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Open Forum to be held on COGIC sex crimes in Albany NY

October 13, 2012 4 comments

One would think with severity of the crimes, the implications and depth of the vast coverup of pedophiles in COGIC’s pulpits, the church’s presiding bishop Charles Blake or its general counsel Enoch Perry III would have by now convened a forum to deal with the massive fallout. Or conducted a public hearing or investigation. But they havent.

Instead, an open forum is being convened by someone who could  have shrugged his shoulders and walked away upon hearing revelations of widespread sexual abuse allegations in the Albany NY COGIC community. But he chose not to.

Christopher Davis, whose shocking and detailed letter documenting sexual abuse by COGIC pedophiles, announced the open forum for October 16th at the WAMC Performing Arts Studio 339 Central Ave, Albany, NY. More information below.

Breaking news: Bishop Charles Brown sexual abuse survivors speak out publicly

September 19, 2012 5 comments

New ground has been broken in favor of COGIC clergy sexual abuse survivors. The three victims of Bishop Charles Brown are telling their story publicly for the first time. Brown, who currently sits as pastor of the Williams Temple COGIC in Houston escaped prison earlier this year on a legal technicality.

Four days after that ruling,  the denomination’s General Board immediately reinstated Blake’s longtime friend to office. The previous suspension was lifted “without further comment”.  This left the impression that Brown was not guilty.  But Brown was never exonerated of his sexual crimes against the three young girls, thus he should have never been reinstated.   Report COGIC Abuse also published an exclusive report exposing the General Board who secretly paid off the victims.

But now, those women are speaking out in an exclusive interview with Dunamis Word blog which has helped to document the coverup and complicity by the Blake administration.

The time has come to hold Bishop Charles Blake, Sr. accountable for his role in these matters. According to one of the victims only one other person knew them as well as Brown knew them.

[…]one of the survivors states that until the interviews, which can be heard above, only ONE other person in the church has ever made contact with any of them. That was the Bishop Charles E. Blake, who spoke to one of the victims, as he knew them very well for a number of years. Unfortunately, that conversation was over some 15 years ago before Bishop Blake became Presiding Bishop.”

Report COGIC Abuse calls on faithful bishops in the church to immediately remove Bishop Charles Brown from office and launch a full and independent investigation as to Bishop Blake’s personal knowledge of these crimes. There is nothing more important than the truth.

Read the story and listen to the audio interviews here.

COGIC officials in Albany NY kept pedophile elders secret

September 19, 2012 Leave a comment

A SPECIAL RCA REPORT

Beginning in the late 70s, Church of God in Christ officials in New York’s capital city knew about multiple child sex abuses committed by five different  pedophiles. Instead of protecting children, church officials shielded the pedophiles and concealed their crimes. In one case, three generations of family members had been sexually molested. Two of the pedophile elders were in position at Wilborn Temple COGIC, the other three at St Johns COGIC.  That’s what a lengthy and detailed letter made public last month, alleges. The two stately looking, intown churches have for decades harbored pedophiles who preyed on a still undetermined number of children.

Written by Christopher Davis, a project management consultant and son of a local COGIC pastor in Albany, New York, the letter characterized what he had uncovered as a “coming storm” due to the layers of deceit and ignorance of the Albany COGIC community.

“You can choose to ignore this coming storm and leave yourself to its perils or you can arm yourself with knowledge, understanding and wisdom. You can choose to think for yourself or let someone else think for you, but know in your choice is your fate. Know and understand that in judgment you stand alone and on your works and your deeds. The single thing which separates man from all of God’s creations is the ability of cognitive thought; it is this in which we are made in His image. In relinquishing your right and responsibility to think for yourself you have forsaken your humanity and in turn you have forsaken God who created you in His image.”

Davis, who now lives in New Jersey, said that he came upon the decades long sexual abuse situations while he was in the process of helping a church deal with rebuilding after fire damage.

“In January 2012 Blessed Hope Worship Center, a COGIC affiliate under Pastor Ronald Howard, experienced a fire which damaged their church home on Central Avenue in Albany, New York. The damage to the church was extensive and Pastor Howard recognized his limitations in navigating the church through the many hurdles they would have to face in rebuilding. Through then Superintendent and Pastor James Davis, Pastor Howard contacted me, to ask for my assistance in their endeavors to rebuild.”

Conversations with Howard eventually revealed an incidence of pedophilia committed against a 10 year old boy  of which the perpetrator was still an active COGIC leader.

