Pastor Craig Johnson Indicted for Failure to Report Child Sex Abuse

In an interesting side note to a child sex abuse case, pastor Craig Johnson from Taylor County, WV, has been indicted on charges of failure to report child sex abuse. Charges state that the alleged abuser told the pastor about his actions and the pastor did not report him to the authorities.

While there is no way to say whether charges in this case are accurate – they are merely allegations at this point – this case highlights a serious issue in the church. All church leaders are mandated reporters. There is no guarantee of privacy for someone who confesses abuse of a minor to a clergy member, contrary to common misconception. Nor is a pastor excepted from this obligation if he hears of alleged abuse from someone besides the perpetrator but truly believes the person to be innocent. ALL allegations of physical and sexual abuse of a minor are required by law to be reported to authorities — without exception. Allegations of abuse by neglect get a little more fuzzy, but it would be better for a pastor to err on the side of caution in favor of the child’s welfare.

The Word says the government authorities are ordained by God for the preservation of good and protection against evil. Even if we have differences of philosophy on many levels, we need to remember that God inspired these words in the Bible during a time when the government specifically referenced was at least as corrupt as ours today. We must not live in fear that the government will “destroy families” if we report alleged evil. God has ordained government for our good and we are commanded to submit to every ordinance of man.

What we are seeing happen in reality is that children in the church are among the least protected in our society because abusers have a safe haven under the church’s misunderstanding that “preservation of the family” is paramount over the safety of the individuals in it. The Bible is full of admonitions to stand against oppression and affliction. That is the primary expression of true religion.

But today’s church seems to live in fear of all governmental authority and the result is willful disobedience to God. The truth is that there are an abundance of believers who work in the social system, even at the highest levels. And there are an abundance of believers who are foster parents for children who are removed from homes during investigation. God can be trusted with our children’s safety when we obey Him. But we cannot be trusted with their safety when we disobey Him by failing to report abuse allegations.

Youth Worker David Frank Martin Arrested for Child Sex Abuse

Youth group counselor David Frank Martin was arrested again Wednesday night on additional child abuse charges. Martin was a part-time employee of Faith Fellowship Church in Melbourne, FL. According to the linked article, he was originally arrested two weeks ago on charges of lewd and lascivious molestation and sexual battery on a minor, but had bonded out.

However, additional allegations were made against him and he has been re-arrested and is being held on $350,000 bond.

Domestic Violence and Stockholm Syndrome

Dr. Joseph Carver, who has written some other great articles I have posted on my site, has another stellar addition called, Love and Stockholm Syndrome: The Mystery of Loving an Abuser. This article explores in detail some other reasons abuse victims do not leave, and will actually defend, their abusers. This one is a must-read!

Christian School Principal Mark Evan Brown Arrested For Child Rape

This story just goes from bad to worse.

On Wednesday, July 23, 2008, 37-year old Mark Evan Brown was arrested and charged with third-degree child rape for allegedly encouraging a 14-year-old female student to run away from home and providing her with a room at Highland Christian School in Arlington, Washington, where he is the principal. Police allege that Brown and the girl have exchanged over 700 text messages and phone calls. News stories offer varying information. Some say school officials “stand behind” Brown and he has been placed on administrative leave pending the investigation. Others say he has been fired.

However, that is just the tip of this particular iceburg. You see, Brown is no stranger to the school room or to allegations of sexual misconduct. In 2004, school officials at Concrete High School in Skagit County contacted Child Protective Services when allegations surfaced about Brown having sexual contact with several female students. Brown was released from his contract as wrestling coach at the high school and was promptly hired by Highland Christian School in 2005. Nothing has been mentioned about whether Highland obtained a background check on Brown prior to hiring him, but they do not required their staff to be certified.

And it gets even richer. Brown’s ex-wife divorced him in 2004 when she discovered inappropriate text messages between Brown and a cheerleader at Concrete High School during that dust-up. It seems she knew to be suspicious. She herself began dating Brown when she was 14 and he was 26, and married him when she was 20 against the wishes of her family. She claims their own relationship began the same way, became sexual when she was far from consentual age, but she nor her family reported it.

