US megachurch volunteer charged with child abuse

Saturday 7 May, 2011 – A volunteer at a Texas church home to the largest congregation in the United States has been charged with sexually abusing an autistic child.

Alvaro Daniel Guzman, 25, was charged with indecency with a child over a February 2010 incident at a Lakewood Church activities program for special needs children, according to local media reports in Houston. The arrest warrant was issued on Tuesday but Guzman is still free.

Lakewood is a Protestant “megachurch” run by pastor Joel Osteen, whose weekend services draw more than 40,000 people. Osteen’s television ministry is broadcast in dozens of countries.

Guzman allegedly fondled an 8-year-old autistic boy while he helped him climb into a play structure. Another adult volunteer allegedly witnessed the event and reported it to church officials and authorities.

The arrest warrant was issued this week. As of Saturday, Guzman was not in custody, according to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.

Lakewood Church, in a statement posted on its web site, said Guzman was “immediately removed” from volunteer services and that state authorities were “notified immediately.”

Church bookkeeper gets prison for $129K theft…

March 25, 2011 – The ex-bookkeeper of a California church has been sentenced to nearly three years in prison for stealing $129,000.

Orange County prosecutors originally charged 37-year-old Elyse Marie Kennedy with 154 felony counts of forgery with sentencing enhancements for embezzling money from St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Tustin. If convicted at trial, she faced up to 107 years in prison.

It wasn’t a sophisticated crime: She wrote 154 checks to herself.

In a plea deal Thursday, the Santa Ana woman pleaded guilty to two felony counts of forgery. She was sentenced to two years, eight months in prison. A restitution hearing is set for June 24.

Northwest Jesuits reach $166 million sex abuse settlement…

March 25, 2011 – Portland Oregon – The Pacific Northwest chapter of the Roman Catholic Church’s Jesuit order has agreed to pay $166 million to settle more than 500 child sexual abuse claims against priests in five states, attorneys said on Friday.

The victims, most of them Native Americans from remote Alaska Native villages or Indian reservations in the Pacific Northwest, were sexually or psychologically abused as children by Jesuit missionaries in those states in the 1940s through the 1990s, the plaintiffs’ attorneys said.

Church employee arrested on sexual abuse charges…

March 25, 2011 – MONTGOMERY, AL – The arrest report at the Montgomery Police Department shows 47-year-old Barry Cook was employed at Christian Life Church on Monticello Drive off the Eastern Boulevard.

The church website listed Cook as an instructor. Church leaders had no comment but we’re told Mr. Cook was fired this week.

Barry Cook remains in the Montgomery County Detention Center. Cook faces charges of sexual torture and aggravated child abuse.

Police say if and when Cook makes bond he will also face a third degree domestic violence charge.

Cook’s bonds total $500,000.

Southern Baptist pastor was arrested on charges of child rape

March 4, 2011 – In Port Orchard, Washington, a Southern Baptist pastor was arrested on charges of child rape. In recorded phone calls, police say that pastor Dirk P. Jackson admitted to having “sexual relations” with the girl, who was then a sixth grader, and to “having her perform oral sex on him while they were in the classroom.” When police told Jackson they had recorded copies of the phone calls, he said the conduct was “consensual.”

Even in the face of such admissions, the church’s senior pastor, Jamie Greening, told KOMO News: “This does not match. These allegations do not match the man we’ve known for eight years.”

The girl was a sixth grader at the time, and pastor Jackson was working as a teacher at Manchester Christian Academy.

Pastor Jackson

Since 2003, Jackson has been “working with kids in youth programs” as a pastor at First Baptist Church in Port Orchard. “Detectives are concerned there may be additional young victims.”

Charges filed against Roman Catholic official for failure to protect children…

February 11, 2011: Philadelphia’s district attorney has taken a step no prosecutor in the U.S. had taken before: filing criminal charges against a high-ranking Roman Catholic official for allegedly failing to protect children.

District Attorney Seth Williams filed charges against three priests, a parochial school teacher and Monsignor William Lynn, who as secretary of the clergy was one of the top officials in the Philadelphia Archdiocese from 1992 to 2004.  The three priests and the teacher were charged with raping boys. Lynn, 60, was accused not of molesting children but of endangering them. A damning grand jury report said at least two boys were sexually assaulted because he put two known pedophiles in posts where they had contact with youngsters.  Question:  Who are you allowing access to your children.  Full FBI background check need to be conducted prior to allowing employees or volunteers to work with children.  How often are you conducting background checks? Do you have a Child Protection Policy and is it being enforced?  Do you have a Nursery, Preschool & Children’s Ministry Policy Manual?  Is training being conducted?  How often and what type of training is being conducted?   Are employees and volunteers required to attend Child Abuse/Neglect & Reporting Training annually?

