Cameroon self acclaimed prophet dies from COVID-19 after laying hands on infected parishioners
Frankline Ndifor, a popular self proclaimed prophet and former presidential candidate in Cameroon, died from the corona virus Saturday after laying hands on dozens of his infected followers and pronouncing them healed from the disease. He was 39.
The BBC reported that the death of the pastor, who founded Kingship International Ministries, caused so much mayhem it took police hours to retrieve his corpse from his home, where he died in Bonaberi, as his family and followers prayed for his resurrection.
RigobertChe, one of the pastor’s followers, told Voice of America that it was only last Wednesday that Ndifor had prayed for him and several dozen others who were either diagnosed with the virus or suspected they had been infected. Now that Ndifor is dead his followers are worried about their healing from the virus.
“This is a pastor that has been laying hands [on the sick] and claiming that he cures COVID-19,” Che said. “If you, the person that claims that you are curing COVID-19, you are dead, what about the fellow people that were affected by the COVID-19? Now that he is dead, I do not know how the people that he was laying hands on will be healed.”
The Cameroon Tribune reported that the pastor was sick for weeks before his death but he didn’t seek medical help until early Saturday morning when his symptoms began to overwhelm him. He reportedly called the Regional Delegate of Public Health to refer him to a doctor, but by the time the doctor arrived he was in a coma and subsequently died.
Doctor Gaelle Nnanga told VOA that Ndifor died less than a week after he was diagnosed with the corona virus.
Nnanga said he had been called by church members to help the pastor on Saturday, but by the time he and his team arrived, Ndifor was having severe respiratory issues that led to an agonizing death less than 10 minutes after he was treated.
A government official in Douala also noted that the pastor’s followers refused to accept the medical examiner’s death pronouncement and had chased medical staff away from his home and told people that he was simply away on a spiritual retreat with God.
Ndifor was a well-known faith healer who placed seventh out of nine candidates in Cameroon’s 2018 presidential election with 23,687 votes, VOA reported.
Before his death he prayed for many people infected with corona virus in his home and church and donated buckets and soap to the poor so they could also protect themselves from the corona virus by washing their hands.
His last public outing was on April 20, when he went out into Douala’s streets to distribute face-masks.
Some 3,300 people have been diagnosed with the corona virus in Cameroon and 147 of them have died, according VOA.
Medical personnel in the Central African nation of more than 27 million are now begging for increased security at hospitals as they face increasing attacks from people infected with the corona virus or their loved ones.
Gervais Gabriel Atedjoe, secretary general of Cameroon’s National Medical Council, told VOA that last week, angry crowds exhumed at least four corpses of people buried after they died of COVID-19 in the cities of Douala and Bafoussam to stop the spread of the virus. They insisted that people needed to be properly buried.
“It is unbelievable, unacceptable that a medical doctor or medical personnel should be putting up a fight over a corpse with a family. They [the crowds] should understand that these people [the healthcare workers] are coming to help so that they should not be infected,” Awah Fonka, governor of Cameroon’s Western Region, said.
Pimpstor Tony Spell launched what he called the #PastorSpellStimulusChallenge, asking gullable Americans to donate their government stimulus checks to evangelists, missionaries and music ministers who he said have not received offerings in over a month. He said he, his wife and his son have all donated their checks, and added that those without a church can donate through his website. How shameful to ask needy Americans to give “the church” their stimulus checks! Shouldn’t their be money left in
“the storehouse” from years and years of tithes and offerings collected by the church? If “the church” had been appropriating funds properly in years past, it would have enough funds to allocate certain amounts to parishioners in need during this pandemic.
He claims that he is asking “people to hand over their $1,200 stimulus checks, because some evangelists and missionaries don’t receive stimulus money.
“We are challenging you, if you can, give your stimulus package to evangelists and missionaries, who do not get the stimulus package,”.
The challenge comes after Spell repeatedly held large religious services in recent weeks at his Life Tabernacle Church in Baton Rouge. The gatherings defied CDC recommendations and an emergency order by Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards that set limits on large gatherings to try to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
“If they close every door in this city, then I will close my doors,” Spell told CNN last month. “But you can’t say the retailers are essential but the church is not. That is a persecution of the faith.”
