Friday, May 27, 2011

How A Non Catholic But Baptist Louisiana Clergy Abuse Story is Reported - Angelo “Doogie” Golatt

My usual boilerplate. This post is not to "shift attention" from the Catholic abuse problem by saying whats the big deal it happens everywhere. It is not to indict good Baptists or their leaders without a fair hearing. However this post is being written to show the double standard on many levels.

First the tragic news from Alexandria Louisiana.

ALEXANDRIA, La. - A former church youth minister has been indicted on 13 charges of sex crimes with juveniles, including two charges of aggravated rape of victims younger than 13 years old.
On Thursday, a Rapides Parish grand jury found there was enough evidence to charge the 28-year-old Angelo Golatt, who was arrested March 29.
The indictment says one of the victims was 9 or 10 years old at the time of an alleged offense in 2003, and was reportedly attacked again at age 13 in 2006.
The Town Talk reports the district attorney's office has not released the gender of the alleged victims.
Golatt was youth minister at the now-closed Donahue Family Baptist Church in Pineville during much of the four- to five-year span.

We shall get to that "now closed" and Baptist part in a bit.

Please note he has been charged with over 60 counts of sexual abuse. The 13 counts referenced above is just what the DA has brought forth for indictment.

Billy Gunn on May 8th actually did a good report on this that hit the front pages that offers a lot of insight. Though as we shall see perhaps Mr Gunn and others at the Town Talk and other local media are not asking the right questions. Let me post this in full also. (The bolding is all mine and the red are my remarks)

Golatt also faced sex crime charges in Idaho

Angelo "Doogie" Golatt cloaked himself in the clothes and voice of a pious man of God, ministering to church youths, working with the mentally disabled, being front and center in singing and testifying in church.

He was a Louisiana College (A Louisiana Southern Baptist School) graduate in 2005, majoring in religious education, and a youth minister at Donahue Family Church (Note no mention of it's Southern Baptist affliation here) . Google his name and there are many hits on older social network websites: Xanga, MySpace and others, where Golatt thanks God for his many blessings.

Golatt worked with children at the majority of places he was employed, or with adults as vulnerable as children: youth minister positions at Baptist and Assembly of God churches; helping the developmentally challenged at a facility in Idaho; interacting with Head Start program youths in his recent employment at the LaSalle Detention Facility in Jena.

In his writings on the Xanga website, Golatt talks of his mission in Idaho, where in 2006 he was youth minister at the Buhl Assembly of God while also working at the facility for the disabled.
"It's just so awesome being up there and seeing our people worship our Savior," Golatt wrote in September 2006. "A couple of Sundays ago I looked out in the audience and saw one of our youths singing, but not JUST singing, actually agreeing with the words in his heart."

But despite the light that Golatt professed to spread, he apparently has a very dark side.
Golatt, 28, has been charged with more than 60 sex crimes involving children ages 13 years or younger from 2003 to 2007. Rapides Parish Sheriff's detectives said the investigation centers on Golatt's work as a youth minister at Donahue Family Church in Pineville, which no longer is open (Or is it).

Pastors Keith Dickens and Curtis Campbell ( Now both Southern Baptist Ministers are now down the road at another Baptist Church) , ministers at Donahue during the time Golatt allegedly committed the crimes, did not return messages left by The Town Talk seeking comment. (I pick up on these Pastors important part and statements later)

Golatt is behind bars now in the Rapides Parish jail, with a hearing scheduled Friday in front of a 9th District judge. Golatt's attorney, public defender Joe Kutch, refused a Town Talk request to interview Golatt in jail.

His March 29 arrest on four counts of youth sex-crime charges was the beginning. By April 11 the number had grown to 63 charges, including 52 charges of raping children 13 or younger. It wasn't the first time Golatt was accused of sexual crimes.

Golatt was arrested in Idaho in 2006 on two counts of sexual abuse of a mentally challenged adult when he worked at a Twin Falls branch of the Centers for Independent Living.

