Larry Durant, 58, is charged with the sexual assault of three female church members. The minister at Word International Ministries in South Carolina has a criminal record, and many now wonder how Durant was allowed to hold a position of power.
Durant allegedly used his position to get close to his victims, two of whom are between the ages of 11 and 14. He told the victims that the sexual acts were part of the “healing process” and “private prayer,” detectives told WLTX News. Court documents added that Durant said he was preventing them from “contracting sexual diseases or becoming pregnant early.”
The pastor’s rap sheet lists convictions for crimes like burglary and grand larceny.
In South Carolina, churches are not required to perform background checks on candidates for clergy positions. And actually, that’s pretty common elsewhere in the U.S. too.
Take Mark Allen Green (below, left), who was invited to minister at Cowboy Church of Marshall County, Texas, despite the fact that he had served several prison sentences for theft and burglary. He’s back in jail now for repeatedly raping a 13-year-old girl under his pastoral care.
But that’s small potatoes compared to the Reverend John D. White (above, right). White was hired a few years ago at the Christ Community Fellowship Church in Deerfield Township, Michigan, even though he’d served almost 12 years for the manslaughter of a young woman in the same state (and prior to that had been sentenced to probation for choking and stabbing a 17-year-old girl). After securing his minister job, the ex-con took a shine to his fiancée’s 24-year-old daughter, and ended up brutally killing her in order to satisfy his fantasies of necrophilia. He then hid the body, and left it to rot while he professed to have no idea of the young woman’s whereabouts — even urging his flock to pray for her safe return. He’s now doing 56 years for the crime.
Nothing is impossible thanks to God’s forgiveness — up to and including child rape, murder, and having sex with corpses.