Bell Rings 170 times for victims of suicide of clergy sex abuse

Bell Rings 170 times for victims of suicide of clergy sex abuse


Giving Victims of Sexual Abuse a Chance to Heal

At a church service designed for survivors of molestation, an Anglican cleric tells of abuse he allegedly suffered as a youth.

April 16, 2005|William Lobdell | Times Staff Writer

An alleged victim of clergy sexual abuse, the Rev. Robert H. Greene took his story public last Saturday from an unlikely spot: behind the pulpit at a Los Angeles church.

In a liturgy designed for fellow molestation survivors, the Anglican cleric told his story of alleged abuse as a teenager by a Roman Catholic priest, let others share their experiences, and offered communion to those who wanted it.

About 30 people who attended the service heard original music and poems by victims of sexual abuse.

At the end of the service, the church bell at the Church of Our Savior on Wilshire Boulevard rang 170 times, once for each victim of clergy sexual abuse who has committed suicide in the U.S., according to statistics gathered by the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests.

“We almost broke the bell,” said Greene, a part-time cleric for the Anglican Province of Christ the King. The denomination was formed in 1977 by traditionalists unhappy with changes within the Episcopal Church in America.

A former Catholic seminarian, Greene, 51, is among more than 550 people who filed claims in 2003 against the Los Angeles Archdiocese alleging sexual abuse by clergy and church officials.

He said he decided to hold last week’s unusual church service for those who were unwilling to visit a Catholic parish but still longed to reconnect to God — and for others who had attended Catholic Church healing services but wanted more.

Other victims, who had lost their faith, simply came to support fellow survivors.

“This is what liturgy is supposed to do: connect people with their creator where they are at,” said Joe Beckman, 45, of Long Beach. “This service was by, for and from survivors who shared a common tragedy. I found it very freeing.”

The fact that Greene is a clergyman and an alleged victim of sexual abuse carried special weight.

“His story is powerful,” said Mary Grant, regional director for the survivors network, which helped organize the event. “I just see a tremendous amount of courage. I cannot imagine how overwhelming it must feel to be abused by a priest and then, as an adult, you work as a clergy member.”

But Greene said his initial anxiety about the service — especially that bitterness and bad memories could overwhelm the sacred — gave way to serenity.

“I walked away with a great sense of inner peace,” he said. “The vast majority of people walked away with a feeling that you can express your anger in a sacred environment.”

In 2003, Udo Strutynski of Highland Park had attended one of the healing services offered by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles to help molestation victims and came away uplifted. Still, he said he felt uneasy in a Catholic parish, listening to priests he didn’t know and didn’t completely trust.

But with fellow survivors running the service and in the pews at Church of Our Savior, Strutynski, 62, said he was “completely secure.”

“It was really, really good,” said Strutynski, an alleged abuse victim who had dropped out of the Catholic Church long ago. “I felt extremely welcomed.”

He added that during parts of the service, he found himself responding in the Latin he learned as an altar boy. “It came right back to me,” Strutynski said.

Officials with the Catholic archdiocese said efforts such as Greene’s from other denominations should be welcomed and applauded.

“Healing can come from many places,” said spokeswoman Carolina Guevara, adding that Cardinal Roger M. Mahony has held eight private prayer and healing services for victims and their families this year.

Greene’s lawsuit alleges that as an altar boy, he was befriended by a visiting Catholic priest who plied him with wine and sexually abused him, beginning at age 16.

The relationship continued with sporadic visits during Greene’s freshman year at the archdiocese’s St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo, where he was studying to be a priest.

At the same time, Greene’s mother, without her son’s knowledge, contacted church officials with concerns about the cleric’s inappropriately close relationship with her son and about how her son often came home drunk and was depressed.

The priest was removed from the archdiocese and, according to a 2003 report by Mahony, the church found that the alleged perpetrator had never received official permission to work in the archdiocese. In his lawsuit, Greene also wants the archdiocese to explain how the cleric could work without proper paperwork.

Greene dropped out of St. John’s and gave up his dream of entering the priesthood.

He also started to confide in some priest friends about the abuse. He said one of them warned him to keep quiet if he ever wanted to be ordained.

