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Prosecutors say Ronald Hernandez Tovar had sex with 16-year-old girl.
By DENISSE SALAZAR AND CINDY CARCAMO
The Orange County Register
STANTON– A pastor of a Stanton church accused of having sex with a 16-year-old female parishioner appeared in court today during his arraignment, which was continued until Feb. 23.
Ronald Hernandez Tovar, 56, of Placentia was charged on suspicion of three counts of having unlawful sexual intercourse and one count of oral copulation of a minor, prosecutors said.
Bail was set at $100,000. If convicted, Tovar faces up to five years in state prison.
Tovar, who is married, reportedly had sex with the teen from Aug. 1 to Dec. 31, prosecutors said.
Tovar, a pastor at the Shadow of the Almighty Church in Stanton, is accused of having unlawful sex with the girl on multiple occasions and locations, including his church office in Anaheim Hills, prosecutors said.
Anyone with additional information can call Supervising District Attorney Investigator Craig Kelsey at 714-347-8794.
http://www.ocregister.com/ocregi ... article_1575048.php
A youth group coordinator for a Mill Creek church was charged Tuesday with having repeated sexual contact with a 13-year-old girl on church grounds.
A judge Tuesday signed a $100,000 arrest warrant for Joshua Tanner Beals, 22. He's charged with two counts of second-degree child molestation in Snohomish County Superior Court.
Deputy prosecutor Mark Roe said in court papers that he sought the arrest warrant because "it appears that a number of adults connected with either the church or the defendant do indeed blame" the girl for the sexual activity.
He also said church authorities have been "evasive" with Snohomish County sheriff's detectives.
Roe declined to identify the church.
The girl told authorities the two had sexual intercourse at least three times, all at Beals' residence on the church property.
"They even memorialized some of the sexual contact by taking pictures" of the couple kissing, Roe said. He wrote that Beals told the girl not to disclose the photos to anyone "because he could get in trouble."
The girl told investigators that she told the pastor what was happening and the pastor said it would be a "horrible mess" if she told anyone else, charging papers said.
The pastor also said that the girl could keep the illicit contact quiet and Beals could move away quietly, documents said.
At one point, the defendant's mother heard about the situation and asked the girl to destroy the photos, Roe wrote.
The case remains under investigation, Roe said.
http://www.heraldnet.com/stories ... 6molestation001.cfm
To the faithful of the Herndon, Va. Pentecostal Church, Jack Clark was a charismatic associate pastor. His father had opened the church, and Clark often led services and offered guidance and support to the tight-knit congregation. But cops say Clark was not the kind of person who should be giving others guidance.
Police say Clark married a woman from the church and the two of them moved to a house nearby. Soon after, cops believe the couple befriended a 12-year-old girl from the congregation -- and often invited her over to their home to do various chores in exchange for money.
On the surface, it appeared Clark was simply trying to help out a young girl by giving her the opportunity to earn some extra money. But according to police, his true intentions were not so pure.
Investigators say Jack began earning the girl's trust by allowing her to watch movies -- something strictly forbidden by the church -- after his wife went to sleep. Gradually, cops believe Clark began touching the young girl inappropriately, and his actions eventually escalated.
His father sold the church he owned and used the proceeds to bond his son out on a $125,000 cash bond.
Clark Runs From Rape Charges
Cops say on December 8, 1995, the girl was at Clark's house for one of her regular visits when he took things one step further and sexually assaulted the girl. According to police, Clark had successfully caught his victim in a classic trap -- she wanted the abuse to stop but was frightened to tell anyone what was happening.
Cops say he continued pushing the limits of his abuse and sodomized the girl in April 1996. Although she was scared, the girl could not ignore what was happening any longer and told her friend about the incident. Realizing what Clark did was wrong, the friend told an adult -- and they called the police.
On April 16, 1996, Herndon police charged Clark with sodomy by force and statutory rape. Clark was convicted on both charges, and sentenced to 16 years in jail. But in June 1997, Clark appealed the convictions -- and that's when things started to get ugly.
The same day Clark appealed, his father sold the church he owned and used the proceeds to bond his son out on a $125,000 cash bond.
In Sept. 2001, the Virginia Supreme Court ruled they would not re-hear the case and the original sentence would stand. But Clark was nowhere to be found. Cops say he fled after his father bailed him out. The court issued a bench warrant for Jack Jr.'s arrest.
