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Former Youth Pastor Accused of Giving Kids Alcohol, Drugs and Porn


A former youth pastor has been charged with sex crimes involving young men at an Arkansas church.


Larry Michael Berkley, who has pastored churches in Arkansas and Tennessee, is accused of providing children with alcohol, drugs and porn, and then sexually assaulting them while he was a pastor at Shiloh Baptist Church in Harrison, Arkansas, WREG Memphis reports.


Berkley, 34, was arrested at a cemetery in Covington, Tennessee, Monday afternoon after finishing a funeral service.


Police in Harrison say the investigation into the former pastor began March 28, while he was a pastor at Shiloh Baptist. They interviewed more than a dozen male victims—all between the ages of 14 and 18—through mid-April.


One victim said he went to Berkley’s house believing it was a Bible study. While there, he was allowed to drink and smoke marijuana and a hookah.


Several victims said the pastor used to walk around naked, and he had sexual contact with them on more than one occasion.


Harrison Police Chief Paul Woodruff said they believe the Arkansas church isn’t the first Berkley has targeted, reports KY3.


“We’re pretty sure this isn’t the first time,” Woodruff said. “This is too in-depth. I think he’s been doing this for years.”


Though Woodruff believes they have found all the victims in Harrison, he urges any others to come forward.


“If there is another victim out there, or victims that we may have missed or this other group didn’t know about, please come forward, so we can try to get you some help with counseling and whatever else you may need,” he said.


An employee at Shiloh Baptist also reported that at least $4,400 is missing. Berkley was allegedly supposed to use the money to make a payment on a mission trip.


Berkley was senior pastor at Victory Baptist Church in Henning, Tennessee, 2 1/2 years ago. He was reportedly asked to leave the church, but no one at the church has said why.



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Excellent posts Joseph and Salyan!!!


This has been an issue I've brought up many times and while some agree, it seems most are unwilling to try "something new" and getting rid of current youth programs is VERY unpopular.


Until the mid-20th century children (both Christian and secular) were raised to become adults. Those in their teens were typically expected to be young men and young women, taking on more adult responsibility and at some point beginning to stand on their own or even going forth on their own. In the churches these young Christians were often mentored (discipled) by older men and women; each with their own gender.


It can be astounding to read historical accounts of the maturity (both Christian and otherwise) of those from earlier times who were in their teens. It's not uncommon to read of 13, 14 or 15 year olds who were taking care of their families or who set out on their own at that age, or who were serving in the army or navy, or who were attending or even graduating from college, or began their preaching or missionary service.


With amazement we look back at people in high positions who were in their early 20s and consider today most can't attain such positions until they are in their 40s, 50s or older.


Our expectations of children and youth have dramatically dropped and thus our training of them has to, both within the church and the secular world. Today's culture is all about catering to the youth and perpetuating childhood into the 20s, 30s, even the 40s and beyond now.


I firmly believe if our (Christian) youth were discipled by mature men (women for the girls), or even if one wanted to maintain some structural form of a "youth group" (though I believe these should be small groups even if that means having several "youth groups") and those small groups were led by mature men (women for the girls) in Christ (rather than one young "youth pastor"), and our aim was to help them grow in maturity, becoming sound, responsible Christian adults, we would be doing our youth so much of a better service and also be serving our Lord better.


Even most of the "better" youth groups tend to be very much centered around playing and perpetuating childhood. Unfortunately, many of the adults in church were raised with the perpetual youth mindset and are not overly mature themselves regardless of their age.


I'm also not in favor of co-ed youth groups.

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I'm also not in favor of co-ed youth groups.



I was at boys' schools from 8 - 18, when I went to university. Up to 16, the Anglican church I attended had separate Bible classes & clubs, than a mixed gathering after the evening service.


I think it is important to get to know the other sex in an mixed situation, so that friendships formed are NOT boy-friend/girl-friend. Sports, hikes, etc offer an opportunity for open friendship.

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I agree there is a place for mixed youth in the church to get to know one another and have interaction. Done correctly, this is something we need.


It's in the context of training boys to be men of Christ and girls to be women of Christ that I believe they shouldn't be mixed. Boys need specific manly training from men while the girls need specific womanly training from women.


In many of the co-ed youth groups I've seen there tends to either be a competition aspect between the boys and girls which tends to separate them or they get involved in "relationship" aspects which causes disruption, splits and sometimes even chaos and the loss of members.


If our boys and girls were being trained in righteousness and maturity by mature men/women, and then given separate opportunities to function together that would hopefully facilitate friendships and possibly more mature relationships which might eventually lead to more for some of them.


Our church has a co-ed youth team which does service projects to help the needy.

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