UPDATED AS OF AUGUST 2017
First Presbyterian Church in Georgetown, KY
A former Scott County pastor has been arrested and charged with almost 300 counts of sodomy. Currie Pat Clark, Jr., 58, turned himself in after hearing Georgetown police were looking for him Wednesday. Clark is charged with 296 counts of second-degree, which are Class C felonies. Georgetown Police say Clark sodomized a 12-year-old boy from 2006 to 2008. Some of the alleged incidents occured at Clark's home. "It is a very serious charge," said Georgetown Police Lt. Robert Swanigan. "The boy was 12 years old at the first time of the alleged offense. This is devastating to the child and to his family. " Clark was the pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Georgetown from 1987-2004. He was also involved in the A.M.E.N. House charity in Georgetown. Clark is being held in the Scott County Detention Center on $20,000 bond.
MOUNT KISCO, NY. Parishioners at the Presbyterian Church of Mount Kisco yesterday were coming to grips with revelations that their former pastor was charged by the presbytery with sexually abusing eight boys. The eight charges, unveiled at the presbytery's regional meeting at Webb Horton Memorial Presbyterian Church in Middletown, outline abuse of boys under 18. Among the allegations are that Miller invited a child into the shower with him, that he had oral sex with a minor on numerous occasions over two years and that he made inappropriate sexual remarks and propositions. (THE JOURNAL NEWS, December 5, 2002)
Mount Kisco parishioners react to abuse charges
DALLAS - Six women have accused a retired missionary of molesting them 30 years ago in Africa, shortly before Highland Park Presbyterian Church hired him as an associate pastor. Similar allegations by others forced Rev. Bill Pruitt, 87, to quit his mission job in 1970, say two of the women and a former mission official. All the accusers are daughters of people who worked with Pruitt in Congo, then called the Belgian Congo. An inquiry stemmed from a 1998 complaint filed by several women against Pruitt, who was then retired in Dallas. Pruitt, who died in 1999, denied the allegations. No criminal charges were ever filed. Church officials received credible information that the missionary molested children, but took no disciplinary action. Another accuser said she hopes publicity will lead other victims to get help. She said she felt powerless to complain when abused in the late 1960s in Congo's capital of Kinshasa, at a boarding school for missionaries' children where Pruitt worked as a dormitory supervisor. Her parents, she said, "were 500 miles away" at a rural mission post. "There was no telephone or radio connection." Pritchard said she was aware of at least 6 victims beyond the women who have spoken to investigators. Some were abused at the school, as she and the second accuser were, she said, and others were targeted when Pruitt visited mission posts. Because children were separated from their parents, Pruitt was like a father or an uncle, who charmed them with everything from toys to tricks to hypnosis, she said. Her father, John Pritchard, said two girls from other families accused Pruitt in the late 1960s. Mr. Pritchard, then chief administrator for US Presbyterians' mission work in Congo, said he ordered Pruitt never to be alone with girls again and to quit his mission work. Pruitt, he said, did not respond to the allegations, "but his wife did. She was very strong in denying that such a thing could happen." Mr. Pritchard said his daughter told him only recently that she, too, had been molested. Mr. Pruitt enjoyed a reputation as "a very gentle and compassionate man... one of the most loved and admired missionaries we have," he said. A retired pastor, speaking on condition of anonymity, said his daughter was one of the two who complained in the late 1960s and is not part of the six coming forward now. Pruitt was later hired by the Highland Park church, one of the largest Presbyterian congregations in Texas.
