Black Collar Crime (Sept. 2018)

Compiled by Bill Dunn

Arrested / Charged

Norman Abernathy, 58, Conway, SC: 3 counts of assault and battery and 2 counts of criminal sexual conduct with a minor. Abernathy, youth pastor at Langston Baptist Church, allegedly fondled the private parts of 4 girls who were friends of his stepdaughter 4-5 years ago. At the time they were 15, 14 and 12. Source: WBTW, 7-19-18

Nison Y. Lemus-Alvarez, 37, Greeley, CO: Sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust and sexual assault on a child with a pattern of abuse. Lemus-Alvarez, the married congregation leader of La Iglesia de Restauracion, is accused of seducing a 16-year-old girl from the church in 2017. The girl alleges they engaged in foreplay and other sexual activity in his car but didn’t have intercourse. Source: Greeley Tribune, 7-19-18

Eric M. Zurheide, 31, Granite City, IL: Attempting to persuade or coerce a minor to engage in sexual activity. Zurheide, who worked as a youth pastor at Tri-City Assembly of God from 2013-16 and is a foster parent, was arrested at a McDonald’s after meeting with an undercover detective he believed to be the mother of a 14-year-old girl he wanted to have sex with. Police allegedly found a sex toy, lubricant and condoms in his car. Source: Post-Dispatch, 7-19-18

Don L. Dickerson, 57, Yukon, OK: Rape by instrumentation. Dickerson, chaplain at Kate Barnard Correctional Center, is accused of “intimate physical contact” with a female inmate between January and July. He has resigned. Source: The Oklahoman, 7-17-18

Kenneth S. Marshall, 36, Mathews, VA: Aggravated sexual battery of a minor and forcible sodomy of a minor through the use of mental incapacity or physical helplessness. Marshall, a volunteer youth mentor at Cornerstone Fellowship Church, is accused of molesting a 15-year-old boy. The alleged incidents didn’t occur at the church. Source: 13 News Now, 7-17-18

Kathryn M. Goff, 46, Beverly Hills, FL: Scheming to defraud less than $20,000 and grand theft of between $10,000 and $20,000. Goff, secretary of Beverly Hills Community Church, allegedly wrote 38 checks to herself for $19,426.59 in 2017-18. Source: Citrus County Chronicle, 7-16-18

Sean T. Jones, 42, Springfield, OR: Multiple counts of aggravated theft, forgery and computer crime. Jones, advancement director for O’Hara Catholic School in Eugene, is accused of embezzling $3,900 from the school and $50,800 from the Open Door Foundation, which provides school scholarships, during a 3-year period. Source: KEZI, 7-16-18

Kevin A. Berry, 32, Sedgwick, KS: Aggravated indecent liberties with a child aged 14 or 15 on Sept. 17. Berry is lead pastor at First Christian Church. A church board statement said the board has accepted Berry’s request for administrative leave “to give him time to work through the charges he is facing.” Source: Wichita Eagle, 7-14-18

Mark E. Aderholt, 46, Columbia, SC: Sexual assault against a child under 17 and 2 counts of indecency with a child. Aderholt is accused of assaulting a 16-year-old girl in 1997 in Arlington, TX, while he was a 25-year-old student at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth. Though he didn’t contest the findings of an internal investigation that he had likely assaulted the girl and resigned as a missionary, he went on to serve churches in Texas and Arkansas and as associate executive director of the South Carolina Baptist Convention before resigning in June. Source: Star-Telegram, 7-13-18

Oscar Munoz Toledo, 56, Rancagua, Chile: Abuse and statutory rape of at least 7 minors. Toledo, former chancellor of Santiago’s archbishopric, is the first active priest in Chile to be arrested for sexual abuse since a report ordered by Pope Francis revealed a culture of abuse and cover-ups for decades. Source: AP, 7-13-18

Brian “Rick” Kenyon Jr., 31, Lakeland, FL: Video voyeurism. Kenyon, pastor of the Church of Christ in Deltona, is accused of taking an upskirt photo in April of a 41-year-old woman who was putting his youngest child in a car seat in Kenyon’s church office at his request.

