Judge Rejects Plea Bargain in Former Pastor Jake Malone’s Rape Case

By | April 7, 2017

Michaelle Bond, Staff Writer for phillynews.com, has reported that former pastor Jake Malone attempted to plead guilty on March 29, 2017 to sexually assaulting and impregnating a teen who lived with his family. However, Judge Jacqueline Cody rejected the plea deal, calling the circumstances “way too serious.” The plea deal would have resulted in a two year prison sentence.

You can read Michaella Bond’s story in its entirety here.

You may recall that Thou Art The Man covered this story on January 31, 2016 in an article titled “Another Day, Another Protestant Preacher Abusing Children.” At that time Jake Malone was forced to resign from his pastoral job at Calvary Fellowship when it became known to church leadership that Malone had impregnated a young woman who had been living with them since she was 12 years old. Malone attempted to pass his resignation off as a “self-imposed sabbatical” to refocus on the calling God had given him, which was his family. He stated that he was “really excited about what God is going to do in us and in our lives and in our family as we focus 100% of our time on that calling that He has given us.”  Since the video Malone fled to Ecuador for a few weeks, and then returned to the USA where he was met by Law Enforcement and arrested. Since then Malone has spent 100% of his time behind bars.

 

In her article, Michaella Bond stated that:

“The teen, who met Malone at age 12 when he was her youth pastor in Arizona, did not have a father in her life, and Malone invited her to stay with him and his wife in their home in West Whiteland Township. She helped look after Malone’s three children…

Sexual contact, which also included touching and kissing, occurred almost daily during the teen’s senior year in high school.”

In March, 2016 the young woman gave birth to Malone’s daughter.  She was present at the hearing on March 29th and read a statement in which she said wanted more than a two-year sentence for Malone.

It sounds as if Malone admitted his guilt in the hearing, which leads me to assume that if the case proceeds without a plea bargain he wlll plead gulity. Again, from Bond’s article:

“On Wednesday, Malone, wearing shackles, bowed and shook his head while the woman read her statement before he addressed the courtroom. He did not say he forced himself on her, but he said he had made “mistakes” and should be held responsible for the sexual contact.

“I want to just express my sorrow and my regret over the things I’ve done,” he said. “She admired me, she looked up to me, and I betrayed that trust. … I betrayed the trust of thousands of people who put their faith in me as a member of the faith community across the country.””

My thanks to Judge Jacqueline Cody for not accepting this plea bargain. Malone committed a heinous crime in which he abused his positon and betrayed the trust of a young woman. Two years in prison is not much more than a slap on the wrist.

33 thoughts on “Judge Rejects Plea Bargain in Former Pastor Jake Malone’s Rape Case

    1. 2samuel127 Post author

      I agree with you Cody. It is a shame that Malone skated on the rape charge.

      Reply
  1. Laura

    I’ve only recently come to terms with what Jake did as I was someone who did know him and his family personally. Several years ago, there was a period of about a year or so where I spent up to three days a week with them. They were my closest friends at the time and I love them dearly. I remember having many emotionally intimate (not in a bad way) conversations with him about faith. He helped me discover my love for playing worship. And I especially remember the night that both he and his wife fervently prayed for me in the middle of the night while I was going through a severe, spiritually charged panic attack.

    I’d lost touch with them over the years especially with all the moving, but when I found out about the rape charges, I was so devastated I couldn’t even go to work because I couldn’t stop crying. It didn’t seem real. When it did start to sink in, I questioned whether or not Jake was ever genuine at all.

    I think he was. Eventually, I realized that despite the terrible crime he’s committed and the pain he wreaked on his family, the girl, and his entire faith community, that doesn’t negate or change what God did and what He is doing. God is bigger than that, and He can and does use even the most sinful of people for good.

    I’m grateful for law and order. I’m glad justice is being served and agree that two years doesn’t seem nearly enough for reparations. But in processing through all of this, I found myself humbled. For I realized that before I came back to Christ, when I was stuck deep in my own sin and rejection of God that God would’ve seen me as no less filthy than Jake. It is there that I found the means to forgive him and love him. And if he has truly repented and turned to Christ or does so in the future, I know that God will joyfully take him back just as quick as He was to rescue me. So I pray for this change of heart if it has not already happened, or if it has, I pray that the Holy Spirit continues to guide him and convict him and give him the strength he needs to make amends. I also pray for healing, especially for the girl he wronged and the wife and kids he betrayed. I pray that they do not lose sight of our wonderful Heavenly Father, how graciously He provides even in the midst of our suffering, and that He gives them the peace and the comfort they seek.

