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Sarah Kacala Speaks Out Against Covenant Fellowship Church for Trying to Stop Her from Exposing & Prosecuting Sex Abusers

On Wednesday, I received this message from Sarah Kacala in response to Rachael Denhollander speaking out against C.J. Mahaney and Sovereign Grace Churches, Inc. 

“I am so glad that people are stepping up and speaking out.  I would definitely speak out against Sovereign Grace and what they did if I had the chance.  They tried to force me to cover up child abuse.  And they knew of a female abuser in the church and forced the family of the child she abused to not press charges and she got a job at a daycare after that and they never said anything.”

In response, I invited Sarah to write an article for my blog.  I did not assist her or edit her words or content.  It follows. 

Sarah’s Story 

I began attending Covenant Fellowship Church in Glen Mills, PA when I was 19 years old.  I was involved in college age ministry and I attended the church on Sundays.  My parents also began attending shortly after me.    

Around age 21, I began to be a teacher in the Alpha Kids class.  These classes took place for kids, so that adults could come and take part in the adult Alpha classes, which was an introduction to Christianity course

When I first began to volunteer in Alpha Kids, as a lead teacher for ages 3-5, a very nice man with the last name of Ruth, was the coordinator back in the Alpha Kids program.  He would oversee the classrooms.  He made sure that us teachers had the supplies and support we needed, to make things go smoothly and be fun for the kids!  

Not long after I started volunteering, Mr. Ruth stepped down for some reason, and was replaced with a man named Lee Wilson.  Mr. Wilson was inappropriate from the very first time I met him.  He looked me up and down as if he was undressing me with his eyes.  It made me very uncomfortable.  He was a married man with a child, and I was a young woman with a boyfriend.  He asked for my cell phone number, so that he could contact me regarding lesson plans for Alpha Kids.  I felt weird giving him my cell number, but he assured me that it was for Alpha purposes only.  But it wasn’t. 

He began texting me, often asking what I was up to, if I was out with my boyfriend etc.  Sometimes the texts would come at 11:30 pm or even 12:00 at night.  I told him that he could only text me during the daytime and only if it pertained to Alpha Kids.  He disregarded that and the texts and phone calls continued. 

During those Wednesday nights at Alpha Kids, he would make comments about my breasts, he would nudge me on purpose, pretending to fall so that he could run his hand across my butt or my chest.  I witnessed him giving little presents to a few young teenage girls who were helpers back in Alpha.  He would also make inappropriate comments to them as well, of a sexual nature.  I couldn’t just sit back and let this continue to happen to me or to those underage girls. 

I called Chris Fick.  She was a woman in charge and she told me to also call pastor Jim Donahue who ran the Alpha program.  A few days later, the pastor called me back, and proceeded to tell me that I was lying, and that I needed to serve and let Mr. Wilson do his job and that they spoke to him to ensure that he would only contact me for Alpha purposes.  Not much changed, but Lee Wilson did call me less and he made inappropriate comments less often to me, for a little while.  

One Alpha course was ending and another one was beginning which meant a new batch of kids would be coming.  There was a little boy in my new Alpha class, that was having some behavior issues.  Lee would tell me that he was going to take the little boy out to the table right outside of our classroom to sit with him.  But when I would look out, they were nowhere to be found.  This happened maybe two or three weeks in a row, where Lee Wilson and the little boy disappeared for over 30 minutes and were nowhere to be found.  And I was not able to leave my classroom to go and find them, because I was the only adult in the room and therefore could not leave the other children without supervision. 

After the third time this happened, I knew that something was horribly wrong, and I called Chris Fick and Jim Donahue again, and I was very upset and nicely pleaded for them to please remove Lee Wilson from being near the children.  I told them how he was still being inappropriate with me and with underage girls and how he was disappearing with the little boy for 30 minutes at a time.   

I received a phone call back a day or two later, and I was told that I was in sin.  I was told that Lee Wilson is a servant of God and that I am judging him and that I owe him an apology.  I went into the kitchen and said to my parents: “When they find out that that man is abusing that little boy, I’m gonna freak out because I know something is wrong.” 

The next Wednesday night at Alpha, Lee Wilson told me that he no longer needed me to volunteer and that he had replaced me with another teacher and that I was to leave.  I tried to stay but he forced me to go.  He was removing me because he knew that I knew, what he was doing.  I told Jim Donahue and Chris Fick that I was going to call the boy’s mother and Jim Donahue told me that I was not to have any contact with her.  That that would be sin.  I felt so powerless. 

Then months later, I got a knock on my door.  It was law enforcement.  They needed a statement from me, because that little boy told his mother, that Mr. Wilson had put his fingers in his butt, among other things.  My worst fears had been confirmed, and I felt like I was partially to blame.  I tried to do everything I could, to remove that man from being near the kids and I tried so hard to protect that little boy but I failed. 

Before I testified in court, the pastors wanted to meet with me.  They asked me to leave out various details, and I said no.  They lied and said I did not complain about Lee Wilson and they tried to twist my words and they tried to scare me.  They told me that I would be in sin to speak out against them and that I wouldn’t be welcome if I did.  But I went and told the truth. 

I myself was abused as a child and one of the pastors at Covenant was the first adult I had told of what happened to me.  He used that information and leaked it to their attorneys so that it could be used in court to somehow discredit me as a witness.  They tried to say, that because the man who abused me didn’t go to jail, that I had some vendetta against every man whom I thought could even be remotely guilty of child abuse.  This was simply not true. 

It was clear that Lee Wilson had abused the child.  I asked the pastors what would happen if he was found guilty?  Would they believe me then?  They said yes that they would.  He was found guilty and went to prison.  And he got out of prison I think after one year somehow?  And they welcomed him back to the church with open arms.  They told me he was not guilty.  I felt like I was living in the twilight zone. 

