Home > Bishop Charles Blake, Bishop James Wright, COGIC, crime, NY Western 1st Jurisdiction, sex crimes, sexual abuse, youth > COGIC officials in Albany NY kept pedophile elders secret

COGIC officials in Albany NY kept pedophile elders secret


Beginning in the late 70s, Church of God in Christ officials in New York’s capital city knew about multiple child sex abuses committed by five different  pedophiles. Instead of protecting children, church officials shielded the pedophiles and concealed their crimes. In one case, three generations of family members had been sexually molested. Two of the pedophile elders were in position at Wilborn Temple COGIC, the other three at St Johns COGIC.  That’s what a lengthy and detailed letter made public last month, alleges. The two stately looking, intown churches have for decades harbored pedophiles who preyed on a still undetermined number of children.

Written by Christopher Davis, a project management consultant and son of a local COGIC pastor in Albany, New York, the letter characterized what he had uncovered as a “coming storm” due to the layers of deceit and ignorance of the Albany COGIC community.

“You can choose to ignore this coming storm and leave yourself to its perils or you can arm yourself with knowledge, understanding and wisdom. You can choose to think for yourself or let someone else think for you, but know in your choice is your fate. Know and understand that in judgment you stand alone and on your works and your deeds. The single thing which separates man from all of God’s creations is the ability of cognitive thought; it is this in which we are made in His image. In relinquishing your right and responsibility to think for yourself you have forsaken your humanity and in turn you have forsaken God who created you in His image.”

Davis, who now lives in New Jersey, said that he came upon the decades long sexual abuse situations while he was in the process of helping a church deal with rebuilding after fire damage.

“In January 2012 Blessed Hope Worship Center, a COGIC affiliate under Pastor Ronald Howard, experienced a fire which damaged their church home on Central Avenue in Albany, New York. The damage to the church was extensive and Pastor Howard recognized his limitations in navigating the church through the many hurdles they would have to face in rebuilding. Through then Superintendent and Pastor James Davis, Pastor Howard contacted me, to ask for my assistance in their endeavors to rebuild.”

Conversations with Howard eventually revealed an incidence of pedophilia committed against a 10 year old boy  of which the perpetrator was still an active COGIC leader.

Davis told Report COGIC Abuse that despite damning evidence he presented (including the personal testimony of a victim), he encountered a shocking corporate attitude among COGIC leaders, including  Western New York First jurisdiction Bishop James R. Wright. Most of the leaders showed more concern for the doctrine and rules of the church, than the victim. The callous and insensitive responses sounded like the words issued by COGIC’s Presiding Bishop in October 2007, when clergy sexual abuse issues begin to gain attention.

“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 very 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.”

Although, he was no longer connected to the COGIC community he grew up in, Davis said  the plight of the victims and the cloud of darkness compelled him to move forward to uncover the truth.

“In May 2012 I began a series of interviews with this victim. The victim has long been a member of various COGIC and non-COGIC churches as a musician. The victim provided a fairly detailed account of abuse he had endured beginning at the age of 6 and continuing through becoming an adult. According to victim’s testimony, abuse in COGIC began at St. John’s church at the age of 12. For this individual, the cycle of church abuse began with a minister who at first was musically connected to the victim but soon this connection led into sexual activity which continued over several years. In addition to the victim’s adolescent involvement with the aforementioned minister, testimony of involvement with an elder involved with numerous musical groups, an adult church musician, a minister and an adult church lay member were all detailed. Of the five noted pedophiles, three were members of St. John’s and two members of Wilborn’s Temple at the time of the abuse in the mid-1970’s. Abuse by the elder involved with numerous musical groups began at the age of 14 years old and involved not only the abuser and the abused but other adults and minors as well. The abuse victim states that he was introduced to orgies in the loft at Garland Brothers Funeral Home.”

Despite the evidence, after the meeting, Davis discovered Bishop Wright was unsympathetic to the victims.  He wrote, “Based on the previous day’s meeting with Superintendent Clark having disclosed additional issues with the offending pastor I was quite confident that Bishop Wright had to be aware of these issues as well. In the end, Bishop Wright stated that his concern was exposing the church (COGIC) to a lawsuit from the pedophile and that the jurisdiction didn’t have money to deal with the victims anyways. Completely disgusted with the response from Bishop Wright I alerted him of my resolve to contact the national church organization and that I would bring this issue to the forefront in the coming months.”

Depending on the outcome of the case, COGIC, Inc could be facing for the first time a federal level investigation into child sex crimes.  In October last year a  Kansas City Catholic bishop was arrested for failing to report suspected child sexual abuse.

At the table

COGIC officials identified in the letter as attending various meetings where information about the pedophile activities of COGIC elders in Western NY First Jurisdiction was discussed.

Supt McKinley Johnson
Bishop Jeffery Melvin
Elder Alexander
Bishop James Wright
Supt Cornelius Clark
Pastor Ronald Howard
Supt JL Griffin
Supt James Davis
Dr. Charles Guthrie
Bishop Leroy Anderson (deceased 2008)

House of Prayer or Den of Thieves?

Churches which have been identified as harboring pedophile COGIC ministers

St John’s COGIC
Wilborn Temple

Read or download the entire letter addressed to Capitol Region COGIC Churches

Visit Christopher Davis’ website  for additional information

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