Freethought Today · April 2015

Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.

Black Collar Crime Blotter

Compiled by Bill Dunn

Arrested / Charged

Patrick Kervin, 58, Sydney: Indecent assault. Kervin, a Marist priest and pastor of St. Patrick's Catholic Church, is accused of molesting a 15-year-old boy in 1988 at Holy Spirit College in Bellambi in 1988. Source: Illawarra Mercury, 3-25-15

Larry Jones, 65, McAlester, OK: Felony possessing obscene or indecent writings. Jones, former pastor at Missionary Baptist Church, allegedly wrote a letter describing his fantasy of having sex with 3 children as young as 6 who attended his church.

He was arrested after his wife found the letter on a computer printer in their home. Jones' lawyers claim the statute violates the First Amendment. Source: News-Capital, 3-22-15

Ronald D. Joling, 71, and Dorothea J. Joling, 72, Coquille, OR: Knowingly filing false liens. The Jolings, who are married and co-pastors of an unidentified church, are accused of filing retaliatory liens against officials involved in the couple's 2014 conviction for hiding more than $2 million from the IRS over 19 years.
The Jolings, who call themselves "sovereign citizens," claimed officials owed them more than $100 million. Source: The Oregonian, 3-21-15

David Hayman, 37, Oradell, NJ: 2 counts of sexual assault and 5 counts of child endangerment. Hayman, who led a high school youth group until last May at Cornerstone Christian Church, allegedly exchanged explicit videos and text messages with 5 girls in the group and "engaged in inappropriate sexual activity" with at least 2 of them. Source: nj.com, 3-20-15

Tim Biggers, 44, Dayton, OH: Suspicion of possessing criminal tools. Biggers, pastor of New Vision Church of God, was among several men arrested in a prostitution sting. He allegedly answered an online ad for sex, said police Sgt. Chris Fischer.

"In conjunction with March Madness [NCAA basketball], there are a lot of out-of-towners that come in, so we addressed street prostitution as well as Internet prostitution," Fischer said. Source: WHIO, 3-20-15

Luis V. Camacho, 29, Merizo, Guam: Custodial interference with a minor. Camacho, pastor of 2 Catholic parishes, was found parked with a 17-year-old girl at a beach, said A.J. Balajadia, police public information officer. He's the nephew of Bishop Emeritus Tomas Camacho.

In letters to authorities, Deacon Steve Martinez alleged Camacho "drove the minor child to Subway and then to a remote beach in Agat and had sexual contact with her," including oral sex.

Martinez alleged in a letter that Camacho was influenced by Fr. Edivaldo Oliveira, who once warned girls that boys will treat them like oranges, "sucking the sweet juice from them and when they are all dried up, the boys will spit them out." Source: Pacific News Center, 3-19-15

Jesús H. Sahagún, Burgos, Spain: Gender violence, causing injury and mistreatment. Sahagún, a Catholic priest who is official exorcist in Valladolid, is accused of performing 13 exorcisms on a girl starting in 2012 after she became anexoric. She was tied up and had crucifixes positioned over her head, according to El País. The girl later attempted suicide.

In July, Pope Francis sanctioned exorcisms, with the Vatican hailing them as "a form of charity." Source: thelocal.es, 3-18-15

Philip Wilson, 64, Adelaide, Australia: Concealing child sexual abuse. Wilson, the archbishop of Adelaide, is the most senior Catholic official in the world to be thus charged. He's accused of covering up sexual abuse in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle in 1976 by pedophile priest James Patrick Fletcher, who died in prison in 2006.

