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The decision has implications for Calvin University as well as CRC churches, which had previously been given some latitude on the issue.

Yonat Shimron - Religion News Service|June 15, 2022 03:10 PM

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Image: Steven Herppich / Copyright Christian Reformed Church in North America / RNS

The Christian Reformed Church annual synod meets at Calvin University.

The Christian Reformed Church, a small evangelical denomination of US and Canadian churches, voted Wednesday at its annual synod to codify its opposition to homosexual sex by elevating it to the status of confession, or declaration of faith.

The 123-53 vote at Calvin University in Grand Rapids, Michigan, caps a process begun in 2016 when a previous synod voted to form a study committee to bring a report on the “biblical theology” of sexuality.

The vote, after two long days of debate, approves a list of what the denomination calls sexual immorality it won’t tolerate, including “adultery, premarital sex, extra-marital sex, polyamory, pornography, and homosexual sex.”

“The church must warn its members that those who refuse to repent of these sins—as well as of idolatry, greed, and other such sins—will not inherit the kingdom of God,” the report says. “It must discipline those who refuse to repent of such sins for the sake of their souls.”

But 190 delegates to the synod spent the preponderance of time debating homosexuality, with many warning that passage of the so-called Human Sexuality Report and elevating its teachings to the status of confession would alienate LGBTQ people as well as younger generations of CRC members who have a different understanding of sexuality.

“This motion harms LGBTQ people, harms the church’s witness, and naming this as confession will have disastrous consequences for people and institutions,” said one delegate to the synod who voted against the motion.

The vote will also have profound consequences for its flagship university, Calvin. In December, one-third of Calvin faculty signed a letter expressing concerns about the Human Sexuality Report, and some are now expected to leave. Faculty at Calvin University must sign a document saying they align with the historical creeds and confessions of the Christian Reformed Church.

It was not clear what the status of the document might be moving forward.

“Many people are polishing their CVs, starting to look at what else is out there and preparing themselves to leave,” said Kristin Kobes Du Mez, a professor of history at Calvin University and one of its star faculty.

The university is known in the larger Christian higher education world for its supportive and pastoral approach to LGBTQ students. It allows a student group, the Sexuality and Gender Alliance, to function on campus and in the 2020-21 school year the university did not challenge an openly gay student body president.

But the university has less tolerance for deviation from church teachings by faculty. This year it did not renew a professor’s two-year appointment after he agreed to officiate a same-sex wedding. That wedding also led the university to cut ties with its longtime research center, The Center for Social Research, where one of the marriage partners was working.

The denomination of 204,664 members with roots in the Dutch Reformed Church of the Netherlands has always taught that sex is reserved for one man and one woman in marriage.

But over the years, it has given its churches a degree of latitude in ministering to LGBTQ people. Its 1973 report on homosexuality distinguished between homosexual activity and homosexual orientation, noting that same-sex attraction, in and of itself, was not sinful and that people don’t have a choice in who they are attracted to.

Since then, many churches have become open and affirming to LGBTQ people, with some even ordaining them to the position of deacon. A church in Toronto was one of the first, and in recent years, several churches in Grand Rapids and one in Akron, Ohio, have either welcomed LGBTQ people to membership or ordained them to deacon roles.

The synod’s move this year comes amid a growing backlash to LGBTQ gains across the nation. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation earlier this year that prohibited classroom discussion of gender identity and sexual orientation for some age groups in Florida schools. Dozens of bills have been introduced by Republican state lawmakers to restrict classroom discussions and access to books about the LGBTQ community and block medical care for transgender students.

While liberal Christian denominations have affirmed LGBTQ people over the past 20 years, marrying same-sex couples and ordaining LGBTQ people as clergy, centrist and conservative denominations have resisted such accommodation. The United Methodist Church, the nation’s second-largest Protestant denomination, is now fracturing over the issue.

Closer to home, at least 43 theologically conservative congregations in the Reformed Church in America, a close cousin to the Christian Reformed Church, split from the denomination this year over LGBTQ inclusion.

Some have predicted the issue of LGBTQ will also tear apart the CRC, though not in the same way as the RCA. In the CRC, it may be more liberal churches that leave.