Morning News 4/26/99
TRENTON, NJ. - Two adult males who alleged they were sexually abused as teenagers by a former Presbyterian youth minister have no right to sue the local church and its hierarchy because of the state's charitable immunity law, an appeals court has ruled. The men sued the national Presbyterian Church, the church's Synod of the Northeast, the Presbytery of Elizabeth and the Presbyterian Church at Pluckemin claiming they had been repeatedly sexually abused by their Presbyterian youth minister, Jeffrey Cheseboro. A lower court dismissed the case against the church defendants saying that they were afforded charitable immunity under state law. The appellate panel concurred. "People don't realize this but if you send your child to a church-affiliated nursery school and they are abused by the teacher the only cause of action you have is against the abuser itself. The church is immune," said John Thatcher, who represented the plaintiffs in the case. The way the law works, Thatcher said, if you are a member of a church and slip and fall on the stairs, you have no right to sue the church because you are a beneficiary of the church's "charitable purposes." A stranger, or nonmember, however, can bring a case, the courts have found. In 1995, lawmakers did amend the charitable liabilities law. They said that trustees, directors, officers, employees, agents, servants or volunteers of charitable organizations were not granted immunity if they committed an act of sexual assault and other crimes of a sexual nature, but the charitable institutions themselves were. The appeals court also upheld a dismissal of the case against Cheseboro. The court found that the two-year statute of limitations, which in most sexual abuse cases begins once a child reaches adulthood, had expired. AP 4/5/99
Youth Pastor arrested
ELDRIDGE Reverend Graeme Alfred, 58 VIC Presbyterian minister. Appears in Melbourne Magistrates Court charged with 28 child sex offences, including 17 counts of indecent assault and 9 of committing unlawful sexual intercourse, against 3 boys, aged 9 to 12, in 1981 at Presbyterian church and manse in northern VIC. Court hears assaults involved oral sex, talcum powder and showering with victims. (Victoria, Australia, 1998).
LOS ANGELES - Ronald Reagan's former pastor returned to active ministry two years after he was disciplined for sexual misconduct with 5 women. Presbyterian minister Rev. Donn Moomaw, 66, accepted an interim position in a San Diego church after the presbytery had determined he had fulfilled all the requirements, including signs of full repentance. (7/27/97)
NAME SUPPRESSED BY COURT ORDER, 70 VIC Presbyterian training farm superintendent. Appears in Melbourne Magistrates Court on child sex charges, including committing unlawful sexual intercourse and indecent assault, against 3 boys, aged under 16, between 1954 and 1961 while head of Dhurringile Training Farm near Tatura, north of Melbourne. Court hears offences occurred in dining room of Presbyterian Church-run home, in showers, in one boy's bed and in car. (A MacLean; HS 960228; APP 960515) (Victoria, Australia, 1996).
El Cajon, CA. An El Cajon youth minister was extradited from Kentucky for 15 charges of committing lewd acts on a child in California. Trevor Scott Hanes, 28, headed youth activities at the First United Methodist Church for 6 years before resigning and accepting a part-time position as youth minister with the Second Presbyterian Church in Lexington. (Lexington Herald-Leader, 12/7/95)
LOWE Robert Arthur Selby, 57 Melbourne Sunday school teacher and Presbyterian church elder. Receives life jail sentence in Melbourne Supreme Court after being convicted of kidnapping and choking to death girl, aged 6, whose decomposed body was found in 1991 near Rosebud, south of Melbourne. Court hears Lowe, who attended Rowville Presbyterian Church, killed "for sexual purposes". Report says Lowe on two occasions waved Bible at courtroom, swearing he "never saw girl". Earlier, in 1984, Lowe was charged with exposing himself to schoolgirls at Glen Waverley shopping centre, Melbourne; in 1991, he was warned for indecent exposure at Croydon, Melbourne. In 1997, report lists Lowe as one of VIC's top 4 sex fiends. (Victoria, Australia, 1994).
Mansfield, OH. Tales of Satanism Divide Mansfield; City Agonizes Over Children's Claims by Michael A. Hobbs; "Months after two baby sitters were convicted of sexually assaulting more than 60 children at First Presbyterian Church in Mansfield, rumors persist that there is much, much more to the case. Like murder, cannibalism, mutilation of corpses, forcing children to consume bodily fluids and waste and animal blood. All part of satanic rituals. Children and their parents insist at least 18 more church members should be charged. (Plain Dealer, November 29, 1992)
JURY ACQUITS PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH. A Louisville jury of 6 men & 6 women found in favor of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in a $5 million sexual-harassment suit brought by Janet Gellhaus. The employee claimed her superior Nagy Tawfik sexually harassed her, pressuring her into a sexual relationship by threatening to fire her. Church attorney Michael Valenti, apparently conceded the relationship when he said after the acquittal (shades of the U.S. Senate): "The lesson should be you need to immediately tell people about it, you need to immediately investigate your rights, you need to use some common sense & say 'no'." Source: _Presbyterian Outlook_ 9/7/92.
