An anti-gay youth pastor who was already facing child exploitation charges is now facing multiple new allegations from teen boys who say he also took advantage of them.
Paxton Singer served at Harvest Bible Chapel, a scandal-prone Illinois megachurch whose leader was accused of, among other things, wanting to hire a hitman to murder his son-in-law. That leader, James MacDonald was also chosen as one of the members of Donald Trump’s Evangelical Advisory Board alongside hate-group leader Tony Perkins, but it was MacDonald’s financial mismanagement and abuse that finally did him in.
Singer was originally charged with sexually exploiting a 16-year-old boy via text message in 2018, but it turns out there are multiple other accusers with allegations for which he hasn’t yet been charged. A judge recently allowed one of those boys to testify while denying a similar request from another boy who was 17 and therefore a legal adult in the state.
Singer is charged with sexual exploitation of a child by asking a boy, at least 13 years old but younger than 17, via text messages, to send him pictures of himself shirtless, to spend a weekend with Singer, and about the boy’s sexual habits, for Singer’s sexual arousal or gratification, according to court documents.
[Kane County Circuit Judge Michael] Noland ruled Friday that the texts to another boy, then 16, asking him to send pictures of himself in his underwear, were similar enough to those sent to the victim in the court case that his testimony could be relevant to showing Singer’s intent.
The trial is scheduled for early September, though it may be delayed as both sides wait for AT&T to hand over cell phone records.
It’s never good when we have to refer to the latest major scandal at one particular church. But keep in mind that Harvest is also known for its opposition to homosexuality. You have to wonder if members of that church will be more disturbed by the charges of child exploitation or the fact that Singer was exploiting boys.
(Thanks to Drew for the link)