As you may have heard, a Pennsylvania grand jury recently released a report about the child sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church. They only looked at 6 of the 8 dioceses in the state and still produced a report that was more than 1300 pages long and implicated more then 300 priests and bishops and other Catholic leaders.
Many of them are dead. Some of the stories were heavily redacted because the priests are alive and haven’t been charged with a crime. In some cases, the statute of limitations has long expired. But this was always about documenting the abuses more than anything.
When you read this report and realize it’s just one group of priests in one state, you have to wonder what the stories would look like if a similar document was produced across the country, if not the world.
And I want to tell you some of what they found. Not because it’s disturbing — and it’s really disturbing — but because this stuff had been going on for decades. The Church knew about it. They covered it up. They transferred priests to different parishes. They told families they would take care of the problem and never did.
If you are giving money to the Catholic Church, or you attend Mass, or you even call yourself a Catholic at this point, you should know what it is you’re supporting.
Here’s just a sampling. And if this is too much to take, click away now. This is your warning.
One priest fondled at least 12 different boys by saying he was just showing them “how to check for cancer.”
One priest raped an underage girl, got her pregnant, then paid for her abortion. His Bishop later wrote in a letter, “This is a very difficult time in your life, and I realize how upset you are. I too share your grief.” That letter was addressed to the priest, not his victim.
One priest admitted to molesting approximately 35 boys because sex with girls was “sinful” but raping boys didn’t violate them.
One priest tried having sex with a 17-year-old at a high school he worked at by saying God wanted them to express love for each other that way. When she said God would punish them, he told her, “there is no Hell.”
One priest forced a nine-year-old boy to give him a blowjob, then washed his mouth out with holy water “to purify him.”
There was a priest who dragged a child across a room by his underwear and beat him with a metal cross. He eventually quit the priesthood… but not before receiving a letter of recommendation from the Church for his new job… at Disney World.
One priest molested a 12-year-old boy. That victim is 83 now, and he said he’s fought in wars, but because of what that priest did to him, he could never hug or kiss his own children, who were boys. He can’t shake hands with men to this day. He can’t even see male doctors or dentists.
One priest was known to take pictures in a boys’ locker room and maintained a book of “crotch shots.”
One priest fondled a boy and stuck his finger up the kid’s ass. Then he said to the boy that if their secret ever got out, the child and his mother would both burn in hell. Then he gave the boy a nickel.
Earlier during the month I wrote a post “Anti-Christian latest intolerance: Swiss Christian Chocolate Company.” I had an interesting troll in the comments who claimed to be a Christian fighting against other Christians for “intolerance.” I responded in a post here: Calling out a Drive-By Virtue-Signaling Troll. Seems like the story with this troll has a […]
Funny how these scumbag intolerant Christians can spew all kinds of lies, hate and bullshit at us atheists and they all think? We atheists are just going to continue to lay down and take it.
These ChristoTalibans? Are no different than the MuslimTalibans. Perverted, degenerates, disgustingly demonic scumbags, true shitstains on the underwear of humanity.
They think because they are Christians they have a fucking right to shove their brutal, shitty, vile and evil, blood covered, butchering and slaughtering, persecuting religion upon the rest of us and think we are just going to shut our mouths and let these Fascist shitstains on the underwear of humanity keep walking all over us.
I got news for these ChristoTaliban shitstains on the underwear of humanity. They haven’t met too many atheists like myself yet, but we are a rising breed of atheists, who have fucking had it with all these Theist Fascist pig fuckers who think they can tell everyone else what to do and we should just shut up and take it. The Dark Ages are over you dumb asses. Try burning us now.
Well fuck that. Any fucking Christian gets into my face and tries to do me, or my loved ones harm? Better have their wills written out and be prepared to meet their invisible sky daddy. See if he will save your ass as I rip your fucking heads off, shit down your necks, put your heads back on, poke your fucking eyeballs out and skull fuck you for your Jeebus the Dead Jewish Zombie Still Rotting on a Fucking Stick.
How do you like that ChristoTwats? If you ChristoFascists can scream how you all should have the right to put us atheists, or anyone else to fucking death, according to your Bronze Age bullshit terrorist theology of Christianity? I got new for ya. And if you think we atheists are going to continue to lay down for you punks hiding behind a religion called Christianity and using the title of Christian to spew your hate and death against atheists, lgbts and others and think you are not going to get called out on it by this atheist? I got fucking news for you there too Sunshines. I will stand up to your vile and evil bullshit. I will expose it and I will never fear punk assed bully bitches like yourselves. So suck it up and deal with it you fascist pig fucking ChristoTalibans.
Bunch of Project Veritas Jimmy Blowboi O’Keefe and Erik Twatwaffle Prince clown car of Reich-Wing ChristoFascist Traitor Trump blowbois. Listen well bitches. If I have the unmitigated balls to stand up and get in the faces of the Popes, Cardinals, Bishops and Archbishops of the Roman Catholic Cult of Pedophiles without one ounce of fear what the fuck makes you punks think I would be afraid of you mental midget morons?
Database of Publicly Accused Roman Catholic Priests, Nuns, Brothers, Deacons, and Seminarians in the United States This is just the database for priests in the United States, filled with over 10,000 named Catholic priests, brothers, nuns and sisters busted for raping and abusing children. http://www.bishop-accountability.org/member/index.jsp
I love how Christians feel they have a right to talk about us atheists and all the supposed evil things we do because we do not believe in their God and Jesus Christ, or how we atheists cannot have any morals because we do not proclaim ourselves Christians.
Yet? Here is part three of the Southern Baptist Convention pedophiles. 20 more disgusting, degenerate, perverted pedophiles and sex perverts, all minsters, youth pastors, pastors and deacons of the Southern Baptist Churches. All of them, leaders of their churches, who are actually? Supposed to be the most moral of all Christians, raping children. I would challenge ANY Christian to find even one tenth of all the pedophiles I have exposed on this blog proclaiming themselves Christians, of atheists. I got Roman Catholic, Episcopal, Southern Baptist, American Baptist, Methodist, and many other denominations of Christianity, their priests, pastors, ministers, teachers, deacons, youth pastors, etc, all busted for raping children. And these are just the ones who have been busted and gotten jury trials and been mostly put in prison. These lists and postings do not include all the scumbag priests and pastors of Christianity who have been busted for raping children, but got away with their crimes due to their hiding behind either the statutes of limitations or sovereign immunity laws.
But once again? Here are 20 more disgusting pedo perverts of the Southern Baptist Convention, taken from Abuse of Faith; Database
ABUSE OF FAITH: SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION DATABASE OF PEDOPHILE PASTORS, YOUTH PASTORS, DEACONS AND OTHER PEDO PERVERTS OF THE SBC PART 3
James Preston Tyndall Church Position: Pastor Court of Conviction: Alamance County, 2000 Outcome: Registered sex offender in North Carolina with eight felony convictions, including first-degree sex offenses with a child under 13 years old and indecent liberties with a minor. He served 16 years of a 20-year sentence before being released on July 12, 2016. His victim was 7 years old.
Convicted of 5 Counts of Sex Offense 1st Degree with a Child Under 13 Victim age 7. Convicted of 3 Counts Indecent Liberty with a Minor Victim age 7.
A former Burlington pastor charged with sex crimes has left his Danville, Va., church after reportedly admitting to deacons there that he acted inappropriately with a child. Many members of the Danville church pastored by the Rev. James Preston Tyndall were shocked Sunday to learn that he had been charged with six felony sex crimes Thursday and had resigned Friday evening. “I would say our people were shocked. But some of them had heard about his arrest on TV prior to the Sunday service,” Bruce Hutcheson, chairman of the deacon board at Stokesland Baptist Church, said Monday of Tyndall’s departure. Hutcheson and other deacons who met with Tyndall after his release from the Alamance County Jail have said that he admitted to them that he engaged in inappropriate conduct with the child. Burlington authorities said the girl, now 14, was 8 and 9 years old when the alleged offenses occurred in Burlington. Tyndall, 48, was charged by Burlington police detectives with three counts of first-degree sexual offense with a child and three counts of taking indecent liberties with a child between Oct. 1, 1994, and May 31, 1995, while he was pastor of Kinnett Memorial Baptist Church in Burlington. Police said Tyndall left the Burlington church in 1996 after three years. He left Burlington and, according to Hutcheson, had served as the pastor of a Baptist church in Mount Olive before being hired about three months ago as Stokesland Baptist Church’s pastor. “We haven’t had any problems with him,” Hutcheson said. In checking out Tyndall’s references at the Mount Olive church, Hutcheson said he understood that they hadn’t had any problem with him, either. “Things such as these can happen to any church, no one is immune,” the deacon chief said. The Danville church, located near West Main Street, has between 130 and 150 members. It reportedly grew by several members during Tyndall’s short tenure. Officers at the Alamance County Jail said Monday the minister spent only one night and most of a day in the jail. He was jailed Thursday night after surrendering to police detectives. The jail log shows Tyndall was released at 5:24 p.m. Friday after a $200,000 bond secured by property was posted for his appearance in court later. Neither the jail nor the Alamance County Clerk of Court’s office had the names of the bond’s signers available Monday afternoon.
FROM RELIGIONS CELL A former Burlington pastor charged with sex crimes has left his Danville, Va., church after reportedly admitting to deacons there that he acted inappropriately with a child. Many members of the Danville church pastored by the Rev. James Preston Tyndall were shocked Sunday to learn that he had been charged with six felony sex crimes Thursday and had resigned Friday evening. “I would say our people were shocked. But some of them had heard about his arrest on TV prior to the Sunday service,” Bruce Hutcheson, chairman of the deacon board at Stokesland Baptist Church, said Monday of Tyndall’s departure. Hutcheson and other deacons who met with Tyndall after his release from the Alamance County Jail have said that he admitted to them that he engaged in inappropriate conduct with the child. Burlington authorities said the girl, now 14, was 8 and 9 years old when the alleged offenses occurred in Burlington. (4/10/2002, Alamance County Times-News)
Jefferson “Brother Jeff” Marion Moore Jr. Church Position: Pastor Court of Conviction: Smith County, 2004 Outcome: Convicted of raping a child; sentenced to life, died in prison in 2008. A former East Texas daycare owner who was sentenced to prison for the sexual assault of a child has died. Jefferson Moore, 60, of Flint, was found dead in his South Texas prison cell by his cellmate and prison officials. This information was just released, but Moore’s death occured on May 26th. During his trial in Smith County, Moore was convicted of molesting one of the girls he took care of at the Dogwood City Daycare, which he formerly owned. He was sentenced to life in prison for that offence, and was later sentenced to an additional 10 years for punching a Smith County assistant DA during his trial.
A former Dogwood City pastor convicted of molesting small children while in his day care has died in prison. Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokeswoman Michelle Lyons confirmed that Jefferson Marion Moore Jr., 60, (Brother Jeff) died in his cell in the McConnell Unit late last month. Officers were doing a routine head count on May 26 about 5:23 a.m. when Moore’s cellmate told them Moore was unresponsive in the cell,” she said. While awaiting trial and out of the Smith County Jail on bond, Moore made several threats to Tyler Morning Telegraph reporters covering the case and was warned by Tyler police about his actions and told to stay away from the reporters and the newspaper. The prosecutor told jurors in the case that a child rapist was finally discovered in the community and law enforcement found that he had been raping little girls for some time.
FROM MAN CHARGED WITH TWO COUNTS OF AGGRAVATED SEXUAL ASSAULT GIVES HIS SIDE
Two charges of aggravated sexual assault of a child against the former owner of the Dogwood City Daycare and Preschool. The claims were made against Jefferson Marion Moore, Jr. by children that once attended the daycare. Friday, Moore contacted KLTV wanting to tell his side of the story. “I’ve dedicated myself to helping kids. It devastated me,” Moore said. He says he’s innocent. “I want to say that I totally deny any and all of these false allegations that were made by these 2 children,” Moore said. But Smith County investigators think differently. Thursday they charged Jeff Moore, Jr. with two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child. Moore turned himself in to the sheriff’s department, saying he wanted no trouble with the law. “You don’t have 19 to 20 years of something and then one day you decide to throw it all out the window and do something that goes against everything and do something you have no desire to do,” Moore said. He is also the pastor at the Dogwood City Chapel next door to what used to be the daycare. Now it’s a guitar and music lesson shop. “When they came here this was their refuge really,” Moore said. It’s Moore’s claim the charges are the result of his disciplining a young girl who was hiding outside in the backyard with two other children. That, he believes, led to the accusations from that girl and one of her friends. The search warrant affidavit details the six year old girl’s graphic account of sexual abuse. Details so graphic we could not include them in this report. KLTV asked Jeff Moore, Jr. if he had seen the claims. “Yes and I totally deny it. I saw the allegations and that’s when I just almost died. I wouldn’t touch a child. You don’t become a pedophile over night.” The affidavit said one of the assaults happened during nap time, something Moore also denied. “No one ever took a nap with Jeff Moore, period.” The Dogwood City Daycare was closed in December when authorities began their investigation. KLTV tried to contact the families of the two girls but were unable to reach them. Jeff Moore, Jr. said the case is expected to go to trial in September.
John H. Burghard Church Position: Pastor Court of Conviction: Richland County, 2003 Outcome: Convicted of importuning a minor. Found guilty on April 21, 2003, and sentenced to 12 months in prison.
Joshua Lee Allen Church Position: Minister Court of Conviction: Federal, 2006 Outcome: Pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography; sentenced to four years in federal prison. Released in April 2010. Registered sex offender in Texas.
Kenneth Larry Payne Church Position: Pastor Court of Conviction: Amherst County, 2007 Outcome: Found guilty in 2007 and sentenced to five years probation. (Five years with five years suspended), Virginia court records show. Died in 2017.
