Child Abuse

Congolese Pastor Arrested Over Sexual Abuse

July 18, 2019

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Luanda — Angolan police authorities arrested a Congolese pastor of the Church of Espirito Santo (IESA) on Wednesday in Luanda, accused of sexual abuse and having impregnated a teenage girl, according to a source at the National Police.

Speaking to ANGOP, the PN source stated that the pastor, 39, belonged to an IESA congregation, located in the Salinas neighborhood, in the municipality of Belas, in Luanda.

The man confessed to the crime to the police authorities, after being detained.

According to the source, the incident occurred in December 2018 when the teenager’s mother, a church believer, took the girl to the congregation for malaria treatment.

According to the source, the pastor asked the mother of the 16-year-old girl to put her in the church, but later the man took the teenager to his home, where he sexually assaulted her several times.

Seven months later, she added, the adolescent showed symptoms of gestation, which led the mother to make clinical tests in one of the hospitals in the capital.

After the medical examinations, it was confirmed that the teenager was pregnant.

Former El Paso Catholic priest convicted of six counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child sentenced to 18 years

July 17, 2019

A former El Paso Catholic priest, who was convicted Monday of sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl more than two decades ago, sat in a courtroom Tuesday listening to the impact the abuse had on three of his victims.

A jury found Miguel Luna. 69, guilty of six counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child; three counts of indecency with a child, sexual contact; and three counts of sexual assault of a child.

Luna was sentenced to 18 years in prison and 10 years probation on Tuesday. 

Luna was accused of sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl, who was an altar server, at an El Paso church from 1991 to 1998, according to court documents.

Three of Luna’s victims testified during the sentencing portion of the trial, which began Tuesday. The El Paso Times does not identify victims of sexual abuse.

Luna sat feet from the victims as they testified. He stared down at the desk in front of him and never made eye contact with the victims.

One victim said she was shocked when she found out that Luna remained a priest until 2013.

“I couldn’t believe he was up there pretending to be something he is not — preaching the word of the Lord,” the victim said. “He is a monster.”

She added that she suffers depression and pleads for forgiveness after having to abort a baby fathered by Luna.

“I am scared,” she testified. “I ask for forgiveness. It wasn’t the baby’s fault. I really don’t” forgive myself.

A sixth Michigan Catholic priest has been charged with criminal sexual conduct

July 16, 2019

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Attorney General Dana Nessel charged a sixth priest with criminal sexual conduct on Monday, after he was arrested by special agents from the AG’s office.

Father Joseph (Jack) Baker was arrested in Wayne County and charged with one count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct — sexual penetration with a person under 13.

The Archdiocese of Detroit provided a tip to the AG’s clergy abuse team immediately after receiving the original report on Baker. His arrest is part of Nessel’s developing investigation into abuse by clergy in the Catholic Church.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” Nessel said in a press release. “Our clergy abuse investigative team is working day and night to review the hundreds of thousands of pages of documents and files seized from all seven of Michigan’s dioceses last fall. At the same time, we continue to receive calls daily from victims who know we will listen to them, believe in them, and investigate their allegations. They deserve nothing less than our very best.”

Baker has worked as a pastor at St. Perpetua Parish in Waterford since 2008; he’s also been a pastor at St. Mary Parish in Wayne, an associate pastor at St. Hugo of the Hills Parish in Bloomfield Hills, and an associate pastor at Sacred Heart Parish in Dearborn.

Pastor arrested for rape of 13 year old girl in Johnston County

July 11, 2019

Stephen Morris

A pastor at a Johnston County church is accused of sex crimes against a 13-year-old girl, officials say.

The Rev. Stephen Arthur Morris, 61, is charged with five counts each of statutory rape/sex offense and indecent liberties with a child, according to the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office. He was arrested Friday.

He is accused of committing crimes against the teenager from 2013 to 2014, according to Capt. Jeff Caldwell, a Sheriff’s Office spokesman.

Morris led Oliver’s Grove Baptist Church in Four Oaks and is now “off the job,” reports ABC11, The News & Observer’s media partner.

The News & Observer reached out to Morris’ church on Tuesday morning, and calls went unanswered.

Morris’ bail was set at $2.5 million, Caldwell said. He is scheduled to appear in court July 25.

Prominent Detroit priest removed from pulpit for sex abuse of altar boys

July 8, 2019

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DETROIT (AP) — The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit said Sunday that it removed a prominent priest from public ministry after reviewing what it described as a “credible allegation” that he had sexually abused a child decades ago.