We left the church shortly after Lee Wilson went to prison, because I was isolated.  People shunned me, because I had testified against the church.  Once I left, I never went back.  But I heard from other members who were still there, that Jim Donahue called me a liar to every person who asked about the case.  They slandered me and put me down, when all I ever did, was tell the truth.  I was sexually harassed by Lee Wilson and so were several underage girls.  I never actually witnessed him abusing the little boy, but they disappeared for 30-40 min at a time and the little boy gave the location of where it all happened and it was on a different floor, so the child’s story lined up with everything I saw. 

And I wish I could say that this was the only time I knew about, that they tried to cover up child abuse. There was a woman who went to church there.  I believe she still does.  She was in her late 20’s at the time when she came to me and disclosed that she had sexually abused a four-year-old little boy whom she was babysitting.  The boy and his family did not attend the church.  She told me that she was under church discipline but that the pastors had convinced the family not to press charges.  The pastors also did not go to the police when they knew that this woman had committed a crime. 

Shortly after that, she got a job at a daycare center!  And no one said anything.  I was horrified.  I made an anonymous call to the daycare and told them.  I couldn’t just sit back and do nothing.  I have no idea what happened but I know she doesn’t work there anymore all these years later. 

Sovereign Grace Ministries is not just dangerous because they’re a cult.  They are dangerous, because they knowingly cover up child abuse, and they alienate those who seek out justice.  It’s a highly dangerous organization that needs to be dismantled, for the safety and well-being of the children inside its doors. 


Sarah Kacala 


This is not the first time Sarah and I have interacted.  In the past, I wrote about the obstruction of justice, cover up of sexual abuse, and despicable treatment of Sarah by her pastors in Covenant Fellowship Church.  

A Victim’s Anguished Letter to Dave Harvey Revealing Sexual Abuse & Its Alleged Cover Up at Covenant Fellowship Church
Saturday, November 8, 2014 at 2:10PM

Sarah wrote the “anguished letter” to Dave Harvey in February 2013.  You can read it in my article.  She thought she could trust him to do right.  He tried to play her like fiddle, but she was not fooled - so did pastors Andy Farmer, Jim Donahue, Mark Prater, Jared Mellinger, and Marty Machowski. They were all part of the scheming.

When you read the article, you will be stunned by their self-serving deceit and manipulation.  Here is some of my commentary describing their horrendous treatment of Sarah. 

“This is an absolute slap in the face to Sarah.  She is pointing out from personal experience and eye witness testimony how they [the pastors] have failed to make the church safe and secure, protect victims, honor the law, and support her in any way, shape or form.  This is the SGM approach to damage control.  Lie, deny all charges, provide no meaningful or accountable response, and put yourself forward in a godly light.  Then libel the person to others in private.  If the person goes public, label them a slanderer and command people to avoid them and their writings.”   

Prater, Mellinger, Machowski, Farmer, and Donahue are some of the most powerful leaders and pastors in Sovereign Grace Churches, Inc. today.  Prater is the Executive Director of SGC.  They are major contributors to the downfall of SGC as God continues to oppose its pride and expose its deceit.      

Last week, the Leadership Team for SGC, put out this categorical denial. 

“Sovereign Grace has been accused of protecting abusers through a policy of not reporting abuse.  This is not true.”  

This is one of their many diabolical lies.  They didn’t have a written policy (no one would put an illegal policy in writing), but they did have a policy or practice of not reporting known and suspected child abusers.  

Read the following article proving the conspiracy to cover up the sexual abuse of children by C.J. Mahaney and his staff over many years.  

C.J. Mahaney, Covenant Life Church & the Conspiracy to Cover-up the Sexual Abuse of Children
Tuesday, February 13, 2018 at 12:42PM

This was not only the case at Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, MD and Fairfax Covenant Church (now Redeeming Grace) in Virginia; it was true throughout Sovereign Grace Churches.   Covenant Fellowship Church, the second most influential church in SGC today, is just another example.  

I understand how hard it is for honest people to believe how dishonest the top leaders and pastors are in Sovereign Grace Churches, Inc.  It seems inconceivable and unimaginable, but it has been clearly and justly documented in literally thousands of pages of evidence over the last seven years.  Nothing compares in evangelicalism today.    

Their recent statement, “A Response to Allegations Against Sovereign Grace Churches,” is a continuation and deepening of their willingness to deceive by any means! 

Postscript – Feb. 20, 2017 

I’ve known Jared Mellinger from the day he was born – literally.  His father, Ken Mellinger used to be a friend and a pastor I oversaw.  The crooked path they have chosen to take with SGC breaks my heart.     

Jared is the senior pastor of Covenant Fellowship Church.  He replaced Dave Harvey.  Ken is on the Executive Committee (aka Board of Directors) for SGC. 

Jared put out this extraordinary piece of mendacity on his Twitter account last Tuesday.  

Jared Mellinger‏ @JMellinger  Feb 13
This statement [by SGC] explains that one confirmed case of abuse in the civil lawsuit was not reported.  However, there was no SG polity of handling internally and abuse cases have been reported to police throughout our history…

They extent to which Jared is willing to deceive is mindboggling.  There are scores of abuses cases in SGC that were never reported and there is a documented history of “handling” sexual abuse internally.  He knows it!  But even worse, Jared and his staff are guilty of these very realities.  

Read this article for evidence against one of his top pastors, Marty Machowski.   

Sex Abuse Victim Asserts Prominent SGM Pastor Marty Machowski “Threw My Children & I to the Wolves”
Friday, October 31, 2014 at 2:39PM

Read this article to gain further insight into Jared Mellinger.

What Does My Website Have in Common with Pornography? Ask Jared Mellinger!
Saturday, February 18, 2012 at 3:10PM

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