FBI Report Outlines Extent of Sexual Abuse in SGC | Brent Detwiler

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FBI Report Outlines Extent of Sexual Abuse in SGC

I produced a 1,700-page document full of evidence in 2013 for use by the FBI and other law enforcement agencies.  I am sharing the introduction to that document for the first time.  It outlines the nature and extent of sexual abuse  and its coverup in Sovereign Grace Ministries (aka Sovereign Grace Churches, Inc.).

I will not be able to respond to questions. 

Report for Dan Wright on the Conspiracy to Commit and Conceal the Sexual Abuse of Children in Sovereign Grace Ministries

By Brent Detwiler

December 20, 2013


This report is written for the glory of God, the good of the Gospel, the reform of the Church, the just cause of sex abuse victims, and the criminal prosecution of sex abusers and their enablers. 

Proverbs 31:8-9 Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed.  Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.

It is given to Agent Dan Wright with the hope and prayer that his noble efforts will result in involvement by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Federal prosecutors.  His gracious willingness to take up this cause is a gift from God and appreciated beyond measure.  The report may be used at his discretion and under his supervision. 

It is dedicated to Heather Thompson-Bryant who has suffered unimaginable harms, preserved in the faith and is now an outstanding example of Christian virtue.  Her contribution to this investigation far exceeds anything I have to offer.


This report is fallible but it contains no known errors.  No doubt mistakes will be discovered.  Nevertheless, it is an altogether honest effort to present the truth.  Unless corrected by additional information, I am willing to testify under oath to the truthfulness of its contents in a court of law. 

I have not nuanced my words in this report.  I’ve spoken plainly.  I’ve infrequently added the words “allegedly” when referring to abusers or conspirators who have yet to be convicted of crimes in a court of law.  Accept such assessments as my informed opinion but no more.  

The following abbreviations are used in the report.

AoR    Ambassadors of Reconciliation          

CFC    Covenant Fellowship Church

CLC    Covenant Life Church

CLS     Covenant Life School

FAC    First Amended Complaint

GOB   Gathering of Believers

MCCA  Montgomery County Covenant Academy

OC      Original Complaint

PDI     People of Destiny International

SAC    Second Amended Complaint

SGM   Sovereign Grace Ministries

SGCF Sovereign Grace Church of Fairfax

Throughout the report, I’ve added explanatory notes in brackets [ ] with black or blue lettering.  Black letter comments were added in the past and blue letter comments were added for this report.

The report is broken down into six parts.  It contains 209 documents.  I’d recommend the report be read in the order presented.  Here are the categories with brief descriptions.

1. Overview – contains contact information, important baseline documents and summary statements about victims, perpetrators and conspirators.

2. Conspirators – contains introductory evidence for a wide-ranging conspiracy that may have included the unethical or illegal actions of a judge, lawyers, law enforcement, and religious leaders.  More evidence for the conspiracy exists throughout the report.

3. Plaintiffs & Perpetrators – this section provides an in-depth analysis of the Second Amended Complaint.  Each of the 11 Plaintiffs has a separate file containing multiple documents.

4. Stories on SGMSurvivors – six stories of sexual abuse appeared on this blog.  They are cited throughout the report but put here in one file for easy reference and chronological comparison.

5. Other Perpetrators – this section contains evidence for perpetrators not found or identified in the Second Amended Complaint.

6. Other Victims – this section identifies victims not found in the Second Amended Complaint.  I did not include the names of many suspected victims.

The Conspiracy

C.J. Mahaney is the mastermind behind the widespread, multigenerational and interstate conspiracy carried out over the past three decades in order to conceal the sexual abuse of children in Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM).  This must be kept in mind at all times.  One should never assume others are acting on their own apart from his directives.  This is critical to remember.  C.J. is under every rock when it comes to the conspiracy!

Involvement by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is essential.  I’ve identified  44 perpetrators or suspects and around 95 victims from ten states in three nations in this report.  That likely represents the tip of the iceberg.  C.J. protected many of these perpetrators and he taught others to do the same.  I had no idea.  For instance, he never told me about the abusers in the SAC even though I had a legal, fiduciary and spiritual responsibility for the well-being of SGM and its churches.  He knew I would not tolerate his evil approach.  I reported abusers to law enforcement and alerted those in harm’s way in those churches over which I had direct oversight.   

