Reformed Baptist Pastor Tom Chantry Indicted on Multiple Counts of Sexual Molestation of Children

By | December 5, 2016

2016-12-05-newpaper-on-tom-chantrySee the full story here.

“The determination to keep these controversies quiet has led to a culture of silence among Reformed Baptists, and evil thrives in such silence.”
Tom Chantry, “Holding Communion Together”

“Our movement has been torn apart by schisms, and the largest schism involves one group of churches which holds that no action or decision of a local church ought to be subject to external scrutiny. The challenges to the presumptive historian are thus huge…Part of the reason for this is that we live in a day of moderate growth of Reformed Baptist churches––but also of explosive growth of Calvinism.”
Tom Chantry, “Holding Communion Together”

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“Oh, my friends!” cried Elmer, “do you believe in my innocence, in the fiendishness of my accusers? Reassure me with a hallelujah!”

The church thundered with the triumphant hallelujah, and in a sacred silence Elmer prayed:

“O Lord, thou hast stooped from thy mighty throne and rescued thy servant from the assault of the mercenaries of Satan! Mostly we thank thee because thus we can go on doing thy work, and thine alone! Not less but more zealously shall we seek utter purity and the prayer-life, and rejoice in freedom from all temptations!”

He turned to include the choir, and for the first time he saw that there was a new singer, a girl with charming ankles and lively eyes, with whom he would certainly have to become well acquainted. But the thought was so swift that it did not interrupt the pæan of his prayer:

“Let me count this day, Lord, as the beginning of a new and more vigorous life, as the beginning of a crusade for complete morality and the domination of the Christian church through all the land. Dear Lord, thy work is but begun! We shall yet make these United States a moral nation!”

“Elmer Gantry” by Sinclair Lewis

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In what can only be described as sad news, I must report that Reformed Baptist pastor Tom Chantry has been indicted on five counts of sexually molesting children and two counts of aggravated assault with serious physical injury. Our hearts go out to the victims, Chantry’s wife and three sons, and his parents. Chantry’s father, Walter P. Chantry is well known and respected among Reformed Christian circles.

 

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See the complete blog article here.

Below is an interesting article which appeared in the SGM Survivors blog several years ago. The title of the article is “Mystery Solved?” and it has gone a long way in solving a mystery for me.  That mystery is why so many celebrities in the Neo-Calvinst camp have so stridently defended C.J. Mahaney. You will recall that Mahaney is credibly charged with covering-up the sexual abuse of children in the denomination which he previously was the head of. Well, guess what? Indicted child molester, Tom Chantry was a vocal defender of Mahaney and Sovereign Grace!  A case of birds of a feather flock together?  I wonder how many other Mahaney cronies are also hiding sexual abuse of children in their closets? It is a very plausible explanation of their fierce loyalty to Mahaney. You can read the entire Pyromaniacs post (referred to in the SGM Survivor post below), along with Tom Chantry’s comments here.

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Walter P. Chantry (Tom’s father) served as the pastor at Grace Baptist Church in Carlisle, PA, for nearly forty years. He has authored numerous books, published by Banner of Truth, which can be seen below.

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Grace Baptist Church held a yearly summer family conference. In 2012 Tom Chantry was the featured speaker at the conference. Below is a one minute introduction by David Campbell, the current pastor of Grace Baptist Church.

 

The article below was written one year ago by Tom Chantry. It is ironic in that he wrote of two recently disgraced pastors, Mark Driscoll and Tullian Tchividjian. Chantry has now joined those two. How Chantry deals with this scandal remains to be seen. No word yet on when the criminal trial will begin.

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Tom Chantry is currently pastoring Christ Reformed Baptist Church in suburban Milwaukee, WI. On being alerted to Chantry’s indictment on sexual molestation of children charges, I tweeted some information about the story and tagged Chantry in my tweets. It took Chantry about thirty minutes to block me!  Sorry Tom, I don’t think you will be able to keep this a secret for long!

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Below is evidence that Tom Chantry was the beneficiary of his father’s ties to Banner of Truth.