Christian Reformed Church Brings LGBT Stance Into Faith Statement

BREAKING: Tensions Rise Ahead of Roe Reversal – CompassCare CEO Family Relocates Under Threat of Intimidation 






The Supreme Court is expected to release their ruling potentially overturning Roe v. Wade today, June 13 or Wednesday, June 15. Tensions are rising as pro-abortion activists plan to shut down all activity around the Supreme Court in anticipation of that release. Abortion terrorist group “Jane's Revenge” is promoting a “Night of Rage” the evening of the release, stating, “We need them to be afraid of us.” Organizations like “Ruth Sent Us” have encouraged intimidation of Supreme Court Justices such as Amy Coney-Barrett and other pro-life leaders at their homes.


The leak of the SCOTUS draft reversing Roe sparked a pro-abortion crimewave against peaceful, pro-life pregnancy centers, the most brutal attack being the devastating firebombing of CompassCare’s Buffalo medical office. Sources monitoring the social media pages of abortion activists flagged multiple comments encouraging followers to locate the home of CompassCare CEO Jim Harden. Harden’s wife and young children relocated yesterday, as police track suspicious activity at their home.


Governor Hochul promised state police assistance with firebombing investigation. Harden says, “As best as we can tell, neither state nor federal law enforcement have expended any resources to protect CompassCare or my family from pro-abortion terrorists.” Harden reported to the New York State Hate Crimes Task Force late Saturday night claiming that CompassCare and his family are being targeted for their pro-life, religious beliefs. At the time of this writing, the New York State Police have yet to respond.


Harden believes CompassCare may be the target of abortion terrorists because over 600 pro-life pregnancy centers nationwide are using their materials and strategies. Harden said, “We have been building a post-Roe plan since 2018 to complete the abolition of Roe in the remaining abortion hub states once the Court reverses the ruling. And the plan is working.”












































BREAKING: Tensions Rise Ahead of Roe Reversal – CompassCare CEO Family Relocates Under Threat of Intimidation 

By Revathi Janaswamy and Spectrum News Staff City of Buffalo

UPDATED 5:32 PM ET Jun. 07, 2022 PUBLISHED 8:15 AM ET Jun. 07, 2022

​GETZVILLE, N.Y. — ​​Police in Amherst are investigating an apparent case of arson at an anti-abortion center in Getzville.

Officials say the fire began early Tuesday morning at CompassCare on Eggert Road.

CompassCare's president says graffiti was left on the building saying "Jane Was Here," which he says refer to the pro-abortion right group Jane’s Revenge.


“Jane’s Revenge is this group that’s attempting to strike fear into pro-life service organizations to keep from them providing care,” CompassCare CEO Jim Harden said.

That group was connected to a similar case of arson in Madison, Wisconsin in May. 

"We have been in contact and have been implementing security measures, and we have been for the last several weeks. And at this point there's no reason to be worried or afraid as the organization is secure," Harden said, adding that the damage inside is "extensive."

We know the Erie County Sheriff's Fire Investigation Unit, with its Accelerant Detection K9, was called to assist with the investigation.

CompassCare is holding a press conference at 12. @revathijanaswam will follow this today.

— Breanna Fuss (@BreannaFuss) June 7, 2022

Amherst Police have not confirmed the graffiti or the involvement of that group.

“They broke the two main windows in the reception area and the nurse’s offices and the nurses office and lit the fires in those places,” Harden said. “The fires essentially were contained to the medical side of the office. But the smoke damage was extensive throughout as well as a lot of fire damage. Pretty sure all the equipment has been destroyed. We’re not sure. We haven’t been able to get in and turn it on. All of our power is out. So yeah, there’s a lot we don’t know yet.”

Harden says the clinic will be moved to another location to start serving their clients again Wednesday. He says he will not disclose the new location to the public at this time, but will share that information to clients. 

The Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives says it has responded to the incident, and the Erie County Sheriff's Fire Investigation Unit has sent its Accelerant Detection K9 to assist in the investigation. 

Two town of Amherst volunteer firefighters were hurt in the fire.

Harden says the damage inside is "extensive."

— Revathi Janaswamy (@revathijanaswam) June 7, 2022

Amherst Town Supervisor Brian Kulpa says a violent response is never the answer, and there’s no place in Amherst for such attacks. He says law enforcement will ensure those responsible will be held accountable for their actions.

If anyone has any information related to this incident, you are asked to contact the Amherst Police Dept. at 716-689-1322. 

Spectrum News 1 has reached out to various agencies for more information.

