Black Collar Crime Round-Up: February 2, 2012

Matthew Preston Clark • James W. French • William Davis Harrison, Jr.
Otis Vernell Holland • Robert Ernest Kirchhoff
Daniel Earl Webster • Unnamed Ghana woman

Matthew Preston ClarkArrested: Matthew Preston Clark, 33, senior pastor, Blessed Assurance Temple, Bartow, Florida, in a gay sex sting at Peace River Park in Homeland and charged with soliciting a lewd act. The Polk County Sheriff’s Office states that “Clark told the detective ‘what kind of activity’ goes on at the park and described in graphic detail the sexual characteristics of another man he had met at the park. Clark asked the detective to perform a sex act on him (Clark).” Story: Polk County Sheriff’s Office, January 25, 2012; Tampa Bay Online, January 25, 2012; Towleroad, January 26, 2012

In addition to numerous sermons displayed on “You Tubes” (the church site’s spelling), the text of some of Clark’s sermons are on the church website; from August 22, 2010: “Oh, praise God. Fill your horn. It has got dry and dusty. You know what dust is, don’t you; carnality. It has a bunch of carnality in it. … And I hear the Lord say that in this meeting tonight that some of you are going home with a freshly oiled horn.”

James W. FrenchSentenced: James W. French, 64, founding pastor, Indian Grove Country Church, Rock City, Illinois, to just six months in jail and three years’ probation for sexually molesting a girl under the age of 13 repeatedly during 2010. In a plea-deal exchange, in which French pleaded guilty to the felony charge of aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a victim under 18, three other felony charges were thrown out. CBS Chicago reports: “DuPage County Circuit Court Judge Daniel P. Guerin could have sentenced [French] to as long as seven years in prison for the assaults. Guerin cited French’s accomplished life and lack of a prior criminal record in imposing the jail term.” The girl’s father testifed that his daughter “literally is terrified of the defendant. She genuinely fears he will remove his GPS ankle bracelet, fly to our house in a helicopter, land on our front lawn, climb into her bedroom, and attack her.” Story: Conservative Babylon, December 9, 2010; January 5, 2011; CBS Chicago, January 29, 2012

William Davis Harrison, Jr.Fired: William Davis Harrison, Jr., 50, from his job at Redemption World Outreach Center, Greenville, South Carolina, after being arrested and charged with two counts of lewd acts on a minor. WSPA reports that “Harrison was already on the Sex Offender Registry from a 1997 arrest and conviction of 2nd degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor. Records show he did jail time and was released in 2004. Three years later, he came to Redemption World Outreach Center on Haywood Road in Greenville and was hired with a criminal background.” Harrison is being held without bond. The South Carolina sex offender registry states that Harrison’s first victim was a 16-year-old girl. Story: WYFF, January 27, 2012; WSPA, January 30, 2012

Otis Vernell HollandCaptured: Otis Vernell Holland, 55, pastor and founder, United Faith Church, Henderson, Nevada, who fled after being charged with 11 counts of sexual assault against four girls between the ages of 13 and 16. Holland was apprehended in Tijuana thanks to an anonymous tip to TV’s “America’s Most Wanted,”which quoted one alleged victim: “It was never my intention to have a sexual relationship with him. He kept telling me that I was going to be a ‘hoe,’ and that I was easy and that I’m a stupid female. I didn’t want to be like that, but he never told me what to do about it. So I came to him for counseling.” “AMW” also notes: “According to police, Holland told his teen victims that they were feeling a pressure, which was his code word for lust. Holland allegedly prescribed that he, as their pastor, release that pressure and preserve the girls’ chastity. Police say Holland held some of these counseling sessions in the back of his private limousine, and even soundproofed one of the rooms in his five bedroom gated-community home where he videotaped his victims.” Story: Conservative Babylon, January 12, 2011; America’s Most Watented, January 25, 2012; Fox 5, January 26, 2012

Robert Ernest KirchhoffArrested: Robert Ernest Kirchhoff, 54, youth ministry volunteer, Resurrection Fellowship, a fundamentalist, “gifts of the spirit” (i.e., speaking in tongues, laying on of hands, etc.) evangelical Christian church in Loveland, Colorado, and charged with sexual assault on a child and sexual assault on a child under 15 by a person in a position of trust. The alleged victim is a 14-year-old girl whom Kirchhoff babysat. The Denver Channel reports that Kirchhoff had “previously pleaded guilty to a child abuse case”; in 2006, “Kirchhoff was arrested in a domestic violence incident in Westminster” and pleaded guilty to “child abuse/negligently causing injury and harassment… He received a deferred sentence and cleared his record after successfully completing an unspecified court requirement.” Kirchhoff reportedly owned DunceBusters Play N Learn, “an educational toy store … seized by Loveland officials in January 2011 for failure to remit sales tax receipts.” (Incidentally, the DunceBusters website, which is still online as of this writing, features a 15-second video ad with a voiceover that begins: “Sarah has a secret…”) Story: Reporter-Herald, February 1, 2012; KMGH Denver, February 1, 2012

Daniel Earl WebsterArrested: Daniel Earl Webster, 41, former Sunday school teacher, Life Adventure Church (which trains its teachers through its “Flaming Missiles School of Discipleship”), Lebanon, Ohio, and charged with “one count of sexual battery,” “on accusations that he performed sex acts on a teen,” reportedly a boy who was between 15 and 16 when the alleged assaults began, “who attended his classes.” Story: Cincinnati.com, January 30, 2012; WDTN, January 30, 2012

GhanaArrested: Unnamed Ghana woman, 28, “by a special police detective team in Eket for attempting to sell a seven year old boy … said to be her step-son… [T]he step-mother contracted a pastor to screen the little boy to ascertain if he was possessed with witchcraft spell or not. On confirmation that the boy was possessed, he was reportedly disappeared from the house. … She confessed to the police that she was scared based on the prophet’s instruction that the boy will infect her children with his magical power. ‘When the man of God told me that he will transfer the spell to my children, or kill them, I was really afraid…’ she said.” Story: Modern Ghana, January 29, 2012

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