Covenant Life Member & Children’s Ministry Worker, Larry Ellis Caffery, Arrested on Nine Counts of Child Sex Abuse & Two Counts of False Imprisonment
Larry Ellis Caffery was born on March 11, 1950. He married Candace (Candy) Charlene Smith on May 9, 1970. They had three boys. Larry and Candy divorced in 1985.
Four years later, Larry married Glenna Sue McLarney-Shazer on June 30, 1989. Larry and Glenna had two children together. Their son was born on March 24, 1997. Their daughter was born on February 24, 1999.
This information comes from Caffery’s autobiographical book, Years of Grace, Life of Mercy. The book was first printed on Februay 1, 2005 by PublishAmerica. It was reprinted on April 13, 2010 by Tate Publsihing.
The back cover of the book gives this overview.
Have you ever been angry with God because of something that happened in your life? Did you take that anger out on a stranger, coworker—or worse—a loved one?
Have no fear! God is still there for you. Author Larry E. Caffery is living proof of just that. Come along as he walks through Years of Grace, Life of Mercy.
Larry had problems with anger that dictated daily siutaions in his life. He was reckless and many times lived a life on the edge. As a result, his family fell apart. Larry also became angry at God because of the many trials and tributaions in his life, including the death of his twelve-year old son and two suicide attempts.
Even though he was at the worst point of his life, Caffery was still able to see the light of God’s grace shine. With the help of his Savior, he pulled himself up by the bootstraps.
He gave his life to Christ and since then has been spending his time celebrating the Years of Grace, Life of Mercy.
Larry E. Caffery and his wife of fifteen years currently reside in Maryland with their two small children. Larry also has two adult sons from a previous marriage. Larry and his family are members of Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland.
In the Introduction, we also read about Larry and Glenna’s membership in Covenant Life Church and their involvement in the children’s ministry.
It’s 2002, and I’m 52 years old. … My wife [Glenna] of thirteen years and I are active members of Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland. We have two young children, and we take part in the children’s ministry program at the church. Most people who know me find it difficult to believe I used to behave in such a different manner. Some might even want to know the formula for change. There really is no formula though. It’s a matter of daily sanctification (becoming more Christlike). I became a Christian many years ago, but I really had not attained much spiritual growth. At some point I realized that my life was a mess, and I began to take Christianity more seriously. It was when I began to look to the Bible for answers that my life began to change. I had tried other solutions, but none of them worked. In fact, one of the so-called solutions made my life much worse, even to the point of attempted suicide. This is my story. (Location 32)
If you’re following closely, you’ll note an apparant discrepancy. On the back cover, Larry refers to his wife of fifteen years. In the Introduction, he refers to his wife of thirteen years. Here’s the math. He wrote the original manuscript for the book in 1988. He wrote a revised manuscript in 2002 with input from at least one Covenant Life pastor. He first published the book in 2005. He republished it in 2010 and changed the front and back covers. When he republished in 2010, he did not change his biography on the back cover about being a member in Covenant Life Church.
Larry and Glenna became members of CLC in 1996. It appears they were still members in 2010. At the time of this posting, I do not know if they are current members.
Yesterday, I read a Kindle version of the book. That’s why I cite “locations” and not pages in my quotations.
In his chapter, “Back in the USA,” Larry talks about his fear of sexually absuing any daughters he might have during his first marriage to Candy. It is an ominous and forbodding statement. His fear of sexually abusing a daugther was so great he prayed God would only give them sons. No one dealing with these kinds of intense thoughts and temptations should be allowed to particpate in children’s ministry.
Candy once again became pregnant, and on April 15, 1979, Timothy Sean was born. The Lord had indeed answered my prayers concerning the sex of our children. There had been sexual abuse in my family as I was growing up, and I had a fear that if I had daughters I might sexually abuse them. I would have rather have had no daughters at all than to have that happen. Every time Candy became pregnant, I prayed to God that he would give us a son. We now had three wonderful sons. (Location 400-416)
A little later, he talks further about the sexual abuse of his sisters by his dad.
