Black Collar Crime Round-Up: January 23, 2013

Matthew Abid • James Ackley • Darrel Coffman • John Langworthy
Ember Dawn Schlensker • Dustin Werneburg • Jeff Winstead

Matt AbidGuilty plea: Matthew “Matt” Abid, 30, former youth ministry leader, Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Alpine Township, Michigan, to second-degree criminal sexual conduct (amended from third-degree criminal sexual conduct, which, explains WOOD, is defined as “penetration”), committed against a 15-year-old girl who belonged to Abid’s “Credo” youth group. Sentencing is scheduled for February 19, 2013. Story: Conservative Babylon, September 8, 2012; WOOD, January 16, 2013

James AckleyCharged: James Truman Ackley, 25, youth volunteer, University Park United Methodist Church, University Park, Texas, with indecency with a child and online solicitation of a minor, stemming from allegations he engaged in a sexual relationship with a girl under the age of 17. Ackley was a chaperone at a youth retreat when the alleged relationship began in August, 2012. NBCDFW reports: “The victim told police that ‘… during the retreat they held hands and kissed, but was [sic] unable to do anything else because Defendant Ackley had a girlfriend who was also attending the retreat.’ When they returned home, ‘they would exchange text messages describing sex acts that they would perform on each other,’ she told police. The victim told police the two had sex in his truck in October at a parking lot outside St. Michael’s Church.” Story: NBCDFW, January 22, 2013; MyFoxDFW, January 22, 2013

Darrel CoffmanSentenced: Darrel Coffman, 31, former youth pastor, Promised Land Apostolic Church, West Terre Haute, Indiana, to eight years in prison “with six to be spent on in-home detention and on probation,” according to WIBQ, and registration as a sex offender, after pleading guilty to sexually abusing a 15-year male congregant on multiple occasions. Story: WTHI, October 13, 2011; Tribune-Star, October 15, 2011; WIBQ, January 16, 2013

John LangworthySentenced: John Langworthy, 50, former music minister, Morrison Heights Baptist Church, Clinton, Mississippi; former choir director, Clinton High School; and former youth music minister, Prestonwood Baptist Church, Plano, Texas; to 50 years, suspended, after pleading guilty to five counts (out of an original eight) of “gratification of lust.” WAPT reports that Langworthy “was accused of molesting five boys between the ages of 6 and 13 between 1980 and 1984. The incidents happened while Langworthy was babysitting each of the children at his sister’s home in Jackson and at his dorm room at Mississippi College, according to the indictments.” WFAA notes that after Amy Smith of SNAP (Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests) “tried for more than a year to bring the alleged abuses to light using social media, Langworthy took to the pulpit [August 7, 2011] in Mississippi to confess his sins in two different states. ‘Prior to coming to Clinton 22 years ago, while serving at a church in Mississippi and then Texas, I had sexual indiscretions with younger males,’ Langworthy told the congregation. ‘These decisions were ungodly, and I deeply regret them.’” WFAA also notes that Prestonwood church leaders knew of the abuse as it was occurring, but did not contact authorities as required by law. Story: WFAA, August 9, 2011; WJTV, August 10, 2011; WAPT, September 8, 2011; WAPT, January 22, 2013

United StatesHeaded to trial: Ember Dawn Schlensker, 28, former youth minister, St. Matthew Lutheran Church, Sonora, California; charged with 45 counts, including 30 counts of unlawful sex with a minor, related to a sexual relationship she allegedly began with a boy “at a Santa Cruz-area church camp in summer 2009,” just after the boy’s 14th birthday. According to the Union Democrat, prosecutors say the relationship continued after Schlensker and her husband (to whom she has been married for approximately five years) moved into the home shared by the boy and his mother, ceased for a few months in 2011 after the boy was sent away to a boarding school or teen “boot camp,” and then ended once and for all in March, 2012, when Schlensker and her husband moved to Crescent City (where, it appears, Schlensker’s husband has family). Schlensker, who entered a not-guilty plea to all charges in November, 2012, is currently free on $50,000 bail. An arraignment is scheduled for February 11, 2013. Story: Union Democrat, November 9, 2012; Union Democrat, January 16, 2013

Note: We are 99% certain we have found numerous different social-media accounts belonging to both Schlensker and her husband (with photos and interesting, if vague, details, which match the timeline of the case), but cannot link them until we are 100% certain. We also believe that Ember Schlensker’s father-in-law is a Lutheran pastor who resigned from his church just before an arrest warrant was issued for his daughter-in-law.

Dustin WerneburgTrial continued: Dustin Ray Werneburg, 28, former youth pastor, First Baptist Church, Coalgate, Oklahoma (where his late father was a deacon); teacher’s aide, Blanchard Middle School, McClain County, Oklahoma; and husband and father of three preschool-age children; to February, 2013. Werneburg is charged with three counts of second-degree rape, three counts of forcible sodomy, one count of lewd or indecent proposals to a child, and one count of lewd molestation, allegedly committed against a girl under the age of 16 over the course of more than a year. Jeff Self, pastor of First Baptist, admits that he was aware of previous allegations against Werneburg, telling KXII: “We had three allegations over the course of three years. Two of them he had come to me and said you are going to hear this personally, and it was a he said she said and we believed him and there was no anything else about it, but once we had that third allegation that was really significant in August [of 2012].” Story: KXII, November 20, 2012; Associated Baptist Press, November 21, 2012; KXII, January 17, 2013

Jeff WinsteadCharged: Jeffrey Lynn “Jeff” Winstead, 56, pastor, Cedar Crest Independent Baptist Church (see more about Independent Fundamental Baptist [IFB] churches) / Cedar Crest-Lucy Furnace Chapel and Cedar Crest Institute of Biblical Leadership (predictably, a Hyles-Anderson operation), Mount Union, Pennsylvania; and former pastor, Harvest Baptist Church for The Harvest Times, Hagerstown, Maryland; with aggravated indecent assault of an minor, corruption of a minor and indecent assault of a person under the age of 16. Specifically, Winstead is accused of carrying on an “improper relationship” with a girl for some two years, beginning when the alleged victim was 14. Winstead is married and the father of four. The church web site (which, incidentally, features a Jack T. Chick comic purportedly illustrating “How to Go to Heaven”) lists one Jonathan E. Winstead as youth pastor. Story: Wearecentralpa.com, January 9, 2013; Wearecentralpa.com, January 9, 2013; Lewistown Sentinel , January 10, 2013

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