More Christian Preachers Behaving Badly
Last week, I wrote about a rash of violence and sexual abuse by Christian preachers. This week, the streak of pastoral crimes continues.
On Monday, the sexual abuse conviction of Mike Sperou, the pastor of the North Clackamas Bible Community in Happy Valley, Oregon, was upheld by the Oregon Court of Appeals. Sperou sexually abused seven girls in his congregation in Multnomah County.
On the same day, a judge ruled that there is probable cause to charge the Reverend Mitch Walters of Our Lady of Sorrows church in South Orange, New Jersey with the sexual assault of an altar boy in a confessional booth when he was a priest at St. John Nepomucene Parish in Guttenberg, New Jersey. Walters is also suspected of molesting several children while working as a priest at St. Cassian’s Parish in Montclair, New Jersey. In response, the Archdiocese of Newark has filed legal paperwork to keep hidden church records revealing how much the New Jersey Catholic bureaucracy knew about the crimes that were being committed by Walters.
On Tuesday, David Wayne Farren, the lead pastor of Anchor Church in Texarkana and a youth pastor at Trinity Church in the same city, was sentenced to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to nine counts of sexual abuse of two girls. Farren abused one of the girls after she confided that she had been sexually abused before. The pastor abused the other girl after her father died.
Yesterday, the Archdiocese of Chicago was hit with a 50 million dollar lawsuit alleging that Catholic leaders in the city knew about the repeated sexual abuse of boys by Father Daniel McCormack, a priest who was convicted earlier this year on multiple counts of abuse, but did nothing to stop it. The Archdiocese of Chicago is refusing to comment on the suit, but is continuing to hold events with priests preaching about their churches’ superior morality.
Sometimes, Christian preachers practice their abuse with help from others. Earlier this week, Samuel Emerson, pastor of the Cloverdale Christian Fellowship Church in Surrey, British Columbia, was charged, along with his wife Madelaine Emerson, of repeatedly sexually assaulting a child. The preacher is also charged with threatening people with physical violence. “A sacred trust has been broken,” said Emerson’s father.
Also this week, Pastor Kenneth Butler of the Kingdom Encounter Family Worship Center in Toledo, Ohio was charged with the sex trafficking of a 16 year-old girl. Butler is accused not only of paying the girl for sex, but of handing her into the clutches of two other Toledo preachers, Reverend Cordell Jenkins of Abundant Life Ministries and Anthony Haynes of the Greater Life Christian Center, who are currently in prison on charges that they ran a child prostitution and child pornography operation.
It’s not all just sexual abuse that Christian priests and preachers are practicing upon their followers. On Wednesday, Hien Minh Nguyen, a Catholic priest from the Vietnamese Catholic Center in San Jose, California, was sentenced to three years in prison for stealing 1.44 million dollars of donations. Nguyen stole cash donations, deposited donated checks into his personal bank accounts, and wrote checks from the Vietnamese Catholic Center to pay for his personal expenses.
How long will this trend of crimes by Christian priests go on before people start to seek answers to the obvious question: What is there about preachers in Christian churches that makes them prone to this kind of abusive behavior?