Nathaniel “Nate” Morales was found guilty on seven counts of child molestation in May 2104. He was sentenced to 40 years. He was a recognized leader and prominent member of Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, MD.
Morales worked for Grant Layman as overseer of the International Student Ministry and was on the Covenant Life Church payroll for nine months from July 1987 to April 1988. Pastors Chris Glass and Layman learned he was a sex abuser from Rachael Bates-Paci in the summer of 1991. This information would have been passed on to senior pastor C.J. Mahaney. Pastors Robin Boisvert and Gary Ricucci also learned of Morales’ abuse in 1992 and 1993 if not earlier. None reported him. All of this came out at the trial.
During the trial, Layman confessed that he intentionally broke the mandatory reporting law in the 1990’s. He also told the jury that Morales confessed to him the sexual abuse of Sam Bates and Brian Wolohan in 2007. Layman further testified he passed this information onto CLC pastors Joshua Harris, Robin Boisvert, Kenneth Maresco and Corby Megorden. Together, they conspired not to report him despite the confession of sex crimes.
After the trial concluded with a guilty verdict, Assistant State’s Attorney and lead prosecutor Amanda Michalski told people in the courtroom she could have arrested Layman on the spot but she did not have permission from her boss, John McCarthy, the State’s Attorney for Montgomery County, MD.
Michalski’s desires were in keeping with the prosecutorial arguments put forth by her colleague, Assistant State’s Attorney Jessica Hall. Here is a brief synopsis of what she said about the conspiracy. She is talking about the pastors. You can read her complete comments in C.J. Mahaney, Covenant Life Church & the Conspiracy to Cover-up the Sexual Abuse of Children (Feb 13, 2018).
“The church covered it up. The church protected Mr. Morales. … The church would cover up for Mr. Morales. … The church would protect a man who molested children. … The church did nothing. … They ignored the fact that heinous crimes had been committed.”
Both these prosecutors had clear cut evidence heinous crimes were covered up. I have evidence that suggests McCarthy was influenced not to prosecute by high ranking law enforcement officers who were members of CLC like Deputy Chief Luther Reynolds and former Detective Nick DeCarlo.
Knowing the above, I wrote an appeal to lead prosecutor Amanda Michalski and lead detective Sally Magee concerning “Evidence for Conspiracy from CLC Church-wide Member’s Meeting.” I also included lawyers Susan Burke & William O’Neil representing the plaintiffs in the lawsuit against Mahaney, CLC, and SGM; and private investigator Dan Wright, a former high-ranking FBI agent.
I’m sharing it now because leaders and pastors in Sovereign Grace Churches, Inc. continue to deceive people into believing law enforcement investigated the conspiracy to cover up the sexual abuse of children and found no evidence of wrongdoing. Therefore, there were no arrests. Nothing could be further from the truth!
Mahaney, Layman, Glass, Ricucci, Boisvert, Harris, Maresco, and Megorden were let off the hook. In addition to influence by CLC members in law enforcement, a deal may have been worked out that let the pastors go in exchange for Layman’s testimony which played a big part in putting Morales away. In other words, Layman had to testify to the conspiracy in order to prove Morales’ guilt with the assurance he and fellow pastors would not be arrested.
