IL--SNAP: Fire one Bethalto minister & suspend his boss over sex case

For immediate release: Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those abused by Priests (314 566 9790[email protected])

Lutheran officials should fire a Bethalto minister accused of helping an accused sex offender and suspend his boss, the pastor. They should also aggressively denounce the minister’s actions and do everything possible to help police investigate the wrongdoers.  

David L. Von Bergen faces two charges. First, he allegedly videotaped a 13-year-old girl and a 63-year-old man in church. And he’s accused of conspiring to destroy evidence of his crimes, with the help of Zion Lutheran Church assistant pastor Rev. Kale W. Hanson (618-377-8314[email protected]).

We see no evidence that Zion officials have taken any action against Hanson. We believe he should be fired.

We see no evidence that Zion officials have taken any action against Hanson’s boss, Zion pastor Rev. Mark Hofferber (618-377-8314[email protected][email protected]). We think he should be suspended.

With Hanson, some may say “He’s charged but hasn’t been convicted. He’s innocent until proven guilty.”

We say, however, that “innocent until proven guilty” is the standard for incarcerating someone. And that’s appropriate. The standard for firing an employee, however, is considerably lower, especially an employee who purports to be a caring shepherd. By virtue of the fact that Hanson’s been accused of a deliberate criminal act, and has (as best we can tell) not denied it, we believe he should be fired.  

With Horrerber, some may say “there’s no evidence that he knew of the crimes of Von Bergen and Hanson.” That may be true. But we find it very hard to believe that he was completely ignorant of them, especially of Hanson’s wrongdoing. By virtue of the fact that “the buck stops” at the senior pastor’s desk, we believe he should be suspended.

And consider the reverse. Consider the signal sent if Zion officials discipline neither minister. That says – to families, kids, police, prosecutors and the public – that Zion officials don’t especially take crimes like that seriously. Is this the signal that Zion officials want to send?

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 20,000 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

Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, [email protected][email protected]), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747[email protected])


Son of alleged Bethalto church videotaper is facing child-sex charges

BY BETH HUNDSDORFER, [email protected], Belleville News-Democrat, January 8, 2016

The man accused of planting surveillance cameras in a Bethalto church around Christmas Eve joined his son in the Madison County jail on Friday morning.

David L. Von Bergen, 59, was charged Thursday with videotaping a 13-year-old girl and a 63-year-old man and then conspiring to destroy evidence with Zion Lutheran Church assistant pastor Rev. Kale W. Hanson. On Friday, Von Bergen found himself behind bars with his son, David J. Von Bergen, who . . . 

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Showing 2 comments

  • Byron Emde
    commented 2017-02-12 19:24:39 -0600
    Most of these people don’t know what they are talking about, they want to hang Hanson and Hofferber and all they are guilty of is trying to protect the privacy of pastors talking with members. When it happen they thought Vonbergen was taping them, they didn’t think at that time Vonbergen was a damn pervert . They were worried that he was trying to listen in on confidential pastor conversations. When other cameras were found it was to late. Pastor Kale realized he made a big mistake and called the police.
  • @ tweeted this page. 2016-01-13 11:59:40 -0600

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