“Instead of showing the strength and resilience of our community during this difficult time, Mr. Spell has chosen to embarrass us for his own self-promotion,” said Central Police Chief Roger Corcoran said in a statement on March 31.
“Mr. Spell will have his day in court where he will be held responsible for his reckless and irresponsible decisions that endangered the health of his congregation and our community,” Police Chief Corcoran added.
Spell held an Easter Week service after the summons and said about 1,220 people attended, including some who were bused in and others who drove more than 100 miles to be there.
With its early outbreak, Louisiana has had the 9th-most confirmed coronavirus cases in the US. According to the latest tally, over 23,000 people have contracted the virus and 1,267 have died in the state.
CNN’s Daniel Burke contributed to this report, re-edited by Babylon Today
Bobby Blackburn is accused of soliciting two workers and threatening to fire a third if she didn’t take the blame.
A grand jury has indicted a Prestonburg, Kentucky pastor accused of trying to organize a threesome with minors
Pastor Bobby J. Blackburn was indicted on charges of prohibited use of an electronic communication system to procure a minor to commit a sex offense.
His lawyer, Stephen Owens, says news coverage is making the case seem worse than it is. He says Blackburn is accused of trying to solicit 17-year-olds, but “media coverage is making it out to be like they are 9- or 10-year-olds.”
The pastor of the Elevate Church in Prestonsburg owns a Giovanni’s pizza place, which plays Christian music and puts Bible verses on receipts. He’s accused of soliciting two workers and threatening to fire a third if she didn’t take the blame.
“He would send pictures of us or of the children, asking us to look sad. He was saying that white people are so emotional.”
Benin City (Nigeria) (AFP) – In southern Nigeria, an evangelical pastor runs a sprawling camp billed as a refuge for thousands of children who fled the Boko Haram jihadist insurgency in the north.
Solomon Folorunsho, known as Pastor Solomon, says he is on a self-proclaimed mission to help humanity, creating the International Christian Centre for Missions (ICCM).
His camp in Benin City claims to provide accommodation, medical care and education for 4,000 children, “most of them orphans”, as well as 500 widows and missionaries, using funding from local institutions, NGOs and churches abroad.
But witnesses AFP interviewed across Nigeria — children, their relatives, former missionaries and social workers — paint a far darker picture of the pastor and the treatment of those in his care.
“At first he’s very subtle, quiet — like somebody who wouldn’t hurt a fly,” one former church worker said of the charismatic preacher.
“I loved him, I loved his charisma.”
But during months of interviews, witnesses detailed how those living at his 30-hectare (75-acre) facility frequently go hungry and thirsty and endure atrocious hygiene conditions.
All accused the pastor of physical abuse, while some accused him of sexual harassment
Pastor Solomon, aged in his 50s, admits having problems with food and sanitary conditions in the camp but denies any mistreatment.
“There is no bad treatment here. We don’t do abuse,” he told AFP.
“Feeding them is a challenge… but we don’t have anything to hide. We are helping humanity.”
Concerns about the camp have a long history. Three years ago, the UN children’s agency UNICEF sent an assessment team to the site, who filed a report with damning conclusions.
“Pastor Solomon runs this camp as if it is his ‘kingdom’. He controls the movement and actions of every person in the camp through a group of ministers and specially selected children,” the team wrote in the confidential report, seen by AFP.
The UNICEF investigators said what they saw, coupled with interviews with children, caregivers and NGO workers, prompted “strong concerns regarding the possibility that Pastor Solomon may be engaged in sexual activities, or at a minimum, displaying grooming behaviours with girls in the camp”.
Witnesses said that around a dozen young girls work for the pastor as his personal servants and receive preferential treatment.
“A girl who refused to work for him was punished and starved. When he beat you, he wouldn’t stop until you bled seriously,” said Rahila, a 16-year-old girl who left the camp several months ago.
