Black Collar Crime Round-Up: March 13, 2013

Wendel Palmer • Jason Ray • Robert Ruark • Bruno Tucci • Eddie Velez • Patrick Williams • Piotr Zaloba

Wendel PalmerCharged: Wendel Palmer, 44, 22-year Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police officer and youth choir director, Bethuel Temple Churches of Christ Apostolic, Inc., founded by his father and now led by his brother, “Bishop” and “Presider” Winston R. Palmer, and “First Lady” Sonya Palmer, (which believes “sinner [sic] are driven by the MIND OF THE DEVIL, which in scripture is known as ‘THE CARNAL MIND’”), with first-degree child sexual abuse. Palmer is accused of molesting an 11-year-old girl repeatedly over the course of two years, beginning in 2004, inside the pastor’s office during breaks at choir practice. Story: WJLA, January 10, 2013; WUSA, January 10, 2013

Jason Lee RayCharged: Jason Lee Ray, treasurer and youth pastor, First Assembly of God, Jackson, Tennessee, with stealing money from the church over the course of a year and a half, according to WBBJ, which reports: “Officials would not reveal the exact amount taken but according to the charge it was more than $60,000 dollars. Police said the money was taken from the church’s general funds between May 2011-Dec. 2012.” Story: WBBJ, March 12, 2013

Robert RuarkSentenced: Robert Ruark, 65, a.k.a. “Father Silas,” 65, former pastor, Saint Timothy Orthodox Church (of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America), Fairfield, California, to 18 years in prison after pleading guilty in January to 19 out of an original 30 felony counts of child sexual abuse; Ruark molested and took lewd photos of five children as young as 13, beginning in 1994; most of the molestation took place inside the church. Story: Conservative Babylon, June 30, 2012; Times-Herald, March 12, 2013

Bruno TucciCharged: Bruno Michael Tucci, 70, of Salisbury, Maryland; former Roman Catholic priest, defrocked in 2002 following earlier allegations of sexual abuse; former pastor, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Nesquehoning, Maryland; with one count each of fourth-degree sex offense and child abuse: custodian, according to the Ocean City Police Department, which reports: “Tucci is alleged to have brought a child to an Ocean City motel room in August of 1981. While in the motel, it is alleged the illegal sexual acts occurred. Police ask that anyone with information about Tucci, a former Priest in Allentown, Pennsylvania from 1971 until 2007, contact Detective Brett L. Case at 410-723-6632.” Story: Ocean City Police Department, January 2, 2013; Morning Call, January 3, 2013; WNEP, January 4, 2013

Eddie VelezArrested: Eddie Velez, a.k.a. “the Preaching Puerto Rican”; lead pastor, Visible Church, Atlanta, Georgia; former pastor, Bishop Eddie Long‘s New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, Lithonia, Georgia; for attacking referee Eddie Jester, who ejected Velez from his daughter’s high school basketball game in January. A video shows a man identified as Velez ramming into the ref (who says Velez pushed him in the shoulder, “smacked [him] in the chest” and called him a “punk”); the ref then grabs Velez, after which officials hold Velez back as he tries to throw a punch. Velez is facing a charge of simple battery, while Jester has been suspended from officiating. Story: WSBTV, February 22, 2013; WSBTV (with video, end of article), March 4, 2013. See also: “Black megachurch starts Hispanic outreach,” Times-News, February 21, 2007

Patrick WilliamsArrested twice: Patrick Williams, 32, boys’ basketball assistant coach, Calvary Baptist Academy, Shreveport, Louisiana; on March 8th in Shreveport and on March 9th in Bossier City, on charges of prohibited sexual conduct between educator and student. KSLA reports that investigators “believe that the alleged relationship between Williams and the student may have occurred during a period of almost two years and may have taken place in multiple jurisdictions throughout Shreveport-Bossier City.” The Shreveport Times notes: “Williams’ [first] arrest [came] a little more than a week after Calvary suspending nearly 40 students for their participation in a ‘Harlem Shake’ video on YouTube.” Story: Shreveport Times, March 1, 2013; KSLA, March 4, 2013

Piotr ZalobaCharged: Piotr Zaloba, 27, teacher, St. Basil Catholic School, Edmonton, Alberta, with “sexual assault, sexual interference, invitation to sexual touching and luring a child (x3),” according to the Edmonton Police Service. The charges stem from allegations that Zaloba was engaged in a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl. Zaloba is due in court April 15, 2013. Story: Edmonton Police Service, March 11, 2013; CTV News, March 11, 2013


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Filed under Black Collar Round-Ups, Catholics Gone Wild, Long, Eddie

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