Greene graduated from Cal State Long Beach with degrees in finance and English literature and began a business career.

But he continued to struggle with the emotional and spiritual fallout from his molestation.

“I was having problems making a connection to God and with other people,” Greene said.

2 thoughts on “Bell Rings 170 times for victims of suicide of clergy sex abuse”

  1. Really? Let me get this straight. While we were being raped, tortured, brutalized, beaten and yes, even murdered, we cried out to god and jesus to save us and they did absolutely nothing. Not even a freaking peep from them. They stood there, while we were suffering and being destroyed by their disgusting, degenerate priests, pastors and ministers. Now you are saying that we should again bow down and worship this piece of shit god and jeebus who did absolutely NOTHING to stop those priests, pastors and ministers who raped us?

    Take your buybull, take your god and jeebus, take your disgusting religion of demonic pedophiles and apologists like YOU for them and shove them where the sun does not shine.


  2. This is just a partial listing of the scumbag pedophiles in the other denominations of the Christian religion who raped children.

    I guess the “devil” is alive and well in all of your disgusting churches eh?

    1. James Ackley – Arrested early this year (2013) and charged with sexual molestation of a child, and online solicitation of a minor. Youth Leader. Methodist.
    2.Geronimo Aguilar – Married with five children, Aguilar was charged with the sexual assault of two children and and two counts indecency by fondling this year. Pastor. Non-Denominational Christian Church.
    3.Tony Alamo – Having previously been jailed for federal tax evasion in 1994, Tony Alamo is currently serving time (175 years) on numerous child sex abuse and child pornography charges including transporting minors across state lines for sex and entering into a polygamist marriage with an 8 year old girl. Pastor. Pentecostal.
    4. Wayne Bent (aka Michael Travesser) – Wayne/Michael, a messiah claimant from New Mexico was found guilty on multiple counts of sexual conduct with minors who were residents of his doomsday community known as ‘Strong City’. He is currently serving the remainder of his sentence after appeals to have his convictions overturned due to a technicality were over ruled. Pastor. Seventh Day Adventist.
    5. Graham Capill – After a career in politics, leading the Christian Heritage Party, Graham Capill retired in 2004 to pursue a career as a police prosecutor. His plan was halted in 2005 when the married father of nine was charged and convicted with indecently assaulting and raping multiple children under the age of 12. Minister. Presbyterian.
    6. Raymond Fernandez was arrested just this month after victims came forward and reported abuse that occurred in the mid 1990s at the Greater Grace church in Baltimore where Fernandez was entrusted with leading the youth group. The investigation is still under way and police are expecting more victims to come forward. Youth Leader. Non-Denominational/Evangelical.
    7. Morgan V. Frawley – 25 year old Morgan was charged with risk of injury to a minor after it was discovered she had entered into a sexual relationship with a 15 year old boy, a member of her youth group. Frawley was caught out when inappropriate messages from her were found on the victims’ phone. Although Frawley served no jail time for her crime, she was immediately removed from her position within the church. Youth Leader. Congregational Protestant.
    8. Efrey Guzmn – Charged with a number of violent crimes, including aggravated sexual assault, aggravated burglary, sex abuse of a child, and forcible sex abuse, including one count of ‘Penis Biting’, Efrey Guzman is currently awaiting trial in Salt Lake City, Utah. Church President. Mormon/LDS.
    9. Ted Haggard- Who needs no introduction as most will be aware of Pastor Teds removal from the New Life Church in 2006 due to claims of him hiring male prostitutes for sex and the purchase and use of crystal meth. Further controversy was sparked in 2009 when a young male church member, who claimed he had entered into a non-consensual sexual relationship with Haggard, came forward. The matter was settled financially out of court. Pastor. Non-Denominational Mega Church/Evangelical.
    10. Terry Hornbuckle – Convicted in 2006 of sexually assaulting 3 women, two of which were members of his congregation, Pastor Terry Hornbuckle was denied parole in March of this year. Hornbuckle who has served seven of his fifteen year prison sentence will be eligible for parole again early next year. Pastor. Charismatic.
