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Candy call: new bishop’s list raises eyebrows

September 27, 2011 Leave a comment

RCA has obtained a copy of the new bishop’s list in the Church of God in Christ. Among the 28 men are several that we have covered before. Click on the name to read stories associated with their irresponsible exploits prior to being appointed bishop.

JURISDICTIONAL BISHOPS
1. Bishop Designate Rance Allen, Michigan NW Harvest
2. Bishop Designate Abraham Forcheney, Panama
3. Bishop Designate Ronnie Gibson, Dominican Republic
4. Bishop Designate David Allen Hall, Sr., Tennessee HQS
5. Bishop Designate Norman Harper, South Central Georgia
6. Bishop Designate David Leon Herron, Ohio Central East
7. Bishop Designate Michael Eugene Hill, Greater Lakes First
8. Bishop Designate Samuel Hogan, Massachusetts 1st
9. Bishop Designate Joseph E Hogan, Sr., North Central GA [more]
10. Bishop Designate Loran Mann, Vermont
11. Bishop Designate Christopher Milton, Southern California Evangelistic
12. Bishop Designate Juan LaRue Morrison, Central Illinois
13. Bishop Emmitt Louis Nevels, Ohio Central West
14. Bishop Designate Leon Pamphile, Haiti
15. Bishop Designate Edgar Lloyd Scott, Pennsylvania Central
16. Bishop Designate Ervin Sims, Jr., Republic of Ghana
17. Bishop Designate Detroit Williams, Central Florida First
18. Bishop Designate Junius Earl Williams, Arkansas Fourth

AUXILLARY BISHOPS
1. Bishop Designate Edgar Lewis Allen, Jr., Illinois Sixth
2. Bishop Designate Cornelius Ellis Anderson, Jr., North Carolina Second
3. Bishop Designate Junious Augustus Blake Jr., Southern California First
4. Bishop Designate Welton Lee Lawrence, Canada / Michigan
5. Bishop Otis Lockett, North Carolina Second DECEASED
6. Bishop Designate Charles Glenn Nauden, Southern California Second
7. Bishop Designate Enoch Perry, III, District of Columbia [more]
8. Bishop Designate David Morrell Screven, Eastern Pennsylvania
9. Bishop Designate Jackie Cortez Vaughn, Eastern Missouri First
10. Bishop Designate Frank Anthone White , Eastern New York Third

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COGIC Bishop booked on sexual battery charges

September 21, 2011 1 comment

New Orleans – The Times-Picayune reported last night that Bishop Charles E. Brown, I, bishop of the Church of God in Christ Greater New Orleans Jurisdiction was booked on charges of sexual battery in June. Brown was released after posting a $25,000 bail. But the story quickly raised more troubling issues about Brown, his past, COGIC’s so-called zero tolerance sexual abuse policy and his association with the church’s presiding bishop.

According to the paper, Brown seemed to have made a very foolish decision to contact the woman he is alleged to have molested. [source]

The spiritual head of a local Pentecostal denomination has been arrested and booked with sexual battery on a teenage girl more than 23 years ago. New Orleans court records show that Bishop Charles E. Brown, 58, was released on $25,000 bond.

Brown, who since Hurricane Katrina has divided his time between New Orleans and Houston, is the jurisdictional bishop for Greater New Orleans in the Church of God in Christ, a Pentecostal denomination with headquarters in Memphis. He is also pastor of a local congregation, Full Gospel Church of God in Christ.

Brown was arrested June 28, according to police records.

Several attempts to contact Brown at his home in Houston were unsuccessful. Court records did not list a lawyer. And denominational officials in Los Angeles and Lafayette who would know about the arrest either were unavailable or did not respond to an inquiry.

A police affidavit supporting the arrest warrant said an unidentified 39-year-old woman called the department’s child abuse unit in March to report that Brown molested her between the ages of 14 and 16.

The woman said at the time Brown was her aunt’s boyfriend, and the acts occurred at his home.

She told police Brown recently reached out and asked to “friend” her on Facebook. She told him she knew him to be an abuser and decided then to go to the police, the affidavit said.

Brown originally was arrested and booked with aggravated rape. But Magistrate Commissioner Harry Cantrell said the specific facts alleged by the woman supported only the lesser accusation of sexual battery.”

Brown, pastor of Williams Temple COGIC in Houston and two other churches, was a prominent figure in pre-Katrina New Orleans. His bio connects him with several powerful civic and religious leaders around the country including serving as a board member with Dr. Fredrick Price of LA, Bishop IV Hilliard in Houston, as the “spiritual advisor” to former Katrina-era NO mayor Ray Nagin and ironically as a board member of Bishop Blake’s “Save Africa’s Children” charity. Within his denomination, Brown was the former Chief Operating Officer of the church until he resigned after a fallout with Blake over a Houston church he now pastors.

