Covenant Life Church Sure Knows How To Pick’em

By | February 3, 2017

What did CLC pastor PJ Smyth know and when did he know it?

PJ Smith receives weekly phone call from his father.

Breaking: News 4 has aired their first two longer investigative stories on the abuse carried out by John Smyth. You can view the first story here. You can view the second story here.

Breaking: It is currently 2130 local time in Dubai, February 3, 2017. PJ Smyth has just released a video which can be viewed immediately below. PJ Smyth’s statement is not good news for Covenant Life Church.  It is my opinion that he comes across as a deceptive man with something to hide. CLC has a storied history of former senior pastors who have been deceptive with church members, unfortunately, it looks like they can add another one to the list.

For starters, PJ refers to his father’s abuse as “excessive discipline.” But the bigger deception is in what PJ did not say. You will notice that he talked only of his father’s alleged abuse while living in the UK decades ago.

Long, long ago and far, far away.

It all occurred when PJ was a young boy.  He only heard vague rumors of his father’s behavior.  End of story.  Nothing to see here, now move along.

Nice try PJ.

What about those years in between the time you and dear old dad lived in the UK and SA?  I believe your dad packed up and took the family to Zimbabwe in 1984, where he then worked for 17 years. By my calculations that would mean your dad left Zimbabwe for SA in 2001. You would have been 30 years-old!  While in Zimbabwe your dad was charged with the culpable homicide of 16-year-old Guide Nyachuru at one of the Zambesi Ministries’ summer camps held in Marondera in December 1992. (Link)  He managed to dodge those charges and fled to SA. (Link)  Any recollections of those years PJ?  You’re a clever man, surely you don’t expect us to believe that when you were 21 years old you had no knowledge of the charges of homicide against your father, do you?

PJ has some explaining to do.  My bet is the corrupt leaders at CLC who rallied around CJ Mahaney and Joshua Harris to cover up the sexual abuse of children happening in their church will continue their corrupt ways and attempt to provide cover for PJ Smyth.  It is time for the good members of CLC to rise up and demand the truth from their leaders, and then demand the resignation of corrupt leaders.

 

PJ Smyth’s deceptive video makes no mention of his father’s abuse in Zimbabwe.

PJ Smyth’s written statement. (Link)

My submitted response which is not likely to make it out of moderation!

Breaking: February 4, 2017. PJ Smyth has published a second statement on the Covenant Life Church website. (Link)  In the statement below I again must point out what was not said. PJ states that “I do clearly remember the tragic drowning of a fellow camper.” No mention is made that his dad was arrested and charged with the culpable homicide of 16-year-old Guide Nyachuru, PJ’s “fellow camper.”  Perhaps PJ does not have as clear a recollection of that minor detail. Allow me to refresh PJ’s memory:

“While in Zimbabwe Smyth ran a Christian mission, Zambesi Ministries, for 17 years. He was charged with the culpable homicide of 16-year-old Guide Nyachuru at one of the Zambesi Ministries’ summer camps held in Marondera in December 1992. Nyachuru’s naked body was found in the Ruzawi School pool — questions still hang over the circumstances surrounding his drowning. Smyth has always maintained it was a tragic accident.

Smyth was also charged with five counts of crimen injuria relating to incidents during a camp in April 1993 involving five boys from posh Zimbabwean schools.

The culpable homicide prosecution was discontinued when the then Zimbabwean Chief Justice, Anthony Gubbay, ruled the prosecutor in the case had a conflict of interest. Smyth moved to South Africa soon afterwards in 2001.” (Link)

“In 1997 Smyth was arrested over claims that he had killed a teenage boy, 16-year-old Guide Nyachuru.” (Link)

 

“Rocky Leanders, who was 15 when he attended a camp in Africa, said Smyth encouraged the boys to swim naked with him.

Leanders alleged that Smyth beat boys with table tennis bats, sometimes hitting them so hard that he broke the bats.

His mother saw the bruises, and contacted a lawyer, who identified more alleged victims.

It emerged that 16-year-old Guide Nyachuru had been found dead in a swimming pool while on a Zambesi holiday in 1992.

His sister Edith, who now lives in Britain, said that the boy was naked when she went to identify his body.” (Link)

 

“Edith Nyachuru, whose brother died at one of Mr Smyth’s camps, say he would still be alive had the barrister faced justice in the UK.” (Link)

 

Source: Channel 4 News – John Smyth confronted with charges by reporter Cathy Newman (Link)

Source: Channel 4 News – “Archbishop admits Church ‘failed terribly’ over abuse revelations” (Link)

Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, MD sure knows how to pick a winner. CLC, formerly the flagship church of the Sovereign Grace denomination, has been embroiled in a sexual abuse scandal that some say was the largest to hit the Evangelical Church in America. Former senior pastors C.J. Mahaney and Joshua Harris, along with assistant pastor (and brother-in-law of C.J. Mahaney) Grant Layman resigned from the church. Youth leader, Nate Morales was convicted of sexually abusing boys and sentenced to 40 years in prison. Hundreds of disenchanted church members quit.

Covenant Life Church, seeking a fresh beginning, left the Sovereign Grace denomination and began a world-wide search for a new pastor.  The man CLC leaders (the same leaders complicit in the coverup of abuse) selected to lead them out of the morass of sexual abuse and coverup and restore them to a position of respectability was PJ Smyth. While a relative unknown in the USA, PJ was a superstar in South Africa, much like CJ used to be in the USA.  Convinced they had found their next Christian celebrity, CLC leaders had an easy time of convincing the Kool-Aid swilling members who had remained loyal to the church that PJ was their man. The members reportedly voted overwhelmingly ( 97% in favor) of hiring PJ. One year later, in January of 2017, PJ and his family arrived in the USA.

 

All appeared well in CLC-land. PJ was in charge and ready to make everyone forget CJ and lead CLC to new heights of fame and fortune. Who could have known that within one month of PJ’s arrival CLC leaders would once again be indirectly rocked by more charges of abuse?

