Thursday, June 22, 2000


The never-ending chronicle of church-related crime

(This chroncile is generally udpated each weekend. If you would like to have the weekly update e-mailed to you, drop us a note.)

November 7 - 13, 2005.

  • Edwin Scherzer, an 80-year-old retired priest living in Louisville, Kentucky, pleaded guilty to sexually abusing four boys in the 1950s and 1960s. "One of the accusers says Scherzer choked and sexually abused him after instructing him to take off his clothes," reported WKYT News.

  • Leonard Robertson, pastor of Prepare the Way Community Church in Medina, Ohio, and father of 17 children, was "arrested for rape and gross sexual imposition for allegations involving two of his adopted children," reported WKYC News.

  • Eugene Ward Jr., pastor of Greater Love Missionary Full Gospel Baptist Church in Cleveland, Ohio, was charged with domestic violence and aggravated menacing after police said Ward beat his wife. According to the Plain Dealer, Antoinette Sims-Ward told police Ward had choked her with a phone cord, and that her nightgown and panties were ripped off in the fight; Mrs. Ward ran to a neighbor's house, naked save for an overcoat. Ward is well known as an anti-gay marriage activist. According to a Plain Dealer article from 2004:

    "If we allow same-sex marriage, it will be the beginning of the fall of the nation," said Bishop Eugene Ward Jr. of Greater Love Missionary Full Gospel Baptist Church. "It's important to the future of humanity."... "It's not that I say it's wrong. It's that the Bible says it's wrong," Ward said of same-sex marriage. "I'm a firm believer if we're going to save our society, I'm not worried about Osama bin Laden coming in and attacking Cleveland. But I'm concerned about the enemy that is already within."

  • Dennis "Tony" Montoya, assistant minister at Word of Grace Church in Mesa, Arizona, pleaded guilty to molesting an 8-year-old girl 13 years ago, when Montoya was 15.

  • Timothy Paul Rowell, youth director at Main Street Baptist Church in Kernersville, N.C., pleaded guilty to taking indecent liberties and statutory sexual offense in a case involving two teenage girls.

  • Warren Jeffs, the "prophet" of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints who has been indicted on two counts of sexual conduct with a minor and one count of conspiracy to commit sexual conduct with a minor for marrying a 16-year-old girl to a much older married man, "comes and goes with impunity" from the 1,700-acre Yearn for Zion Ranch near Waco, Texas, said Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard.

  • In the last few years, as many as 100 people have filed sex-abuse lawsuits accusing more than a dozen priests and volunteers of the Oregon Province of the Society of Jesus-- the Jesuit order in Oregon, reported the Oregonian.

  • Jerald Schara, pastor at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Marxville, Wisconsin, was arrested on child pornography charges.

  • Kerry Von Smith, pastor of Howard General Baptist Church in Quitman, Arkansas, was arrested on charges of leaving the scene of an accident that left one man dead. "The attorney representing Smith says his position as a pastor only strengthens his case," reported KATV News.

  • Talbert L. Gwynn, pastor of Wilmington (Delaware) Church of Christ, pleaded guilty to groping two male church members, reported the Williminton News Journal:

    According to police, Gwynn grabbed a 14-year-old boy’s genitals in February, when the boy was staying at Gwynn’s house. That same month, Gwynn grabbed a 25-year-old man, who was at his house for Bible study, kissed him on the lips and then hugged him, police said. As the man pulled away, Gwynn placed his hands under the man’s shirt, then grabbed his buttocks.

  • Gregory Fladeland, minister at Covenant United Methodist Church in Lancaster County, Penns., was sentenced to 3½ to 7 years in prison after he was found guilty on one count each of criminal attempt at rape, aggravated indecent assault, indecent assault and simple assault, reported the Intelligencer-Journal:

    According to a report filed by Millersville police Sgt. Howard R. Bauman, a woman with whom Fladeland had a previous relationship told police she woke to find him in her bedroom in the early morning hours of Aug. 22, 2004... "Greg Fladeland took his clothes off and proceeded to force (the woman) to have sex with him," the report states. "(The woman) stated that she tried to force him away, but Greg was too strong." Fladeland pulled down the woman's pajama bottoms and ripped off her top, Bauman says in the report. "(The woman) was fighting Greg and bit him on the right shoulder," Bauman's report states. "Greg Fladeland then said, 'Oh, this is how you want it.' Greg Fladeland then struck (the woman) in the head two to three times with an open fist." Fladeland ultimately was unable to complete the sexual act, according to Bauman's report.

  • James Michael Holthus, pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church in Lake Crystal and St. John Lutheran Church in Rapidan, Minnesota, was arrested on charges of first- and third-degree criminal sexual conduct after a man said that when he was about 14 Holthus took him on trips, showed him pornography, bought him boxer shorts, asked him to pose for photos -- and had sex with him, including once at the church parsonage on Christmas Eve, reported the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:

    The complaint, signed by Blue Earth County Sheriff's Capt. Will Purvis, said Holthus admitted to fondling the boy but denied giving him oral sex. The complaint said Holthus admitted there were times when he groped the boy while he was sleeping and, "for some reason, that made me feel" as if "this kid is all mine."

    The pastor's supporters packed the courtroom for Holthus' arraignment and have started a legal defense fund.

    October 31 - November 6, 2005

  • Robert A. Nelson, organist at Immanuel St. James Episcopal Church in Derby, Conn., pleaded guilty to having sex with a 10-year-old girl, one of three girls he admitted to sexually assaulting, reported the Connecticut Post:

    According to court documents released in December, the girl was 10 years old when she first met Nelson, then an organist at Immanuel St. James Episcopal Church in Derby. Nelson would take her and other young girls to his Naugatuck apartment, where he would ply them with wine coolers and pay them to watch pornographic movies, pose naked for pictures, and photograph him masturbating, the records stated. One of the girls described having sexual intercourse with Nelson about 20 times.

  • Roy Burton, pastor of Victory Baptist Church in Fairborn, Ohio, was charged with importuning and attempted unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, after he allegedly used an internet chat room to make arrangements to meet someone he thought was a 15-year-old girl, but who in reality was an undercover police officer.

  • John Edward Johnson, listed as a "Reverend" in court papers, was charged with felony embezzlement and obtaining money by false pretenses in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Johnson is accused of stealing a $14,090 lottery prize from a homeless dementia patient.

  • Johnny Lewis Jr., minister at Whitesville [Georgia] Full Gospel Baptist Church, was charged with first degree forgery, for allegedly passing a forged check in the name of the church. It was the second time Lewis had been charged with forgery over the past year.

  • Victor Icenogle, pastor of Promise Land Church in San Antonio, Texas who was known to parishoners as "Apostle Alex," was found guilty on three counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child, a 10-year-old girl.

  • Randy Radic, pastor of First Congregational Church in Ripon, California, was arrested on embezzlement and forgery charges related to what police say was a scheme to sell the church without permission of the church's board of directors, through forged documents. Radic is accused of diverting $400,000 of the sale into his personal banking accounts. Police recovered more than $350,000 in cash as well as a 2006 BMW valued at more than $100,000.

  • Jim Whittington, a minister who was the "on-air presence" for Fountain of Life Ministries, a North Carolina church, was ordered to pay $848,532 to the estate of Valeria Lust, a wheelchair-bound woman from whom Whittington had been convicted of stealing the money.

  • Bruce MacArthur, a priest who had repeatedly raped a Wisconsin girl over a seven-year period, told investigators that he had raped so many girls he couldn't remember them all. MacArthur, according to transcripts of the interviews with investigators published by KLTM News, went on to say that church officials were aware of the rapes but instead of notifying authorities transferred him to six different churches in a ten year period. He continued to rape girls throughout the period, he said.

  • Scott E. Nash, youth minister at Trinity Episcopal Church in Tilton, New Hampshire, had reached a plea bargain with prosecutors, in which he would plead guilty to second-degree assault in response to charges that he digitally penetrated a 4-year-old girl. The deal would have meant that Nash would not have to register as a sex offender. The judge in the case, however, rejected the deal, and Nash is to face trial.

  • Danny O. Hill, a Baptist minister in Gibson City, Illinois, was sentenced to four years in prison, the minimum sentence, for sexually assaulting a teenage girl numerous times over a six-year period. "[The victim] said one of the assaults occurred when she was sedated while recovering from injuries suffered in a traffic wreck," reported the Pantagraph. Hill might have faced a 15-year prison term, but prosecutors asked for the minimum sentence " because of Hill's lack of a criminal record, his work as a Baptist minister and his work in other fields."

  • Dustin Beck, a youth pastor and high school teacher in Marcola, Oregon, pleaded guilty to sexually abusing two female students.

  • James Poole, a retired priest who has already been accused of raping or sexually assaulting three girls in rural Alaska, was accused of exposing himself to and sexually abusing a fourth girl, then seven years old.

    October 24 - 30, 2005

    Our first three items consist of fall-out from the Philadelphia grand jury report:

  • Vincent M. Walsh, who the Philadelphia grand jury report accused of covering up sexual abuse by priests in his position as Cardinal John Krol's assistant chancellor, resigned as pastor of Presentation Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania. According to the grand jury report, "Walsh 'sat silently' while parents praised a priest for befriending their sons without alerting them to the priest's known sadomasochistic behavior, and later heard complaints about the priest and failed to alert the parish pastor," reported the Associated Press.

  • Samuel E. Shoemaker, another priest named in the grand jury report, was confronted by 400 parishoners at St. Ignatius of Antioch Church in Yardley, Pennsylvania. Shoemaker served as chancellor under former Cardinals Anthony Bevilacqua and John Krol, and was responsible for keeping 63 known abusers in the ministry, according to the grand jury report. One parishoner held a sign reading "Justice = Prison," reported the Morning Call. "You must go," a man told Shoemaker, with applause lasting 30 seconds following his remarks. "If you can't stand up against these actions as a leader, then I can't have you as our leader," said a woman.

  • James M. Iannarella, one of 63 priests named in the grand jury report, nonetheless continued to work as assistant vice president in Drexel University's Office of Government and Community Relations until the Philadelphia Daily News disclosed his employment status:

    Iannarella allegedly molested a 17-year-old female parishioner in 1999 at St. Joseph Church in Aston, Delaware County, where he was parochial vicar, according to the report... In his Drexel post, Iannarella served as liaison to the Miss Philadelphia Organization's beauty pageant last year, where he mingled with dozens of teenage stunners.


  • The trial of William Crotts and Thomas Grabinski, who are accused of taking more than $550 million from more than 11,000 investors in the Baptist Foundation of Arizona, will likely continue for five more months and cost millions of dollars as prosecutors and defendants battle with competing tax experts, accountants and outside attorneys, reported the Arizona Republic:

    William Crotts and Thomas Grabinski each face three counts of fraud, 27 counts of theft and two counts of illegally conducting an enterprise in the wake of the foundation's 1999 bankruptcy... Five other BFA employees or associates already have pleaded guilty to related felony charges in exchange for their testimony against Crotts and Grabinski. A sixth is too ill to go to trial.

  • John Powell, a priest and retired Loyola University professor, was the subject of two lawsuits settled by the Society of Jesus in Chicago. The suits alleged that Powell had sexually abused seven women in the 1960s and early 1970s. A third suit was also settled. That suit alleged that Wilton Skeffington, a priest and teacher at Loyola Academy who has since died, had sexually abused a male student at the school. Terms of the settlements were not published.

  • Jason R. Dolan, pastor at SS. Peter & Paul Byzantine Catholic Church in Portage and St. Michael Byzantine Catholic Church in South Fork, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography.

  • Clarence Heis, pastor of St. Michael Parish in Mechanicsburg, Ohio and Immaculate Conception in North Lewisburg, Ohio, was placed on on indefinite administrative leave by the Archdiocese of Cincinnati after he was arrested for public indecency and resisting arrest at the Huffman Dam Five Rivers MetroPark in Bath Township. "According to a report from park rangers," reported the Dayton Daily News, "Heis was arrested Wednesday with two other men when a ranger, acting as a decoy, observed the men engaged in lewd acts."

  • Jason Anthony Russell, a Lexington, Kentucky man, was sentenced to 30 years in prison for murdering Joseph Pilger, a priest who in 1995 had pleaded guilty to sexually molesting four boys at St. Francis Borgia Roman Catholic Church in Sturgis, Kentucky. Pilger's guily plea was part of a deal with prosecutors that gave Pilger no jail time. Russell, who claims to have been abused as a youngster, "has said he decided to kill [Pilger] after the retired priest offered $5,000 to have sex with Russell's then-6-year-old son," reported the Associated Press. "Russell also claims that he had twice walked in on the retired priest masturbating with photos of Russell's son and catalog clippings of other children." Russell had pleaded guilty to the murder with the understanding that he would be sentenced to life in prison instead of facing the death penalty, but Fayette Circuit Judge Gary Payne imposed the lesser sentence after receiving a letter from one of Pilger's victims, who wrote that Russell had "done a society a favor" by killing a "pedophile monster that preyed upon innocent little boys while in a position of authority and calling him self a man of God."

  • Roman Kramek, a priest from Poland visiting Sacred Heart Church in New Britain, Conn., was deported back to Poland after completing a nin-month prison term for sexually assaulting a 17-year-old girl during a counseling session. Kramek told the victim the attack was a "counseling technique" to show her that "sex with a man can be pleasurable."

  • Judith Lynn Anderson, the business manager at First United Methodist Church of Waukesha, Wisconsin, was sentenced to two years in prison for stealing $253,000 in church funds.

  • Alan Webster, minister and headmaster at Huntsville [Alabama] Christian Academy, was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison after he pleaded guilty to possession and manufacture of child pornography. Webster had hundreds of pornographic images on his computer, and had taken nude photos of one of his students.

  • Mohammad Bolton, youth minister with the Church of Harvest International in Jonesboro, Georgia, was arrested for trying to arrange a sexual encounter with someone he thought was a 15-year-old girl, but who in reality an undercover police officer. Police claimed Bolton had sent the "girl" an obscene photo of himselve over the internet, and asked to sneak into her house. "I do it all the time. It is easy," he reported said.

  • Ron Durham, pastor of Abundant Life Church in Bangor, Maine, was arrested in Georgia on charges of embezzling more than $100,000 from the church.

  • Narciso Mendoza, pastor at Word Of Faith Church in San Antonio, Texas, spent four days in jail after disrupting a city council meeting. Mendoza supports Proposition 2, reported KSAT-TV, and wanted to know where the council stood on the issue. He spoke his alloted time, but refused to leave the podium. He then refused to sit down and instead "threw himself on the floor," according to a San Antonio Police Department report.

  • Ranson Parris, a "bishop" of the New Hope Metropolitan Community Church and Christian Center in Jefferson, West Virginia, was arrested for failing to register as a sex offender. "[West Virginia State] Trooper [Brian] Morris says Parris was convicted of a sex crime with a minor in California," reported the State Journal. "Parris did register as a sex offender in Florida but gave a Roanoke, Virginia address.The 63 year old man has a long rap sheet that spans several states and includes sixteen aliases, said Morris."

  • John Schwartz, a priest who is the target of a lawsuit by a man who says Schwartz sexually abused him when he was a student at the Jesuit High School in Beaverton, Orgon, was the subject of a publicity campaign by the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) outside St. Anselm's Catholic Church in Ross, California, where Schwartz had been re-assigned. St. Anselm's School is around the corner from the church.

  • Joseph Herp, a priest who had been accused of sexual abuse in four lawsuits in 2002 and 2003, was dismissed by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Louisville, Kentucky, reported the Associated Press:

    The Vatican also ordered Robert Dollinger, J. Irvin Mouser and Edwin Scherzer to live in prayer and penance. They are not allowed to perform any public ministry, present themselves as priests or have unsupervised contact with minors. The Vatican uses that option in cases of "health problems or advanced age," according to the archdiocese's report.

  • Robert Ascolese, priest at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Washington Borough, New Jersey, took a temporary leave of absence while a financial audit of the parish is conducted in response to parishoners' concerns about church finances.

  • William M. Naughton, pastor of Resurrection Church in Randolph, New Jersey, pleaded guilty to stealing $360,000 from the church, reported the Daily Record:

    Naughton, who was ordered by the Diocese of Paterson to step down as the church pastor in 2001, told the judge today that he set up a charity account in the church's name and used its proceeds for his own benefit, withdrawing $360,000 over more than five years. Naughton did not disclose to the judge how he spent the money but, outside court, his attorney said a major portion was spent to help a man named Harold Reid, with whom Naughton decades ago had a brief sexual relationship. The pair remained friends over the years, and Naughton repeatedly assisted Reid when he asked for help, Gilbreth said.

  • Joan Marie Sladky, a Spanish teacher at a private Baptist school in Redwood City, California, was sentenced to six months in jail for having a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old student.

    October 17- 23, 2005

  • Nicholas V. Cudemo, a Philadelphia-area priest who had been defrocked because he had molested dozens of girls, peformed a baptism at Christ The King Church in Haddonfield, New Jersey. Explained the Philadelphia Daily News:

    From the 1960s to the 1980s, Cudemo maintained sexual relationships with girls from the Catholic schools where he taught, molested a fifth grader in the confessional, invoked God to seduce and shame his victims, and once took an 11-year-old he raped for an abortion, according to the grand-jury report released last month by the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office.

  • The Fitzgerald Center, a treatment center in Jemez Springs, N.M. operated by the Servants of the Paraclete, which served thousands of priests, brothers and other religious people battling addiction, depression and sexual problems, including some priests who have become infamous locally and nationally for molesting young boys and girls, had destroyed background information on its charges before it closed in 1995. The information might have been used by litigants in the chuch abuse scandals.

  • Dana Brashear, youth group leader at Crossroads Baptist Church in Fort Myers, Florida who had been convicted on two counts of lewd/lascivious battery for having sex with a 12-year-old boy, has been sued by the victim's family. Also named in the suit was the church itself and the Lee County School Board, which allegedly did not report the victim's repeated absences from school while in Brashear's company. Brasher, said the suit, molested his victim under "the pretext of Bible study."

  • Damion Armond Rutues, youth pastor at Learning of the Lord Revival Ministry in Des Moines, Iowa, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for molesting three girls between the ages of 8 and 11 in his apartment and his church office. Rutues' mother is the pastor of the church.