What’s troubling is that the the police report alleges the crime occured about 23 years ago. That would put the timeline of the crime about 1990-91. During that time, according to Brown’s bio, he was:

  • Director; Youth Church, [COGIC] UNAC/AIM 1980-1997.
  • Executive Board Member; General Assembly of the Church of God in Christ, 1984 to present.
  • Board Member; Fellowship of Inner City Word of Faith Ministries (FICWFM), Dr. F. K. C. Price, Founder. (1990-Present).

The woman alleges that Brown committed the crime while he was her aunt’s boyfriend. Just a few weeks ago, we told you about the case of adulterer and deadbeat father Joseph Hogan. The biblical requirements for the office of a bishop mean nothing to COGIC leadership. If blatant adultery and sexual immorality doesn’t disqualify a man from the office, what will? Sources told Report COGIC Abuse that despite the hard evidence on Hogan, COGIC will consecrate him to bishop.

Although Brown was arrested in June, he still holds his office of pastor and bishop in the Church of God in Christ. Report COGIC Abuse has learned that the denomination passed a resolution giving bishops the power to immediately remove a local church pastor upon allegations of sexual misconduct or criminal sexual activity until an investigation is concluded. But there was no clause for the bishops to remove those in their own ranks.

As the Times-Picayune story noted, church officials aren’t responding even though there is evidence that all members of the church’s “general board” —including Charles E. Blake— were made aware of Brown’s situation prior to the story going public.

COGIC Supt refuses to respond to molestation of 7 year old

September 12, 2011 8 comments

Originally posted February 3, 2009

NEWARK – This is no surprise, given the climate of stone faced secrecy fostered by COGIC leadership and perpetuated by the administration of Bishop Charles Blake.

Yesterday, the New Jersy News reported on yet another shocking crime committed against a child, this time a seven year old girl in an after school program run by Supt Ahmed Screven, pastor of Bethesda COGIC and now Financial Secretary of the denomination’s Evangelism department.

The rapist, Glenn Harp, a volunteer at Screven’s program, had been according to The News, “indicted a decade earlier on charges of sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a child, [and] had been convicted on the lesser charge and sentenced to three years’ probation. ” Prosecutors say that Harp raped the child repeatedly both at the school and his apartment in Newark
In short, Glenn Harp was a pedophile criminal with a record who never should have been allowed near a child–even unsupervised. Harp was a “volunteer” at the school, thus no background check was run on him.

As a commenter pointed out although volunteers are not required to be checked Screven could have easily went to datauniverse.com (a free site) which has a section to check criminal conviction records. He would have found Glenn Harp’s name there and his previous conviction with his sentence of probation. harp

After Harp (right) plead guilty last week and is facing 15 years in prison, the questions began to fly. People wanted to know how and why Harp was allowed to take a child out of the school and to his apartment without anyone knowing. The investigators, concerned parents and workers at the school should have checked here first so they could prepare themselves for the silence from Screven, a lawyer, member of the board of education.

Community leaders and at least one school board member said they are outraged by the assault and at the way the district has reacted to it. No one had discussed the assault publicly before The Star-Ledger started asking questions after receiving an anonymous tip. Other parents at the school said they were never told it had happened.

School board member Kenneth Waller said Screven should have conducted the background check and that failure to do so violated school policy as well as the trust between the school and the community.

“I am calling for his resignation,” Waller said.

Screven did not return repeated calls for comment.

But why didn’t Pastor Screven report the crime to his fellow school board members, parents or community leaders? His inaction and silence understandably upset many people.

Also at issue, Waller said, is that parents were never notified of the assault.

“If something like this occurred, there should have been information put out to other parents of children in this program,” he said.
Waller, who said he is eager to be an “agent of change” in the district, was the only school board member to make a statement on the record.
Eloise McDaniel, president of the Irvington Block Association Coalition, has worked closely with parents in the community for 10 years. She, too, was upset no one was notified after Harp’s arrest.
“They have kept that very hush-hush,” she said, “How do you cover something like that up?”

Parents were understandably outraged that they were not told.

Several parents waiting to pick up their children at the school last week said they had not been told of the assault and expressed shock that they were not informed.

“I never knew about it and we should have known,” said Eric Johnson, 35, who was waiting to pick up his first-grader, “That’s putting people in danger.”

