Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc. FFRF.org

Black Collar Crime (June/July 2018)

Vol. 35 No. 5 June/July 2018
Holy Smoke cartoon                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Compiled by Bill Dunn

Arrested / Charged

Joseph Marshall, Pensacola, FL: Battery on a law enforcement officer. Marshall, pastor at St. John Divine Missionary Baptist Church, is charged with failure to leave an area near the church on Easter Sunday after a woman and her 2 children were hit by a car.

The police report alleges that Marshall screamed and cursed at officers and had to be restrained by parishioners. The officer stated he “came at her as if he was going to attack” before he was pulled away and taken inside the church. Source: WEAR, 4-19-18

Andrew Dickson, 30, University City, MO: Child molestation and statutory sodomy. Dickson, youth pastor at Central Presbyterian Church in Clayton, is charged with fondling and engaging in oral sex with a minor from March 1 to April 1 at Dickson’s home. Source: Post-Dispatch, 4-16-18

Eduardo E. Cornejo, 34, Lexington, SC: Criminal sexual conduct. Cornejo is charged with assaulting a woman while he was an associate pastor at Columbia First Seventh-Day Adventist Church in 2017, where he was later terminated. Other alleged victims have since come forward. Source: WIS-TV, 4-16-18

Jon C. McKinney, 59, Terre Haute, IN: 1 felony and 2 misdemeanor counts of resisting law enforcement. McKinney, lead pastor at N. Terre Haute Christian Church, was allegedly “verbally aggressive and confrontational” with an officer he approached in a parking lot and was then followed home, where the situation escalated and he was tased, a Vigo County deputy said. Source: WTHI, 4-13-18

Melquisedec Chan, 52, Mission, TX: Aggravated sexual assault and practicing medicine without a license. Chan, co-pastor with his wife of Iglesia Vida Abundante, is accused of molesting an unconscious parishioner after injecting her with benzodiazepines.

Chan calls himself a “professional surgeon” on his website but isn’t licensed in the U.S., according to the Texas Medical Board. He’s been visiting the woman at her home “to follow up with her, after a surgery she got done in Mexico in which he was present,” the complaint states.

The woman’s brother told her he saw Chan placing his genitals in her mouth April 9 “while she was sedated,” the complaint states. Source: McAllen Monitor, 4-13-18

Suzanne L. Owen, 35, N. Fort Myers, FL: Custodial sexual battery. Owen, a married high school teacher at Evangelical Christian School, is charged with having sex off-campus with a male student in early April after texting for several weeks.

An online photo showed Owen wearing a T-shirt that says “I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.” A 2005 graduate of Free Will Baptist Bible College in Nashville, TN, she was a recent finalist for the Golden Halo award, given for excellence in the classroom. Source: News-Press, 4-12-18

Rosendo F. Dacal, 73, McCandless, PA: Solicitation of child pornography, unlawful contact with a minor and criminal use of a communications facility. Dacal, a permanent deacon at All Saints Catholic Parish and a county jail chaplain, allegedly sent and solicited obscene images from an undercover officer posing as a 14-year-old boy in December. Source: Post-Gazette, 4-11-18

Terry Wells, 42, Trenton, NJ: Insurance fraud. Wells, founder of My Brother’s Keeper Ministries, is charged with making false or misleading statements to Allstate Insurance about a car accident in January 2017. He pleaded guilty last September to theft by deception for bilking a deceased congregant’s estate out of $12,000. Source: The Trentonian, 4-10-18

Acton Bowen, 37, Southside, AL: 2 counts each of 2nd-degree sodomy and enticing a child for immoral purposes and 3 counts of sexual abuse. He’s accused of assaults on boys between the ages of 12 and 17 over a period of several years. He founded Acton Bowen Outreach Ministries and is a regular contributor on Fox News on religion. His wife has filed for divorce and was granted a restraining order. Source: Hoover Patch, 4-10-18

Johannes Vermeer, 58, Chilliwack, BC: 2 counts each of possession of child pornography and accessing child pornography. Vermeer was executive pastor of Main Street Church since 2009 before being fired recently.