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38 thoughts on “Reformed Baptist Pastor Tom Chantry Indicted on Multiple Counts of Sexual Molestation of Children

  1. Tom Johnson

    Spanking has a long history as an M.O./grooming technique for predators looking for a way to get into kids’ pants. What’s more, some have a particular fetish or kink where they enjoy the spanking of kids “à la carte,” without any blatant molestation.

    How much this pertains to Mr. Chantry remains to be seen. But it’s clear in any case that parents really ought to warn their children that there are adults who may have bad reasons for wanting to spank them.

    For more info, see fiftyshadesofchildabuse.org.

    Reply
    1. JLC

      Thanks, Tom. I think you’re spot on. In more than five years of very active advocacy work regarding child sexual abuse in Churches, I’ve seen perpetrators try to claim that even the most egregious forms of spanking, that occurred in the context of ritualized naked beatings, were just forms of legitimate discipline. These folks then whine about how the government is infringing on their religious rights when they’re accused of committing child sexual abuse.

      In 2016, I think it’s best that no one other than a parent should spank a child for any reason. Certainly, Pastors shouldn’t be doing it. Even if Tom Chantry was innocent, which is almost certainly not the case, he should have known that a male adult privately spanking children to whom he was not related, would raise a lot of red flags whether it was intended to be a form of child abuse or not.

      Thanks also for the link to the site you referenced. Best, Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

      Reply
      1. Tom Johnson

        Thanks for the reply, Janna. Do you happen to know if any of the perpetrators you mention were criminally charged?

        I know that in some similar cases, offenders have successfully played the “discipline card,” while in others the jury didn’t buy it.

        Regarding Chantry, if he has children of his own and spanked them in a similar fashion, there will be more reluctance to cast such aspersions on his spanking of other kids.

        Even if they were accompanied by fondling and the like, there may be an effort to classify the spankings only as physically/emotionally abusive, as well as unlawfully disrespectful toward the children’s parents–assuming he didn’t have their permission to discipline that way.

        Reply
        1. 2samuel127 Post author

          Hi Tom,

          Chantry had no children at the time of the alleged crimes in Prescott, AZ. He was married in the middle of his four year teaching stint at Christian Liberty Academy in Arlington Heights, IL. He now has three sons. I assume he fathered them, but there is the possibility he married a woman who already had the boys. I have no way of knowing.
          -Todd

          Reply
        2. JLC

          Hi Tom,

          The short answer is that I’m not aware of any perpetrators or alleged perpetrators who have been criminally charged just for spanking children. However, that could be the case regarding the instances of extreme spanking I’ve read about, and I just don’t know it. Usually the sexual abuse that appears in lawsuits and in criminal charges isn’t limited to spanking, per se, from what I’ve researched so far. The “spanking-as-abuse allegation” I’m most involved with pertains to a class-action suit against a Church and Para-Church organization called Covenant Life Church and Sovereign Grace Ministries, respectively.

          That civil case was dismissed based on technicalities, but Maryland has no statute of limitations for major felonies so it’s possible that the credible allegations of sado-masochistic spanking in the lawsuit will eventually lead to criminal charges.

          I imagine that it’s difficult for the district attorney or juries to determine that spanking alone constitutes abuse unless there are medical examinations or a videos proving that it did. And yes, some people are dumb enough to record “disciplining” their kids. If you have any sources pertaining to spanking and criminal charges, I’d love to see them.

          As for Mr. Chantry, I maintain that in 2016, in the U.S.A., it’s simply unwise for anyone, but especially men, to be meting out corporal punishment to children they’re not related to. Even if the parents claim that they don’t mind other people spanking their children, I don’t see a good reason for allowing Church employees to do, as there are many less controversial ways to discipline children. Nor should a Pastor be spending lots of time with children doing “special lessons” that’s purpose is not defined, as Mr. Chantry is alleged to have done extensively.

          I think there were a lot of red flags that Mr. Chantry may have been abusing children and both members of his Church and clergy on good terms with his prominent family simply looked the other way, at best. However, spanking kids and spending lots of time alone with them doing unspecified activities would lead many people to think that even a completely innocent Pastor was behaving inappropriately.

          In other words, I hope that other Churches discontinue allowing Pastors to spank children, because it just inherently raises a lot of issues about abuse, and it often ends up being a credible-sounding defense for committing criminal acts.