Davis told Report COGIC Abuse that despite damning evidence he presented (including the personal testimony of a victim), he encountered a shocking corporate attitude among COGIC leaders, including  Western New York First jurisdiction Bishop James R. Wright. Most of the leaders showed more concern for the doctrine and rules of the church, than the victim. The callous and insensitive responses sounded like the words issued by COGIC’s Presiding Bishop in October 2007, when clergy sexual abuse issues begin to gain attention.

“We now live in a litigious society. People file lawsuits for every conceivable grievance, whether real or imagined. To protect the name, image, and assets of the Church of God in Christ, we must take positive steps to seriously investigate very case of alleged sexual abuse by the clergy. We must stand behind and support those who are falsely accused of sexual improprieties and found innocent by the courts. We must also insure that the Church act quickly to take firm and positive action against those who violate the sanctity of their positions and are found guilty of sexual abuse and other sexual improprieties.”

Although, he was no longer connected to the COGIC community he grew up in, Davis said  the plight of the victims and the cloud of darkness compelled him to move forward to uncover the truth.

“In May 2012 I began a series of interviews with this victim. The victim has long been a member of various COGIC and non-COGIC churches as a musician. The victim provided a fairly detailed account of abuse he had endured beginning at the age of 6 and continuing through becoming an adult. According to victim’s testimony, abuse in COGIC began at St. John’s church at the age of 12. For this individual, the cycle of church abuse began with a minister who at first was musically connected to the victim but soon this connection led into sexual activity which continued over several years. In addition to the victim’s adolescent involvement with the aforementioned minister, testimony of involvement with an elder involved with numerous musical groups, an adult church musician, a minister and an adult church lay member were all detailed. Of the five noted pedophiles, three were members of St. John’s and two members of Wilborn’s Temple at the time of the abuse in the mid-1970’s. Abuse by the elder involved with numerous musical groups began at the age of 14 years old and involved not only the abuser and the abused but other adults and minors as well. The abuse victim states that he was introduced to orgies in the loft at Garland Brothers Funeral Home.”

Despite the evidence, after the meeting, Davis discovered Bishop Wright was unsympathetic to the victims.  He wrote, “Based on the previous day’s meeting with Superintendent Clark having disclosed additional issues with the offending pastor I was quite confident that Bishop Wright had to be aware of these issues as well. In the end, Bishop Wright stated that his concern was exposing the church (COGIC) to a lawsuit from the pedophile and that the jurisdiction didn’t have money to deal with the victims anyways. Completely disgusted with the response from Bishop Wright I alerted him of my resolve to contact the national church organization and that I would bring this issue to the forefront in the coming months.”

Depending on the outcome of the case, COGIC, Inc could be facing for the first time a federal level investigation into child sex crimes.  In October last year a  Kansas City Catholic bishop was arrested for failing to report suspected child sexual abuse.

At the table

COGIC officials identified in the letter as attending various meetings where information about the pedophile activities of COGIC elders in Western NY First Jurisdiction was discussed.

Supt McKinley Johnson
Bishop Jeffery Melvin
Elder Alexander
Bishop James Wright
Supt Cornelius Clark
Pastor Ronald Howard
Supt JL Griffin
Supt James Davis
Dr. Charles Guthrie
Bishop Leroy Anderson (deceased 2008)

House of Prayer or Den of Thieves?

Churches which have been identified as harboring pedophile COGIC ministers

St John’s COGIC
Wilborn Temple

Read or download the entire letter addressed to Capitol Region COGIC Churches

Visit Christopher Davis’ website  for additional information

Houston Pastor banned from COGIC but leaves with church property

August 16, 2012 11 comments

HOUSTON – Bishop Gary Emerson Scott was bad business from the beginning but Bishop Prince E. Bryant failed to vet him and refused to discipline him even when reports of sexual misconduct and marital infidelity arrived at his office. In the end, it was the Olive Branch COGIC that was left broken, shattered and reeling from the destruction a ravenous wolf unleashed on them by their own bishop.

A licensed evangelist and 50 year member of the COGIC told Report COGIC Abuse she was devastated about the condition of the church she loves so much.

Scott (on his third marriage) was appointed pastor of the church after the death of its former pastor, but members say Bishop Bryant intentionally overlooked the man’s terrible reputation in an effort to beef up the Texas SouthCentral jurisdiction in his run for the General Board. Scott allegedly pastored another nonCOGIC church called Trinity Fellowship but that church was dying a slow death.