“We actually reported this to police when we heard there was this activity on the computer system,” senior pastor Shawn Vandop said. Vermeer was also an executive committee member of the B.C. Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches but is no longer listed on its website. Source: North Delta Reporter, 4-9-18

Prabhu, aka Balaganesh, 28, Chennai, India: Murder. Prabhu, a Hindu priest at Vadapalani Sivan Temple, allegedly confessed to killing his wife of 8 years with a hammer because the couple couldn’t have children. He and another priest, Manoj Kumar, are accused of staging a crime scene to make it look like robbery. Source: Times of India, 4-9-18

Carlo A. Capella, Vatican City: Suspicion of possessing and distributing child pornography online. Capella, a Vatican diplomat, was recalled from the Washington Embassy in September 2017 after authorities told the Vatican about a possible violation of child pornography laws.

Police in Windsor, Ontario, alleged Capella uploaded child porn from a social networking site during the 2016 Christmas holiday from Dec. 24-27. He’s in custody while Vatican prosecutors prepare the case. Source: USA Today, 4-7-18

Benjamin R. Roberts, 24, Abilene, TX: Indecency with a child and possession of child pornography. Roberts was an employee at Wylie Baptist Church’s Child Development Center and child care programs at 2 other Abilene churches. It’s alleged he downloaded child porn from July 19 through Sept. 26, 2017.

Police Sgt. Lynn Beard said Roberts admitted inappropriately touching a child under 12 last year and said police seized several electronic devices and a pair of child’s underwear during a search. There are 21 allegations of abuse, with 8 “confirmed” cases, the affidavit said. Source: KTXS, 4-6-18

David Holmes, 80, Council Bluffs, IA: Sexual assault of a child. Holmes, a Methodist pastor who retired in 2002, is accused of engaging in consensual oral sex in February 2017 in the Clarkson Hospital parking garage in Omaha with a 14-year-old boy he met on the dating app Grindr.

Holmes allegedly told police he then introduced the boy to Robert Recoy, 64, who was later found dead from an overdose in his kitchen. “It is believed Recoy took his own life due to this investigation,” an affidavit said. Source: KETV, 4-3-18

Robert Ross, 70, Mesquite, TX: Knowingly failing to make a required child abuse report. Ross, lead pastor at Open Door Baptist Church, allegedly ignored repeated sexual encounters between staff and a minor. Steven Winn, 33, a volunteer youth leader, is charged with 3 counts of sexual assault of a child. His father, Larry Winn, 65, Open Door’s bus minister, faces the same charge. Source: Fox 4, 4-3-18

Russell Davis, 65, Seabrook, NH: Rape, rape of a child with force and indecent assault and battery on a person 14 or over. Charges involve the same alleged victim and incidents in April 2004 in Massachusetts when Davis was a licensed (not ordained) United Methodist minister. A church spokesperson said his license was revoked in 2015 for reasons not related to sexual misconduct. Source: WMUR, 4-2-18

Noel Anderson, 22, McKinney, TX: Aggravated sexual assault of a child and 2 counts of indecency with a child/sexual contact. Anderson, a primary grade assistant at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is accused of molesting 4 children between the ages of 2 and 6 during the past 7 years. Source: NBC-DFW, 4-2-18

Jeffrey D. Rolen, 66, Wise, VA: 10 counts of indecent liberties with a child. Rolen, pastor of Highlands Fellowship, is charged with sexual involvement with an underage female in the 1980s when he was director of Camp Bethel Ministries. Source: Times News, 3-30-18

Matthew D. Patterson, 45, Pittsburgh: 8 counts of aggravated sexual battery. Patterson, pastor until resigning last September of Nolensville Road Baptist Church in Nashville, TN, is accused of molesting multiple victims, mostly boys, from 1998 to 2017.

Children alleged he asked them to sit on his face and stomach, sometimes in their underwear. Patterson was a vocal opponent of 2003 anti-discrimination bills to protect jobs and housing for lesbians, gays and bisexuals. Source: The Tennessean, 3-30-18

William W. Williamson, 38, Dothan, AL: 3 counts of sexual abuse of a child less than 12 years old. Williamson, Mt. Gilead Baptist Church children’s pastor, allegedly assaulted 2 children at a church camp event. He’s married with 7 children. Source: WTVY, 3-30-18

Kirbyjon H. Caldwell, 64, Houston: 13 counts of wire fraud, money laundering and conspiracy to allegedly bilk millions of dollars from elderly and vulnerable investors. Gregory A. Smith, 55, Shreveport, LA, is also charged.

