Saturday, October 17, 2009

COGIC Victims Advocacy, Essential, Necessary & Urgent Pt. 2

As a subsequent article to our initial post COGIC Victims Advocacy, Essential, Necessary & Urgent Pt. 1 , on 10/15/2009 Charisma Magazine Online featured the work of Pastor D. L. Foster of GCMWatch in bringing attention to what has been considered by many, including myself, to be unchecked immoral and criminal behavior among some fellow COGIC ministry brethern.


In the Charisma article Pastor Foster points toward the newly established web site created to assist COGIC victims of sexual abuse in the healing process with spiritual support as well as poignant advice on how to proceed to rectify problems or file complaints in the event of criminal activity. The site is known as Reportcogicabuse.com. The site is not sponsored or run by the national church but is certainly endorsed by this ministry and many other COGIC ministries across the country. Whether the General Board Of Bishops knows it or not there is an outcry across the nation for the healing of God's people.  

As stated in the previous article, on an unsolicited basis, I personally undertook the opportunity to address the glaring problems that COGIC faced and continues to face from the improprieties of some of it's clergy. In fact my proposal, presented to the highest officials of our church, covered a period of 20 years in which time various elders and ministers and Bishops engaged in improper sexual activity and criminal behaviors. These crimes were documented and in many cases resulted in the perpetrators receiving the full weight of penalty under the law. In some cases individuals died before prosecution could begin and no restitution was ever made.

One such case that did not escape the courts was that of Supt. Leon Dupree of New York. This Elder was charged with rape, burglary and assault with a weapon purportedly done to one of the members of his former church in 1988. Here's the summary from the news report regarding his crime:
[Rome] Daily Sentinel 5/28/88
Rev. Leon Dupree, 47, pastor of Lily of the Valley Church of God in Christ in Rochester, NY, is charged with first degree sexual assault and first degree burglary of a 26 year old woman. She said he was armed with a hammer and struck her with a screwdriver. Dupree was convicted of second degree manslaughter in a 1978 drunken driving fatality and served time in state prison.
Not only did Elder Dupree kill someone before he was saved (I assume) he faced conviction as a rapist and a burglar while he was a pastor. Now a fair question is was he convicted? In response to that, there is no statement from Elder Dupree in any venue proclaiming his innocence. That may be an argument from silence in lieu of court records, but in this case it's pretty powerful. To the heart of the matter, Elder Dupree is currently Pastoring a new and reorganized church called New Visions Community COGIC and his church is in the jurisdiction of General Board member Bishop Frank O. White, which for some reason was absolutely unavailable both in person, phone and fax when my proposal was sent to his fellow Presidium members.

Now the problem with this is NOT that Elder Dupree can repent, serve time and make restitution, as he did at least once previously. Thank God IF he has been restored. The problem is the "IF", and the shuffle.

The people of God have a right to know IF this pastor committed the crime, IF this pastor has repented, IF this pastor has continued to go through the motions in spite of his pastoral and criminal history, and IF the church has taken these matters seriously enough to monitor the pastor's progress and exclude him from pastoral ministry IF he was convicted and IF there are any potential situations in which he has direct contact with individuals in private settings.

There is much that we don't know about Leon Dupree but from a theological standpoint there are some sins that can be done which causes us to lose our birthright and inheritance. We can, by our actions, exclude ourselves from certain duties within the Kingdom of Christ. Example: Moses could not enter into the promised land, nor continue to lead God's people by his own actions. (Deut. 32:48-52) David could not build the Temple of God, by his own actions. (1 Chron 28:2-3)  Esau was blessed, but could not receive what he thought would be the right of the firstborn because he mishandled what he had been given. (Gen. 25:34) King Saul, though anointed by God, was rejected from being King by his own actions. (1 Sam. 15:22-23)  So one should be able to recognize that from a biblical standpoint, this is a very serious issue and one that has many potential spiritual and social ramifications.

Elder Dupree, yet serves and more than likely, his members have never been advised of his past actions and activities. This has nothing to do with his ability to deliver the message, but it has everything to do with the security of God's people and respect and honor for the house of God. If Elder Dupree was found innocent of all charges, I'll be the first to post that right here on this site.

