COGIC PB downplays sexual abuse cases

Bishop Charles Blake on yesterday responded to questions from a Memphis reporter about sexual abuse in COGIC and ReportCOGICAbuse.com.  As usual, church officials continue to obstinately deny the obvious.

The Presiding Bishop told the Commercial Appeal the “attention” given the site was out of proportion. He called the 30 odd cases cited on the website “allegations” which didn’t reflect on the “hundreds of thousands” of COGIC clergy.

Bishop Blake erroneously called the information on ReportCOGICAbuse.com “allegations”. The overwhelming majority of the clergy sexual abuse cases cited on website are not allegations, but in fact legally resolved cases with convictions. An allegation is defined as “an assertion unsupported and by implication regarded as unsupportable.”

Blake also said COGIC’s zero tolerance sexual abuse policy has been in place since 1992 and is “enforced” by a sexual misconduct review board.

Equivocation becomes him. One need look no further than Jackson MS and Larry Weems to know that COGIC has no zero tolerance and no enforcement from a “sexual misconduct review board”. If Bishop Blake believed his own words, he would call for the immediate dismissal of Larry Weems, who despite sexually assaulting five women in 2007 is still holds national, jurisdictional and local offices.

“While we are mildly heartened that the bishop is at least commenting publicly, his remarks unfortunately still reflect COGIC’s corporate image posturing which signals an unfriendly climate for victims”, said site founder Pastor DL Foster.

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21 thoughts on “COGIC PB downplays sexual abuse cases

  1. Little bit off topic, but what is this staff/walker type thing Blake is carrying around during convocation? Anyone know what it means or is? Looks like something the Pope would carry.

    And the story/show must go on. I tried to tune in this week to the streaming broadcast and catch a speaker or two, but I couldn’t help but feel like I was being taken for all my money since they were selling any and everything during service each day. Financial violation is nothing like physical and spiritual, but I imagine they need an accountability policy for that fraud as well.

  2. Not sure what that is about. Perhaps the emergence of a pentecostal papacy? The symbolism and language has been cropping up for several years now. I think its a bad move away from our roots as holiness people. The pageantry of the papacy was a beautiful cover for the evil hearts.

    On another note, Pastor Burnett wrote and excellent commentary of the Donnie McClurkin message to COGIC youth. It was sobering and touching and powerful. But it also revealed some serious defects in leadership responsibilities.

    Read it here.

  3. What Bishop was carrying was the Shepherd’s Staff. This is a flow through from Catholic Liturgy etc. As is common in what would be considered “high holy” services when the garments are worn.

  4. I dont get tehe trying to make the sitution not seem as bad as it is thing, it reminds me of some sought of puffing up about the situation as If it was ok almost. Thats very frightening to me, one person who is abused by a church leader is one person too many. This think puts a really bad feeling deep down in my spirit, it sickens me. Its not that those who have sinned cannot turn or should be condemned but the situations must be dealt with appropriately.

    This scripture came to mind.

    “1 Corinthians 5
    1It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife.

    2AND YE ARE PUFFED UP, AND HAVE NOT RATHER MOURNED, THAT HE THAT HATH DONE THIS DEED MIGHT BE TAKEN AWAY FROM AMONG YOU.

    4In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,

    5To DELIVER such an one UNTO sATAN for the DESTRUCTION of the FLESH, that the SPIRIT may be SAVED in the day of the Lord Jesus.

    6Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?

    7Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:”

    Is it more about the prestige of an organization or God and the care of His sheep?

    I am greatly disturbed!

  5. I am a fourth generation ( matrilineally ) member of the C.O.G.I.C. and I love the Church. The more I see of the church’s operations, however, is enough to convince me that this organisation needs a thorough cleansing from the inside out and from the top down. What COGIC leaders do not seem to understand is that their dirty laundry is airing on front street; it is too late to try covering it up or downplaying it and the whole world is watching their response. It is time for these leaders to show compassion for those victimised in the church; impose real discipline, order, systemisation and accountability in the ranks; and display faith, brains and testicular fortitude by timely and vigourous action in such cases as they may arise. Unless these things are done they are wasting good money on public relations consultants.

