8 Jun 2011

Baptist school teacher charged with sexually assaulting her teen students and members of her father's church

Chicago Sun Times    June 8, 2011

Bail set for former Christian school teacher accused of sexually assaulting students

By Lauren FitzPatrick Sun-Times Media

A decade ago, when a teacher at a private Christian school was in her young 20s, she began molesting students from the Northwest Side school next to a church where her father is pastor, Cook County prosecutors said.

Elisa Martinelli, 34, told sexy stories, plied teens with alcohol and performed sex acts on three girls and a boy, prosecutors told a judge Tuesday.

Bail was set at $1.5 million for Martinelli, of Naperville, who is charged with four counts of criminal sexual assault, one for each teenage victim, said Andy Conklin, spokesman for the Cook County state’s attorney.

The teacher who lives in the 1500 block of South Raymond worked at Dayspring Christian Academy, 5133 W. Fullerton Ave. until March, Conklin said. Her brother, Nelson Quintana Jr., 27, who also worked at the school, was charged with one count of misdemeanor criminal sexual abuse in connection with another student, Chicago police said. He was released on $10,000 bail. Conklin did not have details of his accusations.

Martinelli’s alleged victims were her students and members of neighboring Dayspring Church, where her father, Nelson Quintana Sr., is pastor,Conklin said. He said she abused them in her home, their homes and in her car.

Martinelli began in 1998 with a 15-year-old victim she had taught in 7th and 8th grade, Conklin said. What began as sexual stories escalated into full abuse of the girl, he said. That abuse lasted until 2001.

In March 2003, when Martinelli was 26, she preyed on another 15-year-old girl and her brother while their parents were away, Conklin said. She had sexual intercourse with the boy for about a year, he said.

Then she found a 14 year-old-girl who had belonged to the church and was Martinelli’s student in 6th and 8th grades, Conklin said, and engaged in mutual sex acts with the girl until March 2007 when the teen’s family moved out of the area.

Police the crimes were not reported until April of this year.

Dayspring Academy is a private Baptist school with students from pre-kindergarten through grade 12, according to online directories. Nelson Quintana Sr. is listed as its principal. Messages left for him at the school and the church were not returned.

“Nobody is available,” said a woman who answered the school’s phone. “I can’t answer any questions, I’m sorry,” she said and hung up.

This article was found at:



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  1. Jury awards $4.35 million for victims of ex-pastor's sexual abuse of 2 girls

    by Jessie Balmert, Newark Advocate Reporter June 29, 2012

    NEWARK — Their associate pastor sexually abused them. Friends ridiculed them. Churchgoers held a candlelight vigil for the man who assaulted them.

    But after nearly a decade, a group of jurors believed them — to the tune of $4.35 million.

    Two young women were vindicated after a jury found that former Licking Baptist Church associate pastor Lonny “Joe” Aleshire, 41, of Hebron, sexually assaulted them when they were 13 and 16 years old, said their attorney, Beverly Farlow.

    The abuse, which occurred between 2003 and 2004, was reported in early 2005. Later that year, Aleshire pleaded guilty to six counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, three counts of sexual imposition and one count of rape.

    The victims, now young women, testified in the civil trial about the intimate details of their sexual abuse for the first time — details they had not shared with each other or their parents. Farlow followed the questions a Licking County Sheriff’s Office detective asked them more than seven years ago.

    “It was an incredibly intimidating situation, but they did it,” Farlow said.

    Aleshire served seven years in prison for the criminal conviction. During his incarceration, Aleshire appealed several times and filed three sworn statements maintaining his innocence. He was convicted of perjury Wednesday for lying under oath.

    Aleshire testified he did not sexually abuse the girls, but jurors did not believe him. His attorney, Al Mokhtari, did not return a call for comment.

    Jurors awarded $2 million in damages, including money intended to punish the offender, to the then-13-year-old girl who testified Aleshire sexually assaulted her more than 40 times.

