As a former Catholic. Wait a minute. I am still a Catholic. I haven't been excommunicated, my name is still on the parish records in Nashville and no one has come to my door asking for my Catholic card, so, I guess I still am a Catholic, at least for counting membership purposes.

What I have here is a list of those models of decorum--Protestant pastors and all of their wacky and weird shenanigans. I have a list of the pranks of the most pious pastors and their victims. Seriously, I have a 200-page document with nothing but the failures of Christianity in the United States to change anything. Nada. Zip! The following is a short list of strange acts done by Protestant pastordom in the United States.

Animal Cruelty

Bastrop Pastor Found Guilty of Animal Cruelty—Bastrop, TX—A jury deliberated less than an hour to find Bastrop pastor Rick Bartlett guilty of animal cruelty in connection with the death of a cat he trapped in his neighborhood. County Court-at-Law Judge Terry Flenniken scheduled a June sentencing for the 56-year-old Bartlett, who was a chaplain for the Bastrop Police Department and pastor at Bastrop Christian Church at the time of his arrest.[1]

Auto Theft

NLR Preacher Indicted in Theft of Car, $11,000—Little RockNine months after accepting a job as pastor of a North Little Rock church, Robert David Keith disappeared with $11,000 in church money and a Mercedes-Benz he bought in the church’s name, a federal indictment alleges. The indictment, also accuses Keith, of absconding with $8,169 that he conned an insurance company into giving him for repairs on the car after he wrecked it.[2]

Impersonating an Officer of the Law

Youth Evangelist Matt Pitt Probation Revoked After New Police Impersonation Charge—Shelby County, Alabama—Shelby County authorities have issued a writ of arrest for youth evangelist Matt Pitt after a motion was granted to revoke his probation on a 2012 conviction of attempting to impersonate a peace officer. The Shelby County District Attorney's Office filed the motion on the same day Jefferson County sheriff's deputies obtained a felony warrant against the 30-year-old founder of The Basement Youth Service for impersonating an officer.[3]

Another Female Teenager Tryst

Ex-Youth Director Convicted of Sex with Teen—Stafford, VA—The former youth minister at a Stafford church was convicted of three charges in connection with sexual relations she had with a teenage boy. Jennifer Michelle Brennan, 37, of Spotsylvania was convicted of using a communications device to solicit sex from a minor, child neglect and unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor. Brennan entered Alford pleas to the charges, meaning that while she does not admit guilt, she acknowledges that the evidence is sufficient for convictions. In exchange for Brennan's pleas, prosecutor Eric Olsen dropped 17 related charges.[4]

Sex Toy Theft

Former Arizona Youth Pastor Sentenced in Sex-Toy Case—Yuma, Arizona—A Yuma church’s former youth pastor has escaped a possible prison term and instead been sentenced to probation for purchasing two sex toys for a young girl. The sentence imposed by a Yuma County Superior Court requires 44-year-old Robert Eric Warren to serve 36 months of supervised probation. He is also required to register as a sex offender and successfully complete sex offender treatment.[5]

HIV Assault

Minister with HIV Sentenced to 7 years for Sex Abuse—Shelbyville, KY—A Shelbyville, Kentucky minister has been sentenced for having sex with a 15-year-old boy and the minister is HIV positive. And Minister James Bell admits, he knew he was HIV positive at the time of act. "All child sex abuse, no matter who the perpetrator is, is horrific and damaging. But it's especially damaging if it's a religious figure," said David Clohessy with Survivors Network Abused by Priests (SNAP). Such is the case for a now 17-year-old boy sexually abused by James Bell on numerous occasions two years ago. Bell was minister of Refuge Temple Church of God in Christ in Shelbyville. The church's website says Bell is married with three children and "a man of great faith who preaches the whole counsel of God." But in 2008, Bell voluntarily came forward to police and admitted to having unprotected sex with a juvenile. Bell knew then that he is HIV positive. The judge sentenced Bell to 7 years behind bars and 20 years on the sex offender registry.[6]

Brandishing a Firearm

Gun Toting Minister Avoids Jail—Cincinnati—A Cincinnati preacher convicted of waving a gun and threatening another driver won't be going to jail. A Hamilton County judge sentenced Thomas Howell to two years' probation and 100 hours of community service on his conviction for aggravated menacing. Howell can't possess any weapons while on probation and must give up his concealed weapon permit.[7]

