Nate Morales: Possible Conflicting Statement by Covenant Life Church

What distresses me at times is that I meet a lot of people in their 40's, 50's, 60's, who still say they're a victim of child abuse. Dave Pelzer 


Today, I will do two separate posts due to the time sensitivity of both situations. The second will be an update on the Calvary Chapel situation in which the alleged abuser pastor is suing his son.

The Nate Morales arrest is significant. It appears obvious that SGM and Covenant Life Church (CLC) are concerned about this, as well they should be. The CLC official statement appears to be in conflict with police reports. Obviously, this is one for the lawyers to work out but, if I were in the shoes of some of the defendants, I would be very worried indeed.

On February 6, CLC  published a Response to News Reports (about the Nate Morales arrest) here 

 Contrary to the impression left by the news reports, Covenant Life Church had no knowledge of such abuse until many years after the abuse when an adult who had been victimized as a child came forward.

However, here is a statement from the Washington Examiner which wrote an article on the arrest, "Former Christian School teacher accused of molesting boys."

The victim's father told detectives that he talked with pastors about Morales, but there were "concerns of tarnished reputations," and no police report was made.

Police interviewed two pastors who confirmed that they talked to Morales about the allegations that he was abusing boys.

One pastor, Ernest Boisvert, told police that "normally the church would appeal to the accused to stop his criminal behavior and then, should it not stop, they would alert people that the person is not acting in a Christian manner," according to police.

Boisvert said he "took his cues from the families of the victims," who did not indicate they wanted to notify police, charging documents said.

If the statements, which conflict with CLC's version of events, prove to be true, it will be devastating to the defendants. My guess is this will be the emphasis of the defense after the First Amendment nonsense gets summarily thrown out of court. This sort of approach could harm the defense because it will be seen, rightly or wrongly, as an attempt at cover up.The Catholic church has paved the way on this issue.

I found the following comment in the comment section of that article insightful into the perspective of an apparent outsider. Folks, the SGM mess is beginning to attract the attention of the media and a watching world. 

Another church declines accountability for the vile behavior of its own employees though leadership was aware of it for years. A criminal who assaults children must be stopped, regardless of the church's religious beliefs, or misguided notions of forgiveness. How many more children has this foul actor assaulted since, in Nevada or elsewhere? It is in that regard that the outcome here is the same as if Covenant Life had actively endorsed this behavior. 

Here is another article which appears to contradict the statements made by CLC. The Gazette, a local Rockville/Gaithersburg newspaper reported the following in discussing Nate Morales' trial date. I think the statement by the founder of the school is important. It appears he claims that he had no knowledge of this abuse until recently. However it is alleged that CLC pastors were informed of the abuse and did not deal with it, allegedly,  at the request of the parents. So, if this is proven to be true, would that might mean that CLC deliberately chose NOT to notify the school?

Police say the abuses occurred while he worked at Montgomery County Covenant Academy, a different institution.

Covenant Academy closed in 1991, said Thurlow Switzer, the founder of the school.

“Nothing came to our attention while [Morales] was working on our staff,” Switzer told The Gazette on Friday. “Hearing this now is very sad.”

A statement on the church’s website read: “Mr. Morales, though a church member at the time, was never a pastor in Covenant Life Church nor a teacher in Covenant Life School.

The sister of one victim told her pastor of the abuse, according to Morales’ case file. When the investigating detective questioned church officials, “They acknowledged learning of the abuse, however indicated that the families, at that time, did not want to come forward. They recalled speaking with Morales who acknowledged wrong doing but with no specifics or details about the incident,” according to the charging documents.

I have obtained a copy of the indictment of Nathan Morales-criminal number 121884. There are four victims named specifically. I want to commend these men for stepping forward to report this horrific abuse from their childhood. Such transparency, knowing that they will be deposed and be called to testify, makes them heroes in my book. I have chosen not to make their names public in this forum out of respect for maintaining what little privacy they still enjoy.

There are ten counts which involve 4 named minors. The charges include "Sex Abuse of a Minor" and" Sex Offense Second Degree".