A Church Response

The reason that all of this is especially important, is because of the words of Supt. Derrick Hutchins to Charisma regarding the work of Elder Foster. His statements were unbelievable.

For a little context and texture: Supt. Hutchins is the Chairman of the National Elders Council in the COGIC. This is a very important position when it comes to the disciplinary actions against other pastors, as Elders from various jurisdictions who would be responsible for presenting recommendations for pastoral disciplinary actions, would have Supt. Hutchins as an available resource to answer questions on church policy. In short, his position could directly effect what recommendations are made by jurisdiction review boards when it comes to pastoral discipline. This is what he said about Elder Foster's efforts:

"That's the part that I really find offensive," Hutchins said. "Because sometimes it's written like all we want to do is save ourselves from liability, we don't really care about people—and that's not true at all."..."Our first concern is the parishioners, not just pastors," he added. "We do not tolerate pastors in the pulpit who are found guilty of these improprieties."

In one fell swoop, Supt. Hutchins overlooks all of the current and pending litigation against the church, bypasses all of those ministers, Elders and Bishops who have been convicted, skips over the SETTLEMENT that took place at All Saints because of allegations of rape, and states that guilty pastors aren't tolerated in the pulpits. He says that there is concern for the "people" but nothing in his statements express that concern.

Charisma went on to summarize Supt. Hutchins statements as follows:
The denomination's constitution calls for ministers accused of egregious sexual misconduct such as rape or pedophilia to be immediately suspended while the claims are being investigated.
I want to know IS THAT TRUE? Why would I, a 29 year member (me) of the church ask? First, I admit that I don't know everything, and if I don't know this, then chances are that you don't either. So it must be called into question. Secondly, I've NEVER seen the procedures that Supt. Hutchins outlines followed by anyone anywhere in this church. In fact, none of these so called procedures were followed while Pastor Sherman Allen was yet claiming to be a part of the COGIC and multiple women had claimed rape.

Supt. Hutchins concluded with a most interesting statement:

“I want to believe that every bishop is committed to carrying out the constitution as it relates to these grievous acts,” Hutchins said. “Anybody who can find where it’s not being carried out and can prove it, I’m sure that charges will be brought against that bishop who did not carry out his responsibility."


Based on these statements, a deeper question regarding what actually happened in the Sherman Allen case is in order...Has Bishop J. Neaul Haynes (COGIC General Board Member) who oversaw the Allen church proceeding,  been set up as the "fall guy" for the church's inaction in that case? Based on the statements of Hutchins, is this or could this be  the "golden ticket" for the church to possibly and potentially escape what is promised to be a landmark case with serious implications both spiritually and financially to the "Grand Ole" Church Of God in Christ? I find Supt. Hutchins statements to be shocking in light of the current circumstance.

Same Song Different Singer:

Please notice, in addition to the above, that in Supt. Hutchin's view is that the member must prove their allegation of sexual impropriety against the pastor to the church before any action will be taken. This is preposterous and does nothing to address the root of the problem. Additionally, there are no measures to address the stability or condition of the victims under any circumstance. There is a glaring vacuum of inaction toward the victims that not only this Supt. does not see or appear to understand, but that the church as a whole refuses to acknowledge from the Presiding Bishop's office on down.

This is one of the most discouraging parts about Supt. Hutchins commentary. There may well be policy that is certainly not being carried out requiring some mass new training, but there is absolutely nothing that the church has set in place to heal the people or heal the land when these issues arise as they continue to arise in this church. God help us, to say the least.

Blessed!

19 comments:

  1. This sounds like quite the cluster fluster.
    Surely not a church that I would want to identified with.

    Just sayin'.

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  2. I'm sure you are just sayin' froggie, I'm sure-LOL

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  3. DSHB,

    People that leave their kids alone with authority figures are just asking for trouble.

    My wife and I have been associated with several youth groups (we have five kids, the youngest just left for college) over the years and we would never have kids interacting alone with any one adult.

    This has long been shown to be effective in negating any problems.

    There were a lot of great adult leaders in these groups, and what makes a good leader is not doing anything that could be miscontrued as an impropriety.

