Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Church Fleeces Elderly, and Molests Children Combined

This is something that I have been sitting on for a while now.  More information about this will follow shortly, but for the time being this is the beginning of the story.  I posted this once a while back, but it was broken into two parts, now it is combined since the first time it was written.  It is as it originally appeared, and here, will be the only alteration, the time frame has increased from 18 months to around 20 months in a tent, with an additional month floating from place to place.  Imagine spending two Christmases, two Thanksgivings, two of every major holidays and birthdays in a tent or otherwise homeless.

Could you imagine, as Christmas (or whatever winter holiday you practice) approaches living in a tent?  This is the case for one such family, a thirty-year-old son, and his seventy-year-old parents.  He sits now, unemployed, his job lost because of the actions of the Church of God International, Pineville West Virginia location.  Never heard of this church, you should have, in their mind they are more powerful than the Vatican itself, boosting that they are the largest church in the United States, with over ten thousand preachers, and nearly as many churches.  Driving through West Virginia, you will find one in every community.  By now, I am sure you are all asking yourselves, what happened?  

About four years ago, this family decided it was time to purchase their final home, the sons first.  They found what appeared to be a nice home in Pineville.  The local Church of God owned it, and it needed work, like so many homes that have sat vacant.  After they agreed to purchase the home, they moved in, paying rent until the time that the property closed, and that is when they started finding problems with the house.  The roof leaked, the wiring was a mess, and it was infested with rodents, spiders, and snakes.  They contacted the Reverend who was selling the home, and explained the situation to him.  He and his trustees came to the home and informed the parents, while the son was at work, that they were not able to fix the problems, and enticed them to make said repairs so the home would meet the appraisal, be insurable, and pass a home inspection.  His claim at that time was the church did not have the money for repairs, and he would work with the family. 

The father, against his wife’s and son’s better judgment took the Reverend at his word, and started making the necessary repairs to the home.  The father became very ill, at one point, his pacemaker worked itself out of his body due to infection from brown recluse spider bites, and while he was at the hospital in ICU, the mother and son were served an eviction notices for “breach of contract.”  At this point, most of the repairs had been made.  It was at this time they were told that the father is suffering from rapid onset Alzheimer’s disease.  As many people would, they attempted to fight the eviction, as they had a stake in the property.  In May of the previous year, they were evicted from the property, ordered to pay back rent (over seven thousand dollars), and were out almost sixty thousand dollars in materials and labor.  According to West Virginia law, rent is not due after eviction proceedings start, and these proceedings start at the time of service of eviction.  Their counter-claim was dismissed without a hearing, and it later was brought to my attention the judge and members of his family are members of this church.

The family, unlike others, and myself do not want to sue the church; everyone suffers in that scenario except those who told the parents to do this work.  It is not fair to the congregation to suffer for the actions of their leaders; the members of the congregation may or may not have been aware of what was happening.  I met the son and wife as they were attempting to shame the Church of God into repaying the money this man fleeced from the parents, and the only progress they have made is as follows: 

1.       The Church of God International agrees the money is owed, but states it is a local issue, and refuses to step in.
2.      Other Churches of God in the area do not condemn or condone the actions of the Pineville Church of God.
3.      The Reverend admits the work was performed, but now states it was unapproved/unauthorized work.
This family has weathered the July 4 storm, the Franken-storm, and now a winter in a 14x16 tent.  This group fleeces those who are elderly, and have enough in retirement pay that they do not qualify for aid.  The son lost his job because of the actions of this group, making threats against the families of his co-workers, and causing problems with his employer.
This brings me to another point of action this organization partakes.  Some members of this group have been convicted of being child molesters, and some would say Jesus forgives.  However, some of these members are placed in positions of authority, coaching church teams in youth leagues, becoming youth ministers, and in some cases shepherding our children on church outings (such as youth camping trips).  The local media and law enforcement agencies are afraid of this group; they say it is political suicide (or outright suicide).  The Attorney General’s brother is a member of this group; he was the judge in the family’s eviction hearing.  

This group claims that they do charity work in other countries, but when asked the only agreement I have found is that they do charity work overseas.  One said they thought that some money went to South Africa. Another thought they were helping Haiti, and one claimed that the money was going to Muslim nations to help promote democracy. 
I recall that one judge did decide to stand against this group, and their actions, and he paid a steep price for his actions.  His home address was posted online, along with a picture of his home, allowing a member of this group to find his home, and threaten his terminally ill wife, along with his children.  Nothing was done to this preacher, and this judge faced possible disbarment, because of his outburst in court after he learned what had happened.  The attorney general and Supreme Court sided with the group, but in the end, the Supreme Court found in his favor.  This is why the local media is so afraid of this group, outside of threats against the reporters, and editors.