Black Collar Crime (April 2021)

Compiled by Bill Dunn

Arrested / Charged

Isaias “Carlos” Vasquez, 44, Oxnard, CA: Oral copulation of a minor, penetration by a foreign object, 3 counts of lewd acts upon a child and 2 counts of unlawful sexual intercourse. Vasquez, a volunteer at Iglesia Pentecostes Un Nuevo Florecer, is accused of assaults on 3 girls he met at the church.

Law enforcement began investigating after a 14-year-old alleged Vasquez lured her to a motel in January under the pretense of a cleaning job and then assaulted her. After investigators were made aware of an alleged victim age 17, another 14-year-old contacted the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, accusing Vasquez of assault on Jan. 31 in a car near Ojai. Source: Fox 11, 2-26-21

Alex T. John, 32, Lake Charles, LA: Indecent behavior with juveniles. John, youth pastor at Waters Edge Gathering Church and an adjunct instructor in digital arts at Sowela Technical Community College, allegedly had inappropriate communications with a juvenile under age 17 about 6 years ago. Source: KPLC, 2-26-21

Brandon Dasilva, 26, Terre Hill, PA: Criminal use of a communication facility, 4 counts of sexual abuse of children for disseminating child pornography and 26 counts of sexual abuse of children for possession of child pornography. Dasilva, pastor of student ministries at Weaverland Anabaptist Faith Community Church in East Earl, was arrested after a Homeland Security agent discovered an account on the social media app Kik had distributed 4 images of suspected child pornography.

He allegedly admitted he had been viewing child pornography for about 18 months and said he was ashamed and “hated himself” for his behavior, according to the complaint. Source: Fox 43, 2-25-21

Robert M. Blumenthal, 85, Randwick, Australia: 2 counts of sexual intercourse with a person under the age of 10 and 3 counts of sexual intercourse with a person under 16 who was under authority. Blumenthal, a defrocked Catholic priest, is charged with assaults on a 9-year-old boy at a school in Bathurst in the mid-1980s.

Blumenthal is the 14th priest or former priest to be accused by a task force established in 2008 to investigate indecent assaults of students at Bathurst schools between 1960–93. Source: Daily Mail, 2-18-21

James Johnson, 70, Jacksonville, FL: Lewd molestation and offenses against a student by an authority figure. He oversees the high school homeroom at New Beginnings Christian Academy and teaches history, science, bible and other electives.

The alleged victim was between the ages of 12 and 16. William Holland, senior pastor, said the school principal learned from a parent that a staff member may have been sending inappropriate messages to a student. Holland met with the parent the next day and filed a report with the sheriff’s office.

According to media, Johnson has posted several videos on the Lord’s Lighthouse Ministry’s Facebook page of him preaching. Source: WFOX, 2-18-21

John W. Gill, 63, Middleburg, FL: 2nd-degree murder in the shooting death of his brother Thomas M. Gill after an apparent domestic dispute. John Gill had non-life-threatening injuries believed to be self-inflicted.

His wife told police he had become emotionally or mentally disturbed and had led the Middleburg Open Bible Church out of their home. Nephew Matthew Gill said social media comments have been very difficult for the family: “It’s being shared back and forth and people that don’t want to see it, it’s popping up on their [Facebook] timelines. People saying that ‘It’s Jesus and it’s Middleburg. What do you expect?’ ” Source: News4Jax, 2-18-21

James Coates, Edmonton, Alberta: 2 counts of contravening the Public Health Act and a charge of failing to comply with a condition of an undertaking. Coates was arrested after police and health officials observed services at GraceLife Church, where he is pastor, and determined the church was again ignoring restrictions calling for attendance to be capped at 15% of capacity and requiring masks and physical distancing.

Coates was jailed after refusing to agree to bail conditions attached to his release. He was first issued a $1,200 ticket in December for contravening the health orders. Source: CBC, 2-17-21

Kandasamy Senapathi, 37: 5 counts of criminal breach of trust as an employee and 5 counts of breaching the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes Act. He is chief priest of Singapore’s oldest Hindu temple, the Sri Mariamman Temple.

Kandasamy is accused of taking gold ceremonial ornaments from the temple and pawning them to shops between 2016–20. Pawn value of the jewelry was over $1.5 million, a prosecutor told the court. Kandasamy, an Indian national, allegedly transferred about $106,000 in proceeds out of the country.