The crime in Jerome County, Idaho, was reported on Nov. 17, 2006. Golatt was arrested on Dec. 4 on two counts of sexual abuse/exploitation of a vulnerable adult, eventually pleading down to a misdemeanor battery charge, according to the Jerome County Prosecutor's Office.

Golatt was sentenced to 180 days in jail. He spent 30 days in jail. The remainder was suspended, a clerk in the county's prosecutor's office said recently.

Jerome County sheriff's deputies issued a warrant for Golatt in 2007 for parole violation on the battery conviction, but by that time Golatt was back in Louisiana and officials could not extradite him for violating parole on a misdemeanor.

A Town Talk request made Friday to Jerome County sheriff's officials for Golatt's 2006 arrest report was not immediately answered. The Prosecutor's Office said the case file on Golatt and his victim was sealed in 2007.

During his time in Idaho, Golatt also was youth minister at the Buhl Assembly of God, where he raised no suspicions of deviant behavior until the arrest.

"While I was there I didn't have any issues whatsoever. I didn't have any concerns," said the Rev. Travis Hedrick, who was the pastor in Buhl in 2006 but left before Golatt got into trouble.

"I found out many years later that there was some sort of accusation against him, that the church "» asked him to step down for the better good of the church and him."
Hedrick is now a pastor in St. Louis.

Golatt returned to Louisiana in 2007, where he held jobs including student services coordinator at Blue Cliff College in Alexandria (Some odd Statewide Massage School thing ), and a position at the LaSalle Detention Center in Jena, where he was arrested March 29 by Rapides Parish Sheriff's deputies and deputy U.S. marshals.

Blue Cliff campus director Tracy Kazelski refused comment for this article. Pablo Paez, vice president of corporate relations for the Geo Group, said only that Golatt no longer works for the LaSalle Detention Center. The Geo Group is a private company that manages the LaSalle prison for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Questions posed to Kazelski and Paez included whether they had done a criminal background check on Golatt.

Golatt, in the first quarter 2011 Geo Group newsletter, wrote that the LaSalle prison teamed up with a local Head Start program, which helps educate very young and poor children, to deliver gifts to the kids.

"Seeing the children smile was enough to excite the LaSalle team to plan for a bigger and better next year," Golatt wrote.

Rapides Parish Sheriff's Detective Stephen Phillips said Thursday that the police investigation of Golatt has been completed and handed over to the District Attorney's Office. DA James Downs said his office would look at the findings and decide if it warrants bringing the case before a grand jury.

Assistant District Attorney Rocky Willson, who will prosecute the case if a grand jury indicts Golatt, said that although Louisiana law states the punishment meted out for aggravated rape can be the death sentence, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled otherwise.
Willson said, however, that if Golatt is convicted he'll be in prison for a long time.

The Rev. David Brooks, pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Alexandria, said Golatt was never employed by the church, but that he did help out at Calvary functions when he was a student at Louisiana College. Golatt was among many other college students who helped at church functions, Brooks said.
Brooks said no church members have come forward with accusations against Golatt, and that he's asked youth leaders at Calvary if they've heard of anything.
"Nobody ever suspected anything, never heard anything, so we don't know of anything that happened," Brooks said.
Louisiana College spokeswoman Amy Robertson said school policy prevents any comment on Golatt's years at LC

There is a lot here and Gunn does a good job for the most part. However there are areas he does not go for some reason. That is the purpose of this post to explore that.

The social media site that is mentioned that accused has is incredibly still on the internet. One would think his lawyer would have that deleted by now.

I really recommend you read all the entries. However at his "blog" he highlights a very interesting and in retrospect chilling article from the local Idaho paper in this entry

It offers I think some items that a reporter would maybe check up on. (The bolding is all mine and RED are my remarks)

BUHL -- From the Bible's book of Nehemiah, the Buhl Calvary Assembly of God's new youth pastor, Angelo "Doogie" Golatt, explains to a handful of students that when you do something for God, you will face challenges and resistance.Golatt, who relocated to Buhl from Louisiana in April, certainly has faced opposition in stepping out for faith in God, but remains steadfast in believing he is where he's supposed to be."It took a while to make it happen," said Golatt, 23.