“He had names that he called different girls… He would comment on the size of my butt, and he would say our chests looked like pineapples or stuff like that,” she said.
All the witnesses’ names have been changed to protect their identities.
Other children and adults said that those who upset the preacher were treated brutally.
“I was always hungry, there was never enough food or water. When we complained we got beaten with anything he could lay his hands on,” said 12-year-old Hauwa.
“No one leaves Pastor Solomon without a scar — whether it is psychological or physical,” a former follower told AFP after hesitating at first to talk about his ordeal.
Convincing people to talk about their experiences with Pastor Solomon is a painstaking task. Some have refused to speak out for 20 years.
“Most of the girls were coming from poor homes. They would sleep with him and in exchange he would pay for their school fees,”said a former femalevictim.
She said her going to the authorities about the abuse she experienced and witnessed was out of the question in a country where powerful men are rarely brought to justice.
She was also scared of juju, the traditional black magic widely feared by people in the region.
“I was scared to talk. He uses juju, people told me I would die.”
Evangelical preachers draw fanatical followings across the deeply Christian south of Nigeria. Pastor Solomon’s power stems greatly from his beliefs.
“He says he’s sent by God. To confront him is like confronting God himself,” a former church worker said.
Those who have served under him and lived in the camp say the pastor uses the fear of devil to keep people in line.
On the church’s website, in a short biography entitled “I Saw Jesus” — translated into six languages including Russian and Chinese — he claimed that he was saved from Satan by God himself.
– Foreign evangelical support –
Pastor Solomon’s International Christian Centre for Missions has expanded hugely since he founded it in 1990 with just a dozen young female followers.
In 1992, he set up the first “Home for the Needy”, taking in poor children whose parents entrusted them to his care on the promise of an education.
A former missionary said the pastor would sometimes misrepresent the children as orphans to raise sponsorship in Europe or the United States.
Ten years later, the church had grown to more than 200 branches, with missionaries and preachers working across southern Nigeria and funds coming from evangelical churches abroad.
“He was always browsing the internet to look for church organisations all over the world” to target for donations, the missionary said.
“He would send pictures of us or of the children, asking us to look sad. He was saying that white people are so emotional.”
But it was the Boko Haram jihadist insurgency more than 1,000 kilometres (600 miles) to the north of Benin City that caused a surge in the numbers at the camp.
As the violence displaced millions of people and grabbed global attention in 2013, Pastor Solomon’s group turned its attention to children in the conflict zone of northeastern Nigeria.
“The pastor’s people came (to Maiduguri) and convinced parents to send their children to Benin City where they would have a good education, with free food,” said Rakiya, who allowed five of her six children to go.
“At the camp, parents would be given bags of rice, bus fare, jerrycans of palm oil and the like. So when they returned to Maiduguri they would tell other parents ‘Benin is good’,” she said.
No records are publicly available about how many children were brought from northern Nigeria to the camp.
Pastor Solomon told AFP that the Nigerian army and the intelligence service “have a copy of the register”, but this could not be verified.
UNICEF and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) wanted to set up a program to reunite children from the camp with their families, but were denied access to their identities.
“At this time, camp management has been unable/unwilling to provide this information,” UNICEF said in its report.
UNICEF maintains that it passed on the report to local authorities in 2016 to make themaware of the “concerns”. But nothing appears to have been done.
On the contrary, Pastor Solomon had full support from the then regional governor, Adams Oshiomhole, now head of Nigeria’s ruling party, the All Progressives Congress.
“With the former governor, we once had a good relationship,” Pastor Solomon told AFP. “When parents wanted to get their children back, he would give them money, he would give them a gift.”
Today, while denying any accusations of maltreatment, the pastor admits that the huge influx of children placed a major strain on the camp and that the church struggles for money.
Camp workers have told local media that to feed the estimated 4,000 children and 500 adults at the camp costs hundreds of dollars a day — and that does not include medicine, water, education and clothing.
“We also have a problem with hepatitis, measles, chickenpox and scabies; we don’t have enough accommodation for them, this is a big challenge,” the pastor acknowledged.