The Rev. Eduard Perrone was suspended from ministry Friday, a month after The Associated Press began asking the pastor himself, the archdiocese and law enforcement authorities about a former altar boy’s allegations that Perrone had groped him.

Archdiocese officials told Perrone’s congregation at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish during services Sunday that members of the local archdiocese review board found a “semblance of truth” to the accusations, but that they are maintaining a presumption of innocence.

Some parishioners expressed shock when they heard, and one woman walked out of the service to gather herself outside. After Mass, a number of people stopped at the back of the church to ask questions of two archdiocesan officials and pick up a written statement about Perrone.

The pastor is prohibited from representing himself as a priest or wearing clerical attire while the Vatican reviews the allegations, the archdiocese said in the written statement.

The statement also said the archdiocese had reported the allegation to local law enforcement and the Michigan attorney general’s office. The attorney general’s office declined to comment last month, but it has an open investigation into clergy abuse in the Catholic Church in Michigan and charged five men who were priests with 21 counts of sexual misconduct in May.

The Detroit Archdiocese on Sunday added Perrone’s name to its list of dozens of credibly accused priests, many deceased. More than 140 religious orders and Roman Catholic dioceses have released similar lists. Most of those lists were either released or significantly updated since a Pennsylvania grand jury last summer detailed hundreds of cases of alleged abuse.

Perrone, who co-founded a nonprofit group called Opus Bono Sacerdotii in 2002 to support priests facing allegations of abuse or other problems, did not respond to requests for comment on Sunday. At the rectory where he lived, a woman who answered the door said there was “no way” to reach Perrone and asked a reporter to pray for the priest.

Last month, Perrone denied any wrongdoing when the AP asked him about the allegations that years ago, he would invite altar boys to his mother’s lake house where he would wrestle with them in the water for hours. At times, the wrestling turned to inappropriate grabbing and groping, said a former altar boy who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity to protect his privacy.

Perrone said it was the first he heard of any allegations against him.

“Never inappropriate touching,” he said. “I never ever would have done such a thing.”

He said other adults were always in attendance when they gathered at the lake house and everyone was “fully clothed.”

Perrone also denied allegations from two individuals that he served wine to minors, but then went on to describe offering wine to a child.

German Catholics Storm Out Of Sermon Urging Forgiveness For Predator Priests

July 6, 2019

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A Roman Catholic priest in Germany is facing backlash over a sermon urging parishioners to forgive pedophile priests.

About 70 parishioners stormed out of Holy Spirit Church of Münster in northwest Germany on Sunday, after realizing what exactly the Rev. Ulrich Zurkuhlen was asking them to do, Deutsche Welle reported.

The retired, 79-year-old priest was apparently attempting to preach about the importance of forgiveness in Christianity, using examples from the Bible to insist that pedophile priests deserve to be forgiven, too.

Zurkuhlen’s words did not sit well with parishioners, some of whom were reportedly victims of clerical abuse themselves. Members of the congregation started arguing with Zurkuhlen while he was preaching. The situation escalated quickly, which led to a crowd of angry parishioners walking out.

During an interview with Kirche-und-Leben (Church and Life), a news site for the Diocese of Münster, Zurkuhlen described the parishioners as a “screaming mob.” He bemoaned the fact that he wasn’t able to finish the sermon and get across his point.

Zurkuhlen complained about bishops referring to predator priests as “criminals,” even if the men were otherwise good at their jobs.

“Nobody is just profoundly evil,” the priest told Kirche-und-Leben. “Goodness and guilt are often combined with each other or stand side by side without touching.”

He added that the congregation’s reaction was a “real shock.”

Zurkuhlen’s sermon comes during a grim period for the global Roman Catholic Church, as it faces a renewed reckoning over clerical sexual abuse. High-profile abuse scandals have recently toppled prominent figures in the U.S., Australia and Chile.

Last September, a report commissioned by the German Bishops Conference concluded that at least 3,677 minors were abused by 1,670 Catholic clerics between 1946 and 2014. More than half of the victims were age 13 or younger.

The Rev. Stefan Rau, the congregation’s lead pastor, told Kirche-und-Leben that he regrets Zurkuhlen’s comments. The bishop of Münster, Felix Genn, has reportedly asked Zurkuhlen to stop preaching.

Rau said he believes forgiveness isn’t the duty of abuse victims.

“I always try to give my colleagues in the pastoral team encouragement,” Rau said. “But this was not possible this time.”

