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Texas federal judge finds NM COGIC Bishop Jones guilty in 2016 sexual abuse lawsuit

March 5, 2019 Leave a comment

According to the Daily Mail, a prominent news organization in the UK, in 2016 the Church of God in Christ organization and its Bishop of New Mexico was hit was a 12.2 million dollar lawsuit alleging sexual abuse of a minor. Now, that bishop has been found guilty in a Texas civil court and ordered to pay his victim $750,000.

LaKeith JamesA bishop at one of the largest African-American Christian churches in the United States has been accused of grooming and sexually assaulting a female member of the denomination for more than 20 years.
Kimberly Pollard, who is now 37, filed a $12.2-million lawsuit against the Church of God in Christ (COGIC) and Bishop James L’Keith Jones, accusing the church of allowing her to be sexually assaulted by the high-ranking bishop for 20 years, according to court papers obtained exclusively by DailyMail.com.
Pollard claims that Jones not only groomed her into what became a 20-year sexual relationship and extra-marital affair, but also tried to groom her six-year-old daughter, telling her she looked ‘sexy’ and that he would wait until she was 18 to date her.
The mother-of-one from Lubbock, Texas, says that the relationship between her and Jones turned sexual in or around 1995, when she was still a minor.

In 2019 Pollard won her lawsuit against Jones but the COGIC organization its board of bishops was dismissed from the suit. Jones was ordered by a federal judge to pay $750,000 but is still denying that he owes or committed any crime. He told a Albuquerque news station KRQE via email that he served a “one year suspension” imposed by the church. In typical fashion, COGIC, its presiding bishop and its PR representatives have all refused to respond to requests for clarification on Jones current position in the denomination. Watch the video of Jones telling a 6 year old girl she looked “mighty sexy” in a nightgown and a video clip he sent to Pollard using his fingers to simulate performing oral sex on her.

 

Kim PollardAn Albuquerque Bishop was ordered by a federal civil court judge to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to the woman who accused him of being a predator.
However, the Bishop, who’s still on the job, claims he doesn’t owe a dime.
Bishop James L’Keith Jones of the Church of God in Christ, or COGIC, in Albuquerque, says he’s done nothing criminal. But that doesn’t change the fact that a federal court has now ordered him to pay $750,000 after a civil lawsuit was filed.
Jones has been preaching in Albuquerque for years, leading the Albuquerque chapter of one of the largest nationwide churches. But on Special Assignment in 2016, KRQE News 13 reported on Texas woman Kimberly Pollard’s lawsuit against the Bishop that revealed another side of him.
Pollard claims Bishop Jones made the comment, “You lookin’ mighty sexy in your nightgown,” to her 6-year-old daughter in a video message.
That comment was just part of a series of video and text message exchanges between Pollard and Jones that the lawsuit centered around. Some images in the messages are too explicit to show on television.
Pollard claims Jones preyed on her when she was a teen 20 years ago, and says he sexually assaulted her in a hotel room when she was 16 years old.
Then as he worked his way up the church ranks, she claims he used his authority to keep preying on her, “using coercion, threats, and his position as a spiritual advisor.”
The Bishop denies any sexual assault occurred. Still, court documents show Pollard won a $750,000 judgment in the case.
Her attorneys say Jones hasn’t paid a dime and instead claims the case was thrown out.
Recently, legal assistants on the case made the trip from Texas to hold up a large sign for Sunday parishioners.
The sign read, “COGIC Bishop James L’Keith Jones has been found liable by a federal district court of having a sexual relationship with a child. And he is still in good standing with the Church of God in Christ.”
One of Pollard’s attorneys told KRQE News 13 via email, “It’s concerning that COGIC allows Jones to continue in such a high profile position.”
Jones declined an on-camera interview and called this a case of a “woman scorned.” Jones told News 13 via email that he served a year suspension with the church, and doesn’t owe Pollard anything because the judge didn’t sign the document ordering him to pay.
He also argued the judgment was by default since he missed a deadline to report to the court.
“So I {sic} am in err for failing to respond to the court and not any damages or harm done to Ms. Pollard,” Jones wrote in an email.
But KRQE News 13 called the Northern District of Texas courthouse where the judgment was filed and were told a judge doesn’t have to sign the document. The writ of execution is valid with a clerk’s signature, meaning Jones still owes $750,000 plus $20 per day in interest.
Both the Church of God in Christ and the Board of Bishops were dismissed from the lawsuit. News 13 called the church’s headquarters in Memphis to ask if Jones is still in good standing with the church. The church did not respond.

