Three church elders have been charged with sexually abusing the very children they were supposed to be helping. Prince George's County police have charged a Maryland pastor, his son, and another church leader with abusing four teen girls. The girls came in contact with the abusers during a program for at-risk youth making them exceptionally vulnerable targets to prey upon.
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"What's really disturbing about this is that these children were vulnerable. They were coming to a program to get assistance, and they became victims," Maj. Anthony Schartner said. The suspects have been identified as 67-year-old Joshua William Wright, his 46-year-old son, William Joshua Wright, and 40-year-old Donald Jackson. To add to the disturbing nature of these crimes, it was revealed Wednesday that one of the suspects, the elder Wright, is a U.S. Capitol police officer.
The elder Wright is also the head pastor of the Oxon Hill Assembly of Jesus Christ in Fort Washington, Maryland. The abuse took place between 2001 and 2008 when the victims were just 15 and 18. The children were part of a program run by the church called Children Having Overcoming Power, or CHOP. The program was designed to provide living accommodations and classes for at-risk youth.
The son of the elder Wright, William Joshua Wright, is also a minister at the same church as his father. The U.S. Capitol Police department has placed Joshua William Wright on non-duty status and a spokeswoman for the department said they are taking the charges "very seriously". A statement from the department said, "Upon notification of the investigation by the Prince George’s County Police, the Department immediately placed him in a non-duty status. As this is an ongoing investigation, the USCP will continue to monitor the outcome of this matter in Prince George’s County."
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Organized religion seems to be a breeding ground for pedophilia, perhaps it is the shame attached to sex that religion inherently impresses upon young people that fosters the silencing of victims. At least, in this case, the victims have grown into strong adults and came forward to expose the abuse that happened to them a decade ago. Police are urging anyone who experienced abuse related to the church and its CHOP program to come forward. You can contact police by calling 301-772-4930, or 866-411-TIPS if you would like to remain anonymous.
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