French priest defrocked for abusing Scouts in landmark case

July 5, 2019

PARIS (AP) — France’s Catholic Church pronounced a priest guilty of sexually abusing multiple Boy Scouts over several years and defrocked him Thursday, an unusually strong move that reflects France’s growing reckoning with clergy sex abuse.

The ruling by a church tribunal was the latest development in a case with repercussions that reached the highest levels of French Catholic leadership and the Vatican itself. The priest, Bernard Preynat, already confessed to abusing Boy Scouts during the 1970s and 1980s.

Preynat is believed to have abused as many as 85 boys and faces trial in a French court next year. The church tribunal said its internal investigation found he committed “criminal acts of sexual character against minors under 16.”

The tribunal gave the maximum punishment allowed under church rules, stripping the priest of his clerical status. Citing repeated abuse and the large number of victims, it said Preynat abused his church-conferred authority as a Scout leader.

He has a month to appeal the decision.

“This is a great decision,” said Alexandre Hezez, who was abused by Preynat and sought to have the priest defrocked for years. “Experience shows that often (abusive priests) are just displaced to other dioceses. By preserving their capacity to celebrate, they retain their power over people.”

Noting the exceptionally firm language in the church ruling, he expressed hope it would set a precedent.

“It’s important to at last show … that they can face strong sanctions, without concessions,” Hezez told The Associated Press.

His victims allege church authorities covered up for Preynat for years, allowing him to have continued contact with children up until his 2015 retirement.

Among those accused of a cover-up in the Preynat case was France’s senior Catholic cleric, Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, and Cardinal Luis Ladaria, who now heads the Vatican office in charge of handling sex abuse cases.

Barbarin was convicted earlier this year of failing to report Preynat to police. Barbarin appealed but went to the Vatican to offer his resignation. Pope Francis refused to accept it.

French magistrates are also investigating accusations against the Vatican’s ambassador to France made by men who say he groped them. The envoy, Archbishop Luigi Ventura, has denied wrongdoing. The Vatican so far has not lifted his diplomatic immunity.

ANTI-GAY ALABAMA PASTOR CHARGED WITH SEXUAL ABUSE OF TWO BOYS

July 3, 2019

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As we have often said, rabidly anti-gay male clergy are one short step away from sucking dicks in public bathrooms.

An anti-gay preacher has been arrested after confessing to his congregation that he had a sexual relationship with two young boys.

John Martin, is being held in the Lauderdale County Detention Center on four counts of sexual abuse first-degree.

Coty Hand, the Assistant District Attorney in Lauderdale County, says Martin resigned as pastor at Lighthouse Baptist Church and was arrested Friday night. He says they want anyone who thinks they were a victim to come forward.

WAAY 31 was in Florence and spoke with people who live near the church. We learned John Martin confessed to his congregation about the crimes.

According to the Lighthouse Baptist Church website, Martin has been preaching there since 2010. WAAY 31 reached out to several congregation members to ask about these accusations, but we have not gotten a response.

A man who lives less than a block away from the church, Lewis Gist, said he had no idea something like this could have been going on down the street.

“You wouldn’t expect it at a church. That would be the last place you expect it,” Gist said.

That’s the first place you should expect it.

The Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office says they believe the victims involved were children at the church. They would not say the ages, gender or how many victims they believe there are.

The sheriff’s office did say the four charges against Martin could be all for one victim or for multiple victims, and the charges are for any child under 17 years old. His bond is set at $60,000.

The church’s Facebook page shows out of 25 reviews, it has a 4.8 out of 5 rating. In one review, a woman said, “Pastor Martin I love you and your family. Thank you for making me and my children feel loved and welcome.”

On Monday, someone commented on that review saying, “I hope your children were safe there.”

The woman who wrote the review said they always were and went on to say she felt bad for Martin’s wife and children.

WAAY 31 stopped by Martin’s home and was asked to leave immediately. We combed through state court records and could not find a past criminal history for Martin.

“My youngest grandson is 15. Something like that happened to him, I don’t know what I’d do,” Gist said.

Afghan mullah jailed for 20 years for raping 10-year-old girl

June 29, 2019

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An Afghan court has sentenced a mullah to 20 years in prison after finding the religious teacher guilty of raping a 10-year-old girl.

The sentence, passed by a Kabul judge on Saturday, has been welcomed by family as well as women’s support groups as a rare victory in their fight for justice for female victims of sex crimes. Rape is often treated as adultery in Afghanistan, and victims can face prison themselves.

Hassina Sarwari, who runs a shelter for women in northern Kunduz province, where the rape took place, said on Sunday that if the trial had not been transferred to Kabul the result would probably have been very different.