Child Support

Back Child Support Sends Minster to Jail—Greenville, S.C.—A Greenville church music minister has been sentenced to six months in prison for failing to pay more than $394,000 in back child support for his 13 children. WYFF-TV in Greenville says a judge ordered Lyman Rea on Thursday to pay $37,000 before he's released. He was arrested Wednesday while preparing for an evening service at Second Baptist Church in Greenville.[8]

Drunk Driving

Minister Held on $750,000 Bail, Accused in a Drunk-Driving Fatal Crash—Kentucky—The Kentucky Enquirer is reporting that a Pentecostal minister is being held on $750,000 bail after being accused in a drunk-driving crash that killed a Northern Kentucky prosecutor. Daniel Keith Gabbard faces 20 years to life in prison if he is found guilty of wanton murder in the June 8 death of Doug Wright. Wright had served as the commonwealth attorney for Harrison, Nicholas, Pendleton and Robertson counties for three years. He was married with two children. Gabbard, an independent truck driver and pastor of Uptown Church in Over-the-Rhine, was driving his semi-truck south on U.S. 27 near Butler when he crossed the center line and smashed head-on into prosecutor Doug Wright's 1990 Buick Riviera, according to state police.[9]

Fear of the Devil

Pastor that Used Fear of Devil to Have Sex with Women Sentenced—National City, CACarlos Romero, pleaded guilty to a felony charge of violating the liberty of a person through the use of fear, intimidation or deceit and was sentenced to five years probation and 200 hours of community service. Romero used fear of the devil to force women in his congregation to have sex with him. Romero was also prevented by the judge from working again as a religious leader.[10],[11]

Candy Stripper

Pastors in Strip Clubs

N.Y. Pastor Found in Ohio Strip Club—Riverside, OH—Police say a pastor who was reported missing from his home in western New York has been found at an Ohio strip club. A police officer patrolling the K.C. Lounge parking lot Friday morning in the Dayton suburb of Riverside spotted out-of-state license plates on Craig Rhodenizer's car. The FBI and New York authorities had been searching for Rhodenizer, who disappeared Wednesday after telling his wife he was getting his computer fixed at Best Buy. He is the pastor of a church in Lyndonville, N.Y.[12]

Video Rape?

Traveling Preacher Sentenced for 'Video Rape'Olive Branch, MS—The Olive Branch traveling preacher, Sammy Nuckolls, was handcuffed and taken directly to jail after being sentenced to 10 years for video voyeurism. In court Olive Branch Police investigator Jeff Abbott played a chilling tape during which Nuckolls can be seen time and time again, meticulously positioning a spy camera in bathrooms to videotape female guests as they undressed and showered. One of them says she was 17 years old at the time. Nuckoll's victims wept on the stand as they told the story of a spiritual friendship with a preacher they trusted, who wound up betraying them all. "Basically him setting up the video cameras before each instance," said Jeff Abbott, Olive Branch Police Department. Nuckolls was found guilty on 13 counts of the sexual violation for crimes dating back to 2006.[13]

What Were They Thinking

Church Votes to Keep Convicted Pastor—Fort Pierce, FL—Friendship Missionary Baptist church in Fort Pierce, Florida voted to retain its pastor, Kenneth Johnson, even though he was convicted in December 2002 of having sexual activity with a minor and sentenced about a year ago to 15 years in prison for having sex with a minor. He is free on a $100,000 appeal bond and continues to preach at church. Johnson and Friendship Missionary Baptist Church were named in a sex-abuse lawsuit.[14]

Grand Theft Dildo

Preacher Arrested for Breaking into Home, Stealing Sex Toy—Haywood County—Pastor Scott Murray working on behalf of the Pastoral Ministries and Outreach programs at New Covenant Church in Clyde for nearly a decade, is accused of grand theft dildo. Murray had turned himself in and resigned from his job. “This is just unreal.. I’m sorry for the pastor and his family,” says Linda Mason of Clyde. The church’s senior pastor, Nick Honerkamp, tells News 13 that he and his entire staff were shocked by the allegations. He says he is deeply grieving for the victim and praying for her, her family, and Scott Murray.[15]

Hiding a Corpse?