Victim Daniel Feenan's mother Patricia Feenan said Fletcher "groomed the whole family" by portraying himself as a benevolent priest who could be trusted. Source: The Advertiser, 3-17-15

Clovis J. Vilchez-Parra, 34, Palatine, IL: Production of child pornography and felony possession of child pornography. Vilchez-Parra, a native of Peru, is associate pastor at Mision San Juan Diego Catholic Church in Arlington Heights. Investigators allegedly traced Internet images to a computer at his home, which is owned by the Archdiocese of Chicago. Source: Chicago Tribune, 3-17-15

Franklin Paul, 35, Kongarapalayam, India: Murder. Paul, pastor of an unidentified church, is charged with the poisoning death of a 26-year-old man who was allegedly having an affair with Paul's wife, who had filed for divorce. Source: Press Trust of India, 3-17-15

Darrell Best, 45, Upper Marlboro, MD: 1st-degree sex abuse of a minor. Best, senior pastor at God of the Second Chance Ministry Church and a Washington police officer, is charged with molesting a female minor starting in December. The girl, now 16, attended the church.

Another female church member, now 18, later came forward with similar allegations. Source: Washington Post, 3-17-15

Andrew Hamblin, 23, White Oak, TN: Aggravated assault and 6 counts of felony reckless endangerment. Hamblin, pastor of Tabernacle Church of God, is charged with firing a gun out the window at a friend of his estranged wife while she and their 4 children were nearby. Hamblin gained notoriety after appearing on the reality TV show "Snake Salvation" while handling poisonous snakes.

"It's a shame," Hamblin said while entering court. "[The media] ought to be reporting some real news instead of this garbage." Source: WBIR, 3-15-16

Diane Reiners, 53, Brooklyn, NY: Criminal possession of a controlled substance, DWI and reckless driving. Reiners, an assistant priest at Cathedral of St. John the Divine, an Episcopal parish, had been driving through the Holland Tunnel erratically and was in possession of an open bottle of Absolut vodka and 31 Tramadol pills prescribed to another person, the arrest report said. Source: Jersey Journal, 3-14-15

Helmi M. Agha, aka Imam Abu Farah, Kissimmee, FL: 12 counts of lewd and lascivious molestation. Agha,executive director of the Osceola County American Muslim Youth Leadership Council, is accused of sexually touching a 15-year-old girl in his office.

In 2013, Agha threatened to sue a hospital for not letting him volunteer as a chaplain. Why are we not allowed to offer spiritual care to American-Muslim patients?" Farah asked. Source: Orlando Sentinel, 3-12-15

Kerry E. Leeper, Lancaster, PA: Driving under the influence of alcohol. Leeper, pastor of First United Methodist Church, and the Southwest District of United Methodist Churches have agreed he should take a 2-month "renewal leave," said Rev. Bumkoo Chung, district superintendent. Source: Lancaster Online, 3-12-15

Michael Parsons, 44, Kevil, KY: 2 counts of 3rd-degree rape and 22 counts of electronic solicitation of a minor for sex. Parsons, youth pastor at Milburn Chapel Cumberland Presbyterian Church, is accused of assaulting a 16-year-old girl who was in his youth group. Source: WPSD, 3-11-15

Phillip Kendrick II, 30, Lakeland, FL: Transmitting material harmful to a minor, use of a 2-way communications device to commit felony and 3 counts of lewd battery. Kendrick, former youth minister at Mt. Tabor Baptist Church, allegedly had sex with a 15-year-old girl 3 times between last November and January. He'd resigned from the church in October but had known the girl for about 4 years through her church attendance.

According to investigators, Kendrick sent pictures of his penis to the girl and she sent naked images of herself to him. Both say the sex was consensual. Source: WTSP, 3-10-15

Shawn E. Shaffer, 54, Corona, CA: Multiple counts of sexual molestation on a juvenile under 16 years of age. Several men have alleged he molested them as minors.

Corona police said it's been reported that Shaffer was conducting youth bible studies in his home and that he frequents local skateboard parks. Source: Inland News, 3-10-15

Shaun O. Harrison Sr., 55, Roxbury, MA: Assault with intent to murder, assault and battery and unlawful possession of a firearm. Harrison, former associate minister at Charles Street African Methodist Episcopal Church and the dean of academy at English High School, allegedly shot a 17-year-old student "execution style" in the back of the head. The boy, who was being mentored at school by Harrison, survived, and was reportedly involved in selling drugs for him.

