Two pastors are no longer listed on a Reformed evangelical group’s leadership after a different pastor from their church confessed to covering up sex abuse claims. Pastors Joshua Harris and C.J. Mahaney have left the Gospel Coalition council after a trial involving child abuse in the church they have both overseen.
A criminal trial that concluded last week has raised questions about which pastors at Covenant Life Church, a megachurch in Gaithersburg, Md., knew what about the abuse in which years.
Nathaniel Morales, 56, was convicted Thursday (May 15) of sexually abusing three young boys between 1983 and 1991 when he was a youth leader.
Former Covenant Life pastor Grant Layman suggested while testifying about allegations against Morales that he withheld information from the police about the abuse.
“Did you have an obligation to report the alleged abuse?” public defender Alan Drew, who represented Morales, asked during cross-examination. “I believe so,” Layman said. “And you didn’t,” Drew responded. “No,” Layman said.
Layman, who is Mahaney’s brother-in-law, stepped down from his role at Covenant Life in March.
Mahaney founded Covenant Life in 1977 before passing the leadership of the church in 2004 to Harris, author of the once bestselling “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” book. Mahaney now leads Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville.
Mahaney and Harris are no longer listed on The Gospel Coalition (TGC) website, which boasts of leaders such as Al Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; Tim Keller, pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City; and Mark Dever, pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C.
An employee of TGC said it will not be putting out a statement on the matter. Initial attempts to reach Mahaney and Harris were unsuccessful.
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SOURCE: The Biblical Recorder
Sarah Pulliam Bailey, Religion News Service