Yesterday news broke in the UK and South Africa that John Smyth, father of PJ Smyth, is a monster. He is charged with the most horrific abuse of young men, dating back to the 1970’s!

A British lawyer who has been working for the inclusion of Christian values into South Africa’s constitutional jurisprudence has been accused of the “horrific” and “masochistic” beating of teenage boys in his care.

Currently based in Cape Town, John Smyth, a Queen’s Counsel and former acting judge in England, is alleged to have left a decades-long trail of bloodied bodies and broken spirits both in the United Kingdom and in Zimbabwe.

While in Zimbabwe Smyth ran a Christian mission, Zambesi Ministries, for 17 years. He was charged with the culpable homicide of 16-year-old Guide Nyachuru at one of the Zambesi Ministries’ summer camps held in Marondera in December 1992. Nyachuru’s naked body was found in the Ruzawi School pool — questions still hang over the circumstances surrounding his drowning. Smyth has always maintained it was a tragic accident.

Smyth was also charged with five counts of crimen injuria relating to incidents during a camp in April 1993 involving five boys from posh Zimbabwean schools.

The culpable homicide prosecution was discontinued when the then Zimbabwean Chief Justice, Anthony Gubbay, ruled the prosecutor in the case had a conflict of interest. Smyth moved to South Africa soon afterwards in 2001.

The allegations of abuse — ritualised beatings to “repent” for sins such as masturbation — surfaced this week following an investigation by the United Kingdom’s Channel 4 News, An Ungodly Crime?, which screened on Thursday February 2 in Britain.

“Christian Crusader in Teen Abuse Scandal” Mail Guardian (Link)

 

John Smyth is questioned by reporter Cathy Newman regarding allegations of horrific abuse of boys. Smyth is the father of PJ Smyth, senior pastor of Covenant Life Church. (Link to video)

 

Source: The Telegraph (Link)

The Archbishop of Canterbury issued an “unreserved and unequivocal” apology on Wednesday on behalf of the Church of England after admitting he had worked at holiday camps at which teenage boys were groomed for abuse.

The Most Rev Justin Welby said the Church had “failed terribly” by not reporting John Smyth QC, the head of the Christian charity that ran the summer camps, to police after he was accused of carrying out a string of “horrific” sado-masochistic attacks in the late Seventies.

Channel 4 News will on Thursday broadcast allegations that Mr Smyth used the camps, which were attended by boys from some of Britain’s leading public schools, to gain access to teenagers, whom he forced to strip naked before subjecting them to savage beatings.

The Archbishop says that he was made aware of the allegations against Mr. Smyth in 2013 when police eventually became involved.
-The Telegraph (Link)

While one cannot place the blame for the sins of the father on the son, it would be reasonable to believe that PJ Smyth had to have knowledge of his father’s sinister life.  The Archbishop of Canterbury became aware of allegations in 2013. When did PJ Smyth become aware that his father was beating young men?  Did PJ report any of these brutal beatings to police?  Was PJ Smyth ever beaten by his father? Assuming PJ Smyth was aware of what his father was engaged in, did he advise CLC leaders of the potential fall-out from his father’s evil deeds?

It would appear CLC leaders did not exercise due diligence prior to hiring PJ Smith. CLC leaders have repeatedly demonstrated that they are sorely lacking any discernment. In my opinion, these leaders need to resign. One also wonders if church members will divest themselves of the notion that only a celebrity can lead their church? The whole culture at CLC seems, to this outsider, to be sick. Perhaps the healthiest thing CLC could do would be to close shop.

It would also be interesting to know whether PJ Smyth was truthful with US Immigration officials in his visa interview.

Below is a video in which Mark Mitchell recounts the thorough vetting procedure they put PJ Smyth through prior to offering him the job of senior pastor. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it sounds to me as if the CLC pastors had determined the job was PJ’s prior to the Search Committee even beginning their work!

A little refresher course on problems CLC leaders would like you to believe are in their past:

 

 

45 thoughts on “Covenant Life Church Sure Knows How To Pick’em

  1. Pingback: Analysis of Covenant Life Church’s PJ Smyth’s Statements on the Situation Regarding his Father, John Smyth QC | Wondering Eagle

  2. crumbled

    Janna,

    You have no relationship or experience with CLC and it is very obvious you have no idea what you are talking about. Your video on your Facebook page is absurd. Just because you can sit in your basement in your pajamas and mind everyone else’s business does not mean you know anything about what goes on. You site your source as Brent?

    Let’s just pretend the allegations made by HT are all false. What does that mean you have done on your crusade? Then, add some of the other allegations that suddenly came forward when millions of dollars were at stake.

    Innocent men have lost their reputations, their ministries, their families, their health and their jobs. And, you are culpable.

    Reply
    1. JLC

      Hi Crumbled:

      “You have no relationship or experience with CLC and it is very obvious you have no idea what you are talking about”

      I have been advocating for victims of child sexual abuse at Covenant Life Church for more than five years, under my real name. You are anonymously telling lies about people you’ve never interacted with.

      “your pajamas and mind everyone else’s business does not mean you know anything about what goes on.”

      Protecting children from pedophilia-enablers like you is my business and the business of every responsible adult. That is unless you are either one of the pedophiles at Covenant Life Church or married to one of them. That seems a distinct possibility given your willingness to defend them.

      “You site your source as Brent?”

      1) No, I cited legal documents that happened to be posted on Brent Detwiler’s site. Brent Detwiler is also a very reputable source of information regarding Covenant Life Church. He, not Joshua Harris, is a hero for advocating for child sexual abuse victims of your Church.
      2) A simple Google search also reveals that more than a dozen reputable secular media sources have clearly stated that Nathaniel Morales was convicted of molesting kids within the context of his work as a youth leader at Covenant Life Church. You have not apologized for lying about that subject.
      3) My video, which goes over the legal documents pertaining to the case, is on YouTube, not Facebook. Clearly, you didn’t even bother to look at it.

      I Think That This Blog Has Tolerated Enough of Your Blatant Lying

      “Innocent men have lost their reputations, their ministries, their families, their health and their jobs. And, you are culpable.”