CHURCH SUED FOR NEGLIGENCE. One of several girls who said Alva minister Rev. Robert Bruce Brigden molested her is suing the First Presbyterian Church for failing to check his background before hiring him. Allegations of sexual crimes were made at his former position in Kansas. Charges allege that he molested Alva church girls, ages 4 to 14. The church posted his bond. Source: _Tulsa Tribune
Alva, OK. MOLESTING MINISTER STABBED TO DEATH BY INMATES. Robert Bruce Brigden, former pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Alva, was stabbed to death by 2 fellow inmates of the Oklahoma State Reformatory while serving a 40-year prison sentence. He was convicted of rape by instrument, lewd molestation, and fondling of 11 girls, aged 4 to 14. (Dallas Morning News 6/14/94)
Former Minister Fatally Stabbed in Prison Cell
PRESBYTERIAN REFORM URGED. The Presbyterian General Assembly, meeting in Baltimore in June, voted 446-78 to recommend abolishing the statute of limitations for reporting sexual misconduct by clergy. The church, citing critical proportions, has a 3-year time limit for reporting sexual misconduct by church officials. The vote must be ratified by 2/3 of the church's 171 regional presbyteries. It also voted 491-26 to establish a policy on sexual misconduct, advising local churches to set up "sexual misconduct response teams" & notify secular authorities "when appropriate". The adopted policy said there is evidence that "10-23 percent of clergy nationwide have engaged in sexualized behavior or sexual contact with parishioners, clients, employees, etc., within a professional relationship". Source: AP 6/12/92.
NUDE MINISTER CONVICTED. Rev. Bruce Rentz, found guilty of indecent exposure after a state trooper saw him jogging naked and chased him to his home, has resigned as minister from Greenbush Presbyterian Church. He was ordered to perform community service, pay a $50 fine, and get counseling. Source: _Union News_ 5/14/92.
PRESBYTERY REMOVES PASTOR. The Pittsburgh Presbytery removed the associate pastor of the prominent East Liberty Presbyterian Church on charges of sexual misconduct. Rev. Howard Eybers, 43, is accused by 3 women of making sexual overtures. Source: _Pittsburgh Post- Gazette_ 3/7/92.
TASKER Donald Gilbert, 61 Melbourne trainee Presbyterian minister and school teacher. Receives 6 year jail sentence in Melbourne County Court after being convicted on 29 child sex charges, including 12 counts of indecent assault, 5 of attempting indecent assault, 7 of gross indecency with aggravating circumstances and 5 of committing unlawful sexual intercourse with aggravating circumstances, against 4 boys, aged 5 to 11, between 1986 and 1991 at Melbourne home and suburban swimming pool. Court hears Tasker, of Croydon, abused his victims after volunteering to become surrogate parent with Melbourne community welfare agency. (Victoria, Australia, 1992).
A federal sting operation to find child pornographers/molesters yielded 6 arrests in Philadelphia, including Presbyterian minister JOHN MCVAY, 53. He allegedly solicited sex with 2 girls ages 9 and 12. He was charged with criminal solicitation to commit involuntary deviant sexual intercourse. He also sent a 15 year old girl obscene material and a letter soliciting sex. (Intelligencer-Record, 3/10/89)
Woman sues Presbyterian church for negligence: The Tulsa Tribune reported that one of several girls who said a Presbyterian minister molested her is suing the church for failing to check his background before hiring him. Allegations of sexual crimes were made at his former position in Kansas. Charges allege that he molested the church girls, ages 4 to 14. The church posted his bond.
A local pastor arrested in a city park Oct. 19 on an indecent exposure charge.
The arrest in McAllister Park resulted from a police sting operation prompted by complaints of lewd activity there. Glenn Masters III , 58, the pastor of Los Angeles Heights Presbyterian Church , was released on $3,400 bail. He said by phone last week that he is on administrative leave to deal with the charge and declined further comment.
Pastor Gary Lee Elg of First Presbyterian Church of Red Wing
A former longtime pastor of a Red Wing church pleaded guilty Thursday, Oct. 11, to engaging in prostitution after he was caught by an undercover police operation in St. Paul. Gary Lee Elg, 60, currently of Inver Grove Heights, admitted in Ramsey County District Court that at about 10:30 a.m. on July 24 he called an undercover police officer in response to a decoy ad for sexual services placed in a newspaper. Identifying himself as "Jerry," Elg arranged to meet at a hotel in St. Paul. When he came to the door of the hotel room, he handed $100 to the undercover police officer "for a full," referring to sexual services, and was arrested. Elg had been the only pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Red Wing for 23 years. He resigned shortly after his arrest.
The pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Anniston was arrested Monday after an early morning stabbing at a house in the 1000 block of Homarda Drive. Anniston Police arrested David Allen Rice, 55, after responding to a 3 a.m. call to the house, where they found a 53-year-old man unconscious with stab wounds to the arm and chest, Anniston police Sgt. Josh Doggrell said. Doggrell said the man with the stab wounds was Rice’s brother. The 53-year-old was in serious condition at Regional Medical Center, Doggrell said Monday afternoon, and had not yet given a statement to police. Doggrell said police interviewed Rice and a witness who was at the scene, and arrested Rice on the domestic violence charge shortly afterward. Rice is the pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Anniston. According to church members, the house on Homarda Drive belongs to the church and is used as the pastor’s residence.
ORLANDO, Fla. — WFTV confronted the man on Wednesday who once volunteered to work with church kids and was just arrested for child pornography. Craig Deloy didn't have much to say, but his pastor at the First Presbyterian Church of Orlando, did. Pastor David Swanson said he doesn't condone Deloy's behavior, but said he's not going to leave him hanging, and quoted the Bible. For more than 20 years, Deloy spent nearly every Wednesday and Sunday at the church. He volunteered as a mentor for middle school students in the youth ministry. On Tuesday, he was arrested at his College Park home on charges of possession of child pornography.
GALVESTON - An elderly Texas City woman is suing a former pastor of her church for up to $25 million for alleged false imprisonment and sexual assault. The lawsuit accuses the Rev. Morris Joseph "Skip" Ehrlich III of twice molesting the 80-year-old plaintiff, who is known only as Jane Doe, between May and August while he was pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Texas City. It also accuses Presbytery of New Covenant Inc. and Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), which oversee the church, of failing to investigate Ehrlich's background, failing to report the clergyman's reported wrongdoing and misconduct and failing to take necessary preventative action. Court papers show that the plaintiff joined the church in 1950 after she converted from Catholicism. The woman and her late husband were married there. After her spouse's death from Alzheimer's disease in November 2007, the woman became a very active member within the church community. She had contact with Ehrlich as pastor and through her involvement in various activities, the suit says. According to the complaint, as early as May 29 Ehrlich began making a series of indecent propositions, making numerous sexual comments, and ultimately, sexually assaulting her on a more than one occasion. "During this time, defendant Ehrlich began making repeated unwanted telephone calls, sexual comments, and sexual propositions to the plaintiff, comments she ignored and disregarded because of her faith, her upbringing, and her trust in the church," the original petition says.
Men with repressed memories of sex abuse sue Presbyterian Church
Two men filed separate lawsuits Thursday alleging they were sexually abused by a Presbyterian pastor in the 1980s at a church in the West Side Ukrainian Village neighborhood. The lawsuit names the Chicago Presbyterian Church, Presbytery of Chicago, San Marcos Church and Church Extension Board of the Presbytery of Chicago as defendants. The men claim they were sexually abused in the 1980s by Pastor Douglas Mason, who ministered youth at the San Marcos Church at 2028 W. Augusta Blvd., according to the lawsuit filed in Cook County Circuit Court.
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
PRINCETON — A former Bluefield church youth volunteer pleaded guilty Monday morning to charges he sexually abused teen boys.
Timothy Probert, 57, of Princeton, pleaded guilty to 37 charges, including first-degree sexual abuse, third-degree sexual assault, second-degree sexual assault, first-degree sexual assault, sexual abuse by a parent, guardian or custodian and one count of delivery of a controlled substance.
Probert, a former youth volunteer at Westminster Presbyterian Church and mentor for the Working to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect (WE CAN) program, entered the plea before retired Fayette County Judge Charles Vickers.
Child abuse a Calvinist problem, podcast says
Child abuse is a Calvinist problem, according to an April 20 podcast sympathetic to the so-called “young, restless and reformed” movement popular among evangelicals belonging to denominations including the Southern Baptist Convention.
Mortification of Spin, a weekly podcast from the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals — a coalition of pastors, scholars, and churchmen seeking to recover and promote biblical doctrines central to the Protestant Reformation — this week examined highly publicized scandals involving celebrity preachers accused of turning a blind eye at the expense of victims of child sexual abuse.
While they don’t say so explicitly, the program’s three cohosts appear to have in mind last week’s appearance at the Together for the Gospel conference in Louisville, Ky., by C.J. Mahaney, a T4G founder who for years has faced unanswered allegations of mishandling abuse as a pastor and ministry leader in a lawsuit thrown out of court on a legal technicality.