Quinn McClain, 49, has a grandchild in the school. He said parents should have been informed immediately after the school discovered the assault. “I’m here all the time,” McClain said. “I sit in the classroom. Why wasn’t I told?”

Dear Mrs. McClain, sorry to have to tell you this but COGIC doesn’t comment on any criminal cases which could implicate them, possibly ruin their good image, risk their assets or besmirch their 100 year old name. According to their presiding bishop, that’s where priorities lie. Sorry, families of victims will have to  sue to get a statement.

According to Bishop Blake, (COGIC has removed this statement from its website)

We now live in a litigious society. People file lawsuits for every conceivable grievance, whether real or imagined. To protect the name, image, and assets of the Church of God in Christ, we must take positive steps to seriously investigate every case of alleged sexual abuse by the clergy. We must stand behind and support those who are falsely accused of sexual improprieties and found innocent by the courts. We must also insure that the Church act quickly to take firm and positive action against those who violate the sanctity of their positions and are found guilty of sexual abuse and other sexual improprieties.”

Interestingly enough, Screven claims Barak Obama’s election has “empowered” him. I guess that’s just ironic window dressing considering Obama has promised his administration will be marked by transparency.

UPDATE 02.04.09

The Newark Star-Telegram reported today that the family of the molested 7 year old girl has filed an intent to sue. The family is fingering the Irvington School Board, The “Civic Program” run by Pastor Ahmed Screven and the rapist Glenn Harp.

Pastor Screven has released a statement via email. Although parts of it conflict with what is known about the case so far, we credit Screven for expressing remorse for the rape of the child.

Bishop in Alabama should be investigated

September 2, 2011 Leave a comment

Originally posted Feb 16, 2010

Reports have also surfaced against Bishop Peter Wren, Sr. of Birmingham, AL. A woman the Wren family identified as Tiffany Youngblood and a former member of Wren’s East Birmingham COGIC, has begin publicly telling a story alleging Wren was an adulterous sexual predator (among other things) who had manipulated multiple women in his congregation into sexual relationships. But on Jan 14th, Wren’s son posted the following response to Youngblood’s allegations on Black Preaching Network:

“On December 27, 2009, a blog and/or discussion board posted a letter from a member ID (Anchored Soul) concerning the Sexual Misconduct in COGIC. Judging by the content and after further research, the writer is Tiffany Youngblood, originally from Union Springs now living in Birmingham, Alabama. Ms Youngblood moved to the City of Birmingham in search of a place to stay, worship and work while she attended college. Ms. Youngblood attended the church where I pastured [sic] and after some time we realized she needed a place to stay. She befriended my family and eventually moved into our home. For a period of (2) two years she stayed with my family, providing her a roof over her head and food to eat; worked at my place of business, providing her with revenue to support herself. In just a little while she would show a forming motive, after consumptions of alcohol, she would make advances at me. After rebukes and repeat attempts, I put her out of my home. She became angry and left the church and now is seeking ways to destroy my character by spreading these horrible lies. Tiffany Youngblood, it is my recommendation that you seek some type of Psychiatric help and if these lies continue it leaves me no choice but to take legal actions against you because of Slander and Deformation[sic] of Character.” [source]

Another woman, Sandy Woodgrave, came forward January 15th with similar accusations and hinted that there were more Wren victims who have remained silent.

“I also come as a victim of Bishop Peter Wren Sr. You confide in him some of your intimate secrets seeking spiritual guidance and he then takes those same secrets and guide you into unwarranted sexual advances and also his bed. I was too young and naïve to see through the deceit because like most innocent souls, we seek love and acceptance no matter what form.”

But will COGIC officials take notice and enact their alleged “zero tolerance” policy?

Its unknown at this time whether COGIC officials have investigated the matter as part of their sexual misconduct review board/committee. But Wren remains pastor of the church and bishop of Alabama 3rd jurisdiction.

What’s the meaning and application of “blameless”?

For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate;Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. Titus 1:5-9

Its important to remember that a bishop is a purely voluntary administrative position in the church (crossref Eph 4:11) and is subject to the qualifications set forth above and in 1 Tim 3. Thus, if an individual no longer meets the qualifications —especially for sexual misconduct— they should at the very least be relieved of their duties until allegations against them are found to be completely false. The main goal is to protect the flock of God, not to ensure some nepotic religious dynasty.

Visit ReportCOGICAbuse.com to report clergy abuses.

