Youth Pastor Richard J. Wagner Sentenced for Child Sex Abuse

Former youth pastor Richard J. Wagner, of Kenai, AK, was sentenced today to 13 years in prison, with 8 years suspended, plus 3 months hard jail time, 7 years probation on each count, sex offender treatment, and permanent banning from work around children. According to the linked article, Wagner had earlier pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree sexual abuse of a minor and one count of possession of child porn, in exchange for dismissal of four counts of sexual abuse of a minor, two counts of indecent exposure and 10 counts of child porn possession.

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Pastor Darrell Dunn Charged with Child Sex Abuse

Pastor Darrell Dunn of Crosby, TX, has been arrested and charged with multiple counts related to child sex abuse allegations. He is charged with molesting two teenaged male students and sending sexually explicit photos and text messages to them. Police suspect there may be additional victims from the Living Praise Church and Academy and ask for anyone with information to contact them.

Denomination Sued in Sex Abuse Case

The Church of God denomination is being named as a defendant in four lawsuits related to sex abuse charges. Former pastor Sandy Martin Cook was sentenced in February on multiple counts of third-degree sexual assault and sexual abuse by a parent, guardian or a custodian. He was sentenced to 20 years to 60 years in prison.

Three of the plaintiffs in the case and one additional alleged victim have now filed suits against Cook and the Church of God. According to the linked article, “the suits maintain that the Church of God knew of Cook’s ‘propensity of sexual misconduct on minor children’ in the 1990s, yet did nothing to stop it. The suits accuse the church of conspiring to hide Cook’s activities and of ‘using threats, intimidation, religious doctrine and coercion to ignore and prevent the abuse from being reported.”’

This case is significant because this will be the wave of the future if denominations do not immediately take warning. Church autonomy will not be an adequate legal dodge, especially when collusion, corporate denominational intimidation, foreknowledge, and deliberate neglegence can be both proven and documented.