Thursday, January 31, 2013

Church attender arrested for harassing Pastor's daughter

LITCHFIELD--A Salisbury man accused of repeatedly harassing a daughter of a local pastor returned to Bantam Superior Court Wednesday after authorities said he refused to undergo a court-ordered psychiatric evaluation.

Joseph White, 39, of 253 Millerton Road, Salisbury, had his case continued to Feb. 27 after appearing in Bantam Superior Court Wednesday. White also appeared in court on Jan. 23 where he was ordered to receive a mental evaluation, but refused to cooperate. On Wednesday, White appeared in front of Judge Richard Marano, to discuss his failure to complete the evaluation and his bond amount.

Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Jonathan Knight said the state is concerned about the safety of the victim because White refuses evaluation and treatment.

White was arrested Jan. 5 and is charged with second-degree harassment and disorderly conduct and is being held in a New Haven Correctional Facility on a $7,500 bond, which was lowered from the original $60,000 set.

State Police Troop B responded to a call to investigate a stalking complaint, where the victim reported to police White was harassing her. According to the police report, White and the victim attended the same church for the past two years, where they had conversations about art, since they were both artists. The victim told police she never had any romantic interest in White and never dated him, according to police documents.

According to the affidavit, In July 2012, White got upset when he saw the victim talking to another male member of the church and in response, he allegedly asked the victim to marry him via e-mail. Later in October 2012, he wrote her a letter asking her to respond to his request to “hang out together.” The victim reported to police about both incidences, who ordered White to have no further contact with her, according to the police report.

In addition to the e-mail and letter, the victim informed police White sent her a dozen roses with a card the day he was arrested. The victim reported to police that she is aware White has a history of mental illness and he has not been taking his medications.

According to the police report, White has been diagnosed with schizophrenia.

On Jan. 29 White went to the Troop B barracks and stated that he was planning on protesting the church they both attended and victim’s father preaches at. According to the police report, state police told White to act peacefully and was not allowed to step foot on church property.

In court on Jan. 23, White who chose to represent himself, argued with Judge Wilson Trombley and said he does not know why he has been arrested.
“The church I have attended for 20 years have treated me abdominally,” White said repeatedly in court at the Jan. 23 hearing.

At Wednesday’s court appearance White expressed a similar attitude.

White said he has not made contact with the victim but instead was picketing the “church as a whole.” He said he told the police before his protest and an officer was there when he picketed to “show his displeasure” with the church as an institution.

White said the court is “running roughshod on me” and “caving into a very powerful man,” referring to the church’s pastor. During the appearance, White continued to ask if he was going to be able to question Knight, and while speaking, asked the judge several times “are you listening to me your honor?” The judge told White that the purpose of the appearance Wednesday was not to hear his case but to determine if his bond would be changed.

In the end, White’s bond remained at $7,500 and he was again unable to post it. He was taken back to the New Haven Correctional Center. As judicial marshals escorted White out of the courtroom he said toward the bench, “God sees what you are doing and he laughs. And I will sue you,” before the doors leading to lock up closed behind him.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Pastor Terry Greer arrested for murdering his wife and attempting to murder his daughter

GARDENDALE, Ala. — Church members and friends knew the Rev. Terry Greer as a joyful fellow with thick white hair and a quick smile.

"Hello, you beautiful people!" he often told his congregation at the start of a sermon.
For years, Greer, 53, seemed to be a model pastor. He landed a prime job with one of north Alabama's largest United Methodist congregations. Colleagues praised him as a preacher. Congregants called his marriage to wife Lisa loving.

But health problems forced him from the pulpit, and he was haunted by what his lawyer calls personal, psychological and professional struggles.

Now, friends and colleagues are struggling to understand how Greer ended up charged with killing his wife and wounding their daughter during a shooting in their church-owned home Jan. 10.

