25 MORE PASTORS ARRESTED – MAY 2014 : This is a serious problem that very few people are willing to discuss out of fear, guilt, or… denial.
While it is easy to point an accusing finger at the Catholic Church for decades of covered up child abuse, it appears to be far too easy to ignore the fact that the problem of coercive sex crimes are just as, if not more prevalent among Protestant churches in America today. Of course, we don’t hear about them in the national news because they aren’t inter-connected to a massive worldwide organization like the Vatican. However, isn’t the scariest part that these crimes go on right in front of our nose while nobody really talks about it simply because Protestant pastors don’t wear “funny robes”? Much like their Catholic counterparts, Protestant pastors and ministers are trusted with children who have been taught to obey the authority of their church leaders.
After the Vatican’s recent “discipline” of pedophile priests, I decided to do a quick Google search for some local cases involving Protestant pastors – those that might have actually been reported and made local news. This is not an opportunistic attempt to slander Christian pastors by stringing together random cases compiled over the decades – these are all stories that hit the local news in May 2014 alone. Likewise, these are not random cases of “everyday Christians” getting arrested for “everyday crimes” such as theft or drunk driving. These are a few of the reported cases of Christian leaders taking advantage of their positions of perceived power – from the month of May alone! (I couldn’t bring myself to continue browsing…)
- rape, sodomy, and incest of a nine year old
- forcing “morning after” pill after raping teens
- sexual abuse of mentally handicapped in custody
- producing and distributing child pornography
- installing hidden cameras in church bathrooms
- father/son pastors tag-teaming member of youth group
- drugs, sex, and yes – a dead body
This is just a small list of some of the crimes (that were actually reported to authorities AND the media) in the MONTH OF MAY ALONE. Out of the shockingly long list at the link below, only ONE of the perpetrators was Catholic. The rest? Your average Protestant pastor that nobody would have ever suspected. That is 24-to-1, folks! And, before you play the, “But that’s because the Catholics cover it up” card – think about just how much turmoil a Protestant pastor, church, family, and community would have to knowingly go through in order in the event of public charges being filed. Just like the crimes themselves, coverups are not just a Catholic problem.
QUESTION: Why isn’t there any massive national media outrage at these crimes in ONE MONTH? Oh, that’s right – because it’s never good for ratings (aka ad revenues) to go be seen as attacking Christianity as a whole. Many might see these crimes as being random and unrelated. I do not.
- BEWARE –
Billy Howard Guy: Pastor charged with six counts of sexual crimes including molesting mentally-disabled woman in his care
Tyrone Banks: Minister charged with rape and sodomy of 13 year-old (more victims coming forward)
Joseph Hall: Pastor charged with 14 counts of sex crimes against kids as young as 12 years old
Trevon Boone: 39-year old minister arrested for rape of a minor
Larry Michael Berkley: Pastor charged 16 counts of sexual assault, drugs, and, yes – a dead body…
Jerome Anthony Clay: Pastor charged with raping a minor, under the age of 16 (prior record for domestic abuse)
Paul Endrei: Senior pastor charged with two counts of sexual battery and gross sexual imposition
Jordan Endrei: Pastor joins father in charges of sexual battery
Damien Bonner: Pastor arrested for rape of a minor (who he forced to take “morning-after” pill after unprotected sex)
Second victim comes forward: http://www.kjrh.com/news/local-news/7th-molestation-complaint-filed-against-tulsa-pastor-damien-bonner-after-2nd-victim-alleges-abuse
Allen Lehman: Minister and teacher charged with seven counts of rape and sodomy with victims younger than 12
Hector Caria: Pastor arrested for rape of teenage girl
Jeremy Grinnell: Pastor, seminary professor arrested for climbing ladder to watch neighbors have sex. Twice.
Chris Allen Phillips: Youth pastor embezzles $90,000 from church to cover-up prostitution problems
Donald Lafferty: Pastor hires couple to kill his wife, burn house with her inside (not sex with minors, but – certainly interesting)
Forest Gibson: Youth pastor charged with sexual abuse of a minor
Robert Lyzenga: Pastor arrested for planting cameras in girls restrooms at church
Roy Hariger: Pastor charged with multiple counts of rape and incest
Travis Ray Smith: New trial set for pastor charged with multiple accounts of rape and sexual assault
Dennis Myers: Youth minister sentenced to 30 years in child porn, rape, sodomy or children
William R. Best Jr. : Pastor charged with sodomy, rape, and incest
Robert Stoner: Youth minister admits to multiple rapes 15 year-old girl from youth group
Joel David Bolay: Pastor charged with sexual abuse, lewd acts with minors in child pornography case
Scott Sechrist: Pastor charged with multiple rapes of 9 year-old girl over three years
Scott Barber: Church leader admits to rape of 13 year-old girl
Richard Mick: Pastor charged with raping two 8 year-old girls (and fondling boy)
While it is easy to be outraged by Catholic coverups, I will admit – I am more worried about the Protestant with just as much ability to skip town and even less accountability from any governing body. Is it really that difficult to imagine how many of these crimes are never reported to begin with out of not wanting to harm reputations, the church, or the community?
It’s one thing to accuse the mysterious lonely man in the funny black robes that disappears behind the curtain at the end of mass. It’s quite another to accuse the man wearing khakis and button-ups. The man who is much more directly involved in the daily lives of all families within the church and is coming over for dinner tomorrow. The man whose wife leads the women’s group and works at the local bank. The man whose kids go to school with the victims. The man who is seen as a respected community leader with perceived authority over their flocks. To a nine, twelve, or sixteen year old – these men ARE God.
My parting (terrifying) thought: These are just the cases where the victim had the courage and family support to come forward publicly to accuse their attackers – even in their positions of power and authority within the church and community. Police and prosecutors know that most of these crimes go unreported – especially within the church. How many more victims suffer in silence every day? If I were still a praying man, I would be praying that the poor victims of these monsters are able to get the best counseling available OUTSIDE the typical “Christian Counseling” found within the church.
“God works in mysterious ways”? “Forgive and forget”? Tell that to a nine year-old victim of rape, sodomy, and incest…
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It might help a victim or family in you area have the courage to come forward to put an end to unspeakable abuse that may be hidden right before your very eyes.
Obligatory disclaimer #1: Yes, of course – they are all innocent until proven guilty. I’m sure it was all just a misunderstanding.
Obligatory disclaimer #2: “They are obviously not real Christians!” Says who? Were they not trusted “real Christian leaders” the day before they got arrested? Wake up!
Don’t even get me started on fraud, corruption, and other crimes of Christian leaders…