Former members of Grace Cathedral have accused televangelist Ernest Angley of forcing them to have abortions, and vasectomies. And they said that he sexually abused boys in the church, which he has denied.
In the first part of a six-part series on Sunday, the Akron Beacon Journal said that church members had provided it with a recording of a recent church service where 93-year-old televangelist Ernest Angley addressed accusations that he had inappropriately touched a former pastor.
“I’m not a homosexual. God wouldn’t use a homosexual like he uses me. He calls me his prophet, and indeed I am," Angley explained. "They called Jesus a homosexual, did you know that? And still do. Because he was with men."
As for the claim that Angley encouraged men in the church to have vasectomies, he said that he had "helped so many of the boys down through the years."
“They had their misgivings," he recalled. "Sure, I’d have them uncover themselves, but I did not handle them at all."
"And I would tell them how that would work. And they’d have to watch it. I’d have some of them come back to me that I felt needed to. And I would tell them, I would look at them, their privates — I, so I could tell how they were swelling," the pastor told the congregation. "I was a farm boy. We thought nothing about undressing. We didn’t know about homosexuals. We talked about women."
Becky Roadman, who left the church last year and moved to Georgia, told the paper that "none of us have kids because he makes all the men get fixed."
“You’re not allowed to have babies there," she insisted.
Angley also pushed women to have abortions, according to multiple former members. One of those who left, Angelia Oborne, said that Angley advised a friend to think of the fetus inside her as “a tumor.”
“She was four months pregnant and she sat in the [abortion clinic] waiting room and told her baby that she was so sorry that she was doing this,” Oborne said. “I know another girl — she won’t come forward — but she was forced into having four abortions.”
Greg Mulkey was a prominent member of the church, and featured on Angley's TV broadcasts as a singer in the Hallelujahs. He said that Angley had a selfish motive for discouraging children.
“He doesn’t want people to have kids because it would take their time and money away from [the church],” Mulkey pointed out. “He really forced people into abortions through scare tactics, as if he were a medical doctor. It turns my stomach.”
In the second part of the series published on Monday, the Beacon Journal talked to Shane McCabe, who said he was molested by Angley.
“I was sexually abused there,” McCabe said, recalling that Angley "basically blew me off" when he confronted him about it years later.
“He asked if I had told anybody. I said no. He said, ‘Let’s keep it a secret. This is the way we need to handle it because God’s mercy is great.’?”
The paper asked Angley why he counseled church members to keep quiet about abuse by him or others: “They shouldn’t talk about it, but they can do something about it. But they ought not to spread it abroad, you know, because that hurts others.”
“If it’s somebody that, you know, makes a habit of that," he said. "We get ’em out. We get them out. We just let them know they have to go.”
In the audio clip below, WKSU’s Kabir Bhatia speaks with Beacon Journal Managing Editor Doug Oplinger about the six-part series on Ernest Angley.