This Week in God

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WI Youth Pastor Pleads Guilty To Child Sex Charges

HuffmanA former Plover youth pastor has agreed to the terms of a plea deal in a child sexual assault case during a hearing Friday in Portage County.

Jordan Huffman, 52, pleaded guilty to two counts of repeated sexual assault of a child and was convicted as a result. Six other charges were dismissed as part of the plea deal.

Court documents state the alleged victim said the crimes began in 2017 when the victim was 12 years old. Authorities were told Huffman was working as a youth pastor at Woodlands Church in Plover when he was contacted to mentor the victim.


Catholic School Teacher Arrested On Child Sex Charges

Matthew brown charged with child sexAllen County court records show former Bishop Luers teacher Matthew Brown has been charged with four counts of child seduction.

Investigators say staff at the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend contacted police in August of 2018 to disclose that a former student reported “being in a sexual relationship with a teacher named Matt Brown while she attended Bishop Luers High School.”

Brown is charged with four felony counts of child seduction. According to the court documents, police say Brown was taken to the Fort Wayne Police Department on Wednesday where he “admitted to the allegations detailed by the victim.”


A 118-year-old Fitler Square church is falling apart as members and pastor battle in Superior Court

Fitler square churchA bitter, long-running legal battle between the pastor of a Philadelphia church and a group of parishioners has brought the century-old congregation near collapse, and endangered the historic church’s survival.

Pastor Bernard Reaves locked members out of New Central Baptist Church on Lombard near 22nd Street five years ago, they say, and allowed the handsome stone and brick building to fall into disrepair. 

“The ceiling and some of the walls have already collapsed,” Barry Canady, a former church trustee, told Billy Penn. “Once we get back in there, there’s major work for us to do.”

A group of members allege a litany of misdeeds by Reaves that in 2018 led them to vote to fire him. But he refused to leave — so they took him to court.

The lawsuit alleges that Instead of following longstanding bylaws, Reaves unilaterally appointed deacons and a trustee, spent church funds without authorization, and tried to block a trustee election. When a member survey came back with criticisms of the pastor, he dismissed it, per the suit, describing the findings as “out of line with the word of God.”


Tennessee Bishop Resigns Amid Abuse Coverup Claims

Bishop Richard Stika mishandled sex abuse claimsThe bishop of Knoxville, Tennessee, resigned under pressure Tuesday following allegations he mishandled sex abuse allegations and several of his priests complained about his leadership and behavior, sparking a Vatican investigation. Pope Francis accepted Bishop Richard Stika’s resignation, according to a one-line statement from the Vatican. At 65, Stika is still 10 years below the normal retirement age for bishops.

Stika’s departure, after 14 years as bishop of Knoxville, closes a turbulent chapter for the southern U.S. diocese that was marked by a remarkable revolt by some of its priests, who accused Stika of abusing his authority and protecting a seminarian accused of sexual misconduct. They appealed to the Vatican for “merciful relief” in 2021, citing their own mental health, sparking a Vatican investigation that led to Stika’s resignation.


Texas Pastor Arrested On Multiple Child Sex Charges

Pastor Ronnie Allen Killingsworth indicted on sex crimes against childrenThe longtime pastor of a Wichita Falls church has been indicted on six counts of sex crimes against children involving three different victims over eleven years.

According to court documents, Wichita Falls pastor Ronnie Allen Killingsworth, 78, was indicted by a Wichita County Grand Jury on six counts of indecency with a child by sexual contact. The indictment was filed on Tuesday, June 20, 2023.

Each of the six charges is a second-degree felony offense with a bond set at $25,000, for a total of $150,000. Court documents show Killingsworth appeared at the Clay County Sheriff’s Office at 9:02 a.m. on Friday, June 23, 2023, and posted cash bonds on all six of the charges.


Wisconsin Chaplain Arrested On Child Sex Charges

David DeBerge molested third grade relativeDavid DeBerge, 67, of Kenosha was charged today in Kenosha County Circuit Court with repeated sexual assault of a child and another sexual assault-related felony. The first count carries a maximum sentence of 60 years and the second, 40 years.

According to the criminal complaint, DeBerge is accused of molesting a relative from the time she was in third grade, in 2012 until the end of 8th grade. The allegations included numerous times when DeBerge allegedly forced the young girl to perform oral sex on him.

DeBerge spent 20 years in the Wisconsin Army National guard as a chaplain. He also preaches the gospel to offenders who are incarcerated. DeBerg is the chaplain for the local American Legion.


Illinois Youth Pastor Arrested On Child Porn Charges

Rev Michael C Willis had child pornA man accused of possessing and disseminating child pornography worked at a Geneva-area church from 2016 until March. Rejoice Lutheran Church hired the Rev. Michael C. Willis to lead its youth ministry in 2016, according to the church’s Facebook page.

Willis was ordained as a pastor in 2022, according to records on the website of the Metropolitan Chicago Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, to which Rejoice belongs.

On Wednesday, a synod official said Willis was put on leave in April when the synod learned of the investigation, and that Willis resigned from Rejoice in early June.

Once again most of these were culled from JoeMyGod’s web site.

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