It’s alleged Caldwell used his influence as pastor of Windsor Village United Methodist Church and Smith used his influence as operator of Smith Financial Group LLC to lure investors to pay more than $1 million for Chinese bonds that aren’t recognized by China’s current government and have no investment value. The indictment said Caldwell “used religious references to give investors hope they would soon be repaid.” Source: CBS, 3-30-18

Melva Washington, 60, Duluth, GA: 2 counts of first-degree forgery, 4 counts of false statements or writings and 3 counts of unauthorized practice of law. Washington, head pastor at Anointed Vision Church, is accused of claiming she could help people apply for “Dreamer” immigration status, charging them between $500 and $1,000 but never delivering the help she promised and forging documents. There are more than 1,000 alleged victims, said detective Nermin Cultarevic. Source: WMAZ, 3-30-18

The unidentified treasurer at St. David’s Episcopal Church, W. Seneca, NY, has been fired for allegedly stealing at least $55,000 from the parish, said a letter from rector Claudia Scheda. The name and pronouns identifying gender were blacked out in the letter given to media. Police have been notified. Source WGRZ, 3-27-18

Hubon Sandridge, 67, Memphis, TN: Stalking. Sandridge, pastor at Thomas Missionary Baptist Church, is charged with sending sexually explicit messages on Facebook to a woman in February and March and continuing to do so after being warned by police to stop. Source: WREG, 3-25-18

Menachem A. Weiss, 46, Los Angeles: 2 counts of aggravated sexual assault. Weiss is accused of assaulting an underage male in 1999 when he was serving as a rabbi in Woodcliff Lake, NJ. Source: nj.com, 3-22-18

Chad A. White Sr., 44, Dayton, OH: Suspicion of rape and gross sexual imposition. White, pastor of Mt. Carmel Missionary Baptist Church, is accused of touching the breasts and other private areas of a 51-year-old woman in March and attempting “to have sexual conduct without her consent.” Source: Daily News, 3-23-18

Pleaded / Convicted

Anthony Morris, 50, Toledo, OH: Pleaded no contest to misdemeanor assault. He’s pastor at St. Paul’s AME Zion Church. His wife, Zelda Morris, 46, pleaded no contest to criminal endangering. Their daughter, Kamali Morris, 18, pleaded no contest to disorderly conduct.

Nickema Turner, a Sunday school teacher, told police she was assaulted by the Morrises and that Zelda Morris dumped out her purse and took some items. The pastor, she alleged, pulled a gun and pointed it at her. Source: Toledo Blade, 4-19-18

John Calnan, 79, Cork, Ireland: Pleaded guilty to sexual assaults on 3 girls in the mid-1970s while he was a Catholic priest. Calnan has 3 previous sexual assault convictions. For the latest, in March, he received a suspended sentence because the judge said it’s pointless to jail him at this point in his life.

In that case, he admitted penetrating a girl’s vagina in the school kitchenette while she made her First Confession. Source: Southern Star, 4-16-18

Alvin N. McNeil, 56, Prichard, AL: Guilty by jury of rape and sex abuse of a child under 12. McNeil was pastor of Open Door True Worship Apostolic Church when arrested in 2016 for raping and impregnating a 16-year-old girl. The girl’s mother alleged he also sexually touched the girl’s sister, age 11. Source: WKRG, 4-10-18

Stephen M. Arellano, 30, Las Cruces, NM: Pleaded guilty to traveling in interstate commerce to engage in sex with a minor. When arrested in October, he was pastor of Apostolic Assembly Church and was the church’s District of New Mexico youth president.

