IL--Ex-Chicago pastor beaten while molesting boy in TX
For immediate release: Friday, April 8, 2016
A former Chicago minister who was attacked last week by bystanders while molesting a child, has been charged with child sex crimes and is accused of abusing three boys.
He is Rev. Willie Lee Bell Jr., who was a youth pastor at New Covenant M.B. Church in Chicago from 2009 to 2014. He is also CEO of WILBE Productions, LLC in Chicago. He also reportedly worked in Jackson, Tennessee from 2008 to 2010.
Bell has been a youth minister at First United Methodist of Cedar Hill Texas since November 2015. He was reportedly let go from his job at the church the day after his arrest.
Bell, now 29, is accused of sexually assaulting two little boys behind their apartment in the Dallas area in February. And last week, he was reportedly caught in the act of molesting a third boy. The mom says bystanders attacked Bell to stop him.
In a statement, First United Methodist Church said it has no knowledge of any criminal acts happening at the church,” according to Fox 4 News. But that, in our view, is designed to breed complacency when just the reverse - vigilance and action – are needed now.
Every current and former church employee or member who spent any time at either church – in Chicago or Dallas - should be beating the bushes and shouting from the rooftops, finding anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered Bell’s crimes and begging them to call police.
Now is the time for Methodist staff and congregants in Illinois and Chicago to step up and resist the natural but irresponsible temptation to be passive.
Church officials also claim they’re “cooperating” with police. But that’s not enough.
When religious official say they’re ‘cooperating’ with police, that usually means they respond if they’re subpoenaed and that’s just the bare minimum. If Methodist church staff and members really care, they will use their resources, connections and mailing lists to seek what the Gospel calls the ‘lost sheep’ – any other child who might have been assaulted by Rev. Bell, so that law enforcement can build the strongest case against him and get him locked up for a long time.”
We want Methodist officials – at the local and regional level – to use weekly bulletins, church websites and pulpit announcements to prod others with information or suspicions about Bell to call law enforcement.
Our hunch is that Bell has been at other local Methodist churches in and around Chicago and Dallas, for big events or lending a hand to an ill or vacationing colleague, so outreach efforts shouldn’t be limited to this one congregation.
SNAP believes, but is not certain, that church belongs to the broader North Texas Methodist Conference, headed by Bishop Michael McKee (972-526-5000, email@example.com) and headquartered in Plano (972-526-5000, 800-815-6690, http://www.northtexasumc.org/)
The Texas bishop’s assistant is Joell Stanislaus (972-526-5015, firstname.lastname@example.org) and his public relations staffer is Rev. Dr. Sheron Patterson (email@example.com)
SNAP believes, but is not certain, that New Covenant M.B. Church in Chicago belongs to the headed by Dr. Nehemiah Davis of the Mount Pisgah Missionary Baptist Church of Fort Worth, TX (817-927-2463).
Jeff Garrett (972-291-1711, firstname.lastname@example.org) is pastor of First United Methodist in the Dallas area.
Anyone with information about Bell or possible additional victims is asked to call police at 214-671-4217.
NOTE - Yesterday, holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters in Dallas blasted First United Methodist of Cedar Hill officials for their public comments in a pending child sex abuse case, urged them to “do aggressive outreach” seeking other “victims, witnesses and whistleblowers,” begged parents in the congregation to “ask their kids if they were hurt,” and prodded anyone who may have “seen, suspected or suffered” crimes by the minister – or cover ups by his colleagues or supervisors – to “protect kids by calling law enforcement immediately.”
David Clohessy 314-566-9790, email@example.com, Amy 281-748-4050, firstname.lastname@example.org, Barbara Blaine 312 399 4747, bblaine@SNAPnetwork.org