      Guilty child molesters are still endangering children at Covenant Life Church because you are at best directly enabling child sexual abuse, dear. Per this blog’s comment policy, people’s comments will not be published unless they are backed up by credible research or intelligent reasoning. Your comments so far have failed that test miserably and no more like them will be approved.

      If you just want to tell lies about victims of child sexual abuse at Covenant Life Church, there are plenty of other blogs out there that will be more than willing to let you do that.

      Have a nice day.

      Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

      Reply
    2. 2samuel127 Post author

      Crumbled,
      Who are these “innocent men” you speak of?

      Who are these innocent victims of sexual abuse who lives have been shattered you speak of?

      Oh wait, you don’t speak of abuse victims.

      “Change comes hard to a system that has enjoyed the privilege of feudal function and secret self-maintenance. Resistance to change is formidable even in the face of public exposure. One bishop told a priest, ‘There is no real problem. The devil is just persecuting the church in this way.'”
      Sex, Priests and Power by A.W. Richard Sipe, page 43

      “At its root, abuse is the harmful exercise of power over others. Submission theology protects the privileges of the powerful; as a result, abuse survivors in submission cultures are not able to fight effectively for support or accountability. It is possible that victim advocacy is inherently impossible in a culture like SGM’s.”
      -T.F. Charlton, March 6, 2013
      A Church Group, A Lawsuit and A Culture of Abuse
      Religion Dispatches http://religiondispatches.org/a-church-group-a-lawsuit-and-a-culture-of-abuse/

      “If religion cannot tell the truth about itself, it has nothing to say. Hypocrisy – professing one thing and performing the opposite – is the greatest moral violation. In approaching the crisis of clergy abuse, truth must be the preeminent goal. Truth – wherever found, however discovered, whatever it exposes – must be the agenda for any exploration of abuse by clergy. Anything that impedes unflinching directness, honesty, or clear unambiguous communication and confrontation of the facts will perpetuate the secret system in which abuse can continue and flourish.

      All concerned citizens have a stake in the honesty of religious leaders. They should be a moral and cultural resource. Religion needs the help of all concerned women and men. Everyone is victimized by a system that fosters or tolerates abuse. It is not unholy or unseemly to be vitally interested in the performance of moral leaders. If religion was taught anything by the German holocaust of the Jews it is that standing by silently does not absolve from guilt. Institutional structures and behaviors are not above question or challenge.”
      A.W. Richard Sipe, “Sex, Priests and Power,” page 45

      I recommend you read the summary of just one example of the “innocent men” of Covenant Life Church which can be found at the link below. In due time I will blog about the latest “innocent man” to take charge at Covenant Life Church.

      The Conspiracy Surrounding Plaintiff Grace Goe at Covenant Life Church Link

      Reply
    3. Lydia

      Crumbled, Some of those “innocent men” fled to my city and are now leeching off the SBC. They set up church in my kids school system at one location at the time and abruptly left when the administration was informed about the situation back in Maryland and their fleeing the situation to Mohlers protection and financial resources of the SBC. . schools cannot be associated in any way with child molester protectors. They were embarrassed they trusted the people who recommended them to use the facility on weekends to grow another cult church. I could not trace the recommendation because the administration just wanted it to go away as fast as possible and we were at a different location.

      I say this for one reason. SGM was conceived as a shepherding cult from way back. Even the subsequent name after several names, People of Destiny, should be a clue. It never shed its shepherding DNA. It is so ingrained, I am sure it is the normal. It was one of the worst I saw that became more mainstream —thanks to Mark Denver and Al Mohler. There is only one solution. Complete total shut down. I do think many involved will need serious exit counseling from the Thought Reform. I think the same for most of the SBC YRR now.

      We never know what goes on in closed authoritarian cultic systems unless there is a whistle blower. In the case f Brent, he kept meticulously documentation. A must to follow the Byzantine layers of deception and manipulation over years. It was surreal reading the documentation. The characteristics of cultic manipulation. It was stunning how much evil had been protected for years. Social media is the only reason it leaked out. I have a hard time believing any of it still exists. But it does, sadly. But the “thought Reform” is in the DNA of the every part of that system that still exists.

      Janna or no one else bears any responsibility for grown men following charlatans or making horrible decisions for their lives or their families. That is on them. It is on every adult who goes along with such a cultic system and supports it. And I was guilty myself. My view, coming out of the seeker mega movement which many don’t share, is that these systems must die because people wake up. They cannot be turned around. The money has to dry up because charlatans always seek the protection of closed systems, the mic and perks. I think this way about the RCC, the SBC, Scientology and SGM to name a few. They are institutionally corrupt to the core. .

      Reply
      1. 2samuel127 Post author

        Well said, Lydia.

        “SGM… They are institutionally corrupt to the core..”

        Reply
        1. JLC

          Yes, it’s a bit like saying, “We got rid of the Pastors who covered up child sexual abuse in the 1980s and now have a new set of leaders willing to cover it up in 2017. So what are you complaining about, you busy-body?”

          Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

          Reply
      2. JLC

        Thanks, Lydia. What’s most striking about “Crumbled’s” comments is that he/she claims to be a good Christian yet shows a complete lack of concern for child sexual abuse victims in general. Even if the dozens of allegations against the members and Pastors of Covenant Life Church, for covering up child sexual abuse, were all false, the truth is that many child sexual abuse victims indisputably exist and they suffer terribly.

        But “Crumbled” doesn’t care about the suffering of abused kids. He/she only has compassion and empathy for the so-called Godly men who have lost their jobs because they’ve been asked difficult questions about their role in reportedly methodically covering up child sexual abuse at Covenant Life Church.

        And, of course, none of these supposedly fine Christian men are defending themselves publicly by simply putting a statement on their Facebook pages saying, “I did not cover up child sexual abuse at any time and the reported victims are all liars.” They’re just whining to “Crumbed” about being treated unjustly privately.

        If these men aren’t guilty of covering for pedophiles or being pedophiles themselves, then why can’t they just say so?

