On December 13, 2012, John T. McCarthy, the Maryland State’s Attorney for Montgomery County, indicted Nathaniel ‘Nate’ Morales on four counts of sex abuse and six counts of sex offense carrying a penalty of 180 years. Last week, Morales was indicted again on one count of sex abuse and three counts of sex offense. These new indictments bring the total to 14 and include victims that span a period of 12 years.
In Gene Abel’s landmark study, 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.
Sex offenders often deceive people when they are caught by claiming it is their first and only offense. Sex abusers will even say they are grateful they got caught before they “hurt” anyone else. Don’t believe them. Call the police. Remember, the typical offender has molested scores of victims before they are caught.
Boz Tchividjian, who prosecuted hundreds of sex offenders in central Florida for eight years, points out something about these predators that is extremely important.
“People have to understand that sex offenders are perhaps the most deceiving living beings on this planet.”
Here are the three things people must know that typify sex offenders. One, they have many victims. Two, they are master manipulators and accomplished liars. Three, you would not suspect them because you trust them! Sex offenders can include immediate and extended family members.
The indictments against Nate Morales describe your typical sex offender. Here are a few examples from police interviews.
- One victim told investigators, “He was a close family friend and ‘trusted’…. Morales was a teacher for a year or two at the Montgomery County Covenant Academy and was well respected. Morales had a good singing voice and was liked.”
- One witness told investigators “Morales was her history teacher. She described Morales as inappropriate and manipulative. As a teacher, he allowed students to cheat on tests and held this over his students.”
- Another victim told investigators that he “awoke to someone ‘rubbing my genitals’… It was Morales who was masturbating him. [The victim] believed he might have been drugged as normally he is a light sleeper, but on this occasion he felt ‘dizzy’ and tired. [The victim] never felt that way before.”
Sex offenders love churches because people tend to be naive and trusting. A church with a lot of children provides a target rich environment. Predators will work for years to gain your trust in order to abuse your children! They will pretend love for Lord, feign godliness, and act as though servants. The whole time they are planning and scheming how to sexually abuse children without detection.
A dear and older woman, who has never been a part of Sovereign Grace Ministries, wrote me a letter recently about her experience as a small child with one of “the most deceiving living beings on this planet.”
“When I was three and in a church nursery in a Baptist Church…my little sister was playing in a corner. She was about 15 months old. The pastor’s son came into the room and asked me if I loved my sister. I said ‘yes.’ He then took me down the little hall and molested me and said if I told anyone, he’d hurt my sister.”
That is why law enforcement MUST be contacted at the first suspicion of sex abuse! And that is why church members MUST be told about convicted sex offenders in their midst! Sex offenders glory in their ability to deceive! Any pastor not willing to make these two commitments puts children at risk and should not be trusted to act righteously in these matters.
Therefore, every congregation MUST insist their pastors pledge to report the suspicion of abuse and alert members to the presence of sex offenders. If the pastors refuse, they are not putting the welfare of children first. They are more concerned about the loss of reputation, financial harm, and numerical decline. The general public should be notified the church is an unsafe environment for children unless these commitments are in place.
For example, the members of Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville (C.J. Mahaney, senior pastor), Solid Rock Church (John Loftness, senior pastor), Covenant Life Church (Joshua Harris, senior pastor), and Sovereign Grace Church of Fairfax (Mark Mullery, senior pastor) MUST asked their pastors to publicly state their position of these two crucial issues since they are at the center of the sex abuse scandal.
If a suspected offender like John Loftness is innocent, he won’t mind being reported to law enforcement. If a convicted sex offender like David Adams is repentant, he won’t mind members knowing about his crimes. Sex offenders who are genuinely remorseful turn themselves into law enforcement and they support pastors making their identities known to the church. That’s because they accept the consequences for their crimes and recognize their need for public accountability. It is good for them and for the church.
Plaintiff James Roberts
James Roberts joined the lawsuit against Sovereign Grace Ministries and other Defendants in the Second Amended Complaint filed on May 14, 2013. He alleges two abusers. David Adams in Complaints 32-35, 44 and Nathaniel Morales in Complaints 36-39. I deal with Morales in this post.