    And as for me, I think I finally have the courage to reach out to his wife and rekindle the friendship. We were a lot alike in our personalities, and I miss her companionship. I just ask that you please don’t judge her for what she did or did not seem to do, or immediately jump to the worst conclusions about whether she knew it or not. I know her to be a pretty reserved person unlike Jake, and I can’t imagine how much weight has been on her shoulders even without the thought of facing thousands of people and having to field very painful and personal questions. Even when we don’t deserve it, God shows us mercy, and while we can’t ignore the gravity of cases like these, we should still do what we can to extend that mercy to others.

    Reply
    1. JLC

      Thank you for your thoughtful comments, Laura. I pray that your attempt to reach out to Mrs. Malone is successful. I recognize that her dependency on her husband put her in a difficult position that many women find themselves in no matter what other issues are at hand. She certainly has my sympathy in that regard.

      I also genuinely hope that Mrs. Malone didn’t know what her husband was up to and naively believed his lies, as opposed to being complicit in them when they co-created the relevant sickening video in question.

      At the same time, Mrs. Malone is an adult who is responsible for her behavior if she did enable her husband’s criminal and morally reprehensible actions.

      I know this is a difficult time, yet I wish that Mrs. Malone would issue a statement telling the world what she thinks of her husband’s sinful and criminal behavior.

      Unless/until she does so, people are unlikely to believe that she cares about his victim, even though I believe that she probably does have compassion for that person.

      Good luck. I’ll be praying for you. Thanks.

      Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

      Reply
      1. Lydia

        Great comment, Janna. Adults have to take responsibility either way.

        Reply
      2. Laura

        Thank you, sincerely. It’s a shame that most people will see it that way. I agree that if she does hold any responsibility, she should own up to it, but if she is innocent, I believe she has a right to her privacy and doesn’t owe the public a statement.

        Reply
        1. JLC

          Thanks, Laura. If Mrs. Malone is serious about her faith, then I believe that she should at least publicly condemn her husband’s actions. If she chooses not to do so, then she and her friends should not complain if people who do not know her are unwilling to give her the benefit of any doubt regarding her possible complicity in her husband’s crimes.

          In other words, if Mrs. Malone doesn’t owe the public an explanation then why should the public owe her any consideration?

          We may have to agree to disagree about this point.

          I will also say that from my perspective, worrying about Jake’s victim is much more important to me than worrying about his wife’s hurt feelings.

          You’ve briefly said you care about Jake’s victim. Are you planning to reach out to her to see if she is struggling with her faith right now?

          If not, why?

          Thanks. Janna L.Chan (blog team member)

          Reply
      3. Lea

        I’m not sure I know what she did or didn’t know during that video…it seems likely she knew something.

        I was afraid it was going to be one of those sick videos where the wife just looks longingly at her husband and isn’t’ allowed to speak, like furniture. At least she did speak and she seemed to be saying ‘please don’t cut me off, everyone I know, because of what my husband did’ which I get.

        Reply
        1. JLC

          Thanks for the insightful comment, Lea.

          Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

          Reply
    2. Lydia

      Laura, I have a totally different take despite not knowing him personally. He used the facade of God, to do the evil. It was a sort of protection for him. That is very different from coming back to God and becoming a new creature in Christ. I always wonder about this. Just how evil can we be and claim to be in Christ. I realize different traditions have different views on this. This is a man who spent a long time living a con and doing a con job on a church with an underage girl he was supposedly helping. That is pretty low and deceptive.

      Reply
      1. Laura

        I’m not convinced that his entire career was a complete con job. He put a lot of time and energy into his ministry, and based on the many interactions I’ve had with him, it’s my opinion that at least for a period of his life he was sincere in his faith.

        But none of us know the true state of his heart; only God does. Jesus died for all sins, not just the ones that aren’t as heinous or the ones that don’t have grave consequences. David was considered one of the most godly men, and he committed adultery and murder.