Greer arrived at Gardendale-Mt. Vernon United Methodist Church in suburban Birmingham last June. Within three months, he suffered heart problems, a traffic wreck and a bad fall, and friends say his public life was deteriorating. Since his health problems began, few people had seen Greer until his photo flashed on TV screens when he was charged with murder in the slaying of Lisa Greer, 52, and attempted murder in the shooting of Suzanna Greer, 18.

Police say that moments after shooting his wife and daughter, Greer tried to kill himself with a kitchen knife. He is now hospitalized and under police guard in Birmingham.

A lawyer representing Greer said health problems were key in the pastor's downward spiral.
"It was a perfect storm of personal and professional problems," said Henry Lagman, lawyer for Greer. Medications could have played a role in his mental collapse, Lagman said, and Greer had an appointment to see a psychiatrist the day after the killing.
"He's in a very dark place," Lagman said. "I think the real question is how he got there."
Police haven't disclosed a possible motive, but those who know Greer say it was clear something made him snap.

"We all know what happened was not done by the Terry Greer that we knew when he came," said Kenny Clemons, a friend and lifelong member of Gardendale-Mt. Vernon Methodist.

A native of Elizabethton, Tenn., Greer served in the Army for nine years, then became a pastor. He was assigned to a church in the north Alabama town of Scottsboro, where he met Lisa Eidson. A Scottsboro native who attended Birmingham-Southern College, she dated Greer for a year, and they married.

Lisa was an elementary school teacher, and her husband was on the staff of the deputy commanding general at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville before following a calling to preach. He earned theology degrees from Emory University in Atlanta and Drew University in Madison, N.J.

Greer was at First United Methodist Church in Decatur for eight years, then was assigned last June to Gardendale-Mt. Vernon, with an average attendance of about 670.

Clemons said everything seemed fine for a time after the Greers arrived in Gardendale with daughter Suzanna, a student at the University of South Alabama.

"He was a nice person – a very vibrant, easy-to-talk-to kind of individual," said Clemons, a former Gardendale mayor who got to know Greer through church and the Rotary Club. "He was recognized among other preachers as a real quality person and a real quality preacher."
In July, Greer wished his wife a happy 27th anniversary on Facebook.

"She is my love, my helpmate and my enabler," he wrote. "She is as pretty and sweet as ever!"
On Oct. 17, Greer was injured in an automobile accident after he blacked out while driving. Tests revealed cardiac problems, and he underwent a heart procedure the next day, according to Facebook posts and messages from Greer and his wife.

"Need some time to rest and heal," he wrote Oct. 19. "Sore from the wreck and the surgery. Thanks for the offers but, I really do not need visitors. I know you understand. Thank you ALL for the prayers. God bless."

Days after the wreck, Greer was again injured when he fell 15 feet off the deck of their home. Lisa Greer, in a Facebook message to a friend, said he broke a rib, had an irregular heartbeat and suffered bleeding on his brain.

"This is a bad dream!!! I want them to get to the bottom of this. (I'm) scared to bring him home again!" Lisa Greer wrote.

Greer was feeling better by Nov. 4, when he posted an update on Facebook: "I am slowing healing. The broken rib and cracked tail bone hurt the most. I am noticing daily improvement and will see three doctors this week for follow up. I am looking forward to getting back to work with God's beautiful people soon."

Greer was in and out of the hospital again in early December, Lisa Greer wrote, and then she came down with the flu, a sinus infection and walking pneumonia. Home from college, Suzanna took over grocery shopping and planning meals, her mother said on Facebook.

Amid the family's troubles, police arrested a contemporary worship leader at Gardendale-Mt. Vernon Methodist on charges of using a computer to solicit a minor for sex and traveling for the purpose of engaging in sexual relations. Gardendale police Chief Mike Walker said there was no apparent link between the shooting and the charges against Joel Kent Hodges, 31, who was hired during Greer's tenure.

The day after the arrest papers were filed in court, Lisa Greer wrote a friend: "I hope 2013 is better for the Greers!"

Less than two weeks later, police said, Greer opened fire on his wife and daughter in their home, a four-bedroom brick house owned by the church and valued at nearly $255,000.

