PART IX – WOLVES IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING
A wolf in sheep’s clothing is an idiom of Biblical origin used to describe those playing a role contrary to their real character with whom contact is dangerous, particularly false teachers.[i] In His Word, God warns us to beware of these false prophets who are inwardly ravenous wolves, (See Matthew 7:15) with nefarious intentions towards those who have placed their trust in them. Child sex trafficking isn’t something that is contained only to the world of the Hollywood elites, the wealthy, gang members, corrupt politicians or abusive parents led by their greed….it is also practiced by those that masquerade as spiritual leaders. These individuals use their positions within these institutions to gain access to vulnerable children, to market them and abuse them, all under the guise of charity and benevolence.
Paul Peterson, an adoption attorney, was arrested on October 9th, 2019, charged with human smuggling and the selling of children. Mr. Peterson is a member of the Mormon church and was serving in a ministry located on the Marshall Islands when the 18 month investigation took place. He would prey on pregnant girls in the islands and bring them to the United States illegally to sell their children. These young women, usually 14-16 years of age were living at a prostitution camp where they exchanged sex work for food and shelter.[ii]
Neal Sutz, alleges that his children were medically kidnapped by his in-laws, high ranking members of the Mormon church. Sutz claims that through his marriage he was introduced to the existence of a vast ring of ritualistic child abuse and trafficking within the Mormon community. He continues to try to regain custody of his two children who were taken from him and relocated to Switzerland. Mr. Sutz maintains that the Mormons have a great deal of political and financial influence in Arizona and Switzerland which has allowed them to traffick children silently and easily for generations.[iii]
A Catholic orphanage located in Cologne, Germany has recently been found culpable of selling young boys over the course of two decades. Karl Hauke, a 63-year-old victim led a lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Cologne, along with 175 other victims. The priests and nuns that ran the orphanage would groom the orphaned boys to become sex slaves. Many were kept from being placed in loving homes so that they could continue to be sold or loaned for weeks at a time to predatory priests and local businessmen. The abuse took place during the ‘60s and ‘70s. The now grown men testified of being beaten, raped and tortured while under the care of the orphanage. The details were so horrific that journalists were banned from printing them.[iv]
A Michigan pastor has been charged with 11 felony counts in connection with human trafficking and child sex abuse. The Reverend Stricjavvar Strickland, the 37-year-old pastor of Kalamazoo’s Second Baptist Church, faces four counts of third-degree sex assault, three counts of child sex abuse and four counts of trafficking a minor for commercial sex activity dating back to 2015, according records from the 8th District Court.
Three pastors were arrested, charged and found guilty of running a sex trafficking ring in Toledo, Ohio. Cordell Jenkins of Abundant Life Ministries, Anthony Haynes of Greater Life Christian Center and Kenneth Butler, also of Greater Life Christian Center were working together, selling young women from their congregations and video of their sexual encounters with them. The abuse took place in the offices at the churches, Jenkin’s home and a local motel in Toledo. Victims testified that they were paid in what Jenkins referred to as “hush money”, warning them to remain silent.
It’s not surprising if the three men were acting together, said Celia Williamson, director of the University of Toledo’s Human Trafficking and Social Justice Institute. “It says to me what we already knew, that sex trafficking is a business,” she said. “Of course, they worked together. That’s how it thrives.”[v]
“I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Acts 20:29
For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.” (2Corinthians 11:13-15)
How do these leaders maintain a veil of secrecy while perpetrating such vile deeds? They hide behind the trust and reverence that is given to them by those that they claim to serve. Men and women were never meant to be worshipped or considered infallible, despite their chosen occupation. Yet, that is precisely what people tend to do, worship them and never question them. Jesus Christ was the only sinless Man to ever walk this Earth, every other human has the propensity to sin. Those in authority within a church should always be held accountable. It should be their desire to be humble and transparent before their congregation, characteristics of true shepherds. If they fail there should be genuine repentance and they should be brought to justice if applicable. Unfortunately, these ravenous wolves find protection within the flock they are devouring.
We need to hear the voices of our children. We need to be scrutinizing the actions of our church leaders, never considering them to be beyond reproach. There are so many wonderful people in service to our King, so many with a pure testimony of faith and submission to our mighty God. These saints work to share the Gospel and exude the fruits of the Spirit, God uses them as vessels to nurture and intruct, they are His. But we are also warned by God to be on guard, watching for those who seek to deceive and destroy, they are not His, they are children of Darkness.
“Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with His own blood.” (Acts 20:28)
“If anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” (Matthew 18:16)
[v]Victim files federal lawsuit against Toledo ex-pastors, hotels and churches alleging compliance in child sex trafficking and abuse,
WTO11, January 22, 2021Ja