Black Collar Crime (September 2019)

Compiled by Bill Dunn

Arrested / Charged

Raymond M. Vliet Jr., Flint, MI: Embezzlement from a vulnerable adult $20,000 or more but less than $50,000 and stealing or removing a financial transaction device. Vliet, pastor at Old Beth-el General Baptist Church, is accused of using a power of attorney he obtained from a 91-year-old church member with dementia to take out loans for a pontoon boat and Jeep and cashing in a $4,000 life insurance policy.

“The pastor couldn’t get the loan in his [own] name because he had such a poor credit rating,” said Genesee County Sheriff Robert Pickell. Source:, 7-16-19.

Jacek Ploch, 38, Coventry, RI: Driving under the influence. Ploch, a native of Poland and pastor at Our Lady of Czestochowa and St. Vincent de Paul Catholic parishes, was arrested about 9:30 p.m. after he struck a pedestrian with a 2018 Jeep Wrangler. His blood-alcohol content was higher than 0.15%, an affidavit said. The pedestrian was hospitalized in stable condition. Source: Providence Journal, 7-16-19

Gregory Dow, 60, Manheim, PA: 4 federal counts of engaging in an explicit sex act with a minor in a foreign country. Dow is accused of assaulting girls between 2013-17 at an orphanage he founded in 2008 in Boito, Kenya, where he had moved with his wife and 6 children. “[Dow] purported to be a Christian missionary who would care for these orphans,” said U.S. Attorney William McSwain.

Dow started the home independent of a mission organization but with financial support of churches and church members. Doug Lamb, pastor of Life Gate Church in Elizabethtown, the first church to support Dow, previously said he thought Dow was innocent.

Dow fled to the U.S. after Kenyan authorities issued an arrest warrant in September 2017. Investigators noted in court filings that he pleaded guilty in 1996 to sexually assaulting a girl in Iowa and was a registered sex offender for 10 years. Source:, 7-13-19

Jason W. Keller, 42, Pfafftown, NC: 10 counts of sexual activity with a student. Keller is accused of having sex with a female student 10 times between August 2008 and May 2009 when he was an assistant principal at Union Grove Christian School in Lexington and a worship leader at his unidentified church. The case, originally brought in 2009, was dismissed but new information from the alleged victim caused it to be reopened recently.

Also arrested by Davidson County authorities in an unrelated case was Matthew R. Hendrix, 36, Mocksville. Hendrix, a youth leader and Sunday school teacher at an unidentified church, is charged with statutory sex offense with a child by an adult, statutory rape of a child by an adult and 2 counts of indecent liberties with a child. Hendrix allegedly violated a 12-year-old girl who attended the church between June 15-25. Source: Lexington Dispatch, 7-12-19

Dean Kaplan, 35, Kensington, Australia: Counts of using a carriage service to access and make available child pornographic material and 2 counts of possessing child pornographic material. Kaplan has worked as a fitness instructor at the 800-student Emanuel School in the Sydney suburb of Randwick since 2016. It’s affiliated with the New South Wales Jewish Communal Appeal.

Kaplan also runs his own business, Get a Grip Personal Training, and gained some local renown after appearing on the TV program “Dating In the Dark.” Source: Morning Herald, 7-10-19

Joseph “Jack” Baker, 57, Waterford, MI: Criminal sexual conduct first degree/sexual penetration with a person under 13. Baker, pastor at St. Perpetual Catholic Parish, is the 6th priest charged as part of a state probe of abuse within the Catholic Church.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” said Dana Nessel, state attorney general. “Our clergy abuse investigative team is working day and night to review the hundreds of thousands of pages of documents and files seized from all seven of Michigan’s dioceses last fall.” Source:, 7-8-19

Stephen A. Morris, 61, Four Oaks, NC: 5 counts each of statutory rape/sex offense and indecent liberties with a child. Morris, pastor of Oliver’s Grove Baptist Church, allegedly engaged in sex acts with a 13-year-old girl, now 19, in 2013-14. She didn’t come forward until June. Source: Daily Record, 7-8-19

Jerry Thareparambil, aka Father George, 40, Perumbadam, India, was taken into custody after parents of 7 children filed sexual abuse complaints. Thareparambil, a Catholic priest, is director of a facility that provides shelter and education to boys from poor families. It’s run by the Order of Discalced Carmelites. Source: Onmanorama, 7-7-19