The following men were on the staff of Covenant Life Church in 1985.

C.J. Mahaney – sr. pastor

Chip Ward – pastor (evangelism, singles and social action)

Gary Ricucci – pastor (pastoral care and equipping)

Roger Dillon - assistant pastor (married couples)

Grant Layman - youth pastor

Chuck Thompson – pastor (evangelism and follow up)

Gene Emerson – administrator and assistant pastor (married couples)

Steve Griney – childcare and training

John Loftness – principal

Bob Schickler – vice principal

If all the allegations in the report are true, then six out of the ten are complicit in the conspiracy.  Assuming such, C.J. committed homosexual acts with Charles Schmitt, Chip was an exhibitionist, Gary aided and abetted sex abuse, Grant covered up sex abuse, Steve was a perverted pedophile, and John was a sexual sadist.  Nor should the innocence of Roger, Gene[1] or Bob be assumed.  The only exception is Chuck Thompson.  

Sex abusers would have been put on notice in SGM if C.J. had reported Charles Schmitt, Nathaniel Morales, and David Adams in the 1980’s.  Or if he had reported juvenile predators like Justin Tomczak and Nathan Ecelbarger in the 1990’s.  Instead he protected them and never alerted others.  As a result, molesters had no fear of exposure, public rebuke, or criminal prosecution. 

Moreover, C.J. used wicked machinations to silence victims and their families.  So many lives and families have been devastated.  All of this is like the pedophilic conspiracy in the Roman Catholic Church.  C.J. has shielded pedophilic friends and arduously worked to keep things under wraps for fear of reputational harm and financial loss. 

A Statement to All Protestant Churches

Sovereign Grace Ministries is numerically small compared to mainline denominations but big in recognition throughout the nation and different parts of the world.  C.J. is an icon and Christian celebrity in American evangelicalism though his stature has been somewhat diminished.  He has been touted as an extraordinary Christian leader of an amazing ministry by the most recognized evangelical leaders in the United States.  These men, many of them godly, have been duped by his charisma and deceived by his cunning. 

It is so important for Federal authorities to bust this conspiracy in order to make a loud statement to all Protestant churches.  Rome has made reforms.  Educational institutions like Penn State University have made reforms.  The evangelical church has not made reforms.  Pedophiles are largely not suspected, or when suspected, largely not reported.  Evangelical leaders and pastors must be called to account.  The successful prosecution of C.J. Mahaney and the perpetrators he has protected will go a long way in bringing about reform.  Their arrests, trials and convictions will result in national coverage from the media.  Responsible publications like WORLD magazine and Christianity Today will seize the opportunity to educate the Body of Christ.           

C.J. Mahaney & Larry Tomczak

C.J. was a delinquent as a teenager.  He conned his way through life.  His father was an alcoholic who physically abused his wife and probably his children.  C.J. used and sold drugs extensively.  He was always the ringleader.  He actively recruited friends to his immoral and debased lifestyle.  He grew up street smart.  

C.J. was arrested his freshman year (1971) for growing marijuana in his dorm room at Fairmont State College in WV.  He attended this college because his brother was the swim coach.  His mother hired a good lawyer and he got off on a technicality.  He was thrown out of the school and never returned to college.  He is formally uneducated but well-read and intelligent.

C.J. became a Christian in 1972 after he was expelled.  That same year he joined Larry Tomczak in teaching a Bible study for young people in Washington D.C. called T.A.G. (Take & Give).  By 1977 over 2,000 people attended the weekly meeting that was characterized by dynamic worship and preaching.  It was a smashing success.  C.J. and Larry quickly became “rock stars” in the Jesus Movement of the 1970-1980’s.  They were featured at mammoth events where they spoke to crowds of up to 10,000 people. 