  6. Its true – it is hush hush among the churches that if someone within good standing within the church does have a shortfall- a problem that they know should be common knowledge within the church yes the other ministers – elders and pastors cover it up for them. I lived with a sr elder of the cogic for 16 yrs – he is a very violent individual – several times I tried to go to the pastor and ask for his help but he shunned me acting like I was the one that had done something wrong – in 94 this elder was arrested for having beat the holy crap out of mne – he called the pastor who bailed him out then the pastor called me and told me he was fully aware that there was a restraining order protecting me -but he insisted upon bringing his Sr elder by to gather some of his belongings -I begged him please not to come here with him that I would gather whatever he wanted and would give it to him, the pastor – but the pastor insisted that he bring him there to collect some belongings – he was made fully aware that the incident his Sr elder beating me was directly related to alcohol abuse. It was absolutely necessary that I not speak to anyone within the church regarding what his Sr Elder had done.
    I tried to explain to the pastor countless times that his star Sr Elder had lied to him – he and I had never been married and now were still living together with 3 children out of wedlock – that indeed he was a wolf in sheeps clothing. His Sr Elder and my childrens father was not at all as he was projecting – the pastor refused to verify that I was telling the complete truth.
    Yeah right – Church of God in Christ – St Paul MN – my childrens father moved away from there is now living with his mothr in AZ – and is more then $40,000 past due in child support – he believes that all rules apply to everyone but him. He is the father of 7 yes seven children from 5 -five different women. And once again – is a Sr Elder Star singer – preacher- at another Churchn of God in Christ in AZ right now he is awaiting appointment into the pastorial position – in his church in AZ- if truly there is a background check done on these people that have a standing within the church they will find countless arrests for domestic abuse and verification that he was indeed responsible for sexual abuse with his own daughter. His own flesh and blood. All of this is well hidden – and common knowledge within the Ministers – Elders and Pastors. The fact that there was not enough physical evidence to make a case hold from Florida to MN – no panties were found as evidence – however when I left mn with my children – we took the clothes on our back and that was all – I did not see what was happening right before my eyes till my daughtrs felt they were far enough away from him that they could tell me. Needless to say- my first stop upon getting into FL was to file charges against him. Alol of this is on record. Yet NOONE cares…

  7. Rev. Velly, I agree. No church worth is salt (of the earth) should continue to play PR games with the lives of vunerable children. Its simply inconscionable. But as someone pointed out to me, COGIC leadership has exalted its unbiblical and unjust constitution above the righteous rule of God’s word. Abuse is inevitable when that happens. Then, they dont consistently follow or apply their own rules. Surely, there is a godly remnant who will dispense with “protocol” and cry aloud against this travesty.

    Secular organizations have better governance than this. The COGIC is at open shame for not moving expeditiously to do what is right in the eyes of God. God’s process of reformation is slow and methodical, but trust that it will come. You can kill every messenger sent to warn and rebuke you. You can ignore the signs and continue “having church”, but the chaldeans are gathering. And when the Lord releases them, nothing will change his judgment until he will have satisfied it. God tore down Isreal’s most holiest symbol, the temple. Why is it that these people think God will not do the same to them and their symbols?

    Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. 1 Corinthians 10:11

    Now is the time to turn and show meat for repentance.

  8. Carol Davis: I am sorry to hear your story of abuse by this
    snake/apostate who parades around in religous garb.COGIC, like many Baptist churches, have practically no standards for who can become a “pulpit pastor.”
    COGIC leadership is deaf to charges that it is becoming apostate and is harboring abusers under the cover of he/she being a leader or a pastor.
    Until Bishop Blake & Co., gets some backbone, this problem will not go away. Imagine the thousands of similar cases as yours that has been going on for decades in COGIC (and other churches) where
    accountability and holiness are just nice words to throw around.
    I have been under a COGIC type pastor and it is all about control
    and image and money and status.
    You need to write a letter to the pastor of that church in AZ and expose this charlatan for what he is and cc: Bishop Blake and see what Blake does.
    Each one covers the other one because they have no fear of God.
    There is so much falseness in the church that many people have stopped going and just stay home.
    These phony pastors are devouring God’s people and they shall be held accountable for each of their bites.
    This is not how the visible church was set up to function. It has been corrupted by religious phonies who are in it for the bucks and power.
    Woe to those who call good evil and evil good.
    God is not mocked. He sees all. I shudder to think of God’s dealing with people who claim they are his but in fact are spawn of Satan.