    They awarded $1.25 million to the then-16-year-old girl who was sexually abused in June 2004. Additional sums were given to their parents for infliction of emotional harm.

    Another $623 was awarded for out-of-pocket losses, such as counseling and gas money. The total was $4,350,623, Farlow said.

    The lawsuit was more about vindication than money, which the family might never receive in full, Farlow said.

    “It’s a life-changing verdict for them,” Farlow said.


  2. Parents Say Baptist Church Enabled Abuser

    By LISA COSTON, Courthouse News Service August 7, 2012

    CANTON, Ga. (CN) - A Baptist Church failed to protect a boy from a church volunteer who sexually assaulted him, though the senior pastor knew of the man's history of sexual misconduct with minors, the boy's parents claim in court.
    Brian and Carmen Aaron sued the First Baptist Church of Canton, its senior pastor George Anderson, church employee Shawn Finch, and the alleged assailant, Matthew Brent Sheffield, in Cherokee County Superior Court.
    "Defendant Sheffield sexually abused multiple victims, while working for the Cherokee County Board of Education and through his employment and volunteer work with First Baptist," according to the complaint. "His continued sexual abuse was enabled by the negligent oversight of Sheffield by defendant First Baptist, defendant Dr. George Anderson and defendant Shawn Finch."
    The Aarons claim that Anderson and Finch were alerted to Sheffield's misconduct, after meeting with parents of his alleged victims.
    "Defendant First Baptist, defendant Dr. George Anderson, defendant Shawn Finch met with parents of male students who attended Cherokee High School who reported that their children were receiving sexually explicit text messages from defendant Sheffield, who was also making suggestive remarks to male students," the complaint states.
    The Aarons say the church and its employees told Sheffield to stop sending the text messages to boys at Cherokee High School, but never notified the school board.
    The school district fired Sheffield after parents told it his sexual misconduct, the Aarons say. And, they claim, First Baptist, Anderson and Finch fired Sheffield for "insubordination" when they learned he had continued to send "sexually explicit text messages male high school students."
    Nonetheless, the Aarons say, the church let Sheffield return to work as a volunteer, running a sound system for the Bible School program: "It was at that time that defendant Sheffield initiated actions that led to his sexually abusing the plaintiffs' minor child by sending him text messages and making inappropriate remarks to the minor child," the parents say in the complaint.
    They say the abuse escalated from text messages to physical abuse: "On June 14, 2010, when plaintiffs' minor child, while participating in a Bible school at First Baptist, Defendant Sheffield committed sexual battery upon the Plaintiffs' minor child."
    The parents say their child refused to return to Bible School, but did not tell them why. Unaware of what happened, his parents say, they signed him up for a church beach trip a week later.
    "Unknown to plaintiffs and other parents, but known to defendant First Baptist, defendant Dr. George Anderson and defendant Shawn Finch, defendant Sheffield was allowed by First Baptist to accompany the group of children on the out of state trip to the beach," the complaint states.
    "It was on this trip that defendant Sheffield was allowed by defendant Finch to be alone and unsupervised with the children.
    "It was during this time that defendant Sheffield again committed sexual battery upon plaintiffs' minor child who reported the matter to his sister and mother.
    "The incident was reported to law enforcement by the child's father."

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  3. continued from previous comment:

    The Aarons say that Finch refused to tell the police about Sheffield's history, "but instead attempted to cover for Sheffield by portraying to officers that plaintiffs' child was an unruly youth, thus not worthy of belief."
    And, they say: "First Baptist rented defendant a car so he could get away before plaintiffs were able to get to Florida to pick up their child."
    After that trip, in a meeting at the church, pastor Anderson "attempted to downplay the abuse that occurred on the trip to the beach, indicating that the matter was closed," the complaint states.
    Then others spoke up, the parents say: "Subsequently another party came forward, whose grandson, who had attended youth programs at First Baptist, had been approached by defendant Sheffield who offered to pay the grandson $50 to give Sheffield a 'blow job.'"
    The Aarons claim that "Sheffield sexually abused multiple victims," while working for the [nonparty] school district and "through his employment and volunteer work with First Baptist."
    They seek punitive damages, costs of medical and psychological treatment for their son, and attorney's fees.
    They are represented by Channing Ruskell, of Woodstock, Ga.