  • "An allegation of sexual misconduct against Monsignor Peter Cheplic that Archdiocese investigators deemed 'credible' was referred to county prosecutors, an Archdiocese spokesman said yesterday," reported the New Jersey Journal. "The investigation, concluded by the Archdiocese Response Team in April 2003, was of a March 2002 allegation by Martin Kansky that Cheplic had sexually molested him at a house at the Shore in 1978, when Kansky was 18 and Cheplic was pastor of St. Matthew's Church in Ridgefield."

  • Richard L. McCaffrey, a priest in Fairbanks, Alaska who has been removed from his duties while church officials investigate abuse allegations, has been accused by a second women of sexual misconduct. "The lawsuit alleges McCaffrey molested the first plaintiff in Tununak, a Western Alaska village, between 1978 and 1979, and the second plaintiff in Hooper Bay in 1980 and 1981," reported the Associated Press. "Both Yupik Eskimo villages are more than 600 miles southwest of the diocese, which serves 47 parishes throughout the Interior, the North Slope and the west coast of Alaska."

  • Lloyd D. Jones, youth pastor at Calvary Church in Naperville, Illinois, pleaded guilty to two aggravated criminal sexual abuse charges, admitting he made a male sophomore high school student perform a sex act on him while they were at Jones' apartment last year, and that he inappropriately touched a second 17-year-old he brought to his Naperville apartment in 2000.

  • Keith Vazquez and his wife, Rene Christou-Vazquez, the founders Dyvine Faith Breakthrough Church in Rosedale, Maryland and of Dynamic Women Weight Loss and Exercise Center in Dundalk, Maryland, were sentenced on tax charges. "Between 1996 and 1999, the Vazquezes left income unreported, submitted false information or failed to file tax returns altogether for some years, according to a February press release from the U.S. Department of Justice," reported the Dundalk (Md.) Eagle. The tax charges were related to operation of the weight loss center. "Calling the centers 'a safe haven for women,' Keith Vazquez said they provide support groups and crisis counseling in addition to Bible study groups. He and his wife still own the Dynamic Women centers in Dundalk, Golden Ring, Towson and Fallston. They called their tax troubles a transforming time, one that led them to a life of service to others."

  • Alberto Bondy, pastor at St. Anne Catholic Church in Warren, Michigan, has been accused of choking and slapping a fellow priest two years ago after a wedding at his previous church in Center Line, and of hitting a 16-year-old boy with a duffel bag in August after accusing the teen of "joyriding" on a lawnmower in front of St. Anne's.

  • Larry Davis, the pastor of First Baptist Church in Cold Spring (Kentucky) who had earlier pleaded guilty to defrauding a bank and the federal government after $700,000 went missing from the church, resigned his post.

  • James Laudwein, a semi-retired priest now working in Portland, Oregon, was accused of molesting a 14-year-old Yupik Eskimo girl when he worked at St. Mary's Boarding School in Western Alaska, in 1980.

  • Michael Stephen Baker, a Los Angeles priest who had reportedly admitted to Cardinal Roger M. Mahony in 1986 that he had molested children from 1978 to 1985, was once again the target of a criminal investigation. "Mahony did not notify police but sent Baker to a residential facility that treated priests for sexual abuse problems," reported the Associated Press:

    Afterward, he was assigned to a series of nine other parishes but barred from having one-on-one contact with minors - restrictions he violated three times, according to church personnel file summaries that the archdiocese released. Baker has been accused of molesting more than 20 children between 1974 and 1999, according to the archdiocese.

  • Paul Lebrun, associate pastor at Little Flower Catholic Church in South Bend, Ind., is on trial for child molestation charges in Mesa, Arizona.

  • Donald Durand, a retired priest who had served in parishes in Portland, Salem, Corvallis and Silverton, Oregon, and who is accused of molesting six boys, asserted his Fifth Amendment rights over 80 times during a court proceeding, reported the Associated Press. "Hundreds of accusations of sexual abuse have been made in the last few years against more than three dozen Oregon priests."

  • Anthony Ocloo, a Ghana priest and MBA student at Saint John's University in New York, was charged with sexual abuse and child endangerment charges for allegedly fondling a 16-year-old girl in the rectory of Saint Ephrem's in Dyker Heights.

  • Kenneth “Tripp” Atkinson, youth minister at First Baptist Church in Columbia, South Carolina, remains on paid leave from his post while awaiting a grand jury appearance on charges that he raped a 13-year-old girl while working at his previous job, at Pawleys Island Community Church. "Atkinson has worshipped at First Baptist since the allegation surfaced, said attorney and church spokesman Bryan Barnes," reported the South Carolina State. "'I understand he was very warmly greeted,' he said. 'Everybody I talked to at church has been very supportive of him.'"

    October 9- 16, 2005

  • Ronald Lee Simpson, pastor of St. Matthews Missionary Baptist Church in St. Pauls, North Carolina, was charged with felony first-degree rape, felony first-degree sex offense of a child, felony statutory rape/sex offense of a child, felony attempted statutory rape of a child and felony indecent liberties with a child, after a paternity test confirmed Simpson was the father of a baby born to a 12-year-old girl. Also charged with raping the same girl was Simpson's 19-year-old stepson, Rodregous Wactor. As the Lumberton, North Carolina Robesonian reported:

    The investigation began in the fall of 2004 when it was reported to the Department of Social Services that the girl was pregnant. She told authorities that she had had sex with Wactor, but a paternity test showed that he was not the father. The girl then said she also had sex with Simpson, according to [Detective Howard] Branch. A separate test confirmed that the 41-year-old minister is the father of the girl's 13-month-old child, Branch said. The child victim is now 14 years old. Her baby lives with her, Branch said.

  • Louis Beres, chairman of the Christian Coalition of Oregon, was accused of sexually molesting three pre-teen female family members, and local police officials confirmed they were investigating. Beres declined to comment on the accusations, but posted a message on his website saying, "Even Christ refused to be called 'good.' Who am I to proclaim my righteousness?"

  • Reported the New York Times:

    The confidential personnel files of 126 clergymen in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles accused of sexual misconduct with children provide a numbing chronicle of 75 years of the church's shame, revealing case after case in which the church was warned of abuse but failed to protect its parishioners.

    In some cases, Cardinal Roger M. Mahony and his predecessors quietly shuffled the priests off to counseling and then to new assignments. In others, parents were offered counseling for their children and were urged to remain silent.

    Throughout the files, cases of child molesting or rape are dealt with by indirection or euphemism, with references to questions of "moral fitness" or accusations of "boundary violations." For years, anonymous complaints of abuse were ignored and priests were given the benefit of every doubt.

  • John Misseldine, a Mormon missionary from Little Rock, Arkansas, was sentenced to five years' probation after he pleaded no contest to charges of coercion and attempted lewdness with a child under 14 - two sisters aged four and seven - at a church in Las Vegas. "Misseldine won't have to serve jail time, and charges will be dropped if he completes probation," reported KESQ TV.

  • David Noel, pastor of Bethanie Seventh-day Adventist Church in Port Charlotte, Florida, asked sheriff deputies to remove 16 congregants from the church, as the congregants refused to stop singing as he tried to begin his sermon. The singers were "protesting Noel's leadership and alleged misuse of insurance money for damage to the church caused by Hurricane Charley," reported the Miami Herald. Another congregant, "alleged that Noel struck his chest and twisted his left earlobe during an Oct. 1 meeting to elect new church board members."

  • Michael H. D'Amico, was removed from his position as priest at St. Michael's Roman Catholic Church in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and permanently banned from the ministry, after officials at the Diocese of Camden substantiated allegations that D'Amico had molested a 13-year-old boy in 1964.

  • Francis Murphy, an Anchorage, Alaska priest, was named in a lawsuit filed by a man who said Murphy sexually molested him when he was 15 years old. "The Archdiocese of Anchorage has said that at least five other people have previously accused Murphy of abuse," reported the Associated Press. The lawsuit also named "the archbishops of Anchorage and Boston and the Missionary Society of St. James the Apostle, Boston-based diocesan priests that the plaintiff asserts brokered Murphy's transfer to Alaska even though the group normally assigns priests to South American countries."

  • Ronald Bruckner, the retired pastor of Our Lady of the Annunciation Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico, was placed on "restricted status" by Archbishop Michael Sheehan after the Archdiocesan Permanent Review Board decided "there were credible allegations" of sexual abuse against Bruckner. "Bruckner, who is in his 70s, will not be allowed to wear a Roman collar, but Sheehan told the Albuquerque Journal that Bruckner still would receive his pension," reported the Associated Press. "A man in his 40s alleged in March that Bruckner had inappropriately touched him when he was a teenager alone at the priest's home."

  • John Anderson, a former priest at Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church in Ladysmith, Wisconsin, told investigators that he had voiced concerns about the behavior of fellow priest Ryan Erickson to the pair's bishop, Raphael Fliss of the Superior Diocese, and asked that either of the men be transfered so that Anderson would not have to work alongside Erickson. Erickson was transfered to Hurley, Wisconsin, and four months later killed himself. Last month, a judge ruled that Erickson had "almost certainly" murdered two men in order to silence their accusations of sexual abuse against him. According to the Associated Press:

    According to a report by the Hudson Police Department, Anderson said Erickson's alcohol consumption worried him. Anderson remembered once when Erickson brought a cooler full of alcohol to a popular drinking spot, "Beer Can Island,'' in Hudson and partied the whole weekend. When Anderson voiced his concern to Erickson, Erickson responded, "I'm not a priest this weekend,'' the report said. Anderson also said he heard allegations that Erickson put firecrackers in the mouths of fish and watched them blow up, the report said.

  • In a bid to protect property from sexual molestation lawsuits, the Archdiocese of Portland, Oregon had declared bankruptcy last year, and argued that individual parishes and their parishoners were the true owners of an estimated $500 million to $600 million in parish property. But in a counter-move, litigants have filed a rare defendant class action lawsuit, naming all but about 280 of the nearly 400,000 Roman Catholic parishioners in Western Oregon as defendants, reported the Oregonian. The 280 parishoners not included in the suit are those who have asserted that they have no ownership of parish property. Lawyers have said all those who specifically denied ownership of the property would be dropped from the suit.

  • Curtis Hudson, the youth pastor at First United Methodist Church in Jackson, Tenn. who in 2002 was sentenced to 11 years in prison after pleading guilty to multiple counts of "attempt to commit child rape" and "sexual battery by an authority figure," involving male youth under his care, was named in a lawsuit filed by two of his victims, reported the Jackson Sun:

    To protect the identities of the victims, the plaintiffs are listed as John Doe I (now an adult) and John Doe II (still a minor) and Doe II's parents. The incidents involving Hudson occurred when Doe I was "approximately 14" and Doe II was "approximately 12," according to the suit... Court documents state that Hudson's "sexual abuse and rape (of the defendants)" occurred in various places, including the church classrooms, the youth area, various lodging houses at events sponsored by the church and at Hudson's home.

  • Activists with Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests (SNAP) and leaders of the Inland Community Church in Chino, California faced off outside the church as SNAP members handed out leaflets detailing a lawsuit filed by six people claiming three youth counselors at the church had abused them, reported the Ontario Daily Bulletin:

    SNAP members said church leaders followed them around the sidewalk near the church on Sunday, taking the leaflets out of congregants' hands and describing the contents as inaccurate. They also were told repeatedly by church members that the lawsuit had been dropped or dismissed - which Stephen Moran, the attorney for the plaintiffs, said is not true. "We have not dismissed this complaint. We have no intent to do so," Moran said.

  • Ignatius Kane, an 83-year-old Benedictine monk accused of sexually assaulting a prospective nun at St. Bernard's Abbey in Cullman, Alabama in 1970, was found mentally incompetent to stand trial because has incurable dementia. A woman claims Kane raped her in the abbey library during a spiritual retreat for women interested in becoming nuns.

  • Christopher Williams, a teacher and athletic director at Holy Spirit Episcopal School in Houston, Texas, was sentenced to 12 years and six months in prison and lifetime probation for receipt and possession of child pornography. Police were investigating allegations Williams had molested male students at the school when they discovered over 1,000 child pornography images on his computer.

  • A lawyer who has filed 13 law suits charging five priests working with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington, Vermont with child sexual abuse, told a judge he wants each case tried separately. As reported in the Rutland Herald:

    The latest round of lawsuits comes three years after state Attorney General William Sorrell launched an investigation against almost a dozen recently practicing Vermont Catholic priests and 30 former clergymen. Sorrell hasn't charged anyone criminally because the claims found credible are too old to prosecute under the state's various statutes of limitations.

    October 2 - 8, 2005

  • Darren L. Moore, a Sunday school teacher at a church in Norman, Oklahoma, was sentenced to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to three counts of forcible sodomy and one count of indecent exhibition of obscene material to a minor, a 7-year-old boy. As reported the Norman Transcript:

    The mother of the victim told the court, in a pre-sentence report, that her son didn't want to go to heaven because that's where Moore told him he was going and he wouldn't feel safe with Moore there.

  • The Catholic Diocese of New Ulm, Minnesota settled on undisclosed terms a lawsuit filed by two women alleging that David A. Roney, a priest at the Church of St. Mary in Willmar, Minnesota, had molested them. Five other women alleging they were molsted by Roney still have claims against the diocese. Roney is now dead.

  • Nelson Lynn Wright, pastor at Lighthouse Community Church in Ravenna, Ohio, was arrested and charged with soliciting minors for sex on-line. Police said Wright thought he was exchanging e-mails with teenage girls, but was actually communicating with undercover police investigators.

  • Ronald Durham, pastor of Abundant Life Church in Bangor, Maine, was indicted by a grand jury on charges of stealing more than $100,000 from the church.

  • West (Philadelphia) Catholic High School officials have renamed a scholarship originally named in honor of Francis A. Giliberti, a former priest and chaplain at the school who was one of 63 priests identified as child molestors by the Philadelphia Grand Jury report. As reported the Philadelphia Inquirer:

    The fund was a happy story about 17 years ago, when Giliberti bestowed it after winning a $1 million slots jackpot at the Trump Castle casino in Atlantic City... West Catholic officials were shocked to learn of Giliberti's long history of abusing boys, which the grand jury said included walking on boys as they masturbated.

  • William Schwartz, a priest accused of abusing 8th graders at St. Jude's Catholic school in Cedar Rapids, settled a lawsuit filed against him for an undisclosed amount. Three other suits against Schwartz remain. As reported in the Cedar Valley Courier:

    According to the suit, Schwartz went to [the victim's] home, took him and a friend for a walk and, in a secluded area, "engaged in improper physical and sexual contact" with Ortmann. The suit also alleges Schwartz physically and verbally intimidated Ortmann from discussing the incident later that summer during a church retreat at Sacred Heart Church in Rockwell, where Schwartz was pastor. In an answer to the suit, Schwartz "admits that there was, on one occasion, a single act of sexual contact between the defendant and the plaintiff," but denied other allegations.

  • Richard James Trepinski, choir director at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Port Charlotte, Florida who had in 1993 been sentenced to 20 years in prison for sexually molesting two children and was released on probation in 2001, was charged with violating the terms of his probation when he was found at Kid Star Park, an amusement park geared towards children.

  • The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis settled for an undisclosed amount a law suit that alleged Gilbert Gustafson, a priest at St. Mary of the Lake Catholic Church, had molested a woman. As part of the settlement, the diocese agreed to apologize to the victim in writing. Gustafson had in 1982 pleaded guilty to criminal charges of abusing an altar boy at St. Mary's.

  • Larry Davis, pastor of First Baptist Church of Cold Spring (Ohio), pleaded guilty to stealing up to $730,000 from the church, as part of a plea agreement. Davis faced a maximum 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine on a charge of falsifying a loan agreement, and faced other charges as well. "Prosecutors dropped three counts of income tax evasion and two counts of transferring stolen church money across state lines to buy a used Porsche 911 and minivan," reported the Cincinnati Enquirer. "Davis is [now] facing 24 to 30 months in prison and up to $199,000 in back taxes after pleading guilty in U.S. District Court to one count each of falsifying a loan application and income tax evasion.

  • Tadeusz Ulman, a priest visiting Chicago from Poland, was charged with raping a woman whose family had allowed him to stay in their home.

  • Richard Colbert, a priest at Father Flanagan's Girls and Boys Town in Omaha, Neb., was accused in a law suit of sexually abusing a student at the home. As reported by the Associated Press:

    The lawsuit claims Colbert developed "unhealthy, psychologically dependent relationships" with male students "to recruit them for sex." It also names Girls and Boys Town as a defendant, claiming it knew - or should have known - what Colbert was doing and should have better supervised him... the lawsuit claims Colbert also molested other unnamed students.

  • Robert Brooks, pastor of St. John the Apostle Catholic Church in Leesburg, Virginia, pleaded no contest to felony child pornography charges after federal customs investigators allegedly found his name registered on a child pornography Web site in September 2003, reported the Associated Press.

  • Ronald S. Falotico, pastor of Queen of Angels in Buena Borough, Philadelphia, was removed from his post after police named him as their primary suspect in the theft of about $7,000 from a rectory safe.

  • Robert David Keith, pastor of the Warren Hill Missionary Baptist Church in North Little Rock, Arkansas, was indicted by a grand jury on charges of stealing $11,000 from the church, buying a Mercedes Benz in the church's name, and conning an insurance company into paying to repair the car after he wrecked it, reported the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Keith has been a fugitive since August.

  • Lawrence Johnson Jr., a deacon at New Mickle Baptist Church in Camden, New Jersey, was indicted by a Camden County grand jury on charges that he molested five children under the age of 13, reported the Philadelphia Inquirer.

  • Bennie Chapman, pastor of Holy Bethel Christian Church in Chicago who is charged with predatory criminal sexual assault for allegedly molesting a girl from 1997, when she was 11, through 2000, when she was 14, has been sued by the girl's family, reported the Chicago Sun-Times.

  • John A. Oatis, pastor at Holy Jerusalem Church of God in Racine, Wisconsin, was was sentenced to four years in prison for raping a 15-year-old girl the church, reported the Racince Journal-Post. Although police used DNA evidence to connect Oatis to the girl's assault, he insisted throughtout both his jury trial and his sentencing hearing that he was innocent.

    September 25 - October 1, 2005

  • Robert L. Brennan, was removed from his position as chaplain to a retired nuns’ home because of the controversy caused after he was accused of molesting a total of more than 20 boys from four different parishes. Much of the controversy arose due to the Philadelphia Grand Jury Report, which documented that church officials knew of the abuse but covered it up by moving Brennan to multiple parishes.

