.   The girl had suffered two years of sexual abuse, beginning when she was 12 years old and ending only when a second girl recently complained about the suspect's behavior, according to the Manhattan District Attorney.  Suspect Jeremy Fulton, 27, had been working at the Mariner's Temple Baptist Church for the past seven years and was also associate director of the Mariner's Education Center, said DA Robert Morgenthau.  A phone call and email to the church's pastor was not immediately returned. The church's website calls Mariner's Temple, on Henry Street, the oldest Baptist church in Manhattan, established in 1795.   Fulton was arrested two days before Thanksgiving while visiting relatives in Baltimore, authorities said. The indictment charges him with rape, predatory sexual assault against a child, criminal sexual conduct against a child and endangering the welfare of a child, but the investigation is ongoing.

Darby minister charged with assault  Decemberj 7, 2009

Hamilton, MT -- A Darby minister was arraigned this week on charges he choked his girlfriend and threatened to stab the woman’s grandmother in the neck after becoming enraged over the lack of tidiness at the couple’s home.   James C. Tubbs, 35, appeared before Ravalli County Justice Robin Clute on Wednesday. She set bail at $50,000.   According to court records, Tubbs returned home Tuesday night after being gone for several days. Sometime late in the evening, he became upset that the house wasn’t clean.   Tubbs started yelling at his girlfriend and then began calling the woman and her grandmother derogatory names. He threatened to take away the couple’s 1-year-old child, who was in the house at the time, records said.

When the grandmother attempted to calm him down, he started screaming in her face so intensely that she reported feeling his saliva hit her face. The 69-year-old woman, who is in poor health, curled into a fetal position on a bed as Tubbs stood over her and continued to yell, including threats to kill her, the court records said.   Tubbs grabbed the grandmother’s small dog named T-Bone and began choking it. He threatened to kill the dog, the records said.  After that, he grabbed his girlfriend by the shirt and arm and forced her downstairs.

Tubbs grabbed the woman by the throat and squeezed so hard that the woman couldn’t breath. The grandmother told officers later that she could hear “gargling” sounds coming from the woman as Tubbs strangled her, the records said.  He told his girlfriend that he was going to stab her grandmother in the neck, the records said.  The women told officers they were afraid to leave the house until Tubbs fell asleep. When he did, they fled with the child and T-Bone in one of the vehicles.   Officers photographed the abrasions and bruises on the woman’s neck, as well as a contusion next to her eye caused when Tubbs banged her head against a wall, the records said.  Tubbs was charged with felony assault, two misdemeanor counts of partner/family member assault and misdemeanor cruelty to animals.  Log on to RavalliRepublic.com to comment on this and other stories.
Greater St. Mark COGIC in South Memphis voted to make Jurisdictional Bishop Jerry Maynard temporary CEO of the church at a Wednesday night meeting.  Music minister Dwayne "DJ" Wilson, who was dismissed Tuesday, directed the choir for two weeks after he was charged on Nov. 17 in a case involving a 16-year-old choir member.   COGIC spokeswoman Deidre Malone said Maynard will remain in the position until an investigation concludes.  The Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests, a national support and advocacy organization, held a news conference outside COGIC's Memphis headquarters on Tuesday to bring more attention to the issue.  "With any credible allegation against any church clergy, the only prudent move is to suspend the accused for children's safety," said David Clohessy, SNAP national director. "Forgiveness is a private act that doesn't trump our primary role as adults to protect the vulnerable."


LOUISANA: Pastor, Daughter Arrested On Narcotics Charges

Saturday, 24 January 2009 11:33

Martin Denesse Pastor At Buras Christian Ministry

BURAS, La. -- A Buras pastor and his 22-year-old daughter were arrested and charged with several counts of narcotics possession, among other things.   Plaquemines Parish Sheriff Jiff Hingle announced the arrests of Pastor Martin Denesse, pastor of Grace Harbor Christian Ministries, and his daughter, India Marshall.   Both were charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana, possession of crack cocaine, possession of drug paraphernalia and traffic violations.

Denesse, 49, of Homeplace, and Marshall, 22 of Empire, were arrested at 9:15 p.m. Friday after members of the Plaquemines Parish Narcotics Unit were conducting the High-Visibility Drug Interdiction Initiative along Highway 23 in Belle Chasse.  Narcotics agents said they observed a black Ford Expedition -- which they said was being driven by Denesse and was traveling southbound on Highway 23 -- make a sudden and illegal u-turn as other PPSO narcotics agents had stopped another southbound vehicle.  As the narcotics agents stopped Denesse’s vehicle for the traffic violation, Denesse immediately exited the vehicle and attempted to distance himself from the vehicle, approaching the agents in a nervous and excited manner, they said.

The agents then told the pastor about his violations and asked if he was in possession of any weapons or drugs.   Agents discovered about 4.5 grams of crack cocaine on the pastor when they frisked him. Marshall was then ordered to exit the vehicle. Police said that's when they discovered that she had a crack pipe.  A narcotics K-9 alerted the agents to contraband in the vehicle inside a backpack. Agents recovered the backpack and discovered about 7.5 pounds of marijuana inside of it, along with measuring scales. A second scale was also found in another backpack inside the vehicle.

Denesse and Marshall were then taken into custody, arrested and booked into Belle Chasse Lockup. The vehicle was impounded for further investigation.  http://www.wdsu.com/news/18555903/detail.html

New Haven traffic violation leads to DRS arrest for income tax fraud


West Haven, CT - An early morning traffic stop in New Haven helped agents from the Department of Revenue Services (DRS) arrest a 35-year-old local pastor wanted for allegedly attempting to steal more than $150,000 by filing fraudulent income tax returns.  On Monday, DRS special agents arrested Willie E. McKay, 35, of New Haven. Agents had been looking for the pastor of the Love Temple Church of Christ in Prayer, Inc. of New Haven for the past several months and believe he had been living out of state until recently. McKay was arrested on 21 counts of filing false state income tax returns, one count each of larceny first degree and computer crimes first degree, and seven counts of failure to file state withholding tax returns for his church.

DRS Commissioner Richard D. Nicholson said agents have been investigating McKay after the agency’s computer programs detected a number of fraudulent returns allegedly filed on behalf of members of McKay’s congregation. Commissioner Nicholson said, "Our fraud detection programs allowed us to quickly identify this alleged scheme."   DRS alleges that McKay and possible associates filed false income tax returns in the names of parishioners of the Love Temple Church of Christ in Prayer. McKay then allegedly kept the refunds.

McKay was processed in Hartford, and presented in Hartford Superior Court on a $125,000 bond. Conviction on a false return count can bring imprisonment of up to five years, and conviction on the larceny charge can bring imprisonment of up to 20 years.   No future court date for McKay has been set.   McKay is the most recent arrest resulting from the agency’s fraud detection capability.

Pastor Convicted of Vehicular Homicide Finally Going to Prison

KENNEWICK, WA -- A pastor convicted of vehicular homicide six years ago for running over a Kennewick girl is now finally going to prison.  Randall Foos was extradited back to the Tri Cities late Tuesday night from Las Vegas. Kennewick Police told Action News Foos was arrested for an outstanding warrant of failing to appear in court.  He was convicted of killing Sara Casey while she was riding her bike back in 2003. Wednesday, Action News spoke with Sarah's mom, Lori Casey, over the phone. She and her husband Terrance gave the following statement:

"We appreciate the efforts of the Kennewick Police Department in making sure that he was extradited to Washington state to serve his time. We also support their efforts to protect the public from severely-impaired drivers."   Foos will serve a year and three months behind bars. He's already served one month.


FOOS: Ex-pastor serving time 6 years after Kennewick bicyclist's death

Kennewick, WA -- A former Kennewick pastor has been taken to prison three years after he was sentenced in the death of a 19-year-old bicyclist.  Randall Foos, 61, was returned to the Tri-Cities on Tuesday night and immediately taken to a state Department of Corrections facility.  He was arrested in Las Vegas where he moved shortly after the case. Foos fought his conviction and sentence on appeal but was informed earlier this fall that his appeal process was over and it was time to start serving the one-year, three-month term.  Foos was convicted of vehicular homicide for the September 2003 collision that killed Sara Casey of Kennewick. Casey died six days later at a Spokane hospital.  For the full story, read Thursday's Herald and www.tricityherald.com  


MINISTER ARRESTED: Attempted rape among charges filed.  Nov 25th, 2009 

A youth minister in Coral Springs, Florida has been arrested and charged with child molestation.  According to the Sun Sentinel, police charged Russell Dion Lewis, 28, with custodial battery and 10 counts of lewd and lascivious molestation.  Lewis was held Sunday in the Broward County jail on $20,000 bond.  Lewis also was fired from his position as assistant music and youth minister. David Hughes, senior pastor at Church by the Glades in Coral Springs, spoke from the pulpit last Sunday about the arrest.

"A kid cannot give consent. We are all about forgiving," Hughes told the congregation. "But when it comes to our children, we’re pretty hard-nosed around here."  There’s no word on whether Lewis has claimed innocence or guilt. Lewis was hired about two years ago when he moved to Florida from Hobbs, N.M.


Police: Help us find Gaston County pastor charged with raping teen  November 25, 2009 8:47 AM

NC - Police are searching for a Gaston County pastor charged with raping and molesting a teen girl.  Robert Lee Adams, 46, began sexually abusing the girl when she was younger than 13 and got her pregnant about three years later, according to the Gaston County Police Department. Authorities have been searching for Adams for nine months.  The girl gave birth in the summer of 2008, and an investigation led police to Adams, said Gaston County Police Capt. Joe Ramey.

Ramey said Adams was pastor of Mount Calvary Tabernacle at the corner of Linwood Road and Camp Rotary Road in west Gastonia. Adams’ last known address is 1319 Rosewood Drive, Dallas.   "We hope someone recognizes Mr. Adams and calls us so we can take him into custody," Ramey said. "Obviously with these kinds of allegations and warrants outstanding, this is not someone we want to be loose in the community."  Adams may be traveling in a 1970s-model orange pickup truck. People have reported seeing Adams locally in Forest City and out-of-state in Tennessee and Texas.

Investigators want to interview Adams, who does not have a prior criminal record.  "This would be his opportunity as well to come forward and share his side of the story," Ramey said. "When someone’s on the run, it makes it difficult to do that."  The alleged sexual assault took place between February 2004 and March 2007, Ramey said. The girl is receiving counseling and other help from social service agencies.  Adams is charged with statutory rape, first-degree sex offense with a child, taking indecent liberties with a child and other sex offenses.  "We’d like to get this individual off the streets," said Ramey. "It would certainly make the victim and some family members feel relief, and maybe bring some closure to the whole situation."  Anyone with information on Adams’ whereabouts is asked to call the Gaston County Police Department at 704-866-3320 or Crime Stoppers at 704-861-8000.

Willows Pastor Arrested     

A Baptist Pastor from Willows has been arrested for alleged sexual assault on a minor. 56 year old Carlton Hammond was reportedly taken into custody Friday on suspicion of lewd and lascivious acts with a 14 or 15 year old child. Hammond was a pastor at Willows Baptist Church.

