Thousands are calling for an investigation into a Pentecostal church bishop in Iowa who married a teen in his church.
An outside clergyman accuses the bishop of “gross abuse of power” and years-long “grooming” of an underage congregant. And some of the teen’s family members and fellow church members also say they’re concerned she is a victim of clergy abuse.
Bishop Dwight Reed, 63, leads Christ Apostolic Temple in Des Moines, which he claims is the largest predominantly African American church in Iowa. Last year, on November 15, Reed married 19-year-old Jordan Goodlett, a longtime church member and a former student of the church’s affiliated school, JW Reed Academy.
The couple’s 43-year age difference has sparked concerns of clergy abuse. Her paternal grandfather, James Belcher, condemned the marriage in an April 6 interview.
“Her father sold his daughter out and pimped her out for his own self-gain,” Belcher said in the recording.
A Texas clergyman who has looked into the claims against Reed also says Reed’s marriage is a “gross abuse of power.”
Demetrius Sinegal, a Texas clergyman who runs Safehouse Unmuzzled, has criticized Reed publicly since mid-March. Goodlett “grew up as a child under his pastoral care,” Sinegal said in an April 8 press release from the advocacy group for church abuse victims. “We reject the notion of independent consent on the part of a teenager who heretofore was in a fiduciary relationship between Pastor and child/teenage congregant.”
Sinegal’s group started a petition on March 14 calling for Reed to be investigated. After the Des Moines Register reported on the petition in early April, it grew to more than 6,700 signatures.
“Over 50 pastors, mental health workers, researchers, professors, and other community leaders have publicly given their name as standing in support and solidarity of our call for an investigation,” Sinegal told The Roys Report in an email.