Black Collar Crime (Jan/Feb 2019)
Compiled by Bill Dunn
Arrested / Charged
Waisake Tulavu, 46, Nasinu, Fiji: Sexual assault and 4 counts of rape. Tulavu, pastor at Agape Healing Ministry, is charged with assaults on women ages 22, 29 and 32 in 2018. Senior church member Sakiusa Nakutoro, 50, is also charged with raping the 29-year-old. Source: Fiji Sun, 12-10-18
Jerred C. Peacock, 34, Estero, FL: Unlawful sexual activity. Peacock, a youth pastor at Living Waters Church, is accused of touching a 17-year-old girl’s genitals and having her touch his at his home while his wife was at work between March and August 2018. Source: Naples Daily News, 12-8-18
Derek Boyce, 37, Woolwich, ME: 26 counts of gross sexual assault, unlawful sexual contact and sex abuse of a minor, stemming from allegations he had sex with a student at Pine Tree Academy, a Seventh-day Adventist school where he taught math. Court documents said the girl’s mother caught him engaging in a sex act with her daughter, 15, in her living room.
Boyce told police his relationship with the girl began after she sustained a sports injury and had been depressed. He said they messaged each other over social media. He told police the relationship started in May, and turned sexual in July. He said they met in a park and performed oral sex on each other. He told police they had sexual intercourse twice. Source: WGME, 12-6-18
Paul Dorr, 62, Ocheyedan, IA: Misdemeanor criminal mischief for publicly burning 4 LGBTQ-themed books he checked out from the Orange City Public Library. Dorr, director of a Christian group called Rescue the Perishing, burned the books live on Facebook in October.
“Orange City Library, you won’t be peddling this one anymore!” Dorr said as he pitched a book into the flames. “You should all be ashamed of yourselves and repent.” He said he would not reimburse the library for the books. Source: Sioux City Journal, 12-6-18
Jerry Friday, 61, Mt. Holly, NC: Statutory sex offense, felony dissemination of obscene material to a minor, 4 counts of felony indecent liberties with a child and 2 counts of misdemeanor sexual battery. Friday, pastor at New Providence Baptist Church, is charged with assaults on 3 juvenile victims on the church grounds and at private homes. Source: WBTV, 12-6-18
Kenneth Hendricks, 77, Naval, Philippines: Engaging in illicit sexual conduct in foreign places. Hendricks, a Catholic priest, was arrested by American and Filipino agents at the Cathedral of Our Lady Rosary Parish. The case was brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of Ohio, where Hendricks was previously based. Authorities have identified 10 male victims as young as 7, including some who allegedly lived with him. Source: Straits Times, 12-5-18
Jacop R. Hazlett, 28, W. Ashley, SC: 9 counts of criminal sexual conduct with a minor. Hazlett supervised children ages 3 to 5 in “the Tree House” at NewSpring Church. In video from Nov. 25, staff allegedly observed him escort a 3-year-old into the bathroom, take a photo of the child’s genitals and molest him.
Officials reviewing security footage allegedly identified 14 separate incidents involving boys in the same bathroom. NewSpring, with 15 campuses, is the largest church in the state. Source: Post & Courier, 12-3-18
Sixteen pastors from the Congregational Christian Church, Samoa’s largest church, have been charged with failure to file tax returns by the Ministry of Revenue. A law went into effect in January 2018 requiring tax payment on offerings from churchgoers. All denominations complied except the CCC, despite being given 11 months to comply. Source: RNZ Pacific, 11-26-18
Thomas Bruce, 53, Imperial, MO: 1st-degree murder, burglary, tampering with evidence, 3 counts each of sodomy and kidnapping and 8 counts of armed criminal action. Bruce, a Navy veteran who founded an evangelical Christian church called Calvary Chapel in 2003 and has been associated with several other Missouri ministries, is accused of forcing 3 women into a back room at Catholic Supply in Ballwin, exposing himself and ordering them to “perform deviant sexual acts on him,” a complaint alleged.
When a 53-year-old refused to comply, he shot her fatally in the head, the complaint said. Bruce, who expressed support publicly for President Trump and Justice Brett Kavanaugh, worked at Calvary Chapel until 2007. Source: USA Today, 11-23-18
Julien B. Williams, Tallahassee, FL: Grand theft involving more than $20,000 and attempting to use the ID of another person without consent. Williams, pastor at Abundant Living Faith Ministries, is accused of falsifying documents to gain control of 2 parishioners’ bank accounts, writing checks without permission and withdrawing money. Source: WCTV, 11-19-18
Jeff Countryman, 44, Clearwater, FL: Theft. Countryman is charged with stealing over $30,000 as pastor at Cape Christian Fellowship Church in Cape Coral from 2015-17 before transferring to Countryside Christian Church in Clearwater. Countryside Church leaders said he also stole about $15,000 there but repaid the money to avoid charges. That led to the Cape Christian probe. Source: WBBH, 11-19-18
Thomas E. Ericksen, 71, Minneapolis: Felony sexual abuse and 2 counts of felony sexual assault. Ericksen, who was removed from the Catholic priesthood in 1988, is charged with assaults on boys in Wisconsin in the early 1980s. The Diocese of Superior settled with his accusers in 1989 for several million dollars.