Clark Resurfaces, Cops Close Behind
Police were frustrated by Clark's disappearance, and seemed to have few leads to follow -- until March 2003, when they were contacted by authorities from Los Angeles, Calif.
LAPD told Fairfax County police that they'd approached a homeless man sleeping in a Chevy Astro van. The van had a handmade sign where the license plate should have been that said the original plate had been stolen. Since they had no reason to hold him, the cops let him go. But as he drove off, police got a hit on the ID the homeless man had provided -- it was Jack Clark.
What followed was a high speed chase that lasted over two hours. Cops say they tore through neighborhoods, yards, and fences until Clark crashed into a brick building in Santa Monica, Calif. Unfortunately, Clark was able to escape yet again -- and he hasn't been seen since.
[ 本帖最後由 沙文 於 2007-2-17 22:46 編輯 ]
A Roman Catholic priest whose parish is in Las Vegas, was arrested today in Arizona on charges of attempted murder. The Rev. George Chaanine, 52, is accused of beating, groping and choking a female employee in the parish office of Our Lady of Las Vegas church.
The alleged assault occurred on January 26, 2007, and the priest has been on the run since then. A judge issued a warrant for his arrest on attempted murder charges on Tuesday.
Father Chaanine was arrested by FBI agents in Apache Junction, located about 30 miles east of Phoenix, Phoenix FBI spokeswoman Deb McCarley said.
The woman at the center of the latest crises for the Catholic church, claims that Father Chaanine broke a full bottle of wine over her head while she was sitting at her desk, grabbed her by the hair and dragged her down a hallway toward his office.
She lost consciousness during a struggle and woke up only to find that Rev. Chaanine was groping her. Father Chaanine then grabbed her throat. After that, theattack suddenly stopped. The Rev. muttered that he was going to kill himself and left the church after saying he was going to call police.
Bishop Joseph Pepe Roman Catholic Diocese of Las Vegas said in a statement: "We are relieved that Father Chaanine has been found and now justice can be served through the legal process. We have worked closely with the authorities and are hopeful that the information we provided proved helpful."
Fort Myers youth pastor arrested on sex charges
A Fort Myers Youth Pastor was arrested Monday and charged with sexual battery on a child.
Elantonio T.O. Gomez, 50, of 4790 South Cleveland Avenue, No. 1303, is accused of molesting and raping two boys who were under 15 at the time of the assault, according to sheriff's reports.
One of the boys, who was under 15 years old, reported the abuse occurred a few times a week over the course of 11 months. The second boy, who was under 13 at the time, reported the abuse lasted over the course of a few years.
Friends stand by Camden minister who Georgia police say thought he was sending photos, notes to 14-year-old girl
By MARJORIE RIDDLE
Neighbors and friends of Camden pastor Kevin Ogle, who is charged with sending pornographic messages and pictures via the Internet to a police officer posing as a teenage girl, said they were shocked by the arrest of a “very loving, kind, caring individual.”
“You could’ve taken a gun and shot me in the heart, and it would’ve had the same effect,” said Mike Clifton, chairman of the deacon committee at Northgate Colonial Baptist Church.
“He is just like a brother. He loves his church, and he loves his family.”
The 42-year-old pastor waived his rights Wednesday to stay in Kershaw County and will be transferred to Walton County, Ga. Sheriff Steve McCaskill said Ogle will be sent either today or Friday to Loganville, Ga., where he will have a bail hearing.
Ogle was arrested Tuesday and charged with 11 counts of sexual exploitation of children. Authorities say he chatted with and transmitted pornographic depictions of himself online to a person he thought was a 14-year-old girl.
According to authorities, Ogle was actually communicating with an undercover officer from the Loganville Police Department’s On-Line Predator Unit, which has been investigating Ogle for three months.
Ogle is being held at the county’s detention center.
The pastor grew up in Lugoff, graduated from Lugoff-Elgin High School and attended Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute in Hendersonville, N.C., Clifton said.
Ogle, who is married with two sons, adores his wife, Clifton said.
And he is a good father, said neighbor Pam Barker, tears in her eyes.
“He’s very involved with his children — he’s always playing football outside with his boys,” she said. “He’s a great neighbor and is always willing to help.”