I would ask that all who read this post take a moment now and pray for these brave men who I believe were horribly abused by a pedophile and then ignored by callous individuals. If this is proven in court, the word "shame" should be hung over the individuals and entities who knew of this behavior and chose to deep six it. 

Last night I had a hard time sleeping as I contemplated writing these two posts. If any of these hero victims are reading this, please know, late last night, around 1:00 AM, Dee was praying for you with tears running down her cheeks.


Nate Morales: Possible Conflicting Statement by Covenant Life Church — 30 Comments

  1. An update from SGM Survivors:

    "At a family meeting this past Tuesday night, Mark Altrogge announced that Sovereign Grace Church of Indiana, PA is ending its partnership with Sovereign Grace Ministries.

    The primary reason given is “an erosion of trust concerning the leadership of SGM.” A more formal statement of reasons will be released later this week."

    John Piper is propping up C.J. Mahaney while the dominoes continue to fall.

  2. I want to say thank you to you two, Deb & Dee, for your compassion for victims, and your tireless effort to shine a light in dark places. Thank you.

  3. Eagle,

    Thanks!  Ditto.


    I have always admired you for how you fearlessly stand up for victims, especially those who have been hurt by pedophiles. You go girl!

  4. Eagle

    To the day I die, I will speak up for the victims, much to the dismay of many. It is in my DNA.

  5. I am so proud of these men. You are heroes. You have sacrificed, so that other little boys will be protected. I thank you with tears in my eyes.

  6. Yes, these men are heroes and so are Dee and Deb! Thank you all so much. Gentlemen, may the God of all hope bring you healing and peace and may He continue to use for good what was intended for evil! Because of you Nate’s abusing days are over!

    And just one added detail, because this has caused confusion. Ernest Boisvert is the same as Robin Boisvert, which is the name by which he was more commonly known. (One of them is his first and the other is his middle name.)

  7. Deb & Dee,
    Thank you for this post.

    To the men coming forward, you have our prayers!

    You have more commpassion than any SGM pastor we ever met.

  8. Eagle

    You have a huge heart. I sensed that when you first came to this blog. That is why it hurts so much when you see abuse and it makes you mad.  You have the heart of Jesus.

  9. I hope the SGM mess not only attracts the attention of the media and a watching world, but also state lawmakers and advocates for children. According to the testimonies of others from SGM churches, they were councelled by the ministry to not go to authorities. I highly doubt it was the parents who made the decision to keep it within the church. We need stronger laws in all states to REQUIRE any adult who becomes aware of child sexual abuse to report it to authorities. Sexual abuse of children is a crime and should be treated as such. Freedom of religion does not give one authority to commit or cover up crimes. The fact that these alleged “pastors” protected the abusers makes them part of a cult in my opinion.

  10. “Last night I had a hard time sleeping as I contemplated writing these two posts.” Thank you, thank you, thank you. Perhaps if more people have trouble sleeping in regard to the horrors of sexual abuse of children in churches, unconscionable statute of limitation laws, and pastors and religious professionals who turn their backs on victims, healing will truly begin for the victims, and spread to our dear, beloved culture!

  11. dee wrote:

    To the day I die, I will speak up for the victims, much to the dismay of many. It is in my DNA.

    Sincerely Dee, you are made of the same stuff as Harriet Beecher Stowe, William Lloyd Garrison, and Mother Jones.

  12. Eagle wrote:

    So I would be curious to know how many other people lurking or reading became disillusiond with Piper when you see him standing up and supporting Mahaney/Driscoll.

    Unfortunately, few people invest their intellect and energy in submitting these authors to a background check; it would be the wise thing for a reader to do in this day and age (any age for that matter), cliche as it sounds–one cannot simply rely on word-of-mouth endorsements. That is why I go to dead authors when I want learn something about doctrine and apologetics. Dead authors are typically more forthcoming than the living ones, their lives and letters have run their full course…their closets are easier to peer into as well. I also find the prose of dead writers more inventive and enjoyable to read than what I see coming from some of the living…I will take an Erasmus any day over a Piper. My approach may appear a bit extreme, but it works. Oh well, it is what it is…hopefully people will gain some critical reading skills after observing all the goings on.