The woman told investigators that as she bent over to do so, she felt skin against her leg and turned to see Kenyon directly behind her pointing his cellphone under her. The church has fired him. Source: News-Journal, 7-13-18

James R. Messer, 46, Morristown, TN: Aggravated statutory rape and sexual battery by an authority figure. Messer, pastor at Cross Way Worship Center, is charged with raping a 17-year-old girl in the men’s bathroom at the church. He allegedly told police the sex was consensual. Source: WVLT, 7-12-18

Stephen Kilpatrick, 63, Forest, VA: 3 counts each of indecent liberties of a child younger than 15 and using a communications systems to facilitate offenses involving children. Kilpatrick, an associate math professor at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University, often communicated with a person he believed to be a 13-year-old female “while at work in his office,” a search warrant alleged.

Jeremy C. Whorley, 29, Lynchburg, who works for the university while enrolled in a master’s program, is charged with 10 counts of possessing child pornograpy. Source: WSET, 7-11-18

Jonathan Young, 34, Benson, NC: 6 counts of rape of a child, 3 counts of statutory rape and 2 counts each of sexual offense and indecent liberties with a child. Young is a Sunday school teacher at Firstborn Baptist Church, where some of the incidents allegedly occurred between 2003-14. The youngest of 3 alleged victims, all girls, was 7. Source: WRAL, 7-3-18

Marcin Garbacz, 39, Rapid City, SD: Theft. Garbacz, chaplain at St. Thomas More High School, “was caught stealing money from the weekend collections” at St. Therese the Little Flower Parish, said a statement from Bishop Robert Gruss. Garbacz, a Polish immigrant ordained in Rapid City, is undergoing a psychiatric evaluation at a treatment center. Source: KOTA, 7-2-18

Michael Wallace, 25, St. Louis: False impersonation of a police officer. Wallace, former pastor of Abyssinian Baptist Church, is suspected of using flashing red and blue lights to clear traffic “so that he could get where he [was] going faster,” said police Sgt. David Horton. Source: KTVI, 6-28-18

Krzysztof T. Bauta, Port Aransas, TX: 2nd-degree felony theft. Bauta, removed in October 2017 as parish administrator at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, is suspected of stealing over $150,000 from the church, including depositing checks designated for Hurricane Harvey relief into personal accounts. Source: KZTV, 6-28-18

David R. Fisher, 63, Huntingdon County, PA: Endangering the welfare of a child. It’s alleged that Fisher, pastor at an unidentified church, was told about the 2007 sexual abuse of a 14-year-old girl several times but failed to contact authorities. Source: Altoona Mirror, 6-28-18

Randy A. Westmoreland, 52, Valparaiso, IN: 2 counts of failure to report. Westmoreland, pastor of the Church of Jesus Christ, is accused of covering up alleged sexual abuse by his youth pastor son-in-law Jeffrey M. McGehee, 30, who is charged with sexual misconduct with a minor, vicarious sexual gratification, child solicitation and possession of child pornography. Westmoreland allegedly tried to cover up the incidents and told victims and church members to say nothing.

McGehee is accused of sending naked images of himself to a 15-year-old boy in 2017 and engaging in inappropriate physical contact. Westmoreland is also charged with failure to report alleged abuse of another 15-year-old boy by church member Valerie Clabaugh, 29. She’s charged with sexual misconduct with a minor. Source: 6-23-18

Leslie Kelly, 36, Chapmanville, W.VA: 3 counts each of attempted murder and domestic battery and 2 counts of child abuse creating risk of serious injury. The police report said Kelly tried to drown his wife and children, ages 6 and 3, while baptizing them in the bathtub at God’s command. Deputy Barry Mynes Jr. said Kelly told him, “I held them under water because I want them to go to heaven.” Source: WMAZ, 6-21-18

