Compiled by Bill Dunn
Arrested / Charged
David N. Moss, 51, Lehi, UT: Exploiting and patr
onizing a prostitute, sexual battery and 2 counts of lewdness. Moss, leader of the Mill Pond Mormon Church ward, was arrested during a human trafficking sting on Valentine’s Day. He’s accused of offering to “manage” women by booking clients and helping them avoid police and exposing himself to 2 undercover officers, placing one’s hand on his genitals.
Capt. Mike Giles, St. George Police, said Moss supervised their vice squad but resigned 7 years ago after becoming involved in a consensual sexual relationship that had “an on-duty component.” Source: KSTU, 2-20-19
David Reiter, 50, South Park, PA: Theft, forgery and receiving stolen property. Connie Reiter, 44, his wife, faces 2 counts of receiving stolen property. David Reiter allegedly stole $1.2 million from Westminster Presbyterian Church, where he’s been administrator since 2001. He allegedly falsified accounting data and created a sham auditor he claimed handled the church’s reviews. Source: AP, 2-21-19
Sripai Biadnok, 48, Las Vegas, NV: Aggravated criminal sexual abuse and predatory criminal sexual abuse. Biadnok, a Buddhist monk, is accused of assaulting 2 minors at Wat Phrasriratanamahatatu Temple in Chicago between 2001-02 when he taught children about Thai culture and language. Source: Chicago Tribune, 2-18-19
Jeremiah J. Smith, 38, Hudson, FL: Sexual battery on a victim under 18. Smith is accused of assaulting a 17-year-old boy in 2009 while he was youth pastor at an unidentified church. His accuser told detectives Smith was his youth pastor for several years. The arrest affidavit alleged Smith got him to remove his clothes at least 8 times to receive full-body massages.
Genesis Preparatory School in New Port Richey confirmed Smith, who has 3 sons, taught English and language arts since August 2018 after being a substitute. Source: WTSP, 2-12-19
Christopher L. Patrick, 30, Ocala, FL: Obscene communication using a computer to seduce or solicit a child and cruelty toward a child. Patrick, youth pastor at Grace Baptist Church in Belleview, is charged with sending sexually explicit text messages, including images of male genitalia, to a 15-year-old girl in January. The girl was in the Grace Alive junior-high youth program run by Patrick and his wife at the church. Source: ocala.com, 2-12-19
Esmeralda Cruz, Wauchula, FL: Grand theft of $10,000 or more and less than $20,000 and fraud/illegal use of a credit card. Cruz is charged with making about 125 personal transactions on a church credit card from June to December 2018 when she was secretary at Oak Grove Missionary Baptist Church. Source: WWSB, 2-12-19
Peter W. Cooper, 63, Elmore, AL: Lewd act on a minor. Cooper is accused of groping a 13-year-old girl under her dress in 1976 during bible study at his home in Spartanburg, SC. At the time he was a youth intern pastor at Central Church of Christ and later worked at churches in Alabama.
Loana Cooper Benton identified herself to media as the accuser who went to police in Alabama. She said Cooper is her uncle and molested her when she was 4: “When I tried to tell my mom what had happened, I didn’t even know the right words to describe what had happened.” Other alleged victims have since come forward. Source: WSPA, 2-11-19
Lorenzo R. Washington, 47, Lexington, SC: Criminal sexual conduct and attempted criminal sexual conduct with a minor. Washington, pastor of Mt. Hill Missionary Baptist Church, is accused of touching a student over her clothes and kissing her on the neck and mouth Jan. 22 in the concession stand at Dorman High School. He’s a booster club member. Source: The State, 2-9-19
Marvin Archuleta, 81, Albuquerque, NM: Criminal sexual penetration of a child under 13 and kidnapping. He’s charged with raping a 6-year-old boy at Holy Cross Catholic School in Santa Cruz, where Archuleta was parish pastor in 1986-87.
The complaint alleges he made the boy kneel on a chair, wrapped a belt around his chest so he couldn’t move and poured a cup of water down his back, telling him it was “holy water and would help with the pain.” During the act, Archuleta allegedly told him, “This is God’s love; this is how we show God’s love.”
