Nate Morales, Who Molested Children Within Sovereign Grace Ministries, Sentenced to 40 Years (Video)

The Associated Baptist Press is reporting that Nate Morales, the man convicted of sexually molesting children within Covenant Life Church, the flagship church of Sovereign Grace Ministries, has been sentenced to 40 years in prison.

This is good and good reason to share in the relief of survivors who have gotten their first legal share of justice and closure in decades.

But it is also a reminder of a much bigger issue at work here, one that has yet to be sufficiently solved. Namely, the individuals and organizations involved in failing to report these crimes and continuing to cover for those involved instead of coming clean. The article mentions this aspect in the final paragraph:

Leaders of Covenant Life initially said they had no knowledge of any abuse until many years after it occurred when an adult who had been victimized as a child came forward. During the Morales trial, however, Grant Layman, Mahaney’s brother-in-law and a former pastor at the church, testified that he knew of allegations against Morales 20 years ago but did not call police.

Layman implied that CJ Mahaney, SGM founder and senior pastor of Covenant Life, also knew. CJ has denied and dodged and employed his associations with The Gospel Coalition, Albert Mohler, John Piper, and Southern Seminary to stand in solidarity with him, often issuing their own stringent denials. But people involved in SGM during that time have firsthand accounts of CJ’s knowledge. It would have been virtually impossible for him not to have known.

The judge was not gentle toward Morales in court. And one of his victims speaks out in this news video:

While Nate Morales has been convicted and sentenced, those complicit in covering up this horrific abuse (and perhaps other abuses) are still not accountable.

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About Zach Hoag

Zach J. Hoag is a writer and missional minister from notoriously non-religious New England. He blogs here at Patheos and HuffPost Religion. His book, Nothing but the Blood: The Gospel According to Dexter, released in 2012. Most importantly he binge-watches TV dramas and plays in the snow with his family.

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  • Frustrated with it All

    Why is it that no so-called news reporters will bother to report on the fact that pastors are not and have never been mandatory reporters in MD? Therein lies the problem, and getting that changed should be a priority.

  • zhoag

    Is that the case? If so, it definitely needs to be changed ASAP.

  • pagansister

    He needs life, without the possibility of parole. (don’t know if he is eligible for parole with the 40 years, but I hope not! ) Why should he even see the light of day ever again? The minute he touched a child inappropriately, his rights to living free were over. Rumors have it that inmates have no use for child molesters. He may be in for a big surprise while he is incarcerated. Would have been nice if someone had reported this a lot sooner! What is with folks who “don’t want to get involved” when children are being molested? It is the law in many states. It was while I was teaching in RI. Guess molestation is a way to show love and Christianity! Were they following the example of the RCC and it’s priests?

  • The Irish Atheist

    I’m surprised I haven’t seen Christian writers coming out with articles about how Christians are called to forgive and how we should accept Morales’ apologies and show him grace. They seemed eager enough every time Driscoll makes headlines.

  • Ragamuffin Me.

    Great article. One correction. I don’t believe that Morales was a pastor, as the headline on the Patheos main-page indicates. I know he volunteered in some ministry capacity, but I am pretty sure that he never was a pastor or was employed by the church.

  • zhoag

    Are you equating child rape with ANYTHING Driscoll has done? Surely you are a more complex thinker than that.

  • zhoag

    Yeah, I really do hope 40 years is enough to prevent him from ever hurting anyone else.

  • zhoag

    Ah, I didn’t see that headline. Yes, I think he was mainly involved in children’s ministry (ugh) but not pastoral ministry officially.

  • The Irish Atheist

    I’m not equating, and I’m certainly not suggesting forgiveness should be extended to this man. Quite the opposite in fact. I’m observing. Christian doctrine seems to suggest that all sinners should be freely and openly forgiven, even if there are still consequences for sin. Maybe some would disagree, but as an outsider that’s certainly the impression I get from most Christian corners, including the Progressive niche.

    But that hardly seems to be what’s practised. In matters of spiritual abuse or domestic abuse, misogyny, homophobia, etc, I see the call for forgiveness all the time. In cases like Morales, nothing. I’m wondering why that disconnect happens, IF Christians are indeed called to openly forgive all sinners. Is it because some sins are more embarrassing, unforgivable, etc? I’m genuinely wondering where the line is.