Young girl, 12, sexually assaulted by COGIC minister

GCM Watch Breaking News

Its happened again. In a different place, with a different child, but behind the crime: yet another Church of God in Christ clergy member.  With the church already facing pending sexual abuse lawsuits in Texas, Maryland and Washington state totalling in the millions of dollars, news of this crime couldn’t have come at a worse time.

News broke late Saturday via the Winter Haven, FL News Chief  of the shocking crime in which a young girl was allegedly sexually assaulted multiple times by Minister Clevon Ghent, 35 and his nephew Genard Jones both members of Born Again Church of God in Christ in Auburndale, FL. The paper identified Ghent as a paid employee/supervisor of the church’s for profit janitorial service. [source]

Clevon Ghent, 35, of 1161 Waterview Point, Lakeland, was charged Thursday with five counts of custodial sexual battery. Gernard Jones, 18, of 1455 Kathleen Road in Lakeland, was charged with three counts of lewd battery.

Ghent managed Trinity Enterprises, a residential and commercial cleaning business owned and operated by Born Again Church of God in Christ in Auburndale. Ghent and Jones are both volunteer ministers at the church, and the girl is reportedly a member of the congregation, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Pastor Theadore Hall Jr. of Born Again Church could not be reached Friday.

The Sheriff’s Office reported that Ghent and Jones both met the 12-year-old girl at the church. Detectives said the abuse began in May or June, when Jones allegedly committed a sex act with the girl in a car in the driveway of her home.

The church is part of the Florida SW COGIC  “jurisdiction” under Bishop Matthew Williams.  It will be extremely difficult for the church to disassociate itself from Ghent, his picture is plastered all over the church’s website. In his deposition, COGIC head lawyer, Enoch Perry seemly to imply that the church only bears a legal responsibility when a person on the church’s payroll commits a crime.

The News Chief reported that the assaults took place over the summer months of July and August. And the two men basically traded the girl off with each other and then sexually assaulted her together in a remote area near Lakeland, FL.

In mid-July, Ghent  (pictured below in his official church photo) picked up the girl from her home and took her to his house to babysit his four children, ages 6, 7, 8 and 12. During the ride to his house, authorities said Ghent told the girl he knew she had been sexually active with his nephew, Jones.

Jones was at Ghent’ghents house when they arrived, and Ghent told Jones to take his children on a walk. When the girl asked to go with the other children, Ghent told her she was “grounded” and had to stay in the house with him, the Sheriff’s Office reported. After Jones left with Ghent’s children, authorities said Ghent then performed sex acts on the victim.

According to authorities, Ghent committed sex acts with the girl on two separate occasions in July. One of those incidents reportedly took place in his son’s bedroom.

Most recently, Ghent and Jones allegedly sexually abused the girl on Aug. 26. Authorities said Jones drove the girl with Ghent to an isolated spot near Reynolds Road and Skyview Drive in Lakeland, after the men offered to drive her home from Bible study at the church. Instead, the Sheriff’s Office reported that they allegedly sexually abused the girl inside Jones’s silver Lincoln Navigator.

Its unclear as to how or why two adult men could gain so much access and control over the child without anyone questioning it or reporting it. Its strange how these things happen but no one sees, hears or notices anything. However if the allegations are true, what transpired is about as sickening as it gets.

Two days later, on Aug. 28, the girl told two teachers at her school that she had sex with Ghent and Jones. The teachers told the girl’s father, who notified the Sheriff’s Office. Detectives opened an investigation, and Jones and Ghent were interviewed and arrested Thursday, the Sheriff’s Office said.

In a statement, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said, “There are no words to describe the horror” of the alleged abuse. “This so-called minister, and his nephew, Gernard Jones, are now behind bars where they belong – and where they can’t hurt any more innocent children.”

The two men were booked into the Polk County Jail on Thursday and are being held without bond.

Sexual abuse both of adults and children by COGIC clergy is out of control. But according to Perry, there’s little if anything the church can do to control its members or member churches. The exceptions appear to be when local churches attempt to leave the denomination with its assets. Then, the church can expect to be sued in court.  The other exception is per Perry’s sworn testimony if the offenders are part of the 70 odd corps of “national church employees” based in Memphis.

What is tragic about all of this is that while under Bishop Charles Blakes’ watch, clergy sexual crimes appear to have increased,  the bishop’s voice has decreased significantly.  I would not encourage you to hold your breath waiting for Bishop Blake, his administration or COGIC’s ruling aristocracy to answer the cries of ravished children, devastated parents or broken churches. What’s more, its very difficult to understand why a man so passionate and vocal about saving Africa’s children, is so silent and unfeeling about helping COGIC’s children.

Related:

COGIC sexual abuse crimes archives

h/t:SaintlySister

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23 thoughts on “Young girl, 12, sexually assaulted by COGIC minister

  1. wow at that lawsuit..i guess 1 Corinthians 6 only applies to protecting sexual predators with rank in the church…

  2. man…i’m hurt to hear this; it’s really shameful these days to be called a part of the body of Christ. More so, a part of COGIC, which I’m a member of…

    Gcmwatch really hit the nail on the head with that last line–it shows you the real motivation behind many of these social activist stances many religious figures have taken…it’s really all about giving the appearances that you care–It’s always easier to take care of the ravages of sin overseas where there are cameras, accolades and newsman in steady supply, than it is to pursue an equally devastating epidemic at home.

  3. Rogers, trust that on so many levels I take no pleasure in writing about this. It would really comfort my soul if at least these leaders would openly acknowledge this blight and pledge to do all possible to educate men (could start at the COGIC mens conference) to watch for children and confront these snakes in their pulpits.

    Perhaps it is a dream deferred.

