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Fathima Rifqa Bary: Pastors Knew they Broke the Law, ex-church official says

Fathima Rifqa Bary

Fathima Rifqa Bary

It has now been revealed that the pastors of the Florida Church, Beverly and Blake Lorenz had knowledge of what they were doing before hand, and they also knew that they were breaking the law.

Fathima Rifqa Bary: Pastors knew they were breaking the law

A former administrator at an Orlando church told investigators that the church’s pastors who took in a teenage runaway this summer knew that they were doing something unlawful.

In a sworn statement filed this week in Ohio, Brian Smith stated that “many lawyers” told pastor Blake Lorenz he was “breaking the law” by aiding the teen, Fathima Rifqa Bary.

Smith is a former administrator of Global Revolution Church, a church founded by husband and wife pastors Blake and Beverly Lorenz.

Rifqa, then 16, ran away from her home outside Columbus, Ohio, in mid-July and hopped a Greyhound bus to Orlando.

She sought shelter with the Lorenzes, whom she met through an online prayer group.

Rifqa said she feared her Muslim family would harm her or kill her because she converted to Christianity. Her parents have denied the teen’s claim, and investigators found no proof of it.

According to the affidavit, Blake Lorenz told Smith that Lorenz and another church member went to the Orlando bus station and bought Rifqa a ticket under a false name. Before she arrived in Orlando, Lorenz also asked Smith for church money to pay some of her expenses, including the cost of a bed and a disposable cell phone.

Also in his affidavit, Smith said Blake Lorenz refused to call Florida’s Department of Children and Families when he was advised by police and others to report that Rifqa was living with them. Rifqa’s parents had reported her missing to Ohio authorities.

Prosecutors to make charging decision

Florida law says people cannot shelter an unmarried minor for more than 24 hours without the consent of their parent or guardian, or without notifying a law-enforcement officer of the child’s name.

A Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation into the pastors’ role is complete, Assistant Special Agent in Charge Danny Banks said.

In upcoming weeks, FDLE will submit its case to the State Attorney’s Office, which will review the file and soon will make a charging decision, Banks said.

“I wish I could respond,” Blake Lorenz said Wednesday of Smith’s sworn statement. “The truth’s going to prevail. I’m not worried.”

He referred questions to lawyer Mat Staver, who was critical of Smith’s statement.

“There’s a lot of allegations in that affidavit that I know personally are not factual,” Staver said. “I’ve known the Lorenzes for 20 years. The last thing they would do is intentionally violate the law.”

Staver did not point to any specific charges that are incorrect but called Smith a disgruntled former employee.

Reached Wednesday, Smith said his sworn statement is truthful based on the information he had been told. And he said he “absolutely” is not a disgruntled former employee.

In an earlier interview with the Orlando Sentinel, Lorenz said he did call DCF. A DCF spokeswoman earlier confirmed the agency received four calls related to Rifqa’s case, but wouldn’t say who made those calls. The calls were received July 29, Aug. 6, and two on Aug. 7.

Rifqa’s story turned international

Rifqa stayed with the Lorenzes for more than two weeks before she was ordered into DCF custody by an Orange County judge.

Fearful that Rifqa would be sent back to her parents in Ohio, the Lorenzes in August alerted the Orlando media about a custody hearing.

Rifq’a story then turned into one of international intrigue with religious factions lining up against each other before and after custody hearings in Orlando.

Rifwa eventually was sent back to Ohio to live with a foster family.

The Lorenzes reorganized Global Revolution Church after their role in the Rifqa affair was disclosed. They now lead a congregation under another name.

In Smith’s sworn statement, he said he told Lorenz he was “very uncomfortable” with the Rifqa situation and spoke to his personal lawyer.

“My lawyer explained to me that they were in violation of several laws and to immediately hang up, call Blake and tell him to call DCF immediately,” Smith said in his statement. “She quoted several laws to me and the seriousness of them.”

“I called Blake and informed him of what the lawyer said. I implored him to call DCF immediately. He said he wouldn’t because they would just return her to her parents.”

Rene Stutzman of the Sentinel staff contributed to this report. Amy L. Edwards can be reached at aledwards@orlandosentinel.com or 407-420-5735.

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  • carol

    I don’t think this qualifies for loonwatch. Unless you know the girl, her family, and situation is completely false. Which no one, not even me, really knows. I hope she doesn’t have to go back. Better safe than sorry. You loonwatch people taking it too overboard. I know there are some people against islam, christianity, judaism, etc. I don’t see any websites like this one for them. GET OVER IT! LIFE IS NOT FAIR! If this is the religion you choose or were born with – its part of it. Just like any other religion out there.

  • “nope it was me. Im not reboman. I was talking about the pastor that took the Rifqa bary since pastors are known to be child molesters, hell even the pope had to take care of this issue”

    As i said in the other thread, you’re linking to a white supremacist anti semitic hate site. and you do sound like Reboman, In any case, you’re a bigot, hiding your bigotry behind a fake concern for Rifka.

    The child molestation problem is not confined to pastors and the pope. Imam’s and rabbi’s are guilty of it too. There are documented cases of Imams abusing children. The difference is, the Popes have openly tackled it. The Muslim societies have yet to do so. Don’t make hypocritical comments. If anything you should commend them for admitting and tackling the problem.

    Rifka Barry hasn’t accused the Pastor of molesting her, that was YOU spewing your poisonous lies and looking for an excuse to spew your bile.

  • xzibiz

    nope it was me. Im not reboman. I was talking about the pastor that took the Rifqa bary since pastors are known to be child molesters, hell even the pope had to take care of this issue.

  • Reboman, take your ugly out of here, you hate filled bigot. You came back with a new identity, presumabley because Loon Watch banned you from posting with Reboman?