Self-Proclaimed Religious Leader to Enter Plea in Case Of Hiding a Corpse—A self-proclaimed religious leader who’s accused of helping a woman hide a corpse in her bathroom for two months is expected to enter pleas Tuesday. Prosecutors said Alan Bushey and one of his followers, Tammy Lewis, kept the dead body of Magdeline Middlesworth, 90, on Lewis’s toilet for two months, and Lewis’s children saw it rot there. Middlesworth was another member of what District Attorney Scott Southworth calls a cult. Bushey is charged with two counts of causing mental harm to a child, two counts of theft and hiding a corpse. A criminal complaint says Bushey told Lewis that God would bring Middlesworth back to life. Prosecutors believe they both wanted to go on collecting Middlesworth’s Social Security.[16]

Penile Photography

Preacher Texts Photo of His Penis to Teen Girl—Windsor, Pa—A fundamentalist minister is accused of kissing one teenage girl from his congregation and sending naked text message photos to another. Rev. Scott Allen Snyder of the New Beginnings Church is charged with two counts of corruption of minors by Pennsylvania State Police. Police allege that between April 1 and May 23, Snyder and a 14-year-old girl exchanged 1,272 text messages.[17]

F-Word Upsets Preacher

Use of the “F-Word” Offends Ex-Church Leader Child Abuser—Indianapolis—Dale K. Tucker, former music director at the Fort Wayne Street United Methodist Church, pleaded guilty in Allen Superior Court to sexual misconduct with a minor–admitting to giving a boy alcohol and performing sex acts on him. He also asked Allen Superior Court Judge John Surbeck not to send him to prison. “I’m not trying to put myself above anyone else, but I am a man of culture. I am not streetwise. The use of the ‘F’-word (by the other inmates) is eating into my soul.”[18] At least for the next ten years Tucker’s senses are bound to be offended after Judge John Surbeck sentenced Tucker to 12 years in prison but suspended two years and ordered them to be served on probation. In exchange for his guilty plea, seven additional charges including sexual misconduct with a minor and contributing to the delinquency of a minor were dismissed.[19]

CDs and DVDs for Sale

Saginaw Minister Gets Probation, Time on Tether for Making Bootleg CDs, DVDs—Saginaw, MI—A Saginaw minister is able to return to working with young at-risk men while serving a jail sentence on tether. Cirven D. Merrill will serve six months on tether as well as two years of probation after his guilty plea to four counts of making bootleg CDs and DVDs. Merrill pleaded guilty to the charges in July. County Circuit Judge Fred L. Borchard sentenced him Wednesday. A plea agreement dismissed felony firearm charges. Merrill also will pay $1,000 in fines and costs, $180 in state mandated fees and $60 to the Victim Rights Fund.[20]

Fake Death

Former Youth Pastor Faked his Own Death—Great Falls, MT—A former youth pastor accused of sexually assaulting a child in Texas was tracked down six months after he allegedly faked his own death. Kevin Othell Laferney is wanted in Upshur County, Texas, on four counts each of aggravated sexual assault of a child and bail jumping. According to the U.S. Marshals Service, he faked his death and disappeared before he was scheduled to appear in court.[21]

Corporal Punishment

Preacher Is Charged with Paddling Woman—Culpepper, VA—A woman who says she was spanked with a ping-pong paddle is the latest person to file charges against a Baptist preacher in Culpeper. Laura Beth Scott, 26, charged the Rev. Charles V. Shifflett with assault "with the intent to maim, disfigure, disable or kill." It is the fifth charge brought this year against the former pastor of Calvary Baptist Church. All are related to Shifflett's former position as headmaster of the Calvary Baptist Academy, which was part of the church's outreach program.[22]

Passport Fraud

Televangelist Sentenced for Passport Fraud—Houston—Edgar Lopez Bertrand, "a televangelist regarded as one of the most influential ministers in El Salvador, pleaded guilty to faking a passport for a girl he falsely claimed as his daughter." Bertrand, a televangelist from El Salvador, was sentenced to two years probation for passport fraud.[23]

Fake Insurance

Louisiana Evangelist Arrested—New Orleans—State Police arrested 36-year-old John Vaughn over the weekend. They say an investigation determined Vaughn illegally obtained a license to sell insurance in Louisiana. Vaughn allegedly used that license to sell a policy to a fake customer. They say he pocketed the commission.[24],.[25]

Stalking

Former Pastor Sentenced for Stalking, Sex Charges Dropped—Crown Point—A former East Chicago pastor was sentenced to a year of probation for stalking an underage girl. The Rev. Chester Mulligan pleaded guilty to felony stalking in return for Lake County prosecutors dropping two counts of felony sexual misconduct that were pending against him. Mulligan originally was accused of having sex multiple times with a then 14-year-old girl, court records state. The alleged incidents occurred from 1997 and continued to 2001, court documents stated. He ministered during that time at the Central Baptist Church in East Chicago.[26]