I had no memory of any sexual abuse, but I knew that my sisters had been sexually abused by my dad. Although I had no memory of any abuse to me, since I knew there had been sexual abuse in my family, I agreed to do hypnotic regressions. (Location 497)
At least one of the pastors at CLC, and probably more, knew about these paragraphs in the book. For instance, the pastor had read the book in its original version and suggested that chapter eight be eliminated.
This chapter was a verbatim letter written to Master James L. Ryan of the Circuit Court for Montgomery County Maryland. In the letter, I chastised Mr. Ryan for making, what I believed, was a wrong decision in awarding Candy full custody of our sons. The letter was nine pages in length, and gave me much room to critize and make degrading remarks about Candy. Upon reading the first printing of this book, one of the pastors at Covenant Life Church suggested that if I were to ever do a reprint of the book I would do well to eliminate chapter eight. … It has been four years since the original writing [in 1998]. My family and I have continued attending Covenant Life Church. (Location 884)
In 1996, Caffery started attending Covenant Life Church and received counseling from Kenneth Maresco. Maresco left CLC in September 2015 in order to become the Community Life pastor at Sovereign Grace Church of Fairfax.
I had heard about Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg and decided to check it out [in 1996]. I knew this church had a very large congregation, and I thought it would be easier for me to find a new Christian wife. I felt uncomfortable during my first visit because of the size of the congregation. Finally I saw someone I knew from a previous church I had attended and sat with him. After the service, he introduced me to one of the many pastors, Kenneth Maresco. (Location 1142)
While I was being counseled by Kenneth, I was also attending classes to become a member of the church. I still struggled a lot and wasn’t certain about my future. I started attending a Care Group at Covenant Life Church. (Location 1161)
I continued what I believed to be very difficult counseling sessions with Kenneth Maresco, and I slowly began to grow more in the ways of our Lord. Perhaps Glenna saw some change in me, or maybe just because of the power of prayer and conviction, she visited Covenant Life Church with me and began to see Kenneth Maresco also. (Location 1169 )
Three years later, Larry and Glenna had a baby girl.
Since Glenna and I now had Sean, we considered having another child. We both thought it would be nice to have a daughter, and that it would be good for Sean also. We didn’t use birth control and just left the situation up to God. One year later God did bless us with a beautiful daughter. On February 24, 1999, she was delivered by caesarean section. ... She and Sean have grown to love each other and are wonderful playmates! (Location 1230)
From this point forward, Kenneth Maresco and the CLC pastors should have stayed in perpetural contact with Larry, Glenna, and their daughter knowing the danger this birth presented.
Last week, Caffery, was arrested and charged on 11 counts. You can read them here. Nine related to the sexual abuse of a minor as a continuing course of conduct. Two related to false imprisonment. “False imprisonment is a restraint of a person in a bounded area without justification or consent.”
The continuing course of conduct refers to the fact that these incidences were ongoing. They occurred over an 11-year period of time. That is, from February 24, 2004 to December 31, 2014 according to the charging document. In other words, they began when Larry was a worker in the CLC children’s ministry and continued past the time he republished his book on April 13, 2010 and cited his membership in CLC on the back cover.
These abuses and false imprisonment happened when C.J. Mahaney and Joshua Harris were consecutively the senior pastors and Kenneth Maresco was the executive pastor. P.J. Symth is now the lead pastor and Mark Mitchell is the executive pastor. These men have some important questions to answer.
First, why did the pastors allow Caffery to be in children’s ministry when he came from a home characterized by sexual abuse and “had a fear that if I had daughters I might sexually abuse them.” Furthermore, the book documents many other serious issues in Caffery’s life that should have been of extreme concern to the pastors.
Second, did they stay in constant touch with Caffery regarding his temptations as his daughter grew up? Did they provide pastoral accountability? More importantly, did they stay in touch with his wife and daughter to make sure things were going well?
Third, have the members of Covenant Life been told about the arrest of Caffery so they can check with their children who may have had contact or interaction with him from 1996 forward? Caffery worked in children’s ministry for many years during which time he was sexually abusing a minor(s) according to police. That is frightening. This must be brought to the attention of parents. That is something CLC has never been willing to do. They don't warn those in harm's way.