  • Malcomb Kogut, music director at Saint Gabriel's Church in Rotterdam, New York, was sentenced to three years in prison for having oral sex with a 15-year-old choirboy. Said Kogut: "It was a blinded moment of temptation and weakness and I promise it will never happen again."

  • Sandra Beth Geisel, an English teacher at Christian Brothers Academy, a Catholic military training school in Albany, New York, was sentenced to six months in jail and 10 years probation for having sex with a 16-year-old student.

  • Stanley Luther Jones, once a minister at Albany (New York) Worship Center, Church of God in Christ, and now a preacher who "travels all over the Southeast visiting different churches and revivals," was charged with three counts of aggravated child molestation and one count of enticing a child for indecent purposes. "Those three counts of aggravated child molestation, represent three different victims, that a three month investigation indicated that he had victimized for a very extended period of time," said a police spokesperson.

  • Douglas Eugene Parker, a preacher in Hernado, Mississippi, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for sexually molesting two girls, aged 14 and 15. Parker was ministering the girls at the time.

  • John Turnbull, former pastor of St. Francis of Assisi parish in Centerville, Ohio, and currently a priest at Holy Family parish at Oldenburg, Indiana, was accused of sexually molesting a boy at a parochial school student at Streator, Ill., during the late 1970s.

  • Mary Help of Christians School in Tampa, Florida is the target of eight law suits accusing priests or teachers of child molestation. The latest two were filed this week. Reported the St. Petersburg Times:

    One says the plaintiff enrolled in the school in 1980 for the sixth grade. On 20 or more occasions starting in September 1982, a music teacher sexually abused him, the suit says. Years after the music teacher left the school in 1984, he continued to have a sexual relationship with the plaintiff, the suit says. The second suit says the plaintiff enrolled in the school in 1989 in the sixth grade. After catching the boy urinating behind the school, a priest called him to the back of the altar and prayed while he fondled the boy, the suit says.

  • William Winston, one of the rare Catholic priests who is married (because he converted to Catholicism while he was a priest in the Episcopal Church), was indicted on two counts of aggravated assault by a grand jury in Morristown, New Jersey, which had heard testimony that Winston had thrown his wife to the floor in the church rectory and kicked her.

  • Stephen A. Fernandes, pastor of Our Lady of Fatima Church on Bedford, Mass., pleaded guilty to storing hundreds of images of child pornography on a computer and tricking a 16-year-old into filming himself performing a sex act.

  • Paul Smith, the former pastor of Miracle Baptist Mission of East Stuart and founder of a Treasure Coast prison ministry in Fort Pierce, Florida who is on trial for burglary and battery against his wife, told a court that the charge against him is part of a conspiracy between his wife and Fort Pierce Police Chief Eugene Savage, while Rose Smith denied having the affair. The charge involves an incident at a house where Rose Smith was staying. Paul Smith "fled the area after warrants were issued in 2004, but returned to Fort Pierce and was arrested in July 2005 outside a City Commission meeting, reported the Fort Pierce Tribune. "He faces four counts of aggravated stalking after being accused of contacting his wife several times against the terms of a domestic violence injunction."

  • Steven G. Smith, described as a "charismatic pastor of an Irving (Texas)nondenominational church" by the Dallas News, was convicted on sexual assault charges for having sex with three female members of his congregation:

    "That was the way he treated the women in his church," prosecutors Josh Healy said during closing arguments. "He'd use the Bible. He'd use God's word to prey on these women." In each of the three cases described in the trial, female congregation members testified that Mr. Smith influenced them into having sex during private prayer and counseling sessions.

  • The trial of Gerald Robinson has been delayed so the defense attorneys can have more time to examine evidence. Robinson, a priest in Toledo, Ohio, is charged with the ritualistic murder of Margaret Ann Pahl, a nun who worked with Robinson at in a hosptial. The killing allegedly took place over the 1980 Easter weekend.

  • Robert Hermley, a priest convicted of indecent assault on two teenage boys in 1982, was reinstated to ministry the same year, admitted the Diocese of Wilmington, Delaware. "Hermley was arrested in 1982 in Pennsylvania, while watching X-rated movies at a drive-in theater with two Philadelphia boys, ages 13 and 14. Nineteen pornographic magazines were found in the car," reported WPVI TV. As recently as 2002, Hermley was serving at the Little Sisters of the Poor retirement complex in Ogletown.

  • Ryan Erickson, a priest at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Hudson, Wisconsin, who later killed himself, most likely murdered two funeral home workers, said prosecutors. Erickson was under investigation for molesting a teenage boy at the church. Dan O'Connell, a funeral home worker, reportedly found out about the molestation and confronted Erickson. Soon after, O'Connell and his intern were shot dead inside the O'Connell Family Funeral Home. Erickson then presided over O'Connell's funeral. After police questioned Erickson about the murders, he committed suicide.

  • William Forte, facilities manager at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in St. Petersburg, Florida, was "arrested and accused of offering a teen $100 last year to perform a sex act, which the boy refused," reported the St. Petersburg Times. "Forte had been supervising the teen's court-ordered community service, one of his regular duties." Diocesan officials later acknowledged that they had hired Forte before seeing the results of his background check, which later revealed that in 1992 Forte had been charged "with showing pornography to six teens, giving them alcohol and paying them for sex. He ultimately pleaded guilty to two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and received six months' probation." The diocese later received the background check, but did not fire Forte, explained a spokesperson: "They felt his explanation was adequate, and the charges were more than 10 years old. ... They felt satisfied that the case was blown out of portion."

    September 18- 24, 2005

  • Carlton Kneeland, pastor of Greater Emmanuel Christian Assembly in Memphis, was arrested and charged with obtaining money by false pretenses after Olive Branch, Mississippi police said he wrote checks totaling eleven-thousand-dollars on a closed bank account, reported WVLT-TV.

  • Donald Buzanowski, a priest at Saints Peter and Paul Catholic School in Green Bay, Wisc., was sentenced to 21 years in prison for sexually assaulting a ten-year old student at the school. Buzanowski had previously been convicted on a child porongraphy charge, and has admitted to molesting 14 boys.

  • Gene Francis, the pastor at the Church of the Nazarene in Lake Wales, Florida who had been charged with unlawful sexual activity with a minor, a 17-year-old boy, accepted a plea bargain in which he pleaded no contest to misdemeanor battery and was sentenced to one year probation.

  • The Mississippi Supreme Court blocked the immediate release of United Methodist Church documents to a woman who had filed a $10 million lawsuit against a minister who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting her. The court ruled that a lower court must first review the documents, removing those that are protected by priest-penitent privilege. The case revolves around Jeffrey Stallworth, pastor of Anderson United Methodist Church in Jackson, Mississippi, who had pleaded guilty to sexually assualting the woman.

  • Mary Elizabeth Miller, a former student at Jerry Falwell's Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, was sentenced to nine months in jail for hit-and-run. She had run over a woman on the Lynchburg Expressway and left the scene.

  • Earl D. Cooper, an ordained minister in Lexington, Oklahoma who had been sentenced to life in prison for fatally shooting his wife and mother-in-law in front of his daughter, has been recommended for early release by the state state Pardon and Parole Board, reported the Oklahoman. Cooper had previously been additionally convicted of assault and battery four times.

  • Sam Roundy, a former Colorado City, Arizona Police chief who is an admitted polygamist, having fathered 21 children with three women, told state police investigators that he that he "failed to notify state authorities about the 20 to 25 child sexual abuse cases he's investigated over the years in Colorado City and Hildale, Utah," reported KPHO News. "Most of the residents of Colorado City and Hildale are members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which preaches polygamy as a central tenet."

  • "The leaders of the Philadelphia Archdiocese — including two former archbishops — actively concealed sexual abuse by priests for decades, but no criminal charges can be brought against the church or its priests because of the constraints of state law, according to grand jury findings," reported the Allentown Morning Call.

  • William Mueller, a priest at Vianney High School in Kirkwood, Missouri, was sued by a man who said that Mueller sexually assaulted him at knifepoint when he, the plaintiff, was 15 years old and a student at the school. Mueller was previously sued by two men in Colorado who say Mueller sexually abused them after he knocked them out with ether.

  • The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) urged "Bishop Robert Finn and a Boy Scout headquarters in St. Joseph to remove the name of the late Rev. Sylvester Hoppe from the chapel at Camp Geiger in St. Joseph," reported the Kansas City Star. "In the last three years, three men have filed lawsuits against the diocese claiming that Hoppe sexually abused them in the 1950s. The diocese settled one lawsuit for $10,000; the other two are still pending."

  • Peter Cheplic, a priest at St. Matthew's Church in Ridgefield, New Jersey, resigned after two men have accused him of abusing them as teenagers.

  • Andrew Burke, "a former Catholic priest who was under investigation for molesting a teenage boy in the early 1970s committed suicide Wednesday by shooting himself in the heart," reported the Pueblo [Colorado] Chieftan.

  • Jack F. Emerick, former pastor at Grace United Methodist Church in Harrison, Pennsylvania, was sentenced "to 13 months in prison on tax fraud charges in connection with money he is accused of stealing from a longtime church member," reported the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Emerick had resigned from the church after allegations had been made that he had molested a boy and two men in the 1970s and 1980s.

  • Jack Ruff, the senior pastor at the Praise Tabernacle Church in Charlotte County, Florida who was the subject of arrest warrants charging him with defrauding dozens of Hurricane Charley victims out of hundreds of thousands of dollars, was captured in Livingston, Montana, where he was allegedly posing as a Hurricane Katrina evacuee from Louisiana.

  • William Killeen, the pastor at St. Christopher Church in Midlothian, Ill. who was transfered to Infant Jesus of Prague Church in Flossmoor, Ill., is under investiagation for missing funds at both churches, the Chicago Star reported.

  • Charles Hill, pastor at St. Mark Ame Church in Clermont, Florida, was arrested for cashing tens of thousands of dollars in fake checks, reported WFTV News. Police said Hill "used fake checks to buy appliances, open bank accounts and even buy a car. Detectives said, in one instance, Hill deposited an $80,000 check at Bank of America and opened an account. Then, before anyone suspected the checks were fake, he bought a car at Chrysler. Detectives said Hill did the same thing at Rent Way. He walked in with a fake cashier check and bought merchandise and then pocketed the extra money... He apparently lived in a house rent-free. Hill was evicted after writing fake checks."

  • William J. Hogan, youth pastor at West Valley Foursquare Church in Yakima, Washington, was given a 41-month suspended sentence after pleading guilty to second-degree child molestation and third-degree child rape in a case involving a 13-year-old girl he met at the church. The girl went to police, saying Hogan was was "grooming another girl at church."

  • Nathaniel Rasberry, pastor of World Vision Outreach Center in Wilson, N.C, was arrested on charges of incest of a child, parental sex offense, 19 counts of statutory rape, felony child abuse and nine counts of assault and inflicting serious injury.

  • Harry Monroe, a priest at St. Catherine Catholic Church in Indianapolis, was named in a sexual abuse lawsuit along with the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. Monroe had earlier been named in another lawsuit, which claimed the priest molested a teenage boy at St. Andrew Catholic School. Monroe had been "relieved of ministry" in 1984 because of allegations of sexual misconduct, and both lawsuits claim the diocese should have known about Monroe's behavior and protected the children under his care.

  • Joseph Cogo, pastor of Our Lady of Pompei Church in New york, was accused of rape by a woman who had saught him out for spiritual guidance in the 1970s, reported the Villager.

  • Officials at Central Catholic High School in San Antonio, Texas, sent letters to alumni of the school notifying them of three sexual abuse lawsuits filed against former Brother William Mueller, who worked at the school from 1971 to 1981.

  • Ron Clark, the former pastor of Church of the Living Water, a "megachurch" in Tampa, Florida, has become a police officer with the city of Zephyrhills, reported the Tampa Tribune. Clark became the center of controversy at the church in 2003, when

    the church unraveled as Clark and his wife, Belinda, became embroiled in a bitter divorce. The proceedings brought to light the church's hefty assets -- as well as the assets of the Clarks. The pair each drew salaries of $70,000 and owned a $500,000 horse farm in Dade City and a $275,000 rental home in Celebration, near Orlando, the case revealed. Although the Clarks never were charged with illegal activity, the information from their divorce case disillusioned the congregation's almost 2,000 members. By October 2003, the church filed for bankruptcy.

  • Tracy Hash, a former singer with the gospel foursome The Spiritual Seven, was found guilty of molesting a 9-year-old girl in Bedford, Virginia.

  • Efford Haynes, a trustee of Christ Community Church in Seneca, South Carolina, was ordered by a court to pay $9,850 to a neighbor of the church who Haynes had cheated of her land and the trees on it. The case involved a forged deed.

  • Chris Thomas Miller, youth pastor of Praise Assembly of God in Bunnell, Florida, charged with six counts of child molestation involving two girls he befriended through his role in the church, reported the Daytona Beach News-Journal.

    September 10 - 17, 2005

  • William Borders, the former bishop of Orlando and archbishop of Baltimore who is now retired, was the subject of lawsuits filed by two men against the Catholic Diocese of Orlando. The men allege that Borders knew of accusations of child abuse made against priest Vernon Uhran but did nothing to stop the abuse. Instead, Uhran was transferred from parish to parish, "where he continued to have unfettered access to minors and was permitted to have frequent sleepovers in the rectories," according to the suits. One man said he was abused begining at age 9, the other at 14.

  • Stanley Doerger, a priest who was suspended from his duties at St. Rita School for the Deaf in Cincinnati after allegations were made that he molested a female student, died from an apparent heart attack before the allegations could be thoroughly investigated. Explained the Cincinnati Enquirer:

    An outside investigator looked into an accusation in 2003 when a woman claimed to have been sexually abused by Doerger while she was a student at St. Rita in the 1970s. That investigator found people close to the woman who disagreed with many of her statements. Since then, a group of former students alleged that Doerger sexually, physically and verbally abused more than 275 female students, though no names or details were provided to the church, according to the archdiocese.

  • "William Thomas Warren," a self-described "financial pastor" who preyed on those who prayed, cheated his faithful investors out of nearly $7 million, a federal judge has determined," reported the Roanoke [Virginia] Times. "Convicted earlier this year of running a scam aimed at Christian investors, Warren now has assets of just $647,285 to be divided among his victims, Magistrate Judge Michael Urbanski found in a report filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Roanoke."

  • Glenn Ford, youth pastor at Victory Chapel in Rapid City, South Dakota who had already been convicted of raping a teenage girl in the basement of the church and now faces an unrelated charge of raping another girl at the church, won't be charged as an habitual offender because the incident leading to the new charge happened before the incident leading to the earlier conviction, said prosecutors.

  • Patrick Shetler, pastor at Glass and Garden Community Church in Scottsdale, Arizona who is accused of stealing $67,000 from the church, spent the money on himself: $5,000 on his wedding, more than $7,000 in electric bills and nearly $2,000 in cell phone expenses, plus car and mortgage payments, according to a 42-page report released by the Scottsdale police.

  • Demonstrators with the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) picketed Holy Cross Church in Albany, New York for the 17th week. "The protesters are calling for the removal from active ministry of Holy Cross' pastor, the Rev. Daniel J. Maher," explained the Albany Times-Union. "Maher was cleared of molestation allegations two weeks ago after an investigation by the diocese." SNAP members said the Archdiocese's investigation was insufficient.

  • David Fisher, chairman of the Dickinson [North Dakota] United Methodist Church's administrative council, was facing sentencing after pleading guilty to two counts of sexual exploitation of minors, and one count each of receipt and possession of material involving the sexual exploitation of minors, reported KXMA TV. "Authorities say he had some computer files and pictures of a 10-year-old girl whom Fisher had hired to help with office chores at his Dickinson business. Authorities say Fisher and the girl posed and took pictures of each other at his office using a digital camera."

  • Charles Betts, pastor at Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church, in Jamaica, Queens, was sentenced to five years' probation and ordered repay more than $31,000 in stolen church funds, which he used to pay for personal luxuries.

  • Ron Keener, founding pastor of Stonegate Community Church in Waco, Texas, was arrested on a felony charge of evading arrest/detention with a vehicle, reported the Waco Tribue-Herald:

    The incident began when Hewitt police officers arrived at Keener's residence about 3:30 p.m. to arrest him on outstanding theft-by-check warrants. Hewitt police Capt. Tuck Saunders said Keener gave officers a fake name, then jumped in a rental car and sped away. Keener reached speeds up to 100 mph during the chase... Hewitt officers called off the pursuit for safety reasons before they reached peak afternoon traffic in school zones in China Spring, Saunders said. Keener's car and another vehicle driven by a China Spring woman who had her 10-year-old daughter with her collided at the intersection of FM 1637 and Bend of the Brazos Road, according to Department of Public Safety reports.

  • William Mueller, a brother associated with the Marianist religious order and former teacher at the now-closed Roncalli High School, was the subject of abuse lawsuits filed by two men against the Catholic Diocese of Pueblo, reported the Pueblo Chieftan:

    The suits accuse Mueller of using the guise of an experiment toward his master's degree in psychology to convince the students to let him knock them out with ether in 1968 and 1969. After they were unconscious, Mueller allegedly fondled one student and sodomized the other.

  • Joseph Gaborek Jr., priest at St. Michael's Catholic Church in West Salisbury, Pennsylvania eho has since been defrocked, was the subject of a lawsuit a man has filed against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown. The man said he was sexually abused by Gaborek, but state police did not pursue sex-abuse charges against Gaborek because diocese officials said the priest would get treatment, according to the Associated Press. The lawsuit "claims the late Bishop James J. Hogan eventually transferred the priest to St. Thomas More parish in Roaring Springs and St. Anne's parish in Claysburg, where Gaborek was in contact with children."

  • The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) sent a letter to to Bishop Robert Brom of the Catholic Diocese of San Diego demanding that Gary Holtey, a priest who pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography, be removed from a San Diego neighborhood where he is living unsupervised across the street from St. John's Catholic parish in University Heights. "Holtey, former pastor of St. Charles Borromeo, pleaded guilty in February to 10 misdemeanor counts of possession of child pornography and was placed on formal probation for three years," explained the North County Times.