        “Crumbed” doesn’t seem to have an answer for that question.

        Thanks. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

        Reply
    4. Bill M

      “You have no relationship or experience with CLC and it is very obvious you have no idea what you are talking about.”

      A classic silencing tactic. Rather than give a substantive rebuttal it is the old “you don’t have all the facts” ploy. Then following up with spurious and unspecified accusation of culpability leaves me entirely unimpressed.

      Reply
      1. JLC

        Thanks, Bill. As always, you have an excellent point. I personally don’t care about being the subject of silly insults from current Covenant Life Church members who have no interest in doing anything but listening to the lies their Pastors are telling them about the crimes the Church has committed and is still committing.

        What breaks my heart is the slander of the victims of Covenant Life Church’s decision to support, even financially and legally (they have a long history of using Church resources to hire lawyers for accused pedophiles to help them evade the American criminal and civil justice systems), a vicious pedophile ring, that all the evidence we have indicates is still fully operational. In other words, there are almost certainly credibly accused or even confessed (to the Pastors) child molesters looking for victims at Covenant Life Church as we speak.

        Nathaniel Morales, the man who was convicted in 2014 of molesting kids he met and groomed through his position as a prominent youth ministry leader at Covenant Life Church, even confessed that he was molesting kids to two prominent Covenant Life Church pastors, and they just let him keep doing what he was doing rather than reporting him to the police or at least preventing him from continuing to serve in children’s ministries.

        You can read about the confessions these Covenant Life Church Pastors made to CBS and the Washington Examiner, two reputable secular media outlets, here:

        http://washington.cbslocal.com/2013/02/04/md-church-member-accused-of-molestation-in-1980s/

        http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/former-christian-school-teacher-accused-of-molesting-boys/article/2520547

        Yet despite being in this pedophile-friendly environment and contrary to “Crumbled’s” assertion that these victims only came forward when they could receive the financial recompense they deserved through a civil lawsuit, many of them informally tried to resolve their problems with the way Covenant Life Church treats child sexual abuse victims and their families for years.

        Please note that I’m a stating an opinion next that does not necessarily reflect what all the victims think. I believe, and have been told by some victims, that they did this because, at the time, they thought that informally talking with the leaders and Pastors of Covenant Life Church was the Christian thing to do and that there was some hope that these Pastors and leaders would change their evil ways because they were fellow Christians.

        Several of the victim’s stories are covered in this excellent article in the well-known secular publication, The Washingtonian

        https://www.washingtonian.com/2016/02/14/the-sex-abuse-scandal-that-devastated-a-suburban-megachurch-sovereign-grace-ministries/

        Tiffany Stanley, its author, spent 10 months researching the article above and is a distinguished professional journalist. Her bio can be read here:

        https://www.washingtonian.com/2016/02/14/the-sex-abuse-scandal-that-devastated-a-suburban-megachurch-sovereign-grace-ministries/

        So no, “Crumbled,” the victims who joined the lawsuit did not just come forward when there was supposedly millions of dollars at stake.
        Instead, they tried to informally give the Pedophiles and the Pastors who love them, whom you’re protecting at Covenant Life Church, an opportunity to at least apologize for the way they have and are still mistreating the child sexual abuse victims Covenant Life Church went out of its way to slander and marginalize.

        Needless to say, the members and leaders of Covenant Life Church have not been persuaded to stop being ground zero for predatory attacks against children.

        Thanks. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

        Reply
    5. Serving Kids in Japan

      Hey, Crumbled!

      Just because you can sit in your basement in your pajamas and mind everyone else’s business does not mean you know anything about what goes on.

      You forgot to mention Cheetos. You should have said, “in your basement, in your pajamas, eating nothing but Cheetos”. The Cheetos are all-important for destroying Janna’s credibility, y’know.

      More seriously…

      Innocent men have lost their reputations, their ministries, their families, their health and their jobs.

      Whom, precisely, are you talking about? Not Mahaney — he’s doing just fine for himself. Layman and Harris don’t count, either. They ruined their own reputations by keeping knowledge of criminal acts to themselves; they’ve both admitted to doing so. (And where do you get off calling Harris a “hero”? He’s made a few baby steps towards deprogramming himself, perhaps. But he’s got a looooooong way to go before heroism can be attributed to him.)

      So, who are all these “innocent men” you’re so passionate about?

      Reply
      1. JLC

        Thanks, Serving Kids in Japan. I try not to keep junk food around the house, but I usually go for Pringles potato chips when the Super Bowl is on or something of that nature. One time my dad and I ate nothing but cooked brussel sprouts on one Super Sunday. No butter or salt – just cooked brussel sprouts straight up. I’m completely serious!

        So I’m really a loser who blogs in the basement, in my PJs, eating hard-core sulfurous vegetables while chasing around Pedophiles and the Pastors who love them.

        😉

        From “crumbled”

        “Just because you can sit in your basement in your pajamas and mind everyone else’s business does not mean you know anything about what goes on.”

        I’m aware that I know relatively little about what really goes on at Covenant Life Church respecting its decision to act like a crime syndicate, at times. Child sexual abuse is not the only crime ya’ll cover up. The Church is quite good at keeping battered wives from contacting civil authorities, for example.

        “So, who are all these “innocent men” you’re so passionate about?”

        Men who can’t identify themselves and then flatly deny that they’ve covered up child sexual abuse publicly, it seems. Most real victims of false allegations of covering up child molestation would be pretty quick to say, “I didn’t do it!,” one would think. That and/or sue the people who have falsely accused them, of a great crime, for libel or slander. “Crumbled” doesn’t seem to have considered that people who lie about being molested can be charged with perjury under the criminal justice system and/or sued for libel in a civil court. Your chance of winning millions of dollars by doing nothing but telling blatant lies is pretty small.

        That and many credible studies indicate that only 3%-7% of allegations pertaining to child sexual abuse, that result in lawsuits or involved criminal investigations, are deliberately false. So if more than two dozen people (I’m including those who were initially anonymous) in a lawsuit are claiming to have been sexually abused at Covenant Life Church, there’s only about a 0.001% chance that all of them are lying and the Covenant Life Church Pastors and members are nothing but innocent victims of a Satanic attack, as Pastor PJ Smyth suggested.