          Thanks. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

          Reply
          1. Tom Johnson

            I’ve read about the SGM lawsuit. I seem to recall one victim alleged that she endured severe spankings well past childhood, even into her early 20’s!

            The criteria for determining whether a spanking constitutes physical abuse are distinct from those concerning sexual abuse. It’s possible to be both, although it seems some people find that challenging.

            I believe that people who spank other others’ children without permission are often shielded from the worst suspicions by the fact of having kids of their own, whom they presumably spanked as well. You can’t really impute sexual motive solely onto the non-parental instances–and it’s an extra scary and horrible thought that parental spanking could be that sinister.

            Check out the outcome in this case: http://www.citizen-times.com/story/news/local/2016/05/31/former-little-league-coach-pleads-guilty-spanking-players/85194022/

            Then compare to this one:

            Jefferson County, Colorado
            Administration and Courts Facility
            100 Jefferson County Parkway
            Golden, Colorado 80419
            303-279-6511

            For Immediate Release – Apr 4, 2008

            Contact: Pam Russell
            DA Public Information
            303-271-6905

            Re: Michael DiPalma Sentenced

            Michael David DiPalma appeared today in Jefferson County Court and was sentenced to Intensive Supervision Sex Offender Probation for a period of ten years to life and two years in the county jail. The 33-year-old former day camp teacher pled guilty on January 25 to Sexual Assault of a Child, a class four felony.

            Michael DiPalma, who now lives in Centennial, worked at a Lakewood recreation center teaching Elementary Engineering Using Lego and Elementary Robotics Using Lego in July 2006. One of the students, an 8-year-old boy, was singled out by DiPalma. The boy was given a sticky note and told to make a checkmark on it every time he didn’t follow DiPalma’s instructions. The boy was told he would receive a spanking for each check mark. On July 27, 2006, when the other children were on lunch break, DiPalma lured the boy to his car and put him into the back seat. DiPalma then drove to the parking lot of a nearby apartment complex then climbed into the back seat with the boy. He put the boy on his lap, pulled down his pants and spanked him 20 times on his bare buttocks. The spanking left marks and DiPalma told him not to tell or that he would go to the boy’s house and spank him harder. When the boy’s mother picked him up at the end of the day, he told her what had happened. The family reported the incident to the Lakewood Police Department.

            DiPalma’s case went trial in September, 2006 but the jurors were unable to reach a unanimous verdict.

            The jury heard evidence that in May 2006 DiPalma had worked for a company called “Computer Tots’, teaching an after-school class at Steck Elementary School in Denver. In that class he asked the second graders to vote on which of them should be spanked. He spanked at least two 7-year-olds before his employment at Steck Elementary was terminated.

            Court records also indicate that DiPalma had been accused of unlawful sexual contact of a child, kidnapping, and false imprisonment in 1999 in New Mexico. The boy and girl who were named as victims in that case were 10-year-olds and they did not know DiPalma. He was given a deferred judgment and probation.

            DiPalma was remanded to the custody of the Sheriff following the sentencing. He will be required to register as a sex offender.

          2. Tom Johnson

            The flip side is that kids who are used to such treatment at home (even with good motives) are generally easier prey for sexual exploitation cloaked as discipline. This tragic example was published just this month:

            “Less than a year later, I was molested by a Catholic priest. How did he molest me? By trumping up a false charge and spanking me on my bare backside. Coincidence? I think not.”

            [Source: https://www.ncronline.org/news/accountability/sharing-stories-sexual-abuse-helps-heal-hurt%5D

          3. JLC

            Thanks for the comments, Tom. I’m catching up on responding to comments this week, Tom and others. Please keep them coming! Thanks. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

    2. 2samuel127 Post author

      Thanks for the link Tom. I will leave it to the experts to figure out if Chantry has this fetish. My feeling is that nobody other than a parent should be spanking a child. Personally, I even disagree with parents spanking their children.

      Reply
  2. Barbara Roberts

    Thanks Janna, I did see that option (I’m on a laptop; it was pretty easy to read) but I wanted to comment so others know I am listening in. Cheers.

