According to the affidavit, the current investigation, along with the two prior investigations, demonstrated four decades of children and adults suffering from sexual abuse by Porter
SARASOTA, Fla. — Sarasota police arrested a 72-year-old bishop/song writer accused of sexually abusing children and young adults for four decades.
On Oct. 29, Sarasota police received information of a video being viewed on a social media app regarding alleged sexual abuse, according to the affidavit.
The accuser said he had been sexually abused as a child by a bishop at Westcoast Center for Human Development.
After identifying and locating the accuser, police were able to speak with him. He told them his first memory of the abuse started around age 15 and continued until he was 21 years old. The sexual abuse involved “fondling, masturbation, oral and anal sex” with guidance from the bishop, 72-year-old Henry Lee Porter Sr.
The victim said the sexual acts occurred in Henry Lee Porter’s Inner Office and were committed on him and by him from Porter, according to the affidavit.
Police said during their interview with the victim, additional victims were identified. According to the victim, those victims had reached out to him for support.
Police interviewed several other victims and conducted interviews with them, as well. They all provided statements to law enforcement outlining the abuse.
Police said aside from the recent investigations, they also wanted to bring to the court’s attention two other criminal investigations made in 1990 and 2001-02.
In the 2001-02 investigation, an anonymous letter was obtained that identified 40 named individuals that had allegedly been victims of sexual abuse by Porter. The prior investigations also provided more than 20 similar “fact”victims who provided statements to law enforcement outlining the abuse.
Police said they found that the alleged sexual abuse happened while they were attending the Westcoast Center for Human Development, on mission trips throughout America and abroad on church-sponsored trips.
The victims were boys and girls with ages between 14 years old to young adults of various ages.
According to the affidavit, the current investigation, along with the two prior investigations, demonstrated four decades of children and adults suffering from sexual abuse by Porter.
Porter is charged with sexual battery with a child under 12 years of age.
“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.”
The fresh allegations come months after Catholic leaders gathered for an unprecedented summit at the Vatican to tackle widespread pedophilia within the church.
Two priests allegedly abused boys in Vatican’s youth seminary in 1980s and 1990s
Three more former altar boys have claimed they were sexually abused by two priests in the Vatican, as the child abuse scandal that has rocked the Catholic church zeroed in for a second time on its headquarters.
The allegations of abuse in the Vatican’s youth seminary, to be set out in an Italian TV show on Sunday, date back to the 1980s and 1990s when the boys were aged between 10 and 14.
The accusations come two months after the Vatican said it would seek to indict Fr Gabriele Martinelli (28) for allegedly abusing several altar boys in 2012 when he trained at the St Pius X youth seminary. That move was prompted by the Italian show Le Iene’s first investigation into the school in 2017.
The Vatican said in September that an indictment was also being sought against a former director at the youth seminary, Fr Enrico Radice, who was accused of aiding and abetting the alleged crimes.
The Catholic church has faced thousands of child sexual abuse allegations from around the world but Le Iene’s investigation in 2017 was the first time claims of pedophilia within the Vatican’s walls were exposed.
“We decided to keep digging as we had the feeling that the previous cases were not isolated,” said Gaetano Pecoraro, one of the two authors of the investigation. “There were more victims and more priests involved in sexual abuse within the Vatican.”
In the latest investigation, three former altar boys who served at papal masses claimed they were sexual abused by two priests, one a teacher.
One of the victims alleges that one of the priests, who was managing the school’s communal showers, tried to remove his bathrobe. “He wanted to undress me,” the victim alleges. “I tried to wriggle away. I was 13 years old. I fell to the ground and asked him ‘what are you doing?’ I then got up and ran away.”
All three boarded at the youth seminary. The second victim alleges he was abused at the Casa Santa Marta, where many priests stay, by a priest at the youth seminary when he was 10 or 11 years old. “He asked me to go upstairs to his room, made me sit on his legs, began to stroke my thigh and then put a hand on my private parts,” he told Le Iene. The priest allegedly persisted with the abuse and after the boy refused the advances he stopped.
The victims, now aged between 37 and 40, came together a few years ago to share their stories. The third victim made similar allegations but chose not to go into detail for the programme. The three claimed that a fourth former altar boy suffered worse sexual abuse than they did, but when he was contacted by Le Iene he refused to talk.