Kevin Douglas Ogle Church Position: Pastor Court of Conviction: Georgia, 2007 Outcome: Registered as a sex offender in South Carolina for a sexual exploitation of children conviction from Georgia. A Camden minister charged with cyber sex crimes is waiting for an extradition hearing. The minister, 42-year-old Kevin Ogle, is accused of sending graphic pictures of himself over the internet to a teen girl. The people he preached to on Sunday held a meeting about his arrest. A man of God, he’s now arrested and charged with cyber sex crimes. Kevin Ogle, 42, is accused of soliciting sex over the internet. Officers say he thought he was chatting with a 14-year-old girl, and instead it was an officer in Georgia. Deacon Mike Clifton tells WIS, “It was discouraging and disappointing but again a pastor is human just like anybody else is.” Members of Ogle’s Camden church held a meeting about his arrest. Despite the charges, they are committed to supporting him through this. Ogle has been a minister at the Northgate Colonial Baptist Church in Camden for three years. Church members say Ogle was an excellent preacher. Church member Jean Shirley says, “I could not believe it. I thought it had to be an error. I just didn’t think that could be our Kevin. I really didn’t. He has so much God-given talent.” Investigators say Ogle sent explicit pictures of himself over the internet chat room on Yahoo.com. It’s been a tough case for Captain David Thomley, “It’s shock to me and everyone. We graduated high school together. I’ve known him my whole life.” Ogle has a wife and two young boys. He’s now in the Kershaw County jail. Since the crime was initiated in Georgia, he’ll have to be extradited to formally face 11 counts of sexually exploiting a child. Investigators say Ogle may have had contact with people he may have met online. If you have any information, call Crimestoppers at 1-888-559-TIPS.
Larry Michael Holmes Church Position: Minister Court of Conviction: Oconee County, 2001 Outcome: Registered sex offender in Georgia for 2001 convictions of aggravated child molestation and child molestation.
Larry Nuell Neathery Church Position: Pastor Court of Conviction: Tarrant County, 2006 Outcome: Convicted in 2006 of 25 felony charges involving a string of oral and anal sexual assaults and molestation of boys from 1998 to 2004. Serving a life sentence in Texas state prison. All of his victims were under 14. His appeals have been unsuccessful. A former pastor has been indicted on charges alleging that he sexually abused six boys over a 14-year period, many inside Westside Victory Baptist Church. The Rev. Larry Nuell Neathery, 55, has been jailed since he surrendered three weeks ago. He was indicted Friday. Neathery, who resigned as Westside Victory’s pastor last month, is accused of sexual misconduct from 1990 until last year. Defense attorney Tiffany Lewis said Monday that Neathery “emphatically denies each and every allegation.” According to the indictment, a 13-year-old church member said Neathery sexually assaulted him several times in late 2003 and early 2004. Another person claims Neathery fondled him as a youth in 1990 and, after he was an adult, tried to sexually assault him in 2003. Three brothers, then ages 7, 11 and 12, accuse Neathery of varying degrees of sexual misconduct; the 11-year-old told authorities he had been abused since he was 5, the first time at Neathery’s church office. A juvenile alleges that Neathery befriended him and then exposed himself in 2002, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported in Monday’s online edition.
Leslie M. Mason Church Position: Pastor Court of Conviction: Richland County, 2002 Outcome: Registered sex offender in Illinois for sexual assault of a victim aged 16. Leaders of the Illinois Baptist State Association didn’t think their state Baptist newspaper should have reported last year that a politically active pastor had been charged with two counts of criminal sexual assault involving two teenage girls who attended his church. Reporting that incident on the front page of the Illinois Baptist put Editor Michael Leathers in a confrontation with the convention’s interim executive director, who was his supervisor, as well as other convention leadership. Tension over publication of the news story eventually led to the editor’s forced resignation. However, the criminal charges against the pastor have not gone away, even though they won’t be reported in the state Baptist paper anymore. On Oct. 24, the Illinois Attorney General’s office charged 35-year-old Leslie Mason with 10 additional counts of criminal sexual assault. Mason had been pastor of Olney Southern Baptist Church in Olney, Ill., for seven years until church members unanimously voted to dismiss him Oct. 24, 2001. Ironically, the pastor would have been preaching the keynote sermon at this year’s state convention annual meeting Nov. 7, if news of his legal troubles had not been published last year. The first charges against the pastor last year were filed just days before he was to be nominated to bring the convention sermon this year. News of the charges prompted the convention’s committee on order of business to switch nominees for the high-profile sermon. Before his arrest, Mason’s star had been on the rise in leadership among the state’s Southern Baptists. He was vice chairman of the constitution-and-bylaws committee. He was also spokesman for a group of conservative pastors seeking inclusion of the 2000 Baptist Faith & Message into the state convention’s constitution. He was appointed to the national Southern Baptist Convention’s committee on committees in 1997 Since the Illinois Baptist reported the initial charges against the pastor last year, state convention officials have taken steps to limit the role of the newspaper and prevent it from reporting such matters in the future.
Leslie M. Mason served as the pastor of Olney Southern Baptist Church in Olney, Illinois for seven years. But just days before he was set to deliver a keynote sermon at Illinois’ state convention for Southern Baptists, he was charged with multiple sex crimes. In 2001, Mason was charged with two counts of criminal sexual assault for incidents involving two teenage girls who attended his church. Soon after, prosecutors from the Illinois Attorney General’s office added another 10 counts of criminal sexual assault against the 35-year-old minister.
MORE LETTERS URGING LENIENCY FOR CHRISTIAN PEDOPHILE LESLIE MASON
Many of you were rightfully appalled by the letter from Illinois Baptist Children’s Home director Doug Devore in which he urged no prison time for clergy pedophile Leslie Mason. Many other letters were submitted at Mason’s sentencing hearing. I thought you might like to see a sampling of them.
Recall that prominent Southern Baptist pastor Leslie Mason pled guilty to 2 counts of felony sexual assault on a teen girl in exchange for the prosecutor’s dismissal of 8 additional counts involving another girl. Initially, Mason pled “not guilty” in court even though he had previously admitted his guilt to deacons at Olney Southern Baptist Church, who found that he used his position of trust “to pursue and manipulate a 13-year old girl for sexual gratification and that he continued to use his authority to exploit and to maintain an atmosphere of fear and intimidation for a period of approximately seven years.”
WARNING: Reading these may cause retching. An empty stomach is advised.
Men’s Missions Director & Adult Sunday School Director at Fairfield First Baptist Church Brad Turner: “Leslie is a caring individual of the highest moral character who admittedly made a mistake. He has confessed to his mistake…. Please do not judge Leslie solely on this error in judgment, but please take into consideration all of the good works he has performed in the past….”
Mark W. Mangrum Church Position: Pastor Court of Conviction: Federal, 2007 Outcome: Pleaded guilty and was sentenced in 2018 to 70 months in federal prison and 20 years supervised release for distributing child porn in order to “induce a minor to engage in sexual conduct.” Registered sex offender in Tennessee. The Jackson Sun reported earlier this week that Mark Woodson Mangrum, former pastor of First Baptist Church in Parsons, Tenn., is scheduled to appear in court Friday to change his plea to guilty in connection with a federal charge that accuses him of using a computer to entice a 14-year-old boy into having sex. Mangrum was one of six people indicted Feb. 13 by a grand jury in Memphis on federal charges of child pornography or using a computer to solicit sex from a minor. Mangrum’s attorney at first said his defendant didn’t do anything wrong and was looking forward to defending himself in court. But on Monday attorney Mark Donahoe told the Jackson Sun that Mangrum had settled on a plea agreement, but he couldn’t discuss details. Mangrum reportedly worked at First Baptist Church in Parsons six years before resigning in January. In February Donahoe said Mangrum stepped down because, “he didn’t want anyone in the church to be uncomfortable or for this situation to affect the church in any way until the final matter can be resolved.”
Robert Michael Black Church Position: Pastor Court of Conviction: Clay County (7th Judicial Circuit), 2011 Outcome: Pleaded guilty to a charge of attempted enticement of a child. Sentenced in 2011 to five years in prison. Released, according to Missouri court records. Baptist church sticking by pastor facing sex charges A small Southern Baptist church near St. Joseph, Mo., is reportedly standing by its pastor, who is accused of soliciting sex over the Internet with a police officer posing as a 13-year-old girl. Robert Black, 40, of Independence, Mo., waived his right to a preliminary hearing and is scheduled to appear in court May 14 to face charges of first-degree attempted statutory rape and attempted enticement of a child under 15. Police arrested Black April 8, after he allegedly arranged by e-mail to meet for sex with a minor “girl” — who was actually an Internet crimes detective — at a car wash in Liberty, Mo. According to media reports, police found more than 130 online “friends,” many of them teenagers, on a Facebook account registered to “Jon Still.” Investigators believe the name is an alias that Black used to entice teenagers. They have asked parents in the region to report if they believe their children may have communicated with him using that name. Black is pastor of New Home Baptist Church in St. Joseph, Mo., a small congregation that is affiliated with the Missouri Baptist and Southern Baptist conventions. He claims he is innocent. Clyde Elder, director of missions for St. Joseph Baptist Association, said May 6 the church is standing in support of its preacher, and by mutual agreement with church leaders Black has taken a leave of absence with pay. Elder said the church is using supply preachers during Black’s absence. “We need to keep Pastor Black and the New Home Baptist Church in our prayers,” Elder said. New Home Baptist Church has removed information about Black from its website on a staff page that formerly featured a family photo of a smiling Black surrounded by his wife and three young children. Black has been pastor of the church, with a history dating back to 1887, since 2008. Elder said Black has been part of the New Home congregation for about four years, first as a deacon and worship leader. He took over as pastor after the death of a longtime predecessor who led the church for a total of nearly 35 years. Southern Baptist churches are autonomous and make their own decisions, including about whom to call as pastor, but the Southern Baptist Convention urges congregations to perform background checks before hiring prospective ministers. According to a Kansas City television station, Black cleared a mandatory background check before coaching a team of girls in the Fort Osage Youth Basketball League. New Home Baptist Church is the third Southern Baptist congregation to feature recently in news reports involving allegations of sexual abuse. Police in Benton, Ark., re-arrested David Pierce, 56, former minister of music at the city’s First Baptist Church, May 6 on additional charges of sexual indecency with a child. Originally arrested April 24 on one count of the charge, Pierce now faces 54 counts of the crime involving four alleged victims. Police say current charges relate to incidents alleged in the last three years. They said all the victims alleging abuse are still teenagers who are or were involved in the church’s youth choir program, named Pure Energy, that Pierce directed. According to the Benton Courier, Sheriff Bruce Pennington said in a news conference he expects additional charges to be filed against Pierce, saying allegations of abuse are believed to date back about 15 years. After learning of allegations against him, First Baptist Church fired Pierce, who had been on the church staff for 29 years. With 2,500 members, the church is prominent in the Arkansas Baptist State Convention. In suburban Memphis, Steven Haney, 48, former pastor of Walnut Grove Baptist Church in Cordova, Tenn., received probation after pleading guilty April 29 to rape and sexual battery by an authority figure. One of Haney’s alleged victims claimed that his former pastor molested him for more than five years, beginning when he was 15. He said Haney lured the youth into a long-term sexual relationship by convincing him it was God’s will and a test of his faith. Prosecutors agreed to a guilty plea to spare witnesses the stress of testifying in court. Haney still faces federal charges of child pornography that carry a 10-year prison sentence.
Steven Carl Haney Church Position: Pastor Court of Conviction: Shelby County, 2009 Outcome: Registered sex offender in Tennessee who was convicted of a 2003 sexual battery by an authority figure and of a 2001 rape in state court. Former Southern Baptist pastor pleads guilty to sexual abuse A former Southern Baptist pastor arrested in 2007 on charges that he sexually abused two teenage boys has avoided prison — for now. Steven C. Haney, 48, pastor of Walnut Grove Baptist Church in the Memphis suburb of Cordova, Tenn., for 20 years before his resignation in December 2006, pleaded guilty April 29 to rape and sexual battery by an authority figure in a settlement intended to allow victims and their families to avoid the stress of testifying. According to the Memphis Commercial Appeal, Judge John Colton Jr. approved the settlement, sentencing Haney to probation for eight years and adding his name to the Tennessee Sex Offender Registry. He was given suspended, concurrent sentences of eight and three years. Haney still faces federal child pornography charges in an indictment handed down in October 2007, punishable by a minimum of 10 years in prison. Shelby County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Haney in July 2007, after a 21-year-old man told detectives that Haney molested him for more than five years beginning when he was 15. The alleged victim testified at a preliminary hearing in September 2007 that Haney lured him into a long-term sexual relationship by convincing him it was God’s will and a test of his faith. After the arrest, a former member of Haney’s church told a Memphis television station she wasn’t surprised by the allegation, because about 30 members left the congregation after similar accusations involving another teenager surfaced in the 1990s. At one point police said detectives were interviewing as many as 10 people who may have been former victims of Haney. In 2008 Haney’s former church changed its name from Walnut Grove to Gracepoint Baptist Church, seeking a fresh start and break with the recent past. Because Southern Baptist churches are autonomous, they make their own decisions about hiring and firing ministers. The Southern Baptist Convention offers guidelines for protecting against sexual abuse, including a link to a national sex offender database. Christa Brown, Baptist outreach director for Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, says sex-offender databases aren’t enough protection, because they list only those convicted of a crime and the vast majority of molestations are never prosecuted. Two years ago Brown asked Southern Baptist leaders to create a national database of clergy convicted, admitted or credibly accused of sexual abuse and create an independent review board to receive and investigate allegations of sexual misconduct. After study, the SBC Executive Committee opted against the proposal, saying the convention lacked authority to investigate local churches. Time magazine ranked that denial one of the top 10 “under-reported” stories of the year. In an address to the convention in 2008, Executive Committee President and CEO Morris Chapman strongly condemned “those who would use our churches as a hunting ground for their own sick and selfish pleasure” and said that while the number of Baptist ministers who are sexual predators appeared to be small “one sexual predator in our midst is one too many.”
Terry Ray VanHoutan Church Position: Minister Court of Conviction: Scott County, 2011 Outcome: Serving a “special life sentence” in Iowa for a sex abuse offense. Committed May 13, 2011. A Davenport man who police say sexually abused two minors over the course of 14 years was sentenced Wednesday to 25 years in prison. Terry VanHoutan, 49, pleaded guilty in March to one count of second-degree sex abuse and one count of third-degree sex abuse. He was sentenced by Scott County District Judge Nancy Tabor to concurrent terms of 25 years and 10 years in prison on those charges. He must serve at least 17 years in prison before he is eligible for parole. “Mr. VanHoutan, this is a very troubling case,” Tabor said. Records state he abused one juvenile beginning in 1996 and another juvenile beginning in 1999. The abuse continued until last summer. Additional counts of second-degree sex abuse and third-degree sex abuse were dismissed. VanHoutan pleaded guilty in 2001 to two counts of indecent exposure, records state. He was sentenced to one year probation.