Although married, Scott sexually harrassed at least 3 women in the congregation.  But one member’s letter and call to West Angeles and a threat to sue the national church, hastened an immediate and personal response from both Bishop Charles Blake and his chief church lawyer Enoch Perry III.  An investigation found Scott guilty.

Intervention?

In short, Blake and Perry investigated and removed Scott from the church with orders to Bryant not to allow him on COGIC property again for any reason. Read the Official Letter about the investigation and subsequent banning of Gary Scott from COGIC.

The two denominational leaders departed, but the nightmare for the remaining members of the Olive Branch Church was far from over. And to add to their injuries, Bishop Bryant refused to help them recover.

Despite the order banning Scott from the premises, he confiscated church property and formed another nonCOGIC church. The Olive Branch has sued to get church property returned but told Report COGIC Abuse, they have received no assistance from Bishop Prince Bryant. Members tell RCA that they do not believe Perry or Bishop Blake are aware that Bryant is not following the mandates of the letter. They plan to repetition get the national church’s assistance.

According to church trustees who spoke with us, Bishop Bryant forged a “deal” with Gary Scott for the Olive Branch Church to go into the building [he had been banned from] at 10:00 am on Sundays for church.  Scott and his new Impact Worship Center church would have church at 12:00 noon because he protested his name was on the leased building and he was not leaving. At that meeting Bryant described Scott as a “good man” despite the proven charges against him.

Members from the Olive Branch Church were ordered by Enoch Perry not to go anywhere near Scott. Using that distance, Scott took the contents and started another nondenominational church (Impact Christian Center) with COGIC contents. The trustees of the church met again with Bishop Bryant in hopes of  retrieving the contents of the church but were told according to them that “he [Bryant] had a name to keep and if we wanted the contents we would have to seek legal representation and the Jurisdiction would not help us financially in any form to retrieve anything”.

Church still suffering

Already suffering behind almost 2 years of Gary Scott’s wickedness, the church was forced to file with small claims court charging Gary Scott with theft.

Scott’s bio says he “…grew his membership from ninety to over a thousand members in less than five years and led him, in 2010, to become the Senior Pastor of the Impact Christian Center COGIC in Houston, Texas, thus making him One Pastor with Two Denominations” (his bold). Like many false prophets, deception is part of their ability to continue getting money and sexual favors from unsuspecting people.

The ministry pastor said, “All of our reports for 2011 were paid in full to the Jurisdiction and the National, however Bishop Bryant chose not to help us in any form and The Olive Branch has not heard from Bishop Bryant since February of 2012. We had to find a place to worship, and Greater Emmanuel COGIC  has allowed us to worship with them.”

As of today, the Olive Branch church is a church with no peace and no help.

Report: COGIC sex crimes increase at alarming rate

August 8, 2012 Leave a comment

Church leaders continue a pattern of denial, inaction and insensitivity to victims. With hundreds of millions of dollars being paid out annually to keep victims of COGIC clergy sexual abuse silent, Bishop Charles Blake, his board and his chief lawyer continue their business as usual policies.

If it is true that there are only 5 cases of clergy sexual sins that demand the attention of the church so far as litigation is concerned, we should be in a state of alarm and in a condition of panic. Why? As I have documented in Clergy Sexual Sins Pt. 2, before he became Bishop, the same “Judge” Enoch Perry previously was recorded to have stated, in public and official church records, in 2009, that the church has hardly ever processed any allegations of cases of sexual abuse in the last 100 years, stating the following to the General Assembly:
“He (Judge Enoch Perry) reported that in over 100 years, there have been 20-25 processed cases of sexual misconduct. He stated statistically the numbers are significantly small; however, there should not be one case among us. Judge perry reported there has not been one successful lawsuit against the church; cases have either been settled or dismissed. He further stated that Bishop Blake supports the church’s zero tolerance policy against sexual misconduct.”  [2009 COGIC General Assembly Minutes Pg. 2 Para. 2 parenthesis added]
Aside from the fact that a “settlement” IS a successful lawsuit in many cases, if his numbers are correct, then in 2012 we are currently facing and epidemic that must be addressed right away. The numbers presented by these officials and recited in official church records, indicate that the church is currently experiencing 20% to 25% of it’s 100 year total “processed” sexual misconduct cases, right now. In other words, unlike the average slightly less than 2.25 cases per decade over the last 100 years that the church has experienced, (according to their statements) we now face 5 cases in just one year stemming from year 2011. Although we know that it is far beyond these totals, by their own numbers, officials of our church should be alarmed.