The allegations were corroborated by several people who claimed to have witnessed some of the abuse.
Le Iene managed to trace one of the accused priests. The man, whose face is blurred in the programme, appears to be frightened by the journalists’ visit. After he hears the accusations made against him in the audio interviews, he responds: “No, it’s not possible. I can’t remember ? I’m not saying they’re lying, I’m saying they have misunderstood.”
The Vatican said in a statement that if new elements emerged during the judicial proceedings it had begun in the Martinelli case “involving further offences by the accused or by others, the judicial authorities of the state of the Vatican City will proceed with the opening of a new file of documents and, following preliminary investigation, with a new request for a trial.”
The fresh allegations come months after Catholic leaders gathered for an unprecedented summit at the Vatican to tackle widespread paedophilia within the church. At the close of the summit in February, Pope Francis promised the church would “spare no effort” in bringing abusers to justice and would not cover up or underestimate abuse.
“By choosing not to thoroughly investigate allegations, the Catholic Church has failed in its moral obligation to provide survivors, parishioners and the public a complete and accurate accounting of all sexually inappropriate behavior involving priests in Illinois,”
CHICAGO – Nearly 400 Catholic clergy members in Illinois have been accused of sexual misconduct, but church officials have only informed congregants of a fraction of those who have faced allegations, according to attorneys who represented clergy sex abuse victims across the USA.
A 182-page report, published by the Minnesota-based law firm Jeff Anderson and Associates, includes the names, background information, photos and assignment histories of each accused clergy member.
“The danger of sexual abuse in Illinois is clearly a problem of today, not just the past,” the report concludes. “This will continue to be a danger until the identities and histories of sexually abusive clerics, religious employees and seminarians are made public.”
Anderson said he hopes the report will push church leaders to publicly identify hundreds more clergy who faced allegations.
The men named in the report worked in the Archdiocese of Chicago and the dioceses of Belleville, Joliet, Peoria, Rockford and Springfield. Dioceses’ officials pushed back on the report’s findings.
The Archdiocese of Chicago, which serves about 2.1 million Catholics, said it “does not “police itself.”
“It reports all allegations to the civil authorities, regardless of the date of the alleged abuse, whether the priest is a diocesan priest or religious order priest, and whether the priest is alive or dead,” the archdiocese said in a statement.
Andrew Hansen, a spokesman for the Springfield Diocese, dismissed the report as “an impressive professional marketing brochure.”
He noted one of the priests listed in the report, Rev. Frank Martinez, had spent about six weeks in 1985 working as a hospital chaplain in the central Illinois diocese before resigning his position.
The following year Martinez, who was assigned to a parish in Buffalo, Iowa, was accused of propositioning a 15-year-old boy in an Iowa motel room. Martinez was removed from the ministry in 2004. In 2008, he was included on a list by the Davenport Diocese of 24 priests credibly accused of sexual abuse.
“(The report) does not represent, as Mr. Anderson suggests, a thorough and diligent review of the publicly available facts, and it is highly misleading and irresponsible,” Hansen said.
The Rockford Diocese said in a statement it has not disclosed allegations against many of the clergy on Anderson’s list “because the accusations either have not been substantiated or are completely without merit.”Joliet Diocese officials also said that allegations against some named on Anderson’s list have not been substantiated.
“The list includes a number of priests, living and deceased who, at one time or another provided some ministry within the Diocese of Joliet at some point during their priesthood, but are not priests of the Diocese of Joliet,” the Joliet Diocese said in a statement.
Rockford Diocese officials said they were unaware that one former priest named on the list, Rev. Ivan Rovira, had been found to have committed sexual abuse of a child after he left Northern Illinois in the early 1970s. The Brownsville, Texas Diocese earlier this year placed Rovira on its list of “clergy with credible allegation of sexual abuse of a minor.”
Rovira admitted to Brownsville Diocese officials in 2002 that he had sexually abused a boy during his time working in Texas. He was forced to leave the ministry, and later fled to Mexico, according to the Anderson report.
“Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this list, and the list covers the time frame of 1908, when this diocese was established, to the present,” the Rockford Diocese said in its statement. “An allegation against a priest who had an assignment in this diocese but belongs to a religious order or other diocese is referred to the religious order or other diocese to which the priest belongs and is under its jurisdiction.”
Attorneys culled the names of the clergy named in the report from legal settlements and news reports detailing claims of child sexual abuse. Although lawsuits were filed involving many of the alleged perpetrators, the majority of the claims against the individuals were settled, according to the report.
“We’ve chosen to reveal this information, because the Catholic bishops and religious orders who are in charge and have this information . . . have chosen to conceal it,” Anderson said.
The six Catholic dioceses of Illinois released the names of 185 clergy members who church officials determined were credibly accused of sexual abuse. The Anderson list includes those who were identified by the Illinois dioceses and more than 200 additional priests and deacons.
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, who left office in January, issued a preliminary report in December that found there are at least 500 clergy from Illinois’ dioceses who have faced allegations of abuse. The church has not publicly acknowledged or thoroughly investigated those claims, Madigan’s report found. She did not name those accused of misconduct.
Madigan launched her investigation in August after a landmark Pennsylvania grand jury report detailed claims against more than 300 “predator priests” who had abused at least 1,000 victims over roughly six decades. The former Illinois attorney general said her office was flooded with hundreds of emails and calls from people alleging they were victims of abuse by clergy in Illinois in the aftermath of the Pennsylvania report.
Madigan is one of at least 14 state attorney generals who have confirmed investigations or reviews after the Pennsylvania report. Madigan’s successor, Kwame Raoul, said before he took office in January that he was committed to continuing the investigation.
“By choosing not to thoroughly investigate allegations, the Catholic Church has failed in its moral obligation to provide survivors, parishioners and the public a complete and accurate accounting of all sexually inappropriate behavior involving priests in Illinois,” Madigan said.
Weeks after Madigan released her report, Anderson, along with other attorneys and clergy sex abuse survivors, launched the “Fight for 500” initiative calling on the Illinois dioceses to release the names of clergy.
The list published Wednesday includes priests and deacons whose affiliations in some cases date back decades. Many of the accused have died.
The report notes the Archdiocese of Los Angeles settled a civil lawsuit in 2007 alleging the Rev. Robert Boley accosted a young girl in the 1980s. Boley moved to a Chicago parish in 1989 and also served at parishes in Darien, Ill., Englewood, N.J., and Louisville, Ky.
“As of 2007, it was believed that Fr. Boley was residing at the Carmelite House in Joliet, Illinois, and working in their archives,” the report says. “Fr. Boley’s current whereabouts, status as a priest, and whether he has access to children are unknown.”
In another case, the report says David Stalzer, an ordained priest in the Joliet diocese, faced a civil lawsuit in 1993, in which he was accused of child sexual abuse while he was working at a diocese parish.
“It is believed that Fr. Stalzer returned to active duty later that year under supervision and purportedly with limited contact with children,” according to the report.
The suit was dismissed in 1994 after the accuser dropped out of sight, according to the Joliet Herald-News. Stalzer died in 2001.
The list includes one priest who is in active ministry, Anderson said.
The priest, who is assigned to a parish on Chicago’s North Side, was temporarily removed from his position in December 2013 after the archdiocese received reports of him molesting a child at another Chicago-area parish where he worked 20 years earlier.
The Chicago Archdiocese reinstated the priest into active ministry months later, after law enforcement found insufficient evidence to prosecute him.
Days after he was reinstated, another man came forward and said he saw the same priest molest a teenage boy at a suburban fitness center. The Cook County Sheriff’s Office opened an investigation, but the claim was never substantiated no charges were filed.
Anderson defended putting the priest on the list even though authorities had not corroborated the allegations.
“(He) may be innocent, but given the fact that are two public allegations that have been made against him, we feel and believe that it needs to be publicly disclosed as somebody whohas been publicly accused and not adjudicated,” Anderson said.
Reverend Father Faucher shared his fantasies with other pedophiles online. He spoke of wanting to sexually abuse altar boys and babies. Faucher recalled enjoying a video of a boy being beaten to death
A retired Catholic priest who was caught with thousands of pornographic images and videos of children and boasted about urinating in the wine he blessed for parishioners described himself as a “sick puppy” in court on Thursday before an Idaho judge sentenced him to 25 years in prison.
