Youth Minister Jennifer Brennan Charged with Child Sex Abuse

Youth minister Jennifer Michelle Brennan has been charged with 10 counts of taking indecent liberties with a child and 10 counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

It is my hope that if anyone affected by this case should find this blog, you can find some help and additional insight about dealing with the issue of clergy sex abuse allegations in the articles in the right sidebar of this site and under the Church Abuse tab. God has hope and help.

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Pastors Scott Webb and David Webb Sued in Sex Abuse Case

Sr. pastor Scott Webb, and his son, former youth minister David Webb, have been sued by the girl David Webb pleaded guilty of sexually abusing, and by her father. David Webb was sentenced in July to serve five years in prison.

According to the linked article, “the lawsuit alleges sexual assault, battery, harassment and seduction of an underage woman against David Webb, and accuses his employer, Word of Life Christian Center, of negligent hiring, training, supervision, retention and entrustment.”

This situation is another example of why churches must begin to self-regulate. This will become more and more common and end up putting individual churches and even entire denominations out of existence — the natural consequences of failure to stand for righteousness in the first place.

Former Music Minister David Pierce Convicted of Child Sex Abuse

Former music minister David Pierce was convicted of child sex abuse on Aug. 27. Pierce, minister of music for 29 years at First Baptist Church in Benton, AR, was originally charged with 54 counts. He accepted a plea agreement to four counts of sexual indecency with a child and will serve 10 years in prison. After his release he will have to register as a sex offender and will be listed as a habitual offender.

In the linked article I found it interesting that a statement made by Pierce includes his minimization of his crimes. It is very important for the body of Christ to understand that there are no “shades” to sexual sin or violation. What Pierce did was not somehow “not so bad” because he never “had sex” with any of the many boys he victimized over the years. Pierce is a convicted serial predator and pedophile. There is no way to soften that reality with delicate words.

If we start grading sin and crime in the church we have gone seriously amiss of the truth. The violation to the body of Christ, in having such an individual in a position of leadership, and to the specific victims who have been harmed beyond words, is astronomical. The minimization of these facts by Pierce and by the senior pastor of Benton’s First Baptist Church, Dr. Rick Grant (who called serial sexual predation and pedophelia against his church members a “circumstance”) is both telling and alarming. Pierce expressed greater concern for his family than for his victims and promptly started talking about the need of others to forgive him, in a prepared statement read by his attorney after his conviction. He also said it was never his intention to harm anyone. Really? Does that make it OK? Over at least a 20-year period he systematically sexually abused children but didn’t mean to hurt anyone? There are a small host of revelations in such a statement – and none of them are good.

An additional sad commentary is that Greg Kirksey, the former pastor of the church and previous president of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention wrote a letter asking the judge for leniency, specifically requesting that Pierce be given no jail time. Kirksey expressed concern for Pierce’s life in prison due to health issues. I find it difficult to grasp why a denominational leader would ask a judge to bypass the reasonable (even minimized under the plea agreement) legal and natural consequences of Pierce’s actions. The Word plainly teaches the law of sowing and reaping. Why is it appropriate to beg for crop failure, especially in light of Pierce’s continued minimization of his actions and his responsibility for them?

It is my hope that if anyone affected by this case should find this blog, you can find some help and additional insight about the issue in the articles in the right sidebar of this site and under the Church Abuse tab. God has hope and help, but it will never be found through denial and minimization.

Associate Pastor Ronald Jones Charged with Child Sexual Assault

Associate pastor Ronald Jones has been charged with criminal sexual conduct with a minor in the second degree relating to a 15-year old boy.

According to the linked article, Jones also has multiple convictions for breach of trust and writing fraudulent checks. (Why was he still an associate pastor?)

New Tribes Mission Sweeps Child Sex Abuse Under the Rug

Adults who were abused emotionally, spiritually, physically and sexually while children in a New Tribes Mission boarding school in Fanda, West Africa are speaking out and seeking justice. The boarding school was for the children of missionaries with New Tribes Mission. It has long been the established practice for missionary children to be sent to boarding schools while their parents served in foreign countries. This practice is not unique to New Tribes Mission, but has been an established practice of most mission boards that I have ever known.

What makes this particular school and situation stand out is that there is now extensively documented evidence that the mission board knew of the sexual abuse by 1987 but did nothing about it. As of the present time, more than 20 years later, they have still taken no legal action and persist in ignoring the pleas of former victims for justice. They are making token noises about the systemic abuse but have done nothing definitive.

What will it take for New Tribes Mission to step up to God’s standards of righteousness? This is inexcusable. Any “work for the Lord” is tainted and polluted when the same people who claim to be winning the lost for Christ are simultaneously flushing other lives down the drain in some of the most destructive ways possible. A “little” poison in the brownies is enough to kill all who eat them. This is not just repugnant. It is a spiritual outrage that should appall anyone with a conscience. Yet, these leaders do not seem to see the situation with any sort of godly perspective. That fact should give anyone serious pause. The documented facts are enough to reveal there is no acceptable excuse.

Former Youth Pastor Brian Neiswender Sentenced

Former youth pastor Brian Neiswender was sentenced today to eight to 16 months in jail, followed by 3 years of probation on three counts of corruption of minors and two counts of indecent assault. He had pleaded “no contest” to the charges last month.

Anger and Christian Virtue

The linked article is a very good analysis of how Christian leaders have somehow distorted their understanding of perceptions of evil and their responses to it, particular as it pertains to child sex abuse by clergy. This article was written from the perspective of the Catholic church, but it can be transposed directly to apply to the Protestant church.

Anger and Christian Virtue