Sean D. Sound, 45, West Jordan, UT: 5 counts of aggravated child sexual abuse. Sound, a Mormon missionary, is accused of assaulting an 8-year-old girl. He served a church branch for natives of the Marshall Islands and hosted sleepovers at his home. Source: Salt Lake Tribune, 6-15-18

Michael M. Guidry, 75, Whiteville, LA: Molestation of a juvenile or a person with a physical or mental disability and contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile. Guidry, pastor at 2 Catholic parishes, is accused of assaulting a 16-year-old parishioner “several years ago” after giving him alcohol. The boy is now an adult. Source: KLFY, 6-14-18

Timothy Jeltema, 28, Tomball, TX: Online solicitation. Jeltema, Champions Forest Baptist Church youth pastor, is accused of sending nude photos of himself to an 18-year-old girl from the church and asking for nude photos of her. Since his arrest, several other juvenile girls have come forward. Source: Woodlands Patch, 6-13-18

Douglas Edwards, 59, Ketchikan, AL: 3 counts of sexual abuse of a minor. Edwards, pastor at First Baptist Church and a culinary arts teacher at Ketchikan High School, is charged with molesting a 14-year-old girl by groping her bare breasts inside her shirt on 3 occasions, once at the church when she was playing the piano. Source: KRBD, 6-12-18

Miguel Luna, 68, El Paso, TX: Aggravated sexual assault of a child. The alleged abuse spanned several years in the 1990s, ending only after the girl moved away. Luna was removed from the Catholic ministry after an inquiry by the Diocesan Review Board into other sexual misconduct allegations involving a girl in the 1980s. Source: El Paso Times, 6-11-18

Daniel J. Curran, 68, Newcastle, Ireland: Indecent assault of a male between August 1989 and August 1991. Curran, a former Catholic priest, has been convicted 5 times since 1995 of molesting children. Source: Belfast Telegraph, 6-11-18

Cynthia L. Heaney, 51, Round Rock, TX: Theft. Heaney is accused of stealing almost $4,000 in 2017 from an early childhood school operated by Lifepointe Fellowship Church in Hutto, where she handled financial matters. Source: American-Statesman, 6-11-18

Stephen M. Ward, 69, DeLand, FL: Using an electronic device to seduce/solicit/lure a child. Ward, a physical education teacher and volleyball coach at Stetson Baptist Christian School, is charged with sending sexually suggestive text messages to a 14-year-old girl that mentioned specific acts he could perform on her. The girl’s mother discovered the texts. Source: WKMB, 6-10-18

Kent Covington, 63, Rutherfordton, NC: Conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Covington, pastor at Word of Faith Fellowship Church, is accused of filing more than $250,000 in phony unemployment claims since 2008 for employees of companies owned by Word of Faith members, including his own plastics manufacturing firm.

Word of Faith member Diane McKinny, 65, is also accused of filing fraudulent claims. Church members Brooke Covington, Sarah Covington Anderson, Adam C. Bartley, Robert L. Walker Jr. and Justin Brock Covington are scheduled to stand trial on accusations they repeatedly beat a former congregant to drive the “gay demon” out of him. Source: Charlotte Observer, 6-8-18

Matthew E. Mellerson, 29, Richmond, VA: 6 counts of carnal knowledge of an inmate and 2 counts of sexually abusing an inmate. Mellerson, a sheriff’s deputy and chaplain at the Richmond Justice Center, is accused of assaults in September 2017 against male inmates. Source: WSET, 6-8-18

Douglas E. Harper, 39, Gandeeville, W.VA: Solicitation of a minor by use of electronic device. Harper, pastor at Living Water Church, allegedly sent sexually explicit text messages to a boy, 15, after they’d been on a church field trip. Source: WSAZ, 6-4-18

Douglas Parker, 57, Shawnee, OK: Felony child abuse. Parker, pastor at Dale Baptist Church and the “newly retired” principal at Virginia Smith Elementary School, is accused in a March 2 incident recorded on video involving a 6-year-old student who was brought to the principal’s office for misbehaving.

