[ back to home page ]MOUNT KISCO, NY. Parishioners at the Presbyterian Church of Mount Kisco yesterday were coming to grips with revelations that their former pastor was charged by the presbytery with sexually abusing eight boys. The eight charges, unveiled at the presbytery's regional meeting at Webb Horton Memorial Presbyterian Church in Middletown, outline abuse of boys under 18. Among the allegations are that Miller invited a child into the shower with him, that he had oral sex with a minor on numerous occasions over two years and that he made inappropriate sexual remarks and propositions. (THE JOURNAL NEWS, December 5, 2002)
HALN Reverend Young Key, 47 Gold Coast Presbyterian minister. Receives 8 year jail sentence after being found guilty in Brisbane District Court of rape, digital rape and indecent dealing with girl, aged 14, in 2000 at Nerang, south of Brisbane. Court hears Haln, who ran farm where visiting Korean Christians could work, seduced girl after offering to teach her English. (Queensland, Australia, 2002).
TRENTON, NJ. - Two adult males who alleged they were sexually abused as teenagers by a former Presbyterian youth minister have no right to sue the local church and its hierarchy because of the state's charitable immunity law, an appeals court has ruled.
The men sued the national Presbyterian Church, the church'sSynod of the Northeast, the Presbytery of Elizabeth and the Presbyterian Church at Pluckemin claiming they had been repeatedly sexually abused by their Presbyterian youth minister, Jeffrey Cheseboro. A lower court dismissed the case against the church defendants saying that they were afforded charitable immunity under state law. The appellate panel concurred.
"People don't realize this but if you send your child to a church-affiliated nursery school and they are abused by the teacher the only cause of action you have is against the abuser itself. The church is immune," said John Thatcher, who represented the plaintiffs in the case.
The way the law works, Thatcher said, if you are a member of a church and slip and fall on the stairs, you have no right to sue the church because you are a beneficiary of the church's "charitable purposes." A stranger,or nonmember, however, can bring a case, the courts have found.
In 1995, lawmakers did amend the charitable liabilities law. They said that trustees, directors, officers, employees, agents, servants or volunteers of charitable organizations were not granted immunity if they committed an act of sexual assault and other crimes of a sexual nature, but the charitable institutions themselves were.
The appeals court also upheld a dismissal of the case against Cheseboro. The court found that the two-year statute of limitations, which in most sexual abuse cases begins once a child reaches adulthood, had expired. AP
DALLAS - Six women have accused a retired missionary of molesting them 30 years ago in Africa, shortly before Highland Park Presbyterian Church hired him as an associate pastor.
Similar allegations by others forced Rev. Bill Pruitt, 87, to quit his mission job in 1970, say two of the women and a former mission official. All the accusers are daughters of people who worked with Pruitt in Congo, then called the Belgian Congo.
An inquiry stemmed from a 1998 complaint filed by several women against Pruitt, who was then retired in Dallas. Pruitt, who died in 1999, denied the allegations. No criminal charges were ever filed. Church officials received credible information that the missionary molested children, but took no disciplinary action.
Another accuser said she hopes publicity will lead other victims to get help. She said she felt powerless to complain when abused in the late 1960s in Congo's capital of Kinshasa, at a boarding school for missionaries' children where Pruitt worked as a dormitory supervisor.
Her parents, she said, "were 500 miles away" at a rural mission post. "There was no telephone or radio connection."
Pritchard said she was aware of at least 6 victims beyond the women who have spoken to investigators. Some were abused at the school, as she and the second accuser were, she said, and others were targeted when Pruitt visited mission posts. Because children were separated from their parents, Pruitt was like a father or an uncle, who charmed them with everything from toys to tricks to hypnosis, she said.
Her father, John Pritchard, said two girls from other families accused Pruitt in the late 1960s. Mr. Pritchard, then chief administrator for US Presbyterians' mission work in Congo, said he ordered Pruitt never to be alone with girls again and to quit his mission work. Pruitt, he said, did not respond to the allegations, "but his wife did. She was very strong in denying that such a thing could happen."
Mr. Pritchard said his daughter told him only recently that she, too, had been molested. Mr. Pruitt enjoyed a reputation as "a very gentle and compassionate man... one of the most loved and admired missionaries we have," he said.
A retired pastor, speaking on condition of anonymity, said his daughter was one of the two who complained in the late 1960s and is not part of the six coming forward now.
Pruitt was later hired by the Highland Park church, one of the largest Presbyterian congregations in Texas. Morning News
ELDRIDGE Reverend Graeme Alfred, 58 VIC Presbyterian minister. Appears in Melbourne Magistrates Court charged with 28 child sex offences, including 17 counts of indecent assault and 9 of committing unlawful sexual intercourse, against 3 boys, aged 9 to 12, in 1981 at Presbyterian church and manse in northern VIC. Court hears assaults involved oral sex, talcum powder and showering with victims. (Victoria, Australia, 1998).
LOS ANGELES - Ronald Reagan's former pastor returned to active ministry two years after he was disciplined for sexual misconduct with 5 women. Presbyterian minister Rev. Donn Moomaw,66, accepted an interim position in a San Diego church after the presbytery had determined he had fulfilled all the requirements, including signs of full repentence. (7/27/97)
NAME SUPPRESSED, age 70 VIC Presbyterian training farm superintendent. Appears in Melbourne Magistrates Court on child sex charges, including committing unlawful sexual intercourse and indecent assault, against 3 boys, aged under 16, between 1954 and 1961 while head of Dhurringile Training Farm near Tatura, north of Melbourne. Court hears offences occurred in dining room of Presbyterian Church-run home, in showers, in one boy's bed and in car. (A MacLean; HS 960228; APP 960515) (Victoria, Australia, 1996).