Arellano admitted traveling to El Paso, TX, to have sex with a girl. She was 15 when they exchanged nude photos by phone and when he helped make a video for her Sweet 16 birthday party. Source: justice.gov, 4-9-18

William T. Coontz, 51, Fort Lauderdale, FL: Guilty by jury of 3 counts of failure to pay taxes and 4 counts of aiding and assisting in the filing of false tax returns. Coontz was pastor of Rock Wealth International Ministries in Charlotte, NC, from 2010-14 and wrote books on faith and finances such as “Please Don’t Repo My Car” and “Breaking the Spirit of Debt.” He allegedly boosted his income by overbilling churches for travel expenses and by concealing money he made from speeches, books and other products. Source: WYFF, 4-4-18

Elozer Porges, 44, and Joel Lowy, 29, Brooklyn, NY: Pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. The men, who worked at Central United Talmudic Academy, admitted scamming the federal government out of $3.2 million in funds intended to feed needy students from 2013-15. The funds were issued through the state Department of Health as reimbursement for meals that were reported but never served. Source: NY Daily News, 3-30-18

Janet Farquhar, 70, Port Seton, Scotland: Pleaded guilty to embezzling just over $100,000 between 2008-16 from Chalmers Memorial Church, a Church of Scotland parish where she was treasurer since 1999. Source: London Times, 3-30-18

Klint Bitter, 34, Omaha, NE: Pleaded guilty to attempted 1st-degree sexual assault. Bitter, youth pastor at Christ Community Church, arranged to meet a 15-year-old girl in 2017 through DeArch Stubblefield, then 18, via Craigslist. Stubblefield is serving consecutive 10- to 20-year terms for human trafficking and attempted aiding and abetting of sexual assault of a minor. Source: World-Herald, 3-27-18

Jonathan Foster, 35, and Grace Foster, 34, Upper Tulpehocken Township, PA: Guilty by jury of involuntary manslaughter and endangering the welfare of a child for the 2016 death of their daughter, Ella Grace Foster, 2, from untreated pneumonia. The Fosters, who belong to Faith Tabernacle Congregation, rely on faith healing and called their daughter’s death “God’s will.”

They’ve given up custody of 6 other children. The girl’s grandfather, who is church pastor, was charged with failure to report suspected abuse but the charge was dismissed. Source: Reading Eagle, 3-22-18

Sentenced

Victor Taxgomez, aka Ever Oliveros-Cano, 50, Menlo Park, CA: 8 years in prison after pleading no contest to child molestation and 2 counts of sexual battery. Taxgomez, pastor at Senor Justicia Nuestra, was convicted of assaults on 2 sisters and their friend, ages 13, 15 and 17, from 2011-15 while praying with and “cleansing” them. Source: Daily Journal, 4-16-18

Philip J. Murphy, 53, Sunshine, Australia: 12 months in jail, suspended, after pleading guilty to transmitting child pornography. Murphy, vicar at Holy Apostles Anglican Church, was charged with having numerous online and Skype conversations with men about pedophilia in 2016-17. His username was “Pervert.”

In one chat he said he wanted to molest children as young as 2, prosecutor Jessica Mackay told the court. In another chat with a man who said he had sons aged 2 and 4, Murphy replied “I’m in a very pedo mood.”

“I accept that there was no sexual activity with children, nor were there any photos or videos involved in these communications,” said Judge Phillip Coish, who ordered Murphy to undergo sex offender treatment. Source: news.com/au, 4-21-18

Paul Moore, 82, Largs, Scotland: 9 years in prison after a jury found him guilty of molesting 3 underage boys and a seminarian between 1977-96 while he was a Catholic priest. The church never reported allegations and he was sent for treatment in Canada before reassignment. The youngest victim was 5 when Moore assaulted him at his primary school. Source: BBC, 4-11-18

Robert J. Dando, 53: 9 years, 4 months in prison after pleading guilty to 13 counts of sexual abuse of boys aged 10 to 15 between 1985-2007 when he served Baptist churches in the UK. Dando was arrested last August after being deported from the U.S. after completing an 8-year sentence in Virginia. He had pleaded guilty to 4 counts of molesting the sons of family friends while on visits to their home over a period of several years. Source: BBC, 4-10-18

Matthew J. Tague, 44, Carlsbad, CA: 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to 2 counts of lewd act on a child. Tague, pastor at North Coast Calvary Chapel, was charged with molesting a girl in 2016-17 when she was 12 and 13. Tague’s wife, who is the girl’s legal guardian, caught him in the act in May 2017 and reported him to authorities.