Ericksen admitted to a detective in June 2016 that he fondled 5 altar boys when he was pastor at St. Peter’s Parish in Winter and 2 other boys later while serving Rhinelander and Rice Lake parishes, the complaint alleges. Source: Sawyer County Record, 11-17-18
Onyedikachi Enebechi, 37, Brockton, MA: Simple assault and battery. Enebechi, pastor at Winner’s City Church, is charged with slapping a 5-year-old in the face during bible study for talking to his cousin. The boy’s mother, who was in a different room at the church, took a photo to document the redness on his cheek. The pastor told police he only nudged the boy with 2 fingers out of frustration. Source: WFXT, 11-15-18
Patrick J. Sasnett, 40, Ocala, FL: Home invasion. Sasnett, pastor of St. Paul AME Church, is charged with barging into a woman’s residence, physically assaulting her and taking 2 pairs of her shoes worth $1,500. The woman told police she and Sasnett had been in a relationship for 5 years that ended a month ago and that the shoes were a gift from him. Source: Star-Banner, 11-14-18
Charles W. Holt, 51, Reading, PA: Aggravated indecent assault, endangering the welfare of children and corruption of minors. Holt is charged with numerous assaults on a 17-year-old girl who was babysitting for him and his wife in 2001 when he was a youth pastor at Reading Evangelical Free Church. He’s now president of The Factory Ministries in Paradise. Source: WITF, 11-14-18
Holley Mills Morris, 56, Covington, TN: Theft over $60,000. Morris is accused of stealing over $117,000 as secretary at First United Methodist Church from March 2011 to December 2017. She started working at the church in 2001. Source: Covington Leader, 11-14-18
Lothar K. Krauth, 80, Great Falls, MT: Receipt of child pornography. Krauth, who retired in 2014 as pastor at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, allegedly received an online image Oct. 26 of a nude prepubescent male child.
Court records allege devices seized from Krauth had about 400 images of children engaged in sexually explicit conduct, with most depicting prepubescent children, some young as 2 or 3. Source: KXLH, 11-10-18
Jean J. Jeudy, 48, El Paso, TX: Sexual assault of a child and 2 counts of indecency with a child/sexual contact. Jeudy, pastor of Walk By Faith International Missionary Church, denies allegations of incidents in 2011 and told a reporter that the devil is behind them. Source: El Paso Times, 11-9-18
Santino Cantalupo, 40, Reno, NV: Extortion, soliciting prostitution and furnishing a minor with alcohol. Cantalupo, a founder of Imago Dei Church, allegedly targeted a University of Nevada student by using a false name on a dating app in September and October and bought her alcohol in hopes of obtaining sexual favors. It’s alleged he told her if she didn’t have sex with him, he would send screen shots of their text messages to her father. Source: KOLO, 11-8-18
Thomas D. Duncan, 27, Greer, SC: 10 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor. Duncan, part-time music director at Victor United Methodist Church, allegedly possessed child pornography. Source: Fox Carolina, 11-8-18
Urbano Vazquez, 46, Washington: Child sexual abuse. Vazquez, a pastor at Shrine of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church, allegedly touched a girl’s breasts twice inside her shirt in the church in 2015 when she was 13. Since the initial claim, 2 other alleged victims have made similar accusations, the Archdiocese of Washington said in a statement.
The archdiocese removed Moises Villalta as senior Sacred Heart pastor for not reporting abuse allegations. He and Vazquez are members of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin. Sonia M. Aquino, parish child protection coordinator, was also placed on administrative leave. Source: NBC4, 11-7-18
Rodney O. Harmon Jr., 33, Stockton, MD: 12 counts of statutory sexual assault and involuntary deviate sexual intercourse. Harmon, youth director at Bayside Community Church, is accused of assaults on alleged victims ages 14 and 15 at a church retreat in August. He was jailed earlier for allegedly making and distributing pornographic videos and for sex acts involving 4 people, including 3 minors, between May 2017 and August 2018. Source: Lancaster Online, 11-7-18
Fernando Hernandez, 50, Brownwood, TX: Continuous sexual abuse of children. Hernandez, pastor at It’s A Challenge Church, is accused of molesting 4 minors, including a teen girl, between August 2010 and July 2018. Source: KTXS, 11-5-18
Daniel Goodloe, 25, W. Nashville, TN: 5 counts of sexual assault, including statutory rape by an authority figure. Goodloe was a youth pastor with Cross Point Church’s Dream Center until April 2018, said lead pastor Kevin Queen, adding that the church became aware of “a situation that occurred over a year ago that created reasonable suspicion on our part of inappropriate conduct” between Goodloe and a teen in the program.
He was one of the young adults secretly embedded among students at a Topeka high school in 2017 for the A&E documentary series “Undercover High” that aired in 2018. Source: WSMV, 11-1-18
Hurmiz R. Ishak, 63, Fraser, MI: 3 counts of criminal sexual conduct on a child. Ishak, a native of Iraq and a subdeacon for 21 years at St. Joseph Chaldean Catholic Church in Troy, is charged with assaulting a boy from the church between May 2017 and October 2018. The diocese says a subdeacon is “an elevated altar server.” Source: WDIV, 10-31-18
Stephen C. Brown, 61, Arlington, WA: Felony voyeurism. Brown, pastor at Seven Lakes Baptist Church and lead high school teacher at Arlington Christian, is charged with making cellphone videos that zoomed in on breasts, buttocks and crotches of unsuspecting women and girls. A faculty member allegedly found a thumb drive in the school parking lot that included views of Brown’s face while he was videoing. Source: KIRO, 10-31-18
Alastair Gray, 65, Keith, Scotland: Gray, interim pastor at St. Rufus Church, a Church of Scotland parish, is accused of assaulting a woman in October. Source: BBC, 10-30-18
Nicholas Chervyatiuk, 57, Chicago: Theft and financial exploitation of an elderly person with a disability. Chervyatiuk, pastor of Holy Patronage Church, a Ukrainian Orthodox parish, is charged with swindling an elderly parishioner who survived a Nazi internment camp out of about $350,000.