SAN DIEGO, Calif. (CBS 8) - A local Presbyterian church is now under fire, accused of a sex abuse cover-up.
Two teenage girls have filed a lawsuit against the Rancho Bernardo Community Presbyterian Church, saying they were sexually abused by former youth choir teacher Gregory Starkey.
The 19-page suit claims church officials knew about previous complaints involving the 27-year-old, and that he sexually abused other underage female choir members and did nothing to protect children or warn parents about Starkey's alleged behavior. "This entire ordeal has been an enormous betrayal of trust, and the fallout has impacted almost every aspect of our young daughter's life," one plaintiff's father said. Starkey pleaded guilty in 2009 to a charge of sexual abuse and was sentenced to probation and required to register as a sex offender. The lawsuit says the girls are now 17 and 18, but claim the incidents happened in 2008 when they were minors.
FORT LAUDERDALE — Another scandal has hit a Fort Lauderdale megachurch that takes pride in being considered the keeper of the moral compass in a city that features sin as a badge of honor.
Pastor Tullian Tchividjian, who happens to be super preacher Billy Graham‘s grandson, resigned from his pulpit at Coral Ridge Presbyterian over the weekend after admitting to having an affair.
All Hell Breaks Loose in Sex Abuse Lawsuit
Carpinteria Church, Presbytery of Santa Barbara Accused of Protecting Offenders and Neglecting Victims for Many Years
The Carpinteria Community Church routinely ignored and covered up reports of sexual abuse committed by one of its youth ministers, a lawsuit filed Tuesday claims.
The lawsuit also alleges that the church’s corporate parents, including the Presbytery of Santa Barbara and Presbyterian Church USA, harbored another sexual predator who molested multiple victims over the course of 30 years as he was transferred to different parishes in Santa Barbara, Ventura, and around the country. In August 2013, Bristol pleaded guilty to crimes he committed against the two other girls, who were also members of the Carpinteria Community Church. Some of the incidents similarly took place at the Holiday Inn. Bristol admitted to committing a lewd act upon a 14-year-old, having unlawful intercourse with a 16-year-old, giving marijuana to minors, and sending video of himself masturbating to a third victim.
Sex scandal rocks Presbyterian Church
An alleged sexual misconduct involving a female administrator and some leading members of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana is said to have scandalized the congregation at Tema Community 4. At the centre of the allegation is the District Administrator, Ms Doris Sobre, and the District Pastor of the Trinity Congregation, Rev. Kissiedu Ayi, who described the allegations as "mere fabrications by a faction in the church bent on tarnishing my hard-won reputation". Doris is also alleged to be in illicit relationships with other senior presbyters of the church, as well as the session clerk, all of whose wives she is said to have often engaged in open fights. The crisis spilled into the public domain on Sunday, May 9, 2010 when Doris and another young woman of the congregation, Nana Abena Dankwah Ahenkan, engaged in an open fight at the entrance of the church.
HALN Reverend Young Key, 47 Gold Coast Presbyterian minister. Receives 8 year jail sentence after being found guilty in Brisbane District Court of rape, digital rape and indecent dealing with girl, aged 14, in 2000 at Nerang, south of Brisbane. Court hears Haln, who ran farm where visiting Korean Christians could work, seduced girl after offering to teach her English. (Queensland, Australia, 2002).
08.11.10 Six persons named by Presbyterian Abuse Review Panel in physical, sexual abuse investigation
The perpetrators named in the report include one Presbyterian minister who is still alive – Douglas Stubblefield, who served as a housefather at a school in Thailand in the 1960s and 1970s, the report states. Along with Stubblefield and Warlick, these men also are named in the report as having sexually abused children:
* Richard Fiete, a former teacher at Hope School in Cameroon. The report says Fiete later became a Presbyterian minister and served churches in the Albany, N.Y. area, and in West Virginia. According to the report, Fiete is dead.
* Charles D. Messinger, a Presbyterian minister who served as a houseparent at Chiang Mai Children’s Center in Thailand in the late 1950s. The report concluded that Messinger had sexually abused at least five young girls. The report states that Messinger later served in ministry at First Church in Hayward, Calif., and at Walla Walla Church in Washington; worked at Hasting College in Nebraska; and died in 1986.
* John Morrow, a teacher at Good Shepherd School in Ethiopia in the 1970s, who was employed by the Sudan Interior Mission (which later became the Society for International Ministries).