Barker said if Ogle is found guilty, she will not condone his actions, but will forgive him.
“He loves his family,” she said. “He and his family are hurting bad, and we need to support them.”
After an emergency meeting Tuesday night, Ogle’s church resolved to unify its members and not let the situation destroy the 106-member congregation, Clifton said.
“This congregation has an opportunity to become a stronger congregation and come together and really seek God’s help for healing if they can forgive the pastor if he is guilty,” said Otis Scott Jr., pastor at Camden First United Methodist Church. “This can split the congregation.”
Ogle’s situation is a personal, human tragedy, said Bill Drees, director of missions for the Kershaw Baptist Association.
Drees had lunch with Ogle last week and visited him at the detention center Wednesday.
“This is why this is such a total shock to everyone — he grew up around this community, and it’s something no one expected,” Drees said.
“Northgate is a good church, and those are good folks in that church.
“We’re a small town, and this is just not the norm.”
Reach Riddle at (803) 771-8435.
By: Gregg MacDonald
A former Herndon pastor convicted of sodomy and statutory rape has made the list of the "America's Most Wanted" television show.
Jack E. Clark, former assistant pastor of a Pentecostal Church that once owned property at the intersection of Park and Monroe streets in Herndon, was listed as a "Fugitive From Justice" on the Feb. 17 airing of the TV program, according to the show's Web site.
On April 16, 1996, Herndon Police charged Clark with forcible sodomy and statutory rape of a 12-year-old girl whom he knew from his congregation.
Lt. Jerry Keys of the Herndon Police Department remembers the case, and Clark himself, well. Keys said that Clark grew up in Herndon and that Keys came in contact with him occasionally.
"He seemed very gung-ho, very religious," Keys said. Keys was working as part of the Criminal Investigative Section when Clark was originally arrested.
Sgt. Dennis Royal of the Herndon Police headed that investigation. Royal said the victim originally contacted an aunt who contacted police.
"It was an ongoing investigation," Royal said. "It wasn't a one-time event."
Clark was later convicted on both charges. But, according to court records, Clark's attorney filed for an appeal in June 1997 based on the fact that Clark had been formally denied a motion calling for an independent medical examination of the victim.
In a 1999 opinion by the Court of Appeals of Virginia, the convictions were reversed and Clark was granted a rehearing.
According to court records, during the rehearing, "the judgment of the trial court was affirmed without opinion by an evenly divided court, and the opinion previously rendered by the panel was withdrawn."
The case eventually made its way to the Virginia Supreme Court, where, in 2001, it was ruled that Clark's original convictions would stand.
But, by that time, Clark's whereabouts were unknown. His father, also a pastor, owned the church property and sold it to post his son's bond of $125,000, according to "America's Most Wanted."
"Clark's conviction pretty much killed that congregation," Royal said.
A bench warrant was issued for Clark, who was believed to have fled Virginia. He was not seen again for nearly two years when, in 2003, according to "America's Most Wanted," Clark was spotted "sleeping in a Chevy Astro van in Los Angeles, Calif."
While authorities were attempting to identify him, Clark escaped and led police on a high-speed chase that resulted in his escape. Royal said there have been sporadic reports that Clark is now back in Virginia.
Clark is described as a white male with blue eyes and brown hair, 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighing about 240 pounds.
John Walsh, founder and host of "America's Most Wanted," spoke to children at McNair Elementary School in Herndon last spring to warn them of the dangers of predators like Clark.
[ 本帖最後由 沙文 於 2007-2-24 10:11 編輯 ]
Friday Feb 23, 2007
Shocking news out of Chubbuck, as a pillar of the community is arrested. Bryan Latham reports.
Chubbuck Police arrested Pastor Josh Robinson of Gate City Christian Church. The 28-year-old Robinson is charged with lewd conduct with a minor. Robinson served as a youth minister for the church.
Officers say the arrest came after the parents of a 17-year-old female, a member of his youth organization, approached law enforcement with allegations of inappropriate contact. Police say the alleged conduct occurred over a two-year period.
Det. Cpl. Mike Ballard, Chubbuck Police: "Right now, he has been charged with one charge of lewd conduct with a minor, and that may change in the course of the investigation - whether or not we believe there is enough evidence to support more charges. But in reference to other victims, we have one victim we are dealing with. We've got to make sure there aren't any more."