Prosecutor David Bradley said in court that Harrison "had told the victim that they were going to a house to get marijuana and meet up with some girls for the victim." Source: Christian Post, 3-9-15

Kareem A. Mitchell, 42, Sacramento, CA: Sexual assault, sodomy and oral copulation. Mitchell, choir director at New Testament Baptist Church, is alleged to have initiated a sexual relationship with a male minor that started in 2005 and ended in 2008. Another alleged victim later came forward. Source: Sacramento Bee, 3-5-15

Pleaded / Convicted

Thomas Wilson, 63, Watertown, NY: Pleaded guilty to 1st-degree sexual abuse. Wilson, senior pastor of Smithville Baptist Church, is accused of having sexual contact behind the former Lake Ontario Playhouse in 2008 with a 9-year-old girl who was a family friend. Source: WWNY, 3-24-15

Adam Metropoulos, 52, Bangor, ME: Found guilty by superior court judge of 4 counts of sexual abuse of a minor. Metropoulos, former pastor of St. George Greek Orthodox Church, testified he never molested an altar boy, now 23, in 2006-07 and claimed he only touched the victim's genitals outside his pajamas once.
Before the trial started, he pleaded guilty to 1 count each of possession of sexually explicit materials and violation of privacy, admitting he had explicit photos of prepubescent children on his computer and that he secretly photographed a woman taking a shower in his bathroom.

Metropoulos testified that altar servers often spent the night at his home and he often slept with the boys, but said when he told police that he had "a predilection toward children," he was talking about girls, not boys. Source: Daily News, 3-17-15

Angelo T. Ervin, 51, Kankakee, IL: Guilty by jury of rape. Ervin, former head of deacons at Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church, was accused of impregnating an 18-year-old woman with an IQ of 59 and the mental capacity of a 5-year-old. Their daughter was born in 2011.

Ervin, who claimed the sex was consensual, was also a family friend and their landlord. "The victim is a child who has a child," prosecutor Carol Costello said in her closing statement. Source: Daily Journal, 3-14-15

Clint Landry, 58, Fairbanks, AK: Pleaded guilty to attempted coercion and enticement of a minor. Landry, who was suspended last May as pastor at Sacred Heart Catholic Cathedral, was arrested for wiring cash to the Philippines to obtain child pornography after a custodian saw a salacious image of a girl on his computer.
Landry communicated with at least 7 email accounts in 2013 "for the purpose of viewing live video of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct," a plea agreement said. Source: Alaska Dispatch, 3-12-15

Sentenced

Michael L. Miles, 33, Canton, OH: 3 years' probation, 200 hours of community service and no employment with fiscal responsibilities. Miles pleaded guilty to grand theft for stealing $15,000 from Mt. Olive Baptist Church, where he was pastor.

After sentencing, he invited supporters to worship with him at All Saints Temple. Asked about his case, Miles said, "I'm thankful that God wins and not people." Source: Canton Repository, 3-25-15

Wojciech Gil, 33, a defrocked Polish Catholic priest found guilty of abusing 8 minor males in the Dominican Republic and Poland between 2000 and 2013, was sentenced in Poland to 7 years in prison and restitution of $41,735. He was also charged with possession of child pornography and illegal possession of a gun. Source: Reuters, 3-25-15

William Kokesch, 68, Pointe-Claire, Canada: 2 years less 1 day in prison, barred from public areas where children are likely to gather and forbidden to use a computer after pleading guilty to producing and distributing child pornography. Kokesch, a deacon at St. Edmund of Canterbury Parish and communications director for the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, had almost 100,000 photos of nude children as young as 5 and 2,000 videos. Source: Canadian Press, 3-25-15

Daniel Curran, 64, Newcastle, N.Ireland: 3 years in prison suspended after pleading guilty to gross indecency and indecent assault on a child. It was the 5th conviction for Curran, a Catholic priest already sentenced to 13 years, 8 months in prison.

