C of E
October 16, 2019
An Anglican priest in Fresno has been arrested and charged with sexual misconduct involving at least three adult parishioners. And police fear there could be dozens more victims.
Jesus Antonio Castaneda Serna, 51, was taken into custody on Sunday after an investigation by Fresno police detectives. Serna, who headed the Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe church in Fresno, is alleged to have convinced frightened followers that they had sinned or were cursed and that the only cure was to be rubbed with a “sacred oil” and be masturbated by him.
Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said Serna told his victims that this was a special ritual he learned while in India and that their semen needed to be examined before they could be healed.
Dyer said many of Serna’s victims were undocumented immigrants, a fact that the priest is alleged to have exploited.
“Serna preyed on the undocumented because he knew they would be reluctant to talk to the police,” Dyer said.
Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp and Dyer urged the other victims to come forward, saying that they don’t need to be afraid. If they are undcoumented, they can apply for a U visa that is granted to victims of mental or physical abuse and who are willing to cooperate with police.
Anyone who believes they are a victim may call the Fresno Police Department at 559-621-7000.
Serna was booked into Fresno County Jail on Sunday and posted bond on Monday.
Smittcamp said Serna has been charged with multiple counts of sexual battery, battery and attempted sexual battery. So far, detectives have taken statements from three victims, ages 54, 45 and 43, and there are at least 19 others who told church officials they, too, are victims. At least one of those victims is female.
Smittcamp said Serna faces up to 11 years in jail if he’s found guilty on all counts. That could change if more victims come forward.
Dyer said Serna was a former Catholic priest in Yakima, Washington, from 1997 to 2006.
The Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin said Serna joined the diocese in 2008 but had been relieved of his pastoral and priestly ministry in October 2017 after Bishop Eric Menees received credible information that Serna had committed sexual misconduct. Serna was officially stripped of his duties on Nov. 24, 2017.
In a news release, the diocese said it forwarded information about Serna to Fresno police Authorities at Monday’s news conference did not disclose a timeframe for the alleged misconduct that resulted in Serna’s arrest.
After he left the diocese, Serna moved on to start his own church, Holy Spirit church at 4277 N. West Ave. in Fresno.
Dyer said authorities believe they’ve identified 22 potential victims but there may be hundreds more victims.
August 7, 2019
SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah (ABC4 News) – A former bishop for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints charged with sexual abuse of young boys was sentenced Tuesday to 120 days in jail.
Jeffrey Byron Head originally faced two counts of felony forcible sex abuse and two counts of lewdness. Head was found guilty by a jury in April of third-degree felony attempted forcible sex abuse, misdemeanor sexual battery, and two counts of misdemeanor lewdness.
Head was given a suspended sentence of 0-5 years at the Utah State Prison should he not comply with the terms of his 4-year probation. He is to not have any contact with the victims or their families.
He was also given a fine of $9500 and is required to register as a sex offender.
Jeffery Byron Head, 54, of Draper, convicted of inappropriately touching boys on several occasions between May 2016 and August 2017. Charges indicate the victims were at least 14 years old.
Head was previously a bishop with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was removed from his position after the allegations came to light.
A church spokesman Eric Hawkins released the following statement after charges were filed and an arrest warrant was issued:
“Abuse of any kind cannot be tolerated in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Anyone who engages In such behavior is rightfully subject to criminal prosecution and will also face discipline from the Church, including loss of Church membership.
Upon learning of these allegations, we took steps to notify authorities and to support their investigation into this matter. This individual was also immediately removed from any position in the Church.”
According to court documents, Head touched one victim inappropriately while in the presence of other minors. Two other witnesses told detectives they saw this happen.
Another victim told investigators Head would “discuss sex and masturbation all the time.” He said once the defendant offered to give him a ride home following a church activity. While in his driveway, Head reportedly locked the doors and stated, “we have to figure this masturbation thing out. You’re not leaving until we figure this out.”
The victim told police he could have left but chose not to because Head was “supposed to be a family friend, a leader for him to look up to,” and he would be angry if he ran away.
July 15, 2019
Christian belief has halved in Britain in 35 years with just one in three people now identifying as Christian – while atheism and Islam continue to rise.
