May 17, 2006

AME Defrocks Pastor in Molestation Case

Amsterdam News

by Gene C. Johnson, Jr.
Special to the NNPA from Wave Community
Originally posted 5/17/2006

LOS ANGELES (NNPA) — After being accused of sexual advances toward an underage member of his congregation, Rev. Sylvester Laudermill Jr. has been permanently removed as senior pastor of Ward AME Church.

An attorney representing the African
Methodist Episcopal Church, Joseph Stanley Sanders, said Laudermill has been “in effect, defrocked” following a minor’s complaint about the minister’s alleged improper behavior during “late February or early March” of this year.
Neither Laudermill nor his attorney, Leonard Levine, returned phone calls seeking comment.

Sanders, who refused to directly discuss the gender of the minor or the details of the alleged sexual attack, may have inadvertently revealed the child’s gender in an interview. The alleged victim first reported the incident to “his” parents, who then went to the church’s presiding elder, the Rev. Norman Copeland, Sanders said.

Copeland, in turn, lodged a complaint with Bishop John R. Bryant, presiding prelate of the AME Church’s Fifth Episcopal District, which includes California and Missouri. A hearing was held April 27 in Pasadena by the AME Church’s Ministerial Efficiency Committee, which consists of five pastors from different AME churches in California “to take testimony from the accused and from witnesses,” Sanders said.

Posted by kshaw at May 17, 2006 04:57 PM