Identity Theft

Baptist Minister Sentenced for Identity TheftMt. Carmel, PAA Baptist minister in central Pennsylvania has been sentenced to one year in jail for stealing the identities of his church members. Raymond Clayton Sr. was also ordered to pay more than $28,000 in restitution at his sentencing. Clayton is the former pastor of Grace Fellowship Church near Mount Carmel.[27] 

Assassination

U.S. Preacher Says “Take Out” Chavez—Virginia—A Republican religious leader has stated on television that the assassination of Venezuela’s democratically elected president, Hugo Chavez, would be a good thing. Pat Robertson, a TV evangelist and close friend of George W. Bush, said killing Chavez would be cheaper than starting a war to remove him.[28]

Bank Robbery

Minister Robs Bank—Georgia—A South Georgia minister who robbed a bank remains in jail. Jim Creason told the officers who arrested him that he was financially desperate. The Sheriff's office says they have more property crimes occur when the economy is down, but a psychologist says that's not enough reason for someone to resort to crime.[29]

 



[1] Bastrop Pastor Found Guilty of Animal Cruelty, Ricardo Gandara, Austin American Statesman, May 17, 2013, http://www.mystatesman.com/news/news/local/bastrop-pastor-found-gui...

[2] NLR preacher indicted in theft of car, $11,000, Arkansasonline.com, October 8, 2005 http://www.arkansasonline.com/ShowStoryTemplate.asp/

[3] Youth evangelist Matt Pitt probation revoked after new police impersonation charge,AL.Com, Carol Robinson, August 19, 2013, http://blog.al.com/spotnews/2013/08/youth_evangelist_matt_pitt_pro....

[4] Ex-youth director convicted of sex with teen, Keith Epps, Fredericksburg. Com, September 16, 2010, http://fredericksburg.com/News/FLS/2010/092010/09162010/575799

[5] Former Ariz. youth pastor sentenced in sex-toy case, Associated Press, Aug 1, 2013, http://www.azcentral.com/news/arizona/free/20130801arizona-youth-pa...

[6] Minister with HIV sentenced to 7 years for sex abuse, Adrianna Hopkins, whas11.com http://www.whas11.com/news/crimetracker/HIV-positive-minister-sente...

[7] Ohio preacher, 71, convicted in road rage case, Motorist claims he waved gun at her, AP News, Aug 05, 2008, http://www.blnz.com/news/2008/08/05/Ohio_preacher_convicted_road_ra...

[8] SC Minister arrested for back child support, Associated Press, Aug 15, 2008, http://www.nbcaugusta.com/news/southcarolina/27012634.html

[9] Minister Arrested in Drunken Driving Auto Accident that Killed Prosecutor, June 14, 2009, Larry Jones,  http://www.kentuckyinjurylawyerblog.com/2009/06/minister_arrested_i...

[10] On the Record, Bonnie M. Dumanis, July/August 2005, http://sandiegohealth.org/crime/da/ontherecord_jul05.pdf

[11] Minister gets probation for sex ruse, Ray Huard, Union-Tribune , May 13, 2005

[12] Missing N.Y. Pastor Found At Ohio Strip Club, David Schoetz, March. 29, 2008, http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=4543722&page=1

[13] Traveling preacher sentenced for 'video rape', Anna Marie Hartman, September 14, 2012, WLOX.Com, http://www.wlox.com/story/19548878/traveling-preacher-sentenced-for...

[14] Church Votes to Keep Convicted Pastor, The Tribune, December 15, 2003, http://www.tcpalm.com/tcp/trib_local_news/article/0,1651,TCP_1107_2...

[15] Preacher Arrested for Breaking into Home, Stealing Sex Toy, ABC News, August 10, 2008, http://www.anorak.co.uk/anorak-in-new-york/187656.html

[16] Self-proclaimed religious leader to enter plea in case of hiding a ..., Wheeler News Service, via New Richmond News, Sep. 15, 2008—Summarized by Religion News Blog.