Special Report: Defamation suit against Board of Bishops Chairman filed in Georgia court

October 2, 2013 3 comments

shawvssheard-mccrayATLANTA – Seeking compensatory and punitive damages,  attorneys for Bishop Larry Shaw, Secretary of the Church of God in Christ Board of Bishops,  filed a lawsuit against Bishop John H. Sheard, the board’s Chairman in Georgia’s Fulton County Superior Court, Tuesday October 1st. The suit demands a jury trial.

Also named as a defendant in the suit is Elder William McCray III a controversial media personality and author of a blog known as “Obnoxious Blog”.

We reported to you earlier that the Atlanta law firm representing Shaw and Bishop Thomas Holsey sent a letter to Bishop Charles Blake and Sheard intimating an intent to file suit. Apparently, Sheard did not take it seriously and two days later, emailed the letter out to numerous other COGIC bishops. Interestingly enough, the lawsuit alleges he also knowingly spread a libelous and false letter which prompted the defamation suit.

New information released by the attorneys describe a $10,000 payoff dispute between McCray and Sheard after the latter refused to pay for the libelous letter in the wake of COGIC’s 2012 elections.  The suit alleges the two plotted to “destroy” Shaw in advance of the elections. According to the suit,   in a private meeting in Detroit mediated by Bishop Nathaniel Wells, Sheard ordered that Shaw “forget about” a document Sheard had illegally signed regarding the suspension of Bishop Holsey. In exchange for Shaw’s silence, Sheard said he would not release the letter. When Shaw refused to cooperate,  Sheard copied the  letter and distributed it at the church’s November meeting in St Louis. He later enlisted McCray to post it on his popular blog.

Sheard’s attorney told an Atlanta reporter Sheard ‘had nothing to do with the blogger posting that letter.” He said Shaw doesn’t want his reputation harmed and yet, he pointed out, Shaw and his attorney are the ones who called the media.

Read the suit under our letters and documents.

Church leadership conflicts are nothing new

Conflicts between church leaders are nothing new.  The bible records one of most well known between Paul and Peter, two of the heavyweight apostles of the early church.   It involved lying, hypocrisy,  false teaching, confrontation, tension and public rebuke.

“Yet because of false brothers secretly brought in—who slipped in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might bring us into slavery— to them we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you.  And from those who seemed to be influential (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)—those, I say, who seemed influential added nothing to me. On the contrary, when they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel to the circumcised.

But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned.

But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?” Gal 2 vss 4-8,11,14 ESV

conflictOn Sept 7, 1967, Bishop RE Ranger filed a lawsuit in the 9th District Court of Texas against Bishop JO Patterson Sr. et al alleging that his removal from office was illegal and void because it did not comply with the Constitution, By-Laws, Customs and Practices of the COGIC. Ranger contended Patterson perjured himself in a Birmingham court.  See Bishop Ranger’s searing response letter entitled “Always Liars”.

The point of the matter is when a wrong has been committed and it cannot be resolved through ecclesiastical channels, it is acceptable to seek legal redress. Thus, Bishop Shaw was well within his rights to file suit. Given the decades of stunning dysfunction within COGIC’s judicial processes, its no wonder the lawsuit had to be taken to civil court.

Fair adjudication or pattern of obstruction?

The greater concern of the church should be with Bishop Sheard’s  attempts to defame others, obstruct justice and selectively disregard church laws.