His purported modus operandi was to pawn the ornaments, redeem them when he had the money and return them to the temple. But when the COVID-19 pandemic struck, he was unable to raise funds to redeem the items in time for ceremonies, his lawyer said. Source: The Hindu, 2-16-21

Dominic Muscante, 46, Glassport, PA: Indecent assault, endangering the welfare of children, unlawful contact with minors and selling/furnishing liquor to minors. It’s alleged he committed crimes at the Assembly of God Church (now River City Church), where he volunteered, and the Glassport Community Outreach food bank.

One girl told police she was between ages 13 and 15 when Muscante gave her alcohol and touched her sexually on several occasions, including during a Christmas party at the church and in his van during travel for the food bank.

The other girl alleged she was 6 when the abuse started and 19 when it ended. Source: Post-Gazette, 2-11-21

Christopher D. Lawton, 43, Greenfield, NH: 20 counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault with special enhancement. He is accused of assaults on a girl when she was 16 and 17 and he was her pastor in 2015-16 at Lamplight Christian Church, which he founded. He was originally indicted on 10 counts in October 2020. Source: Manchester Ink Link, 2-5-21

David Hornbuckle, 51, Fayetteville, GA: Sexual battery and 3 counts of child molestation. He is lead pastor at Whitewater Church, affiliated with the Assemblies of God. He and his wife, who have 5 children, started the church in 2008.

He was arrested after the sheriff was notified of an incident allegedly occurring in early January involving “inappropriate conduct” with “a juvenile known to him,” said Sheriff Barry Babb. Source: Fayetteville Citizen, 2-3-21

Drue J. Mordecai, 55, Santa Rosa, CA: 27 felony charges and 2 enhancements, including 9 counts of assaulting a minor with the intent to commit a felony and 5 of committing a lewd act with a child. The alleged victim and Mordecai attended New Vintage Church, where Mordecai was a volunteer group leader working with students for several years.

The alleged victim was 12 when the abuse started, the complaint said. Source: Press Democrat, 2-3-21

Christian Bileth, 55, Grand Rapids, MI: Embezzlement over $100,000. He is accused of stealing $812,000 from St. John’s United Church of Christ between 2014–19 when he was president of the church council.

He was also president of Core Audit Consultants, a company which is where it’s alleged he funneled the missing money. Source: WXMI, 2-3-21

Ira J. Summerlin, 74, York, SC: 3 counts of criminal sexual conduct with a minor. Summerlin, a youth group volunteer and longtime member at Central Baptist Church, is charged with improperly touching a 6-year-old girl who was sitting on his lap in January at a church function, behavior purportedly captured on video.

Further investigation showed other inappropriate behavior in 2020, resulting in 2 more criminal counts. Source: WBTV, 2-2-21

Keith and Carolyn Collins, 60 and 72, respectively, Ridley Park, PA: 12 counts each of theft by unlawful taking, theft by deception and receiving stolen property — all 3rd-degree felonies — 6 misdemeanor theft counts and 3 felony conspiracy counts. The couple, who are co-pastors of the Church of the Overcomer in Trainer, allegedly embezzled $109,206 from 18 court-appointed guardianships through Pinnacle Guardian Services, a company they owned.

Co-defendant Gloria F. Byars, Carolyn Collins’ sister, is facing 763 counts for facilitating about $3 million of fraud through various means. Attorneys for the Collinses contend they are guilty only of “bad bookkeeping” with no intent to defraud. Source: delcotimes.com, 1-28-21

Pleaded / Convicted

Roger VanRaden, 49, Rantoul, IL: Pleaded guilty to 2 counts of criminal sexual assault. The state dismissed 2 other counts in a plea bargain. The charges were filed in December 2019 for sexual activity occurring while he was an assistant pastor and youth pastor at Faith Baptist Church.

The victim was 18 when she revealed that she had been having sex with VanRaden for about 5 years, beginning in 2015 when she was 14, often at the church. Source: News-Gazette, 2-22-21

Trinity Bible Chapel, Waterloo, Ontario, was found in contempt of court after opening for in-person services and exceeding pandemic crowd limits on Dec. 27 and Jan. 3. “Six elders, including the pastor [Jacob Reaume] and the Trinity Bible Chapel corporation” had been charged for hosting a gathering exceeding the number permitted, said a statement from regional officials. Source: CBC, 1-26-21

Sentenced

John Allen, 77, W. Manchester Township, PA: 5 years’ probation after pleading guilty to 5 misdemeanor counts of indecent assault on 2 boys while he was a Catholic priest in Harrisburg. Defrocked in 2006, Allen was also deemed a sexually violent predator and will have to register with state police for life.