Read the full shocking report, citing facts and the words of Charles Blake, Enoch Perry and official church documents which clearly show a campaign of deception is in progress.

But the people have not returned to him who struck them, nor have they sought the Lord Almighty. So the Lord will cut off from Israel both head and tail,    both palm branch and reed in a single day; the elders and dignitaries are the head, the prophets who teach lies are the tail. Those who guide this people mislead them, and those who are guided are led astray. Isaiah 9:13-16

Source: COGIC General Board paid off Bishop Charles Brown victims

August 6, 2012 11 comments

Report COGIC Abuse has learned this week from confidential sources that in June the Church of God in Christ General Board finalized and secretly paid off the three female sex crime victims of Bishop Charles Brown I of Louisiana.  According to the source, “The board voted on the matter [the pending lawsuit] with the vote resulting in 10 bishops voting for the payment and 2 voting against it.”

The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told RCA that the three women victims of Bishop Charles Brown I filed suit against COGIC and were paid “a large sum” of money. The lawsuit would have went to court, but COGIC officials quickly agreed to settle out of court. The payment included a nondisclosure clause which prohibits the victims from publicly revealing how much money was paid to them.

One of the women, Gwen Harrell was represented by the law firm of Roger Stetter of New Orleans. Contacted at his office, Stetter would only say he was “not at liberty” to discuss the case. The source alleged that Brown was aware of the payments.

Judge and Jury
The New Orleans Times Picayune broke the story of Brown’s arrest almost a year ago.  COGIC officials dodged the reporter’s attempts for clarification on whether they knew Brown had been arrested. Of course, this follows Bishop Charles Blake’s media blackout rule when sex crimes cases involve church officials. Brown was not suspended until after the story became public.

Brown, a long time friend of Presiding Bishop Blake, formerly served on the board of Blake’s  Save Africa’s Children organization. He was removed from that position [see new board here], but reinstated by COGIC to his religious positions.  Its not clear if Brown was removed because of his arrest or because of the disagreement he and Blake had over Brown taking over a Houston church.  Brown was arrested in June 2011 and charged with multiple counts of sexual abuse. He was held under a nearly 1 million dollar bond. Another charge of “forceable rape” was later added.

In response to the arrest, COGIC announced that Brown had been suspended pending outcome of the trial.

But then on a legal technicality, a Louisiana parish judge dismissed sex crimes cases against Brown saying charges were filed after the statue of limitations had expired.

Four days later, the COGIC issued a brief but tersely worded statement saying that it was immediately lifting Brown’s suspension without further comment.  That statement has since been removed from the website.

Unanswered questions remain

Several legitimate questions regarding Brown, money and Bishop Blake remain that continue to keep this story alive under a strong cloud of suspicion.

First, there are questions of culpability. Charles Blake and Charles Brown were admittedly friends during the period when the young girls were molested. Did either of the victims tell Blake or someone in his inner circle of the molestation, but no action was taken against Brown? Any church official who knows of a sexual crime being committed but takes no action —according to the law— bears the same guilt as the perpetrator. See this.

Secondly, if Charles Brown was innocent of the charges levied against him, why did the COGIC General Board pay off the three victims? Despite rumors, Brown wasn’t “exonerated”.  Had be been legally exonerated he would have been freed from guilt by order of the court. Instead he avoided trial because the statue of limitations had run out on the case. That is not a judgment of innocence, its a legal technicality that worked in his favor. Neither Brown’s guilt nor his innocence has been proved in a court of law. But since neither has been proven, on what grounds then would COGIC’s high office holders have for paying out large sums of money to 3 women connected to Brown? If the women’s accusations are false, why give them large sums of church money and then prevent them from telling how much they received? COGIC’s immediate capitulation to giving the women money could indicate that had the case gone to trial, the church would have lost.  The same scenario occurred under the GE Patterson administration with former Saints College official Supt Larry Weems of Mississippi.

