Quantcast
Connect with us

Church with rapist leading worship postpones merger with second church facing sex abuse claims

Published

on

Two Tennessee churches — both with current or former leaders connected to sexual abuse — have decided to restructure a merger in light of recent allegations.

Earlier this week, the Memphis Police Department confirmed that it was investigating a city of Memphis library employee, Christopher Carwile, after he was accused of sexually assaulting at least three children while working as a youth minister at the Church at Schilling Farms (formerly known as Immanuel Baptist Church) 18 years ago.

ADVERTISEMENT

After learning that Carwile was working at the Memphis library, Michael Hansen, his brother Brooks and childhood friend Kenny Stubblefield came forward with sexual abuse allegations dating back to 1998. Carwile was placed on administrative by the library pending the outcome of the investigation.

Michael Hansen told the Commercial Appeal that the victims informed Schilling Farms Pastor Scott Payne about the assault. And although Payne fired Carwile at the time, Hansen said that the church refused to file a police report.

The Survivors Network of those Abused (SNAP) has called on the Church at Schilling Farms to fire Payne over the cover-up.

“Rev. Payne should have no role or position in any church or religious body and should be drummed out of the ministry and never again given a position in which he might again ignore or hide child sexual abuse, either known or suspected,” SNAP Director David Clohessy said. “We hope law enforcement will investigate his actions – and inaction – and consider prosecuting him.”

ADVERTISEMENT

The allegations also threw a wrench into Highpoint Church’s plans to merge with Schilling Farms.

In a statement this week, Highpoint Church said that the merger was being restructured into a lease agreement.

“Highpoint leadership, along with the Elders at The Church at Schilling Farms, agreed to a merger in the fall of 2015,” the statement said. “After these discussions, both Highpoint leadership and the Elders at The Church at Schilling Farms became aware of accusations of past sexual abuse and inappropriate conduct toward minors by a former intern at Immanuel Baptist Church.”

ADVERTISEMENT

On Wednesday, the Wartburg Watch blog revealed that Highpoint Church had a convicted rapist helping to lead worship.

Timothy Christian Heinz, who was featured in an email sent by the church this week, is on the Tennessee sexual assault registry for aggravated sexual assault rape, according to Wartburg Watch.

Highpoint Pastor Jim Pritchard reportedly refused to comment when he was asked about Heinz.

ADVERTISEMENT

“It is beyond imagining why any church leader would attempt to keep the presence of a sex offender in church a secret,” a Wartburg Watch columnist named Dee wrote. “Why is the protection of a pedophile more important than protecting the children who are the potential victims?”

But Pritchard did comment on the allegations against Carwile, telling Wartburg Watch that pedophiles could be healed by God.

In a Facebook post this week, sexual abuse survivor Michael Hansen blasted Highpoint Church for agreeing to the merger with Schilling Farms in the first place, noting that Highpoint officials had known about the sexual abuse allegations beforehand.

ADVERTISEMENT

“They had a chance to be on our side and to help us get the answers we needed in order to finally, at long last, receive justice,” Hansen wrote. “They’ve opted not to do that — instead engaging in protectionist behaviors and feigning interest in healing, something I’ve never asked for from them.”

“You had a chance, Highpoint, to be our partner in tackling the epidemic of child sexual abuse that is happening to this day in the Christian Church,” he concluded. “You had a chance to shine a spotlight on Chris Carwile’s abuse and the Church’s systemic failure. You had a chance to collaborate with us on reform, both internal and within the law, to ensure justice for victims.”

Watch one of the victims speak to WREG in the video below.

ADVERTISEMENT

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and legal efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. And unlike other news outlets, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from billionaires and corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click to donate by check.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



Report typos and corrections to: [email protected]. Send news tips to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Trump’s economic ‘brain trust’ ridiculed as America braces for a trade war recession: report

Published

on

President Donald Trump appears unprepared to deal with a potential recession, the Associated Press reported Friday.

"Facing a trade war against China that has shaken the global economy, President Donald Trump gathered his most trusted economic aides in the Oval Office," the AP reported. "The assembled brain trust for Friday’s urgent consultations included an economics chief best known for his stint as a cable TV commentator; a trade adviser whose pro-tariff views are outside the economic mainstream; and a treasury secretary (joining by phone on his way back from vacation) who made millions off the housing crisis and then turned to financing Hollywood movies."

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

ICE and Homeland Security busted pushing right-wing propaganda and conspiracy theories

Published

on

Donald Trump in Oval Office

Multiple federal departments have been pushing far-right propaganda to federal employees.

"An arm of the Justice Department regularly sent summaries and links to articles from an online white nationalist publication over the last year, a BuzzFeed News investigation has found. In addition, similar newsletters sent to the Labor Department, ICE, HUD and the Department of Homeland Security, included links and content from hyperpartisan and conspiracy-oriented publishers," BuzzFeed News reported Friday.

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

Trump claimed North Korea missile testing ‘would stop’ — but they just launched again: report

Published

on

The upcoming G7 summit meeting in Bairritz, France will have one more issue to grapple with after North Korea reportedly conducted missile tests.

"South Korea's military confirms that North Korea has launched a projectile this morning. From South Hamgyong Province. Japan's government reported it first," Voice of America Seoul bureau chief William Gallo Tweeted Friday.

"North Korea has now conducted nine rounds of launches since early May. But this one's notable because it comes after Trump says Kim promised "this testing would stop when the exercises end." They did end Tuesday. And yet..." he noted.

Continue Reading
 
 

Thank you for whitelisting Raw Story!

As a special thank you, from now until August 31st, we're offering you a discounted rate of $5.99/month to subscribe and get ad-free access. We're honored to have you as a reader. Thank you. :) —Elias, Membership Coordinator
LEARN MORE
close-link
close-image