Lisa Greer was fatally injured, but Suzanna managed to get the gun and run to a neighbor's home, police said.

Police said Greer then grabbed a kitchen knife and went into a bathroom, where an officer who busted into the home with a golf club found him. Greer had repeatedly stabbed himself in the chest and neck, police said, and he tried to grab the officer's gun before being subdued.

Greer was taken to a hospital. He developed pneumonia and was placed on a ventilator, but police say he's expected to recover and will be taken to jail when he's well enough.

The United Methodist Church has suspended Greer from ministerial duties and appointed an interim pastor at his old church.

Officials said the denomination is waiting to find out more about Greer's health before deciding what more to do about his status as a minister. He could surrender his credentials or have them removed after a formal denominational process, a church attorney said.

Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett said the congregation will receive special attention from denomination leaders for "the next year or so."

"All of us feel sad – very, very sad," Wallace-Padgett told church members during a sermon the Sunday after Lisa Greer's death.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Texas Pastor arrested for molesting 16 year old girl

UNIVERSITY PARK, Texas – A 26-year-old University Park United Methodist Church volunteer has been charged with sexually molesting a child.
James Ackley was arrested January 16 on charges of sexual molestation of a child and online solicitation of a minor. He was jailed on $96,000 bond.
The investigation began when the victim’s father grew suspicious of some late night text messages his daughter was receiving.
According to an arrest affidavit, the father was discussing the messages with his daughter when Ackley sent a nude photo of himself. The father then turned the phone over to a detective.
Soon, the affidavit says, investigators learned Ackley was in a “boyfriend/girlfriend” relationship with the underage girl. He’s accused of kissing and holding hands with the victim on a retreat last year. Later, the victim says they had sexual contact in his pickup near University Park United Methodist Church, where he volunteered with youth.
The church is cooperating with authorities.
Ackley has also worked at Bishop Lynch High School. He last substituted there in November and has helped set up lights in the theater department twice since the first of this year.
Both University Park Methodist Church and Bishop Lynch say they do thorough background checks of all volunteers. The church requires parents, volunteers and children to take online training in sexual abuse.
Ackley, who was released on bond, had no comment on the charges against him.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Ugandan Pastor arrested for torturing 5 year old girl

Tororo. Police in Tororo are holding a pastor for allegedly torturing a five-year-old girl.The 35-year-old pastor of a Pentecostal church in Kasoli, a suburb of Tororo Municipality, was arrested on Wednesday after he allegedly tied the minor to an electricity pole. The pastor reportedly accused the girl and her friends of stealing electricity bulbs that had been installed in the church. Cry The officer-in-charge of child and family protection unit at Tororo Central Poliwomce, Ms Jane Nakizza, told journalists that the pastor was arrested after the police were tipped by a passersby, who heard the girl yelling. Ms Nakizza said the suspect was held for child abuse and that police would investigate the reasons why he tied the infant to an electric pole. “Although the suspect has been remorseful, apologetic and regretted the act, saying it was bad for a man of God, he will face charges of child abuse,” said Ms Nakizza. The officer appealed to parents to be conscious of the people, they entrust to stay with their children. She said child abuse was on the increase in Tororo. Ms Nakizza said according to last year’s crime report, there were 113 cases of child abuse registered in Tororo.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Pastor from Ghana arrested for raping 7 year old girl

