Pastor Stanley Daniel Pleads Guilty to Child Sex Abuse Charges

This story courtesy of The Randolph Leader.

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by Penny L. Pool
Thursday, May 8, 2008

The Rev. Stanley Daniel pleaded guilty to first-degree rape and first-degree sodomy and two counts of distribution of obscene material Thursday morning in front of Fifth Judicial Circuit Judge Tom Young, who sentenced him to 20 years each on the first two charges and 12 months each on the second two.

Defense lead attorney Thomas J. Spina of Birmingham and associate attorney John Tinney asked for a split sentence, which was not opposed by District Attorney E. Paul Jones. Under the terms of this agreement once Daniel serves five years he would be released on five years’ probation.

Jones told the judge he would expect the evidence to show at trial that Daniel was in charge of a program for troubled youths when he engaged in sexual intercourse, sodomy and oral sex with one of the youths in the program.

When Daniel, 60, then of 2509 County Road 87, was arrested last May he was pastor of El-Bethel Baptist Church on U.S. Highway 431 near the Rock Stand community and administrator of the church’s Pearls of Promise Girls Academy, since closed. It was founded in 2004 to care for abused, abandoned girls ages from 10 to 18 years of age.

The judge had ordered the felonies to run consecutively, which means he would serve one 20-year-sentence followed by the second 20-year sentence. The 12-month sentences, involving the sexually explicit text messages and photos of Daniel’s genitals sent to the teenager, would be served at the same time as the five-year sentence.

The judge said he does not normally allow defendants to turn themselves in later but since an agreement had been reached he set a July 1 date for Daniel to turn himself in to the sheriff.

The judge ordered Daniel not to have any contact with the victim and not to work full-time or part-time in the ministry.

Using strong wording, the judge told Daniel if he violated his probation in any way, no matter whose fault it is, he will revoke probation and send him to the penitentiary.

Jones said he was pleased the victim did not have to testify because in cases such as this telling in detail on the witness stand what occurred can be as traumatic as the actual events.

She would have had to listen as they showed photos of the defendant’s genitals that he had sent her as well as sit in the courtroom while each text message of a sexual nature was read, Jones said.

“Anybody that thinks he is not guilty I would say we don’t prosecute cases unless we believe what we are alleging actually took place,” Jones said.

While the upcoming court dockets will be cleared for additional cases by this and the plea by Mayor Spec Bonner, he said, the dockets are in great shape anyway.

Tinney said, “Stanley regrets the position that he found himself in in this case. He entered a plea we thought was in the best interest of everyone concerned. It was not a plea that was lightly taken in any sense of the word. The charges were serious and after considering all the facts in the case we thought it was best to dispose of the case the way it was,” Tinney said.

Daniel has agreed not to hold ministerial positions and not to do anything in the ministry that would put him in the position of dealing with young people. However, he will be allowed to do prison ministry or revivals, Tinney said.

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Pastor Jonathon Christopher Powell Faces Additional Sex Abuse Charges

The story is courtesy of the Rockford Register Star.

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By Sadie Gurman

A Machesney Park pastor accused of having sex with a teenage girl faces new sexual-abuse charges after Winnebago County Sheriff’s detectives investigated similar claims from a second teenage girl.

Jonathon Christopher Powell, 40, a senior pastor at New Hope Baptist Church, was charged Wednesday with two counts of criminal sexual abuse for allegedly having “sexual conduct” with the second girl, Deputy Chief Dominic Iasparro said.

A criminal complaint filed in Winnebago County Court says the acts happened between Aug. 20, 2003 and Aug. 19, 2004. The first count alleges that Powell fondled the girl’s breast; the second count alleges that he placed his mouth on her breast.

Iasparro declined to comment on the details of the police investigation, but said it continues. Powell was charged last week with two counts of criminal sexual assault for allegedly having ongoing “inappropriate sexual relations” with a girl. The age of consent for sexual relations in Illinois is 17 and above.

He was in the Winnebago County Jail, where he is being held without bond.

Leaders and members of the church, where Powell had been a pastor since 2000, have declined to comment, and messages left on the church’s answering machine today were not returned.

A white wooden sign outside of the church noting its times of service had Powell’s name on it at the beginning of Tuesday, but by Tuesday night it had been removed.

Each count of criminal sexual assault is punishable with four to 15 years in prison; criminal sexual abuse is punishable with probation or one to three years in prison.

Brad R. Gale Sentenced to Additional 10 Yrs. in Child Sex Abuse Case

This story is courtesy of the Deseret News.

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By Geoff Liesik

He wasn’t in court for his sentencing hearing, but that didn’t prevent Brad R. Gale from being ordered to spend at least another 10 years in prison.

Gale, 50, was sentenced in absentia Thursday in 8th District Court on four felony charges related to five years of sexual abuse against a teenage boy. The former businessman who owned an office supply and religious bookstore is already serving a 15-year sentence at a federal prison in North Carolina for producing pornographic images of his victim.