    11. Warren Jeffs – Another heavy hitter in the world of disgraced christian leaders. Warren Jeffs has been the subject of many documentaries and small films due to the amazing scale on which he was able to deceive his followers/cult/church members. He was arrested while on the run from his Utah compound and was charged and convicted of numerous crimes including, of being an accomplice to rape, incest, and aggravated sexual assault of minors. He is currently serving a life sentence. Church Leader. Mormon/LDS.
    12. William Kamm – Convicted of multiple counts of sexual assault, William Kamm claimed his victims were his mystical wives. He was denied parole early this year. Kamm continues to spread his messages from prison using the internet Priest. Catholic.
    13. Ryan J. Muelhauser – This Pastor from the Midwest of the USA found his sexual abuse victims by offering them help and counseling for homosexual feelings/tendencies. Muelhauser’s treatment methods included asking male clients to masturbate in front of him and touching, cupping or fondling his clients genitalia to ‘bless it’. He was arrested and charged on eight counts of criminal sexual conduct. Pastor. Non-Denominational.
    14. Lonny Remmers – Charged with assault with a deadly weapon and child abuse. Two church members are also being charged with kidnapping, child abuse, false imprisonment and assault. The charges were filed after allegations surfaced that Remmers and his church members drove a 13 year old boy to the desert, had him dig his own grave and physically tortured him. The abuse continued the following day when the boy was tied to a chair, maced in the face and attacked with pliers by Remmers. His trial is set for October this year. Pastor. Non-Denominational.
    15. Dale Richardson – After initially denying any wrong doing, Dale Richardson eventually plead guilty and was charged with three counts of kidnapping and 3 counts of first degree sexual misconduct. Richardson was arrested after victims came forward telling police he had raped them behind the church where he preached. He is serving a 20 year prison sentence. Pastor. Baptist.
    16. Michael Rivera – Another recent example of sexual abuse within the church. Last month Michael Rivera admitted to sexually abusing a 17 year old female who was a member of his all girls youth group. Youth Leader. Non-Denominational.
    17. Jung “Pastor Joshua” Seok – After coming under investigation in 1999 Jung, another church leader who claims to be the messiah, spent 9 years fleeing from the authorities. He was finally arrested in 2008 and convicted of multiple sex abuse offenses. He was also charged with several counts of fraud and embezzlement of church funds. Pastor. Unification Christianity.
    18. Jimmy Swaggart – When Jimmy Swaggart delivered his famous ‘I have Sinned’ speech to his congregation in 1988, he neglected to give any details of his wrong doings. It was later revealed that the had solicited and engaged in sexual activities with a prostitute on numerous occasions, he was suspended from the church for two years for sexual immorality. After the suspension ended, he was again found to be engaging in sexual activities with prostitutes and stepped down from his ministry. Pastor. Pentecostal.
    19. Rex Allen Murphy-Using threats of “black magic,” a youth pastor in Kentucky repeatedly raped a teen boy, claiming the sexual abuse would cure the teen of homosexual tendencies. Kentucky police have arrested Polly Ann Church of God youth pastor Rex Allen Murphy after a 16-year-old male came forward to say he was being sexually abused by the youth pastor and Sunday school teacher.
    20.Thomas Archie Wiggins-A Wilmington pastor pleaded guilty to six counts of felony sexual abuse of a minor by a substitute parent during a hearing in New Hanover County Superior Court on Monday. Thomas Archie Wiggins, 55, a pastor at Wilmington’s Faith Temple Church of God in Christ, was sentenced to between six years and three months and nine years and nine months in prison. He was taken into custody Monday.
    21. Ryan Welborn, a former daycare worker at Metropolitan Baptist Church in Lake Worth, is accused of aggravated sexual assault of a child. Police did not provide details, but say the alleged victim is a boy under the age of 6. Detectives began investigating Welborn back in October, and were able to get enough information for a judge to issue an arrest warrant.
    22. George Spencer was charged by Jackson County prosecutors on Tuesday with statutory sodomy, forcible sodomy, three counts of child molestation and two counts of sexual misconduct involving a child. Spencer was arrested stemming from information from the FBI office in Kansas City on an alleged attack of a 13-year-old girl in February 2012 while associate pastor.
