Sovereign Grace Churches Sexual Abuse Coverups Continue

Note from the editor: Brent Detwiler is a friend of mine and the former number two man in the leadership of Sovereign Grace Ministries (now Sovereign Grace Churches). He has permitted me to reprint this article in its entirety. I have made only three editorial changes which are contained within brackets.

Convicted Child Molester Vince Sievert Allowed to Serve as Deacon by Russell Tusing, Mark Prater, & Keith Collins. Predictably His Abuse of Children Continued.  

Saturday, April 20, 2024 at 6:21 PM

Russell Tusing, lead pastor of Sovereign Grace Church in LaGrange, Georgia, was arrested, booked, and jailed without bond on March 15 for sexual battery and child molestation of his 13-year-old daughter.

Detectives for the LaGrange Police Department are putting together their evidence which will be given to the District Attorney’s office who will review it.  Then District Attorney Herb Cranford will determine whether his prosecutors will present the case to the Grand Jury for an indictment.  As of today, the Grand Jury has not been contacted.  That is not unusual.  It takes time.

I have written about Tusing twice before.  The church is part of the Sovereign Grace Churches denomination once led by C.J. Mahaney.  Now it is led by his surrogates.

Below is an excerpt from an email I sent the LaGrange chief of police and a lieutenant.

Russell Tusing, Lead Pastor of Sovereign Grace Church in LaGrange, GA, Arrested for Sexual Battery & Child Molestation
Saturday, March 23, 2024 at 5:32PM

I was one of its founders, served on the Board of Directors for 25 years, and was the #2 leader most of those years.  I left as a matter of conscience and have been exposing the organization the past 13 years.  It has been a national story all that time.  The latest with Russell Tusing comes as no surprise.

Scores of pastors, leaders, and people in the organization have been accused, charged, and found guilty of sex crimes.  Those crimes were covered up on a systemic basis.  Top Christian leaders like Rachael Denhollander and Dr. Albert Mohler Jr. have spoken out about these atrocities.

Pastors have also been exposed for adultery, voyeurism, sexual assault, and solicitation of prostitution.

Here is an excerpt from the second article.

Russell Tusing Is Another in Long Line of Sexually Perverse Leaders in Sovereign Grace Churches. Sarah Tusing Gets Protective Order & Files for Divorce.
Saturday, April 6, 2024 at 11:47PM

Russell has been married to Sarah since 2002, after meeting at Bible College.  They have four children together.

But now Sarah has filed a Complaint for Divorce.  She cites three reasons: 1) emotional and physical abuse, 2) reasonable apprehension of bodily harm, and 3) arrest and charge for molestation of their daughter.

I could continue with numerous other stories of incest, abuse, infidelity, and perversion in Sovereign Grace Churches.  Russell Tusing is just the latest in a long line of perverse hypocrites and deceptive con artists.

Tusing was lauded and applauded by [Mark] Prater, [Keith] Collins and others.  Yet he was an arrogant and self-serving leader in his home and church.  He also who took great pride in his appearance.  He was in love with himself.  I am told he worked limited hours a week for the church and spent much of his time in the gym.

But here’s the main point.  He was so wickedly selfish he thought it was his perverse prerogative to molest his 13 year old daughter.  That reveals a depth of sin and depravity that is going to be evident in other areas of his life.

This third article concerns Vincent (“Vince”) Wayne Sievert.  Sievert was a long-time friend of Tusing and a deacon in the church.  He was also a convicted child molester!  Tusing followed in his wicked ways.

Before Sievert came to Sovereign Grace Church of LaGrange he was a leader in a church called Courts of Praise.  While there, he sexually abused two black girls who lived in a public housing project and were part of the youth ministry.  The leaders of the church knew about it but covered it up.  They never reported it to the police.

Soon after he abused a white girl in the church whose identity and details I know.  The three girls were 13-15 years old.  This time it was reported to law enforcement.   On November 22, 2000 he was convicted for child molestation and sexual battery.  He was sentenced to 15 years’ probation and entered into the Georgia sex registry.  That was a grave error by the court system.  The light sentence did not deter him in the least.