Family wants proof that pastor was driving under the influence

NEOSHO, MO. - Melvin Stapp is the pastor of Monark Springs Baptist Church.  He was arrested in July and charged with driving under the influence after crossing the center line.  At Tuesday night's Neosho City Council meeting his wife argued it was raining that day and her husband could not see the line.  She wants to know why it is taking so long for toxicology results to come back on her husband.  


  Neosho Police Chief David McCracken says since the pastor failed a field sobriety test then passed a breathalyzer, he is convinced the pastor was under the influence of something.  Stapp's wife says her husband does take prescription medicines but they do not impair his driving ability.   Chief McCracken says a state backlog is why the toxicology results are taking so long and results should be back by the end of this month.

Community members speak out amid molestation charges in Lone Grove

As of Monday night an adult Sunday school leader and former teacher accused of molestation is out on bond. Now fellow members of the man’s Springer church are speaking out. Shelby Levins reports.   CARTER COUNTY, FL  – As of Monday night an adult Sunday school leader and former teacher accused of molestation is out on bond. Now fellow members of the man’s Springer church are speaking out. Shelby Levins reports.

Gary Montgomery was arrested on Friday, for allegations that he had inappropriately touched a 7-year old girl. Now he has been charged with lewd molestation of a child. But members of Montgomery's church say the court of public opinion is different from the court of law, and a man is innocent until proven guilty.   Gary Kent Montgomery, 63, stood in front of a special district judge via video conference Monday afternoon. Montgomery is charged with lewd molestation of a child. But Montgomery didn't stand alone, members of his church stood in court too, to show their support.

"I'm kind of speechless, other than he's a fine man, he's a godly man," Ken Campbell said.  Campbell was pastor of the First Southern Baptist Church in Springer when Montgomery joined almost 20 years ago. Campbell describes Montgomery as a good man who taught Agriculture at Springer Schools for 31 years and also served as chief of the Volunteer Fire Department.   "Since I've known him and especially since he's joined this church he's done as good as job as anybody I know in following the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ," Campbell explained.

Most recently Montgomery worked as an Ag assistant for Lone Grove High School. School officials declined to comment on camera, but confirmed Montgomery handed in his resignation last week, before his arrest.   Shawn Condon, the current pastor says Montgomery led adult Sunday school, and his music stand still remains part of the congregation's choir.  "Regardless of accusations in the court of public opinion the church still has a duty to minister its members," Condon explained.  According to court records Montgomery doesn't have any prior offenses. The Carter County Sheriff's office tells us the alleged molestation happened in a residence, outside of the church and school where Montgomery worked.

Church leaders say these accusations still stun the Springer community.  "I'm shocked by these allegations because I never saw any indications of anything to be alarmed about," Condon said.  "I've known him 30 years and it’s just a shock," Campbell said.   We called Gary Montgomery’s home and spoke with him over the phone. He simply said he had no comment about the allegations.  The District Attorney's office tells us Montgomery has retained an attorney, and is scheduled to be back in court next month.

Accused minister had earlier complaints  -  First reports of groping came in 2006, but the women declined to ask for arrest warrants.

Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2009

Women were complaining to police three years ago that a Bessemer City pastor was touching them inappropriately, according to Gaston County Police.  But because of a clerical mix-up, they said, he wasn't charged until two more women came forward this October.   Gaston police Capt. J.D. Ramey said there was a system breakdown and that his department in the future would keep better watch over the process "to make sure they don't slip through the cracks."

"It's one of those unfortunate situations," he told the Observer on Monday. "Under these circumstances, you have to pay more careful attention to details."   Harley Michael Keough, pastor of King James Baptist Church, was charged Friday with five counts of sexual battery, dating back to September 2006.  His first appearance in court was Monday. He asked for a court-appointed attorney, and the judge sent his case to the public defender's office.  Ramey said the current charges involve five women ages 23 to 46. They accuse the pastor of groping them as they sought assistance from the food bank run out of his church.

Ramey said Monday "there is the potential for more charges" against Keough, but he wouldn't elaborate.   The pastor, 72, couldn't be reached by the Observer on Monday. But after he was charged on Friday, Keough said he was innocent and looked forward to clearing his name in court. A check of computer court records shows Keough has no criminal record in North Carolina.  Members of his church helped post Keough's $50,000 bond, and he led Sunday morning services for a couple of dozen worshippers, according to Observer news partner, WCNC-TV.  The delay in his arrest can be traced back to how police deal with some misdemeanor crimes, Ramey said.  Many victims, after they file police reports, are asked to go to the magistrate on their own to swear out warrants. In those cases, it's up to them to follow through.  In this case:

In 2006, two women reported the pastor to police seven weeks apart. The first woman decided she did not want to go forward as "the only victim," Ramey said. The second woman was given the go-ahead to get her own warrant but did not follow through, he said.  In 2008, a third woman came forward and was also instructed to swear out a warrant, Ramey said. She followed through, but the warrant was mistakenly issued using an incorrect name and age for the accused. So the pastor was not served with a warrant or arrested, he said.  In October, two more women came forward with allegations against Keough, Ramey said. And when police discovered the three previous accusations, they re-opened those cases, he said.

11/15/2009 10:00 PM

Small Town Big Controversy

His church gained attention earlier this year when a fight inside its walls led to a baby's death. But inside the small town of Wheaton, Minnesota, people have known pastor Danny Barnes and the controversy that surrounds him much longer than that.  "I support him with all my heart," Steve Willborn said.  "In my opinion he's a con of one kind. He's a convict or a conman and a conman pretty good," Steve Boehmlehner said.  Barnes served as pastor for Thy Kingdom Come Church in Wheaton. His ministry in the town went on five years. But in September one man attacked another inside his church with a baseball bat according to police and inadvertently hit 14-month-old Aundrea Brownlow in the process, killing her.

After that, large financial supporters of the church left. With funds running out, its lights are off now, and Barnes says he got a ministry job in the Twin Cities.  But he doesn't rule out a return to Wheaton in the future either. Whether or not he returns to the town to live, he'll always have five years in the city marked with controversy.  "I think I'm doing a good job and I guess God will decide that, not you or Wheaton or nobody," Barnes said.  Those who argue he's not doing a good job have legal arguments to use. His run-ins with the law since living in Wheaton have been numerous and include assault, disorderly conduct and more. Barnes argues he's just doing the right thing.

"If you witness something wrong that's taking place, you have every right to address it. And you can use reasonable and necessary force to stop it," Barnes said.  Barnes is currently being charged with burglary and kidnapping in Minnesota's Big Stone County.  According to court papers, a group of men broke a door and window when entering a house in Beardsley, Minnesota with a gun, pinning down a person inside and leaving with another person.   Barnes admits he was there and justifies entering the house saying he was saving the young man he’s accused of kidnapping from what he says was a destructive drug situation.

"If the house is on fire and there's a three-year-old in the upstairs room and you've got to kick in the door to get the three year old out of the house that's on fire, did you enter the house unlawfully?" Barnes said.  If Barnes serves time for those actions, he says he'll be happy to do it if that's what it takes to rescue a member of his flock.  But Barnes also faces charges of assaulting a police officer. In that case, court papers say Barnes ran into the officer and head-butted him. Barnes had given them a tip about a man with a warrant out for his arrest and the officer told that man where the information came from.

"Yes, I was irate about it but when I stepped off the curb and stepped toward Jason Berning, it was not my intention to assault him," Barnes said.  Barnes said he was trying to divert attention away from the person who had given him the information he passed on to police.   Patrick Settle used to go to Barnes' church and says many of the pastor’s actions are not justified.  "I wouldn't recommend to anybody going there or dealing with him," Settle said.  Settle had been in jail after getting in trouble for drugs. He heard about Barnes, gave him a call and the pastor picked him up and brought him to Wheaton when he got out.

Settle says he's clean now and credits Barnes in part for that but also says he witnessed Barnes assaulting people.  "I'm thankful for the help he gave me. But I'm not thankful for the things he did in front of me or how he preached about God and this and that and then turned around and did the complete opposite things. You know, I can't be thankful for those," Settle said.   But Jennifer Zamilpa is thankful for Barnes. She was a single Mom who had drugs in her past when she moved to Wheaton. She says she relapsed after being sober about four and a half years but Barnes was there to help her.  "He believes in restoration of families and wanted the best possible thing for me and the kids and set us up in a home and ministered," Zamilpa said.

She can list other people helped by Barnes too and says some of those are people others wouldn’t help.  But when faced with the question of whether their community is better off with or without Barnes, many would disagree with Zamilpa.  "Way things have been going lately, without him. If it was the way he originally came where it looked like he was maybe going to help a few people out and get people straightened out, might have been a good deal. But not anymore," Boehmlehner said.  Barnes says people in Wheaton don't like that he's desegregated the town. Steve Boehmlehner has lived in the area all his life and says it's not the color of anyone's skin he looks at but their actions.

Barnes has brought people to Wheaton with a criminal past, and some of them continue with crime in the small town as well. Two men arrested in connection with that fight in the church that killed the 14-month-old were not Wheaton natives.  "They just live by a different set of rules or no rules and that definitely brings us problems. Problems for the law enforcement, problems for just the city of Wheaton," Boehmlehner said.  But Barnes argues his ministry's bringing people to town has benefited the community. For one, it brings more students into a small-town school.  Those who support him see benefit too.

"I think people hear half of the story," Zamilpa said. "People see what they want to see. They don't see the in depths of lives that have actually been touched and changed."  Even if Barnes doesn't come back to Wheaton as a pastor, he won't be a stranger to the area as court cases he's involved with remain open.

A Dothan, TX,  preacher and volunteer chaplain with the Houston County Sheriff's Office faces charges of having sexual contact with a 15-year-old girl.  The news comes as a shock to the sheriff.  Authorities say a late evening phone call and a confession led to the arrest of 53-year-old Curtis Grant.  "Curtis Grant is a pastor of Open Door Baptist Church here in Dothan and a volunteer chaplain for the Houston County Sheriff's and a former volunteer chaplain for the Dothan Police Dept." said Houston County Sheriff Andy Hughes.  Friday, the Houston County Sheriff's office charged Pastor Curtis Grant with one count of second degree rape, five counts of sodomy and five counts of enticing a child for immoral purposes.  "Grant actually called me at home last night and confessed to me what he had done," said Sheriff Hughes.

Shortly after that phone call, Sheriff Hughes had grant questioned and arrested.  "He did assist us in making death notifications he ministered to our staff here at the sheriff's office,"  Sheriff Andy Hughes says he was blindsided by the news.  "I was very angered very saddened by this news when you've got a person whose in a position of public trust in two different arenas actually in the clergy and as a volunteer with the sheriff's office here,"  Sheriff Hughes says the sexual contact between the 15-year-old victim and Pastor Grant was consensual but under Alabama law a minor must be 16 before having consensual sex with an adult.  "If she was 16 it still could have been a crime it would have been contributing to the delinquency of a minor and that would have been something the parents would have followed up on and been able to press charges,"

Sheriff Hughes says he doesn't care who you are, if you're breaking the law, your days are numbered. "I don't care if you're an employee of the sheriff's office or what if you commit a crime we're going investigate it we're going to prosecute you and we're going to put you in jail," Grant is being held in the Houston County Jail on a $65,000 bond.