  • Three Detroit area priests - William Brennan, who last served at St. Sebastian in Dearborn Heights; Alfred Miller, last assigned to Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Temperance; and Gary Bueche, who last served SS. John and Paul Parish in Washington - were removed from ministry and prohibited from wearing their clerical garb or presenting themselves as priests following allegations of child sexual abuse. Explains the Detroit News:

    The rulings come four months after the Vatican settled nine other cases, leaving 11 within the archdiocese still to be decided... Over a 50-year period, the Archdiocese of Detroit reported that 63 priests and deacons sexually abused 116 victims.

  • Mark Allen Johnson, pastor at the Pentecostal Church of Refuge in Warsaw, Indiana, was arrested on warrants for child molesting and sexual misconduct, reported the Warsaw Times Union:

    In the probable cause affidavit, Johnson is accused of fondling a 9-yearold boy in the summer of 1997. The document also says Johnson “did perform deviate sexual conduct” with the same child in both the summer of 2002 and in April 2003. At the time of those incidents, the child was at least 14 years of age but less than 16.

    According to the probable cause affidavit, while Johnson was babysitting a 9-year-old boy in 1997, Johnson reportedly removed his clothes while the two were sitting under a blanket together at the boy’s residence. Johnson then allegedly exposed himself and placed the boy’s hand on his penis.

    The 2002 incident occurred when the child was 14. Johnson and the boy reportedly went to an abandoned house in Waraw where Johnson took off his pants and underwear and exposed himself. The boy allegedly performed oral sex on him at that time, the affadavit says.

    In 2003 when the boy was 15, Johnson allegedly took him to a barn. Again Johnson reportedly removed his pants and had the boy perform oral sex, according to the affadavit.

  • Sean Patrick Riley, pastor of Secret Place International church in Houston, was sentenced to two years probation and ordered to pay a $500 fine after he pleaded guilty to promoting a pyramid scheme. "Investigators focused on Riley after learning he was holding meetings at his church on nights and weekends to recruit investors into the scheme, said prosecutor Valerie Turner," reported the Houston Chronicle. "Each participant donated $100 with the expectation of receiving large sums of money, and was asked to recruit two other investors, Turner said."

  • Arthur Michalka, priest at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Corn Hill, Texas, admitted he pricked about 15 children with an unsterilized pin "to demonstrate the pain Jesus suffered during crucifixion," reported the Associated Press. Diocese officials are investigating to see if any of those pricked may have communicable diseases.

    September 3 - 9, 2005

  • On Monday, Daniel M. Azzarone Jr., a priest at St. Mary Church in Providence, Rhode Island, pleaded guilty to raping two boys in the church rectory and was sentenced to three years in prison. Earlier allegations of sexual abuse had been made against Azzarone, but resulted in no criminal charges.

  • Roger Stevens, pastor of BBC Ministries in Klamath Falls, Oregon, was sued for $1 million by Barbara Jo Stacey, a disabled woman. After she was injured in a car accident, explained the Herald and News, "Stacey went to her parents' home in Eastern Oregon before deciding to move into Stevens' home. The pastor handled Stacey's daily care, administering medications and dealing with her financial affairs. The suit says he used that counseling relationship to induce her to into sexual acts that took in the home, at BBC Ministries, and other locations."

  • Two more people accused Denver priest Harold Robert White of sexual abuse, bringing to at least 16 the number of people claiming White molested them as children. One of the new allegations came from Gary Wolf, who said that he told nuns and church officials 44 years ago that White was molesting him, but no one did anything about it. According to the Rocky Mountain News, Wolf claimed

    the abuse began when White would fondle him as they drove in the clergyman's car. Wolf said White would defend his touching by saying, "That's how God shows his love."

  • Neil Doherty, a priest Margate's St. Vincent's Church in Miami who is already accused of drugging and raping an 11-year-old boy, was sued by a second man who says that Doherty molested him for four years, starting when he was 9 years old, "while the boy was unconscious or semiconscious after bingeing on drugs and alcohol," according to WPLG News.

  • The Catholic Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey has provided information to the Hudson County Prosecutor's office about Peter Cheplic, monsignor at St. Joseph of the Palisades Church in West New York, reported the Jersey Journal. The Archdioscese is subject to a 2003 legal agreement directing it to share any sexual abuse complaints directed against priests with law enforcement agencies. Chelpic stands accused in a civil suit of molesting a teenage boy.

  • The Vatican has defrocked two more priests for "sexual misconduct involving minors," bringing to 11 the number of Philadelphia-area priests named in the sex abuse scandal, reported the Philadelphia Inquirer:

    One of the two, John J. Delli Carpini, 56, a former academic dean at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, is the highest-ranking local cleric to be ousted thus far. He is alleged to have molested an altar boy for seven years beginning in the late 1970s.

    The other, Raymond O. Leneweaver, 71, was accused of repeatedly abusing two teenagers decades ago. After the church placed him on sick leave, Leneweaver walked away from the priesthood and became a teacher in two area public school districts.

  • Asuncion Cardenas, a Sunday school teacher and pediatrician, was sentenced to 12 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to repeatedly raping a young girl over five years, reported the St. Paul, Minnesota Pioneer-Press. "Cardenas met his victim through church, where the girl's father was a pastor. The abuse started when the victim was 9. The church is not being identified to protect the girl's identity."

  • Edgar Ray Killen, "country preacher" and Ku Klux Klan leader who was convicted for the 1964 "Mississippi Burning" slayings of three civil rights workers, was sent back to prison because a judge said he was lying about his health. Killen had posted $600,000 bond and was released while his case was under appeal, in part because he had broken both legs in a tree-cutting accident and was confined to a wheel chair. But witnesses told the judge they have seen Killen driving, and the judge revoked the bond.

  • Paul St. Charles, a priest in Memphis, was sued by a man who says St. Charles molested him when was 13 years old. Bishop Terry Steib and the Catholic Diocese of Memphis are also named as defendants. "Steib suspended St. Charles from the ministry last year after a diocesan review concluded allegations against him in another case were likely true," reported WREG News.

  • Gregory Ross Fladeland, minister and youth director at Covenant United Methodist Church in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, was convicted of of attempting to rape a woman. According to court documents, Fladeland appeared one night in a woman's bedroom, and announced he "was going to have sex with her ... ." The woman resisted, but Fladeland took off his clothes and ripped off hers. Fighting him off, the woman bit Fladeland on the shoulder, to which he said, "Oh, this is how you want it," and proceeded to punch the woman in the head several times. Fladeland ultimately was unable to complete the sexual act, and said in court that that is why the woman bit him. The jury thought otherwise.

  • Lonnie Earl Floyd, associate pastor at Wetumpka Church of God in Wetumpka, Alabama, was arrested and charged with raping a girl, reported the Montgomery Advertiser.

    This marks the second time in less than a year a minister from Elmore County has faced allegations of sexual abuse. In December 2004, Garett Dykes, minister of Calvary Baptist Church in Wetumpka, was charged with several counts of sexual abuse, police reports stated. The church removed him from his position shortly after his arrest. Dykes has admitted his involvement in the abuse, Sheriff Bill Franklin said.

  • Harry Monroe, a former priest teaching at Saint Andrew Catholic Church school in Indianapolis, was sued by a man who says Monroe molested him when he was a student at the school. The Archdiocese of Indianapolis and the school are named as defendants in the suit as well, but Archdiocese officials say they have no idea where Monroe is now.

  • Sandra "Beth" Geisel, a teacher at Christian Brother Academy, a private Catholic military school in Albany, New York, was formally charged with raping a 16-year-old student. Geisel, who is described as "an attractive, wealthy woman" by prosecutors, has become the center of nationwide media attention after she was allegedly found in the back seat of her car with another 17-year-old CBA student. She has since been accused of having sex with three students, one of which is under the age of consent.

    August 28 - September 2, 2005

  • On Sunday, the Associated Press profiled Bishop Eddie Long, pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Georgia and executive of an associated non-profit organization that has paid Long more - $3.07 million - than it has used for charitable work. Long defended his high lifestyle, saying "Jesus wasn't broke, and leaders of churches shouldn't be either." The article also quotes Long's tax attorney, J. David Epstein, a Philadelphia lawyer specializing in church law and producer of a video for pastors called "How to Maximize Your Clergy Salary and Benefits Package."

  • Mauro Cautela, pastor of Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Ellwood City, Pennsylvania, resigned following allegations of unspeicified "impropriety." A statement from dioscese officials braodly hints that the allegations are sexual in nature.

  • Dan Raber, a former pastor who is now marketing a paste that he says cure concer, is under investigation for practicing medicine without a license, the Associated Press reported. "Raber's paste is described by the medical board as 'a caustic, tissue-destroying substance that eats away human skin and flesh.'"

  • On Monday, the Dallas Theological Seminary reached a out-of-court settlement with Aaron Babb, who had sued the school, saying the school was to blame for not reporting to police that former student Jon Gerrit Warnshuis had molested other students. Warnshuis was subsequently convicted of molesting Babb and other children, all of whom have now reached similar settlemnts with the school.

  • A residence hall at the St. Joseph's Children's Home in Cheyenne, Wyoming will continue to be named "Bishop Joseph Hart Hall" despite the fact that five different people have sued Hart, accsuing him of molesting them as children. "As far as I know, none of the accusations against Bishop Hart have been deemed credible enough to have been introduced into a court of law, let alone brought to a formal trial," said Bishop David Ricken, omitting the fact that the statute of limitations had expired in all of the alleged molestation incidents.

  • "Two men have sued the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, contending they were sexually abused in the 1950s by the Rev. Sylvester Hoppe, who died in 2002," reported the Kansas City Star. The Diocese had previously settled a third lawsuit against Hoppe for $10,000. The two new allegations come from men who were boys living at an orphanage operated by the church; Hoppe lived in a rectory next door to the orphanage.

  • Marek Maczynski, a priest at Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Community in Indialantic, Florida, was dismissed after $10,520 was found missing from the weekly church collection.

  • Police in Hudson, Wisconsin had concluded an investigation into the murder of two funeral home workers that seems to have involved a local priest, reported the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. "The priest, the Rev. Ryan Erickson, 31, was working at a church in Hudson at the time of the slayings. Investigators questioned him about the killings in 2004 as part of a separate investigation into an allegation involving a minor or minors, authorities have said. Erickson committed suicide Dec. 19 outside his new parish in Hurley, Wis., after police searched his church residence and office." Atuhorities won't say more about the case until after they speak with the victims' families, and a judge has sealed the case files.

  • On Tuesdsay, William Ellis, bishop of the Apostolic Pentecostal Church in Chicago, was sentenced to 18 months in prison for not paying taxes on about $1,000 a week - $525,000 over five years - he stole from the church.

  • The Associated Press reported that Melissa Enebo, a woman suing the Roman Catholic Diocese of North Dakota for gender discrimination, is asking the court to allow to introduce "evidence of misconduct by priests to show the diocese treated them differently from Enebo." Enebo claims she was fired for getting pregnant outside of marriage, and wants to compare in court the differences in the church's response to her situation and that of the priests. But Benjamin Thomas, the diocese attorney, said that "priests are not considered employees of the diocese and are not subject to state labor laws. Only the Vatican can appoint and remove priests, so they are not a fair comparison in Enebo's case."

  • Bradley Bounds, youth pastor at Rock Church in Rockford, Illinois who has already been convicted in criminal court of aggravated sexual abuse of a teenage girl, was sued by victim in civil court. At the time of the abuse, Bounds was was married and had a 2-year-old son.

  • On Wednesday, Thomas Graham, an associate priest at St. Mary's Catholic Church in St. Louis, was convicted of molesting a boy over several years, including inside the Old Cathedral.

  • Thomas S. Cawley, a Kansas priest, was sued by Michael Johnson, who recognized the priest during Sunday mass. Johnson said Cawley molested him as a boy when Cawley was doing missionary work in Hong Kong. “Cawley told the plaintiff that the sexual abuse was a form of God’s punishment that the young boy needed,” according to the court filing.

  • Daniel A. Triulzi, associate pastor of St. Mark Catholic Church in Denton, Texas, was removed from his duties after being accused of sexual misconduct by a man who graduated from Chaminade College Preparatory School in St. Louis, where Triulzi had taught. Triulzi had also taught at Nolan Catholic High School in Fort Worth.

  • Timothy Lavaun Crumitie, pastor of A Place of Grace church in Kannapolis, North Carolina, was arrested and charged with murdering Danny Kaye Johnson, a partner in the flooring business the pair had established in the same building as the church. Crumite, it turns out, had previously spent eight years in prison for armed robbery and receiving stolen goods.

  • On Thursday, the Associated Press reported that the San Francisco Roman Catholic Archdiocese had reached a $4 million out-of-court settlement with four people who said they were victims of priest sexual abuse. "The suits were filed against defrocked Monsignor Patrick O'Shea, 72, who had escaped prosecution on molestation cases twice before because the charges were filed after the statute of limitations expired... O'Shea has admitted in civil depositions to molesting some boys over several years..."

    A total of 60 cases were filed against the San Francisco archdiocese in 2003 under a state law allowing alleged victims one year to file claims seeking damages for past abuse. Of those, 31 have been settled for a total of $41 million.

  • John Bussmann, a priest at St. Martin's Catholic Church in Rogers, Minnesota and St. Walburga Church in nearby Hassan Township, was sentenced to five years and eight months in prison for criminal sexual conduct, having abused two female parishioners. He was separately convicted of stealing $2,500 from another woman.

  • A prison inmate accused of killing pedophile priest John Geoghan told a court that a prison guard had arranged for the killing. Geoghan was strangled in his cell at the Souza-Baranowski Correction Center in Shirley, Mass., where he was serving a nine- to 10-year sentence for molesting a 10-year-old boy.

  • On Friday, Craig Mable, minister at Shiloh Baptist Church in York, Pennsylvania, was arrested on a federal drug warrant. Authorities accuse Mable of delivering 50 grams of crack cocaine.

    August 21- 27, 2005

  • On Sunday, the Los Angeles Times reported that Joe Sabolick, a pastor fired from his job at Calvary Chapel in Laguna Beach, California, had sued the church for $15 million in damages, claiming that church officials had "spread false rumors of wife-swapping and pedophilia... The lawsuit also describes accusations that Sabolick lied about having Jewish ancestors, fell under the control of Satan and 'abused' his wife by making her wear 'tight jeans.'"

  • The Associated Press reported that Rhenne Cervantes, a priest at Our Lady of the Lake Parish in Mandeville, Louisiana, was suspended after an audit found that he "improperly put $40,000 meant for his church into an account only he could access, then spent about $14,000 of it to boost his salary and household allowance."

  • Reviewing a work history of Richard A. Emerson, an Indiana priest accused of sexual abuse, two former Catholic monks turned victims advocates and one priest turned whistle-blower told the Northwest Indiana Times that Emerson's career - he was moved by dioscese officials on average every three years, often to positions that put him in direct contact with youth - was the "classic profile" shared by many priests who have been accused of and/or proved to be pedophiles:

    "It's the perfect profile, actually," [one advocate] said, noting that many of the priests who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse across the country have held high positions of authority within their diocese or religious orders and often have had positions giving them access to children.

  • Catholic Bishop Donald Kettler announced from the pulpit that he was suspending Richard L. McCaffrey, a Fairbanks, Alaska priest that was the target of an Alaskan state police investigation of three separate child abuse claims coming from native villages in which McCaffrey had served.

  • On Monday, Theodore Myers, pastor of Temple of Faith Bible Way Church in Gadsden, South Carolina, was arrested on one count of a lewd act upon a child and one count of indecent exposure, "after authorities said he used candy to entice a 7-year-old girl to visit his church office, where he then fondled her and exposed himself," reported the South Carolina State.

  • Edward O. Paquette Jr., a Catholic priest who was defrocked after being accused of sexually abusing minors in three separate dioceses, had been sued by four more men in Vermont, who claimed that Paquette had abused them as minors, bringing to six the number of lawsuits against him, the Springfield, MA Republican reported.

  • Terry Hornbuckle, senior pastor at Agape Christian Fellowship in Arlington, Texas, was arrested for violating the terms of his release on a sexual assault charge. It was Hornbuckle's fourth arrest in recent months, explained the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram:

    The first time was on March 11 when he was arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting three former female congregants of Agape. He was arrested again May 11 after court officials said he tested positive for methamphetamines while free on bail. Hornbuckle was arrested a third time on June 29 when prosecutors filed two new sexual assault cases against him and charges that he threatened and attempted to bribe witnesses.

  • Clement LePine, the pastor at St. Josephs Catholic Church in Ishpeming, Wisconsin from 1957 to 1986 who died in 2000, had sexually abused two women, confirmed the Diocese of Marquette after an investigation.

  • On Tuesday, Lawrence Craig, minister at Williams Institutional Christian Methodist Episcopal Church in New York City, was arrested for attempted burglary and assault after he allegedly try to kidnap a four-year-old boy from the boy's home. Witnesses were able to identify Craig in part because the car he was driving had distinctive license plates - reading "Supreme Court 237" - easily tracked to Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Donna Mills, his girlfriend. "Craig told police he was drunk and in the wrong place," reported WCBS TV.

  • Richard Lydon, preacher at the Oil of Joy Ministries in Port Jefferson, New York, was arrested on three counts of falsely reporting an incident after he made several bogus calls from his cell phone to 911.

  • Duane Hammons, pastor at Alpha Joy Temple in San Antonio, Texas who had already been convicted of having sex with a minor, was charged with the same crime with a different girl. In the first case, a 15-year-old girl said that Hammons would "make her skip school and would take her to motel rooms to have sex," reported WOAI.

  • The nondenominational Dallas Theological Seminary, one of the largest in the nation, had reached an out-of-court settlement with a victim of Jon Gerrit Warnshuis, a former student, but another victim, Aaron Babb, will bring his law suit to court. As explained by the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram:

    If Dallas Theological Seminary officials had alerted authorities in 1988 -- when they learned that one of their students, Jon Gerrit Warnshuis, was accused of sexually molesting a 12- or 13-year-old boy -- Warnshuis might have gone to prison then. Instead, Warnshuis was allowed to graduate from the seminary in 1992 and later became pastor of an Argyle church. In 2001, he was sentenced to prison for molesting Babb and other boys for years at Oak Hills Evangelical Free Church.