Finally, who is bankrolling the not so secret sins and crimes of COGIC leaders? Where is the money funding the lawsuits coming from? Where is the accounting trail for the money? Presiding Bishop Blake stated in 2009 (on official record) that COGIC paid out an average of $800,000 per year for sexual abuse claims. But hardly an eye batted at the enormous figure. There’s been zero accountability as to who approves the money, where it comes from and why it is kept secret. Is the large sums of money being paid from the pockets of General Board members? Is it coming from church insurance money? Or is it coming from the tithes, offering and numerous money gathering portals recently set up by church leadership?

At the time of publication, neither COGIC headquarters officials nor press agent Robert Coleman, Jr.  had responded to requests for statements. A secretary with Bishop Charles Blake said he was currently on travel and unavailable.

COGIC leadership seems to have forgotten one truth that will eventually find them out. The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the good and the evil. What you have said and done behind closed doors and in secret will eventually come to the light. You may be living or you may be dead, but your sins will find you out.

Milton Wells, former COGIC official, sentenced to 7 years in prison

July 2, 2012 1 comment

The saga of Milton Wells, a COGIC official in Michigan accused of sexually assaulting two young girls in his congregation, appears to have ended. A  judge sentenced Wells to a minimum seven years in prison for his crimes.  The pastor and community activist had faced up to 15 years for his crimes. Read the history of this case here and here.

Kalamazoo’s MLive news outlet reported the trial and sentencing.

For many years, Milton Wells was known for his service to the Kalamazoo community, as a man of God.

But in truth, he brought about hell in the lives of two young girls.

That’s what the mother of one of the two girls told a judge Friday who sentenced Wells, 63, to a minimum of seven years in prison for second- and third-degree criminal sexual conduct.

“He would preach and teach holiness but try to create hell in the lives of these children,” the mother of one of the girls said Friday in Kalamazoo County Circuit Court.

“He would preach a sermon on Sunday morning but know that the day before he had taken my child to the movies and touched her.”

Wells headed the Open Door Ministries Church of God in Christ in Kalamazoo until 2010 when the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office began investigating him. He also previously held other leadership positions, including as coordinator for the county’s Michigan Prisoner Re-entry Initiative.

He pleaded guilty in May to one count each of second-degree criminal sexual conduct and third-degree criminal sexual conduct. Two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and seven counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct were dismissed.

At Friday’s hearing, Wells’ attorney, John Beason, asked Berrien County Circuit Judge Sterling R. Schrock to sentence Wells to no more than five years behind bars. Schrock was assigned to preside over the case after the four circuit judges in Kalamazoo County disqualified themselves from hearing the case because they formerly served on local boards with Wells and Wells is a personal friend of one of the judges.

Wells told Schrock on Friday that he was sorry for his actions against the two girls who were both younger than 13.

“This process has been one whole year,” Wells said. “And throughout that whole year not a day has gone by when I have not done some self-evaluation … I’m completely sorry for my actions that I’ve done, I’m sorry for my behavior that has cause some misunderstanding.

“I’m sorry about the pain that I’ve caused that was direct, but that was also indirect. I’m sorry for the disappointment I’ve been to my family, to my church.”

Throughout the trial, there has been no comment or acknowledgement from COGIC leadership, even though Wells was the brother of General Board member Bishop Nathaniel Wells. Read the full story here and view a photo gallery of the sentencing here.

Update: PA jury finds Laneer Fisher guilty

We first reported on Dr. Laneer Fisher in  October 2010 after news reports surfaced about his arrest. Although proclaiming his innocence,  Fisher,  pastor of the Miracle COGIC in  Aliquippa, PA failed to convince a jury that he was innocent of charges that he molested two teenage boys in his congregation. Fisher was arrested in August 2010 and charged with indecent exposure,  aggravated indecent assault,  sexual assault and corruption of minors [source].

After nearly seven hours of deliberations, a jury of six men and six women found the pastor of an Aliquippa church guilty of having unlawful contact with a teenage boy in his congregation.

Just after 11 p.m. Friday, the jury reached its verdict and announced they found the Rev. Laneer Fisher, 39, of 205 Centerdale Road, Moon Township, guilty of indecent assault, unlawful contact with a minor and corruption of a minor.

“The jury got it right,” Assistant District Attorney Justin Quinn said after the verdict. “The jury saw what we saw. We believed him (the victim) all along.”

sher took the stand in his own defense Friday morning and denied all of the allegations made by the victim, who testified Thursday that Fisher kissed him and rubbed his torso underneath his shirt. Fisher told a jury he never kissed the victim, asked him to sit on his lap or touched him inappropriately. The Times is not naming the victim because of the nature of the charges.

