Tulsa – When you think of someone being beaten, you might expect it to be on the streets, not in a church. But Tulsa police are investigating two pastors for the beating of a church member. It’s a ritual called “discipling the flesh”, intended to beat the sins out of someone. Police tell us church leaders used their hands and fists to enforce religion.
The Harmony Worship Center Church is run out of a home near Glenpool. Police have accused two pastors of beating a man for his sins.
“And when a member of the congregation would confess to sexual deviancy, sexual sins, the members of that congregation would beat them,” says Sergeant Wayne Allen.
Police say the man admitted to watching pornography. But his wife confessed to molesting their daughter.
“It is my understanding they would beat people after they confessed during the church service and that they would come to your house again, and beat them,” Allen said.
We wanted to speak with the pastors, Robert and Janice Turner. But they wouldn’t answer for us, or for police, who showed up just minutes later with arrest warrants. They say the pastors knew the child had been molested, but didn’t report it.
“They had an obligation to inform DHS of the molestation and they did not do that,” Allen says.
Police checked doors and even went through trash searching for evidence. They want to find the child’s mother and church leaders who may have turned a house of worship into a house of pain.
Police are now looking for pastors Robert and Janice Turner. Each face charges of failing to report an injury to a minor child. Janice Turner also faces two counts of assault and battery.
Two other church leaders, William and Karla Kelman, also face charges along with Tammy Britton, a church member.
Aug. 29, 2003