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.

A Secular Media Viewpoint on SBC Predator Database Issue

This article is from The Tennessean.


When changing times call for society to change, it is often the largest institutions that struggle the most.

This tendency is evident in the 16.2 million-member Southern Baptist Convention, which has done much soul-searching of late about its future. For years, the group’s politics have swung from moderate to conservative and back again, but more recently the signs of declining membership have stirred some of its leaders to speak more vociferously about how they can change to embrace diversity and improve its image with the general public.

More pressing among its challenges is how the SBC handles wrongdoing in its midst, and so far, the convention has a mixed record at best.

Last year, the ABC newsmagazine 20/20 reported on inaction by the church regarding a number of Baptist ministers found to be sexual predators. The show drew some parallels with how the Catholic Church had been slow to address sexual offenders in the priesthood.

A proposal to create a national database of Baptist ministers accused or convicted of sexual abuse was rejected last month by the SBC executive committee at the convention’s annual meeting. They instead urged that individual churches consult the federal government’s sexual offender database as needed.

It was reported by The Tennessean a couple of weeks later that the convention still lists in its online ministers directory individuals who have been convicted of or indicted on charges of sex crimes against minors, including three in Tennessee.

Convention leaders responded by saying that the list is simply that — the names of Southern Baptist ministers — and does not endorse any of them. They also explain that Southern Baptist churches are autonomous and do not answer to the convention. “It is under the churches, not over them,” in the words of Greg Wills, professor of church history at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville.

Yet, this is where the SBC’s argument gets shaky. As the American Baptist Press noted last year, Catholic leaders also said they lacked authority to order dioceses to clean up their ranks, until 2002, when after the priest scandal threatened to shatter the church structure; only then were new rules for accountability imposed.

In any case, authority is only one part of the equation; knowledge, and the responsibility to share that knowledge, is the other part.

The Southern Baptist Convention has some of its foremost ministers among its leadership. They possess information that individual churches and average churchgoers may not.

Even if they cannot compel action, they can share information with members that would promote safety and simultaneously send the message that sexual abuse cannot hide within the church — all without unfairly condemning individuals who have been accused, but not convicted.

The very fact that Baptist churches are autonomous signals that they need the information that the convention could provide.

The SBC leadership’s stance suggests an unwillingness to change to meet contemporary challenges — and perhaps tells us one reason why the denomination is struggling to maintain its membership. It is not only about lower birth rates and changing demographics — it is about trust.

Setting up its own database of sexual predators may not be the best way for the Southern Baptist Church to proceed, but at least, it should not list convicted individuals in its ministers directory, implying that they are suitable candidates for church work.

Former Youth Pastor Peter Kim Sentenced in Child Sex Abuse Case

The sad thing about this story is, though multiple former victims came forward, charges were filed for one victim only, and this 20-year predator got one year in prison, with a lifetime on probation. One year??? That’s insulting.

This story courtesy of Daily Camera.


By Vanessa Miller

Twenty years ago, the first of what would become several women and teenage girls said she was “groomed” and sexually assaulted by a youth pastor who served at various Colorado churches — including Longmont’s Central Presbyterian Church.

Today — after years of court hearings on sex-assault charges, multiple arrests for bond violations and a Boulder County trial that ended in a hung jury — Peter Kim was sentenced to one year in prison and a lifetime of probation.

He also must register as a sex offender when he leaves prison.

Kim, 40, pleaded guilty in March to having a sexual relationship for three years — between 2001 and 2004 — with a Longmont teenager he met at Central Presbyterian, 402 Kimbark St.

Although prosecutors asked Boulder County District Court Judge D.D. Mallard to impose a 20-year probation sentence for Kim after prison, Mallard said his extensive criminal history warrants a lifetime of probation.

“You need to be under monitoring for the rest of your life,” Mallard told Kim, “unless you can prove different.”

During the sentencing hearing, the victim from Central Presbyterian addressed the court about the impact his advances have had on her life.

“I was seduced by my youth pastor,” the woman said, choking back tears. “I have lost the ability to love and truly be loved.”

It is the Camera’s policy not to print the names of sex-assault victims.

During the hearing, several alleged victims — including women and their parents — addressed the court about Kim’s criminal behavior and how his actions changed their lives.