Rev. W. Thomas Faucher, 73, pleaded guilty in September to five felony counts, and must register as a sex offender upon his release. He will serve the full 25 years, as the judge denied him the possibility of parole.
The sentencing “brings to a close one of the most difficult cases the Idaho Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Unit has ever investigated,” said Attorney General Lawrence Wasden in a statement. “The nature of the evidence uncovered was extremely disturbing.”
Investigators first began looking into Faucher late last year, after receiving an anonymous online tip about two sexual images involving children that had been sent from the priest’s email account.
According to evidence presented in court Thursday, police waded through hundreds of emails and online chats Faucher had with someone named “Bruno.” In them, the priest, who retired in 2015 after serving for decades at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Boise, was “actively seeking interests with gay men, satanic interests” and the rape and killing of minors.
More than 2,500 illegal files containing violent child pornography were recovered from Faucher’s computer, cell phone, and Dropbox account. In some videos, the child victims wept as they were abused.
Authorities also revealed the priest shared his fantasies with other pedophiles online. He spoke of wanting to sexually abuse altar boys and babies. In one exchange, he recalled enjoying a video of a boy being beaten to death.
“I was one really sick puppy,” Faucher said during his sentencing, according to the Statesmen. “I screwed up big time … I feel so much remorse and anger.”
Other evidence showed Faucher also used racist language in his chats, and once bragged about urinating into the sacrificial wine. Police also recovered images of Faucher urinating on a cross and a canon law book. Before being sentenced, Faucher argued he would be more useful as a free man.
“There are many people who will benefit if I am no longer in jail,” Faucher said, noting he wants to help survivors of childhood sexual abuse. “There are no people who will benefit if I am in jail or in prison.”
But Judge Jason Scott said he disagreed, citing the conclusion of analysts: that Faucher would likely re-offend if freed.
“This is the crime that has the potential for both immediate and long-lasting consequences,” Scott said, according to the Statesmen. “I think there is a legitimate risk to the community.”
The priest was initially charged with 21 counts of felony sexual exploitation of a child, one count of felony possession of a controlled substance for having LSD and two counts of misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance for having marijuana and ecstasy. He pleaded guilty to two counts of distribution of sexually exploitative material, two counts of possession of sexually exploitative materials and one count of drug possession.
“I am deeply sorry that I was and have been connected to that in any way,” Faucher told the judge.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Boise is moving to defrock Faucher, and allegedly had the man’s former residence exorcised before putting it on the market.
“The volumes of shocking information that the law enforcement investigation uncovered reveal the heinous nature of child pornography and the tragic impact upon its victims,” a statement from the diocese reads. “While we cannot begin to fathom what brought Faucher to the point that he was able to enter into this evil and dark world, we are thankful for the efforts of the law enforcement community in doing what it can to protect our children from these crimes.”
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.”
women from the isolated Innu communities of Unamen Shipu and Pakua Shipu, on Quebec’s Lower North Shore, described how they were sexually assaulted by an Oblate priest who worked in their territory for four decades, until his death in 1992.
Sexual abuse of Innu, Atikamekw children at hands of missionaries was rampant
This story is based on a report by Anne Panasuk of the investigative program, Enquête. Watch Enquête’s full report here, in French.
“He’d let us drive. He knew how to do everything. We were impressed to see a priest act that way,” recalls Jason Petiquay.
Petiquay was 11 when he was sexually abused by Raynald Couture, an Oblate missionary who worked in Wemotaci, Que., from 1981 to 1991.
The Atikamekw community 285 kilometres north of Trois-Rivières was one of many remote First Nations communities in Quebec where priests belonging to the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI) were spiritual leaders and authority figures for generations.
Petiquay described how Couture would lure young boys to his cabin by inviting them for a ride on his all-terrain vehicle or in his pick-up truck.
His story of abuse is one of dozens Atikamekw and Innu people in Quebec told Radio-Canada’s investigative program Enquête.
It paints of bleak portrait of widespread sexual abuse at the hands of at least 10 Oblate priests in eight different communities served by the missionary order, which began its evangelization work among Inuit and First Nations in Canada in 1841.