Douglas Scott Edwards Church Position: Pastor Court of Conviction: Ketchikan Gateway Borough, 2019 Outcome: Pleaded guilty to one count of sexual abuse of a minor. As part of the plea agreement, other charges were dropped, Alaska court records show. Ordered to register as a sex offender in Alaska. Court accepts plea agreement in Edwards case: Pleads guilty to one count of sexual abuse of a minor
Minh Van Nguyen Church Position: Pastor Court of Conviction: Fresno County, 2009 Outcome: Registered as a sex offender in California for committing lewd or lascivious acts with a child under 14 in 2009. Police say 51-year-old Minh Van Nguyen is accused of sexually abusing a female relative when she was 10. They believe the abuse lasted for four years. Nguyen is senior pastor at the First Vietnamese Alliance Church. A San Jose pastor is under arrest for allegedly molesting a female relative starting at the age of 10. Fifty-one-year-old Minh Van Nguyen is the senior pastor at the First Vietnamese Alliance Church. He’s been held without bail since his arrest on Oct. 2. The alleged victim, who’s now 22, told investigators that the abuse happened over a four-year period at a location away from the church.
David Joe Rich Church Position: Minister Court of Conviction: Orange County, 1998 Outcome: Registered sex offender in Florida. Convicted on 12/4/1998 of three counts of lewd and lascivious behavior with a child. Served three years in prison, according to Florida released offender data. ACCUSED MOLESTER TURNS HIMSELF IN A minister accused of molesting two girls surrendered to authorities on Friday, five days after resigning from his church. The Rev. David Joe Rich, minister of Springs Community Baptist Church, was charged with eight counts of lewd and lascivious behavior on a child. Investigators also planned to charge him with capital sexual battery, said a spokesman for the Orange County sheriff’s department.
FROM RELIGIOUS CELL A minister who molested third-graders at his church school couldn’t promise that he wouldn’t molest again, and so was sentenced to prison for 7 years and 4 months, followed by 10 years of probation. The judge acknowledged the remorse of David Joe Rich, 55, and that he took responsibility for his crimes, but said she wanted to ensure he would not harm anyone again. Rich, former pastor of Springs Community Baptist Church, pleaded guilty to molesting 2 girls and trying to molest a third during the 1995-96 school year. He fondled the girls, ages 8 and 9, at his desk while other students were in the classroom, said the prosecutor. The desk concealed the probing. Rich apologized and made no excuses for his conduct but could not explain it. With God’s help and counseling, he said, he hoped never to molest again. But he said he would be foolish to make a “100 percent” guarantee. He had resigned when confronted about the abuse 2 years after it ended. While on probation, Rich must get counseling. He cannot be alone with children younger than 18 or live near a school or other place where children visit. The judge told Rich he should bring his ministry to prison. “There are people in prison who could use your services,” she said.
Kenneth “Atlantis” Keith Long Church Position: Pastor Court of Conviction: Federal, 2000 Outcome: Tried in federal court and convicted by a jury on two counts of interstate transportation of a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity and two counts of possession of pornography featuring minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Sentenced to 360 months in federal prison. Appealed and lost. Six boys were victims underlying charges in the indictment, appellate court records show.
Dwight Gregory Watson Church Position: Church employee Court of Conviction: Cherokee County, 2016 Outcome: Registered sex offender in Georgia who was convicted in 2016 of sexual exploitation of children. The Canton man investigators called “one of the most active child porn consumers in the state” has been indicted on 10 counts related to his charges. Dwight Watson, 43, who was indicted earlier this month by a Cherokee County grand jury on 10 counts of sexual exploitation of children, is set to be arraigned Jan. 10, court records show,. According to his indictment, Watson “knowingly possessed” graphic photographs and graphic videos depicting young boys and girls engaged in lewd sexual acts and intended to distribute them. Investigators believe some of the videos in Watson’s possession featured children as young as 5 or 6 years old, according to arrest warrants taken out against the man. Watson was arrested following a Sept. 28 search of his Canton home and subsequently charged with 50 counts of child pornography after a two-month investigation into him by the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office’s Internet Crimes Against Children Unit. Detectives seized two laptops, thumb drives, cell phones and several external hard drives containing “tens of thousands of files of interest” from the Canton man’s home on Carrington Way, investigators said. Watson was initially released Sept. 30 on a $50,000 bond but a Magistrate Court judge ordered his bond be increased to $400,000 after the district attorney’s office filed a motion raise the amount. In a hearing held Oct. 5, the state placed Cherokee Sheriff’s Office Detective Claude Dobbs on the stand. Dobbs, the lead investigator in the case against Watson, testified that the father of two accused of possessing child pornography “was freelancing for New Hope Ministries as a sex addiction counselor.” He also said it appeared Watson had tampered with evidence in the case, resetting his laptop after he was told detectives were executing a search warrant at his home. Dobbs said investigators believe Watson may have used the three-hour window between the time they arrived at his home and the time he was taken into custody to wipe his laptop of any evidence of child pornography. “It looked like the user profile was deleted or that it was factory-restored,” Dobbs told the Magistrate Court judge, adding that Watson admitted having child pornography on that particular laptop during an interview conducted inside the jail following his arrest. “Mr. Watson is charged with 10 counts of sexual exploitation,” District Attorney Shannon Wallace said Tuesday. “His arraignment is scheduled for Jan.10.” Watson’s case has been assigned to Superior Court Judge David Cannon and Zack Smith is set to prosecute him on the state’s behalf, Wallace said. Watson was being held at the Cherokee County Adult Detention Center.
Renato Capili Bosi Church Position: Pastor Court of Conviction: Guam, 2019 Outcome: A jury found Bosi guilty after a trial on two felony counts of second degree criminal sexual assault and three misdemeanor charges, including two counts of criminal sexual conduct and one of child abuse, according to a press release released by the Guam Attorney General. “This perpetrator used his position as a man of God to strike fear in his young victim who looked to him for guidance,” said Chief Prosecutor J. Basil O’Mallan III. Sentencing is scheduled for July 24, 2019. Renato Bosi, a Pastor whose teenaged victim saw him as a “father” figure, was convicted by a jury today. Bosi was found guilty of two counts of Second Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct as a First-Degree Felony, two counts of Fourth Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct as a Misdemeanor, and Child Abuse as a Misdemeanor. “This perpetrator used his position as a man of God to strike fear in his young victim who looked to him for guidance,” said Chief Prosecutor J. Basil O’Mallan III. “I am grateful to have delivered justice to the victim and her family after a long and tough trial. After coming forward about the abuse, the defendant tried to escape justice by turning his faithful against the victim in a shameful scheme of character assassination. I thank the jury for seeing through the smokescreen to demonize and revictimize her and hope this verdict encourages more victims to come forward when sexual abuse happens, no matter the power or position of their abuser,” he concluded. Bosi faces a minimum of 10 years imprisonment at the Department of Corrections. Sentencing is scheduled for July 24, 2019, before Judge Perez.
The former pastor of a local church was sentenced Thursday to 30 years in state prison and a lifetime designation as a sexual offender by Judge William F. Stone.
Larry Michael Thorne had been found guilty earlier this summer of lewd and lascivious battery on a victim between the ages of 12 and 18 and sexual battery on a victim in the same age range, according to a press release from the First Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s Office.
Thorne was arrested Nov. 14, 2014 after the victim reported that he’d had sexual contact with her on numerous occasions. The abuse started when she was 14 and ended when she was 17, according to news accounts.
The sexual molestation included sexual intercourse. These criminal acts occurred repeatedly in Thorne’s home in Fort Walton Beach.
The sexual abuse stopped only when the child disclosed it to a pastor at the church she began attending after she had been able to distance herself from the defendant.
The jury also heard evidence from two earlier victims who had been subject to the same pattern of conduct and sexual molestation when they were in their teens.
According to news accounts, Thorne was the youth pastor at Abundant Life Church on Hill Avenue beginning in 1985. In 2007, he took over as pastor after his father stepped down. In a news article about the transition, Thorne spoke about wanting the church to be a “lighthouse to our community.”
The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office conducted the investigation, with the assistance of the Department of Children and Families and Children’s Advocacy Center personnel, and made the arrest. The case was prosecuted by Assistant State Attorney Christine Bosau.
Naason Joaquin Garcia, the leader of the Mexico-based church La Luz Del Mundo, is scheduled to be arraigned in Los Angeles on June 21. The list of charges is long and disturbing. Among them: rape of a minor, extortion and human traficking.
But what exactly is La Luz Del Mundo? And what role does Joaquin Garcia have among his followers?
WHO IS JOAQUIN GARCIA AND WHY WAS HE ARRESTED?
Joaquin Garcia isn’t just the leader of La Luz Del Mundo. Adherents of the fundamentalist Christian group consider the man now being held on $50 million bail a living apostle of Jesus Christ, like his father and grandfather before him.
Joaquin Garcia was arrested at LAX last Monday on charges including child rape and human trafficking, after four church members from L.A. County filed reports using the California Attorney General’s clergy abuse tip line. The alleged crimes occurred in L.A. County between 2015 and 2018.
Prosecutors say Joaquin Garcia and three female co-defendants coerced underage victims into performing sex acts by telling them that if they defied Garcia’s desires as “the Apostle,” they were defying God.
In a news conference Thursday, Attorney General Xavier Becerra said his heart goes out to the many Mexican immigrants in Los Angeles who depend on La Luz Del Mundo, or The Light of The World church, for support.
“I understand many are probably very frightened and confused,” Becerra said. “Many of these folks are not well-versed in American society, are not totally fluent, and depended quite a bit on what this organization provided to them.”
“I would simply say to them that no law of California, no law of humankind, and certainly no law of God would permit what Naason Joaquin Garcia is alleged to have committed against these young women,” Becerra said.
HOW HAVE LA LUZ MEMBERS REACTED?
Since Joaquin Garcia’s arrest, some members have held prayer services for their embattled leader and church leaders have issued statements of support.
“The church categorically rejects the false accusations against Joaquin Garcia,” La Luz spokesman Nicolas Menchaca told LAist, adding that “the Apostle” has always acted according to the law.
During a service this week at La Luz Del Mundo’s East L.A. church, a crowd of about 100 people gathered — the focus was largely on Joaquin Garcia himself.
“Our reaction has been to come to church and to pray, and to put everything in God’s hands, because we trust that God will answer our prayers,” said Priscilla Granados, 25, standing outside after the service.
The Greek-style, gold-columned temple is the group’s largest in Southern California, with more than 1,200 members. Joaquin Garcia once served as pastor at the East L.A. church. In 2014, he became the international leader of La Luz Del Mundo, based in Guadalajara.
Granados, who joined the church with her family at age 12, said she believes Joaquin Garcia is innocent of the charges against him.
“I only speak of what I know, and what I know of him, for the years that I’ve been part of the church, I’ve never seen anything, witnessed anything, or heard anything relatively close to what’s being spread right now,” Granados said.
Some former members of La Luz Del Mundo have spoken critically about Joaquin Garcia. One online forum is aimed at “exit support” and discussion.
WHAT IS LA LUZ DEL MUNDO?
La Luz is the largest evangelical church in Mexico and the second largest religious body there after the Roman Catholic Church. It’s also a transnational movement with between 1 and 5 million members worldwide and dozens of churches in Southern California. That includes the East L.A. location and a church in Pasadena.
The religious group was founded in Guadalajara in 1926 by Joaquin Garcia’s grandfather, Eusebio Joaquin Gonzalez, still venerated by adherents as the “first Apostle.”
After the Great Depression, Joaquin Gonzalez recruited migrants returning to Mexico from the U.S. In the 1950s, he began to evangelize in Los Angeles.
“This is a migrant church that was born in the most historically and traditionally migrant place in all of Mexico,” said Patricia Fortuny, a cultural anthropologist based in Mexico City, that’s researched the group since 1989. “It has the highest rate of migration to the United States historically, since the 19th century.”
For that reason, Fortuny said California, with its large population of Mexican immigrants, has the largest concentration of La Luz adherents in the U.S.
Joaquin Garcia’s father, Samuel Joaquin Flores, led the church from 1964 until 2014. He was the subject of sexual abuse allegations in 1997, but never faced criminal charges.
WHAT IS THE BELIEF SYSTEM OF LA LUZ MEMBERS?
The La Luz belief system is a mash-up of Pentecostal theology and regional Catholic culture, Fortuny said.
La Luz followers identify as Christians who follow the Bible and believe that Jesus Christ is humanity’s savior. But they’re taught salvation can only be achieved by following the international leaders of their church, past and present.
This belief system fostered an intense connection and trust among many members who view Joaquin Garcia as the key to their religious movement.
La Luz traditions are unfamiliar to many in the U.S. Churches offer three prayer services each day. Male and female worshippers sit on opposite sides of churches. Women wear long skirts and cover their heads with lace veils. Church members aren’t supposed to drink, smoke or gamble. The church does not celebrate Christmas or Easter.
While Fortuny said the religious group is too large and well-organized to be considered a cult, La Luz Del Mundo’s focus on its “apostles” does set the church apart from other Latin American evangelical Pentecostal movements.
“Most Pentecostal churches don’t worship their pastors,” Fortuny said. “Having this ‘living apostle’ is the strongest feature of the church, because it’s fantastic for the people. They feel unique, like they are chosen to be part of the restored primitive Christian Church. But it’s also the weakest feature of the church, because of that coercive power the leader, in this case Naason Joaquin Garcia, has.”
As a minority religion in heavily Catholic Mexico, La Luz Del Mundo members have faced some marginalization and persecution. Fortuny said Joaquin Garcia’s arrest will only worsen relations between Catholics and non-Catholics in Mexico.
“There’s already violent discourse against La Luz Del Mundo in Guadalajara,” Fortuny said. “Now, this is probably going to extend into many other evangelical groups who are not La Luz, and who are not as fundamentalist. Other churches will be painted with the same brush.”
Fortuny also worries about millions of La Luz faithful, whose lives are now thrown into disarray.
HOW WILL THE ALLEGATIONS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT AFFECT THE CHURCH AND ITS FOLLOWERS?
While a faction of believers are defending Joaquin Garcia, Fortuney said there’s likely another faction that believes he’s guilty and will fight to keep the church going without him.
“The church could be divided and weakened, but it could also become stronger,” Fortuny said. “Naason can be perceived as an innocent man wrongly persecuted by the state. This persecution can become symbolic social capital for the Church to use.”
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said Joaquin Garcia’s $50 million bail set a new record in Los Angeles County, because of concerns his followers might be able to raise enough funds to help him flee prosecution.
Last Friday, La Luz Del Mundo officials held a press conference in Los Angeles, introducing the legal team that will defend Garcia against 26 felony charges.
Wednesday, June 12, 11:52 a.m.: This article was updated with the new arraignment date and details from members.
This article was originally published on Monday, June 10 at 7 a.m.
Aaron Schrank covers religion, international affairs and the Southern California diaspora under a grant from the Luce Foundation.