Young girl, 12, sexually assaulted by COGIC minister

September 2, 2011 Leave a comment

Originally posted September 6, 2009

Its happened again. In a different place, with a different child, but behind the crime: yet another Church of God in Christ clergy member. With the church already facing pending sexual abuse lawsuits in Texas, Maryland and Washington state totalling in the millions of dollars, news of this crime couldn’t have come at a worse time.

News broke late Saturday via the Winter Haven, FL News Chief of the shocking crime in which a young girl was allegedly sexually assaulted multiple times by Minister Clevon Ghent, 35 and his nephew Genard Jones both members of Born Again Church of God in Christ in Auburndale, FL. The paper identified Ghent as a paid employee/supervisor of the church’s for profit janitorial service. [source]

Clevon Ghent, 35, of 1161 Waterview Point, Lakeland, was charged Thursday with five counts of custodial sexual battery. Gernard Jones, 18, of 1455 Kathleen Road in Lakeland, was charged with three counts of lewd battery.

Ghent managed Trinity Enterprises, a residential and commercial cleaning business owned and operated by Born Again Church of God in Christ in Auburndale. Ghent and Jones are both volunteer ministers at the church, and the girl is reportedly a member of the congregation, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Pastor Theadore Hall Jr. of Born Again Church could not be reached Friday.

The Sheriff’s Office reported that Ghent and Jones both met the 12-year-old girl at the church. Detectives said the abuse began in May or June, when Jones allegedly committed a sex act with the girl in a car in the driveway of her home.

The church is part of the Florida SW COGIC “jurisdiction” under Bishop Matthew Williams. It will be extremely difficult for the church to disassociate itself from Ghent, his picture is plastered all over the church’s website. In his deposition, COGIC head lawyer, Enoch Perry seemly to imply that the church only bears a legal responsibility when a person on the church’s payroll commits a crime.

The News Chief reported that the assaults took place over the summer months of July and August. And the two men basically traded the girl off with each other and then sexually assaulted her together in a remote area near Lakeland, FL.

In mid-July, Ghent (pictured below in his official church photo) picked up the girl from her home and took her to his house to babysit his four children, ages 6, 7, 8 and 12. During the ride to his house, authorities said Ghent told the girl he knew she had been sexually active with his nephew, Jones.

Jones was at Ghent’ghents house when they arrived, and Ghent told Jones to take his children on a walk. When the girl asked to go with the other children, Ghent told her she was “grounded” and had to stay in the house with him, the Sheriff’s Office reported. After Jones left with Ghent’s children, authorities said Ghent then performed sex acts on the victim.

According to authorities, Ghent committed sex acts with the girl on two separate occasions in July. One of those incidents reportedly took place in his son’s bedroom.

Most recently, Ghent and Jones allegedly sexually abused the girl on Aug. 26. Authorities said Jones drove the girl with Ghent to an isolated spot near Reynolds Road and Skyview Drive in Lakeland, after the men offered to drive her home from Bible study at the church. Instead, the Sheriff’s Office reported that they allegedly sexually abused the girl inside Jones’s silver Lincoln Navigator.

Its unclear as to how or why two adult men could gain so much access and control over the child without anyone questioning it or reporting it. Its strange how these things happen but no one sees, hears or notices anything. However if the allegations are true, what transpired is about as sickening as it gets.

Two days later, on Aug. 28, the girl told two teachers at her school that she had sex with Ghent and Jones. The teachers told the girl’s father, who notified the Sheriff’s Office. Detectives opened an investigation, and Jones and Ghent were interviewed and arrested Thursday, the Sheriff’s Office said.

In a statement, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said, “There are no words to describe the horror” of the alleged abuse. “This so-called minister, and his nephew, Gernard Jones, are now behind bars where they belong – and where they can’t hurt any more innocent children.”

The two men were booked into the Polk County Jail on Thursday and are being held without bond.

Sexual abuse both of adults and children by COGIC clergy is out of control. But according to Perry, there’s little if anything the church can do to control its members or member churches. The exceptions appear to be when local churches attempt to leave the denomination with its assets. Then, the church can expect to be sued in court. The other exception is per Perry’s sworn testimony if the offenders are part of the 70 odd corps of “national church employees” based in Memphis.

What is tragic about all of this is that while under Bishop Charles Blakes’ watch, clergy sexual crimes appear to have increased, the bishop’s voice has decreased significantly. I would not encourage you to hold your breath waiting for Bishop Blake, his administration or COGIC’s ruling aristocracy to answer the cries of ravished children, devastated parents or broken churches. What’s more, its very difficult to understand why a man so passionate and vocal about saving Africa’s children, is so silent and unfeeling about helping COGIC’s children.

Related:

COGIC sexual abuse crimes archives

h/t:SaintlySister