Curran admitted to offenses in 1990–93 at a family cottage when the victim was between 7 and 10. He took altar boys, including the victim, to the cottage and plied them with alcohol. Source: Belfast Telegraph, 3-24-15

Stanislaus Hogan, 70, Adelaide, Australia: 30 months in prison with parole eligibility in 10 months. Hogan, a Jesuit Catholic priest, had more 1,500 books, magazines and videos of young boys in his private quarters at St. Ignatius' College in 2013.

Hogan told the court he used books and videos to help understand pedophiles and himself. Judge Peter Brebner told him that porn production exploits children, even though Hogan's conduct toward students was said to be impeccable. Source: abc.net.au, 3-20-15

John D. Maguire, 71, Sydney: 21 to 36 months in prison for 6 indecent assault convictions of a student in the 1980s. Maguire, a Marist Catholic brother, was charged with molesting a boy, starting when he was 11. The victim testified he once awoke in his dorm to find Maguire performing oral sex on him. Maguire still denies the allegations. Source: AAP, 3-20-15

Jeffrey D. Williams, 48, Corinth, TX: 5 years' deferred probation and $1,000 fine after pleading guilty to causing injury to a child. Williams, pastor at the Church of Corinth ("a missional Christian community"), was originally indicted on a charge of solicitation of a minor for attempting to "request, command or attempt to induce an individual younger than 17 years of age to expose her genitals" in 2013. Source: Record-Chronicle, 3-13-15

Josh Wheeless, 29, Cary, NC: 45 days in jail suspended and 12 months' probation after pleading guilty to contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Wheeless, minister of youth and outreach at Landmark Freewill Baptist Church, exchanged nude photos with a 16-year-old girl. Source: WRAL, 3-11-15

Duane E. Youngblood, 48, Wilkinsburg, PA: 16 to 48 months in prison and 3 years' probation after pleading guilty to 3rd-degree corruption of minors for molesting 2 teen boys he was counseling between 2009–11 as pastor at Higher Call World Outreach Ministries Inc. Source: triblive.com, 3-11-15

Civil Lawsuits Filed

Catherine Bergin is suing Nicholas Assi and the Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, alleging sexual harassment, sexual battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress. She alleges Assi, assistant pastor at American Martyrs Church in Manhattan Beach, put his arms around her last April in the sacristy while she was volunteering and whispered, "Hi, darling," then caressed her lower abdomen and "put his nose in plaintiff's neck and took deep breaths."

Assi engaged in similar inappropriate behavior with her in December 2013 and March 2014, alleges Bergin, who is married.

An investigator for the church said "boundary violations" occurred but denied allegations of sexual assault. Assi was removed from American Martyrs in May. An oversight board recommended he "be reinstated to priestly functions and reassigned to another parish," the suit states. Source: CNS, 3-25-15

A lawsuit alleges the Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles moved abusive Vincentian priest Carlos R. Rodriguez to a different parish after he spent time at a treatment facility for molesting a boy, 16. The suit details allegations from the late 1980s and early 1990s. Rodriguez was convicted of molesting 2 other boys in 2004 after being defrocked in 1998. He lives in Huntington Park now.

The suit alleges he was placed back into ministry in Santa Paula to work with Spanish-speaking families after treatment in Maryland. Court documents say he then molested boys who attended Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church. Source: AP, 3-23-15

A suit filed in S. Carolina names former Catholic priest Wayland Y. Brown and the Diocese of Savannah, GA, as defendants. The plaintiff alleges he was molested as a student at St. James Catholic School in Savannah in 1987–88 and at various S. Carolina locations. Brown was sentenced to prison in 2003 for abusing 2 boys in the 1970s and removed from the priesthood in 2004.

Records show church officials were aware of concerns about Brown as early as 1969, with some diocesan staff objecting to his ordination in 1977. Source: AP, 3-23-15

Mohammad Qatanani, Paterson, NJ, Islamic Center of Passaic County president, is being sued by 4 former board members who allege he misappropriated $88,000 from the center to pay his legal bills, health insurance and tuition for his children.

