Crime Spree By Christian Preachers Continues Into 2018
Christian preachers tell us that if we want to be saved, we have to surrender to Jesus, and let him take control of our lives. Of course, Jesus never actually shows up himself, so in his absence, control by his assistants, the Christian preachers, will have to do.
So, what does it look like to be “saved by Jesus”? Too often, it looks like being a victim.
Way back at the end of September last year, I took notice of a crime spree sweeping the United States: Priests, reverends, pastors and preachers from Christian churches were committing crimes against the communities they “served” with an alarming regularity.
In the new year, the Christian crime spree continues.
Monsignor William Dombrow, a priest at the Villa St. Joseph in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, has been convicted of stealing more than half a million dollars from elderly members of his religious community. He spent the money on gambling sprees, and says that he only committed his crimes because of a gambling addiction. That excuse doesn’t explain his use of the stolen money to buy money for concert tickets, seats at the theater, meals at restaurants, and lavish overseas vacations for himself.
Gerald Hechenberger, a priest at the Holy Childhood Church in Mascoutah, Illinois, has been charged with 16 counts of dissemination and possession of child pornography showing children under the age of 13. He has also been charged with one count of possession of methamphetamines, an illegal drug. Hechenberger is also an associate pastor at St. Pancratius Parish in Fayetteville and St. Liborius Parish in St. Libory, Illinois. Back in 2011, Hechenberger was given a leave of absence from the St. John the Baptist Parish in Smithton, Illinois to address what were described as “legal challenges”, but the leadership of the parish concealed the nature of Hechenberg’s legal troubles from the community.
Larry Michael Berkley, pastor of the Shiloh Baptist Church in Covington, Tennessee, was arrested after performing a funeral, on charges of rape and sexual battery of three children. Berkley is charged with giving his victims alcohol and showing them pornography before assaulting them. The preacher also took one of his victims to look at a dead body in a funeral parlor, and then revealed a stash of illegal drugs he kept hidden in one of the caskets there.
Reverend Jesse Claybon of the New Age Missionary Baptist Church in St. Louis, Missouri, has been arrested and charged with taking a young girl in his car to a Red Roof Inn and sexually assaulting her there.
Cesar Lopez, pastor of Ministerios Soldados de Jesucristo church in Avoca, Arkansas has been found guilty of sexual assault against two young girls who were members of his church.
Eddie Hilburn, pastor at The Woodlands First Baptist Church in The Woodlands, Texas, has been convicted of attempting to buy a woman so that he could have sex with her. Hilburn is not just a sexual predator, but he’s cheap too – he was only willing to pay $80 for the woman. She turned out to be an undercover police officer.
Robert Litzinger and Cindy Litzinger, pastors of the Church of Life in California have been accused of groping female congregants and asking them to send sexual images of themselves in order to become good Christian women.
John Bishop, the former pastor of the Living Hope Church in Vancouver, Washington, has been arrested and charged with trying to smuggle 280 pounds of illegal drugs into the United States.
Luis Cruz, a youth pastor at the San Jose Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Fremont, California has been charged with sending sexual images of himself to a 13 year-old girl.
Jordan Baird, youth pastor at the Life Church in Manassass, Virginia, has been convicted on five counts of sexual assault against a child at the church. Baird’s father, the lead pastor at the church, is suspected of organizing other church leaders to protect him from prosecution and conviction. The church leadership directed the victim’s friends to turn against her.
A Gerardo Custodio, a minister at the Iglesia La Familia De Dios church in Ontario, California, where his father is the lead pastor, has been charged with sexually assaulting two children. Police believe that there are other victims.