Pentecostal Bishop arrested, SNAP responds

We hope that anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered misdeeds by Pentecostal Bishop Charles Brown will come forward, get help, call police, expose wrongdoing, protect others and start recovering. If you have information that would either prove or disprove these allegations, it is your moral and civic duty to speak up now.

This case should remind us all that sexual predators are often powerful, charismatic and well-loved. It would be comforting if those who preyed on the vulnerable were obvious social misfits whose appearance would somehow set off alarm bells and give us ‘the willies’ or ‘the creeps.’ They rarely do. Usually, predators are among the last people we would suspect of sexually violating others. At a party, the predator isn’t some oddball sitting alone in a corner because others feel uncomfortable with him. Most often, the predator is the guy throwing the party.

We must overcome the dangerous myth that because someone is successful or warm or caring, he or she “couldn’t have done that!”

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 22 years and have more than 9,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)

Contact David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747, SNAPblaine@gmail.com), Peter Isely (414-429-7259, peterisely@yahoo.com), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)

http://www.nola.com/crime/index.ssf/2011/09/pentecostal_bishop_charles_bro.html

Pentecostal Bishop Charles Brown booked with sexual battery
Published: Tuesday, September 20, 2011, 8:35 PM
Bruce Nolan, The Times-Picayune By Bruce Nolan, The Times-Picayune

The spiritual head of a local Pentecostal denomination has been arrested and booked with sexual battery on a teenage girl more than 23 years ago. New Orleans court records show that Bishop Charles E. Brown, 58, was released on $25,000 bond.

Brown, who since Hurricane Katrina has divided his time between New Orleans and Houston, is the jurisdictional bishop for Greater New Orleans in the Church of God in Christ, a Pentecostal denomination with headquarters in Memphis. He is also pastor of a local congregation, Full Gospel Church of God in Christ.

Brown was arrested June 28, according to police records.

Several attempts to contact Brown at his home in Houston were unsuccessful. Court records did not list a lawyer. And denominational officials in Los Angeles and Lafayette who would know about the arrest either were unavailable or did not respond to an inquiry.

A police affidavit supporting the arrest warrant said an unidentified 39-year-old woman called the department's child abuse unit in March to report that Brown molested her between the ages of 14 and 16.

The woman said at the time Brown was her aunt's boyfriend, and the acts occurred at his home.

She told police Brown recently reached out and asked to "friend" her on Facebook. She told him she knew him to be an abuser and decided then to go to the police, the affidavit said.

Brown originally was arrested and booked with aggravated rape. But Magistrate Commissioner Harry Cantrell said the specific facts alleged by the woman supported only the lesser accusation of sexual battery.

It is not clear whether the district attorney's office plans to pursue charges. Chris Bowman, a spokesman for Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro, said the case is being screened for possible prosecution.

A police spokeswoman said Brown turned himself in.

Hurricane Katrina destroyed Brown's church on North Claiborne Avenue and scattered much of his congregation.

The church's website says Brown, who now lives in Houston, is the pastor of two churches there and a local congregation now meeting on Spain Street on in New Orleans.

A message left at his church in Houston was not returned.

Before the storm, Brown was a familiar figure in New Orleans' religious landscape, often appearing at ecumenical events.

In 2001, a national survey of successful congregations by the University of North Carolina in Wilmington and the University of Notre Dame singled out his congregation for its vibrancy.

Bruce Nolan can be reached at bnolan@timespicayune.com or 504.826.3344.
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published this page in Media Statements 2011-09-21 08:58:00 -0500
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