There are some troubling allegations surfacing against televangelist and pastor Ernest Angley, who has been accused of a range of disturbing moral and ethical infractions by at least 21 former members.
According to an investigative report by the Akron Beacon Journal's Bob Dyer, critics say that Angley, the 93-year-old pastor of Grace Cathedral in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, is running a cult. These former members claim he has inappropriately examined men, ignored reports of sexual abuse at the hands of church leaders, encouraged women to have abortions and urged men to seek vasectomies.
A woman who answered the phone at Grace Cathedral Wednesday afternoon told TheBlaze that Angley — who is known for his TV preaching — "is not interested in responding to the article."
"It was a bunch of lies … we are being blessed in each service with large crowds," she said, attributing her words to Angley, who was not available or willing to comment.
This was essentially a verbatim reiteration of the response given to reporters from other outlets like WJW-TV, who also reached out to the church for comment this week:
Dyer, who recently sat down with the preacher for a 90 minute interview, spent two months speaking with 21 former members of the church who claim that Angley uses threats to intimidate church members into abiding by his rules — regulations that they say sometimes damage and split up families.
The level of control was so pervasive, they told the Dyer, that the pastor dictates the selection of husbands and wives and entertainment consumption, among other personal choices. Former member Pam Cable, who left Grace Cathedral in 1988, described Angley as a "monster."
"This man is a monster. He’s a monster. And I can’t understand why all these years have gone by and nobody’s ever really been able to do anything about him," she told the outlet. "The people in Akron, Ohio, have a Jim Jones sitting in their backyard. ... These people in his congregation would drink the Kool-Aid if he told them to. They would."
Another woman identified as 32-year-old Becky Roadman, who also left the church, said that male congregants are encouraged to have vasectomies, which is why she and others do not have children. Some also said that the pastor personally examined men before and after their surgeries.
And yet another former member said that Angley told one woman to think of her unborn baby as "a tumor." Adding to claims that abortion is a recommendation for church members, Greg Mulkey, a former congregant who held a prominent role in the church choir, offered a theory about why he believes the pastor didn't want parishioners having children.
"He doesn’t want people to have kids because it would take their time and money away from [the church]," he told the outlet. "He really forced people into abortions through scare tactics, as if he were a medical doctor. It turns my stomach."
But in an interview with Dyer, the pastor said that he never advocated for abortions. The full context and content of that interview has not yet been released, but the pastor reportedly denied the troubling claims waged against him.
These allegations, among others, purportedly also led Angley to hold an open service in July, during which he addressed some of the shocking allegations.
"I’m not a homosexual. God wouldn’t use a homosexual like he uses me. He calls me his prophet, and indeed I am," the elderly preacher reportedly said during the sermon. "They called Jesus a homosexual, did you know that? And still do. Because he was with men. Oh, Mary Magdalene and a few women. But you can’t stop the people’s lies."
Angley specifically addressed controversy over vasectomies and his decision to have men "uncover themselves" to give them advice about the process.
But he insisted that he isn't gay and that he was simply being helpful, according to Dyer's report.
You can read the extensive, four-part series on the allegations against Angley here.
(H/T: USA Today)