In a revealing interview published online by Charisma Magazine October 15th, an official with the Church of God in Christ said he was “offended” by portions of the clergy sexual abuse website which exposes sexual wolves in his denomination.
Apparently responding to the charges of cold silence and inaction directed at victims of clergy sexual abuse by COGIC leadership (which we have proven many times over), Elder Derrick Hutchins, Chairman of the General Counsel of Pastors and Elders told the magazine,
“That’s the part that I really find offensive,” Hutchins said. “Because sometimes it’s written like all we want to do is save ourselves from liability, we don’t really care about people—and that’s not true at all.”
“Our first concern is the parishioners, not just pastors,” he added. “We do not tolerate pastors in the pulpit who are found guilty of these improprieties.”
If COGIC doesn’t tolerate pastors in the pulpit found guilty of sexual malfeasance and more, why then is Larry Weems still pastor and holding all of the offices he held before he was instructed by GE Patterson to pay off the five women he sexually assaulted?
Hutchins offered no examples of COGIC’s alleged compassionate concern to refute the charges. Instead he defaulted into typical uninformed defense mode and said, “Anybody who can find where it’s not being carried out and can prove it, I’m sure that charges will be brought against that bishop who did not carry out his responsibility.”
Its not a question if there is proof, but the question is just how much proof does Rev. Hutchins need to file charges against bishops who have treated victims like dirt. In one case, even after convicted pedophile Leonard Smith admitted to his guilt, church officials lined up to testify in court that the convicted pedophile was a good man and the district “needed” him.
Members of the victims families said that the pastor Samuel Payne, Sr. (the administrative assistant of the jurisdiction), his wife Barbara Payne (vice chair of the International Assistant Supervisor Unit) and the district superintendent CW Johnson, Jr all passionately –and publicly– rooted for the pedophile. One member under oath said she informed the pastor of Smith’s actions as early as 2004. And the bishop ignored all the warnings, reports and everything. Such gross negligence, incompetence and evil from COGIC leaders is reprehensible at best.
GCM Watch spoke with several family members of the victims of convicted molester Leonard Smith. The families are suing COGIC, Inc, Greater North Carolina jurisdiction and Sycamore Temple COGIC in civil court for unspecified damages. The trial opens in a Asheville, NC district court on Monday.
Family members told me that during a district meeting at Sycamore Temple, Asheville District Missionary Gwendolyn Stokely singled out women in the church whose sons were victims, paraded them around and proclaimed “So what you had a dream [about Smith]?? Youre not the only one who’s had a child molested!”
Upon hearing that, the church’s pastor Samuel Payne, Sr jumped from his seat applauding while shouting, “that’s right, that’s right!”. Not one single member of any “pastor-led jurisdictional council” (if such a thing exists) so much as interviewed the families or the children affected. Instead, they were shunned, smeared and re-victimized by Hutchins’ fellow COGIC leaders.
Bishop Larry Shaw of Hinesville, GA furthered disparged and demeaned the victim’s families. On Easter Sunday 2008 during services at Garden of Prayer Church, Shaw openly accused the victim’s family of being con artists who made a living filing false claims. The implication was that the family was just filing another false claim. That’s called slander. The evidence was caught on tape, so Shaw couldn’t deny he said it. Confronted with the evidence, he submitted an affidavit saying he didn’t mean any harm by it.
Mrs. Gwen Fox, whose son was molested by General Board Member JD Husband in 1981 was treated with much disdain after she reported the situation to church authorities. She said her certified letters to General Board members (of which Bishop Blake was a member of) were ignored. Eventually she went and hand delivered a letter to Bishop Ford. She recalled that he snatched the letter from her hand and refused to speak with her. Instead she was told to talk to a secretary. More abuse and mistreatment from leaders.
Husband was not removed from office until allegations that he had embezzled 500k from jurisdictional churches surfaced. That was almost 10 years after the molestations (which COGIC officials knew about) occurred.
Based on the information we have documented, will Elder Hutchins initate charges against Bishop Leroy Woolard (NC), Bishop Larry Shaw (GA), late Bishop LT Walker (AR), Bishop Chandler Owens (GA), Bishop Samuel Iglehart (TX), Bishop Hollis Musgrove (MS), Bishop J. Harvey Lyles (MD) and Bishop James H. Bell. Sr (KY)? According to your own constitution these men should be brought up on charges because they did not carry out their “constitutional duties”.
Since you’re sure charges will be brought, Elder Hutchins, how much longer will these victims and their families have to wait before the Church of God in Christ even apologizes for what has been proven in a court of law? Since you asked for proof, why don’t you speak up and stand up or admit you’re as much a part of the problems as the pedophiles and rapists themselves?
Related: Pastor Harvey Burnett writes about serious ethical and moral violations in COGIC and why Derrick Hutchins remarks are beyond outrageous.