Larry Tomczak moved to Washington D.C. from Cleveland to work for AFL/CIO.  He was converted soon after in December 1969.  He relocated to Fairfax, VA in 1991.  He relocated to Atlanta in 1996.  He left SGM in September 1997 and was blackmailed by C.J. on October 3, 1997.  He started Christ the King Church in Acworth, GA that year.  He relocated to Franklin, TN in 2007.  See http://www.larrytomczak.com/.  His son, Justin Tomczak, has committed horrible sex crimes probably going back to the early 1990’s which Larry, C.J., Steve Shank and others continue to cover up. 

In 1977, Larry and C.J. ended T.A.G. and started a church called Gathering of Believers (GOB).  It is now called Covenant Life Church (CLC) with an attendance of 4,000 in a mega-facility that used to house SGM.  C.J. became its senior pastor in 1979 and continued in that role until 2004 when he turned CLC over to his protégé, Joshua Harris.  Joshua is an extremely well-known writer.

My Introduction to Gathering of Believers & Sovereign Grace Ministries

I met Larry in 1978 when I was one of 25 intern pastors at the largest church in America.  We did huge conferences.  Larry was invited to be a conference speaker and I was assigned to him as his host.  I met C.J. in 1979 after I graduated from seminary and visited GOB for the first time. 

Around this time, Charles Schmitt, a well-known Bible teacher and leader, moved to Gathering of Believers from Fellowship of Believers in Grand Rapids, Minnesota which still exists.  He was a sex abuser with a 20-year history of homosexual sex with boys and young men.[2]  There is eyewitness evidence that Charles and C.J. were caught having sex with each other.  I think sexual abuse was likely introduced and spread in GOB because of Charles Schmitt.

Upon graduation from Anaheim Christian Theological Seminary, I returned to Indiana, PA where I previously did my undergraduate work while attending Indiana University of Pennsylvania.  We used this university for our Celebration East conference in the 1980-1990’s.  An interstate pedophilic ring operated at this event. 

I became a Christian at age 18 under the preaching of Billy Graham.[3]  During my college years I led a campus ministry that thrived by the grace of God.  I returned from seminary to resume leadership of that group.  In 1980, I also became the senior pastor of a new church now called Sovereign Grace Church.  We were the first church to join SGM.  The church left SGM in February 2013. 

Larry, C.J., Bill Galbraith and I started Sovereign Grace Ministries in 1982.  Initially it was called People of Destiny International (PDI).  My wife and I moved to Wheaton, MD from Indiana, PA so I could be part of the original Board of Directors and begin the Leadership Training School which became the Pastors College.  I laid the theological foundations for the movement and wrote the Statement of Faith.  Larry led SGM from 1982 until 1991 when he was replaced by C.J. who was more broadly gifted.  I served on the Board from 1982-2007.  I was C.J.’s right hand man, close friend and the #2 leader in SGM after 1990.  SGM grew and prospered from its beginning.  This resulted in national recognition. 

Growing Corruption

As a result, we began to connect with some of the most influential leaders in the evangelical Body of Christ.  This brought blessing, but it also brought temptation.  Slowly the praise of men became more important than the praise of God. 

I first addressed this issue with C.J., Larry and others in 1995 when I saw a willingness to compromise our theology in order to gain the favor of men.  C.J. also continued to mistreat leaders in PDI/SGM who disagreed with him.  This pattern worsened thereafter. 

In 2000, I began to confront C.J. with the help of two other men.  That continued over the next 3½ years but he was unresponsive.  It culminated in 2004, when I led a meeting with seven other keys leaders (i.e., Dave Harvey, Steve Shank, Pat Ennis, Joshua Harris, Grant Layman, Kenneth Maresco and Bob Kauflin) in which we addressed him on his growing and persistent sin (e.g., pride, independence, hypocrisy, heavy handedness).  After the meeting, C.J. shut down the disciplinary process and silenced six of the men.  Dave Harvey and I continued to speak out.  Dave finally gave up in 2005 and chose to accommodate him. 

C.J. turned against me in the aftermath.  I was alone, and he plotted my demise and ultimately my ouster.  2005-2007 were years of great suffering at his hands.  I continued on the Board of Directors but only because he could not remove me without causing an upheaval in SGM.  I finally resigned in 2007 no longer trusting him.  At the time of my resignation, I taught in the Pastors College, spoke at our conferences, oversaw 23 churches in the southeast, coordinated our international ventures in the Caribbean and Asia, etc.

