Home > COGIC, crime, sex crimes > COGIC Supt refuses to respond to molestation of 7 year old

COGIC Supt refuses to respond to molestation of 7 year old

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.

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  1. September 12, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    Foldem
    Posted February 4, 2009 at 3:30 AM

    this is sick,,,That same Pastor Ahmed Screven allowed this same guy to supervise a youth group on a out of town COGIC aim convention in which he shared a room with young boys unsupervised…no background checks or anything
    hiscrivener
    Posted February 4, 2009 at 9:11 AM

    Pastor,

    I have wanted to tell you in several of these posts regarding your crusade to stir up the Body of Christ against the crimes taking place in some COGIC churches – I applaud you!

    Brilliant cause, bright writing and unbelievable stories. It’s an honor to read what you are doing, see where God is taking you and hear the praises (which many more are coming).

    Bravo, brother.

    Oh, and what the heck is that on this tool’s head? Some dove shot from the skies? IJS.

    Peace,
    HiScrivener

    GCMW: Thanks so much for your encouragement my brother. I hope no one thinks I am on some personal vendetta against COGIC. This is only to speak up and out for the defenseless whose spirits and bodies have been beaten into silence by the actions and callous unconcern of so-called men of God. Im motivated knowing that God is for the least of these, not the powerful and mighty. PS: I think that’s some kind of paper on Harp’s head. Why? Call me clueless.
    gcmwatch
    Posted February 4, 2009 at 1:02 PM

    Foldem, I guess he’s trying to clean up all that mess before he says anything.

    Screven’s hands are dirty, its very apparent by his silence.

    Hopefully someone will speak up and implicate him so that he cannot hide behind his ecclesiastical white throne.
    ucanwalkonwater
    Posted February 5, 2009 at 1:58 AM

    Keep this reporting on the front pages. This story is very sad. Unfortunately this is not the first time this animal attacked a child . . . it was the first time he got caught.

    Money talks. COGIC members need to stop paying tithes and leave the church. Leadership is responsible for this mess and should be held accountable. When the money stops flowing, leadership will start listening and take a stand in support of the children.

    And we wonder why there are demonic influences in the church.
    Peter
    Posted March 4, 2009 at 1:40 AM

    Screven is a lawyer. This is a shame.
    Truth Proclaimer
    Posted March 5, 2009 at 6:11 PM

    It amazes me that people such as yourself can twist truth so masterfully into a bold faced lie and at the same time declare yourself Christian. How can you point out the wood that’s in your brother’s eye but fail to see the “Forest” that’s in your own?

    First, your facts are from another planet. Secondly, how do you even associate this to the COGIC? I’m not a member of COGIC but I am a Christian and I have an obligation to speak ‘Truth” to power, even when it’s in the Body of Christ!

    The “True” facts of the case are that the assaults which the defendant admitted to committing did not take place in the after school program, which by the way, was NOT run out of Pastor Screven’s church or have any affiliation with COGIC, but did in fact take place in the defendants home.

    Thirdly, the victim WAS NOT an enrolled child in Dr. Screven’s program, but was a child who’s parent allowed this defendant to take her child to various locations by himself because she didn’t want to commit to the requirements of enrolling and maintaining her child in the afterschool program!

    Fourthly, (and I can go on…) Dr. Screven isn’t required to do a background check but did so on his own to the best that the State of New Jersey allows a business entity to do without violating the applicants rights of privacy. Not only for the victim’s safety but for the safety of his own two daughters who attended his after school program! (Did you know that??)

    Although I could go on and on, what is the purpose? It is obvious that you have issues and “AXES to grind with people and thats your affair. But as a “worker” in the community where this little girl lives, and as someone who has to deal with this type of crime every day I could not allow you to put out “mis-information” and not address this blog. I’m appalled when people use the dilemna of others to launch, or support their own political and/or selfish agenda. If you wish to victimize victims twice that ‘s on you. You will REAP what you SOW.
    I don’t condone what Mr. Harp did to this young girl, and I hope that God has mercy on him. But I also feel that innocent people should be attacked. Whenever a “man of God” comes under attack you can’t always believe what you hear, didn’t they do the same thing to Jesus?

    GCMW: Sorry, oh nameless one. Did you write the two different reporters of the two different stories in the Newark news and accuse them of “masterfully twisting” this incident? Also have you written to the Newark police and told them they are lying? What about the board members who called for Screven’s resignation? If this is your first stop, but please continue on your quest. We said Screven did not respond to the molestation. He didnt until pressure (not right ethics) forced him too several days later. Do you want to see the email he sent me? Probably not. What it seems like (since you are reluctant to identify yourself) is that you are probably an opinionated pundit. But thanks for sharing your opinions.
    gcmwatch
    Posted March 10, 2009 at 6:33 PM

    Well if you actually did what you said you did at least you are being fair. I’ll give you that much.