MMIWG shines light on decades-old secret
It has been almost a year since women from the isolated Innu communities of Unamen Shipu and Pakua Shipu, on Quebec’s Lower North Shore, described how they were sexually assaulted by an Oblate priest who worked in their territory for four decades, until his death in 1992.
One after another, alleged victims of the Belgian native, Father Alexis Joveneau, told the federal inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women (MMIWG) how the charismatic and much-admired priest had abused them as children.
But the allegations in the Enquête report suggest the religious order’s superiors long knew about allegations against Joveneau.
Francis Mark, an Innu man from Unamen Shipu who said he was assaulted by Joveneau, said many years ago, he turned for help to the late Archbishop Peter Sutton, an Oblate who was made bishop of the Labrador City-Schefferville diocese in 1974.
“He let me down,” said Mark. “He didn’t guide me. Was there justice? No.”
Devout elders kept silence
In some instances which Enquête looked into, when Oblate superiors or church officials were told about the abuse, the priests were simply sent to neighboring communities, where other Indigenous children were abused in turn.
In other cases, as in that of Father Raynald Couture in Wemotaci, deeply religious elders in the community insisted on silence.
“The mushums, the kookums [grandmothers and grandfathers], they asked him to stay in the community,” said Charles Coocoo, a Wemotaci man who once demanded that Couture leave.
Mary Coon, a social worker at the time, went straight to the religious order to ask them to intervene, but without an official police complaint, the Oblates refused.
“The boys wouldn’t file a complaint,” said Coon. “We wanted to get him out of here, but how could we? There was no complaint. We had nothing.”
In 1991, Couture was sent to France, where he remained until eight of his victims pressed charges. In 2004, he was sentenced to 15 months in jail, a punishment another victim, Alex Coocoo, called so light as to be “ridiculous.”
‘A sin to talk’
Claude Niquay said he was a seven-year-old altar boy when he alleges he was first molested by Father Clément Couture, another Oblate missionary who was posted in Manawan, an Atikamekw community southwest of Wemotaci, until 1996.
Niquay was forced to see his alleged abuser every day, when he delivered meals cooked by his grandmother to the priest.
When he tried to tell his grandmother about the assaults, he was punished.
“She’d tell me to go sit in a corner, that it was a sin to talk about those things,” he said.
Before Couture’s arrival, the community had been served by two other Oblate priests, Édouard Meilleur, and later, Jean-Marc Houle, whose alleged victims — elderly now — still recall their assaults vividly.
Antoine Quitish was just five when Meilleur allegedly stripped off his cloak and forced himself on him, “poking” Quitish’s chest with his penis.
“I’m happy that [the story] is out now,” said Quitish, now 75.
Other Atikamekw elders described Meilleur as an exhibitionist who would slip his hands under girls’ dresses during confession.
Enquête heard how Houle, who was posted in Manawan from 1953 to 1970, was drawn to pregnant women: he’s alleged to have spread holy oil over the stomachs, the breasts and the genitals of his victims, explaining he was warding off the devil in their unborn children. The stories got out.
“I told the archdiocese, ‘If you don’t get that guy out of there, tomorrow morning it will be on the front page of the newspapers’,” recalls Huron-Wendat leader Max Gros-Louis, then the head of the Association of Indians of Quebec.
Houle was removed, said Gros-Louis — only to be sent to the Innu community of Pessamit, on Quebec’s North Shore.
Community warned of priest’s behaviours
Robert Dominique, then a band councillor in Pessamit, said his Atikamekw friends warned him about Houle, but the culture of the time ensured his silence.
“For elders, their faith is deeply rooted,” Dominique said. “Religion is sacred.”
Saying out loud that a priest was violating women and children was inconceivable, Gros-Louis agreed.
“You wouldn’t be allowed to go out anymore. You’d be banished, excommunicated,” he said.
There is no evidence Houle’s alleged assaults continued in Pessamit. However, people in that community recall abuse by three Oblate priests who preceded him.
Dominique’s sister, Rachelle, alleges she was first assaulted by Father Sylvio Lesage in the 1960s, and when Father Roméo Archambault replaced him in the 1970s, for her, things got worse.
He would take her into the church basement, she remembers.
