Black Collar Sex Crime Round-Up: September 5, 2009

Clevon Ghent • Robbin L. Harper • John Hubner
Gary Kendall • John Picard • David Kent Pierce

Because we could spend 24/7 tracking the sex crimes of right-wing religionists (especially “youth pastors”) and never get caught up. Of the following, the more interesting cases will probably end up with their very own Conservative Babylon entries.

Clevon GhentArrested: Clevon Ghent, 35, volunteer minister at Born Again Church of God and Christ, Auburndale, Florida, and manager of Trinity Cleaning Service, “a residential and commercial cleaning business owned and operated by the Born Again Church,” arrested and charged with five counts of “custodial sexual battery of a 12-year-old girl.” Also arrested: Gernard Jones, Ghent’s 18-year-old nephew, “for lewd battery of the same girl.” Story: MyFox Orlando, September 4, 2009

Robbin L. HarperSettled: Lawsuit against the “The Church in South Colby” (Washington), with a payout of $574,000 to two victims of sexual abuse by the church’s pastor, Robbin L. Harper, currently serving 26-1/2 years at Washington State Penitentiary. Harper, who pled guilty to eight counts of child molestation, child rape and assault, “was the leader of The Church in South Colby, an approximately 60-member congregation that is believed to have been founded at Harper’s Arvick Road home around 1980.” At least 10 victims, ranging in age from seven to 24, have come forward since Harper’s arrest in 2007. Story: Kitsap Sun, September 2, 2009

John Gleason HubnerConviction reinstated: John Gleason Hubner, 62, former deacon, Sunday school teacher, and youth minister, First Baptist Church, Columbia, South Carolina. Convicted on six counts of lewd acts on a child (he repeatedly molested a 12-year-old girl from his church between 1996 and 1997), Hubner was sentenced in 2002 to 36 years. In 2005, the South Carolina Court of Appeals overturned the conviction, “ruling the trial judge shouldn’t have allowed testimony about Hubner’s 1983 child sex abuse conviction in Maine involving another 12-year-old girl.” In August, the state Supreme Court reversed the lower court’s decision, 4-1, and Hubner is back in the pen. Story: The State, August 18, 2009

Sentenced: Roy Curtis Huling, 60, Webb City (Missouri) United Pentecostal Church, to eight years in prison “for sexually molesting a girl for more than two years when she was between the ages of 9 and 11.” Huling copped a plea in June to first-degree child molestation, meaning he could serve as little as eight years, as opposed to the 15 he might have received had he been convicted. His victim’s statement at his sentencing “concluded with one overriding sentiment she wished to make clear to the defendant. ‘I do not love you,’ she wrote.” Story: Joplin Globe, September 4, 2009

Gary L. KendallConvicted: Gary L. Kendall, 42, former minister, Bridge Street Church, Chillicothe, Ohio, who pleaded guilty to one count of distribution of child pornography. After Kendall gave an undercover FBI agent online access to some 270 images stored on his computer, agents raided his home, located next door to the church, in May, 2009. Kendall faces a prison sentence of between five and 20 years, as well as a fine of up to $250,000. Story: nbc4i.com, September 1, 2009; 10TV.com, September 1, 2009; Chillicothe Gazette, September 2, 2009

John PicardSentenced: John Picard, 41, former youth pastor at Grace Brethren Church, Mansfield, Ohio, convicted on 42 counts of sexual battery inflicted on six women in his church over a 17-year period, and sentenced to 40 years without possibility of parole. (He could have received up to 210 years.) Stated one victim at Picard’s sentencing: “God has a name for you — it is savage wolf. You did not save the flock. You devoured us for your own pleasure. You came to our church as a predator. One year and you were already devouring one of the sheep. Marion Avenue Grace Brethren Church proved to be the perfect den for you.” Story: Mansfield News Journal, August 15, 2009; September 4, 2009

David Kent PierceSentenced: David Kent Pierce, 56, former music minister of the First Baptist Church in Benton, Arkansas, who pleaded guilty to four felony counts of sexual indecency with a child — a teenage boy in the church choir Pierce led — and was sentenced to ten years in prison (two six-year terms plus two more four-year terms, all to run concurrently). Story: The Benton Courier (August 27, 2009).

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