A former minister of First Baptist Church of Hammond is gambling he can get out of prison by branding as a seductress the underage girl he molested.
Jack A. Schaap, 56, is asking a federal judge to overturn his 12-year sentence “due to the aggressiveness of (the girl) that inhibited impulse control …”
It is a risky strategy that may backfire with U.S. District Judge Rudy Lozano, who sentenced Schaap last year and would hear the new petition, according to veteran local defense attorneys.
“Judge Lozano may give him more time,” said one lawyer, who asked to remain anonymous.
Schaap pleaded guilty to transporting a female student of the church’s high school to Illinois and Michigan for sexual encounters. He also had sex with her in his church office here in June and July 2012.
He is being held in the Federal Correctional Institute in Ashland, Ky., and he isn’t eligible for release until April 20, 2023.
His sentence was two years above the penalty agreed to by the U.S. attorney’s office and Schaap’s lawyer at the time, Paul Stracci, of Merrillville. The judge wasn’t bound by that or the recommended sentencing guideline in the case, which ranged above 17 years.
Nevertheless, Schaap’s attorney, Charles Murray, of Bonita Springs, Fla., has filed a court memorandum asking to present new evidence and portraying the girl, who was age 16 at the beginning of her sexual encounters with Schaap, as having “had prior extensive sexual experience” in addition to using alcohol and marijuana.
Murray argues, “No doubt exists that (Schaap) should have resisted (her) advances, but (Schaap) submits his actions did not serve to destroy (her) in the manner that often occurs when underage individuals are victimized.”
Schaap’s new pleading doesn’t sit well with his former megachurch.
“We stand with the court on the judgment,” Ed Lapina, First Baptist’s administrative pastor, said Tuesday. “We felt the court was very fair and just in its judgment.
Lapina said he wanted to clear up false rumors circulating last year that the victim’s family, longtime church members, were told to stay away from church services.
“That is basically Facebook folklore. They are as welcome here as I am. They have chosen not to come back. We are fine with that, but the church has no animosity toward them. I wrote them a letter of apology a few months ago.
“The girl was a troubled girl. Her past was a tough past. She came here for help and that should have been our goal. It should have been (Schaap’s) goal. That didn’t end up happening, and so he is taking responsibility for that now with his prison term,” Lapina said.
Stracci, Schaap’s former attorney, declined comment Tuesday on the new petition. Neither Murray nor the U.S. attorney’s office returned calls seeking comment.
Schaap’s memorandum is in sharp contrast with earlier comments he was pleading guilty to spare his victim the trauma of a public trial and that he should be blamed for the crime, not others.
Schaap, a married man with two children, was pastor of a church that had the loyalty of 15,000 members. The victim’s parents told the court they believed their daughter was safe going to the church and its schools, which she had done since kindergarten.
The father is quoted in a court document stating, “The rule of our house was that the pastor was God’s representative on Earth. Always do what the pastor says.”
The government stated the girl was referred to Schaap by a school administrator after she had trouble coping with a troubled relationship with a younger man.
The girl wrote in her victim impact statement, “I was raised by my parents and teachers to trust and obey my pastor. He was a celebrity to me, a father figure and a man of God. As my pastor, I sought guidance and counseling from (Schaap) when I was in need of help.”
Federal authorities said their private counseling sessions increased in number, length and intimacy.
The girl wrote, “(Schaap) violated my trust. But when it was being violated, I didn’t even know it because he made me believe what we were doing was OK and right in the eyes of God. When I asked him if it was wrong, he told me no and that I was his precious gift from God. I felt so special when he texted me from the holy altar during his sermons.”
The government said they texted each other 637 times during the month before a member of Schaap’s staff discovered incriminating photographs of the two, church officials fired him and called in authorities.
Jill Koster, assistant U.S. attorney in the case, said in a sentencing memorandum last year, “The government submits that any 16- to 17-year-old girl placed in the victim’s vulnerable shoes and showered with attention and affection from (Schaap) whom she practically been taught to worship would have ended up in exactly the same position as the victim in this case, in love with (Schaap), the ultimate hypocrite.”
Lozano on Tuesday gave the U.S. attorney’s office until July 3 to file its response. Schaap will then have until Aug. 4 to file any reply to prosecutors’ response.
‘The ultimate hypocrite’
Jill Koster, assistant U.S. attorney, in a sentencing memorandum last year called Jack A. Schaap “the ultimate hypocrite.” Schaap, 56, is asking a federal judge to overturn his 12-year sentence “due to the aggressiveness of (the girl) that inhibited impulse control …”
An Indiana woman is suing the First Baptist Church of Hammond, alleging its youth minister repeatedly raped her as a teen girl in the late 1970s.
Joy Ryder, who now runs a support group for sex abuse victims, said she is trying to win justice not only for herself, but others similarly abused by the fundamentalist movement’s clergy over the decades.
She alleges officials of the church and Hyles-Anderson College put her at the mercy of David Hyles, son of the church’s charismatic leader, the late Jack Hyles.
She said once her family accused David Hyles of sexual abuse, the church covered up his wrongdoings.
Ryder, who spoke this week with The Times and gave permission to identify her by name, said the federal lawsuit is the only way left to hold church officials publicly accountable.
“You couldn’t go up against their authority. (David Hyles) told me that nobody would believe me,” she said.
She said the statute of limitations has passed on criminal charges, and the church hierarchy has repeatedly refused to respond to her accusations.
Her attorney, Robert Montgomery, filed a civil suit Monday in U.S. District Court in Chicago.
It alleges David Hyles, Hyles-Anderson College in Schererville and the First Baptist Church of Hammond violated state and local law as defined by the RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) statute.
Neither David Hyles, who now is affiliated with a different church out of state, nor a spokesperson for the First Baptist Church of Hammond, were immediately available for comment Tuesday.
The new lawsuit marks the latest in a history of civil and criminal accusations of sexual abuse of underage girls made against officials of the church, which was founded in 1887.
A Lake Criminal court jury convicted A.V. Ballenger, a deacon of the Hammond Baptist Church, almost three decades ago of fondling a 7-year-old girl in the summer of 1991 in her Sunday school class.
Jack Schaap, a son-in-law Hammond Baptist church founder, the late Jack Hyles, was pastor of Hammond Baptist Church and a married man with two children when he pleaded guilty in 2012 to transporting a teen female student of the church’s high school to Illinois and Michigan for sexual encounters. Schaap also had sex with the underage victim in his church office earlier that year, according to court filings.
Schaap, 62, is being held in the Federal Correctional Institute in Ashland, Ky., and he isn’t eligible for release until April 20, 2023.
In the case surrounding the recent lawsuit, Ryder said her parents were church members and employees when she was being raped by David Hyles, then the church’s youth minister and son of Jack Hyles.
She attended Hammond Baptist Schools and Hyles-Anderson College during the 1970s and early 1980s.
She said David Hyles was 25, and she was 14 when he began to pull her aside from church youth groups to flatter her, select her as a member of the church’s traveling music group and gain her trust.
The suit alleges Ryder became concerned about David Hyles stalking her with repeated calls to talk and be with him. It alleges that when this was brought to Jack Hyles’ attention, he responded that Ryder “wasn’t special” and his son “did that with everyone.”
Ryder said she was a high school sophomore when David Hyles first assaulted her in his office at the church’s youth ministry building in downtown Hammond.
The suit alleges David Hyles “pinned her to the floor in his office and raped her.”
The suit alleges: “Multiple other girls accused (David) Hyles of sexual misconduct, similarly, to no avail.”
The suit alleges David Hyles sexually abused Ryder more than 50 times over two years inside church buildings as well as other locations during her travels with the church music group.
The suit also alleges David Hyles once ordered her to his home when his wife was out of town and threatened to reveal her to the congregation as a “slut” and have her parents fired from their church employment.
The suit alleges that once she arrived at his house, he forced her to perform oral sex and later laughed, “Bet you didn’t expect that, did you?”
It alleges David Hyles secretly put drugs or alcohol in her food and drink to make her more compliant.
The suit alleges Ryder finally informed her parents of the rapes after two years and brought her father with her to a meeting with David Hyles to confront him.
It alleges that after their meeting, her father personally informed Jack Hyles of the son’s wrongdoing.
It alleges the church responded by giving her father a lucrative job at Hyles-Anderson college “in exchange for his silence and agreement not to take the allegations to law enforcement.”
The lawsuit also alleges the church then moved David Hyles to a church in Texas, where his father had previously been a pastor.
The suit alleges child rape and sexual abuse by all church clergy, including those of the Independent Fundamentalist Baptist movement, “are widely known” and have led to numerous later investigations, trials and convictions.
David Hyles doesn’t face criminal sanctions, but Ryder’s civil suit seeks a monetary award for damages she has suffered. No trial date is set in the matter.
Ryder, who formed the non-profit support group, Out of the Shadows more than six years ago to help other victims of sex abuse, said her lawsuit against David Hyles and the Hammond Baptist Church is more than a personal demand for justice.
She said it is meant to encourage all who have been similarly victimized to stand up for their rights.
Christians love to proclaim how it is we atheists who are the rampant pedophiles and promoters of pedophilia. Well? Here is another posting, proving that it is actually? The Abrahamist religionists, especially the Christians who are the ones who are the rampant pedophiles and promoters of pedophilia.
30 More Pedophile Pervert Pastors of the Southern Baptist Convention Churches
Timothy N. Douglas Church Position: Pastor Court of Conviction: Fort Bend County, 2016 Outcome: Registered sex offender in Texas for two convictions of possession of child pornography. Convicted in 2016; sentenced to 10 years probation. The Houston Metro Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force granted a search warrant that led to the arrest of Timothy Douglas. The search was conducted in January at the former pastor’s home in the 3400 block of Sentry Park Lane in Katy’s Falcon Ranch subdivision. Douglas, 49, was the lead pastor at Creekside Community Church.
Darrell Gilyard Church Position: Pastor Court of Conviction: Duval County, 2009 Outcome: Registered sex offender in Florida for two 2009 convictions of lewd and lascivious molestation of two teenage girls, one between 12 and 15 years old and another under 16. He went back to work at another church in 2012 after serving a three-year prison term. Worked at a large church in Dallas County in the 1990s, but he left the state for Florida after being publicly accused of molesting young congregants, according to articles published by the Dallas Morning News. A church pastor surrendered to police after he was accused of sending sexually explicit text messages to the teen daughter of a congregant, authorities said. Darrell Gilyard, 45, turned himself in to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office with his attorney Monday, an arrest report said. Gilyard was charged with lewd and lascivious conduct and was released from jail on $5,000 bail later that day. Gilyard resigned as pastor of the Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church earlier this month. He also resigned an appointment to a committee aimed at reducing violent crime in Jacksonville. A mother filed a report with the sheriff’s office on Nov. 29, alleging that she found obscene text messages on her 14-year-old daughter’s cell phone in October from a number belonging to Gilyard. The mother said she didn’t notify authorities for a month because church deacons had told her they would handle the matter. The arrest report accused Gilyard of soliciting the teen “to commit a lewd act by sending her lewd text messages and requesting for her to send him lewd text messages back.” Gilyard’s attorney, Hank Coxe, called him a committed community servant who’s worked hard to build the church, improve neighborhoods and help at-risk youths. Coxe said Gilyard appreciates the support he has received from his family and others, and that he has sought professional help. It is the second time accusations of sexual misconduct kept Gilyard from preaching. In 1991, he resigned his post at Victory Baptist Church near Dallas after reports he slept with church members came to light. Shiloh is a fast-growing church that televises its services and boasts a membership of at least 7,000, according to its Web site. Gilyard had been there for 14 years.
Eddie Hilburn Church Position: Pastor Court of Conviction: Harris County, 2018 Outcome: Pleaded guilty to misdemeanor (soliciting) prostitution charge and received deferred adjudication on Jan. 8, 2018. Ordered to serve a year of community supervision, but he was discharged early and the case was dismissed on June 1, 2018, according to Harris County court records. A Baptist pastor charged with prostitution earlier this year will spend a year on probation after admitting guilt in a plea deal Monday, according to court officials. Eddie Hilburn, a pastor at The Woodlands First Baptist Church, was arrested July 19 by the Harris County Sheriff’s Office and charged with prostitution, court records show. On Monday, he pleaded guilty in exchange for a year-long sentence of deferred adjudication, a form of probation that allows him to escape a conviction on his record if he successfully completes it. The 53-year-old joined the church in July 2012 and was a senior pastor, according to the church’s website. The website notes Hilburn is married with three adult children. He attended East Texas Baptist University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Ricardo Javier Pena Church Position: Pastor Court of Conviction: Harris County, 2014 Outcome: Convicted of two aggravated sexual assault charges of a child under 14, sentenced to 20 years in prison. Incarcerated in Texas. Houston police arrested a Houston pastor accused of molesting two young girls, according to the Harris County District Attorney’s Office. Ricardo Javier Pena, 53, has been charged with two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child, and was released from the Harris County Jail after posting a $60,000 bond, court records show. Pena is pastor at Doverside Baptist Church, 619 Berry Road in north Houston, Houston police said.
Randy Lee Morrow Church Position: Youth Minister Court of Conviction: Pinellas County, 2000 Outcome: Convicted in Pinellas County on charges of lewd and lascivious behavior and sexual battery of a minor. Serving a 30-year prison sentence in Florida. Two counts of sexual battery/coerce child by an adult. Three teens who were sexually abused by a youth minister at a Baptist Church have sued the church and pastor. A Pinellas County jury convicted Randy Lee Morrow, 42, in October of nine charges involving allegations that he had sex with the three when they were between the ages 13 and 15. Circuit Judge Phil Federico sentenced Morrow to 135 years in prison for abuse that began in March 1999. The suit, filed last week in Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Court, says Countryside Baptist Church should never have hired Morrow and that the church’s pastor, Bruce Crawford, should have noticed Morrow’s ”unnatural affection” for the teens. At his trial, prosecutors told jurors that Morrow lured the three victims with cigarettes and alcohol, getting them drunk so he could take advantage of them by having sex in his RV, the church and local parks. The suit seeks unspecified damages in excess of $15,000 from the church and Crawford. The suit also said the church failed to discover Morrow’s criminal history, including a prior allegation that he had sexually abused a minor. Morrow left Countryside Baptist in June 2000 to begin a ministry for the homeless before police learned of the allegations. He was charged in October 2000. Crawford and other Countryside Baptist officials did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
Fritzner Jean Church Position: Pastor Court of Conviction: Clay County, 2008 Outcome: Registered sex offender in Florida for unlawful sexual activity with a 16- or 17-year-old. A pastor was arrested and charged with sexually assaulting a girl, a Clay County Sheriff’s Office arrest report said. Fritzner Jean, 35, was being held Friday at the Clay County Jail on a $300,000 bond. He was charged with one count of lewd battery and two counts of unlawful sexual activity with a minor, a jail official said. Jean surrendered to police on Wednesday after the arrest warrant was issued for him, The Jacksonville Times-Union reported. Jean was pastor of First Haitian Baptist Church of Jesus Christ in Green Cove Springs and also a truck driver. Barbara Denman, a spokeswoman for the Florida Baptist Convention in Jacksonville, said it was up to local church officials to decide whether to suspend or terminate Jean. Jean frequently visited the home of the girl’s family, the arrest affidavit said. The alleged victim told police she had been assaulted three times within three months, and that Jean forced her to have sex when he stopped by her family’s house to help her cope with her father’s illness, the report said.