    23. Gordon Solomon According to the District Attorney’s Office, the 50-year-old Solomon, a native Belizean, was arrested on or about the Fourth of July and charged with nine felony counts of committing lewd acts on a 14-year-old girl who attended his church — acts which began in June 2010 when the child was 12 and did not end until July 1, 2012, when the child’s mother stumbled upon explicit text messages Solomon allegedly sent the girl. The mother immediately summoned police who confiscated the lewd missives and set about building the case against him. The counts against Solomon break down like this: He was charged with seven counts of committing a lewd act on a child; one count of continuous sexual abuse and one count of oral copulation of a person under the age of 14. He is being held in lieu of $3 million bail, and faces up to 26 years and eight months in state prison if convicted of the charges
    24. Dr. Jack Schaap – who was fired as pastor of First Baptist Church of Hammond in July – will make an initial appearance at the federal courthouse in Hammond at 3 p.m. Wednesday, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Cherry. Schaap is charged with interstate transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity. Schaap, 54, was fired in late July after admitting to church leaders that he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl who is a member of the church.
    25. Beth Scearce, 37, was arrested at Christ Classical Academy in Dyersburg, Tenn. on
    Oct. 15 after a victim told police that he had sex with her three times in the fall of 2012.Scearce faces three counts of aggravated statutory rape, according to the State Gazette.
    26. Robert Price was released from the Mecklenburg County jail Tuesday evening on $120,000 bond. This followed his arrest on five counts of child sex abuse charges. Some of those charges date back to 2011 when a 23-year-old man told Charlotte Mecklenburg police that Price molested him when he was 12 years old. That was when Price was a youth minister at his father’s church, Kings Way Baptist Church in Concord.
    27. John Pinkston Pinkston is accused of molesting a 6-year-old child, while at the church, between the dates of July 17, 2013 and August 22, 2013. The child notified her parents and the parents contacted police.
    28. Douglas W. Myers, 64, of Florida was indicted in November on 13 counts of custodial child abuse, three counts of third-degree sex offense and six counts of second-degree sex offense for allegedly abusing three boys, of whom he had temporary custody, between March 30, 1995, and March 26, 2001. Meyers was indicted in November on charges including child abuse and sex offense was sentenced to 15 years in prison Tuesday in Calvert County Circuit Court.
    29. Ryan McKelvey, 27, of Des Moines, is charged with two counts of third-degree sexual abuse and two counts of sexual exploitation by a counselor or therapist. McKelvey was booked into the Polk County Jail on Tuesday night. Des Moines police said they were contacted on Monday by a girl and her parents regarding a sexual assault. The girl reported the suspect in the incident was McKelvey.
    30. Billy Eckstine McCurdy- A pastor of a Las Vegas church was arrested Friday on 11 sexual abuse charges, five years after a similar case against him was dropped. North Las Vegas police arrested Billy Eckstine McCurdy, 57, following an eight-month investigation into allegations that he sexually assaulted teen boys at his home. McCurdy is the pastor at Revival Temple Church of God in Christ at the intersection of Tonopah and Vegas drives. At the church Friday night, men in all black suits said no church officials were prepared to comment on the arrest. The new charges involve two teen boys who said McCurdy forced them into sexual relationships with him. They told police he used his position in the church and Bible scriptures to force them into sex acts, authorities said.
    31. Jeffery London-Over a course of years beginning when he was around 9 or 10 years old, the victim said London — a youth pastor — kept him in an unlocked room and raped and beat him. “This man is pure evil,” the victim told CBS 4’s Carey Codd in an exclusive interview. “A youth pastor child molesting the youth. The victim said London raped him repeatedly and promised him gifts to keep him quiet. “(London said) I can give you money, games (and) when you get older I’m gonna give you my car,” the man said. The victim said London controlled the lives of the dozens of other underage boys who lived in London’s homes. The victim said London controlled what they ate, who they saw and demanded that they keep their bedroom doors unlocked.“He’d teach me about God then the next day — or the same day to be exact— I gotta be on my knees to pray and then I had to be on my knees to do a sexual act,” the victim explained. “And it messed with my mind in so many ways.”