“I didn’t do anything wrong,” Fisher told the jury.

Fisher, who is the senior pastor of the Miracle Church of God in Christ, said he had a spiritual and father-figure type of relationship with several teenage boys in the church, including the victim.

Fisher, who became the senior pastor in 2004, said he did have many conversations with the victim, some of which were emotional, and whether the door to his office was closed or locked depended on the nature of the conversation.

Unfortunately for Fisher this trial isnt the end of  the consequences of his actions.

The victim’s attorney told the jury there was once the conviction of an innocent man, and they put him on the cross. He called it the “worst travesty of justice in history. Let’s not have a false conviction,” he said.

Quinn told the jury it wasn’t unreasonable to think it would take the victim a long time to tell someone considering that Fisher was the head of the church. “Is a 15-year-old going to come forward right away and accuse the pastor,” he asked.

Quinn said the victim came forward after his mother had resigned from the church.

“It only came to light when [the victim] was removed from his (the pastor’s) obsession, his possession,” Quinn said.

Quinn asked the jury to consider the pastor has motivation to lie because he has a whole congregation that looks up to him. He then asked the jury to consider what motivation the victim would have to lie. He said the victim was missing his first week of college and putting himself in front of the public to testify about an embarrassing situation.

Fisher has a second case pending against him set to go to trial in October. He was charged by Beaver Falls police with indecent assault, indecent exposure, corruption of minors and unlawful contact with a minor. In that case, police said Fisher is also accused of having illegal contact with a teenage boy nearly 10 years ago. [source]

COGIC leadership committed to “justice”?

April 25, 2012 1 comment

How hypocritical of the COGIC leadership to issue a pile-on, statement about “justice” in the Martin-Zimmerman saga, but continue to be the source of injustice to victims of clergy sexual abuse and sexual immorality within the denomination. According to a statement filed April 16th on the church’s website, it allegedly is “committed to the principle that justice must indeed be blind”.

“That belief was in the minds of the founding fathers as they labored to create an enduring nation. Adherence to that principle requires all those who are alleged to have broken the law be required to appear before the bar of justice to answer for their alleged actions.

The circumstances surrounding the death of Trayvon Martin raise reasonable questions about the legality of George Zimmerman’s actions. The appropriate venue to determine if his actions were lawful or unlawful is within a court of law where Zimmerman’s guilt or innocence will be determined by a jury of his peers according to the best traditions of our system of justice.”

But there has been little justice for the numerous victims of clergy sexual abuse in the denomination. The Church hasn’t pursued any justice for victims of gross sexual misconduct in its own ranks. Over and over it plays possum or acts as if the crimes committed its clergy (which continue to increase) are isolated problems which have nothing to do with it photoshopped policies. Women and children (both male and female) are abused, raped, molested, manipulated by bishops, superintendents, pastors and ministers.  For a denomination that has such a poor public record on justice, its shameful to issue such a message.

Its especially egregious considering that April is Sexual Assault/Molestation Awareness Month.  For obvious reasons, there was no statement issued by COGIC on  sexual assault awareness.

Steve Nelson, President of The Hope of Survivors states,“For a victim, the church is a haven of refuge—a harbor of safety—and when abuse is perpetrated from a spiritual leader, that abuse is directly connected to Christ. It appears as if God Himself approved the terrible pain and suffering they experienced by His representative. For this reason, God had to act [referring to the case of Eli & his sons] to preserve the sacredness of His holy character. For the sake of His people, justice demanded that judgment be served.”

He continues, “And today, thousands of years later, there are those who still fail in their responsibility to protect the vulnerable sheep from the devastating effects of abuse by a spiritual leader. When a transgression of this nature takes place, those who refuse to correct the evil done by a fallen minister are guilty of the same sinful neglect to God’s heritage as was Eli.”

The Elis in COGIC have allowed its “sons” to run unchecked and undisciplined long enough. And until victory is won, Report COGIC Abuse will continue to cry aloud and spare not, showing this people their sins and transgressions.

More: Reporting sexual misconduct in COGIC; resources for survivors of clergy sexual abuse click here and here

CA COGIC lawsuit alleges unusual sex demands by Barrett

March 15, 2012 Leave a comment

**an exclusive report**

Report COGIC Abuse has obtained a copy of the civil lawsuits filed by two California women against a  former Administrative Assistant to Bishop George McKinney, Southern California 2nd Jurisdiction.