One accuser told detectives Allen grabbed his buttocks on multiple occasions in 1999–2002 when he was 10 to 13 years old. Another boy accused Allen of touching him on the buttocks and in the genital area multiple times in 1997–99.

A former altar boy filed a lawsuit in 2018 against the Harrisburg Diocese, claiming Allen “lasciviously leered at, groped and sexually molested [him] approximately a dozen times in different rooms at the church” between 1999–2002. The suit is still pending. Source: pennlive.com, 2-16-21

Hugh Graham, 60, London: 4 years in prison after pleading guilty to attempting to arrange the commission of a child sex offense, attempting to incite a child to engage in sexual activity, possessing an extreme pornographic image, possession of prohibited images of children and 3 counts each of making indecent photos of children and attempted sexual communication with a child. The offenses took place between May 2018 and December 2019 when he was pastor at St, Andrew’s United Reformed Church in Hampstead.

He posed to an undercover officer on the Grindr dating app as a 13-year-old boy. In a message from Graham to a victim he called himself “an open-minded perv” who was “not really interested in toddlers.” In another he wrote, “I’m hoping you aren’t a gang of blokes trying to trap me. I could get into trouble for chatting to you lol.”

Over 35,000 illegal images of children as young as about 3 and some wearing handcuffs were found in his possession. One laptop showed its user had been viewing such material since 2012. Source: Camden New Journal, 2-11-21

John R. McFarland, 68, Fullerton, CA: 15 years to life in prison after pleading guilty to 13 counts of lewd and lascivious acts with minors while serving as a United Methodist pastor at several churches. He was first arrested in December 2018 for molesting a girl under age 14. The counts stem from acts committed on 7 minor girls between 2002-18. Source: L.A. Times, 2-9-21

Gregory Dow, 61, Lancaster, PA: 15½ years in federal prison and $16,000 in restitution after pleading guilty to 4 counts of sexual abuse. Dow and his family started the Dow Family Children’s Home near Boito, Kenya, in 2008 and operated it for about a decade with funding from U.S. churches and faith-based groups, including Dow’s parish, LifeGate in Elizabethtown.

Prosecutors said he returned home in 2017 when Kenyan authorities began investigating abuse allegations. The FBI said he abused 4 girls, including 2 who were age 11 when it started. Prosecutors said Dow abused girls knowing that his wife, who helped run the orphanage, had taken them to have birth control devices implanted in their arms.

“Gregory Dow was the proverbial wolf in sheep’s clothing,” said Michael Driscoll of the FBI’s Philadelphia office. Source: CBS/AP, 2-4-21

Michael Mulenga, 49, Mandeville, LA: 5 months in jail after a judge found him guilty of simple misdemeanor battery. It’s alleged Mulenga, a visiting Catholic priest from Zambia, reached under a 75-year-old woman’s blouse several times in January 2020 while trying to seduce her at an Archdiocese of New Orleans independent living facility where he was chaplain.

Mulenga had administered the “last rites” to the woman’s late husband about 2 months earlier. She is suing him, the facility and its owner — the archdiocese’s Christopher Homes. Source: WWL, 2-4-21

William A. Metzger, 76, Baraboo, WI: 10 years in prison and 10 years’ extended supervision after pleading guilty to 1st-degree child sexual assault. Metzger, pastor at Open Door Baptist Church, was accused of assaulting a girl multiple times between August 2016 and December 2018, starting when she was 6.

According to the complaint, Metzger told authorities he had discovered the girl “fondling herself” and then showed her how, touching her inappropriately more than once, though he claimed he didn’t remember assaulting her about 10 times over a period of 2 years as she told her father in 2019.

Onlee Bowden, a Michigan woman, watched the hearing from a video feed in the Sauk County Victim Witness Office. She alleges Metzger assaulted her in the mid-1960s when she was 6 by telling her that he was teaching her how to masturbate. Source: News Republic, 2-3-21

James Glawson, 76, Exeter, RI: 40 years in prison after pleading no contest to 11 counts of 1st-degree sexual assault, including counts of oral sexual penetration with a “mentally disabled” person and 5 other males in the early 1980s.

