Woodlawn pastor is charged with sexually abusing teens

Incidents took place during counseling in his office, police say

November 17, 2005|By NICK SHIELDS | NICK SHIELDS,SUN REPORTER

A pastor at a Baltimore County church has been charged with sexually abusing teenagers during counseling sessions, police said yesterday.

Gerald Fitroy Griffith, a pastor in the Woodlawn area, was charged with multiple counts of child abuse and sexual abuse of a minor, and with several other sex offenses, according to Baltimore County police.

Griffith, 39, of Bowie, who has traveled internationally with his ministry, was arrested Tuesday while waiting to board a previously scheduled flight to London at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, police said.

After five people contacted police about alleged sexual abuse, police began an investigation that led to a warrant being issued for Griffith's arrest.

According to District Court charging documents, a 19-year-old former parishioner told police that Griffith told her he would be her father figure, since she did not have one. The girl said that Griffith, while providing counseling in his office this year, touched her sexually and told her that they should be closer, the charging document states.

The girl said Griffith told her that if she went against him, it was like going against God and she would die, according to the documents.

Also, a 16-year-old boy told police he began attending sessions with Griffith because the boy "got saved," and Griffith told him that the Lord had given him strategies to overtake a homosexual spirit, the document states. Griffith is charged with sexually abusing the boy.

A Web site for Gerald Griffith Ministries referred to Griffith as "a modern-day apostle, called of God for these end times" and says that he has held "crusades" in areas including Chicago, Canada, Nigeria, the West Indies and London.

He is described on the Web site as senior pastor at Redemption Christian Fellowship. Paulette Quickley, a spokeswoman for the nondenominational church, declined to comment yesterday.

Attempts to reach Griffith for comment were unsuccessful. He was released yesterday after posting $600,000 bail, police said.

nicholas.shields@baltsun.com

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