  4. Texas school OKs opposite sex spankings after principal breaks rule

    By Joshua Rhett Miller, Fox News September 25, 2012

    A Texas school district has decided to change its corporal punishment policy rather than apologize after a male vice principal paddled two high school girls, prompting complaints from their parents.

    Board members of Springtown ISD voted unanimously late Monday to change the district’s policy, which now requires a female administrator to be present if a male school official spanks a female student, MyFoxDFW.com reports.

    A debate over the district’s policy erupted after the mother of two girls attending Springtown High School noticed bruises left behind by the paddling doled out by Assistant Principal Kirt Shaw.

    "I did give him permission to swat her,” said Cathi Watts, whose 16-year-old daughter, Jada, suffered bruises on her backside that were visible for more than a week. “I didn't give him permission to bruise her.”

    Watts said the marks she saw on her daughter prompted her to call Child Protective Services.

    "She told me the story and I looked at her butt and I was floored. The imprint of a paddle, the imprint," Watts said.

    Another student at the school, Taylor Santos, 15, allegedly let a classmate copy her homework, prompting Shaw to discipline the girl with a large wooden paddle, which he swung with a violent, upward motion, according to the girl's mom, Anna Jorgensen.

    “She was telling me it was numb and that it burned,” Jorgensen told FoxNews.com on Monday. “And it looked like a burn. She slept on her side that night. She was more humiliated and embarrassed than anything, but the more she and I thought about it, it wasn’t fair and I thought I needed to do something about it.”

    Jorgensen told FoxNews.com her daughter initially received two days of in-school suspension for allowing another student to copy her work. When she was offered the chance to take a paddling in lieu of the second day of suspension, she submitted.

    “I really don’t think he had to hit her that hard."

    Shaw first had the girl call her mother to approve the punishment, which is required. Jorgensen said she agreed, but had no idea the whack would come from a man — or be so severe. Jorgensen said her daughter, a cross-country athlete who weighs just 95 pounds, was left with large, blistered wounds on her buttocks.

    “I really don’t think he had to hit her that hard,” she said. “I’m not saying he went in to intentionally hurt my
    daughter, but intentional or not, it did happen.”

    Springtown ISD Superintendent Mike Kelley defended the use of corporal punishment in the school system.

    “We only use corporal punishment if the parent or guardian requests it,” Kelley told FoxNews.com prior to Monday’s vote. “We have not deviated from that practice.”

    Watts, meanwhile, still believes the district’s new policy puts her daughter and other female students in a bad situation.

    "If I put a mark on her head and send her to school [child protective services] is gonna knock on my door,” Watts told MyFoxDFW.com. “No authority, no school official should be able to bruise my child.”


  5. Culture Of Abuse, Misogyny Detailed In Chicago Magazine Profile Of First Baptist Church Of Hammond

    By Chuck Sudo, Chicagoist December 12, 2012

    If you want to know about the culture that allowed former First Baptist Church of Hammond pastor Jack Schaap to transport a 16-year-old girl across state lines in order to have sexual relations, then head to Chicago magazine’s website immediately. http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/January-2013/Let-Us-Prey-Big-Trouble-at-First-Baptist-Church/index.php

    Chicago’s Bryan Smith wrote a detailed investigative piece that reveals a culture of misogyny, sexual and physical abuse and literal interpretations of the Bible at First Baptist that precede Schaap’s crimes by decades, were tolerated by the church’s deacons and may have been carried forward by graduates of the church’s Pastor Schools and graduates of its university, Hyles-Anderson College.

    Jeri Massi, who documents sexual abuse of children among Christian fundamentalists, told Smith the sheer volume of allegations connected to First Baptist is “astonishing.”