The twin 28 page lawsuits names COGIC, Inc., Donald K. Barrett, his wife Ruth Barrett,  So California 2nd Jurisdiction, Greater Gospel Center COGIC, New Directions COGIC and DOES 1-50 as defendants.

Among the charges cited in the 1st suit are Assault and Battery, Intentional infliction of emotional distress, fraud and constructive fraud. The 2nd suit alleges assault, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, physical abuse of a dependent adult and financial abuse of a dependent adult.

The Barrett case represents yet another unseemly blight on the reputation of the nation’s largest black pentecostal denomination. In 2009, COGIC presiding Bishop Charles Blake admitted to the church’s General Assembly that on average COGIC annually pays out almost 1 million dollars to settle sex abuse cases [source].

At the crux of the problem are male leaders who use their authority, influence, talents and at times brute force to rape, molest, and sexually devastate men, women and children of both genders. The problem is fairly expansive involving every level of leadership the church has in place.  Additionally, COGIC clergy sexual abuse cases have been cited in 29 different states. See more here and here.

Denominational leaders have not been aggressive in dealing with sexual crimes committed by clergy and in many cases have turned a blind eye. Recent developments still show an unwillingness to tender justice to victims via a more comprehensive victims advocacy policy.  Instead, the church has an ineffective institutional policy advising churches on how to protect themselves.

What the suit alleges

The women who filed the lawsuits against Barrett allege that he coerced them into sexual relationships after one woman went to him in late 2009 for counseling and revealed to him that she had been sexually molested as a child.

Ingar Jones’ complaint says that Barrett ensured her that COGIC, Inc was “in the business of protecting victims of sexual abuse, (2) that they intended to protect her from abuse and (3) that they could be trusted with the details of her most intimate and private matters relating to past instances of abuse.”

She alleges that Barrett further ensured her that he had extensive experience in helping victims of childhood sexual abuse.

After she confided in him, she alleges Barrett informed her that she would have to “have sexual relations with another female parishioner, while he watched, in order to overcome the emotional issues caused by past incidences of sexual abuse.”

Some time later, another female member of the church was brought into the situation and at locations both on and off church property, Barrett engaged in sexual activity with the two women.

The two women allege that Barrett forced them to perform lesbian sex acts while he watched. Over the course of a year, the woman alleges that Barrett became increasingly controlling and abusive. According to the suit, this culminated in September 2010 when Barrett punched and choked her while calling her “dyke” and b[expletive]. This resulted in “not less than $25,000 in injuries to the woman’s neck and torso”.

The lawsuit further alleges that after the fact, Ruth Barrett attempted to get them to sign a statement of release from liability signifying that she was aware of the crimes her husband had committed and was complicit in her attempt to cover it up.

According to additional court documents, the second woman, Barbara Harris (identified by California law as a “dependent adult”) was also a sexual abuse victim as a child, a victim of rape and at some point attempted suicide. Harris first met Barrett at his church in Harvey, IL where he served as the pastor.

Harris’ suit further alleges that through blackmail and intimidation, Barrett forced her to make him her representative payee for her Social Security Disability Income. According to her complaint, Barrett refused to give her money until she gave in to his sexual demands which included going to “sex clubs” with him, and arranging “sex parties” for him. When she refused to participate one time, Harris alleges Barrett struck her in the face with his fist causing a bloody nose.  He further threatened to call child protective services and have her children removed and have her Section 8 housing revoked. Barrett told her that if she ever came forward  “nobody would believe her and he would take all necessary steps to publicly discredit her.”

Washing hands of negligence?

COGIC has in several cases allowed sexual abusers to “walk away” from the denomination and continue on with “ministry” under another name.   Barrett, if proven guilty, will be another example of this. Barrett was allowed to continue pastoring and using COGIC’s name and image without the denomination ever disclosing what they knew about him. This is the “negligence” that both lawsuits allege against COGIC, Inc and Southern California 2nd.

Barrett represented himself as an authority and an expert on sexual abuse recovery but like most abusers used that as an avenue of legitimacy to ensnare his victims.

The Barrett case contains all the classic signs of clergy sexual abuse:  intimidation, threats, force, deception and charisma.

If you or someone you know has been victimized by a member of COGIC’s clergy, dont remain silent. Silence allows abusers to continue their pattern of deception with more victims. Often, they will not stop until exposed.