Nelly Bridgeman, 96, suffers from dementia. The priest assumed power of attorney for her in 2015. He’s returned about $200,000 to her so far. Source: Sun-Times, 10-25-18
Frederick Smith, 49, and Jerri Smith, Memphis, TN: Identity theft, theft of property between $10,000 and $60,000 and forgery between $10,000 and $60,000. Frederick Smith is pastor at New Life Holiness Church. He and his wife are accused of opening credit cards in the name of parishioner Clevie Williams, 77, and racking up about $50,000 of purchases in her name. Source: WHBQ, 10-24-18
Pleaded / Convicted
Joseph R. Alexander, 61, Gretna, LA: Pleaded guilty to bank fraud. Alexander, pastor at Franklin Street Church of Christ, was charged with stealing $321,491 during an 8-year period starting in 2006. He hid the thefts by forging signatures on checks to himself and entering fake vendors in the church’s checkbook register after opening a secret bank account.
It’s alleged he spent the money on his mortgage and car loan, his son’s college tuition, cable bills, family vacations, gifts from the Apple Store and Victoria’s Secret and other personal expenses. Source: Times-Picayune, 12-17-18
Nathan G. Rieger, 53, Winnipeg, Canada: Guilty by jury of meeting with a minor for lewd purposes. Rieger, pastor at Vineyard Church, was arrested in August while trying to meet a 15-year-old girl for sex in Arroyo Grande, CA. He was actually communicating online with an undercover officer, whom Rieger told sex is “much nicer without a condom.” Detective James Jolly testified that during their chats he told Rieger the girl was 15 and living with her grandmother. Rieger testified he was role-playing and thought the girl also was because she looked older in photos the officer provided, perhaps in her late 20s or early 30s. Source: San Luis Obispo Tribune, 12-14-18
Don Martin, 45, Atlanta: Guilty by jury of rape, aggravated sexual battery, child molestation and 1st-degree cruelty to children. Martin, pastor at Cathedral of Faith Church of God in Christ, was charged with abuse of a girl for 6 years until 2011 when she turned 13. Martin fled before the jury started deliberating and was arrested 5 days later at an airport in Nassau, the Bahamas. Source: WGCL, 12-5-18
Suzette M. Smith, Alexandria, VA: Pleaded guilty to wire fraud as treasurer for Exponent II, a quarterly Mormon feminist magazine based in Boston. Smith, volunteer treasurer since 2012 and an executive board member, was charged with embezzling about $107,000 from the magazine, founded in 1974 to explore women’s issues in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Source: Salt Lake Tribune, 12-1-18
Ronald Paquin, 76, Boston: Guilty by jury of 11 counts of gross sexual misconduct. Paquin, a defrocked Catholic priest, was accused in a Maine court of molesting altar boys from his Massachusetts parish in the 1980s. Keith Townsend testified he endured repeated abuse starting at age 11 at Salty Acres Campground in Kennebunkport between 1986-88 on trips with Paquin, who was arrested in 2017 at a homeless shelter. Source: Portsmouth Herald, 11-29-18
Elijah Mealancon, 58, New Orleans: Guilty by bench trial of unauthorized use of a movable (property capable of being moved to another location). Mealancon was charged with taking $33,000 from a victim of Hurricane Katrina but never delivering on his promise to repair her home.
As lead pastor at Elijah Christian Ministries, Mealancon got several people to sign their federal Road Home grant checks over to him, convincing them their restoration money could go further if pooled. Source: nola.com, 11-19-18
Shawn Butler, 52, Hillsborough, NJ: Guilty by jury of criminal sexual contact and endangering the welfare of a child. Butler, youth minister and executive board member at Eternal Life Christian Center, was charged with assaults on a 15-year-old girl in 2014.
He was convicted in 1990 of sexual assault while still on probation for a 1988 criminal sexual contact conviction. He allegedly had told Eternal Life leaders about those convictions. Source: nj.com, 11-18-18
Andrzej Skrzypiec, 63, Salt Lake City: Pleaded no contest to patronizing a prostitute. Skrzypiec, pastor at St. Ambrose Catholic Parish, was arrested in August for offering to pay an undercover officer for oral sex. A plea agreement calls for him to pay $680 and take an HIV test. Skrzypiec initially told police he was in the area to get food from a taco stand. Source: Salt Lake Tribune, 11-13-18
Jeffery D. Rolen, 66, Wise County, VA: Pleaded guilty to 7 counts of indecent liberties with a child under age 18. He’s accused of incidents in 1985-87 when he was a youth pastor at Highlands Fellowship and ran Camp Bethel Ministries in the summers. Source: WCBY, 11-9-18
Aryeh L. Cohen, 44, Minneapolis: Pleaded guilty to engaging in electronic communication describing sexual conduct with a child. Cohen, rabbi at Community Kollel, a Jewish learning center, was arrested in February 2018 after responding to an undercover agent’s online profile that said he was a male turning 16 in August. Cohen then sent an explicit photo of himself and was arrested when he arrived at an apartment to have sex. Source: KSTP, 11-9-18
David Norton, 72, Ontario, Canada, was found guilty of sexual assault and 4 counts of indecent assault involving 4 altar boys from Chippewas of the Thames First Nation in the late 1970s and early 1980s when Norton was an Anglican priest ministering to the tribe.
He’s already serving a 4-year sentence after pleading guilty to molesting another boy over a 4-year period starting in 1990 when the boy was 10. That victim has filed a $4.9 million suit against Norton and the Diocese of Huron. Source: CBC, 11-6-18
W. Thomas Faucher, 73, Boise, ID: 25 years in prison with no parole after pleading guilty to possessing and distributing child pornography and possession of LSD, ecstasy and marijuana. Faucher, a retired Catholic priest, fantasized about raping and killing children and claimed in online chats to have mixed his own bodily fluids into the communion wine.