    Jesus comparisons aside, do you believe Supt screven is 100% guiltless in this matter? Jesus was 100% guiltless in all things.
    Truth Proclaimer
    Posted March 10, 2009 at 6:19 PM

    You have my name, and yes i am very opinionated Praise God! To answer your questions yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes for the one you forgot to ask.
    This is not my first stop, and the only reason I “stopped” in the first place is because of the pathetic untruths you and others have posted. I have recieved probably the same letter that you received from Dr. Screven but if you choose to forward your copy to me please do so “You” have my email.
    Secondly, for anyone to believe that there truly is a separation of Church and State, God help you. In a criminal and even a Civil action, the State will be in the church faster than you can say GCMW! It’s not a matter of ethics as you stated, it’s a matter of what is proper and correct in protecting your rights when people such as yourself have falsely accused you.
    But Being Christian I know you wouldn’t know anything about that, especially how when false accusations were lodged against our Savior he said nothing……
    I believe, (and it’s only fair to you that I let you know, I’m a little closer to this story than you are.) that the fault will not be found with Pastor Ahmed Screven, but will in fact be found with a dysfunctional legal system that allowed Mr. Hart to remain on the streets in the first place, when he should have been behind bars. Like I stated before, I will not let anyone, use this little girl’s tragedy as a platform to launch their personal, public, or political agenda. I will continue to respond to anyone or anything that is incorrect and inaccurate in this case. I hope that others will join me in wanting the truth to prevail in this case, and not use this as an opptunity to attack the man of God because it’s popular.

    God Bless you Pastor.

  2. September 12, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    I don’t think that you necessarily have a vendetta against COGIC–I can’t say, but it APPEARS that you have one against Bishop Blake. I say that because as a members of the elders council both in Southern CA and nationally I have watched him crusade against the ministerial abuse of power for over 20 years.

    What you are doing is the equivalent, perhaps, of blaming Obama for the war in Iraq. I think your intentions are noble, but you lose credibility with those who know, when you write something like, “climate of stone faced secrecy fostered by COGIC leadership and perpetuated by the administration of Bishop Charles Blake.”

    • September 12, 2011 at 7:06 pm

      You are wrong. I have a crusade against ungodly leadership. That’s not an appearance, its a fact that has been made quite clear through this work. Real leaders accept responsibility for their watch (note that word), not deflect it. Real leaders do not just exult in applause and accolades for “positive” works of those under their watch, but they are equally responsible for the failures and the people who engage in such actions.

      Having said that, here is your unfettered opportunity to prove that this is a patent lie on behalf of Report COGIC Abuse, COGIC Abuse Watch blog.

      Please list on the record, with sources all of the times Bishop Blake has publicly (we can only judge public acts and words in regards to what has come to light publicly) spoken out against the issues enumerated by the aforementioned.

      Take your time and please ensure that you substantiate your claims with facts, names, dates, places and corroboration.

  3. September 13, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    That’s convenient for yourself to require me to provide documentation when you are the accuser. “Guilty until proven innocent,” eh?

    I can assist you if you are honest and sincere enough: request minutes from the secretaries of the meetings bishop has with pastors and elders, (perhaps even mention the blue book he requires all to read on sex abuse, not that I think that piece is essential to your research). Had you been in those meetings you would note that the ministers do not have their secretaries with them, which is why I recommend you request, and if you feel you have a leg to stand on and you are refused, get a lawyer and have a subpoena issued.

    Any rabid crusade against another person should show due diligence.

    • September 13, 2011 at 7:32 pm

      Well its to be expected of people apologists to claim innocence then when asked to show evidence, they launch into strawman arguments.

      Unless you want to present something tangible that clearly conflicts with the FOUR YEARS OF PREVIOUS INFORMATION (see http://www.reportcogicabuse.com) we have posted, please refrain from the sideshows. It does NOTHING help to help battered victims scattered across the COGIC and only emboldens church predators.

      And there is little patience –if any– for that here.

  4. September 13, 2011 at 8:49 pm

    So, I guess we should presume you will pursue with your crusade, but will forego seeking the data to justify it?

    Remember, I’m not crusading against Bishop Blake, so I don’t bear the onus of substantiating accusations.

    • September 14, 2011 at 12:45 am

      Yes, of course we will, as the Lord gives us strength, continue exposing the unfruitful works of darkness. Yes we will continue crying aloud and sparing not. We will continue advocating for true change in COGIC policy towards victims of clergy sexual abuse. We will continue to insist on biblical standards for members of clergy. Yes, we will continue to hold leaders who are derelict accountable. Yes, we will continue to uphold the founding principles of holiness and righteousness without respect of persons. Yes we will continue contrasting the wickedness of religious men with the righteousness of God.

      Thanks for your inquiries.

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