He allegedly wrapped his hands around the girl’s neck and tried to “place her against a door with the toes of her feet and nose touching the door,” the affidavit said: “The student was only witnessed resisting the force applied by Mr. Parker and not attempting to harm him or anyone else.” She sustained bruising on her nose. Source: The Oklahoman, 6-2-18

David J. Keener, 36, Fresno, CA: 3 counts of rape. Keener, pastor at Mt. Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church, is charged in Arkansas with sodomizing a relative starting in about 2000 when she was 9 and ending when she was 13 and both lived in Texarkana.

The girl gave investigators a copy of a Facebook message string between another female relative and Keener. “I saw where David confessed to the rapes and stated that he was sorry for what he had done but was in a dark place at the time,” a detective stated in the affidavit. Source: Texarkana Gazette, 6-1-18

Pleaded / Convicted

Chauncey Walker, 48, Wichita, KS: Pleaded guilty to aggravated indecent liberties with a child and aggravated indecent solicitation of a child. Walker, a youth pastor, teacher and soccer coach at Word of Life Church, admitted assaults on a girl in 2012-13. “She was 15 when it started, and it progressed from there,” Walker said on a recording made without his knowledge by a relative of the girl.

A plea deal calls for a sentence of 95 months in prison. He was initially charged with aggravated indecent liberties and 2 counts of criminal sodomy. According to the girl, they had sex at Ground Zero, in the church’s youth building, in Walker’s car and home and in several hotels. Source: Wichita Eagle, 7-20-18

Vitaly Korchevsky, 53, Glen Mills, PA: Guilty by jury of wire fraud, computer intrusion, money laundering and securities fraud. Korchevsky, pastor at Slavic Evangelical Baptist Church and a former Morgan Stanley vice president, was convicted of pocketing at least $14 million from 2011-15 by trading securities on information he gleaned from information stolen by Ukrainian hackers before being publicly released. Source: Bloomberg, 7-6-18

Deborah Marcellus, 63, Turtle Lake, WI: Pleaded guilty to wire fraud and filing a false income tax return, charges stemming from her embezzlement of $818,000 from St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Rice Lake, where she was director of development from 2011-17. Source: Sawyer County Record, 7-3-18

Luke W. Reese, 50, Indianapolis: Guilty by jury of criminal confinement with bodily injury, domestic battery and battery resulting in bodily injury. Reese, a Catholic priest allowed to be married due to a dispensation given former Anglican priests, allegedly slammed his wife into a wall at Holy Rosary Church, then forced her to have sex at home after tearing up her “slutty” clothes. Source: WXIN, 6-30-18

John M. Scheline, 41, Richland, WA: Pleaded guilty to attempted rape of a child. Scheline, former executive director of Ignite Youth Mentoring and pastor at Faith Assembly, was caught in a 2017 online sting in which agents posed as children as young as 11 or as parents offering their children for sex.

He answered an ad in July and discussed in detail what he would do with the 13-year-old boy. He was arrested trying to leave the apartment complex after a detective answered the door. Source: Tri-City Herald, 6-29-18

Allen Lehmann, 80, Louisville, KY: Entered an Alford plea to 5 counts of sexual abuse and 3rd-degree rape and sodomy for molesting 3 sisters under age 12 at his home from 1992-2001 when he was pastor at Trinity Chapel Assembly of God. The sisters have filed a civil suit against Lehmann and several church groups, alleging he was transferred when allegations surfaced. Source: Courier-Journal, 6-21-18

Raul Diaz Moreno, 54, Merced, CA: Guilty by jury of attempted murder, assault, aggravated sexual assault, sodomy by force, lewd acts and oral copulation with minors. Diaz Moreno, pastor of Victory Outreach Church, was accused of raping his 2 adopted daughters, who are sisters, and then trying to kill them and one sister’s boyfriend in 2016. The sisters were allegedly abused starting as early as kindergarten. Source: Sun-Star, 6-4-18