Vincent Wayne Sievert was booked in Troup County, GA for 16-6-4 – CHILD MOLESTATION, 16-6-22.1 – SEXUAL BATTERY  [Convicted Nov. 22, 2000]

Sievert was a sexual predator.  He continued to abuse children immediately after his conviction.  This time his oldest daughter between December 1, 2000 and May 22, 2004.  She was 6 to 9 years old at the time.  The crimes against her were horrific.  They included [numerous occasions of sexual abuse.]  I’ve carefully read the nine-count indictment which goes into detail I’ve not included.

I don’t know why the four years of abuse apparently ended in May 2004.  Vince told his daughter to tell no one.  Did she comply or did she tell her mother, Michelle?  Did Michelle agree to keep it a secret if he stopped?

In any case, Sievert quickly moved on to a friend of his daughter.  “With the intent to arouse and satisfy his sexual desires,” he [sexually abused her] according to the indictment.  This occurred between March 26, 2004, and March 26, 2006.  Who was told this time?

All of this happened in Courts of Praise before it shut down in 2008.  Most of the people there came to Sovereign Grace Church of LaGrange.

Approximately nine years after the molestation of his oldest daughter’s friend, he sexually molested his youngest daughter between May 23, 2014 and May 23, 2015.  She too was told to tell no one.  This occurred when the Sievert family was part of Sovereign Grace Church of LaGrange.

People in the church knew Vince was a convicted sex offender for his crimes against the white girl back in 2000.  Nevertheless, they made him a deacon in 2014 which was the same time he was molesting his youngest daughter.

It was also the same year Sovereign Grace Churches (SGC) adopted the church after a six-year process.  Leading up to the adoption, Vince was intricately involved in the formation of the church’s relationship with SGC.

Sovereign Grace Churches also knew Sievert was a convicted child molester and on the sex offender registry.  So did a lot of people in LaGrange and Troup County.  Yet, his role as a deacon was supported by Mark Prater, the executive director for SGC, and Keith Collins, the regional leader for SGC who directly oversaw the church.

Paul the apostle instructed Timothy in Ephesus (1 Tim. 3:1-11) and Titus in Crete (Tit. 1:5-9) to ordain men to ministry who were above reproach.  It was their responsibility to carefully examine candidates who desired to be overseers, elders, and deacons.  So too their wives.

For example, “These men must also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons if they are beyond reproach” (1 Tim. 3:10).  In Sovereign Grace Churches, you can be a registered sex offender and still be considered beyond reproach.

Prater and Collins failed to do this with Russell Tusing and Vince Sievert.  Therefore, they share responsibility for the emotional, physical, and sexual abuse that occurred in their homes but they will never own it.  So do the leaders in Courts of Praise and Sovereign Grace Church of LaGrange.  That is why Paul the apostle said, “Do not lay hands upon anyone too hastily and thereby share responsibility for the sins of others; keep yourself free from sin” (1 Tim. 5:22).

In context, he is talking about ordaining men as pastors and deacons who do not qualify.  When they sin and harm others, those who hastily ordained them are also guilty of sin.

Shannon Tollerson was a close friend of Michelle Sievert.  She is also a licensed practical nurse (LPN).  Michelle and her girls told Shannon about Vince’s abuse.  As a mandatory reporter, she went straight to Detective Jennie Lawson, who was head of the sex crimes unit in the LaGrange Police Department, the spring of 2017.  She should be highly commended. He was arrestled immediately.

Troup County News reported,

“Authorities were not aware of these acts until March 2017 when an outcry was made and law enforcement immediately began a thorough and complete investigation.”

Sixteen months later on July 13, 2018, he was indicted on nine counts (i.e., two counts of incest, three counts of aggravated child molestation, and four counts of child molestation).

This was major news in LaGrange and Troup County given the horrific nature of the charges and the fact he was a deacon in Sovereign Grace Church.  He was also the owner and operator of ProFinish, a company in LaGrange that specialized in automotive reconditioning.

Three months after the indictment was handed down, the Assistant District Attorney served notice they were seeking a lifelong sentence for Sievert in prison.