The child was born with fetal alcohol syndrome, which made her more vulnerable to abuse and less likely to tell anyone, prosecutor Patricia Lavermicocca said. Source: Union-Tribune, 4-10-18

Brian P. Werth, 34, Rockville, MD: 3 years in prison for convictions of sexual offense and sexual abuse of a minor. Werth, a youth minister at St. Elizabeth Catholic Church, was charged with molesting a 16-year-old girl. They began texting in 2014, and on or about May 20, 2016, Werth kissed her and had other inappropriate contact with her during a youth event at the church, prosecutors said. Source: Rockville Patch, 4-5-18

Fernando D. Maldonado, 37, Martinez, CA: 34 years in prison for convictions on 23 counts of child molestation. Maldonado, pastor at Morello Avenue Baptist Church, fled to Mexico in December during his trial and was later captured in Cancun and extradited. He was accused of assaulting a parishioner for more than 2 years, starting when she was 13. Source: East Bay Times, 4-13-18

Chad A. Coe, 36, Elgin, IL: 7 years in prison after pleading guilty to aggravated criminal sexual abuse. Coe, a youth leader at First Congregational Church, was accused of grooming the victim when she was 14 and assaulting her at age 15 in the church basement.

Coe can have his sentence cut in half for good behavior. The victim and her family have sued Coe, the parish and the United Church of Christ Illinois Conference. Source: Daily Herald, 4-2-18

Wiley G. Leverett, 58, Centerville, GA: 35 days in jail, 11 months’ probation and $1,000 fine after a jury found him guilty of sexual battery of a child under 16 for touching a 9-year-old girl’s thigh while he drove a bus in 2012 for Solid Rock Community Church, where he was pastor. He was found not guilty of child molestation. He was originally indicted for touching 4 girls from age 8 to 16. Source: WMAZ, 3-29-18

Wilmer R. Cruz, 38, Lilburn, GA: Obstruction of law enforcement, aggravated assault against law enforcement, obstruction of a 911 call and related charges for a March confrontation with police officers looking for a 16-year-old girl reported missing. Cruz is pastor of Iglesia Cristiana Evangelica. His wife, Cristina Cruz, 37, and 2 teen sons also face charges.

As the family swarmed the officers trying to get the girl out of the Cruzes’ car, Cristina Cruz grabbed his Taser and pointed it at him, Sgt. Ryan Long testified. “I grabbed Mrs. Cruz by the arm and told her she was under arrest for grabbing my Taser,” Long said. “She refused and would only say ‘Jesus love me.’ ”

The girl is believed to be pregnant by the Cruzes’ 17-year-old son. Source: Daily Post, 3-28-18

Aracely Meza, 52, Balch Springs, TX: 99 years in prison and $10,000 in fines after a jury found her guilty of felony injury to a child causing serious bodily injury. Meza, co-founder with her husband of Iglesia Internacional Jesus es el Rey, was charged with starving 2-year-old Benjamin Aparicio to death over 25 days in 2015.

Meza claimed the boy was possessed by demons and that God told her to starve them out. A video shows her “rising ceremony” to resurrect him the day he died. Charges are pending against the boy’s parents, Zenon and Liliana Aparicio, who are followers of Meza. Source: Washington Post, 3-24-18

Civil Lawsuits Filed

Gregory M. Altermatt and the Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford, CT, are defendants in a suit filed by Matthew Cornell, who alleges Altermatt molested him in the 1970s and 1980s he was 7 to 15 years old. Altermatt, now on senior status as a priest and living in New Haven, hasn’t been criminally charged.

Cornell alleges after his mother died in 1979, the priest offered to help his father with child care because he also had a daughter who was developmentally disabled, then molested him at the rectory, the Cornell home, a movie theater and at Altermatt’s mother’s Florida condominium. Source: Hartford Courant, 4-18-18

The First Assembly of God Church, Olney, TX, and the North Texas District Council Assemblies of God are being sued for $1 million by the mother of an alleged sexual abuse victim of youth minister Ryan A. Winner, who was sentenced to 60 years in 2016 for producing child pornography.

The boy participated in the church’s Royal Rangers youth program when he was about 6 to 8 years old “at the behest of First AOG of Olney and … Winner,” the suit states. Source: Times Record News, 4-14-18

William Sheals, 71, and Hopewell Missionary Baptist, Norcross, GA, are being sued by Yvonne Byrd, who alleges Sheals pushed her so hard while blessing her at an altar call that she fell backward and suffered traumatic brain injury when her head hit the floor. Source: Journal-Constitution, 4-14-18

The Catholic Order of St. Augustine and Providence High School in New Lenox, IL, are defendants in a suit filed by Robert Krankvich, 38, who alleges he was “repeatedly orally and anally raped” in the mid-1990s by Richard McGrath, a priest and former principal at the school.