To All Concerned, On August 17, 2011, there was a Members’ Only meeting at Covenant Life Church because exCLCer’s Story by Dara Adams-Sutherland and SGMnot’s’ Story by Pam Palmer were respectively posted on SGMSurvivors on July 29, 2011 and August 3, 2011. This church-wide meeting occurred 14 months before the Original Complaint was filed. The first 39 minutes of the audio were deleted by the CLC pastors but I’ve managed to get a copy of the unedited audio which I will forward separately. You may already have the original but I am providing if not the case. I’ve transcribed minutes 11:36-38:56. See below. This section contains a lot of evidence regarding the conspiracy and a lot of untrue statements. They will be obvious to you. I’ve been a pastor/theologian since 1979. I never thought I’d be forced to help prosecute men who were once close friends for conspiring to commit and cover up sexual abuse in Sovereign Grace Ministries. I’d much rather be caring for people’s souls and teaching theology. Nevertheless, God has put me in the position. Why? Sex abusers will continue to thrive in churches throughout America if pastors are not prosecuted for not reporting suspected or known sex crimes. Time and time again, pastors have allowed abusers to leave their church quietly only to show up unsuspected at another church right down the street. As a result, the vicious cycle of abuse continues. You have a unique opportunity to address this great horror in the case of C.J. Mahaney. Every effort must be made to prosecute him. Why? First, he is the mastermind behind the cover up in CLC and SGM. Second and far more importantly, it will send a loud message to Protestant pastors throughout the nation. The most influential Christian leaders in America are closely following the SGM sex abuse scandal as are thousands of ordinary pastors. This reality should not deter law enforcement on the Federal, State or local levels. It should propel them to combine all their efforts in proving a conspiracy and prosecuting those responsible to the fullest extent of the law. I realize law enforcement is hesitant to “go after” clergy for numerous reasons but this only contributes to the problem. I am grateful Morales will never see the light of day but Morales was permitted to destroy lives for over 30 years because pastors in several churches did not report him. This is an epidemic problem in churches throughout America. C.J. Mahaney and Sovereign Grace Ministries are nationally recognized. That is a good thing. If Mahaney goes to jail, pastors throughout the nation will get the message loud and clear that they must report for fear of the same. This one prosecution can prevent the future of abuse of thousands of children throughout the Evangelical Church. Furthermore, I don’t believe law enforcement will take flak for prosecuting Mahaney and other leaders in SGM. I think the opposite will happen. I think the vast majority of Christians in America will applaud law enforcement for holding clergy responsible because their children are at risk when they don’t report. You are not trying to destroy churches, you are trying to save children. In short, holding pastors accountable to report is the most effectively way to stop the sexual abuse of children in churches throughout the country. I am praying to this end. Lastly, justice does not come easy. Thank you for all your hard work on the civil and criminal sides of this case. It is greatly appreciated! Brent
Twenty-five minute later, I sent them this email.
This was just posted. No lie! http://www.sgclouisville.org/blog/post/a-statement-from-c-j--mahaney A STATEMENT FROM C.J. MAHANEY For nearly two years now, I have remained silent about a civil lawsuit brought against various parties including myself. During that time, many have urged me to respond publicly and address the accusations against me. These pleas have only intensified over the last week in light of reports of testimony in a recent trial. I look forward to the day when I can speak freely. For now, the simple and extraordinarily unsatisfying reality—for myself and others—is that in the face of an ongoing civil lawsuit, I simply cannot speak publicly to the specifics of these events. Even with those constraints, however, let me be clear about this: I have never conspired to protect a child predator, and I also deny all the claims made against me in the civil suit. I am deeply grieved for those who suffered abuse while part of Covenant Life Church, as well as those beyond the church who were abused—and I continue to pray for justice to be served on their behalf and for God’s healing grace in their lives. I’m saddened, too, by the confusion and damage that has resulted from public comments and speculation about these events. Still, my trust remains in the Lord, who comforts the brokenhearted and promises in his justice and in his time to right every wrong. In the grace of the gospel, C.J. Mahaney Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville May 22, 2014
The next day, I received this disappointing response from ASA Michalski. Her message was clear – we are going after abusers but not after Mahaney or his co-conspirators.
Mr. Detwiler, Mr. Morales’s criminal cases are currently pending sentencing, and are subject to an automatic right of appeal. As the Assistant State’s Attorney assigned to Mr. Morales’ criminal cases, I support your personal efforts and the efforts of others to encourage victims of any crime to come forward, but while these cases are still active, I would ask that you direct any interested parties to report crimes to the police department, and that this communication be limited to reports of criminal conduct – that is, victims or witnesses who can provide factual information about their abuse or the abuse of others that may lead to prosecution. I am sure you can understand with the volume of information coming in as it relates to these and similar crimes, we do not want to jeopardize the status of our active cases or prevent others from coming forward. Thank you! Amanda Michalski
I’ve talked to federal agents and discovered even the FBI is hesitant to prosecute pastors and churches for lesser crimes out of concern for their own reputation. Further, it is commonplace for law enforcement at all levels to be influenced by prominent people (including high powered lawyers) and persuaded not to prosecute. Lastly, deals are made all the time with the small fish to get incriminating evidence on the big fish. All these factors have been in play with Mahaney, CLC and SGM.
Thankfully, more law enforcement agencies are beginning to prosecute conspirators who cover up the crimes committed by sex abusers who are often their friends. This must become the norm!