SGMSurvivors and SGM Refuge

In November 2007, the first “anti-SGM blog” was started by Kris and Guy.  It was for people who experienced and/or survived spiritual abuse in SGM.  Kris and Guy are supposedly married with children.  Kris moderates the blog.  Guy does the technical work.  

This blog got the attention of C.J. and SGM.  At first, it was ignored so as not to draw attention to it.  Later it was condemned.  People in SGM churches were instructed not to read it because of the gossip and slander it contained.

Kris and Guy are not their true identities.  Jim Pappadeas told me they are not husband and wife.  Kris may be the following person who is a male.

Kris Williams

Real Estate Agent

1 Commerce Drive, Suite 106

Hattiesburg, MS   39402

601-606-8776 (mobile)

Kris has an extraordinary amount of evidence against SGM in her possession.  She’s interacted with all the Plaintiffs.  She’s been contacted by other victims.  I’m confident she will cooperative with the FBI.[4]  She should be made a top priority.   

Jim Pappadeas started SGM Refuge in June 2008.  Kris was an outsider to SGM.  Jim was an insider.  His knowledge of SGM and connection to other leaders like Jim Britt made his critique more potent in the first few years.

Jim ended his blog in 2013.  Like Kris, he is a wealth of information.  He too will cooperate with the FBI.  One example, he is a friend of Tom and Lori Bridgwood.  He was an advocate in one of the “reconciliation” meetings with the Defendants from Sovereign Grace Church of Fairfax.

I’ve interacted with Kris via email.  I know Jim.  We have interacted by phone and email.

There are many other blogs critical of SGM.  One other worth mentioning is The Wartburg Watch (TWW) by Dee and Deb.  These two ladies are friends of Pam Palmer.  They too have information helpful to investigators.

The Documents

After resigning from the Board of Directors, I stayed in SGM for two more years and started a new church in Mooresville, NC but C.J.’s hostile pursuit of me continued.  I appealed for help, but no one would listen or intervene.  Terribly unjust things occurred.  These men were afraid of C.J. and did not want to lose his favor.  Instead, they carried out his vendetta against me.

I left SGM in August 2009.  I began to correspond with C.J. in January 2010.  That continued for the next 18 months.  Finally, I was forced to go public with my appeal for his repentance when he and Dave Harvey flagrantly lied on the SGM website in July 2011.  It was then that I sent out Response Regarding Friendship & Doctrines (128 pages), A Final Appeal (168 pages), Concluding Remarks (202 pages) and The Untold Story (79 pages) to all the SGM pastors.  I was immediately attacked and labeled a slanderer.  See http://abrentdetwiler.squarespace.com/the-documents/ if interested in viewing. 

Someone immediately posted the documents on http:/www.scribd.com/sgmwikileaks.  They were viewed over 100,000 times [in 12 months].  All told, I’ve written 3,000 plus pages on the ethical demise of SGM since 2010.  I’ve also written 1,000 plus pages on the sex abuse conspiracy since the class action lawsuit was filed in October 2012.  All of this has brought the wrath of C.J. and his surrogates upon me.  The last 13 years have been increasingly fraught with peril and filled with suffering.

In July 2011, C.J. fled CLC deeply offended at the pastors because they publicly criticized him.  At the same time, he took a leave of absence as President of SGM in light of the 600 pages of evidence I released against him.  It lasted nine months.  These documents contained hundreds of charges that were backed up with detailed evidence. 

Here is an excerpt from Response Regarding Friendship & Doctrine.  It was the first document I sent C.J. nearly four years ago on March 17, 2010.  I did not know about the 30-year history of sexual abuse in CLC at the time.  Over the last four years, the corruption in SGM has exponentially multiplied.