A warranted search of Archdiocese of Santa Fe records turned up documents showing Archuleta was “credibly accused” of sex abuse earlier by altar boys. He fled to Mexico in the mid-1990s but was arrested at his Albuquerque apartment. The archdiocese settled civil claims while he was in Mexico. Source: Albuquerque Journal, 2-8-19
Benjamin Leese, 38, Dillsburg, PA: Indecent assault. Leese, who resigned in January as pastor at Garden of Grace Community of Churches and as a Lutheran minister, is accused of inappropriately touching a 3-year-old girl at a church camp in July 2018. The criminal complaint alleged her parents noticed she wouldn’t look at Leese, even though he was a family friend, and said she wanted to go home; when her mother asked later what was wrong, the girl said, “It’s a secret.” Source: WGAL, 2-7-19
James E. Cude, 54, Mesquite, TX: Online solicitation of a minor. Cude, contemporary music pastor and deacon at First Baptist Church of Whitesboro, allegedly sent “sexually graphic messages” to an undercover officer posing as a 13-year-old boy on the dating app Grindr. He’s also a public high school band director. Source: Herald Democrat, 2-7-19
John H. Simonson, 38, Detroit Lakes, MN: 3rd-degree criminal damage to property and misdemeanor theft. Simonson, pastor at First Lutheran Church, allegedly “keyed” a woman’s car after having an argument with her in a liquor store parking lot in December. Damage was estimated at about $600. Store video footage allegedly showed him putting a number of “shooters” (mini bottles of alcohol) in his pocket and leaving without paying for them. Source: Detroit Lakes Tribune, 2-7-19
Phillip J. Buckson, 32, Boiling Springs, SC: 4 counts of criminal sexual conduct with a minor. Buckson, pastor at Cleveland Chapel Baptist Church in Spartanburg, is charged with having sex multiple times with a girl, starting in 2015 when she was 13. It’s alleged she became pregnant twice and had abortions both times. Source: WSPA, 2-5-19
Michael McCusker, 36, Creve Coeur, MO: 2nd-degree stalking and resisting arrest. McCusker, a Benedictine monk and teacher at St. Louis Priory School, was seen hiding in the bushes and running away from a co-worker’s home after she called police about a window peeper, the complaint said. Source: Post-Dispatch, 2-5-19
Jeffery Brown, 57, New York City: Endangering the welfare of a child and forcible touching. Brown, assistant pastor at the Tabernacle of Deliverance for All People, allegedly grabbed a 14-year-old girl’s buttocks while she was helping him make copies at the church. Source: NY Post, 2-5-19
Stacy Sindleri, 34, Johnstown, PA: Theft. She is charged with writing herself 104 checks totaling about $250,000 between March 2016 and March 2018 while she was secretary at St. Claire of Assisi Catholic Parish. Source: WJAC, 1-30-19
Donald E. Hetherington, 81, Odessa, TX: 2 counts of indecency with a child. Hetherington, pastor of an unidentified church, “intentionally and knowingly touched a child with the intent of sexual gratification,” complaints said. Two 15-year-old girls made the allegations. An affidavit detailed similar past accusations by an elderly woman and another member of the congregation. Charges weren’t brought then. Source: Odessa American, 1-30-19
Pleaded / Convicted
David Turpin, 57, and Louise Turpin, 50, Perris, CA: Pleaded guilty to torture, 4 counts of false imprisonment, 6 counts of cruelty to an adult dependent and 3 counts of willful child cruelty. The Turpins were charged with long-term abuse of 12 of their 13 children, ages 3 to 30. The children were home-schooled, denied food and kept secluded in filthy conditions, sometimes in shackles. One daughter, 17, escaped in January 2018 and called 911. Police said she was emaciated and appeared to be about 10 years old.
David Turpin’s parents told authorities the couple had so many children because “God called on them” to do so. The grandparents said the Turpins are Pentecostal but didn’t have a church in the area and that their children were made to memorize long bible passages as part of their schooling. David Turpin was listed as school principal. Source: ABC/AP, 2-22-19
Francis McDermott, 75, Biddeford, England: Guilty by jury of 18 counts of gross indecency and indecent assault on 6 male and female victims under age 16 or age 14, including a brother and sister, while he worked as a Catholic priest in 1971-79.
One boy testified that McDermott was a family friend: “He stayed over in my bed. My parents would allow this and I thought it OK. It would be top and tail. One at [the] top and one at [the] bottom of the bed. … I was still in primary school. He asked me to touch his penis and said my mother asked him to tell me [the facts] of life.” Source: Bucks Free Press, 2-20-19
Rodney Harmon Jr., 34, Stockton, MD: Convicted of displaying an obscene item to a minor and 3 counts of sexual abuse of a minor for preying on at least 7 teen boys from January-July 2018 through his work as a youth group leader for Bayside Community Church. Charging documents allege Harmon sodomized “Juvenile 2,” age 15, with an adult toy at least once and performed oral sex on him several times.
