Yet another story of egregious crime committed in the name of Jesus comes out of Alabama this week. Mark Charles Andrews, pastor of the United Pentecostal Church, faces life in prison for decades of raping and torturing young girls from what is described as a “heavily conservative” congregation.
One of the girls, now grown and only identified as “Jane,” tells a story as horrifying as anything you could find on a bookshelf. She says she was “groomed” for sexual abuse as young as seven, and that she and other young girls from the church were made to keep their appearances plain and their skirts long. She told AL.Com:
He was the leader, and we were the sacrifices. I think there were a lot of people who were ashamed to come forward.
Along with abusing her with several foreign objects, including pens, a letter opener, a flashlight and a figurine to “prepare her” for sexual abuse, Jane says the monster from her own personal hell raped her on her own father’s grave when she was nine years-old:
He told me if I didn’t say anything, he would come back and put flowers on the grave. If I did, he said demons would come and get me from my bed.
This story is all too common. Religious figures using the fear of biblical reprisals against children who are supposed to trust beyond anyone else because of their closeness to God are being failed, in many cases sending their lives into a tailspin. That’s exactly the case with Jane, who says the trauma of the abuse has caused her issues well into adulthood, including some bad decision-making that landed her in jail.
Andrews was arraigned on Tuesday and is being held on a half-million dollar bond. He was arrested in 2013 on counts of sexual torture, rape, sexual abuse, attempted rape and sodomy. The county prosecutor said the man’s long history of abuse includes at least nine girls that they’re aware of.
If convicted, Andrews will likely spend the rest of his miserable existence in prison where he belongs.
Featured image: familysearch.org