“Lastly and most importantly, I write because of my deep love for you and for Sovereign Grace Ministries.  My greatest concern is for the increasing presence of deceit and hypocrisy rooted in self-preservation and love of reputation.  I’d be overjoyed to see you acknowledge these things to the movement, whether or not you ask my forgiveness for anything specific.  Comparatively speaking, the latter is unimportant.  Ultimately, this isn’t about us.  It is about something much bigger.  Therefore, I provide the history that follows for your careful consideration.          
“I have not relied upon my memory in putting this response together since memory alone is inadequate and not always reliable.  I could never retain and preserve accuracy without the use of primary source material.  I think you’d agree that I have served, at least in large measure, as the “unofficial” historian and archivist for the movement.  In preparing to write, therefore, I have reviewed thousands of pages of e-mails, official minutes, notes from meetings, transcribed messages, and writings in my journal.  My ability to present in detail does not come from a heart eaten up with bitterness.  My ability to remember minute details and provide intimate observations do not come from a mind constantly rehashing the past.  It comes from these sources. …  “I’d love to see our friendship restored.  I’d love to see some acknowledgment of wrongdoing.  I’d love to see issues from the past resolved.  I’d love to be in good standing with Sovereign Grace Ministries.  But all of these hopes and desires are very secondary!   “Primarily, I hope and desire to see a restoration of integrity, truth telling and justice in Sovereign Grace so there is no lying, spin, manipulation, lording, cover-up, or partiality.  I am concerned for the movement.  Some men have followed sinful aspects of your example and leadership – the kind referenced in this response.  These men have acted deceitfully, judgmentally, unbiblically, and hypocritically.  Their example in turn, has harmed others and been corrosive in its effect.”  (RRF&D, pp. 3, 128)

Dave Harvey & John Loftness

With C.J.’s leave of absence, Dave Harvey became the interim President and John Loftness became an interim Board Member.  These men repeatedly promised all my charges would be taken seriously and adjudicated by an outside third party with no bias.  That never happened.  During interim period (July 2011-March 2012), C.J., Dave, John, et al., acted with extreme malice and duplicity.  C.J.’s puppet Board returned him to the Presidency in January 2012.  Three months later, C.J. made John the Chairman of a newly appointed Board and filled it with loyalists.

In June 2012, C.J. angrily and abruptly relocated SGM to Louisville, KY from Gaithersburg, MD because he was offended at the CLC pastors and church members.  Many were calling him to account for his hypocrisy.  He responded by slandering the pastors and the church.  He left in a huff.  Thousands of people were astounded and greatly disillusioned by his ungodly behavior.   

Joshua Harris and CLC left SGM in December 2012 because of the abusive leadership culture created by C.J.  Approximately 30 of the 100 churches in SGM left in 2012-2013.  So did approximately 100 of the 300 pastors.  Dave Harvey also left Covenant Fellowship Church (CFC) and SGM in June 2013 over conflicts with C.J. Mahaney, Mark Prater and Jared Mellinger.  All parties agreed to remain silent knowing “mutually assured destruction” would follow if they exposed one another.  It was in their self-interest to be quiet about their conflicts and mutual corruption.

John’s chairmanship lasted 10 months.  He “resigned” in February 2013.  His part in the sex abuse scandal was closing in on him.  Two months later in April 2013, C.J. “transitioned” as President.  The two most powerful men in SGM were circumstantially forced out.  The First Amended Complaint (FAC) came out in January 2013 and they knew the Second Amended Complaint (SAC) would be out in May 2013.  Neither could continue in their roles.  They preemptively got out of the way.

C.J. no longer holds an official position in SGM.  Nevertheless, the headquarters for SGM and the Pastors College (PC) are based in his Louisville church.  So are 3 of the 7 men on the SGM Leadership Team (effectively the Board of Directors).  All 7 have acted corruptively over the past 3-5 years.  The current Executive Director (effectively the President) is Mark Prater.  He has C.J.’s charm but not his talents.  He remains a rabid fan of C.J.’s and is completely untrustworthy.  See link below for more information.


A Wider Conspiracy

There are many powerful and influential people fighting to cover up the sex abuse conspiracy.  I am concerned for the unethical or illegal actions of a judge (Sharon Burrell), lawyers (e.g. Chip Grange, Scott Ward, Paul Maloney), detectives (e.g. Sally Magee, Nick DeCarla, Trafton Patrick), mediators (e.g. Ted Kober, Ken Sande) and religious leaders (e.g. Al Mohler, Justin Taylor).  Six law firms have worked together defending the nine SAC Defendants.  Individuals like radio talk show host, Janet Mefferd (JMefferd@srnradio.com) and noted theologian, Dr. David Murray have been intimidated by SGM or their agents.