        As for former Covenant Life Church Pastor Joshua Harris being a hero…his focus seems to have changed since he fled to Canada to get away from his history of covering up child sexual abuse in the United States. At present, he’s making interesting personal videos, one of which features him stripping at a clothing-optional beach. You don’t see anything too graphic at end, but if my video about legal documents is a joke, as “Crumbled” suggested, than Harris’ is really, really funny.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BETwHTH75AQ

        Thanks. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

        Reply
        1. Serving Kids in Japan

          “Ugh” and “blechh” to the whole “Satanic attack” nonsense. One of the commenters on PJ’s Open Letter took that line, I see. She even went so far as to say: “Might this horrible business have come to light now because the enemy wants to destroy you and distract you from the great work you have begun here, a work that apparently only you can do?”

          This “horrible business” came to light because journalists are doing their jobs, which church and charity officials failed miserably to do.

          And did she seriously say that only Smyth Jr. can be head pastor at CLC? There’s no on else qualified, and he cannot possibly be replaced?

          Give unto me a break.

          Reply
          1. JLC

            Thanks for the heads up about the Satanic attack situation, Serving Kids in Japan.

            “Might this horrible business have come to light now because the enemy wants to destroy you and distract you from the great work you have begun here, a work that apparently only you can do?”

            Wow, maybe we should print up some T-shirts saying, “Proud Satanic Enemy of Covenant Life Church,” so CLC members will know the devil’s minions when they see them. ;-)It does sound as though PJ Smyth was the only person on the planet desperate enough to accept a job leading a Church that seems to be ground zero regarding enabling predatory attacks against children. A reliable source told me that the lower-level CLC Pastors made clear that they didn’t want PJ Smyth’s current job.

            However, given that people can attend at least 15 other established and more reputable Evangelical Churches in the Washington D.C. area, perhaps God is trying to tell Covenant Life Church members that it’s time for them to liquidate what little is left of their assets and give it to victims of CLC whose claims are now backed up by criminal convictions.

            “Give unto me a break.”

            Yes, these guys can exhibit a strange entitlement mentality on many levels. Is “Crumbled” typing comments from his/her plush corner office on 5th Ave., while those of us who are just lowly bloggers, possessing no creepy idolatrous relationship with Covenant Life Church’s Pastors, hang out in the basement?

            Somehow, I doubt that he/she is so different from many critics of CLC on a workaday basis.

            Thanks. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

        2. Bill M

          “That and many credible studies indicate that only 3%-7% of allegations pertaining to child sexual abuse … So if more than two dozen people … are claiming to have been sexually abused at Covenant Life Church, there’s only about a 0.001% chance that all of them are lying”
          I never figured out statistics in college so I am unsure but I think you have way over-estimated. I think it closer to 0.0000001%.

          Reply
          1. JLC

            I think you’re right, Bill!

            Thanks. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

        3. Bill M

          “there’s only about a 0.001% chance that all of them are lying”
          I had to look it up, a sequence using the higher figure of 7% false witness with 24 people all bearing false witness with no external influence is 0.(28 zeroes)191.

          That is a
          0.00000000000000000000000000000191%
          chance all are lying.

          Reply
          1. JLC

            Thanks so much, Bill, for correcting my faulty statistical information. You’re the best!

            Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

          2. JLC

            Also, I didn’t mention that several of the allegations in the lawsuit are also backed up by criminal convictions, even though they are not associated with the Nathaniel Morales case.

            Crumbled would know that if he or she had taken twenty minutes to read the lawsuit.

            So there is an even smaller chance that all the lawsuit plaintiffs were lying, due to the fact that some of their claims have been found true by the criminal justice system.

            Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

  3. crumbled

    I can’t even figure out why CLC is even mentioned in regards to the sexual abuse lawsuits. The current leaders (Robin excluded) were not there and had nothing to do with events in the 1980’s or any of the events of that time. I think you are mixing CLC ups with Sovereign Grace Ministries. The leaders from the 1980’s formed SGM and fled discipline when confronted by Josh Harris and the other pastors at CLC. The pastors and congregation of CLC voted to leave SGM when the leaders refused to repent or reconcile with the congregation.

    Josh Harris told the pastors he would resign if they were not completely honest with the congregation. He’s not the bad guy and was a child when the abuse occurred.

    Nate Morales was not a youth worker at CLC. He was an administrator for a Christian school not affiliated with CLC and his victims were primarily students in the school. He briefly attended CLC, but held no official leadership position. Some of his student victims attended CLC as well. But, it was a school related crime rather than a church related crime. Pastors who counseled victims let the parents decide whether to press charges or not, as was the custom everywhere in the 1980’s.

    The trial of Nate Morales for criminal charges was not related to the lawsuit, although he was mentioned by a victim.

    In the two CLC sex abuse situations, one involved a teenage babysitter and one involved a stepfather, both in contexts outside of church. Given the thousands of people who have attended CLC over forty years, it would appear CLC was significantly safer for children than the general public as well as other organizations.

    The babysitter case was certainly an injustice as the parents were scolded for notifying authorities before notifying pastors and significant care was given to the teenage perpetrator.

    The stepfather case was a tragic lose-lose situation in which the mother lost custody of her 9 children to foster care and the church attempted to restore the children with the father in the hope of getting them out of foster care.

    The other accusations in the lawsuit occurred in Sovereign Grace at large and not at CLC.
    Any remaining cases at CLC are largely regarded as fiction.

    So, you should address your concerns with SGM, not CLC. And Josh Harris was a hero for putting his job on the line to tell the truth.