He volunteered for the Boy Scouts from 1980 to 2018 and served as an assistant Catholic chaplain at a scouting camp in Hopkinton. Glawson apologized in court for his “evil ways” and said “It makes me sick to think of what I have done.” Source: Providence Journal, 1-28-21

Civil Lawsuits Filed

Nicholas DiMarzio — bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, NY — Holy Rosary Parish in Jersey City, NJ, and the Newark Archdiocese are defendants in a suit filed by a Florida man alleging DiMarzio, 76, molested him in 1979–80, starting when he was 6.

Plaintiff Samier Tadros is represented by Boston attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who is also the attorney for another man who alleges DiMarzio abused him at St. Nicholas Parish in Jersey City in the 1970s. Garabedian said that suit is pending.

Since December 2019, when New Jersey suspended the statute of limitations for civil sexual abuse lawsuits for 2 years, 300 suits against Catholic dioceses have been filed. Source: northjersey.com, 2-22-21

Mitchell T. Rozanski, St. Louis Catholic archbishop, was part of “abhorrent attempts” to protect the reputation of the late Christopher J. Weldon, the former bishop of Springfield, MA, alleges a Massachusetts suit.

Other defendants are current and former officials of the Springfield Diocese, including longtime diocesan attorney John J. Egan. The plaintiff alleges Weldon molested him in the 1960s when he was an altar boy.

Rozanski, who served as bishop in Springfield from 2014–20, is accused of approving an official statement denying the Diocesan Review Board found a credible abuse allegation against Weldon when that statement was “patently false.” Source: Berkshire Eagle, 2-9-21

The Christian Brothers order is accused in a class-action suit of moving child abusers from the notorious Mount Cashel Orphanage in Newfoundland to Vancouver College and St. Thomas More School in Vancouver, BC, and to other schools.

Lead plaintiff Darren Liptrot alleges he was molested by his teacher, Edward English, convicted in the 1990s of multiple counts of gross indecency and assault against boys at Mount Cashel and sentenced to 13 years in prison. Source: Vancouver Sun, 2-9-21

Ben Lippen School (now called Columbia International University), a Christian school founded in 1940 in W. Asheville, NC, and former teacher and coach Pamela Kaye Herrington are being sued by Rachel Howald, 50, New York City, who alleges Herrington sexually assaulted her repeatedly in 1986–88 when she was 16 and 17.

Herrington was in her late 30s and unmarried when hired in 1982, claims the suit, alleging “Rachel was sexually abused by Defendant Herrington over and over again. … This abuse included but was not limited to, fondling Rachel’s breasts, squeezing Rachel’s nipples, and grinding her vaginal area aggressively into Rachel’s upper thigh or on top of Rachel’s vaginal area.”

Columbia International is a “Christ-centered” pre-K-12 school now located in Columbia. Source: Citizen Times, 1-29-21

John Asare-Dankwah, New Orleans, is accused in a suit by “A.A. Doe” of raping him at age 10 while Asare-Dankwah served as a priest in 2008 at Blessed Trinity Catholic Church in Broadmoor, AL. A Ghana native, he is now pastor of St. Peter Claver Catholic Church.

The suit alleges Asare-Dankwah anally raped Doe while hearing his confession in the anteroom of a chapel during a 7-day retreat in Montgomery and that he didn’t report it because he was too humiliated. At his grandmother’s funeral in September, he saw Asare-Dankwah officiating and had a flashback, it’s alleged. Source: Times-Picayune, 1-29-21

Hillsong Church, based in Australia, is being sued in Norwalk, CT, and in Australia. The Wall Street Theater Co., which Hillsong’s Connecticut branch rented for $6,000 a week, is suing for just over $100,000, alleging unpaid rent, theft of venue property and “immoral, oppressive and unscrupulous” actions.

In Australia, owners of nearly 300 expensive apartments are suing the megachurch and its development and property arm for $20 million, alleging structural defects that will lower future sale prices.

Dale Smith, whose company ran Hillsong Connecticut’s venue security, said he found the church to be more of a corporation than a religious institution. “It just seemed like a business, real robotic. Even the ones on the payroll seemed to be fighting, positioning in order to climb that ladder which, in my opinion, is not what a church is supposed to be.” Source: NY Post, 1-28-21

The Catholic Diocese of Trenton, NJ, is named in 2 complaints alleging sexual abuse by former priests Thomas A. Rittenhouse and Michael J. Teta. Rittenhouse is accused of abusing a minor while serving at Holy Cross Parish in Rumson in 1981-82. He died in 2006 and was later added to the diocese’s credibly accused list.

