A pastor named Albert Young, who had been a minister for nine years in Philadelphia, was accused of fondling his 15-year-old, mentally challenged niece, all during his time in his office while running the ministry. This reverend who is a wolf clothed in a sheep disguise at Total Deliverance Ministries, was charged with using his leadership as the pastor of the church to be able to sexually abuse his niece. Allegedly, Young was placed into custody a week prior after being accused of enticing this young girl into his lap while in his office. On that night, once the girl was on top of him, young touched her, putting his hands inside the girl’s pants, kissing her neck, and fondling her buttocks as well as pressing his genitals against her and guiding her hands to his penis. As officials reported, the minor did report him and even stated to the police that he threatened her and ordered her to keep silent. Young eventually was arrested on the following Thursday afternoon, and was charged with unlawful sexual contact with a minor, corruption of minors, and indecent assault of a child. Yet he was released on $50,000 bail on Friday and his next court issue was on November nineteenth.
In a second case, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a youth pastor was arrested for allegedly sexually abusing children who he was supposed to be helping. The pastor, Timothy Cato, was a volunteer at an Oklahoma children’s shelter where he worked with the children and gained their trust. After gaining their trust, he would then sexually abuse them. Cato admitted to bringing home the children, bathing them, and sleeping in a bed with them. Cato had actively been around children for at least the past 20 years. He volunteered and worked in churches, summer camps, and a Christian academy. He also coached a basketball team. Cato was charged with eight counts of child sexual abuse on five boys. Four of the incidents happened after October 1st of this year and it is possible that more children may come forward.
Ferguson, David. “Philadelphia pastor charged with molesting mentally challenged niece in church,” Raw Story, Nov.4, 2014. .http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/11/philadelphia-pastor-charged-with-molesting-mentally-challeged-niece-in-church/
Zealot, Morgan. “Pastor accused of fondling mentally challenged niece, 15, in church.”Philly Daily News, Nov.3, 2014. http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20141103_Pastor_busted_for_fondling_mentally_challenged_niece__15__in_church.html?c=r
David Edwards, “Oklahoma youth pastor accused of taking two shelter kids home at a time for sexual abuse,” Raw Story, October 27, 2014.
Student Researchers: Ruth Martinez, Indian River State College; Lachelle Nedd, Indian River State College; Hannah Cronen, Indian River State College; Joseph Cordola, Indian River State College
Faculty Evaluator: Elliot D. Cohen, Ph.D., Indian River State College
There is little in life that is as painful and scary as being the victim of sexual abuse, especially as a minor. For those who do survive, it can take years and even decades to work through the abuse; so that these young victims can grow up with deep pain, confusion, shame, anger, regret, depression, and sometimes even commit suicide. Due to the horrific nature of the act and the attendant threats and intimidation, it is remarkable that the pastor’s niece, notwithstanding her handicap, actually reported her abuse. In both cases there was deception, manipulation, violation of the right to informed consent, emotional harm, and malicious intent.
In the Philadelphia case, the next court date had been set for November, which was four months later. For the victim and her family to know her uncle is not in jail for the next four months is quite unfair. Also, to think that just $50,000 bail is all that was required to give the molester freedom before being imprisoned is unfair. It was also possible for the pastor to sexually assault other children during the time he was not in prison.
In the Oklahoma case, Timothy Cato was also respected and trusted by the children that he worked with. He held a position that entrusted him with the chance to be around vulnerable children and he abused his power. His position came with ethical and moral codes that he failed to follow. He was entrusted to protect them and to provide them with someone that they could confide in. Instead, he exploited their vulnerability for his own perverse purposes.
As such, a key ethical problem raised in both cases is whether even ministers and youth pastors can be trusted. In many cases, parents who work leave their children in the care of church aftercare programs. For these parents and their children, it is undoubtedly troubling to think that a religious leader, who preaches on deliverance and holiness, is found molesting his niece. This also raises a controversy about the ethical status of organized religion, which is something that the media needs to seriously cover, since it is a social problem that affects virtually everyone.