Thursday, November 10, 2005


Weekly church-related crim update, October 31 - November 6

  • 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.

  • See the entire never-ending chronicle of church-related crime (dating back to June 5) here.

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