If interested, click links for commentary on key religious leaders.

Don Carson, Kevin DeYoung and Justin Taylor Defend C.J. Mahaney Against Charges in SGM Sex Abuse Scandal

Saturday, May 25, 2013 at 11:51 AM

C.J. Mahaney Withdraws from Together for the Gospel & Founders Remove Statement of Support

Wednesday, July 3, 2013 at 3:14 PM

I have no question about the guilt of C.J. Mahaney, John Loftness, Stephen Griney, et al.  The only question is whether or not sufficient evidence can be gathered against them that will hold up in a court of law.  Federal prosecutors are needed for this task.  It can’t be accomplished by individual jurisdictions.  It must involve a multi-state effort coordinated on the Federal level.

There is also reason to believe church or ministry funds were used in unethical or illegal ways for the giving of gifts, the payment of bribes, the retaining of lawyers for sex abusers or conspirators, the hiring of private investigators, the procurement of corrupt mediation services, and lengthy sabbaticals for pastors under accusation.   These allegations may necessitate an IRS investigation.

The prestigious law firm, Thaler Liebeler LLP has recently done a costly “investigation” of the sex abuse conspiracy at the behest of Covenant Life Church.  Will they provide their data to law enforcement?  Will they report suspected perpetrators?  Will they be open and honest in their report to CLC?  Or are these actions prohibited by their contractual arrangement with CLC?  Furthermore, how much did the investigation cost using tax-deductible contributions?   

C.J. Mahaney - “Teflon Don”

C.J. has a charismatic personality.  He is witty and insightful.  He can make you laugh for hours on end.  Though at times sincere, he uses encouragement to flatter, empathy to manipulate and generosity to bribe.  These characteristics endear people to him.  C.J. is venerated by many of the most powerful evangelical leaders in the United States (e.g. Al Mohler, Don Carson, R.C. Sproul, Ligon Duncan).  Life is fun if you’re on C.J.’s good side.

C.J. is also devious and fiercely competitive.  He once told us he loved conflict.  He is a skinny 160 pounder, but he relishes a heavy weight fight.  C.J. is extremely confident and never shies away from confrontation.  For over 30 years, he has demoted or removed from ministry anyone who firmly challenged him or called him to account.  He has abused and mistreated hundreds of ordinary church members.  No one has ultimately won a fight against C.J.  He will use whatever unethical or abusive means necessary to dominate his perceived adversaries.     

In this regard he is like “Teflon Don.”  He has the gifts, savvy and arrogance necessary to run a large-scale crime family.  He knows how to shine in public, threaten in private and use hit men to do his dirty work.  He rewards the loyal but punishes “rats” that attempt to out him.  He is extremely elusive and cunning.  He is always thinking many moves ahead like a Grandmaster in chess.  He needs to be brought to justice like Gotti after decades of “syndicated crime.”  He should be #1 on the Top Ten most wanted.  John Loftness #2 and Stephen Griney #3 in my way of thinking.

C.J. is driven by a love of reputation.  Anyone calling into question his character can expect a barrage of hostility.  He is obsessed with how people view him.  He will lie and deceive in order to promote and protect his façade of godliness.  He fooled me for many years, but he also worsened over time.  I once loved this man dearly.  I’ve come to see he and his inner circle are corrupt.

For a relatively unimportant, but highly illustrative example, read the tedious account of “The Request for Chad and Vacation Days” in A Final Appeal on pages 15-43.[5]


The Use of Surrogates

Let me illustrate C.J.’s conspiratorial role through the use of SGM surrogates.  This is a sampling.  In Maryland he used John Loftness and Gary Ricucci to cover up for David Adams.  He used Grant Layman (his brother in law) to cover up for Nathaniel Morales and Charlie Llewellyn.