“He was behind me, holding my little breasts,” she alleges, “and after I had to masturbate him in the dark.” She described feeling “broken, vilified.”
Jean-Yves Rousselot also recounted being sexually assaulted by Archambault — alleged assaults that continued when that Oblate missionary was replaced by Father René Lapointe. The young altar boy told his grandfather what had happened and was beaten.
“I had to go to confession, to confess that I had committed blasphemy,” Rousselot said.
Lapointe was his confessor.
The priest would later be relocated to another Innu community, Nutashkuan, where he remained for 30 years, allegedly paying children to masturbate him.
In 2003, provincial police launched an investigation following a complaint, but charges were never laid.
Class action suit awaits Oblates
In the Innu community of Mani-Utenam, Gérard Michel recalls community elders sending him, along with another young man, to Baie-Comeau in 1970 to ask the archbishop to remove Father Omer Provencher, who is alleged to have been sexually assaulting girls in the community.
Nothing was done.
“Nothing, nothing, nothing,” said Michel, now an elder himself.
Provencher, who left the priesthood to live with an Innu woman years ago, told Enquête he will not answer any questions until he is formally charged with a crime.
Father René Lapointe, the priest who spent three decades in Nutashkuan, denies he ever sexually assaulted children.
Now at the Oblates’ retirement home in Richelieu, he told Enquête there is absolutely no truth in any of it.
“Nothing is true in that story. These are all inventions,” he said.
Raynald Couture, the Oblate priest who was found guilty of sexually assaulting children in Wemotaci, lives in the same retirement home.
He admits his past crimes.
“I drank like a bastard, and that’s when those things happened,” he told Enquête. He called his assaults “a weakness” and then a “game with the children,” and said he sought help from his superiors, asking to see the Oblates’ psychologist.
“They never even came,” he said.
Most of the priests accused of having assaulted so many Innu and Atikamekw people as children are dead now; Father Alexis Joveneau, who died in 1992, is buried in the cemetery in Unamen Shipu, where he spent so many years.
In late March, just days after the Oblates issued their apology and set up a hotline for Joveneau’s alleged victims, a class action suit was launched in Quebec for all victims of sexual assault at the hands of Oblate priests.
Lawyer Alain Arsenault says to date, 48 victims have come forward, alleging they were assaulted by 14 different Oblate missionaries.
With the court case pending, the head of the Oblates’ Quebec office, Father Superior Luc Tardif, turned down a request to be interviewed for this story.
Regardless of the results of that lawsuit, people in Unamen Shipu are asking that Joveneau’s remains, buried next to their Innu loved ones, be exhumed and taken away.
– Based on a report by Anne Panasuk of Radio-Canada’s Enquête
A White Missionary Man 21, who sexually abused neglected children as young as five in Nairobi is sentenced to 40 years in prison.
Missionary Matthew Lane Durham, 21, was convicted on four counts of engaging in illicit sexual conduct in a foreign place. He was sentenced to 40 years in a federal prison and must also pay more than $15,000 in restitution. Durham sexually abused children as young as five while doing missionary work in Nairobi in 2014.
A former missionary from Oklahoma convicted of sexually abusing children at an orphanage in Kenya has been sentenced to 40 years in a federal prison.
U.S. District Judge David L. Russell handed down the sentence on Monday to Matthew Lane Durham, 21, who had faced up to 30 years on each of four counts of engaging in illicit sexual conduct in foreign places. He also ordered Durham to pay restitution of $15,863. Durham showed no emotion when the sentence was issued.
‘These were heinous crimes committed on the most vulnerable victims. He was their worst nightmare come true,’ Russell said. Durham asked the court for mercy prior to the judge’s order.
‘All I wanted was to follow God’s plan for me,’ he told the judge.
Prosecutors alleged Durham targeted orphans while volunteering at the Upendo Children’s Home in Nairobi between April and June 2014. Durham had served as a volunteer since 2012 at the orphanage, which specializes in caring for neglected children.
He also molested several other children and forced others to perform sex acts on him, according to court documents.
In the alleged confession, he detailed forcing one young girl to have sex with him several times. ‘Any time I try to read the Bible or pray, this image comes to my head,’ he allegedly wrote.