COMES NOW THE STATE OF GEORGIA, by and through the assistant district attorney Edward Andrew Case III, and files this Notice in above-styled case.  Pursuant to O.C.G.A. 16-6-4, the State hereby notifies Cliff Rhoades, attorney for the defendant, of the State’s intent to seek a punishment of life imprisonment.

This 12th day of October, 2018.

Respectfully submitted,

Edward Andrew Case III
Assistant District Attorney
Coweta Judicial Circuit

At this point, Sievert copped a plea deal.  Two counts were dropped.  One for incest, the other for aggravated sexual molestation.  It was agreed that four counts would be served concurrently in prison with the remaining count of incest for 20 years.  The two other counts received 25 years’ probation.  I know it is complicated.

The long and short of it.  Instead of life in prison, he got 20 years in prison and 25 years’ probation after he gets out in 2037 at age 66.  Remember, the last time he was on probation (2000-2015) he continued to abuse and I doubt we know the half of it.  He will be even more dangerous on probation a second time.

Here are a couple newspaper stories from December 2018 that tell the story.

Man Gets 50 Years for Child Molestation, Incest | Troup County News ( 
December 31, 2018

Man Gets 50 Years for Child Molestation, Incest 

Earlier this month, a Troup County man pled guilty to multiple counts of child molestation that occurred over a period of 15 years.

On December 11, Vincent Wayne Sievert pled guilty to a single count of Incest, two counts of Aggravated Child Molestation, and four counts of Child Molestation as a result of a negotiated plea agreement with the Coweta Circuit District Attorney’s Office.

According to Assistant District Attorney Drew Case, Sievert engaged in [ multiple counts of sexual abuse] with his oldest daughter between December 2000 and May 2004.  The defendant engaged in these acts on separate occasions when the victim was six to nine years old, instructing his daughter not to tell anyone.

On another occasion, between March 2004 and March 2006, the defendant victimized another child when his daughter had a friend over to their house and he touched her inappropriately.

On yet another occasion, about a decade later, between May 2014 and May 2015, Sievert victimized his other daughter.  The daughter was playing in her room when Sievert came into her room, molested her, and instructed her not to tell anyone.

Authorities were not aware of these acts until March 2017 when an outcry was made and law enforcement immediately began a thorough and complete investigation.

As a result of the negotiated plea agreement, Superior Court Judge W. Travis Sakrison sentenced Sievert to a total of 50 years —20 of which will be served in prison— for all seven counts.

The LaGrange Daily News also published an article.  It said in part.

LaGrange man pleads guilty to child molestation charges
Thursday, December 27, 2018 
By Gabrielle Jansen  

Assistant District Attorney Drew Case said the jury was already picked when Sievert decided to take the plea deal.

“Cases like this are never easy,” Case said.  “It’s hard on the victim, and in this case it’s very hard on these victims.”

“Like many cases, this defendant only decided to take responsibility and plead guilty once the case was called for trial,” said Herb Cranford, district attorney for the Coweta Judicial Circuit, in an email.  “It is [Case’s] hard work on top of the thorough law enforcement investigation that allowed for justice to be done in the case without putting the victims through a trial.”

Case said they felt that justice was served with the trial.

“We’ve felt that the victims got justice in this case, and we’re very grateful for the hard work the Troup County Sheriff’s Office did and their diligence working on it,” Case said.

The District Attorney’s Office had its boot on Sievert’s throat but he waited until the last minute to plead guilty to reduced charges and sentences.  Russell Tusing will do the same thing.

Vince Sievert sexually molested two black girls, one white girl, his two daughters, a friend of his oldest daughter, and his two sons (which has gone unreported).  He also repeatedly committed adultery in 2015-2016 with a woman in Colorado.  This was known to his wife, Tusing, and the leaders but not told to the church.

And yet his wife, Michelle, still puts him forth as an amazing husband and father on her Facebook page (I am not posting family photos).  That is reprehensible!  There is something seriously wrong with her.  Here’s an example as of yesterday that will probably disappear soon.