Juaso (Ash), Jan. 11, GNA - A 20-year old self Juaso (Ash), Jan. 11, GNA - A 20-year old self professed pastor, accused of defiling a seven-professed pastor, accused of defiling a seven-year old girl, has been remanded into prison year old girl, has been remanded into prison custody by the Juaso Circuit Court. custody by the Juaso Circuit Court. Kwasi Darkwah profusely denied the Kwasi Darkwah profusely denied the offence and was ordered to reappear on offence and was ordered to reappear on January 24. January 24. Police Chief Inspector Joseph Obeng told Police Chief Inspector Joseph Obeng told the court, presided over by Justice Alex the court, presided over by Justice Alex Obeng Asante, that the victim lives with the Obeng Asante, that the victim lives with the mother at Boamadumase whilst the accused, mother at Boamadumase whilst the accused, who claims to be a pastor, resides at who claims to be a pastor, resides at Patriensa. Patriensa. He said the pastor had gone to He said the pastor had gone to Boamadumase to spread the gospel and Boamadumase to spread the gospel and organize prayer sessions on December 4, last organize prayer sessions on December 4, last year. year. There, the mother of the little girl went to There, the mother of the little girl went to him for spiritual guidance and Darkwah was him for spiritual guidance and Darkwah was reported to have requested the woman to get reported to have requested the woman to get him some drinking water. him some drinking water. Prosecution said she hurried to the house Prosecution said she hurried to the house and asked the victim to carry a gallon of water and asked the victim to carry a gallon of water to the self-acclaimed pastor. to the self-acclaimed pastor. He said when the innocent girl arrived with He said when the innocent girl arrived with the water the accused seized her and sexually the water the accused seized her and sexually abused her. abused her. He warned her not to tell anybody about it He warned her not to tell anybody about it and also promised her a new dress. and also promised her a new dress. Few days after the accused had left the Few days after the accused had left the town, the mother noticed some changes in town, the mother noticed some changes in the victim’s gaiety and that made her curious. the victim’s gaiety and that made her curious. Upon questioning, she told her everything and Upon questioning, she told her everything and a formal report was made to the police. a formal report was made to the police. She was issued with a police medical form She was issued with a police medical form for examination and treatment by doctors and for examination and treatment by doctors and Darkwah was arrested.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Pennsylvania Pastor arrested for sexually assaulting 14 year old girl

MOUNT UNION - Jeffrey Lynn Winstead, pastor of Cedar Crest Independent Baptist Church near Mount Union, has been arrested and charged with aggravated indecent assault and other related charges related to alleged sexual contact with a teen girl, according to documents filed Monday at Magisterial District Judge Jack E. Miller's office.

Winstead, 56, is alleged to have inappropriately touched a now-16-year-old girl when she was 14, according to court documents.

Pennsylvania State Police Lewistown said Winstead was interviewed regarding the allegations, and admitted to touching the girl inappropriately twice at his home and once at the church. Winstead also admitted to having the girl touch him inappropriately once as well, according to court documents.

Winstead remains incarcerated in the Mifflin County Correctional Facility in lieu of $25,000 bond, according to the jail website.

Ghana Pastor arrested for raping woman, threatening her if she told the police, and attempting to kill her husband

The Founder and Head Pastor of Zoe Power Ministries, Pastor Philip Azumah, who allegedly attempted to poison the husband of a woman he is flirting with has been arrested by the Adenta Police. Pastor Azumah, 54, is alleged to have been in an amorous relationship with the married woman for the past six years. In an attempt to get rid of the woman’s husband, so that he will have unimpeded access to her, Pastor Azumah is said to have given his lover a bottle containing a substance to lace her husband’s food. According to the Adenta District Police Commander, DSP Stephen Ahiatafu, the complainant, whose name is being withheld for security reasons, accompanied by her husband, went to the police station on January 2, 2013 to report the incident. The woman was said to have reported the case to the police and presented the bottle containing the substance believed to be poison to them. She claimed that Pastor Azumah had given it to her to mix it with the food that her husband would eat to end his life. He said the complainant told the police that she had been a member of the church for the past seven years and that some time in 2006 Pastor Azumah had proposed love to her but she had declined, with the explanation that she was a married woman with children. But her explanation could not deter the pastor from continuing to put pressure on her. Some time in 2006, the pastor invited her to accompany him to a prayer camp at Darkuman, a request she obliged. According to the police, the woman said on the way to the prayer camp, she and the pastor decided to stop for some short rest at a guest house. DSP Ahiatafu said the woman claimed that after taking a drink, she became drowsy, and when she came back to her senses, she found herself naked lying in bed with the pastor. She claimed the pastor warned her not to divulge what had happened between them that day to anybody, otherwise she would die. Based on the threat, the police said, the woman failed to divulge what had happened but continued to sleep with the pastor for six years from 2006 to 2012. The district commander indicated that some time in September 2012, the pastor, after the usual sexual encounter with the woman, told her that he loved her so much that he wanted to do away with her husband, so that he and the woman could get married. The pastor, consequently, gave her a black substance in a bottle and asked her to mix it with food for her husband. DSP Ahiatafu said the woman claimed she never had the chance to carry out the act, as her husband suddenly started behaving abnormally. For fear that the pastor had used some charm on him, just before the New Year she decided to confess her relationship with the pastor to her husband and even showed the bottle the pastor had given to her to him. The husband then accompanied the woman to the police station where they lodged a complaint, leading to the pastor’s arrest. Upon interrogation, Pastor Azumah admitted sleeping with the married woman several times and pleaded for forgiveness. He is expected to be put before court soon after investigations.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Florida Pastor arrested for molesting 15 year old girl