Durham’s lawyer Stephen Jones, who has previously defended the likes of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, says Mrs Menja forced a false confession from the Durham with ‘pseudo-tribal psychological voodoo’ and accused her of running a cult out of her orphanage.
He told the Oklahoman newspaper that the criminal complaint filed by the U.S. Attorney was ‘shot through with inaccuracies.’
‘The events that occurred in Kenya the last maybe five six days that Matt was there frankly reveal some sort of pseudo-tribal psychological voodoo practiced on him, including confiscating his passport, false imprisonment, keeping food from him one day, delay in allowing him to depart from the country, misleading his parents,’ Mr Jones told the newspaper.
‘I don’t think Hollywood could make up what happened at this so-called orphanage. We’re on the ground in Kenya now. We’re finding out a lot about these people. This place is right on the outskirts of Nairobi. It’s like some cult over there.’
This was Durham’s third mission trip to the orphanage in recent years and Mrs Menja had previously praised his compassion and eagerness to work with the troubled children at the shelter, according to a criminal complaint filed in federal district court in Oklahoma City.
Durham helped raise money for the orphanage in his Oklahoma hometown, including giving a presentation at the Edmonton Rotary Club.
Mrs Menja and her husband – both Kenyan immigrants who live in Oklahoma – founded Upendo Kids International, a Christian charity, that looks after troubled, unwanted and neglected children in a community on the outskirts of Nairobi. Every year, young Christian missionaries from the United States travel to the orphanage to work with the children.
A 12-member jury convicted Durham in June on seven counts of engaging in illicit sexual conduct in foreign places, but Russell acquitted Durham on three of the charges in January.
The letter reads: ‘I took her to the bathroom and forced her to have sex with me. This has happened on more than one occasion.’ This is one of the horrific confessions that Durham allegedly wrote out.
The same jury cleared Durham of accusations that he planned in advance to abuse the children before he left the United States. Defense attorney Stephen Jones has said Durham plans to appeal his convictions.
Orphanage officials and five of the children traveled from Kenya to testify at the trial. The children, who speak Swahili, testified through an interpreter only after Russell cleared the gallery and closed the courtroom to the public and media.
In a sentencing memorandum, federal prosecutors asked Russell to sentence Durham to 120 years in prison — the maximum punishment he faced. Prosecutors also asked that Durham be placed under supervision for the rest of his life in the event he is ever released from prison.
Excerpts of Durham’s confession were read in court by Assistant U.S. Attorney Don Gifford, including a section pertaining to the alleged assault of a 12-year-old girl
‘The defendant’s offenses were undoubtedly serious. He raped or sexually molested by force or threat four children ranging in ages from 5 years to 14 years — some multiple times — in a span of just 33 days,’ prosecutors wrote in the memo.
Prosecutors also said Durham’s actions have had a chilling effect on the lives of dozens of foreign volunteers in Kenya and elsewhere ‘who must now live under the cloud of suspicion, distrust and apprehension when they volunteer their time, talent and resources for the betterment of children in East Africa and beyond.’
‘There is a real perception among Upendo’s local Kenyan community that more pedophiles lurk among the volunteers, especially the young male volunteers,’ prosecutors said.
Evidence produced by prosecutors included handwritten, signed confessions that Durham gave orphanage officials after he was accused of inappropriate behavior.
Jones has argued that the statements were coerced by orphanage officials who isolated Durham, took his passport and created the allegations to obtain $17,000 from the U.S. government for security cameras.
Defense attorney Stephen Jones has described Durham, who was 19 when he was charged in 2014, as ‘an emotionally vulnerable teenager’ who was struggling with ‘sexual identity and development’ while also being a devout Christian.
Authors note: How could this MONSTER violate these innocent children who were already suffering in an impoverished country but were SAFE from perverts and receive anything less than the death penalty?! These children will be damaged FOR LIFE all because they trusted a white missionary worker who came in the guise of Christianity!!!! He even raped a 5 year old! This is not the first time Christian missionary workers have traveled from the West to African countries only to engage in homosexual activities, paid child sex and rape, many of these sexual violations are not publicized in the news media or reported to the local authorities.