Police in­ves­ti­gating apparent arson at Getzville anti-abortion center
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Over 80 feared dead in attack on Catholic church in Nigeria, sources say


Authorities have not been forthcoming with an official death toll.


Attack on Nigerian Catholic church kills dozens

The perpetrators fled the scene in a stolen Nissan and remain at large, according to police.

More than 80 people are feared to have died in Sunday's attack on a church in southwestern Nigeria, sources told ABC News on Wednesday.

A source with direct knowledge of the investigation said the bodies of 82 victims were in a local morgue. Another source briefed on the latest U.S. intelligence assessment said the estimate was over 80. Both sources spoke on the condition of anonymity because they didn't have authorization to speak to the press about the ongoing probe. A spokesperson for the Nigeria Police Force, which is leading the investigation, told ABC News on Wednesday that the probe is ongoing and they can not confirm the death toll at this time.

Former local, nationwide Jehovah’s Witnesses find child sex abuse ‘swept under the rug’

When Pennsylvania native Kahley Groff, a former Jehovah’s Witness, came forward about the sexual abuse she endured as a child at Yorkanna Kingdom Hall, she had “hoped” elders and other adults within her congregation would have “protected” her.

However, according to Groff, she and other survivors’ abuse have been continually “swept under the rug.”

The Jehovah’s Witness organization began in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, at the end of the 19th century with a group of students who sought to conduct a “systematic analysis” of the Bible. These students began publishing their findings in a journal called the Watchtower — which currently serves as the primary means of spreading the belief of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

“Growing up in the church, and now having left, it has been extremely frustrating seeing the Jehovah’s Witnesses paint themselves as something different regarding child sex abuse,” Groff said.

Since their inception, the Jehovah’s Witnesses have spread to about 240 countries.

According to Robert Hendricks, U.S. spokesman for the Jehovah’s Witnesses, there are certain “core beliefs” they hold.

“We believe that the Bible is sufficient for us to learn how to live and how to worship,” Hendricks said. “The Bible is truly essential to who we are and what we do.”

Groff said “to hear them preach that they protect their flock, but then continually ignore my abuse case and so many others, such as mine, is infuriating.”

Jehovah’s Witnesses, Hendricks said, “fundamentally disagree with the idea of the Holy Trinity.”

“We believe that Jehovah is the sovereign, the only eternal one, and that Jesus Christ is a created being — perhaps living in the heavens for billions of years,” Hendricks said.

The Holy Spirit, Hendricks said, is the “finger of God,” and it is a “force” he uses for “everything.”

“The second major difference between Jehovah’s Witnesses and almost every other major religion is that we believe in something that is very fundamental,” Hendricks said. “That God’s purpose was to have an Earth that is a paradise with perfect people.”

For Hendricks, the Jehovah’s Witnesses are also “unique” because of their outreach approach.

“For us, it has never been building a church and ringing a bell — it has been about directly reaching the community by going door-to-door,” he said.

Besides the fundamental beliefs Jehovah’s Witnesses practice, they also have certain roles, responsibilities and regulations they must follow.

In the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ church, the elders are “spiritually mature men” who act as leaders over their congregation. They enforce the teachings of Jehovah, meet for spiritual matters and report to the Watchtower officials.

The “weight” of the threats from her abusers within the congregation, the environment of the Witnesses and the “layers and layers of cover-ups” was what made her experience so difficult to handle, according to Groff.

“Unfortunately, this type of behavior is not something that is unique to me and my situation,” Groff said. “The organization has spent years and years cultivating this environment where you are not allowed to question the maleness and authority that is there.”

Hendricks declined to comment on the alleged abuse within the church.

Elders within a Jehovah’s Witness congregation have authority to handle certain matters and to dismiss members from the church — better known as disfellowshipping.

To be disfellowshipped, a baptized witness must “commit a serious sin” and refuse to repent against said sin.

The Watchtower reports several scripture verses that support the practice of disfellowshipping. In Romans 16:17 the Bible says, “Now I exhort you, brothers, to keep your eye on those who create divisions and causes for stumbling contrary to the teaching which you have learned, and avoid them.”

Once a witness is disfellowshipped, the elders require all other members of the congregation to shun them — even if they are a family member.

For Groff and other disfellowshipped Jehovah’s Witnesses, this is a reality they’ve had to face.

