It happened almost 25 years ago, but the wheels of justice finally caught up with Prince Wilbert Woolfork of Owensboro, KY. Even after the rape was reported in 2007, Woolfork had remained an active pastor for a full year in Kentucky First Jurisdiction until his resignation. The Associated Press reported that a grand jury reached the verdict on Jan 30 giving the man a 20 year sentence for first degree rape.
A grand jury has indicted a former western Kentucky preacher on charges that he raped a teenager nearly 25 years ago.
Owensboro police Sgt. Randy Boling the family of the alleged victim filed a complaint against 75-year-old Prince Wilbert Woolfolk in July. No criminal charges were filed at the time, but the case was presented to the grand jury on this week.
Woolfolk gave an interview to the Messenger-Inquirer in which he denies a rape occurred. But he acknowledges having some sexual contact with the then 17-year-old girl.
Woolfolk resigned in June as pastor the Seventh Street Church of God in Christ in Owensboro and the Branch Street Church of God in Christ in Madisonville.
The Owensboro Message-Inquirer also reported that the victim’s mother told the court Woolfork used scriptures to discourage her from notifying the police about the rape. Very typical of these wolves to cloak themselves in scripture to hide their crimes.
Its not clear why COGIC leadership didn’t enact its so-called zero tolerance policy and remove the rapist from the two churches he pastored. But then again, we all know zero tolerance is just a window dressing rule COGIC leadership conveniently refers to when questioned about the frequency of clergy sexual abuse in the denomination.
Only 20-25 cases of sexual abuse in COGIC?
In November 2009, Presiding Bishop Charles Blake told 1, 592 delegates to the 6.5 million member church’s General Assembly that COGIC spent on average $800, 000 on clergy sexual abuse cases.
According to official minutes of the meeting, both Blake and Enoch Perry, the denomination’s lawyer-in-chief addressed what they called “significantly small” number of sexual ” misconduct” cases.
Judge Enoch Perry, Chief Counsel, gave a brief status report on the topic of sexual misconduct and legal matters of the church. He reported that in over 100 years, there have been 20-25 processed cases of sexual misconduct. He stated statistically the numbers are significantly small; however there should not be one case among us. Judge Perry reported there has not been one successful lawsuit against the church; cases either have been settled or dismissed. He further stated that Bishop Blake supports the church’s zero tolerance policy against sexual misconduct. The delegates were encouraged to purchase the book entitled, “The Church of God in Christ’s Continued Stand Against Sexual Misconduct”. He reminded delegates that there was no statue of limitations for sexual misconduct.
Bishop Blake thanked Judge Perry for his remarks regarding the church’s policy in relationship to sexual misconduct. He pointed out that, on average, the church spends about $800,000 to settle legal matters many of which have to do with accusations of sexual misconduct. (Who made this comment? And that one single lawsuit has the potential to bankrupt the church.) Our bold.
If we’re seeing this correctly, Bishop Blake is saying that the nearly 1 million dollars per year is spent on sexual abuse cases, yet Enoch Perry, using a 100 year time construct, is saying that its a significantly small number? The report showed COGIC’s 2008-2009 budget just over 10 million dollars in expenditures. Report COGIC Abuse has tracked over 30 cases in just the last 30 years. Most of the cases are not small errors in judgment, but heinous crimes rivaling those of serial rapists. Something just doesn’t add up.
There’s much to be said about these comments (and we will fully review them later) but here are some unavoidable questions delegates should demand specific answers to in the upcoming April Call Meeting.
1. What’s the definition of a “processed case”? Is COGIC leadership using the most restrictive definition possible in order to make cases against the church appear “significantly small”?
2. If the church has settled sexual abuse lawsuits, just how many have been settled in comparison to those won in a court of law? What what the settlement amount and who authorized it?
3. How does the church effectively conduct and ratify such serious matters when a whopping two thirds of the delegates are missing from the meeting?
4. From what departmental budget is the 800k deducted from?
5. Why does COGIC continue to present budgets with no actuals at the time new information is introduced? At best this is unprofessional perhaps even unethical.
6. If the zero tolerance policy is supported by the Presiding Bishop, why was Prince Woolfolk, Larry Weems and others allowed to remain in office?
7. Why should delegates have to purchase to so-called sexual abuse book? Purchasing certainly minimizes the possibility of the book being widely disseminated, unless of course the leadership really doesn’t care about the book being widely seen and read.
In our opinion, this administration is either corrupt to the core with no regard for truthfulness or God is asleep on the throne.