Victim: James Roberts
Location: Covenant Life Church (Magruder High School) - Dressing Room
Alleged Abuser: Nathaniel Morales
36. During 1986/1989 timeframe, during Plaintiff Roberts’ middle school years, Plaintiff Roberts was molested again on church premises, this time by a man named Nathaniel Morales who was involved in youth ministries. At that time, the CLC church services occurred at Magruder High School. Morales pulled Plaintiff Roberts into one of the dressing rooms off the side of the stage, and began to profess his love for Plaintiff Roberts. Morales began hugging Plaintiff Roberts and manually manipulating his penis. Plaintiff Roberts escaped but did not initially report the molestation because he feared being forced to sit and “reconcile” and “forgive” Morales for the molestation.
Roberts was “molested again” during his “middle school years.” This time by Nathaniel Morales. His first alleged molestation occurred during his elementary school years at the hands of David Adams. (cf. Complaint 32).
Morales was not employed by Covenant Life Church but he “was involved in youth ministries.” For example, he conducted Bible studies and hosted sleepovers for boys from the youth group. He also taught at Montgomery County Christian Academy. The school was unaffiliated with Covenant Life Church but kids from the church attended there.
This alleged molestation occurred on a Sunday morning “in one of the dressing rooms off the side of the stage” in Marauder High School. Morales hugged and professed his “love” while trying to masturbate Roberts. Roberts escaped like he did with David Adams (cf. Complaint 32).
Roberts tells us why he did not report this second alleged molestation to Principal Loftness or anyone else. “Plaintiff Roberts…did not initially report the molestation because he feared being forced to sit and ‘reconcile’ and ‘forgive’ Morales for the molestation.” This harkens back to how he was handled by Loftness in Complaint 34. “Instead, Defendant Loftness required Plaintiff Roberts, a child, to attend a meeting with himself and David Adams. Plaintiff Roberts was directed by Defendant Loftness, the principal of his school, to ‘forgive’ Adams for the molestation.”
This account describes Loftness using forgiveness as a means to silence and manipulate an 8-10 year old boy who was just abused by David Adams. I will say more about this in the future.
Victim: James Roberts
Alleged Abuser: Nathaniel Morales
Alleged Conspirators: Chris Glass, Grant Layman, Individual Defendants
37. During 1990/1994 timeframe, as Plaintiff Roberts reached high school, he continued to engage in self-help by avoiding Morales. He knew others had been molested by Morales, as his molestations were well known. During one youth group discussion group about being “pure,” some of the teenage boys expressed dismay that it was “too late” for them to be “pure.” Plaintiff Roberts then openly referred to Morales’ ongoing molestation of boys, stating words to the effect, “yeah, Nate got me too.” This discussion group was headed up by Chris Glass, who reported directly to Defendant Layman. After Plaintiff Roberts was questioned about what he meant, and disclosed that Morales molested boys, Chris Glass cautioned him and the other boys against talking about the facts. Plaintiff Roberts learned that Chris Glass informed Defendant Layman about what had transpired immediately after the discussion closed.
Roberts is now in high school. He tells us the molestations of “Nate” Morales “were well known.” That is true. Grant Layman already knew about some of Morales’ molestations at this time according to police reports.
The reference to “some of the teenage boys” includes Samuel Bates, Daniel Bates, Jeremy Cook, and Brian Wolohan. They are each named as victims in the December 13, 2012 indictments which are a matter of public record. I applaud their bravery. Other “boys” have also told investigators they were molested by Morales. I know all the families affected by these molestations except for one. The evidence against Morales is rock solid. So is the evidence against Grant Layman regarding the conspiracy.
Chris Glass worked for Grant Layman. He immediately reported the “youth group discussion” to his superior. Grant Layman worked for C.J. Mahaney. He too would have immediately reported because Defendant Mahaney was the senior pastor and required anything of this magnitude be brought to his attention. Layman is also Mahaney’s brother-in-law. Moreover, Mahaney knew Morales and was friends of the victims’ parents. In some cases, close friends! Not only did Mahaney know all about Morales molestations, he was the one advising Layman not to involve law enforcement.