  4. More travesty, more horriffic events, just more MESS…sad all the way around. I wonder how many others that are and were just afraind to say anything? This young lady seems like she broke down in school…Parents just totally “unaware” of anything…And to think this NUT was giving certain youth rides home and doing this after church events…PREDATOR! Sad, sad, sad.

  5. That’s my concern… why is a grown man riding around w/ a 12 y.o. girl in his car. I don’t care, but her parents should have been the ones to carry that child wherever. This is horrible. I’m speechless on this one.

  6. James there are many children who attend church without their parents. Sometimes churches do outreach to get children in the church with the hopes of hooking the parents. That doesnt happen most of the time. All predators need is opportunity and ignorance.

    It only mentioned the girl’s father who may or may not have been saved and probably trusted the “man of God”. I noticed he got her to “babysit” his 12 year which was of course a farce.

    The article doesnt mention it, but the main perp is married to a very beautiful woman, both pictured on the church website. These types are snakes looking for prey so they are careful to present a “good image” so as to not be suspected.

    That being said, sad, tragic and as we speak probably happening all over again somewhere else.

  7. This whole situation is very sad. It seems very troubling to me that the girl’s parents knew nothing about what was going on. It troubles me also that these two so called “ministers” were abusing this child and no one knew anything about it. It seems like there are no easy solution to keep this type of situation from happening again.

    Could it be possible that churches screen and do background checks on those who maybe working with children? How many times to do churches put people in leadership positions without checking out their character and reputation?

  8. I’m too upset to even comment after reading this story! May God totally restore that 12 year old girl.

  9. Now I really see why my parents didn’t let me go stay with church people or otherwise when I was growing up. I learned when I became an adult how many men in the church were messing with stepdaughters and other women in and outside the church. I finally realized why I didn’t like being around those men at my church when I was growing up. I found out a lot of terrible things about those men later as an adult and I was shocked. Parents if the wife is not present don’t let your children go anywhere with anyone and if possible take them yourself. There are so things in the church they need to do away with anyway. Men embracing women and shaking each others hands. Why do you, as a man need to hug me or shake my hand, just speak and go on. I hate that in the church, and they really need to stop doing it.

  10. hold on nan,

    why should a man not be able to shake hands with a woman or hug her. i hug a lot of women in my church and mean nothin by it more than a greeting, why is that something you feel should be stopped in church when every man that is in church is not a predator? i definitely dont agree with you on that!

  11. Of course you don’t agree with me, but why to it in the first place. It would help cut out a lot of unnecessary touching between men and women. A certain protocol needs to be followed in the church and there was a time when men and women did not touch. They really need to bring that back, everywhere.

  12. you really sound like you’re livin in some other time frame nan, why cant i give my spiritual sister a hug? or someone who is like my aunt or grandma? cause they are women as well. its all about intentions and perception. someone who is getting a charge out of a hug is not going to hug a woman like someone who is being genuine. unnecessary touching to me would be when your bodies are touching together(private areas) or if someone has their hands where they shouldnt be. hugging is a genuine expression of love for someone or in general just a greeting! dont turn it into something wrong just because some perverts do these types of things in the church. from what it seems you dont hug any one who is a male…is that the case?

  13. I do agree that this is a very devastating situation for the family on both behalves……but why didn’t the 12 year old tell someone the first time it happened that is my question??

    GCMW: Queen, watch your comments. I wont tolerate any mockery of sexual abuse victims, especially children. Your comment has been edited.

  14. Wow you’re really upset about my comment about hugging and touching. If you really stop and think for a minute you would really see my point. I wasn’t saying that every man that hugs a woman is a pervert, I was just saying that touching is unnecessary in the church between men and women and it is. You do whatever you want to do that’s up to you, but it’s not necessary. When you do something for a long time you see nothing wrong with it. You could bow to the woman instead of touching her, since the woman is the first teacher and the closest you can get to God after Christ is the woman, so why not bow to her, out of respect for her.

  15. And just so you know, I have never been dis-respected or molested by any man, and no, I don’t like hugging on them either. I will speak or bow my head in acknowledgment to them, but hugging, no it is not necessary to show your love or respect for someone. Just something to think about bye

  16. “You could bow to the woman instead of touching her, since the woman is the first teacher and the closest you can get to God after Christ is the woman, so why not bow to her, out of respect for her.”

    Huh?

    Nan, please come back to earth..

  17. ladies and gentlemen please dont forget this post is about a little girl who was raped by a trusted minister.

  18. you are right pastor foster that is what it is about, nan just threw me for a loop with that crazy statement tho. im not bowing to ANYONE but god and christ in reverance. but yes that is a very sad issue with the little girl. i had a cousin whose pastor was carrying on a sexual relationship with her but he eventually got caught and arrested and had his face all on the news. one of the sad things about these kinds of situations is that most times these ministers or pastors have really beautiful wives! but they still end up caught in such gross immorality because they dont follow proverbs 5

  19. This is the reason why I said what I did, for the sake of the little girl, so people will keep their hands and bodies to themselves. It’s a shame that you both missed my point. The bowing meant the inclining or slight bow of the head not a complete knee bow remember back when men tipped their hats or their heads to women. We need that back. Women are too disrespected which includes this innocent little girl.If he is guilty God will deal with him.

    GCMW: I didnt miss your point nan, just that we shouldnt get caught up in something that takes away from the intent of the post. It wasnt about adults, but children.

  20. Wow! I have been out of COGIC for the past three years I was strongly consisdering going back! I need to pray a little harder and longer before i make my move.Between the story about the texas Pastor spanking his saints and this business with the children being rapped turns my stomach. Predators in the pulpit? These are truly the last days. Obviously child molestors are hiding behing clergy shirts and gold cogic lapel pins?

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