Harry Thomas, 75, Medford, NJ: 18 years in prison after a judge denied his request to withdraw his guilty plea. Thomas, pastor of Come Alive New Testament Church, was charged with a 2005 sexual assault on a 9-year-old, sexual contact with 3 girls aged 7 to 9 in 2000 and 2010 and exposing himself and endangering the welfare of a minor girl between 2008-2010. Prosecutor Stephen Eife called Thomas “a devil in disguise.” Source: NY Post, 7-29-18

Che Abdul Karim, 41, Kelantan state, Malaysia: 6 months in jail and fined $450 for marrying an 11-year-old girl in Thailand. Karim, an imam and rubber scrap dealer, was sentenced by a Malaysian sharia court and the marriage was invalidated. He already had 2 wives and 6 children. It’s suspected the girl’s parents were motivated to marry her off due to poverty. Source: Time, 7-10-18

Sarah E. Mitchell, 25, and Travis L. Mitchell, 22, Oregon City, OR: 6 years and 8 months in prison, with credit for 13 months already served, after pleading guilty to negligent homicide and criminal mistreatment. They failed to provide medical care to their newborn twin daughter Ginnifer, who died at her grandparents’ home last year of respiratory distress. They belong to Followers of Christ Church. Sarah didn’t know she was bearing twins, having had no prenatal care. The other twin survived. They were born 2 months early.

Three hours after Ginnifer was born, Travis Mitchell “laid on hands” while the family prayed as she labored to breathe and changed colors. “I knew she was dead when she didn’t cry out anymore,” her father said. The Mitchells had medical insurance through Travis’ job but chose not to use it. Prosecutors contrasted that with the regular veterinary visits the couple provided for their dog and cat. Source: The Oregonian, 7-9-18

Philip Wilson, 67, Adelaide, Australia: 12 months’ imprisonment with assessment for home detention after 6 months. Wilson, the archbishop of Adelaide, was found guilty of failure to report child sexual abuse. He’s the highest-ranking Catholic cleric in the world to be convicted of such an offense.

Wilson denied under oath that 2 altar boys told him they were molested in 1971 and 1976 by James Fletcher, a pedophile priest who died in prison in 2006. As Wilson left court, a bystander yelled “Can I spit on him?” Source:, 7-3-18

Carlo A. Capella, 51, Vatican City: 5 years in prison and a $5,830 fine after pleading guilty before a Vatican court to distribution and possession of child pornography while serving as a diplomat for the Holy See in the U.S. and Canada. Further hearings will determine if he’ll be defrocked as a priest. Source: USA Today, 6-23-18

Jody Hilliard, 73, Duncan, OK: 25 years in prison with all but 7 years suspended after pleading guilty to 5 counts of lewd or indecent acts with a child under 12 while serving as assistant pastor at First Baptist Church. The 10-year-old victim alleged he touched her private parts and made her touch his. Source: KFOR, 6-21-18

Amanda M. Haumont, 36, Lincoln, NE: 2 years’ probation and restitution after pleading no contest to theft by unlawful taking while working as director of Little Lambs Child Development Center at Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church. She was accused of keeping at least 1 client’s cash payments for tuition and altering clock-in times so she was paid overtime for hours she never worked. The theft was estimated at over $21,000. Source: AP, 6-20-18

Michael LaVenture, 47, Roberts, WI: 3 years’ probation and restitution after pleading no contest to 3 counts of theft from New Centerville United Methodist Church in Baldwin, where his wife was volunteer treasurer. He’ll also spend 1 month in jail with work release during each of the next 3 years. Kara Amundson-LaVenture, 44, pleaded guilty earlier to stealing at least $203,000 over about 10 years and was sentenced to 2 years in prison.

“It was simple greed,” Circuit Judge Scott Needham said, adding that their combined annual income exceeded $300,000. Source: New Richmond News, 6-12-18

William C. Turner III, 28, Toledo, OH: 60 days in jail and a $600 fine after pleading no contest to unlawful restraint and public indecency.