Prosecutors said he promised the boys money for shooting videos of themselves masturbating but never gave them any money. Source: WMDT, 2-14-19
David L. Richards Jr., Lenoir City, TN: Guilty by jury of 9 felonies, including rape, incest and sexual battery by an authority figure. He was accused of assaults on his adopted daughter when he was a minister at My Father’s House of God and a staffer at Smoky Mountain Children’s Home. Inappropriate touching started in 2011 when she was 14 and culminated in intercourse in late 2013, about 2 months after he texted her about taking the relationship “to the next level.”
His accuser, Amber Richards, now 21, chose to speak on the record to media after the verdicts. David Richards and his then-wife took in Amber and her 3 biological siblings as foster children in 2008. She told authorities in 2013 where they might find semen stains in her bedroom: on a comforter, bed frame and purple rug. The “major contributor profile” of a seminal sample matched David Richards, a forensic report said. Source: News Sentinel, 2-12-19
John Praveen, 38, Rapid City, SD: Pleaded guilty to having sexual contact with a child under age 16. Praveen admitted touching a 13-year-old girl’s breasts outside her clothes Sept. 28 for his sexual gratification while he was pastor at Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Rapid City and All Saints Church in Eagle Butte. He belongs to the Holy Spirit Fathers, an order based in Hyderabad, India. Source: AP, 2-5-19
Nathan G. Rieger, 53, Winnipeg, Canada: 2 years in prison after a jury found him guilty of meeting with a minor for lewd purposes. Rieger, pastor at Vineyard Church, was arrested last August while trying to meet a 15-year-old girl for sex in Arroyo Grande, CA, while he was on vacation with his family. 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: KSBY, 2-21-19
Robin Vadakkumchery, 50, Kannur, India: 20 years’ rigorous imprisonment and a $4,200 fine and restitution after a judge found him guilty of rape by a teacher or guardian, sexual abuse in an institution and aggravated sexual assault. Vadakkumchery, a Catholic priest and school administrator, was accused of impregnating a 16-year-old student who gave birth in February 2017.
The case included the girl’s willingness to live as the priest’s wife and her father falsely claiming he had raped her. The court ordered a probe of allegations that the lower-middle-class family had been under heavy church pressure to hide the priest’s involvement. Source: India Telegraph, 2-17-19
Sarah Kester, 51, Caldwell, ID: 1 year in a prison treatment program after pleading guilty to felony injury to a child. If Kester fails to finish the program, she will have to serve a minimum of 4 years and up to 10 years for failure to report her husband’s long-term sexual abuse of their 5 children because of her religious beliefs. Lester Kester Jr. pleaded guilty in October to 5 counts of lewd conduct with a minor.
The couple is affiliated with the Followers of Christ Church, who eschew medical care in favor of faith healing. According to the Canyon County Sheriff’s Office, Sarah Kester told investigators she’d known about the abuse for 17 years but didn’t report it “because it was against her belief system” to involve agencies such as law enforcement or child protection services with personal matters. “Instead, she said she attempted to protect … children through praying for ‘the demon’ to leave Lester and attempting to keep him busy with other tasks.”
Deputy Prosecutor Erica Kallin said Lester Kester was having “intercourse” with the victims by the time they were 10. Three daughters gave statements at sentencing and said their mother rebuffed them in 2015 and earlier when they asked her to do something to protect their youngest sister. Instead of reporting it, she called them “whores” and “sluts” and blamed them for the abuse. Source: Press-Tribune, 2-14-19
Andrea N. Baber, 30, Cottage Grove, OR: 20 months in prison and 2 years’ probation after pleading guilty to 6 counts of contributing to the sexual delinquency of a minor and 3 counts of 3rd-degree rape. A plea deal dropped 20 more charges, including sodomy and providing marijuana to a minor.
Baber worked as a teacher at Logos Christian Academy in Springfield until shortly before being arrested in December 2017. A probable cause affidavit said the parents received an anonymous email asking if they knew about the sexual relationship between their 17-year-old son and Baber. Attached were several photos of them in Baber’s bed. Police discovered that her husband had reported finding them there to Child Protective Services. The boy alleged they started a relationship when he was 15. Source: Register-Guard, 2-10-19
Timothy L. Reddin, 67, Springdale, AR: 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to attempted online enticement of a minor. Reddin was a part-time pastor at Turner Street Baptist Church in August 2018 when he contacted an undercover agent posing as a 14-year-old boy. Court documents allege he sent the agent a photo of his penis, said he could “coach” him to perform oral sex and promised “I’ll never tell! I could go to jail!” When he was arrested, investigators found lubrication, a sexual device and a hotel key in his car.
