Georgia pastor faces theft, sex charges

Federal indictment says ex-pastor near Savannah stole $200,000

Thursday, Jan. 6, 2011 6:40 AM
Last updated 6:42 AM
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SAVANNAH, Ga. -- A federal grand jury indicted the former pastor of New Harvest International Ministries Church in Bloomingdale for taking at least $200,000 from the church.

Kenneth Terrell was indicted for embezzlement and is also facing child molestation and sexual battery charges.  Special/ Morris News Service
Special/ Morris News Service
Kenneth Terrell was indicted for embezzlement and is also facing child molestation and sexual battery charges.

Tuesday's indictment on seven counts of wire fraud alleges Kenneth Terrell, 46, stole the church's money for his own use over a span of four years, said James D. Durham, first assistant U.S. attorney.

Edward J. Tarver, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Georgia, said Terrell used his position within the church to steal the money.

"The indictment alleges that Terrell systematically took money over the last four years and used it to support a lavish lifestyle," Tarver said.

The indictment arose from a joint investigation by United States Secret Service Agent William Griffin and Savannah-Chatham detective Raymond Woodberry, Durham said.

Terrell faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and up to a $200,000 fine if convicted.

He also faces child molestation and sexual battery charges in Effingham County.

In January 2010, Effingham County sheriff's deputies arrested him at the church, in the 100 block of U.S. 80, on those charges that stem from events that allegedly occurred between August and October 2009.

David Ehsanipoor, Effingham County Sheriff's Office spokesman, said the victim in that case is from Effingham County and attended the church with his family.

Court documents show that case is awaiting trial.

Terrell has faced a number of other previous charges.

Since 1983, Ehsanipoor said, Terrell, a convicted felon, has been charged with multiple DUIs - including habitual violator - two counts of burglary, forgery, criminal trespass, obstruction, disorderly conduct and drug charges.

He was also charged with child molestation in 1985.

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cparker
83
Points
cparker 01/06/11 - 07:23 am
0
0
Immorality has no race, no

Immorality has no race, no gender, and no address!!

Taylor B
5
Points
Taylor B 01/06/11 - 07:44 am
0
0
And churches have no access

And churches have no access to background checks?

MomInRC
0
Points
MomInRC 01/06/11 - 07:44 am
0
0
I understand people deserve a

I understand people deserve a second chance, but why was this person pastoring a church in the first place with this kind of criminal history? Is anyone from the church really surprised at the charges?

tuffenuf4u
0
Points
tuffenuf4u 01/06/11 - 08:24 am
0
0
It is amazing how someone can

It is amazing how someone can use religion to camouflage their evil ways. This man knew well what he was doing.We have a church here in the CSRA where the pastor and the songleader have had several alleged affairs with members of the congregation, and the songleader has even bragged about it, but every Sunday it's business as usual. I guess it's church on Sunday, Motel 6 on Monday.

juantez
254
Points
juantez 01/06/11 - 08:39 am
0
0
Where are all the
Unpublished

Where are all the comments....

juantez
254
Points
juantez 01/06/11 - 08:39 am
0
0
Where are all the
Unpublished

Where are all the comments....

lessthanperfect
10
Points
lessthanperfect 01/06/11 - 08:40 am
0
0
tuffenuf4u - There you are

tuffenuf4u - There you are again.

userone
43
Points
userone 01/06/11 - 09:35 am
0
0
YEA I with Juantez. Where are

YEA I with Juantez. Where are all the comments? Very interesting.

happychimer
19565
Points
happychimer 01/06/11 - 10:14 am
0
0
I am not surprised.I can

I am not surprised.I can worship God anywhere. I don't trust most pastors and church members.I have seen too many hide behind the church to try to justify their criminal and immoral acts.

Pastor Dan White
1
Points
Pastor Dan White 01/06/11 - 10:28 am
0
0
The fox in the hen house.