Turner, former assistant pastor at Bethel Baptist Church, exposed himself several times in 2016-17 to a juvenile at the church. Source: Record-Courier, 6-7-18

Mohammed Rabani, 61, Sneinton, UK; 5 years in prison after being found guilty of 3 counts of indecent assault on a boy starting when he was 12 in 1990 and continuing for 2 years while Rabani was imam at an unidentified mosque. It wasn’t reported to police until 2015. Source: Metro UK, 6-1-18

Tadhg Ó Dálaigh, 74, Blackrock, Ireland: 12 months’ incarceration for indecent assault of a boy at a Catholic boarding school 4 decades ago. Ó Dálaigh, a member of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart religious order, had previous convictions in 1999 and 2014 for molesting 2 boys while teaching in the 1980s. Source: Irish Times, 6-13-18

Danielle K. Farley, 33, Willmar, MN: A year and a day in jail suspended, 2 years’ probation and restitution of $16,759.42 to the United Church of Christ and its insurer after pleading guilty to theft while she was church secretary. The court also ordered her to complete a problem gamblers assessment. Source: West Central Tribune, 5-19-18

Civil Lawsuits Filed

Melvin K. Johnson, 81, Lehi, UT, is being sued by his daughter, Kristy Johnson, 55, who alleges he started molesting her when she was 6 and he worked for Mormon educational institutions and taught religion at Brigham Young University.

A documentary film includes corroboration from her siblings, who also allege abuse. Melvin Johnson says on camera at his home,  “Years ago, I molested my daughters. All three of them. I knew it was wrong, but I did it. I was selfish.”

Church officials would counsel him or treat the case as an internal discipline matter, it’s alleged, but abuse was never reported to police. Source: Salt Lake Tribune, 6-29-18

Francis Nave, pastor of Sacred Heart Catholic Parish in Bath, PA, the Diocese of Allentown and Bishop Alfred Schlert are defendants in a suit in which the alleged victim says Nave orchestrated sexually explicit video sessions from the rectory while the boy was in his Virginia home in 2011, when he was 16 and 17. It’s alleged Nave had the boy masturbate on camera and engage in other sexual conduct under the guise of counseling to deal with his “issues.” Source: Morning Call, 6-26-18

A New Jersey plaintiff alleges Gittie Sheinkopf, a counselor she met at an ultra-Orthodox summer camp in 2010, seduced her that fall and started a year-long relationship that turned abusive. Leah Sokolovsky’s suit says she was 15 and Sheinkopf was 20 when the relationship started. They met at TheZone, a camp run by Oorah Inc., where Sheinkopf was assistant head counselor. About the camp, Oorah’s website says “the warmth of TheZone continues even after the summer ends. Campers enjoy meeting with their friends and keeping up with their counselors and staff members.”

Sokolovsky alleges she tried taking her to rabbinical court but Sheinkopf didn’t show up, so she posted a video on YouTube. Sokolovsky says in the video that Sheinkopf forced her to engage in sexual activity, eventually “digitally penetrating Ms. Sokolovsky’s vagina” in a manner “intended to cause her extra pain.” Source: The Forward, 6-6-18

Civil Lawsuits Settled

Delbarton School in Morristown, NJ — operated by the Order of St. Benedict of New Jersey and St. Mary’s Abbey — and the now-closed St. Elizabeth of Hungary School in Linden, entered a confidential settlement with 5 men alleging sexual abuse as children in the 1970s and 1980s. Three of the cases and 5 of 6 pending cases involve Catholic priest Timothy Brennan, convicted in 1987 of molesting a 15-year-old boy at Delbarton.

After news of the settlement became public, about 30 people came forward to accuse 13 abbey monks and a retired lay faculty member of abuse from 1968-99, according to a letter to alumni signed by abbey and Delbarton leaders. The accused were not named in the letter, which stated that “no restrictions have been placed on the victims’ ability to discuss their experiences.”

