January 28, 2006

Sex charges cast pall on Bishop Paulk

Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Published on: 01/29/06

Facing major surgery and embroiled in his fourth sex scandal, Bishop Earl Paulk stood confidently in the pulpit of his 7,700-seat south DeKalb cathedral in late October.

Only a few hundred worshippers occupied the maroon seats on the main floor of Chapel Hill Harvester Church. Sections of the semi-circular sanctuary were roped off so congregants would sit near the front for the television cameras. The ceiling rose majestically over two almost empty balconies.

Norma, Paulk's wife of six decades, sat to his right.

But gone were some of his most faithful followers.

They had helped Paulk, 78, build his little church into a flock of 12,000 that caught the attention of presidents. Then they had stood by him as the church hemorrhaged members and money after two scandals that drew national attention.

They had believed him when he denied allegations of adultery and child molestation by saying his accusers were under demonic influence.

Now, they are his accusers.

Cindy Hall, 44, was the first baby born into the church that Paulk founded in 1960. In 2003, she burst into tears over dinner and told her husband, Greg, "We have to get out of there." She says Paulk coerced her into an 11-year affair that included having sex with his brother.

Posted by kshaw at January 28, 2006 04:22 PM