Jan 31, 2023

ICOC Evangelists Publicly Describe Chain of Gay Sex Abuse in Central ICOC Leadership - "The Movement's Original Sin"

My jaw dropped when I heard these words from a podcast where Steven Leslie Johnson, who was basically Kip McKean's right-hand man in the ICOC and who also was at the top of the payroll at HOPE WorldWide and overall one of the very tippy-top leaders in the entire International Churches of Christ (and momentarily with the International Christian Church as well) was sitting down with another ICOC evangelist (and ICOC historian), James Lloyd. Both of these two men were in the group of "thirty would-be disciples" that started the Boston movement with Kip and were right there as witnesses to the chain of sex abuse right from the start. 

(Link to the podcast here)

Sitting there with Steve Johnson, James Lloyd states: 

“The truth is that the foundational “original sin” of our movement was homosexual sin. Man on man, specifically a male older leader, on young interns. And not just a few times—you can find out, it’s not like nobody knows. The fact that our original sin was a senior leader (Lucas) who is respected and loved and training a group of young men—As the leader gets them in a room and shuts the door and this leader (Lucas) ‘puts the moves’ on these young men. And it’s worse than it sounds because those men then became ministers (perpetrators) and went out into their churches and did the same things to others— and I know that personally, because I was in some of those meetings where it was confessed.

“They thought it was best not to share this with anybody, and I bought into those reasons. They would say things like, ‘He’s got children, he’s got a wife, you can’t just say those things out loud, it could hurt the faith of a young Christian.’ All these things are just the hierarchy and patriarchy saying that we don’t need to bring this thing up about ‘man on man.’ And I don’t personally think that this sin is any different than if it was between a man and a woman by the way— I’m only calling it sin because they weren’t married.

“But the real sin here is that we (church) hid it. People should be taught that this is how our group started. And some of that (sin) has continued for three generations. Some of that trauma was carried on, was passed on to other men as they went out into other (ICOC) churches.”

With no disagreement from Steve, whose silence obviously shows that he knows that what James is saying is true. 

So here we have ICOC leaders publicly discussing THREE GENERATIONS of sex abuse originating in central ICOC leadership!

AND, we have ICOC leaders publicly stating that the ICOC leadership COVERED UP those acts of sexual abuse! 

"AND NOT JUST A FEW TIMES." 

How many times was it? "A few" would mean three, maybe five. So NOT "just a few" meant a whole bunch of guys, and a whole bunch of times. 

Let's also remember that ministers and many other professionals are required BY LAW to report sexual abuse. The penalty for not reporting sexual abuse include fines and JAIL TIME. This is no small thing. 

Notice that Steve and James choose not to name names here. Maybe one or both of them were victims? They obviously know which of the other high-ranking ICOC leaders were on the receiving end of this abuse, and clearly know the identities of at least some of them who then went on to sexually abuse others. 

What does three generations look like? 

Chuck Lucas (who was Kip McKean's "spiritual father" and the original founder of the ministry that became the International Churches of Christ (ICOC) and the International Christian Churches (ICC), grooms leaders much younger than himself. He trains them for ministry duties. Once he has their confidence, he sexually seduces them. Chuck has gay sex with them, consensually or nonconsensually. There was obviously a power dynamic that was in play, with Chuck the much more powerful person in each sexual encounter. This happens with Chuck sexually abusing one up-and-coming ministry leader after another. That is generation one. 

Generation two: Leaders who were sexually abused by Chuck Lucas go on to become leaders in the ICOC. Some of these leaders go on to sexually abuse others in the church. 

Generation THREE: At least one person, possibly more, that Steve Johnson and James Lloyd clearly seem to know about and feel confident enough about it in order to discuss in a public podcast, who was abused by one of those secondary ICOC leaders, then went on to sexually abuse yet a new generation of victims. 

Chuck + sex abuse -> ICOC leaders + sex abuse -> 2nd generation of ICOC leaders or members + sex abuse -> 3rd generation of ICOC victims 

Victims become abusers. Then the church works to cover up what has happened to save the ICOC leaders from embarrassment. 

Yes, that would be awkward to know that the "man of God" up at the front of the hotel room pressuring you to give ever more donations to the church had been the victim of, and perpetrator of, sexual abuse as a part of the ministry. 

This reminds me of a story from awhile ago down in Mexico City. 