  • I hope the pastor didn’t touch her private parts as all pedophile pastors do.

  • Ohioan

    Well, Didacticus, I have been inside of the family courtrooms in Franklin County and they are quite small. Room for a couple of attorneys and a reporter, family of the current case and the one to be called next, maybe one more–then it starts to get cramped. Judges ask the press to cooperate with one another (sharing film, etc). Jamal Jivanjee reported that only one of Rifqa’s “supporters” was allowed in and he was it. Ohio is quite a bit more protective of juveniles’ court experience than Florida appears to be.

  • Didacticus

    Ohioan, you know perfectly well that the courtroom was full of reporters, so any thought of “expectation that juveniles deserve a bit of cover from onlookers into their personal affairs” is absurd.

    And gee, this is Rifqa, the girl whose diary was selectively given by CAIR to selected journalists who selectively chose to air Rifqa’s most private thoughts. It would be hard to violate the privacy of a 15-year-old girl more than that.

    Yuck. You hypocrite.

  • Is it just me, or did anyone else notice that she seems to have a very pronounced Adam’s apple in that photo?..

  • Ohioan

    The most recent rally was cancelled, however Jamal Jivanjee was at the courthouse and managed to get a seat inside. He griped that the family court is not equpped for large audiences the way they are in Florida. Not appreciative that there is an expectation that juveniles deserve a bit of cover from onlookers into their personal affairs.

    Lots of damage to be done on this one–not only to the Bary family, but also because of the assumption being spread that to be Christian is equivalent to being a right-wing lunatic. There was one blogger early on who suggested that Blake Lorenz’ former church (a fairly well-heeled Methodist congregation) may have been the victim of a stealth “steeple-jacking” by Lorenz. He left there quite suddenly about a year ago (his story is that Jesus appeared to him) and started Global Revolution. Odds are that the congregation split over whatever he was pulling them into and he took a piece of them with him. So–the Rifqa Bary incident may have simply been the last straw that led to the “re-organization.” Apparently (according to the affadavit) the church officers had some worry about the church being drawn, without appropriate decision-making, into the illegal aspects of this case.

  • Hamad

    If this girl was under age, then these Christian Pastors should not have tried to lure her to another faith, let her wait till she grows and make her own mind, n will the police also charge those who were aidin n abettin like the Atlas Shugs crazy old woman, Pamela Geeller, the police should see if pamela geeller broke the law 2.

  • I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Blake Lorenz does some jail time.

  • The guy whose not Imad :p

    I just remembered that these guys held a rally for here three days ago. Well they planned to but maybe it didn’t happen cuz there was no article from it :/

  • Darter

    Still a very popular story on the anti-Muslim blogs. Pamela has been blogging like a madwoman about her recent court hearing and bragging about her groupies sending Christmas cards to her. It sickens me that these people think they’re helping. It’s all a game with them.

  • Rifka Barry, became a target of these Baptists who use stealth missionising to convert. They use the internet to prey on unsuspecting youngsters to convert them. Their brand of proselytising is insiduous and deceptive, they don’t openly state their mission at the beginning.

    The Christian Religous right, had a dedicated campaign using trickery and deception to convert people, especially Muslims to their religon, not only that, but the Bush election win gave the 50 million strong Evangelical fundamentalists a licence to spread their brand of religion through their tV and radio channels all over America,

    The Christian Taliban
    http://www.alternet.org/story/18259/?page=entire
    By Stephen Pizzo, AlterNet. Posted March 28, 2004.
    Even as the Bush administration denounces and battles Islamic religious zealotry abroad, fundamental Christian zealotry is taking hold here at home.

    Not only in civilian life, but the miitary too was targeted, the problem was so bad, that Mikey Weinstein set up MRFF specifially to battle this

    Q&A: “We’re Dealing with a Christian Taliban”
    Interview with Mikey Weinstein

    Mikey Weinstein

    http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=39182

    WASHINGTON, Sep 7 (IPS) – Last month, the Pentagon pulled the plug on a plan to dispatch so-called “freedom packages” to U.S. troops in Iraq that included Bibles, proselytising materials in English and Arabic, and an apocalyptic computer game in which “soldiers for Christ” battle satanic “Global Community Peacekeepers”.

    Let me make it clear. We are dealing with a Christian Taliban. They hate when I say that but that’s too bad. If you look at Chris Hedges Book “American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America”

  • This is funny

    On one of Beverly and Blake Lorenz’s FRIENDS YouTube channel* sorry it was not theirs. It’s their friends YouTube channel. Still doesn’t change the fact that they’re part of the same group.

  • This is funny

    On one of Beverly and Blake Lorenz’s YouTube channel, there’s the video where rifqa talks about her parents being “radical” and how she found “christ”. Funny thing. I tried posting a comment on the video, but my comments had to be approved. And guess what else I see? Almost more than half of the comments were all bashing Islam and how Muhammad is, astaghfirullah, a “pedophile” etc. Calling Islam evil, murderous, moon god etc. In the “more info” section of the video it says, and I quote “This video was filmed by Minister Joe of P4CM in May of 2009 while Rifqa was in OHIO. “. P4CM was heard being said by this Joe guy when the video was started. P4CM is some kind of group that they, and supposedly rifqa, are a part of. Why would they approve comments like that? Is rifqa, beverly and blake lorenz part of something to make Islam look bad? Is this all just a hoax? A scam? It’s a rookie mistake on their part, but it’s still suspicious. I wish CAIR would look into this.

  • Biz

    What was that Bobby Spinster… Nothing. That is what I thought. I guess Brian Smith is an undercover Mooooslem like our President Barack Obama.

    I feel sorry for this poor girl’s family. They are the only ones that have been innocent through this entire ordeal.

  • Shawna

    of course they knew! Did anyone think they really didn’t know?

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