  • On Wednesday, a law suit was filed against Joseph Hart, a former priest at St. John Francis Regis and several other parishes in Kansas City, and now a retired bishop in Wyoming. According to the lawsuit: "In approximately 1973 and 1974, when the plaintiff was about 12, the plaintiff answered phones in the church rectory. At one point, Hart told the plaintiff he was in trouble, then took him into the hallway of the rectory and molested him. Later in 1973 or 1974, the lawsuit says, Hart and the plaintiff were both participating in 'several basketball sessions.' While playing basketball, the lawsuit says, Hart groped and fondled the plaintiff, 'passing it off as mere sport.' Hart already faces different sexual abuse lawsuits filed in January 2004 and October 2004, reported the Kansas City Star.

  • Arthur Allen Jr., a former minister at House of Prayer church in Atlanta, was released from prison after serving two years on child cruelty and aggravated assault charges. Allen had ordered church members to whip their children with belts when they misbehaved. "Four other church members also were convicted three years ago in connection with the beatings of children at the church and served jail time," reported the Associated Press. "[Allen] served a 90-day jail sentence but refused to comply with the condition of his 10-year probation that children in his congregation could only be hand spanked at home by their parents. Allen skipped a probation revocation hearing and was on the run for five months before his capture in Cobb County two years ago."

  • An arrest warrant was issued for Jack Wendell Ruff, senior pastor at the Praise Tabernacle Church in North Port, Florida, charging him with "contracting without a license during a governor-declared State of Emergency and failing to complete work after taking advance monies for repairs to pool cages damaged by Hurricane Charley," reported the Florida Sun Herald. "Detectives say Ruff, acting as a salesman for a pool cage company, took sizable deposit checks from homeowners for repair work that was never done." Ruff, said police officials, had fled the area and is now a fugitive.

  • Attorney Daniel Shea, "who is suing Pope Benedict XVI in Texas for allegedly covering up the sexual abuse of children by a seminarian said he would challenge the U.S. diplomatic recognition of the Vatican if the pope is given immunity in the case," reported the Associated Press. The former Joseph Ratzinger - now Pope Benedict - is named in the law suit because of a letter he wrote to bishpos around the world while he was prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The letter explained "that 'grave' crimes such as the sexual abuse of minors would be handled by his congregation and that the proceedings of special church tribunals handling the cases were subject to 'pontifical secret.'"

  • Harold Robert White, a former Catholic priest who is the subject of five sexual abuse law suits filed against the Denver Archdiocese, told KCNC TV that there were "half-truths" in the allegations, but the plaintiffs were just out for money. In the past month, 17 men have told The Denver Post that White molested them from the early 1960s to early 1980s.

  • On Thursday, Edgar Lopez Bertrand, a televangelist from El Salvador, was sentenced to two years probation for passport fraud. Bertrand had presented immigration officials with a fraudulent Salvadoran birth certificate for a girl he was attempting to bring into the United States.

  • "Half a dozen men have filed lawsuits alleging they were sexually molested, beaten and humiliated as children 40 years ago by nuns, priests and civilian staff members at Madonna Manor, a Catholic home for troubled children in Marrero [Alabama]," reported the Associate Press. "Four of the six plaintiffs claim they were raped or sexually fondled by priests or men they thought were priests; three allege they were sometimes molested by nuns in dormitories at night; five allege they were sexually molested by Madonna Manor's civilian staff or other adults, sometimes off campus."

  • Carlton Franklin Davis, the former pastor of New Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Gary, Indiana, was charged with "neglect after a son he fathered with a parishioner was hospitalized with burns across his lower body," reported the Indianapolis Star. "Samuel Kendrick [the baby] arrived at Community Hospital in Munster on Tuesday with deep burns across his legs, feet, groin and buttocks, apparently after having been immersed in very hot water, according to court records." Davis had been fired by the New Hope church board in September "after the baby's mother went public with allegations that he had fathered her child... It was the second time the married pastor had been publicly confronted with impregnating a parishioner. In 2002, a woman told church members during a Sunday service that Davis had impreg-nated her 16-year-old daughter."

  • On Friday, the Seattle Archdiocese reached a $2.6 million settlement with seven men who say they were molested by John Forrester, a former priest at Holy Rosary Church in Seattle and All Saints Church in Puyallup, Wash. who is now dead. "Forrester was accused of molesting the boys on camping trips or other outings -- some of them once and some repeatedly over the course of months or years," reported the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

  • Aaron D. West, pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Bradford County, Florida, was arrested on a felony charge of sending pornography to minors. According to a police press release, West had communicated with two Wisconsin girls, ages 14 and 15, and later admitted he talked to the girls in a chat room and sent them nude photos of someone else, saying it was him.

  • Jimmy Wilcox, a "controversial pastor who was paid $35,000 in [Lakewood, New Jersey] township funds to run a parental outreach program and criticized by some residents as a vagrant who hangs out and drinks at a local bus terminal, has been charged with disorderly conduct and drinking outside the public depot," reported the Asbury Park Press.

    August 14 - August 20, 2005

  • On Monday, Joe Aleshire, youth group leader at Licking Baptist Church in Hebron, Ohio, was arrested and charged with "raping a 16-year-old girl inside the church and carrying on a sexual relationship with her younger sister when she was between 13 and 15 years old," reported NBC4 News. Prosecutors claimed they had "a strong case against Aleshire, including DNA evidence recovered from the church where the 16-year-old claimed she was raped," but parishoners were disinclined to believe the girls and showed up at the county jail to show their support for Aleshire.

  • Allen Fisk, the treasurer at Trinity Bible Church and village president of Cassopolis, Ind. who had previously been charged with embezzling $13,000 from the church, was charged with two additional counts related to the allegedly embezzled money, including paying his mortgage with stolen funds and defrauding the IRS.

  • Robert Enersen, youth minister at New Life Assembly of God in Wahneta, Florida, pleaded guilty to sexually molesting a 6-year-old boy in 1996. "During a Dec. 27 interview, Douglas Police Department detectives reported that Enersen spoke about abusing two other children in North Carolina and Michigan," reported the Gainesville Sun.

  • Thomas K. Dunn, office manager at Leaksville (North Carolina) United Methodist Church, was sentenced to "36 months of supervised probation and 250 hours of community service and ordered to pay the church $2,400," reported the Greensboro News-Record, after he pleaded guilty to embezzling $41,738 from the church.

  • Rev. Ronald J. Yarrosh, assistant pastor at St. Ambrose Church in Schuylkill Haven, New Jersey, was sentenced to three to 23 months in prison after pleading guilty to "three counts of sexual abuse of children, theft, receiving stolen property and criminal use of a communication facility," reported the Morning Call:

    Yarrosh was charged with 110 counts of sexual abuse of children after state police at Schuylkill Haven investigating the embezzlement case found hundreds of photos, magazines, videotapes and DVDs in the church rectory, on the parish computer's hard drive and at a storage unit Yarrosh owned at U-Rent-It in Hazle Township, Luzerne County. But Assistant District Attorney Karen Byrnes-Noone dropped the number of charges so the clerk of courts office would not have to deal with a flood of paperwork.

    The theft charge against Yarrosh related to $23,000 he embezzled from the church.

  • On Tuesday, Maine's Catholic Archdiocese announced that it had settled a sexual abuse lawsuit for an undisclosed amount of money. Michael Fortin had sued the church, saying that Raymond Melville, a priest at St. Mary's Church in Augusta, had begun molesting him in 1995, when Fortin was 13 years old, and the molestation contineud for seven years. Fortin had previously won a $500,000 judgement against Melville.

  • The Catholic diocese of Pittsburg, retired Bishop Anthony G. Bosco and Francis Lesniak, a priest at St. Stanislaus Church in Calumet who died in 1991, were named as defendants in a lawsuit filed in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. The unnamed plaintiff claimed that Lesniak sexually abused him when he was 12 and 13 years old, when the boy was invited to spend the night in the church rectory.

  • James Thiel, a former priest at St. Alphonsus Liguori Catholic Church in St. Louis, Archbishop Raymond Burke and the archdioces of St. Louis, were named in a law suit which claimed that Thiel repeadetedly sodomized a boy and gave the boy a sexually transmitted disease in the 1970s.

  • Lawrence D. Soens, the former principal at the Iowa City Regina Catholic High School and later the bishop of the Diocese of Sioux City, Iowa, was sued by Dennis Allen, a former student at the school, who claimed that Soens "used his principal's office at Iowa City Regina High School to sexually abuse male students," according to the Quad City Times. "At least three complaints were filed against Soens in the past, which Bishop William Franklin of the Davenport Diocese acknowledged in January. In October, the diocese paid $20,000 to settle a claim against Soens."

  • Stephen Clarke Van Sickle, comptroller at St. James Episcopal Church in Baton Rouge, La., surrendered to authorities to face charges that he embezzled $723,031.54 from the church over a five year period.

  • On Wednesday, KTUU TV reported that "[t]hree men and one woman have added their names to a lawsuit alleging sexual abuse by two priests in rural Alaska villages. According to the complaint, Rev. Segundo Llorente and Rev. Francis Nawn are accused of abusing 10 children."

  • George Watson, a pastor and Union County, North Carolina School Board member, was charged with sexually assaulting a boy from the time he was 12 or 13 years old until the boy was a senior in high school. "The victim says Watson performed oral sex acts on him, against his will," reported Fox Carolina TV. "Sexual instances allegedly happened at Watson's home, the church where he was a preacher at and Arthur State Bank."

  • Rev. Pete Richardson, pastor at the Kentucky parishes of West Liberty and Owingsville from July 1994 to January 2004, has been accused of sexual misconduct with a minor, said officials at the Catholic Diocese of Lexington.

  • Neil Doherty, a retired priest in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., was accused in a law suit of drugging and raping a boy in the 1970s. "Doherty gave the boy marijuana and alcohol and after the child passed out, sexually abused him, the suit said," reported the Sun-Sentinel newspaper. "Doherty has been accused of raping other boys in the 1970s. In one case, Broward prosecutors said they could not file criminal charges because the statute of limitations had expired."

  • The Kentucky Board of Family and Marriage Therapy voted to investigate Rev. Robert G. Humphreys, a Southern Baptist preacher who operates a counseling business in Frankfurt. "Humphreys' problems began in 1998, when three Baptist women filed complaints against him with the board, accusing him of misconduct," reported WKYT TV. "After investigating, the board accused Humphreys of using inappropriate counseling techniques, violating his clients' confidentiality, touching clients in ways that caused 'emotional discomfort and emotional confusion,' making 'comments about his own sexuality,' referring clients to an unlicensed, untrained therapist and having improper social or business contacts with clients." Humpreys subsequently surrended his license but has continued his business by calling himslef a "pastoral counselor."

  • On Thursday, a judged ruled that Jefferson Marion Moore, preacher at Dogwood City (Texas) Chapel and owner of the adjacent Dogwood City Preschool and Daycare, can return to his position as preacher. Moore had previously been charged with sexually assaulting two children at the daycare, and as condition of his bail was to have no contact with children, forcning him to close the church because children were regular attendees. The judge said Moore could reopen the church so long as two adults were present at all times children were there.

  • The Catholic Archdiocese of Denver was sued for $10 million by a man who said that his godfather, Harold Robert White, a former priest, had molested him "multiple times" as a child, and that "church officials covered up three decades of sexual misconduct by the man," reported Reuters. Fran Maier, chancellor for the archdiocese, "confirmed that White served in 11 parishes during his career, spanning the terms of four archbishops. His active ministry was terminated in 1993 and he was removed from the priesthood entirely in 2004. Maier would not comment on the reason for White's removal from the priesthood."

  • John Misseldine, a former Mormon missionary accused of molesting two children at a Mormon church in Las Vegas, pleaded no contest to coercion and attempted lewdness with a child under 14 in a deal that spared him jail time, reported KRNV TV. "Misseldine had been arrested in 2003 after two girls, ages four and seven, accused him of fondling them while he was watching them."

  • Members of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), a group that supports people who have been sexually abused by priests, called on Reno Bishop Phillip Straling to "come clean" about abuse by clergy he worked with in Southern California:

    We are very disturbed by the sheer number of sex abuse cases to which Bishop Straling is linked. We are also upset that, in spite of a troubling track record on abuse, the bishop has publicly patted himself on the back for allegedly "aggressive steps" he has taken on this issue, while at the same time, refusing to publicly discuss his involvement in or knowledge of sex crimes by some of California’s most notorious predator priests.

    "Straling is a key witness in dozens of lawsuits in Southern California filed against priests accused of molesting children," reported the Reno Gazette-Journal. "He was a priest in San Diego from 1959 to 1978, when he became bishop of San Bernardino. During that period, he lived or worked with numerous priests who are named in lawsuits or have been convicted of sexually abusing children. Lawyers for these cases believe he knew or should have known that the abuse was occurring and can provide valuable information that could help in the lawsuits."

  • Steve O. Cooper, founder of Nu-Way Christian Ministries Inc. of San Diego, failed to seek permission to sell securities, as required by state law, the California Department of Corporations said. "According to the order," reported the Associated Press, Cooper "promised 5 percent monthly returns on investments of more than $5,000 and 3 percent monthly gains on investments between $2,000 and $5,000. In August, [Cooper and his wife Peggy, the CFO of the firm] began committing to 3 percent monthly returns, no matter how large the investment."

  • Michael Jay Brown, assistant pastor at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Martinez, Georgia and a volunteer working with abused and neglected children, pleaded guilty to child molestation and was sentenced to 10 years probation, a $5,000 fine and 200 hours of community service, reported the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The charge involved videotaping under the skirt of a teenage girl at a local mall, an idea Brown said he got from Internet web sites. "In July 1986, Brown was arrested for peeping into a woman's bedroom window. He said in his police statement then: 'Believe me, I'll never do it again.'"

  • On Friday, Phil Driscoll, a trumpeter who once played with Joe Cocker, Stephen Stills and Blood, Sweat and Tears, but who has since become a Christian minister and has recorded 30 albums of patriotic and gospel music, was charged with income tax evasion for allegedly funneling up to a million dollars through his various ministries for personal use.

  • Rev. W.W. Jackson was locked out of Mount Paran Baptist Church in Texas City, Texas, after the church’s advisory committee changed the locks on the church. Members of the church had previously voted to fire Jackson for finicial mishandling, including using money earmarked for church operations to repair Jackson's home. Jackson, however, refused to accept the dismissal and holed himself up at the church. Police were enventually called to the scene, but left after church officials said they could sort the matter out among themselves.

  • Danny Hill, pastor of First Baptist Church, Gibson City, Illinois, was convicted of two counts of criminal sexual assault. His victim, a woman, "testified that Hill had sexually molested her two to three times a week from the time she was 14 until last year," reported the Paxton Pantagraph. The incidents continued even after she had moved into an apartment with her fiance, she said."

  • John T. Nelson, volunteer minister with Salem Baptist Church in Chicago, was arrested on a drug charge after 7.3 grams of cocaine were allegedly found on his person during a traffic stop.

    August 7 - August 13, 2005

  • Archbishop William Levada was greeted by more than 100 clergy sexual-abuse protesters holding vigil outside St. Mary's Cathedral in San Francisco, where Levada celebrated a farewell mass before heading off to Vatican City to become chief guardian of Catholic doctrine for Pope Benedict XVI. Levada, reported the Los Angeles Times, had refused to accept a subpeona ordering him to be deposed on behalf of about 250 plaintiffs in sexual-abuse lawsuits against the Portland Archdiocese in Oregon, until "Cookie Gambucci, who runs a court support services company in nearby Martinez, said she told him he could receive it then or that it would be served on him at the altar during the service." Levada accepted the subpeona under less dramatic circumstances.

  • Levada has also been the subject of a separate Catholic controversy, reported the Los Angeles Times:

    In 1994, then-Archbishop of Portland William Levada offered a simple answer for why the archdiocese shouldn't have been ordered to pay the costs of raising a child fathered by a church worker at a Portland, Ore., parish. In her relationship with Arturo Uribe, then a seminarian and now a Whittier priest, the child's mother had engaged "in unprotected intercourse … when [she] should have known that could result in pregnancy," the church maintained in its answer to the lawsuit...

    [T]he church — which considers birth control a sin — seemed to be arguing that the woman should have protected herself from pregnancy... Now liberal and conservative Catholics around the country are decrying the archdiocese's legal strategy, saying it was counter to church teaching.

  • On Monday, the Gary (Ind.) Post Tribune reported that "credible" sexual misconduct charges have been made against Richard Emerson, a Catholic priest in Gary, and are being investigated by the Diocese of Gary.

  • Patrick A. Shetler, pastor of the Glass and Garden Community Church in Scottsdael, Arizona, was arrested on suspicion of felony theft and fraud for allegedly using about $60,000 in church funds for personal expenses.

  • Prosecutors in Wayne County, Indiana began an investigation into how Harry Benjamin, "a former Detroit Catholic priest, convicted in 2003 of sexually abusing a minor in the 1980s, wound up celebrating mass recently for a gay-rights group in Virginia," reported the Detroit Free Press. "Benjamin's return to the altar, though not sanctioned by the Catholic Church, underscores the difficulty of monitoring hundreds of men accused of sexual misconduct and removed from the ministry, including more than 40 in Michigan since 2002."

  • On Tuesday, the Associated Press reported that Reverend Richard Emerson, a former Indiana priest who had fended off charges of molesting a boy in Orlando, Florida because the statute of limitations had expired, "has been named in a second credible allegation of sexual misconduct."

  • The sexual assault trial of J.T. Talbert began in North Little Rock, Arkansas. Talbert, minister at New Birth Ministry church, was charged with four counts of third-degree sexual assault against women who came to him looking for work.

  • Ralph E. Patterson, associate pastor at Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church in Henderson, Indiana, was charged with public indecency, after allegedly exposing himself to an undercover officer at a park in Warrick County, Ind.

  • Richard Mieliwocki, a priest in Mendham, New Jersey, was indicted on charges of child endangerment and criminal sexual contact. "Authorities said he improperly touched and made sexual comments to [four] boys, ages 16 to 18, during therapy sessions at Daytop Village last year," reported the Associated Press. Mieliwocki had previously been suspended after he was accused of molesting two other boys.

  • On Wednesday, the Los Angeles Times reported that Edward Anthony Rodrigue, a priest convicted in 1979 of sexually assaulting two boys in Ontario, California, had said in court documents that "San Diego church officials transferred him to other parishes after parishioners complained that he had molested altar boys and other youth in the 1970s."