Augustin Fernando Garcia Church Position: Minister Court of Conviction: Greenwood County, 2001 Outcome: Charged with dozens of felonies in a scandal that shocked Hispanic congregants in Greenwood in 2000. Pleaded guilty to 47 charges in 2001 and admitted to abusing 23 children aged 5 to 13; other charges dropped in a plea deal. Sentenced to at least 50 years in prison. The Associated Press reported that police found a list of names and videotapes showing victims from Atlanta and Carson City, Nev. Incarcerated in South Carolina. It will be difficult for this small town to forget how a minister hired to serve the area’s growing Hispanic population instead preyed on its children. The Rev. Fernando Garcia’s crimes are not easily discussed by the people he was supposed to help. The 42-year-old Baptist minister was sentenced to 60 years in prison Monday after he admitted to sexually molesting nearly two dozen children and videotaping the acts. “Ninety percent of the parents . . . are still in denial,” said grocery store owner Genara Bautista. Victims and their parents have turned down counseling services offered by community leaders, Bautista said. “They don’t think it will help the kids later on,” he said. Garcia admitted in court to abusing 23 children, ages 5 to 13. He pleaded guilty to 32 counts of performing lewd acts and 15 counts of criminal sexual conduct. He said he is an example of what can happen without that counseling. As a boy growing up in Mexico, Garcia said he was abused by a Roman Catholic priest. “Your kids need special counseling,” he said. “What you are seeing here is the result of somebody who never took the chance to be counseled.” Garcia stared at the courtroom floor while the mother of two of the victims, boys who were 10 and 12 years old at the time, called Garcia “this evil incarnate” and said her family would never be the same. Police said they found in Garcia’s office 26 videotapes of him sexually abusing children. The tapes came to light after an 8-year-old boy told his mother in May he had been molested by Garcia. Garcia was arrested two days later. Police also found a list of 145 names indicating Garcia may have molested more children. Police said the videotapes also showed at least two other victims, one from Atlanta and another from Carson City, Nev. They said those cases would not likely be pursued because investigators could not pinpoint where and when the attacks took place.
Joe Nix Ivey Church Position: Pastor Court of Conviction: Frederick County, 2012 Outcome: Pleaded guilty to a second-degree sex offense in 2012 and received a four-year prison sentence (20 years with all but four suspended). Registered sex offender in Frederick County, Md. A Walkersville resident and former pastor was sentenced to 20 years in prison with all but four suspended Wednesday for sexually assaulting a 10-year-old girl in February 2010, according to State’s Attorney Charlie Smith. Joe Nix Ivey, 74, will serve at least four years of the sentence ordered by Judge G. Edward Dwyer. Ivey pleaded guilty to a second-degree sex offense on Feb. 7 in Frederick County Circuit Court. During an investigation, Ivey told the girl that what happened was between “you, me and God” and that she shouldn’t tell anyone about it, according to charging documents in the case. Soon after the sex-abuse case became public, Ivey stepped down from a pastoral position at Barnesville Baptist Church in Montgomery County. “I went into counseling to try and find out why I did what I did and why I covered it up for two years,” Ivey told the court in February. According to charging documents, Ivey sexually assaulted a girl who was visiting his home on Dublin Road for an overnight stay. The abuse occurred for about 30 minutes while they were watching a movie, the document states. Ivey said nothing before or during the alleged contact, but told her afterward, “Don’t tell anyone, it will ruin me,” the documents state. The girl also told investigators that Ivey abused her when she was 6. According to the charging documents, when asked about the incident, Ivey said, “I don’t remember. I’m 74 years old. I don’t remember that one.” Dwyer also put Ivey on five years of supervised probation. In addition, he will be on the tier III child sex offender registry. This means he will be on lifetime registry, with treatment and polygraph examinations. He will not be permitted to possess pornography.
John Lankston Anderson Jr. Church Position: Preacher Court of Conviction: Walker Co, AL; Miller County, Ark., 2002 Outcome: Pleaded guilty in 2002 to three counts of sexual abuse in Alabama and sentenced to three years. Immediately transferred to Arkansas, where he pleaded guilty to another sex abuse charge and was sentenced to 10 more years. Served prison sentences in both states. Released in 2013. Was later required to register as a sex offender in Tennessee. A prominent businessman and deacon at Emerywood Baptist Church has been indicted on 32 counts of sex crimes against children. Guy Ellis Carr Jr., 65, was arrested Thursday after a monthlong investigation into allegations of sexual assault between 1973 and 1981, according to the High Point Police Department. Information from that investigation led a Guilford County grand jury to indict Carr on 13 counts of taking indecent liberties with children, 13 counts of crimes against nature, three counts of first-degree statutory rape and three counts of first-degree sexual offense. Authorities have not released names of the alleged victim or victims, and they would not confirm the number of children involved or their genders. People in High Point who know Carr were reluctant to talk about the charges Friday, but they described him as a family man who is active in the community. Although several members of Emerywood Baptist Church declined to comment, they stressed that Carr had no part in the children’s ministry or any role with children at the church. Carr was arrested Thursday afternoon at his family’s business, Carr Mill Supplies at 1015 Manley St. He was being held Friday at the Guilford County Jail in High Point under a $1 million bond. Neither Carr’s family nor his attorney could be reached for comment Friday.
Bernard Squires Church Position: Pastor Court of Conviction:Federal, 2010 Outcome: Pleaded guilty to charge of distribution of child pornography; sentenced to 151 months. Incarcerated in federal prison.
Travis Ray Smith Church Position: Pastor Court of Conviction: Laclede and Moniteau County and Camden County, 2016 Outcome: Sentenced to prison for four years in 2016 after being convicted of statutory rape, sexual abuse and statutory sodomy for offenses that occurred in 1998, 2000 and 2005 in criminal cases that involved three victims in three different counties, Missouri court and prison records show. Defendant had been acquitted of sexual abuse allegations pertaining to a different victim in 2011. The congregation of the Baptist church here stuck by the preacher even when whispers turned to criminal charges. “Brother Travis” Smith would never sexually assault a teenage girl; the flock refused to believe it. He was married. Beautiful wife, beautiful kids, including young twins. He was handsome and charismatic — his powerful sermons stirred the soul. The church grew since his arrival. One member said Smith “could have been a TV preacher.” And sure enough, Smith was acquitted of the charge in 2011. But then another girl came forward. And another. And then another — and now Smith, 45, is headed to prison. He entered an Alford plea last week to charges of statutory rape and statutory sodomy of a 16-year-old victim who said she and Smith, at the time her youth pastor, used to have sex late at night in a country cemetery until being caught by her father in 2005. As part of the plea deal, Smith pleaded guilty in cases involving two other teenage girls. After the later arrests, most members of the First Baptist Church in Stover, population 1,081, near the Lake of the Ozarks in Morgan County, continued to show up Sundays to hear Smith, who was out on bond. Not Cheryl and Tom Howser. They stopped going, even when Smith’s wife called to ask why. Cheryl Howser told her they would not be back until Smith resigned or was found not guilty. “When I would sit there on Sunday and look to the front and see his wife and kids, I saw pain,” Cheryl Howser said Tuesday in her living room. “I couldn’t do it anymore. The first time — maybe. But the others — how could that be? “I heard him deny it, deny it all, and I didn’t believe him.” Others did. Some so strongly that when Smith did resign, they went to his farm near California, Mo., where he continued to conduct Sunday services. Smith entered his plea last week in Laclede County Circuit Court in Lebanon, Mo., after a jury had heard the case against him and reached a verdict, but before the verdict had been announced. In an Alford plea, a defendant does not admit guilt but acknowledges that prosecutors have enough evidence to convict him. Smith then pleaded guilty in the two other cases, which were filed in 2012 and 2013. Court documents say Smith assaulted those girls years earlier — in 1998 and 2000. One of the assaults allegedly took place in the back seat of Smith’s truck while a friend of his sat in the front. The trial victim was a girl at Pilot Grove Baptist Church in unincorporated Moniteau County, where Smith served as youth pastor. During testimony, Smith acknowledged the sex took place, but he said the acts occurred after the girl turned 17, the legal age of consent. Smith’s attorney, according to a story on LakeExpo.com, argued that testimony from the girl’s father indicated the man discovered the relationship during raccoon season. If the sex had occurred during coon season, the attorney argued, it must have been after the girl’s birthday. According to court records, the jury began deliberations at 3:30 p.m. April 19. Six hours later, the jury announced that it had reached a verdict. By making the Alford plea before the court had accepted the jury verdict, Smith avoided the possibility of a longer sentence. He got four years. Camden County Prosecutor Michael Gilley said the plea deal was offered after consulting with victims and their families. “All three victims were present in the courtroom to listen to Mr. Smith admit to his crimes and go from a free man to being placed into the custody of sheriff’s deputies to await transport to the Department of Corrections,” said Gilley, who served as special prosecutor in the case. On Tuesday, Tom Howser shook his head when asked what the long ordeal was like for a church in a small town. “Hell on earth,” he said. “And it’s not over yet — we still don’t have a permanent preacher.” But one is filling in for the time being. Across the street from the Howsers, Misty Brosius said some of the people who left the church had returned. She never left. Not because she believed Smith’s claims of innocence, but because the church was her church. The place was her home and the people there her family. Travis Smith nearly tore it all apart. “He thought he was a ladies’ man,” Brosius said. “But it’s not me he has to worry about on Judgment Day.”
Paul Eugene Cunningham Church Position: Pastor Court of Conviction: Los Alamos County, 2016 Outcome: Found guilty of two counts of sexual exploitation of children/possession of any obscene visual or print medium. Given four years and six months probation in New Mexico. Registered sex offender in Texas.
John Orville McKay Jr. Church Position: Pastor Court of Conviction: Medina County, 2004 Outcome: Convicted of sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl in 2004. Sentenced to 10 years. Was a registered sex offender in Texas until his death in 2018. Included on a list of church leaders convicted of sex crimes published in 2007 by the Baptist General Convention of Texas. A pastor faces a charge of sexual assault by a clergyman for allegedly having sex with a teenage girl who attended his church. John O. McKay Jr. resigned from First Baptist Church in Hondo last month. He was arrested Wednesday in Hondo, about 40 miles west of San Antonio. Prosecutors said McKay had sex with the girl in September. She was a parishioner at the First Baptist Church, where McKay had been pastor for the past four years. An investigator’s sworn affidavit said McKay used his position as the girl’s spiritual adviser to exploit her emotional dependency. David Lynch, chairman of the church’s board of deacons, said McKay resigned at the deacons’ request in mid-March. That was about a month after the teenager accused the pastor of having sexual relations with her, Medina County Sheriff Gilbert Rodriguez said.
Terry L. McDowell Sr. Church Position: Pastor Court of Conviction: St. Louis County, 2012 Outcome: Registered sex offender in Missouri. Convicted in 2012 of child molestation of a 3-year-old victim. Under a probation provision of Missouri law, his 10-year sentence was suspended and he was released after four months in jail and put on five years probation, according to court and sex offender records. Rev. Terry McDowell describes his congregation at Gateway Southern Baptist Church on Tholozan Street in south St. Louis as a “church of second chances.” Let’s hope so, for his sake. Yesterday the St. Louis County police department announced it arrested McDowell last week on suspicion of sexually assaulting a girl under the age of four. On Friday the county prosecutor’s office charged the 48-year-old preacher with child molestation in the first degree. Perhaps McDowell was wrestling with a guilty conscience when he began the introduction on his church’s website with these words…”We believe in many changes and many fresh starts. We are a church of second chances for individuals and families. But beware, NO perfect people are at Gateway.” According to authorities, their investigation began on back in May when St. Louis County detectives received a hotline referral from the Missouri Department of Social Services concerning the alleged victim. The girl reported that between January and May of 2010, the suspect, a trusted family friend, had touched her inappropriately while she was alone with him at his home. McDowell’s residence is in Affton although the victim lives in Jefferson County. McDowell and his wife had been babysitting the child for the last two years. As of yesterday McDowell remained in custody on a $50,000 bond.
Fernando David Maldonado Church Position: Minister Court of Conviction: Contra Costa County, 2018 Outcome: Convicted after trial of 23 counts of child molestation, including sodomy with a minor and lewd or lascivious acts with a children. Sentenced to 34 years in 2018, according to news reports. The Contra Costa County district attorney’s office charged Fernando Maldonado, a 32-year-old Concord resident, on Monday with 12 counts of lewd acts with a minor, 10 counts of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor and one count of sodomy of a minor. The alleged abuse occurred from September 2012 to mid-2015 and involved one victim at the two churches in which Maldonado presided as a minister, said Sgt. Dave Mathers, a detective in the Martinez Police Department. The churches were Morello Avenue Baptist Church in Martinez and the Grace Bible Church of Pleasant Hill, where church leaders and congregants, including the alleged victim, moved after the church in Martinez closed, Mathers said. Maldonado, who has been removed from active ministry at Grace Bible Church and suspended indefinitely, is being held at the Martinez Detention Facility on $9,065,000 bail, according to jail records. He is scheduled to return to court May 10 for further arraignment and to enter a plea, Graves said. Detectives began their investigation April 18 after the victim, identified only as Jane Doe, reported the allegations to Martinez police, Mathers said. Officers arrested Maldonado on his way to the church Thursday morning.