Witnesses said that children sleep on mats on the ground in huge hangars without adult supervision, relieving themselves in the forest, complaining of hunger and thirst and not washing, and that many have died in the disease-ridden conditions.
While conditions keep deteriorating at the camp, some European and US evangelical groups still send donations and materials to Nigeria.
The congregation of German pastor Gunther Geipel — who describes Pastor Solomon as a “friend and brother” — is one of them.
Geipel dismisses the allegations against the pastor as “tales” from “jealous people”.
“I cannot imagine that this is true,” he told AFP.
AFP put the allegations against Pastor Solomon and his camp to Edo State minister for social affairs Maria Edeko, who took up her duties several months ago.
She said she had never heard of the UN report or accusations of abuse and poor conditions at the camp but insisted they would be investigated.
She confirmed the authorities did not have access to the camp registry.
“From now on, I can assure you that my ministry will be on top of the situation. We need monitoring,” she said. “It’s our responsibility.”
“I told myself really the only way I could live with it was I was the only one,” the 28-year-old said, choking up. “And this is something I’m going to have to live with, to know that I didn’t say anything.”
Ex Pastor Ronnie Gorton sat unexpressive from behind the counsel table during the first part of his sentencing hearing.
Two men – now close to 30 – took the stand and detailed the years of abuse they say they endured at Gorton’s hands.
The first man to testify, who is now 28, said Gorton began abusing him when he was just 12 years old.
He began attending what was then Munford Assembly of God Church, now called River of Life, in 2002 when Gorton was the children’s pastor. The victim was in the fifth grade.
“It went on for awhile,” the 28-year-old said, “it happened more times than I could count.”
A 27-year-old man also testified the same things happened to him for several years.
Neither of the men who took the stand was aware there were other victims until the allegations against the pastor became public in February 2018. And neither planned to ever tell anyone.
A National Crime Victimization Survey published by the Department of Justice in 2017 reports only 230 of every 1,000 sexual assaults is reported.
“I told myself really the only way I could live with it was I was the only one,” the 28-year-old said, choking up. “And this is something I’m going to have to live with, to know that I didn’t say anything.”
As the news broke last year, his mother called to let him know what had happened. She asked him if anything had happened.
“I just kind of brushed it off,” he said, testifying he told his wife later that night and then his mother the next day.
He didn’t report the abuse when it was happening because he felt guilty and disgusted with himself for “allowing it to happen.”
“I’m fairly confident I’m probably one of the first guys this happened to and that I let this happened to other guys. I did not know that it happened to anybody else, but if I would have came forward, then this probably wouldn’t have happened to anybody else.”
The 27-year-old victim’s mother also called him when the accusations came to light.
“… There was a long silence on the other end of that phone,” he said. “When my mother told me what the allegations were I was kind of speechless. I remember losing my words during that conversation.”
She came right out and asked her son. He confirmed he, too, was a victim.
“That’s when I felt like a weight was literally being lifted off of my shoulders. I was planning on going to my grave with that. I didn’t want to talk about that.”
Over the years he wanted to know if he were the only one.
“There was always a lot of kids around. I’d wondered, but nobody ever talked about it … Nobody asked questions, nobody ever said anything.”
The 27-year-old victim said Gorton apologized to him and the incidents stopped. He was 14 or 15 then.
“He just said he wanted to apologize. And, I mean, I was still processing what it was, good or evil, whatever … but he apologized to me and I didn’t know what to say. I said, ‘It’s okay …’ Obviously, looking back, I wish I would not have just said ‘it’s okay,’ because it wasn’t okay and now I feel guilty because I said ‘it’s okay,’ it’s not okay.”
He testified Gorton was the one who encouraged him to pursue music – like the others, he helped fund the purchase of instruments – and credited Gorton for helping to shape the person he is today.
This victim continued to have a friendship with Gorton, but never addressed the abuse again.
The 28-year-old victim said he’s still living with the guilt.
