Home > COGIC, sexual abuse > IL child sexual assault case cost COGIC $1.5 million

IL child sexual assault case cost COGIC $1.5 million


Report COGIC Abuse has learned that the Church of God in Christ (COGIC) in Illinois has kept quiet about several sexual molestation and assault cases committed by its clergy against children. In one, the church paid the 12 year old victim $1.5 million after she was sexually assaulted on a church trip.

According to a Chicago law firm, Church of God in Christ leadership in the Illinois Fifth Jurisdiction had prior knowledge about the sexual aggression of Elder Ellis Barlow, but they ignored legitimate complaints instead allowed Barlow to continue on as a church leader. The bishop in charge of the jurisdiction died during the case and the jurisdiction has since divided into  “east” and “west” factions.

“[victim] C.W. was 12 years old when she was sexually assaulted by a church official at a church convention in Baton Rouge, LA. The church official was affiliated with the Church of God in Christ Fifth Jurisdiction, who had received prior complaints of inappropriate sexual conduct with young girls in regards to church official Barlow. Defendant Church of God in Christ, Inc was the national affiliated church which did not hire, fire, employ or control the church official at issue” [source]

Read the court case filed in Cook County Circuit Court in 2002.  Many high profile COGIC names including the late Bishop GE Patterson, current Bishop Charles Blake and Women’s Supervisor Willie Mae Rivers, were drawn into the case. After almost five years of  legal struggles, the case was settled in January 2007. Barlow’s whereabouts are unknown.

At the same time the Barlow case was being litigated, another sexual molestation case with even more victims came to light in the same jurisdiction. Pastor Robert Nixon of the Risen Valley COGIC in Chicago and COGIC Inc, were hauled into court in 2005. Nixon was accused of molesting 3 teenage boys and and a teenage girl in two separate incidents. [see lawsuit #1] [see lawsuit #2].

According to Eureka Encyclopedia which catalogs cases of sexual abuse by Protestant clergy, Nixon “was accused of sexually assaulting two 14-year-old boys and a 16-year-old girl, and charged with two counts of criminal sexual assault and one count of predatory criminal sexual assault, 13 September 2004. He admitted to repeatedly sexually assaulting the two 14-year-old boys from 2000 to the present.”

Church attorney Enoch Perry told the church’s general assembly that in over 100 years COGIC has only had 25 clergy sexual abuse cases. Perry did not say what constitutes a sexual abuse case nor why with such a low number of cases, the church pays out such large sums of money to compensate victims each year.  Unfortunately, Perry is lying to the members of the General Assembly.  Report COGIC Abuse has documented 43 known cases just in the last 25 years.

And in Chicago today, an attorney and COGIC  minister is holding what he calls a “Church Law Taxation” conference. However; billed on par with the taxation part of the conference, Elder Amos Smith is offering paid advice on sexual misconduct, sexual harassment, legal duty to protect children and background checks.

Its not clear whether Smith is operating the conference under authority from COGIC in Chicago or its national church. He did not respond to questions about the conference.

  1. proverbs28nine
    March 4, 2011 at 6:54 pm

    Posted February 16, 2011 at 8:49 PM

    Pastor Foster,

    Unfortunately, I am from that jurisdiction in IL. I was not saved, or active in the church at the time of the incidents, however I do know that the result of some of this was the loss of the state temple that was located in Chicago while the east-west jurisdictions were still together under Bishop McCarthy as Fifth IL to cover the cost of the settlement. I believe you covered a similar situation in WA state.
    This was/is an unfortunate and tragic set of circumstances. The victims are exposed to these types of predators repeatedly, and the faithful brethren are deprived of meaningful fellowship because the trust is lost on all accounts, not to mention the finances that should be going toward ministry instead of damage control from the pockets of the jurisdiction’s membership.
    It’s ashamed that time and time again these same perverts are able to strike again; if there were meaningful accountability in place, this would not be the case on this scale.

    Keep up the good work.

    • March 4, 2011 at 6:56 pm

      Posted February 17, 2011 at 10:19 AM

      P289, yes I noticed when I was reading this bishop’s bio that he seemed to be quite the trailblazer in IL. Its sad and tragic that his legacy is now attached to this disgusting breach of duty in his latter years. I wonder if these two trials going on at the same time had anything to do with his death. If you look at his son’s church website pictures here and here, you will see bishop Blake there in casual clothes smiling and carrying on. Unusual?

      I suspect there are more cases like this still to be unearthed. The leadership of COGIC has done a real whitewash job on its faithful members who give, give, give and then have their money go up in smoke because the leadership wont exercise the spiritual authority to put down these sexual wolves and pentecostal pedophiles in its midst. And I will bet most people do not know why the jurisdictional headquarters were lost or either lied to.

      As my momma said if you tell one lie, you will have to tell another to cover it up. After a while the lies you tell will bury you.

      The solution really is simple. But Bishop Blake and his administration seem only interested in carrying on a dark and dangerous tradition of complicity, cover up and dishonesty. I pray that parents will think twice about allowing their children into the hands of these youth activities and letting them go to conferences where they are exposed to these whitewashed perverts.