        Jake does need to answer for his crimes and serve out whatever sentence he ultimately receives. But no one is completely lost unless they’re dead and never truly accepted the gift of Christ’s sacrifice.

        Reply
        1. Lydia

          “But none of us know the true state of his heart; only God does. Jesus died for all sins, not just the ones that aren’t as heinous or the ones that don’t have grave consequences. David was considered one of the most godly men, and he committed adultery and murder.”

          Laura, I know how tough all this is. Been there. I would like to make a sincere suggestion about the above. It does not matter what is in his heart. That is a platitude often heard in those circles when pastors take advantage of people and/or deceive. That is also suggesting he is two different people which is not good, either. We can only judge actions and words and con men are good at deceiving so it can take years to see patterns. I don’t believe Jesus died so we can be clever cons over and over then claim forgiveness. . That is cheap grace. Truth is, we have no clue what is going on so to rush to some blanket absolution is dangerous. What he did while masquerading as a teacher of Christ is vile and heinous.

          And I am truly concerned when people (especially pastors) trot out David or other OT characters to excuse heinous behavior. David would be in prison today. And to go back further, God was angry they even wanted a king in the first place. He was their King.

          One thing missing here is, what about the groomed victim? Jake was supposed to be a father figure to her. What about her life? Her beliefs? Her child? His deception has life long consequences and another generation of his sorted behavior to work through.

          Reply
        2. JLC

          I’m not convinced that his entire career was a complete con job. He put a lot of time and energy into his ministry, and based on the many interactions I’ve had with him, it’s my opinion that at least for a period of his life he was sincere in his faith.

          Thanks, Laura. If Jake is a sincere Christian, shouldn’t he be publicly repenting of his sins? Is there any evidence that he has? Thanks. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

          Reply
        3. JLC

          Thanks, Laura. To my knowledge, no one here has suggested that Jake Malone is beyond redemption. Therefore, I’m not sure why you seem to implying that people are judging him in an unfair and un-biblical manner. You seem convinced that former Pastor Malone is guilty of sexual abuse. Doesn’t the Bible say that Pastors who have committed grievous sins should publicly repent of them? Has Mr. Malone done so?

          I agree that we don’t know what it’s in his heart. I also think that Jake Malone’s grievous sin in using his spiritual authority to groom and pressure a minor into having sex with him indicates that he is not a Christian, as Lydia suggests. In my experience, many corrupt Pastors are good at convincing people that they are sincere about their ministries. Unfortunately, they’re just good actors, Laura. If you believe otherwise about Jake Malone, perhaps it would be better to make logical arguments to that effect as opposed to broadly comparing him to King David.

          Thanks. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

          Reply
    3. Laura LaHaug

      Laura, I have great sympathy for what you went through upon learning such a hard truth about people you called friends. It sounds like you have been able to work through the difficult emotions in a very healthy way. As someone who was recently rocked by revelations about my own pastor (who I did not know personally) I hope I can come through the experience with an attitude as healthy as yours.

      I hope you are able to reestablish relationship with Mrs. Malone; I’m sure she could really use true friends.

      Reply
      1. Lea

        Learning that someone you cared about, someone you loved, was lying to you or living a lie is rough. Been there, as many said.

        I hope Laura really takes some time to absorb this before coming to conclusions about what it means for faith – because it probably just means that this guy was a liar and you missed it.

        Reply
  2. Dee

    What do you all. think of this.

    “In January 2016, police in West Whiteland Township asked for help locating Malone, who they believed fled to avoid arrest. When he returned to the United States from Ecuador, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers arrested him on Jan. 18, 2016, at Newark Liberty International Airport.”

    Reply
    1. 2samuel127 Post author

      I believe Malone probably did intitially flee to Ecuador to avoid jail. Once there he was probably persuaded or realized that carrying on life in Ecuador was unrealistic.

      Reply
      1. JYJames

        Malone was a copycat of cult leader Barnard in Brazil, and then Malone saw that Barnard got caught?

        Not sure of the timelines.

        The parallels are noteworthy.

        Reply
  3. Dee

    Whenever you see explanations like this
    “Malone attempted to pass his resignation off as a “self-imposed sabbatical” to refocus on the calling God had given him, which was his family. He stated that he was “really excited about what God is going to do in us and in our lives and in our family as we focus 100% of our time on that calling that He has given us.”

    you can be sure something really and happened.