Of the more than 2,500 videos and images he was found in possession of, Faucher wrote, “There is only one of them I really like, the one of the boy being beaten to death.” “I was one really sick puppy,” he said at sentencing, and told the judge he’s “deeply sorry” but said he should be released on probation so he could speak to victims and others about the evils of child abuse.
Faucher retired in 2014 and rented the home from St. Mary’s Catholic Church. John Worster, St. Mary’s pastor, said the diocesan exorcist and his prayer team prayed over the house. “We brought in the ghostbusters” to clean out the “spiritual filth.” Source: AP/CNS, 12-21-18
John T. Sweeney, 76, Greensburg, PA: 11½ months to 5 years in prison after pleading guilty to misdemeanor indecent assault on a minor for forcing a 10-year-old boy to perform oral sex on him while counseling him about misbehaving on a school bus in 1991. He retired as a Catholic priest in 2016. The victim told investigators that after the attack, Sweeney’s secretary gave him milk and cookies.
He’s the first person sentenced to prison as a result of the state grand jury investigation that found hundreds of clergy had abused children over 7 decades. The victim, who has identified himself publicly only as Josh, is serving in the Coast Guard in the South Pacific. “As long as the Catholic Church is operational, there will be more victims,” he wrote in a letter his brother read in court. Source: Tribune-Review, 12-21-18
Karma Tshojay, aka Tempa Lama, 56, La Boulaye, France: 12 years in prison. Tshojay, a native of Bhutan, was convicted after 4 female disciples at the Temple of 1,000 Buddhas or their children accused him of multiple rapes and sexual assaults in the 1990s and 2000s. Source: Daily Monitor, 12-19-18
Thomas Fulcher, 84, New South Wales, Australia: 4 years in prison after pleading guilty to indecent assault of 2 boys who were students at a Marist school in Burnie, Tasmania, where Fulcher served as a Catholic priest between 1960 and 1967. He retired in 2002 after being accused of abuse. Source: ABC, 12-18-18
Preston K. Harrison, 51, Leesburg, FL: 1 year probation and restitution after pleading no contest to contracting without a license. Harrison, lead pastor at Harvest Church in Starke and founder of Transformation Ministries, is required to repay $26,000 to a couple who hired him in 2017 to repair their tornado-damaged roof.
The roof continued to leak after being repaired, said Helen Bohannon, who later discovered Harrison wasn’t licensed. “How could a pastor do this? How could a man of God do this?” she asked a reporter. Source: Click Orlando, 12-19-18
Alexander Stroobandt, Bruges, Belgium: 1 month in jail, suspended, for failing to seek help for a depressed man who later gassed himself to death with carbon monoxide. The court ruled that Stroobandt, a Catholic priest, couldn’t use the seal of confession as a defense and that he should pay a symbolic 1 euro in damages to the man’s widow.
She had discovered that Stroobandt and her husband had exchanged a series of phone calls and text messages about the state of his mind. Stroobandt plans to appeal. Source: Reuters, 12-17-18
Kevin S. Heffner, 48, Pelham, NC: 25 to 35 years in prison after pleading guilty to 2 counts of statutory sex offense with a child under 15 and 12 counts of disseminating obscene material to a minor. Heffner, pastor and principal at Victory Baptist Academy, was accused of engaging in sex acts with a 14-year-old girl and sending her photos of his genitals. She and her mother were congregation members. Source: News & Record, 11-30-18
Henry C. Foxhoven, 45, Glouster, OH: 12 years in prison with no parole after pleading guilty to 3 counts of sexual battery for a relationship with a 17-year-old girl he impregnated in 2018 while serving as pastor at Holy Cross Catholic Parish. The girl was an altar server interested in becoming a nun.
A search of Foxhoven’s residence turned up a pregnancy test with a “positive indication.” He and the victim both told her mother she was pregnant. Prosecutor Keller Blackburn said other items recovered included “more than eight used condoms, countless bottles of lubricant and male enhancement drugs.” Source: KRON/AP, 11-27-18
Timothy Lawrence, 32, S. Haven, IN: 4 years in prison after pleading guilty to 2 counts of sexual misconduct with a minor while he was a youth pastor at Emanuel Baptist Church between November 2013 and July 2014. Victims were 2 girls from the church. Prosecutors said he manipulated the girls, ages 14 and 15, into letting him take liberties with them so he would remain their friend. Source: nwitimes.com, 11-27-18
John L. Bishop, 55, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico: 5 years in prison for smuggling 300 pounds of marijuana into San Ysidro, CA, in December 2017. Bishop was founding pastor of Living Hope Church in Vancouver, WA, but was pushed out for substance abuse and carrying on an affair with a woman from the church while married. He then moved to Mexico to work in the time-share industry. Source: The Columbian, 11-23-18
Pierre de Castelet, 69, Orleans, France: 3 years in prison with 1 year suspended for molesting children at a summer camp in 1993 while pretending to carry out medical exams. His superior, former bishop of Orleans Andre Fort, 83, was given a suspended sentence of 8 months for failing to notify police when he was made aware of allegations in 2008. Source: RTE, 11-22-18
Jaerock Lee, 75, Seoul, S. Korea: 15 years in prison on convictions for raping 8 women after telling them he was carrying out “an order from God” as head of Manmin Central Church, which claims to have 133,000 followers worldwide. “The victims, who attended the church since childhood, believed that obeying Lee as a godlike figure is the path to heaven,” the court said. Source: Washington Post, 11-22-18
Malo “Victor” Monteiro, 45, Colton, CA: 64 months in prison and $3,000 in fines and restitution after pleading guilty to attempted copulation of a minor, 4 counts of lewd acts on a child of 14-15 years of age with the defendant at least 10 years older and 2 counts of sexual penetration with a foreign object. Three women gave victim impact statements detailing incidents when Monteiro was youth pastor at Faith Baptist Church starting in 2007 and they were teens. Source: Press-Enterprise, 11-15-18
Meally Morris Freeman, 56, Brooklyn Center, MN: 58 months in prison after a jury found him guilty of 2 counts of criminal sexual conduct. Freeman, a Liberian immigrant and pastor of Grace Mountaineer Tabernacle, was found guilty of drugging a female congregant, 28, and violating her under the guise of performing a religious “deliverance.” Source: KSTP, 11-9-18
Brian Jenkins, 75, Brecon, Wales: 5 years in prison for sexually assaulting a girl while he worked as a Jehovah’s Witnesses elder. The victim, now 58, testified Jenkins groped her during missionary work, at bible classes and during swimming lessons organized by the church.