We left a message at the church, but have not heard back.
[ 本帖最後由 沙文 於 2007-2-24 19:05 編輯 ]
The Arizona Republic
Feb. 23, 2007 06:57 PM
A pastor pleaded guilty today to embezzling over $96,000 from the Gila River Indian Tribe, officials said.
Sheila Isabell 53, was charged with one count of embezzlement in federal district court in Phoenix.
Isabell of Chillicothe, Ohio, was accused of stealing $96,253 from the Gila Tribe and the Siloam Indian Baptist Church in Komatke, Arizona, officials said.
Isabell, the church pastor, applied for a grant from the tribe to build a community building, according to the district attorneys office. The tribe gave the church a check for $122,946. Timothy Isabell, 53, the pastor's husband, withdrew the money from the church's bank account for personal use, officials said.
He was also indicted for embezzlement and pleaded guilty on September 25, 2006. The sentencing for Sheila Isabell is set for April 16.
Shellman -- A well-respected preacher has been arrested by U.S. Postal Service authorities on charges of receiving and possessing child pornography. Harold Clinton Lasseter, pastor of the Shellman Methodist Church was taken into custody today.
The Shellman Methodist Church near the town square in Shellman, is over 100 years old, and has about 60 members. Wednesday afternoon, Pastor Hal Lasseter's name was still on the marquee, but he has been fired by the church where he was pastor for 12 years.
The congregation was taken completely by surprise when Lasseter was arrested on child porn charges after his office was raided Friday. His computer showed evidence of child porn, investigators said.
"Of course it was a shock," said one church member. "But we stand behind him 100%. Until we know some more facts, that's all I have to say," said Beryl Rigsby, Church Board Chair.
Lasseter was well thought of by the town and the congregation. He is 53-years-old, married, the father of two, and a grandfather. He is now under arrest for receiving child pornography.
"He's a fine man, you couldn't ask for a better pastor," said Rigsby.
"It's just a shock, and with him being a clergyman, you're really shocked, " said Shellman Mayor Paul Langford.
Sunday a member of the Methodist organization held services, while the congregation did not know of the pastor's troubles. The congregation is still considering the future of their church. Lasseter was arraigned Monday in Federal Court.
This statement was issued late this afternoon by Bishop B. Michael Watson, of the South Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church:
"Protecting the children in our churches and our communities is a main priority for us. We take these allegations very seriously. These kinds of actions are unacceptable behavior for any United Methodist clergy."
"The former pastor in question has surrendered his credentials from the ministerial office and is no longer a United Methodist Clergy."
The Shellman church is in the Columbus District of the United Methodist Church. Lasseter is being represented by a lawyer from Columbus.
The second negligence lawsuit in just more than a week was filed Thursday against Trinity Baptist Church, also saying the Jacksonville church hid knowledge of alleged sexual abuse of children by former Pastor Robert Gray in the 1970s.
The Independent Baptist church referred questions about the suit to its attorney, Ed Trent, who said he had seen the suit but could not comment on pending litigation.
The lawsuit alleges that Gray, now 80, molested the unidentified plaintiff on three occasions from 1976 to 1979, when she was approximately 6 to 9 years old.
In one instance, the woman, now in her late 30s and living in Georgia, claims Gray prefaced the 1976 abuse by explaining "that the Bible says that people should love each other and show affection," according to the lawsuit.
In another, the alleged abuse occurred while Gray baptized her at Trinity in 1979.
Adam Horowitz, the Miami attorney representing the plaintiff, filed a similar lawsuit Feb. 21. As with that action, the new suit says the church failed to provide a safe environment for the girl, that it concealed its knowledge of other abuse claims against Gray and that it did not report what it knew to authorities.
Separately, Gray faces a Nov. 12 criminal trial on four counts of capital sexual battery.
Gray was arrested in May and again in July as at least 20 adults leveled claims of sexual abuse against him. He is under house arrest.
Wednesday, February 28, 2007 12:25 PM PST
SAN DIEGO - The Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection a few hours before it was to go to trial Wednesday in the first of more than 140 lawsuits accusing priests of sexual abuse.
The bankruptcy filing, put in at five minutes to midnight, automatically halted the court proceedings.
