Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Part 3. The Conclusion

... behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out. -- Numbers 32:33 (KJV)
Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops. - Luke 12:13 (KJV)
Back in 1986, the Internet as we know it didn't exist, at least not outside of U.S. defense research labs and a handful of universities -- now, it's a pervasive global network with the effectiveness of disseminating information quickly. When it comes to sex offenders, states have fully searchable databases online, and there are laws on the books requiring mandatory registration of persons convicted of those types of offenses.

If Vickery's predation attempts had started and stopped with me, no one would have probably known aside from the people I told this story to over the years. But it didn't stop. In 2011, he violated statue 21.11 (A)(1) of the Texas penal code which states:
INDECENCY WITH A CHILD.  (a)  A person commits an offense if, with a child younger than 17 years of age, whether the child is of the same or opposite sex, the person: (1)  engages in sexual contact with the child or causes the child to engage in sexual contact;
The charge was adjudicated in Anderson County, Texas and the victim was a 16 year old male. The disposition date (the date on which the of the case against him was actually closed) is shown as August 25, 2014. He was sentenced to 10 years probation with community supervision with the requirement that he register as a sex offender. Read the details here.

Vickery was not a licensed minister in the United Pentecostal Church (UPC) in 2011 when this incident occurred. However, he was licensed when he came to preach the revival at our church in the spring of 1986. Moreover, he was an ordained minister.

There are three levels/tiers of licensing that UPC ministers can attain within the organization. The first is a local license. This is the entry level for the clergy. With time and a proven record sitting under an already licensed pastor, a minister can apply for his general license, or the second tier. The third and highest tier is ordained. Additional levels of vetting are applied at each level, culminating with an ordination ceremony that takes place at the district headquarters. Every licensed minister appears in alphabetical order in the UPCI Ministerial Directory, an annual publication that is distributed to their clergy.

The 1975 edition of that publication shows Vickery holding a local (L) license, the first tier of licensing (I obfuscated the names of the other clergy in the image intentionally).

Page 140 of the UPCI Ministerial Directory, 1975

The ministerial directory from 1986 has him as an ordained minister (O). It's not clear when he obtained his general license (which is a necessary step for ordination) or when he became ordained, but it happened on or before 1986. Through 1991, he is still shown as an ordained minister.

Page 181 of the UPCI Ministerial Directory, 1991

On or around 1981, then-superintendent of the Louisiana district of the United Pentecostal Church, Reverend T. F. Tenney received information indicating that Vickery was involved in a sexual relationship with another (male) pastor within the district. The allegations were substantial enough to warrant an investigation, with both men being called in to the district office to explain. They denied the allegations, claiming they were made-up stories.

The district leadership also made inquiries to one church about allegations of Vickery with young boys. It was around this time that Vickery's wife began working in April 1982 at the Louisiana district's office as an accountant. She also performed secretarial duties for Reverend Tenney until she vacated the position in October of 1996.

This raises considerable questions and an ominous conclusion: had punitive action been taken around the time of the aforementioned allegation, Vickery would have lost his license. Consequently, he would not have been acting as a licensed UPC minister at any church within the organization, let alone our church in the spring of 1986.

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Part 3. The Conclusion

... behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out.  -- Numbers 32:33 (KJV) Therefore whatsoever ye hav...