She alleged he sent her older brother to knock on doors while trapping her in the back seat of his car to force his fingers inside her and that Jenkins targeted her after her father had died unexpectedly. She told the jury she reported the abuse to 2 elders, a doctor and an ex-police officer but no one took her seriously. “I’m angry at Jehovah’s Witnesses elders and the governing body for the lack of protection they provide to children.” Source: Brecon & Radnor Express, 11-7-18
Con Cunningham, 83, Carrick, Ireland: 9 months in jail after pleading guilty to 3 counts of indecent assault against a girl under age 10 in 1976-77 when he was a Catholic priest. Judge John Aylmer said Cunningham groomed the girl and progressed to simulating oral sex.
“Sometimes he would push her head down to his private parts and hold it there,” said prosecutor Patricia McClaughlin. “She remembers him grunting and now understands that he was satisfying himself.” Source: Donegal Now, 11-2-18
Anthony Figueiredo, 54, a New Jersey priest from the Catholic Archdiocese of Newark who’s been working in Europe for a decade, was ordered back to the U.S. after a DUI conviction in England. He was banned from driving for 18 months in October after crashing into a pregnant woman’s car while his blood-alcohol level was at twice the legal limit.
Archdiocese spokesperson James Goodness said Figueiredo has been a media commentator on church and Vatican affairs and was an adviser to student priests in Rome.
The pregnant driver, Olivia Parfitt, 35, told a reporter Figueiredo was “visibly sloshed” and that he drove off, saying he had to catch a flight, but police stopped him further down the road. Source: nj.com, 10-30-18
Andrew Dickson, 31, University City, MO: 4 years in prison suspended, 5 years’ probation and sex offender registration after pleading guilty to child molestation and 2 counts of statutory sodomy. Dickson, a youth pastor at Central Presbyterian Church, admitted fondling and engaging in oral sex with a 15-year-old boy at Dickson’s home last March. Source: Post-Dispatch, 10-28-18
Civil Lawsuits Filed
“Doe 596” filed a complaint against Holy Innocents’ School, a Catholic K-12 school, who alleges she suffered “ritual sexual abuse” by 5 members of the Sis family that founded and still run the small school in Waite Park, MN, and by Lawrence Brey, a priest who lived on the grounds and died in 2006. She attended from 1978-84 from ages 5 to 11.
Josh Peck, her lawyer, speculated that Brey was transferred to the school by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee to rid itself of a problem priest. Joe Towalski, diocesan director of communications for the diocese, said the school “has no affiliation whatsoever or connection or association with the Roman Catholic Diocese of St. Cloud.” Source: Star Tribune, 12-4-18
The Catholic Diocese of Scranton, PA, failed to protect plaintiff “Richard Roe” from sexual abuse by former priest William J. Paulish, a suit alleges. Roe, now 29, claims Paulish molested him in 2006-07 at St. Mary’s Parish in Old Forge, where he was assistant pastor.
Paulish, who was transferred 11 times and twice put on leaves of absence, was convicted in 2014 for engaging in oral sex with a 15-year-old boy in a parked car and was sentenced to 8 to 23 months in prison. Source: Citizens Voice, 11-27-18
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is being sued by 6 men from 5 states for allegedly concealing “the known histories and identities from the public, parishioners and law enforcement of clergy accused of sexually abusing children across the country.” They’re represented by attorney Jeff Anderson. A similar new suit against Pennsylvania Catholic bishops seeks to force the dioceses to reveal the names and history of accused clergy. Source: CNS/CBS, 11-15-18
Isidore Ndagizimana, Bishop Joseph Vásquez and the Diocese of Austin, TX, are defendants in a suit filed by 6 women alleging Ndagizimana, 60, made unwanted sexual advances and held them against their will as pastor at St. Thomas More Catholic Church. Three alleged he behaved inappropriately or groped them during their confessions.
One who was pregnant alleged he rearranged confessional chairs to block the door, rubbed her thigh while she confessed and made her discuss sexual activity with her husband. He was St. Thomas More pastor from 2012-17 and was placed on leave before being transferred to another parish. Source: Dallas News, 11-14-18
Bruno M. Tucci, a retired Catholic priest, and the Diocese of Allentown, PA, are being sued by a man alleging Tucci molested him in 1999-2001 while he was an altar boy in Nesquehoning. The suit also names former Bishop Edward Cullen, current Bishop Alfred Schlert and the Congregation of the Servants of the Paraclete, a New Mexico facility nicknamed “Club Ped” that treated Tucci, who retired in 2002 and lives in Maryland.