“This is something that, no matter what sentence comes out of this, I’m going to have to live with for the rest of my life. Regrets and pain that I’ll live with for the rest of my life. Memories that will never go away, no matter how hard I try to shove them down … as everybody else goes home to their lives, I have to live with these memories and live with the regret that I didn’t come forward a lot sooner and prevent this from happening to anyone else.”
Gorton, who was the pastor of The Awakening Church at the time of his arrest, cannot be prosecuted for some accusations against him because the applicable statute of limitations has run out.
A verdict was reached in the rape case against former Mid-South pastor Ronnie Gorton and hewas found guilty in a 24-count indictment including sexual exploitation of a minor, contributing to delinquency of a minor, furnishing alcohol to minors, sexual battery and statutory rape by an authority figure.
Jurors heard from the former Atoka pastor accused of molesting the teen who lived at his home. Ronnie Gorton’s first words on the witness stand adamantly denying he ever had any inappropriate sexual contact with his teen accuser. Gorton told the jury his only wrongdoings were providing minors with alcohol and smoking marijuana with youth from his church.
Anyone can be a church leader in Babylon today, Episcopal priest Reverend Katherine Ragsdale in a prime example of that!
Episcopal priest Reverend Katherine Ragsdale, with her organization National Abortion Federation, will hand out pre-paid gas cards for women seeking abortions, according to FaithWire.
“Since there are a limited number of providers and states continue to impose additional restrictions, many women have to travel long distances to reach the closest provider who can help them,” NAF said in a statement. “And this situation will only worsen as the political environment continues to become more hostile toward abortion rights.”
Ragsdale, who is the Interim President and CEO of NAF, believes the initiative will provide more support for women “so that they can make, and act on, the best decisions for themselves and their families.”
The pilot program will run for three months and start in states that have waiting periods or other abortion restrictions, LifeNews reports.
The response comes in light of several states furthering restrictive abortion limits. States such as Alabama, Georgia, and Louisiana have nearly abolished terminations and several other states are poised to do the same.
As the first lesbian to become a leader of an Episcopal seminary, Ragsdale has been no stranger to controversy. World Magazine reportedRagsdale’s allegiance lies not only with pro-choice causes, but pro-abortion.
“Abortion is a blessing and our work is not done,” she said at a pro-abortion rally. “Let me hear you say it: abortion is a blessing and our work is not done. Abortion is a blessing and our work is not done. Abortion is a blessing and our work is not done.
She continued: “The ability to enjoy God’s good gift of sexuality without compromising one’s education, life’s work, or ability to put to use God’s gifts and call is simply [a] blessing.”
Catherine Glenn Foster, president and CEO of Americans United for Life, the largest pro-life legal organization in the country, believes the pilot program doesn’t help women but abortion centers.
“This is a half-baked publicity stunt by NAF meant to create the impression that there is even a need for this,” she said. “Why doesn’t the abortion industry—dominated by a ‘non-profit’ that has over a hundred million in the bank—lower its prices instead? Because it’s all about profit for them.”
~ Original Post Written By Mikaela Mathews | ChristianHeadlines.com Contributor
And Babylon, the beauty of kingdoms, the glory of the Chaldeans’ pride, Will be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.
Pastor Joel Osteen and his wife, ministers of the Word of Faith prosperity gospel movement, were seen at Lady Gaga’s pride celebration at Apollo Theater. The New York Daily News reports,
Poehler wasn’t the only heavy hitter in the crowd. From Alaska Thunderf–k, a drag performer who won Season 2 of “RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars” to the controversial televangelist and anti-LGBTQ pastor Joel Osteen, the event drew an eclectic mix of fans, industry insiders and celebrities, from the movies (Catherine Zeta-Jones, Michael Douglas), the music universe (Clive Davis, Adam Lambert), the fashion world (Alexander Wang), television (John Oliver, Camila Mendes) and the America’s gay Royal couple and Harlem residents Neil Patrick Harris and husband David Burtka.
It was reported that Osteen was wearing a blue blazer while his wife was wearing a long, black dress.
Osteen asserted a few years ago that he believes that the Scriptures are clear that homosexuality is a sin. Yet, he has continuously softened his tone and downplayed the significance toward homosexuality since then. In an effort to remain culturally relevant and inclusive, Osteen generally avoids the topic altogether.