“I am appalled at what I have done to my victim. … I chose pleasure over doing what was right,” Gale wrote in a letter read to the court by defense attorney Herb Gillespie. “I am grateful that my abusive actions to (my victim) have come to an end, and only regret that they ever started in the first place.”

Gale was arrested in July 2006 after a Utah County man contacted authorities and said Gale had offered to let him have sex with a teenage boy. Duchesne County investigators met with the man and recorded a telephone call between the informant and Gale. They then interviewed Gale, who admitted to the abuse and turned over Polaroid images he’d taken of his victim.

Gale was charged with 33 felony counts, but later pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated sex abuse of a child, and one count each of sodomy on a child and forcible sodomy. He also pleaded guilty in Utah County to forcible sexual abuse in a plea agreement with prosecutors there in a case stemming from his abuse of the same victim at a Provo home, and to a federal charge of producing child pornography.

Gillespie asked 8th District Court Judge John R. Anderson to weigh the “many, many good things about Brad Gale,” against his “totally inexcusable” actions when considering what sentence to impose. Gale had served in numerous civic and church positions in Roosevelt over the years. His arrest came as such a shock to the community, Gillespie said, that it was “like a punch in the stomach.”

The defense attorney asked Anderson to run a mandatory state prison sentence concurrently with Gale’s federal time, noting that an evaluation of Gale conducted prior to sentencing indicated he had a low to moderate likelihood of re-offending, is a good candidate for treatment, and has strong support from his family.

The mother of Gale’s victim told Anderson that her son supported a concurrent sentence for his abuser as well and has forgiven him. She said the 17-year-old boy, who is currently awaiting sentencing on criminal charges of his own, knows firsthand the environment Gale is in and does not believe more prison time is necessary.

But Duchesne County Attorney Stephen Foote pointed to the duration of the abuse and its likely influence on the victim’s own legal woes in asking Anderson to hand down a 10-to-life state sentence consecutive to Gale’s federal sentence.

Foote, who had dealings with the victim in juvenile court, said the teen’s probation officer could never understand why the boy seemed so happy when he was locked up in detention and so despondent when released.

Officials later learned that “when he was in detention he was safe,” Foote told Anderson. “When he got out he went right back into the situation that he was going through.”

Foote also told the judge that in the three hours it took investigators to drive from Utah County to Roosevelt after learning of the abuse in July 2006, Gale had molested the victim again in the back room of his bookstore.

“He’s damaged this young man to such an extent that he needs to be in prison,” the prosecutor said.

Anderson said he regretted that Gale was not in court for him to “look at and talk to.” In his letter, Gale said he waived his right to be present for sentencing to alleviate stress on his family and to save the taxpayers the cost of having to transport him from North Carolina to Utah and back.

Anderson called Gale’s conduct “very egregious,” adding that he’d “stolen a sense of trust” from his victim.

“No wonder (the victim) is having problems,” the judge said before following the prosecutor’s recommendation for a consecutive sentence. “I think it’s entirely justified.”

Anderson then ended the hearing by addressing Gale’s wife in the gallery.

“I’m sorry for your loss,” he said. “I appreciate you standing by this man, but it’s maybe time to move on.”

Jerry Franklin Johnson Oakdale CA Charged with Child Sex Abuse

My thanks to The Mercury News for this story.

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Stanislaus County sheriff’s officials have arrested a Riverbank man on suspicion of molesting children at an Oakdale church over the past 27 years.

Fifty-six-year-old Jerry Franklin Johnson is set to be arraigned on multiple felony sex charges Thursday afternoon. The charges are based on victims’ claims that the abuse started as early as 1981.

Authorities started looking into the case last month when a 7-year-old girl told Oakdale police Johnson molested her.

Sheriff’s deputies say all the victims were member of the Church of Christ, and some were Johnson’s relatives.

Since his arrest Tuesday, Johnson has been held in the Stanislaus County jail in lieu of $125,000 bail.

What Happens When Someone Is Sexually Assaulted, Part III

Before reading this post, be sure to read Part I and Part II.

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To make matters so much worse in this issue, the fall-out from revelations of sexual abuse has a ripple effect that tears through the lives of many people for every single person who is abused. We want to shy away from exposing abusers because it is immediately obvious that exposure will tear apart church members and the lives of abuser’s families. But acting on this reluctance only stores up and increases the devastation that will come. Evil will not be hidden in darkness forever. Eventually it will come to light. And the longer it is hidden, the greater will be the devastation when it is revealed.

I hear often from people who don’t want to believe their pastor is guilty. I hear from family members who either cannot accept their husband/brother/father’s guilt or who feel the incident is being blown out of proportion and their family member isn’t “like those predators.” This response is completely normal. And sometimes they are right – in their case the person wasn’t guilty. That doesn’t happen often – but a false accusation carries with it its own set of painful consequences.