The plaintiff alleges Tucci groped his genitals and once had him “put his arms out like Jesus on the cross” before fondling him. He alleges the diocese was notified in 1991 that Tucci abused a different altar boy years earlier and admitted it. Source: WFMZ, 11-12-18
The Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford, CT, and former Bishop John Whealon are being sued by Kevin DiStasio, 46, who alleges Walter Vichas molested him before morning Mass when he was a 10-year-old altar boy at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Waterbury in 1980. Vichas died in 2008 at age 83. Source: Hartford Courant, 11-8-18
The Catholic Archdiocese of Santa Fe, NM, is named in a suit filed by “John Doe 92,” who alleged he was molested at least 25 times from 1972-77 as an altar boy by Albert Chavez, pastor at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Peralta. Chavez died in 1996 at age 75. Source: Albuquerque Journal, 10-30-18
Carlos R. Rodriguez, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the Diocese of San Bernardino and the Vincentians (Rodriguez’s former religious order) are being sued by 2 brothers who allege the Catholic priest molested them in the early 1990s while he was pastor at Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine in Riverside. Rodriguez, 62, Bakersfield, was sentenced to 8 years in prison in 2004 and served 4 years for sexual assaults on 2 boys. He was defrocked in 1998. Source: L.A. Times, 10-29-18
Six Utah plaintiffs are suing Brenda and Richard Miles, the daughter and son-in-law of Mormon Church President Russell M. Nelson, in federal court, alleging they and others sexually abused children in the 1980s and orchestrated cover-ups. The Mileses deny the claims, alleging they stem from false memories and citing a Bountiful police investigation that closed without charges. The suit doesn’t name the church as a defendant but could be amended to include others, including Nelson, said plaintiffs’ attorney Craig Vernon. Source: KSTU, 10-25-18
Civil Lawsuits Settled
The San Francisco Catholic Diocese has settled $87 million worth of sex abuse claims against priests and others associated with the church, mostly in the last 15 years, according to Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone. He divulged the figure during a series of town hall meetings to address the issue.
An advocate with the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, called it “just the tip of the iceberg.” According to SNAP national secretary Melanie Sakoda, who is based in the Bay Area, “Only maybe one in 10 victims ever come forward.”
Cordileone said 125 cases have been settled since 2003, when California lifted the statute of limitations for adults abused as children to file civil suits for 12 months. Insurance covered 70% of the $87 million, while about $35 million came from the diocese, sale of church properties and other funds. Source: S.F. Examiner, 11-27-18
The Seattle Catholic Archdiocese has paid nearly $7 million to settle claims by 6 men alleging sexual abuse as minors by priests James McGreal, Paul Conn, John Forrester, Thomas Pitsch, Michael Cody and Theodore Marmo. Only Marmo is still alive.
James Hauer is among those who settled. He alleged Marmo abused him at John F. Kennedy Catholic High School in the 1970s in Burien, WA. The church must change the “culture of collusion” that lets abuse occur, Hauer said. Source: Seattle Times, 11-13-18
A jury found the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and Catholic priest Michael Tang liable for $3.57 million for firing an unwed, pregnant science teacher at Transfiguration School in Los Angeles. Kourtney Liggins, now 46, alleged she was 7 months pregnant in 2012 when Tang told her that her pregnancy would “morally corrupt” impressionable teens.
The jury also ordered Tang to pay Liggins $87,500 in punitive damages for acting “with malice, oppression or fraud.” Source: NBC Los Angeles, 11-2-18
The Catholic Diocese of Allentown, PA, settled for an undisclosed amount a suit filed by Albert Shore, who alleged he was molested by now-deceased priest Richard J. Ford as a 12-year-old altar boy in 1989 in the rectory of Holy Guardian Angels Church in Reading. Pennsylvania abuse survivors are seeking to open a 2-year statute of limitations “window” allowing them to file civil suits in older cases. Source: Morning Call, 10-26-18
The Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, NY, has offered a $650,000 settlement to a man who accused a priest of aiming a gun at his head and molesting him when he was a teen in the 1980s. It’s the highest offer revealed to date under the diocese’s Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program.
The 49-year-old has 60 days to accept the offer and give up his right to sue. The priest, Michael R. Freeman, allegedly provided absolution of the boy’s sins during the sacrament of confession immediately after the abuse. Freeman, who died in 2010 at age 63, was also a police and military chaplain who regularly carried a silver-plated .38-caliber revolver. He would jokingly threaten the victim with the gun, it’s alleged. The diocese has offered some accusers as little as $10,000 to settle claims. Source: Buffalo News, 12-18-18
The Catholic Archdiocese of Santa Fe, NM, filed for bankruptcy. The archdiocese claims it has about $49 million in assets. That doesn’t include assets it holds for parishes, such as real estate worth $57 million or nearly $37 million in investments and cash.
Archbishop John Wester said the archdiocese has resolved hundreds of sexual abuse cases at a cost of millions of dollars. About 35 cases are pending, with estimated liabilities between $10 million and $50 million. The Diocese of Gallup set aside $22 million for victims in its 2013 bankruptcy. Source: New Mexican, 12-4-18
The Guam Catholic Church announced plans to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy to cope with more than 200 sexual abuse claims against clergy in the U.S. territory. Former Archbishop Anthony Apuron has been accused of abusing minors, including his own nephew, and helping cover up similar crimes by priests and other Catholic authority figures. Allegations date back decades.
The latest suit, filed by “DD,” accuses Brother Gregory Seubert of molesting him in 1975-76 when he was 16 and Seubert was principal at Fr. Duenas Memorial High School. He’s believed to be living in Africa. Source: NPR/PNC, 11-15-18
The Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport, CT, has paid $52.5 million to settle 156 allegations of sexual abuse of children by priests since 1953 and is still paying 8 priests “credibly accused” of molesting children, admitted Bishop Frank Caggiano. The men get monthly payments ranging from $1,319 to $1,466.