  13. Dee and Deb, I don’t know how you do it, but I thank God for your determined voices. You stand on the edge of a pit of vileness and keep reaching out to the victims and speaking the compassion of Christ. May you stay strong and find God’s perfect balance between passionate mercy and self-care.

    If you don’t hear much from me, it is because we will be travelling for the next week (in South Australia — my husband needs a break) and will only have limited internet access

  14. The conflicting statements are troubling, as are Boisvert’s. To say “CLC” never knew anything is ambiguous to start with; an organization cannot know anything, only people can know. So the statement should be whether or not men who were pastors at the time of abuse or any time after the abuse knew; what they knew; and when they knew it.

    I haven’t seen the police report, only the newspaper article, and we all know that news pieces often leave out important pieces of information. But Boisvert’s comments to the effect that if perps were to reoffend, THEN the congregation would be told they were acting in an unChristian way. Surely, he didn’t say anything that foolish! It’s as if they would tell a perp, ‘We’ll let you off this time, but if you do it again, you’re in hot water. Here, now sign up to help in youth group.’ And then, passing the buck by saying he took his cues from parents?

    I suppose, in the case of minor children, it would have to be parents who make the choice whether or not to prosecute? Maybe the laws were different in 89-93, and it has already been established that in Maryland, clergy are exempt from the legal obligation to report, but that can probably be taken apart by a good attorney.

    I can, in some ways, come up with a glimpse of understanding if parents did not want to put their children / family through the trauma of a trial. And 20 years ago, not as much was known about pedophilia. It may not have been understood that failing to prosecute was, in fact, enabling the pedophile to reoffend, thereby putting how many more innocent children in harm’s way. It is a horrible scenario.

    I would like to add my thanks to the men who have come forward to tell the truth. You have my utmost admiration, and I pray that God will continue the healing process in you, that He will bless you beyond measure. There are unknown young boys out there who will never know what you’ve done to protect them, but you are their heroes nonetheless. Heroes to the rest of us as well.

  15. @ Eagle:
    Another problem for the reader: the field of Protestant thought (for lack of a better term) is restricted by a two party system. For the reformed community, Piper, Macarthur, and company are all there is to read; regrettably, these authors all offer the same take on the nonessentials (complementarianism in particular) and render these doctrines as gospel. Thus both the odd reformed egalitarian (and those do exist) and the many decent, kind, and concerned Calvinist complementarians (and many more of those exist) may find that they have very little choice in terms of reading. That is why we need some new, independent voices entering the discourse, writers that do not submit to the polarizing restrictions of theological “parties.”

  16. I never was a big fan of Piper but I was at a church where most have already sainted him. The effect this theology has on people who buy in caused me to rather be a none than a part of neo reformed Christianity. I am thankful that this theology made me so angry. It motivated me to dig deeper and find a deeper Christianity in studying church history and worshipping in a Lutheran church.

    Eagle you are where I was a year ago. Keep digging and find a tribe of believers where you fit and you will find peace like I have.
    @ Eagle:

  17. @ Eagle:

    No offense taken. I grew up low church so I found the high church experience a nice change. I am sure you will find the right place for you. Just sharing my journey a bit and the loss of faith that theology kicked me into. Anytime you’re in Kansas would love to meet up. I think we would have some witty banter over a few beers.

  18. @ Eagle:
    I think the first time I became disillusioned with Piper was when he wholeheartedly supported Rick Warren and “The Purpose-Driven Life.” He had no problem with the latter, and apparently refused to see that Warren is a chameleon who tailors his message to whatever crowd he is speaking to. His interview with Warren was a joke: he ended by asking questions that could only be answered by “yes” or “no,” and it was obvious what Piper wanted to hear. I think Piper is enamored by celebs who have a lot of power and make a lot of money, and no one is bigger in those areas, in the Christian world, than Warren. Likewise his support of Driscoll, Mahaney, etc.

  19. Eagle wrote:

    Everyone needs to find their way to an environment they call home.

    For some of us, that “home” is not in an organization. I personally have absolutely no desire to ever be in a “church” again, nor do I see it as a requirement, as many well-meaning but misguided church people assert.