Karey M. Heyward, 34, N. Charleston, SC: Criminal sexual conduct with a minor. Heyward, lead pastor at Eternity Church, is accused of lewd acts in a home from 2012-15. He also served with the Coastal Crisis Chaplaincy. The alleged victim’s mother spoke at the bond hearing: “I was heartbroken for my daughter. You have trust as a pastor, trust as a protector.” Source: WCSC, 7-6-19

Timothy M. Crowley, 70, Tempe, AZ: 8 counts of criminal sexual conduct alleged between 1986-90 at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church in Ann Arbor, MI, where Crowley was pastor. He was defrocked in 2015 and lives in a retirement home.

It’s alleged he repeatedly gave an altar boy cigarettes and alcohol and forced him to watch pornography while Crowley masturbated. The Diocese of Lansing settled a suit for $200,000 in 1993. The diocese shared information about Crowley with the Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office that same year but the case was dropped at the request of the boy’s family. Source:, 7-5-19

Shannon Griffin, 49, Burbank, IL: Grooming, sexual assault, solicitation of child pornography and distribution of harmful materials. Griffin, a kindergarten teacher at Jordan Baptist School, allegedly sent nude images of her showering to 2 students, boys ages 15 and 16, with text saying “Come on in.”

She’s accused of having sex with the younger boy at least 5 times starting with the initial encounter in 2013 and giving him a bottle of Maker’s Mark bourbon, said prosecutor Kyle Gruca. The alleged conduct continued until 2018. Griffin is married to the pastor who runs the school and has 3 adult daughters. Source: Chicago Tribune, 7-4-19

William C. Claveria, 32, Toronto: 22 counts related to abuse of at least 3 prepubescent children at 2 Filipino churches, where he allegedly recorded sexual assaults and shared them online. Detective Constable Don Bai said Claveria met the children in 2018 while attending Pentecostal services at Word & Life Christian Assembly and Jesus Reigns Forever International Ministry. Source: CTV, 7-4-19

Gabe R. Gilbert, 19, S. Jordan, UT: 5 counts of aggravated sexual extortion of a child and 4 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor. Gilbert allegedly coerced dozens of teen girls with threats into sending him nude images of themselves. When police went to interview him in March, they discovered he’d left in October 2018 to serve a mission with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Mexico.

One girl reported using using Snapchat to talk to “Ethan Parker” after he friended her and commented, “Tbh I’m horny asf would you be willing to help me out?” The girl told him no and “Ethan” responded, “I will Photoshop your face onto nudes and send them out.”

Investigators discovered about 50 potential victims. After a 14-year-old refused to send photos, “Ethan” said, “I hope your house has good security … I’m sending out your location and username … to as many creeps on the web as I can find.” Source: KTVX, 7-2-19

John T. Martin, 41, Florence, AL: 4 counts of 1st-degree sexual abuse. Martin, pastor at Lighthouse Baptist Church, told the congregation in June that he had “disgraced his family name because he had sex with two boys,” a church representative told authorities.

One boy, “in either 6th or 7th grade,” was assaulted several times, said a case summary from the Lauderdale County sheriff. The boy alleged Martin showed him nude photos of himself while on a public school bus Martin drove and frequently texted to ask if he had touched himself that day.

The church condemns LGBTQ people, as it explains in an online FAQ: “We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between a man and a woman. We believe that any form of homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, bestiality, incest, fornication, adultery, and pornography are sinful perversions of God’s gift of sex. We believe that God disapproves of and forbids any attempt to alter one’s gender by surgery or appearance.” Source: 7-1-19

Carlos S. Duran, 37, Las Vegas, NM: 2 counts of child abuse. Duran, pastor at Mountain View Fellowship, is accused of striking 2 boys and throwing one of them to the ground in June at the Baptist church because they were misbehaving. Arriving at the scene, police Officer Estevan Varela called an ambulance and the boy was taken to the hospital.