The lead evangelist of the Mexico City ICOC was found to be using church money to rent an apartment for the purpose of having sex with other men. 

When the other church leaders found out about this they swiftly took action! 

Per the pattern that we are now learning was pervasive in the ICOC, church leaders acted quickly to suppress the story. The leader in question, Josue Ortega, quietly stepped down for unspecified "leadership sins" and was shipped off to lead a smaller congregation in Costa Rica. 

Josue Ortega had been put into place by the previous lead evangelist of the Mexico City ICOC, Peter/Pedro Garcia. Pedro Garcia was Kip McKean's brother-in-law, brother of Kip's wife, Elena Garcia McKean. 

Pedro Garcia was around from the early days so could have been a victim of abuse by Chuck Lucas. (Witnesses have stated that Kip publicly admitted, in a rare moment of weakness and defeat, to being one of Chuck Lucas' sex abuse victims himself.) 

Josue Ortega was pretty clearly gay. I mean, if you ever talked to him you could tell pretty much immediately. (I could tell at least!) And members of the Mexico City ICOC would whisper about how it was odd that he was the lead evangelist and throw off so may gay vibes. Additionally, multiple other top leaders in the Mexico ICOC seem pretty clearly gay. The fact that a decent percentage of the top leaders who are two levels away from Chuck Lucas are pretty clearly gay suggests that they had qualities that their higher-ups were looking for, possibly in more than one sense. At the least it clearly seems to fit into the pattern of ICOC and leadership gay sex improprieties described above. 

(If you do not know which leaders in the Mexico City ICOC that I am talking about who seem to be gay, just talk to any long-standing members there. They will be able to tell you! This is not to speak negatively about homosexuality or homosexuals. But we can point out that these poor folks are now forced into heterosexual marriages now and then doing things like having sex with men on the side, in all likelihood without the knowledge or consent of their wives.) 

So not to get completely distracted from the greater picture of passed-through-three-generations gay sex abuse among central ICOC leaders that Steve Johnson and friend were discussing, but there is more to the Josue Ortega story as well. 

After Josue was "outed" and relocated to Costa Rica, there was a disciple (ICOC church member) who was talking about what happened. Somehow somebody in Costa Rica heard about this and then this disciple started receiving multiple anonymous death threats through the Internet with the IP address tracking back to Costa Rica. So a smoking gun pointing at Josue Ortega trying to silence people talking about what he got caught doing. Sadly that general dynamic is not far from standard operating tactics of the ICOC as demonstrated by other leaders including Kip McKean who are willing to use threats and bullying in order to get their way (talking from personal experience with Kip here.) 

Thankfully I found out about this situation and am therefore able to make it known to a larger audience. Just imagine if I had contact with every last corner of the ICOC and ICC and could publish all the crazy stories that are out there? 

So the recent revelations that Kip McKean worked consciously and deliberately to silence sex abuse victims within the ICOC and ICC looks even worse now (were that possible) that we are aware of the centrality of sexual abuse that went back to the very beginning of the movement and then is now known to have traveled down through THREE GENERATIONS of abuse victims. 

7 comments:

  1. While i certainly will maintain that everyone in this has the capacity to repent of these wicked sins, in order for this to not be a skillfully fabricated lie or the possibility thereof, a link to this podcast should be included somewhere.

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  2. https://www.buzzsprout.com/1895127/10735028

    Link to the Podcast with Steven Johnson

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  3. hmm and Kip calls his new movement "SODM". knowing that the whole thing started with "sodomy" kind of brings it full circle

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  4. The link (https://www.buzzsprout.com/1895127/10735028
    ) for the podcast with Steve Johnson brings up a different podcast. It's a conversation with Steve, but James Lloyd isn't on the conversation and there is no mention of the gay sex at Crossroads. Could you please post the link to the correct podcast - i.e. the one that includes James Lloyd and talks about Chuck Lucas?

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  5. Lincoln, Nebraska.

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  6. John Ramsey what was wrong with the New York City Church of Christ I was in it for over 2 years we were baptized people but wouldn't care for the people love that was the problem top leadership taking on too many things couldn't really care for people or the care was given in elitist type of way formed a sort of a dictatorship was homeless lived on campsites out on Long Island maintain the job best thing that ever happened learns what happens in a cult try to confess sin instead of apologize always confess even to those lower spiritually than you many changes have occurred hope God will really come through this group God bless all of you and forgive you

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