  2. proverbs28nine
    March 4, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    Posted February 23, 2011 at 4:39 PM

    Unfortunately, this is the same jurisdiction where Emos Parham was actively abusing teens as youth leader. So three men in positions of authority are victimizing young girls and boys at or near the same time. His (Parham’s) pastor has been elevated to Bishop of 5th IL West from its inception. All of this ties together if you ask me. And I’m sure many don’t know what really happened. Conveniently, it would appear that after Bishop McCarthy passed, the jurisdiction’s leadership decided to pursue their own and split one of the largest jurisdictions in the midwest into east west. If you ask me, maybe someone was looking to avoid liability for the activities of the predators, but that’s just my guess in the matter. If 5th IL no longer exists, then who can be held responsible, even financially?

    • March 4, 2011 at 7:11 pm

      Posted February 23, 2011 at 8:15 PM

      Wow knew about Parham but didnt know that he was in IL 5th.
      Of course its a guess but given the extremely disengenuous dealings of COGIC leadership and Enoch Perry, that certainly sounds plausible to me.

      I do know that they love splitting large jurisdictions, but in this case with so many sexual criminals in one jurisdiction, splitting it after Bishop McCarthy died was probably had a legal component to it.

      But when was the jurisdiction halved? McCarthy died in 04 I think.

      • proverbs28nine
        March 4, 2011 at 7:11 pm

        Posted February 24, 2011 at 4:14 PM

        2004-05, That’s about the time it split. It’s only been split for 6 years I think,this being the seventh. Austin and Washington, current east and west prelate’s respectively, were McCarthy’s administrative assistants when it was still together as 5th IL. So after McCarthy’s death, the split was made within the next year or so.

        I didn’t realize Parham was in same either until I went back and looked and saw who his pastor was at the time b/c I remembered reading about that case on reportcogicabuse.

  3. March 4, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    Posted February 16, 2011 at 10:46 PM

    All I can say is WOW! Elder. I have already said everything else I can think of…WOW!

  4. journeytaker
    March 4, 2011 at 7:07 pm

    Posted February 22, 2011 at 11:30 AM

    Were there any criminal charges ever filed against these individuals? IF not, why not? There really should be a criminal investigation as well.

    • March 4, 2011 at 7:10 pm

      Posted February 22, 2011 at 1:41 PM

      We havent found any evidence of that JT. It appear to be criminal conduct but not sure if criminal charges were filed. Not saying they were or were not. As of this time I havent seen any evidence of it.

  5. March 7, 2011 at 10:19 pm


    Now this case was settled in 2007, jurisdiction split and all. Now, Bishop Blake’s and Elder Perry’s commentary was in 2009 at the convocation. As I have recorded in CLergy Sexual SINS Pt. 2 the remarks from the General Assembly minutes were as follows:

    “He (Judge Enoch Perry) reported that in over 100 years, there have been 20-25 processed cases of sexual misconduct. He stated statistically the numbers are significantly small; however, there should not be one case among us. Judge perry reported there has not been one successful lawsuit against the church; cases have either been settled or dismissed. He further stated that Bishop Blake supports the church’s zero tolerance policy against sexual misconduct.” ~ [2009 COGIC General Assembly Minutes Pg. 2 Para. 2 parenthesis added]

    The same report stated that Bishop Blake said:

    “Presiding Bishop Blake thanked Judge Perry for his remarks regarding the church’s policy in relationship to sexual misconduct. he pointed out that, on average, the church spends about $800,000 to settle legal matters many of which have to do with accusations of sexual misconduct. (Who made the comment? and that one singe lawsuit has the potential to bankrupt the church.)” ~ [2009 COGIC General Assembly Minutes Pg. 3 Para. 2 as it is in the minutes]

    Now, the word has been circulated that Elders should be as silent as possible about these matters and similar issues as not to “shame the church”. In fact one preached a message, in my presence, that we don’t need to be talking about certain things, and all we need to do is pray and support our leadership…as if we can’t walk, talk and chew gum at the same time, and as if God will simply bless us for silently tolerating wrong…a farce of a biblical interpretation if I ever saw one.

    Secondly, there was a suit that was settled in 2010 that cost over $1 million and a Jurisdiction in Washington state had to be sold in order for them to get the money to recover that judgement also.

    The thing that I see here is that in spite of knowing that $1.5 million had been paid and a Jurisdiction split for reasons stated above (to say that 5th doesn’t exist anymore therefore 5th can’t be further sued), and at the very least having a second case pending in which they knew they were going to have to come off of some serious money around about the same time, they still got up in front of everyone in Memphis and went on national record simply playing things down and dumbing down the people and the issue as if…”everything is fine…we just need to tighten up some things”

    Let me ask the question…who is being played here? Is that wisdom, image management or dumbing down the masses?

  6. March 8, 2011 at 11:36 pm

    Its very clear that Bishop Blake and many of his administrative assistants are engaged in a pattern of suppressing information, coverup and in many cases outright lying.

    They continue to believe that they are smarter than God and their robes, positions, money and COGIC blue blood will shield them. God is merciful and he allows space for repentance, but this stiff necked leadership will fall. Like Eddie Long, God will reduce them in the eyes of the people.

    One of the reasons why this documentation is going on is because God will be just in his dealings with men. And this witness will be against them that they have been deceitful with the flock of God.

    They can instruct the bishops and elders all they want to avoid the truth and not to face the truth with integrity, but sooner or later someone will be caught and the law will deal with them. All those who were complicit and silent will be guilty as well.

    Its only a matter of time.

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