    Examples from First Baptist “take in everything: pedophilia, violence, defamation of the innocent to protect the guilty, heresies against Christian doctrine, defiance against lawful authority. . . .” And all this barely half an hour’s drive from downtown Chicago.

    Websites dedicated to tracking the suspected crimes of Christian fundamentalists have documented a dozen cases across the country of preachers whose actions have led to a litany of arrests and civil lawsuits. Few are as high profile as Schaap, who agreed to a plea deal in September and said at his hearing he was not aware of the federal laws against transporting minors across state lines to have sex. But Schaap was merely following in the footsteps of his father-in-law, Jack Hyles, who transformed First Baptist from a sleepy Indiana church into the 14th largest church in the country.

    Hyles did so with an iron fist and an authoritarian manner that would make dictators look like consensus builders. Hyles advocated corporate punishment of children as a Godly duty.

    Spanking “should be deliberate and last at least ten or fifteen minutes,” he continued. The blows “should be painful and should last . . . until the child is crying, not tears of anger but tears of a broken will.” They should “leave stripes” if need be. The age at which such punishment should begin? Infancy.

    Smith spoke with Linda Murphrey, Hyles’ middle daughter, who described parishioners as “zombies.” Smith also touched upon the methods First Baptist used to bring children to its bus-based “youth ministry” that still is in effect today. When the word of God didn’t work, recruiters used things like ice cream, goldfish and pony rides to attract kids. If these men weren’t involved with a church they would have had to register as sex offenders. (Disclosure: As a 9-year-old, I briefly attended First Baptist services via the youth ministry and the methods Smith lists only scratches the surface.)

    When infidelities such as extramarital affairs were revealed by members of the church, Hyles and his deacons would lay the blame on what a man’s wife did to lead him astray. Jack Hyles was named as a defendant in a 1997 lawsuit filed by a 42-year-old woman who attended the church, who claimed she was raped and beaten multiple times between 1991 and 1996.
    We wrote when Schaap was arrested of his tendencies toward misogyny and sexism in his sermons; he often referred to a relationship with God in a sexual context. Chicago’s Whet Moser discovered a video of one of Schaap’s sermons titled “The Polished Shaft.” As you can see, Schaap touches on all the interpretations of the phrase. see video at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Tr0UpQXYkGs

    Schaap will be sentenced for his crimes in January; he faces at least 10 years in prison.


  6. Quebec City pastor under investigation for child abuse

    Baptist pastor allegedly subjected seven young boys to confinement, psychological control and physical abuse

    By: Allan Woods Quebec Bureau Toronto Star September 30 2015

    MONTREAL—Quebec City police say they are investigating allegations of abuse involving a religious leader accused of keeping at least seven young boys confined in his basement — in one case for 13 years.

    At least three of the alleged victims testified they were handed over to the Baptist pastor by their parents at a young age and forced to live in the basement of the home he shared with his wife and children, according to court documents.

    The boys, who were ages 5, 8 and 10 when their alleged ordeals began, were home-schooled by the pastor and taught a rigid interpretation of the Bible, according to the boys’ testimony summarized in Quebec family court judgments that ordered two boys into foster care earlier this year.

    When the pastor’s orders were disobeyed, the boys testified they suffered cruel and severe punishments such as slaps and punches, the withholding of food and water or being subjected to extreme physical exercise, according to the court judgments.

    A court order prevents the publication of any information that would identify the victims. The Star is not naming the pastor or the church. The pastor did not respond to multiple telephone messages and emails on Wednesday requesting an interview.

    Quebec City police confirmed they have been investigating the allegations contained in the court documents since November 2014, but would not disclose the name of the individual allegedly responsible for the acts. No charges have been laid in the case.

    The first child arrived in the pastor’s home in September 2001 at age 8. The boy testified in a family court hearing in February 2015 that his parents placed him in the pastor’s care because he was “a disruptive child.”

    Over the next 13 years, six other children would later join him in the pastor’s basement before he managed to escape in August 2014 at the age of 21.

    “I was his slave,” he testified. “I was brainwashed.”