    Reply
    1. JLC

      Thanks for the feedback, Barbara. I handle most of the tech stuff for this blog, so am always trying to find ways to make it more user-friendly. Best, Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

      Reply
    1. JLC

      Thanks, there’s also an option to follow the article without first commenting.

      I’ll try to fix the fact that it’s listed in very small print.

      Best, Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

      Reply
  3. JLC

    Does anyone know if Thomas Chantry or his attorney have issued a public statement saying he is innocent of the crimes for which he has been indicted?

    If so, can anyone provide a reference to that effect? Thanks. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

    Reply
  4. Dave A A

    From the Daily Courier:
    ‘This went on for a period of six to seven months, the report said, and Chantry allegedly told the boy not to tell anyone “about his special lessons because he would not be able to teach everyone.”
    The man, now 32 years old, said that, even during the abuse he claims was happening when he was a child, he knew it was wasn’t right.
    “I definitely felt it was wrong, but it was one of those things—he was the pastor … and there was nothing I could do about it.”’
    I looked up Mr Chantry’s blog, and the last article of his own was a repost about teaching children the 10 commandments. It included a picture of catechism time and at his church. I hoped “maybe he stopped– maybe someone confronted him in 2001 but failed to report him,” But I feared “how many other “special lessons” have there been since then?

    Reply
    1. Melody

      I read somewhere that he taught at a Christian school…if true, well, I’m even more concerned. Today my sick feeling is only, honestly, how much worse can the evangelical church get? How many more credible reports of abuse have to come before these wolves are no longer tolerated by naive people professing to be Christians?

      Reply
      1. 2samuel127 Post author

        Melody,
        Tom Chantry did indeed teach at a Christian school, Christian Liberty Academy. The school is located in Arlington Heights, a suburb of Chicago. Chantry taught there from 2002-2006. He taught 5th grade for three years and 6th grade for one year. He also spoke weekly at the chapel service for senior high.

        More information will be forthcoming in a post I am currently working on.

        Reply
      2. Melody

        (By this comment I am referring beyond these allegations to egregious abuses such as the Nate Morales fiasco, and I am not in fact making a judgement about anyone’s faith…my grief is that credible accusations can be made and so many evangelical leaders have a pattern of un-repentantly and callously closing ranks against anyone concerned with the allegations, instead of comforting the probable victims, as Christians would be expected to do. ( http://www.snapnetwork.org/what_to_do_when_your_priest_or_minister_is_accused_of_abuse?recruiter_id=342 )
        I’m therefore no longer sure what god -so many of those alleged leaders and potentially many of their followers- worship.)
        How long, Oh Lord?

        Reply
  5. Lydia

    I can’t get over how well you guys research your posts. I came across the Chantry name a long time ago in the Challies/Pyro world of blogging.

    Reading Chantry’s article on Driscoll and Tullian reminded why I can’t stand Creeds or Confessions. :o)

    Reply
  6. Melody

    Thank you guys for all you do. Heartbreaking news even if unsurprising. Prayers and love to you. Thank you for exposing this. Evangelicals must wake up to abuses among them. My family will no longer attend evangelical churches nor permit our children to be taught separately to us as a result of their failure to deal justly. What a tragedy. 1 Peter 4:17

    Reply
    1. JLC

      Thanks, Melody. What’s sad is that a fair number of Church leaders and lay members often shove child sexual abuse under the carpet on the grounds that exposing it will embarrass the Church and be a barrier to preaching the Gospel.

      In my experience, the opposite is true. Most non-Christians and Christians alike take a dim view of people who use their religious beliefs as an excuse to cover up or even facilitate pedophilia.

      Thanks. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

      Reply
      1. Melody

        Well said, and more agreement with this common sense needed. For my part, as a Christian, agreed.

        Reply
  7. Vee

    It is not so much that pastors turn into perverts, it’s that people who want access to children might factor that in to their career decisions. That’s why Linn’s point is so important. Just because a person has been hired as a pastor, that doesn’t mean he is really a pastor. And pastors who are not perverts need to be careful about being alone with children. There’s just no reason for it.

    Reply
    1. Max

      “Just because a person has been hired as a pastor, that doesn’t mean he is really a pastor.”

