Tag Archives: Matthew Jarrell

Woman suing church of deceased pastor Matthew Jarrell over alleged rape

Is a fundamentalist church responsible for the actions of the pastors they hire if they have not bothered to perform a background check on him? This is the question being raised by the alleged victim of Matthew Jarrell, the apparent serial rapist who committed suicide while being held in a West Virginia jail.

As Zac Taylor of the West Virginia Gazette-Mail reports

A woman is suing a Texas church, claiming that its leaders should have known that their head pastor had a history of sexual assault before allowing him to travel to West Virginia, where he allegedly raped her in his car before committing suicide in prison days later.

The woman, whom the lawsuit identifies only by her initials, is also suing the Open Door Baptist Church in Mesquite, Texas, for hiring Matthew Jarrell as its head pastor and apparently failing to perform an adequate background check that would have uncovered a history of criminal activity.

The lawsuit states that Jarrell inflicted serious emotional and physical damages on the woman as a result of the assault, which could have been prevented had church officials properly screened Jarrell before his employment.

The woman is suing the church for compensatory and punitive damages, as well as attorney fees and court costs.

It will be interesting to see if the courts think this case has merit.

Spinning Scandals Redux

Most of you have read the post I did some time ago about the 4 steps of spinning fundamentalist scandals. Today, however, I was provided with such a stellar example of this process that I couldn’t help revisiting it.

To give some background, you can read the news item I posted on May 20th describing the arrest and subsequent suicide of Texas fundamentalist pastor Matt Jarrell. The story goes that Jarrell allegedly met a woman in a West Virginia bar (while his family thought he was in Pennsylvania) and then raped her while giving her a ride home.

But as if this story wasn’t already horrific enough, now fellow-fundy “Dr.” Dennis Corle (who credits himself with over over 60,500 souls saved) writes a glowing memorial to Jarrell in his publication “Revival Fires”.

The transcript is as follows:

Goodbye, Old Friend; See You On The Other Side

“”My heart is heavy today in the loss of a dear friend, Pastor Matt Jarrell.There is a lot of unsolved mystery concerning the last few days of his life. Rather than try to solve mysteries, let me mention what I know to be facts.

He was a preacher whose messages were greatly used of God to encourage,challenge and inspire folks to serve the Lord and keep on keeping on, even when times are tough. He loved his wife and children dearly and spoke almost non-stop about them when we were together.

He was one of the most generous and compassionate men that I have ever known and went the extra mile to be a blessing to me, as well as many other people, more times than I can count.

He had a tremendous burden for church planting and was actively involved in the establishment of several local churches. Every place that he served he built something rather than tearing something down. He labored to win souls, to salvage marriages, to recover backsliders, to grow new converts to maturity, to build a great work with high standards, and he took a very strong stand against sin and corruption at every level of society, including government.

Everything I have seen and known to be true only elevate my respect and deepened my friendship with him. I, along with many others,
will miss his friendship and fellowship, and the cause of Christ will feel
the impact of his absence. Please join me in prayer for his precious family, which includes his wife and four children, all of whom I know well and love dearly. They are a godly, close-knit family. Please also pray for his parents and other family members who will feel his loss keenly. If you would like to be a blessing to the family, please contact me through our office. Revival Fires! P.O. Box 245, Claysburg, PA 16625”

To summarize, Matthew was a real mensch and candidate for fundy sainthood…right up until he apparently raped some women and then took the coward’s way out in a West Virginia jail. In fact, the whole rape thing is so inconsequential, it’s not even worth mentioning. But hey, you’re on a roll, Dennis, don’t let me cramp your style.