  9. Carol G. Davis,

    Look, everyone cares but when you say things like this:“I lived with a sr elder of the cogic for 16 yrs”and “I tried to explain to the pastor countless times that his star Sr Elder had lied to him – he and I had never been married and now were still living together with 3 children out of wedlock – that indeed he was a wolf in sheeps clothing.”

    It becomes mighty suspicious and takes away any credibility you might have…it’s like this, YOU live with someone for 16 years have kids and are involved with the church in leadership? Were you a slave? Were you tied up in the basement and couldn’t get away? Were you drugged and couldn’t leave the situation? Were you even convicted that YOU were in sin too and living a lie? Or did that epiphany come AFTER he beat you up and left you? How is he such a “wolf” when you were by his side as you describe?

    I don’t mean to be too hard, but then again maybe I do. I mean come on…you were grown enough to lay down have sex, carry 3 children for 9 months each, obviously shop on your own, pick out your own clothes etc…you can’t tell me that IF you thought this guy was soooooo bad you couldn’t have gotten away from him from the beginning…This was an ungodly relationship gone bad.

    This is why you have little credibility. You enjoyed the grapes while they were abundant and you seem to have eaten well, although you claim to have lived in fear???…Anyone that has any desire to live right would have never gotten into a situation like that and if they did would certainly have pulled out of it long before you ultimately did. It seems that if he hadn’t become abusive you’d still be doing what you were doing.

    That may sound harsh, but I want the critic to actually read what you say because it doesn’t make sense and although I feel for you, it seems more like you are the casualty of an ungodly relationship and not a victim of abuse of any kind other than the abuse you’ve afflicted upon yourself.

    I would feel better IF you had said that “WE lived ungodly for 16 years” and that “WE were wrong”. I’m sorry sister but that’s what I see in those comments. He was/is certainly wrong and in sin without a doubt and without excuse, but neither are you exempt or excusable.

  10. Carol,

    If what you said is true about the man you lived with for 16 years without being married, then this isnt clear cut abuse. It is however sin and it appears that the both of you “enjoyed” it until he broke camp for drier pastures. I will insert this caveat. If you indeed went to the pastor of this man for help and didnt get it, I can understand if you became resigned and therefore allowed things to proceed as is. Im not sure if that’s what happened though based on your words. I dont think your assertion regarding hush-hush issues among leadership regarding sexual failures of other leaders is off track. Largely, I think that is true and unfortunately as it lends to a climate of winked at sexual sin.

    Is this abuse? Yes and no. And it is complicated and a lesson to men and women living in sexual immorality to GET OUT NOW and dont return to that lifestyle.

    You do have to accept 50% of the problem with this situation as there are many ungodly issues associated with it. Shacking, children out of wedlock, fornication, lying (giving the pretense you were married), etc. The problem is that having participated for so long, you perhaps do not have the moral authority to call him on this. In other words you cant lie with the “wolf”, have the “wolf’s” children, know the “wolf” is wolfing other women and then when the “wolf” leaves you, you cry wolf. Ok?

    While he should in no way be in a position of leadership currently, you would do best to ensure that your life is right with God for the sake of your (and his) children.
    I feel great compassion for them as they are without a father in this cruel world. Please dont make it harder for them by living your life out of the will of God.

    Hopefully, someone will alert the “wolf” and tell him the same thing.

  11. Elder Foster,

    On the COGIC Web site. I’ve had this comment in since last night:

    Supt. Harvey Burnett says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    November 9, 2009 at 10:56 pm

    Thank God Presiding Bishop Blake & General Board. I was encouraged and inspired by the Holy Convocation.
    So far as the sexual abuse policies. I have set forth that we should yet incorporate a method to address and minister to the victims of this type of abuse. They are the ones suffering.
    You are doing well by revising and implementing policies aimed at prevention, however the victims need repair and handling from the church once abuse has been established. I’m not talking about consensual relationships exposed or gone bad, I’m talking healing the victims of abuse.
    I don’t believe that we will be successful or blessed by God in these type of efforts unless we make a solid and open commitment to addressing the victims and ministering to their needs. I sent you the advocacy plan located here: http://www.reportcogicabuse.com/nvap.html .
    Can we meet to discuss it or at least discuss modifying it to make it better and more effective in meeting the needs of the church and people of God? I believe that we must implement a new strategy to address the needs of victims and I believe the heart of our leadership is interested in doing that too, but will we act?
    In All Humility~ Supt. H. Burnett

    They have allowed another comment posted by Lahry Sibley at November 10, 2009 at 8:09 am but mine is still moderating…why is that? I’m trying to be as reasonable, godly and helpful as possible, why are the efforts to help being so generously resisted?