Duran was charged in 2004 with aggravated assault and battery with a deadly weapon and criminal damage to property. Source: New Mexican, 6-28-19

Arthur Ivey, 59, Quincy, FL: 2 counts of lewd and lascivious behavior on a minor. Ivey, pastor at Friendship Primitive Baptist Church, is accused of inappropriately touching 3 children at a child welfare facility. One said the alleged abuse had gone on for nearly 2 years. Source: Tallahassee Democrat, 6-25-19

Mark S. Witt, 69, and Jason Witt, 37, Somerset, PA: Failing to report child abuse. The Witts, father and son, are ordained ministers who operate Teen Quest Ranch, a Christian youth camp. It’s alleged that a 16-year-old boy assaulted an 11-year-old girl in a cabin in March while 2 male teens watched.

State Trooper Sondra Haberl said in an affidavit that the Witts “are mandated reporters that were informed of the abuse in May and did not make a report on the child’s behalf.” A relative of a participant notified police about the incident June 3.

Haberl said she questioned Jason Witt on June 12, when he allegedly said he only learned of the incident in early May “when Mark Witt told him.” Source: Tribune-Review, 6-25-19

Francisco J. Bautista Ávalos, Mexico City: Suspicion of murder. Bautista, pastor at Christ the Savior Catholic Church, was arrested after parish deacon Leonardo Avendaño’s body was found June 13 in his pickup truck. Bautista offered the funeral Mass for Avendaño, 29.

After interviewing him, police noted inconsistencies in his statement and discovered he’d met the victim late the night before he went missing. They were seen together on surveillance footage outside the church. Avendaño’s family believes he was murdered to stop him from going public with certain accusations.

Avendaño had recently graduated from Intercontinental University with a master’s in psychoanalysis and had earlier completed a bachelor’s in theology, hoping to become a priest. Source: National Catholic Reporter/Mexico News Daily, 6-20-19

Afshin Yaghtin, 47, Spokane, WA: Obstructing an officer. Yaghtin, pastor at New Covenant Baptist Church, was arrested while protesting Drag Queen Story Hour at the Spokane Public Library, the only person arrested at the organized protest.

Police Sgt. Terry Preuninger said Yaghtin was given numerous opportunities to stay in the designated protest area but refused. He and others yelled slurs like “sodomites” while about 50 children headed into the library.

Andrea Tate, event co-coordinator, said she’s never received so much pushback during the year and a half she’s been reading. “I’m sure a lot of children are going home and asking what a sodomite is,” she said. Source: Spokesman-Review, 6-19-19

Kwabena Asiamah, 50, Nyamebekyere, Ghana: Rape. Asiamah, an elder at Christ Apostolic Church International, is a fugitive after being accused of impregnating his 15-year-old stepdaughter. He’s also alleged to have bribed the girl with 10 cedi (about $2) to not say anything or he would stop paying her school fees. Source: Ghana Web, 6-19-19

Mitchell H. Conte, 35, Lincoln City, OR: 2 counts each of 2nd-degree sexual abuse, luring a minor, online sexual corruption of a child, 3rd-degree sodomy and contributing to the sexual delinquency of a minor. Conte, pastor at Oceanlake Christian Church until last November, is accused of having sex with a 15-year-old girl who babysat his daughters, ages 4 and 6.

The girl’s brother saw some explicit text messages and told their father. Conte was also affiliated with Life Change Church and helped run the Spooky Spectacular at Taft Elementary School last Halloween. Source: Lincoln City Homepage, 6-13-19


Chuck Kormanski, 57, Bellefonte, PA: 11½ to 23½ months in the county jail, 5 years’ probation, 350 hours of community service and $167,000 in restitution after pleading guilty to 10 counts of theft by unlawful taking. Kormanski admitted stealing the money over a 7-year-period from St. John’s Lutheran Church, where he was treasurer and wrote 379 checks to himself.

He also owned Pappy Chuck’s Candy Shoppe until it closed last December. He has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Source: WTAJ, 7-9-19

Jordan Baird, 28, Manassas, VA: 3 years in prison and 3 years’ probation after pleading guilty to 2 counts of indecent acts with a child by a custodian. The victim was 16 in 2014 when Baird, youth pastor at The Life Church, put her hand on his genitals and asked for oral sex.

He’s married and has a 5-year-old daughter. At sentencing his wife told the court that he’s a changed man. Baird’s brother and father have both been head pastors at the church.

Baird was convicted in 2018 of electronic solicitation of a minor and 5 counts of indecent liberties with a minor involving another 16-year-old girl and was sentenced to 10 years, but all but 8 months were suspended. Testimony from other girls allegedly molested was barred by the judge as prejudicial.