Teta is accused of abusing a minor while assigned to St. Joseph’s Parish in Bound Brook from 1974–77. Source: Rumson-Fair Haven Patch, 1-19-21

The Catholic Archdiocese of New York and St. Mary’s School in the Bronx are defendants in a suit alleging deceased priest and chess grandmaster William J. Lombardy molested Anthony Mazzucca and Joseph Telesca while they were altar boys and St. Mary’s students in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Lombardy’s mentorship in 1972 of chess icon Bobby Fischer when he defeated Boris Spassky was detailed in the 2014 movie “Pawn Sacrifice.” The plaintiffs also allege sexual abuse by another priest at the school, Raymond Foster. Lombardy, who was ordained in 1967 and left the priesthood in the late 1970s, died in 2017 at age 79. Source: NY Post, 1-11-21

Civil Lawsuits Settled

The Catholic Diocese of Winona-Rochester, MN, announced settlement of clergy sex abuse claims from 145 survivors for $21.5 million. The settlement moves forward the diocese’s orrganization plan in U.S. Bankruptcy Court as part of its Chapter 11 filing in November 2018.

The diocese released the names in 2013 of 14 priests credibly accused of sexual misconduct with children from the 1960s through the 1980s. Source: Winona Daily News, 2-10-21

Legal Developments

Jack Schaap, 63, Hammond, IN, a Baptist pastor serving a 12-year federal sentence since 2013 for taking a 16-year-old girl he was counseling across state lines to have sex, had his petition for early release denied. Schaap told the court he needed to care for his parents, ages 86 and 84, whose health is failing.

U.S. District Court Judge James Moody rejected release, noting Schaap has expressed little remorse and would continue to pose a danger to others. He has “repeatedly couched his apologies and admissions in excuses, suggesting a deep-rooted failure to accept full responsibility for his actions,” Moody wrote.

In the past, Schaap blamed other factors, including the girl’s “sexual aggressiveness” and “experience.” He is housed at the Federal Correctional Institute in Ashland, KY, where he and over 300 others contracted COVID-19 last fall. His scheduled release date to a halfway house is Feb. 2, 2023.

Schaap claims to be a “model prisoner” but his record is not spotless, Moody wrote, noting he lost 27 days of good time credit with no visitors for 9 months after he was caught putting his hand in the “crotch area of a female visitor.” Source: Chicago Tribune, 2-16-21

North Dakota lawmakers rejected 3 bills expanding the statute of limitations for civil and criminal actions in childhood sexual abuse cases. “These bills were all about giving victims of child abuse hope. Hope after a life of hell,” said main sponsor Rep. Austen Schauer, R-West Fargo.

Shane Goettle, lobbyist for the State Association of Nonpublic Schools, testified the bills focused unfairly on private organizations. The Catholic Church does not testify on every bill it supports or opposes, said Christopher Dodson, general counsel for the state Catholic Conference, adding that the church agreed with Goettle’s testimony. Source: Fargo Forum, 2-15-21

Eliezer Berland, 83, leader of the Israeli Shuvu Bonim sect, is banned from communicating with his followers, ruled a Jerusalem court in setting terms of his release to house arrest. He must also post bail of $369,315 and pay for 24-hour private security to watch him.

Berland is accused of sex offenses and defrauding sick and elderly followers out of millions of shekels and has spent over a year in detention. Source: Times of Israel, 2-15-21

Marcelo D. Krawiec, 44, former rabbi of a Buenos Aires synagogue who is accused of sexually abusing at least 2 young men between 2010–18, is being sought by Interpol. He had been living in Israel since 2019 and re-entered Argentina on Nov. 17, 2020, staying for about a week before disappearing. Source: JTA, 2-13-21

Robert DeLand, 73, a Michigan Catholic priest convicted of sex crimes against a male teen in 2019, was granted parole. He was sentenced to 2 to 15 years in prison in April 2019. He will remain on probation for at least 3 years and will have to register as a sex offender. His status as a priest will be determined by the Vatican. Source: WJRT, 2-12-21

Master’s Ranch West, a Christian facility for troubled boys near Prescott, WA, is subject to a permanent injunction barring it from continuing to operate. Pastor David Bosley and his wife Tresa Bosley opened the unlicensed home in early 2020. They already were operating the Master’s Ranch Christian Academy in Missouri for about 7 years.