  12. I am cautiously praising these new initiatives which are said to augment the previous policy. Of course there are still some fundamental problems with the whole approach. Nevertheless, I hope that changes will not just be implemented but actually practiced. And your proposal (to me) is much more comprehensive and actually addresses both sides of the issue. Predators (if they admit it) need help to stop and victims need help to heal.

    I read the comments with some chagrin because generally the posters never really talk about the subject matter, they just salute and praise the bishop for his “wise leadership”.

    Maybe the moderator is still in Memphis? I dont even know who the comment moderator is and there’s no tech issues contact on the site anywhere. Intentional?

    I hope to write a fuller review of the new initiatives shortly on reportcogicabuse.com

  13. I dont know If I am being too harsh but whatever policies are being implemented dont do it for me, also the name “COGIC” is somewhat irrelevant to me also, I am talking about the Body Of Christ.

    When something is glossed over by saying in comparison sexual abuse is not that high in our denomination, that stinks!
    “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks”,
    the bible also talks about if the head is sick then the body will be. Its not new policies that is needed its a change of heart! The bible is full of instructions of how to deal with sexual immorailty, lets impliment those first.

    I mean seriously, isnt it man that is making this thing more difficult than it needs to be.

    Maybe I am off and If I am wrong I accept correction but this situation really bothers me.

  14. Paul I dont think youre not being harsh at all. Although the church is acting as if the children are expendable in some ways, this is a serious moral, legal and spiritual blight in the midst of COGIC right now. To downplay and call it “flavor of the year” was small minded and trite. But perhaps it shows whats in the heart.

    Those leaders who make light of it or snip at me for bringing attention to it are only piling on retribution from God. It would be different if this was nothing but innuendo and gossip. They would be justified in responding the way they do. But these are real cases with real people attached to them.

    To shuck it as if there’s no big hurry is reprehensible. I dont wish evil or ill will on anyone, but if one of those victims in the 30 odd cases we currently cite were their child, I dont think it would be the same response.

  15. Be strong in The LORD and in the power of His might!

    Pastor you will not have any clue of how much and how many your work has helped until you get to heaven. Its far beyond you can fathom, I am sure of that.

    God bless you!

  16. COGIC’s new sexual abuse initiatives (if you want to call it new) doesn’t go far enough. It still has left an environment for sexual abuse to continue. Notice the new policy is only requiring mandatory criminal backgrounds for those employees hired by the national church. If that is than the case, than whom does that include? Remember Enoch Perry said in his deposition that the national church only has about 75 or so employees. So are we talking about those in national positions as well? When it comes to the local church they new initiative says that it only recommends that local church do background checks of their employees. There’s not even a strong mandate for the type of training they should have. It’s apparent that COGIC didn’t’ consult with any victims of sexual abuse to get advice on what they need to do in their church. The only person COGIC probably consulted is a “risk management and assessment company” to protect its assets. It’s no different than an insurance company coming out to your house and recommending to you how to tighten up your carpet so no guests visiting your home doesn’t trip and fall.

    See what the national church is clearly trying to do is set up a dividing line between the them and local church for legal reasons. If they were to tell the local churches to get mandatory criminal background checks of their employees as well, than what that says in a court of law is that the national church is calling the shots and can therefore be held liable for sexual abuse lawsuits. Because authority is clearly coming from a hierarchy.

    So the new initiative doesn’t need to be applauded because it’s a sorry effort to address the real issues. Like Pastor Burnet says, what about the victims and there families, what is the national church going to do to help them with counseling and to help restore their confidence back in trusting church again. The policies of the national church are the same old policies just reworded, that’s it! COGIC position is that they aren’t responsible for the local congregation. They’ll take your money of course, but don’t have any liabilities for them.

    I believe COGIC isn’t serious about clergy sexual abuse on any level. They talk about the children but what about the vulnerable adults that are exploited by clergy every year in COGIC. I don’t think God is please with their efforts one bit.