"But I got here and am ready to show the community youth that people love and care for them."Golatt is one of few blacks in this town of 4,000, which according to the Census Bureau is 84 percent white and 15 percent Hispanic. His journey began a year ago, when he was just wrapping up his education at Louisiana College, a 1,000-student Christian liberal arts school.

There he earned a bachelor's degree in religious education with a minor in special education.At that time he was serving as an assistant youth minister, in charge of the middle-school department at Donahue Family Church, an independent congregation (its not INDEPENDENT as will be documented) in Pineville, La."I was on a youth-minister Web site and a job opportunity page popped up," he said. "I saw the position here was available and ended up calling the pastor."But God wasn't ready for him to pack his bags, Golatt says. Instead he spent the next few months with his family."I was in limbo," he said. "

In June, my mentor told me he had been thinking and praying about me and told me to call the church's pastor and see if the position was still open."It was."I came and visited Buhl in September," he said. "And over six months later, here I am."...............

Ok this is crucial. This area of Louisiana is an interesting mix. Overlaying the religious overtones of Central Louisiana is a very Pentecostal along with their cousins the Assemblies of God presence and atmosphere. That in fact has a influence in many ways on both the Catholic and Baptist faith communities in the way of worship and ethos to a certain degree.

The Louisiana Assemblies of God like the Louisiana Baptist Convention are both based in Alexandria. It is indeed a small world where lets say a lot of interaction is happening.

Now here is a question that just is just booming to be asked. We have here a guy that appears to be raised Baptist. Went to a Baptist School, got job at Baptists Churches etc. Then all of a sudden this black Southern Baptist decides to (with the suggestion of mentor) to suddenly become a ASSEMBLIES OF GOD youth Minister thousands of miles a way in very WHITE IDAHO.

Here are a few questions that could be asked I would think since we know this move occurred smack dab in the middle of these now known over 60 charges of sex crimes in Rapides parish alone. They are:

What caused this Baptist to suddenly take a rather drastic step of leaving his faith tradition and taking a Assemblies of God position?

Who was his mentor?

Did any members of the numerous Baptists officials that had contact with the accused know anyone at the State headquarters of the Assemblies of God up the street?

Was there any contact between the various Baptists powers that be and their Assemblies of God friends up the street ?

Was this all done by a (I JUST SAW ON IT A WEB SITE) miracle or does the Idaho pastor have contacts with the Louisiana Assemblies of God Office and was there possible contact?

Why in the middle of what we now know to be a sex crime spree does it appear that by a miracle the accused finds himself as far from Alexandria Louisiana and the local Baptist powers that both can get?

Why would a young man with so many contacts being built up with Louisiana Baptists decide on this quite drastic faith tradition and geographical move?

I don't know but these seem to be questions that seem to be leaping off the page to me.

Incredibly these questions don't seem to come to mind to another reporter at the Alexandria town talk in his piece Background checks, policies help some Cenla churches prevent sexual improprieties. He does does talk to one Baptist Minister that had some contact with the accused but not the main ones. He calls up the Catholics and Pentecostals but does not call up the Louisiana Baptists headquarters that are in his own town where this all occurred. Not one call to the Assemblies of God that out of the blue enters this tragic story.

Lets look at this Church that the accused was at. As we see even recently we have no idea of it's Southern Baptist brand in a good many stories. We often see in these stories it is now closed/. EXCEPT ITS NOT. It has just changed names. The Donahue Church just became the Journey Church that also has a nice school attached to it (that has not changed names YET) that in the offical Louisiana Baptist publication is promoted as an Louisiana Baptist congregation’s school. Indeed we also have something called the THE CHILD DEVELOPMENT CENTER AT THE JOURNEY CHURCH via the Sec of State Web site also here.

Further we also have some called The Gathering Place that is also associated with this now "closed" Church Address. See for that this Sec of State incorporation entry in which was part of the old "closed" Donahue Family Church at one time.

So in other words this appears to be a huge Southern Baptist Asset that has a lot going on at it. Where under it's former name some massive sex abuse was happening.

