It seems like every day there’s another religious figure who gets caught up in some sexual scandal, but this one is more disturbing than usual because it involves the trafficking and prostitution of young girls.
Reverend Randolph Brown, who runs the Inner-City Missionary Baptist Church in Cleveland, Ohio, was arrested Tuesday by a local human trafficking task force and indicted on two counts of compelling prostitution. The date of the alleged offense was in August of 2018, so there was nearly a year and a half between that initial action and the arrest. (A woman, Joyce Richmond, was also arrested in connection with this incident.)
Brown was indicted on two counts of compelling prostitution.
[Richmond] was indicted on two counts of trafficking in persons and three counts of compelling prostitution.
According to Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, the indictments culminate an investigation into Richmond and her exploitation of three underage teenage girls who had run away from home.
According to the church website, Brown was a Bible teacher for The City Mission and was the chaplain for the Hudson Youth Development Center for over 27 years.
27 years. This guy had access to kids for nearly three decades. He was able to maintain a level of authority over families who trusted him because he was a religious leader, someone with some sort of a divine moral code.
Thankfully, the prosecutors aren’t swayed by that unearned trust.
“The allegations in this case are particularly troubling given Mr. Brown’s role as a spiritual leader in the community,” said HSI Special Agent in Charge Vance Callander. “This investigation should however make clear that traffickers will be held accountable, regardless of the positions they occupy.”
At least there’s hope that justice will be served, especially when we’ve seen instances where someone’s religious “service” is a factor for leniency in sentencing. Brown has pleaded not guilty in court. The judge set the bond at $100,000.