One woman, who said she was a victim of Kim’s “grooming” behavior and sexual advances while attending a church youth group in Denver years ago, told the court “I will no longer be a victim. I will be a survivor.”

In a letter read aloud by prosecutors, a third woman who said she was victimized by Kim while attending a youth group in 1988 urged the court to apply a sentence that will keep him from re-offending.

“If I and the other victims of Kim’s abuse can go on to lead productive lives, it is a testament to our strength and vitality, not to the triviality of Mr. Kim’s actions,” the letter read.

In addition to multiple charges of “sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust,” Kim repeatedly has been arrested for violating the conditions of his bond by continuing to have contact with children — including his own three kids, according to police and court records.

Here are some of the conditions of Kim’s probation, after his release from prison: He must comply with electronic monitoring, consume no alcohol or drugs, secure a job and stay away from the victims and children under age 18. He must enter a group that works with convicted sex offenders in denial of any wrongdoing, and he must comply with sexual-offender monitoring.

The Epidemic of Clergy Sex Abuse

Immediately after writing my previous post, I found this story. I have edited out part of the story to highlight the point I am attempting to make. This is a clear example of why I am saying this issue of clergy sex abuse is an epidemic.

My thanks to The Neosho Daily News for this story.


Original story by John Ford

Another local self-proclaimed pastor faces charges of child sexual abuse.

Randall “Danny” Russell, 49, of Neosho has been charged with second-degree statutory rape, second-degree statutory sodomy, and child abuse. Russell, the pastor of Acts II church… is accused of having sexual contact with a 16-year-old girl in 2003 and 2004…

…Several other area church leaders have been accused of child sexual abuse, including George Otis Johnston, self-proclaimed pastor of Grandview Valley Independent Baptist Church, who faces 17 felony counts in Newton County after two women came forward and said the pastor had sexual relations with them while both were under age.

Johnston’s nephew, Raymond Lambert, faces eight counts of child sexual abuse in McDonald County. Lambert is the self-proclaimed pastor of Grand Valley Independent Baptist Church, and Johnston’s church is a spin-off of that congregation.

“There is no connection with what we’ve seen with any other investigations we’ve done, no tie-ins with [Russell], other than a self-proclaimed pastor using Bible scriptures of the church to take advantage of girls,” Copeland said. “Our question is, ‘Where are all the parents of these young girls and what did they know about the church?’ It’s more or less a teen haven type of deal…

“This case is unbelievable. What a bad name this gives Christianity and the church.
You ought to be able to go to church and trust the pastor, to open up to them.”

Derek Gillett Released on Bond

My thanks to the Bradenton Herald for this update.


GEORGIA: Cherokee County –

A preacher from Palmetto has been released on bond from a jail in Georgia on charges of having sex with two juveniles.

Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt. Jay Baker said Rev. Derek Gillett, 38, was released Wednesday on $50,000 bond from the Cherokee County Adult Detention Center.

Gillett, the son of well-known Parrish pastor William “Brother Bud” Gillett, was arrested Friday on two counts of aggravated child molestation and two counts of sodomy. Gillett, who grew up in Palmetto, had recently founded a church in Georgia and before that was youth director at another Georgia church.

He is accused of molesting two juveniles for “some time,” according to sheriff’s reports. Baker has said the alleged victims were not members of Gillett’s congregation.

Father Michael Kelly Cleared of Sex Abuse Charges

This is such a timely story, in light of recent incidents being addressed on this blog and the post I just did prior to this one.  The writer’s commentary, especially his analogy of the three act play, are so relevant!  And an accusation proven false is always worth celebrating.

My thanks to Tracy Press for this story.


by Jon Mendelson

In October 2007, a press release shook me like few could have. Father Michael Kelly, a man I’ve known since I was 6 years old and count among my friends, had been accused of molesting a past parishioner.
It was staggering. This couldn’t be happening, I thought, to the priest who once preached from the pulpit at St. Bernard’s Catholic Church.

The Kelly I know is a true leader of his flock, a man who has said the most important thing about the priesthood is bringing some of God’s love and light into people’s lives. And he’s put the premise into practice.

When he moved away from Annunciation Church (the seat of the Diocese of San Joaquin in Stockton, where I also attended grade school and where the alleged abuse took place), he returned time and again to visit those he had befriended there. He was especailly beloved by the students. As a pastor, he saw Presentation Church in Stockton go up in flames by the hand of a deranged arsonist and helped it rise again. He maintained relationships with parishioners who anyone else would have long forgotten. And he remembers when your birthday is.