Figures published by the British Social Attitudes Survey reveal the widest ever margin between staunch atheists and believers who are certain that God exists.
Of almost 4,000 people polled by the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen), 38 per cent described themselves as Christian – a fall from 50 per cent in 2008 and 66 per cent in 1983.
Those identifying as Muslim increased from 1 per cent in 1983 to 3 per cent in 2008, and 6 per cent in 2018.
No doubt due to the increasing influx of immigrants from the Middle East.
The survey shows that the biggest change is in the number of people who define themselves as “confident atheists”, which rose from 10 per cent in 1998 to 18 per cent in 2008 and its record high of 26 per cent in 2018.
In contrast, researchers found that an overall 55 per cent of the population express some sort of belief in some kind of God.
Nancy Kelley, deputy chief executive at NatCen, said that the steady decline in religion and belief among the British public is “one of the most important trends in post-war history”.
“As our society has become more secular, the role of religious institutions and religious identities in determining our moral and social norms has weakened. Other world views, such as scientific rationalism and liberal individual-ism, now play a more significant part in British society.”
The report’s authors said the survey suggests Britain is becoming more secular “not because adults are losing their religion” but because older people with an attachment to Christian denominations are “gradually being replaced in the population by unaffiliated younger people”.
They added that religious decline in Britain is “generational” as people tend to be less religious than their parents.
Dave Male, the Church of England’s director of evangelism and discipleship, said: “For many people ticking a box marked ‘Church of England’ or ‘Anglican’ is now an active choice and no longer an automatic response. In spite of this, the Church of England remains at the heart of communities.”
Andrew Copson, the chief executive of the non-religion charity Humanists UK, said: “With these trends set to continue, policymakers in every field, from education to constitutional law, to health and social care, need to wake up to such dramatic social changes.”
Vicar found guilty of groping male passenger on transatlantic British Airways flight after downing 10 wines and quizzing him over titty bars could be jailed
June 27, 2019
- Rev Peter McConnell groped a 23-year-old American PhD student on the flight
- He also made ‘sleazy comments’ about sex acts after drinking bottles of wine
- A jury found 64-year-old McConnell guilty at Newcastle Crown Court today
A vicar could face prison after he was found guilty of groping a sleeping passenger during a British Airways flight.
Rev Peter McConnell sexually assaulted an American PhD student on a transatlantic flight in 2017 – after making ‘sleazy comments’ about sex acts, a court heard.
During the trip from Philadelphia to London Heathrow, the 64-year-old clergyman drank up to 10 small bottles of wine and asked the victim if he had been to ‘t***y’ bars.
He then spoke about God and asked his victim, 23, for forgiveness after the sex assault.
Today a jury found him guilty of sexual assault after four hours of deliberation at Newcastle Crown Court.
The vicar, who had been in America to visit his sister, had denied the charge and claimed he talked about ‘mindfulness’, not a sex act starting with the same letter.
After the verdict, prosecutor Andrew Espley said the former Northumbria Police chaplain had left his post with the force in 2014.
The clergyman must now sign the sex offenders register and will be sentenced next month.
He was granted conditional bail by judge Paul Sloan QC.
Mr Espley had told jurors the vicar had been ‘drinking heavily’ during the flight and had moved to sit beside the student because a child had been kicking the back of his own seat.
April 21, 2019
Just hours before Good Friday is celebrated in churches across the country, a prominent East London pastor has been arrested for 12 counts of sexual assault.
The pastor, who cannot be named until his first appearance in court, was arrested at his East London home on Thursday afternoon.
Police spokeswoman Captain Hazel Mqala confirmed the arrest. Mqala said a number of female congregants from the 40-year-old pastor’s church had opened cases against him.
“He will remain in police custody in Fleet Street until his appearance at the East London magistrate’s court on Tuesday,” said Mqala.
This is a developing story.
We will post the pastor’s name and photo when they are available.
February 1, 2019
Meirion Griffiths, trying hard to evade justice
AN ANGLICAN priest, the Revd Meirion Griffiths, has been extradited from Australia on charges of historic sexual abuse.