Perverted Pastor Ricardo Strachan and Avo Roker arrested for molesting the same little girl
The step-father of a South Florida teen girl was arrested Saturday after police say he sexually assaulted his 13-year-old step-daughter for a year.
The arrest of Avo Roker was made about a week after 40-year-old “Pastor” Ricardo Strachan was placed behind bars for molesting the same girl. Police say Roker introduced Strachan to the girl at church and that the duo threatened to kill her and conduct voodoo rituals on her family if she told anybody.
“Pastor” Ricardo’s photo on his Go Fund Me Page
Both men were booked into Broward County Jail. Avo Roker was held without bond and Ricardo Strachan, who used to preach at The Prophetic Worshippers International Church, was charged with one count of lewd and lascivious battery on a minor between the ages of 12 and 16 years old and held on a $100,000 bond. According to a police report, Strachen had sex with the girl more than 36 times either in the parking lot of a high school during school hours or at a nearby motel between January to December of 2016.
Strachen is also accused of forcing the teen to steal clothes from her family– items that would ultimately be used in voodoo rituals if she went to the authorities, the report said, noting that he told the girl his wife was an armed police officer.
Documents outlining Roker’s arrest were not immediately available Sunday, Lauderhill police told the Miami Herald. However police say Roker had sex with his step-daughter more than 65 times from December 2015 to December 2016.
Jail records show he’s being held on no bond while Strachen is being held on $100,000 bond.
The settlement showed that despite agreeing to the financial payouts, the church “has denied and continues to deny all material allegations of negligence and damages in this case.”
Willow Creek Community Church in Illinois reportedly paid $3.5 million in lawsuits over the sex abuse of two developmentally disabled boys.
The evangelical megachurch, which recently saw its entire elders board resign over unrelated accusations that former lead pastor Bill Hybels sexually abused women, made the payments in the lawsuits over several years, court records obtained by The Chicago Tribune show.
One payment of $1.75 million was apparently made in February, while another one of $1.5 million was made last year.
Former Willow Creek volunteer Robert Sobczak Jr., now 24, pled guilty in 2014 of abusing an 8-year-old with special needs at the church, alongside an older boy not connected with the church. A year earlier, he admitted to sexually abusing another disabled boy at the church, believed to have been 9 years old.
Willow Creek said that the experience was “heartbreaking,” and insisted that it has made changes.
“We have worked with law enforcement and security experts to learn how this happened and how we can ensure it never happens again,” the church said, according to FOX 32.
Cook County prosecutors had described in the lawsuits that Sobczak separately took the two boys to an isolated area of the church, where he molested them.
What is more, the document shows that another church worker had raised concerns in January 2013 that Sobczak was “emotionally unhealthy.” The volunteer was allowed to remain with the program, however, and went on to abuse the second victim.
The second victim reportedly suffered “great mental and emotional harm” due to the abuse he suffered, and underwent therapy.
The settlement showed that despite agreeing to the financial payouts, the church “has denied and continues to deny all material allegations of negligence and damages in this case.”
When the child sex abuse charges first came to light back in 2013, the megachurch said in a statement:
“Willow Creek engages in a rigorous screening and training process for all volunteers and staff in our Special Friends Ministry that includes a detailed child protection application process, checking of references, a national background check, cross checking the sex offender registry, and offering training in child protection. Mr. Sobczak had completed and passed this screening process before he began serving with the Special Friends Ministry.”
Heather Larson, who would go on to become Willow Creek’s executive pastor, before resigning this August over the Hybels scandal, insisted back then that church leadership is “very concerned for the child as well as the family.”
“We take rigorous steps to protect our children,” she stated at the time.
Larson, along with Willow Creek’s entire elder board, resigned earlier in August, admitting that they should have believed the multiple women who accused Hybels of sexual misconduct and abuse this year.
The church initially sided with Hybels, who has continued to maintain his innocence in the face of all claims. It later admitted that its founder had “fallen into sin.”
“While Bill Hybels was our founder and pastor, he was human, broken, and self-admittedly sinful. We believe that his sins were beyond what he previously admitted on stage, and certainly we believe that his actions with these women were sinful. We believe he did not receive feedback as well as he gave it, and he resisted the accountability structures we all need,” said in a statement about the issue Missy Rasmussen, one of Willow Creek’s elders.