No, this couldn’t be happening.

When the news first broke, I wrote that my intuition and experience told me he was wrongly targeted, even though I didn’t know the facts of the case.

Turns out there weren’t any facts to find.

The wolves were called off last week when an investigation found no evidence supporting the claim of his accuser — a 33-year-old man who said he was abused in the 1980s. We don’t know why that man blamed Kelly or why he refused to talk to investigators, but hopefully he finds some measure of peace.

I was filled with relief for Kelly, and happy that the parishioners of St. Joachim Parish will no longer be deprived of their spiritual shepherd.

But I am also filled with sadness — sadness that the Catholic Church’s shame has affected so many, even those I call friends.

The church’s sex abuse saga is a tragedy in three acts, with no end in sight.

Act 1 opened with priests abusing young boys and girls. They found themselves betrayed by the very representatives of God, people who should have been safe harbors for their deepest fears, hopes and struggles. Many people suffered.

Act 2 began with the revelation of the scandal. But not only were priests outed as molesters, it’s also discovered that church superiors helped cover up the abuse. The church predictably lost the trust and faith of many followers. Some victims got their justice, and all painfully relived their darkest moments. Many people suffered.

Act 3 is the prolonged fallout. Accusations continue, some with merit, some without. While many guilty are still punished, some victims are deprived of their justice, and some priests have their good names irreparably damaged. And many people still suffer.

We’re all waiting for the curtain call, but with revelations and accusations still coming at a steady pace, this macabre theater shows no sign of closing.

But despite the sorrow, there are small victories mixed into the plot. In the case of Father Kelly, I’m just glad a good priest — and a good man — can move on with his life and calling.

Denomination Sued in Leonard Smith Sex Abuse Case

This story highlights what I see coming to Protestant denominations because we are refusing to admit there is a systemic problem with clergy sex abuse.  We’ve been content to bury our heads in the sand and think it’s a Catholic problem — it’s not.  I’ve been expecting to see this, and once the ball starts rolling, it is going to pick up steam and the church is going to wonder what hit it.  The church can also wave goodbye to any reputation it thinks it might still have.   Take a look at what is happening in the Catholic church.  Catholics are losing faith in their church — which so frequently includes losing faith in God — and abandoning the church in droves.  It WILL happen to Protestant churches too unless extreme measures are taken.

When reading the article, note what Alvin Clement says is the reason they are pursuing a civil lawsuit against the denomination.  It’s because when they tried to address the problem with denominational leaders, the leaders blew them off.  The Southern Baptist Convention had better take notice!  It is a problem in most, if not all denominations, but it’s already getting a lot of noise and press in the SBC and convention leaders are persistently making the worst possible choices.  If I had to guess, I’d say the SBC will be the Protestant denomination that will take the biggest and most public hit because they are the most publicly refusing to be responsible, while aggressively bad-mouthing the victims they’ve neglected and the advocates for those victims.  The Bible isn’t kidding when it says we will reap what we sow.

My thanks to The Asheville Citizen-Times for this story.  


by Leslie Boyd
published March 22, 2008 12:16 am

ASHEVILLE – For years, three members of the Clement family endured sexual abuse by their church’s music minister.

Leonard Smith was sentenced to more than 14 years in prison Nov. 29 for crimes that spanned 20 years.

Alvin Clement, now a state trooper in Guilford County, filed suit with four John Does and Sylvia Clement, guardian for a minor John Doe.

Family spokesman David Clement said the local church knew what was happening, and the state and national offices of Church of God in Christ knew about Smith’s crimes but allowed him to continue in his church and jurisdiction jobs.

“This is a long process,” David Clement said. “If we hadn’t contacted the state and national offices and been blown off by them, we wouldn’t be doing this.”

The lawsuit charges that the church, state office and denomination “knew, or should have known about the lengthy history of child abuse and sexual molestation engaged in by their employee, defendant Leonard Smith,” and that they “failed to take steps to stop Smith’s behavior and conduct.”

The lawsuit brings claims of civil battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligence, and asks a minimum of $10,000 for each plaintiff, legal fees and “such other relief as the court shall deem reasonable and appropriate.”

Due to Good Friday, church officials could not be reached for comment.