In the video you will see Greg Neal's father and co-pastor declare his son's innocence, and then make this statement:
"I am more convinced than ever that my son is innocent...and I want to assure you that we are investigating, we will get to the bottom of this, and I'll have much to say about this in the coming days."
Really? "We" are investigating? His church is investigating? Why are they just NOW investigating a video tape that has been around for 9 years or so? This same man denied the very existence of the video tape for years.
This pastor thinks the people of Jacksonville are fools. You see, if you read the Clay County Sheriff's Office investigation report, this statement is made about the detective's criminal investigation into the illegal video tape and this pastor's refusal to help:
"After several attempts to contact the suspect, Gregory Michael Neal, and his father Herman Thomas Neal, they refused to cooperate with this investigation or provide a statement."
So if someone besides Greg Neal made this video tape as his dad says, then that means that there might have been a pervert on the loose at Berean Baptist Church. Why would the pastors NOT cooperate with authorities in their investigation? Sure, the statute of limitations ran out on THIS video tape, but perhaps there are more. Maybe women at Berean are still at risk with a pervert voyeur watching them and video taping them.
You see, this is what modern, institutionalized Christianity has become under the leadership of powerful, professional clergy who act to protect their jobs and power: pastors and their following lay leaders who think they are above the law as they go about doing God's will. The Neals refused to cooperate in the police investigation of crimes against women in their church, but when the news cameras show up, they tell Jacksonville not to worry, they are on the case and will get to the bottom of it. Yes, the discipline committee of Berean Baptist church, versus the Clay County Sheriff's Office. You've got to be kidding me.
Another recent example: Langworthy out at Prestonwood is molesting kids, and the church leadership does not report it to the police. They do their own investigation, and then decide to simply send Langworthy packing to another church with no warning to the parents and kids of Langworthy's new church.
Another quote from the Berean Baptist police report that should send chills down the spine of church members:
"While speaking with both William [the member who reported the tape to police] and [victim's name], they informed me of some of the concerns they had for their safety. Both said the church leaders have been known to cast out and in some cases threaten harm to those who oppose them. Both William and [victim's name] said they fear retaliation for their statements and accusations."
That is in the police report. Yes, in fundamentalist churches with powerful pastors and dedicated lay leaders who protect their pastor at all costs, this is a real concern: pastors taking revenge on people who dare to speak up in opposition to the pastor. And William Cochran's fears were well-founded, as he says after he informed members of the video tape he was escorted off the church property.
I go back to my own experience with FBC Jax and the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office in 2008 as another example of this institutional arrogance. During depositions last summer in the federal lawsuit against the City of Jacksonville and the Sheriff's Office, it was clear from church administrator John Blount's and Detective Hinson's testimony that Hinson opened his investigation into the FBC Jax Watchdog blog at the sole request of John Blount during a chance encounter on church property (the day after Chest of Joash). The detective then issued subpoenas to Google and Comcast to find my name, and he closed his investigation at the request of John Blount - after Blount got what he wanted: my name.
Even though Hinson interviewed no one in his "investigation", and even though he admitted under oath he still had "concerns" about the blogger, he still closed his investigation - because the head administrator at his church wanted it closed. And of course none of this was in his police report - it all had to come out in depositions of a federal lawsuit.
And at the time, Detective Hinson was a member of the church's discipline committee who sought my identity - a clear conflict of interest. Hinson never disclosed this conflict of interest...it only came out when we asked John Blount the right question at his deposition - and thankfully John Blount admitted that yes, Robert Hinson was on the church's discipline committee at the time of his investigation into my blog. Someone had the bright idea at FBC Jax that putting a detective with subpoena power on their newly formed discipline committee would be a great idea. What stupidity and arrogance.
After stories like that, and this one of Berean Baptist not wanting to help the police, and Prestonwood Baptist Church not reporting a crime to the police...it is clear that churches with powerful pastors think they are above the law.
This sort of behavior should not surprise us, since these people view their pastor as "God's man" a "prophet of God", doing the most important work of saving souls, and thus anyone that opposes him, or blogs about him, or speaks ill of him, or decides to investigate him, must be of the devil.