Former BJU Board member and University-affiliated pastor Chuck Phelps is again under fire for a decision made years ago.
The story begins with Joshua Budgett, a New Hampshire man charged today with ten counts of sexual assault against an underage girl. Police say the incidents stretch back to 2009, but this isn’t Budgett’s first brush with the law.
Budgett has a rap sheep dating back to 1992, including sexual assault charges beginning in 1994 according to WMUR. BJU News also uncovered this court document from 2001 detailing some of his previous criminal activities.
It’s during this time that Phelps comes into the story. Sources from Trinity Baptist in Concord, NH, confirmed via Facebook tonight that Phelps married Budgett and his current wife, despite knowing Budgett was a sex offender. Budgett’s wife had a small child at the time they were married.
The scandal sounds all too familiar for Phelps, whose involvement in the case of another former parishioner, Ernie Willis, was well-documented by ABC’s 20/20 and in the resulting trial. Phelps allowed Willis to remain at Trinity for years despite knowing of Willis’ involvement with an underage girl. Phelps maintains he did everything possible to report the crimes to police back in 1998, but Willis remained free until last year when his victim told her story on Facebook. Police were alerted and Willis was convicted on all four counts, including rape.
Phelps was a member of BJU’s Board of Trustees until December of 2011, when outraged alumni and students demanded he resign due to the above scandal. Phelps resigned without apology just days before those alumni and students executed the first official protest in history on the campus of BJU on December 12th, 2011. You can read more about that controversial movement, named Do Right BJU, here.