Christian Preachers Criminal Predators Across America
“We dare defend our rights!”
That’s the motto that has been adopted by die-hard supporters of Roy Moore, who is running for a seat in the U.S. Senate on a platform of Christian moral superiority despite charges from multiple women that he molested them when they were young girls. So what are the rights that Roy Moore’s supporters are defending? The right for adult men to use children as sexual toys?
Since September, I’ve been tracking a crime spree by Christian preachers going on across the USA. Looking at these crimes, it’s apparent that Roy Moore’s mixture of religion and criminality isn’t an isolated incident. There’s a longstanding pattern of religious leaders using their authority to break the law, abusing the people who place faith in them.
Just in the last week:
Peter Leon, the pastor of the Wells Branch Baptist Church in Wells, Maine, was indicted this week for attempting to take control of the bank account of, and steal from, an elderly woman living in Kennebunkport. Leon’s church is also known as Trinity Coastal Community Church. Leon has previously been convicted of touching and making sexual advances toward a 15 year-old girl in a McDonald’s in Sanford, Maine.
Ronald Paquin, a Catholic priest in York, Maine, has been indicted on 31 counts of sexual assault against children.
Pastor Lee Philip Wiegand of the First Baptist Church in Canby, Oregon, has been arrested on 9 counts of sexual and physical assault against a young girl.
Bob Coy, the founder and pastor of the Calvary Chapel megachurch in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, has been accused of sexually molesting a girl for years, starting when she was just four years old and ending when she became a teenager. Coy is also alleged to have used his political influence to persuade the local police not to pursue a criminal investigation against him. Eight other pastors in the nationwide Calvary chain have also been accused of sexually molesting children.
Daniel Williams, the pastor of the Arrowbrook Baptist Church in Xenia, Ohio, was found guilty of trying to hire a prostitute.
Ralph Shortey made his career in the Oklahoma State Senate by claiming to defend the moral values of Christianity, attacking the legal rights of LGBT Americans, and introducing legislation to increase the criminal penalties for drug possession within 1,000 feet of a church. On the foundation of this Christian politics, Shortey rose to join the leadership team in Oklahoma’s Trump for President campaign in 2016. This week, Shortey himself became the victim of his own ideology of Christian moral supremacy. He admitted his guilt on criminal charges including engaging in prostitution within 1,000 feet of a church. When a 17 year-old boy contacted Shortey in the hopes of doing yard work or other odd jobs, Shortey instead asked him if he wanted to do “sexual stuff” in exchange for money. Shortey was found with the boy shortly afterwards with the boy in a room smelling of marijuana smoke, with an opened box full of condoms.
When Wes Goodman, a married Ohio politician who made his name promising to use the power of government to advance Christian values, was discovered fondling a teenage boy at a meeting of the Council for National Policy, Tony Perkins, who is the leader of the Council as well as of the Family Research Council promised the boy’s parents that the incident would not be “swept under the rug”. Then Perkins went ahead and swept it under the rug, ensuring that it never became public. Goodman continued to advance in his political career, becoming a member of the Ohio state legislature, without any interference from Perkins. Goodman worked tirelessly to advance an agenda of taking legal rights away from GLBT Americans, citing his Christian beliefs as justification. Then, this week, Wes Goodman was found having sex in his office with a male member of his legislative staff. Having sex with another man isn’t illegal. Fondling a teenage boy without his permission is. Tony Perkins has said that he has no comment.