But Bill Wolfe, whose accusations resulted in Brennan’s conviction, said the school locked him into a nondisclosure agreement for decades. He’s still not allowed to speak about the amount of a 1988 settlement. “They fought me every step of the way. They attacked my family. They attacked my parents and they attacked me. They sued my attorney for representing me,” Wolfe said. “So the idea they’ve been open and honest and compassionate, that’s not been my experience.” Source: New Jersey Advance Media, 7-25-18

The Church of Scientology and former member and plaintiff Laura Ann DeCrescenzo settled a decade-old suit in Los Angeles for undisclosed terms alleging she was forced to work long hours as a preteen and was coerced into having an abortion at 17. DeCrescenzo alleged she was initially required to work daily from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. for the church entity called Sea Org, which she didn’t leave until 2004 when she was 25. She further claimed she had an abortion in 1996 to show her loyalty to Sea Org, supposedly composed of the church’s most dedicated members. Source: Washington Post, 7-23-18

The Order of St. Augustine paid a total of $1 million to 5 men and 3 women who alleged sexual abuse by Massachusetts Catholic priests John Gallagher and Robert Turnbull in the 1970s and early 1980s. Both priests are dead. The victims were from 9 to 12 years old at the time. Source: Boston Globe, 7-17-18

St. Paul’s School in Concord, NH, affiliated with the Episcopal Church, agreed to a confidential settlement with former student William Foley, who alleged he was molested by teachers Robert Degouey and Steven Ball in the early 1970s. Foley’s abuse was documented in a 2017 report compiled by attorneys hired by St. Paul’s, which faces multiple lawsuits over sexual assault. Source: NHPR, 6-23-18

The Anglican Church of Tasmania will pay $15.2 million to about 200 victims of child sexual abuse. The church plans to sell 108 properties in order to make the payments with the remainder funded by individual parishes. Source: BBC, 6-5-18

Legal Developments

Daniel McCormack, 49, a defrocked Chicago Catholic priest who’s served all of his 2007 sentence for molesting 5 boys, will not be released because a judge agrees with prosecutors he is a sexually violent person likely to reoffend. “I can’t disregard the fact that he has never been of the belief that he has a problem,” said Judge Dennis Porter. “The first [step] of treatment here is recognizing there’s a problem that has to be treated.”

He will be reevaluated annually. At least 25 boys and young men have accused McCormack of abuse. Source: Chicago Tribune, 7-18-18

Augustine M. Giella, a Pennsylvania Catholic priest who died in 1993 at age 72 while facing criminal charges, kept a collection of girls’ underwear that, according to investigators, he labeled with their names, along with photos of him in clerical garb with naked girls as young as 2 in sexual stances, including oral sex. Two sisters whose 2 other sisters were among his alleged victims are asking a judge to invalidate confidentiality agreements other family members made with the Diocese of Harrisburg in a suit involving a settlement with their sisters. They want to speak publicly about Giella. Source: AP, 7-2-18

Thomas Sullivan, a Massachusetts Catholic priest who Jim Graham believes is his father, stopped resting in peace in June as his corpse was exhumed for DNA tests to take place. After years of trying, Graham, 72, finally got permission from the Oblates of Mary Immaculate to dig up the grave. Sullivan died of melanoma in 1993.

Dr. Ann Marie Mires said the remains were so well-preserved that she could recognize Sullivan from photos she’d seen. The exhumation cost Graham about $10,000. Source: Boston Globe, 6-18-18


Former members of Twelves Tribes, a New York religious group that’s been called a cult, alleged on CBS “Inside Edition” that the fundamentalist group led by Gene Spriggs forces children as young as 9 to work in its factory packaging fancy soaps and other goods sold by Amazon, Whole Foods, Target and Walmart. It paid fines in 2001 and 2006 for labor-law violations.

Ex-member Sarah Williams, 34, “rejoined” the group to record hidden-camera footage of children, ages 9 and 10, working on an assembly line. Footage from its nearby farm showed a 6-year-old boy struggling with a heavy wheelbarrow. “It takes them being disciplined and spanked when they’re not obedient,” a man says on camera. Source: NY Post, 6-1-18

Removed / Resigned

Theodore McCarrick, 88, a Catholic cardinal and former archbishop of Washington, was removed from the ministry and allowed to resign by Pope Francis due to “credible” allegations he molested an altar boy in New York in the early 1970s, starting when the boy was 11. Several men studying to be priests have also accused him of sexual misconduct.