  • Warrants for the arrest of Kenneth A. Atkinson III, a youth pastor at Pawleys Island Community Church were issued in Georgetown, South Carolina. Atkinson was accused of raping a 13-year-old girl.

  • A lawsuit accused Paul Schultz, St. John’s United Church of Christ in DuQuoin, Wisconsin, of sexual assault and battery.

  • A lawsuit accused Richard L. McCaffrey, pastor of Immaculate Conception Church in Fairbanks, Alaska, of sexual abuse. The woman filing the lawsuit, a Tununak resident, said McCaffrey had molested her in 1978, when she was 10 years old. McCaffrey had previously been put on administrative leave by the Fairbanks Catholic Diocese, in response to a different allegation that he sexually abused a minor about 25 years ago.

  • Douglas Eugene Parker, pleaded guilty to molesting two teenage girls, ages 14 and 15, who are also related to Parker. Parker was "a preacher at a Baptist church in Marks, Miss., and he later became their pastor," said prosecutors.

  • Victor Whitworth, pastor at Victory Temple of the Church of God in Christ in Waterbury, Conn., "was charged with first-degree larceny and third-degree forgery," reported the Associated Press. "Police said he forged his name on a check for $16,245, then used the money to participate in an e-mail scam that they said has cost victims millions of dollars... Participants pose as Nigerian government officials, then try to persuade people to send them money and bank account numbers. People are told in e-mails or letters that they can earn money by helping to funnel funds from Nigeria to the U.S. "

  • James Cannel, youth pastor at Selah Covenant Church in Yakima, Washington, was arraigned in federal court on three child pornography charges. "Officers said he used a church computer to try to arrange sex with a detective posing as a 12-year-old boy," reported the Associated Press.

  • On Thursday, T. Mike Dugan, a priest at St. Elizabeth of Hungary Catholic Church in Oak Cliff, Texas, "was arrested on charges of drunken driving after causing a three-car crash, hitting a fourth vehicle and fleeing the scene, police said," reported the Dallas News. "In 1990, while Father Dugan was assigned to a Plano parish, church workers accused him of being an alcoholic, and he was briefly placed in treatment by the Dallas Catholic Diocese. Church officials later apologized and said the intervention had been a mistake. Officials said he could continue with his duties. "

  • Al Liberatore Jr., a priest at Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Duryea, Pennsylvania, was sentenced to 10 years probation after pleading guilty to groping an eighth-grade altar boy in a hotel room in Greenwich Village, Manhattan. Liberatore "had faced three first-degree felony counts in New York, including sodomy and sexual assault..." reported the News Leader. "Liberatore admitted giving the boy alcohol and molesting him during overnight stays at the church rectory in Duryea from 1999 to 2004, according to court papers."

  • Wilfred L. Englert, a priest in Jasper, Indiana, was arrested "on charges of deviant sexual conduct and sexual battery after an investigation by Indiana State Police," reported the Indianapolis Star. "The alleged victim, described as mentally disabled, was a friend of Englert's, State Police said. The priest allegedly molested the 19-year-old twice this year, once during an Orange County camping trip and once during a Dubois County visit."

  • Antonio J. Rizzo, youth director at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Shreveport, Alabama, was arrested on two counts of molesting a juvenile, a teenage girl, at the church. In a previous incident, "Rizzo was booked on three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile," reported the Associated Press. "Police accused him of giving alcohol to teenage girls and making sexual advances."

  • Msgr. Eugene Clark, rector of St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York, resigned after he was named as "the other man" in a Westchester County divorce case, reported the Associated Press.

    Clark was named in divorce papers filed in Family Court in White Plains by Philip DeFilippo, 46, of Eastchester, who claimed that a private investigator taped his wife, Laura, and the monsignor entering and leaving a hotel in Amagansett, on Long Island. The videotape was shown Monday to New York City newspapers.

  • Samuel Rutledge, an elder at First Discipleship Church in Conyers, Georgia, was arraigned on statutory rape and aggravated child molestation charges. "Rutledge is accused of molesting a 7-year-old relative in front of her 6-year-old brother," reported WXIA TV. "After the charges were filed, one of Rutledge's three grown children, a step-daughter, came forward to say she, too, was a victim. 'My stepfather, he sexually, mentally and physically abused me from the age of two to 16,' she said."

  • On Friday, James Fincher, pastor of Faith Missionary Baptist Church in Fort Wayne, Indiana, was sentenced to another six months of home detention after he continued to refuse to admit he was a sexual predator and to enroll in court-ordered counseling. "A jury convicted Fincher in October 2003 of fondling a woman who came to his office to ask for a loan," reported the Fort Wayne News Sentinel. As part of his sentence, Fincher was required to attend the counseling.

    July 31- August 6, 2005

  • The week started with a bang on Sunday, when the Toledo Blade published an exhaustive investigative article detailing how law enforcement authorities abetted the Toledo diocese of the Catholic church in hiding sexual-abuse cases. Said the Blade:

    Over the past 50 years, those sworn to enforce the law and protect children repeatedly have aided and abetted the diocese in covering up sexual abuse by priests, a three-month investigation by The Blade shows.

    Beyond past revelations that the diocese quietly moved pedophile priests from parish to parish, The Blade investigation shows that at least once a decade - and often more - priests suspected of rape and molestation have been allowed by local authorities to escape the law...

    In understanding what has become the biggest scandal to engulf the American Catholic church in generations, victims' advocates say one issue left unexposed is the role of civil authorities in helping to minimize or hide the criminal actions of pedophiles who wore priestly collars.

    While the sexual abuse crisis continues to unfold across the country, the deeper issue of police protection is now emerging, particularly in places with deeply rooted Catholic populations and where church members reached some of the most powerful positions in those communities.

  • On the same day, the Spokane Spokesman-Review published an investigative report suggesting that similar cover-ups occurred among Washington law enforcement agencies:

    Young boys – some from troubled backgrounds and others from prominent families – were being sexually abused by a group of men who were supposed to be role models and authority figures. Growing evidence suggests that people who knew about the abuse did nothing to stop it or report it...

    [Activists] blame a culture of secrecy, denial and ignorance for allowing revered, male-dominated institutions like the Catholic Church, the Boy Scouts and the Spokane County Sheriff's Office to ignore abusers in their midst.

  • Yet another investigative report in the Philadelphia Inquirer wondered whether changes in policy in policy at the Catholic Church were in effect dumping child molesters into the general population:

    At a time of heightened national concern about the need to track sex offenders, the Catholic Church in America has begun cutting loose dozens - perhaps hundreds - of priests who have molested children. The church had already suspended the clerics after finding the child-abuse allegations against them to be credible. Now, as it defrocks them, expelling them from the priesthood, the men are quietly reentering civilian life with only the barest notice to the public, and no ongoing oversight by the church. Nor is law enforcement certain to be watching them.

  • And the Reno Gazette Journal also published an investigative report examining Phillip Straling, the former bishop of the Reno Catholic archdiocese. Straling, said the article,

    is a key witness in more than 150 lawsuits in Southern California filed against priests accused of molesting children. In some cases, he is accused of negligence for failing to stop the abuse... The lawsuits and lawyers say Straling, while a priest in San Diego and bishop of San Bernardino, might have known that the accused priests were having sex with children but did nothing to stop them. Many believe he played a part in shuffling abusive priests to new parishes where they had access to and sometimes continued to molest children.

  • The Winston-Salem (North Carolina) Journal examined Abounding Grace School for Boys, which was affiliated with Believer Baptist Church and which had recently been shut down, after the County Department of Social Services charged owners Stan and Lee Mitchell with child abuse. Among other allegations, "parents called social services with allegations that the boys had been beaten with boat paddles and subjected to long periods of solitary confinement. They also said that boys were sometimes forced to eat their own vomit after becoming sick at the school."

  • Donald J. Buzanowski, a former Green Bay, Wisc. priest, was convicted of two felony child sex assault charges for indecently touching a 10-year-old boy at Green Bay's Ss. Peter & Paul Catholic school.

  • On Tuesday, Stuart Murphy, the choir director at Annunciation Catholic Church in Houston, was sentenced to 30 years in prison for molesting three brothers, the oldest of which was 12 years old.

  • Dennis Sewar, a Catholic priest in Rochester, New York, was formally charged with sex abuse and endangering the welfare of a child, for about 50 incidents with a boy over a two year period, beginning when the boy was 14.

  • On Wendesday, Dawn Reiser, a seventh-grade teacher at Holy Trinity Catholic School in Grapevine, Texas, was convicted of aggravated sexual assault of a child and indecency with a child, charged related to a sexual relationship she had with a 13-year-old student.

  • The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that although a grand jury report "documents decades of assaults on children by more than 50 priests" and "harshly criticizes church leaders for shielding abusers," it called for no new criminal charges.

  • On Thursday, the leader of a victims' advocacy group demanded "Bishop Leonard Blair of the Toledo Catholic Diocese to ask for the resignations of Auxiliary Bishop Robert Donnelly and the Rev. Michael Billian, episcopal vicar, for allegedly concealing crimes of child sexual abuse by priests," reported the Toledo Blade.

  • Robert B. Conner Jr., an assistant pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Saginaw, Michigan, was fined $1,000 for possessing marijuana.

  • On Friday, the Catholic Diocese of Oakland agreed to pay $56.3 million to settle 56 cases of sexual abuse of children by priests from 1962 to 1985.

  • Joseph Ruben Dickey, a former child care worker at the First Presbyterian Church in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, was arrested on child pornography charges after the F.B.I. claimed "that he had graphic pictures of children between the ages of 2 and 4 and that he transported other pictures of children engaged in sexual acts over state lines. The Tuscaloosa News reported Friday that, according to court documents, the FBI also alleges that he raped a child that he baby-sat for about a decade ago."

  • On Saturday, the Denver Post reported that 12 men had told the newspaper that they had been molested as children by Harold Robert White, a Catholic priest who had served in 11 parishes across Colorado during three decades as a priest. "[White] apparently has never faced criminal or civil charges," said the Post.

    July 24- 30, 2005

  • On Monday, Glenn Ford, a Rapd City, South Dakatoa youth pastor who had already been convicted of raping a 13-year-old girl, was back in court to face rape charges involving a second 13-year-old girl. "In the previous case," according to the Rapid City Journal, "Ford was indicted on two counts of third-degree rape and one count of sexual contact with a child under 16 after two adolescent girls from his church, Victory Chapel on La Crosse Street, reported that he sexually assaulted them. One of the girls told investigators that Ford had sex with her in the basement of the church."

  • On Tuesday, Ryan Martin Wonderly, the youth minister at Bethany First Church of the Nazarene in Oklahoma City, was sentenced to 35 years in prison for molesting children in his church. Although news reports relay little information, Wonderly's court record, available here, shows that he was convicted on 11 counts of indecent or lewd acts with children under 16 and four counts of rape by instrumentation.

  • Court proceedings began in the molestation case against Donald Buzanowski, a priest in Green Bay, Wisc. Buzanowski is accused of fondling a ten-year-old while a counselor at the church.

  • Michael Wolfe, the ministry director of Cutting Edge Ministries in Telford, Pennsylvania, was arrested and charged with rape, sexual assault, and other related charges involving a 19-year-old woman. "Police say Wolfe confessed to having a sexual relationship with his alleged victim since she was 16-years-old," accroding to KYW News in Philadelphia.

  • Brian David Mitchell, the man accused of kidnapping Salt Lake City, Utah, teenager Elizabeth Smart three years ago, was found mentally incompetent to stand trial. "District Judge Judith Atherton ruled that Mitchell, 51, was suffering from a delusional disorder based on his religious beliefs, leaving him unable to make decisions in his best interest and assist his defense," reported CNN.

  • Monsignor John Woolsey, pastor and secretary-treasurer of St. John the Martyr Parish in Manhattan, indicted on charges of grand larceny, tax evasion, and falsifying business records for allegedly embezzling over $800,000 from the church. According to the Empire Journal, "[t]he investigation revealed that the defendant used stolen funds in a variety of ways, including the purchase of fancy watches (Rolex, Breitling, Omega, and Breguet), clothes from department stores such as Macy's and Bloomingdale's, restaurants such as Petaluma and Lenox Room, domestic and international travel to locations such as Vermont, Florida and Spain, and to buy golf equipment and pay for country club expenses, prosecutors said."

  • On Wednesday, Pastor Leon Harris of the Rose Hill Free Will Baptist Church near Greenville, North Carolian, already charged with secretly videotaping a woman on a Surf City, North Carolina beach, was additionally charged with illegally videoptaping 10 women and girls; "six of the victims are adults, four are children," reported WCNT. "And police say all the video was taken inside the church."

  • Kirk Zimmerman, pastor of Fowler Christian Church in Fowler, Indiana, had not yet been arrested, but was reportedly to face charges of fondling an 8-year-old girl. The judge initially assigned to the case recused himself because he is a member of Zimmerman's church.

  • John Burt lost an appeal of a conviction for molesting a 15-year-old girl at Our Father's House, the home for troubled girls he operated with his wife in Milton, Florida, and was sentenced to 18 years in prison. "Burt has been a key figure in anti-abortion protests and violence in nearby Pensacola," reported the Associated Press. "He had associated with Michael Griffin, now serving a life sentence for fatally shooting an abortion doctor in 1993, and Paul Hill, executed in 2003 for the shooting deaths of another doctor and clinic escort in 1994."

  • On Thursday, Charles Howard,a minister at Broadmoor Baptist Church in Memphis, was charged with sexual battery after an incident in a Waffle House parking lot, where Howard allegedly suggested he try hypnotizing the woman to help her with marriage problems. "According to the police report," reported WREG News, "the minister then told her 'She would obey his every command like it was... God talking to her.' But what she claims next wasn't very God-like. She says the minister unzipped his pants and coaxed her to touch him innappropriately."

  • James Ronald Gonsalves, a deacon of St. Ann Church in Waihee, Hawaii, was charged with 62 counts of sexual assault against a 12-year-old boy.

  • On Friday, the Associated Press reported that Clarence Holinshed, pastor at God's Way Church in Elmore County, Alabama, had 20 years ago been convicted of molesting a boy in Georgia, apparently while he was a minister at a nearby church. Holinshed is in violation of no laws, said law enforcemnt officials, so long as the church doesn't have a school or day-care center.

  • Eugene O'Sullivan, the first priest in Massachusetts to be convicted of sexual abuse, was defrocked by the Vatican. "In 1984, Eugene O'Sullivan was sentenced to probation after he admitted sodomizing a 13-year-old altar boy," reported the Associated Press. "A condition of his sentence was that he not be allowed to work with children. But O'Sullivan was later assigned to four New Jersey parishes. He was recalled to Boston in 1992 after church officials learned of another allegation against him dating to his time in Massachusetts. "

    July 17 - 23, 2005

  • Over the weekend, Italian police arrested Joseph J. Henn, a former Phoenix priest accused of multiple child molestations. "Henn," reported the East Valley Tribune, "served St. Mark’s Catholic Parish, 400 N. 30th St., from 1978 to 1982, [and] was indicted in July 2003 in Maricopa County as part of a major investigation of child sexual abuse by priests going back to the 1970s. He is accused of molesting three boys, ages 11, 13 and 15, from June 1979 to June 1981."

  • The Rev. Leon Earl Harris, a preacher at a Rose Hill Free Will Baptist church in Winterville, North Carolina, was arrested and charged with possessing pornographic images after a woman reported that he was allegedly videotaping her child on the beach in Surf City. According to the Kinston Free Press, police searched Harris' car and found additional pornographic tapes, allegedly filmed by Harris.

  • On Monday, a Chatham County, Georgia jury convicted James Simpson on one "count of aggravated sexual battery, 10 counts of child molestation, three counts of aggravated child molestation and four counts of enticing a child for indecent purposes," according to the Savannah Morning News. Prosecutors said Simpson, a slef-styled minister, would often pray and read scriptures to the four girls he abused from 1997 to 2003.

  • Tommy Ray Holbrook Sr., pastor of Mount Zion Baptist Church in Marietta, Georgia, was charged with two counts each of child molestation and statutory rape. "On at least two occasions," reported the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "police say, Holbrook had sex with a girl less than 16 years old. The incidents allegedly occurred in April at the church and in May at a nearby house, according to an arrest warrant."

  • Joshua Palin, director of the Kid's Palace, a day care center operated by Faith Ministries in Green Cove Springs, Florida, was charged with molesting 10 children at the center. Palin is the son of the church's pastor. According to the Associated Press,

    Authorities said that over a year, Palin used games of "Truth or Dare" to "dare" children ages 5 to 14 to fondle him or each other or to perform oral sex on each other.

  • On Tuesday, the Tracy (California) Press published a profile of Joseph George, the attorney representing 33 plaintiffs who settled a sex abuse law suit for $35 million with the Catholic Diocese of Sacramento.

    For the past three years, George has worked on the cases with an almost religious devotion. He says he sold his assets, went heavily into debt to finance the lawsuits and continued working even after a near-fatal cycling accident... “Sometimes I think, ‘How did this happen?’” said George. “I guess this is an accumulation of all my experiences.” Those experiences include being a former military man, a psychologist, an attorney and — he says, believe it or not — a Catholic who attended Catholic schools through college. “I have a special place in my heart for the faith and the priests I interacted with as a kid growing up in Philadelphia. The overwhelming majority do tremendous work,” said George, in his downtown office the day after the settlement. “But I’m very disillusioned with the church as an institution. They should have done something about this a long time ago, and didn’t.”

  • On Thursday, four executives at Maine Biological Laboratories were sentenced to federal prison and fined thousands of dollars for their roels in smuggling a potentially hazardous chicken influenza virus from Saudi Arabia into Maine. One of the four included Chief Financial Officer Dennis Guerrette, is "a Sunday school teacher, Boy Scout leader and father of six," reported the Portland Press Hearld.

  • Edgar Lopez Bertrand, "a televangelist regarded as one of the most influential ministers in El Salvador, pleaded guilty Thursday to faking a passport for a girl he falsely claimed as his daughter," reported the Houston Chronicle.

  • On Friday, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Elizabeth Perris agreed "to expand the Portland Archdiocese bankruptcy case to include every Roman Catholic parishioner and contributor in Western Oregon -- more than 389,000 people," reported the Oregonian. At issue is a property dispute between more than 200 sex abuse plaintiffs and the Archdiocese of Portland.