Reddin was sentenced in 2000 to 27 months in prison for possessing child pornography and had resigned in 1998 as Central Baptist Association director of missions after porn was found on his work computer. Source: KFSM, 2-7-19
Elijah Mealancon, 58, New Orleans: 4 years in prison and $25,000 restitution after a bench trial verdict of guilty to unauthorized use of a movable (property able to be moved to another location). He 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 grants could go further if pooled. Source: nola.com, 2-7-19
Walter Magaya, 35, Harare, Zimbabwe: $700 fine and order to cease and desist after pleading guilty to contravening the Medicines Control Act. Magaya, founder of Prophetic Healing and Deliverance Ministries, was charged with selling an herbal concoction called Aguma, which he claimed could cure HIV and AIDS in as little as 14 days. He also sold lipstick he claimed could lower blood pressure. Source: BBC, 2-5-19
Muhammad L. Hasan, 51, Corvallis, OR: 4 years in prison and $5,000 restitution after pleading guilty to 1st-degree attempted sexual abuse and 3rd-degree sexual abuse. He admitted molesting a girl under age 14 who was taking lessons from him in 2016 at the American Islamic Center for the Holy Quran in Tigard. It’s believed there could be more victims. Source: KCBY, 2-2-19
Ronald W. Mitchell, 59, Magnolia, TX: 75 years in prison after a jury found him guilty of 5 counts of sexual assault of a child in 2015-16 while he was pastor at the Body of Christ Ministry. Many ministry members, including the 15-year-old girl he molested, had moved in with him and were home-schooled.
The girl testified Mitchell told her if she said anything, God would kill her and it would be her fault “the movement” was destroyed. Another girl alleged Mitchell kicked her out of the house for being rebellious so she slept outside in a truck for several months before being allowed back in. Source: KTRK, 1-31-19
William T. Coontz, 51, Ft. Lauderdale, FL: 5 years in prison and $755,669 restitution for tax evasion and filing false tax return convictions. Coontz led Rock Wealth International Ministries in N. Carolina from 2010-14. He also wrote several books on faith and finance such as “Breaking the Spirit of Debt.”
Prosecutors said he boosted his income by overbilling churches for travel expenses and concealing money he made from speeches, books and other products. Rock Wealth bought a $1.5 million condominium in 2012 as a parsonage for Coontz. Source: WYFF, 1-30-19
Civil Lawsuits Filed
Hernan Toro, 91, San Jose, CA, is being sued by a plaintiff who alleges he fondled her genitals on 5 occasions in her family’s home from 2011-16. Toro was first convicted of sexual misconduct in 1983 and was removed from the Catholic ministry in 1990.
He was charged with child molestation in 2017 and was sent to a state hospital for treatment last December. His next scheduled court appearance is in early 2020 to determine if he’s competent to stand trial. Source: Mercury News, 2-20-19
“John Doe” is suing the Diocese of El Paso, TX, for more than $1 million for alleged sexual abuse by deceased Catholic priest Jaime Madrid from 1971-72 when Doe was an altar boy. Madrid was among 30 priests recently named by the diocese as credibly accused of abuse.
Madrid “raped and sexually molested John Doe repeatedly,” the suit asserts. According to the diocese, he was defrocked in 2007, the year he died. Source: El Paso Times, 2-19-19
A class-action suit was filed against the Catholic Archdiocese of New York on behalf of Emmett Caldwell and other plaintiffs who allege sexual abuse as children and claim the archdiocese tricked them into waiving their right to sue. It was filed the day after Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the Child Victims Act.
Plaintiffs’ attorney Jeff Herman said his client was convinced to join the church’s Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program without the aid of an independent lawyer and that the program’s goal is to pay victims “pennies on the dollar.” The new law extends the statute of limitations in child sex abuse cases, giving victims until the age of 28 to seek criminal charges instead of age 23. They can also sue for damages until age 55. It also creates a 1-year litigation window to file suits. Source: CBS New York, 2-14-19
The Diocese of Jackson, MS, St. Richard Catholic Church and School in Jackson and 16 individuals are being sued by “John Doe,” 24, who alleges he was molested by an unidentified priest in 2004 while waiting to receive the sacrament of confession. Priests from other parishes were brought to the church to help that day, “given the number of children involved,” and “Father John Doe” was one of those priests, the suit says.
