Home > Bishop Charles Blake, Bishop Charles E. Brown, Bishop Rufus Kyles, COGIC, General Board, Houston, lawsuit, sex crimes, sexual abuse, Texas SE First > Source: COGIC General Board paid off Bishop Charles Brown victims

Source: COGIC General Board paid off Bishop Charles Brown victims

Report COGIC Abuse has learned this week from confidential sources that in June the Church of God in Christ General Board finalized and secretly paid off the three female sex crime victims of Bishop Charles Brown I of Louisiana.  According to the source, “The board voted on the matter [the pending lawsuit] with the vote resulting in 10 bishops voting for the payment and 2 voting against it.”

The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told RCA that the three women victims of Bishop Charles Brown I filed suit against COGIC and were paid “a large sum” of money. The lawsuit would have went to court, but COGIC officials quickly agreed to settle out of court. The payment included a nondisclosure clause which prohibits the victims from publicly revealing how much money was paid to them.

One of the women, Gwen Harrell was represented by the law firm of Roger Stetter of New Orleans. Contacted at his office, Stetter would only say he was “not at liberty” to discuss the case. The source alleged that Brown was aware of the payments.

Judge and Jury
The New Orleans Times Picayune broke the story of Brown’s arrest almost a year ago.  COGIC officials dodged the reporter’s attempts for clarification on whether they knew Brown had been arrested. Of course, this follows Bishop Charles Blake’s media blackout rule when sex crimes cases involve church officials. Brown was not suspended until after the story became public.

Brown, a long time friend of Presiding Bishop Blake, formerly served on the board of Blake’s  Save Africa’s Children organization. He was removed from that position [see new board here], but reinstated by COGIC to his religious positions.  Its not clear if Brown was removed because of his arrest or because of the disagreement he and Blake had over Brown taking over a Houston church.  Brown was arrested in June 2011 and charged with multiple counts of sexual abuse. He was held under a nearly 1 million dollar bond. Another charge of “forceable rape” was later added.

In response to the arrest, COGIC announced that Brown had been suspended pending outcome of the trial.

But then on a legal technicality, a Louisiana parish judge dismissed sex crimes cases against Brown saying charges were filed after the statue of limitations had expired.

Four days later, the COGIC issued a brief but tersely worded statement saying that it was immediately lifting Brown’s suspension without further comment.  That statement has since been removed from the website.

Unanswered questions remain

Several legitimate questions regarding Brown, money and Bishop Blake remain that continue to keep this story alive under a strong cloud of suspicion.

First, there are questions of culpability. Charles Blake and Charles Brown were admittedly friends during the period when the young girls were molested. Did either of the victims tell Blake or someone in his inner circle of the molestation, but no action was taken against Brown? Any church official who knows of a sexual crime being committed but takes no action —according to the law— bears the same guilt as the perpetrator. See this.

Secondly, if Charles Brown was innocent of the charges levied against him, why did the COGIC General Board pay off the three victims? Despite rumors, Brown wasn’t “exonerated”.  Had be been legally exonerated he would have been freed from guilt by order of the court. Instead he avoided trial because the statue of limitations had run out on the case. That is not a judgment of innocence, its a legal technicality that worked in his favor. Neither Brown’s guilt nor his innocence has been proved in a court of law. But since neither has been proven, on what grounds then would COGIC’s high office holders have for paying out large sums of money to 3 women connected to Brown? If the women’s accusations are false, why give them large sums of church money and then prevent them from telling how much they received? COGIC’s immediate capitulation to giving the women money could indicate that had the case gone to trial, the church would have lost.  The same scenario occurred under the GE Patterson administration with former Saints College official Supt Larry Weems of Mississippi.

Finally, who is bankrolling the not so secret sins and crimes of COGIC leaders? Where is the money funding the lawsuits coming from? Where is the accounting trail for the money? Presiding Bishop Blake stated in 2009 (on official record) that COGIC paid out an average of $800,000 per year for sexual abuse claims. But hardly an eye batted at the enormous figure. There’s been zero accountability as to who approves the money, where it comes from and why it is kept secret. Is the large sums of money being paid from the pockets of General Board members? Is it coming from church insurance money? Or is it coming from the tithes, offering and numerous money gathering portals recently set up by church leadership?

At the time of publication, neither COGIC headquarters officials nor press agent Robert Coleman, Jr.  had responded to requests for statements. A secretary with Bishop Charles Blake said he was currently on travel and unavailable.

COGIC leadership seems to have forgotten one truth that will eventually find them out. The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the good and the evil. What you have said and done behind closed doors and in secret will eventually come to the light. You may be living or you may be dead, but your sins will find you out.

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  1. pastorbuggs
    August 24, 2012 at 12:40 am

    How could 12 General Board Members Vote on this when only 11 are presently sitting on the Board. Would your un named source explain their vote count.

    • August 24, 2012 at 1:12 am

      pastorbuggs, your question is a legitimate statistical query and you are correct in noting that Bishop Owens’place was not filled after his death, leaving only 11 current members in place. We will certainly pose that to our source and update asap.
      Although it is statistically true, are you suggesting that it casts doubt on the overall veracity of this story? If so, in what way?
      If I am not mistaken a quorum of seven GB votes can approve a matter, thus even with the source’s apparently inaccuracy in the vote count, the approval would still be well within the realm of plausibility.

