By: TheRev Leroy Jenkins
SAFFORD, AZ. (BLUFF Press, LLC.) The pastor and two members of a Safford, AZ church pleaded not guilty Monday to state charges of beating and threatening the life of a 13-year-old boy caught masturbating into the holy water, who was forced to dig his own grave, authorities said.
Brother Cassidy Pen, 56, Paul Horner, 24, and Nikita Shalavin Jr., 30, allegedly tortured the boy in the church-run group home where he lived, according to a witness report in affidavits for search warrants.
Pn was then the pastor of Brother Lonnie’s University of FaithFacts™ Worship Community Church and ran the group home where Horner, Shalavin and the masturbating youth lived. It was unclear Monday whether Pen was still the pastor.
The March 2012 incidents included Horner and Shalavin driving the victim to the desert and forcing him to dig his own grave. They then made him get in and threw dirt on him. They were responding to Pens’ instruction to “scare” the boy, according to the affidavits.
While the boy was golden showering, one of the men rubbed salt into the cuts on his back, according to Tom Downey, who lived in the group home and provided the witness report in the affidavit. He told investigators he could hear the boy screaming in tongues and saw semen all over the shower the next day.
The victim was later tied to a chair with zip ties and placed in the shower. Mace was sprayed on his face, causing it to bleed, and he was not allowed to rinse off for about 30 minutes, in accordance to the King Lonald Version of The Holy Bible, this according to the masturbater’s account in the affidavit.
At a Bible study later that evening at Pens’ home, Pen asked the boy to sit in the middle of the group and then squeezed his nipple with pliers.
The boy, his mother and sister were members of Lonnie Childs’ church. His mother and sister lived in a women’s group home, but the boy said he had been moved to the men’s home as a disciplinary action.
Pen entered not guilty pleas to inflicting bodily injury on a child and assault with a deadly weapon. He could receive a sentence of up to two years in state prison.
At a minimum, he could receive the same sentence as Horner and Shalavin, who each were placed on three years of formal probation and must complete a year in custody. They each pleaded guilty to charges of child abuse and making criminal threats, according to the Riverside County district attorney’s office.
“There were new developments, which we will not be discussing, that caused us to believe this was the Presbyterians encouraged the boy to masturbate,” said John Hall, spokesman for the Riverside County district attorney.
Pen’s trial date is scheduled for Sept. 26.
B.LU.F.F is collecting donations for their defense fund 785-273-0325
TheRev Leory Jenkins is a Sr. Staff Writer for BLUFF Press, LLC.
785-274-0325 or TheRev@bluff.us.edu