In 2017 during a conversation with with HuffPost’s Marc Lamont Hill and Joel Osteen and his wife Victoria Osteen, HuffPost Live’s Marc Lamont Hill asked whether gay marriage is against the fundamental “rules” of Christianity.
Osteen replied, “It would be, but I don’t really focus on a lot of those things.” “I try to stay in my lane of what I feel called to do. [Gay marriage] does come up in interviews and things, but that’s not my core message.”
What his message does include, Osteen said, is advising his congregation on how to let go of the past, raise good children and achieve their dreams. He added that the sexuality of gays and lesbians is one of the “issues” faced by many different types of people in his church.
“Everybody’s welcome, but my take on it is it’s easy to make one issue — to become known for that or to let it sidetrack your message,” he said. “If you look at our congregation … including myself, we all have issues. Everybody’s on a journey.”
Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you
Pastor kills transgender woman, goes to work then calls police one hour later!
A Detroit pastor was charged this week in the shooting death of a 36-year-old transgender woman found dead on the street Friday.
Albert Weathers, 46, was charged with open murder and use of a firearm after an investigation into the death of Kelly Stough, who was found by a police officer in the Palmer Park neighborhood, the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office said.
No motive was given, though prosecutors said they have evidence to be presented in court that Stough’s status as a transgender woman played a role in Weathers’ alleged actions.
Weathers is a pastor of the Logo’s Church, and until this week, was an employee at the Great Lakes Water Authority.
A spokesperson for the company confirmed to the Daily News that Weathers’ employment has since been terminated, and that he was off-duty at the time of the alleged shooting.
Weathers, who is reportedly married with children, allegedly left the scene of the crime, clocked in at work, and called police an hour later claiming he’d been the victim of an attempted robbery and had shot someone, according to local ABC affiliate WXYZ.
His bond is set at $1 million, though his lawyer David Cripps told the outlet that he will petition for a lower bond on the argument that his client has strong ties to his community.
Stough, meanwhile, was remembered by mother Jessica Chantae Stough as a beloved member of the community who was very loved, and hoped to one day work in the fashion industry as a designer and buyer.
“She has a family who cared about her, who loved her, and I want them to know that transgender ladies – expressly those of color – they’re not just throwaways,” she told NBC News. “People care about them.”
A GoFundMe page launched in memory of Stough has raised more than $4,500.
As noted by NBC, Stough once weighed in on the police’s inadequate treatment of transgender people in Detroit in the wake of a 2015 murder of a local transgender woman.
“The police are unaware with our struggle, so they have no sympathy for us,” she told the Guardian, using her stage name Keanna Mattel. “Nobody ever asks, what happened to the person to get here? Unelss you’re just in the middle of the street, dead bleeding, you can flag down a police officer, and they’ll just ride past you like you never flagged them down.”
Fair Michigan Foundation President and Michigan Attorney General-elect Dana Nessel said in a statement that Stough’s murder “reflected the excessive brutality that members of Detroit’s transgender community constantly face.”
One should know where their tithes and offerings are going to!
Two weeks after drawing praise for allowing congregants in need to take cash directly from his offering baskets, Pastor John Gray of Relentless Church in Greenville, South Carolina, is drawing flak for gifting his wife a Lamborghini Urus for their eighth wedding anniversary celebration that left her screaming on Saturday.
The Urus, with prices starting at about $200,000 in 2017, according to Fortune, has a 4.0-liter V8 twin-turbo engine that produces 650 horsepower. It also boasts an automatic eight-speed transmission, can travel 0 to 62 miles per hour in 3.6 seconds and reaches a top speed of 189 mph.
In a clip of the moment posted on Instagram by Sue Mayweather, Gray is shown leading his wife, Aventer, to the luxury vehicle and once she realizes what the gift is, she breaks out in screams. Her husband is seen holding her hand before declaring to the crowd “Lamborghini Urus.” Mayweather noted that Gray’s wife also gifted him the “‘green box’ Rolex,” a term used to describe the Rolex Explorer II which comes with a price of approximately $8,000.