Diocese of Wilmington pays $77 million in settlement….

Feb 3, 2011:  The Diocese of Wilmington, has agreed to settle the cases for $77 million.

The settlement is still pending the approval of U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Christopher Sontchi.  The agreement sets up a trust in the amount of $77,425,000 which will be divided among the victims.

In addition to the money, the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington has also agreed to open its secret archives and establish procedures to prevent future child abuse.

Former youth minister charged in sex abuse of 2 teens

Friday, February 04, 2011:  LITTLESTOWN — Authorities in Pennsylvania have charged Jeffrey Crosley, 35-years-of-age, a former youth minister with sexual abuse of two teenage boys.
The alleged victims now 21-years-of-age, informed police that they were sexually molested as teens by Jeffrey Crosley.  Before recently stopping, Jeffrey Crosley, volunteer for 10 years  at Jesus Messiah Evangelical Church in Hanover central Pennsylvania according to officials.  According to police officials, Jeffrey Crosley admitted having sexual relationships with about 10 boys.
Jeffrey Crosley also faces child pornography charges based on photographs sized from his home according to Shawn Wager, Adams County District Attorney.  Question:  I wonder if a Background Check was conducted by Jesus Messiah Evangelical Church prior to allowing Crosley access to children?  Staff and volunteers should have a completed FBI Background Check conducted prior to being allowed to work with children.  Background Checks should be conducted no less then every 5 years thereafter.  Question:  Have you conducted FBI Background Checks on your employees and volunteers?   If so, when was the  background checks conducted?    Does your organization provide and require that all employees and volunteers working with children attend annual Child Abuse Prevention Training?  If not, why not?  Call us today to setup a training seminar for your organization!

Abuse victim shoots himself after slamming the Catholic Church on Facebook

A YOUNG Kentucky man revealed on Facebook that he suffered sexual abuse in the Catholic Church – then shot and killed himself in the parking lot of Blessed Mother Catholic Church on Owensboro.

avid M Jarboe, 23,  who died on Thursday, wrote on the social networking site:

The abuse of the church is real … never once will I ever agree with the molestation of children. And never once will I agree with an institution that chooses to not acknowledge it.

He added that he hoped:

That this message will save at least one child from the pain and torment that I had to go through. … Let this be hope to all those out there that have been abused by a Catholic priest in any capacity. Perhaps your parents don’t see, perhaps those you know don’t see, know that God sees. And God never forgets.

Jarboe was a 2006 graduate of Owensboro Catholic High School, where he was a linebacker on the football team.

The Most Rev William F Medley, bishop of the Diocese of Owensboro, issued a statement yesterday saying:

In light of the information that has surfaced in his Facebook posting, the Diocese has begun an investigation  in accord with diocesan policy.

$25 million lawsuit against Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints….

January 25, 2011: Six Portland men sued the Mormon church and the Boy Scouts of America on Wednesday, seeking more than $25 million for alleged sexual abuse by a church teacher and Scout leader more than 20 years ago.

The lawsuit contends that Timur Van Dykes, 51, molested Boy Scouts in Troop 719, which was supervised by the Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints. The lawsuit includes two brothers who dropped a previous complaint. It does not name Dykes as a defendant.

Dykes, a registered sex offender who now lives in Southwest Portland, has been convicted of at least 26 sex crimes since 1983. He is one of
about 50 Oregon leaders expelled by the Boy Scouts for sex abuse has been convicted of at least 26 sex crimes since 1983. He is one of
since 1946, according to confidential Boy Scout files and summaries obtained by The Oregonian.

The number of Boy Scout leaders ejected in Oregon eclipses the number of abusive priests identified statewide in the recent Catholic Church
sex-abuse scandal and presents an enormous potential legal liability or both the Mormon Church and the Boy Scouts.

Under Oregon’s flexible statute of limitations, victims of sexual abuse can bring cases once they’ve discovered how the abuse affected
them, sometimes decades after the actual crimes.  The lawsuit reserves the option to seek punitive damages against both
the Boy Scouts and the Mormon church.  Comment:  Churches need to realize that they can be held liable for punitive damages for crimes  on their premises by third party organizations.  Churches need to protect themselves against risks from accidents on church property, fire, vandalism and theft to allegations of sexual abuse committed third party identities allowed to conduct business or activities on church premises.  Your insurance in most incidents, will not cover liability costs of criminal acts committed by third party organizations on your premises.  Call us today to learn how we can assist you in protecting your church from incidents of this nature.

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