  • In August 2012, Bishop Juan Lawson, prelate of Texas Western Jurisdiction and  former Chairman of the Church of God in Christ Grievance Committee, announced via video that he had resigned as Chairman of  that committee due to repeated incidences of “obstruction, coverup and incompetence”  by Board of Bishops Chairman  John Sheard. [read more]
  • Later that month, noted scholar, ethicist and COGIC Ecumenical Officer Dr. Leonard Lovett fired off a letter telling Sheard,  “We have credible evidence that you are engaging in obstruction of justice with similar cases. Bishop Sheard, you are not beyond an investigation for obstruction of justice by the Judiciary.  We have almost concluded that your limited  response to this and other cases are purely political and that no impartial trial can be conducted as long as you are leading like a boss.  Unfortunately, it is this kind of behavior that results in cases being tried on the internet.” [read more]

RCA obtained a copy of an internal memo by Bishop Donald Murray dated August 20, 2013. Murray is Vice Chair of the Board of Bishops. The memo contained the findings of a “Special Grievance Committee” and noted passive-aggressive obstructionist efforts by five bishops on the committee after Shaw filed a complaint about Sheard.  Whether Sheard influenced the actions is unknown.  The bishops refused to even cooperate possibly to stymie the complaint process.

“As the Executive Team Member, holding the responsibility for overseeing the fair adjudication of this Complaint brought by Bishop Larry Shaw, I have reviewed the report tendered by Bishop L. Walter Plummer and I have noted that there are a couple of troubling issues embedded within the report. Thus, as the Chief Hearing Officer for this particular matter, I must address these issues here, as I might not have an opportunity to do so in the future, nor do I want to turn any of our sessions into a spectacle.

The Special Grievance Committee report tendered by Bishop T. Walter Plummer shows that Bishop John H. Sheard, Bishop Roy Dixon, and Bishop Adrian Williams, in response to the May 15, 2013 letter sent by Acting Grievance Committee Chairman, Bishop T. Walter Plummer pursuant to Rule of Trial Procedure 6(b), each properly filed a written response with the Special Grievance Committee addressing or denying all of the allegations of the Complaint. Clearly, these Bishops adhered to the Rules of Trial Procedure established by the Board of Bishops. Regrettably, the report also shows that the remaining five Respondents did not reply at all to the allegations of the Complaint even though a request was made by the Special Grievance Committee Chairman.

The report shows that on May 20, 2013 Bishop Benjamin P. Collins (GA) received the package requesting a response within 30 days via certified mail. The report shows that on May 18, 2013 Bishop Felton Smith (TN) received his package requesting a response within 30 days via certified mail. The report shows that Bishop John Wayne Leggett (GA) did not claim his certified mail package, but that the package was hand-delivered to him during the AIM Convention. To date, there has been no response. The report shows that Bishop Albert Galbraith’s (CA) certified mail package was neither signed for nor was it returned. The report shows that the certified mail package sent to Bishop Roger Jones (MI) went unclaimed, and that an attempt was made to hand-deliver the package to Bishop Jones during the AIM Convention, but he refused to accept it.

Not only did the five bishops refuse to participate in the process, they also refused to give account as to why. Read the entire letter under our letters and documents section.

Both the ABC and CBS affiliates in Atlanta carried the story. ABC erroneously used video of Sheard’s son Bishop J. Drew Sheard in the video story.

Holsey case could be the benchmark of COGIC political injustices

June 28, 2013 1 comment

cogicbishops-hosley

Some men in the Church of God in Christ seem to be intent on forcing the church back into a chapter of its history appropriately dubbed the  “dark period”  after the death of founder CH Mason.  Across the length and breadth of the church; reports of political wars, leadership abuses and struggles for power have eclipsed the church’s glorious days when its doctrine of sanctification and holiness made it unique.

Holsey vs Blake and Sheard

A growing number of frustrated and angry voices continue to mount against controversial Chairman of the Church of God in Christ Board of Bishops John Sheard of Michigan. We’ve reported  before on Sheard’s incompetence, unbridled disregard for COGIC’s rule of law and his inability to lead the denomination’s bishops with integrity. See reports here, here and here.

In what could prove to be the benchmark of COGIC political injustices, the case involving embattled Delaware Bishop Thomas Holsey has stirred up prominent voices in COGIC and the outcome may result in the toppling of Bishop Sheard from power.  The sheer punitive nature which has driven Sheard and Bishop Charles Blake to persecute Hosely has shocked some leaders into vocal –and public–  opposition.