      Many go to seminary in order to become pastors, but few are really called by God to that office. Nowhere is that more clear than the New Calvinist movement. Seminaries are churning out the young, restless and reformed in great numbers. They hit pulpits (or take them over) with a cheap grace message which enables sin rather than confronting it. It is not surprising that so many flesh babies become preachers and ultimately fail.

      Reply
      1. JLC

        I agree. The people who go to some of the seminaries in question are also not trained, by professionals, to handle child sexual abuse allegations in a moral and legal way. In fact, many of them appear to be informally indoctrinated in the idea that shoving crimes under the carpet is better than reporting them to the police. In other words, they’ve been told that their supposed Christian religious beliefs give them the right to do illegal and immoral things.

        That practice didn’t work for the Catholic Church in the 21st century and it is back-firing on Evangelicals, too.

        Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

        Reply
  8. Bill M

    Good job assembling some history here. I’m going to have to get a twitter account just so I can get blocked by these guys too, sort of like a badge of honor.

    Reply
  9. Linn

    Somehow and in some way we need to get away from the pastor as lower-case p “pope.” And, congregants need to be trained to blow the whistle when something seems “iffy.” Otherwise, these kinds of situations will continue.

    Reply
    1. 2samuel127 Post author

      I totally agree Linn. This abuse of children has reached epidemic proportions in the evangelical church. Boz Tchividjian once stated he believed it was every bit as bad as in the Catholic church and I believe he is being proven correct. Speak up people! Please protect your children.

      Reply
    2. JLC

      I agree, Linn. Unfortunately, many people perceive that covering up child sexual abuse is moral because they think that it protects the general reputation of the Church, per this comment posted on a Facebook comments section of a friend pertaining to Chantry’s case:

      I understand the reasoning expressed here. However, is such a post open to a worldwide audience the best forum? Many non-Christians, athiests and borderline Christians will see this only as another example of what they see wrong with Christianity – thus obscuring the true, pure and simple mission of the church: To bring others to salvation through Jesus Christ.

      There are so many problems with the line of reasoning above that it’s hard to rebut it. For one thing, the charges and indictment of Mr. Chantry are already a matter of public record, so the statement above makes no logical sense, in this case. I will also say that Jesus did not preach that you should allow pedophiles to keep molesting children because they’re expendable and exposing them will harm the Gospel.
      Matthew 19:14King James Version (KJV)

      14 But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

      And add that Mr. Chantry is entitled to a fair trial, of course, but that the charges and indictments against him are serious enough to assume he is likely guilty, for the purpose of protecting other possible victims he may have had. Any Church Mr. Chantry has been associated with should do its best to notify anyone he came in contact with, including visiting members of the public, that their children may have been abused by someone very credibly alleged with being a serial pedophile.

      Thanks. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

      Reply
      1. Max

        “Any Church Mr. Chantry has been associated with should do its best to notify anyone he came in contact with …”

        You can bet that every parent who were members in those churches will be looking back and trying to recall times that Chantry may have been alone with their children. In addition, they will now be reflecting on the integrity of their current pastor – who is he really? When things like this are exposed, all ministers fall under a shadow of doubt. Such a sad time for the church, as members begin to lose trust in those who are supposed to be trusted without doubt.

        Reply
        1. JLC

          That wound be the rational thing to do. Unfortunately, a fair number of Chantry’s Church members are defending him instead of taking precautions to protect their kids in the likely event that he is guilty of at least some of the charges against him.

          This isn’t a “he said, she said,” situation. Tom Chantry has been arrested, charged, and indicted for crimes against children. In other words, the allegations against him can’t be much more credible at this point.

          In addition, the Church should also try to notify the local community about the charges against Mr. Chantry, so that people visiting the Church will be apprised of the safety situation at hand.

          Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

          Reply
          1. Max

            ” … a fair number of Chantry’s Church members are defending him …”

            This is common in personality-driven churches. Tullian Tchividjian still has a huge following of supporters, even though his transgressions have been laid bare. And Driscoll is still dragging around groupies which live to hear him drivel. And Mahaney – well, what more can be said about that weird guy and the folks which cling to him?! It’s a strange dynamic which occurs in cult-like churches which follow men instead of Christ; they will deny any negatives about their idols to their last breath.

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