McGrath abruptly retired in December during a probe of “potentially inappropriate material on his mobile device.” That investigation was closed after McGrath refused to turn over his cellphone but the case is being reviewed, said state’s attorney spokesman Chuck Pelkie. Source: Sun-Times, 4-12-18

Adrian Cristobal, the former Catholic Archdiocese of Agana chancellor assigned to the Diocese of Phoenix, AZ, was called back to Guam after he was sued by plaintiff “J.L.C.” for allegedly molesting him as an altar boy from 1995-97. Source: Pacific Daily News, 4-11-18

Joseph L. Bishop, 85, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have been sued by McKenna Denson, 55, who alleges Bishop raped her in 1984 when he was president of the LDS Missionary Training Center in Provo, UT.

Inside a “secret room” at the center, Bishop tore open her blouse and the seam of her skirt before penetrating her, Denson alleges. Earlier, she secretly recorded and shared with media a recent conversation with Bishop in which he admitted having a sexual addiction. Source: Salt Lake Tribune, 4-4-18

Jonathan Wehrle, pastor of St. Martha Catholic Parish in Okemos, MI, is being sued by the Princeton Excess and Surplus Lines Insurance Corp. Wehrle is charged with embezzling $5 million from the parish. His 6-bedroom, 12-bathroom home is in receivership.

The insurance company says it’s paid out about $2.5 million to the Diocese of Lansing so far to cover losses from the embezzlement. “While this suit is pending, nobody wants to see the property go to waste or be damaged before the property can be forfeited,” said company spokesman Randy Marmor. Source: State Journal, 3-30-18

Legal Developments

Kevin Wallin, 66, a Connecticut Catholic priest dubbed “Monsignor Meth” for his 2013 convictions for selling methamphetamine, will not be sent back to prison despite failing 6 required drug tests while on probation.

At a hearing, Judge Alfred Covello ruled against incarceration recommendations of the probation officer and U.S. attorney. Wallin told the court he was working on his addiction and is getting needed support from the community. Source: AP, 4-19-18

Major L. Hillman, 24, Lynchburg, VA, who’s serving a 6-year sentence for indecent liberties with a child in 2015, had his appeal denied by the Virginia Court of Appeals. While admitting to using Snapchat to exchange sexually explicit photos and videos while he was a youth pastor at Thomas Terrace Baptist Church, he argued that the judge erred in allowing evidence showing that he knew or should have known the girl was under 15 and that he had exposed his erect penis to her.

The  court rejected the claim that exposure requires a person to be in the physical presence of a victim and ruled that her age was documented in church records. Source: AP, 4-8-18

Richard C. Mick, 56, Sandusky, OH, sentenced to life in 2016 for raping a 5-year-old girl in 1999 and fondling an 8-year-old boy’s genitals in 2003 while he was pastor at Lighthouse Baptist Church, had his convictions overturned by an appeals court due to ineffective counsel. A new trial was ordered.

After the trial started, Mick’s attorney, K. Ronald Bailey, declined to participate further because the judge refused to delay it. He was held in contempt and served 30 days in jail. The state argued on appeal this was a ploy to get a mistrial declared.

Two more alleged victims testified during the trial, including Mick’s daughter, who testified he raped her twice, when she was 13 and 14 or 15. He still faces gross sexual imposition charges in another county. Source: Sandusky Register, 3-17-18

Allegations

Les Hughey, 64, senior pastor at Highlands Church in Scottsdale, AZ, coerced her in the 1970s into giving up her virginity and having sex with him when she was age 17-19, alleges Tracy Epler. At the time, Hughey was married and led her youth group at First Baptist Church in Modesto, CA.

“I was a good little girl and he was a powerful youth pastor,” said Epler, now 59. “I always cried after. I cried afterwards in the bathroom because I’m cleaning myself and I don’t know what it is.” She said church leaders told her to “bury the secret.”

At least 6 other women who were members of Scottsdale Baptist Church, where Hughey was youth pastor after being removed from the Modesto church, have since alleged he touched their genitals while giving “full-body” massages. He’s been placed on leave at Highlands Church.