Michelle Wood Sievert
February 27, 2016 · LaGrange, GA

Isn’t life amazing, today marks 23 years [1993-2016] I’ve been married to this amazing man through thick and thin, ups and downs, I couldn’t imagine being on this journey with anyone else.  I love you Vince Sievert with all my heart, forever and ever, I promise.

Michelle also remains a deaconess in the church.

The naming is mistaken.  Michelle Sievert is on the far left in the white pants.  Russell Tusing and the pastoral advisory committee made her a deaconess in 2021 or 2022 after her husband was sent to the slammer in 2018.  The Bible says this about the wives of deacons.

1 Timothy 3:11 Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things.

That does not characterize her.  She knew about his abuse in 2000.  I am also told she knew about his abuse thereafter but did not report it.  That includes the abuse of her four children.  Finally, she knew about his adultery but did nothing.  She kept promoting him as a man of God.

Her oldest son is Austin Sievert.  He is one of four men on the leadership team.  He should come clean about all he knows and ask his mother to step down as a deaconess.   In fact, Michelle should come clean also.  What did she know?  When did she know it?  What did she do about it?

But here’s the problem.  There is no authentic accountability in the church.  These questions won’t be answered.  Austin won’t tell all.  Michelle won’t tell all.  The leaders won’t tell all.  That includes MJ Hart who is the top leader now.  These matters will be concealed but that should not deter members from pressing for full disclosure.

The church began pursuing a relationship with Sovereign Grace Churches in 2008.  It was adopted in 2014.  Mark Prater made the following statement on the SGC blog.

“I am deeply honored to announce that Sovereign Grace Church of LaGrange, Georgia is now part of Sovereign Grace Churches!

“They have pursued a relationship and affiliation with Sovereign Grace for the past several [six] years. After much prayer, discussion, and assessment, the Southeast Region voted unanimously to adopt Sovereign Grace Church of LaGrange a couple of weeks ago.

“I’m so glad Russell, his pastoral team, and their church are now a part of the Sovereign Grace family.  Please join me in thanking God for this new partnership, and pray that much gospel fruit will be produced through our labors together.”

The ten-year partnership between Sovereign Grace Churches and Sovereign Grace Church of LaGrange has done great harm to the gospel of Jesus Christ.  The church is a reproach.  It should be dissolved and its assets dispersed.  A public and contrite confession should be made to all the townspeople by the pastoral advisory team and the leadership team.

I also hope people in the church demand answers.  They have been kept in the dark for a long time.

For example, why weren’t they told six judges issued a Standing Order Regarding Domestic Relations Actions when Sarah Tusing filed, or planned to file, for divorce in 2014?  Why weren’t they told there was emotional and physical abuse by Russell?

Or, why weren’t they told Vince Sievert committed adultery in 2015-2016.  The leaders knew about it.  Why didn’t they remove him as a deacon?

Or, why didn’t Russell and the leaders explain why Zach Hall suddenly left the church without explanation? He was the worship leader from 2011 to around 2020.  He is also a police officer in the LaGrange Police Department.

When SGC-LaGrange was adopted in 2014, I began sending Zach all my articles.  I did the same with Eddie Wood (Michelle’s father) who is still on the pastoral advisory team and a deacon.  These men knew about Russell and Sarah, and about Vince and Michelle.

I have written Zach but he has not responded.

From: Brent Detwiler
Sent: Wednesday, April 3, 2024 2:04 PM
To: Zach Hall
Subject: Email Address

Could you send me your personal email address?  I’d like to ask a couple questions about your time at SGC-LaGrange.  I’d prefer not to use your professional address.

Brent Detwiler

My Story – Resume – (

From: Brent Detwiler
Sent: Friday, April 5, 2024 2:04 PM
To: Zach Hall
Subject: RE: Email Address

Hi Zach,

Could you tell me why you left SGC-LaGrange around 2020?  That was after Vince’s conviction and before Russell’s arrest.