Groff said she felt how her case was “handled” was what ultimately led her to leave her congregation and be disfellowshipped.

“My abuse started at the Yorkanna Congregation from the ages of 4 to about 7,” Groff said. “Even then, I knew that telling somebody wasn’t really going to do anything, so I just kept it to myself.”

Groff also said her parents would spend “a lot” of time with her abuser’s family because they were friends.

“We would be over at their house, be in their pool and even do Bible studies together,” Groff said. “My dad even referred to my abuser’s father as a role model for himself because he was a highly respected elder in the church at that time.”

When Groff did come forward about her abuse to her parents, she said the two families “blew over it.”


On Friday, Republican Jake Corman, president pro-tempore of the Pennsylvania Senate, and Rep…

“It wasn’t until later that I found out that his father was threatening my family with reporting allegations against us to the organization if we ever spoke out about what had happened,” Groff said.

Groff said when you’re a Jehovah’s Witness, it’s your “whole life,” and having your reputation tampered is “extremely” frowned upon.

Furthermore, Groff said the elders at the Yorkanna Congregation “knew” about the abuse.

The Yorkanna Congregation did not respond to requests for comment.

“It was made clear that we were not allowed to speak about it, we were not allowed to take further action and that was the end of it,” Groff said.

According to Groff, certain family members tried to “convince” her that the abuse did not happen.

“I knew what happened to me — no matter what people were trying to say,” Groff said. “I was continually put into situations where I had to be around my abuser and where other children were being put at risk.”

Eventually, Groff said her abuser and his family were “dismissed” from the Yorkanna Congregation for allegations of the abuser sexually abusing Groff and other children and moved to the Red Lion Congregation in York County, Pennsylvania.

Three years after her disfellowship, Groff said she received a phone call from her mother.

“I knew it was a big deal because she said that I needed to come over,” Groff said. “What I found out was that my abuser was in the news and that he had done the same thing to another child at the Red Lion Congregation.”

For Groff, she said she felt like there was “finally” someone else who could “back her up” and know she wasn’t “crazy.”

These new accusations were made by Abigail Haugh, daughter of former Red Lion Congregation elder, Martin Haugh.

For Martin, he and his family have experienced child sexual abuse within the Jehovah’s Witnesses on “multiple” occassions.

“Growing up, I had so many experiences with the child sexual abuse that occurred in the congregations,” Martin said. “My mother was sexually assualted in the 1960s by her father, I watched my own cousin be molested by my grandfather and, ultimately, my own daughter being molested in the Red Lion Kingdom Hall.”

According to Martin, he could talk for “hours” about the control tactics his former religion used.

“Let’s say that you are disfellowshipped for drinking alcohol,” Martin said. “Once you are reinstated, you cannot comment at the meetings, you cannot give parts on the platform and, if you are a brother, it could be two to three years before you are allowed to say a prayer at a meeting.”

This time after reinstatement, according to Martin, is called being “on reproof.”

“Being on reproof is basically like probation,” Martin said. “If you miss meetings during that time period, they will never let you off of reproof.”

Elders, Martin said, also serve on what is called a hospital liaison committee — which serves to stop Witnesses from receiving blood transfusions.

“If you have Leukemia or hemophilia, blood transfusions are essential for treatment,” Martin said. “I would be in a hospital room and would literally influence whether a Witness would receive a blood transfusion or not.”

Martin Haugh speaks at Kingdom Hall in Red Lion, Pennsylvania. He is a former elder in the Jehovah's Witnesses organization.

Courtesy of Jennifer Stevens Haugh

For Martin, he said he still feels “bad” to this day for preventing blood transfusions and even disfellowshipping people.

Martin was an elder of the Red Lion Congregation for five years, serving on five judicial committees during that time.

A judicial committee is a group of three elders who meet together to “investigate” the details of an alleged sin further, according to Martin..

When deciding to “finally” leave the Jehovah’s Witness organization, Martin said it was a “slow burn” for him to be “awake.”

In the Jehovah’s Witnesses community, being awake refers to the “realization” of the control tactics and other issues associated with the organization, Martin said.

“My wife was actually awake before I was,” Martin said. “Googling Jehovah’s Witnesses is extremely frowned upon, but my wife had a fellow pioneer who kept showing her websites and news — including the Australian Royal Commission.”

From 2013-2017, the Australian Royal Commission conducted an extensive investigation into child abuse and the institutions in which they occured.