    According to his testimony, another child, who lived with the pastor from the time he was 10 to 16, between 2008 and 2014, was seen as “lazy” by the pastor and allegedly singled out for punishment.

    “The first (example) goes back about a year when (he) had to perform 8,000 ‘burpees’ (a full body exercise) in a single day without drinking or eating. The other children counted . . . . In another punishment, (he) was deprived of food for 10 consecutive meals,” he testified.

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  7. That second child is now 17. At his custody hearing in February 2015, he said he still viewed the pastor as “his father,” according to a summary of his testimony contained in Judge Claude Tremblay’s ruling.

    “He would be open to returning to live with the pastor who ‘taught him to be loyal and submissive, to respect authority and to obey,’ ” the judge wrote.

    A third victim allegedly spent a decade, between 2004 and 2014, under the pastor’s control. He testified at his custody hearing in April that he was forced to stand in a corner without moving from morning until night for 41 straight days and had daily water rations so strict that the pastor forced him to leave the door open to ensure he didn’t drink from the faucet.

    The alleged control was also psychological: “Each morning he had to confess his sins to (the pastor) who wanted to know if he had masturbated or if he had had sexual thoughts,” Quebec Court Judge Andrée Bergeron, wrote in her judgment ordering the boy, now a teenager, into foster care.

    Child protection authorities started looking into that case in August 2013. The criminal investigation was launched last November, when the director of youth protection for the Quebec City region received a report about the welfare of the boy who was allegedly forced to perform burpees.

    The head of the child-protection agency confirmed the investigation into the allegations but would not discuss details of the case. He said situations where children are under the control of an adult and cut off from schools or other public networks are “complex.”

    “In a situation like these we are often meeting children who are prepared for our arrival, who have been prepared on what to say, to the police. That presents a problem because they know what to say, what information to give us to appease us,” Patrick Corriveau said.

    “That (is) where it is important for someone from the environment to risk saying what’s happening, and say it loud and clear to help us in our work.”


  8. Chicago Pastor Accused of Unholy Abuse Against Underage Girl

    by Brandy Zadrozny March 26, 2016

    A prominent preacher on the South Side has been charged with sexually abusing a minor—but he’s still in the pulpit this Easter.

    Prominent pastor Rev. George Waddles Sr. will be preaching Easter Sunday at Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church on Chicago’s South Side—as he has for the last 29 years—despite evidence that he may have sexually molested a young girl in his office during counseling sessions.

    Waddles has pleaded not guilty to aggravated criminal sexual abuse, a felony that carries a potential seven-year prison sentence.

    According to Cook County prosecutors, who laid out their case during a bond hearing in September 2015, the 67-year-old Rev. Waddles had known the alleged victim since she was a toddler. The girl—whom The Daily Beast is not naming because she is a minor and an alleged victim of sexual abuse—and her family had dutifully attended services multiple times a week and her mother even taught Sunday school at Zion Hill.

    By the time the girl was 13, in 2011, Assistant State’s Attorney Tara Pease-Harkin said, Waddles—who has a master’s degree in social work—was privately counseling her in his office. Within a year, the sessions between the pastor and the teen allegedly became “inappropriate.”

    Prosecutors said that from 2012 to 2014, Waddles told the girl that he had been dreaming about her and thinking about her when she wasn’t around. He asked, and she refused, to lift her shirt, and he tried to kiss and hug her at the end of counseling sessions.

    On two different occasions, Waddles tried to inappropriately touch the girl and apologized when she refused, Cook County State’s Attorney’s spokesman Steve Campbell told The Daily Beast.

    In 2014, Waddles allegedly asked the then-15-year-old girl to sit on his lap. When she did, he put his hand inside her pants, and inside her underwear. She left his office and told her mother a month later.

    The mother and daughter confronted Waddles at a meeting in his office, and later with Waddles’s wife, Karen Waddles, present, Pease-Harkin said. (In an unrelated Facebook post a few months earlier, Karen Waddles
    wrote that she was “concerned about what’s happening with our young girls. They’re becoming sexualized at an early age and it’s hard to know how to protect them…I think the church must speak up—we need to set standards, live by those standards ourselves, and hold each other accountable.”)