In Virginia he used Steve Shank in 1997-1999 and John Loftness in 2000-2001 to cover up for Frank and Nathan Ecelbarger against John B. [redacted].  He used John Loftness in 1999-2001 to cover up for Dustin Clark against Grace S. [redacted].  He used John Loftness in 2009-2001 to cover up for Mr. Mcglohn against Sarah M. [redacted].  He used Jim Britt and Kenneth Maresco in 2007-2010 to cover up for Travis Fowler against Emily B. [redacted]. 

This doesn’t include the countless ways he used other pastors like Robin Boisvert in MD, Mark Mullery in VA, Matthew Wassink in KS, or Benny Phillips in FL.

It should be obvious, however, that John Loftness has been his point man.  John worked for C.J. at CLC and SGM from 1981 until 1988.  He joined Mark Mullery’s staff in Pasadena, CA as executive pastor in 1989 for approximately 18 months.  John returned to CLC in 1990 to be C.J.’s executive pastor.  In 2007, he moved to Riverdale, MD to become the senior pastor of Solid Rock Church. 

John was appointed to the SGM Interim Board on July 7, 2011.  He was appointed to subsequent Board on March 21, 2012.  He became the Chairman of the Board on April 14, 2012 but resigned ten months later on Feb 18, 2013.  The next month he was accused of sexually molesting Jessica Roberts-Thomas in footnote 3 on page 5 in the “Plaintiff’s Opposition to Defendants’ Motions Alleging Pleading Failure.”  In May, the SAC came out and alleged he was a sexual sadist.  John has categorically denied all charges. 

Steve Shank has also aided and abetted C.J.’s conspiracy.  He was at Southside Church of Virginia Beach from 1987 to 1999.  He relocated to north Denver in 1999 to help establish a second church in the area.  Before moving, he provided extra-local oversight as a SGM Board Member to Fairfax Covenant Church from 1996-1999.  This was during the conspiracy concerning Frank and Nathan Ecelbarger.  Steve continues to work for SGM.  He has always been a yes man for C.J.  He worked with C.J. in the blackmail of Larry Tomczak.  He has a complete knowledge of Justin Tomczak’s crimes.  He may also have covered up crimes at Celebration East and the sexual abuse of Gary B. [redacted] by Barry Albert.

Interactions with Lori Bridgwood


Multigenerational Abuse

The sexual abuse of a boy or girl occurs on the average at age 7 and those same victims who become abusers do so on the average at age 11 according to Dr. Gene G. Abel.  This information is found in his report to the U.S. Sentencing Commission at a Public Hearing on Federal Child Pornography Offenses on February 15, 2012.


Dr. Abel draws the following conclusion.

Window of Opportunity – With Sexually Abused Children On average, we have four years between the sexual victimization and the first act of sexual abuse.  Therefore: Between the ages of 7 years and 11 years is our opportunity to help the sexually abused child so that this child does NOT sexually abuse other children. Source: Child Molestation Research & Prevention Institute: 20,000 Children Preliminary Data

Children of sexual abuse in SGM almost never received professional help outside of the church in order to avoid detection by Child Protective Services and law enforcement.  This was partly due to pastoral pride.  It was largely due to pastoral corruption.  C.J. Mahaney, John Loftness and many other leaders were concerned about financial and reputational harm.  They were also concerned their own criminal acts would be discovered.

I agree with SAC 94.  “Defendants’ ongoing misconduct ruined so many young lives, as some victims of molestation followed the foreseeable pattern of becoming predators themselves.”

The number of potential victims is great.  For example, FAC 24, “According to Defendants’ own admission, it was responsible for more than 250 children at the [Covenant Life] School and 800 children in the CLC youth ministry, and many hundreds of others elsewhere in youth ministries and church school settings.”

I’ve provided information in this report concerning many perpetrators from different churches in different states.  Those perpetrators already convicted of crimes should be further investigated.  For instance, David Adams, Chris Mutimer, and Dustin Clark were found guilty of abusing only one child.  Travis Fowler and Colin Whitehouse, two children and Barry Albert, three children.  Though juveniles at the time, Mutimer, Clark and Fowler are now 25-30 years of age.