    Reply
    1. JLC

      This comment contains a long series of lies. It’s clear that the commenter has not even bothered to read the lawsuit against Covenant Life Church that was dismissed based on technicalities or read any credible information pertaining to the criminal trial in which Nathaniel Morales was convicted of molesting kids within the context of his work as a youth ministry worker at Covenant Life Church. I will refute these lies point-by-point, but first one to provide a video I created that goes over the legal issues pertaining to CLC:

      Reply
    2. JLC

      Please note that I plan to change these comments to provide a more detailed rebuttal as a I can. It’s unusual for someone to tell so many blatant lies about Covenant Life Church’s ongoing cover-up of child sexual abuse.

      “The trial of Nate Morales for criminal charges was not related to the lawsuit, although he was mentioned by a victim.”

      This is what I have been told by people directly involved in the case. The second amended complaint of the lawsuit against Covenant Life Church did not include allegations about Nathaniel Morales because his victims, all of whom he met within the context of his youth Ministry work at the Church, could not participate in a lawsuit involving him while also testifying against Morales in a criminal trial.

      They would have been happy to join a lawsuit against Covenant Life Church after Morales had been convicted of sexually abusing kids within the context of his work with children at Covenant Life Church, but it had already been dismissed based on technicalities by the time that Morales’ criminal trial was over.

      Even if that were not the case, the evidence shown in the Morales criminal case revealed that Covenant Life Church had covered up child sexual abuse allegations pertaining to Morales in ways that mirrored the way victims in the civil lawsuit say their complaints were illegally covered up.

      Therefore, it is ridiculous to say that Covenant Life Church’s cover-up of child sexual abuse in the Morales case bears no resemblance to the allegations of cover-ups found in the lawsuit.

      Further, please see an article about Covenant Life Church’s most recent child sexual abuse cover-up scandal, that took past in 2016, not the 1980s.

      A current Church member, named Larry Caffery, was arrested and charged with several counts of child sexual abuse and false imprisonment. Like Nathaniel Morales, he worked in children’s ministries for several years. Despite the fact that leaders of the Church originally publicly condemned Larry Caffery and made clear they thought he was a danger to children at the Church, I was present when a Covenant Life Church employee and a Covenant Life Church lay Pastor offered to assist this man, on behalf of the Church, after attending one of his court hearings:

      https://thouarttheman.org/2016/04/15/clc-leaders-bo-lotinsky-don-nalle-just-told-larry-caffery-covenant-life-church-supporting

      They did this knowing he had written a Kindle book in which he stated clearly that he did not want to have daughters because he was afraid he would molest them. You can read more about the Larry Caffery case at the link below:

      https://thouarttheman.org/2016/03/28/another-covenant-life-church-member-arrested-sexual-abuse/

      “I can’t even figure out why CLC is even mentioned in regards to the sexual abuse lawsuits. The current leaders (Robin excluded) were not there and had nothing to do with events in the 1980’s or any of the events of that time.”

      That’s not true and even if it was, Covenant Life Church is still morally and legally responsible for the criminal actions of its past employees. At present Covenant Life Church executive Pastor Mark Mitchell is maintaining that even the stories of victims that are backed up by criminal convictions are lies. You can listen to his comments to that effect at the link below:

      https://thouarttheman.org/2016/03/31/kojo-nnamdi-radio-program-discuss-covenant-life-church-sexual-abuse-scandal

      “Josh Harris told the pastors he would resign if they were not completely honest with the congregation. He’s not the bad guy and was a child when the abuse occurred.”

      Josh Harris admitted to the Washington Post that he illegally covered up child sexual abuse in 2007 (that is the most likely date he’s referring to below as it pertains to the cover-up of the allegations against Nathaniel Morales that Harris’ fellow Pastor, Grant Layman, testified about under oath).

      “In an interview, Harris said the isolation of Covenant Life, and of a small cluster of churches of which it was a part, may have fed leadership mistakes, including the decision of pastors — himself among them — to handle a child sexual abuse case internally instead of going to police.”

      Source:

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/long-an-outsider-popular-evangelical-pastor-heads-for-the-mainstream/2015/01/30/31827364-a881-11e4-a7c2-03d37af98440_story.html

      “Nate Morales was not a youth worker at CLC. He was an administrator for a Christian school not affiliated with CLC and his victims were primarily students in the school.”

      That’s a complete lie. Nate Morales was criminally convicted of molesting kids he met through his position as a youth ministry leader at Covenant Life Church. A long-time Covenant Life Church Pastor named Grant Layman, swore under oath that he knew he was required to report allegations of child sexual abuse, pertaining to Mr. Morales, to the police and did not do so. He indicated that other Pastors and leaders were consulted and collectively participated in this decision.

      http://www.christianpost.com/news/megachurch-pastor-confesses-to-protecting-child-molester-for-years-119877/

      Please note, that I will be updating this comment to further refute this person’s lies, as I can today.

      Thanks. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

      Reply
    3. JLC

      “So, you should address your concerns with SGM, not CLC. And Josh Harris was a hero for putting his job on the line to tell the truth.”

      Sovereign Grace Ministries was and probably still is a legally integrated auxiliary of Covenant Life Church. Therefore Covenant Life Church did and probably still does bear some responsibility for any criminal activity pertaining to Sovereign Grace Ministries. Members and leaders of Covenant Life Church have also separately conspired to cover up child sexual abuse.

      Josh Harris has publicly admitted to illegally covering up child sexual abuse.

      “In an interview, Harris said the isolation of Covenant Life, and of a small cluster of churches of which it was a part, may have fed leadership mistakes, including the decision of pastors — himself among them — to handle a child sexual abuse case internally instead of going to police.”

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/long-an-outsider-popular-evangelical-pastor-heads-for-the-mainstream/2015/01/30/31827364-a881-11e4-a7c2-03d37af98440_story.html

      He’s not a hero. Josh Harris immorally and illegally threw sexually abused kids under the bus, in 2007, to protect his job as a self-proclaimed holy man.

      And he lied about doing it for years.