Missouri lawmakers are now trying to change the law to require more oversight of faith-based schools. Three Washington sisters have sued churches in Prosser and Tenino, claiming David Bosley abused them as children.

Academy employee Maxwell Shelter, 20, pleaded guilty to communication with a minor for immoral purposes for molesting the daughter of another staff member and was sentenced to 3 months in jail. Source: Tri-City Herald, 2-10-21

An attempt by the bankrupt Archdiocese of Santa Fe to block lawsuits accusing it of transferring millions of dollars in property to 93 parishes in order to shield assets from settlements in sexual abuse cases was blocked by a New Mexico judge.

The ruling lets suits by hundreds of victims proceed. The archdiocese filed for bankruptcy in 2018. The real estate assets could be worth over $150 million, according to Judge David Thuma.

Plaintiffs’ attorneys said the number of survivors is close to 2,000. The archdiocese said in 2019 that least 78 clergy members had been credibly accused of child abuse. Source: Santa Fe New Mexican, 2-7-21

A trial for Paul A. West, 60, a Franciscan Catholic friar accused of molesting students in the 1990s in Mississippi, was moved to April so he could undergo a mental evaluation. A grand jury indicted West on 2 counts each of sexual battery and gratification of lust. He  also faces a charge in Wisconsin of sexual assault of a child.

The Franciscan order settled sex abuse cases by secretly paying cousins Joshua Love and La Jarvis Love, both 37, $15,000 each and requiring them to keep silent about their claims. The payments were far less than what other Catholic sex abuse survivors have typically received. “They felt they could treat us that way because we’re poor and we’re Black,” said Joshua Love. Source: ABC News/AP, 2-7-21

Anthony Haynes, 41, former leader of the Greater Life Christian Center in Toledo, OH, was denied compassionate release. At the time of the ruling, Haynes had only served 18 months of a life sentence for facilitating a child sex trafficking ring with 2 other pastors.

Judge Bernard Friedman denied the request because Haynes provided little evidence of health conditions putting him at greater risk of having coronavirus complications, while mentioning the severity of the crimes.

“Based on the facts of this case, defendant could not be released without seriously endangering the community,” Friedman wrote. “This alone disqualifies defendant from consideration for compassionate release.” Source: Toledo Blade, 2-3-21

California Catholic bishops are asking a judge to throw out a law allowing accusers of clergy sexual abuse to sue even if they were molested decades ago. The state in 2019 provided a 3-year period starting Jan. 1, 2020 to file suits.

It also extended the age of people who could sue for childhood abuse from 26 to 40 after the extension expires and allowed triple damages in cases involving a “cover-up” of previous assaults by an employee or volunteer.

Plaintiffs’ attorney John Manly called the bishops’ motions “morally reprehensible and hypocritical,” adding, “They systematically violated reporting laws … lied to the families, lied to the media, lied to the faithful. Now what they are saying is, ‘Don’t allow our victims to hold us accountable.’ ” Source: KSBY, 1-28-21

Malka Leifer, 54, accused of 74 counts of rape and sexual abuse between 2004–08 when she was principal of an ultra-Orthodox Jewish school for girls in Melbourne, was extradited from Israel, where she fled in 2008 to avoid prosecution.

Australia has tried to extradite her since 2014. The case centers on the allegations of 3 sisters now in their early 30s — Dassi Erlich, Elly Sapper and Nicole Meyer — who say they were abused by Leifer.

Her trial is likely to be delayed until 2022 due to the coronavirus pandemic, said Nick Kaufman, her attorney. Kaufman also said that publication of photos of Leifer taken during her extradition undermined her dignity. [Ed.: He did not mention the dignity of her alleged victims.] Source: NY Times, 1-25-21

Numerous priests and other Catholic officials in North Dakota won’t be criminally charged for historical child sex abuse due to the statute of limitations, said Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem. Investigators spent 18 months reviewing files from the Fargo and Bismarck dioceses to determine if charges could be brought. The dioceses released lists in January 2020 with the names of 53 priests and others facing substantiated allegations.

Probable cause was found to bring charges against only 2 priests: Norman Dukart of Dickinson and Odo Muggli, a Benedictine at Assumption Abbey in Richardton.