Bishop Larry Shaw of Georgia has now released a detailed letter accusing Sheard –and by proxy Blake–  of the unjust persecution of Holsey. The Delaware bishop who was consecrated and installed by Blake has now become public enemy #1 with Blake and Sheard moving swiftly to strip him of his authority and place among fellow bishops.

According to the letter, Shaw contends: “It is painfully clear that the Chairman of the Board of Bishops has placed himself in direct conflict with the rule of law, order and process as he continues to drag this Board into unnecessary infighting, insignificant scrimmages, political squabbling and a constant power grab by the overly ambitious. He has unilaterally issued verdicts and decisions which continue to bring National embarrassment to this honorable body…furthermore; to many of us it seems that he has allowed himself to be sidetracked by persons who do not wish to protect the future of this great Board of Bishops. ”

The letter details plans to demote Holsey despite the fact he had already been tried by a jury of his peers, sentenced and satisfactorily completed all the requirements of his sentencing.  (The sentence was declared in November 2010 and completed two years later to the date). In secular court,  trying an individual for the same “crime” is called double jeopardy and is illegal. But it seems that COGIC’s leaders suspend basic fairness and instead like Islamic terrorists rush to behead Bishop Holsey from the ecclesiastical heritage he served to obtain.

Shaw, the Board’s secretary, said that Holsey was cleared by a  Release Order dated April 2013,  rendered by the National Judiciary Board and given to John Sheard. This Judicial order ruled in Bishop Holsey’s favor and allowed him to continue to serve his Jurisdiction as Jurisdictional Prelate without restrictions. This Executive Order was read aloud by Judge Enoch Perry III to the specially called meeting of the Executive Board of the BOB.

But later, under a cloak of secrecy and in violation of COGIC’s constitution, Sheard ordered Holsey retried and demoted.  We’ve posted Bishop Larry Shaw’s  entire letter under Letters and Documents.

Shaw himself was accused by the family of a boy who was molested by a NC music minister of  publicly demeaning them after they sought  justice via the legal system. [report]

“Always Liars”: a letter from Bishop R.E. Ranger

February 12, 2013 Leave a comment

Part 1 of 4, Author’s CAPS

For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake. One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, the Cretians are always liars, evil beasts, slow bellies. Titus 1:10-12

Peace be unto you my Brethren partakers of the same faith, nurtured by the same love, standing in the consciousness of the same judgment, and for this cause animated by the same hope of eternal life.

The year 1965 has died since we were last together in our National Headquarters in Mason Temple, 938 Mason St. Memphis, Tenn. Another New Year has been born and is, as of the present date April 4, 1966, now well on its way to its appointed terminus, once the circle of its existence has brought it, too like 1965, and all of its predecessors, back to the Garden of Eden, to the valley marked for its determined end, THE VALLEY OF DECISION.

Its seems that physically many of us, if not the most of us have been blessed to enjoy the favors of our God over the period over which we have been permitted to come since we were last together in our NATIONAL CONVOCATION in November 1965. With a significantly few of us, the passage of this particular period of time has marked the  END OF OUR EARTHLY JOURNEY. With others our journey of life has come upon problems of sickness and accident, all in the consequential will of our God. It is he who knows the way that we all take and hath said When he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” Job 23:10 We must notice however that the “Pure Gold” does not emerge until after the trials by God. The dross must be burned away by TRIAL.

Our NATIONAL CONVOCATION, last November brought to us many experiences foreign to the history of the CHURCH OF GOD IN CHRIST. It is disagreeable to all of us to contemplate the fact that it did occur. We do not even now feel ourselves comfortable in its contemplation.

(1) We saw a display of hatred and evil purpose among the brethren.

(2) We looked upon the deliberate “Rape of the Rights” of the highest of all OFFICIALS of the CHURCH OF GOD IN CHRIST, Sunday Nov 14, 1965.

(3) We witnessed the attempted seizing of the entire machinery of financial power and government of the CHURCH OF GOD IN CHRIST by violence.

(4) We saw the beginning of a coalition of men in the Elders Council and the so-called “EXECUTIVE BOARD” designed to destroy the BOARD OF BISHOPS, THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY and the OFFICE OF THE SENIOR BISHOP.

