The story of the film so far:  you’re the 65-year-old pastor of a Christian congregation, and one day you decide to admit to everyone that a couple of decades back, you were a very bad boy and had an extramarital affair.  All the congregation rises, and you get a standing ovation for your honesty, humility and courage, etc. etc. amen.

Then this happens:

The woman with whom he had conducted the affair ascended the stage, saying the pastor had slept with her when he was 38 and she was 16.

Whoa.  It takes a lot to make my jaw drop nowadays, but this one did.

RFI:  is there a statute of limitations on statutory rape?


  1. I don’t know about statute of limitations, but there is something in the Bible about a millstone, some rope, and the deep blue ocean.

  2. Strange story. Why did he stay in the town? Why did *she*? Why did she go to a church where the pastor was a man she claims “kept her in a mental prison for 27 years” (or words to that effect)? Why did she tell no one before *he* confessed?

    I’m not claiming that any of it is untrue, but the parties involved all seem to have made a LOT of really weird decisions.

    1. Jabrwok,
      You’re right. Lots of decisions were made that just seem weird.

      First, she should have left the parish. Secondly why not leave town to get away from the pastor?

      I did learn a few things from watching a couple episodes of that train wreck, Jerry Springer, people are weird and people are very very stupid


  3. In my jurisdiction, there is no statute of limitations. But sex with a 16 year old is also not a crime; the age of consent here is 16.

    Can’t speak to Indiana.

    1. The article says that she said he started grooming her when she was only 15.

  4. And BTW – good to have both you and your commenters back – you’re a daily read here.

    And BTW #2 – the WWII rifle shoot is on again, October 15. More details later.

  5. As a churchgoer myself it’s a head scratcher. Something seems a little off on the whole “affair”. That said the law probably will ignore it, whether he keeps his clerical position is another matter.

  6. It went on for 9 years and no one stopped it? That’s disgusting.

    This common theme about covering up the wrongdoings of officials of the church is one of the many things that turned me off to organized religion. While I’m not saying I need to see him smote by a lightning bolt from a clear sky, it would go a long way in helping me to believe in a just God that was worth singing praise to every Sunday.

  7. No affiliation listed for the church, so likely independent. There are lots of sects that don’t properly exercise church discipline, but independent churches NEVER properly execute church discipline.

  8. If I understood the article correctly, the pastor “confessed” and resigned after being confronted during an investigation of the allegations.

  9. In Michigan, the age of consent is 16 so this would not be statutory rape unless the person over 18 is a teacher and the victim is a 16 or 17 year old student. I don’t think this exception applies to preachers. And I said person instead of man because women can commit statutory rape too. Equal rights after all.

    1. My recollection of the Michigan statute is that it’s broad enough to cover many situations where an individual has authority over another, ie. police officer or guard if you are in custody, pastors, youth ministers and teachers, camp counsellors., foster care providers, therapists. The reason so many church folks get away with statutory is that the church is often invested in covering it up to protect its own reputation.
      An aside, many folks in Michigan are mandated by law to report abuse, medical personnel, school teachers and officials, social workers and law enforcement. Parents can be charged for failure to protect their children though they dont have the same obligation to protect yours.

  10. I am thinking there is a civil lawsuit coming against the pastor and the church and while bagging a 16 year old virgin shows really bad behavior having a sex thing, whatever you call it going on for eight or nine years shows some willingness on the part of the young lady to engage in sinful acts, etc. What a lot of dirty laundry to hang out for the whole community and now the rest of the world. I do think the good pastor needs a bit of grooming with a cane up the side of his back a few times, just on general principals since young girls are for young men.

  11. This is posted at least partially to hold my hard earned spot on Kim’s list 😉

    Should the minister be sacked? There is an old joke about a comparison between a rough hewn older minister and a more polished younger guy. A parishioner expressed a preference for the old guy because he had sinned enough to have needed to repent
    enough to know what he was talking about.

  12. A quick-and-dirty data search shows that the crime of Statutory Rape is confined to under 16 y/o in Indiana (there are several statutes governing sexual conduct with a legal minor over the age of consent – which apparently is 16 y/o in Indiana – that come into play in those circumstances), and that the usual SoL is no more than 5 years (or until the victim is 31 y/o specific to sexual misconduct charges) w/ some caveat on when legal evidence is produced for criminal charges. IANAL but I think her civil claim to damages has run out as well (the confessed alleged act took place 27 years ago). Keep in mind, this could all be some form of claim to fame effort on both party’s part.



  13. My dad was a Southern Baptist minister for 45 years and was always extremely careful to avoid the appearance of impropriety, to the point of having my mother sit in on any sort of counseling with any women or couples. He believed there was nothing more damaging to the church than a hypocritical minister. Plus, getting caught diddling someone other than one’s wife was the quickest was to destroy all the trust and good will necessary to the ministry.

  14. If it ended when she was 25 it sounds like she enjoyed it.
    She’s 43 now so why is she complaining 18 years after it stopped?

  15. When an old dude publicly announces he was bumping uglies with a 16 year old girl he’s not confessing, he’s bragging.

  16. In Indiana, the age of consent is 16 for a case like this, or down to 14 if the age difference isn’t too large:


    When one partner is 38, there may be and should be other laws that apply – not statutory rape, but some penalty such as “corrupting a minor”. This was an adult who was certainly old enough to have a fully developed brain but didn’t act like an adult.

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