The federal government is trying to deport the imam due to his alleged ties to the Palestinian political group Hamas. Source: The Record, 3-20-15
A Shelton, CT, man alleges in a lawsuit he was repeatedly molested as an altar boy at St. Patrick Catholic Parish in the late 1970s and early 1980s by Fr. Walter Coleman. At least 5 others have sued over alleged abuse by Coleman, who retired in 1995 and lives in Pompano Beach, FL.

Records ordered to be made public by a federal court 5 years ago showed the diocese had been receiving complaints about Coleman since 1976. Source: CT Post, 3-18-15

Three women who allege they were molested by Carpinteria Community Church youth minister Louis Bristol are suing Bristol, the church and the Presbytery of Santa Barbara, CA. Bristol, 31, pleaded guilty in 2014 to sex crimes after admitting to preying on members of his worship team, sometimes at a Holiday Inn.
According to the suit, the congregation reacted with "at best disbelief and in some cases outright hostility" to victims after allegations were made. Source: Santa Barbara Independent, 3-15-15

A lawsuit seeking $1.5 million alleges Phillip L. Shumaker, Austin, TX, former deacon at River Road Baptist Church, masturbated in front of a church member suffering from stage-4 ovarian cancer when he delivered a Thanksgiving meal at her home in 2013.

The suit alleges Shumaker groped the woman under her shirt and ejaculated on it. He allegedly returned several more times to grope her and masturbate. He was criminally charged twice with indecent exposure. Source: KXAN, 3-15-15

"John Doe 117" is suing the Diocese of Ft. Worth, TX, for $1 million for alleged sexual abuse by Fr. John H. Sutton at Notre Dame Catholic School in Wichita Falls in the early 1990s. Sutton, who died in 2004, would take him into the school chapel, Doe alleges, and grope him while he was praying.

Eventually, Sutton raped him with sex toys from a black bag, the suit alleges. Doe, who lives in Washington state, said he heard a camera clicking on some occasions. Other times, Sutton stuffed a towel in his mouth to stifle his cries, Doe claims. Source: Dallas Observer, 3-8-15

Civil Lawsuits Settled

The Catholic Diocese of Norwich, CT, settled a suit for $1.1 million with a woman who alleged she was sexually assaulted at least 60 times by Fr. Thomas Shea. "Jane Doe No. 2" alleged Shea, a family friend, started molesting her when she was 3 and continued until she was 16. He died in 2006 at age 85.

Shea has been accused of molestation by at least 15 girls, including by a woman who tried to kill herself 3 times by age 23. The suit also alleges Bishop Daniel Reilly moved Shea from parish to parish in the wake of complaints.

A memo in Shea's file written by current Bishop Michael Cote says "the trail of destruction caused by Thomas W. Shea is staggering." Source: Hartford Courant, 3-23-15

Finances

The Catholic Diocese of Oslo, Norway, is alleged to have fraudulently registered thousands of people as members between 2010–14 to obtain about $6 million in state subsidies.

Predominantly Protestant Norway subsidizes organized religions. Authorities allege the diocese went through phone books to find people with foreign-sounding names and added them to church rolls, often without their knowledge, which doubled membership to 140,000 from 2010–14. Source: AFP, 3-19-15

Legal Developments

A New Jersey federal district court rejected claims by several rabbis and Orthodox Jews charged with kidnapping and conspiracy for using coercive tactics to force husbands to give their wives divorce documents called "gets." The court ruled that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act had no bearing on the cases. Source: Religion Clause, 3-22-15

Melvin Randall, 44, Williamsburg, VA: Charges of taking indecent liberties with a child and contributing to the delinquency of a minor were dropped by a grand jury, which indicted Randall for aggravated sexual battery. The criminal complaint said deputies investigating a possible burglary found Randall, former youth pastor at Faith Alive Outreach Ministries, in a car with a 7-year-old girl who was putting her clothes on in the back seat.