The boy “waited his turn and was directed by one of his teachers to a room behind the altar where the door was closed and where he found himself alone with Defendant Father Doe. Father Doe made [the child] undress completely and stand before him nude for a period of time while Father Doe examined [him], made references to his body and forced [him] to recite his alleged ‘sins’ or wrongdoing while being observed by Father Doe.”
It’s alleged the boy’s teacher said “Don’t lie like that” after being told. Source: Clarion Ledger, 1-31-19
Civil Lawsuits Settled
The Benedictine religious order in charge of Delbarton School in Morristown, NJ, and the former St. Elizabeth’s School in Linden settled for undisclosed amounts suits filed by 2 men alleging sexual abuse while they were students 45 or more years ago. The Order of St. Benedict earlier settled 5 other suits involving the schools.
Plaintiff “John Doe” said he was abused by “Brother Tim” Brennan over 100 times in 1968-71. Doe, 63, said Brennan masturbated under his robes while talking to him: “His favorite thing to say when I was in grammar school was, ‘I can’t imagine your young, 8th-grade [penis].’ ” Source: nj.com, 2-7-19
The Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford, CT, announced it has paid $50.6 million to settle more than 140 claims of sexual abuse, nearly all occurring before 1990. The average settlement was about $356,000 and the highest was $1.6 million.
The archdiocese will hire a retired judge to review priest personnel files in an effort to remove the “dark cloud” that still hangs over the Catholic Church, said Archbishop Leonard Blair. Source: Hartford Courant, 1-22-19
Marc Schneier, 60, former rabbi of Hampton Synagogue in Westhampton, NY, owes $64,594 in unpaid child support, according to records obtained by the New York Post, which says Schneier was forced out as rabbi in 2016 “after he cheated on wife No. 5 with the woman who would become wife No. 6.”
The state of Florida ordered Schneier last September to pay about $5,000 a month to his 19-year-old son Brendan, records show. Brendan’s mother, Toby Gotesman Schneier, the rabbi’s 3rd wife (they divorced in 2005), said the New York divorce decree included a support order while Brendan is in college. He’s a sophomore at the University of Miami.
Rabbi Schneier founded the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, which promotes Muslim-Jewish relations, about 30 years ago. The foundation’s 2016 tax filing lists his salary at $395,303 plus additional compensation of $44,000. Source: NY Post, 2-9-19
Catholic priest William T. Faucher, 73, Boise, ID, is appealing his 25-year prison sentence with no parole in December for convictions on 21 counts of sexual exploitation of a child and 3 counts of drug possession. According to the notice of appeal to the Idaho Supreme Court, in which he intends to represent himself, the issue is: “Did the presiding judge abuse his discretion in imposition of the sentence?” Source: Idaho Statesman, 2-2-19
Over 300 tips about alleged sexual abuse in all 7 Michigan Catholic dioceses have been received, said state Attorney General Dana Nessel. The probe started in 2018 under her predecessor Bill Schuette. While similar investigations are underway in numerous states, Michigan was the first to execute statewide search warrants last October.
Nessel estimated there could be over 1,000 victims once the probe is over in about 2 years. She asked dioceses to delay internal reviews until civil authorities are finished and stressed that people shouldn’t go to church officials with claims. “If an investigator comes to your door and asks to speak with you, please ask to see their badge and not their rosary,” she said, because she’s heard stories from people encouraged to take settlements and sign nondisclosure agreements. Source: mlive.com, 2-21-19
A statue of Polish priest Henryk Jankowski was toppled by activists in Gdansk. Msgr. Jankowski, who died in 2010, is the subject of recent allegations he sexually abused minors, mostly boys. A manifesto by the activists, 3 of whom were arrested and charged with disrespectful treatment of a monument, said they were protesting failure by church leaders to fully investigate the Jankowski case.
