A disgraced evangelical pastor faces new accusations of violent and intimidating behavior by church members.
Embattled Harvest Bible Chapel founder James MacDonald, who was accused by a pair of former associates of plotting to hire a hitman to murder his former son-in-law, was also accused by megachurch members of using guns to intimidate them, reported the Christian Post.
Chicago radio host Mancow Muller said he decided to come forward and tell police the pastor had asked him for help hiring a hitman because he was concerned about MacDonald’s guns.
The redacted public report also lists allegations about MacDonald, who was briefly a member President Donald Trump’s evangelical advisory board before the 2016 election, using his weapons to threaten and intimidate.
“[Redacted] said it was well known that MacDonald is always armed,” the police report states, omitting the names of everyone but the pastor. “[Redacted] heard two specific stories concerning MacDonald and firearms. The church owns a large property in Michigan where they run a camp. MacDonald would shoot long guns there and used pictures of people’s spouses he disliked as targets.”
“The other example concerned a contractor working on MacDonald’s [redacted] residence,” the report adds. “The contractor requested payment for his work, but MacDonald pointed a rifle at the man instead and pushed him down some steps.”
Witnesses told police they were afraid to file a complaint against MacDonald, who was ousted from the Illinois megachurch he had founded over financial mismanagement complaints and a recorded threat to plant child pornography on a critic’s computer.
“I asked why there was a delay reporting these events to police,” the police report states. “[Redacted] suspected one of the reasons [redacted] filed the police report on 5/16/19 was because a reporter present at the podcast asked [redacted] the same question. The reason [redacted] cited during the podcast for the delay was because [redacted] is afraid of MacDonald.”
Police in Wilmette, where Muller filed the complaint, referred the case to another jurisdiction for possible investigation.
Muller and MacDonald’s former bodyguard Manny Bucur said the pastor approached them about hiring someone to kill his former son-in-law, who he accused of uploading pornographic images involving his daughter online.
Bucur said he believes MacDonald improperly took millions of dollars from the megachurch, and he took out a restraining order against the pastor for trespassing at his house.