Youth Pastor Accused Of Sexually Assaulting 2 Teens

Nov. 16, 2009

A former youth pastor at a Parma church was indicted Friday in connection with the sexual assaults of two teens who attended the church.  Joshua O'Bannion, 25, was indicted on four counts of sexually battery and three counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor.  Police said that between January and December 2008, O'Bannion sexually assaulted a 14-year-old female and a 15-year-old female in and outside of First United Pentecostal Church.  The alleged victims came forward after O'Bannion was arrested in September in Arizona in connection with the sexual assault of a 14-year-old female who attended a church in Tempe, Arizona where O'Bannion was working as a youth pastor.  Arraignment is scheduled for Nov. 19.

Bond reduced for Leland man facing child sex charges

Friday, November 6, 2009

A Brunswick County District Court judge has made it easier for a Leland pastor who was arrested Tuesday on multiple child sex abuse charges to get out of jail.   District Court Judge Jerry Jolly on Friday reduced James T. Johnson's bond from $250,000 to $100,000, over objections from Assistant District Attorney Meredith Everhart. She argued that if he gets out of jail, pressure on the victim to recant her story would increase.  Johnson, 46, has been charged with three counts of indecent liberties with a child, two counts of first-degree sex offense with a child and one count of attempted first-degree rape of a child. The victim was in elementary school when the alleged incidents occurred over a three year period, Everhart said. The victim is now 13 years old.

The StarNews does not name victims in sex crime cases.  Approximately 25 church members, friends and family sat in the courtroom for Johnson's hearing, some of them wearing green and white shirts bearing the words Olive Branch. Johnson founded and is the pastor of Olive Branch Church in Leland.  Johnson's lawyer, Robert Epstein, asked all the supporters to stand to show the judge Johnson's support in the community.  He said any bond higher than $100,000 would put a hardship on Johnson and his family's defense case.

"My client very vigorously maintains his innocence," he said.   Everhart had already agreed to a lower bond of $250,000. It could have been $500,000. But when the defense attorney requested an even lower bond, she asked that it be raised to $500,000.   She said the young girl has already been getting pressure from Johnson's family members to recant her story. She told the judge Johnson's release would make that worse.  "That pressure will only intensify," she said.  Johnson has been in Brunswick County for 14 years and married for 23, Epstein said. He added that a foster grandchild, his wife's daughter and his wife's grandson also live in the home.

Johnson's sister, Sonya Genens, said after the hearing the pastor has raised nine children, none of whom were his own.  "I know he's innocent," she said.  When asked why these allegations would be made, she responded: "rebellion, defiance."  But Everhart told the judge that since Johnson's arrest was made public, she has received several calls from other congregations making similar allegations of sexual misconduct.  "I do not believe that this is a one-time offense," she said.  Epstein said there has been no hard evidence in the case and it is Johnson's word against the victim's.

"We can't be held responsible on a hearsay allegation," he said.  Kathy McKnight, wife of the church's associate pastor, said the congregation is supporting him 100 percent.  As of 2:15 p.m., Johnson was still in jail.


COGIC Bishop takes over local church, Pastor's refusal to fire music minister after rape charge led to vote

A bishop with the Church of God in Christ has assumed oversight of a local church after the pastor refused to fire a music minister charged with statutory rape.  


Ron Rolfe, who has headed the church since 2001, will remain pastor of the congregation.  Rolfe said last week that he allowed Wilson to remain in his role at the church to foster forgiveness among church members, even though COGIC has had a zero-tolerance policy on sexual misconduct since the early 1990s. The denomination adopted additional sexual abuse policies at its annual convocation in Memphis last month.  Rolfe had outlined the details of the case for members at Greater St. Mark after Wilson's arrest, but COGIC officials said they weren't made aware of the Greater St. Mark case until Saturday.

Neither Wilson nor Rolfe immediately returned calls.  The denomination has been criticized by Atlanta pastor, blogger and former COGIC member DL Foster for its handling of sexual abuse. He lists about 30 clergy accused of sexual misconduct on his Web site www.Reportcogicabuse.com .

Allowing Wilson to continue directing choir was like giving school bus keys to a drunken driver and asking him to pick up a load of children, Clohessy said.  David Brown, SNAP's state director out of Memphis, praised COGIC for taking action against the offender, but said he wished it had come sooner.  "Pastors have to be shepherds to their flocks," he said. "Their first move should have been to remove the offender. It should have happened two weeks ago."

FAMILY AND FORMER CO-WORKER SAY: Minister arrested for rape had two sides 12/04/2009

NORWALK, CT -- Sources close to the family of a Norwalk pastor accused of incest and rape say the preacher acted like a God-fearing Jekyll in public and an abusive and controlling Hyde behind closed doors.   The arrest of the Rev. Phillip Joubert shocked leaders in the religious community, who knew him as a charismatic spiritual leader, but some people close to Joubert saw a man who was divisive and selfish.  Marvin Bolden, Joubert's brother-in-law, said he believed the allegations against Joubert "right from the jump."  "No one wants justice more than myself," he said.

Joubert, 48, of 21 Lexington Ave., was charged with multiple rape-related charges, including incest by police from the 112th Precinct of the New York City Police Department on Nov. 24. No bond has been set for Joubert and he is scheduled to appear in Queens Criminal Court on Dec. 21.  Joubert, pastor of the New Light Missionary Baptist Church in Norwalk and the Community Baptist Church in Queens, N.Y., is being held at the Anna M. Kross Center on Rikers Island.  The alleged sexual misconduct took place over the summer at Joubert's home in New York City, said a source close to The Hour who has knowledge of the case. Another minor was in the house but on a different floor at the time the alleged abuse occurred, the source said.

The allegations against Joubert came to light after a report was filed with the Norwalk Police Department about an incident that occurred at the family's Lexington Avenue home, according to the source.  Joubert had allegedly beaten a minor with his fists and, when the child's mother was consoling the victim, the sexual abuse allegations came to light, the source said.  It is not known if Norwalk Police are looking into the allegations against Joubert. Sgt. Ashley Gonzalez, of the Norwalk Police Department's Youth Bureau, said he would not comment as to whether or not there is an ongoing investigation into Joubert's alleged sexual misconduct.  Joubert was arrested as he arrived at JFK International Airport in Queens after a trip to Israel, according to the source.

The Hour has also learned that authorities were investigating Joubert for other charges months before the rape allegations surfaced.  Bolden said he didn't see anything that would indicate that Joubert was physically abusive during the time he spent with the pastor. However, Joubert displayed certain characteristics that led Bolden to distance himself from New Light Ministries.  "I try to love everyone but I was not fond of that guy at all," he said. Bolden said he sought a deeper understanding of spirituality from Joubert but ended up feeling like his teacher was a selfish hypocrite. The way Joubert spoke about women made Bolden feel uncomfortable and Bolden felt that Joubert used weak-willed parishioners to fulfill his selfish needs.

"I was under the tutelage of him for a while until I saw this was a guy I didn't want to be under in any way shape or form," he said. "I think he loves no one. I think he wants to use anyone he sees."  Anthony McCoy saw both sides of Joubert during his time at New Light but he still had trouble digesting the allegations against his former church leader.  "I was completely floored when I saw the article (in The Hour)," said McCoy. "When I saw the word incest, it floored me even more. I was in total disbelief. I knew it was a matter of time before somebody said something about him but I never thought it would be a child."  McCoy joined New Light when Joubert first established the ministry. He said Joubert was a compelling teacher and pastor but he soon became disillusioned with the church leader.

"He was excellent at leading a congregation and I can't take that away from him," he said. "He definitely had an upside but he had a flipside."  Joubert had a controlling demeanor and wanted to know where his clergy members were at all times, according to McCoy.  He left the church over a decade ago after a meeting with 13 church officials at which Joubert and others hurled abuse at McCoy and only one person stuck up for him.  "(Joubert) basically brought me into a room and they proceeded to tell me everything that they didn't like about me," he said.  McCoy gave the church a formal letter of resignation and he said that Joubert subsequently told him that he would "never preach in Norwalk again."

Upon hearing the allegations, McCoy was reminded about a sermon that Joubert gave regarding the Prodigal Son. It was titled "Gone too far, Stayed too long."  "My prayer and desire for him is that he gets his heart right," McCoy said. "He's a human. It's my job as a minister to have compassion for everyone, no matter what they've done."

Clergyman faces additional charges in Mahwah

Dec. 4, 2009

MAHWAH, NJ — An assistant pastor arrested this week on charges of sexually assaulting an underage girl six years ago faces additional charges after a second woman came forward with similar allegations of abuse, authorities said Thursday.  Curtis Franklin has been the assistant pastor at the Mahwah Full Gospel Church since June. He was taken into custody on Monday after a woman told authorities that he had engaged in "inappropriate sexual conduct" with her on at least three occasions about six years ago, said John L. Molinelli, Bergen County prosecutor.  At the time, Franklin, 44, of Mahwah, was a volunteer at a church-sponsored youth ministry. The woman, now an adult, was under age 16, Molinelli said.

Franklin was released after posting $75,000 bail. Police arrested him again on Wednesday, a day after the second woman came forward.  The woman told authorities that Franklin sexually assaulted her over a period of more than four years, from the time she was 12 until she was 16, while Franklin was a youth ministry volunteer.  Franklin is the son-in-law of the church's pastor, the Rev. Jack Walker. Walker declined to comment on Thursday.  Franklin now faces three counts of sexual assault and two counts each of criminal sexual contact and endangering the welfare of a child. He was being held at Mahwah police headquarters on Thursday, with bail set at $150,000.

Police: Pastor's wife convinced 5-year-old girl to participate in sex acts with husband

December 04, 2009 9:23 AM

A fugitive Gaston County pastor wanted on child rape charges faces new allegations of sexually abusing a 5-year-old girl.  Police say 46-year-old Robert Lee Adams molested the girl more than a decade ago. Adams’ wife, 43-year-old Teresa Gilreath Adams, is accused of convincing the girl to engage in sex acts with her husband.  “Mr. Adams informed Mrs. Adams to have the victim conduct some activity, and at her urging, the victim participated,” said Capt. Joe Ramey of the Gaston County Police Department. “She encouraged the victim to participate in an act that led to these charges.”

Teresa Adams of 1407 Old Spencer Mountain Road, Dallas, was arrested Thursday on a charge of felony aiding and abetting. Robert Adams, whose last known address is 1319 Rosewood Drive, Dallas, has been on the run for more than nine months.  Police say Robert Adams was the pastor of Mount Calvary Tabernacle in west Gastonia before he fled the area.  Teresa Adams was booked in the Gaston County Jail under a $35,000 secured bond. She has refused to help detectives locate her husband, Ramey said.  “She is not willing to provide information as to her husband’s whereabouts,” he said. “She has not been helpful at all.”

The alleged sexual abuse took place between Jan. 1 and March 30 of 1998. Ramey said the accuser came forward after learning that Robert Adams was wanted on other child rape and molestation charges.  Authorities learned last year that the pastor sexually abused a pre-teen girl for a span of three years that eventually led to her pregnancy, Ramey said. The girl gave birth in the summer of 2008.  Robert Adams may be traveling in a 1970s-model orange pickup truck. People have reported seeing him locally in Forest City and out-of-state in Tennessee and Texas.

