Professor's Accusations Led to South County Pastor Yanking Bible College Funding

Categories: News, Religion

A screengrab of a sermon from Paul Wingfield, lead pastor of White Flag Christian Church.
Doug Lay was beloved among his students at St. Louis Christian College. The student body voted him 2015's Teacher of the Year.

But the bookish English professor was nowhere to be found among the well-wishers who gathered at First Christian Church of Florissant earlier this month for the college's graduation ceremony.

Lay's conspicuous absence was no accident: He'd been banned from the church's premises in April, one month after he'd started raising questions about the way the church's senior pastor, Steve Wingfield, handled allegations of sexual abuse.

In a meticulously researched report titled "Is It Enough: Sexual Abuse Within the Church: A Case Study at First Christian Church of Florissant," Lay accused Wingfield of ignoring warnings about a youth minister named Brandon Milburn. A former student of Lay's, Milburn had once been a rising star in the north county megachurch. Last year, Milburn was unmasked as a serial child molester.

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Whistleblowers Fight Back Against Pastor Steve Wingfield's Lawsuit

Courtesy of Facebook
Steve Wingfield, left, is suing some members and former members of First Christian Church of Florissant, where he serves as lead pastor.
Two people being sued by First Christian Church of Florissant and its pastor, Steve Wingfield, are firing back, with motions to dismiss the church's lawsuit and a press release challenging the pastor's claims.

As this week's Riverfront Times cover story detailed, Dawn Varvil met with Wingfield in 2012 and shared her concerns about a youth minister at the church named Brandon Milburn.

Two years later, Milburn was arrested for molesting two boys he had met through the church -- and a church member named Doug Lay prepared a report questioning what Wingfield knew about Milburn and whether he took appropriate action. The report focused in part on what happened at Varvil's meeting with Wingfield.

Wingfield responded by suing both Lay and Varvil, as well as former members Titus and Kari Benton, who'd criticized him on Facebook.

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Muslim Prisoner Sues Springfield Jail for Denying Him Access to Quran

Cezary Piwowarski/Wikimedia
A Muslim prisoner is suing the jail he's locked up in because he claims it won't give him access to a Quran and a prayer rug.

Richard Ray McLendon Jr., who is locked up in the Greene County jail awaiting transfer to a federal prison in Illinois to serve a two-year stint for violating supervised release on a sex offender charge, filed a lawsuit against alleging he is not permitted to bring a Quran into the jail.

"I was told to get someone from the outside to send it from the publisher," McLendon wrote in the lawsuit, according to the Springfield News-Leader. "So I did, and I'm still being denied. There are Bibles everywhere."

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Archbishop Carlson Gives New Excuse for Controversial "I Don't Remember" Comments

Categories: Crime, Religion

Archbishop Carlson just "misunderstood" that kiddie rape question.
Archbishop Robert Carlson has had a bad month. But St. Louis' holiest man has faith that if he makes the right excuse, a miracle will happen and it'll all just go away.

For the second time in a week, the public relations wizards at the St. Louis Archdiocese have sought to address the uproar that came as a result of Carlson saying in a deposition that he could not remember if he knew sexually abusing a child was a crime during his time at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Archdiocese during the 70's and 80's.

After the deposition was released, the Archdiocese issued a press release that accused the plaintiff's lawyers of taking Carlson's comments out of context and then blamed the media for eating it up.

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Archbishop Carlson: My "I Can't Remember" Comments Were Just Taken Out of Context

Categories: Crime, Religion

Archbishop Carlson says he didn't mean it like that.
The archdiocese of St. Louis says that everybody -- especially the media -- misunderstood Archbishop Robert Carlson's statements about not remembering if he knew back in the '70s and '80s that an adult having sex with a kid was a criminal act.

The comments, which Carlson made during a deposition for a sexual-abuse lawsuit filed against the Twin Cities Archdiocese in Minnesota, caused an uproar in St. Louis and was widely reported on in national media. Faced with with a daunting public-relations task, the St. Louis Archdiocese put out a statement accusing the plaintiff's attorney of taking the comments out of context, as well as everybody in the media misunderstanding the clear and blatant statements Carlson made about not remembering.