      Reply
    4. JLC

      Are you aware that Covenant Life Church is not officially (the lies they’re telling you privately are informal) disputing any of the allegations in the class-action lawsuit saying that its leaders and members conspired to cover-up child sexual abuse? Instead, Joshua Harris and its other past and present leaders sought to have it dismissed based solely on technicalities, including one maintaining that the First Amendment gives Pastors the right to tell people not to report child sexual abuse to the police. That can be seen in the legal documents posted at the site below:

      http://www.brentdetwiler.com/class-action-lawsuit/

      If members and leaders of Covenant Life Church are innocent heroes and the plaintiffs are all liars, then why did Joshua Harris and other Covenant Life Church leaders not choose to simply say so instead of hiding behind technicalities?

      Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

      Reply
    5. Lydia

      “I can’t even figure out why CLC is even mentioned in regards to the sexual abuse lawsuits. The current leaders (Robin excluded) were not there and had nothing to do with events in the 1980’s or any of the events of that time.”

      I have only made it this far in the comment but it’s far enough. There is a real blindness out there when it comes to long time corrupt systems. People often think changing the top guys changes the system. Not so. What they don’t realize is that long term corruption is systemic and protected in many ways they never think of. Changing leaders is often putting lipstick on a pig.

      I can’t for the life of me understand why CLC still exists.

      Reply
      1. JLC

        Thanks, Lydia. Believe me, that comment just gets worse and worse. It sounds like CLC is now promoting the blatant lie that the Morales victims weren’t even associated with Covenant Life Church. I’m not making that up.

        What’s horrifying is the implied idea, espoused by many members of Covenant Life Church and the commenter in question in particular, that God doesn’t care if you gang rape a child as long as you get away with it for at least 30 years. Even if you’re only free because so-called Christian Pastors at Covenant Life Church told your victims that it was slander to accuse an adult of child sexual abuse. And that talking to the police instead of letting “heroic” corrupt monsters like long-time CLC Pastor Joshua Harris handle allegations of child sexual abuse “internally” was a grievous sin.

        The truth in this case is also that the top guys haven’t even changed. I concede that few of the current Pastors of Covenant Life Church were working at CLC when the Church started covering up the abuse in the 1980s, However, several of them were/are legally and morally responsible for reporting it when they become aware of it in 2007 or even earlier because the victims came forward as adults, so their stories could not be dismissed as childish tales.

        You shouldn’t be dismissing what children tell you about sexual abuse either but there’s no way for the CLC Pastors to claim that they misunderstood what an adult was telling them about being molested by Nathaniel Morales.

        Many child sexual abuse victims do not talk with others about their abuse until they are adults, so it should not be surprising that molestation which occurred decades ago may only be coming out now.

        “I can’t for the life of me understand why CLC still exists.”

        Because the CLC Pastors can probably still borrow money against the over-priced building they purchased years ago, and CLC still has at least one wealthy pedophile propping up the place. Also, the Pastors at Covenant Life Church will be working at Burger King if they lose their jobs, so they’ll do all they can (apart from reducing their salaries) to keep the place running even though it is an embarrassment to Christianity and American civil society in general.

        What other Church will want to hire a bunch of pedophilia-enablers when Covenant Life Church goes under?

        Thanks. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

        Reply
    6. Dee

      Hey Todd
      You’ve touched a nerve. This Crumb person is a pathetic defender of the despicable mess that was CLC under CJ Mahaney. She/he has no interest in the abused, only defending his/her poor judgment in attending a church with this sort of history. Most people of good sense would not be caught dead in such a church.

      Now, he/she gets to defend PJ. This is going to be an interesting CLC rodeo. They sure are experts are defending the indefensible.

      Reply
  4. Lynne

    PJ has been here at CLC for barely a month; and one of the commenters expects him to have already visited the past victims of sexual abuse. It’s a bit much to expect, don’t you think? As far as the news of his father, PJ was away at boarding school and college for much of this, and then he was married. How can he be blamed or responsible for the horrific behavior of his father? Will you blame the child of a serial killer for his father’s crimes? In the articles, I read that his sister was unaware; how likely is it that PJ was aware? My uncle murdered his wife. (my aunt) I insisted upon his innocence, until I was confronted with the evidence. The police detectives had a massive binder full of it. Then I felt like an idiot for being deceived by a narcissist and pathological liar for 19 years. I was an adult in my 40’s then. A child or young adult’s mind is unlikely to comprehend or believe that their loving parent is involved in something so horrible. The churches and organizations failed to report PJ’s father’s predatory and abusive behavior to the authorities. Blame them. Get angry at them. But, don’t slander a man for something his father did.

    Reply
    1. 2samuel127 Post author

      >”I read that his sister was unaware; how likely is it that PJ was aware?”

      Thanks for the comment Lynne. Regarding your quote above, I guess you and your fellow CLC members are the ones who will need to answer your question.

      You stated that I should blame the churches and organizations that knew of John Smyth’s predatory and abusive behavior and failed to report it to authorities. You are quite right. I do blame them. As Edith Nyachuru, sister of deceased Guide Nyachuru stated: “he would still be alive had the barrister faced justice in the UK.” I agree with Ms. Nyachuru’s sentiments.

      Would you agree with me that to date, in PJ’s two public statements, he has not admitted to having any previous knowledge of his father’s alleged crimes committed in Zimbabwe? All PJ has admitted to knowing was that his fellow camper tragically drowned and “that a delegation of pastors and parents insisted that my father and the Board of Zambesi Holidays make adjustments to camp life, which they did.”

      Just to be clear, PJ had no knowledge of the crimes his father was charged with in Zimbabwe until the story broke several days ago. Do you agree that is PJ’s stated knowledge of events?

      Allow me to put forward a hypothetical scenario. If PJ did have knowledge that his father beat boys, swam naked with boys, and was responsible for the death of Guide Nyachuru, should he have informed police of his knowledge? If PJ failed to inform police, should he be blamed, just as we both agree that the church leaders and organizations mentioned above should be blamed?

      Let me take it a step further. If it could be proven that PJ had knowledge of the alleged crimes of his father and did not report them to police, would that not be biblical grounds to disqualify him from his position of elder and senior pastor at CLC?

      Ah, now we are getting down to brass tacks, are we not?

