...followed by many years in prison for another Pastor Gone Wild.
The Reverend Mark Olds was convicted of stealing more than one million dollars from a charter school he founded. The crime itself is pedestrian, but his story is amazing for its level of hypocrisy.
Olds converted to Christianity in prison. Olds knew prison well. He spent 16 years behind bars for various violent crimes (desertion, bank robbery, assault & murder) before his release to become a Reverend at Eagle Rock Covenant Assembly in Cleveland.
Upon release, Olds began a noble fight called Twenty-Eight Days of Peace which was aimed at reducing violent crime while at the same time helping non-violent ex-convicts expunge their criminal records. He called it "a jobs bill'. He seemed to have the communities best interest at heart.
Reverend Olds moved on to writing his conversion story in a ghost written self-important tome called "Not Without Scars: The inspiring Life Journey of Mark C. Olds as Told to Christopher Broussard". These books are obligatory, typically self-published, and uniformly "uplifting". What more can you expect from a murder who became a Christian Reverend?
Unfortunately for Reverend Olds, the temptations of the flesh eventually won out. He started a Charter School and eventually figured out how to embezzle over a million dollars from its operation while at the same time providing a substandard education to students in a building with crumbling walls and no heat.
As usual, the federal indictment makes for excellent reading.
It is at this point in the story I would like to yell "hypocrite". People like Olds instantly see the power of legitimacy that comes with attaching the words "reverend" or "pastor" to their names. They use and abuse without fear because the compelling story of their conversion holds more power with the faithful than it deserves. When they are caught - we often hear "the devil..." blah, blah, blah.
A few questions for the faithful:
How is it that a man like Olds can move from prison for the pulpit? Are there no standards?
How is it that a man like Olds can start a private charter school? And what fool would put their kids in his care? What are his qualifications? He did not even write his own autobiography - this should be a clue that he might not know anything about teaching.
And... Where is the outcry from within the Christian community? This man did immense damage to your community, yet I find nothing about it in blogs or on the web. Is it better to ignore this hypocrite and hope the story goes away? How do you police yourself?
It make me sick.