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Enoch Perry seating on COGIC Judiciary Board illegal says report

March 28, 2014 Leave a comment

A December 2013 ruling found that Bishop Enoch Perry III, the ex-Chief Counsel of the Church of God in Christ, Inc was ineligible to be seated on the church’s highest judicial council.  The investigation found that the Board of Bishops violated Article VIII of the church’s constitution when it illegally advanced Perry’s name for election. According to church law, Perry was ineligible to sit on the Judiciary Board before and during the election. The investigation found that Perry didn’t even meet minimum requirements.

“This matter before the Court was referred by Chairman James W. Hunt. He asked the Court to “formally render a ruling concerning the legality of the election and whether or not the names that were received from the Board of Bishops should only have been Jurisdictional Bishops”. Following the November 11, 2013 election, other petitioners filed and raised concerns about various aspects of the electoral process. Among the issues raised were allegations of irregularities in the voting process, and postured that the election was invalid and should be set aside.”

The saga of Enoch Perry and COGIC justice is filled with shady dealings. For years, Perry had been at the center of a string of COGIC legal controversies specifically associated with high profile sexual abuses cases.

PerryPerry had been COGIC’s chief behind-the-scenes architect of its sexual abuse “policy”. He piloted church leadership though numerous legal waters with ubiquitous ease, donning different masks depending on which court room he happened to find himself in. In November 2009,  when Bishop Charles Blake dropped a bombshell announcement that his denomination spent on a yearly average $800,000 to settle sexual abuse claims against the church,  he actually thanked Perry for his cacophony of supporting distortions.

Report COGIC Abuse obtained a copy of Perry’s 2008 Texas court deposition where he testified under oath that COGIC has virtually no control over its ministers or churches.  But that admission quickly caught the former judge in a series of exchanges where he was less than truthful. The deposition occurred in early September 2008, almost a year prior to the approaching sexual abuse trial of Rev. Sherman Allen, a former top COGIC church official.

In a searing letter widely believed to be authored by the denomination’s COO, James Smith, Perry was cited for multiple legal blunders and massive incompetency.

“Regrettably, I must bring to your attention the ongoing dilemma which the National Church has dealt with for many years and will continue to face as a result of the grossly ineffective, entirely inadequate and extremely costly representation being afforded to date by our General Counsel, Judge Enoch Perry, III. As I will address more fully below, in less than a one (1) year time span, the National Church has paid out over $1,000,000 solely due to the lack of sufficient legal acumen and fatal errors in judgment by our General Counsel.”, wrote Smith who called for Perry’s resignation.

Perry was replaced with current counsel Ulysses Henderson and subsequently promoted to auxillary bishop.

The issue of incompetency was raised yet again in the report noting that “The candidate himself has a responsibility to ensure that he or she is fully qualified to run for the office he or she is seeking. In this case, we have a former General Counsel to the Church of God in Christ, Inc., who ran for the highest court in the Church and either did not know the requirements of Article VIII as it relates to who is eligible or did not bother to verify whether he was eligible or not.”

The investigating committee ordered the General Assembly to replace Auxillary Bishop Perry with a qualified candidate.

Read the entire report in our Letters and Documents section.

 

 

 

 

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Your voice, your vote, your turn

March 14, 2014 Leave a comment

Pastor pleads guilty to sexual battery; church shut down permanently

March 3, 2014 4 comments

gavelWe’re a little late on this but needed to get it on the record.

Several months ago, COGIC Pastor Michael Bryant of Memphis was arrested for a lurid case of sexual molestation and battery of a young girl reportedly a family member. See our stories here and here.

WREG reported that Bryant pled guilty to the charges and his church was shut down permanently.

Michael Bryant, pastor at Hour of Restoration COGIC in Memphis, was in general sessions court Thursday for what was supposed to be a bond reduction hearing.
Instead, defense attorney Art Horne says he and the prosecution worked out a plea agreement in a “criminal information” that will be brought before a judge in criminal court.

“The case is settled,” said Bryant’s defense attorney, Art Horne. “He’s pleading guilty to sexual battery by an authority figure and the sentence will be six years at 30 percent. And we’ll ask for probation.”

“We’re hoping that some good can come out of this, particularly getting this behind the family and allowing people some time to heal and move on,” Horne continued.

Horne says Hour of Restoration COGIC, a small church with 27 members, will shut down for good as of December 31, 2013.
Bryant remains locked up at 201 Poplar on $1 million bond.
According to an affidavit of complaint, Bryant had been touching a 16-year-old inappropriately for the past two years. She told her mother, but instead of calling the police, her mother and Bryant decided to pray together over the matter in hopes of driving the thoughts out of his head. If convicted as charged, Bryant could have faced between six and 15 years in prison.
Horne says Bryant pleading guilty may be what is best for everybody involved.

“We’re hoping that some good can come out of this, particularly getting this behind the family and allowing people some time to heal and move on,” Horne said.

COGIC did not publish the outcome of its internal investigation allegedly conducted by Bishop Brandon Porter.