    Did the church let him do that video?

    Reply
    1. Todd Wilhelm Post author

      I agree with your comment Dee.

      Regarding your question “Did the church let him do that video?” my thoughts are that Jake Malone produced this video in an attempt at damage control. I do not believe the church had any say in the matter. I would guess the church announced he had resigned but did not give the details so Malone attempted to spin the story in a favorable light.

      The church actually seemed to do the right thing in this case. Here is a quote from the Philly Voice ( http://www.phillyvoice.com/police-seek-chester-county-pastor-rape-teenage-girl/ ):

      “During the alleged abuse, the victim told police she was attending the church, Calvary Fellowship in Downingtown, where he was pastoring.

      Malone became employed at the church in August 2014, according to Bill Bateman, one of the church’s pastors.

      Bateman said Malone tendered his resignation in November 2015 when he was confronted by the church’s elders, and that the Calvary Fellowship staff immediately began cooperating with authorities when the allegations surfaced.

      Malone did not admit guilt when confronted, Bateman says, but did say he told them of a situation involving a young girl living with him that was expecting a child. Police say the victim told them Malone impregnated her just after she turned 18.

      “As a church, we’re devastated because of the innocent people that were hurt,” Bateman said.

      He stressed that the church’s staff members are carefully vetted, and when Malone was revetted in September after state guidelines changed, nothing came up on his record.

      Authorities praised the church for their cooperation, saying that staff came to them as soon as they found out about the situation and have offered counseling for the victim.”

      Reply
      1. JLC

        I actually suspect that the Church did give details as to why Mr. Malone had to resign, as doing so would have been in the best interests of the community. Jack Malone and his wife then created a bizarre video in which they attempted to spin their perspective on the story.

        Thanks. Janna L. Chan

        Reply
        1. 2samuel127 Post author

          Makes sense Janna, you may very well be right.

          Reply
  4. Dee

    He is so full of it that I can barely stand it. He is a pervert who likes young teen girls. I hope his wife dumps him quickly.

    Reply
    1. JLC

      I find it hard to believe that Mrs. Malone did not know, all along, that her husband was having a sexual relationship with a teenage girl who lived in their home.

      Thanks. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

      Reply
  5. Laura LaHaug

    That video is difficult for me to watch. I wonder what, if anything, his wife knew at the time. I have to believe she didn’t know anything at the time or she would not have appeared so supportive of her husband. At least I hope that’s the case. Sickening.

    Reply
    1. JLC

      Thanks, Laura. I believe that at the time the relevant video was made, Mrs. Malone was aware that very credible allegations of child sexual abuse had been made against her husband regarding a 12-year-old girl who had resided in their home. And even if she didn’t know that then, Mrs. Malone certainly knows it now. To my knowledge, Mrs. Malone has not publicly repudiated her husband’s criminal and sinful behavior at any time.

      If someone has information indicating otherwise, please let us know. Thanks. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

      Edit on April 8, 2017 – It looks like the victim met Mr. Malone when she was 12 yet did not have a sexual relationship with him until she was older but under 18. I’ll try to find more details pertaining to the exact nature of the charges.

      Reply
      1. JLC

        To clarify, it looks as though Mr. Malone met the victim when she was 12 but did not have a sexual relationship with him until she was 17.

        Thanks. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

        Reply
        1. Dee

          He probably began grooming her at that time. I wonder if he has done something like this before,

          Reply
          1. 2samuel127 Post author

            I would say it is likely that he did Dee. Here is a comment on the blog post I wrote last year:

            “There were many red flags. The red flags were brought to the attention of youth leaders that dismissed them immediately. Jake flirted with girls, made inappropriate sexual comments even while preaching in front of everyone. He was left alone with young girls frequently. He allowed the youth to drink and the girls to wear bikini’s at pool parties. The youth leaders were right there witnessing this as well and did nothing. Yet there were many people that disapproved of what he was doing but nobody did anything to change it. The church saw this and allowed it which gave him more power over the girls he victimized. Reinforcing to the victims that nobody would believe them.
            His wife should have known something and even if she didn’t why did she allow minors to drink? I hope she is charged with providing alcohol to minors as well.
            As far as I know the church hasn’t even as much as apologized for not protecting their children, for their negligence and for refusing to see the red flags.”

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