News reports generated some tips, but police say they are no closer to capturing Robert Adams.  “We have received some leads and some information,” Ramey said. “None of it has panned out at this point.”  Robert Adams is charged with three counts of first-degree statutory sex offense against a child for the 1998 incident. He still faces charges of statutory rape, first-degree sex offense with a child, taking indecent liberties with a child and other sex offenses.  Police are asking that anyone with information on Adams’ whereabouts contact their local law enforcement agency. They can also call the Gaston County Police Department at 704-866-3320 or Crime Stoppers at 704-861-8000.

Fugitive pastor wanted on child sex charges found (raw video link)
December 04, 2009

Gastonia, NC--The nine-month search for a Gastonia pastor charged with raping and molesting young girls ended Friday when police found him holed up in a Lincoln County home.  Lawmen from Gaston and Lincoln counties arrested 46-year-old Robert Lee Adams shortly after 3 p.m. Authorities received an anonymous tips that Adams was staying at the house, said Gaston County Police Sgt. Myron Shelor.  “It was just a tip that came into our office — somebody called it in,” Shelor said. “We’re very appreciative to the public.”  Police arrived with Lincoln County sheriff’s deputies to find a vehicle pulling up to the house on Bynum Estates Road off N.C. 27 near the Gaston/Lincoln county line, Shelor said. Adams was a passenger in the vehicle, and he was taken into custody without incident.

Shelor said police are working to determine how long he had been staying at the home and whether the residents should face criminal charges for helping him hide.  “We’re still investigating his relationship to those people and how long he may have been staying there,” he said.  Police say Robert Adams was the pastor of Mount Calvary Tabernacle in west Gastonia before he fled the area. His last known address is 1319 Rosewood Drive, Dallas.  Adams’ capture follows the Thursday arrest of his wife, 43-year-old Teresa Gilreath Adams, on allegations that she convinced a 5-year-old girl to engage in sex acts with her husband. Teresa Adams was charged with felony aiding and abetting and jailed under a $35,000 bond.

Capt. Joe Ramey of the Gaston County Police Department said Teresa Adams was uncooperative and refused to tell police if she knew anything about her husband’s whereabouts.  Robert Adams is also giving police the silent treatment, Shelor said.   “He hasn’t been (cooperative) up to this point,” he said Friday afternoon. “He has not talked about the incidents.”  The pastor is accused of molesting a 5-year-old girl between Jan. 1 and March 30 of 1998. Ramey said the accuser came forward after learning that Robert Adams was wanted on other child rape and molestation charges.

Authorities learned last year that Robert Adams sexually abused a pre-teen girl for a span of three years that eventually led to her pregnancy, Ramey said. The girl gave birth in the summer of 2008.  He is charged with three counts of first-degree statutory sex offense against a child for the 1998 incident. He also faces charges of statutory rape, first-degree sex offense with a child, taking indecent liberties with a child and other sex offenses.

Pastor's preliminary hearing postponed

Friday, Dec 4 2009

Willows, CA  -- The preliminary hearing for the Baptist pastor charged with sexually assaulting two children from his congregation was rescheduled this week.   The Rev. Carlton F. Hammonds 56, of the Willows Baptist Church on Tehama Street, has pleaded not guilty to four felony charges of sexual assault against two minors, though prosecutors have said Hammonds reportedly victimized "many" more from his congregation.  Hammonds was arrested Nov. 20 outside his church by Glenn County Sheriff's deputies after nearly a three-year investigation. He posted a $100,000 bail bond Thanksgiving Day and was released.

A preliminary hearing scheduled for Jan. 9 was postponed Wednesday in Superior Court after Hammonds said he planned to retain a private attorney. His court-appointed attorney, Albert Smith, will be replaced by a still unnamed attorney at Hammonds next court appearance Jan. 15, a court spokeswoman confirmed.

Former Minister Charged With Possessing Child Porn

Thu Dec 3 09

Authorities say 60-year-old David Ray Gray, 60 was arrested on the charge last week. The Scurry resident was the Music Minister at a Mt. Olive Baptist Church in Kaufman County until recently. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents visited his residence in early November after getting a tip that someone at the home was purchasing subscriptions to a child pornography website via the Internet. Authorities say Gray voluntarily stated that he had viewed and downloaded child pornography pictures onto his personal computers and admitted to purchasing a 30-day subscription to a child porn site. A search of his home computer and his church office computer both revealed images of child pornography.

Pastor Keith Pettis arrested

It’s been a long week for me. Work demands my full attention. I’ve neglected to mention a few pastors who have joined the ranks of Hypocrisy Watch. Take Pastor Keith Pettis of New Life Christian Center in Lowell. He was arrested back in August on a slew of child sex charges, including statutory tape of a 12-year-old girl.  Pettis has strong support from his church.  

“We do not care what the naysayers say,” Montgomery said. “We are here to do one thing: To support him irregardless of what the outcome is.”

The most disturbing news is that he is still the church pastor and leads worship services.

“This is my brother, not only by nature, but by spirit,” he said. “My spirit tells me innocence, and that’s what I’m fighting for.”

What a crock of shit. My spirit tells me… my spirit tells me nothing, my intellect tells me to follow the evidence. So far, it looks like Pettis needs his day in court followed by 30 years in prison.  Just to be clear, this is what Pastor Pettis stands accused of:

Pettis is accused of sexually abusing a 12-year-old girl in his home in August 2006 by performing a sex act on her. He allegedly sexually abused her again on Sept. 1, 2008, and Sept. 20, 2008, then forced her to perform a sex act on him on Feb. 1 of this year.  Pettis also sexually abused the girl on March 15, according to arrest warrants. He was charged with three counts each of sex offense and statutory rape/sex offense and one count each of first-degree sex offense with a child, attempted sex offense and taking indecent liberties with a child.

And yet, his parishioners dare to compare him to OJ.  Does everything come down to race? I think it all comes down to religion.  LOWELL, NC  -- Members of a Gaston county church are vowing to support their pastor after he was accused of sexually abusing a 12-year-old girl.  Keith Pettis, pastor of New Life Christian Center, was arrested in August on several charges, including statutory rape, taking indecent liberties with a child, and first-degree sex offense with a child.  The girl, now 14 and living in another N.C. town, said the abuse started in August 2006 and continued until March of this year, according to Gaston County Police.

Pettis, 42, was surrounded by parishioners and his family Tuesday evening as the church held a rally for their spiritual leader. "I believe in his innocence," said Michelle Brown, one of about 40 supporters who attended the rally. "I don't believe that he did this."  Pettis, who was released on $50,000 bond after his arrest, is due in court on Thursday. He declined to speak with reporters Tuesday evening.  His older brother, Winifred Pettis, said the church saw a drop in attendance immediately after the pastor's arrest but more worshipers now attend weekly services.  "I'm his brother. I know his character," the elder Pettis said. "I raised him, that's not in him."

Pastor Arrested for Raping Teen -- Thursday, 03 December 2009 1:52PM

NEW YORK (AP)  -- New York City police say a minister has been arrested on charges of raping a teenage relative.     
The Rev. Dr. Phillip Charles Joubert Sr. was charged last month after the victim came forward to police. He pleaded not guilty last week in a Queens court on first-degree rape and other charges and was held without bail. His lawyer has no comment.  The victim told police the 48-year-old minister raped her on July 30. She reported it months later to the 112th precinct in Queens, not far from his Community Baptist Church. He is also pastor of the New Light Missionary Baptist Church in Norwalk, Conn.  A person who answered at the Queens church refused to comment. The number at the other church was disconnected and no one answered at his home.

North Carolina Church Members Rally Behind Pastor Charged with Child Sex Crimes 

Gastonia, NC -- Keith Pettis bowed his head as the congregation he led in song and Scripture clustered around him in fervent prayer.   About 30 people attended a Tuesday night justice rally for Pettis, the pastor of New Life Church who is accused of molesting a 12-year-old girl. The Rev. Troy Montgomery made an emotional plea for support, his baritone barks rattling the small sanctuary at Pettis' 128 Robbins St. church.  "We do not care what the naysayers say," Montgomery said. "We are here to do one thing: To support him irregardless of what the outcome is."   Civil rights activist John C. Barnette of True Healing Under God Ministries spoke for more than an hour, urging those in attendance to suspend judgment and stand beside the embattled pastor.

Barnette wants at least 42 people dressed in black to attend the 42-year-old's trial. He also asked for the support of nine pastors -- one for each criminal charge Pettis faces.   Pettis, of 8604 Catawba Cove Drive outside Belmont, was arrested Aug. 21. He is accused of sexually abusing the 12-year-old girl in August 2006 and September 2008, fondling her on Sept. 20, 2008, and forcing her to perform a sex act on him on Feb. 1 of this year, according to arrest warrants.   He was charged with three counts each of sex offense and statutory rape/sex offense and one count each of first-degree sex offense with a child, attempted sex offense and taking indecent liberties with a child.

Pettis was released Aug. 21 on a $50,000 secured bond, according to detention officers at the Gaston County Jail.  A probable cause hearing had been scheduled, but was canceled because Pettis was indicted by a Gaston County grand jury, said District Attorney Locke Bell. Pettis’ trial date has not been set.  Pettis has been behind the pulpit for 15 years, Barnette said. He continues to work as New Life Church’s pastor and leads Sunday worship services.  Barnette said he and Pettis were boyhood friends in South Carolina. He believes the pastor has been falsely accused.

“This is my brother, not only by nature, but by spirit,” he said. “My spirit tells me innocence, and that’s what I’m fighting for.”  Relatives and church members should support Pettis even if they entertain doubt about his innocence, Barnette said. He compared the pastor to O.J. Simpson, who was acquitted of the murder of ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman in a controversial 1995 verdict, but later held responsible for the killings in a wrongful death civil suit.  Barnette believes Pettis will be exonerated, but he said the community should support him regardless of his trial’s outcome.

“What if he is guilty?” Barnette said. “The truth of the matter is we’ve still got to pray, pastors of Gaston County. We’ve still got to raise him up.”  Pettis did not speak during the rally and did not answer questions afterward on the advice of his attorney, Larry Hoyle.  Montgomery, the pastor of House of Shammah on U.S. 321 South, said fellow Christians shouldn’t pass judgment on Pettis.  “We will not bite and devour our own,” he said. “I believe it is time for us to come together and support him irregardless of what you think. I believe that at the end, the truth will be revealed.”

Kaufman County church music director resigns after child porn found  Dec. 3, 2009

TX - A 60-year-old music director at a Kaufman County Baptist church resigned after authorities found child pornography on his home and church computer, authorities said Wednesday.  David Ray Gray of Scurry, music director at Mt. Olive Baptist Church for about five years when he resigned last month, told agents he had been looking at child porn for 30 years, officials say.  Gray declined to comment Wednesday. He was released on bail earlier in the day after his arrest by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents Monday.  "It bothers me that he was a trusted staff member doing this at his home and at the church," Baggett said.  He said he knew of no complaints from anyone at the church about Gray. "It's very surprising," Baggett said.  Two other men were sentenced in unrelated child porn cases Wednesday. Both will be on supervised release for life after they finish their sentences.  Jerry Lee Shelton, 42, of Royse City, Texas, received more than eight years in prison. In November 2008, Shelton's girlfriend called police to report that he had assaulted her when she found him looking at child porn on the computer. ICE agents found more than 1,000 illegal images.