There was a time when people would automatically assume a clergy member or widely-respected church member was not guilty – and they would be right. But because of the prevalence of legitimate abusers in the church now it is far more likely that 1) people will assume guilt first, and 2) they will be right. In a very real way, the pain of a false accusation, with all its consequences, is a direct effect of the fact the church failed to be responsible with abuse in the church 20-50 years ago. This is part of the delayed consequences that are magnified now because the church did nothing years ago.

While people involved in situations where there have been unjust accusations want to strike out at those who are speaking out for victims, they need to be looking where the blame really lies — the church’s failure to properly uphold righteousness a generation ago. As horrible as it is, this is a direct consequences of that failure. The lives being scarred by unjust accusations today are the delayed fruit of festering unrighteousness in the church of yesterday that has erupted in systemic infection in the church today.

A Few First Thoughts about FLDS Raid in Eldorado TX

I have to write about the situation with the FLDS group that was raided in Eldorado, TX. I’ve been watching the situation with great interest and trying to think how to even start writing about it. It is overwhelming; there is so much I want to say.

First, in a nutshell, even though it is fairly certain the phone calls that spurred the raid were hoaxes, the raid is fully justified, in my opinion. I think the only reason it hasn’t been done before is because the authorities don’t quite know how to tackle such a big problem and, even more importantly, it has been attempted before and failed. In fact, the previously unsuccessful raid may have back-fired into greater abuse of the women.

While many may cry “freedom of religion” there are several specific practices that make this an issue of child abuse and child sexual abuse, and therefore, directly under the authority of civil government.

One is the alleged practice of baby “breaking” which use abusive practices to train babies not to cry. I understand that the women who do this to their babies are acting in blind faith in what they have been taught. But that does not negate the damage this does to the child. There is a very similar mindset prevalent in fundamentalist Christian groups, and Gary Ezzo (author of Growing Kids God’s Way) who insists on spanking infants and abandoning them in their cribs to teach them not to cry.

But God made babies to cry when they have a need. Babies do not yet have a personal will to “sin” (children discover their personal will during what we like to call “the terrible two’s”) so why are they being punished for doing what God made them to do when they have a need? When a child learns from infancy that his needs will go unmet and his cries for help will not only be ignored but actively punished, that child will either accept it ; he will learn to stop asking — leading to an innate understanding that he has no voice and no value; or he will reject it — eventually rebelling when he realizes he is not bad or valueless. This is child abuse.

Second is the practice of marrying young girls to adult men. This would be just as wrong if they were marrying 13 year old girls to 25 year old men; it’s just more gross when these girls are being married off to polygamist older men. The authorities will be able to prove this practice scientifically through the use of the DNA testing that is being done.

Fourth is the practice that has been hinted at in a few news stories, that some of these men feel it is their responsibility to “prepare” their girls for marriage by having incestuous relationships with their own daughters beginning when they are very young, well before the onset of puberty; then later insisting on unmedicated abortions when this practice sometimes results in pregnancy. If the authorities can prove this so much the better. But this one will be difficult because some of these girls will have to tell someone it has happened – girls who are still young enough not to have been married off. I’ll bet this one will remain a “vicious rumor.”

Then there is the violation of truancy laws, child labor laws, and the abuse of the government welfare system which is being used by these multiple wives (who are single moms in the eyes of the state) to collect huge amounts of money that goes into the collective coffers of the sect. That’s without even touching the issue of polygamy, which is illegal for the rest of us in this country.

I know this is a horrible thing for the children, and even for many of the mothers who do love their children and are trying to do the best for them. But we need to keep our eyes on the ball. I think the fact that we’re seeing these mothers interviewed on the news, when they are never allowed that freedom usually, is a reflection of the fact that their husbands are deliberately using them to tug the heartstrings of average America. Have you noticed that they refuse to talk about whether polygamy is being practiced or whether young girls are being married to older men? I absolutely believe the women we see have been carefully selected by the sect leaders as being “trustworthy” to speak only exactly what they’ve been told to say. They are keeping the eyes of America focused on heartbroken moms torn from their babies.

As hard as that is, even though those mothers genuinely love their children, those mothers will keep their children in abuse because they have been so completely indoctrinated in it, they do not see it as abusive. Will the children be better off in state care? Well, it may seem harsh to say it, but most of those children WILL be better off in state care. Yes, it is likely some of those children will be worse off in state care. But at the end of the day, this situation that has occurred as a direct result of the law-breaking practices of their parents; it is specific consequences for actions. Adults have the choice how they choose to live; children do not. I would love to “rescue” those women, too, but they are now adults. They have to make their own choices.

That said, I would not be one to say these women have “made their own bed” and too bad for them. Many people may not realize that according to FLDS theology, if a woman leaves her husband and the sect, her husband may be expected to kill her. Blood atonement is no joke. It may be a very real hazard faced by any of these women who should dare to consider leaving.

It is a sad, sad situation and I hope good will come out of it. It’s going to be a long road.