According to the factual allegation, “Chris Glass cautioned [Roberts] and the other boys against talking about the facts.” This will be easy to prove at the up-coming jury trial on November 18. Glass was simply following the training he received from Layman and Mahaney. He is now a Captain in the United States Navy. I hope he is cooperating with law enforcement.
38. The Individual Defendants conspired to cover up Morales’ ongoing molestation of boys at church events, and conspired to violate their mandatory obligations to report. Wholly apart from and without any help from Defendants, law enforcement years later investigated and indicted Morales for sexually abusing children.
God knows how many children have been sexually abused by Nathaniel Morales since 1979 when one indictment says his first reported offence occurred. Morales will stand before God and give an account but so will C.J. Mahaney, Grant Layman, Robin Boisvert and anyone else who knew about his heinous crimes but did not report them to law enforcement. Once these men became knowledgeable, they were required by law to report these sex crimes.
It is incomprehensible that these pastors didn’t do everything in their power to make certain Morales was locked up so he couldn’t destroy any more young lives! He needed to be stopped. Instead they let him go and did not track his whereabouts. This enabled him to become a pastor at the Las Vegas Valley Christian Church in Nevada. Is anything more irresponsible? We are not talking about a wolf in sheep’s clothing, we are talking about the liklihood of a wolf in shepherd’s clothing!
Mahaney, Layman, et al. are guilty of criminal neglect if any minors were molested by Morales after these “shepherds” were made aware of his crimes. Jail time is appropriate. Furthermore, these men need to be held accountable by Covenant Life Church and Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville.
None of the victimized boys (now grown men) referenced in the December 13, 2012 indictments and police reports are Plaintiffs in the Second Amended Complaint. All of them could be awaiting a guilty verdict in a criminal court before suing for damages in a civil court. Sovereign Grace Ministries want everyone to think all is well since the May 17 dismissal of the lawsuit. Nothing could be further from the truth.
To the best of my knowledge, C.J. Mahaney and the pastors of Covenant Life Church have never notified law enforcement of suspected or actual child abuse since its inception in 1977 to the Second Amended Lawsuit in 2013. That is certainty true in the case of Plaintiff Grace Goe with help from Layman and it certainly true with Nate Morales. The Plaintiffs’ lawyers note, “Wholly apart from and without any help from Defendants, law enforcement years later investigated and indicted Morales for sexually abusing children.”
The investigation leading to Morales' arrest on October 15, 2012 began on October 20, 2009, when Samuel Bates (a victim, not a pastor) contacted the Family Crimes Division with the Montgomery County Police Department, Maryland. It took Detectives three years to make their case “without any help from Defendants.” They finally got their man in spite of Mahaney, Layman, et al.
39. This ongoing conspiracy is evidenced by, among other things, Defendant Layman’s statements made to police in connection with their investigation of Morales.
Grant Layman made misleading and false statements to detectives during their three year investigation. On January 7, 2010, he told detectives that Robin Boisvert was the “lead” pastor in the Morales matter and he (i.e., Layman) only had “vague recollections” regarding Samuel Bates.
Two weeks later, detectives followed up with Robin Boisvert. He provided conflicting testimony and “denied being the ‘lead’ pastor in the matter and advised [said] Grant Layman was lead pastor.” Boisvert also said he “accompanied Grant Layman” in the early 1990’s “to confront Nate Morales, who neither denied nor confessed. He was accused of abusing teenage boys. The meeting took place in a park in the Flower Valley subdivision.” Boisvert’s recollections were not the least bit vague.
Layman also told Detectives he “had no direct recollection” of a meeting he had with Samuel Bates’ father in 2010. This meeting was also attended by Robin Boisvert. Boisvert again provided conflicting testimony. He told detectives he “recalled the meeting and the fact that Mr. Layman was present.” Much more could be said.
Grant Layman’s Sabbatical
There are 19 pastors at Covenant Life Church. Joshua Harris is the senior pastor. Kenneth Maresco and Grant Layman are the executive pastors. Defendant Layman is currently on a three month sabbatical. He is not reading email and he is throwing out the email he receives.