Mt. Olive's pastor, Garris Baggett, said Gray did not work with children as part of his job directing the adult choir and overseeing the church's music during services. Baggett said Gray did not work with the children's choir or ministry, other than volunteering to help with vacation Bible school two years ago.

According to a criminal complaint, Gray purchased two subscriptions to child porn Web sites in late 2006. It's unclear why there was a delay, but on Nov. 3, ICE agents went to Gray's home and confronted him. He admitted buying child porn, which agents found on his home and church computers. After gathering more information, agents arrested him three weeks later.

Jeffrey Keith Hill, 33, of Richardson received 10 years in prison after U.S. Secret Service agents found more than 600 images of child pornography at Hill's home during a search in February 2008.

Pastor's Wife is Arrested for Murder

Seaford Youth Pastor Arrested

A popular York County youth pastor has been arrested on charges of taking indecent liberties with a child and contributing to the delinquency of a child.  Reverend Jack Duffer, an associate pastor and youth minister at Seaford Baptist Church, was taken into custody this morning. He’s being held without bond at the Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail, with a hearing scheduled in York – Poquoson Circuit Court Friday morning.  According to York Sheriff's Office Sgt. Dennis Ivey Jr., Duffer was arrested without incident this morning at his home in the 1300 block of Seaford Road.

The charges stem from an incident that occurred between July 24 and August 8 that Ivey described as a consensual sexual encounter with a known female juvenile at a residence in York County.  Duffer, 40, began as the church's youth minster in January 2008, coming to Virginia from a Baptist church in Honolulu, Hawaii.  "We are saddened and disappointed by the recent arrest of our youth pastor," said Seaford Baptist Transitional Pastor Gene Cornett.  "As soon as we heard that he was under investigation, he was immediately suspended as a pastor and has been told that he is prohibited from having any further contact with our youth. We take the safety of our children very seriously, and make every effort to create a safe and nurturing environment for them."  According to the Seaford Baptist website, Duffer has been involved in Christian ministry for 17 years. He last preached to the congregation on Sunday, Aug. 2, with a message about tithing.

COGIC Minister Arrested for Raping 16 year old Girl Allowed to Stay in Pulpit

Memphis, TN, This morning I read a story on the Gay Christian Movement website hosted by DL Foster. “The Memphis Commercial Appeal broke the story yesterday. Minister Dwayne Wilson of the St Mark COGIC (Church of God in Christ) in Memphis was arrested and charged with statutory rape of a 16 year female member of the church’s choir where he served as music minister.” If that is not egregious enough the pastor has refused to remove him from his position in the church. Ronald Rolfe, the church’s pastor refused to remove Wilson from his position saying that the Bible calls for us to love and forgive. “The word of God teaches us to forgive and to pray,” said Rolfe. “The best thing I can do as a clergyman is to extend God’s hands of forgiveness.” As a Christian I believe in forgiveness and judge ye not that you be not judged, but in this case the girl’s father chased the alleged rapist out of his house and he subsequently hid from the police. If nothing else this guy needs to be silent until this matter is adjudicated. “The girl’s father said he and his wife found a man in their daughter’s bed at about 1:45 a.m. on Nov. 17. The man fled but was arrested soon after by police. Officers found his keys in the bedroom and Wilson lying on the floor of a Toyota parked down the block, according to the police affidavit. The teenager told officers that she had sent Wilson a text message earlier that evening inviting him to sneak into the house, the report stated.” There are all kinds of people in the church and everyone that claims to be saved is not if what is alleged proves to be factual this guy will do jail time and to have a pastor refuse to sit him down might not be criminal, but it is wrong and if I were a member I would be looking for a new church home.

Youth minister arrested for sexual battery  Nov. 12, 2009

The head of a group aimed at helping at-risk youth in Marion County has been arrested on two counts of sexual battery. Byron Alston runs an organization called Save the Youth Ministries

Tennessee Youth Minister Rapes Young Boys  11-15-09

A Rutherford County, TN man is accused of raping two boys he met while volunteering at a local church, according to arrest warrants on file at the Rutherford County Judicial Building.  Matthew M. Jernigan, 23, faces two counts of child rape, two counts of aggravated sexual battery and two counts of aggravated sexual battery by an authority figure following an investigation by Rutherford County Sheriff’s Detective Jim Tramel.  According to warrants taken out by the detective, Jernigan performed oral sex and other lewd acts on at least two boys who were less than 13 years old. He met the boys while performing his duties as a youth ministry volunteer at Heartland Baptist Church, located on East Jefferson Pike.

Music minister charged with rape of girl, 16

Pastor cites forgiveness, lets accused remain in his job

The music minister of a local Church of God in Christ congregation remains in his post after being charged with statutory rape involving a 16-year-old choir member.  Dwayne "DJ" Wilson, 25, who works at Greater St. Mark Church in Southwest Memphis, was arrested Nov. 17.   The denomination has had a no-tolerance policy toward sexual misconduct since 1992, and COGIC members adopted additional policies earlier this month after Atlanta pastor, blogger and former member DL Foster started reportcogicabuse.com — a Web site that lists about 30 COGIC clergy accused or convicted of sexual abuse.

Ronald Rolfe, pastor of Greater St. Mark, said Saturday that he allowed Wilson to remain in his role at the church to foster forgiveness in church members.  "The word of God teaches us to forgive and to pray," said Rolfe. "The best thing I can do as a clergyman is to extend God's hands of forgiveness."   COGIC leadership declined comment through spokeswoman Deidre Malone until they had more information about the case.  According to the girl's father, Wilson first became involved with the girl in February when she was 15 and singing in the choir.

"There's so much sexual misconduct going on in COGIC right now, and he's right in the middle of it," the girl's father said. "It's out of control."  The Commercial Appeal does not identify alleged victims of sexual assault. In order to protect the young woman, her father will not be named.  He said he and his wife found a man in their daughter's bed at about 1:45 a.m. on Nov. 17. The man fled but was arrested soon after by police. Officers found his keys in the bedroom and Wilson lying on the floor of a Toyota parked down the block, according to the police affidavit.

The teenager told officers that she had sent Wilson a text message earlier that evening inviting him to sneak into the house, the report stated.  Wilson is free on $30,000 bond. A reporter was unable to reach him Saturday night.  Pastor Rolfe said Wilson made "poor choices," but that it wasn't his place to condemn.  But the girl's father said that Rolfe, as the "shepherd of the flock," had a duty to protect church members and remove Wilson from his position.   "The Bible does teach us to forgive," he said, "but when you break the law of the land, you have a debt to pay."  Several church members, including choir member Ollie Fisher, said they felt "betrayed" and were considering leaving the church because of Wilson's actions and Rolfe's response.  "I want to be sure that no other children will be taken advantage of," Fisher said. "I don't want to be going back to that church."

Saturday, November 14, 2009

TEXARKANA, Ark. — Evangelist Tony Alamo used his stature as a self-proclaimed prophet to force underage girls into sham marriages with him, controlling his followers with their fears of eternal suffering.    But the judge who sentenced Alamo on Friday to 175 years in prison for child sexual abuse warned of another kind of justice awaiting the aging evangelist.   "Mr. Alamo, one day you will face a higher and a greater judge than me," U.S. District Judge Harry F. Barnes told the preacher. "May he have mercy on your soul."   Barnes leveled the maximum sentence against the 75-year-old, who preyed on followers' young daughters and took child "brides" as young as age 8. A jury convicted Alamo in July on a 10-count indictment accusing him of taking the girls across state lines for sex.

Alamo, who has made millions through his ministry, also must pay $250,000 in fines. He will return to court for a Jan. 13 hearing at which Barnes will determine if the five women who testified about their sexual abuse will be paid restitution. Federal prosecutors say an expert believes each one should get $2.7 million for the physical and mental abuse they endured.   Barnes said Alamo used his influence as both a father figure and a pastor to force himself upon impressionable girls who feared "the loss of their salvation."  "You are described by others who testified as a prophet of God, a person of trust, a person of supreme authority in the church," Barnes said, staring the pale preacher. "It's hard to imagine the scenario and the damage that occurred to these five young girls."

Alamo, who had muttered and cursed through his two-week trial, stood silently during the sentencing, dressed in a yellow prison uniform and a blue windbreaker. Before Barnes' ruling, Alamo told the judge: "I lean on the lord Jesus Christ."   "I'm glad I'm me and not the deceived people in the world," the evangelist said.   Alamo's defense team, which had asked for leniency due to the preacher's age and poor health, promised to appeal Barnes' ruling.  FBI agents and Arkansas State Police troopers raided Alamo's compound in nearby Fouke in September 2008. The FBI arrested Alamo five days later in Flagstaff, Ariz., charging him with violating the Mann Act, a century-old morality law originally aimed at stopping women from being sold into prostitution.

Five women, age 17 to 33, testified in July that Alamo "married" them in private ceremonies while they were minors, sometimes giving them rings. Each detailed trips beyond Arkansas' borders for Alamo's sexual gratification.   With little physical evidence, prosecutors relied on the women's stories to paint an emotional portrait of a charismatic religious leader who controlled every aspect of his subjects' lives. The women said Alamo ordered beatings or punitive fasts for minor infractions or at the whim of his paranoia.  Defense lawyers said the government targeted Alamo because it disapproves of his apocalyptic brand of Christianity. Alamo never testified at trial, but spoke to Barnes twice during the hearing Friday. He first told the judge he thought his defense team provided him adequate legal help, though he wanted them to harshly cross-examine the women to show "that the people who were testifying against me were lying."

My lawyers "did prove that I never took girls out of state to have sex with them," Alamo said.   Three of the five victims spoke in court Friday about how Alamo stole their childhoods and tore apart their families to satisfy his sexual perversions. One woman Alamo took as a child "bride" at age 8 described how she shook uncontrollably when he first molested her.  "You have the audacity to ask for mercy," the woman said, looking up from her handwritten notes to stare at Alamo. "What mercy did you show us?"  The evangelist's lawyers pleaded for a lower sentence because of his age and infirmities. They called as witnesses two followers and a doctor, who discussed how Alamo suffered from hypertension, diabetes, obesity and glaucoma. However, Dr. Samuel Berkman acknowledged under cross-examination that he examined Alamo only once in 2004, as the preacher sought an eye lift to look younger.

"There's no question he's done a lot of good," said Don Ervin, a Houston lawyer who led Alamo's defense, outlining the church's efforts to reach the poor. "He's an unusual man and an unusually great man."  Assistant U.S. Attorney Kyra Jenner said after the hearing that prosecutors would work with the federal prison system to ensure Alamo can't control his ministry and its many businesses from behind bars. At trial, one of the victims described how Alamo "married" and groped her during a prison visit.  How long Alamo remains an influence depends on whether police or former followers dismantle the ministry through lawsuits and criminal cases. The FBI declined to say Friday whether it had ongoing investigations involving the ministry.

As Alamo left the courthouse, he said he would leave to his church's future in other hands.  "The Lord is in charge," the preacher said.


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Pastor charged with groping women at church food bank Police say the pastor of a Bessemer City church fondled at least five women who asked for groceries from the church’s food bank.  Harley Michael Keough, 72, of 307 S. 12th St., Bessemer City, was arrested Friday on five counts of sexual battery. Keough is the pastor of King James Baptist Church at 100 E. Georgia Ave.  “I think anyone who would go into a food bank or a church facility or any other institution of trust and have something like this occur would be surprised and horrified,” said Gaston County Police Capt. Joe Ramey.
Keough tried to place his hand down a 23-year-old woman’s pants and touched her breast on Oct. 19, according to an arrest warrant. He also placed his hand down a 25-year-old woman’s pants the same day, another warrant states.

