Saturday, August 21, 2010

O Come All Ye Faithful And Keep Your Hands Where I Can See Them

Freethought Today
This post is based on Bill Dunn's "Black Collar Crime Blotter" in the print edition of Freethought Today dated August 2010. To subscribe, please visit the Freedom From Religion Foundation. They do great work.

My fellow parents, these arrest, conviction, and sentencing notices are only a selection of the current issue's full list.  I chose from the ones with source articles dated on or after July 1, 2010. This post is very long. Had I included the items from June and the end of May, I would've been needed several more hours to finish. I point this out for parents in particular because you'll notice that most of these notices are related to sex crimes against children; that trend continues through the notices I skipped. And, while the Catholic clergy are getting most of the national press for their sex scandals, don't think they've cornered the market. Jews, Protestants, Hindus, Mormons (FLDS, to be fair), Jehovah's Witnesses and a few other faiths are represented here.

If nothing else, I hope this spurs at least one parent to think twice before leaving their child alone with someone who's chief qualification for moral instruction is strident belief in magical bullshit. In what other area of life do we place trust in people who are clearly either lying or deluded about things they claim to know? When someone loudly, proudly proclaims they have knowledge of the supernatural, it should give you pause.

Anyways, here's what some of our religious neighbors have been up to recently:

Pastor Jason Bolton
"Prince William County police have arrested a former youth pastor on charges that he carried on a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl in his church group. 
Jason Bolton, 32, of Dumfries, began a close friendship with the girl in September 2007, police said. By early 2010, the relationship had become romantic.

Bolton, a married man with two sons and a daughter, began as a youth pastor at Potomac Crest Baptist Church in 2007. He resigned in May after the sexual allegations came to light"
Rabbi Stanly Z. Levitt
"Indicted for indecent assault and battery on a chile while Levitt was a teacher at Maimonides School in Brookline, MA. Similar charges from 4 alleged victims were filed in 2009. In 2004 he pleaded no contest to molesting a boy living in an Orthodox community in Philadelphia." [Dunn, Bill. "Black Collar Crime Blotter." Freethought Today [Madison, WI] Aug. 2010: 16-17. Print.]

Reverend Patrick Umberger
"The Diocese of La Crosse placed no restrictions on an Onalaska priest despite learning he had reportedly followed young boys into a water park bathroom last summer, the diocese attorney confirmed.
The Rev. Patrick Umberger, priest at St. Patrick’s Catholic Parish in Onalaska since 2005, now is accused of having child pornography after a state Department of Justice investigation that traces back to the water park incident."

Ramon Sanchez
"A San Antonio man was arrested Tuesday evening after he admitted to molesting a 12-year-old girl at a Southwest Side church earlier this year.
Ramon Sanchez, 73, was charged with one count of indecency with a child by contact and was set to be booked into the Bexar County Jail. Bail was set at $75,000.
The alleged incident occurred on Jan. 10 at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses at 319 Price Ave., which both individuals attend. Sanchez offered the girl money and told her to meet him near the bathrooms, an arrest affidavit states. The unidentified girl then met him outside the restroom area, where Sanchez kissed her on the head, fondled her, gave her $20 and returned to the church, according to the affidavit."

Terry Jensen (volunteer at children's ministry)
"A volunteer magician and puppeteer who worked with a children’s ministry at Westgate Chapel in Edmonds is accused of fondling a young parishioner during Sunday school and sneaking his camera up the skirts of unsuspecting girls and women." 

Reverend Delbert Thigpen
""He said I did, I touched her and I'm sorry," said the woman who asked not to be identified.
She said she confronted Thigpen last Saturday, minutes after a young girl said he touched her inappropriately.
She also said the pastor of the St. George Pentecostal Holiness church confessed on the spot.
"I said 'you need to ask God to forgive you' and he just cried and cried," she said."

Reverend Felix Owino
"Fairfax County police responded late last Wednesday to the residence on Franklin Farm Road, where 44-year-old Felix Owino was accused of touching the child “inappropriately,” Officer Bud Walker, a Fairfax police spokesman, said.
Owino was considered a longtime friend of the family, Walker said."

Reverend Samuel Ciccolini
"An Akron priest who has run an alcohol and drug treatment center since 19-70 pleaded guilty today to tax and bank fraud, saying he took comfort in keeping cash...but then panicked. Father Sam Ciccolini faces up to eight years in federal prison."

Reverend Kenneth Kleckner
"According to Williamson, detectives first encountered Kleckner in an online chat room through Yahoo's site on May 5.
From that contact, the minister developed a relationship with what he believed was an underage girl.
Instead, the girl was really a male detective with the Orange County sheriff's Sex Offender Squad, known as the SOS.
"They just troll the Internet and assume these names. They're very good," Williamson explained of how investigators were able to convince Kleckner he was conversing with a teenaged girl.
Williamson said over the course of the relationship Kleckner exposed his genitals and made other sexual overtures to detectives."

William Hoefling (Boy Scout Troop 781 leader)
"Canton Police Sgt. Mark Gajeski has said Hoefling initiated contact with the boys, who were 14 to 16 years old. At the time of the incidents, Hoefling was scoutmaster of Troop 781, which meets in Plymouth."

Reverend Stephen Burke
"The Rev. Stephen Burke, 57, was charged with two counts of possession of child pornography. He was released after posting bond on the combined $40,000 bail.
According to Harris County court documents, the sexually explicit images of children were discovered on the computer Burke used as the priest at St. Anthony the Great church"

Reverend Kevin J. Gray
"A disgruntled Catholic priest was charged Tuesday with raiding church coffers to finance a double life befitting a mogul - and to pay for male escorts."