Victim settlement payments ranged from $3,000 to $1.43 million. Of the $52.5 million paid, $27.7 million was from sale of properties, $19.5 million was from insurance recoveries, $4.2 million was from other revenues and $1.1 million was from contributors. Source: Hartford Courant, 10-31-18
Ibrahim Omerdic, imam at the Bosnia and Herzegovina Islamic Centre in Melbourne, Australia, lost an appeal of his conviction for marrying a 14-year-old girl to a 34-year-old man in 2016. He was sentenced to 2 months’ imprisonment, suspended, and 2 years’ probation.
He appealed, claiming he had merely solemnized or blessed the marriage but hadn’t performed it. The 3-judge panel disagreed, ruling that “They were a married couple in the eyes of the Muslim community.” Source: The Australian, 12-4-18
Stephen J. Kilpatrick, 63, Forest, VA, was arrested last June and tentatively charged with 3 counts each of taking indecent liberties with a child younger than 15 years old and soliciting sex from a child younger than 15 years old. Now a judge has ordered a grand jury be impaneled to consider the case of the Liberty University professor, who also held bible studies.
Kilpatrick had responded to a Craigslist ad posted by an investigator posing as a 13-year-old girl. Kilpatrick allegedly promised sexual acts to “Jenny” and drove to where he thought she lived. When arrested, he had cookies and lubrication in his car.
Sandra Kilpatrick said at a bail hearing that she was willing to put their life savings on the line to get her husband out of jail. Bond was set at $125,000. She said her husband would host small group meetings of church members at their home and teach children about the bible. Source: News & Advance, 11-19-18
Bail for Sister Concilia, an Indian Catholic nun, was rejected by the High Court of Jharkhand state. She was arrested July 4 in connection with the alleged sale of babies born to unwed mothers at a home she managed for the Missionaries of Charity, an order founded by St. Teresa of Kolkata.
Another staff member is accused by a couple of keeping their $1,850 adoption fee and not giving them the child. Theodore Mascarenhas, secretary-general of the Indian bishops’ conference, blamed Concilia’s arrest on persecution of Christians by the Hindu majority. Source: UCA News, 11-1-18
Dennis Creason, 48, Shawnee, KS, faces 6 more counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child. Creason, founder of Oaklawn Christian School, was previously charged with 3 similar counts in August. He’s accused of “lewd fondling or touching” of 9 children under age 14 between May 2009 and August 2018. Source: KCTV, 10-30-18
Mohammed Ghani, 65, Wakefield, UK, an imam who sexually assaulted a girl in her home between 1997-2006, had his sentence increased from 2 to 5 years by an appeals court, which deemed his August sentence “unduly lenient.” The girl was under 14 when first assaulted. Source: BBC, 10-30-18
Mary Margaret Kreuper and Lana Chang, Catholic nuns who retired, respectively, as principal and 8th-grade teacher last year at St. James Catholic School in Torrance, CA, are accused of and allegedly admitted to stealing as much as $500,000 from the school during at least the last 10 years. School officials told parents the women allegedly spent some of it on trips and at gambling casinos.
Archdiocese of Los Angeles officials initially said criminal charges wouldn’t be sought because the nuns’ order, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, agreed to impose “severe sanctions” on them and pay the school full restitution. Later, after public pressure, Torrance Police Sgt. Ronald Harris said the archdiocese wants the case prosecuted.
“They indicated they were desirous of pressing charges, so we’re moving forward as soon as we formally meet with them again,” Harris said. It’s unclear whether the restitution agreement remains on the table. Source: Daily Breeze, 12-10-18
The Catholic Diocese of Saginaw, MI, released the names of 13 priests credibly accused of sexually abusing minors. All but 2 are dead, the earliest death occurring in 1959. The diocese named 5 others previously. Source: mlive.com, 11-21-18
The Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, NY, added the names of 36 priests to a list released in March that identified clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse, bringing the number to 78. Officials said the actual total is 176 diocesan and religious order priests against whom allegations were made, but they chose not to identify deceased priests who had a single allegation against them. Source: Buffalo News, 11-6-18
Former students at St. Charles Catholic School in Columbus, OH, allege sexual abuse by Msgr. Thomas Bennett, who died in 2008. After Kevin Heidtman sued in August for alleged abuse in the early 2000s, other students have come forward.
Ken Wilcox alleged Bennett molested him in the rectory in 1981 during his recitation of all the presidents and their wives and their terms in office. “Somewhere around Buchanan, before Lincoln, he asked me if I was circumcised. … I hoped I hadn’t heard him. I kept on going with the presidents … and he said ‘Are you?’ Then ‘show me.’ I was obedient. I unzipped.”
Wilcox said Bennett then fondled him for about 10 minutes but thinks because he didn’t get aroused, it never happened again. Source: WSYX, 11-2-18
Jerome Coyle, 85, Ft. Dodge, IA, was moved out of a retirement home near a school by the Catholic Diocese of Sioux City after it became publicly known Coyle had victimized at least 50 boys over a 20-year period. Bishop R. Walker Nickless said Coyle was stripped of his assignments in the 1980s but was never identified to parishes as a pedophile, nor did the diocese ever inform police. The bishop to whom Coyle reported his abuse, Lawrence Soens, retired in 1998. A review board later found Soens had abused over 30 minor males when he was a priest and school principal but was also never charged. Source: Des Moines Register, 10-30-18
Removed / Resigned
Brian Danner, 51, Humboldt, IA, was removed indefinitely as pastor at St. Mary’s Catholic Church after a 4th-grade girl accused him of rubbing the top of her leg during confession. The Sioux City Diocese reported the incident in December 2017 after an internal review found Danner’s actions were inappropriate but didn’t constitute sexual abuse.