CHURCH SUED FOR NEGLIGENCE. One of several girls who said Alva minister Rev. Robert Bruce Brigden molested her is suing the First Presbyterian Church for failing to check his background before hiring him. Allegations of sexual crimes were made at his former position in Kansas. Charges allege that he molested Alva church girls, ages 4 to 14. The church posted his bond. (Tulsa Tribune)
Alva, OK. MOLESTING MINISTER STABBED TO DEATH BY INMATES. Robert Bruce Brigden, former pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Alva, was stabbed to death by 2 fellow inmates of the Oklahoma State Reformatory while serving a 40-year prison sentence. He was convicted of rape by instrument, lewd molestation, and fondling of 11 girls, aged 4 to 14. (Dallas Morning News 6/14/94)
Former Minister Fatally Stabbed in Prison Cell
LOWE Robert Arthur Selby, 57 Melbourne Sunday school teacher and Presbyterian church elder. Receives life jail sentence in Melbourne Supreme Court after being convicted of kidnapping and choking to death girl, aged 6, whose decomposed body was found in 1991 near Rosebud, south of Melbourne. Court hears Lowe, who attended Rowville Presbyterian Church, killed "for sexual purposes". Report says Lowe on two occasions waved Bible at courtroom, swearing he "never saw girl". Earlier, in 1984, Lowe was charged with exposing himself to schoolgirls at Glen Waverley shopping centre, Melbourne; in 1991, he was warned for indecent exposure at Croydon, Melbourne. In 1997, report lists Lowe as one of VIC's top 4 sex fiends. (Victoria, Australia, 1994).
JURY ACQUITS PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH. A Louisville jury of 6 men & 6 women found in favor of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in a $5 million sexual-harassment suit brought by Janet Gellhaus. The employee claimed her superior Nagy Tawfik sexually harassed her, pressuring her into a sexual relationship by threatening to fire her. Church attorney Michael Valenti, apparently conceded the relationship when he said after the acquittal (shades of the U.S. Senate): "The lesson should be you need to immediately tell people about it, you need to immediately investigate your rights, you need to use some common sense & say 'no'." Source: _Presbyterian Outlook_ 9/7/92.
PRESBYTERIAN REFORM URGED. The Presbyterian General Assembly, meeting in Baltimore in June, voted 446-78 to recommend abolishing the statute of limitations for reporting sexual misconduct by clergy. The church, citing critical proportions, has a 3-year time limit for reporting sexual misconduct by church officials. The vote must be ratified by 2/3 of the church's 171 regional presbyteries. It also voted 491-26 to establish a policy on sexual misconduct, advising local churches to set up "sexual misconduct response teams" & notify secular authorities "when appropriate". The adopted policy said there is evidence that "10-23 percent of clergy nationwide have engaged in sexualized behavior or sexual contact with parishioners, clients, employees, etc., within a professional relationship". Source: AP 6/12/92.
NUDE MINISTER CONVICTED. Rev. Bruce Rentz, found guilty of indecent exposure after a state trooper saw him jogging naked and chased him to his home, has resigned as minister from Greenbush Presbyterian Church. He was ordered to perform community service, pay a $50 fine, and get counseling. Source: _Union News_ 5/14/92.
PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER GETS 40 YEARS. Rev. Robert Bruce Brigden was sentenced to 40 years in prison for molesting young girls in his congregation, convicted on 8 counts of lewd molestation & 1 count of rape by instrumentation involving a girl, 7. Bridgen, 57, was accused of molesting 11 girls, aged 4 to 14, during the 4 years he was at the Alva church. His congregation put the church up as bond, insisting he was innocent. He was placed in protected custody. Brigden blamed his arrest on a girl, 4, whose parents were the first to take the children's allegations seriously. "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned," Brigden wrote his wife about the 4-year-old, whom he described as "4 going on 400 years old", saying she invited him to spend the night in her bed, & was mad that he declined. Source: _Tulsa Tribune_ 8/92, _Tulsa World_ 9/3/92, _Daily Oklahoman_ 6/14/92.
PRESBYTERY REMOVES PASTOR. The Pittsburgh Presbytery removed the associate pastor of the prominent East Liberty Presbyterian Church on charges of sexual misconduct. Rev. Howard Eybers, 43, is accused by 3 women of making sexual overtures. Source: _Pittsburgh Post- Gazette_ 3/7/92.
TASKER Donald Gilbert, 61 Melbourne trainee Presbyterian minister and school teacher. Receives 6 year jail sentence in Melbourne County Court after being convicted on 29 child sex charges, including 12 counts of indecent assault, 5 of attempting indecent assault, 7 of gross indecency with aggravating circumstances and 5 of committing unlawful sexual intercourse with aggravating circumstances, against 4 boys, aged 5 to 11, between 1986 and 1991 at Melbourne home and suburban swimming pool. Court hears Tasker, of Croydon, abused his victims after volunteering to become surrogate parent with Melbourne community welfare agency. (Victoria, Australia, 1992).
A federal sting operation to find child pornographers/molesters yielded 6 arrests in Philadelphia, including Presbyterian minister JOHN MCVAY, 53. He allegedly solicited sex with 2 girls ages 9 and 12. He was charged with criminal solicitation to commit involuntary deviant sexual intercourse. He also sent a 15 year old girl obscene material and a letter soliciting sex. (Intelligencer-Record, 3/10/89)
Woman sues Presbyterian church for negligence: The Tulsa Tribune reported that one of several girls who said a Presbyterian minister molested her is suing the church for failing to check his background before hiring him. Allegations of sexual crimes were made at his former position in Kansas. Charges allege that he molested the church girls, ages 4 to 14. The church posted his bond.
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