    32. Isrom Johnson-33, is faced with three counts of second degree sodomy, Class C felonies. A New Albany pastor is charged with sex crimes against a boy in Jefferson County. Court records revealed the Louisville man is accused of abusing the child between 2009 and 2011. A prison sentence could carry 5 to 10 years on each count. “These charges are very serious. Sodomy – second, is basically a perpetrator over 18 engaging in a deviant activity of a sexual nature with someone under 14,” Klain said. In 2004, Johnson was charged with 16 counts of sex crimes against minors. A grand jury dismissed the charges in February 2005.
    33. Romulo Jimenez-is charged with continuous sexual abuse of a child, according Harris County documents filed in the case. The alleged incidents occurred at Centro Christiano Vida Nueva at 8811 Synott when Jimenez was a pastor. The girl, who is now 9 years old, told investigators Jimenez took her into his office at the church, laid her on the desk, rubbed her legs, lowered her pants and underwear and kissed her, according to a complaint filed in the case. On another occasion, she told investigators, Jimenez made her sit on his lap in his parked car in the church parking lot while he kissed her. A witness told investigators she saw Jimenez coming out of his bathroom late one night, according to the complaint. Inside the restroom, the complaint states, she saw the girl with her pants and underwear down. The witness said Jimenez told her he had been helping the girl go to the bathroom. When the woman asked the girl what had happened, the girl did not respond.
    34. Darryl Houston- A Houston pastor is being held without bond accused of sexually assaulting his 14-year-old foster daughter. Darryl Houston, 47, was charged with three counts of sexual assault of a child under 17. Prosecutors said at least six times in April of this year Houston had sex with the 14-year-old girl in the family home.
    35. David Rutherford Downs-55, was re-arrested on Friday on a warrant charging him with two counts of sexual battery and six counts of lewd and lascivious conduct. The charges stem from allegations that the former Chuluota pastor had inappropriate sexual contact with a child under the age of 12 after over the course of several years.
    36. Timothy Dampier-the gifted and locally popular Christian minister pled guilty last week to 22 counts of sexually abusing 10 Greater sexually area children over a ten year span. Dampier began preying on him when he was only ten and the abuse continued well into Kenny’s pubescent years.
    37. Larry Clark- A pastor with the Cornerstone Pentecostal Outreach Church in Verona
    was arrested Thursday on three charges of child sexual abuse. Larry Clark, 61, of Buena Vista, was charged by the Rockbridge County Sheriff’s Office after an investigation into incidents that took place in 2011. An investigator with the Sheriff’s Office tells us that the victim was a male and 15 years old at the time. He also tells us that the incidents took place in Rockbridge County.
    38. Bobby Glen Burrell- One More Soul Outreach Ministries Elder Pastor Bobby Glen Burrell, 28, is charged with Sexual Abuse of a Child. In addition, Akard says their investigation shows three former Sequoyah House employees may have known about the alleged incidents taking place but did not report them. Arrest warrants have been issued for 32-year-old Stephaine Clanton, 39-year-old Dekota Shedd, and 33-year-old Chevonne Goins, who are facing Duty to Report Abuse or Neglect charges.
    39. John Holland Brothers Jr.-44, who was employed here at Hyland Baptist Church, is expected to go to trial on Jan. 21 in Colorado District Court on 16 felony counts of sexual assault on a child and one count that is a sentence enhancer, according to Chief Deputy District Attorney Rusty Prindle in Routt County, Colo. Brothers — who is being held on a $500,000 bond in a Colorado jail — faces two counts of first-degree sexual abuse in Henderson. A pretrial conference is scheduled here on Sept. 9.
    40. Walter Bradshaw-A traveling preacher did not receive a life sentence, but will spend the rest of his life in prison for sexually molesting an 11-year-old girl at a Bedford motel. The Rev. Walter Bradshaw, 63, of North Carolina sat quietly at the defense table late Wednesday as Bedford County President Judge Thomas Ling sentenced him to 66 to 150 years in prison for molesting the girl, who was a middle school student in Chestnut Ridge School District. A jury in September had convicted Bradshaw of 22 counts of rape and related charges for the 2008 assault he made on the girl at a Bedford Township motel.


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