[17] Cops: Preacher Texts Photo of His Penis to Teen Girl—August 14, 2008, http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_product=YK&p_the...(Rev.%20Scott%20Allen%20Snyder)%20AND%20date(8/28/2008%20to%201/1/2009)&p_field_date-0=YMD_date&p_params_date-0=date:B,E&p_text_date-0=8/28/2008%20to%201/1/2009)&p_field_advanced-0=&p_text_advanced-0=("Rev.%20Scott%20Allen%20Snyder")&xcal_numdocs=20&p_perpage=10&p_sort=YMD_date:D&xcal_useweights=no

[18] Ex-church leader gets 10 years in teen abuse, Rebecca S. Green, The Journal Gazette, January 12, 2010,

[19] Ex-church leader gets 10 years in teen abuse, Rebecca S. Green, The Journal Gazette, January 12, 2010, http://www.journalgazette.net/article/20100112/LOCAL03/301129985

[20] Saginaw minister gets probation, time on tether for making bootleg CDs, DVDs, Stacey Henson, September 04, 2008, http://www.mlive.com/news/saginaw/index.ssf/2008/09/saginaw_ministe...

[21] Former youth pastor faked his own death, August 22, 2007, Associated Press, http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/latestnews/stories/0...

[22] Preacher Is Charged with Paddling Woman, Donnie Johnston, Fredericksburg.Com, February 18, 2006, http://fredericksburg.com/News/FLS/2006/022006/02182006/169128/prin...

[23] Minister Gets Term and Fine for Fraud / Salvadoran Who Sought Passport for Girl Gets Credit for Time Served, Put on Supervision, Dale Lezon, Houston Chronicle, August 26, 2005, http://www.chron.com/CDA/archives/archive.mpl?id=2005_3898259

[24] Louisiana Evangelist Arrested, Faces Fifteen Felony Charges in Multiple Parishes, Tyler Gamble, June 1, 2009, http://www.nbc33tv.com/news/louisiana-evangelist-arrested

[25] Louisiana Evangelist Arrested, Faces Fifteen Felony Charges in Multiple Parishes, Tyler Gamble, June 1, 2009, http://www.nbc33tv.com/news/louisiana-evangelist-arrested

[26] Former E.C. pastor sentenced for stalking, sex charges dropped, Marisa Kwiatkowski, NWI.Com, April 22, 2009, http://nwitimes.com/news/local/article_3389f55e-3f7d-579e-bed4-653d...

[27] Baptist Minister Sentenced for Identity Theft, Associated Press, August 14, 2008, http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5gE4k1CjlGTexfeg61sG54ya-0-WAD92I...

[28] U.S. preacher says “take out” Chavez – August 25, 2005, http://www.breakingnewsenglish.com/0508/050825-chavez.html

[29] Music minister charged with armed bank robbery, August 14, 2008, http://exchristian.net/2/2008/08/music-minister-charged-with-armed-...

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Comment by Donald R Barbera on November 28, 2013 at 12:34pm
I have my Clergy Criminals listed by type of crime a database. I can sort it about anyway I want. I just document them for those that don't believe a Protestant preacher could do such things. I just put SOME of stranger crimes out there. I actually started the list long ago because I got tired of hearing about Catholic priests and pedophiles. It certainly was not to defend Catholic priests, but to show that Protestant leaders are just as bad and even worse. My latest book, "The 80% Solution" addresses just how lousy Christians are at being Christians.
Comment by Loren Miller on November 28, 2013 at 11:13am

When YouTube member ConversationWithA started doing his monthly series, What religion has contributed to the world this month, I occasionally wondered if he would be able to come up with sufficient material to maintain the series.

Clearly, I shouldn't have worried.

Comment by Daniel W on November 28, 2013 at 11:01am

Don your scholarship boggles my mind!  

Inspired by you, I have a google news update come to my ipad.  I titled the category "Clergy gone bad".  With only a few search terms - minister+arrest, priest+arrest, pastor+arrest, minister+convicted, etc, it floods my RSS reader on a regular basis.  But I don't  have the patience to compile, and it demoralizes me while fascinating me.

Thank you for posting.  This has the same fascination as a car wreck, or reading grocery store tabloids while waiting in line to buy potato chips.  Hell, you could probably start publishing a tabloid!

Comment by Donald R Barbera on November 22, 2013 at 10:26pm
I have an extensive list a check to see if there is an A-Z
Comment by Luara on November 22, 2013 at 8:05pm

zoophilia?

xenophilia for x?

Comment by Loren Miller on November 22, 2013 at 8:01pm

Sadly, Luara, I CAN think of a "Z" crime ... though I don't think I'll mention it here, though I will say, it sorta goes along with a "B" crime.

Just a point on the curve...

Comment by Luara on November 22, 2013 at 7:08pm

You ought to have A-Z crimes. 

I wonder what Z would be. 

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