  20. I would like to add a different perspective, one that is based on the fact that the article mentioned above is vastly different than the one published in print. Additionally there are some comments that I feel should be made.

    Morales seemed to only be a member at CLC and that the pastors were only made aware of what had happened years after the events had taken place. Could it be that the pastors made no move since the “tarnished reputations” would be that of the child and family involved? Who wants to be known as a child who has been molested? Maybe this is why the family didn’t want the pastors to call the police. For any child/adult to admit to being molested is not easy and could easily have taken years for the individual to come to terms with in order to share that with the his parents or even a pastor.

  21. TheG
    TheG Id like to offer another perspective as well.

    What happened was a sin. The incidences of molestation happened repeatedly. Sin has a systemic effect. So why the lack of vigilance over this and similar matters? It certainly cannot be argued that there was a lack of vigilance over matters of sin among the leadership in CLC.

    Take for example their vigilance over the issue of FEMINISM. CJ & Carolyn were on guard against the “evil” influence of women in the church 24/7. They repeatedly promoted the belief that feminism was an evil influence in the culture, and its effect must be resisted from gaining any kind of expression within the hallowed halls of CLC. Feminism was a sin and they referred to it as “air pollution” that must be cleansed and filtered out of the air people breathed withinthe atmosphere of CLC/SGM. To combat FEMINISM and the threat women presented to the sanctity of life, Carolyn made a career out of telling women their place was in the home and to not take any initiative to lead anywhere but to promote the leadership of all men in the church and in the home. CJ, Carolyn & the pastors made sure women were excluded from ministry and regarded as subordinates throughout the entire ministry of the church, and did so with utmost vigilance.

    Take for example their utmost vigilance about DATING. Dating was absolutely discouraged. Young women and men were kept at arms length from each other. One high school graduation party, planned by a committee of parents, involved English Country dancing as part of the festivities and was nearly called off by the pastors because they didnt think it was appropriate for students to dance with anyone other than their parents. Holding hands, kissing, dating, sexual expression of any kind among young people was regarded as extremely shameful. Even when a couple got together, their relationship was to follow the guidelines as outlined by Josh Harris’s books, “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” and “Boy Meets Girl.” There’s no doubt the pastors and the Mahaney’s were all vigilant in this area, constantly harping on the issue of modesty for the girls/women and if a girl got involved with some guy, there was never any issue with trying to protect her reputation. If a female was involved in a circumstance that had sexual overtones, including using derogatory expressions against guys or the hem of their skirts at CLS, they were ostracized and disciplined for it with little effort made to protect their reputations from being tarnished. Imagine what would have happened if a female adult member of CLC had been involved sexually with boys in CLS. Do you think think as much energy would have been put into keeping the incidences quiet and to protect the reputation of the adult female who was shielded from prosecution? Do you think she would have continued to function within the church as a normal member and trusted that after her “confession” it would be believed that all was well and she wasnt really a threat? And would her actions have been covered over as though they hadnt caused some serious corruption within the church, enough to be glossed over and discouraged from being reported to the police?

    With all the boasting CJ & his staff did about how centered in the gospel they were, and how vigilant they were in their lives and in the life of the church about confronting sin, you have to wonder why this MAN and his SEXUAL SINS were given a pass. Was the fact he was a man and his sin involved other males not as bad as issues of sin that occurred between men and women? Was an atmosphere of male sexual deviance tolerated within the hallowed halls of CLC as opposed to feminism and female sexual deviance? Was male sexual deviance regarded as less sinful compared to the imagined sexual deviance of women who were always being watched?

    I think one of the signs of legalistic system is that it focuses you on particular rules and the particular sins of breaking those rules, when all the while there are other sins that are worse or more egregious that are overlooked as having no real consequence. The men were all ready to stone the woman, until Jesus one by one showed them they were in no position to throw one at her. But within the legalistic culture the Pharisees had created, the men were primed and ready to brutally kill her. They dragged her out and had no qualms about tarnishing her reputation, assigning to her sin worthy of death. But where was the man? Maybe he continued on as a religious leader, eventually relocating to Sin City where he was eventually arrested and extradicted to Maryland by the governing auhorities who had a better sense of sin than did the religious leaders.