Fourth, did the subject of sexual abuse come up in Caffery’s counseling with Maresco? Did Maresco talk to him about his intense phobia that he would sexual abuse daughters? If so, what steps did Maresco take to insure he did not act upon those cravings? What protections were put into place?
There are other questions but that is enough for now.
Law enforcement is very familiar with Covenant Life Church and their cover up of sexual abuse as in the case of Nathaniel Morales. Their focus is on Caffery but who knows what their investigation will discover in reference to another conspiracy or the negligent handling of this situation that enabled abuse. I am sure the CLC lawyers are following closely. You never know, a lawsuit against the church could follow the criminal proceedings.
Larry Ellis Caffery was arrested on March 16 and committed to jail on March 17. I don’t know if he is out on bond. His preliminary hearing is April 15, 2016. You can follow his case in the District Court by going to http://casesearch.courts.state.md.us/casesearch/processDisclaimer.jis and using case number 4D00345412.
The Covenant Life pastors have a history of believing the lies told them by alleged perpetrators; often without even talking to their alleged victims. As a result, abusers have fooled them time and time again.
Caffery may be another case in point. He writes a book about his years of grace and life of mercy and puts forth his Christlikeness which is nothing but a con.
We have two young children, and we take part in the children’s ministry program at the church. Most people who know me find it difficult to believe I used to behave in such a different manner. Some might even want to know the formula for change. There really is no formula though. It’s a matter of daily sanctification (becoming more Christlike). (Location 32)
At the time he first publish his book in 2005, Caffery was sexually abusing and falsing imprisoning according to the Montgomery County Police Department. And at the time he republished his book in 2010, he was still sexually abusing and falsely imprisoning according the the Montgomert County Police Deparment.
People MUST understand, sex abusers are some of the most wicked and deceptive people in the world. They will even write a book about their spirituality in order to get people to trust them and believe in them all the while abusing their offspring or other children.
Having said that, there is so much more information about Caffery in his book that is alarming that I have not included in this post. I am stunned the CLC pastors ever allowed him to be a children’s ministry worker. They were negligent and showed no discerment.
I'd encourage people to read Another Covenant Life Church Member Arrested for Sexual Abuse by Todd Wilhelm at Thou Art the Man. He includes numerous quotes from the book that I have not included in this post.
Postscript - 4:20 PM
Caffery is currently a member of Covenant Life Church. This is his picture in the CLC photo directory. His wife, Glenna, is not listed with him as a member. She may be the one who reported him to police. Time will tell.
Postscript - March 27 at 8:30 AM
I am now told his wife, Glenna, reported him to police.
Postscript - March 30, at 2:45 PM
Mark Mitchell sent out this letter on Sunday, March 29 and made two claims.
First, "We’ve been learning all we can so that we can communicate with you fully and accurately in the days to come." The CLC pastors have made countless promises iike this one, only to break them. I have no confidence there will be a full accounting which includes the admittance of fault.
Second, Mitchell "reassures" the church that "our child protection measures are robust." If their measures were robust, the pastors would never have allowed Caffery to serve in children's ministry where he could potentially abuse or build relationships with children he could exploit outside of children's ministry.
March 29, 2016
Dear church family,
I am sorry to bring sad and disturbing news. We learned Saturday that a 66-year-old male member of the church was arrested earlier this month and charged with multiple counts of sexual abuse of a minor. We are grateful that law enforcement is involved. We are not naming the accused at this time to protect the minor.
We’ve been learning all we can so that we can communicate with you fully and accurately in the days to come. We want to reassure you that our child protection measures are robust, and we continue to work hard to ensure Covenant Life remains a place of safety for children.
So far as we know nothing related to these charges occurred at the church. However, if you have any information we encourage you to contact Montgomery County Police at 301-279-8000.
And a final observation. Given the policies of CLC, Caffery could have been arrested, tried and sentenced but the members of CLC never told. That is what they did with convicted felon, David Adams. He went off to jail but it was kept a secret. When he got out of jail, he returned to the church. No one was told about his three year history of abuse. Those are the "robust" policies used at CLC.