Black Collar Crime Round-Up: January 29, 2013

Leo Akpan • Kirill Bartashevitch • Neil Doherty • Bobby Gass
Glad Tidings Assembly of God Church • Aryeh Goodman • Bernard McGrath

Leo AkpanArrested: Leo Akpan, 43, pastor, Glorious Christian Assembly of God, Dayton, Ohio, in a prostitution sting. Akpan reportedly claims he was just trying to convert the street hooker, who was actually an undercover officer. Story: Fox45, January 25, 2013

Kirill BartashevitchCharged: Kirill Bartashevitch, 52, Minneapolis Public Schools employee and ordained Russian Orthodox priest, St. Paul, Minnesota; with two felony counts of terroristic threats after allegedly pointing an AK-47 assault rifle at his 15-year-old daughter because she failed to bring home straight A’s.

WCCO reports: “The complaint states that the girl … was getting two Bs in school instead of two As. [Bartashevitch] swore at the girl, who then told him she hated him, and he grabbed a recently purchased AK-47 and pointed it at her. According to the complaint, he bought the rifle” — one of two for which police reportedly found receipts in Bartashevitch’s home — “because he knew it would soon be banned. … The girl’s mother told police that when she intervened, Bartasevitch threw her to the floor and that he pointed the gun at both of them, the complaint states.”

The Star Tribune notes that Bartashevitch “has a previous conviction for disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor, in 2000. He received a year of probation for that offense.” Free on $20,000 bail, Bartasevitch is due in court February 1, 2013. Story: WCCO, January 25, 2013; Star Tribune, January 25, 2013; MyFox9, January 28, 2013

Neil DohertySentenced: Neil Augustine “Gus” Doherty, 69, former pastor, St. Vincent Catholic Church, Margate, Florida, to 15 years in prison after pleading no contest to drugging and raping a boy who lived across the street from St. Vincent during the 1990s.

At the time of Doherty’s arrest in 2006, the Broward Sheriff’s Office reported “getting information from the Broward County State Attorney’s Office that Doherty may have sexually abused several children. Over the course of the investigation, BSO detectives found four victims who all told chillingly similar stories.

“One victim said he first met Father Doherty at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Ft. Lauderdale in 1973 when he was 27-years-old. During that meeting, Doherty steered the conversation towards sex. After several more meetings, Doherty brought the victim to a private home, gave him alcohol and marijuana, and then sexually assaulted the him.

“Another victim, a young boy, told investigators he first met Doherty when he was about seven years old. He said Doherty would hold ‘private confessions’ with him nearly every day. The victim said that several times, Doherty gave him soda that made him pass out. While the boy was unconscious, Doherty would sexually assault him. The attacks on this victim went on for several years, ending in March 2000.

“Investigators interviewed two more victims who told similar stories. Each said they went to Doherty for counseling, were given drugs, passed out, and were sexually assaulted.” On January 26, 2006 BSO detectives arrested Doherty at a Ft. Lauderdale motel, where he had been living for “for close to a year.”

The Sun-Sentinel reports: “The Rev. Chanel Jeanty, chancellor for canonical affairs for the Archdiocese of Miami, told Gillespie that the church was aware of 34 complaints of sexual abuse at Doherty’s hands.” The Miami Herald notes that victims’ attorney Jeff Herman says “that he has settled at least 24 cases with the Archdiocese of Miami relating to the sexual abuse of boys by Doherty in the decades before he was permanently removed from active ministry in 2002.”

HuffPo adds: “A previous lawsuit filed by Herman against Doherty yielded a largely-symbolic $100 million verdict, among the largest judgments against an individual priest. In that case, Doherty was accused of trolling of the streets of Miami’s Little Haiti where he befriended the teenager he allegedly abused.”