On Nov. 18, 2008, the pastor allegedly grabbed a woman’s hand, placed it against his genitals and rubbed it against his hip and buttocks. He put his hand down a 35-year-old woman’s pants on Nov. 13, 2006, according to a warrant affidavit.   Keough touched a 46-year-old woman’s breast, grabbed her buttocks and tried to kiss her on the lips in September 2006, another affidavit states.  Police have interviewed the five alleged victims and presented their case to the District Attorney’s Office before filing charges, Ramey said.  Sexual battery is a Class A1 misdemeanor and is defined as engaging in sexual contact “by force and against the will of the other person” or when that person is incapacitated or mentally disabled. The charge usually involves unwelcome touching.

A woman who answered the phone at King James Baptist Church Friday evening said she believes the accusations against her pastor are false. She referred questions to a deacon, who declined to give his name and said the church has no comment.  The 30-person congregation is known as a hunger ministry powerhouse in Gaston County. King James feeds 130 families every week, storing donated food in a large building behind the church equipped with 17 freezers. A former sous chef, Keough prepared Christmas dinner for needy residents last year.   Keough told The Gazette for an April 2008 story that he became pastor of the church in 1999 and receives no salary.  He was booked in the Gaston County Jail under a $50,000 secured bond.

Local men arrested on federal drug charges  Nov 17, 2009 


CRITTENDEN COUNTY, KY - A community is reacting to a local pastor arrested on federal drug charges.  The man was one of three men arrested and charged in connection with a marijuana-growing operation.  A federal grand jury indicted the men November 9 and the arrests happened this week. All three live in Crittenden County, Kentucky and face charges of conspiracy to manufacture marijuana. Federal prosecutors said the men grew marijuana beginning this spring to last month and had 394 plants  Investigators arrested 57-year-old Alvin "Nicky" Davis, 37-year-old Carl "C.J." Belt and 67-year-old Charles "Bobby" Blackburn (pictured left to right in photo). Davis was a pastor at a church in Webster County, Kentucky.

A WPSD Local 6 crew spoke with a number of people in the Crittenden County community who said Alvin Davis is every well known, mainly because of his role as a pastor. While he was pastor of a church in Webster County he also was pastor of Marion General Baptist in Marion at one time.  Don Cruce who lives in the area said word of the arrests is travelling quickly through town.  "Well, it doesn't happen everyday so I think it's a little bit troublesome. I'm surprised it doesn't happen more often in today's modern society but that's just the way it is," Cruce said. "A person doesn't like to see that kind of thing, I don't think so. It's a little troublesome."  Investigators said Pastor Davis also owned a building in Marion, Kentucky where they harvested the plants. If the men are convicted the maximum penalty is 40 years in prison with a minimum term of five years, a $2 million fine and supervised release of at least four years and up to life.


PADUCAH, KY - A federal grand jury in Paducah returned an indictment on November 9, 2009, against Alvin Nicholas Davis a/k/a Nicky, age 57 who was a pastor at a Webster County church, Charles Robert Blackburn a/k/a Bobby, age 67 and Carl Russell Belt, Jr. a/k/a C.J., age 37, all of Crittenden County, on charges of conspiracy to manufacture marijuana , United States Attorney Candace G. Hill of the Western District of Kentucky announced today.  The Indictment alleges that in or about and between Spring 2009 and October, 2009, Davis, Blackburn and Belt knowingly conspired together and with other persons known and unknown to the grand jury to knowingly and intentionally manufacture 100 or more marijuana plants in Crittenden County, Kentucky, and elsewhere. In addition, the Indictment also seeks forfeiture of a building and property owned by Davis in Marion, Kentucky where harvested marijuana was found.

In the event of a conviction, the maximum potential penalties are 40 years' imprisonment with a mandatory minimum term of 5 years' imprisonment, a $2,000,000 fine, and supervised release for a period of at least 4 years and up to life.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michele Thielhorn, and it was investigated by the Kentucky State Police with the assistance of the Crittenden County Sheriff's Department. The indictment of a person by a Grand Jury is an accusation only and that person is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.


Willows pastor arrested for alleged sexual assaults on a minor   11/24/2009 

WILLOWS , CA -- A pastor at Willows Baptist Church has been arrested on a warrant alleging he sexually molested a girl numerous times over a four-year period.  According to a press release, the victim was either 14 or 15 when the alleged crimes began. She reported them in September 2007.   Carlton Farnsworth Hammonds, 56, was taken into custody Friday at his church on North Tehama Street on suspicion of committing lewd and lascivious acts with a minor and sexual battery.   His bail at the Glenn County Jail in Willows was set at $100,000.

The victim reported that Hammonds touched her inappropriately on several occasions, and sexually molested her during an overnight stay.  The locations of the alleged molestations weren't released by officials.  In a national church directory, Willows Baptist is listed as an independent church.  A secretary reached at the church Monday afternoon politely declined to comment.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Pastor Arrested For Sexual Harassment

Isaac Tetteh, the Head Pastor the Pre-Gospel Foundation Ministry at Lebanon, a suburb of Ashaiman, has been arrested by the Ashaiman police for sexually harassing a certain Juliana Doe, a married woman, as well as issuing death threats to some of his followers.  His action did not go down well with the married woman, compelling her to report the matter to the police, after her complaint to the Pentecostal Churches Council went unaddressed. He was subsequently arraigned before the Ashaiman Circuit Court where the case is being tried for the offences he was accused of committing.

Persecuting, Chief Inspector Daniel O. Nortey narrated to the court that the complainant, Juliana Doe, Hannah Doe and Elizabeth Padi, were all fellowshipping at the same ministry where the pastor is the overseer. He indicated that in March 2009, the first complainant got married to her husband and the wedding was officiated by the accused in this church, adding that a few weeks after the marriage ceremony, Juliana Doe’s husband travelled to Kuwait where he was domiciled.  Chief Inspector Nortey told the court that soon after the departure of the complaint’s husband, the accused started demanding sex from her but she turned him down. Continuing with his narration, Chief Inspector Nortey disclosed that the accused kept on harassing his victim till she reportedly got fed up and revealed the accused person’s indecent behavior to the whole congregation and some senior members of the Pentecostal Churches Council.

As a result, all three complaints and some members of the church, including the accused person, were invited to a meeting by the members of the Pentecostal Churches Council, with a view to settling the matter amicably; a situation the prosecutor explained did not end well. The pastor, who was perhaps not happy about the complaints’ actions, started threatening them that they were going to die before the end of December 2009. He noted that the complainant, who felt threatened, made a report to the police and the accused was arrested, but he denied the allegations during interrogations.
He pleaded not guilty to the charges and was granted bail in a sum of GH¢10,000 by the Ashaiman Circuit Court presided Over by Mr. Seyeram Yao Azumah. The case has been adjourned to be heard on a later date.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Salinas Youth Leader Arrested for Child Molestation

SALINAS, Calif- According to the Salinas police, an 11-year-old female reported a youth leader sexually assaulted her.
The youth leader, 20-year-old Eric Mendoza, had been working with Iglesia Pentecostal Nueva Vida Church for approximately a year. Mendoza was arrested and booked at the Monterey County Jail on multiple counts of child molestation. Tonight, members of the church didn't want to talk about the accusations, but pastors from nearby churches say police talked to them when the accusations surfaced over the weekend.  They did not know of Mendoza, but say it's sad to hear this would happen.

Anyone with information related to the crime or who may have been a witness/victim is encouraged to contact the Salinas Police Department. If you would like to remain anonymous, you can call the Salinas Police Department Anonymous Tip Line at 831-775-4222, or the We-Tip Line at 1-800-78-CRIME, or text information to the Text Tip Line with the code "SPD831" to "847411".


Abuse charge against worship leader rocks prominent Fla. church  Tuesday, December 01, 2009

CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. (ABP) -- A Florida Baptist church known for its sometimes-provocative efforts to entice first-time visitors is receiving unwanted attention after the arrest of a staff member on molestation charges. The Coral Springs Police Department arrested Russell Dion Lewis, 28, Nov. 21, on one count of custodial sexual battery and 10 counts of lewd and lascivious molestation. If convicted he could receive up to 15 years of prison. Police believe Lewis, a worship leader and assistant youth minister at Church by the Glades in Coral Springs, Fla., was involved in a five-month relationship with a 14-year-old female. While authorities say the acts were consensual, in Florida a 14-year-old cannot legally consent to sex.

Russell Lewis, a worship leader and youth worker at Church by the Glades in Coral Springs, Fla., is charged with sexual abuse of a 14-year-old girl. (Broward County Jail photo)

Tom Albright, executive pastor of the prominent Fort Lauderdale-area Southern Baptist church, said upon learning of the allegations church leaders immediately dismissed Lewis for "gross misconduct."  He said the church offered counseling to anyone on the staff or in the congregation needing it and is cooperating with authorities in ongoing investigations. "Recognizing it is ultimately a spiritual battle in which the church is engaged, we remain steadfast in our calling and commitment to continue to proclaim the Word of God and provide hope, healing and restoration to anyone seeking God's Grace and peace in these tough times," he said.

David Hughes, lead pastor of the 4,800-member congregation founded in 1988, interrupted a scheduled series of sermons Nov. 22 for a "family talk" with the church. "There is brokenness, anger and a lot of hurt," Hughes told worshippers at the 11:15 a.m. service. "This is an ugly story." The pastor was quoted by the Palm Beach Post. A page on the church website offering sermon podcasts had not been updated since the Nov. 15 service at the time this story was written.

Church known for unconventional outreach

Hughes, pastor of the church for 10 years, is well-known in Florida Baptist life for his unconventional outreach methods. He preached the annual sermon at the recent Florida Baptist Convention meeting, describing his church as one willing to do "anything short of sin" in order to win people to Christ. In the past the church has gotten publicity by giveaways including Hannah Montana concert tickets and a free iPhone and $15 iTunes gift cards to first-time guests promoting a particular series of teachings. Some of the promotions have been controversial. A 2007 sermon series titled "The Bare Naked Truth on Sex" was promoted with a billboard on Interstate 595 showing two pairs of feet hanging off the end of a bed. 

Another sermon series on stripping away false values described Church by the Glades as the "World's Largest Strip Club." A promotional message invited visitors to "get naked with 5,000 of your closest friends without ever taking off your clothes."  According to the Florida Baptist Witness, Hughes told convention messengers Nov. 10 that his church is provocative "because I believe heaven is real and hell is real." He described the congregation as "10 toes over the edge and the ledge" in its commitment to reach the lost. In his Nov. 22 message to the church, however, Hughes said his policy toward child abuse is zero tolerance. "We are all about forgiving," he said, "but when it comes to our children, we're pretty hard-nosed around here."

Trend in prominent churches

Church by the Glades joins a number of high-profile Southern Baptist churches to be marred by sex scandals in recent years. In 2008-2009 the SBC Executive Committee studied the feasibility of establishing an independent review board to receive and review complaints of clergy sexual abuse.  In the end convention leaders recommended against such a body, saying that Baptist church governance does not allow the denomination to intervene in affairs of a local congregation.  Christa Brown, Baptist outreach director for Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), called it a "do-nothing" approach that leaves Southern Baptist churches vulnerable to sexual predators.