  • On Staurday, Newsday took a look at Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church in Queens. The church's pastor, the Rev. Charles Betts Sr., and Anna and Barry Kilpatrick (its administrative assistant and her husband), had conspired to steal nearly $500,000 from the congregation. Of even more note in the article, however, is this statistic:

    Morning Star.. is among the 20 percent of churches nationwide that has lost money to people entrusted to protect church finances, experts say.

    July 10- 16, 2005

  • On Monday, eight members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a polygamous sect in Arizona, turned themselves in to authorities to face sexual misconduct charges involving minors. According to UPI,

    Among those arrested Monday was former police officer Rodney Holm, who gained national attention two years ago after being convicted of marrying his third wife, who was 16 at the time. Holm, 38, served a year in county jail in Utah, and also is married to the girl's older sister.

  • The trial of Scott Frederic Harrison began in Rancho Cucamonga, California. Harrison is charged with killing Phillip Perry, a deacon at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Upland. Prosecutors say Harrison killed Perry after Harrison learned that the deacon was having an affair with his wife.

  • On Tuesday, the Oklahoma reported that Oklahoma City police had confirmed they were "investigating claims an employee of a northeast Oklahoma City church and day-care center sexually abused at least seven children." The police, however, declined to identify either the church or the employee, and said only that the children are aged 7 to 15.

  • A federal grand jury indicted televangelist Morris Cerullo on various tax charges, accsuing him of failing to report ove half a million dollars in income. According to the Los Angeles Times, "Cerullo, who began as a preacher from Charlotte, N.C., has said people can be cured of medical problems through prayer. He bought the Inspiration Network in the 1980s from Jim Bakker when the latter was caught in a financial scandal that sent him to prison."

  • Christopher Fouts, director of youth ministries at Peninsula Covenant Church in Redwood City, California, was arrested on five felony counts of child molestation. Two of the alleged victims were aged 13 and 14, police said.

  • Police said they had investigated Rev. John Casey, pastor of St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church in North Plainfield, New Jersey, on a child abuse claim but had declinedto prosecute Casey because the statute of limitations had expired. The Diocese of Metuchen, however, has removed Casey from his post while it investigates the matter.

  • Rev. Santos Teixeira, pastor at Iglesia Del Nazareno in Porterville, California, was arrested on 20 counts of oral copulation with a person under the age of 18 and at least three counts of rape. Two girls said Teixeira had raped them over a period of four years.

  • On Weddnesday, Phillip Boleyn, youth minister at Christian Life Church in Kansas City,"was charged with four counts of statutory rape, three counts of child molestation and two counts of statutory sodomy," reported the Kansas City Star. "According to court documents, the victim told Kansas City police that Boleyn began kissing and fondling her when she was in her early teens. Over the next two years or so, the contact progressed to oral sex and then vaginal sex. The victim told police that they had sex at her house, in his office, in the crawl space at church and in the women’s restroom, the documents said."

  • A grand jury indicted Rev. Raymond Larger, pastor of St. James Catholic Church in White Oak, Ohio, on charges of rape, sexual battery and gross sexual imposition for allegedly abusing an 11-year-old boy whose mother was dying of cancer. Larger had previously been convicted of soliciting sex from a male police officer in a Dayton park.

  • Gary Alan Rinehults, an ordained minister, sheriff's office chaplain and deputy in Hanover County, Virginia, was sentenced to 16 years in prison on charges of forcible rape, forcible sodomy, animate-object sexual penetration and aggravated sexual battery of a girl. The charges involved three girls under the age of 15. Prosecutors had asked for a life sentence, but "the defense argued for a lesser sentence, citing Rinehults' work with his church, love for his family and desire to be rehabilitated," reported the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

  • A court date was scheduled to hear rape and molestation charges against Donald Bowen, a Cathoic priest who once worked in Norton, Mass. Prosecutors say Bowen raped a girl in the late 1960s and early 1970s, beginning when she was 9 years old. The now-adult victim won reached a civil settlement with the Diocese of Fall River in 1992. In the intervening decades, however, Bowen had left the country, freezing the statute of limitations. He has since returned, and is expected to plead guilty to the charges, reported the Boston Globe.

  • Larry Eugene Prince, treasurer of Victory Baptist Church in Decatur, Mich., and Amy Jomarie Hester, wife of Kevin Hester, the church's pastor, were sentenced to 11 days in jail, small fines, and restittution, for their respective roles in embezzling $8,000 from the church coffers. The Hesters are now divorcing.

  • On Thursday, court proceedings began in the trial of James Simpson, pastor at Saint Luke's Baptist Church in Savannah, Georgia. Simpson is charged with 19 counts of child molestation and sexual acts in incidents involving four girls he encouraged to sing in the church choir.

  • Marshall Zidel, aphotographer at Camp Young Judaea, a camp for jewish youth located in Milford, New Hampshire, was arrested on four counts of child pornography, after the camp director found two pictures on Zidel's camera of a 15-year-old girl's head copied onto the naked body of a young woman.

  • Philip Maue, musical director at Christ United Methodist Church in Lakewood, New Jersey, pleaded guilty to child pornography. "Maue," reported the Philadelphia Inquirer, "admitted in court that he had more than three images on his home computer depicting minors under the age of 12 in sexually explicit poses."

  • On Friday, UPI reported that the states of Arizona and Utah had joined together to offer a $10,000 reward for the return of Warren Jeffs, leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints. "Jeffs was indicted last month on charges that he arranged for one of his followers to marry a 16-year-old girl and that man illegally had sex with her," according to UPI.

    July 3 - July 9, 2005

  • On Sunday, the Oregonian reported that a Portland couple has sued First Baptist Church of St. Johns, claiming that Pastor Daniel Pulliam ignored allegations that a church member molested their two daughters and two other girls, told the couple not to tell anyone about the allegations, then told the congregation during a Sunday service that the couple were evil. The four victims, claimed the suit, are aged 11 to 17. The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries had earlier this year ruled that Pulliam fired fired one of the litigants because he had reported illegal activity. The agency found that the man was discriminated against because he was a whistleblower.

  • The Catholic Diocese of Portland, Maine, announced that nine of 21 now-dead priests accused of molestation would have probably been defrocked had the accusations against them been handled under current church standards for dealing with such allegations. The announcement came only because, against church wishes, a judge had ordered the release of the names of the 21 men.

  • Monday was the one-year anniversary of Thad John Glenn Reynolds' seath. Reynolds, a church deacon at Hollywood (Georgia) Baptist Church, had been stabbed to death. As the Gwinnett Daily Post reported:

    Three days later, the deacon’s wife and an assistant pastor were charged in the killing. Police said Michelle Sullins Reynolds and Richard Scott Harper conspired to kill Thad Reynolds in a deadly love triangle. Harper was accused of ambushing Thad Reynolds and stabbing him 19 times; police said Michelle Reynolds helped plot the crime.

  • On Tuesday, a judge approved a plan of the Catholic Diocese of Convington, Kentucky to make $120 million available to victims of sexual abuse by priests. The plan, however, is contigent on insurance companies agreeing to providing $80 million toward the fund.

  • The Dallas Morning News reported that the IRS was investigating Benny Hinn Ministries. The Trinity Foundation, a watchdog group, has long criticized the televangelist and his organization, saying that they long ago stopped meeting the definition of a church. Hinn, according to the foundation, is paid $1.325 million annually.

  • On Wednesday, a former student at Mater Dei Catholic High School in Santa Ana, California filed suit against the school and her former teacher, "saying he molested her for two years in the mid-1990s, starting when she was 16," according to the Los Angeles Times. "The lawsuit... charges that Mater Dei and the Bishop of Orange 'engaged in a pattern and practice of hiring sexual abusers as faculty and staff administration' at Mater Dei. It says that since 1976 the high school has hired at least 10 people who sexually abused students."

  • Reversing an earlier ruling, the New York State Sumpreme Court said it would allow a molestation suit against the Rev. James Quinn to proceed, even though more than 30 years had elapsed since the alleged incidents. John Zumpano, now in his 50s, has "accused Quinn of sexually abusing him repeatedly in the mid-to-late 1960s when the priest served at St. Agnes Church in East Utica and as area director for the Catholic Youth Organization," according to the Utica Observer-Dispatch.

  • The Rev. David Finestead, the subject of a $6 million court judgement, died in Kansas. "A former choir director at Campbell United Methodist Church in Springfield won a $6 million judgment against the Missouri Conference of the United Methodist Church after a trial in Greene County Circuit Court this spring," explained KYTV. "Teresa Norris said Finestead raped her in March 1998 while he was pastor at Campbell UMC."

  • The Philadelphia Intelligencer reported that Rev. David Sicoli had quit his jobs as an Ethics instructor at Gloucester County College. Unbeknownst to the college, "[t]hree men from Bucks County sued the priest and the Philadelphia archdiocese last year. The men alleged Sicoli had molested them and supplied them with alcohol during sleepovers at his Sea Isle City beach house and at a location in Wildwood between 1979 and 1983. The lawsuit also claimed the archdiocese covered up the abuse."

  • On Friday, Dennis M. McKeown, an elementary school principal and minister, was arrested in La Mesa, California. McKeown has allegedly molested an underage male relative for several months.

  • Eric Young, lead pastor of Caroline United Methodist Church in Jacksonville, Fla., was arrested on child pornography charges. Police had searched Young's computer and found " all kinds of porn," including a video entitled "Three year old gets raped..."

    June 24- July 2, 2005

  • On Friday, a federal judge in Fairbanks, Alaska sentenced Johnny Lee Napier, who operates a prison ministry and is in training to be a deacon at Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, to nine months in prison and ordered him to pay $104,000 in restitution for embezzling grant money from the Environmental Protection Agency. Napier had stolen the money between 1999 and 2002, when he was the executive director of two non-profit agencies.

  • On Monday, Dennis Rader, the former president of Christ Lutheran Church in Park City, Kansas, pleaded guilty to killing ten women in the Wichita area. Rader called himself "BTK," refering to his preferred method of killing: "Bind, Torture, Kill." On the stand, Rader

    described in an account devoid of emotion how he used a "hit kit" consisting of guns, rope, handcuffs and tape in a briefcase or a bowling bag. He described his killings as "projects" and victims as "targets." Rader talked of his first four victims almost as animals, saying he decided to "put them down." And he said he offered one victim a glass of water to calm her down before putting a bag over her head and strangling her.

  • Jerome Toohey, a former priest living in Lutherville, Maryland, was charged with sexually abusing a student when Toohey was a chaplain at Calvert Hall College High School in Baltimore. The abuse allegedly occurred between 1987 and 1989. In 1993, another former student had accused Toohey of child abuse, but no charges were brought and the case was dropped because state law had a three year statue of limitations for filing civil suits on such matters. Still, the Archdiocese of Baltimore defrocked him at the time.

  • On Tuesday, James Beine, a former priest at St. Andrew's Catholic Church in St.Louis who had just served two years in prison for exposing himself to children in a boys' bathroom at a grade school, was the subject of a lawsuit filed by a man who said Beine that on a camping trip in the early 1970s, when the man was a boy, he was sexually molested by Beine. The exposure conviction had been overturned after the Missouri Supreme Court ruled that the state's indecent exposure law was unconstitutionally vague, but the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) says that at least 40 people have reported being sexually abused by Beine, and that the Roman Catholic Church has settled at least nine lawsuits filed against him.

  • James Coyle, a Sunday school teacher at the Main Street Church of Christ, in Caldwell, Ohio, was sentenced to 280 days in jail after he pleaded guilty on four counts of attempted sexual battery on a minor, and two counts each of attempted unlawful sex with a minor and gross sexual imposition with a minor. Coyle had met his three victims at the church, said prosecutors.

  • On Tuesday night, HBO aired the documentary "Twist of Faith." The film, which has been nominated for an Oscar, starts with the taped deposition of a priest in Toledo, Ohio.

    The Middle American town, the beefy, small-mouthed cleric - the images are haunting, and they're meant to be, for they also haunt Anthony Comes, the firefighter, father, husband, hometown guy and working-class Roman Catholic who is at the heart of this documentary and who, as it turns out, has just learned that his brand new dream house is five doors down from the parochial high school counselor who he says molested him when he was 14.

    Although the film is getting favorable reviews, the Maumee Theater, owned by the city of Toledo, refused to show it.

  • On Wednesday, The Guardian of London took a look at American polygamist sects, noting that an "uneasy truce" between law enforcement and the sects is unraveling:

    [E]verywhere it goes, critics and former sect members argue, polygamy takes with it the danger of institutionalised abuse of women and children, over whom it gives men supreme power... National attention has been drawn to the "lost boys", up to 1,000 teenagers thrown out of polygamous sects to make more girls available for marriage to the elders. Warren Jeffs, the head of one of the largest polygamous sects, the 10,000-strong Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, is on the run, wanted in Arizona for arranging the marriage of an underage girl. An investigation is also under way into the trafficking of girls between polygamous sects on either side of the US-Canadian border.

  • A grand jury indicted Terry Hornbuckle, the founder and pastor at Agape Christian Fellowship Church in Arlington, Texas, on charges of sexual assault, tampering with evidence and retaliation. According to the Dallas Morning News

    The indictment said Mr. Hornbuckle sexually assaulted two other women after giving them a substance that left them impaired... The grand jury also indicted him on a charge of tampering with evidence by attempting to persuade a prospective witness to withhold testimony or to lie to authorities. The retaliation charge involves an Agape employee who was threatened with termination from her job at the church, according to the indictment. Mr. Hornbuckle also was indicted on drug possession charges for 1 to 4 grams of methamphetamine police said they found inside his car during his first arrest in March.

  • A campus minister at an all-girls school in Plainfield, New Jersey and a Catholic priest in Louisiana, both unnamed, were two of hundreds arrested in the wake of a federal investigation into child pornography web sites.

  • On Thursday, Charles Walker, a preacher at the International Christian Church in Hattiesburg, Mississippi and founder of the International Checker Hall of Fame, pleaded guilty to laundering money from the sale and distribution of illegal drugs.

  • Mark David Turner, founder and pastor of Foothill Baptist Church in Riverside, California, appeared in court to answer charges that he possessed unregistered weapons, including assault rifles and a grenade launcher.

  • The Diocese of Sacramento settled 41 clergy sex abuse claims by agreeing to pay $35 million to 33 victims "two minutes" before a jury was to hear the claims. Some 16 of the claims involved one priest, Rev. Mario Blanco, who had been defrocked around 1980 in response to molestation accusations, but who continues to work as a priest in a "traditional church" in Tacoma, Wash.

  • Dallas County District Attorney Bill Hill announced that although he will continue with the prosecution of Matthew Bagert, a Catholic priest in Grand Prarie, Texas, on child pornography charges, he was not going to charge church leaders for mishandling the church abuse scandal. Bagert was arrested after an associate pastor reported finding child pornography on Bagert's computer. In the wake of the arrest Catholics began to take a second look at their spiritual leaders and demanded the resignation of William "Bill" Richard, a priest in Rockwall, who they said had protected a lay aide who was serving probation for indecent exposure. Richard, it turns out, was himself the target of lawsuits for allegedly molesting boys at a high school in Dallas. Fed up, in 2003 the devout demanded Bishop Grahmann's resignation, but several priests, including the as-yet arrested Bagert, led a petition drive in the bishop's support. In 2002 the diocese had claimed that none of its priests had "any indication of violations of state laws relating to minors."

  • A Kane County, Ill. judge ordered the Catholic Diocese of Rockford to turn over records related to Mark A. Campobello to plaintiffs in a civil suit. Campobello, reported the Chicago Tribune, "pleaded guilty in May 2004 to sexually abusing two adolescent girls while he was a priest in residence at Geneva's St. Peter Parish and School and a teacher at Aurora Central Catholic High School."

  • On Friday, a bankruptcy judge okayed the settlement of about 100 molestation-related claims against the Catholic Diocese of Tucson. The diocese had declared bankruptcy in 2004 in response to multiple sexual abuse suits.

  • Prosecutors in Maryland announced they would not retry Maurice Blackwell, whose conviction for molestation had been overturned. Reportedly, Blackwell

    was convicted in February of abusing Dontee Stokes, a former altar boy who shot Blackwell in 2002, nearly a decade after the alleged abuse. Two months later, the conviction was thrown out by a judge who agreed with defense arguments that jurors shouldn't have heard prosecution witnesses testify about other alleged victims.

  • On Saturday, David Herget, died in police custody on child molestation charges. "Mountlake Terrace police arrested Herget on Friday on suspicion of sex crimes involving boys he met at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Mountlake Terrace," reported the Everett Daily Herald. He was on suicide watch when he was found dead.

  • The Reverend Lamar Wright, pastor of the Praise Christian Center in Searcy, Arkansas, was charged with stealing funds from a state HIV prevention grant he oversaw.

    June 20 - June 24, 2005

  • On Monday, a Lawrence, Kansas jury convicted Martin K. Miller, 46, a youth group leader and board member at Victory Bible Church, of first-degree murder in the death of his wife, Kansas University librarian Mary E. Miller. Says the Lawrence Journal World:

    The case included testimony about Martin Miller’s four-year extramarital affair, pornography addiction, and desire to pursue more sexual relationships — all of which stood in contrast to his leadership roles at his church and his children’s Christian school... Prosecutor Jones said in his closing argument that divorce wasn’t an option because Miller stood to lose his roles as a youth-group leader at church and a board member for Veritas Christian School. “Murder?... Of course he knew it was a sin,” Jones said. “But that was supposed to be a private sin. No one was supposed to know about that one.”

  • On Tuesday, a Mesa, Arizona Dennis Montoya, a minister at Word of Grace Church, appeared in court on two child molestation charges. The victim was reportedly an eight-year-old girl. Police said Montoya confessed and they fear there are more victims.

  • A Rumson, New Jersey grand jury indicted Rev. Joseph W. Hughes, the pastor of Holy Cross Roman Catholic Church, with charges related to the theft of $2 million from his parish. Hughes, who has a "fondness for expensive cars, upscale restaurants and Caribbean vacations," according to the Asbury Park Press, also bought a $47,000 BMW, jewelry and assorted household appliances for a church handyman named David Rogers who, it appears, is somehow related to Hughes. The moral bearings of the church community were perhaps revealed when a group of wealthy parishoners offered to repay the stolen $2,034,428 if prosecutors agreed not to send Hughes to jail. Officials rejected the deal, noting that "[t]his was money from fund-raisers and meant for charity. There are very few instances where we would even consider not seeking jail time for this kind of theft, and this is certainly not one of them."