Ralph Randall Melton Church Position: Minister Court of Conviction: Chilton County, 2005 Outcome: Prior to his death on June 14, 2018, together with his wife, Cathy, were both registered sex offenders for child rape convictions in Alabama from 2005. (Cathy Melton is still a registered sex offender). Their victims were a 1-year-old male and 16-year-old female. A former Shelby County pastor and his wife pled guilty last week to raping and sodomizing their two children almost 18 years ago. Ralph Randall Melton and his wife, Cathy G. Melton, of Jemison, pled guilty to first-degree rape and sodomy in Chilton County District Court. The couple is awaiting sentencing. Melton was arrested in April 2004 after his daughter filed charges with the Chilton County Sheriff’s Office. Invesitgators said Melton and his wife raped his then-15-year-old daughter repeatedly between 1975 and 1987. Investigators began collecting evidence after the victim filed a complaint against her father in November 2003. The couple’s son also filed charges after his sister stepped forward, and the wife was also arrested. Melton was the pastor of Prospect Baptist Church in Wilsonville at the time of his arrest. He also served as pastor of New Salem Baptist Church in Thorsby and Big Springs Baptist Church in Vida. The Meltons avoided a trial by entering guilty pleas on the day the court was set to strike a jury, according to V. Randall Houston, district attorney for the 19th Circuit. Houston said the two are expected to receive two 10-year sentences on May 8 when they appear before Chilton County Judge Sibley Reynolds for sentencing.
Joe David Barron Church Position: Minster Court of Conviction: Brazos County, 2009 Outcome: Drove nearly 200 miles with a box of condoms in his SUV after arranging to meet an undercover officer who Barron had been told via text was a teenage virgin. Convicted in 2009 of four counts of online solicitation of a minor based on the messages and sexually-explicit images he sent the officer. Received seven years community supervision. Registered sex offender. Joe Barron, a minister at Prestonwood Baptist Church near Dallas, Texas, was arrested after driving 200 miles for a rendezvous with what he thought was a 13-year-old girl he had been communicating with online for two weeks. His sexually themed messages, however, were actually being sent to an undercover investigator posing as a young teenager. Earlier this month, the 52-year-old minister suggested meeting the girl in person. He drove to Bryan, about 100 miles north of Houston, where he was arrested and on Friday charged with online solicitation of a minor. Police found a web-cam and condoms in his car. Jack Graham, the pastor of Prestonwood, which has 26,000 members and 40 ministers, announced during weekend services the church had accepted Barron’s resignation with immediate effect. He said it was a heartbreaking week in which “you need to know that we are appalled and we are disgraced by this terrible action, an unacceptable action, by a minister on our staff.” Mr Graham added he was keen to move on and “put this in the rearview mirror” while handling “anything we need to handle in terms of our responsibilities and obligations, and any ongoing investigation”. Barron, who ministered to middle-aged, married members of the Prestonwood congregation, is out on bail. He could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
Harley Michael Keough Church Position: Pastor Court of Conviction: Gaston County, 2010 Outcome: Convicted of two counts of sexual battery and ordered to register as a sex offender. Died in 2013. A Bessemer City pastor was found guilty of two counts of sexual battery Tuesday. Harley Michael Keough, 73, is the pastor of King James Baptist Church in Bessemer City. His trial began Monday. Several women testified against Keough Monday, accusing him of groping them when they came to the church for help. Keough took the stand Tuesday and denied touching the women inappropriately. He said some of the women were angry because of misunderstandings of his mission. “In our church we frequently hug,” he said. “We are a loving church.” Keough will not go to prison. He was given 18 months probation and has to register as a sex offender and provide a DNA sample as often as he is asked. He said he plans on continuing work at the Bessemer City church despite the fact that he must register as a sex offender. Legally, he can continue to act as a pastor, but not within 300 feet of a church with a nursery or daycare. Keough still faces eight other charges. The prosecutor said she plans to talk to the other alleged victims to determine if those cases will go to court.
Joel Dean Joslin Church Position: Church leader Court of Conviction: Texas, 2003 Outcome: Registered sex offender for conviction in 2003 of sexual assault of a child. Victim described as a 15-year-old male, according to Texas sex offender registry. Discharged from probation. Included on a list of church leaders convicted of sex crimes published in 2007 by the Baptist General Convention of Texas.
Joseph Edmund Conger Church Position: Pastor Court of Conviction: Camden County, 2009 Outcome: Convicted in 2009 of statutory sodomy for incidents with teen in 2003. Pleaded guilty and sentenced to prison for seven years in 2009, Missouri court records show. Subsequently died.
Joshua Ross Hyles Church Position: Church leader Court of Conviction: Texas, 2003 Outcome: Registered sex offender for conviction in 2003 of indecency with a child by sexual contact. Sentenced to seven years probation on April 9, 2003, per sex offender registry Discharged from probation. Included on a list of church leaders convicted of sex crimes published in 2007 by the Baptist General Convention of Texas.
Michael Lee Jones Church Position: Pastor Court of Conviction: Harris County, 1998 Outcome: Registered sex offender for two counts of sexual assault of a child in Harris County in 1998. Victim reported to be 16-year-old female. Received deferred adjudication; deferred adjudication terminated in 2006 after eight years probation, according to court records. Included on a list of church leaders convicted of sex crimes published in 2007 by the Baptist General Convention of Texas.
Morris David Roberts Church Position: Pastor Court of Conviction: Bexar County, 2005 Outcome: Pleaded guilty to indecency with a child by exposure in 2005. Received deferred adjudication and was placed on probation for 10 years, which he completed in 2015. He died in 2016. Included on a list of church leaders convicted of sex crimes published in 2007 by the Baptist General Convention of Texas.
Andres Ybarra Garcia Church Position: Pastor Court of Conviction: Sutter County, 2007 Outcome: Registered sex offender in California for conviction of lewd and lascivious conduct with a girl under 14 years old. Served less than a year, according to sex offender record.
Billie Lewis Minson Church Position: Pastor Court of Conviction: Smith County, 2009 Outcome: Pleaded guilty in 2009 in connection with charges he engaged in sexual contact with a child under 17 and was given a five-year deferred adjudication. Released early from deferred adjudication in 2012. Ordered to have no contact with the child and undergo counseling, among other conditions. An East Texas pastor is arrested on charges of indecency with a child. Billie Lewis Minson, 56, was in Austin visiting family, where Austin police say he allegedly molested a 12 year old female family member he shared a bed with at a LaQuinta. According to Austin police, when she returned home she told her mother she woke up to Minson abusing her.Police will not release her relationship to Minson or her name, due to her age. Minson is currently still a pastor at the First Baptist Church of Swan, just north of Tyler.He was released on 60 thousand dollars bond.
Danny O. Hill Church Position: Pastor Court of Conviction: Ford County, 2005 Outcome: Registered sex offender in Illinois who was convicted in August 2005 of sexual assault. During his trial, jurors heard recordings police made of phone calls between Hill and the victim, according to KSHAW. A Ford County jury on Friday found a Gibson City minister guilty of repeated sexual assaults on a woman over a six-year period that began when she was 14 years old. Following three hours of deliberations, Danny O. Hill, 54, who listed an address in the 800 block of South Lott Boulevard, was found guilty of two counts of criminal sexual assault. Hill is a Baptist minister who has served at churches in Gibson City and Fisher. He also has worked as a substitute teacher at Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley High School and as a chaplain for Carle Hospice in Champaign-Urbana. Hill faces between four and 15 years in prison and fines up to $25,000 on both counts. He will be sentenced Sept. 26. The victim, now 22, had testified on Thursday that Hill sexually abused her hundreds of times for six years. When Hill took the stand in his own defense on Friday, he denied taking part in any sexual activities with the woman. Hill claimed the woman was reliving in her own mind sexual assaults from her childhood when she lived in another state. As part of the woman’s therapy, Hill said, he would frequently take part in role playing with the woman, portraying her abuser. “I would become the person who inflicted harm on her,” he said. “I would ask her, if I were that man, what would she say.” Hill said that he believes the woman was referring to those role plays during four wiretapped telephone conversations that were played for the jury on Thursday.
Derek Gillett Church Position: Pastor Court of Conviction: Cherokee County, 2008 Outcome: Registered sex offender in Georgia. Pleaded guilty to two child molestation charges in May 2008 and sentenced to 10 years in prison; 10 years probation. Released.
Douglas W. Myers Church Position: Pastor Court of Conviction: Calvert County, Lake County, 2007, 2012 Outcome: Sentenced to seven years for lewd and lascivious conduct with a minor (under 12) in Florida in 2007. After being released, convicted in 2012 in Maryland of child abuse for offenses that occurred in 1997, 1999 and 2001. Serving a 15-year sentence in Maryland. Related civil lawsuit. A jury in Lake County has awarded $12.5 million to a man who, as a child, was sexually abused by a Baptist minister, his attorney announced Monday. The jury agreed unanimously on the award Saturday morning after a six-day trial on the issue of damages. A separate jury in May 2012 held the Florida Baptist Convention liable in the case, saying the organization didn’t adequately investigate Douglas W. Myers, 64, who previously had been accused of inappropriate conduct with children. “This was a long journey for this child who needlessly suffered because the institutions he trusted failed to protect him,” Weil said in a statement. “In light of the evidence presented, the jury surely understood the devastating impact on this young man.” The boy, now 21 and a college student, is still living with the effects of the abuse, Weil said. Myers recruited the youth as a volunteer to help start new churches and spread the faith, saying he wanted to be a mentor partly because he and his wife had lost a child, Weil said. Myers founded two churches in Lake County in the mid-2000s: Harbor Baptist Fellowship in Howey-in-the-Hills and Triangle Community Church in Eustis. Both have been disbanded. The first jury found that Myers was an agent of the convention in his “church-planting” efforts but not an employee. Myers served a seven-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to lewd and lascivious molestation. He met the boy at Bay Street Baptist Church in Lake County and abused him over the course of six months while also taking him on trips to Walt Disney World, giving him money and driving him to school. During the trial, the victim testified that Myers “told me it was a normal part of growing up. He told me he had done it with plenty of other kids at other churches.” Myers was accused of improprieties with children while he briefly served as pastor at Dunkirk Baptist Church in Dunkirk, Md., and Concord Baptist Church in Russellville, Ala., before he and his wife moved to Florida. The allegations included taking children skinny dipping and cornering a 10-year-old boy. After he was released from prison in December 2012, Myers faced charges in the old cases in Maryland. He entered that state’s equivalent of a no-contest plea to three counts of custodial child abuse and was sentenced in October in Calvert County, Md., to 45 years in prison with 30 years suspended, news reports show. The offenses occurred in December 1997, April 1999 and March 2001. Testimony in the liability portion of Myers’ Florida trial showed that the Jacksonville-based convention ran criminal-background, motor-vehicle and credit checks on Myers but failed to check his references or contact the churches where he previously worked.
Forrest Lee Hudson Church Position: Pastor Court of Conviction: Pierce County, 2010 Outcome: Pleaded guilty in 2010 to two counts of assault of a child in the third degree, Pierce County court records show. Other charges dismissed as part of a plea deal. The assault counts plea did not include allegations of sexual motivation, according to a sentencing memo. Stung by criticism since appearing as a character witness for a former church youth worker who confessed to child molestation, a leader in the African-American Baptist community Asheville, N.C., pledged to find ways to help churches protect children from sexual abuse. L.C. Ray, president of the Buncombe County Baptist Ministers Union and pastor of Greater New Zion Baptist Church in Fletcher, N.C., was one of six ministers and three others who appeared in court last month asking for leniency for Leonard Smith, 53, a former music director who worked with youth at Sycamore Temple Church of God in Christ in Asheville. Smith received a 14 year prison sentence after pleading guilty to five counts of indecent liberties with a child. The charges involved three children dating back 20 years. Three more serious charges dropped in a plea bargain dated to 1976.
“It really hurts,” Ray testified, according to the Asheville Citizen-Times. “But I can’t get around the fact that God calls me to fall on the side of mercy.” The newspaper reported Nov. 29 that about 50 people turned out in support of Smith. Another minister said Smith “is still needed in the church.” The other side of the courtroom, where the family of one of the victims sat, was nearly empty. “We have been ostracized,” said a spokesman for the extended family. “Not one church leader has reached out to us.” But in a story this Tuesday, Ray told the newspaper he did not know the charges facing his longtime friend until he was in the courtroom, despite media attention given the case. Christa Brown of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), said seeing people rally around an accused minister while the victim’s family is ostracized sends a strong message to other victims of clergy sexual abuse. “It tells them that, if they speak of it, they and their families will be shunned,” Brown said.
Meanwhile, prosecutors in Puyallup, Wash., on Tuesday charged a Baptist pastor with four counts of child molestation for allegedly fondling and kissing two sisters, now ages 12 and 13, whose family attend his church. Forrest Lee Hudson, pastor of Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church, denied the allegations and entered a plea of not guilty. Hudson’s is attorney said he would “vigorously fight” the charges, according to The News Tribune in Tacoma. The church is listed as affiliated with both the Southern Baptist Convention and the Northwest Baptist Convention, a regional body of Southern Baptist churches in Idaho, Oregon, Washington and one congregation in northern California.
Gerald “Jerry” Ray Hutcheson Church Position: Pastor Court of Conviction: Covington County, 2007 Outcome: Convicted of first-degree sexual abuse in Alabama in 2007 and served four years in prison. Released. Registered sex offender in Alabama. Previously registered in Tennessee based on a 2004 sexual abuse offense.
Survivors hope their stories can help other survivors of sexual abuse as the Southern Baptist Convention struggles to weed out predators in its 47,000 churches in the United States.
PLEASE CLICK THE LINK ABOVE TO VISIT THE SITE AND WATCH THE VIDEOS OF THESE SURVIVORS.
They include the following videos:
‘I didn’t want that’
Dillon Price was routinely molested by the pastor of his church in Fort Worth, Texas. He remained silent about the abuse for years, and at one point became suicidal. He recently decided to speak out to help other victims.
‘I was so terrified, but I was also trusting’
This Texas woman says she was only 12 when her pastor’s son invited her in for a Coke and then raped her.
‘Accountability is finally taking place.’
Former Southern Baptist Pastor Doug Myers was sent to prison after he sexually abused boys in Florida and Maryland. One survivor asks why the Southern Baptist Convention didn’t do more to stop him.
‘Why didn’t I matter?’
Jules Woodson was sexually abused by the youth pastor of her church near Houston in 1998. Her abuser, Andy Savage, later moved to Tennessee, where he worked as a pastor until Woodson came forward and he was forced to admit to abusing her. She wonders why the Southern Baptist Convention hasn’t been more proactive about helping victims or removing church leaders who turned a blind eye to abuses.
A Houston Chronicle investigation found a trail of abuse by Southern Baptist missionaries stretching back for decades. Mission board officials kept the allegations internal.
Medina County investigator Wayne Springer says sexual abusers groom not just their victims, but those around them.
