New Jersey minister used oral sex in exorcism ritual
June 6, 2019
A Presbyterian minister, who said he was following the Bible, used Native American exorcism rituals, gemstones and even oral sex to extract “evil spirits” from men undergoing crises in their lives, the church and men claim.
The so-called healing acts, which date to 1999, were allegedly performed by the Rev. Dr. William Weaver, a prominent Presbyterian minister who served as pastor at Linden Presbyterian Church for 39 years, one of two Presbyterian churches in Linden, a city with a population of over 40,000. He also held several public roles, including chaplain for a county police department.
Weaver, 69, was scheduled to face his three accusers during an internal church trial, but on Jan. 25, 2019, one day before the trial was to begin, he renounced the jurisdiction of the Elizabeth Presbytery. He was accused by the church of “multiple acts of idolatry and sexual misconduct.”
The church charges have no bearing on the secular government’s civil and criminal courts. No public charges have been filed against Weaver. The men said they did report the sexual encounters to authorities, but the Union County Prosecutor’s Office said they could not confirm nor deny information regarding this matter.
With his renouncement, Weaver gave up his ordination and membership in the Presbyterian Church but also avoided a religious trial. He then moved to a gated retirement community in Lakewood.
The trial was scheduled after the men alerted the Elizabeth Presbytery, which oversees 41 Presbyterian churches in Somerset, Hunterdon, Middlesex and Union counties.
The Presbytery determined, through an investigating committee, “that there are probable grounds or cause to believe that an offense was committed by the accused,” according to the official church charges. If Weaver was found at the religious trial to have violated church rules, the most punishment he would have faced would have been expulsion from the Presbyterian ministry.
“In April 2018, the Presbytery of Elizabeth received allegations of multiple instances of sexual misconduct perpetrated by William Weaver, who was a minister member of the Presbytery. The Presbytery of Elizabeth, a regional body of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), takes seriously any allegation of misconduct,” the Rev. Leslie Dobbs-Allsopp, interim leader of the Elizabeth Presbytery, said in a statement.
She said the Presbytery’s response to these allegations was in accordance with its policy on sexual misconduct and the Book of Order, the Constitution of the Presbyterian Church in the United States.
“Mr. Weaver was placed on administrative leave while the Investigating Committee conducted interviews with multiple witnesses,” Dobbs-Allsopp continued. “The allegations were found to be credible, and disciplinary charges were filed, and an ecclesiastical disciplinary hearing date was set.”
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