They placed children’s underwear in one of the statue’s hands and put a white surplice like those worn by altar servers on its body before pulling the statue over with ropes on to rubber tires to cushion its fall and lessen the damage. Source: AP, 2-21-19
Luigi Ventura, 74, the Vatican’s apostolic nuncio to France, is accused of groping a man Jan. 17 during a mayoral address to diplomats at City Hall in Paris. Archbishop Ventura has served as ambassador for 10 years. An unidentified official said it’s alleged Ventura “caressed in an insistent and repeated manner” the buttocks of the young man who welcomed him to the event. Source: BBC, 2-15-19
Strick Strickland, 36, Kalamazoo, MI, pastor at Second Baptist Church, has been accused by 5 boys ages 14-17 of paying them to have sex with his wife while he watched, allegations police are investigating and Strickland denies. His wife, Jazmonique Strickland, 25, resigned as a paraprofessional at Phoenix Alternative High School the day before authorities executed a search warrant at their church-owned home, where the sex allegedly took place.
Strickland said the investigation has been difficult for his 8 children. In an interview, State Police Lt. Chuck Christensen said “At this point, with everything we have done, we believe that it occurred over a period of time on more than one occasion.”
In an unrelated case in June 2018, murder suspect Donnovan Lewis alleged he killed his girlfriend Aniya Mack, 24, because of her growing relationship with Strickland, her pastor. Lewis awaits trial. Source: WWMT, 2-5-19
Removed / Resigned
Gary Auten and Kimber Auten, Evansville, IN, who are married, “chose to resign on their own accord” as pastor and day care director, respectively, at Fireside Chapel, a board member said. State records show the day care was cited for 32 violations after a recent inspection, adding to 24 violations from the previous inspection.
At least 3 parents lodged complaints about physical abuse. Violations include missing immunization records, lack of background checks and safe sleep training, frayed duct tape on cribs, mold on a crib sheet, scissors and cleaning supplies within reach of children, bouncy seats and high chairs with no straps and rat poison in the spice rack. The building is locked and signs for the day care at the church are gone. Source: WFIE, 2-14-19
At least 152 Catholic priests in Mexico have been removed from ministry in the past 9 years for sexual abuse against minors, announced Rogelio Cabrera, archbishop of Monterrey. Mexico has the world’s 2nd-largest Catholic community after Brazil. Source: Reuters, 2-11-19
John J. Lynch, 79, was permanently removed from ministry at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Woodbourne, NY. He had been temporarily removed in September after the Archdiocese of New York received a complaint of “improper conduct with a minor” from 3 decades ago. In a letter to the parish, Cardinal Timothy Dolan said “the allegation against Father Lynch has been found to be credible and substantiated.” Source: Times Herald-Record, 2-7-19
Richard Daschbach, 82, has been defrocked as a Catholic priest for sexually abusing girls. The Pennsylvania native has been serving as a Society of the Divine Word missionary at orphanages in East Timor since 1966 when it was a colony of Portugal. Despite being expelled, Daschbach has been offering masses, media reported.
“He admitted that the allegations against him are true,” said a family member in the U.S., who requested anonymity. Source: abc.net/au, 2-5-19
Steven J. Marinucci, 71, Philadelphia, was placed on leave as pastor of St. Matthew Catholic Parish during investigation of an allegation he molested a minor in the late 1970s. The accusation has been reported to law enforcement. Source: CBS Philly, 2-3-19
Hermann Geissler, 53, resigned as head of the teaching department of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith after a former member of a Catholic spiritual community in Rome accused him of soliciting sex from her during the sacrament of confession in 2009. Geissler, an Austrian native ordained as a priest in 1991, denies the allegation.
Doris Wagner, a German who joined the community when she was 19, made her accusation at a November conference in Rome on giving a greater voice to female survivors of clergy sexual abuse. A priest she didn’t identify by name, but by a process of elimination was determined to be Geissler, asked in 2009 to be assigned as her confessor. “He would keep me there kneeling in front of him for hours, and he would tell me how much he liked me and that he knew that I liked him and even though we couldn’t marry, there would be other ways,” she alleged, adding that after he tried to hold and kiss her, she ran out of the room.
Wagner also alleged she was raped by the male head of the consecrated community, which also accepts men, in 2008 when she was 24. She left the community in 2011. Source: Reuters, 1-29-18
Vernon A. Richardson, 56, Jacksonville, FL, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound after a search warrant turned up evidence of child pornography on his church computer. He and his wife led the children’s ministry at Riverstone Community Church and he was also a sheriff’s deputy.
He was interviewed Feb. 1 after the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office received a tip. One image allegedly showed 2 nude boys age 12 to 14 engaged in sex. Two others showed a nude boy age 7 to 9 and a nude girl about the same age. Court documents said Richardson admitted watching pornography on his cellphone but not child porn: “When asked what he looks up, he stated ‘sex with wives.’ ” Source: Christian Post, 2-21-19
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