‘I can tell him’
Medina County investigator Wayne Springer says sexual assault cases involving church officials can be tricky.
‘I’m no longer your victim’
Scott Holden, a prosecutor in Anderson County, describes the strength it takes for victims to confront their abusers in court.
Abuse of Faith
In the past 20 years, about 400 Southern Baptist church leaders and volunteers have faced allegations of sexual misconduct, the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News found. They were pastors. Deacons. Ministers. Youth pastors. Sunday school and Christian school teachers. Church program volunteers. They left behind more than 700 victims.
A priest convicted of sexually abusing children says that, on a winter day, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger is standing on his doorstep. Now, an investigation conducted by CORRECTIV and Frontal21 reveals the ties of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI with the priest. The stories shared by alleged victims who came forward during the investigation show how the Catholic Church’s prosecution of sexual abuse within its own ranks is insufficient.
In the outskirts of the Bavarian town of Garching, the chapel in Simetsbichl is a whitewashed building with a gabled roof. Benches are lined up inside, where an aureoled Virgin Mary gazes from the apse to an altar with candles, flowers and guest books brimming with personal pleas: for healing, for a new job, to get pregnant. And then, on a yellow notepad in a child’s scrawly handwriting:
There is no date above the entry, so it is impossible to determine when the boy wrote his appeal to the Blessed Mother. Some requests in the books go as far back as the 1990s, but it is also possible to write at the back of an empty book. Maybe the boy wanted to hide his petition behind blank pages until newer prayers could catch up over time.
Today, Stefan’s note points to a time when Priest Peter H., one of the most widely known perpetrators of sexual abuse in the German Catholic Church, led the parish in Garching. Until 2008, the priest also lived and worked just 30 minutes away by foot at the Church of St. Nicholas in Garching. For decades, he abused minor boys at both congregations. In response, the Church simply moved him from parish to parish, allowing his behavior to continue.
In Garching and in Engelsberg, in Essen and in Bottrop, a new investigation by CORRECTIV and Frontal21 reveals how Priest Peter H. abused young boys at congregations throughout Germany.
The case of Peter H. symbolizes the attempts of the church to cover up. To protect the abusers. To maintain silence up to the highest rankings of the Catholic Church. Including Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
In earlier investigations, the New York Times had already made a connection between the then-incumbent Pope and Priest Peter H. But this was already known to the Church. In a 2012 letter to the influential Cardinal Reinhard Marx, a copy of which was obtained by CORRECTIV, bishops stated their concern about Benedict XVI’s ties to the pedophilic priest.
CORRECTIV and Frontal21 revisited the case in recent months. Through interviewing witnesses and evaluating documents, we found that that the number of children who were abused could be significantly higher than previously acknowledged by the Church. We found that the connections between the Peter H. and Cardinal Ratzinger, who would later be appointed Pope, were greater than the Church and its representatives have admitted to date. For years, a close confidant of Ratzinger was in charge of a parish alongside the priest, never preventing him from surrounding himself with altar boys, fully aware of the risk. Church leadership was also complicit. In 2000, Peter H. bragged that Ratzinger had been standing at his door. Something that Ratzinger now denies.
Today, Peter H. lives in a multi-story building in Munich alongside families with young children. A playground can be seen from his window. CORRECTIV and Frontal21 tried to speak with H. several times to ask about what happened and offer the opportunity to explain his position as new information emerged. But all letters placed inside H.’s mailbox since November 2019 have remained unanswered. To date, H. has declined to comment on new accusations.
However, documents available to CORRECTIV and Frontal21 show glimpses of what H. himself thought about his actions. The priest has been accused of sexual abuse in multiple places over several years. When asked about the allegations during internal questioning by the Church, he admitted that he is a “pedophile priest”, adding that the “entire world” knew. But then he curtailed the fact by saying that he was never violent, never penetrated the boys and never engaged in oral sex. There was only one exception. He downplayed situations that can no longer be denied and alleged that, in many cases, he was framed. He also blamed the spirit of the times: Dealing with sexuality was more relaxed. The kids talked so openly about sex, and they were “gorgeous boys”. This is how he justified himself, according to documents from the Essen diocese. In short: He claimed he was seduced.
Priest H. said the young boys’ open approach to sexuality gave him the idea in the first place and that the time he spent as a clergyman should not be downgraded only because of acts of abuse. He said he did a lot of good. And the Church let him work even though his tendencies were known. It protected him and showed him understanding and did not punish him, because such acts were assessed differently back then. He also said it is not possible for the Church to punish him now, so suddenly, because people think about things differently today – even if his acts were barred by the statute of limitations. CORRECTIV wrote several letters to H. and asked him for an interview. But H. has not responded to date.
The Pied Piper
Priest H. became popular with the congregation soon after he started serving the parish of Garching in 1987. Beside Garching, he was also responsible for leading the onion-dome church situated in Engelsberg, a picturesque Bavarian village nearby. He was considered energetic and was popular among the youth. People even said that women had fallen for him.
“I can only say good things about H., such a friendly man,” said a secretary who worked at a school where the priest had taught religious education. Others in the village said he was a good preacher, more of an actor than a priest. A “pied piper”. He always ensured that the church was full of people. The congregation adored him.
People who attended the church said that there was a contest among altar boys to determine who was the clergyman’s favorite. He gave the altar boys alcohol and cigarettes. He was committed to the part, going on stage as a carnival comedian and organizing processions. “He approached people, was easy going, so you simply had to like him,” said 71-year-old Rosemarie Anwander, who has deep roots in Garching. She was involved in the parish and contributed to the local village newspaper.
But then something shattered the peace.
July 24, 1994. A parish festival is in the works. But early in the morning, parish councilor Klaus Mittermeier, a committed Christian who is “enthusiastic about priest H.”, received an alert. On the fairground in front of the community center and on the wall of the rectory, someone scrawled accusations against Priest H. alleging sexual abuse. The exact wording can no longer be reconstructed today. Memories vary too much: from a ribald sentence to declaring that Priest H. loved one of the parish youth. Mr. Mittermeier only remembers that one boy approached him and said he couldn’t be implicated because he had a girlfriend. “But I had other worries at the time, the parish festival,” said Mr. Mittermeier. That is the reason he for addressing the allegations. The writing on the wall was quickly painted over, the writing on the floor covered with cement and a carpet. But suspicion arose and rumors spread.
Summer vacation began shortly afterwards. Priest H. called on parish councilor Mittermeier. He said that he saw himself as a victim and complained about his suffering. He said he would leave the parish if the rumors did not stop. Mr. Mittermeier wanted to help him but demanded clarity: He asked H. whether any aspect of the rumors was true. If so, they would find a way to solve the problem. If not, he and the congregation would defend the clergyman and “fight things through”.
“We were friends,” said Mr. Mittermeier, adding that at the time he was “enthusiastic about his way of preaching”. Priest H. denied everything and said that the rumors had no grounding.
The parish councilor and the priest agreed to fight the rumors. A handwritten speech from the time shows their strategy: “Refute the truth contained in the rumors”. Priest H. gave sermons in Garching and Engelsberg. He furiously rejected the allegations. If conversation between priest and believer are suspicious, then pastoral care is not possible; this is what members of the congregation recall about the angry sermon. He read it to every church in the parish and was met by applause, recalls Mr. Mittermeier. In support of the priest’s campaign, the councilor also printed posters with a warning: “Bad words kill souls”.
Despite their efforts, Mrs. Anwander, a former community worker, says that people knew something had happened in Essen, a previous station in H.’s career. She says that her daughters were also altar girls for Priest H. and although many were aware that he was going to therapy in Munich, “most believed because of issues with alcohol.”
She added: “The main thing: he was nice”.
At the time, the congregation did not know that Priest H. was being watched by the Church – or that he was a convicted sex offender. After being transferred from Essen to Bavaria in the early 1980s, the Church ordered him to undergo psychological treatment. “H. was not capable of individual therapy due to his personality structure, only group therapy was possible”, describes Dr. Huth, adding that H. “considered himself a victim, above all”.
Today, Werner Huth is 90 years old. He spoke with the New York Times and the Süddeutschen Zeitung about H. in 2010. His intention was to give no more interviews on the matter, but he said that new investigations motivated him to speak up. Dr. Huth, with whom H. attended therapy sessions, alerted Church leadership at the time and, according his statement, informed Auxiliary Bishop Heinrich von Soden-Fraunhofen that the priest was dangerous.
A few years later, in 1984, an official court case was brought against H. for the first time. It was filed by parents in the Bavarian town of Grafing. Accordingly, the prosecutor’s office investigated H.’s sexual abuse of 12 boys in just one year, which the spokesman of the diocese confirms today. According to his own statement, H. explained the situation to Auxiliary Bishop von Soden-Fraunhofen. The Church reacted: during the investigation, the priest was briefly transferred to administrative tasks and then to Caritas, a Catholic organisation for relief and social work.
Dr. Huth established three rules for H. during therapy: First, he was not allowed to work with boys. Second, he was not allowed to drink alcohol. Third, he must be under supervision. “It didn’t require any medical expertise to do this,” said Dr. Huth. They are the usual precautionary measures, something that goes without saying. Dr. Huth still practices in Munich. But H. obviously did not follow those rules, and a court in Ebersberg sentenced him to 18 months’ probation and a fine. With that, the state considered matters closed.
Then, despite the psychiatrist’s warning, the Church reassigned H. to parish work and transferred him to Garching. The congregation knew nothing about the clergyman’s criminal past. And again, H. was surrounded by children.
After the move, the diocese in Munich got word of new accusations against H. in Garching. In response to a request from CORRECTIV and Frontal21, a spokesman for the Munich-Freising diocese wrote that in 1993, it was recorded that “H. kissed children on the forehead when celebrating their first communion and that an older teenager is a regular visitor at the rectory.” H. denied the kissing. He said it was “a symbolic act without direct physical contact”. As for the visitor, he said that he “looked after the boy because his mother had erred in her ways.”
The Dazzling Friend
Although Auxiliary Bishop von Soden-Fraunhofen knew about H.’s pedophilia, he played a dubious role in the following years. After becoming seriously sick in 1993, he moved to Engelsberg — the village that, together with Garching, fell under the pastoral responsibility of H.
It was the same year that the Munich diocese was informed of H.’s behavior. In response to CORRECTIV, a representative of the diocese wrote that von Soden-Fraunhofen moved to Engelsberg for private reasons. He supposedly relocated at the suggestion of his housekeeper, who had good connections to the town. At least, this is what was told to the congregations in Garching and Engelsberg and reported out by the media.
But there’s more to the story. Dr. Huth told CORRECTIV that von Soden-Fraunhofen had said he would take care of H. after moving and was in “contact with Ratzinger”. The psychiatrist assumed that the auxiliary bishop would follow through on supervising the priest. When he later learned that H. was still in contact with children, he said that he was “appalled”. He could only explain this as “self-delusion”.
Until his death seven years later, von Soden-Fraunhofen would continue to jointly manage the two congregations with H. A gilded marble plate still hangs outside Engelsberg church as a testament to their time together.
At the beginning, H. was afraid, remembers Klaus Mittermeier, then- chairman of the parish council. If the auxiliary bishop came, “everything would change, he would control us,” Mr. Mittermeier recalls of H.’s statements at the time. But von Soden-Fraunhofen came and nothing changed. He kept silent and did not keep H. away from the children.
Parish newspapers from December 1993 even document how von Soden-Fraunhofen and H. intended to celebrate a children’s blessing: “Bishop von Soden and Father H. will lay their hands on all the children and bless them following the Liturgy of the Word.”
H. recruited the altar children himself. Boys and girls started taking classes with him soon after communion. Over time, he filled the chancel in Garching and Engelsberg with over 100 altar servers. There was no keeping H. away from kids in either town. He created opportunities for himself — and von Soden-Fraunhofen did not intervene. Even when accusations were written on the wall at the parish festival, the auxiliary bishop did not utter a single word.
One week after the festival, H. published a new issue of Pfarrnachrichten, the parish newsletter, and expressed his thanks: “To all those who have helped in any way, a warm «God bless you!»“. The church had raised 12,000 German marks. But in the margins, the priest had also published an image of a man rising out of the sea — holding two naked boys in his arms. It was not the first time this kind of photo made it into the newsletter. Sometimes, H. published a photo of a dreamy looking boy in front of a candle, others a boy in shorts and a T-shirt carrying amphorae or a boy’s face in a fragmented picture frame. While they may appear to be harmless to the unsuspecting viewer, von Soden-Fraunhofen knew about H.’s criminal past.
The auxiliary bishop was active in town affairs, according to the people of Engelsberg and Garching, who were interviewed by CORRECTIV and Frontal21. He attended mass, taught lectures and took care of the “youngsters”, always saying that he was “the chaplain”. But if at any point a dispute arose with H., the priest would simply tell him: “You are the bishop and I am the chaplain”. Following repeated requests from CORRECTIV and Frontal21, the diocese responded that “there is concrete evidence in the files that Auxiliary Bishop von Soden-Fraunhofen regularly provided positive information about H.’s activity in Garching without any complaints.” Regarding the “success” of supervising H., the diocese said laconically the result can be judged “given the known events”.
What Did Joseph Ratzinger Know?
The auxiliary bishop kept silent. Von Soden-Fraunhofen was born in 1920 in Friedrichshafen and later ordained a priest in 1953 — the same time as his friend Joseph Ratzinger, who later became the Pope.
A commemorative publication for the ordination still bears witness to the consecration today. When Ratzinger went the archdiocese in Munich, von Soden-Fraunhofen was appointed his auxiliary bishop. Their contact continued when Ratzinger moved to Rome in 1982 and was appointed as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The two churchmen exchange letters, sometimes with coarse expressions. In a letter concerning a dispute about a Christian sect which Ratzinger, who has just arrived in Rome, redeemed, von Soden-Fraunhofen chummily called the cardinal “Rindviech”: A stupid fool.
Ratzinger had known about H. for a long time. Years before the events in Garching, the Church learned of two boys whom H. had abused in Essen. At the time, he was working as a chaplain in the Essen diocese. Instead of informing the police, the parents turned to the local priest. The Church reacted by transferring H. to Munich. He was to receive treatment with fear of punishment.
On January 3, 1980, the canon in Essen asked his colleague in Munich whether H. could be transferred to a diocese in Bavaria. He said there was “a risk” with the chaplain and he must “undergo psychiatric-therapeutic treatment in Munich” and “live with a priest”. He wrote that there was no trial pending against H. and that he could “be used for prayer services and liturgical services in the congregation” as well as religious instruction in a girls’ school. The Munich canon noted in their records for the vicar general that the matter would be decided during their ordinary meeting on January 15, 1980, and suggested that H. be posted as the priest in the congregation which he later served following his transfer to Munich.”