In a letter posted on the diocese's Web site, Bishop Robert H. Brom said the diocese made its decision because any damage awards in the earlier trials could deplete “diocesan and insurance resources” and leave nothing for other victims.
The diocese claimed in the filing late Tuesday $95.7 million in property holdings and another $60.4 million in liquid assets, including stocks, bonds and operating accounts.
San Diego is the fifth diocese in the nation to file for bankruptcy protection.
Diocese officials and lawyers for the plaintiffs failed to reach a settlement during two days of negotiations that ended Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court.
The diocese had called plaintiffs' lawyers on Tuesday morning to make a “final and best” settlement offer, Micheal Webb, a lawyer for the diocese said. He declined to specify how much the church had offered but said it was higher than total settlements reached in other dioceses in the United States.
“When they rejected it, we were left with no choice,” Webb said.
Lawyers for the plaintiffs said the amount the church offered was insufficient because the diocese had more plaintiffs than other jurisdictions.
They also accused the church of using the bankruptcy filing as a way to keep potentially embarrassing information under wraps.
“For three years they've told people they want to settle, they want to be transparent,” said John Manly, a lawyer for a plaintiff whose lawsuit is scheduled to go to trial in April, “but the moment it became clear the truth will come out through a jury trial, they sought to shut down victims' ability to get compensated and get out the truth.”
In its filing, the diocese did not list the names of litigants who have filed sex-abuse claims, indicating that it has petitioned to enter those details under seal.
The trial that had been scheduled to begin Wednesday arose from a woman's accusations that a priest forced her to have sex in his parish office in 1972, when she was 17. Three other trials were scheduled to follow, involving multiple victims and allegations that the diocese protected abusive priests by moving them from parish to parish.
Plaintiffs with cases already released for trial may appeal for permission to let those trials move ahead.
The diocese which covers San Diego and Imperial counties, has 98 churches, runs 50 schools.
The other dioceses that have filed for bankruptcy protection are Davenport, Iowa; Portland, Ore.; Spokane, Wash.; and Tucson. Tucson has emerged from bankruptcy protection, while proposed settlements are awaiting final approval in Portland and Spokane.
http://www.theworldlink.com/arti ... ws/news13022807.txt
Members of a south Sacramento church are defending their pastor who was arrested Friday on charges of child molestation.
Frederick Dew was booked into the Sacramento County Jail on suspicion of lewd acts with a child.
To many members of Praise Tabernacle church on 44th Street, pastor Frederick Dew remains a man of God, despite his brush with the law.
Police charged Dew, 34, with the sexual assault of a 13-year-old boy. The alleged attack happened last week in the restroom of the Martin Luther King Jr. Library on 24th Street.
Authorities said the victim escaped and provided authorities with a description of his alleged attacker.
But parishioners believe charges against Dew will be dropped.
"He's a man of God. The devil has tricks. We believe God's report, not that of the news media," said one church member, who did not want to be identified.
Others, including members of other congregations in the same office park, did not have praise for the pastor.
"It's horrible, a black eye for the church community," said Leon Gibson with nearby New Directions Church.
Dew remained behind bars on $500,000 bond.
[ 本帖最後由 沙文 於 2007-3-12 14:23 編輯 ]
More on CNN TV: Thomas Roberts discusses his abuse by a Catholic priest in a special edition of "Anderson Cooper 360°" tonight at 10 ET.
By Thomas Roberts
Editor's note: Thomas Roberts has been a Headline News anchor since 2001. In this story, he discusses being sexually abused by a Catholic priest as a teenager.
ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- I became a victim of sexual abuse at the age of 14; the abuse lasted three years. It took me nearly 20 years to gather the strength to help put my abuser behind bars. Now, a year after "justice" was done, I am ready to tell my story publicly in ways I never have before.
My abuser was Father Jeff Toohey, a trusted man of God. He was the equivalent of a religious celebrity in my private all-boys Catholic school in Baltimore, Maryland. Father Jeff was every boy's friend and mentor. I considered him my mentor as well.
When my parents divorced, I was sent to Father Jeff to help me cope with all the changes. Divorce in the mid-1980s still seemed so foreign. Plus, I was just a kid, and I didn't know much about divorce. I just knew it sucked.