The arrest report said the girl told police that Randall took her clothes off and hugged and kissed her and that they got together every other Saturday to sell doughnuts for the church. Source: WTKR, 3-20-15

Prosecutors successfully appealed the 2013 sentence of Joe Seephis Hardie, 70, former pastor at New Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Lakeland, FL. A state appeals court panel ordered the circuit judge to issue a stricter sentence for Hardie's conviction for embezzling $115,000 from the church. He was sentenced to 90 days in jail, 90 days of weekend work release, 2 years of house arrest, 18 years of probation and monthly restitution of $500.

The state appealed the "downward departure" of the sentence, which was below minimum sentencing standards. Source: Lakeland Ledger, 3-20-15

Hector Coria-Gonzalez, 46, Davis, CA: Taken into custody by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials to face formal deportation proceedings. Coria-Gonzalez, a Mexico native, pleaded guilty in 2014 to statutory rape for engaging in sexual acts with a 16-year-old girl who belonged to St. James Catholic Parish, where he was pastor. Source: Sacramento Bee, 3-20-15

A Philadelphia jury was again unable to reach a verdict in a trial of Andrew McCormick, 58, a Catholic priest accused of molesting a 10-year-old altar boy in 1997. The mistrial came 1 day shy of a year since the previous hung jury.

McCormick wished court staff a happy Easter as he signed a subpoena to appear at a hearing April 10, the date by which the state must decide whether to try him again. Source: philly.com, 3-12-15

A Missouri judge ordered the St. Louis Catholic Archdiocese to turn over records on sex abuse allegations for 2 decades as part of a civil suit filed by parents of a man who killed himself in 2009. The suit alleges Fr. Bryan Kuchar molested their son between 1999 and 2002. The Vatican defrocked him in 2006 after he was convicted for molesting a 14-year-old boy. Source: AP, 3-11-15

U.S. District Judge Lawrence Stengel reversed a lower court's decision to allow bail for Mark Haynes, 55, Westtown, PA, a Catholic priest charged with trading child pornography and enticing 25 teen girls to send him explicit photos of themselves. Haynes used the alias "Katie Caponetti" online.

Prosecutors told the judge that 3 accusers have surfaced since Haynes' arrest in October. One alleged in court filings that Haynes assaulted her as a teen in the 1990s during confession. When she confessed to oral sex with her boyfriend, "Mr. Haynes said she would be absolved of those sins by performing oral sex on him," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Rotella.

She said prosecutors have also learned about Haynes' alleged plans to meet a girl at Walt Disney World for sex. Source: The Inquirer, 3-6-15

Allegations

Jeff Buchheit, Waterloo, IA, and his lawyer held a press conference to allege sexual abuse by Fr. Leo Riley when Buchheit was a 4th-grade altar boy in 1985 at Resurrection Catholic Church in Dubuque. Riley first assaulted him before school in the church, Buchheit told reporters.

"I've been actively working myself up to this point of understanding how to deal with the shame and how to deal with the fear, so I could step forward," he said.
The Diocese of Venice, FL, which put Riley on paid leave during the investigation, said he "strenuously denies" the allegation. The Archdiocese of Dubuque paid $5.2 million in 2013 to settle 26 abuse claims.

"The sad simple truth is, the overwhelming majority of adults who were abused as kids can't report these crimes until decades later," said David Clohessy of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, adding that the investigation shouldn't be confined to Iowa. Source: KCRG/Fox 4, 3-24-15

"M.I.," 34, Dubai, UAR: M.I., a Bangladeshi imam with a chef's visa, allegedly groped an 8-year-old boy's genitals during Quran study class, the alleged victim's father, a Pakistani, told the Dubai Criminal Court.

The father told the court he'd asked the imam to come to their home 3 days a week for Quran instruction for the boy and his 5-year-old brother. Source: Emirates 24/7, 3-17-15

Police in Mt. Eliza, Australia, are investigating claims of sex abuse at the Shiva School of Meditation and Yoga. Russell Kruckman, aka Swami Shankarananda, 73, resigned as director but remained as spiritual head of the ashram after it was revealed he'd had sexual relationships with up to 40 women there.
A sign at the ashram read, "Surrender is doing it when you don't want to," an alleged victim said. Source: The Age, 3-16-15

Restoration Youth Academy, Prichard, AL, described as a private Christian boot camp for troubled teens, was closed by Mobile police for sanitary violations after serving a search warrant during an investigation of physical abuse allegations. All 36 teens were removed.