Minnesotan Ted Becker, who alleges he was molested in the 1940s, expressed disgust at the news. “They knew that if they kept putting things off, eventually the statute of limitations would expire. That’s not what a responsible person, much less a responsible religious person, should do.” Source: Fargo Forum, 1-4-21

Allegations

Joseph Jablonski, a Catholic priest barred in 2014 from serving further in the Diocese of San Bernardino, CA, was allowed to return to priestly duties in Illinois despite allegations of sexual abuse by a California boy. The San Bernardino Diocese immediately notified Jablonski’s religious order, the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, whose Chicago-area headquarters is in Aurora.

Records and interviews show that the order didn’t inform dioceses in Rockford and Joliet and the Archdiocese of Chicago about the allegations. “The provincial at the time didn’t feel any obligation to contact any other diocese,” said Richard Kennedy, who has led the order’s U.S. province since 2018.

Jablonski, now in his 70s, is leaving the order, Kennedy said. “If a complaint were filed today, it’d be handled in a much different way.” Source: Sun-Times, 2-19-21

The Catholic Archdiocese of Cologne “severely damaged” the process of owning up to decades of sexual violence against children, said a report by an independent German secular panel established in 2016. It decried the diocese’s internal review.

The Berlin-based panel referred to the “Cologne Archbishopric” but not to Archbishop Rainer Maria Woelki by name, and said that the public saw a “cover-up.”

Cologne cabaret artist and author Jürgen Becker, delivering a satirical online sermon from St. Agnes Church, alleged the archdiocese “systematically covered up the mass clergy sexual abuse for decades.” Source: Deutsche Welle, 2-16-21

Ravi Zacharias, who died in 2020 of cancer at age 74, engaged in “sexting, unwanted touching, spiritual abuse and rape” spanning many years and multiple continents, said a report released by Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, the global organization he founded.

Several months after his death, the magazine Christianity Today reported allegations Zacharias had groped and masturbated in front of several women who worked at a pair of day spas he co-owned near his ministry’s U.S. headquarters in Alpharetta, GA. He was married for 45 years.

“We believe not only the women who made their allegations public but also additional women who had not previously made public allegations against Ravi but whose identities and stories were uncovered during the investigation,” the ministry’s board of directors said in a statement.

Former Vice President Mike Pence spoke at his memorial service in Atlanta, calling him “a man of faith who could rightly handle the word of truth like few others in our time” and comparing him to Billy Graham and C.S. Lewis. Source: NY Times, 2-11-21

An unidentified Romanian Orthodox priest in Suceava is under investigation after the death of a 6-week-old hours after the baby’s baptism. An autopsy found water in the child’s lungs. The incident has sparked calls for the Orthodox Church to change baptism rituals that require 3 full submersions.

Church spokesperson Vasile Bănescu encouraged churches to instead sprinkle holy water over recipients. “It’s hard for us to understand why God let this happen.” Teodosie Petrescu, archbishop of Tomis and leader of the church’s conservative wing, disagreed: “These canons of faith will be available for another thousand years. That is why we will not change. We’re not intimidated.” Source: vice.com, 2-5-21

Removed / Resigned

Lee Reddyhoff, senior minister at Faringdon Baptist Church in Swindon, England, resigned after it was revealed he engaged in a secret relationship with a woman from the congregation. In a letter to church trustees, Reddyhoff acknowledged his conduct had fallen “below that expected” of him.

He also resigned as an accredited minister from the Baptist Union due to his “gross misconduct” and is considering his future outside of the ministry. Source: Swindon Advertiser, 2-19-21

Michoel Green, Westborough, MA, was fired as rabbi at Chabad of Westborough, a Hasidic community center, for social media posts railing against pandemic-related lockdowns, mask mandates and vaccinations.

“It’s NOT immunization. It’s pathogenic priming & mass sterilization,” Green wrote in January. In 2019 he had argued against getting the measles vaccine.

“It became clear that dismissal was our only choice,” said Mendel Fogelman, director of the Central Massachusetts Chabad. Source: Times of Israel, 2-3-21

Other

Paul Burak, 74, Palos Heights, IL, a Catholic priest accused of striking and killing a teacher and injuring another in a hit-and-run accident as they were leaving a parish Christmas party in 2019, died in his sleep Jan. 10.

A witness snapped a picture of Burak’s license plate, followed him and told him to go back to the restaurant. Burak returned and remained at the scene for a short time but didn’t tell police he had hit the women.

The DUI charge was dropped but the more serious felony of leaving the scene of a deadly accident remained. Civil suits were filed against him and he was on electronic monitoring at his condo for the criminal charge. Source: Orland Park Patch, 1-12-21

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