(5) We have observed the development of a NATIONWIDE CAMPAIGN of lies and attempted intimidation, directed through the channels of the only NATIONAL MEDIA published within the CHURCH OF GOD IN CHRIST, THE EVANGELIST SPEAKS. (allegedly bought for that purpose) and by addressing slanted new releases to publications of national circulation, with the Racial Press group, all over the nation.

(6)We have seen the forcible entry of this so-called “EXECUTIVE BOARD” into the jurisdictions presided over by certain state BISHOPS, who did not show themselves sufficiently frightened by “Threats and attempted intimidations” that were addressed to them by this BOARD with but one purpose and that was to destroy.

(7) We have seen  the EDICT addressed to Dr. OT Jones, Jr as President of the Youth Department, that he cease all activity as President of this DEPARTMENT and appear before this group who seek to serve as accusers (with no accusation) Judges (plainly without judgement) Persecutors (without a valid charge) and intimidators without law at the APRIL CALL MEETING convening  April 12-14, 1966 in Memphis, Tenn. No Charge is made! Just answer before us but before we even see you or give one word of accusation, CEASE YOUR WORK! How many of this group can stand the examination of even the last twelve years of their lives? Answer, those live where they have lived and where they live now.

(8) We have received a SPECIOUS CALL for a SPECIAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY IN THE APRIL SPRING CALL of the CHURCH OF GOD IN CHRIST, in Memphis, Tenn. The purpose of this call is to “RAPE THE CONSTITUTION of the CHURCH OF GOD IN CHRIST” as the RIGHTS OF THE SENIOR BISHOP were stripped from him by “RAPE AND VIOLENCE” November 14, 1966. The CONSTITUTION calls for one General Assembly each year held at the time of the NATIONAL CONVOCATION. The BOARD OF BISHOPS alone is empowered to call an extra session. The BOARD of BISHOPS is now composed of all who are Bishops in good standing in the CHURCH. THE BOARD OF BISHOPS HAS NOT EVEN MET. THE CALL IS A FAKE!

 

Second obstruction charge leveled at Bishops Chair John Sheard

August 25, 2012 Leave a comment

Angry confrontations in the form of letters continue to surface regarding the alleged obstructionist tenure of  Bishop John Sheard, chair of the Board of Bishops. Although his bio lauds his “notoriety as a man of integrity and great leadership”, information now suggest that Sheard has used his office and position to stifle investigations and withhold damaging  information about some of his fellow bishops.

Bishop Juan Lawson of El Paso, Texas, who resigned as chair of the church’s Grievance Committee, specifically cited Sheard as key antagonist  in  systemic actions to prevent certain bishops from being investigated. See story and video here.

Now, a blistering rebuke letter out of the Washington DC jurisdiction alleges even more serious issues of wrongdoing by Sheard.

The letter was sent to Sheard after repeated efforts to get an investigation off the ground on Bishop Neavelle Coles failed to get traction. Noted scholar, ethicist and COGIC Ecumenical Officer Dr. Leonard Lovett sent the angry followup to a June 6 letter which received only a “limited response”.

“It appears that you have set up a series of delay tactics to get you past the elections without any distractions from persons such as myself and others[…]

You never adequately responded to our June 6, 2012 letter requesting that seven (7) concerns be addressed in order to proceed properly with the case.”

Dr. Lovett further said that the political climate fostered under Sheard prevented impartial trials from being conducted.

“We have credible evidence that you are engaging in obstruction of justice with similar cases. Bishop Sheard, you are not beyond an investigation for obstruction of justice by the Judiciary.  We have almost concluded that your limited  response to this and other cases are purely political and that no impartial trial can be conducted as long as you are leading like a boss.  Unfortunately, it is this kind of behavior that results in cases being tried on the internet.”

RCA has documented  the incredibly dysfunctional judicial system within COGIC which has severely hindered and blocked justice  for victims of clergy sexual abuse and those who endured leadership abuses of all types. The systemic culture of obstruction by individuals who were elected to “uphold the constitution of the Church of God in Christ” is one of the most egregious forms of abuse in existence.

Read or download the entire letter

Charges which warrant the trial of a bishop