    I don't understand why young kids would be left alone with any one church member, at least they are old enough to perfectly understand how to react if they are being taken advantage in any way.

    You're trying to put a bandaid on a wound that should never been afflicted in the first place.

    There should be strict rules about this and the problem would end.

    And, if someone breaks the rule, they must go. There is no room for tolerance when it comes to rules that protect kids.

    I'd have thunk you would have figured that out.

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  4. froggie,

    You said:"I'd have thunk you would have figured that out."

    What makes you think I didn't already know that or "figure that out" as you say? I agree with your comments 100%...this sort of thing is ridiculous and what's more ridiculous is the inaction due to policy and "rules"...

    You're not as familiar with the cases, but most of the people that complained did so because they got no reposnse from the "powers" that be. Those in leadership were totally unfeeling toward the victims and toward establishing new safeguards.

    I also commend you for what you're saying...people should stop expecting someone else to "raise" their child. In many cases there were alternatives but they were left undiscovered and look what happened. That in no way excuses the supposed leaders for their actions, but it certainly didn't help either.

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  5. DSHB,

    "I agree with your comments 100%..."

    ***Froggie drops over dead****

    "Those in leadership were totally unfeeling toward the victims and toward establishing new safeguards."

    That is most disheartening. I'm sorry you have to be fighting this battle. It seems unimaginable.

    I was a Boy Scout Leader for 15 years. When on overnighters we always tried to have two men for every five boys. Sometimes it worked out to be less, but usually more because we had great participation from the father, and some of the mothers too! but never would we have one guy with one boy or even a group.

    We did not even use the same bathrooms at summer camp and the boys always traveled in twos.

    We never allowed the boys in our personal quarters- tents, cabins, motels- never.
    All of those kids and their parents came to trust us leaders but no matter, we did not allow any chance for any action to be miscontrued as an impropriety.

    When driving somewhere there might only one adult in the car/ truck but there were always three or more boys too.

    I will say that I got to be pretty close friends with some of my son's friend's fathers and came to trust them to have my son over to their house etc.,and their son's would stay at our house, but even then I would not let a situation arise where I would be "alone" with them for any amount of time. Not that I was worried about anything, it is just the professional way to conduct ourselves.

    By the way, and a bit off topic, but neither my wife nor I ever laid a hand on any of our kids. We did not spank. We found a good many creative and non-abusive ways to discipline the kids and they are all good vital successful adults.

    We've had hundreds of kids at our home over the years and I loved it all. They'd eat us out of house and home!

    One of my son's high school friends even dropped by last Sunday to watch the Steers game with me.

    Anyhoo,

    Good day.

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  6. I admire your stance and boldness. Carry on bold soldier, Carry on. May GOD give COGIC an ear to hear you and others; most importantly the LORD on this issue.

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  7. AS A ELDER IN THE COGIC I THANK GOD FOR YOU THAT THESE THINGS CAN BE DONE AWAY WITH AND THAT GOD WILL GIVE THE VICTUMS SOME TYPE OF CLOSURE...GOD BLESS YOU MAN OF GOD..CAN LEAVE MY NAME BECAUSE OF THE POWERS THAT BE MAY COME FOR ME GOD BLESS..GRACE AND PEACE..

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  8. St. James,

    Thanks my brother and keep us in your prayers...I'm sorry for the delay but I was hindered.

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  9. AND MAY I ADD THAT I ALSO BEEN APROUCHED BY SOME OF THESE SO CALLED LEADERS TO SLEEP WITH THEM BUT NEVER DID MAYBE TATS WHY I NEVER GOT ANYWERE IN THE CHURCH BUT WHO KNOWS CANT LEAVE MY NAME BECAUSE OF THE POWERS THAT BE WOULD COME FOR ME. A ELDER IN THE COGIC..

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  10. YOUR WELCOME SUPT KEEP UP THE WORK..MY PRAYERS ARE WITH YEA..ELDER IN THE COGIC...

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  11. Anonymous November 3, 2009 11:16 PM,

    Thank God for you and I appreciate the prayers also. Yes I know about the blacklisting and all of us can't be that, that would allow them to tighten up even further against them that are right...The bible says the "fool" tells everything...

