In-depth exclusive: A perpetrator in the pews

Former youth minister’s presence at worship stirs discord in Pennsylvania congregation.

By Bobby Ross Jr. | The Christian Chronicle

UNIONTOWN, Pa. — After a longtime youth minister’s recent conviction on corruption of minors and indecent exposure charges, a judge in this western Pennsylvania community did what the Uniontown Church of Christ’s elders refused to do.

The judge told Clyde E. Brothers Jr. to stay away from church services.

Brothers, 70, served for many years as the volunteer youth minister for the 100-member Uniontown congregation. Since at least the 1980s, he also interacted with hundreds of children as a founding board member for Camp Concern — a Bible camp directed and sponsored by members of Churches of Christ.

Generations of parents entrusted Brothers with instilling Christian faith and values in their children in this city of 10,000 that originally grew with the development of coal mines and the steel industry.

Victims’ relatives say his case points to a problem that plagues not just the Roman Catholic Church and the Southern Baptist Convention — both embroiled in major sex abuse scandals — but also the nation’s 12,000 autonomous Churches of Christ.

“It truly is an epidemic, such sickness,” said one victim’s mother, a former Uniontown church member whose name is being withheld to protect her son’s identity.

The allegations that Brothers used his volunteer church and camp positions to prey on young boys were traumatic enough, several current and former Uniontown church members told The Christian Chronicle.

But church leaders’ decision to allow Brothers to keep worshiping with the congregation made it worse, they said.

Read the full story.

This story appears in the online edition of The Christian Chronicle.

Related interview: This survivor has a name: Alex Howlett speaks out on her pedophile preacher father (reporting from Somerville, Pa.)

Author: Bobby Ross Jr.

Award-winning journalist Bobby Ross Jr. has reported from all 50 states and 14 countries in his 28-year professional career.