“I sinned and harmed the most important relationships in my life,” Hughey said in an April statement to media. It called his infidelity “consensual relations with fellow college-aged staff.” Source: Modesto Bee, 4-21-18

Removed / Resigned

Joseph McLoone, 55, resigned as pastor of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Downington, PA, in the wake of allegations of financial irregularity and inappropriate relationships with adults. It’s among the largest parishes, with 4,700 families, in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, said spokesman Ken Gavin.

McLoone allegedly set up an off-the-books bank account in the parish’s name that only he could access. At least $50,000 worth of expenses and ATM withdrawals need to be explained, Gavin said. About $1,500 of “personal expenses of an inappropriate nature … were related to relationships with adults” who weren’t parish members, Gavin said. Source: philly.com, 4-15-18

William “Bill” Hybels, 66, resigned as pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in S. Barrington, IL. The church hosts about 25,000 worshippers each weekend at its main campus and 7 satellite sites. At least 7 women have accused Hybels of improper conduct and abuse of power.

Vonda Dyer, a former leader of the church’s vocal ministry, alleged Hybels kissed and caressed her stomach in an overseas hotel 20 years ago, and said she didn’t go public until now because she thought the encounter and others like it were isolated incidents. Source: Chicago Tribune, 4-10-18

Yousry “Yost” Zakhary, Woodway, TX, was removed as an elder at First Baptist Church after he resigned as Woodway city manager. Sandra Bickel, a 17-year city employee, alleged in a civil suit that Zakhary has “permeated” city offices with “ongoing lewd, inappropriate and sexualized comments often directed at specific female employees” and “engaged in sexualized, unwanted touching of multiple female employees and/or former employees.”

The suit alleges Zakhary ridiculed employees about their weight and breast size, took unauthorized photos of a woman and showed them to others. Source: Waco Tribune, 4-9-18

John Ferone, Cincinnati, was removed from the faculty at St. Xavier High School, a Jesuit school. Hamilton County prosecutor Joe Deters said Ferone was accused of soliciting sex from a student via a text message. 

Deters declined to discuss the message’s contents other than that it appeared to have been sent inadvertently. “Based on what we know now, there are not going to be any criminal charges,” Deters said. “If we need to follow up, we will.” Source: cincinnati.com, 4-9-18

Loften C. Thornton, a U.S. Navy chaplain since 1992, was removed as chaplain for the Marine Forces Reserve based in New Orleans. Two Department of Defense officials confirmed that authorities were examining video allegedly showing Capt. Thornton having sex with a woman at the Crown & Anchor Pub.

Pub owner Neil Timms said the incident took place in front of the pub near some picnic tables. Thornton presided over the memorial service in 2000 of 17 sailors killed in the USS Cole bombing in Aden, Yemen. Source: USA Today, 4-4-18

Frank M. Lenz was placed on administrative leave by the Catholic Diocese of Marquette, MI, due to a credible allegation of misconduct with a minor in the 1970s, which Lenz denies. He was ordained in 1969 and retired to senior priest status in 2007. Source: WLUC, 4-2-18

Frank Page, 65, resigned as CEO and president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s executive committee and from active ministry, a decision “precipitated by a morally inappropriate relationship in the recent past,” according to a statement. He’d also been serving since February as interim lead pastor at Hebron Baptist Church in Dacula, GA.

With 15 million members, the convention is the largest U.S. Protestant denomination. Source: The Week, 3-28-18

Other

James Csaszar, 44, a Catholic priest on leave as pastor of Church of the Resurrection in New Albany, OH, jumped to his death from the 82-story Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel in Chicago, Ohio investigators said. Two suicide notes were found.

The Diocese of Columbus had suspended Csaszar due to “questionable text and telephone communications” with a 16-year-old boy and “potential misuse of church funds” while he was serving at St. Rose of Lima Parish in New Lexington. Source: AP, 4-15-18

Eight Hindu men are charged with the rape and murder of an 8-year-old Muslim girl in northern India in January. She belonged to a mostly Muslim nomadic community in an area populated by a Hindu majority and was abducted while grazing horses. It’s alleged she was taken to a Hindu temple, where she was drugged and raped for 5 days before being strangled and dumped in a forest. Source: CNN, 4-13-18

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