All I had at that time in my life was my family and school. Those were my constants. But as my family fell apart, so did my life at school. After the abuse began, high school became a prison of shame and lies.
I felt trapped. My parents would be horrified to know their failure at marriage put their son at risk to be sexually abused and that the man abusing me was the high school chaplain and beloved priest. (Watch Roberts' mom say the priest will 'burn in hell'
The school would never believe me, I thought, and I feared I would be expelled if I revealed the abuse. I was 14, with no voice, except the one in my head saying, "You can never tell the truth about what is happening."
Roughly a month after the abuse started, I attempted to commit suicide. I took a bottle of my mother's pills. I lined them up one-by-one on my maple dresser. I took them all and lay on my bed hoping to just fade away and die.
My sister, Patsy, came home and found me. It was the day before her 18th birthday. She saved my life that day just by merely coming to my room to say, "Hi." She saw the pill bottle and went to get ipecac, which made me throw up.
My parents were terribly upset by my actions. Father Jeff was told I tried to kill myself. All agreed I just needed more counseling. Father Jeff's exact words were, "You have so much to live for." I felt so cornered, and I had nowhere to go and no one to run to. I just became numb to the abuse.
"This too shall pass" is one of my favorite religious sayings. The abuse did pass, but it left me so insecure about who I was.
When I was in college, another boy, Michael Goles, came forward and reported his abuse at the hands of Father Jeff. I knew I could help Michael if I, too, revealed Father Jeff's abuse, but out of a feeling of self-preservation, I remained quiet. Michael wasn't believed, and his case was thrown out of court.
Nearly 20 years after the abuse started, I became strong enough to go back and confront what had happened to me. I was strong enough to tell my family the truth. I was strong enough to report it to the archdiocese. And I was strong enough to call Michael Goles and tell him, "I am sorry," and that I believe him because it happened to me, too.
Together, we were strong enough to see our abuser finally admit his crimes. Father Jeff was charged with 10 criminal counts of child sexual abuse in relation to my case. He asked for a plea and admitted his guilt in court. He was sentenced to five years in jail but only served 10 months. He was released early to serve eight months in home detention.
This story is so layered. For a long time, I couldn't talk about it without crying. But a year ago, CNN Anchor Anderson Cooper and CNN Senior Producer Charlie Moore approached me about telling and following my story. I was scared. I was scared of being so honest and televising this journey.
What would people think? Would I ruin my career? But I came to the conclusion that I will not be scared anymore. I will not be scared of telling the truth because it might be uncomfortable for people to hear.
If this story compels even one person to seek help for being sexually abused, then it is all worth it. All it takes is telling one person. From there, strength grows and you can tell a second person and so on. Then you can finally have control of your life back.
In addition, thousands in building contractors’ fees haven’t been paid, according to liens against church.
By JUDY L. THOMAS
The Kansas City Star
The Rev. Jerry Johnston and his ministries have a history of being slow to pay their taxes.
Records show that in 2002 and again in 2004, the Kansas Department of Revenue went to court to force Johnston to pay his state income taxes. Department officials said tax liens were filed only after numerous attempts were made to collect.
•A tax warrant filed in September 2002 charged that Johnston owed $5,732 on his 2000 state income tax. That judgment was satisfied in March 2003.
•A tax warrant filed in September 2004 charged that Johnston owed $5,422 on his 2002 state income tax. Johnston paid that off in February 2005.
•The Johnson County treasurer’s office reported last summer that First Family Church was delinquent in paying $8,000 in special assessment taxes to the county.
Johnston responded to the tax questions through a spokesman, Lawrence Swicegood.
“Pastor Johnston and his wife have never failed to pay income taxes,” he said. “On two occasions in the past, their personal property taxes were inadvertently overlooked and went unpaid. For the past several years they have been escrowed by the Johnstons’ lender and are included in his monthly mortgage payment.”
As for the church’s delinquent county taxes last year, Swicegood said, “the taxes to which you refer were ‘special assessment’ taxes. When it was determined that the Church was subject to these special assessments and that they were due and owing, the Church paid them in full.”
Tax troubles, however, go back many years. Records show that in 1988 the Internal Revenue Service filed a federal tax lien against Jerry Johnston Ministries for $19,700. When asked about the lien, Swicegood said, “Your question relates back 20 years. The Church has no record of it and Pastor Johnston has no recollection of it.”