A youth minister at Christ’s Church Mandarin was arrested Wednesday after police were alerted to sexual activity with a 15-year-old.

David Wayne Lawson, 38, of Ferrell Lane is charged with four counts of lewd and lascivious molestation of a juvenile.

Kelly Mathis, attorney at the 6045 Greenland Road church, said Lawson had worked as a youth minister there for many years but was fired as soon as news of his arrest came.

“He was a youth minister and had contact with a great number of people at Christ’s Church,” Mathis said. “... It is disturbing and we are investigating to find all the information we can.”

Lawson’s arrest report indicates police received information Dec. 19 that he had been involved with a 15-year-old between Sept. 27 and Dec. 16. Investigators found evidence that “corroborated this information” Wednesday and he was arrested.

The victim’s identity was redacted on the report, but Christ’s Church’s Facebook site’s message from the pastor indicates it was a girl. The pastor, Jason Cullum, also said Lawson had served the church in a “multitude of positions” for almost seven years and was moving from high school to stewardship ministry when he was arrested at the Mandarin church.

“During our close relationship with David, there has never been a hint or accusation of impropriety on any level and that is why these allegations come as a complete shock,” Cullum’s statement reads in part. “... The trust that children and parents place in our ministries is precious to us. Any violation of that trust wounds us personally and deeply. Please be in prayer for the victim and her family as we reach out to them as well.”

The pastor’s statement says there are strict policies and safeguards when a staff member is hired including a comprehensive background check.

Mathis said their investigation so far shows it involved only one victim with “nothing to suggest that it was other than a single isolated incident.”

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Nigerian Police ignore evidence, release Pastor who raped 12 year old girl

THE Lagos State Police Command has released a clergy of a ‘white garment’ church who allegedly raped a 12-year- old virgin at Epe, in the outskirts of Lagos.

The Guardian learnt that the said ‘pastor,’ one Alasco Sobowale of No. 10, Togodo Temu village in Epe, had sent Chinasa Ndadi on errand when he took advantage of the situation and raped her.
Men of Epe Police Station arrested the suspect at the weekend after the victim’s family reported the matter. The girl was taken to the hospital where the doctor confirmed that she was actually defiled.

To the amazement of the girls’ parents, the suspect was released on the order of the Divisional Police Officer in Epe yesterday, who allegedly disregarded the doctor’s report.

The family of the young girl has accused the police of being distrustful in the matter, considering the hasty manner the suspect was released.

The Guardian learnt that the Lagos State Police Command headquarters has frowned at the DPO’s conduct.

The suspect was said to have returned home to issue threat messages to the victim’s family.
The Lagos State Police spokesman, Ngozi Braide, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), who confirmed the incident noted that the suspect could be re-arrested.

“According to her, “The suspect compelled the girl to have a canal relationship with him through the virgina and the anus. The man denied initially but admitted to have committed the act after the doctor’s report came out. The suspect is a pastor in a white-garment church.”