***Updated, scroll to bottom
Report COGIC Abuse has learned that in early September 2011, Pastor Edwin House entered a non technical guilty plea to two counts of lewd molestation according to Logan County, OK District Court records. [source]. House’s charges were later amended to assault with intent to commit a felony per Oklahoma law statue 21.OS-681
“THE DEFENDANT PRESENTS HIS PLEA OF NOLO CONTENDERE TO THE CHARGES AS ALLEGED IN COUNTS 1 AND 2 OF THE AMENDED INFORMATION. THE DEFENDANT IS SWORN AND TESTIFIES. THE COURT FINDS THAT THE PLEA IS ENTERED KNOWINGLY, VOLUNTARILY, WITH FULL KNOWLEDGE OF RIGHTS, WITH ASSISTANCE OF COUNSEL, AND WITHOUT OBJECTION BY THE STATE. THE COURT ACCEPTS THE DEFENDANT’S PLEA AND SENTENCES HIM TO FIVE (5) YEARS IN THE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS WITH ALL FIVE (5) YEARS SUSPENDED CONDITIONED UPON HIS GOOD BEHAVIOR, PAYMENT OF COURT COSTS, AND REGISTRY AS A SEX OFFENDER. THE DEFENDANT IS TO BE UNDER THE SUPERVISION OF THE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS. THE DEFENDANT IS ADVISED OF HIS RIGHT TO APPEAL.”
Pastor Edwin House and his wife Louvenia were arrested by police in Crescent, Oklahoma and charged with five counts of lewd molestation allegedly perpetrated on two underage foster girls under their care. House is pastor of the Lighthouse COGIC north of Oklahoma City. The Oklahoman reported that the two were released on bail the following day.
Edwin House is accused of sexually abusing two 14-year-old girls in his home.
She told investigators Edwin House laid on top of her while she was sleeping and put his hand down her shirt. He also put his hands on her chest while she was in his car, she reported. The girl was removed from the home and taken into protective custody, court records show.
Lovenia House told investigators her husband touched the girl’s chest to teach her how boys might act if she continued to dress provocatively. A female foster child who lived with the couple from November 2003 to December 2004 told investigators Edwin House would lay on top of her after he tucked her into bed at night.
House is a member of the Oklahoma NW jurisdiction with Bishop Lee Vicker Broom. But upon his release, House made an unusually defiant statement to the media. Was it to the media or to his denominational leaders?
Edwin House said Wednesday that his church is aware of the allegations against him and his wife. He is pastor of the Light House Church of God in Christ in Crescent.
“Nothing is going to change at the church,” Edwin House said. He said congregation members and friends have rallied to support him.
With House guilty of the charges, per the COGIC “zero tolerance” policy, has there been disciplinary actions against him?
RCA contacted Louvenia House (charges against her were dropped) who contended the Light House COGIC in Crescent, OK, is still under Oklahoma NW Jurisdiction, but the jurisdiction’s redesigned website no longer lists the church name. Compare to a 2010 church roster.
A church official told us that per a letter released in December 2010, Light House COGIC is no longer under their (OK NW) jurisdiction. Additionally, the church had left the denomination altogether but the official was unaware whether the Houses and the church left due to disciplinary action or if it was a voluntary move. We were unable to confirm either position.
If the House’s indeed left COGIC after disciplinary action, why was he allowed to keep the church property? And if a pastor leaves the denomination due to disciplinary actions, does the church’s constitution allow for the continued use of the denominational name?
UPDATE JAN 11, 2012
Bishop Vickers Broom confirmed with a RCA staff member that Lighthouse COGIC of Cresent City “voluntarily” removed their membership from COGIC due to approaching disciplinary action. Broom also stated that COGIC will take no legal action (property) against the Houses. Broom did not say whether the Houses are free to continue using the “Church of God in Christ” name without any penalty.
This brings up several issues of selectively applying the church’s constitution. It seems that when the pastor has committed a crime, COGIC waives all rights to property. But when a pastor and congregation wants to leave the denomination for other reasons, they are taken to court and sued without mercy. RCA will explore this more in a separate post.