Youth Pastor William Lee Porter
"The documents state that the victim said that on an occasion in July 2009, Porter shoved her onto a couch and performed oral sex on her against her will.
After the victim recorded a conversation with Porter in November, in which he admitted the abuse, he was called to the West Lafayette police department and arrested."

Reverend Linda Hall and Reverend Shelly Hall
" A former Lake County assistant church pastor who was arrested for stalking a woman last month has been arrested again, this time, for harassing the new pastor of the church.
 Vincent Noffleo, who’s the new pastor at Faithful and True Ministries, says Shelly Hall and his wife repeatedly threatened him over the past few weeks."

Reverend Robert Chukwu
"A Catholic priest accused of embezzling about $200,000 from two Crawford County parishes and the Diocese of La Crosse entered an Alford plea to reduced charges Wednesday.
The Rev. Robert Chukwu, 59, made the plea in Crawford County Circuit Court to three counts of misdemeanor theft and entered an 18-month deferred prosecution agreement, said Jim Birnbaum, attorney for the La Crosse Diocese. The plea means Chukwu admits no wrongdoing but concedes a jury likely would have found him guilty."

Reverend Leonard Van Vlaenderen
"He also was accused of using church funds to purchase a computer in March 2004 that was given to a Chicago resident, the complaint states.
Van Vlaenderen has been under scrutiny since his arrest in December 2007 on a misdemeanor charge of possessing cocaine. He was convicted of that charge in 2008 and spent a year on probation."

Reverend Kirk Caldwell
"The Rev. Kirk Caldwell was sentenced to two to four years after entering the plea in Delaware County Court. He was to go on trial this week in the emotional case involving the death of his 21-year-old son. Jordan Caldwell. Police had indicated the shooting was triggered by a violent confrontation between the son and others."

Pastor Dean Richard Tarkington
"A former Lubbock pastor was sentenced on July 9 to 10 years in prison for trying to obtain nude photos of a teenage girl.
Dean Richard Tarkington, 57, also must serve 20 years of supervised release following the prison term, according to federal court documents.
The Word of Faith Christian Center pastor was arrested in January on attempted possession of child pornography charges for soliciting sexual material from a Louisiana state police officer posing as 15- and 16-year-old girls."

Reverend Arthur James Ree
"A retired pastor and former volunteer chaplain for St. Cloud Police Department was sentenced Thursday to 12 years in prison for sexually abusing a girl in his St. Cloud home over an extended period.
Arthur James Ree, 83, previously pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. He admitted during his plea hearing that he had numerous sexual contacts with the girl from late 2001 until June 2003, when the girl was 11-13 years old."

James Wallace Fall (sexual predator with unspecified religious beliefs)
"Fall "married" his then-10-year-old niece during a family vacation to Yellowstone National Park in 2001. When they returned home to Mound, he alternated spending nights with his wife, who is 49, and the girl. Fall told police it was God's will that he marry the girl, and that justified the union legally and morally."

Reverend Stephen Bzdrya
"Dotson’s attorney, Joel T. Faxon of Stratton Faxon in New Haven, said the abuse started in a church basement after catechism class, where Bzdyra accused the boy of lying.
Faxon claims the priest whipped him with a belt before raping him.
Dotson was about 10 years old at the time of the alleged assault. Dotson’s mother was on public assistance at the time. Faxon said that in order to keep Dotson quiet, the priest threatened to report her to the authorities for violating public assistance regulations.
The priest was also close with Dotson’s family, Faxon said, which allowed the abuse to continue until about 1990.
He purchased a used car for Dotson, in addition to buying him a washer and dryer, all in an effort to buy Dotson’s silence, Faxon said.
The lawsuit claims the Archdiocese “knew or should have known” about Bzdrya’s activities.
“What the diocese did, like others in Bridgeport, Hartford, Norwich and other places around the country and around the world, was to move this pedophile around. Their idea of a fresh start was a new group of children,” Faxon said.
Dotson is now unemployed and has a history of drug and alcohol abuse, which can be attributed to his experience with Bzdrya, Faxon said."

Daniel McCormack (defrocked Catholic priest)
"Another young man has accused former Roman Catholic priest and convicted sex offender Daniel McCormack of sexual misconduct, filing a lawsuit against the Chicago Archdiocese and Cardinal Francis George in Cook County Circuit Court on Thursday.
The new allegation is the fifth one to surface since McCormack began serving a five-year sentence for molesting five boys in July 2007. The archdiocese confirmed in May that four other young men had come forward--though not all of the cases had been substantiated and none of the four have sued."

Bishop Roger Vangheluwe
"Behind an aggressive investigation of the Roman Catholic hierarchy in Belgium that drew condemnation from the pope himself lies a stark family tragedy: the molestation, for years, of a youth by his uncle, the bishop of Bruges; the prelate’s abrupt resignation when a friend of the nephew finally threatened to make the abuse public; and now the grass-roots fury of almost 500 people complaining of abuse by priests."
There's more I haven't excerpted here. Every month, all over the U.S., all over the world. There's more and more and more. Good grief, I haven't even looked to see how many women have been stoned to death in Muslim countries in the last month. But, it's happening.  Every month, all over the world; it's happening and it's been happening in the name of God since some stupid human gave God a name.
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