    Will Sovereign Grace Ministries and its leaders, past and present, be able to convince a judge and jury that their definitions of sin are not subject to or above the law?

  22. TheG

    Wecome to TWW. 

    I’m afraid that dog don’t hunt. If there existed the possibilty of the moelstaton of other children, it is morally reprehensible to not make a report to the authorities and not t o warn all the families in the church or any visitor who landed in the church. letter should have been sent out immediately so that kids could be kept safe. Perhaps they did so but no one has reported such action. I wonder why… 

    Not to have done so is to insure that others will highly likely be harmed. In fact, by not reporting these incidents, it is my opinion that the pastors are partially responsible and morallu culpable for any molestation that occurred after their notification. I know of another situation, outside of SGM, in which the pastors did not alert authorities about a report they received about pedophile like behavior. Their actions directly resulted in some kids being horribly (and I mean horrible, stomach turning horror) for another full year when the police found the guy molesting outside of the church. Thank God for the authorties who are far more likely to take the abuse of kids more seriously than many churches.

    You seem to think that the authorities are inept and cannot handle the reports with discretion. In these instances, confidentiality is maintained and the childrens names are not used, as you can clearly see in the lawsuit. Also, as you probably know,it is reported that  some of the pedophiles were reported by the families, over the objections of some in the church.

    Boy, oh boy, if this is used as a defense, it will be really, really embarassing when the media picks up on it. Letter to the editor will fly.

    BTW-it appears that churches are deserting SGM in droves. If everything is pure as the dirven snow, why would they want to leave such a fine, upstanding organization? Not looking good. It will look even worse if, and when, more is revealed which might happen in the near future.

  23. Totally Eagle. They created a sick system. A system that focused on women being the ultimate source of the cause of sexual predation and sin. A system that put the burden on women to be modest and not to cause men to lust. But what happens when a man is found lusting after boys and there’s no woman to blame? Wheres the sin in that? Hmm, guess we’ll keep that one on the down-low.

    And while Brent Detwiler is so fond of saying he knew nothing about Nate Morales and apparently thinks Paula Poe was involved (?) and that that if he had known of Morales he would have done something yada yada, there’s NO DOUBT Brent Detwiler was one of the Pharisees of SGM who helped create the atmosphere for all this to have happened in. Do we know of any other cases where Brent became aware of incidences of male on male misconduct similar to the Morales incidents and failed to respond like his FELLOW SGM LEADERS that he was banded to failed to respond? Detwiler was the KING of Female Modesty and Courtship rules. He wrote the scripts! All of which contributed to the problems of targeting women as the focus sexual sin & temptation and not men in SGM. As a pastor for over 30 years, is he maintaining he never knew of or personally dealt with any similar homosexual issues? Or is he just saying he didnt know about the specific incidences involving Morales and of those persons involved in the lawsuits?

  24. @ TheG:

    “Could it be that the pastors made no move since the “tarnished reputations” would be that of the child and family involved?

    This “sounds” so appealing and kind and humble and good, doesn’t it? And let me also say that it is no easy thing for abused people to come forward. Nor was it easy for them to endure abuse. It was horrific, life killing, and heart retching. One is never the same, and it is up to the individual as to whether they can come forward or not.

    All this said, the quote above is a lie from the pit of hell that should never be spread. The victims are NOT tarnished and the victims did NOTHING wrong. This is the very lie that allows abusers to continue their abuse with a smile on their face. People who say this are cowards and don’t want to do the hard work of facing the truth. ABUSERS are the ones who are tarnished and evil and need to be silenced from their sickening pursuits, not the innocent people who are/were abused. Society has only started really dealing with this issue in the past 50 years or so. It has always been the “shshshsh – quiet” sin because you don’t want to tarnish yourself or your family (a
    lie) THOSE statements need to stop. The truth is what sets people free — not lies. (rant over)

  25. @ TheG:

    One more thing . . . this is exactly why an outside party (the state) needs to be contacted to investigate — it is incredibly difficult for the victims and/or their families to deal with situation. It takes a third party (anyone — pastors, friends, teachers) to do the actual reporting so that an investigation can even take place.