Mr Griffiths, of Coachwood Way, Maddington, Perth, was arrested and charged in Perth in November 2017, and has been fighting extradition ever since. He arrived at Heathrow in the early hours of Thursday and appeared at Crawley Magistrates Court, where he entered a plea of not guilty. There was no application for bail, and he has been remanded in custody.
A news release from Sussex Police on Thursday said that he had been charged on an extradition warrant issued by Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London in December 2016. “The warrant alleges that he committed several indecent assaults against a girl then in her late teens in the mid-1970’s, and several indecent assaults against a woman then in her mid-twenties in 1982. All the offences are alleged to have taken place at various locations in West Sussex.”
He is believed to be the first Anglican priest to be extradited on historic sexual charges. The only other priest known to have been extradited was Laurence Soper, a former Roman Catholic priest, who jumped bail and spent five years in Kosovo. He was returned to the UK in 2017 and is currently serving 18 years in prison for sexual offences against schoolboys in Ealing.
Mr Griffiths, who is 80, was ordained in 1966. He served curacies in north London, Taunton, and Radipole (Salisbury diocese), before becoming Rector of St Pancras and St John, Chichester, from 1974 to 1982 (when the offences are alleged to have taken place). He then moved to Wales, serving as Rector of Corwen and Llangar, and Rural Dean of Edeyrnion (St Asaph diocese) from 1982 to 1988.
In 1988, he moved to Australia, where he was Assistant Curate of Albany, Rector of Collie, and then Priest-in-Charge of Maddington. He retired in 2000.
Mr Griffiths is to appear at Portsmouth Crown Court on 1 March.
Just one in ten babies in England is baptised into the Church of England with the numbers even lower in London at three in every hundred
January 26, 2019
Here is more evidence of the decline of the Church of England –
Only one in ten babies is baptised into the Church of England – and in London, the figure is even lower at three in every 100, a national breakdown of the Church’s strength has revealed.
The tiny minority of infants who are introduced to Christianity by the CofE in London is mirrored in other major cities.
In Birmingham, only 5 per cent of babies are christened by the Anglican church; in Bristol it’s 6 per cent; in Manchester 8 per cent; and in Nottingham 9 per cent.
Only one in ten babies is baptised into the Church of England. The figures are particularly low in cities +2
Only one in ten babies is baptised into the Church of England. The figures are particularly low in cities
But the proportion of newborn children who are baptised is much higher in provincial towns and rural areas. In the Hereford diocese, for example, one in four babies is christened by the CofE.
The figures come from an analysis of churchgoing in 2017 in the CofE’s 46 dioceses. It shows that across England an average of 10 per cent of babies under one were baptised – down from 14 per cent in 2007.
Less than 50 people attend Sunday services at a typical English parish church. The figures for the London diocese do not include the capital south of the Thames, which is the Southwark diocese, where 5 per cent of babies under one are baptised into the CofE.
The Reverend Sandra Millar, its head of christenings, weddings and funerals, said: ‘Cities often have more transient populations as well as more religious diversity.’
The Church of England has issued guidance on how churches can welcome transgender people into the Anglican faith with a ‘celebratory’ service for those who have transitioned +2
The Church of England has issued guidance on how churches can welcome transgender people into the Anglican faith with a ‘celebratory’ service for those who have transitioned
August 4, 2018
- Peter Ball has moved to Somerset to start a new life after sex abuse conviction
- Ball, 86, was jailed for 32 months in October 2015 for historic abuse against boys
- The former bishop of Lewes and Gloucester was a friend of Prince Charles
“There is much more opportunity for sex with children in the Catholic Church,” says Ball.
A sex abuser bishop who was supported by Prince Charles has started a new life in the West Country where he hopes to become a Catholic.
Peter Ball, 86, moved into an 18th century property in a Somerset village after his release from prison last year for abusing 16 young men.
The revelations come days after it emerged Charles had described him as the victim of ‘monstrous wrongs’.
The supportive relationship was detailed in a series of letters given to the child sex abuse inquiry, which heard new claims of an alleged Establishment ‘cover up’ of Ball’s behaviour.
Despite his offences, the former bishop of Lewes and Gloucester is still the recipient of a generous Church of England pension.
Ball last night said he had been forbidden from discussing the ongoing inquiry, which is investigating how he escaped prosecution for decades after his offending came to light.