  • In Philadelphia, Mississippi, Edgar Ray Killen, a soft-spoken "country preacher" was convicted on manslaughter charges for the so-called "Mississippi Burning" killing of three civil rights workers in 1964. Killen had previously been found not guilty of violating civil rights laws in a federal court; a lone holdout juror said she "could not convict a preacher."

  • On Tuesday, Norman Pugh, a youth minister at Arnoldsville Baptist Church near Winterville, Georgia, was arrested on child molestation charges involving a 14-year-old girl who had spent the night at his house.

  • In Roseboro, North Carolina, Terrance Howard, a 19-year-old muscian at Holy Tabernacle Church, was charged with statutory rape of a girl between the ages of 13 and 15.

  • On Wednesday, a lawsuit was filed against the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Louis, Archbishop Raymond Burke and Thomas Cooper, a priest. An unnamed man alleges in the suit that when he was 12 or 13 years old he was molested by Cooper. "The suit says Cooper performed oral sex on the boy at least three times at Cooper's "clubhouse" on the banks of a river somewhere in Missouri," reported the St. Louis Dispatch.

  • Thursday saw the beginning of testimony in the sexual assault trial of John A. Salazarm, a Catholic priest at Church of the Holy Spirit in Tulia, Texas. Says the Houston Chronicle:

    In the late 1980s, Salazar pleaded guilty to charges of molesting two boys in Los Angeles. He served more than two years in prison and was released to a treatment program for sex offenders before coming to the Amarillo diocese in 1991.

    But, remarkably, the church continued to re-assign Salazarm to various rural parishes throughout Texas, and didn't defrock him unitl 2004, after thousands of lawsuits against the church prompted a "zero tolerance" policy. By that time, Salazarm had allegedly attacked again, this time molesting a 18-year-old man he had gotten drunk with at a wedding.

  • In Mobile, Alabama, Thomas Anthony Crandall, a former Catholic priest already on probation for a drug conviction, was arrested on child pornography charges.

  • In Chattanooga, Edward Hughes Monday, 61 and pastor of Bethlehem Evangelistic Mission Church, was arrested for rape and sexual battery in a case involving a teenage boy. A neighbor to the church wasn't surprised: "I know several people that has said things about him, you know trying to mess with 'em," she said.

  • The Archdiocese of Philadelphia defrocked seven priests. "The dismissals," noted the Philadelphia Inquirer,

    were announced in a spare notice on Page 8 of the archdiocesan newspaper, the Catholic Standard and Times... While the published notice began with the words, "in the spirit of transparency," archdiocesan officials provided no details of the abuse. The announcement did not use the word sexual in describing the accusations, saying only that the priests were defrocked for "misconduct involving minors."...

    The Inquirer, however, published details of the crimes of the seven men.

  • On Friday, Charles Dwight Smith Jr., the minister youth group leader at North Penn Church of Christ in Lansdale, Pennsylvania, was charged with "deviate sexual intercourse, aggravated indecent assault, unlawful contact with a minor, endangering the welfare of children, corruption of minors and indecent assault" for multiple encounters with two 15-year-old girls at his church, his home, and a church school.

  • In Lamite, Louisiana, grand jury charges were filed against seven people associated with Hosanna Church, including the minister and a sheriff's deputy, for "aggravated rape in a case that has included accusations that children and animals were sexually abused." (Backgound links found here.)

  • Ohio Congressman Steven LaTourette announced he would meet with citizens concerned about Apostolic Faith Church. Explained WEWS News:

    The church was drawn into the investigation after the death of 43-year-old Carolyn Clark. After her death, news spread about legal papers Carolyn Clark filed in a custody dispute she won a few days before she died, accusing leaders of the couple's church of sexual and physical abuse against members, including children.

  • In Thomasville, Georgia, Roderick Suber, 25 and youth minister at Faith Horizons Ministries, was sentenced to four years in prison for statutory rape of a 16-year-old girl when she stayed at his house overnight, and on a church camping trip. When Suber was arrested, Jeff Christopher, pastor at the church and Suber's father-in-law, said Suber would remain as youth minister. Suber, incidently, wore a tie with the Lord’s Prayer on it to court.

  • In Philadelphia, Otis Joseph, choir director at West Oak Lane Church of God, was found guilty of raping two girls. One girl was raped from the time she was 11-years-old until she reported the attacks at age 15. The other was raped at age 14. Joseph has yet to face unrelated charges that he molested three sisters and had a relationship with a 15-year-old girl.

    June 12- June 19, 2005

  • On Sunday, the Lebanon, Pennsylvania Democrat reported that Nathaniel Dobson, who had been employed for 19 years as the senior pastor at Lebanon’s New Shiloh Baptist Church, was sentenced to six months in jail after pleading guilty to having sex with two girls, aged 14 and 15, at a local hotel.

  • In San Diego, a federal judge ruled that Matthew Lotze, pastor at Neighborhood Baptist Church, had violated the terms of his release from jail and may have violated statutory-rape and molestation laws by having sex with a 17-year-old girl. Lotze was awaiting sentencing after having pled guilty to seven fraud charges related to a scheme to bilk Chevron Corp. of money paid by the company to Lotze to destroy defective toy cars. Lotze admitted to falsifying the destruction of the toys, and subsequently selling them to other toy wholesalers.

  • This entire week sees the trial of Edgar Ray Killen, a "country preacher" charged with the so-called "Mississippi Burning" murders of civil rights workers Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James Chaney in 1964. "Killen was tried on federal conspiracy charges in 1967," reported the Los Angeles Times, "but the jury deadlocked 11 to 1; the lone holdout declared that she couldn't ever convict a preacher."

  • The Associated Press reported that the U.S. Roman Catholic Church has now paid over $1 billion to settle claims related to sexual predators in the priesthood.

    And the figure is guaranteed to rise, probably by tens of millions of dollars, because hundreds more claims are pending.

  • On Monday, the Los Angeles Times told us of the "lost boys" of the polygamists of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The lost boys are

    a group of more than 400 teenagers — some as young as 13 — who authorities in Utah and Arizona say have fled or been driven out of the polygamous enclaves of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City over the last four years. [One's] stated offenses: wearing short-sleeved shirts, listening to CDs and having a girlfriend. Other boys say they were booted out for going to movies, watching television and staying out past curfew. Some say they were sometimes given as little as two hours' notice before being driven to St. George or nearby Hurricane, Utah, and left like unwanted pets along the road.

    Authorities say the teens aren't really being expelled for what they watch or wear, but rather to reduce competition for women in places where men can have dozens of wives. "It's a mathematical thing. If you are marrying all these girls to one man, what do you do with all the boys?" said Utah Atty. Gen. Mark Shurtleff, who has had boys in his office crying to see their mothers.

  • In Newport News, Virginia, the Rev. Ronnie Thomas Northham, pastor of First United Baptist Church and volunteer chaplain for the Newport News Police Department, was arrested following a shoving incident at his church. Police said Northham was being fired by his parisoners.

  • This week also saw the court proceedings of a $10 million lawsuit against the Tennessee-based Christ Inc., in Portland, Oregon. A woman claimed that her former pastor, Roy Tate, had repeatedly raped her when she was a teenager in 1989 and 1990. First, Tate failed to show up to court to testify, then lied about his whereabouts. When he finally testified, Tate used the “well, sure, I had sex with her, and I was her pastor and had the authority of God behind me and all, but, hey, I didn't know how old she was" excuse:

    At his turn, defense lawyer Sean Hartfield asked Tate, "How can you be so sure that she was a senior [in high school]?"

    "I thought she and my daughter were about the same age," Tate said.

    The woman had previously sued the church’s Oregon division, but it declared bankruptcy and was removed from the suit, so she filed against the national organization. Before the jury came back, the woman and the church settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.

  • Gerald H. White, a 63-year-old deacon at Central Baptist Church in Montgomery County, Maryland, was charged with taking sexually suggestive photographs of young girls.

  • On Tuesday, the trial against Martin K. Miller continued in Lawrence, Kansas. Prosecutors accuse Miller of killing his wife because he wanted to continue an affair, but believed God frowns upon adultery.

  • In Philadelphia, a jury was selected in the trail of Otis Joseph, a choir director at Canaan Baptist Church charged with raping two girls, one 10 years old, the other 14. In separate charges, Joseph is accused of molesting three sisters and once having a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl.

  • In Charleston, S.C., the Rev. Calvin Morris, 49, a former minister at Salem Baptist Church on Wadmalaw Island, was charged with committing a lewd act on a minor after he allegedly fondled and tried to kiss a 13-year-old girl during a visit to her Wadmalaw Island home in April.

  • In the Washingotn, D.C. suburb of Springfield, Virginia, Rafael Arteaga, 58, an associate pastor at St. Mark's Lutheran Church, was charged with molesting a 4-year-old girl in his church.

  • On Wednesday, police arrested Timothy Wayne Myer,a former boy's youth group leader at the First Baptist Church in Washington Township, Michingan, on 26 charges in connection with the sexual assault of children:

    Myers was arraigned Wednesday on three counts of child sexually abusive activity, a 20-year felony; three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, a life felony; two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct, a 15-year felony; four counts of distributing or promoting child sexually abusive activity, a seven-year felony; 10 counts of using computers to commit a crime, a seven-year felony; and four counts of possession of child sexually abusive material, a four-year felony, according to the Sheriff's Department…investigators discovered that in addition to being in possession of child sexually abusive material, Myers was also manufacturing the sexually abusive material with known male victims ages 8 and 10, the Sheriff's Department said.

  • In Chattanooga, TN, Bryan Mowery, pastor at Community Baptist Church, was arrested for domestic assault after he beat up his daughter, according to media reports:

    A family argument over whom the girl was dating led to the charge. According to Bradley County Sheriff's reports, Mowery spanked the girl with a belt first -- then threw her into a closet, kicked her and hit her in the face with his fist. Mowery reportedly also got a nine millimeter handgun from his bedroom and fired it outside his Trewitt Road home.

  • Danny Thomas, pastor of the Son Rise Church in Unity Township, Pennsylvania, was arrested on charges he swindled his parishioners out of nearly $2,000 in donations to buy a prosthetic limb for a child who didn't exist.

  • The Rev. Harold Hunter and his wife Patricia, previously charged with burning down thier Summerville, S.C. church, were back in the news, arrested for scamming of a Myrtle Beach resident with dementia out of more than $17,000.

  • In Townsend Maryland, former priest Jerome Toohey was accused of having had molested a student at Calvert Hall College High School in the late 1980s.

  • On Thursday, Keith L. Lewis, the former pastor of Victory Temple Church in Ardmore, OK, was sentenced to 25 years in prison for attempting to kill his wife. Lewis had previously admitted he was trying to kill his wife when he shot her twice on U.S. Highway 81.

  • On Friday, Stephen Lee Edmonds, a former deacon at First Baptist Church previously convicted of committing lewd and lascivious acts with three different children, was arrested in Jacksonville, Fla., for violating a condition of his probation by communicating with his victims.

  • The Christ of the Hills Monastery in Blanco, Texas, was back in the news, this time because Gary M. Sabino was convicted of two counts each of capital sexual battery and lewd and lascivious molestation in Pasco County, Fla. Sabino abused a friend's three daughters, butjumped bail and fled to the monastery, living there for 20 months to avoid prosecution.

    The revelation that Sabino took refuge in a place where child abuse had previously occurred "certainly makes you raise an eyebrow,"… These days, visits by "pilgrims" are down, finances are tight and only five monks remain, including Samuel A Greene Jr., who founded the monastery in 1980… Consorting with fugitives or kids is barred by probation terms for Greene, aka Father Benedict, under his 2000 plea deal on nine counts of indecency. He and Jonathan Hitt, aka Father Jeremiah, sexually abused the same novice monk in 1997. Greene pleaded guilty after Hitt was convicted at trial of eight counts of indecency and sentenced to 10 years in prison. In 2002, the monastery settled a suit brought by the youth for nearly $1 million.

  • Jay Bachman, a Sunday School teacher at the Annville (Pennsylvania) United Christian Church, was sentenced to state prison for five to 20 years for sexually assaulting four pre-teen boys over a four-year period.

  • In San Antonio, Texas, a 66-year-old father of five was sentenced to 10 years in prison this week after pleading no contest to sexually assaulting one of his daughters beginning when she was 5 or 6. Evidnece in the trial included a letter from the girl’s mother, who said she too was molested by the man when she was a child:

    "I was 11 years old when I met him. He was married and was a youth pastor in our church," the mother wrote. "I looked up to (this man) as a father, but little did I know what would become. I, up to this point, was an abused child of other molesters. I trusted this information to (this man), as my youth pastor. Needless to say, he took advantage of that and approached me in a different way."

  • On Saturday, the Des Moines Register reported that yet another molestation-related lawsuit has been filed against the Catholic Archdiocese of Dubuque ,” bringing to 15 the number of cases pending in federal and state courts in Iowa alleging sexual abuse of minors by Catholic priests.”

  • Finally (for this week), find buried in an article in the St. Louis Dispatch this remarkable fact:

    St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce has said that her office has received more than 100 credible complaints against priests or former priests since 2002.

    June 6- June 11, 2005

  • On Monday, we learned from that San Antonio Express-News that even though Rev. Thomas Teczar admitted in 1988 to being sexually attracted to little boys, and investigators had linked him in 1993 to two men suspected of sexually abusing at least a half dozen boys, Fort Worth Bishop Joseph P. Delaney merely re-assigned Teczar to rural parishes, without supervision for ten years. Teczar's story was hidden in the diocese's "confidential" files until the files were released in response to a lawsuit.

    Authorities think the diocese and Delaney hampered their investigation by ignoring the sheriff's and district attorney's requests for information about Teczar's past. They say the information Delaney had gathered even before he hired Teczar would have been crucial to the investigation.

  • Also on Monday, Houston's KLTV reported that the parents of 46 refugee children were being notified that accused child molester German Rojas Moreno worked at a Houston clinic where the children were treated. Moreno had been charged with molesting three boys, some of whom he met through St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church in Houston, where he sang in the choir.

  • On Tuesday, more details of the (Louisiana) Hosanna Church sex/rape/bestality perversion came out when Christopher Labat, a former Tangipahoa Parish sheriff's deputy, was charged with 24 counts of child pornography.

    Labat is one of nine people affiliated with the Hosanna Church in Ponchatoula whom authorities suspect had sex with children as part of "occult rituals" from 1999 to 2003... Some suspects in the alleged child sex abuse case have told authorities that they took pictures of themselves abusing the children.

  • On Wednesday came news from Tarpon Springs, Florida that Gilbert Rodriguez Vega had the night before attacked his wife in Iglesia Cristiana Internacional Church:

    Vega entered the sanctuary, which was filled with about 100 people attending Mass... He approached his wife... Vega pulled out an 8-inch steak knife... grabbed her by the neck and lunged the knife toward her throat.. Torres grabbed his hand and kept him from stabbing her, police said. Her 67-year- old father, visiting from Puerto Rico, then jumped in and tried to subdue Vega, police said. Another parishioner also joined the scuffle, police said. They wrestled the knife away from Vega, who ran from the church and fled in a van..

  • Down the road, in Orange Park, Florida, 24-yr-old Joshua Allen Palin, son of a minister, was charged with molesting two girls, aged 12 and 13. Palin was the director of the Kids Palace Daycare, which is affiliated with the Faith Ministries Church. Palin was arrested at a bowling alley, where he was on an outing with 40 children.

  • Also on Wednesday, we learned that Pastor Samuel Rutledge of the First Discipleship Church in Conyers, Georgia, had previously been arrested and charged with statutory rape and aggravated child molestation involving a 7-year-old girl. Authorities said more charges involving other children are likely.

  • That afternoon Pastor Martin Jackson of Louisville, Kentucky was charged with kidnapping, terroristic threatening and assorted other crimes:

    Police say Martin Jackson was driving an illegal cab, and picked up two women outside a Louisville club. He took one home. But the other, police say he took to his apartment, tied her to a bed, and blindfolded her. He's then accused of massaging and kissing her feet and legs... then taking pictures of them... Police say they've found pictures of other women's legs and feet, and about 100 pairs of new pantyhose in his apartment.

  • Yet again on Wednesday (it was busy on the church-crime front), Wayne E. MacMartin, the youth ministry coordinator at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Livermore, California, was charged with using the Internet to send sexually explicit pictures of himself to someone he apparently believed to be a teenage girl.

  • On Thursday, the Hardin County (Kentucky) News-Enterprise reported that an Elizabethtown couple had sued Sand Springs Church of God, its pastor, Charles Duke, and Duke's son, Nicky:

    The suit claims that Glendale resident Nicky Duke, 40, molested the couple's then 14-year-old daughter in early 2003. Nicky Duke was Sand Springs Church of God's youth leader at the time... Nicky Duke pleaded guilty in Hardin Circuit Court in January on charges of having sex with the 14-year-old girl and was sentenced to six years in prison.

  • Over in Monroeville, Pennsylvania, Presbyterian minister Ariano Tiem was charged with the rape, institutional sexual assault and indecent assault of an 84-year-old female patient in an assisted living center for people with Alzheimer's disease.

  • On Friday, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that John Torres was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of sodomy and child molestation of victims he met either directly or indirectly through a nondenominational church in Columbia, Mo., where his father is a minister.

  • Over in Deadwood, South Dakota, Isaac Swan, director of Thunderhead Episcopal Church Camp, was sentenced to 30 years in prison after being convicted on 19 counts of statutory rape and one count of sexual contact with a minor. The crimes occured at the camp.

  • Also on Friday, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported that a federal indictement accused Rev. Larry Davis of the First Baptist Church of Cold Spring, Kentucky of buying a Porsche with some of the more than $700,000 he stole from the church.

  • Finally (well, for this week), on Saturday, the Dallas News reported that Bishop Delaney had released the names of eight priests accused of molesting children in his diocese.

    Like many of his counterparts around the country, Bishop Delaney had long sought to shield accused priests' names, though Catholic leaders pledged at the Dallas meeting to end the secrecy that they acknowledged had sometimes allowed abuse to continue.
    June 5, 2005

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