  26. Bridget

    Awesome, awesome comment. 

    Could it be that the pastors made no move since the “tarnished reputations” would be that of the child and family involved?

    All this said, the quote above is a lie from the pit of hell that should never be spread. The victims are NOT tarnished and the victims did NOTHING wrong. This is the very lie that allows abusers to continue their abuse with a smile on their face. People who say this are cowards and don’t want to do the hard work of facing the truth. ABUSERS are the ones who are tarnished and evil and need to be silenced from their sickening pursuits, not the innocent people who are/were abused.

  27. If the subject here was murder instead of child abuse, would the arguments of “not reporting to protect reputations” be used? How about…”well, it happened a long time ago??” Or, “we need to show some grace and stop gossiping.”

    It seems like the real issue here is people’s opinions about the gravity of child abuse, particularly sexual abuse. Sexual abuse of children is a crime, and there is high likelihood of repeat offense. What else is there to discuss?

  28. Kristin wrote:

    If the subject here was murder instead of child abuse, would the arguments of “not reporting to protect reputations” be used? How about…”well, it happened a long time ago??” Or, “we need to show some grace and stop gossiping.”

    It seems like the real issue here is people’s opinions about the gravity of child abuse, particularly sexual abuse. Sexual abuse of children is a crime, and there is high likelihood of repeat offense. What else is there to discuss?

    anon 1 wrote:

    kristin, I think you have nailed it.

    Part of the reason these comments make a lot of sense to me is because of an ethics principle I learned 40 years ago from one of my favorite professors in college: Arnold Satterthwait. Dr. Satterthwait was one of the first linguists to work on computer-aided language translation. A brilliant man, he also had depth of character to match his intellect.

    In his course on *Computers and Society*, he shared his personal background because it was crucial to the context of social ethics being impacted by these relatively newfangled machines. As a Dutch Quaker, he strongly believed in the value of human life and therefore he spent the years of World War II in prison because he was a conscientious objector against all forms of war and violence. He even refused to serve in military medic units, as he believed that still supported war efforts. So, when this man of such conscience and conviction shared the ethics problem of “The Fallacy of the Beard,” I took note.

    This moral/ethical dilemma is based on a question that goes like this: “If a man has a beard and you pluck hairs from it one at a time, when does he no longer have a beard?”

    I suspect Dr. Sattherthwait would say the violation occurs not with the final hair being pulled out, nor even with the very first tug – but actually, even when toying with the idea and refusing to listen to conscience that the very act itself is wrong. That’s why it’s a fallacy; the real issue is not about when the beard is gone …

    If this doesn’t seem to apply here, then consider this: If church leaders have determined not to report to the civil authorities a seemingly “lesser” crime of violence and/or violation FOR ANY REASON, why do we expect they will report a “greater” crime — or even any crime — for RIGHT reasons? They’ve already shown the direction of their decision-making, the deficiencies of their belief systems, and the lack of integrity in their own character. The reputation of victims or victims’ families is irrelevant. Failure to report the crime was itself an additional violation of the victim, and, as many others have noted, gave perpetrators additional time for additional violations and victims. Each such violation, another beard hair plucked.

    And consider this: Perhaps the pastors’ and SGM network’s own reputations were “the beard” here … and after years of these types of decisions to violate through silence, that “beard” has gotten pretty sparse. Hence, a number of former member churches have left, citing “an erosion of trust concerning the leadership of SGM.”

  29. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    The reputation of victims or victims’ families is irrelevant. Failure to report the crime was itself an additional violation of the victim

    So true. They contributed to the further suffering of the victims. And I think it will be proved in court that when one of the pastors made a decision on important matters he did so after having consulted with the other pastors or by following company policy, which should lead to CJ’s involvement in the cover up of these crimes. Can you imagine these guys acting independently, in a hierarchical system, without clearing things with the top?

    Dr. Satterthwait was one of the first linguists…

    With a name like that it’s no surprise he became a linguist! Imagine all those years spent having to pronounce and spell his name for others. Might as well make a profession out of it! 😀