    From that meeting allegedly came an admission from Waddles that he had inappropriately touched the girl as well as a request that the pair not go to police—all secretly recorded by the girl’s mother on her cellphone, prosecutors say.

    Such an admission, if it is allowed in court and it indeed shows what Pease-Harkin suggests, could be a particularly damning piece of evidence. Though Illinois has strict privacy laws which regulate the recording of public conversations, Waddles’s taped confession might meet the criteria for an exception to the law, according to Eric Johnson, a professor at University of Illinois College of Law.

    Ticking off the statutory exceptions to state law, Johnson noted that since the alleged victim’s mother wasn’t recording at the behest of police, was participating in the conversation, and suspected Waddles had committed a crime against her daughter, “it’s my guess that the recording will be admissible,” Johnson told The Daily Beast in an email.

    At the September hearing, Pease-Harkin also said that two other women had come forward claiming to be victims of Waddles’s abuse. One who reported unwanted hugs and kisses in 1996 when she was 11 also claimed Waddles made her touch his penis. Another said he tried to hug and kiss her during office counseling session in 2006, and wouldn’t allow her to leave his office. No criminal charges were ever filed in these cases.

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  9. A spokeswoman from the states Department of Children and Family Services told the Chicago Tribune an agency investigation did not find that abuse had occurred.

    Waddles turned himself into police on Sept. 29, 2015, and according to prosecutors, made “a positive disclosure” to detectives consistent with the girl’s story.

    Waddles was released from jail, and a judge ruled he would be allowed to continue to perform his duties as pastor, but could have no contact with anyone under the age of 18 without another adult present.

    Calls to Waddles and Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church were not returned. When called for comment, Waddles’s attorney, Marc Salone, said, “You mean any comment besides the presumption of innocence guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution? I believe in the Constitution. I think we should let the courts decide.”

    “At some point. the trial will happen and the court, and not the court of popular opinion, will decide every defendant’s fate,” Salone said.

    But according to the girl and her family, the only person being treated like a criminal in this case is the alleged victim.

    In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, the family said that they had been shunned by their former congregation and were receiving weekly intimidating phone calls. At the same time, according to the Tribune, Waddles has remained in the pulpit, and been invited to speak at other churches. His congregation celebrated the anniversary of his service with a special program, and offered prayers and words of encouragement on the church’s Facebook page, which has since gone private. The judge also granted Waddles’s request to travel to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where he preached at Greater Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church on its 19th anniversary.

    Three weeks before he was charged, at the National Baptist Convention (NBC), Waddles resigned as president of the group’s Congress of Christian Education. NBC president Jerry Young addressed the “street talk” about Waddles’s resignation at the convention and said he was not fired, but was stepping down for unspecified health reasons. (In arresting documents, Waddles reported taking medication for hypertension and a heart condition.)

    “When you’re so wrapped up in it, it’s hard to see the truth,” the alleged victim told a Tribune reporter.
    “They see him as God. They don’t do what God says. They do what he says.”

    “You’re supposed to be championed for doing what’s right,” her mother said.

    The reaction to rally around the accused, especially when he is in a position of power, is all too common, said Barbara Blaine, founder and president of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, a support group for sexual-abuse survivors.

    Blaine has been to Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church to pass out fliers to churchgoers urging them to stand with the alleged victim and remove Waddles from ministry until the case is resolved, but church officials and hired security kept her away from the parishioners, she said.

    Blaine plans to go back on Sunday, April 24, the day before Waddles’s next court appearance.

    Since starting her group 27 years ago, Blaine—herself a survivor of abuse—told The Daily Beast, “It never ceases to amaze me how parishioners still will not believe that their pastor could do such a thing, as if the barometer is, ‘If I know the accused, it couldn’t be true.’”

    “We all know perpetrators, we just don’t know we know them,” she said.