From: Grant Layman [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Sunday, July 14, 2013 6:21 PM
To: Brent Detwiler
Subject: Automatic reply: John Loftness in Focus - Former Chairman of the SGM Board & Alleged Sexual Sadist
I am currently on a sabbatical until October 1, 2013. I will not be reading or keeping any email while I am away. If you have an urgent matter please contact Beth Kraatz at email@example.com or 301-869-2800.
This raises a lot of questions that Joshua Harris should answer with haste. He must provide a compelling justification for this extraordinary arrangement that goes far beyond, “Life has been hard for the Layman’s. They need a little break.”
- What is the purpose of the sabbatical? Working on his legal defense? Leisure?
- Where does the Covenant Life Policy Manual allow for a 3 month sabbatical like this one?
- Who is paying for the sabbatical?
- Is this a proper use of church funds (i.e. tax deductible contributions) under the circumstances? How would the IRS rule on the matter if advised?
- Is Defendant Layman being paid his normal salary during the sabbatical?
- Where is the sabbatical taking place?
- Who is paying for incidental expenses like meals, travel, accommodations, entertainment, etc.
Defendant Layman doesn’t need rest. He needs resolve. Quite honestly, he should end the sabbatical and immediately do the following.
- Resign from Christian ministry.
- Make a full confession to Covenant Life Church.
- Cooperate fully with law enforcement.
- Tell the truth about Defendant Mahaney’s role in the conspiracy.
- Seek reconciliation with the victims.
- Make restitution to victims.
Public Statement Concerning Sex Abuse
John 10:11-13 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.  The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it.  The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.”
Several shepherds from Covenant Life Church were also wolves. They are being investigated. Those who were not wolves but had knowledge of predation were hired hands. None of them fought off sex abusers devouring children in their midst over the last three decades. Instead, they abandoned the lambs and accommodated the ravaging wolves!
How many lives have been devastated because Mahaney, the “chief shepherd” of the flock, did not report sex abusers or suspected sex abusers to law enforcement? He did not report Charlie Llewellyn (nor did Layman). He did not report Nathaniel Morales. He did not report other perpetrators. This resulted in the proliferation of sex crimes that devastated so many lives. The number of predators and victims only grows as more evidence is acquired.
Defendant Mahaney should have reported Nate Morales to the police the first day he learned about his sex crimes. Then he should have immediately alerted every parent in the youth ministry that a wolf had been aggressively devouring their children. Then he should have helped and comforted the victims. He did none of this. That is why he is being sued.
Last week, A Public Statement Concerning Sexual Abuse in the Church of Jesus Christ was posted due to “recent allegations of sexual abuse and cover-up within a well-known international ministry [i.e., Sovereign Grace Ministries] and subsequent public statements by several evangelical leaders [i.e., Mark Dever, Ligon Duncan, Al Mohler, Don Carson, Kevin DeYoung, Justin Taylor] have angered and distressed many, both inside and outside of the Church.”
The following paragraph accurately describes Defendant Mahaney and other shepherds who worked under him – inattentive, disobedient, naïve, and diabolical.
“To be a shepherd in the body of Christ and blind to the knowledge that your sheep are being abused by wolves in your midst is to be an inattentive shepherd. To judge merely by outward appearances is a failure of righteousness. To fail to obey the laws of the land as Scripture commands by declining to report and expose abuse is to be a disobedient shepherd. To be told that wolves are devouring our lambs and fail to protect those lambs is to be a shepherd who sides with the wolves who hinder those same little ones from coming to Jesus. To fail to grasp the massive web of deception entangling an abuser and set him or her loose among the sheep is to be naïve about the very nature and power of sin. To be told a child is being or has been abused and to make excuses for failing to act is a diabolical misrepresentation of God."
Please add your voice and sign the statement. We must speak out against shepherds who side with wolves (i.e., sex abusers) that devour lambs (i.e., children) and thereby joined with those who perpetrate crimes.
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 Gene Abel, Self-reported sex crimes of nonincarcerated paraphiliacs, Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 2(1):3-25 (1987).