      To be clear, I have never stated that PJ should in any way be held responsible for the sins/crimes of his father. What he should be held responsible for is having knowledge of the crimes and not reporting them to authorities. I believe such knowledge should disqualify him from ministry and be cause for the revocation of his work visa.

      Am I slandering PJ? You may wish to read my next blog post. I have a hunch PJ will be publishing statement number three.

      Reply
    2. JLC

      Hi Lynne:

      It’s nice to see you again. Out of curiosity, why can’t PJ speak for himself? Thanks. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

      Reply
    3. JLC

      “PJ has been here at CLC for barely a month; and one of the commenters expects him to have already visited the past victims of sexual abuse.”

      PJ has been lobbying to become the head of Covenant Life Church for more than three years and has claimed for a long time that CLC’s history of covering up child sexual abuse has been resolved. That is his opinion even though he has not contacted any victims of the Church to see if they believe that CLC is no longer a danger to children or they think that they have been fairly compensated for injuries they incurred because Covenant Life Church harbored a pedophile ring for decades.

      P.J. Smyth knows and has done nothing about the fact that CLC has been financially supporting a member who was criminally charged with several counts of child sexual abuse and wrote a Kindle book in which he wrote that he was afraid to have daughters because he thought he might molest them.

      So no, I don’t think that the fact that PJ has only officially been employed by Covenant Life Church for a month excuses his uncaring and irresponsible attitude regarding Covenant Life Church’s policy of covering up child sexual abuse.

      Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

      Reply
    4. JLC

      Why are you assuming that PJ Smyth’s sister is telling the truth, Lynne? If she did know about her father’s alleged history of abusing minors and did not report it, she could probably be charged with a crime herself. Don’t you think that gives her a motive to lie?

      It seems that PJ Smyth might also have a strong motive to lie about his knowledge of his father’s alleged abuse of minors. Correct?

      Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

      Reply
    5. Dee

      Lynne
      First, do us all a favor and use *slander* properly. I know they use this word over and over again at CLC. What it really means, both biblically and legally, is the person knows it is a lie and they are telling it anyway in order to deliberately harm another.

      So, please submit your evidence that Todd is lying. If you can’t prove that he was lying, then you are actually the one who is guilty of slander. If I hear one more *church person* misuse the word slander, I shall scream!!!

      You said, “I read that his sister was unaware; how likely is it that PJ was aware?” Uh, maybe because his daddy liked boys instead of girls and was an alleged pervert for many years? Can you imagine him conducting the boys’ prayer meeting buck naked? You said yourself that PJ was away for *most* of it.Which would mean he was around for *some* of it. Now, you really don’t know how much time he was around for sure since many of these camps were held during breaks. Could it be that PJ helped out at the camps?

      The other thing to consider is this. Could pervert Dad have taken his odd penchant for abusing boys in the nude and brought it home? Do you really think he kept such extreme behavior so very well hidden? I don’t. I bet there is more to come and PJ will keep CLC busy defending him.

      Back to eating Cheetos in my mom’s basement….Wait I am the Mom, it’s my basement and I would rather eat my homemade pound cake.

      Reply
  5. Lea

    I can’t believe in coincidences here. I hate to blame the son for the sins of the father without knowledge of the situation, but this seems like a really poor decision.

    Reply
    1. 2samuel127 Post author

      Thanks Lea,

      I agree. CLC leaders make poor decision after poor decision. In the corporate world they would have been fired years ago.

      Reply
    2. JLC

      Hi Lea, the problem is that the son, P.J. Smyth, has gone out of his way to at least indirectly enable Covenant Life Church’s attempt to whitewash its past, and likely present, decision to harbor pedophiles rather than reporting them to the police.

      He appears to have made no attempt to reach out to the victims of child sexual abuse connected to Covenant Life Church, including those whose claims are backed up by criminal convictions. Instead, P.J. Smyth has consistently declared that the Church’s problems in enabling child sexual abuse are over, all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding.

      I’ll post more on this topic once I’d had a chance to review all the evidence this blog has collected indicating that people should keep their children away from any Church that P.J. Smyth is running, irrespective of any allegations of misconduct against his father.

      Thanks. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

      Reply
  6. Chris S

    Richard Barth has an excellent article on the John Smyth story on his blog, which explores some of the background

    http://barthsnotes.com/2017/02/03/channel-4-reveals-sadomasochistic-cult-that-allegedly-operated-at-elite-evangelical-anglican-camps/

    Just to note; the camps he worked in have a huge unseen influence in British Evangelicalism because of their policy of inviting ‘top boys from top schools’, the alumni from these camps include people such as John Stott, Nicky Gumbel (of Alpha fame) and so on.

    Reply
    1. 2samuel127 Post author

      Thanks for this information Chris. I appreciate your help.
      -Todd

      Reply
  7. Deana Holmes

    I…can’t…even…and Abp of Canterbury Justin Welby is involved in this mess?!

    Thanks so much for doing the legwork on this story. It’s a very good story, and very frustrating and enraging, but I have one nit to pick, and that’s where CLC is located. It is in Maryland, not Virginia. I was writing an email to the reporters at one of the UK papers that covered the John Smyth story and wanted to get that right in case the reporters wanted to do some further digging. (Maybe I should drop a line to the Washington Post, hmm?)

    That said, you really have to wonder if CLC didn’t just jump from the frying pan into the fire! PJ would have been a child/young man when the abuse is said to have gone on, and we have got to ask how much of his father’s “ethos” he absorbed.

    Reply
    1. 2samuel127 Post author

      Thanks for the catch on the state Deana. I know better, it has been corrected.

      Reply
      1. Deana Holmes

        Oh and I did drop a note to the guy who did the CLC story for the Washington Post back in 2014.

        Reply
        1. 2samuel127 Post author

          Great, thank you, Deana. I hope they write about it. I noticed on CLC’s Vimeo page that PJ is already sitting in on House meetings. He filmed an update from the Dirksen Senate building. While I am not sure of his purposes there, I am not at all comfortable with him speaking to Congressional members on behalf of Christians.

          https://vimeo.com/201367405

          Reply

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