We all know sex abusers have a far greater number of victims in most every case.  In Gene Abel’s landmark study,[6] 232 child molesters admitted to 55,000 incidents of child molestation and had a total of more than 17,000 victims – that’s an average of 73 victims per molester.  Men who molested out of home girls averaged 20 victims.  Men who molested out of home boys averaged 150 victims.  “Out of home” means the victims were not living with their molester.


There is no telling how many perpetrators have operated in Covenant Life Church, Sovereign Grace Church of Fairfax[7] and Sovereign Grace Ministries at large because pastors and leaders failed to involve law enforcement, prosecute abusers to the full extent of the law, warn those in harm’s way of suspected pedophiles, and alert church members to the presence of convicted sex offenders.

Moreover, pastors and leaders like John Loftness, Gary Ricucci and Stephen Griney conspired to commit sex crimes.  In addition, there is every reason to believe juveniles were recruited by adult perpetrators who in turn conspired together in the abuse of younger children.  This happened across state lines in some cases.

This is all due to the perverse leadership of C.J. Mahaney who failed to address and stop the sexual abuse of children by his friends, employees and church members in different states.  Instead, he implemented a strategy whereby pedophiles were protected and victims were silenced.

C.J. audaciously put out this statement on the SGM website through Tommy Hill after the lawsuit was dismissed on May 17, 2013.  Tommy is the SGM Director of Finance and Administration.  It claimed no evidence whatsoever of any conspiracy has been discovered.  They have not amended this statement.  It was their final word.

“Sadly, these allegations have damaged the reputations of the named defendants and leave us all in the difficult place of having no clear way to restore them.  Let us reiterate that our review of the allegations has not produced any evidence of any cover-up or conspiracy by SGM.  Likewise, defendant John Loftness, our former chairman, has publicly denied having ever physically or sexually abused a child.” 

After confronting C.J. in Response Regarding Friendship & Doctrine, he responded with this note.  That was 3½ years ago.  Things have changed but only for worse. 

From: C.J. Mahaney Sent: Friday, July 02, 2010 4:33 PM To: Brent Detwiler Subject: Question Brent, I don’t think Sovereign Grace in general or anyone I know in particular is “lying, covering up, manipulating, lording, etc. C.J. is the mastermind behind the widespread, multigenerational and interstate conspiracy carried out over the past three decades.  He is an accomplished liar and deceiver.  He and his co-conspirators need to be brought down and all the perpetrators of sex crimes in SGM brought to justice. Much more work could have been done to improve this report, but I submit it now, so things can move ahead.  I stand ready to help investigators in any and every way they see fit to involve me.

[1] Gene Emerson was found guilty of solicitation of prostitution on July 9, 2015.  Gene Emerson, Former Regional Leader for SGM, Found Guilty for Solicitation of Prostitution (Aug. 22, 2015); Gene Emerson’s Summons, Sentence & Court Order for HIV Testing (Aug. 29, 2015); What C.J. Mahaney & Gene Emerson Can Learn from R.C. Sproul Jr.’s Visit to Ashley Madison (Sep. 5, 2015); An Open Letter to the Sovereign Grace National Council of Elders Regarding Gene Emerson (Oct. 27, 2015) 

[2] Charles Schmitt’s 50 Plus Year History of Homosexual Sex with Young Men While Married & in Ministry  (Mar. 12, 2017); My Interaction with a Victim Who Alleges He Was Raped by Mega-Church Pastor Charles Schmitt as a Child (July 15, 2017); The On-Going Defiance of Charles & Dotty Schmitt – Trustees Ready to Act Against Them (July 23, 2017); Charles Schmitt Is a False Shepherd, Predatory Homosexual, & Divisive Deceiver - He Is Starting a New Church & Must Be Stopped! (Sep. 22, 2017) 

[3] God Almighty, Billy Graham & My Conversion to Christ (Feb. 21, 2018) 

[4] My confidence in Kris has diminished since this writing.  

[5] See also The Lesser to Greater Argument: A Classic Example of C.J. Mahaney’s Abusive Leadership (Apr. 17, 2015) 

[6] Gene Abel, Self-reported sex crimes of nonincarcerated paraphiliacs, Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 2(1):3-25 (1987). 

[7] Now Redeeming Grace Church, Fairfax, VA.

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