"When the Archbishop said 'I'm not sure whether I knew it was a crime or not,' he was simply referring to the fact that he did not know the year that clergy became mandatory reporters of suspected child abuse," says the archdiocese's statement.

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Archbishop Robert J. Carlson Can't Remember If He Knew Raping Kids Is a Crime

Categories: Crime, Religion

Anderson Advocates/Youtube
Archbishop Carlson just can't remember things.
St. Louis' "Most Reverend" cloaked man says that back in the wild and crazy '80s, he didn't know sexually abusing a child was against the law.

The comments came during a deposition for a lawsuit against Thomas Adamson, a former priest who is accused of molesting more than a dozen kids in the Minnesota area during the 1980s. Carlson was the chancellor of the Minnesota archdiocese during those years, and attorneys representing the plaintiffs called upon him to comment about what he knew.

And Carlson basically said he knew so little, that he didn't even know raping kids was a crime.

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St. Louis "Witch CEO" Uses Business Skills to Teach People Truth About Witchcraft

Categories: Bidness, Religion

courtesy of Shea Morgan
While attending the University of Missouri-St. Louis to get her MBA, Shea Morgan got into a car accident. And then she became a witch with a business plan.

Morgan's journey to witchcraft technically began when she was a little girl who felt a special connection to the earth and experienced a few psychic moments during slumber parties. But it wasn't until the 2000 car accident that she started to really study witchcraft.

"A lot of people have what they call a 'Hero's Journey,' which is really a 'healing journey,' where you have physical things that happen to you or become wrong with you and that that drives you to seek healing and pushes you further along this path," Morgan tells Daily RFT.

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Archbishop Robert Carlson Seeks to Dismiss Sex Abuse Lawsuit, Argues Archdiocese Isn't Liable

Archbishop Robert Carlson.
Last month, a Lincoln county family filed a lawsuit against St. Louis Archbishop Robert Carlson alleging that he tried to cover up a sex abuse case involving a local priest and even attempted to tamper with incriminating evidence. The priest in question is Father Xiu Hui "Joseph" Jiang who reportedly has very close ties to Carlson -- and who is accused of repeatedly molesting a teenage girl.

Now, Carlson has filed a formal response to the suit, asking the courts to dismiss it, arguing that neither he nor the Archdiocese of St. Louis is liable.

Victims' rights advocates say this move is not surprising but still troubling. "It's like no matter what the facts are or what the allegations are, his response is stunningly uniform: 'You can't hold me responsible,'" David Clohessy, executive director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, tells Daily RFT.

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Missouri Mystery Priest Is Patrick Dowling of Jefferson City; "He Is Our Angel," Says Fireman

via Diocese of Jefferson City
Reverend Patrick Dowling.
A car crash rescue mission in Missouri got international attention last week following reports from firefighters and witnesses on the scene of a mystery priest who appeared, offered a prayer -- then vanished. Shortly thereafter, the woman who was trapped in her car, nineteen-year-old Katie Lentz, was successfully rescued. Some said the prayers must have come from an angel.

The spiritual guidance, it turns out, came from a real priest -- Reverend Patrick Dowling of the Jefferson City Diocese, who was returning from mass in Ewing nearby where he was filling in for a sick priest.

"That man is a saint," Raymond Reed, chief of the New London Fire Department, tells Daily RFT. "He is our angel. He always will be."

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Missouri Miracle? Mystery Priest Appears, Disappears At Highway Crash, Rescuers Say

Categories: News, Religion

via YouTube
A traffic accident and subsequent rescue mission in Missouri is getting international attention this week, not because the emergency crew was successful in saving a woman's life -- but because a mysterious priest allegedly appeared seemingly out of nowhere to calmly offer a prayer.

And then he disappeared.

The New London Fire Department is calling it the "Highway 19 Miracle."

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