The church paid settlements to 2 alleged victims in 2004 and 2007. McCarrick, the highest-ranking Catholic official to be removed, retired in 2006. A Virginia man identified only by his first name James, who recently filed a police report, told a reporter McCarrick molested him for about 20 years. “I was the first guy he baptized. I was his little boy. I was his special kid. I was the kid he always sought out.” Source:, 7-20-18

Dean Curry, 50, Tacoma, WA, pastor at Life Center Assembly of God, was dismissed after accusations were made publicly of misconduct with 4 women, which Curry denies, saying he’s always been faithful to his wife.

Complaints to the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the state Human Rights Commission came from church board member Julee Dilley, who with her husband left the church in 2016 over concerns about Curry’s conduct and the church’s response. Source: News-Tribune, 7-10-18

John Finley, 62, resigned as pastor of Bartlett Hills Baptist Church, Bartlett, TN, after admitting to inappropriate behavior with young females. The alleged incidents started 37 years ago at Travis Avenue Baptist Church in Ft. Worth, TX, where Finley served as youth minister for five years. “I made some poor choices and was involved with two females in inappropriate behavior,” Finley said. “There was no sex. Both ladies were over 18.”

The women who sent a letter that spurred his resignation say that’s not true, that they were 15 and 17 at the time and while it’s true he didn’t have sex with them, he’d touched one’s breasts and put the other’s hand on his naked erection. A third alleged victim also came forward. “Sarah Beth,” a pseudonym, alleged her abuse occurred from 1981-83.

Finley’s wife told a reporter, “I can tell you for certain it was no more than kissing.” Referring to Sarah Beth, she added, “She should be over this. She cannot live her life trying to destroy my husband.” Source: Star-Telegram, 7-9-18

James W. Clark, parochial vicar at 5 Pennsylvania parishes and chaplain at Uniontown Hospital, was removed by the Catholic Diocese of Greensburg, which issued a statement: “An allegation was received . . . against Father James W. Clark, which dates to events five decades ago, prior to his entrance into the seminary and ordination as a priest, while working as a janitor at the former St. James School in Apollo.” Source: Tribune-Review, 6-30-18

Pope Francis accepted the resignations of Chilean bishops Alejandro Goic Karmelic, 78, and Horacio del Carmen Valenzuela Abarca, 64. The pope earlier in June accepted resignations of 3 other bishops over allegations of a cover-up of sexual abuse. Source: Reuters, 6-28-18

C. Frank Phillips, 68, Chicago, was removed as pastor of St. John Cantius Catholic Parish due to allegations of improper conduct with adult men, said a letter from Phillips’ religious order. Source: AP, 6-25-18

Brad Waller, Savannah, GA, was removed as senior pastor at Grace Church of the Islands. In a public statement, he said: “I, Brad Waller, confess to the sin of abuse of authority in my role as a pastor. I have been rubbing the feet of men and youth in my care. There was a sexual element to this, however, physically it never went past foot-rubbing.”

Waller worked at Tates Creek Presbyterian Church from 1995-2006 in Lexington, KY. In a statement, pastor Robert Cunningham said that after interviewing people in Lexington, “other acts of abuse have been uncovered as well,” noting that “evidence is also beginning to emerge that conflicts with Brad’s statement that ‘it never went past foot-rubbing.’ ” Source:, 6-25-18

Jacques Lacroix, 89, retired from the Catholic ministry after a video showed him slapping a crying 2-year-old during the boy’s baptism at the Collegiate Church of Champeaux in France. The video showed him loudly telling the boy to calm down and be quiet before squeezing his face and slapping him on the cheek. The parents then grabbed the boy away from Lacroix. Source: Metro UK, 6-23-18

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