Sunday, September 18, 2005


Weekly church-related crime update, September 10 - 17

  • 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.

  • This chronicle continues back several more months here.

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