Camp founder William Knott was arrested on an unrelated domestic violence warrant. Pastor John Young was arrested on a traffic warrant. Source: WPLG, 3-13-15
The head of the Office of the Children's Advocate in Jamaica said youth are being sexually abused by clergy members. "We have received reports in relation to deacons, elders and prayer warriors," said Diahann Gordon Harrison.

"Children are being robbed, raped and murdered," Gordon Harrison alleged. "They are being abused in homes, in communities, in schools, in the church, and so it is common knowledge that children are victims." Source: Jamaica Gleaner, 3-10-15

The University of Arizona in Tucson is investigating Faith Christian Church, which has operated on campus for 25 years and is being described as a cult by at least 20 former members and staffers.

"Their stories include reports of hitting infants with cardboard tubes to encourage submission, financial coercion, alienation from parents, public shaming of members and shunning of those who leave the church or question its leaders," a newspaper report said.

Neither Faith Christian's founder and head pastor Stephen Hall, 62, nor executive pastor Ian Laks, 50, responded to repeated requests for comment. Source: Daily Star, 3-6-15

Removed / Resigned

Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Cardinal Keith O'Brien as head of the Catholic Church in Scotland over allegations of sexual misconduct.
O'Brien will keep his title but be barred from all clerical activities.

O'Brien resigned as archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh in 2013 amid allegations of sexual impropriety made by 4 priests. O'Brien, an outspoken opponent of gay rights, was named "bigot of the year" in 2012 by the gay rights group Stonewall.

The first allegation against him dates to 1980. The complainant was a 20-year-old seminarian at St. Andrew's College, where O'Brien was his "spiritual director." Source: The Guardian, 3-20-15

Richard Rodgers, 79, was removed by the Diocese of Motherwell as pastor of St. Mary's Catholic Parish in Cleland, Scotland, during a police probe of historic sex abuse allegations. Source: Motherwell Times, 3-18-16

Four senior staff at the Yeshivah Center, an Orthodox school in Melbourne, resigned after victims of sex abuse called for resignations. Chaim New, Yirmi Loebenstein, Sue Susskind and Don Wolf resigned from the school's committee of management.

The Chabad community has been embroiled in a cover-up scandal since victim Manny Waks came forward in 2011. Three Orthodox men have been convicted: former security guard David Cyprys, former teacher David Kramer and Daniel Hayman, former school director in Sydney. Source: Haaretz, 3-14-15

Pope Francis removed Curtis Wehmeyer, 50, St. Paul, MN, from the priesthood. He pleaded guilty to molesting 2 boys and is serving a 5-year prison term. He's also charged with molesting a teen boy who was unconscious. No plea has been entered in that case. Source: AP, 3-11-15

Yuan Zhiming, founder of China Soul for Christ Foundation, Rohnert Park, CA, resigned to "retreat in the Lord and seek renewal" after being accused of rape, a charge he denies.

His accuser is Chai Ling, founder of All Girls Allowed, which campaigns against China's 1-child policy and other injustices against women. She alleged the pastor raped her in 1990. Zhiming and Ling were both involved in the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests in Beijing, then came to the U.S. to become born-again Christians.

Ling alleged Zhiming tried to get her to watch an adult video, forced her to the floor and "covered my eyes with the jackets that fell during my struggle."

An inquiry by 18 pastors detailed 3 more alleged incidents, including one with a China Soul intern on a 2013 trip to Paris. Zhiming allegedly invited her into his hotel room to watch the Korean sex comedy "Horny Family" on his computer, embraced her and asked her to sleep with him. She refused and reported the incident. Source: S. China Morning Post, 3-3-15

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