In addition to preaching the annual sermon at this year's Florida Baptist Convention, Hughes was elected president-elect of the state convention's annual pastors' conference, and will lead in planning the conference's program in 2011.  Lewis, the accused molester, is a native of New Mexico. He was reportedly hired by Church of the Glades about two years ago. In a staff profile since removed from the church website, he described his greatest passions as "leading God's worship and helping others." Albright said the congregation and its leaders were "shocked and saddened" by news about alleged "impropriety and criminal action" by a member of the staff. "We are deeply sorry for the hurt and harm this has caused to the victim and families involved, as well as to others in our church family and nearby communtiy," he said.

Mahwah assistant pastor charged in sex assault  Tuesday, December 1, 2009

MAHWAH, NJ — An assistant pastor at a Mahwah church has been arrested, accused of sexually assaulting an underage girl on at least three occasions about six years ago, authorities said.  Curtis Franklin, 44, of Mahwah was taken into custody on Tuesday, a day after the victim reported the alleged abuse to police, said John L. Molinelli, the Bergen County Prosecutor. Molinelli declined to give a detailed account of the alleged abuse, saying only that it occurred at a residence in Mahwah. Franklin is the assistant pastor at the Mahwah Full Gospel Church on Grove Street. Molinelli said Franklin met the girl about six years ago when he was a volunteer at a youth ministry sponsored by the church. The girl was under age 16 at the time, the prosecutor said.“I don’t know anything else to say, and I can’t comment,” Walker said. Franklin was charged with sexual assault, criminal sexual contact and endangering the welfare of a child. He was being held at the Bergen County Jail in Hackensack on Tuesday with bail set at $75,000. He was ordered to surrender his passport and to have no contact with the alleged victim.  Haredi leaders in Lakewood have spent years covering up child sexual abuse and other crimes. Despite one seemingly positive news report to the contrary, they have yet to do anything of significance to stop sexual violence against women and children. Yet these very same religious leaders now want to claim a moral high ground to fight civil unions of consenting adults.
The AP – apparently unaware of the haredi sex abuse and domestic violence issues, unaware of Agudah's link to them, and unaware of very open haredi involvement in political issues in, say, Brooklyn – wants to tell you the "astonishing" story of Lakewood's rabbis' jump into politics to oppose to the gay marriage bill:
  But last month, several rabbis and other elders did something astounding for them: They took a public stand on a political issue, declaring their opposition to same-sex marriage in the state.  "This really hurts us," said Rabbi Osher Lieberman, a key figure in the community in the suburbs about 30 miles east of Trenton. "To say (it's) immoral is not enough."  In a state that leans a bit left, the conservative rabbis are one of a handful of groups taking a passionate — and maybe surprising — role in a debate that's likely to be decided by January. The newly political rabbis have joined a coalition including Roman Catholic bishops, evangelicals and some black and Latino leaders.  The other side of the debate, anchored by a well-organized, well-connected gay rights group, is getting a boost from heterosexual liberals.  The reason is simple: Corzine supports the bill. Christie says he would veto it.  If it's not passed by the end of the legislative session, that means the window will close for now on New Jersey joining Massachusetts, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire and Connecticut as the only states to recognize gay marriage.  Democratic lawmakers have been wrangling over whether the matter will get a debate in the Legislature. Most party leaders say they won't bring it up unless it looks as though it will pass.  But the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll, which found support, also showed that most residents think the issue is not a big deal. It is a big deal to Betty Wyka, a museum employee from Parsippany who has long supported same-sex marriage. In February, she started volunteering for Garden State Equality, the state's main gay-rights group. Steven Goldstein, the chairman of the group, says that as a straight woman Wyka is typical of a new volunteer. Wyka said she joined partly to counter a claim that gay-marriage opponents often make: that allowing gay couples to wed will make society value traditional marriages less.  Lakewood's Orthodox community is mostly isolated from the rest of society. The men wear long beards, white shirts, black suits and black hats, and women are not nearly as visible as men. The community was founded in 1942 by a rabbinic leader who fled Poland and the Holocaust. It's now home to some 10,000 Orthodox families and the rabbinical school, which has more than 5,000 students. Before last month's election, rabbis allowed distribution of a voting guide from the socially conservative New Jersey Family Policy Council. While religious institutions would not be required to marry gay couples, some say their religious freedom could be squeezed by permitting something they say runs against their beliefs.  A group of Lakewood community leaders granted an interview with an Associated Press reporter — a rarity and part of the effort to become involved in the push against gay marriage. The leaders said they're taking their position public because in the Internet age more information about the broader world is flowing into their community.  The large Orthodox community is not the first to speak out against the prospect of gay marriage. Last year, the New York-based Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America made a public statement in favor of California's Proposition 8, a state constitutional amendment that outlawed gay marriage there months after a court allowed it.  Orthodox Jews traditionally have been regular voters who oppose candidates who support abortion rights and gay rights, said Yaakov S. Ariel, a professor of religion at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "The visible part is what's new," Ariel said. "The opinions and the support of candidates is not new."  What's especially troubling to some in Lakewood is not just that New Jersey might recognize same-sex marriages but that Orthodox Jews would be more likely now than in the past to know about it — and think that it's OK to be gay. "These type of laws bring an exposure to our community," Rabbi Aaron Sarscher said. "I really don't believe in getting involved in government," said another community leader, David Sofer. "But when an issue is so dangerous, you have to stop it." Now 29, Joseph Diangello no longer wears a yarmulke. He plays the drums and sports tattoos of heavy metal bands. He changed his name to one that sounds less Jewish. On Sept. 26, he stood in a synagogue for the first time in years, he said, before a sea of bearded men in black hats and women in customary wigs. For a brief moment, there was a sense of pride for the heritage he left behind. Evidently, addressing child molestation in Orthodox communities is no longer a quiet process. From the back channels of private dialogue and in-house cleaning, it has in recent months swelled into a flash flood of popular debate. Panel discussions moderated by rabbis and led by victims' testimony attract crowds in the hundreds from New Jersey to Baltimore. Front-page headlines crisscross secular and Jewish newspapers. Pedophile arrests have jumped by as much as 800 percent in Brooklyn. Advocates have called this fall a tipping point. In Lakewood, which has been called this country's "Rome" of scholarly Orthodox communities, change has begun, but with a subtler tone. Community leaders are planning two closed-door seminars in December: one to teach school officials, clergy and social workers ways to identify possible offenders and detect warning signs; the other, to teach parents prevention skills.  A new partnership

But perhaps the most progressive move was the Lakewood Orthodox leadership's meeting with Ocean County prosecutors twice in two weeks to fuse for the first time a joint approach to sex abuse. Rabbi Moshe Zev Weisberg, who runs the social aid agency Lakewood Community Services Corp., said the most recent sit-down Nov. 20 focused on appointing a liaison between the Prosecutor's Office and the Orthodox community. Being from the community, the appointee would help prosecutors and investigators gain the trust of Orthodox residents who have long been wary of outsiders.
Ford said her office is looking to borrow from the Kings County (N.Y.) district attorney, whose office has hired its own liaison and started a hotline that uses Orthodox social workers to persuade reluctant victims to report sex crimes. In the past year, 26 arrests were made within Brooklyn's Orthodox enclaves, The New York Times reported in October, a near-vertical leap from the few, if any, arrests in previous years.  The pilot program would proceed on a trial basis with the hope of eventually broadening to other ethnic groups such as Latinos, Ford said. She added, however, that her budget might not allow for expanding her staff, so the liaison likely would be on loan from another law enforcement or social service agency. The next steps are setting dates for prosecutors to educate Orthodox leaders on the criminal process, followed by inviting religious representatives to discuss the "interesting yet unique cultural mores" that could hinder sex abuse reporting, Ford said. Statistics show that child molestation is no more common in Orthodox communities than elsewhere. "The Bais Din still has its place. They have tools the prosecutor does not have," he said. "We just need to figure out how to interface with prosecutors." Such walls have frustrated Orthodox social workers trying to make dents in the sex abuse problem. "That's why they insist we have to get it right this time," Weisberg said, referring to Batei Din and the program with prosecutors. "If we don't get it right, we take two steps backward." Yet, as home to one of the largest and most respected yeshivas in the world, Lakewood is also a breeding ground for free thinking and powerful influence. Any budge in mind-set, therefore, is glacial but resounding, according to people in the Orthodox communities. "A shift in Lakewood would impact the entire Litvak world and, in time, possibly the Hasidic world," said Ben Hirsch, founder of the victims advocacy group Survivors for Justice. Hasidic sects are found in many parts of Brooklyn.  Ronald D. Price, the executive vice president of the Union for Traditional Judaism, saw it simply as the glass ceiling to old thinking. "We blithely thought that religious values would keep this from happening," he said. "But enough evidence has come forward where you reach that tipping point, and a responsible leader has to acknowledge it, even if he doesn't want to." Asked what she'd do if she saw symptoms of abuse with her own child, the woman, who asked not to be identified, said: "I'd run to the police the first second and make sure there was justice." Sheriff's officials also said the alleged crimes started in September 2003 with a girl was12 years old at the time.    Matuk was released from the San Benito County Jail on Monday after posting bail. Dogged for 20 years by dozens of allegations of extramarital sex with parishioners, Gilyard, 45, resigned Jan. 4 as pastor of Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church, a 7,000-member megachurch in Jacksonville, Fla., that he has served for 15 years. It is the fifth church position that Gilyard has been forced to resign from over charges of sexual misconduct. Gilyard was not available for comment after his arrest.  His story of growing up a homeless orphan living under a bridge in Jacksonville, which Falwell promoted with a video biography, was later discredited.  But Patterson, once Gilyard's teacher at Criswell College in Dallas, continued to promote the charismatic young preacher's career -- even, according to the Dallas Morning News, after several women confronted Patterson with charges of sexual abuse and misconduct. He said at the time the women lacked evidence and witnesses.  “Nearly two decades ago, I was neither an investigator nor a judge but the president of a small Bible college. I certainly did not have resources available to me to pursue the case, yet I did all that I could within my means to discover the truth when allegations concerning Mr. Gilyard were brought to my attention,” Patterson told the Southern Baptist Texan. “Once I had investigated the matter and was able to substantiate that Mr. Gilyard was guilty, I got him to confess that guilt publicly.”  The public allegations subsided after Gilyard, who is now divorced, moved to the Florida church in 1993, but new allegations resurfaced last year. Church leaders confronted him after the most recent police complaint was filed, according to several Jacksonville media reports.  In a news release about his Jan. 4 resignation from Shiloh Metropolitan, Gilyard said: "My commitment to the church and its congregation has been one of the most rewarding of my life. In life, there comes a time when the needs of the many outweigh the needs of one, and the church and its ministry are larger than just me."  "Surely an institution dedicated to the development of spiritual leaders should consider the sort of spiritual leadership exemplified by its own president, who reportedly exhibited an extraordinarily blind-eyed response to clergy sex abuse," said David Clohessy, national director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. "We ask you to demonstrate this institution's commitment to treating clergy sex abuse and cover-ups seriously by suspending Paige Patterson, fully investigating and publicly reporting your findings," Clohessy said in a letter to Southwestern trustees, which was posted on one of SNAP's websites, www.stopbaptistpredators.org.