In an Instagram post on Sunday, singer Tyrese who attended the celebration wrote: “Honored to have been there to see and witness every moment…..Pastor John Gray and his beautiful First Lady renewed their vows after 8 years of marriage….fairy tail grace and magic….Honored and honored again to have been in the room and apart of you guys magical evening. From the #Gibsons to the #Grays May God KEEP you covered in his blood…//Amen!!!”
While some people praised the preacher for splurging on his wife, others were angry that a preacher would indulge in such display of opulence. Modesty should be demonstrated from ANYONE claiming to be a pastor and I believe that the only reason he allowed his congregation to “take as they needed” from the offering prior to this big splurge was to lighten the blow. Oh, he’ll say that it didn’t come from the tithes and offerings that it came from some book sales or other business that he is engaged in outside of his church business. The structural church is a very lucrative business indeed!
“The fact that they are priests is above and beyond shocking,” “They’re supposed to be leading good example and they’re doing exactly the opposite.”
According to MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) — On September 04, 2018 two Chicago-area priests were charged Monday with Lewd and Lascivious behavior and Indecent Exposure after being caught performing a sexual act inside a car parked on a Miami Beach street.
According to Miami Beach Police, 39-year-old Diego Berrio and 30-year-old Edwin Giraldo Cortez were in the front seat of a car performing oral sex.
Police got a 911 call about a lewd and lascivious incident taking place in the 1300 block of Ocean Drive.
When officers arrived, the police report states, the two were performing sex acts on each other “in full view of the public passing by on Ocean Drive and the sidewalk.”
It was 3:20 in the afternoon.
“Yesterday, we received a call indicating that two men were performing a sex act inside of a car. This is in broad daylight, 13th Street and Ocean Drive. There are no tints on the window,” explained Miami Beach Police spokesman Ernesto Rodriguez.
When police arrived, it was still going on.
Police said Berrio and Giraldo Cortez were so engaged, they didn’t even notice that police were there.
“We observed the two males performing the sex act, the officer had to tap on the window to get their attention,” said Rodriguez.
Both men were placed under arrest without incident.
Candice Parker was with her son at the playground.
“The fact that they are priests is above and beyond shocking,” she said. “I don’t understandthis kind of behavior. They’re supposed to be leading good example and they’re doing exactly the opposite.”
The arrest reports state both men are priests from Arlington Heights, Illinois, which is a suburb of Chicago.
The address they gave comes back to the Mission San Juan Diego Parish in Arlington Heights.
“Their profession is irrelevant, in fact our trouble with this is that this is broad daylight, for anyone to see including children. There’s a time and a place for everything and this certainly was not the time and place,” said Rodriguez.
Police point out there is a children’s playground near the intersection of 13th and Ocean Drive.
Berrio was charged with a misdemeanor charge of Lewd and Lascivious Behavior and Giraldo Cortez was also charged with a misdemeanor charge of Lewd and Lascivious Behavior plus Indecent Exposure.
Late Tuesday, the Archdiocese of Chicago released a statement regarding the two priests.
“We were informed this morning that Rev. Diego Berrio, pastor of Misión San Juan Diego in Arlington Heights, Ill., and Rev. Edwin Giraldo Cortes, an extern priest from Soacha, Colombia who served at St. Aloysius Parish in Chicago for one month, August 1 to August 31, 2018, were arrested in Miami on September 3, 2018.
“Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, has removed Fr. Berrio from ministry and withdrawn his faculties to minister in the Archdiocese of Chicago, effective immediately. The archdiocese will appoint an administrator for the Misión San Juan Diego as soon as possible.
“Archdiocese representatives have been in contact with Fr. Cortes’ home diocese of Soacha, Colombia and informed them that Fr. Cortes will not be granted additional faculties to minister in the Archdiocese of Chicago.
“It is our responsibility to ensure those who serve our people are fit for ministry. We take this matter very seriously and will provide updates as they become available.”
The two men have since bonded out of jail but had nothing to say as they left.
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