No criminal investigation occurred because the girl’s parents said they were unsure whether they wanted to move forward and never followed up, said Humboldt County Attorney Jon Beaty. Source: AP, 11-20-18
Joseph Aubin, a Catholic priest on senior status since 2002 and not assigned to a parish, was removed from public ministry by the Diocese of Lansing, MI, due to a credible allegation of inappropriate sexual behavior with a minor dating to the 1960s. Source: AP, 11-16-18
Genaro M. Reyes, Ft. Worth, TX, was removed as pastor at All Saints Catholic Church after a 43-year-old man accused him of grabbing the man’s genitals while sitting on a public park bench in September. Police determined there was insufficient evidence of assault by offensive contact and instead mailed Reyes a general complaint citation.
Reyes was recalled to Mexico by the provincial of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis in Mexico, his religious order. Source: Star-Telegram, 11-15-18
Denis G. Bouchard, Vienna, OH, was placed on leave as Catholic pastor of Queen of the Holy Rosary Parish, due to an allegation of inappropriate behavior with a minor who is now an adult. The parish is staffed by the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter. It also has a school, St. Joseph the Protector Learning Center. Source: Tribune Chronicle, 11-12-18
Richard M. Lelonis, 73, was placed on leave by the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh for 2 incidents of alleged sexual abuse of minors in the early 1970s and about 1980. Source: Post-Gazette, 11-12-18
Philip A. Petit, a New Hampshire Catholic priest ordained in 1980, has been defrocked by the Vatican, 32 years after he was suspended by the Diocese of Manchester over allegations of sexual abuse and misconduct. He was named in a 2003 report by the state attorney general into an abuse cover-up by the diocese.
Former Bishop Odore Gendron wrote to Petit in 1986 that he would “certainly destroy all documents, notes, etc., referring to your treatment” except for a 1982 letter from Petit’s doctor saying he was making progress and that an incident in Dover was isolated. Gendron also told Petit the diocese was increasing his monthly stipend by $50. Source: Union Leader, 11-6-18
Douglas J. Haefner resigned as pastor of St. Matthias Catholic Church in Franklin Township, NJ, due to allegations about his “compulsive behaviors.” Bishop James Checchio told parishioners Haefner “borrowed” about $500,000. Law enforcement is investigating the missing money. Source: nj.com, 11-7-18
James Mickus was removed as pastor at Catholic parishes in Stroud and Chandler, OK, due to renewal of an allegation first made in 2002 of abuse of a minor male. Mickus was removed then and reinstated in 2003. The current removal is related to the earlier one, said Diane Clay, archdiocese spokesperson. Source: newsok.com, 11-5-18
Andrew Syring, 41, West Point, NE, resigned as associate pastor at St. Mary Catholic Church after being accused of “significant boundary violations with young adults and minors,” said Tim McNeil, Archdiocese of Omaha chancellor. Allegations are from 2014 when he worked at Divine Mercy Parish in Schuyler.
Syring was removed from Divine Mercy for “unwanted touching of young adults, publicly hugging and kissing minors on the cheek and inappropriate conversations with young adults and teenagers” that were reported to law enforcement. He “has indicated that he will leave priestly life,” McNeil said. Source: World-Herald, 11-4-18
George Hiland, Duane Leclercq and John Onderko, Illinois priests from the Catholic Diocese of Peoria, have been credibly accused of sexual misconduct from 50, 30 and 55 years ago, respectively, the diocese announced. They may not function as priests in any public capacity. Source: WQAD, 11-1-18
Jody J. Simoneaux, Jeanerette, LA, was placed on leave as pastor at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church for allegations of improper behavior with minors while assigned to churches in Eunice and Youngsville 30 years ago. The diocese said it’s cooperating with law enforcement. Source: Daily Advertiser, 11-1-18
John Jenik, 74, Bronx, NY, pastor at Our Lady of Refuge Catholic Church and auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of New York, “stepped aside from public ministry” after church officials deemed a claim he molested a teen boy in the 1980s “credible and substantiated.” Source: NY Post, 10-31-18
Victor Couzens, Forest Park, OH, resigned as bishop of the College of Elders of Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship. Paul Morton, founder of the million-member denomination, alleged Couzens has engaged in multiple sexual relationships. Morton has admitted in the past to fathering a child out of wedlock.
The New York Police Department confirmed it has a warrant out for Couzens. Andrea Garrison, 30, alleged he threatened to blackmail her unless she recanted claims about their relationship. Source: Christian Post, 10-29-18
Jean-Michael Lastiri and Ricardo Magdaleno were placed on paid leave as Catholic pastors by the Diocese of Fresno, CA, during investigations of alleged sexual misconduct. An investigation continues of another priest, Gaspar Bautista, said Teresa Dominguez, diocesan chancellor. Bautista has been on paid leave since March 2016. Source: Fresno Bee, 10-29-18
Canadian priests Malcolm D’Souza and Peter Hung Cong Tran were placed on leave by the Catholic Diocese of Calgary. Allegations involving 2 minors and several adults are from D’Souza’s time as pastor at St. Mark Parish in Calgary between 2010-16. Accusations by 2 women against Tran stem from his time as pastor at St. Joseph Parish in Vancouver between 1998-2003. Source: CBC, 10-29-18
Jose Rebaque was suspended and ordered to vacate the rectory of St. Peter’s Catholic Parish in Bridgeport, CT. Bishop Frank Caggiano said the diocese was notified in September that Rebaque shared a cabin with a 15-year-old boy on a cruise sponsored by the parish in January 2017. Source: AP, 10-27-18
Stephen Muth, a Byzantine Catholic priest of the Eparchy of Parma, OH, was placed on leave in response to a recent credible accusation of sexual misconduct involving a vulnerable adult, considered a minor under canon law. Source: parma.org, 10-22-18
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