The rape took place in May in the girl’s home village near the provincial capital, also called Kunduz.

“If the case would have not been transferred to Kabul, we were so worried that the mullah would have not been punished in Kunduz for his crime,” said Sarwari. When she saw the girl, Bershna, who like many Afghans only uses one name, for the first time in the hospital she was in a bad condition and required transfer to Kabul for additional treatment.

Kunduz police spokesman Sayed Sarwar Hussaini said his colleagues were shocked at first to hear the story but acted immediately to apprehend the mullah. “We sent a police unit to make the arrest, and we caught mullah Mohammad Amin while he was trying to flee,” he said.

Sarwari, who followed the case closely, said the crime occurred after the mullah chose three girls to help clean the village mosque. Two escaped when they discovered his intentions but Bershna fell into a nearby stream while trying to flee and Amin took her back to the mosque where he raped her.

“The mullah threatened Bershna, saying that if she told anyone what had happened she and her family would be killed,” but the child suffered injuries that could not be hidden.

Mohammad Rasoul, Bershna’s uncle who attended the trial, said the family was happy with the sentence.

“We welcome the decision by the judge as that is the maximum punishment he could be given according to our country’s law,” Rasoul said.

Florida pastor arrested on sexual molestation charges

June 27, 2019

GADSDEN COUNTY, Fla. (WCTV) — The Gadsden County Sheriff’s Office says a local pastor, who also works in the Gadsden County School District, has been arrested and charged with two counts of lewd and lascivious behavior on a child.

GCSO says after an investigation into the allegation of inappropriate behavior, a probable cause affidavit was submitted to the State Attorney’s Office and a warrant was issued for the arrest of 60-year-old Arthur Louis Ivey.

Officials say Ivey was booked and is being held in the Gadsden County Jail with no bond.

Founder of the Biblical Flat Earth Society is charged with 56 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor after stash of child pornography on his computer

June 25, 2019

Phillip Stallings, 40, was arrested Wednesday on 28 counts of second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor and 28 counts of third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor
  • Phillip Stallings, 40, from North Carolina, founded a Christian flat earth society 
  • He is charged with 56 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor by authorities 
  • The arrest follows an investigation by Durham County Sheriff’s Office and Homeland Security who allegedly found illicit material on his computer
  • The alleged pedophile believes in a conspiracy organized by the so-called Illuminati to ‘cover up the flat Earth’ and shared his views in bizarre online videos
  • Stallings made his first appearance in court on the charges Thursday morning, and a judge set his bail at $500,000 secured 

A fundamentalist Christian who founded the ‘Biblical Flat Earth Society’ has been charged with 56 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and now faces life in prison.

Phillip Stallings, 40, was arrested Wednesday on 28 counts of second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor and 28 counts of third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor.

The arrest follows a joint investigation by the Durham County Sheriff’s Office and U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and stem from downloaded material found on his computer allegedly of minors involved in sexual activities.

Stallings’s own website promotes his belief that the Earth is flat and cites biblical justifications for his demonstrably inaccurate beliefs.

The alleged pedophile believes a conspiracy organized by the so-called Illuminati to ‘cover up the flat Earth’ that is ‘certainly connected to sun worship which goes all the way back to Nimrod and the tower of Babel.’

Elsewhere in his bizarre videos, he takes aim at ‘feminists, transvestites, sodomites and women in the military.’

Stallings’ arrest comes as part of a wider Homeland Security investigation into child pornography on the internet. He was also hit with a warrant related to financial card theft and cyberstalking.

An arrest warrants reveals Stalling allegedly duplicated and possessed images of minors performing sex acts.

Anti-Abortion Pastor Arrested After Sexually Abusing Teenage Relative For Years

June 19, 2019

A former Southern Baptist pastor in Houston was arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a teenage relative over the course of five years. Stephen Bratton, 44, also previously advocated for the passage of a bill that would criminalize abortion in Texas, which would have made the death penalty a possibility for those who undergo the medical procedure.

On Friday, Bratton, who was a pastor at Grace Family Baptist Church, was arrested and charged with the continuous sexual abuse of a child, according to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.

“The victim said they would have sexual intercourse multiple times a day or several times a week,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement provided to Refinery29.

“The complainant stated that Bratton sexually abused her starting from 2013, when she was just 13 years of age. The abuse continued until 2018.” Bratton, a father of seven, has been excommunicated from his church and is currently out on a $50,000 bond.

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