According to the final report, the ARC heard from 7,981 survivors of child sexual abuse — some of which were current or former Jehovah’s Witnesses.

“Near the end of my time with the Witnesses, it was truly a bunch of little stabs,” Martin said. “What ended up being my final straw was when the elders, including myself, were asked to throw away certain pieces of literature.”

No matter what they did though, according to Martin, when they “disassociated” from the church, they were going to be “shunned” by “everybody” they knew.

“I have not seen my mom and dad since December of 2015,” Martin said. “I have not seen a lot of my aunts or uncles, nor have I seen my cousins — in total I lost about 36 family members when I woke up.”

For Martin, when his daughter was assaulted, he kept “trusting” in Jehovah and believing he was going to “overcome” this issue.

“Regarding my daughter, I definitely had a lot of issues back then,” Martin said. “I wanted to become an elder, and if I reported or talked badly about the organization, I was never going to get that.”

Additionally, Martin also said he “truly” thought it wasn’t a widespread issue.

“I thought that this was just a bad apple and that we were going to change policies and make it better,” Martin said. “When I learned of the other cases in my congregation, I was shocked, but little did I know, this had been going on for decades.”

For Abigail, Martin’s daughter, she had grown up as a sixth-generation Jehovah’s Witness.

“Growing up, I really did not know any better,” Abigail said. “The day that I was abused, which was when I was about 3 or 4, he sat in the arm chair and told me that he wanted to show me a special hug.”

Luckily, Abigail said, the abuse did not last long before her father found them.

“My dad was absolutely furious and upset,” Abigail said. “I did come to learn that this was not the only time [the abuser] had sexually abused minors.”

Martin did report what happened to the police “immediately” after it happened, Abigail said.

“Because my dad reported to the police, he was prevented from becoming an elder for a long time,” Abigail said. “The elders do not want you to call the police in any situation like this.”

Furthermore, Abigail said the Jehovah’s Witnesses have a policy that requires two witnesses — not including the perpetrator — for something to be considered a case “worth” pursuing.

“In late 2015, my mom sat me and my brother down to tell us the truth about the Jehovah’s Witnesses,” Abigail said. “When I learned this issue was worldwide, I realized this organization was a breeding ground for pedophiles — an absolute breeding ground.”

According to Abigail, Witnesses think it’s a “safe place” because it is “Jehovah’s house.”

“When I learned the extent of the situation, I knew that what the Jehovah’s Witnesses taught could not be the truth,” Abigail said. “If Jehovah was real, he would not let abuse like that happen.”

Marci Hamilton, founder of ChildUSA and law-religion professor at the University of Pennsylvania, has spent her career studying the policies of religious institutions — including the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

According to Hamilton, the two main policies in the Jehovah’s Witnesses organization and in the U.S. that are issues include the statute of limitations and the clergy-penitent privilege.

“The statute of limitations is really something that I am passionate about,” Hamilton said. “This statute limits the survivors to a window of time they have to report or they are no longer considered for a trial.”

Marci Hamilton is the founder of ChildUSA, a child advocacy organization.

Courtesy of MaryClare Malady and Marci Hamilton

In the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, survivors over the age of 18 at the time of the abuse have two years to file a case, and survivors under the age of 18 at the time of the abuse have 12 years after their 18th birthday to file a case.

For Hamilton, the clergy-penitent privilege is something the Jehovah’s Witnesses have used as a “loop-hole.”

The clergy-penitent privilege is something that’s used to maintain confidentiality of “pastoral communications.”

Since the Jehovah’s Witnesses “frown-upon” reaching out to authorities, Hamilton said the elders have “immense power” regarding how they handle child abuse within a congregation.

According to Hamilton, a “majority of the time,” a judicial committee will gather about the alleged abuse and write a report for their local congregation and one for the Watchtower headquarters.

The correspondence, however, is never brought to the officials’ attention and is kept in a database that’s only accessible to elders and other powerful members of the organization.

Specifically, Hamilton said in 1997, the Jehovah’s Witnesses sent out a letter to all elders stating they must “​inform one another if known pedophiles moved from one kingdom hall to another — and to withhold the information from the congregations.”

“The statute of limitations and the clergy-penitent privilege is really what is allowing for this to happen,” Hamilton said. “I am doing everything in my power to try and have these policies changed and have people be held accountable for their actions.”