The mother of the victim in that case told a reporter that Baird should have admitted guilt when he was arrested several years ago. She and others allege that church leaders portrayed victims as liars. The case prompted a new law that makes clergy mandatory reporters of child abuse. It went into effect July 1. Source: Fox5 DC, 7-8-19

Mark Aderholt, 47, Columbia, SC: 30 days in jail, 24 months’ probation and a $4,000 fine after pleading guilty to misdemeanor assault causing bodily injury. He was initially charged with 4 counts of sexual assault of a child under 17 that allegedly occurred in 1996 against a 16-year-old girl.

The victim told the court she met him online while seeking help to organize a See You at the Pole event at her high school. He was then a 25-year-old Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary student. He served as a missionary with the International Mission Board from 2000-08 and on the staffs of 2 Arkansas churches. When arrested in 2018 he served on staff of the South Carolina Baptist Convention. Source: Baptist Standard, 7-2-19

Anthony Haynes, 40, Toledo, OH: Life in prison after a jury found him guilty of sex trafficking of a minor, sexual exploitation of a minor and obstructing a sex-trafficking investigation. The victim, now 19, testified that Haynes, pastor of Greater Life Christian Center, had sex with her starting when she was 14.

“When she had sex with him, she got money. When she didn’t have sex with him, she got nothing,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Alissa Sterling. She had moved in with the Haynes family, which includes 5 other children, after her mother could no longer care for her.

Prosecutors said the grooming started shortly after she moved in when Haynes took her to a woman’s apartment, where he and the woman performed oral sex on each other in front of the girl. About a week later the woman performed oral sex on the girl at Haynes’ church, the victim testified. Haynes also coerced her into having sex with 2 other pastors who were sentenced earlier to life and 17½ years respectively. Source: Toledo Blade, 6-28-19

Civil Lawsuits Filed

Michael Wight, Fargo, ND, the Catholic Diocese of Fargo and the Texas-based Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity are being sued for at least $50,000 by Kateri Marion, 33, who alleges Wight sexually assaulted her while he was pastor at St. Ann’s Catholic Church in Belcourt on the Ft. Berthold Indian Reservation. Marion is a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa.

Wight, 52, was assigned to St. Ann’s in 2016 from the Society of Our Lady in Corpus Christi. The suit alleges he tried to touch Marion sexually during confession in July 2016: “Kateri tried to pull away. [Wight] would not let her, and instead [he] held Kateri close and shortly thereafter [he] ejaculated.”

Marion has a history of being neglected and abused and went to church almost daily, she said at a press conference. She said she reported the alleged abuse to Belcourt police “immediately” but was told several days later that she should let the church handle it. Belcourt police referred questions to the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Aberdeen, SD. Source: Grand Forks Herald, 7-11-19

Renee Bach and her religious nonprofit Serving His Children (SHC), which has ignored a 2015 order to stop operating, are accused in a suit filed in Uganda of operating a medical facility without a license. Plaintiffs are the Women’s Probono Initiative (WPI), which promotes human rights, and Gimbo Zubeda and Kakai Annet, who allege the defendants’ actions led to the deaths of 2 of their children.

The suit alleges that Bach, 30, Bedford, VA, and SHC “unlawfully practiced medicine and offered medical services to unsuspecting vulnerable children.” According to WPI, Zubeda and Annet were led to believe that Bach was a physician and that she was often seen “wearing a white coat, a stethoscope and often administered medications to children in her care.”

SHC was registered with the government in 2010 as a rehabilitation center with a focus on addressing malnutrition. Its website now makes no mention of Bach, who isn’t listed as part of “Our Team” despite founding the organization. Two former SHC employees also thought Bach was a doctor, according to affidavits supporting the suit, saying they had observed Bach in a “clinical coat” and assumed she was a medical professional.

A group called No White Saviors has been campaigning for SHC to be shut down. In a 2018 anonymous article on, a member self-described as a white American volunteer wrote, “Initially, I admired Renee for her sacrifice and tireless commitment to children battling malnutrition. It was not until January 2014 that my perspective really started to change.” She went on to describe how Bach allegedly got a boy “fat and healthy and then sent him home without so much as any consideration for the root cause of his malnutrition.”