  17. You know – I never said I was not at fault hon – but to clearly read the fact that there was a case opened with Children and Families regarding the sexual abuse of his daughter – by him – that it was most definately found to be true – and you tell me that you do not believe that this is sexual abuse? I am 100% responsible for my actions not just 50% I had never gone to a COGIC till I went with him. I met him in the USVI – when I met him I was terribly confused by things that happened in my life ie. I buried my husband – when our daughter was 5 mo and 22 days – he was 21 1 mo and 29 days – he was injured in the Army – long story short – I knew I needed to come closer to God and our relationship – was in part at first because I needed a better understanding – to get this straight – he did not leave us – I left MN with my children – against his wishes. Yes I am aware I am guilty of living in sin with him – I am sideways so to speak with the WHOLE picture because he is in the pulprit preaching – he is marrying – uniting people – he is baptising people – he is claiming he is saved – ? I was new to the church – I was trying to learn the bylaws – trying to learn about God – his, Gods expectations – I learned alot from this church don’t misunderstand me please – I still hold close alot of the teachings I learned from this church but -I was really confused due to my home life and the contradictions – of the things I was learning in church. I went to church there faithfully for the first five yrs I was there – but it became much to conflicting – the whole situation was just not right – when I tried to speak to the pastor about this – I felt completely shuned. I was not going to him to cause problems – I really needed him to be my pastor – many of the things I learned while I was there I still to this day – hold close – sermon titles – I still quote today. I learned alot from this church – nothing can take that away – because I was supposedly married to a Sr Elder – I was considered a Missionary – went to the Elders and Ministers wives meetings – yet stayed as unrelated as possible – I once had the pastors wife ask me – why was I no longer attending these meetings I explained to her – very briefly that one day – she would understand – but I simply could NOT go into detail. I feel I was convicted – I knew within myself – it was not right – I feared what may happen to my children due to the consequences – of their fathers actions- I began to put money aside so when I did leave – I could provide for my children. From the time I was convicted – I no longer shared a bed with him – I owned the home we were in and daily asked him to help me resolve what was not right – I even asked him – my childrens father to please pray with us as a family – that we could make things right before the presence of the Lord – I will never forget his response – he laughed – he has since apologized and said he wishes he would have done as I asked – we met in the USVI – I had never gone to a COGIC – till we had been together for more then 2 yrs and I was pregnant with our first child. You can twist this however you want to to make it right for you…, truth is – he is a Sr Elder in the COGIC – he has 7 kids from 5 different women- which I was not aware of till much later and – he was only married to two of the mothers – AND HE IS STILL IN – the COGIC he will not be one that has to provide a thorough back ground check – not an employee- but does have direct contact with children – CHILDREN- and vulnerable women for counseling.

  18. Allegations of abuse or countenancing abuse should be evaluated case by case.

    I won’t take sides because on one hand you have the corporate reps, and on the other purported advocates. Their is sincerity on both sides, and both have agendas.

    I would, however, like to hear more from actual victims. Also, I’d like to understand the profile of some of the advocates.

  19. Dave it would interesting to hear what you think are the agendas of both sides. Be as specific as you can.

  20. Grace and peace to all.

    Please allow me to say that ANY allegation is one too many!
    I love the COGIC and I serve the LORD faithfully. I also serve faithfully in MANY areas of this great organization, and I’ve been one to cry LOUDLY AGAINST sexual misconduct on ANY level of our organization. We do have a VERY serious problem when the system is BROKEN, no one wants to take the time NECESSARY to correct it, and the victims voices are COMPLETELY silenced! I STRONGLY recommend that this be TOPIC #1 in the General Assembly in April, and that REAL answers be given so that we can begin a REAL healing process for the victims, EXPOSE the deeds of those who remain unrepentant, still violating women, men and children, and have them hauled into a court of LAW for FULL PROSECUTION!

    Besides the legal suits, the COGIC should be JUST as concerned for the VICTIMS as they seem to be for their pockets!

    I LOVE GOD’S PEOPLE! I LOVE RIGHTEOUSNESS! I LOVE THE COGIC!
    BUT WRONG IS WRONG! WRONG CAN’T BE RIGHT, AND DOESN’T WANT TO BE!
    FATHER, in JESUS’ name, please may EVERY VICTIM WHOLE, every TRULY repentant perpetrator restored, and unrepentant violator to FULL JUSTICE! Amen.

    A VERY CONCERNED COGIC MINISTER! (PASTOR)

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