From: Brent Detwiler
Sent: Friday, April 5, 2024 2:33 PM
To: Zach Hall
Subject: RE: Email Address

One other question.  Vince’s first conviction for child molestation was in 2000.  He was sentenced to 15 years’ probation and entered into the GA sex registry.  Can you tell me why was he allowed to be a deacon [in 2014] in the church?

From: Brent Detwiler
Sent: Thursday, April 11, 2024 2:33 PM
To: Zach Hall
Subject: RE: Email Address


I began sending you my articles in 2014 when you joined Sovereign Grace Churches.  If you read the evidence, you knew about the systemic corruption in the organization including the sexual abuse of children and its cover up.

You suddenly left Sovereign Grace Church of LaGrange around 2020.  That was just after the denomination adamantly refused to do an independent investigation.  Is that the reason for your departure?

You led worship at SGC-L for a decade and were the only other leader Russell allowed to preach on Sundays.  Then you abruptly left the church without any explanation.  I am told you were there one Sunday and gone the next.  All Russell would tell people is you and he had differences.  Why didn’t you let people know your reasons for leaving?

Vince became a deacon in 2014.  You knew he was a sex offender.  You were the top leader after Russell.  Why did you allow this?  Surely you knew he would repeat given your training as a law enforcement officer.

Also, did you know about Sarah filing for divorce in 2014?  If so, why was Russell allowed to continue as the sr. pastor?  Clearly, he did not meet the qualifications of Scripture.

I’ve written Chief Fiveash, Lt. Pritchett, and Det. Horsemen and encouraged them to investigate and prosecute anyone in the church who covered up crimes committed by Vince, Russell, or anyone else.  Please help them to that end.

It would also be good for you and others to confess any disqualifying sins by Russell that were covered up.  He should not have been in ministry given his abusive leadership in his marriage, with his children, and in the church.


For a decade, Russell Tusing and his leaders have told people not to read anything I have written.  It is slander, they say.  As a result, they have been able to deceive church members regarding the pervasive corruption in Sovereign Grace Churches.

In a similar way, the leaders have covered up what they knew about Russell and Sarah, Vince and Michelle, and no doubt others.  They are simply following SGC.  Don’t be open and honest.  Admit no fault.  Refuse to answer hard questions.  Call people slanderers who call you to account.

But every time SGC tries to cover up, God exposes their evil like he does with crooked individuals.  Russell Tusing is just the latest example.  Vince Sievert preceded him.

Proverbs 10:9 He who walks in integrity, walks securely, but he who perverts his way is found out. 


Sovereign Grace Churches Sexual Abuse Coverups Continue — 28 Comments

  1. Convicted Child Molester Vince Sievert Allowed to Serve as Deacon by Russell Tusing, Mark Prater, & Keith Collins. Predictably His Abuse of Children Continued

    Today on Lifestyles of the Rich and Godly!
    Lather, Rinse, Repeat,
    Lather, Rinse, Repeat,
    Lather, Rinse, Repeat,
    Lather, Rinse, Repeat,
    Lather, Rinse, Repeat…

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  2. People used to treat Brent like trash when he tried to bring up all these things with the theobros. I can think of one of the head bros, who is ill now so I won’t mention the name, called him a punk I believe it was. CJ is a hack preacher in my personal opinion. I don’t get why people gravitate towards this nonsense. There are very good preachers out there with healthy congratulations.

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  3. I know their names aren’t given, but I don’t feel great about the children’s identities being revealed here (ie. “oldest daughter,” “youngest daughter”). I think most professional news organizations would say that a perpetrator assaulted “family members” but keep the details vague to protect the victims’ privacy.

    I’m also not sure about blaming Michelle. The twisting of Scripture, spiritual abuse, male headship, and gaslighting of systems like this can make it very hard for wives to see through the fog.

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  4. R: I’m also not sure about blaming Michelle. The twisting of Scripture, spiritual abuse, male headship, and gaslighting of systems like this can make it very hard for wives to see through the fog.

    You have a point, but it is important that the absurdity of her supporting her child abuser husband is exposed. This is a dangerous cult.