Bach denies all the allegations and said she’s always had only good intentions. She and SHC are represented by attorney David Gibbs III, founder of the National Center for Life and Liberty (“Standing with Churches Across America”) in Largo, FL. Source: CNN/Daily Mail, 7-4-19

Civil Lawsuits Settled

The Catholic Diocese of Little Rock confirmed that it paid $790,000 to 5 men who accused Arkansas priest John J. McDaniel of sexually abusing them in the early 1970s when they were between 12 and 15 years old. Plaintiffs’ attorney Josh Gillispie said the settlement didn’t include nondisclosure agreements, which allows the men to speak freely about their experiences.

“The reason we are doing this is because my clients want other victims to know that they are not alone,” Gillispie said. “These five guys lived into their 50s and early 60s thinking they were alone, which added on and compounded the suffering over the years.”

All Souls Parish’s insurance covered $250,000 of the settlement and diocesan insurance paid for the rest. Source: Democrat-Gazette, 6-28-19

The Catholic Diocese of New Ulm in Minnesota has reached a $34 million settlement in its bankruptcy case with 93 people who say they were sexually abused by priests and others, the diocese and an attorney representing survivors said. Attorney Jeff Anderson, who represents many of the survivors, said the settlement includes contribution of $8 million from the diocese and its parishes with the rest coming from insurance carriers. If the bankruptcy court approves the plan, the survivors will vote, and then their claims will be evaluated to determine award amounts for the individuals.

Four other Minnesota dioceses have already filed for bankruptcy or announced the intention to file. Source: AP, 6-26-19

Legal Developments

A new Tennessee law to protect children from sexual predators and human traffickers took effect July 1, including removing the statute of limitations for felony sex crimes in certain circumstances. The law applies if the victim is under 13 or ages 13-17 when the crime occurred and is reported before their 23rd birthday. 

If victims were 13-17 years old and didn’t report before turning 23, the statute of limitations is 25 years from their 18th birthday. After those 25 years, the case can proceed if there is corroborating evidence of allegations or similar acts by the defendant. The law also increases the time for civil claims involving child sexual abuse to be filed from 7 to 15 years after the victim turns 18.

Commenting on the law, Joanna Yoder said she was raised “in a very strict Mennonite community over in Pulaski and was sexually abused from the time I was 3 until I was 21 by five members of my community.” She now lives in Pennsylvania but came to Nashville to watch Gov. Bill Lee sign the bill. “It felt very monumental to be there,” Yoder said. Source: WZTV, 7-1-19

“[M]ore than one child was a victim of sexual abuse by the alleged maltreator” at a preschool operated by Washington Hebrew Congregation, according to a cease-and-desist letter sent by the District of Columbia superintendent of education to the synagogue in June.

The Reform congregation, founded in 1852, is one of the city’s most prominent Jewish institutions. Eight families allege preschool teacher Jordan Silverman molested children ages 2-4 from March 2016 to August 2018 and have sued.

The letter instructs the school to comply with a plan to correct the violations. The school “knowingly” violated a requirement that at least 2 teachers should supervise students at all times, it said. Source: The Legal Herald, 7-1-19

The Church of Scientology International, its Religious Technology Center, “ecclesiastical leader” David Miscavige and 25 unnamed co-respondents are being sued by “Jane Doe,” who alleges retaliation, child abuse, human trafficking, libel, invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress involving her and other former members.

Doe alleges she was raised in the church from birth and at age 15 became Miscavige’s personal steward before being removed in 2015 and placed in an isolation program called “the Hole” because she knew too much about Miscavige’s marital problems. She escaped in 2016 in the trunk of a car driven by a non-Scientologist actor with whom she was assigned to produce promotional videos, the complaint says. Source: NBC, 6-19-19

William Weaver, 69, Lakewood, NJ, minister of Linden Presbyterian Church for 39 years, is accused of sexual assault, sexual battery, false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, misrepresentation and gross negligence in a suit filed by 3 men and a woman. He was scheduled to face his accusers at an internal church trial in January for “multiple acts of idolatry and sexual misconduct” but renounced the jurisdiction of the presbytery the day before the trial was to start.