The church’s pastor, the Rev. Jack Walker, said in a brief telephone interview on Tuesday that Franklin is his son-in-law, and that he has been the assistant pastor at the church since June.

Lakewood, NJ Rabbis Come Out Against "Toeivah Bill," Still Silent On Sex Abuse

December 01, 2009

Blocking same sex marriage deemed important enough to take a public stand, while haredi-on-boy sex abuse is not. Blocking the New Jersey gay marriage bill was a major topic at the Agudath Israel of America convention last week. By contrast, rampant child sexual abuse and domestic violence in haredi communities – including Lakewood – were only an afterthoughts mentioned briefly in the Agudah Executive VP's speech.


Rabbis, heterosexuals join NJ gay marriage debate

LAKEWOOD, N.J. — The leaders in the local large Orthodox Jewish community go to great lengths to keep out the outside world, discouraging nonbusiness use of the Internet and encouraging strict filters to keep the ungodly out when members must use the Web.

He said community members are being encouraged to do whatever they can to make sure lawmakers don't vote to recognize gay marriage.

When Republican Chris Christie unseated Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine in the gubernatorial election last month, it gave gay-rights activists more urgency to try to achieve their long-held goal of getting a same-sex marriage bill through the Legislature before Christie takes office Jan. 19.

Gay-rights supporters and social conservatives alike have been lobbying lawmakers, though it's a debate that doesn't seem to be enrapturing the state as a whole. Two polls last month found the public is divided over the issue. One found narrow support, the other narrow opposition.

"I got sick of hearing that same-sex marriage is going to impact my marriage. That's a bunch of hooey," she said. "It's a civil rights issue."

Orthodox Jews, like many Christians, look to the Old Testament Book of Leviticus, which many interpret as saying that homosexuality is immoral.

And leaders in Lakewood say they received political guidance from some in the Orthodox Jewish community in Monsey, N.Y. In New York, the state Assembly already has passed a law to allow gay marriage, and the Senate is considering whether to follow.

And that's why there's a new voice in the debate.

Haredim "End Silence" On Sex Abuse

A few months ago, a high-ranking rabbi and spiritual leader at the Beth Medrash Govoha yeshiva, Matisyahu Salomon, quietly closed a rabbinical court, a Bais Din, that handled many of Lakewood's sex abuse allegations.

November 28, 2009

Orthodox end silence on sex abuse

The boy was raped before he could take his weekly mikvah. Pinned from behind in the bathhouse where Orthodox Jews purify themselves with rain water, the 7-year-old never saw his attacker.

"This is the first time I'm validated in the Orthodox community," he said into the microphone, according to an audio recording of the event posted on a Jewish blog site.

Other victims spoke that night in Passaic, including a 16-year-old girl who was raped in her bed for years by a family friend. Most of them had never before shared their stories publicly. In March, a similar forum in Teaneck drew about 60 people. Seven months later in Passaic, attendance was more than 300.

"In the beginning, it was like trying to open a can with your teeth," said Mitch Morrison, a writer and campaigner for sex abuse transparency among the Orthodox. "Now it's like we have a can opener."

Rabbi Matisyahu SalomonAnd a few months ago, a high-ranking rabbi and spiritual leader at the Beth Medrash Govoha yeshiva, Matisyahu Salomon, quietly closed a rabbinical court, a Bais Din, that handled many of Lakewood's sex abuse allegations, according to two rabbis. Such Batei Din have come under criticism by child advocates, therapists and victims' families for deciding molestation cases without alerting secular law enforcement. Internally ruling on alleged offenses through a venue with no real judicial powers, they say, could let suspected pedophiles go with little to no therapy or monitoring.

Efforts to reach Salomon were unsuccessful.

"The purpose is to bridge the cultures," said Weisberg, who brought two social workers and support staff to the hour-long meeting with Ocean County Prosecutor Marlene Lynch Ford and members of her staff. "It's to convey to the victim that prosecutors are sensitive to our religious differences."

"We're using Brooklyn as a jumping-off point," Ford said in a phone interview after the meeting. "We do realize we're not reaching everyone we'd like to reach and we're trying to improve on that."

Yet total reliance on secular law enforcement was never the endgame. The Bais Din closing likely had less to do with any policy shift than a breakdown over one case, rabbis have said. Weisberg called the tribunal system a "complementary process" to "a holistic approach."

Progress varies

Reform across the Orthodox landscape isn't lockstep. Unlike the Catholic Church, the haredim do not have one authority, but separate leadership in each community. Progress, then, occurs in stages and at different rates, said Rabbi Yosef Blau, a spiritual adviser at Yeshiva University in New York. Many of Passaic's Orthodox residents, for example, are baalei teshuva — those with nonreligious backgrounds who were "born again" into Judaism — and so may be prone to more modernized thinking, said Morrison, who lives in the North Jersey city. Conversely, Lakewood's population, composed mainly of Litvaks, or Lithuanian Jews, is perceived as the most tightly knit, religiously strict community in the region, if not the nation, making traditions difficult to break and change difficult to bear.

"It was set up as an island to re-create the yeshivos in Eastern Europe," Blau said. "To be removed from all influences of American society."

A bubble bursting

Concern over sex crime reporting in Orthodox neighborhoods has been bubbling for years. Child advocates attribute the recent escalation to a plethora of blogs and support groups that give emboldened victims a voice.

Perhaps faster than change among the leadership in Lakewood, though, has been the rise of residents' awareness. For one mother, the July arrest of her son's yeshiva teacher, Yosef Kolko, on charges of sexually assaulting a young boy was an eye-opener.


Pastor's son accused of lewd acts

New Web Site Calls Church Leaders to End Clergy Sexual Misconduct

Fr. Basil Biberdorf, assistant rector at the Holy Trinity Orthodox Church (OCA) in State College, PA, recently launched a blog entitled “The Orthodox Leader.” Fr. Basil writes:

We have a problem in Orthodox North America. Worse than matters of theft and malfeasance, we have sexual sin among some of the clergy—fornication, adultery, homosexuality, and, dare I say it, pedophilia — that is all too often being passed over by hierarchs and church administrators. Some priests, deacons, and bishops who should be serving, caring, and interceding for their flocks are instead defiling themselves and, in some cases, ravaging the flock for their own base appetites…

Fr. Basil calls for action to stop the unrestrained sexual immorality among certain clergy:

It must stop. If we are to have any Christian integrity, if we are to demonstrate Christian leadership, if we are to show the barest shred of concern for the preaching of Christ’s Gospel, we (corporately and individually) must stop aiding and abetting evil by refusing to restrain those guilty of these offenses.

As a priest myself, I am concerned that these unchecked evils cast a shadow over all of my brethren. How many times are devoted, pious clergy having their integrity silently questioned: Is he gay? Is he faithful to his wife? Can I trust him around my children? The vast majority of my brother clergy are absolutely principled on all these points. The sorry reactions that have been given to the few transgressors, though, make it perfectly reasonable for the faithful to have these questions.

This article is a plea for our leaders in the Church — hierarchs, chancellors, deans, and officials — to restrain evil rather than simply tolerating it. Suspension from clerical duties is insufficient. If a clergyman is not faithful to his wife or his celibacy, he should be deposed. If he has molested a child or seduced an adolescent, he should be deposed. If he has responded to a penitent’s confession with a sexual advance, he should be deposed. The action should be taken quickly and publicly, not with the intent to humiliate or to deny repentance and forgiveness to the guilty, but to proclaim that Christ’s Church stands against evil in all its forms. It must be done with regard solely for the care of the injured parties and the integrity of the Church, not with any regard for the reputation of the guilty or the legal consequences that might result.

Visit The Orthodox Leader to read the entire article and follow the discussion.

To learn more about the scourge of sexual misconduct in the Orthodox Church, visit Pokrov.org.

Update: Baptist pastor Gilyard arrested for sex messages to teens

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (ABP) -- Once touted by Southern Baptist leaders as the nation's next great African-American preacher, Darrell Gilyard was arrested Jan. 14 for sending lewd text messages to underage girls.

Gilyard was charged with lewd and lascivious conduct. He will be arraigned Feb. 5. Police have been investigating a Nov. 29 complaint filed by a member of the congregation claiming Gilyard sent sexually explicit text messages to her daughter. At least one other girl allegedly received similar text messages. One of the mothers produced a journal detailing her daughter's sexual relationship with the pastor, the police said. The girls are 14 and 16 years old, according to media reports.

A native of Palatka, Fla., Gilyard rose to sudden fame in the Southern Baptist Convention in the late 1980s under the mentorship of former SBC presidents Jerry Vines and Paige Patterson. The attention catapulted him to several pastorates as well as appearances on Jerry Falwell's nationally broadcast TV program.

Patterson, in a statement released to a sympathetic news outlet Jan. 9, said Criswell College expelled Gilyard after some allegations were substantiated. He noted that he even moderated the congregational meeting in which Gilyard resigned -- at Patterson's insistence -- from the church he served while a Criswell student.

Beginning in 1985, Gilyard was hired and then forced out of positions at three Dallas-area churches: Victory Baptist Church in Richardson, Concord Missionary Baptist Church in Dallas, and Shiloh Baptist Church in Garland. He was similarly hired and forced to resign at Hilltop Baptist Church in Norman, Okla. At least 25 women in the Dallas church publicly accused him of sexual misconduct, according to a church spokesperson. Some of the women alleged he raped them, the Morning News said in 1991.

A support group for survivors of clergy sex abuse said Jan. 9 that Patterson, now president of the SBC's Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, should be suspended from the seminary while its trustees investigate his "profound failure of moral judgment" in promoting Gilyard and ignoring the allegations two decades ago.

Noting Gilyard is now charged with abusing teenagers, not just adults, Clohessy said, "This often happens when a pastor's predatory conduct goes unchecked: the hurtful and abusive conduct escalates."

Man Accused Of Sexual Misconduct At Church

The son of a local pastor was arrested and charged with sexual misconduct with two minors, sheriff's officials confirmed on Monday.  Ruben Matuk, 28, has been charged with lewd and lascivious acts with a minor, indecent exposure, attempted lewd acts with a child under 14 and sexual battery.  According to the Hollister Freelance, investigators said they think the alleged crimes took place outside the Apostolic Full Gospel Church of Christ and at Matuk's home, which is located adjacent from the church.
and medicare fraud cases, public corruption cases are becoming as popular in the media. If a public official becomes ensnared in a criminal investigation and prosecution, it will certainly become a media event and the Public Corruption Unit at the Miami-Dade County State Attorney's Office will use only the most seasoned prosecutors to prepare the case for trial. Whether they can actually prove their case to a Miami jury is a different question. Trial Begins for Miami Pastor Accused of Stealing County Funds, The Miami Herald, November 9, 2009.

Click the above link for the .pdf file and adjust it to 100% for easier viewing. There are just too many Protestant Minister abuse cases to list in this webpage. 

If you notice, the articles generally appear on the local news and are seldomly covered by the MSM. 

Further, you never hear about a scandal regarding Evangelical and  Protestant Ministers yet it's happening right before your eyes just about every single day of the week!  Notice that most of them are married and with children, so the topic of celebacy is out. 


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