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  5. R,
    Michelle may have even been afraid of Vince to some degree, but I disagree – I can’t help but blame her in part.
    She knew what he was doing, and yet she knowingly and repeatedly let him have easy access to their children while she sang his praises. She simply turned a blind eye and covered for him, with no regard for the welfare of her own children. No excuses.
    Michelle should be charged with child neglect, and aiding and abetting! If any of their children are still minors, they should be removed from the home and placed with relatives or in foster care.

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  6. The above article distinguishes the survivors of sexual assault by race. I think it is important to know that survivors of sexual assault are less likely to be taken seriously if they are from a minority community. Also a victim may be chosen based on whether or not the perpetrator believes they could get away with it( ie victims may be chosen from a minority community, from a high demand religion or patriarchal community, economically disadvantaged community who have the resource advocate for their children) Perhaps that is the reason the author included the race distinguishing language. However… I think the language “black girl , white girl” could be interpreted as awkward, even if accurate and may not be necessary to include in some narratives. It might be better to say and better received if worded differently or to provide some context for including the information.

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  7. asachild: However… I think the language “black girl , white girl” could be interpreted as awkward, even if accurate and may not be necessary to include in some narratives. It

    The crime wasn’t reported until a white girl was assaulted. That speaks volumes about the attitude of the church and society in general.

    The author is making an excellent point. These criminals seek out the most vulnerable.

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  8. Given Sievert’s crimes, it is entirely possible he won’t live long enough in prison to reach 66. Criminals like him are treated worse than snitches. Criminals who are “rhymes with Tony _ROMO_” tend to have short lives in prison. Of course, should it happen, I would not shed a tear. I am reminded of a quote by Clarence Darrow that is mistakenly attributed to Mark Twain.

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  9. R: and there’s a lot in Christian culture that unfortunately teaches women to distrust their intuition and sing their man’s praises.

    I’ve heard this before, and I think you’ll find it most prevalent in fundagelical culture.
    A common teaching in those circles, is that you can’t trust your ‘feelings’.

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  10. R,

    I would be really hesitant to judge this creep’s wife either way. Yes, a parent is responsible for their kids welfare no matter what. But it seems entirely possible that this woman genuinely believed she was doing the right thing, or that she didn’t have any other choice. After all, all her key authority figures were aligned. Her church leaders, her husband, and in her mind God, all wanted her compliance.

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  11. Gomer Pyle: “Surprise, surprise, surprise.”

    D.O.J. and FBI found negligent in investigating Larry Nassar, OBGYN who molested dozens of young teens while he was the doctor for the USA Olympic Gymnasts.
    Many young ladies and their parents complained; apparently the FBI brushed off their complaints for 14 months during which at least 40 other young ladies were molested.

    TWW would have you believe that all the conservative churches are complicit; no other organization would act thusly. Well, apparently even the Depart of Justice, who of all organizations should know better, screwed up.

    Will TWW note this in a upcoming post? Of course not. TWW doesn’t care if the D.O.J./FBI screwed up.

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  12. Muff Potter: I’ve heard this before, and I think you’ll find it most prevalent in fundagelical culture.
    A common teaching in those circles, is that you can’t trust your ‘feelings’.

    Because “feelings’ are part of The Flesh(TM) and Real True Christians live 24/7 in The Spirit(TM).
    So SPIRITUAL(TM) you cease to be real.

    And this guy was banging is 13-year-old DAUGHTER so it wasn’t HOMOSEXUAL, and in Christianese that’s what’s truly Important. (I heard similar snark on an Irvine bus during the first Josh Duggar scandal.)

    And didn’t Voddie Baucham, ManaGAWD, say that as men age their eyes seek younger and younger and this is why God gives an aging man Daughters? HEY VODDIE! HERE’S A GUY WHO PUT THOSE WORDS INTO ACTION!

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  13. Headless Unicorn Guy,

    (Sarcasm alert)

    Wow! All of these years, I though that the DOJ and the FBI were tax-payer funded government entities! I had no idea that they are actually Christian religious organizations funded with tithes and offerings!!!

    Uhhhmmmm ….Note the motto of TWW at top right corner of the photo of Wartburg castle. It says, “Dissecting Christian Trends.”

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