Former church members and contractors also complain that despite the money flowing in, the church also is slow to pay its bills.
Earlier this month, McKnight Development Corp., an Ohio company that built the children’s building, filed a mechanic’s lien against the church for $533,341.
And a local contractor, Don Lewellen, filed a mechanic’s lien in January for nearly $90,000 for work on the children’s building that he said he finished Nov. 7.
“I have a bill in for October and November, and none of them were paid,” said Lewellen, whose company did metal stud framing, drywall and acoustical ceiling work on the building.
Jerry Simmons, a developer who served on First Family’s building committee but left the church about seven years ago, said vendors used to contact him to complain about late payments.
Attorney Eddie James said First Family was working to resolve the lien problems “in a financially responsible manner.”
“It’s not unusual on a project of this size to have some liens filed as the project is being closed out and issues are resolved and worked through,” James said.
Wed Mar 14, 6:00 PM ET
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - Grammy-winning trumpeter Phil Driscoll reported to federal prison this week to begin a one-year tax evasion sentence after a judge denied his request to remain free while he appeals the conviction.
Driscoll, 59, reported Monday to the federal penitentiary in Atlanta, U.S. Bureau of Prisons records show. His projected release date, with credit for good conduct, is Jan. 24.
A jury last June convicted Driscoll on charges of conspiracy and tax evasion involving his gospel music ministry.
Driscoll recorded with several pop acts in the 1970s, includingJoe Cocker,Stephen Stills,Leon Russell and Blood, Sweat & Tears. He received a Grammy in 1984.
He recorded more than 30 of his own albums of gospel and patriotic music, which he distributes through his ministry based in Eatonton, Ga., and its Web site.
An indictment accused Driscoll and his wife, Lynne, of scheming with her mother, bookkeeper Chris Blankenship, to avoid reporting personal income totaling more than $1 million between 1996 and 1999.
An IRS agent testified at the trial that Driscoll and his wife improperly used his Mighty Horn Ministries to shield the money and evade $128,627 in taxes.
The jury acquitted Lynne Driscoll on the conspiracy count and deadlocked on a tax evasion charge that was later dismissed. Blankenship died before the trial.
At the end of the sentencing, Phil Driscoll's unpaid tax total was reduced to a range of more than $30,000 but less than $80,000. The white-haired trumpeter said at the sentencing that he never intended to take any money from the government of "the country that I love."
U.S. District Judge Curtis L. Collier at the Jan. 25 sentencing allowed Driscoll 45 days to report to prison while considering the bond motion.
Collier's order denying bond said Driscoll's arguments to remain free failed to "raise a substantial question of law or fact" likely to result in reversal, a new trial, a sentence that does not include imprisonment or a reduced sentence.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070 ... mpeter_tax_sentence
But that was before they were arrested in Miami in January and charged with illegally smuggling cash into the United States, including $9,000 concealed in a Bible.
All told, the U.S. authorities seized $56,467 that the couple and other family members had hidden on their bodies and in luggage, according to the U.S. indictment. The Brazilian authorities, who have charged the couple with money laundering and fraud, are seeking their extradition.
Because the Hernandeses are prominent and controversial in Brazil, their travails have focused new attention, not just on their own church, but also on the growing wealth and power of the religious movement they are part of, the fastest-growing in Brazil: Pentecostalism, many of whose fundamentalist Protestant denominations stress speaking in tongues or other visible manifestations of the Holy Spirit.
Hernandes, originally a marketing executive, and his wife, formerly a boutique manager, founded the Rebirth in Christ Church in the mid-1980s. They now preside over a religious and business structure that includes more than 1,000 churches, a television and radio network, a recording company, real estate in Brazil and the United States and, according to Brazilian news reports, a horse-breeding ranch and a trademark on the word "gospel" in Brazil.
On television and at their home church in São Paulo — which has been defaced with graffiti saying "You don't carry money in the Bible, thief!" and other insulting slogans — Hernandes, 52, and his wife, 48, preached a "theology of prosperity," often accompanied by her singing and sometimes by his saxophone playing.
Each year, the Rebirth in Christ Church sponsored a March for Jesus down the main avenue of São Paulo, the largest city in South America, mobilizing as many as three million people.