BUT BUT BUT their web sites don't give an inkling they are Southern Baptist. Well no they don't and in fact this is not unusual. But they are Southern Baptist Churches in that well organized structure. They are not random "Baptist" Churches .

See the Louisiana Baptist General Convention report 2010 Annual LBC - Louisiana Baptist Convention

For The Journey Church see pages 75 and 174
For The Gathering Place see pages 83 and 175

Now lets return to the tragic events. The Pastors at the time of these events were I suspect a rather controversial figures. They were Pastors Keith Dickens and Curtis Campbell.

From UPDATE: Youth Minister Arrested For Alleged Sexual Assault

Golatt came to Donahue Family Baptist Church as a part of a merge with another church. Former Pastor Keith Dickens of Donahue family Baptist Church released the following statement to News Channel Five:

...."Harvest Celebration Church merged with Donahue Family Church in 2003. "Doogie" was a part of Harvest Celebration Church when they merged with Donahue Family Church. "Doogie" was highly recommended by the pastor of Harvest Celebration Church for the position of Jr. High Minister. After being interviewed by the other staff pastors of Donahue Family Church was placed in the position of Jr. High Youth Minister until he left Donahue Family Church sometime in 2005. He was under the direct supervision of the current Youth Minister at the time, who also recommended "Doogie" highly for this position. When I first heard of these accusations my heart was broken and my prayers go out to everyone involved in this situation."
Representatives with the former Harvest Celebration Church could not be reached for comment

Harvest Celebration Church no doubt was also a part of the Southern and Louisiana Baptist Convention.

Now Pastor Dickens if memory serves me right founded the above mentioned CELA Christian Academy. He later had to leave around this time period because of some rather controversal matters as to sports. However both Pastors are right dwon the road. From what I can tell Pastor Dickens is one heck of a CHURCH PLANTER so despite the uproar over the football team he is around.

He and the other Pastor are just down the road at HEART OF WORSHIP. Please note their web site nor name makes mention of their Southern Baptist affilation. But again referencing the 2010 Annual LBC - Louisiana Baptist Convention see their entry on page 74 and more details at page 194.

Now there is a lot of smoke here to say the least as to who knew what. I think at least as to the news reports I saw it does not appear that the accused took another youth minister position when he came back from Idaho . THAT WE KNOW OF NOW. He still might have had contact with children. Regardless it appears no one was warned. The fact it appears he could not get another youth minister job perhaps should be explored. If he could not why not? Who maybe knew what at this point.

I am not saying that there is a grand conspiracy here by the Louisiana Baptist Convention and some major power players lay and cleric alike. But what I am saying is here is a typical example of how abuse by clergy go so unnoticed in the Baptist system and others like it . The old joke was well there can be no Baptist sexual abuse because they don't keep records of it. Here we see an added feature. That is well if there was sexual abuses even the Church "disappear" so who can be held liable?

Last but not least, I think even in the good reporting we see a huge difference in tone as to Catholic abuse cases and the ones we see here. In the Catholic case if a Priest abuses no doubt the VATICAN itself knew about it. In little ole Baptist Alexandria Louisiana no one even bothers making a call to the LBC headquarters. We also get a slight glimpse here of why Lawyers that want to sue the Baptist Church for sexual abuse are defeated in large part by the structure of it.

That is the structure of the Church (and other faith communities likes it) all have some corporate veil of denilability that is difficult to pierce. However in reality they are very much more of a organized body and structure with centralized power than is let on.

In the end though when this tragic case is finished we might have more light and truth.

Let me say I am not saying as fact that in the Baptist Church important people looked the other way. People who abuse children can be the most charming people on earth and are masters of deceptions.

Perhaps during this rampage of sexual abuse in one Civil Parish alone not one person reported it. There was not one credible allegation brought to the board of Deacons, or LBC brass, or powerful and important money people. Perhaps there was not from what we have seen in Catholic examples some tearful remorseful meeting between predator and superiors where he asked for forgiveness and it was given. Maybe in these over 60 counts not one allegation was brought and not one LAWYER consulted. Maybe so. But again maybe not. It seems unlike the Catholic situation people are not too interested in exploring that possibility.

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