For Abigail, though, the “biggest” thing for her since she has been awake is that she and her family are now able to celebrate holidays.

“Jehovah’s Witnesses do not celebrate holidays that they do not believe fit true Christianity,” Abigail said. “Before my dad was awake, my mom, brother and I actually celebrated a closet Christmas where we drew a tree on the wall and put presents under it.”

However, Chuck Herd, former Penn State football wide receiver and current Jehovah’s Witness, said he’s found the teachings of the Jehovah’s Witnesses has helped him to “appreciate” things and put things into a more “positive” perspective.

“My transition was a matter of looking at the course my life was taking and seeing that certain aspects weren’t very smooth,” Herd said. “Once I began to study the Bible and understand it, things began to straighten out.”

For Mark O’Donnell, a former Jehovah’s Witness, growing up in the organization was “isolating.”

Mark O'Donnell is a former Jehovah's Witness, and he's now an activist against child sex abuse.

Courtesy of Mark O’Donnell

“Growing up it was tough,” O’Donnell said. “Witnesses do not salute the flag, they are not allowed to vote and they are not allowed to enlist in the military because they believe in absolute political neutrality.”

Around the Vietnam War, O’Donnell said a lot of Witnesses got in trouble for “participating” in the war effort.

“Fast forward to high school, I had already taken college-level courses,” O’Donnell said. “I had to walk away from that because they discouraged college degrees.”

For O’Donnell, they discouraged higher education because the Witnesses believe the world is “ending” and “Armageddon” is going to happen at “any time.”

“We were taught that Jehovah was going to destroy all of those who were not his witnesses,” O’Donnell said. “The last year they predicted was 1975, but now, they just say that end times could be any day now.”

O’Donnell was baptized at 16, he said, and remained “indoctrinated” until he was 46.

“Some things were just not adding up,” O’Donnell said. “I kept seeing the same cycle of indoctrination over and over again, and it really started to disturb me — it made me wonder where my life was going.”

According to O’Donnell, he started to “distance” himself in 2013.

“It was really devastating to my wife actually,” O’Donnell said. “I stopped attending meetings, I did not attend their annual memorial of the death of Jesus Christ, and then I finally gave myself permission to poke around the internet a bit.”

What he found about child sex abuse was “much worse” than he ever expected, O’Donnell said.

“I knew of people for a long time that were touching kids,” O’Donnell said. “I did what I thought was right at that time, and I reported it to the elders — which ended up chastising me instead of the abuser.”

O’Donnell said he knew there was something “not quite right” about how the organization “handled” child sex abuse.

“The cover-ups and the nonreporting really awakened in me that Jehovah’s Witnesses do not report to the authorities unless they can’t escape the mandated reporting laws,” O’Donnell said.

According to O’Donnell, this realization also “awakened” his wife.

“At this point, there was not a single moment, there was a series of moments that led me to officially leave,” O’Donnell said. “It came to a point where I had to ask myself if I wanted to subject myself to the patterns I had been living in my whole life — whether I could watch the next generation of Jehovah’s Witness kids go through the same restrictions I did.”


Hillsong megachurch hit with sexual assault lawsuit by student

A former Hillsong megachurch student is suing the Australia-based institution after she was sexually assaulted by one of its employees. 

The action was brought this week in the Australian state of New South Wales’ Supreme Court by Anna Crenshaw, who alleged she was nonconsensually groped by a drunken Hillsong staffer in 2016, the Australian first reported. 

Crenshaw, who was 18 at the time, had moved from Pennsylvania to Sydney to study at Hillsong College less than two years prior when Jason Mays — a married Hillsong staffer whose father, John Mays, has been a key member of church management for close to 15 years — assaulted her one night while at a gathering.

“Jason grabbed me, putting his hand between my legs and his head on my stomach and began kissing my stomach. I felt his arms and hands wrapped around my legs making contact with my inner thigh, butt and crotch,” she wrote as part of a statement she submitted to Hillsong in 2018 informing them of the incident, the Christian Post previously reported

In response to her coming forward, the church defended Mays and shamed Crenshaw, making her feel at fault for bringing up the issue, according to the Australian report. Crenshaw and her father, pastor Ed Crenshaw, went to the police five months later and in 2020, Mays pleaded guilty to “assault with an act of indecency” in a local court. 

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