    Proverbs 29:11~A fool UTTERETH ALL his mind: but a wise [man] keepeth it in till afterwards.

    In order to bring about the necessary change within this church it's going to take some to say it, expose it, and others to support it with actions but silently so that the righteous won't lose their place.

    This battle is a strategic one. When has God ever fought a battle without strategy?

    So I understand you. Glad you're on the Lord's side!

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  12. Anonymous November 3, 2009 11:23 PM,

    Now if they approached you to sleep with them, they more than likely approached others also. In my research a little statistic that stands out is that bay men have on average about 7 to 9 lovers and some of them simultaneously.

    Now some of these creeps don't think they're gay, they think they only like to have sex with men (yea that's twisted to not think they're gay) but that's how they describe themselves.

    Out'em...remain anonmyous but tell who they are....Believe me, they are looking at the blog. I know this...

    Out'em...the church will be better for it. List their actions. They have done it so many times, they won't be able to deduce that it's you...trust me on that one. Please.

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  13. You should be ashamed of yourself. I personally know that what he was allegedly convicted of was a lie. Now here you are,a so-called minister,suppose to offering forgiveness and redemption.crucifying this man again. You should be ashamed.

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    Replies
    1. Which "he" are you referring to? I mention more than one person with a history of sexual abuse and sexual misconduct.

      Delete
    2. It is always interesting when people say that those who point out the sin and shame of others should be "shamed" for speaking about it...How SAD and SICK is that? The SHAME was in the folk committing the crimes and molestation and because someone passed the letter of the law and escaped does not mean they were not guilty of the crime. In fact in most and many cases they are GUILTY and seek some type of legal loophole or settlement to avoid it. A pastor stalking a member and attacking her with a screwdriver is GUILTY of a crime. A pastor SPANKING ladies and training them to serve his sexual needs is GUILTY of a crime even if the legal system can't prove it.

      You need to be SHAMED for even coming on this site and spewing such garbage in defense of those I mentioned some of whom still yet persist in their charlatan ways.

      SHAME on that!

      Delete
  14. Leon Dupree June 14th 1978 ran over my father on the corner of Elmwood Avenue and Mount Hope Avenue in Rochester New York. He was actively ministering at lily of the valley Church Rochester New York in fact it was their vehicle registered to the church that he ran over my father with. during the legal process the church file bankruptcy which only allowed a minimal amount to our family to live on. He served a little over year and when released went back to ministering at lily of the valley church.
    Years later as listed above was accused and convicted of rape and burglary now has moved on to ministering at another church.
    Thank God I have found a God of my understanding!!!
    Leon, Judgement Day comes for all of us. You cannot hide from God. May God bless you!

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    Replies
    1. "Family of victim",

      Thank you and I am deeply sorry that happened and that it further seems like the justice on Earth is lacking or failing. Believe me, God has it under control and there is no injustice that will prevail in eternity and before HIS throne. All wrongs will be made right, not privately, but publicly before the council, throne, and host of heaven.

      Then, you didn't need "dirty" money anyway. Anything that he had was "dirty". It seems that he was unrepentant and sought to just continue and chalk his freedom up to a "blessing of God". That was not a blessing. It was a work of the enemy, because he is the only one who comes to steal, kill, and destroy. (Jn.10:10) We identify the enemy by the nature of his acts and that is clear.

      I pray for your peace and comfort and we will all continue to do our part here on Earth to cast out every devil. even if that devil hides in the pulpit among God's people.

      Delete
  15. Leon Dupree June 14th 1978 ran over my father on the corner of Elmwood Avenue and Mount Hope Avenue in Rochester New York. He was actively ministering at lily of the valley Church Rochester New York in fact it was their vehicle registered to the church that he ran over my father with. during the legal process the church file bankruptcy which only allowed a minimal amount to our family to live on. He served a little over year and when released went back to ministering at lily of the valley church.
    Years later as listed above was accused and convicted of rape and burglary now has moved on to ministering at another church.
    Thank God I have found a God of my understanding!!!
    Leon, Judgement Day comes for all of us. You cannot hide from God. May God bless you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Family Of Victim,

      Sorry about the delay in getting to your commentary, but it is well and highly appreciated.

      Delete

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