Story: Broward Sheriff’s Office, January 27, 2006; Broward-Palm Beach New Times, April 17, 2008; Broward-Palm Beach New Times, November 3, 2010; Conservative Babylon, November 7, 2010; Conservative Babylon, November 18, 2010; Miami Herald (via BishopAccountability.org), November 9, 2011; Sun-Sentinel, November 16, 2012; Reuters, January 14, 2013; Miami Herald, January 14, 2013; Huffington Post, January 15, 2013; Huffington Post, January 28, 2013; Sun-Sentinel, January 28, 2013

Bobby GassClosed: Baypoint Community Church, Texas City, Texas, after a bank foreclosed on the property less than two months after the arrest of its founder and senior pastor, Robert Kenneth “Bobby” Gass, 60. In November, Gass was charged with assault after allegedly pushing his girlfriend out of his (stationary) SUV, then pulling her back in by her hair. (A Facebook page states that Gass has been married for 38 years.) While he was being booked, police say cocaine was found folded inside a dollar bill in his wallet; Gass was then charged with possession. According to the Galveston County Daily News, Gass “denied hitting the woman riding in his car or trying to push her out of the vehicle,”and “said the bag of cocaine had been found in the church parking lot. He said he had kept it for a meeting during which church leaders were to discuss how it came to be on church property.” Story: News92FM, November 29, 2012; KHOU, November 29, 2012; Houston Press, December 3, 2012; AP, January 26, 2013

John LanzaFined: Glad Tidings Assembly of God, Lower Swatara Township, Pennsylvania, $10,000 for faking a terrorist attack on the church’s youth group in March, 2012. The teenagers were reportedly ambushed, tied up, blindfolded, threatened with a semiautomatic rifle by an off-duty police officer, thrown in a van, interrogated, and taken to the home of their pastor, John Lanza (pictured), who appeared to be assaulted by the fake assailants — all as a purported lesson in “Christian persecution.” Although initial media reports stated that Lanza had been charged with false imprisonment and simple assault, PennLive.com reports that it was youth pastor Andrew Jordan who faced those charges, and that Jordan, who has pleaded no contest, “will be allowed into the accelerated rehabilitative disposition program to avoid a criminal record [and] pay a $500 penalty,” and “serve up to a year of probation and do 50 hours of community service,” according to Assistant District Attorney Fran Chardo. Story: Conservative Babylon, March 26, 2012; Conservative Babylon, July 28, 2012; PennLive.com, January 24, 2013

Aryeh GoodmanCharged: Rabbi Aryeh Goodman, 30, director, Chabad of East Brunswick, New Jersey (which operates the Chai Central Hebrew School); alumnus, Yeshivah Gedolah, Sydney, New South Wales; with twelve counts of indecent assault after being accused of sexually molesting a 12-year-old boy at Camp Menachem, Lackawaxen County, Pennsylvania, where Goodman was a camp counselor, in 2001. Goodman reportedly admitted to molesting the boy in a recorded phone call with the alleged victim. He is currently free on $35,000 bail while awaiting a preliminary arraignment scheduled for February 20, 2013. Story: New Jersey Jewish News, January 8, 2013; Awareness Center, January 8, 2013; NJ.com, January 9, 2013; MyCentralJersey.com, January 11, 2013

Bernard McGrathHearing set: Bernard Kevin McGrath, 65, former Catholic brother, Marylands School, Christchurch, New Zealand, and convicted pedophile who in 2006 was sentenced to five years in prison after being found guilty of multiple counts of sexually abusing boys at the school during the 1970s; he was paroled in 2008. Wikipedia notes: “In November, 2012, 252 new charges were laid in New South Wales against McGrath alleging that he repeatedly raped, molested and abused dozens of young boys at church-run institutions in the Newcastle-Maitland diocese over several decades.” McGrath returned to New Zealand from Sri Lanka “to face proceedings to extradite him to Australia on the new charges.” An extradition hearing is scheduled for April 12, 2013.

Wikipedia adds: “Marylands School, which was operated by the Brothers Hospitallers of St. John of God, a Catholic religious order in Christchurch, was the centre of a number of sex abuse cases. By 2006, the Australasian branch of the St John of God order had paid out $5.1 million to survivors who had been sexually abused at the school. A nonprofit trust, the Survivors of Sex Abuse Trust, worked with many of the victims. Over 120 complaints were made in regard to sexual and physical abuse alleged to have occurred at the school. Many of the offences were committed in the 1970s.” Story: Wikipedia; New Zealand Herald, January 28, 2013. See also Broken Rites, December 18, 2012. See also the TV program, “Real Crime: Beyond the Darkness”: part 1; part 2; part 3.

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