From the start, both the Essen and Munich dioceses assumed that H. was able to work in a congregation again. A possible withdrawal from congregation work was never open to debate. The decision was made on January 15 at the meeting headed by then-Archbishop of Munich, Cardinal Ratzinger. The New York Times reported in 2010 that as archbishop, Ratzinger was aware of decision to reinstate H. in congregation work despite the risk he posed. The Church denied this at that time. Although “the archbishop of the time (and later Pope Benedict XVI) participated in the decision about the priest’s treatment”, Ratzinger was not responsible for assigning him pastoral work, according to a statement from the Vatican. A vicar general named Gerhard Gruber who also assumed responsibility for this. Today, the diocese somewhat dilutes the strong denial of 10 years ago: “The files do not show how intensely Archbishop Joseph Ratzinger involved himself in the case of H.”
Despite its denial, the Church admits one thing: Cardinal Ratzinger knew about the case of H. during his time as archbishop. And later, as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Ratzinger did nothing to protect the children of the congregation in Bavaria from the priest.
Ratzinger on H.’s Doorstep
This brings us to a notable encounter in the year 2000. According to information obtained by CORRECTIV, Ratzinger, who would later become Pope, met H. at least once when he wanted to visit his friend von Soden-Fraunhofen in Engelsberg. At the time, Ratzinger was head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome, the second-in-command after the Pope. Today he denies having met H.
The auxiliary bishop was already very sick when H. excitedly told him about his encounter with Ratzinger, said former parish councilor Mittermeier. He still remembers the conversation vividly: Ratzinger stood on the doorstep of the rectory in Garching and rang the doorbell. Mr. Mittermeier said that H. asked, “Can you imagine who was at my door last night?” Mr. Mittelmeier said that of course, he had no idea. H. told him it was Ratzinger himself. The to-be Pope had told him that “he wanted to see his fellow student von Soden-Fraunhofen.” However, since he was already very sick, he had not opened the door. Then Ratzinger asked H. to phone his friend. Subsequently, the cardinal visited von Soden-Fraunhofen. “But I didn’t know whether H. went along,” said Mr. Mittermeier. H. had also mentioned meeting with Ratzinger while speaking to representatives of the Church about child abuse in 2010. The conversation is filed in Church records.
At the request of CORRECTIV, the Archdiocese of Munich confirmed that personnel files note that Joseph Ratzinger visited von Soden-Fraunhofen in January 2000. “The ordinariate has no knowledge of a meeting between Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and H.,” wrote the spokesman of the diocese. After the publication of this investigation, the diocese of Munich corrected their previous statement: they confirmed that church files contained testimonies of H. about the meeting with Ratzinger.
The Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI did not answer direct requests for comment from CORRECTIV and Frontal21 at first. One day after the publication of this investigation, his personal private secretary, Georg Gänswein, called ZDF and explained on behalf of Ratzinger: “It is correct that he visited the auxiliary bishop in 2000, because he was very ill”. But Benedict XVI never met H. in person, according to Gänswein. During the visit to the auxiliary bishop, they “did not talk about H.”, remembers Ratzinger today. “It was known that H. lived in the same parish where von Soden was”, said Gänswein. “Benedict does not know anything else”.
Thus, the two friends, Ratzinger and von Soden-Fraunhofen, were in contact while H. served the congregations in Garching and Engelsberg alongside the auxiliary bishop. Ratzinger was head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome. But the auxiliary bishop died six months later, in July.
Following the visit to von Soden-Fraunhofen, Ratzinger did not do anything to remove H. from office. There was no question or concern, no investigation, no consequences. On the contrary: H. continued to work in Garching for eight years. He continued to train altar boys and teach schoolchildren. Parents entrusted their children to the clergyman. Thanks to his appointed position and the cardinal’s silence, he was given countless opportunities to surround himself with minors. It is not certain whether he molested more children. H. declined multiple requests for comment from CORRECTIV.
Barred by the Statute of Limitations, Forgotten, Dead
The Church only first intervened in 2008. H. was transferred to Bad Tölz, also in Bayern, where he would be a chaplain for tourists. He would no longer work with children. But the congregation was outraged, and many members wrote letters to Munich petitioning to keep their priest.
But the new Archbishop Marx insisted. At the time, the Church had just been shaken by the abuse scandals in Bonn, Aachen and Trier – and Marx had the files about the abuse cases sent to him. Unlike former Archbishop Ratzinger, he feels compelled to intervene now. Still, he did not make anything public.
But with time, word about Peter H. and his abuses got out. In 2010, the public prosecutor’s office in Munich investigated the priest’s sexual abuse of children in Garching up until 1993. Although the investigation was discontinued due to the statute of limitations, the connection between Ratzinger and H. made it into public view and the media put pressure on the Church, which finally withdrew H.’s permission to practice pastoral care. A Church court would investigate the alleged instances. Unlike German criminal law, the Church suspends the statute of limitations for sexual abuse. New victims came forward to both the public prosecutor and the Church.
Franz Josef Overbeck, Bishop of Essen, and Cardinal Reinhard Marx conducted the Church’s investigations. The case of H. became a matter for those in the top of the ranks. But it also not about the victims in this case. In 2012, the Bishop of Essen sent a letter – a copy of which was obtained by CORRECTIV – to Cardinal Marx, stating his actual end goal: “You, the same as I, know that the case of Peter H. is unfortunately linked to our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI by many media representatives”, wrote the Bishop of Essen. “(…) in this context, I would like to discuss and agree with you how we can ensure that Peter H. is accompanied and watched.”
In response to CORRECTIV and Frontal21, Bishop Overbeck wrote that he wanted to advance and accelerate the canonical procedure: “My expectations were that, given its dimension, the case of H. had to be brought to a conclusion as quickly as possible.” When asked about the letter, Cardinal Marx’s spokesman said that the investigation concerned “the entire previous activity of H.”, thus including the “years of Archbishop Ratzinger’s term in office”.
Simultaneously, reports by those who said they were abused by H. piled up. According to the Süddeutsche Zeitung, in March 2010 the Ordinariate of the Dioceses of Essen and Freising investigated two cases. Internal documents show that the Church questioned H. that same year. But he remained silent on the advice of his attorney. He did not want to deny the allegations.
In September 2018, an article was published in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung which referenced an instance of abuse in Garching. No location and nor names are indicated in the article. However, it describes a case in which the priest in question allegedly abused a 14-year-old boy during confession. At the time, the child’s father noticed how his son began repeatedly destroying the genital areas of plush toys. But the Church didn’t believe the father or his son. According to the FAZ article, the child received psychological treatment. The FAZ writes that the priest and the Church denied the allegation.
But one Garching resident backed the family’s claims. He was acquainted with the father. Another resident told CORRECTIV that he attended group therapy for people who had been abused with the boy. He said that in one session, the boy, today an adult man, collapsed. Several attempts by CORRECTIV to contact the boy were left unanswered. A spokesperson for diocese of Munich confirmed the instance to CORRECTIV and Frontal21: “The Archiepiscopal Ordinariate of Munich took the traumatization of those affected very seriously and provided financial aid.” The diocese did not comment on the fact that the Church court did not believe the man abused.
Altogether, information from diocese contacted throughout this investigation show that there were “three victims who had concrete accusations” in Garching: One instance that lasted from 1987 to 1993, one in 1994 and another in 1996. Two of the confirmed cases happened concurrent with Auxiliary Bishop von Soden-Fraunhofen’s time as H.’s supervisor, when he repeatedly reported that everything was fine. The diocese wrote that all three cases were closed by the public prosecutor’s office due to the statute of limitations, but that it made payments to the families in two.
Priest Peter H.’s child abuse has not been legally proven in Garching. But the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Munich II is looking into the allegations again and checking “whether there are further acts and whether investigations are to be started,” according to a statement submitted to CORRECTIV.
Insinuations or complaints remain barred by the statute of limitations, and people are still suffering because nobody believes them. However, reports from Essen, Garching, Munich and Grafing show clearly how Priest Peter H. took advantage of young boys: how he created opportunities for himself and abused his power. H. could contribute to the clarification. But he keeps silent.
In 2018, following emerging scandals, the Catholic Church released an internal study of instances of pastoral abuse. The case of H. is not the only one that shook the German Church. They had documented instances of sexual abuse in Berlin at Canisius College; in Bonn at the Aloisius College; in Aachen at a Benedictine abbey. They also recognized sexual abuse in Ettal and in the choir at the Cathedral of Regensburg. The news of systematic abuse in institutions of the Church came in fast. Cardinal Marx and the German Bishops’ Conference knew they had to act and agreed to have all cases of sexual abuse in Germany after WWII investigated by an independent commission. The study was then presented in Fulda, in Hessen. The names of the victims and of the perpetrators were kept anonymous, but the sheer dimension was devastating. Over 70 years, 1,670 priests and members of the clergy were alleged of sexual abuse. There were 3,677 people who had been abused. Cynically, the study notes that, on average, there were only 2.5 victims for every accused priest. But that’s only the number of cases that had been reported – the true figure may be much higher. A pedophile who is protected by the Church is unlikely to stop after just two or three abuses. The case of Peter H. shows that number of children abused by a single priest can be greater than 10 times that estimate.
Indeed, the findings of this investigation show that it is likely that H. began abusing children earlier than is known and that more boys than assumed are his victims.
The Naked Chaplain
The coal city of Bottrop is located in the northern Ruhr area. This is where it all began, in the neo-Gothic St. Cyriac church. It was here that Peter H. began working as a chaplain for the first time after his ordination in 1973. It was also here, at a café near the church, that three men met one evening last October. CORRECTIV reached out people who were abused by H. and asked if they were willing to share their experiences. Now, they are in their mid-50s. They all know H. from when they were altar boys. They all claim to be victims.
Markus Elstner is one of them. For years, suppressed the effects of abuse, turning to alcohol to relieve the pain. When H.’s story first appeared in the media in 2010, and he saw the face of his former abuser flickering on the screens, it was like a “flashback”, he said.
Mr. Elstner comes from a difficult family background. His father wanted to the kill the whole family, he shot his wife before killing himself. From time to time the children had to stay in a shelter. Then his mother turned to the Catholic Church for support, where she met H., then a young chaplain.
He offered to take care of little Markus, saying that he wanted to help the mother. She accepted gratefully. So H. followed through: He invited young Elstner to his home and gave him cigarettes and wine. Then, porn movies began to follow. Finally, he would start touching the boy. Visits ended with fellatio, said Mr. Elstner. And while cigarettes and heavy drinking often signaled the start of an abusive episode, H. raged against drinking and smoking while playing his role in the Bottrop parish.
Elstner says he was abused on more than 20 occasions. Even after H. was transferred to Essen, he called the mother and tried to persuade her to send her son for a visit. He would even pay for the ticket. But Elstner, now 14, found the strength to fight back. He refused to go and convinced the mother against the trip. He did not have to get on the bus.
Dirk Bongartz also opened up about his experiences with H. It happened before communion. The chaplain invited him to spend the night, and his mother obliged, sending his older brother and one of his friends along, too. While the older boys slept in their own room, H. wanted to spend the night alone with young Bongartz. The chaplain put on a bathrobe. Finally, he stripped naked and lied down naked with the child.
“I didn’t like it, I didn’t want to,” said Mr. Bongartz, stating that he also said so at the time. It was only because of his brother and his friend in the other room that H. finally stopped and he was able to get out of the situation. “It was an awful night,” Mr. Bongartz said, adding that he has not spoken to anyone about the event – but that at the time, his brother’s expression said: “Now you know what he is.”
The Guardian of Morality
For years, the pattern continued: Peter H. abused young boys with impunity and under the protection of the Church. Through wine and small gifts, he subdued children who, in his role as a priest, he should have protected. When the scandal threatened to blow up, the Church moved H. to a new location.
He had no need to fear punishment. Bishops and cardinals covered for him, always allowing the opportunity to look for new victims.
Even when the abuse scandals surfaced and shook the foundations of the Church, its members did not search for victims on its own initiative. In fact, H. has only been convicted by the Church’s internal court in seven instances – even though they have evidence from 23 people who alleged sexual abuse. In 2020, even the Diocese of Essen and Munich estimate there are 28 victims.
To this day, H. lives as a free man.
As the three men in Bottrop talk about Priest Peter H. at the coffee table, other names come up. Two brothers, also abused. One drank himself to death, the other is in bad shape. So-and-so and what’s his name were also abused by H.
After years of the Church supressing the truth, Elstner wants justice. He has retained an attorney and is fighting for damages. So far, he has received 9,000 euros. But Mr. Elstner wants more. His attorney, Andreas Schulz, considers that the Church, with its constant denial and cover-ups, is to blame for the life-long mental devastation of his client. The attorney believes this also applies to others who have suffered because of the Church’s inaction. He is demanding 500,000 euros from the Church, and that statute of limitations for child abuse be suspended. He said that the fate of his client shows that “children repress this and only become aware of what was done to them much later, by means of painful therapy sessions.” It is not admissible that this should act as protection for perpetrators.
“For responsible individuals in the dioceses, it has been clear for years that H. was abusing boys indiscriminately,” said attorney Schulz. The case shows the whole “entanglement of the Church” up to Pope Emeritus Benedict. Firstly, Ratzinger was archbishop when an abuser came from Essen to Munich and was allowed to continue to work in parishes. Secondly, a confidant of Ratzinger leads a parish together with H., after the conviction of the latter, even though he knew of the risk. And in 2000 Ratzinger even stood on H.’s doorstep in Garching.
“The Church has done nothing for decades to protect the children. It has hidden these things and hushed them up and, from my client’s perspective, acted like a pedocriminal association,” Schulz said.
Mr. Elstner puts it even more clearly: “For me, the Church is an institution in which pedophiles have been protected.”
This text was updated on February, 19, 2020 to add new statements from the diocese of Munich and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
If this story has moved you because of your own experiences with the Church, know that our investigation into the abuses of Priest H. continues. If you know H., be it from Bottrop, Essen, Munich, Grafing, Garching, Engelsberg or Bad Tölz, please contact us. Every lead is valuable. We treat all communication as confidentially. You can contact Marcus Bensmann at firstname.lastname@example.org or use our anonymous mailbox.
Victims of sexual abuse or their relatives in need of help or advice in Germany can call the free number +49 (0)800-2255530 to get information about therapies and legal tools.