      • pastorbuggs
        August 24, 2012 at 2:05 am

        Your source in their I presume original statement gave the stats. If they were that close to the vote which I am sure was done in closed chambers how then could they make a mistake like that. My concern is if the stat is wrong any doubt can be placed on the entire report.

        • August 24, 2012 at 3:25 am

          A valid concern Im sure. From my perspective there are other unrelated and some related key factors that hold up the veracity despite the vote count. The other simple solution would be to put the question on the record before a member(s) of the board and let them answer as to whether or not there was a vote and these three women were financially compensated by vote of the general board. That would resolve any and all doubts. Id be happy to interview any current board member willing to refute or affirm this report. On the record of course.

          • pastorbuggs
            August 24, 2012 at 3:00 pm

            While I totally understand your position. The fact of the matter is that COGIC business was released without confirmation. It is not the sources responsibility to reveal something that will be released to the National Body in the proper forum. As I am sure you are aware the actions of the General Board must be approved by the General Assembly. The General Assembly as I am sure you are aware meets twice a year in which financial disclosures are made and open questions are asked.

            Your source in my opinion did not let the General Boards actions,( if this matter even came before the General Board, it certainly was not in the April Minutes.) run the course of due process. They are empowered to govern the church when the general assembly is not in session. Therefore not having to give an explanation until they are required. No outside organization should have to interview General Board members to get an answer to COGIC business that can be answered and according to COGIC Law must be answered in the general assembly.

            I also would like to add that I welcome information from your site and believe it is good to know. Information given here would otherwise possibly not be presented in a consolidated manner. I only want it all to be right. Not reported with flaws and then overlook the flaw and investigate a group that does not have to answer until the appropriate time.

            Also How is The Gentleman that has claims to being Bishop JO Patterson’s son the the grandson of Bishop Mason when his mother was not an offspring of Bishop Masons I hope you will have him answer that or remove the statement from his advertisement on your web site.

            Pastor Buggs

  2. August 24, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    Thank you for your kind words and affirmation of our work. Nothing and no one is without flaw, except the Lord. Flaws can be intentional or unintentional. RCA, since its inception has been open to any and all criticism and correction of factual information presented. See here

    Sure we are aware that the general assembly is supposed to have the final approval of general board actions. But historically, these specificities are rarely if ever released or framed in the way which would alarm members of the general assembly, thus resulting in a vote negating the decision of the general board. Its our opinion the general assembly too often has been manipulated into rubber stamping general board actions without significant inquiry into those actions. Or particularly under the rule of JO Patterson Jr obstructionist tactics were consistently employed to stifle the GA’s true potential to govern the church and the leader’s negative actions.

    Im sure you are aware that Report COGIC Abuse does not and will not seek any prior approval from the General Board or any COGIC officials to release information we deem appropriate under “right to know” principles. The people have a right to know that these women were paid off after the leadership quickly reinstated Bishop Brown under their presumption of his innocence. Unfortunately, you have sidestepped the weightier matters of this case.

    Regarding Benjamin Jimerson-Philips, that is an altogether different matter discussed in this article. His contact information is readily available, contact him and ask him the questions personally. I personally support him, his claims and his mission 100%.

  3. pastorbuggs
    August 25, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    Ok we can agree to disagree. Know I am not disputing if they were paid. I hope not for reasons very close to this matter. I will inquire further through very strong sources of my own for clairification.

    And with regard to the Gentleman and his claim to be a Patterson that to has merit and I understand. I do not dispute his claim to be a Patterson. I hope your 100% support does not extend to his claim to be the grandson of Bishop Mason. That is saying his mother is the offspring of CH Mason for that to be true. That is the only question and I will ask him personally it is my understanding he is here in So Cal.

    Pastor Buggs

  4. thepreacha
    August 26, 2012 at 4:06 am

    Pastorbuggs,
    I don’t think Mr Phillips is claiming to be the biological grandson of our Sainted founder. However as the son of Bishop J.O. Patterson Sr. (which I believe to be true) Mother Deborah I Mason Patterson would have been his stepmother thus making her father Bishop C.H. Mason his step grandfather. The moniker Mason/Patterson family is extremely commonly used in the grand ole church, and with Bishop JO as his father he certainly would qualify to be a part of that.

    • pastorbuggs
      August 27, 2012 at 1:32 pm

      I have no argument when you place it such legalese as that. Looking forward to meeting you one day.

  5. thepreacha
    August 27, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    I look forward to as well.

  6. February 14, 2013 at 4:12 am

    Brother Sidney Buggs, I remember you from Second Jurisdiction of COGIC in San Diego. Yes, I have stated Bishop C.H. Mason was my Grandfather-In-Law for the very reasons stated above… My Dad was married to his daughter, making her my Mother-in-law & him my Grandfather-in-law.

    Not only do I state it, but Bishop Mason’s Grand-children & Great-grandchilden have ALL admitted that I am their Cousin & Step Grandchild of Bishop Mason (visit my sight): http://www.JOPattersonMinistry.Com Brother Buggs, I am fully aware you know my story, but if blood members of both the Mason & Patterson Family admit to who I am, what would qualify anyone else to state otherwise.

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