One of the couple's three children, Fernanda, is also a pastor and has asserted that the charges against her parents are part of a campaign of religious persecution against Pentecostals and the larger group they count themselves members of, evangelicals. She has complained that prosecutors in Brazil, the country with the largest Roman Catholic population in the world, are conducting "a new Inquisition."
"Brazil is still Catholic, but evangelicals are already 30 percent of the population," she said in a recent televised sermon. "That's why they want to destroy us and refer to us in a pejorative manner."
Coverage of the Hernandeses and the charges against them has been uniformly negative in the Brazilian news media, with many newspapers and magazines belittling their denomination as a "sect."
One newspaper regularly puts "bishop" in quotation marks when it refers to the couple and other church leaders.
"This is not just a religious issue, but one that involves media, political and commercial interests," said Luiz Flávio Borges D'Urso, a lawyer for the Hernandeses who is president of the bar association in São Paulo. "The truth is that television is very competitive and, since the church has a network of its own, the growth of their Gospel Network has generated antagonisms and confrontations with other media organizations whose interests are affected."
According to the nondenominational World Christian Database, Brazil has overtaken the United States as the country with the largest Pentecostal population. The survey, based on figures that churches provide, calculated that 24 million Brazilians belong to Pentecostal denominations and 138 million are Roman Catholics.
As the wealth and influence of Pentecostal and allied denominations in Brazil have grown, so have their involvement in politics. More than 10 percent of the members of Brazil's Congress belong to an evangelical caucus, and President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva chose his vice president from a party dominated by Pentecostal groups.
The Hernandeses' troubles became public late last year when prosecutors, who had been investigating complaints from former church members, froze several bank accounts. When the Hernandeses failed to appear at a hearing — because of medical problems, their lawyer says — an order to detain them was granted.
In early January, after a judge set aside the detention decree, they left for the United States.
They have several churches in southern Florida and a home in Boca Raton, but they were stopped at customs because the Brazilian authorities had issued an alert in their names for "suspicion of money laundering and fraud related to Brazilian organized crime," according to an affidavit filed by an agent of the U.S. Bulk Currency Smuggling Task Force.
"It was a misunderstanding, an inadvertently erroneous declaration," said D'Urso. "They go to the United States every January to preach and evangelize and weren't planning to stay. They want to come back, to show that the accusations here have no foundation."
While they await trial in the United States, the Hernandeses, free on bail, continue to preach to their followers, who include the soccer star Kaká, through Webcam and satellite broadcasts.
They practice long-distance faith healing, urge their supporters to keep tithing and proclaim their innocence.
The Hernandeses' trial on the cash- smuggling charges is scheduled for early May, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney in Miami said. D'Urso said negotiations for a plea bargain were "quite advanced," but the lawyers representing the couple in the United States declined requests for an interview.
In the meantime, the Hernandeses' problems at home continue to mount.
The Brazilian government is seeking their extradition and is moving to strip their church of some media properties.
In addition, two of their children and a son-in-law are being investigated on suspicion that a state legislator, who is also a Rebirth in Christ minister, gave them no-show jobs.
Hernandes has condemned all of the accusations as "the handiwork of the devil."
Sonia Hernandes, right, leaving federal court in Miami last month after she was charged with smuggling cash into the United States. (David Adame/AP)
http://www5.chinesenewsnet.com/M ... 18_11_8_33_788.html
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif.- A former pastor who pleaded guilty to molesting a student at a church-run school in the 1980s has been sentenced to six years and four months in prison.
Shortly after being sentenced Tuesday, William Alan Malgren, 52, collapsed in a holding cell and had to be revived.
Malgren was arrested in March for sexually abusing the girl at church events and on church school grounds in 1988 and 1989.
At the time, Malgren was a pastor at the Thousand Oaks Baptist Church school and the girl was a student there. She is now a woman in her 30s.
The ex-pastor admitted to sexually abusing the girl when she was 7 or 8, but statutes kept prosecutors from charging Malgren with crimes that occurred before she was 14 years old.
Earlier this year, Malgren tried unsuccessfully to withdraw his guilty plea, but Superior Court Judge Bruce Clark ruled that Malgren pleaded guilty "freely and voluntarily" to multiple counts of lewd acts on a child.
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