A 10 year reign of sexual terror is over for seven girls in Covington, Virginia. A Covington man will spend the rest of his life in prison after being convicted of molesting seven girls. Don Billups was convicted of 16 sex crimes and sentenced to two life sentences plus seventy five years.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Ed Stein said there were seven victims between the ages of 10 and 16. The oldest allegations date back to 2002, the most recent between 2010 and 2012. According to Stein, the girls were friends of Billups’ daughters or were known to him through a church in Covington where he was a deacon.
Stein said Billups denied every allegation to the end. The jury, however, found him guilty on all 16 counts and recommended a sentence of two life terms plus 75 years.
The earliest allegation was reported to law enforcement in 2002. Stein said the case never went anywhere at the time, however. [source]
The church where Billups got his victims was Gospel Tabernacle, a church in the Greater West Virginia Jurisdiction where Henderson Wheeler is bishop. In 2002, when Billups was first reported to police, the church was pastored by Supt. Warner L. Hunter, until his death in 2009. Afterwards his son-in-law, Gregory Moore became pastor. See our reporting on Don Billups and the fallout here and here.
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.