The male plaintiffs allege Weaver performed oral sex on them to remove evil spirits. The suit alleges the woman, “H.C.,” was about 35 during incidents in 2005-06 and that Weaver once “raised Plaintiff’s shirt and pulled down her pants so that he could place his hand on her navel, which he began to suck” for about a minute before spitting out a small metal ball, showing it to her and claiming it was a “hit.” Source:, 6-18-19

The Catholic Archdiocese of Newark, NJ, is being sued by about 135 former employees of the now-closed St. James Hospital in Newark who allege they lost their pensions because the archdiocese intentionally underfunded and removed assets from the plan, resulting in it going broke.

Retirees stopped receiving pension checks in November 2017 and those who hadn’t started taking payments never got any money. The archdiocese claims that after the hospital was sold in 2008 it did not have responsibility for the plan.

The suit alleges that the archdiocese failed to transfer the pension liability to the new owner despite telling retirees their benefits wouldn’t be affected. The suit cites a letter in which the archdiocese said “The Pension Plan was fully funded and you will receive, when due, the full amount of your vested retirement benefit.” Source: 6-13-19


The Christian Academy in Japan, a suburban Tokyo school founded in 1950 as a boarding school for the children of Christian missionaries, is investigating 66 cases of alleged physical and sexual abuse of students by faculty, mostly in the 1960s and ’70s. An alumni group representative said she’s aware of cases as early as the late 1950s and as recent as the 1990s.

A statement on the school’s website from top administrator Anda Foxwell said the school “did not provide the nurturing and caring environment for children that we should have provided.” And although some of the stories she’s heard are secondhand, she said “I didn’t doubt the experiences.” The academy no longer has a boarding program. Source: Religion News Service, 7-12-19

The Catholic Diocese of Yakima, WA, released a list of 21 priests and deacons with substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor. Most of the men are dead and none of the others remain in any official position that puts them in contact with children or other members of the public, church officials claim. Source: Tri-City Herald, 7-10-19

The Catholic Diocese of Providence, RI, released the names of 50 priests and deacons credibly accused of sexually abusing minors since 1950. The list includes the names of 31 deceased clergy and 19 who are still alive but removed from the ministry and was compiled by retired State Police Maj. Kevin O’Brien, who directs the diocese’s Office of Compliance.

The Attorney General’s Office plans to cross-reference the list with previous allegations and disclosures, said spokeswoman Kristy dosReis. “While release of this list is a step forward, we do not view it as the end of the process,” she said in a statement. Source: NY Post, 7-1-19

The names of 11 Wyoming Catholic priests are on a list released by the Diocese of Cheyenne for substantiated sexual abuse allegations. First on the list is Gerald F. Chleborad, 84, who now lives in Colorado and was accused of molesting 3 teen boys in 1984-85, 1995 and 2003. The most recent allegation was made to the church in 2016, according to the diocese. Chleborad’s alleged abuse of 3 different adolescent boys took place over a period of 20 years.

While Chleborad was a priest in Jackson in 1995, he was charged with public lewdness in Sandy, UT. Security video in a store recorded him touching a coat sleeve on a rack with his penis. A spokesperson at the time said Chleborad was placed on leave and “has met with Bishop Joseph Hart and will be receiving counseling.” Source: News & Guide, 6-25-19

Removed / Resigned

Joseph H. Metzger III, Norfolk, VA, was suspended from his duties as pastor of Blessed Sacrament Catholic Parish by the Diocese of Richmond due to a violation of the code of conduct involving minors, which reportedly doesn’t involve sexual abuse. The complaint was reported to law enforcement. Metzger was also placed on temporary leave last December because of similar conduct violations and had just been reassigned July 1. Source: WAVY, 7-15-19

Catholic priest William McFarlane, who serves Nativity of Our Lord Parish and St. Gabriel Parish in Chicago, was “asked to step aside from ministry” after the Archdiocese of Chicago was notified of an allegation of sexual abuse. It’s not known if the accuser was a minor in 1997 at the time of the alleged abuse, which was before McFarlane entered the seminary, the archdiocese said. Source: Sun-Times, 7-13-19

The Catholic Diocese of Lansing, MI, suspended William Auth from the ministry due to “serious concerns” about the financial management of a nonprofit he runs. Auth is affiliated with the Oblates of Saint Francis de Sales. Bishop Earl Boyea also banned Auth from asking people in the diocese to help fund Maya Indian Missions, an Ann Arbor-based nonprofit he runs that was founded in 1998. Source: State Journal, 7-11-19