The fox in the hen house. tuffenuf4u - I find your comments amazingly sad that the pastor and song leader are allowed to continue in their leadership roles while engaging in an open affair. Is there no shame any more? And happychimer, I'm sure you speak for many people who have given up on church. I think I've seen it all in my 39 years of service included a "trusted" trustee who embezzled thousands from a church cemetary fund where I once served. Yet, the deacons refused to press charges because of the hurt and shame it would cause his family! At least they took the books from him and set up an accountablilty system to have the books audited annually by a CPA. And to Taylor B - yes, background checks are available and should be done, but even a person with a "clean" record is still no guarantee of future morality. But, it is a start. And I have another question. How could Terell grow such a congregation that had so much money? And one other comment - My guess is that his church was an "independent" church where he had absolute administrative and financial power without any checks and balances.

follower
98
Points
follower 01/06/11 - 10:31 am
0
0
No matter the organization,

No matter the organization, there are those that use postion and trust to take advantage of others for their own gain. Churches are not exempt. It' just more disheartening when someone in a pastors position is guilty.

Just as a financial advisor, guilty of embezzlement, makes the honest advisors job more difficult, this man widens the barrier of mistrust for honest pastors and ministers of the gospel.

He'll answer to the authorities for his wrong. But whatever sentence, it'll pale in comparison to answering to God.

follower
98
Points
follower 01/06/11 - 10:37 am
0
0
Pastor Dan, your post

Pastor Dan, your post surfaced while I was writing my first.

You are so right about accountability. Every church I've been affiliated with has a series of checks and balances in place with checks requiring two signatures and an outside accounting firm reconciling the books. It's not a trust issue, but an accountability issue.

Every pastor I've been associated with wants nothing to do with the money. They want there to be no question of integrity when it comes to finances.

Dixieman
17584
Points
Dixieman 01/06/11 - 11:36 am
0
0
You can't judge a book by its

You can't judge a book by its cover, but this guy looks NOTHING AT ALL like my pastor or anybody's idea of a pastor!

happychimer
19565
Points
happychimer 01/06/11 - 11:52 am
0
0
Dixieman of course not. Put a

Dixieman of course not. Put a dress shirt and tie on him and he will pass for a fine upstanding church member and pastor. You can't go by outward appearances.It's what's inside that counts.

rmwhitley
5547
Points
rmwhitley 01/06/11 - 12:17 pm
0
0
Stoooopid is as stooopid duz.
Unpublished

Stoooopid is as stooopid duz.

Many Arrows
-1
Points
Many Arrows 01/06/11 - 12:20 pm
0
0
happychimer is 100% correct

happychimer is 100% correct about churches.

The places that should be the refuges are the last place you want to go, but God is the only place to turn to.

God is gone from most churches.

Finding God outside of church is the most rewarding thing you can do.

Coco1962
0
Points
Coco1962 01/06/11 - 02:31 pm
0
0
I found out the hard way.

I found out the hard way. Placing your faith and trust in a man you will always be disappointed. Put your faith and trust in God He will never let you down.

Jane18
12332
Points
Jane18 01/06/11 - 03:30 pm
0
0
This man(?) was not a pastor.

This man(?) was not a pastor. He was, and is, a false teacher, a pervert(child molestation-rape?), a thief, a liar, a criminal, and now he is a prisoner. Pack him off! Oh yeah, he's going to pay, one way or another!

Jane18
12332
Points
Jane18 01/06/11 - 03:32 pm
0
0
juantez and userone, what do

juantez and userone, what do you mean, "where are the comments?" Surely you don't think us Christians would condone this piece of dung.

Willow Bailey
20605
Points
Willow Bailey 01/06/11 - 09:39 pm
0
0
There are some mistakes that

There are some mistakes that a pastor or any other church leader can make; admit his/her sins, face the conseqences, make amends if appropriate, ultimately be restored to his/her position and actually be even more effective in the role of leadership. This is not one of those times.

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