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Updates on COGIC molestation case in Virginia

November 26, 2012 Leave a comment

Year after year, pedophiles continue to pop up all over COGIC despite the warning of Presiding Bishop Charles Blake to “get right or get out”.  And although a new election swept in some new church leaders, the issue of pedophilia, child sex crimes and its resultant issues were all but ignored.

After posting the story of Don Billups, the deacon at Gospel Tabernacle COGIC in Covington, VA who was convicted of molesting at least 8 children,  some clarifications are in order to properly identify individuals connected to the case. The case has devastated the population of this small town of about 3000 along the West Virginia-Virginia border. Billups was a well known figure in the town.

1. The current pastor of Gospel Tabernacle is Gregory P. Moore. Billups was under Moore’s supervision for two years prior to the conviction. After the story broke in the media, Moore took a book called “Mercy for the molester” to one family, telling them that they had to “forgive the molester”. During the trial,  Moore also testified on behalf of Billups.

2. Local news media did not report that Moore is also in legal trouble for a separate incident involving a gun threat.

3. Gospel Tabernacle is currently in the Greater West Virginia Jurisdiction where Henderson Wheeler is bishop. The church was previously pastored by Supt. Warner L. Hunter, until his death in 2009 until Moore, his  son-in-law became pastor.

4. Although Billups was only convicted of 8 molestations, there were more children who’s parents did not want them to testify thus were excluded from the case against him. Some of the children had grown up in the church and knew Billups and his family.

5. Sources informed Report COGIC Abuse that the bishop, Henderson Wheeler since news of the molestation broke had visited once but  told the victim’s families he was “praying for them”. He has not visited nor spoken with victims since the case became public. In a perverted fashion, COGIC leadership treats victims as if they are the criminals. Family members were told by the jurisdictional supervisor that she was forbidden by the bishop to have contact with them. Past cases in Asheville NC, Newark, Winter Haven FL,  Albany NY and Kalamazoo MI reveal the same pattern of post crime behavior  by COGIC leaders.

New information  also reveals that Billups, a retired Marine, was the head deacon at Gospel Tabernacle for many years and his wife a leading “missionary.

Report COGIC Abuse will continue to update this story as information becomes available. A listing of Billups’ charges from Alleghany County Circuit Court.

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Breaking news: COGIC deacon in VA convicted of molesting 8 children

November 20, 2012 2 comments

COGIC’s newly re-elected —and clearly frustrated— Presiding Bishop Charles Blake issued a strong rebuke to pedophiles embedded across the denomination’s landscape during his 2012 official message in St. Louis [video].

“The church has got to be a safety zone for our children. If you are a pedophile, if you are a child molester, if you are a child abuser, if you are determined to pursue sexual misconduct, then either get right or get out. Get right or get out!”

Met with tepid applause, the statement may reveal that the church and its leader still aren’t  aware of exactly what they are dealing with. Pedophiles have no intention of getting right. Or getting out. And although speeches sound good in a preach to the choir kind of way, they have proven ineffective against determined pedophiles with power and positions juxtaposed against weak, excuse-laden church leaders.

Most church pedophiles rack up numerous victims while using their positions as cover for their nefarious activities.  Just like Don Billups,  a deacon at Gospel Tabernacle COGIC  in Covington, VA.  After a jury found him guilty of molesting at least eight children, they recommended two life sentences, plus 75 years for his sex crimes. Some of the victims were under age 13, WSLS reported. Some of the cases dated back to 2002. Billups was arrested in May 2012. Story and video here.

Elder Gregory P. Moore  [see update/clarifications], the pastor had only been in place 2 years. He told reporters he put Billings out of the church when the allegations came to light. But how does a child molester remain in a leadership position for 10 years of more at a Church of God in Christ with so many victims and no one knows he is constantly molesting children? Bishop Blake’s strong words may be too little, too late for thousands of abused children at the hands of COGIC leaders. If outside legal and law enforcement intervention is what it will take to break the unshaken cycle, children in COGIC are in dire trouble. They church’s leadership doesn’t seem to posses the fortitude handle it internally. Bishop Blake and his administration are notorious for window dressing while they continually ignore the voice of real victims and their families.

Billups will be formally sentenced on February 19, 2013. Report COGIC Abuse will update this blog with his sentencing.

 

General Assembly Chairman warns against election tricks

November 4, 2012 Leave a comment

The COGIC Chairman of the General Assembly released a memorandum warning  “candidates for National Office and all individuals vying for positions in the national church”  (and their anonymous supporters) against releasing anonymous negative letters during the church’s convocation which begins Monday in St. Louis.

There is good reason for Elder James Hunt to release the admonition: its been a recurring character cesspool for the church. As Hunt’s memorandum noted, these letters are circulated to whip up wild speculation and fuel gossip in an attempt to smear whatever candidate is mentioned in the letter. To our knowledge, Hunt is the first to address it publicly. Which goes without saying that it is shameful it hasn’t been forcefully dealt with before by previous administrations.

COGIC’s bizarre culture of  secrecy and its anonymous rock throwers club has bred this type of scurrilous behavior. An underground cult of men who lead double lives as respected ministers, transform themselves into low class thugs during the elections. No one has traced any of it to a candidate which is reminiscent of mob behavior.

Hunt urged candidates and their anonymous surrogates to “take the high road” and consider that their actions reflect negatively on the church and even the Lord Jesus.

The question is will Hunt’s warning curtail any of the behavior.

Hunt became Chairman of the General Assembly when Bishop J.O. Patterson Jr. of Memphis died last summer.

Election Series Review: General Board Candidate Brandon Porter

November 2, 2012 Leave a comment

Bishop Brandon Porter is a 2012 candidate for the Church of God in Christ General Board.  We’d previously given campaign presentation honors to Virginia Bishop Ted Thomas, but Porter’s campaign materials, website and media  far eclipse all others in terms of professionalism.  The 53 year old Memphis native builds his campaign heavily on his COGIC roots. At one point in a promotional video, he seems to be campaigning for his father, rather than himself.

Appointed bishop after the death of his father, Porter’s platform is much more comprehensive than other contenders.  Perhaps that comes from his accumulated  years of “media” experience other bishops do not have. But despite the slick, well designed campaign, it still lacks congruence of definition and focus. An example of that is Porter’s rambling 21 minute campaign video.  He fails to get to the point quickly and instead takes the viewer on a journey through his church roots as if no one is aware of who he is.

The phrase “proven leader/leadership” must be a COGIC buzz phrase because most, if not all the candidates use it  to describe themselves. Porter is no different. To his credit, Porter’s brochure is much more succint. We suggest skipping everything and only read the brochure.

Posted prominently on his campaign site, Porter offers this  strange retort on homosexual marriage which seems to invalidate his prior stated convictions:

“I think it necessary to stick to our convictions when it comes to our faith and moral issues. However, when it comes to the political processes, we need to focus on issues that directly affect our nation – like the high price of gas, inadequate health care, growing unemployment, etc. Whereas the gospel, or preaching, initially affects a person at a time, legislation affects a people at a time. Remember that the gospel gives us a choice; legislation does not!”

Bishop Porter did not respond to our General Board Election questionnaire which would have given him a greater opportunity to address real issues facing the church he seeks to lead.

Current popular vote :  3.87%  (875 votes)

General Board poll closes tomorrow

November 1, 2012 Leave a comment

Over 22,000 votes have been cast in our nonscientific general board election poll. But that poll will close tomorrow.  It is enhanced with facebook and tweet links to ensure your candidate has the maximum vote power.