John C. Miller, Ross, PA, was placed on leave as an ordained Catholic deacon at St. Teresa of Avila Parish due to allegations he tried to kiss an underage girl in 2016. The Diocese of Pittsburgh received the allegation in 2018 and has forwarded the case to the Vatican. Source: Post-Gazette, 7-10-19

Joe Townsend, Broken Arrow, OK, was placed on leave as pastor of St. Benedict Catholic Church during a probe of alleged sexual misconduct involving a minor. He was ordained in 1988 and has served at St. Benedict since 2007. When Bishop David Konderla announced new priest appointments in April 2018, Townsend was listed as beginning a “sabbatical experience for one year.” Source: Tulsa World, 7-6-19

John Duffell, 75, retired as a Catholic priest after he was removed as pastor of Blessed Sacrament Catholic Parish in New York City. A source close Duffell said the allegation involved misconduct over a period of years. At a 2011 conference at Fordham University, Duffell allegedly told a participant to lie to church authorities about his same-sex attraction in order to be accepted in the seminary. Source: Catholic News Agency, 7-5-19

Bernard Preynat, a retired Catholic priest in his 70s, committed “criminal acts of sexual character against minors under 16,” a French church tribunal ruled in stripping him of his clerical status. Preynat has confessed to abusing Boy Scouts during the 1970s and 1980s and his criminal trial is pending.

Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, 68, Lyon, was convicted earlier this year of failing to report Preynat to police and was sentenced to 6 months’ incarceration, suspended, and was fined €45,000 ($50,600). Source: AP, 7-4-19

Biodun Fatoyinbo, Abuja, Nigeria, leader of the Commonwealth of Zion Assembly, announced he was taking a leave of absence from the pulpit to “submit to the concerns of [his] spiritual mentors.” The Pentecostal leader is known as “the Gucci pastor” for his expensive taste in clothes and cars.

Busola Dakolo, a mother of 2 married to musician Timi Dakolo, recently accused Fatoyinbo of raping her when she was 16 after grooming her when she attended his fellowship group called the Divine Delight Club. A week after the initial rape in her home, she alleged, he raped her on the hood of his Mercedes, then said, “You’ll be fine. This thing is not a new thing. Men of God do this.”

Several days after Dakolo’s allegation, a woman who worked as an au pair for the pastor and his wife alleged he raped her in 2017. Fatoyinbo denies the allegations. The Coalition of Public Interest Lawyers and Advocates has written Mohanned Adamu, inspector general of police, asking him to ensure justice is served. Source: The Guardian/Premium Times, 7-1-19

Joseph V. Arevalo, 81, Babylon, NY, who has been living at St. Joseph Catholic Church, “has voluntarily stepped away from ministry and will not present himself as a priest” while an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor in the 1990s is investigated, a Diocese of Rockville Centre statement said. Arevalo, who was ordained in the Philippines, has served in the diocese since the 1970s. Source: Newsday, 6-30-19

Jack Herron, pastor at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in Fargo, ND, was suspended after a woman alleged he touched her inappropriately while she was a teen in the 1970s. She reported it to the Diocese of Fargo in early 2018. Herron is retired and has been serving as a hospital chaplain outside the diocese. Source: Redwood Falls Gazette, 6-28-19

Jeff Gatlin, 51, Louisville, KY, resigned as pastor at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Parish after being accused of “inappropriate picture taking” of students during a May 13 school field day. The school serves K-8 students.

While Archdiocese of Louisville spokeswoman Cecelia Price said photos “showed nothing inappropriate,” other complaints surfaced during the investigation. In a May 31 email to parishioners, interim pastor Joe Graffis and parish administrator Scott U’Sellis wrote that Gatlin was “getting the help he needs dealing with chemical dependency and depression.” Source: Courier Journal, 6-25-19

Abdullah Patel, Gloucester, UK, was suspended as imam at Masjid Umar mosque and deputy head teacher at Al-Ashraf primary school for alleged comments he made about Zionists and about women, who he said needed “to be smarter” to avoid being sexually assaulted. His advice to women: “Don’t be alone with a man!”

A mosque statement said it had chosen to give Patel “some time away” while it investigated. Source: The Guardian, 6-19-19


Benson cartoon