The primary issue I would like to point out in this story, however, is the actions of this Christian school. What did this man who has a history of alleged sexual misconduct with teenaged girls do when his actions were exposed at the public high school? He went straight for the Christian private school. Did they do a background check? Unfortunately many still do not – even the ones that say they do. And pedophiles know this!

This is why the church is one of the best and brightest targest of pedophiles — because it is just such an easy one. Looking godly is one of the simplest cons around. And with cute looks, lots of charm, and just the right words, someone who is an alleged sex offender such as Mark Evan Brown has it made.

Pastor George Lowe Pleads Guilty to Child Sex Abuse

By Christa Brown

SNAP members handed out flyers at a Virginia courthouse yesterday, urging a stiff sentence for admitted Baptist preacher-predator George Lowe.

Ben Marsh is the courageous man who brought Lowe to justice.

Lowe molested Ben two decades ago when Ben was a 15-year-old church boy who had gone to Lowe for counseling.

Several years later, when Ben reported the incidents to a church deacon, he was quoted scripture about Christians not taking other Christians to court.

Then, when he was about 20, Ben contacted the police. But no charges were filed.

Time went by, and Ben struggled with the psychological fall-out from what was done to him by that Baptist minister. It had a profound impact on his life, as clergy abuse does with most people.

Last year, Ben again contacted police. This time, they put a wire on him and Ben went to Lowe’s office to discuss the things that happened years ago.

Lowe’s recorded statements gave police the evidence they needed for indictments. (And Virginia has a better statute of limitations than many states.)

Lowe pleaded guilty to two counts of taking indecent liberties with a child. My guess is that he pleaded guilty in order to avoid prosecution on 7 more counts that were initially charged.

Lowe now faces a possible penalty of 10 years in prison. Sentencing is set for August 25.

The people of Virginia owe Ben Marsh a debt of gratitude. It wasn’t church leaders who worked to protect their kids. It wasn’t Baptist officials who worked to protect their kids. It was a brave and persistent clergy abuse survivor named Ben Marsh.

Kudos to Ben!

See Ben’s picture as a kid in the school band, and read Ben’s own survivor story here.

Write to the judge and urge the maximum sentence for child molester George Lowe: Judge Gordon Willis, Circuit Court, P.O. Box 69, Stafford, Virginia 22555.

Article used by permission from Christa Brown at Stop Baptist Predators.

Will Pastor Chester Mulligan Make it To Trial This Time?

Will he finally make it to trial this time, or will his attorney stall yet again?

When Pastor Chester Mulligan appeared in court for his arraignment in Lake County, Indiana, in January, 2004, Mulligan pled innocent to the charges against him and predicted the case would never go to court. Who knew “never” meant through the manipulation of legal maneuvering rather than because charges were dropped due to lack of evidence. Avoidance is not equivalent to innocence.

Mulligan, currently pastoring Grace Baptist Church in Miami, FL, has been charged with multiple counts of child sexual abuse. He is accused of two instances of sexual intercourse with a minor child. He has a court date scheduled for September and many are praying that this time he will appear.

If you have information relating to this case or Chester Mulligan, please call the Lake County Indiana Sheriff’s Department at (219) 755-3400, or the Miami Police Department Sexual Crimes Department at (305) 715-3300.

Pastor Manuel Guillermo Taboada Charged with Child Sex Abuse

Pastor Manuel Guillermo Taboada was arrested on Wednesday July 23, 2008, in Oahu, Hawaii, on charges he sexually molested a young member of his church. He is being investigated on similar charges in Oregon as well. The defendant and her family joined and lived at Taboada’s Kaneohe ministry called “Back to the Cross Evangelism” in Hawaii beginning in 1999. He has allegedly been abusing her since she was 12. She is now 21.